Title: Barren Wasteland Author: devilinthedetails Timeframe: Saga-PT. Set between AOTC and the end of ROTS. Characters: Beru and Owen Lars Genres: Romance and Family Drama Author's Note: Written for the OTP & Pairing Challenge #12 (prompt #9-wasteland). Summary: Beru and Owen picnic in the barren wasteland of Tatooine. Barren Wasteland “Other couples probably have greener places to picnic.” Beru spread a blanket in the scant shade cast by the lone scraggly tree—more of an overgrown brown bush bent by the harsh desert wind that swept across the largely lifeless landscape— gracing their otherwise barren homestead and slid a basket off her arm. From the basket, she unpacked a bottle of pallie wine to soften the blow of learning in Anchorhead yesterday that once again her fertility treatments had failed, squill liver salad finer than any offered in Jabba’s Palace (if she did say so herself), and zucca fruit pastries to sweeten the bitter pill they’d been forced to swallow from the medical droids in Anchorhead. A menu made up of Owen’s favorite foods to make up for the fact that once again she couldn’t conceive his child to carry on his family of farmers. “Not this wasteland.” “Those other couples must not be from Tatooine.” Owen forked squill liver salad onto first her plate then his. Staring out at the red sand dunes that stretched into the distance with no sign of water or greenery and no trace of human habitation beyond their own as far as their eyes could see squinting into the twin suns, he shrugged. “Everywhere is a wasteland on Tatooine.” “Everything dies on Tatooine.” Beru poured a glass of wine for her husband, offering it to him by the stem. Once he had taken it with a nod of thanks, she filled her own glass. Chiming it against his in a bleak cheers, she gazed at the headstones that comprised the small burial plot on the Lars homestead. There was Cliegg laid to rest between the two wives, Shmi and Aika, he had loved and lost. Beside Aika, there was the uncle that Owen had never met, dead at fourteen in a landspeeder accident. One day, Beru knew in her bones, she would die here too. Then she would be planted in the sand like some lame, colorless flower bulb that would never bloom come any spring. “Everything dies everywhere,” Owen pointed out between bites of his squill liver salad. “That’s not unique to Tatooine, my dear.” “Yes, but everything doesn’t die so quickly everywhere else.” Lips quirking, Beru sipped at her wine. “Not everywhere is as barren as Tatooine.” “It isn’t the landscape that’s bothering you.” Owen must have realized that she only took him on picnics to this place, which she regarded as their special spot no matter how barren it was, when she had something weighing heavy as duracrete on her heart. “Why don’t we talk about what is troubling you so your wounds can begin healing, huh?” That was Owen, she thought with an inner smile: gruffly practical in his compassion. “I’m barren as this landscape,” she whispered, blinking tears from her eyes, because she expected herself to be strong for her husband despite any trials and tribulations the harshness of life on Tatooine dealt her. “This landscape may seem like a barren wasteland, but we’ve managed to eke some moisture and money out of it with our hard work.” Owen cupped her cheeks between his calloused palms. “Through our endless toil, we’ve built something of value out of this barren wasteland, and there’s nobody I’d rather have beside me when I work to turn a profit out of this barren landscape than you, Beru.” “You flatter me.” Beru leaned in to teasingly peck the top of his nose—sunburned a faint muja. “That’s high praise coming from you, my love.” “I’m serious.” Owen kissed her, lips tasting of pallie wine, and Beru thought dizzily that he was always wonderfully serious, and that’s why she had married him. “Just because this farm is a barren wasteland doesn’t mean I love it any less because it’s a part of me the same way that you’re a part of me, and I don’t love you any less because of your fertility struggles.” “I still want us to have a child.” Beru’s fingers tangled in Owen’s hair as she deepened their kiss. “A son to help you repair the vaporators or a daughter for me to teach how to make the best blue milk cheese on Tatooine.” “We’ll have a child one day,” Owen assured her, and Beru believed this promise was as solidly set in stone as any that had left Owen’s mouth. Owen was a reliable man on a planet full of criminals, slavers, and gangsters. That was what had convinced Beru that he would make a good husband and father to her future children, who were still unborn and waiting on the wings of some desire she was beginning to accept would never be fulfilled. “Even if we have to adopt some needy street urchin from the sketchy back alleys of Mos Eisley.” “You’d be willing to adopt?” A hope she hadn’t dared to acknowledge caught in Beru’s throat, choking her. “I’d be willing to adopt if it made you happy.” Owen drew her against his chest, and she burrowed her face into the curve where the nape of his neck broadened into his shoulder. “I’d do anything to make you happy.” Too breathless to return this vow, Beru streamed kisses along his shoulder blade.