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Five people propose to Rey within the first week after the First Order is defeated, before the mourning ceremonies, much less the celebrations, have had a chance to even begin. The Resistance has been doing triage as best as it can, fixing up the remainder of their fleet and building a safe base that will let them start building another Republic, make another beginning that might stick this time, and somehow people still find the time to ask Rey if she'd like to marry them.
“I've only met two of them,” she tells Luke, helpless and confused, after gracelessly turning the last of them down and fleeing the X-wing hangar, where too many people know to find her. Luke's offices look out on a beautiful lake and he's always happy to let her in for a while. “The rest are just those diplomats who are scrambling to visit. Why would they want to marry me?”
Luke looks somewhere between amused and sorry, the corners of his mouth twitching. “It happened to Leia too, after the Empire fell. It even happened to me, but people remembered enough stories of the Jedi to know that Jedi aren't supposed to marry, so they weren't offended when I turned them down.”
“But you and I have said we're not Jedi,” she says, following the logic, and then glares down at her hands. “They haven't met me. They don't know what I've done, they don't know anything.”
“They know the stories. For some people, that's enough.”
“Well, how am I supposed to stop them?”
“Get married,” says Luke, and then hastily continues. “Just keep telling them no, or ask Leia to field any visitors and put out subtle word that you're not looking to marry anyone right now. But like it or not, you're a heroine of the Resistance, the one who struck the killing blow for the First Order, and for someone looking for power in whatever regime is born out of this ...”
Rey spends a horrified minute considering becoming a pawn in some kind of political marriage game, into becoming more of a symbol than she already is, when new faces around the base look at her wide-eyed, like she's some kind of legend. Like she's Luke. “I don't want that.”
“You don't have to do anything you don't want to. You've earned that. But you've also said you want to keep helping, and with that comes problems like this, so it will keep happening. But never feel obligated. Tell all of them no until you find someone you want to marry.” She clenches her fists, and he looks out on the scenery for a little while until what he says next sounds like a non sequitur. “I hear your friends Finn and Poe are coming back to base tonight.”
Training in the Force means Rey has a lot of control over her emotions and how much of them she shows, but she thinks it would be impossible for anyone to miss her flutter of movement and joy and nervousness hearing that. Luke is kind enough not to comment. “I knew they were coming soon,” she says, voice choked. “I didn't know they were coming tonight.”
“With a ship full of storm troopers to debrief and find new lives for, from what I hear.” He puts his hand on her knee to squeeze it and then lets go. “We'll all be busy for a long time still. If anyone presses you for a reason why you won't marry them, that's a diplomatic one. Though probably a few of them could stand to see the wrong side of your staff, too.”
Rey snorts a little, as she's meant to, and stands up. “I'm going to ask the general when they're expected, and then see if I can find Chewbacca. He won't let anyone near me.”
Luke laughs, and it startles both of them. It's been so long since happiness came without guilt or grief, and there are plenty of both of those things to spare, but Rey can hope for some happiness, now, as long as she can figure out what shape that happiness will take.
The last time she saw them, they were getting married. They were laughing, embarrassed to be so happy in the middle of a war, and Poe gave her a flower and taught her to dance and Finn held her for so long before she left to continue her hunt for Snoke that she hoped he might just never let go.
That was months ago, and they've only exchanged scant messages since.
Still, when the call goes out that their transport is landing, Rey runs and doesn't care that Luke is laughing behind her, following at a more sedate pace.
When she reaches the landing pad, there's already a crowd there waiting: spectators, other storm troopers who defected during the war and want to greet the largest group of their brethren the Resistance has had contact with yet, and half of high command, including the general, who smiles when she sees Rey but doesn't beckon her over. Things have been awkward between them since the end of the war, both of them knowing that Rey couldn't do anything but kill Kylo Ren in the end and both of them knowing that Leia can't quite forgive her for it anyway, at least not yet.
Rey stands with some of Poe's remaining pilots, getting a clap on the shoulder from Jessika Pava as she joins them. “You could be in the front to greet them,” Jessika points out. “They'd want that.”
“They have business to take care of.” The doors of the transport are opening, and she doesn't have to crane her neck to know who the familiar figures in the front are. “And the troopers might not want to see me. They probably heard a lot about Force-users from the First Order.”
“They know you're the one who killed Ren. You're a hero to them too.”
Finn and Poe have a third person with them, a tall woman with her chin up who they urge forward to meet Leia as she steps forward to meet them. She must be the head of the storm troopers, and later Rey will learn the name she's chosen for herself, learn all about these people who heard about Finn and wanted to follow his example, but for now Finn and Poe and BB-8 are all coming down the ramp, looking around for friends, and Pava shoves Rey forward until she can use the momentum to shoulder through the crowd.
Poe spots her first, and he elbows Finn, and then Rey feels like they're both flying until they can meet and hold on, wordless with the reunion until Poe joins them, walking a little slower to give them a moment of privacy, kind as ever. When she and Finn pull apart, Poe offers his open arms, and she steps into them, holding on until BB-8 chirps a greeting.
She crouches to greet BB-8 first. She doesn't know what to say to the other two. “I hear you became the mascot of a whole revolution.”
Designation-former-troopers trust me, chirps BB-8, and on the ramp Rey can see people beginning to come out into the light, clinging in an awkward group, ushered forward by the people who were working with Finn and Poe. Designation-Rey won the battle?
Rey swallows. “Yeah, I guess I did.” When she stands, Poe and Finn both look solemn. “We all have a lot to catch up on, but you should get your people settled, probably. There's a whole barrack cleared out for them, and a special dinner in the mess.”
Finn clasps her hand, and she's learned how not to reject that kind of comfort. “You can come. Sit with us at dinner. I think … you'd like them. You like me.”
“Of course I do,” she confirms, because it's been years since they met but he still sometimes sounds unsure about that. She closes her eyes. “I hate it when they stare,” she says helplessly.
Poe is the one who answers her, Finn only holding her hand tighter. “Then we'll meet you after dinner, and you can meet them a few at a time.”
She opens her eyes. Both of them look tired, as exhausted as she feels, and they're easy with each other, shoulders brushing while Finn holds her hand so they're all standing close enough that it would invite comment if everyone on the base weren't concentrating on the general greeting the storm troopers. Rey steps back, and Finn lets her hand go. She tries not to flex it. “After dinner. And I want to meet them, all of them. Just … I'd like to catch up with you, first. Let them all spend their awe on Leia and Luke.”
Finn nods, eager, and Poe just frowns, maybe understanding like Rey doesn't want to that Leia and Luke might be legends, but Rey is the one who struck the killing blow to remove the First Order's bogeyman. No matter what, they're going to stare. “We'll come knocking after dinner, then,” says Poe, warm and turns around, noticing someone calling his name when Rey had been so focused on them she hadn't realized the crowd was starting to move.
Finn is frowning, but he follows his husband, and that's—that's as it should be. Rey will never argue that.
BB-8 rocks back and forth a few times in front of her, but doesn't say anything before rushing after Poe and Finn.
“That's, um, very kind of you,” she tells the ambassador, who she thinks is from Dantooine, and extracts her hand from his grip. She hadn't expected him to keep hold of her when she offered to shake hands. “I can't, though.”
“You're already betrothed?” he asks, dismayed. “I thought for sure I would have more time to tell you what a valuable alliance—”
“I have visitors,” she says, loud enough to shut him up, and manages to inch over enough to hit the button to open her door. She wouldn't have opened it for the ambassador if she hadn't thought it was Finn and Poe.
This time, thank the Force, it is them, though both of them look startled to find she has company. “We can come back,” says Poe, brows drawing together.
“The ambassador was just leaving,” Rey says in a tone she's adopted from Leia, who knows how to say things and have them instantly come true. She could say it with the Force behind her and make it true that way, but she likes Leia's way better. This way, the ambassador looks unnerved instead of blank and throws a few anxious looks over his shoulder on the way out of the room.
Poe and Finn look somewhere between amused and concerned, but BB-8 is the first one to say anything. Designation-stranger not a friend?
Rey sneaks a peek, and the door is now safely shut. “He was proposing to me,” she says with a groan, and collapses onto her bunk, scrubbing her face with a hand as she goes and waiting for the telltale creak of her bed that means they're sitting down too. It doesn't come, and when she looks up, they're both staring at her. “People do it a lot,” she adds impatiently. “Leia and Luke say I have political importance and I don't have the protection of being a Jedi so I have to decide what to do about it all. Nobody did any of this on Jakku.”
“That makes sense,” says Poe, and finally sits down. He has to tug Finn down with him, because Finn is still staring.
“No, it doesn't,” she says, and Finn nods vigorously when she finishes, waiting as always for confirmation of something being normal or not.
“Right now you're the most important woman in the galaxy. Yes, even more than the general. And you're young, and you're gorgeous, and people think you must be looking for romance.”
Rey spreads her hands, trying to communicate the extent of her frustration with it all. “How are they even thinking of it? Would they be cozying up to Ren or Hux if they'd won, asking to marry them instead?” The answer to that might be yes, which is part of the reason she's not going to marry any of these people. She sighs and crosses her arms. “You two are heroes, but at least you had the sense to marry each other.”
“One of the squad leaders offered to join our marriage to cement the alliance,” Finn offers. “After they realized they'd have the right to get married.”
“If anyone's going to marry the two of you, it should be me. It would get rid of the politicians, anyway.” That was hasty, and Rey scrambles to cover it up. “You didn't come here to listen to me talk about that, though. We have plenty of stories to tell and this is so unimportant, in the middle of everything else.”
They exchange a look full of meaning, and that, of everything, is what stings. They know each other so well, there's a line between the two of them and her and she's the only one who can see it, because neither of them is on the outside looking in at the affection, and more than that, at the knowledge of each other that comes with time. She hasn't had that time with them. In the end, Poe is the one who speaks. “It's easier to talk about this than some of the other things. But if you want to change the subject ...”
“I want to know what happened to the two of you before I hear too many rumors.”
We are designated-heroes,, BB-8 says, smug and missing out, perhaps deliberately, on any lingering strangeness in the room.
Rey smiles. She's been missing BB-8 too, and it's a less complicated kind of missing. It's good to have one thing in her life that isn't complicated. “I'm sure you are, but I'm still waiting for those two to tell me all about it, since all I know is that they showed up with a ship full of First Order defectors and before that I barely had news about any of you.”
Finn's relief at the turn in the subject is so loud it's like the emotion is knocking on her mind, but Rey does her best to ignore it and listens to them instead, listens to the stories that built up over months of living in campsites and covering their tracks while trying to keep safe on a planet controlled by the First Order. They tell her about the troopers, about naming them, about how many chose to go back to try to slowly bring their squads over to the side of the Resistance and how the delegation they brought with them is just that, representing a planet full of troopers-in-training who want a different life for themselves.
“It was some honeymoon,” Poe summarizes when they wind down, wry smile lighting his face up. “And now we're supposed to step right into politics.”
“The general wants you to be a senator, I think,” says Rey. “Or whatever the equivalent is in whatever they're building.”
“Finn can do it,” says Poe, grinning at him and then at her. “He's the political Dameron. Or we both can, make a terrifying voting blockade. Are you going to join us?”
“No,” Rey says, and only realizes she means it when she hears how firm it comes out. “I don't know what I want to do, but politics isn't it.”
Finn puts his hand on her knee and squeezes gently. “That's fine. You don't have to have a purpose.”
Those words are hard-won, and Rey doesn't know when he learned to mean them like that. He's her best friend, the one who brought her to this life and this family, and he's the light she held on to when she needed it desperately, but she's missed so much, and the thought of that makes her stomach twist into knots. “I have to do something, though.”
“What do you want to do?” asks Poe. “What makes you happy?”
That's never been a consideration, and she ducks her head so she doesn't have to look at any of them. “I don't know.”
BB-8 rocks a little on the floor in front of her. We will compile data.
Rey laughs, and she's surprised when it comes out sounding a little wet. She hadn't even known that the choke in her throat was tears. “I suppose we will.”
“And when you're ready to talk about what happened with you,” Poe says, knowing like he somehow always does that it's the last thing she wants to talk about right now even though they just confided everything to her, “we'll be waiting and ready. Don't bottle it up forever. Talk about it with Luke, if you can't with us, but we're always willing to listen.”
The offer is all the more generous because he doesn't realize it's generous at all. “The second I know what to say,” she promises, and even means it.
When she sits down in Leia's office, though, there's a long, awful silence. Somehow, with the life she's lived, there's still something like a smile in Leia's eyes, even when she looks at her son's murderer. “How are you?” she finally asks.
“Eight people have proposed to me,” Rey says, without quite knowing why that's where she starts. “I don't know why. I don't know … what I did was horrible, and now they want me like I'm some kind of trophy.”
“You have power. People want that, now that we're rebuilding. It's part of the reason I never wanted to be a Jedi like Luke was. And for anyone who thought I was a playing piece, I married Han.” She shrugs. “We might have been happier if we'd never married and just stayed in love, but I knew it would stop people from doing what they're doing to you.”
“I don't have anyone like you did.”
Leia looks away long enough to look out her office window, and when she looks back her gaze is sharp. “Finn and Poe are settling in well.”
Rey has learned a lot since she left Jakku. She knows what that means. “I'm not going to marry anyone just to make everyone leave me alone. But if they keep bothering me I'm going to be tempted to go back to Ahch-to just to get away from them all.”
“Do you know what you want to do next? If you're busy, that might keep them away.”
“I'm no politician. And I'm no Jedi either. When there's not a war, I'm just a scavenger.”
Leia frowns a little. “You know you're more than that. And you don't have to know anything yet, and you don't have to know anything ever, but if you want help, I'm here.”
Rey swallows. “You shouldn't be. I did—”
“Exactly what I asked you to do.”
She'll leave that for now, if only because they both know it's not quite true. “That doesn't tell me what I should do next, though. I can't just sit around the base repairing ships forever.”
“It's only been a few weeks. Give it a little longer. Ask Finn and Poe if they have any ideas. Take a vacation to Ahch-to if you need to. I'll try to circulate it among the diplomats that you're not looking for a spouse.”
“Think they'll listen?”
“Your guess is as good as mine.”
Finn shrugs. “Meeting with some of the other pilots figuring out discharge orders and things. And besides, I wanted to be with you today. You understand more about some things.”
Rey doesn't ask what things, but she stands up from the bench she's been half-meditating and half-hiding on and brushes herself off. “Let's take a walk, then. I think the gardens are pretty clear, if you want to stay on-base, or we can go out and try the woods.”
“The gardens sound good.”
That choice doesn't surprise Rey. They're both still amazed at forests and oceans after the way they grew up, but there's something magical about a garden, about people who can make something green and good with their hands. Finn spent a lot of time in the gardens while he was recovering from their first battle with Kylo Ren, and it's where he and Poe first kissed, though that was two bases ago and that garden is long since tilled back into the soil. “Let's go, then.”
Finn doesn't say anything else until the garden beds are in sight. When they have to move bases on no notice at all, they aren't the same kind of garden she's seen on her brief visits to inhabited planets. Plants are in raised beds that the plants can be removed from quickly if the need comes, and the only fruit trees are small ones in pots. Still, it's one of Rey's favorite sights, and maybe now that she has more time, now that she doesn't have anything else to do, she can learn how to grow things.
“Are you planning on staying around?” Finn finally asks when they're standing in front of a bed of flowers that Twi'leks can get a lot of nutrition from but which are just decorative for humans.
Rey blinks, startled. “Where else would I go? Back to Jakku? We both know there's nothing there.”
“You could go anywhere.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets. “And people keep … you're unhappy. And people keep bothering you, trying to use you. If you left, I wouldn't blame you.”
She could be like Luke. She could find somewhere quiet to go, a refuge. But Luke didn't get to stay in his refuge. Some people, the Force will always keep calling back. And, in the end, Rey doesn't want to leave in the first place. “I don't know what I'm going to do, but I'm not going to leave. Not without my friends, anyway. I don't want to leave you, or Poe, or BB-8 or Luke or any of the rest of you.”
Finn glances at her, then back at the flowers. “What if we end up leaving? Leia and Poe and a lot of the troopers, they all think I should try for the Senate when they re-establish it. I told Poe that I'd only do it if both of us could, though, he'd be better at it than me. And I think maybe it's time to spend some time with you and Luke. Learn about the Force.”
Rey wants to ask about that last part, but she thinks he's still waiting for an answer to the first part. “I suppose if you left … I might come with you. If you wanted me to.”
He reaches out for her hand, and she takes it. Most people who are married, she knows, don't hold hands with people they aren't married to, or outside their families, but she won't tell Finn to stop unless it seems to hurt Poe. “We always want you around.”
“I always want to be around you. Especially if it means people leave me alone.” And they do leave her alone when she's around Finn and Poe, though she tries hard not to think about why. “You're the best protection I could have. It's been easier since you came back. To think about the future.”
Finn squeezes her hand and lets go. When she looks at him, he's frowning, though he looks more thoughtful than upset. “You're always welcome with us. Anytime. And we'll listen, or we'll talk, or we'll save you from whoever's proposing to you. If there's a way to protect you, to give it a little time, we'll figure it out, all of us.”
Rey feels his sudden focused intent like a tap on the shoulder, but she does her best to ignore it. She tries to stay out of people's heads, especially those she's close to. If he has an idea, he'll tell her as soon as it takes form. “It's not like they're fighting me,” she says as lightly as she can. “It's just uncomfortable and annoying, that's all. I can handle myself against a few ambitious diplomats.”
“Yeah, but you shouldn't have to.”
Rey swallows and points to one of the more distant beds. “Some of the plants over that way are flowering too, we should look at them. It's a good season for blooms, apparently.”
Finn smiles, and lets her change the subject, and he loves the gardens just as much as she thought he would, but he looks thoughtful the whole time, giving her sideways looks she doesn't know how to interpret. He doesn't talk about it. He talks about how the storm troopers are settling in, how hard it is to figure out how to help them find lives, how to help thousands of people learn themselves and the galaxy the way he's had to. Rey still can't talk about her battles, but she listens to him talk about his and she holds his hand the whole time, swiping a fruit off one of the trees for them to share because they finally have enough rations for everyone and no one will be hungry for want of it.
“We'll figure out how to give you some time,” Finn promises at the end of their walk, when Rey admits she's supposed to be meeting Luke and Leia and a few storm troopers suspected to be Force sensitive.
She doesn't know what they can offer to make the galaxy leave her alone until she knows what she wants, but he's steady and smiling and sincere enough to make her believe it, so she smiles back. “Time for all of us to decide what we want,” she adds, because he's lost too, and she suspects Poe feels much the same way. It's easier for her to accept help when she knows it will do all of them good.
“All of us,” he repeats, and it sounds like a promise.
The bottom drops out of Rey's stomach, but she can't say she's surprised. She and Poe like each other—they would have to, when both of them love Finn so much—but if Finn were her husband and Poe had been walking in the gardens with him, holding hands, she would be jealous. Poe would never ask her to step back from Finn, but he's the sort of man who would ask to talk to her just to make sure her heart isn't broken, and he's kind enough that she couldn't even be angry about his pity. “Of course,” she says when her silence makes him frown. “Maybe my quarters?”
“Okay, that's … I think that will work. Just tell me to go away if you want to.”
“You're making me worry that this is going to be bad news.”
“Not terrible, I hope. Come on.”
Rey follows, because nervous or not she still trusts Poe, and while she makes sure not to look close enough to know what he's feeling, the feelings are turbulent enough that she can't help but notice them. Finn told him something, or someone told him something, that's got him energized.
Once they're shut in her room, though, he doesn't seem inclined to talk, and Rey stands, fidgeting, not sure what to say. “I'm listening,” she finally says.
That seems to settle him, though only to a certain extent. He clasps his hands behind his back like he's reporting, back straight and face serious. “I'm the one here because I thought you'd be more likely to believe it coming from me, to start. Finn wanted to come with me, but I think then you'd worry that he'd pressured me somehow, and I want to make sure you know that I'm in this.”
“You could tell me what it is before you worry that I'm not going to believe you.”
“Finn says you need time. An excuse to be left alone that everyone will accept, because Leia telling everyone to lay off you isn't going to help forever, and some people will say they're not pressuring you but start giving you presents, offers.”
When Rey got back from her meeting with Luke and Leia, there was a necklace in a pretty box waiting for her, a delivery from one of the ambassadors who claimed the stones reminded him of her eyes. She gave it to Pava at dinner. “You think you have a way to make them stop doing it short of me running for the outer rim of the galaxy?”
“You could marry us.”
It takes Rey a moment to understand what he means, because that can't be what he's saying, with his mouth set and determined and his eyes so serious she can't even believe it's a joke. He is serious, though, she can tell that just looking at him, but that leaves her with nothing to say for long enough that he starts to look nervous, and she knows before she says it that her answer won't please him. “I can't ask that of you.”
“You didn't ask. But Finn came back from talking to you and said he wished we could protect you, that you deserve some shelter and some time if that's what you need, and I was the one who realized we can protect you. But only if you want.”
“But it's not ...” She winces and closes her eyes, but she has to say it, and manages to force her eyes open in time to do so. “Not a real marriage. Not like it is between you.”
His reassurance comes so quickly it's almost insulting. “Only as far as the public is concerned. Between us, we're just us. Just like we've always been. You're Finn's best friend, and one of mine. It wouldn't be so bad, being married to us, right?”
Rey can just imagine sharing quarters, going on trips with them when they need to travel, waking up to eat protein packs in their quarters because none of them feels like going to breakfast. Waking up in a bed alone and seeing them in the morning in the common area that married quarters get, the two of them smiling and holding hands and still sharing their happy secrets. “What about you? You can't do this just for me.”
“Like I said, you're our friend.”
“It can't be that easy.”
“I know it will have its difficulties. Anything does. But you don't have to explain anything and worry that it might get you in political trouble. You can just tell people you're married. And when you're ready, whether that's six months from now or five years from now or twenty, you can just tell everyone it was a mistake and divorce us. Anything you want, Rey.”
“But what can I possibly do for you?”
“That's not what friendship is about. Or marriage. Besides, you've already done plenty for us, from the second BB-8 met you. BB-8 approves of the marriage too, by the way. We figured it was only polite to ask.”
Somehow, in the midst of being overwhelmed and unsure, that makes her press her hand to her mouth to cover a laugh. Poe beams until she gets her smile back under control, but it fades quickly. He knows, and she does too, that it's not as easy as that. “I still want to make you happy. And I worry that marriage will change things.”
“If it changes things, we'll stop it.” He's frowning again. “If you don't want to, we'll never bring it up again. But we would welcome you, and it would make it easier to stay together in whatever comes next. So we get time, you get time, and we all get to be together while we figure things out.” Poe bites his lip, and she waits for whatever he's holding back. “We're close,” he finally adds. “I don't think anyone will think we're faking.”
Her stomach lurches again. She never has learned how to fake her emotions, because she didn't need to for so long. Of course Poe knows that it hurt when Finn told her, all excitement, that he was in love with Poe and that Poe loved him too. Knows that she wasn't quite in love yet, but could have been so easily, if she hadn't had to leave for so long to train with Luke and missed her chance. That's why he's the one here making the offer, of course, so they can understand each other. “I have to know it's what you two really want, that it's not going to make your lives more difficult. You can finally have the time you deserve without a war breathing down your neck, and you want to take me into your marriage? You deserve privacy. Finn might not care about it, but you must.”
“Hey.” He steps forward far enough that he can grasp her hands in his. “I told you that's why I'm here, right? Because I knew, we knew, you wouldn't believe us if the offer came from Finn alone, or even both of us. You're not going to get in the way or make things difficult. You're not taking time away from us. If you think it will help, we'll marry you tomorrow.”
Rey swallows, and knows the decision she's going to make just from the earnest look in his eyes and the way her stomach is fluttering. She's going to have to be strong, in six months or a year when she knows what she's doing next. It's going to take everything she has to walk away from the marriage without leaving them behind entirely to protect her heart. But the thought of that year, or half a year, the thought of the space to hide away with them a little, is too seductive to ignore. “Not—not tomorrow,” she says, and winces at her own poor phrasing. “No one would believe it if it's tomorrow.”
His hands squeeze tight around hers. “Does that mean you're saying yes?”
“I want to talk to Finn first, and to BB-8, and maybe to Luke and Leia, but yes.” She takes a deep breath. “Yes, I'll marry you.”
“And just who do you mean by everyone?” she asks, and curses her voice for wobbling.
Designation-everyone-present and all designation-friends.
Poe, barely through the door while she hugs his husband, laughs. She hasn't heard him laugh like that since the wedding, and it almost makes her believe BB-8. “Yeah, buddy, that about covers it.”
“You have something to tell me,” he prompts when she's sitting on a cushion on his floor and has breathed enough that they're both satisfied she's properly centered. “And you think I won't like it.”
“I don't know what you'll think.” She looks down at her lap. “Poe and Finn asked me to marry them last night. I think I'm going to do it.”
“Congratulations,” he says warmly, which tells her just how much he knows about everything she's tried to keep secret since Finn risked the encrypted channels to call them back for the wedding. “You look serious, though. Is there something wrong?”
“It's not a true marriage. It's a generous offer, it will protect me from the people who want to use me and let me stay with my friends, but it's not a real marriage.”
“Will it hurt you?”
Rey still doesn't know the answer to that, and no doubt he knows it. “No more than saying no would,” she finally decides. It might not be the best answer, but it's the truest she can find for now.
“Then I hope all three of you are happy. If anyone deserves it after all this, you all do.” He smiles, all mischief, and she thinks about the holovids Poe found for her one drunken night, of Luke during the fall of the first Empire, shining and optimistic and so young. The First Order falling has been good for him too. “And I hope I'm invited to the wedding.”
They talked a little bit about the wedding, Rey firm that she doesn't want the whole galaxy watching it, but it still gives her another lurch, knowing that it's going to happen, and soon. “Of course you are. You're going to be one of the chief witnesses. We only want a few people there, if we can manage it.”
Luke laughs. “Leia will tell you that guest lists for this kind of thing get longer very quickly.”
“I really hope not. There was plenty of crowd at their wedding, we all want this quiet, so we can retire a little.”
“I'll help you as much as I can, but you three are the most visible heroes of the Resistance and now you'll all be married. People will pay attention.”
Rey takes a deep breath, and he nods, satisfied. “Even if it gets bigger than we want it, it's only one day. The marriage will be longer than that.”
“How much longer?”
Luke sighs and looks out the window. He always likes to be in view of a window, able to see whatever planet they're on, or whatever quadrant of the galaxy. “You're allowed to be happy. You're allowed to be selfish. Don't let people make you a legend while you're still alive.”
She thinks about the holovids of a young hero, and then she thinks about the Luke she first met, tired from years of weight on his shoulders, from trying to stay a hero and failing. She doesn't want that to happen to her. “That's what this is for.”
“Then I'll look forward to the wedding.”
All of them exchange a look, but it's Poe who speaks. He's the one who knows how to say things. “We thought it would buy her, and all of us, some time and some space.”
“Well, then.” Her mouth quirks. “I suppose the three of you will be taking all the marital and family leave that you didn't take after the first wedding?”
“If you don't need us,” says Finn.
“You need the time more than I need you right now, I think. I'm willing to let you have the leave on one condition.”
“And what condition is that?” Rey asks, already nervous at the light in her eyes.
“That I get to officiate the wedding, of course. You found someone else for the last one, but this one is mine.”
Finn, to her surprise, relaxes all at once and beams at her, like he was waiting for some kind of approval from her. “Of course you can, General. We would have had you do it last time except we weren't sure you'd make it in time.”
“Believe me, I know, Poe apologized to me at least four times before you two left after the party.” Leia smiles around at all of them. “I think the marriage will be good for you, for what it's worth. Maybe if it works out I'll go looking for a husband of my own. One of the ambassadors did propose to me, but he didn't seem to have much hope I would actually say yes.”
Rey can't imagine anyone with the bravery to propose to the greatest general the Rebellion or the Resistance has ever known, but they're all smiling now, somehow. Every smile still feels like a gift after the war, and no matter how nervous she is, she can still enjoy the happiness. “We think the wedding should happen within the next few weeks, if you think you can take care of the troopers without them while we go on leave.”
“Things go easier with Finn around, but it's not impossible without him. Having the wedding soon makes sure half the galaxy won't show up. I'll talk to the right people, and if any of you cares about the date let me know and we'll do our best for you.” Leia meets each of their eyes. “I hope that this is as good for you all as I think it can be. Can I talk to Rey alone for a minute?”
Poe stands up first. “Of course, General.” He clasps Finn's shoulder. “Come on, Finn. Let's go wait in the mess. Rey, you'll meet us there? Gossip will be getting around, best we all take it on together.”
Rey smiles up at him while Finn stands. “I'll see you there, then.”
Finn and Poe both nod at the general and leave the room already talking together quietly, bending together the way they do so easily now. Rey waits for the door to shut behind them before she turns back to Leia, who looks sad again, wistful, eyes glittering. “I didn't have much else to say, but I did want to tell you that Han would have been happy about this. He liked you and Finn. He didn't like many people.”
Rey swallows. “You know it's not real. He would probably call us idiots for that.”
“Only if he didn't mean it.” Leia sighs. “You're saying the vows. It's real enough.”
At the last wedding, she listened to Finn and Poe promise themselves to each other, heard the way Poe's voice trembled and saw the tears streaking their way across Finn's face while he smiled so bright it made Rey's heart hurt. Now she'll be part of that, and they'll all be happy, and friends, but as much weight as marriage holds, it won't be quite the same. “I know,” she says anyway, and means it.
Leia nods, sharp and businesslike, letting them both stop thinking about it. “You go and catch up with them before the pilots get to them. Worst gossips in this organization, always have been. I blame Luke,” she says, smiling and starting to bring up a display screen, one of the thousand pieces of business she has to deal with.
“Thank you,” says Rey, and goes to find her future husbands.
There is gossip, endless and delighted, everyone inventing a wild love story to crown the war off, but that isn't the only thing that changes. She'd expected that.
She hadn't thought anything with Finn and Poe would change. They're friends, and they check in at least once a day when they can, and since they're busy people that's all she expects. The way they treat her even stays the same—they still smile, still throw arms around her shoulders and make jokes and ask her about her day, but now it happens more often.
A week into the engagement, when Rey has just escaped C-3PO's questions about the wedding ceremony and gone to Poe's hangar to find some privacy, assuming he would be gone, Poe is there, ducked low in a way that means he's avoiding someone too, and to her shock the first question out of his mouth is “Did you come here to be alone?”
Always before, Poe's asked if she wants some company before she sits down, and Finn even does it too sometimes. Somehow, since they've decided to get married, she's with one or the other of them enough that they have to check in about the opposite, and she hadn't even noticed, much less minded. “No. You're always welcome. And it's your hangar anyway.”
“Pretty soon, what's mine is yours.” He gestures her over to sit next to him and she frowns and finally picks a spot where their knees will brush if they both sit cross-legged.
“What's wrong?” Questions like that still feel awkward leaving her mouth, but less so than they did a few years ago, and she knows from the way he's clenching his jaw that he's not just avoiding a meeting with someone he dislikes.
“My father commed. Or, well, I commed him to tell him about the wedding, invite him if he wants to come. He might, but he asked about us coming home. I want to, but I haven't been back when there was a chance the First Order could follow, and I ...”
There's the carcass of an AT-AT probably buried in the sands on Jakku by now, with a desert flower that's long since died of neglect and a wall of scratches left unfinished in it. Rey knows far too much about the things Poe isn't saying. “I hope he comes to the wedding,” she says, because he looks miserable now that he's talking around the edges of it. “I want to meet him. I wish I could have met your mother too.”
“She would have loved you. But my dad will too. He and Finn have commed a few times, and we've both talked about you. He's happy about the wedding.”
“Does he know it's … what it is?” Rey finds herself skirting around the words “fake” or “political” around Finn and Poe, even though they all know it's not going to be a true marriage.
Poe frowns. “No. He was so happy, I was going to tell him, but ...” He trails off, shrugs.
Rey reaches across the space between them and grabs his forearm, squeezes it tight. “You don't have to do anything before you're ready.”
“We'll go back someday,” he says, relaxing like that was somehow just what he needed to hear. “Not this cycle, maybe, but I do want to see home when things are a little less raw.”
“Blame it on needing to stay with me if you want.” That brings the frown right back, Poe sitting up straight and ready to object, but Rey shakes her head. “This marriage is about giving me time. Can't it be about giving you the same thing?”
“That's … yeah, I guess it can.” Poe doesn't look much happier, but over the next few minutes he shifts until their shoulders are touching, and Rey breathes out, forgets about wedding planning and thinks about what's going to come after, weeks and months of moments like this.
“It gave us an excuse to go out to the gardens,” Finn points out. He's in a good mood, glowing over a squad of former troopers in training who have finally been cleared to find new families when no blood relations could be found and all of whom already have prospective parents visiting them. “And it's only a few more weeks.”
“Did people ask you if you cared about colors the first time?”
“No. We were at war. And everyone knew I'd been a storm trooper. I never thought I could marry anyone until I escaped. Fraternizing wasn't ...” Finn frowns, and Rey curses herself for asking the question. “Everyone knew I didn't know about weddings.”
“On Jakku you didn't really get married. Just shared food and lodgings. There weren't vows.” That's the part of the wedding that makes her the most nervous. She remembers Finn and Poe vowing their love, vowing great and wonderful things, and she doesn't know how to say any of it, especially with the truth at the heart of the marriage. “That's all I care about. What am I going to say?”
Finn is silent for a little while, looking at one of the plants that's flowering. Later in the season, it's going to give them vegetables, but for now it's just decorative. “I'm probably going to say that I love you, and you saved my life just as much as Poe did, and that you wanted me to stay so I always want to stay with you.” He shrugs like he hasn't realized that her breath is caught in her throat. “Just tell the truth, okay?”
Rey swallows, but it's not such a hard thing to ask. If she says she loves him, that's true, and he'll think she means it the way he just said it. “I can do that.”
“Then we're going to start this marriage out just fine.”
“Have you discussed where you're planning to go after the wedding?” she asks, getting right down to business. “You only have a week to requisition gear and transportation, and I'd expected to hear about it before.” All of them must look caught out, because she softens into a smile. “I know this is home for you, at least for now, but you should take a few weeks together. Get used to being married, get away from the worst of the gossip. Luke has offered Ahch-to, but I think we can find other ideas.”
“Like what?” Poe asks. “I thought about going home, but my father doesn't have a lot of room and there isn't a lot of privacy.”
“No, that wouldn't do. I have a safe house, an estate in a sparsely populated area on Naboo. It came to me from my blood mother and I never visit. It would hold you for a few weeks, and it's not a bad place to visit.”
All of them exchange looks, though there isn't much to say about it. If Leia is offering, it's a better idea than any of the rest of them have offered so far, and there's only so much time to find an alternative. “I think we'd like that,” says Finn at last. “We haven't been there. I mean, you know that, but I hear it's nice there.”
“It's kind of you to offer. I'd like it too.” Rey looks sidelong at Poe, who's frowning a little and hasn't spoken yet, and wonders if they said yes too soon. Sometimes they still get things wrong, she and Finn. “Poe?”
“You're sure, general?” he asks, quiet and gentle, words full of another story Rey never learned because Leia and Luke are both quiet on the subject of their parents. The world gossips about Vader, but Rey barely knows Padme Naberrie's name.
Leia sighs at him. “I wouldn't have offered if I weren't sure. Go to Naboo, the three of you. Someone should get some use from that house. Hell, I'd give it to you if I thought you'd take it. Stay as long as you need, and then come back and figure out what you want to do in the next Republic. It can wait on you for a little while.”
“Okay,” says Rey. She wonders if Leia and Luke and Han had any time after their first revolution, if anyone gave it to them like a gift or if they took it themselves. She has a horrible suspicion that they had no time at all, and that's why they're so willing to encourage this. “We'll go to Naboo.”
I hear you need transportation to Naboo after the wedding, he says when they get to the hangar holding the Falcon, as dingy and patched-together as it always has been and the most welcome sight she could imagine.
Rey blinks away tears. “You'd take us? I thought we would all just take whatever shuttle the quartermasters say we could get away with. But going in the Falcon, that would ...” She swallows. “It would mean the world to all of us, I think.”
It's a three-person ship. Pilot, co-pilot, gunner. We got by with less, but you could do more.
That makes her snap to look at him, startled. “You aren't offering us the Falcon.”
I can borrow it from you if I need to.
“It's always been yours, yours and Han's. We can't take it. We'll borrow it, if you're willing, but this is your ship.”
And yours now. Call it a wedding present.
There have been gifts from politicians and friends, from jewelry they'll never wear to supplies they might want in a home or ship of their own to a box of sex toys from Poe's fellow pilots, but there isn't a gift in the galaxy that would mean more than this. Rey reaches out until she can gently touch the Falcon's hull. “I can't say no to that, and Poe would kick me if I tried. Thank you. I can't—I won't ever be able to thank you enough. And anytime you want to borrow it, it's yours. No questions asked.”
He just rumbles, acknowledging, and to her own surprise Rey finds herself turning, throwing her arms around him and holding on, trying to even out her breaths and wondering why she's crying. Han would never have done this, Chewbacca finally says, but he would have wanted to.
Rey pulls back. “Do you want to take her for a ride together before she's officially mine?”
Transfer deed is already filed, but I'll co-pilot for you if you want to take a trip. I did it with Han the night before his wedding.
She wishes so often that she could have known Han longer, but she's wishing it even more than usual now. It feels wrong that he should be missing the wedding. “Was he happy before the wedding? Or nervous?”
Chewbacca laughs. We were almost twenty minutes late for the ceremony. He doesn't speak again until they're already in the ship, getting ready to power it up. May your marriage be as happy as theirs was.
The tears threaten again, and Rey swallows them down. “I'm going to do my best.”
She can't clear her mind, can't find balance, but she takes the time, the peace, and thinks about the crowd that will gather at sunset, the words she's still trying to find how to say. She thinks about doing dangerous maneuvers with Chewbacca last night for the sheer thrill of it, and wonders if she and Poe will do the same thing sometimes. She thinks about Poe's pilots and Finn's former troopers insisting on dinners with them last night and the fact that she was invited to both without anything resembling pity, just honest friendship.
She thinks about Luke, and how lonely he must have been sometimes, across the years, and she thinks about Jakku and Ahch-to and how she would give up the Force in a moment if it meant she didn't have to be lonely again.
When she opens her eyes, he's watching her. “Are you ready?”
Rey is sure, and she's not sure. It's going to hurt her when this marriage has to end, when she doesn't need time anymore and has found what she wants next, but time to heal with Finn and Poe, time away from war and hardship, still sounds more important. “I'm ready.” It's enough of the truth.
“Then I hope the three of you are happy.” She opens her mouth to remind him it's not a real marriage, because she needs the reminder herself, but he shakes his head before she can. “Even a marriage between friends deserves happiness. Lando Calrissian offered to marry me once, after Leia turned him down.” Luke quirks a smile. “Sometimes I wish I'd taken him up on it.”
Rey laughs, a little startled. She knows General Calrissian a little, even now that he's returned to his retirement in Cloud City, and he'd never mentioned it even knowing that she's Luke's apprentice. “You could tell me about it,” she offers. “I don't have anything to do until it's time for the wedding, and there's a lot of day to fill.”
Luke smiles, and seems willing enough to talk, for once, and tell her the stories that didn't feel right to tell or to hear while they were still fighting a war. He talks about the first few years after their victory over the Empire, when they were all tired all the time but giddy with joy and victory and the chance to make a difference. The stories stop abruptly before the time she knows Ben Organa would have been born, but she doesn't ask for anything further. Even a few stories were enough of a gift.
It's well into the morning by the time he winds down, and the base is coming alive around them. A few more people leak out of it every day, members of the Resistance returning to homes and families and the lives they knew before, but it's been gaining others over the last few days, people Rey and Finn and Poe met on their travels over the last few years and more politicians, to witness the wedding and to stay to talk politics when it's done.
“I'm going to go for a walk,” she says, deciding as she says it. “If Finn or Poe comes looking for me, tell them I'll be back in plenty of time, though I imagine both of them are hungover this morning.”
Luke laughs, and it makes him look so much younger. “I wouldn't be surprised. I'll see you at the wedding, if not before.”
They both stand up, and on impulse, Rey darts forward to hug him. He seems startled for a moment before he wraps his arms around her in return, giving her a firm squeeze before he lets go. “I'm glad you'll be there to see it,” she says once she's stepped back. “I just wish you and Leia could both have officiated it.”
“She knows more about marriage than I do, but I'll be there, and happy to witness it.” He's still smiling, gentle and almost amused. “Let yourself be as happy as you can. I know it's difficult, but it's one of the best things you can do in life.”
With those words ringing in her ears, Rey goes to find some supplies and lets the base guards know that she's going to be out for the day. They tease gently about cold feet but let her go, and Rey goes out walking, makes it up the tallest hill in the area so she can look down at the base, humming with activity, ships and shuttles flying in and out.
She sits there, breathing and doing a much better job at clearing her mind, until she knows she needs to go back and get ready for the wedding.
Both of them look tired but happy to see her, and Finn takes her hand as soon as she's through the door. “Luke said you went out for a walk. Was it a good one?”
“It was. I'm sorry if you two were looking for me, though. How were your dinners last night?”
They spill into a tangle of overlapping stories, mostly about drinking and laughing. Few people got married on Jakku, or said they were married since there wasn't anyone official to do it for them, but the one or two Rey witnessed were full of the same, laughter and time with familiar faces before the couple crept off together into the desert night. “How about you?” Poe asks when they fall silent. “You weren't alone, right?”
“No. Chewbacca and I went out flying.” She clears her throat. “You two should know, he—he gave us the Falcon. It's ours now. So we have a home no matter where we go.”
Both of them are quiet for a moment, Poe blinking and Finn breaking into a grin. Poe is the one who speaks first. “We'll have to thank him later on. I've been wanting to fly her for a long time, and the trip to Naboo will be a great first spin.”
“He thought so as well.”
“For now, though, do you want to go get married? From how quiet it is in this hall, I think everyone on the base is waiting for us out there at this point.”
It's a strange, solemn walk through the base to their wedding. The corridors are almost echoingly empty, not even BB-8 humming along at their heels, already there waiting for them. When the halls are wide enough, they walk all three abreast, but when they're not, they walk single file, and that's how they leave the base and walk into the field that was declared large enough to hold the wedding. They walk across the front of the huge crowd to the sound of raucous cheers and applause and come to a stop in front of Leia.
Rey peers around quickly, looks for her friends in the crowd. BB-8 is in the front, rocking back and forth, bumping against R2-D2. C-3PO is with them, and she can recognize the tone of him fretting out loud as the noise dies down. Luke and Chewbacca are standing together, and Luke's tiny nod steadies her as she looks for faces, some present, some missing, some that will always be missing. Kes Dameron couldn't get away to meet her and see the wedding, but whenever they're done on Naboo they're going to Yavin IV to see him, so Rey doesn't mind.
Leia only has to clear her throat for silence to fall on the crowd, or as much silence as a crowd that large can manage.
Rey finds herself standing between Finn and Poe, each of them holding one of her hands, anchoring her there.
Leia smiles at them, and raises her voice, amplified so the whole crowd can hear. “Too often, when I stand in front of a group this size, it's to read the names of a memorial. Today, I'm doing a much more pleasant duty. You all know these three people, and what they've meant to the Resistance. I was glad when Poe and Finn were married. I'm even gladder today, when I can join them to Rey as well.”
Most of the words of the ceremony slip past Rey. They don't mean much to her, beyond the legal fact of the marriage.
What Poe and Finn say matters to her, though, and when the time comes for Leia to ask them to vow themselves to each other, Finn begins, holding tight to her hand, voice catching every few words. “I promise I'm not going to leave you if I can help it. And if I have to leave, I'm going to come back, because I love you, and you saved my life. Both of you did. You're always going to be my friends and the best things in my life, no matter what happens.”
“I love you, and I'm going to do everything I can to make both of you happy,” says Poe. “I'm going to stay beside both of you as long as I have anything to say about it, and even when we're not sure what's happening next, I'm sure we're going to figure it out together. I could make a lot of promises, and I want to, but those are the most important ones.”
Rey is grateful they both made their promises short, because she's not sure her voice would last her through an eloquent speech, if she could have made one up in the first place. “The two of you are my family, and I can promise that no matter what happens, you always will be. I promise to stay with you as long as I can. I don't know how to be a spouse, but I promise to learn from the two of you and do my best.” She swallows, but these are vows, and they're supposed to be the truth. “I promise to love you,” she adds at last, and their hands squeeze against hers in unison.
“Worthy promises,” says Leia, and in the low light Rey thinks she sees the glitter of tears in her eyes. “Will you keep them?”
Rey stumbles over her “Yes” in ragged unison with the other two, and finds herself married. There are other words and speeches after that, rites and formalities that take another ten minutes, but as soon as Rey says she'll keep her promises she knows she's married, that she's standing between her husbands.
When Leia tells them all to turn around and face their witnesses, Rey hates dropping their hands to turn in place, but she does it anyway, to the sounds of cheers and screams. There's a smile on every face, a shouted congratulation in every tongue Rey can recognize, a garbled chorus of binary wishing them well, and when Rey reaches out again, Finn and Poe are right there, joining hands once more.
“Do you want to be outside?” Finn asks as they pass by some of the gardens. “I don't think anyone is in there.”
“Or if you want to be alone,” Poe offers. “I know that was a lot of people.”
Of course she's the newest to the marriage, and they aren't in love with her, so of course things are awkward, and they're worrying about pleasing her more than themselves, like she's a guest who has to be catered to. She was already tired, but the thought of things changing between them now when she most wants them to stay the same exhausts her even more. “I don't want to be alone. I just want to go back to our room and rest. If that's okay?”
Finn moves in to put an arm around her shoulders, and she lets herself lean into it. “Of course it's okay. We just want to check. Weddings are tiring. We should know.”
“We're pros at this,” says Poe, gentle and quiet. “But all three of us going back to the room and getting some rest sounds like exactly what I want to do with my second wedding night.”
Rey looks at the path instead of either of them and hopes that her face isn't as red as she fears it must be. “I know this was a renewal for the two of you as well as an addition of me. If you asked because you wanted privacy, I can wait outside for a little while.”
Finn sputters, and Poe barks out a short, sharp laugh. “I think I'm too tired for tonight, but thanks for the consideration.” He hesitates. “We might want to talk about it at some point. We don't have two bedrooms, but we aren't exactly celibate and the last thing we want is to make you uncomfortable.”
“All you have to do is ask me to leave.”
Neither of them seems happy, when she dares a glance up, but they don't say anything and Finn's arm stays around her shoulders, so it's something they can talk about on Naboo, where there will no doubt be more than one bedroom and they can have the discussion away from a base full of gossips.
The inside of the base seems bright after the darkness of the outdoors, and Rey squints as they get through the door of their quarters. Someone broke in and filled the main room with flowers, and wild ones that someone would have had to take an on-planet shuttle to a different continent to collect. Rey recognizes them from a day trip with Luke. Even BB-8's charging station is garlanded with flowers.
Poe and Finn laugh and exchange looks, both of them relaxing, and Rey lets herself do the same. Everyone wishes this marriage well, and she's glad for that encouragement. It's an important marriage, even if it's not marriage the way most humans in the galaxy see it. “Do you mind if I use the fresher first?”
Finn points her at the private fresher, something only officers or married people get, and Rey ducks into it to clean herself off and unwrap the outer layers of her wedding clothes. She doesn't have much by way of clothes to sleep in, and only now does she realize that's a potential problem. For tonight, there's a loose tunic and leggings under everything else, and she leaves them on and comes back out into the main room.
When she comes out, Finn is leaning against Poe, chin propped on his shoulder even though it means he has to duck down a little. Poe is whispering something, and when she clears her throat he looks up and smiles at her. “You all set? You can wait out here or get ready for bed. Whatever you want.”
“I think I'll get ready for bed.” They may not have asked for privacy, but she can at least give them the privacy of a thin wall between them if she's in the bedroom. She's tired enough that she'll fall asleep as soon as she's somewhere soft and safe, so that's more privacy for them.
In the bedroom, it's darker again, only one lamp glowing in a corner to keep her from tripping over the unfamiliar layout. There are two beds in the room—one wider, wide enough for three, and one cot, which she sits down on. It was easy enough to quietly ask the quartermasters for it, to mutter something true about nightmares and wanting to have the option to let her bedmates sleep. Everything she owns is stowed underneath it, and she lets herself feel for her lightsaber and hold it for a moment, the familiar texture and weight soothing in the face of quiet sounds from the next room.
She's asleep before either of them comes into bed, but she wakes twice in the night. The first time, she notices the familiar sound of rolling in the next room, BB-8 home to charge for the night and trying to keep quiet. Finn and Poe are breathing quiet but deep, and there's a blanket draped over her shoulders that she knows wasn't on her bed when she fell asleep. The second time, she wakes from a nightmare and hears them whispering in their bed, Poe letting out a quiet laugh that he stifles, both of them pausing to listen for her breathing. She feigns sleep, and it only takes a few breaths for it to become real again.
“You have as much leave as you need,” she tells them all, meeting each of their eyes. “Don't come back until you're ready, and come back ready to work. May the Force be with you.”
Luke and Chewbacca both have words for them, Chewbacca's mostly last-minute instructions on how to treat the Falcon, but Leia's words are the ones ringing in Rey's head as they board the ship.
It's the work of minutes to get their bags stowed away and to get into position, especially with BB-8 meeting them on the ship, having inspected everything in the morning. Poe is graceful enough to cede the pilot's seat to her, taking the co-pilot's without even any teasing, and Finn straps himself in behind them while BB-8 finds somewhere to cable on to so he can stay steady.
“Have you been to Naboo?” Poe asks as they put in the coordinates, working in concert at the panels. He's the more experienced pilot, but she knows all the Falcon's quirks, everything that's kept her flying for so many years now, and between the two of them, they get her started up quickly, gearing up to fly out of atmosphere.
“No, it was always too close to the center of things for Luke and me to go there. I hear it's beautiful.”
“I think you'll like it. All sorts of water, and from what I know about the climate there's plenty of forest around Leia's safe house.”
“I haven't been either, so at least we're new to it together,” says Finn. Poe and Rey have both been quiet this morning, though Rey doesn't know if Poe is just trying to get used to the new order of things the way she is or if it's something worse. Finn, on the other hand, is smiling, sunny, like everything in his world is right. Rey would do a great deal to keep him that happy, but she doesn't know what to do with it.
It's a fast trip to get there, and when they land, in the middle of a grassy field in the woods and a ways away from the nearest settlement, they land at midday on a sunny day that feels like spring. Rey likes spring, now that she knows what it is. “What are we supposed to do now?” she asks, walking out into the grass. It's almost knee-high, and the field leads up to steps that lead up to what must be the safe house.
“Anything we want,” says Finn, nose wrinkled.
Poe comes up behind them, smiling and holding their bags. “We explore the house and see what kind of fun things there are to do. I think Leia said there's somewhere to swim, or we can just take a nap. Or I can make us something to eat, between the emergency stocks here and what we brought in the Falcon I should be able to whip something up.”
“I'd like to explore and then eat, I think,” Rey offers. It's easier to get moving when there's a course of action in front of her, and Poe must know it. Maybe from Finn, and maybe from her. Probably from Finn, but she's glad he knows it will steady both of them.
Finn grins, good humor restored. “Well then, let's explore.”
He takes off running and Rey finds herself giving chase from the sheer joy of it, Poe bringing up the rear, laughing and calling them cheats for leaving him with the bags. She can hear BB-8 behind them too, disembarking after sending the message back to base that they've arrived safely and scolding about all the stairs up to the house that will make their vacation in Naboo very trying for him.
They do have to lag at the top of the stairs, since Poe is carrying the key that will let them into the house, and he comes up with BB-8 on his heels after a slow and careful ascent and tosses the key to Rey. She puts it in the door-reader and makes a face at the wave of heat the puffs out the door, the byproduct of the sunny day and all the windows soaking it in. “We'll have to open some windows,” she says, and takes a few steps in.
The house isn't large enough that they'll rattle around in it, but it's large enough to feel like almost too much space after the cramped places Rey has spent her life. Finn seems to agree, but Poe starts walking around right away, finding the climate control to dissipate the heat and going to the kitchen to see what kind of facilities they're working with.
Rey wanders aimlessly, without a pattern, mostly going where it seems coolest. There are two bedrooms and a third smaller room that could be a bedroom with some blankets and pillows pulled into it, and there are centers for entertainment in most of the rooms, as well as a cool, nearly-empty room that Rey thinks was designed for meditation, though she doesn't think Leia practices that kind of thing. She wonders who it was meant for, if it belonged to Padme Naberrie or if it were built in optimism for Darth Vader, but before she can wonder too much Finn finds her to tell her that there's a cool spring in the lower level of the house that feeds into a tub they can all bathe in if they want to.
“I'm tired,” she admits when the amount of things she could do overwhelms her and BB-8 is calling something across the house about a room full of equipment for going on treks outdoors. “I know it's early in the day here, but would either of you mind if I took a nap?”
Finn's shoulders instantly drop, but it seems to be relief and not disappointment. “I'm pretty tired too. Poe?”
Poe shrugs, smiling at them both. “I think we've earned our rest. Want to be in the bedrooms, or somewhere else?”
There are piles of cushions in the main room, and right now they seem more tempting than a bed. “Maybe on all those cushions? Unless the two of you want to be private.”
“We can be private later.” Finn looks at Poe, wide-eyed and a little scandalized, and Rey looks down at the floor. Poe just laughs. “We're going to be here for a few weeks, and it's our honeymoon. Rey doesn't mind me saying it. Right, Rey?”
“You're married. I assumed you would want to … to be together.” She's still not used to the way humans in the Resistance soften those words, but she also knows Finn finds it embarrassing when she talks about people fucking or mating.
“Okay. Right.” Finn whispers something to no one in particular, and Rey looks up in time to catch Poe smiling at Finn, as fond as she could ever hope. “On the cushions in the main room for now, then. It's pretty sunny in there, but I could probably sleep anyway.”
You are all boring, BB-8 says upon rolling back to find them all picking out the softest and most comfortable cushions.
“You can charge and we'll do something interesting later, buddy,” says Poe, settling into a pile of cushions next to Finn, automatically reaching out to pull Finn's face to rest against his shoulder, blocking out some of the light so it doesn't keep him awake.
Rey settles a few feet away and closes her eyes.
“Is he making dinner?” she asks around a yawn.
Finn almost drops his holoscreen in his haste to turn in her direction. “He's a really good cook. He's been promising to teach me when we had time. So we're going to do that on the honeymoon. Do you want to join in?”
A glance at the kitchen finds Poe just watching, not looking disappointed or impatient, so Rey smiles. “I'd love to. I still don't know what to do with anything but plain rations.” She considers. “I'd like to learn how to make dessert.”
Poe laughs. “We can make that happen. Did you sleep well?”
All she remembers is sunshine on her eyelids, the sound of steady breath next to her. It was the best sleep she's had in weeks now. “Very well. Though I imagine now I'll be up all night.”
“We can teach you how to gamble. That we did have time and supplies for while we were on our mission.”
Rey thinks about telling them that she knew about gambling on Jakku and then perfected the art in long nights of traveling with Chewbacca, who's far better at winning at dice than Han ever was, if Chewbacca is telling the truth. “I'd like to learn that too,” she says with her most innocent smile, and earns a suspicious look from Finn. He might not have had training in the Force, but he knows her well enough to know when she's lying.
Poe just grins before he gets serious again. “I thought I might record a message for my father later. Do you two want to join in? He was sorry to miss the wedding, and I wanted to tell him how it went. He'll ask for every detail again when we visit him, but he deserves to hear about it.”
“I don't know what I'd say, but I'm willing,” says Rey in time with Finn's nod.
“We'll figure it out. Now, are the two of you going to come over here and help now that we're done napping, or do I get to make the first dinner of our marriage all on my own?”
Rey burns herself on a pan and finds herself threatening to use her light saber to cut vegetables, but they're all laughing by the time dinner is served, and that's what matters.
Designations-Finn-and-Poe are still dormant, he greets her. What's our first task?
The room is a bit of a mess already, since Rey's cheating at dice led to her being pelted with them and they didn't quite manage to pick all of them up, but she doesn't really care to clean it up yet. There's a cleaning droid they can wake up if they need to, and she doesn't want to waste her morning cleaning things. “Are there any messages?”
Negative. Nothing received.
“Then I suppose the morning is ours.” She frowns, sits up and yawns. “I'd like to bathe in that pool, I think. But that might be boring for you.”
Negative. Designation-Rey is never boring.
Rey laughs. “I'm sure that's not true, but thank you for saying it. I'll try my best to entertain you while I bathe instead of falling asleep again.”
The pool, when she gets there, is just as cool and inviting as it was yesterday. People make, she knows, clothes just for swimming in, but she doesn't have any, so she strips down to her underthings instead. She would go without clothes, but Finn and Poe will be looking for her as soon as they're awake.
Sure enough, she spends perhaps half an hour idly arguing with BB-8 about which holos in the house's stock sound worth watching before Finn stumbles down the stairs looking for her. “Poe says he'll cook breakfast if you want,” he says, yawning. She doesn't remember him being slow in the morning, but maybe it's a good thing, that he's become relaxed enough that he isn't alert the second his eyes open.
Rey doesn't really want to get out of the pool, but her fingers are wrinkled and she can always come back later. She stands up and reaches for something to wrap herself in, taking the first piece of cloth she can find. “Just let me go somewhere and dry off, and then I'll want all the food he can make. How long have you been awake?”
“Just a few minutes. He was still in bed when I went looking for you.” Finn picks up her clothes and looks at them dubiously. “You might want to dry off more before you put these on.”
“Next time I'll plan better. I should go up to my room and deal with it before breakfast. If Poe is even out of bed.”
Finn trails her up the stairs, chatting away about nothing consequential, talking about trails in the woods and Naboo's cities, which Poe says are bound to be beautiful, if full of people who might recognize them.
Poe, when they reach the main floor, blinks when he sees Rey and then smiles. He still looks sleep-soft, a crease in his face from his pillow, but he's a little more awake than Finn. “I see you were having a soak. I'm jealous. I'll have to go in later, if we don't get distracted with something else. Any plans for today, by the way?”
“We can talk about that when I'm dry,” she says firmly, and lets his laughter chase her to her bedroom.
She'd picked it for no real reason when they arrived, letting Finn and Poe take the room with the bigger bed, and she's only slept on the cushions in the main room so far. The bedroom is cool, the sun kept out by curtains, and everything in it is soft, good to touch. She sleeps on better mattresses and blankets now than she ever did on Jakku, but this is something else completely, and it will take getting used to.
Her bag is stuffed in a corner, and she pulls out a towel and dries herself roughly until her skin is pink before she gets dressed. Her hair is still wet, and she's working to get it out of her face when she comes back to the main room.
Finn and Poe are standing close together, not kissing but close to it, and Rey looks away to greet BB-8 first. When she looks back, Poe has stepped back toward the oven, and he's smiling at her. “I'm about ready to start on breakfast if you want to help out.”
Rey smiles and doesn't apologize for interrupting, just slips into the kitchen next to them and lets Poe hand her a knife and tell her what she needs to do.
It's a quiet morning, breakfast taking forever to cook and longer to eat, and sometime around mid-morning, when they're all picking at the last few crumbs in their bowls, Poe starts laughing. “None of us knows what to do with ourselves, do we? I knew I'd be terrible at vacations, but I thought I might be okay at honeymoons. What do we want to do today?”
In the end, they end up in the forest around the house, exploring and learning about the plants none of them recognize, Finn looking them up on his holoscreen to see whether they're edible or poisonous or if they have nothing to do with humans at all. Rey climbs trees for the sheer joy of it and gets in a play fight with Poe, both of them throwing the crumbling bits of old leaves at each other until Finn, laughing, tells them to stop.
BB-8 is waiting for them when they get back and announces a message from Kes Dameron.
“Rey,” he says on the projection BB-8 gives them. “It's a pleasure to see you as my son's wife and not just as a hero of the Resistance, and I hope to get to know you that way too. The house on Yavin IV is always open to all of you, and I hope you'll visit when you're finished with your honeymoon.” The message goes on from there, asking more details about the wedding and their plans for their vacation on Naboo, but Rey keeps thinking about those first few words, and she's not sure whether she's happy that he's so pleased about their wedding or guilty that he doesn't know the whole thing is a lie.
“We'll figure it out later,” says Finn when the message is done, and Rey looks up to find that Poe is frowning too, thoughtful or maybe worried. Finn nudges first her arm then Poe's. “Isn't it time to cook another meal?”
“It's something to do, anyway, but you two are going to exhaust my repertoire of cooking before we go anywhere.”
“Then we'll have to find some new recipes,” says Rey, and Poe finally shakes off his frown to beam at her so brightly that she almost thinks she imagined his worry.
It's a good life, removed enough from reality that Rey is surprised when four days in she wakes with tears wet on her face and her breath shaking out of her mouth from the worst nightmare she's had since the night the war ended.
The house is quiet around her. BB-8 must be charging, and when she peers past the curtains, the night is dark enough that Poe and Finn must be asleep. Rey gets out of bed and, as quietly as she can, retreats to the meditation room.
She's too restless to sit, so she runs through the light saber forms Luke first taught her, as slowly as she can. Sometimes the movement helps center her, but tonight her mind goes in one direction after another and she can't stop it inventing terrible things, pasts that could have been and futures that might still be.
Finn knocks on the door, and she's far gone enough that she doesn't even know how long it's been.
When she opens the door, he looks exhausted and sad and he reaches out his hands. Rey seizes them. Finn is an anchor, warm and safe and alive, and he calls her back to herself. “Did I wake you?” she whispers. “I didn't mean to.”
“Do you want to sleep?”
“If I go back to my room, I'll just have the dream again, and I can't—”
“We'll help you sleep. We'll all be safe together. Okay?”
Rey should say no. She's been trying to give them the time and space to be together, to have their marriage, the marriage they expected to have before she needed them badly enough for them to offer to bring her into it. Sharing their bed, even for a night, doesn't factor into that. But Finn is holding her hands and meeting her eyes, and somewhere in the house Poe is waiting and she knows they won't grudge her one night, not when she needs them. She swallows. “Okay.”
It's a quick walk to their bedroom, and Rey drops Finn's hands to make it. They both go quietly, and when Finn eases his bedroom door open, there's a swell of a quiet snore. Poe is still asleep on the bed, sprawling into empty space Finn left, and Finn ushers her ahead of him, insists with gestures and wide eyes that she get on the bed first, in between them.
Poe wakes with a snort when she gets in, murmuring something and then blinking into consciousness when he sees her instead of Finn. “Hey, you.” His brow crumples into a frown. “Everything okay?”
“Finn invited me. Can I stay?”
She doesn't know what Poe sees on her face, but it makes his face go soft and sorry. “Hey, c'mere.” He reaches out an arm and Rey lets him draw her in until she's against his chest, too warm but almost close enough to feel his heart beating. Behind her, the mattress shifts as Finn joins them on the bed, moving in close until his side is pressed against her back. “We've got you. Go to sleep.”
She hears Poe's breath deepen before she can fall asleep again, but some of the horror dissipates with both of them warm and present, and when she sleeps at last, the dreams don't return.
She looks up and he meets her eyes, then looks over her head. “I'm awake,” she tells Finn so Poe doesn't have to, and rolls over to see him. He's sitting up in bed, but he's still mussed and tired, like he hasn't left the bed either when she knows he rarely sleeps late. “You didn't have to stay.”
“Of course we did.”
She disentangles herself from Poe and the blankets and manages to sit up even though it makes her head throb. “I'm sorry for ...” She spreads her hands helplessly, because she doesn't quite know how much she needs to apologize for, but she knows she needs to apologize. “Last night,” she finishes.
“You needed us,” says Poe, propping himself up on his elbows. “That's what we're here for.”
“You could tell us what you dream about,” says Finn. “If you want to tell us.”
It's a beautiful golden morning on Naboo, at odds with the last ghosts of the nightmare, and she doesn't want to say it, but maybe saying it all in the daylight will make it less true. Rey looks down at the bed, traces the pattern on the sheets. “I dream I become them, sometimes. Like Snoke, like Ren. I killed them and I don't regret it even though I know I broke Leia's heart, and I hate that. Ren killed his own father. Who could I hurt?”
For once, they don't ask before they touch her. They move in instead, Finn taking her hands again, both of them in his, and Poe moving until he can put his arm around her shoulders and draw her in while he speaks. “You're never going to be like them. I don't think you'll even be tempted, but if you someday are, you tell us, and we'll stop you.”
Finn squeezes her hands. “You'll listen. But we won't ever have to tell you. Because you regret killing them, but they wouldn't have regretted killing you.”
“I think ...” She takes a deep breath, and it shudders through her lungs. “I think I want to talk about it. What happened.”
“Okay.” Poe brushes his hand over her hair, and it's so tender that she has to close her eyes for a moment. “We can stay right here while you tell us, or we can make some breakfast and go out and you can tell us wherever you want.”
Now that the first of the poison has been drained, she can concentrate a little on the world outside the bed. Out in the house, BB-8 is whirring around, sensors no doubt attuned to any sounds from the bedroom. She'd rather say everything to all of them at once, so she gently extracts herself from Finn and Poe. “Breakfast, I think. And then I'll tell you.”
Breakfast is quiet, with that in the air around them. All of them retreat to wash up and change while the meal is cooking, and they wrap the food up to eat out in the field as soon as it's done, all of them leaving in a silent group to sit in the sunshine, where Rey feels the most distant from her nightmares.
“You killed Snoke and Ren,” Finn begins for her when she doesn't start. The words still seem bare and cold and horrible.
“Luke didn't kill the Emperor or Vader. They killed each other. I didn't have that luck.” She looks up until the light makes her eyes water. “I killed them.”
None of them says anything, and Rey finds herself spilling the story of those last desperate months of the war, all the choices she had to make when there was no one else to do it and all the choices that were taken out of her hands. The telling makes her feel small and miserable, but there's a cleansing that comes with it too, the worst of her on display at last, and she trails into silence with most of her breakfast still untouched in front of her and waits for judgment.
“I know we had our job to do,” Poe says, quiet and sad, “but I wish we'd been with you. I wish we could have helped.”
Designation-Rey completed all tasks well, BB-8 insists.
Finn is quiet until she dares to meet his eyes, Finn who was brought up with cruelty by people who didn't care who they killed as long as they won. His is the opinion she worries about most. When she looks at him, he's looking back, quiet and steady. “You're still Rey. That hasn't changed.”
As far as she's concerned, that means some good things and some bad, but they're looking at her like they think it only means good things, so for now she can believe them. For now she'll trust it and take a few bites of breakfast. It's just as good lukewarm as it is hot, and she savors it. They do the same, and it's only then she realizes that they weren't while she was talking, just sitting there with their hands clasped listening to her stumble her way through the story. “Thank you,” she finally says. “For this morning, and for last night. I didn't mean to interrupt you, but I was glad for the company.”
“You're welcome whenever you need it,” Poe promises, and Rey thinks about him being the one to propose to her, telling her that he said it because he knew she would think it was all for Finn if he hadn't delivered the news alone.
“I hope last night was the worst of it, but thank you. Both of you.” She looks at BB-8. “All of you.”
If Designations Finn-and-Poe are mating, I'll stay with you.
Rey laughs a little, to her own surprise. “Thank you. I may just take you up on that.”
“We're never going to be upset if you need us,” says Finn, but there's a smile on his face now too, and Rey can breathe out some relief that they're all moving on, that her story hasn't changed things between all of them.
“Not the capitol,” he assures them when both Rey and Finn complain. “We might get recognized, but nobody will try to drag us into parties or politics. We just need to go somewhere with a market and stock up. I'd offer to go alone, but the Falcon is hard to pilot alone and we don't have any other shuttles.”
“You shouldn't have to go alone.” Rey squares her shoulders. “We'll go. Or I will, anyway. If people bother me too much, I'll just go wait on the Falcon for a while.”
“We're going to have to go out in public sooner or later,” says Finn. “Sure, we'll all go.”
Poe's face lights up, and Rey relaxes, because if he's so pleased to have their company she can at least be sure she's doing the right thing. “Let's not put it off, then. We'll find somewhere good, make a day of it. We have enough credits to buy pretty much anything we want, within reason, so we can feast. Maybe buy a meal none of us has to cook, for once. I got spoiled by years with a mess hall, coming up with a variety of things to cook is no fun.”
“I'd like that,” says Finn, and gives Poe a sideways grin and a nudge, one of the little moments that reminds Rey, even though they don't mean it to, that while she was training with Luke and then hunting Snoke they had each other.
Once they've decided, it's only a few minutes before the three of them and BB-8 are boarding the Falcon, starting her up and debating what they want to buy in the market, whether it should just be food or if they need other things as well.
They haven't settled it by the time they reach the market, but the market is colorful and busy and Rey knows that going in with a real plan wouldn't be fun. She knows how to bargain from the rare travelers who passed through Niima Outpost, and she and Poe pick through the food, finding enough to keep them sustained for another week, while Finn lags behind with his eyes wide, turning to catch every movement, every street performer and person with a cart hawking wares. Rey vows a few minutes in that they'll have to bring BB-8 off the Falcon the next time they come, even if he's distinctive enough that they'll be recognized with him right away.
All of them have more wartime pay than they know what to do with, now that the rebuilding after the war has given the Resistance access to some of the bank accounts from the New Republic, and they spend some of it foolishly for the sheer joy of it, laughing with every new gift found.
When they're tired, they find a restaurant that looks private and order food none of them has ever heard of before but that promises to be safe for humans even though it's a gungan restaurant, and Rey finds herself smiling across the table at Finn and Poe. Finn is draped in a bright green scarf that he kept fingering in the stall because it was so soft, Poe is adorned with a bracelet the exact shade of orange BB-8 has, and Rey is wrapped in a shawl patterned with flowers, because Poe told her firmly she ought to own at least one thing that's just pretty and doesn't serve a purpose. “I like it here,” she says, leaning back in her seat while they wait for their food to arrive. “Do you think anyone's recognized us?”
Poe shrugs. “Probably a few people. Some of that food was cheaper than it should have been, and that shawl definitely was. We shouldn't linger too long after we finish eating, probably the press will have found out by then and none of us want to talk to them. We'll have to pick a different town for next time, or a very different time of day, if we want to keep avoiding them.”
Rey makes a face. “I just want them to leave me alone. I did what I did, and I know it helped, but I don't want anyone to celebrate it.”
Finn kicks her gently under the table, distracting her from the worry on Poe's face. They haven't talked about what Rey told them in the two days since she said it, but she looks at them sometimes and knows they're thinking about it. “Who ever said they were excited about you? Poe and I are the ones who got the storm troopers to revolt at just the right moment.”
“You're definitely the heroes here,” she says, honest, and smiles at them both.
The food comes then, neatly distracting them before they can argue with her, and by the time they've all tasted everything and declared it delicious, Rey has managed to change the subject to all the kinds of food Poe thinks they should try that the Resistance doesn't have supplies for. “I'll have my father cook for you when we visit him. He's the best cook I know, and he was always disappointed I was so busy flying that I never learned any of his tricks. We'll have some lessons while we're there. We'll all like that.”
“When do you think we'll go?” Finn asks. “I'm not ready to leave here yet.”
“We've only been gone a week. We could be gone for months before Leia starts trying to call us back. She knows we've earned the break.” Poe looks back at Rey, and something on her face makes him smile. “This is all about giving us time to know what we want to do next, and we're still recovering from the last things we did. My father can wait. Maybe in the meantime we can buy some recipes to try. Or just have BB-8 search some up for us.”
They talk about cooking and other ways to fill their days, easy conversation, for the rest of the meal, until their server approaches the table diffidently just as they finish. “It looks like a few people are waiting for you outside. If you want to leave out the back, you may be able to leave them behind.”
Poe groans. “I guess that means our nice day out is done for now. Good while it lasted, though.” He turns his smile on their server. “Thank you for letting us know. There's a few extra credits in it for you.”
“We can't charge you,” she says, sounding horrified. “You're the heroes of the Resistance!”
Rey shakes her head. “We have the credits, and we can't live off being heroes. You've helped us, we're more than willing to pay for a delicious meal.”
After some wrangling, Poe and Finn doing most of the talking, they talk the server and then the owner into letting them pay, though they're sent away with a bag full of desserts and breads that just happen to be going stale, or so the staff claims. Rey makes sure to leave a few extra credits on the table as they duck out the kitchen door and start winding their way through the streets and back to where they left the Falcon in the woods.
The forest feels alive, full of watchers, but no one accosts them on their way to the Falcon, and no one comes in sight as they take off.
Was it fun? BB-8 asks, settling in for the ride.
Poe grins at him. “Yeah, buddy. We even got you a couple presents, we'll show you when we get back to the house. We got recognized at the end there, but nobody bothered us too much. It was good. Right, you two?”
Rey fingers her shawl. They insisted on buying it with their own credits, even though their finances are technically pooled right now, and it's the finest gift she's had. Maybe even more than her saber. “It was definitely good,” she says, and both of them smile.
It's nearly an hour before Finn comes down to join them, though BB-8 certainly couldn't store a message that long.
“Everything okay at home?” Poe asks when Finn sits down next to the tub instead of joining them. It's big enough for the three of them, just barely, as long as they don't mind their legs being in a tangle. There's a lake an hour or two's walk from them, but they haven't made the time to go swimming there yet, where there's space.
“They were just asking how I am, mostly. Talked about the council Leia and the remains of the Republic is trying to put together. Said that if the storm troopers get a representative, which they should, they want it to be me.”
Poe reaches out of the tub, puts his dripping hand on Finn's shoulder. “We've talked about that. Have you decided you don't want to do it for sure? Politics are hard, but I think you'd be good at it, for what it's worth.”
“I don't know anything about how to do it. How any of it is supposed to work, even. They didn't talk about Republic parliamentary procedure when they were training storm troopers.”
“You don't have to decide yet,” says Rey. They say it enough to her. “You don't have to decide in five years, even if it means someone else is elected or chosen in your place. But ...” She hesitates, thinks how best to say it. “If you knew what you were doing, do you think it's what you'd want to do?”
Finn just tips his head back against the edge of the tub, though it's stone and he can't be comfortable. “I don't know yet. But I think maybe.”
“Then we'll figure it out.” Rey frowns, considering. “We'll research it for you. What they might ask you to do, if you decide to do it. So you'll know if you want to or not. It's stupid to ask if you want to do it when you don't even know what you might be doing.”
“We don't have to do it today, but as soon as you want to we will,” says Poe, and squeezes Finn's shoulder before he lets go, leaving a wet handprint on his shirt. “I should probably do some research for myself too, now that I'm thinking about it. Leia has ambitions for me, and I think about it sometimes.”
Rey frowns. “Well, I'm definitely not joining you.”
“No, you'd hate it,” Poe agrees. “But hopefully you wouldn't mind being around wherever the next Republic decides to put its center a lot, if we're both going into politics.”
She draws her knees up to her chest. “Even if we're divorced by then?”
Poe blinks, but Finn doesn't, twisting around and getting his sleeve soaked reaching into the water so he can grip her arm. “We're always going to want you around. Marriage or not. We've said that, right? It doesn't matter if you're our wife or not.”
It does matter, of course, but maybe only to her. Maybe they're just glad to have a friend close to them all the time, but Rey looks at them over breakfast every morning and sees her husbands, men she married and made promises to that were truer than either of them know. She'll always be grateful to be their friend, but she didn't know how much joining their marriage would make her want more. Make her want it to be real. “I'll have to find something to do that I could do anywhere, then,” she says, and flicks a little water at Finn. “Now, are you going to get in or not?”
Poe smiles at them both, softer than usual, while Finn gets up, laughing, and starts taking off his shirt to join them. Rey is still a little startled whenever she sees the twist of scar tissue across his back, but he doesn't seem to notice it. She knows Poe does, because sometimes in softer moments he'll run his fingers down Finn's back and she thinks that he must be imagining what would have happened if Ren had pushed a little harder, because she's had nightmares about it for years now.
Finn gets into the water with a deliberate splash, making both of them splutter and laugh, and Rey splashes him right back and they forget about serious conversations for the time being.
“Do you mind if I join you? I can't sleep, and I don't want to wake Poe tossing and turning.”
“Of course.” She beckons him to sit near her, and he mirrors her position. “You want to try meditating? It's—if anything is wrong, it's good. It helps me.”
“Just thinking too much.”
“It definitely helps with that.” She hesitates. Luke taught her all of this, but she doesn't feel like she has the authority to teach it, not really. Instead, she does her best to show him. She closes her eyes, takes a breath, and lets all the tension out of her muscles. She's already attuned to the Force enough that she can feel him do the same, and she hopes he can feel her doing her best to even out her thoughts.
Rey doesn't go into minds if she can help it, but Finn doesn't fidget or complain, so if his mind isn't clear, at least his thoughts don't seem to be bothering him. It's harder for her to clear her own mind when she's worried about making sure she's not teaching him badly, but his presence is soothing enough to balance that out, and she lapses into the timeless sensation that she gets when she's truly meditating right, mind a soft dark blank.
When there's a creak and a tap on the door, both of them jump, Finn gasping like he's surfacing after a dunking in the tub.
Poe is standing in the doorway, bleary and blinking, dressed in a pair of pants she recognizes as Finn's and a blanket pulled around his shoulders. “I woke up alone. Are you guys okay?”
Finn is still coming back to himself, so Rey fields the question, shifting until any aches and pains fall away. “He couldn't sleep, and I was meditating, so he came to join me. Finn, how are you feeling?”
He still looks too alert for the middle of the night, but he's softened around the edges enough that she thinks he could probably sleep if he was in his bed. “Didn't mean to leave you alone,” he says, sure enough, standing and going over to Poe, putting an easy arm around his shoulders. After a second, he straightens and turns back to Rey. “You're welcome to join us if you want. If you were awake, you probably couldn't sleep either.”
Poe frowns, waking up by groggy inches, and it's the opposite of what she wants. “You can join us whenever you want. You know that, right?”
“No I can't,” she says, blunt with surprise, and both of them wince. “You deserve privacy, for sex or for just being together, and you're generous, but I don't want to interrupt.”
They exchange a look, and Finn responds, firm. “Well, tonight we're just going to sleep, and it will help me sleep if I know you're not spending the whole night in here on your own. You don't have to, you never have to, but we want you around.”
She shouldn't let herself get used to it. There's only so much she can ask of them, and only so much she can give them besides the privacy they keep saying they don't want. “Just for tonight,” she says anyway. “If it will help you sleep.”
Both of them smile, and it's worth the heartache she'll feel tomorrow when she has to go back to her own bed alone, so she trails after them to the bedroom, keeping quiet so they don't interrupt BB-8's charge cycle. They offer her the middle of the bed again, but she pushes Finn there instead. If the first night they all shared was about her nightmares, tonight is about Finn's sleeplessness, and she won't surrender there.
Finn seems instantly content in the middle, tucked against Poe with the ease of long practice but with an arm thrown out just resting against her, like he's reminding himself that she's there. Poe is already most of the way back to sleep, murmuring something incomprehensible and pleased, and Rey listens to the counterpoint of their breathing and shifts a little closer to Finn before she falls asleep.
BB-8 follows her down, and stays quiet while she settles herself in and tries not to think of how startled they both looked when she left them behind and the looks they were exchanging before she made the decision.
I said I'd stay with you while they're mating, BB-8 finally says.
Rey laughs. “You did. I'm not that lonely, though, I promise.”
Good. They're your designation-husbands, loneliness is not the function of marriage.
“I'm not lonely. How could I be, with them around?”
All that gets her is a whir of disapproval. Designations-Finn-and-Poe wanted you on their mission. They recorded messages, but encryption was priority.
Rey wants to ask if the messages are still in BB-8's data banks, but if they are, there's a reason Poe and Finn haven't shared them. “You're saying they were lonely without me?”
That shouldn't make her smile. Rey doesn't want anyone to be lonely because of her, least of all them, but she was missed. After a lifetime on Jakku, that means more than perhaps it should. “And I was lonely without them.”
But not now.
“Now even when they want to be private, I have you.” She dunks her head under the water in the tub and comes up shaking her head. Enough water to submerge herself in still feels like a luxury, even now that she's spent time around oceans and lakes. “Sometimes Poe and I cook without Finn. Sometimes Finn and I meditate without Poe. So they deserve the time to have sex.”
BB-8 doesn't seem very pleased with that reasoning, but no more arguments or tempting comments follow, so Rey relaxes and asks a prompting question or two about what BB-8 would like to do with the next few days, since it looks like the rain won't let up any time soon.
The whole time, she thinks about the messages she never received, and what they might have said.
When, a while later, Finn and Poe come down to join her looking sheepish and mussed and freshly cleaned, the thoughts stay with her, but she doesn't ask.
What Rey wants and what she'll let herself have are very different things. But Poe is asking the question, and Poe only asks her for these things in private when he really wants them, and she gave them privacy this afternoon. If they want to have sex again, she thinks they'll wake her up and apologize and let her leave, that they're good enough friends for that. “I sleep better that way,” she admits, and his shoulders drop. “I won't do it every night, I promise, you need privacy even if you insist you don't, but I'd like to do it sometimes. Until the nightmares are better.”
“Okay. Until the nightmares are better.” He squeezes her shoulder briefly and releases her. “Also, we've got a few more days until we're probably going to want more supplies again. We should find a map of Naboo so we can find out what town to try next and make a list of the foods we want to try.”
Rey likes that thought, quietly poring over maps and the contents of their pantry, debating what they want to eat in the coming days. She never knew about it enough to want it, but now she does, wants to spend as long as she can squabbling over what kind of meat they'd like to try and laughing at how Finn loves anything spicy even while his eyes are streaming. “We'll have BB-8 look up some more recipes for us.”
“That sounds good. We'll do that tomorrow.”
“What will we do tomorrow?” Finn asks, appearing in the doorway, and they talk about meals and travel on and off while all three of them get ready for bed. Finn doesn't mention the fact that Rey ends up in their bedroom and Rey doesn't ask his permission, but he smiles when she doesn't show signs of leaving.
She insists that Finn takes the middle of the bed again, and she sleeps soundly all night only to wake in the morning and find that somehow he climbed out without waking either of them and that she and Poe have rolled into the space he left behind. She wakes Poe up with a prod in the stomach and they go out to the kitchen to find Finn and BB-8, both proud of themselves, with a complete breakfast ready that isn't even a little bit burned.
They look at maps of Naboo, find another market town they can visit for their food and then find recipes that can be made with the kinds of things they expect to find there.
Finn spends a long time with his holopad reading treatises on politics, but Rey and Poe exchange a look and leave him to it rather than asking to help. Instead, they start up a vicious card game that she learned from Chewbacca and he learned from Leia (who probably also learned it from Chewbacca, or at least Han, now that she's thinking about it) and distract themselves with it.
“Do you mind if we leave you alone for a little while?” Poe asks in the late afternoon, when Finn has finally put down his reading and wandered over to watch them.
Rey looks between them and frowns. “Are you asking for privacy now just because you want me to feel comfortable joining you in bed later?”
They exchange a look, but Finn nods when it's done. “Yes. You sleep better with us, we sleep better with you, and … we're your husbands, aren't we? Even if it's not quite the way everyone thinks? So we can do this in the afternoon and spend nights with you. We don't mind.”
She shouldn't let them do this for her. It's only going to hurt her when she knows what she wants and they have to end this. She won't get in their way forever, as much as she would like to. Still, if it helps them too, if it makes things a little better, she doesn't want to refuse. “Go, have your afternoon. BB-8 and I will find some way to keep ourselves occupied.”
They nod and wander off, and Rey knows she isn't the only one feeling awkward that they all know exactly what they're leaving to do, but she shakes it off and teaches BB-8 how to gamble and bluff when binary isn't supposed to accommodate things like that and by the time they appear again to help her cook dinner, they can almost forget that things are odd.
“Dreams?” she asks.
He turns his head to look at her, a little wild-eyed, and it feels like a punch in the stomach. Too often she thinks of him as the steadiest of the three of them, but that's forgetting that all of this started because he was taken, because he was tortured. He wouldn't have met Finn otherwise, and then she wouldn't have met Finn. The course of the war would have been different, maybe worse, but all that good was at the sacrifice of Poe Dameron's dreamless sleep. “Sorry,” he says, and it chokes in her throat that it's the first thing he says.
She jerks her head at Finn. “Does he usually wake up?”
“About half the time. It's not that often.” Finn's breathing is still deep and slow, and Poe seems to feel steadier listening to it. “It happened to you too, right?”
“In a way. I turned it back on him.”
He closes his eyes, but not to go back to sleep. “Sometimes I dream they're trying to get information out of me about him. About you. Or that it's one of you in that chair.”
“I got out,” she says, and knows it's cold comfort when he didn't. “I wish I could have saved you.”
“He saved me. And you saved him. And most days I'm okay, Rey. I promise.”
For some reason, that's what wakes Finn, who snorts a little as he comes back to consciousness, alert and worried and not a slow waking like he allows himself in the mornings these days. He looks between them, frown notching his brows. “Everything okay? Why are you two awake?”
Poe leans in to kiss him on the forehead, tender enough that Rey looks away for a moment. “Just a nightmare, buddy. Rey was talking me through it.”
“I got you out,” Finn says firmly, and the words seem well-worn. “And then you got us both out, and Rey got herself out, and they never had BB-8, and we're all safe. We're all right here.”
“We're all here,” Poe repeats, and his breath shudders out, but when he takes another one, it seems steadier, and he meets Rey's eyes over Finn in between them. “I'm really glad about that.”
Probably, she realizes, propping herself up on her elbows, so he could ask her this. “Do you want to be a Force user?”
“Not really. Not like you and Luke. More like Leia. I want to know about it, but I don't think I want to do that much with it.” He shrugs. “But maybe I'm wrong. That's why I want to try it. If I only consider politics, that's not considering a lot, is it?”
“I'll teach you until you want to stop learning or I run out of things to teach,” she promises. “I don't know what we can be if not Jedi, and Luke and I don't want things to go back like they have been, but there must be some use for the Force and people who use it. Maybe we'll find it together.”
Finn takes to her quiet explanations as easily as she could have dreamed, and when Poe comes back to the house two hours later, Finn is frowning in concentration, lifting a cushion that's hovering unevenly a few inches from the floor. It drops as soon as the door shuts behind Poe, who just smiles at them. “You two doing some training together? Don't let me interrupt. I'm going to catch up on some messages and maybe send one letting Leia know we're still alive, since it's been a while.”
“Tell her hello,” says Rey, and turns to Finn. “Do you want to keep going?”
He nods, smile returning to his face. “I almost had it that time.”
They don't surface again for hours, not until Poe interrupts them to say that they're probably two hours late for lunch and that they'll regret working without a break. “Enjoying yourselves?” he asks them when they all sit down to eat bread and cheese and vegetables, nothing fancy but delicious nonetheless, especially when they've been working so hard.
Finn beams at him. “Rey's a great teacher.”
Poe raises his eyebrows. “So you're going to abandon me to a lonely political life and be a … whatever you are when you're a Force user but not a Jedi?”
Finn shrugs, but the question doesn't make him look unsure or upset like Rey had half-feared it would. “Probably not. But I don't want to choose something just because I haven't thought about anything else.”
Poe's smile is lopsided and a little disbelieving, like he's somehow surprised after all this time at how good Finn is. She can't blame him. Finn amazes her on a regular basis too. “That's smart. I should probably do the same thing, though I'm about as Force sensitive as your average bantha. What do you say, Rey? Do you want another student who won't be nearly as impressive as your star pupil?”
“If you want to learn, I won't turn you away.” She hesitates. “It might be good practice. I think people need to learn how to use the Force, because if you don't have someone training you, I think it's too easy for the dark side to win.”
“Sometimes it wins anyway, and that's not the teacher's fault,” says Poe, firm.
“Do you want to teach?” Finn tilts his head, puzzling through the problem.
“I don't know. I want to teach you two. I don't know if I could teach dozens more, if I'd even know what's worth teaching them, but I'm the only one there is. I don't think Luke will start another school.”
“I might like it,” Finn says. “If I learned enough. I don't want to be a warrior, or anything like the Jedi were, but if I could find the right kind of thing to teach, maybe I could do that.”
Rey smiles at him. “Then we'll have to keep exploring. But you've done a lot today. Shall we just meditate for a while?” She looks between them, hesitating. “Unless you wanted to be alone instead.”
“How about we all meditate together?” says Poe. “BB-8, want to come be dormant with us?”
Boring, BB-8 says, succinct as ever.
Finn laughs. “You're right, but it's good for humans. Helps us think, and then helps us not think.”
That is a paradox.
“Aren't most humans?” Poe asks. “Come on, Rey, show us how it's done.”
They're all quiet and tired over dinner, even though they did nothing but sit and try not to think all afternoon, and when Rey catches them yawning, she shoos them off to bed.
“I slept twelve hours at a time sometimes when Luke was training me,” she says when Finn tries to object. “Just take the rest. I don't need to be entertained.”
“Are you coming to bed?” Poe asks, and his tone is easy and light but Rey is attuned to them after the afternoon they spent together and she knows there's something under that, tentative and worried.
“Not tonight,” she says anyway, and does her best to ignore the sting of hurt she can see from both of them. “You didn't have your private time in the afternoon, and I'm going to need to learn how to sleep without nightmares sometime.” She almost stops there, but they deserve better than that. “Knock on my door if you need me, though. And I'll stay with you after our shopping trip tomorrow if you don't need the privacy.”
“Okay,” says Finn, and takes Poe's hand to lead him off to bed.
Rey waits until the shuffling stops in their room and turns to BB-8. “I need you to help me research how they trained Jedi, and what you can do with the Force besides be one. Finn and I both need to know, and I think others will too, soon.”
Her head is spinning even more when she goes to bed two hours later, but it's worth it, to have the first glimmers of a possible future.
Rey catches a snip of a news broadcast as they pass by a restaurant, wondering when a new central government will spring up and why there isn't already a provisional senate, and for a second time presses up against her again, reminding her that this honeymoon isn't forever, that someday they'll have to make a decision to get in the Falcon and go back, but BB-8 knocks against her legs and Finn takes her hand, and she lets herself forget it again.
“Maybe you should become a chef,” Poe says on the flight home, when she's still talking about the farmer and pestering BB-8 for more recipes with seaweed. “Or a farmer. Grow your crops in the ocean.”
That's a future that appeals, even if it's not as glorious and public as she knows people would like. “I wouldn't be able to follow the two of you around on your political careers, if I was concentrating on that,” she says with a shrug instead. “But maybe someday when you decide to retire.”
“If you want to go somewhere and start a farm and a restaurant, we'll do it. We don't need to be senators,” says Finn.
“I know.” And she does. If she said it was what she wanted, they would go with her and try their best to fade into obscurity. Tempting as the thought is, though, she remembers what happened to Luke when he walked away. They may have won the war, but the hardest work is still ahead of them. “And maybe I want that someday. I do want to have a garden, somewhere I can grow things, but I can't leave that much work undone. I just need to figure out what the work is.”
Poe nods, and then grins. “Well, you can be noble, and I'll start the restaurant thing. Politics don't sound fun. You two can start a school for Force users and I'll just feed your students and teach them to fly.”
That doesn't sound like a bad life either, even if she still doesn't think she can be trusted to teach when there's still so much she doesn't know. But they don't need to talk about the future now. “I didn't see any journalists in that town, and everyone seemed willing to ignore that we are who we are. Maybe we can try going back there next time?”
“Sounds like a great idea to me,” says Finn. “Did you see the mural they had painted on their common building? We should take a closer look next time.”
“You two are terrible at subterfuge,” says Poe, but he's smiling.
Poe's side of the bed is the emptier, Poe sprawled over Finn, so she creeps across the room and gets in the bed jostling them as little as she can manage.
Neither of them wakes up before she falls asleep again, but she wakes sometime before dawn to the feeling of someone gently moving her hair away from her face. “Just woke up and found you here,” Poe whispers when she opens her eyes. “Everything okay?”
“A lot better now,” she whispers back, and lets herself slip back into sleep. His hand doesn't stop moving.
The next time she wakes up, it's to a soft wet sound and a choked-off laugh, and when she blinks herself awake it's to the light of the morning, and Finn and Poe are kissing.
“I'm awake,” she says, and they don't jump apart, just move until they can both face her. “Thought you'd want to know that.”
“Sorry.” Finn smiles, sheepish but pleased. “We were trying to be quiet, and we wouldn't have done anything else with you in the bed. We were just saying good morning. You okay?”
The nightmare has faded back to a vague memory. For once, it wasn't a nightmare about what did happen, only about what could have, so it's almost a comfort. Things could have been much worse if she'd left them alive. “Yes. I thought about asking before I just got in your bed, but it seemed a shame to wake you.”
“You're always welcome,” says Poe. “I know you don't believe that, but it's true. You could spend every night here and we wouldn't mind.”
She sits up in bed. Both of them are still undressed, only wearing pants like they put them on just in case she decided to come to bed when she doubts that's how they sleep alone. “I want to spend some time in the tub before breakfast,” she says instead of answering him directly. “Do either of you want to join me?”
They exchange a look. “Sure,” Finn says, for both of them. “Meet you down there in a few?”
Rey struggles out of the bed, stretching as soon as she can stand straight, and then relaxes and nods. “I'll see you down there.”
She makes it there first, and she's waiting in the tub by the time they get there. They both climb in, all of them arranging their limbs and saying hello to BB-8 as he greets them for the morning before Poe turns to her. “Did you want to talk about it?”
“Not about the nightmare. Not really.” She takes a breath. “The past few nights, while I've been letting you have privacy, I've been doing research with BB-8 about Force users. How to use it somehow, do good with it without turning into a Jedi. Luke is right, trying to bring the Order back would be a mistake, but we need to find out what we can do. Sort out the good from the bad. I can't do it on my own, and I don't want to ask him until I have some ideas of my own. Can you two help?”
Poe nods, sharp and short, and Finn frowns, already thinking. “First thing,” Poe says, “you should tell us exactly what you can do, and what you know other people can do for sure. We've got legends, but starting with the possibilities is good.”
“Even if you think it's something that can only be dark,” Finn adds.
Rey knew she could trust them with this, somehow. It's the question she's been wrestling since she arrived back on the base, and one conversation won't give her the answer, but at least she knows how to phrase the question now, and they know how to refine it. BB-8 starts chiming in about making a table of the data, and Rey starts talking.
Now? She blinks a little, not sure she's quite prepared, but there's no reason to put it off. Recording message for designation-Luke.
“Luke. I hope things are calm there, or as calm as they can be. You can let us know if you need us, and we'll cut our honeymoon short.” She clears her throat. “But it's good for us. All of us, I think. We're still thinking about what we want.”
If he were here, Luke would make a comment, try to draw more of her thoughts from her. She doesn't have that, so she does her best to forge on alone.
“And the more I think, the more I think I don't even know what's possible with the Force. You only had two teachers, and they were preparing you for battle. I only had you, and the same thing is true. So many papers were destroyed, so many traditions. Finn wants to learn from me, and from you, but I don't know what to do teach him. If you don't want to, I won't blame you, but if you know anything that would help ...” She trails off, and is silent for long enough that BB-8 beeps a query. “I can't start studying until we come back, but I think it's what I want. If you know of any ways to help, please tell me.”
He might not respond to this message, but she thinks that by the time she comes back, he'll have information for her, if nothing else. Luke is wary of teaching, after what happened with Ren, but he knows as well as she does that there are some people the Force will never leave alone. It's best to have someone around who can help them find the light.
She pulls a smile to her face, and it feels easier than it would have a few weeks ago. “Tell Leia and anyone else who asks that we're happy here. We're exploring, and resting, and doing well. We'll come back to you ready to work. I hope … I hope you're taking time too, when you need it. BB-8, that's enough.”
Confirm message to send?
“Yes. Send it off. Don't bother editing anything unless the file size is too big.”
Sent. Rey nods, and they're both silent for a long minute. You assigned yourself an objective?
“I … yes, I think I may have.” She needs less time now than she did at the beginning of this venture, has the beginnings of ideas, and all of this has been about time. About healing. She's closer to being ready to leave Naboo, but when she leaves, things will change again. Finn and Poe's offers to share beds may last only as long as her nightmares do.
If that's true, she'll take what she can get while she has it, and be grateful for every time she wakes up with them.
“If it's a celebration concert, they'll probably recognize us.” Poe nudges Rey. “What do you think? Want to risk it? I could stand to hear some music but I don't want to make a speech.”
If it were the first town they visited, or a strange one, she would say no outright, but she liked the people at the second market. And they planned the concert already. If they come in a little late, and keep to themselves, it might be good. She knows Finn has developed a fascination with music and that he hasn't been able to hear much of it in person yet. “Maybe if we stay to the back, try to keep to ourselves as much as we can. This is their celebration, after all. They don't want it to be about us, and neither do we.”
“Then we can go?”
Finn is bright, hoping for a yes, and Rey doesn't have the heart to express any more reservations when he looks like that. When she glances over to Poe, his mouth is quirked, so he might be thinking the same. “We can try. There are other market towns if things are awkward.” She starts chopping again.
“I think it sounds great,” says Poe, going back to working with the oven, and Finn beams at them both and goes back to looking at his screen, though it seems to be just as much an opportunity to stare out the windows.
BB-8, when asked, declines to go with them, claiming a need to communicate with friends, so the three of them leave together in time to get to the concert at the last minute. There are some sidelong looks from the crowd, and Rey tenses up, but no one speaks to them beyond conducting them to some seats, and no one seems to expect anything of them.
The music, when it starts, is beautiful. Rey hates sitting still for any length of time when she isn't meditating, but she pretends that she is, that the music is the pattern of the Force audible around her, and it helps keep her calm. Finn is rapt from the first note, and Poe seems to be as well, though a few times when she looks at him he's looking at either Finn or her.
“I'm going to get us some snacks,” she whispers when the show stops for long enough for everyone to get up and stretch. “Save my seat for me.”
More people notice her in the line for snacks than she would hope, but they don't defer to her, or even give her a discount, which she wouldn't have allowed since they seem to be collecting charity donations to find new lives for the storm troopers. They just nod, with enough respect to make Rey uncomfortable, and it's perhaps a little too easy for Rey to fight her way back through the crowd to Finn and Poe.
When she gets there, Finn and Poe are leaned forward in their seats, talking to an old woman in the row ahead of them, Finn in the middle of an expansive gestures. Poe looks up and sees her first, and his smile is honest and bright. “Here's our wife with the food,” he says to the woman, and Rey's feet only keep carrying her forward through sheer reflex.
Of course she's their wife. That's what all of this has been about. They've even used the word a few times, even if it's only rarely that she calls them her husbands and that mostly as a joke. Hearing it like that, an introduction, part of her identity, takes the air out of her lungs, and Poe notices, face twitching into a frown before she can manage to bring a smile to hers. “Have my—have my husbands been bothering you?” she asks, and only sounds a little bit choked.
Finn beams up at her, his happiness for once uncomplicated, no shades in it like he's waiting for the next horrible thing to happen. Poe looks happy too, but he isn't smiling, just looking at her, assessing. The woman they're talking to laughs. “Husbands are always troublesome,” she says, one woman to another, like it's some sort of secret or mystery they're both in on. “But yours have offered to share some of that food.”
Rey sits down, distributing the oat cakes she got between four instead of three. It's a good thing she bought more than they'd need, assuming they might want some for the ride back to the safe house. “Then they should have bought it,” she says, and the woman laughs. “Are you enjoying the concert?”
“It's been a while since we had a celebration.”
Rey swallows. “I'm sorry.”
The woman just shakes her head. “But any fool knows you three have had more than your fair share of people to mourn as well, and just as much to celebrate as we finally do.” All of them must look uncomfortable, because she shakes her head. “No one is going to make too much of you here, tonight.”
The musicians call them back to order again, starting in on another beautiful tune. Rey is glad to fall silent and eat an oat cake, concentrating on the stage and not on Finn and Poe and words that shouldn't really mean as much as they do.
When the concert is over, Finn and Poe whisper a goodbye to their new friend, who just laughs them away, and the three of them duck out while the applause is still going strong, after dropping a few extra credits in the bucket they're taking collections in. By the time the crowd starts pouring out onto the street, they're well on their way to the Falcon, and nobody comes after them.
Rey lets Poe take the pilot seat, happy to co-pilot for once, and he nods when she picks her seat first and doesn't ask if anything is wrong.
All of them are yawning by the time they get back to BB-8, who greets them with a litany of everyone he's talked to in their absence and then a million questions about the concert and how it was. Rey answers the questions as best she can, though Finn knows the most about the music and Poe knows the most about the crowd, since she was helplessly distracted for the whole second half of the night.
BB-8 catches Finn swallowing a yawn nearly an hour later. Time to rest, he says, bossier than any other droid she's met, and Rey wakes up enough to laugh while they're all chivvied out of the main room—and, she finds, into Finn and Poe's bedroom. They only seem to realize she's there when the door shuts with her on their side of it.
“Are you staying?” Finn asks, as unassuming and as hopeful as ever.
She shouldn't, not when Naboo seems to be spinning twice as fast as it should be and she needs a night to remind herself what being their wife does and doesn't mean, but he wants her to stay, and when she looks at Poe, his back is to her, but his shoulders are tight. He's trying not to pressure her, she thinks, and breathes out. “I'm staying.”
She shuffles Finn to the middle this time, and once they're all changed, the lights out, they all stay there breathing in the dark for too long, none of them asleep. “You said, at the wedding,” Finn finally whispers, and her stomach lurches. “You said you'd stay with us as long as you can.”
Rey opens her mouth to say that she's not leaving, not now, not any time soon, horrified that they're worried after tonight, but Poe interrupts before she can form the words. “And you have to know, if we're—if you're worried that there's a time limit on us wanting you here, there isn't. You can stay forever, if you want to.”
“We want you to,” says Finn, and he's not whispering anymore.
There's a lump of tears in Rey's throat, suddenly, and she swallows them down. Instead, she turns to Finn, and he wraps an arm securely around her, draws her in close. Poe, on his other side, presses against Finn too, close enough that he can reach out and put a hand on Rey's arm. “Not tonight,” she finally chokes out, and feels Finn nod against her cheek. “But soon.”
She half-expects to be awake all night, but with that hanging in the air, as resolved as it can be when they're all so tired, she falls asleep in minutes.
She has plenty to think about.
BB-8 hears her when she comes to the common room and rolls over with a cheerful greeting. Time to make fuel?
“Not yet, thanks, BB-8. When they ...” She's still tired, feeling almost drugged after a rare night of deep, dreamless sleep. “When they get up, let them know that I've gone for a walk, okay? I'll be back before lunchtime. If they're worried, I'm fine. Everything is. I just need to think.”
Do you need assistance?
“No. You stay with them. Remember on the day of the wedding, when I went out on my own? It's just like that.”
Designations-Finn-and-Poe worried then too, BB-8 grumbles, but he doesn't try to stop her, and Rey grabs a piece of fruit and a canteen of water and goes outside.
There's no handy hill nearby this time, where she can watch and look over the house, check for activity. She goes to the Falcon instead, climbs on the top of it instead of inside it and looks up at the sky, listens to the wind rustle the trees around her.
Normally, Rey would meditate, let the world fall away and hope that when it came back it would come back with an answer. Today, she thinks, because she wants to find the answer herself, without the guidance of the Force.
She married them because she wanted to. That, she's known all this time. She chose it, knowing that it wasn't the only solution but that it was the solution she wanted, and that having it for a little while would be better than not having it at all.
But they married her, too, and there's something in that beyond the simple semantics of it. They could have protected her without the marriage. They could have had this honeymoon and invited her along until some of the furor died down and it would have been much the same, only Poe wouldn't have been able to say “our wife,” fond and smiling, to a stranger. Finn might not have invited her to their bed that first night she had a nightmare.
If she was looking for an excuse, so were they.
Rey stays there for a while, perhaps a few hours, while the sun traces a slow pattern in the sky. They don't come looking for her, even though she would be easy to find, and eventually she climbs back down, takes a deep breath, and starts walking home.
The sound of bodies moving through water, probably both of them turning to look at her when she can't bring herself to look at them. “We know sometimes you need time,” says Finn, soft and too forgiving. “Are you okay?”
“I told BB-8 to tell you I was,” she mutters, a little cross, but she can't blame him for asking. She would do the same. BB-8 would lie to protect any of them, if he thought he had to. “I am, though. Like you said, I just needed a little bit of time.” She takes a deep breath. “Before talking about it. If you two are ready.”
Someone's damp hand reaches out, brushes against the nape of her neck. She thinks it's Finn, and leans back into the touch. Poe is the one to speak, after a few heartbeats of silence. “There's a lot to say.”
“BB-8 told me a little while ago that you two recorded messages for me while we were apart. After the wedding, and maybe before it too. I didn't listen to any of them, because I know how easy it is to blurt things out before you're ready when you think you're hours from dying, but does it have something to do with that?”
“You should listen to them sometime,” says Finn. “We'll talk now, but you should hear them. You deserve to hear them.”
“Mostly they were about how worried we were about you, and how much we missed you.” Now there's a hand on her shoulder, gently encouraging her to turn around, and she knows that one is Poe's. “How we wanted more time.”
“And now we have time,” she says, and neither of them bothers to agree with her. She turns around, because she can be brave enough to have this conversation with them face to face, and finds both of them watching her, with enough space left in between them that if she wanted to climb into the tub she could. She might, but not yet. There's more to say first. “You married me.”
Finn furrows his brows. “And?”
“I know none of us could really think of other solutions, but there were some. But you asked me to marry you instead. And I married you, even though I could have gone to Ahch-to or here to Naboo, or anywhere by myself or with the two of you, marriage vows or no marriage vows.”
“It was the easiest way to protect you, but yeah. It wasn't the only way.” Poe's eyes are bright, and he looks like he did after his nightmare, unsure and worried. “It was the easiest way, but we knew it could hurt. If it went wrong.”
“But we wanted to try. We all survived, and we were going to try a little slower, but you mentioned marrying us like a joke, and we didn't want to risk you falling in love with one of the ambassadors, so we took it seriously.”
Rey reaches out and doesn't know what she's reaching for until Finn catches one hand in his and Poe lets her grab his wrist. “I knew from the start it would break my heart to divorce you, but I wanted this more than I wanted my heart whole.” She swallows. “I said I love you in my vows, and I meant it.”
There's a smile breaking out on Finn's face, and she lets that guide her. If Finn is happy, nothing can go too terribly wrong. “I told you to tell the truth, and I knew you at least meant that you loved us like friends or family. I hoped maybe you meant this.”
Poe is still wide-eyed, breath shallow, and Rey turns her focus to him. He might be less sure. She knows she loves him differently than she loves Finn, that there's still more to learn about him that will make their relationship true and solid, but she knows him enough now to know that she wants to try, that she'll want to be his wife for his own sake for the rest of her life. He meets her eyes for a long moment before a smile slowly dawns on his face. “I meant everything I said that day.”
Rey could say a hundred more things. She could say that she's coming to hate sleeping alone, and that all she knows about her future is that she has more to learn before she can decide what comes after but that she isn't afraid of what comes next anymore. She could just say she loves them again. “I'm glad,” she says instead, and leans in to kiss Poe.
He breathes in sharply before her lips meet his, and she hopes that he knows she's kissing him first because he proposed to her first, because they both want to be careful and sure that they're doing this for each other and not only for Finn. He must understand at least some of it, because he smiles against her mouth and his kiss is gentle and soft, even when she presses in harder, wanting a little more. She feels warm, suddenly, restless with the knowledge of everything they've said and everything there is yet to say.
When he pulls away, she turns to Finn, and he's there waiting for her already, catching the corner of her mouth before they correct, and she'd expected kissing Finn to be sweet and slow but he opens his mouth against hers and something in her stomach ignites. “I want—” she starts as soon as there's space between them, and stops because she doesn't know how to finish the sentence.
“I want,” says Finn, and his voice is lower than she's ever heard it, “either for you to get into the tub or us to get out of it.”
Rey thinks of the gentle pressure of water all around her and more of this, and a second later she's letting their hands go to stand up and start stripping her clothes off. She stops when she reaches her underwear, but neither of them seems inclined to stop her, and both of them are watching, waiting, breath coming fast. “Kiss,” she demands, suddenly shy, and they obey like they've been waiting to do it, kissing like they might die if they're not as close as possible.
In the face of that, it's easy to strip off the last of her clothes, leaving them in a mess on the floor, before she steps into the tub. Their legs tangle, but today that's a good thing and not a torture. When she settles down in the water, Finn and Poe drift apart, and when they look at her there's some of the manic light in their eyes that mirrors what she's feeling, the sheer disbelief and joy of everything working out better than they thought it could. It seems unreal that they could have won the war and still have this too.
“The only problem with having two spouses,” Poe says after a silence, breaking out into a grin, “is that I can't kiss you both at once.”
“We should try,” says Finn, decisive, and then it's a collision of lips and tongues and teeth, messy and at any other time ridiculous.
Rey closes her eyes and presses her lips against once mouth and then another. When they find each other first, she lets her mouth slide, explores the shape of Finn's jaw and the texture of the stubble Poe rarely bothers shaving. She kisses until she forgets to breathe, pulls back to gasp in air, and dives in again.
She only stops when she jams her elbow against the side of the tub and has to pull away hissing in pain. The other two look as dazed as she feels, but Poe takes her arm and encourages her to move until he can float her into Finn's lap, straddling it until she can press her whole body against his. He's still, somehow, wearing his underwear, but she doesn't mind, and she can feel something warm and firm against her belly, through the fabric and the water. “That's probably going to be more comfortable,” says Poe.
“But how am I supposed to kiss you this way?” she complains, looking back over her shoulder to find him reassuringly close.
Poe sweeps her mussed hair off her neck and presses a brief kiss on the newly exposed skin. “This isn't the place to get ambitious. Sometime, in a bed, in our bed, we can—” She has to arch her back uncomfortably to pull him in for a kiss when he's behind her, but she does it anyway, because he's making promises and she wants to kiss them out of his mouth.
The movement makes Finn's hips twitch under her, and Rey lets that distract her from Poe. He's solid and reassuring behind her, and it makes it easier to twist forward and look at Finn again, the way his head is tipped back and his chest is heaving. Rey bends to kiss his jaw, his neck, all the skin she can reach. His arms come up to circle her when she reaches the saber scar on his shoulder, but he doesn't stop her and she doesn't linger, just kisses him until he lets out a little hurt noise that makes her cup his face and bring him in to kiss him properly again.
Poe, behind her, is rubbing gentle circles on her back, and he must be sitting close, because his breath is tickling her shoulder. Rey moves until she can grab one of his hands and pull it around to rest below her breasts, and waits for his sharp intake of breath. “You can touch me,” she says, surprised at the roughness in her own voice.
He moves against her back, settles into some new position, and strokes once down her belly like she's an animal in need of soothing. Finn is looking down, eyes wide, and she does the same, watches Poe's hand as it rests against her skin, watches the way his knuckles brush against Finn's stomach, with how close they're sitting. The new position lets her feel that he's hard too, and she rocks gently between them. Even that small movement sends a little bit of water slopping over the edge of the tub, but she doesn't really care.
“Just tell us if you want to stop,” says Finn, looking her in the eyes again, and she kisses him in answer. She doesn't want to stop. She might never want to stop.
Poe is bolder with his hands now, touching her firm and sure and all over. He doesn't touch her breasts more than he does her sides or her thighs or her belly, but that only makes it better, that he's feeling everywhere for places that are good. Finn's hands move more now too, sometimes cupping her face and sometimes holding her shoulders and sometimes reaching past her to touch Poe, or catching Poe's hands and squeezing tight.
There's a low heat in her body, flushing her cheeks and pooling between her legs, but she's not seeking release yet. She wants to enjoy every touch, every kiss, for as long as she can get them. It still doesn't feel real, that she can have them, keep them, but it's more real with their hands on her bare skin.
Finn's hips, though, are moving restlessly against hers, and just like on the battlefield, it's easy to read his signals and move into his rhythm. When she moves her hips the right way, shifts into his lap so he'd be fucking her if the fabric of his underwear weren't between them, he gasps, head tipping back, and Poe grips her sides, holds on tight.
“Is this what you want?” she asks Finn between kisses, because they're speeding up, and she wants to ask, wants to be sure before he comes. “Like this?”
He pulls back, and even like this, his smile is so bright and so wide. “We'll have time for other things later. But this feels good. Unless you want to try something else?”
Rey wants to try everything with them, but there's only so much they can do when they have to sit up, when they can't quite stretch their legs out all the way. Even getting them out of the last of their clothes sounds like an exercise that would end more in laughter than anything else, and she wants to laugh with them, but for now she wants to obey the heat kindling in her and see this to its end. “I like this.”
Poe stops moving with his hand pressed against her ribs like he's feeling for a heartbeat. “Can you come like this, or do you want me to touch you?” he asks, right in her ear, and it's a genuine question but she shivers anyway.
“I could come like this, but I'd rather come with you touching me,” she admits, and tilts her head back for a kiss. Next time, they'll do this somewhere she can see both of them at once, or at least turn more easily from one to the other. There's a giddy, growing list now of everything she wants to do with them and wants to see them do. She may never find the end of it.
Poe kisses her, but it doesn't distract her from the way his hand drifts lower until it's resting between her legs, so light it's almost ticklish until she arches into it. Finn's hips move as Poe's touch gets a little firmer, and Rey gasps and pulls away from his mouth, rocking between them.
“We've talked about this so much,” Finn says, breathless and delighted. “Since we came here, but during the war too, we just wanted to be with you so much, and we wanted this.”
She kisses him hard this time, too many teeth and her lips tingling the second she pulls away, almost too forceful, but he smiles up at her, dazed silent. “I dreamed about it so many times, and first ...” She hesitates, but she knows they won't mind. “First I was jealous that it was Poe and not me, but then I just wanted you both.”
“We wanted you too,” Poe assures her, scattering kisses across her neck and shoulders, and slides a finger inside her.
All the words they're going to have to say someday go up in a blaze of arousal. Rey lets her body say what it can, her mind open like she's meditating until she can feel their minds pressed against hers the same way their bodies are. They're all moving with purpose now, and she reaches behind her to encourage Poe a little bit closer so there's hardly space between any of them, just their bodies trapped together, a tangle of legs and arms and Poe's hand, Poe's fingers, taking her apart.
She's gasping for air now so much that she can't kiss Finn, and she meets his eyes instead, watches his face as he gets closer and closer to the edge. Sometimes he glances over her shoulder, and she wants to see Poe's face too, see what he looks like when he's concentrating on giving her pleasure.
Later. Rey has time, and it's not just to figure out her own future, but her future with them too.
Somehow it seems like no time and an eternity all at once before Finn bucks up against her, trapping Poe's hand firmly between them, and tips his head back with a sharp inhale. She feels him twitch against her, feels him come and pulls him in for a kiss that's more of a gasp on both of their parts. Poe murmurs something pleased and encouraging, and Finn reaches past her, touches somewhere that makes Poe gasp and makes him speed up, hips and hand both. She'll have to learn that spot later, but for now she relaxes into the movement, lets herself be brought higher and higher.
Finn is still watching her and Poe, looking from one of them to the other or the picture that they make together, and now that he's not desperate, moving toward release, he's smiling at the two of them just like he does when they're chopping vegetables for lunch or when the three of them are arguing about whether or not someone is cheating at a game in the evenings.
It's that, the warmth in his eyes, that lets Rey go over the edge. All the tension leaves her body in a glorious rush, leaving her shaking and glad she's between them, held safe by them and the water both. Poe is gentle pulling his hand away, but she still hisses in air, oversensitive.
Rey just wants to fall forward into Finn's lap and stay there, pull Poe down next to them, but Poe is still hard behind her, and Finn is looking over her shoulder now, meeting his eyes. “What do you want?”
“I'm close,” says Poe, and his voice is a rumble against her back. “It won't take much.”
She's exhausted, thighs trembling from moving in between them, but Rey wants to watch this, wants to be part of it from start to finish, so she wriggles until they give her enough space to turn. Finn seems to understand her aim and helps her move until she's resting across his lap, not straddling it, and she finds herself meeting Poe's eyes for the first time in a while. His eyes are wide and wild and darting back and forth between them, and Rey reaches forward to touch his hip gently. He flinches a little, like he's startled, but he smiles too. “Can I touch you?”
His smile goes crooked. “Any time you want, I promise.”
That's almost too much permission, but Finn is steady and languid at her back, not warning her or telling her what he might want, so she takes him at his word, and meets his eyes as she reaches inside his underwear and wraps her hand around him. His eyes slide closed as soon as she touches him, but that makes it easier, in a way, and she watches his face and knows she's clumsy moving her hand but also thinks he might not care much, from the way his hips start moving.
When he comes, it's with a few bitten-off sounds that might be words, and Rey has recovered herself enough that she can surge forward and wrap her arms around him during the aftershocks.
“I can't believe,” Finn says, soft and wondering, and doesn't say what it is that he can't believe. Rey doesn't need him to.
She's reluctant to let Poe go, but the world is intruding again, and she pulls back far enough that she can look at them both at once. They both seem as dazed and happy as she feels, all of them flushed and bringing their breathing back to normal. When she looks at the room around the tub, she can't help grinning. There's water splashed over the floor, soaking the clothes she left carelessly in her hurry to join them and making enough of a mess that they'll have to clean it up a little before the cleaning droids can get to it.
“BB-8 is going to scold us for the mess,” Poe observes, and he's starting to seem like himself again, but with a light in his eyes that she's only seen a few times before, at his first wedding and on a few nights the three of them have spent since the second one. She thinks it means he's happy, truly so.
Rey laughs, less because the words are funny and more because there's nothing else she can do to express her surprise at all the joy she's suddenly going to have, that all of them are going to have now. Finn and Poe grin at her, giddy, so much of the weight lifted from their shoulders, and she moves forward again, this time just to hold them both at once because she doesn't want to let go.
“I love you,” she says, because there's time to make up for and because she means it.
They keep holding on, and that's answer enough.
She finds him in the small extra bedroom none of them have bothered to touch, communications light blinking, and she keeps quiet until it goes off. “Any messages from home?”
So he was recording something for someone—R2, maybe, or one of the other astromech droids who travel with the pilots. “You don't have to hide yourself away, you know. We were—well, we were being organics earlier, but we're not anymore, and you're part of the family too.”
Designations Finn-and-Poe-and-Rey are happy?
“A lot happier than anyone has any right to be, I'd say.” She hesitates. “Are you happy about it?”
Affirmative. The function of marriage is happiness.
He said that before, back at the beginning of this, and she thinks maybe he's known more than any of them have this whole time, if only because all of them were unwilling to assume. Maybe Luke and Leia knew, and Chewbacca, but BB-8 knows Poe and Finn best and knows her well enough too. If he thinks they're going to be happy, she'll believe that.
“I think we're finally going to live up to its function, then.” Out in the kitchen, she hears Finn laughing, and she jerks her head in that direction. “Now come on. Let's go out and see them, shall we?”
Reality is intruding again, with no warning and with terrible timing, but Rey finds that she doesn't mind very much. It's hard to mind anything, as happy as she is. “How long has he been up?”
“Long enough to watch the message.” Finn touches her face and leans in to kiss her, and Rey loses herself in his mouth for a moment. “Want to go out and find him?” he whispers when they pull apart.
She'd like to stay in bed all day, but she knows she's too restless to do it, and there's the message from Luke, too. “Let's. I'm hungry, and maybe we can go for a walk, or a fly. We haven't taken the Falcon out for fun since we got here, and I promised Poe we would sometime.”
“That sounds good.”
Rey struggles her way out of the blankets first and pulls Finn after her, both of them hunting around the room for something to wear out of it. By the time they finish with both that and the inevitable distractions in the middle of it, enough time has passed that they meet Poe coming down the hall to join them in the bedroom. As soon as he sees them together, half-dressed and mussed, he smiles so bright Rey's heart hurts a little before she remembers she doesn't have to hold herself back anymore. “I was just coming to find you two. I cut up some fruit for breakfast after I was finished with my father's message.”
“How is he?” Finn asks, herding both of them back out into the main room. It does smell strongly of fruit, and Rey follows her nose to the platter of it and finds a few of the choicest pieces.
“He's good. Asking about our honeymoon, and hinting a little that he wants us to come visit sooner rather than later.” Poe is frowning now, the words coming out slower, reluctant. “Not quite yet, but … maybe in a few weeks, or a month.”
Rey goes back to him so she can put a hand on his arm, even if she's getting fruit juice on it too. “We can be ready in a month if we need to be, but if you aren't, we can pretend we didn't get the message.”
Error: data corrupted and deleted, BB-8 offers from a corner.
Finn grins at him. “Exactly.” Poe is smiling again, even if they all know none of them will do any such thing.
“I thought we might take the Falcon out for a ride later,” says Rey, and Poe shakes the last of his worries off his shoulders. “I'll listen to Luke's message first, in case it's something urgent, but we haven't explored much from the air, just gone to market. If we find somewhere that looks good, we can touch down for dinner.”
“That sounds great. We can take it slow on spending the whole day in bed.”
Rey laughs at hearing her thoughts echoed like that, and they make light conversation over breakfast, none of them bothering to sit down, just standing around the tray of fruit trading bites and leaning against each other. When they finish, Finn nudges her shoulder. “We'll leave you alone to listen to Luke's message, okay? Just in case.”
Luke would have marked the message priority if it were important or urgent, but Rey is glad for the privacy anyway. “I'll find you after,” she promises, and takes BB-8 into the meditation room so she isn't kicking them out of the common space.
BB-8 brings up the projection of Luke without being asked, and she settles in to watch him.
He still looks careworn—she thinks he always will, now—but maybe a little less than when she left, and he smiles as the message begins recording. “Rey, I hope your honeymoon is going well, and that you're all recovering and happy. We're asked about you often by friends and visiting diplomats, but nobody is paying attention to the rumors that you're on Naboo, so you still have the time you asked for.”
The fact that he mentioned there are rumors of them being on Naboo means there's a little more danger than he implied, but if they're careful their peace may last a while longer.
“I don't want to intrude on that time, but you did ask me some questions that I hope to be able to answer for you.” He frowns a little. “I don't have many answers yet, though. As you know, most of the literature about Jedi and other Force-users were destroyed when the Empire first took power, and after twenty years, they'd succeeded in eradicating most of it. The archives on Ahch-to have some information, but I don't think it's quite what you want.”
So many people have been lost since the Empire first came to power that Rey doesn't often manage to think of the other things that have been lost. Now she takes a moment to mourn the information they're going to have to build up themselves by now, taking old scraps and new improvisations and trying desperately to stitch something together out of them.
“I'm asking other people, and Leia has as much of the library as she could salvage from my first try at a school. There were texts we never used, and maybe they'll help.” He sighs. “Maybe it's time for me to learn more, too. I can't teach the Force anymore, but I can be a student again, with you and with Finn if he chooses to join us.”
Rey lets out a breath, discouraged and hopeful in equal measure. Perhaps there isn't a great store of documents that they somehow missed in the time between the Empire's fall and Ren's betrayal, but they'll learn new things. Make something completely different from the Jedi order and build it from the ground up.
“When you come back, I'll have everything I can waiting for you—whether that's here at the base, on Ahch-to, or in whatever system hosts the new Senate.” He hesitates long enough that she can see the jump where he asked R2 to take out some dead air. “The Force is with you,” he finally says, and the message ends abruptly there.
Sometimes it's not a comfort to know that she's strong in the Force. She knows what it can mean. Still, they wish it to each other, a hope for something good, and she thinks this is just Luke's way of saying she has something good now.
She knows that.
When she and BB-8 return to the main room, Finn and Poe fall silent, but they both smile at her too, bright and uncomplicated. Rey smiles back and joins them on the pile of cushions, which seems to rearrange itself every day. “He hasn't found much to say what we can be if we don't want to be Jedi, but he's going to keep looking, and when we come back we're going to learn together.” She looks at Finn. “You too, if you want. And you … you don't have to choose, if you don't want to. He says he'll move to wherever the Senate is if that's what we need.”
Poe settles into the cushions, carefully not looking at either of them. “I've been thinking maybe I should do the Senate. I grew up watching politics happen, and Leia needs as much support as she can get so that this version lasts, doesn't miss or avoid threats like the First Order until it's too late. I don't have to do it forever, but for a few years, maybe. Until the galaxy is back on its feet.”
“I don't want to do it forever, but I think a few years would be good,” Finn admits. “I'm the most visible former trooper, and the one who's had the most time to get used to how things are outside the First Order. In a year or two when a few of them have had a chance to decide what they want, I'll stop, learn how to use the Force with Rey and Luke, but for now ...”
They both look solemn, and Rey feels it too, feels the future pressing in on them, when they've been so careful to avoid it the whole time they've been on Naboo. It seems fitting that all of this is coming out in a flood now that they've started thinking of a future for themselves, and Rey holds on to that. If the future is frightening and full of years of painful work none of them are certain they want to do, they're also going to have days like this, and ones even better. She moves until she's touching them both, leaning against Finn with her feet propped on Poe's lap. Things are easier that way. “My husbands the Senators,” she says, musing. “I suppose I made a political marriage after all.”
For a moment, they're both tense, but then Poe smiles and Finn isn't far behind. “I don't think anyone in the galaxy would believe that one,” says Poe. “Pava tells me people are already fighting about who gets to make a film about us, they were even before the wedding. We're the greatest romance since the general and—since Leia and Han.”
“I'm still not ready to go back,” says Rey, to ease over the sting of that. “Not yet. A few weeks, maybe, but I want to enjoy this for a while now that I know I can.”
“We're not going anywhere yet,” says Finn, comfortingly certain. “Nobody's going to mind if we take a year. We've earned that.”
She lets him take a little more of her weight. “I'll be ready before a year is over. If nothing else, I'd miss our friends before then.” She hums. “Though if we're going to be hounded by journalists and people wanting to make films I can see the appeal of waiting a year or two.”
Both of them laugh, and it unwinds a little more of the knot in her chest that she feels like she's been carrying her whole life. She's not sure it will ever unravel fully, but with enough time and with them she thinks it might get close.
“Why are we laughing?” Rey asks when she has breath in her lungs again, finding Finn and Poe both grinning when she manages to look up at them.
“Because we won,” says Poe, some of the smile falling away from his face though his eyes are still warm.
They did win, but this may be the first time it's actually felt like a victory. They've all doomed themselves to years of nightmares, but none of them will be alone when they wake up, and there's a chance that the peace this time is going to be lasting. Even if it isn't, the slim chance that it might be is reason enough to keep fighting, to take the time they need and come back stronger.
“Because we're happy,” Finn says simply, and Rey takes a deep breath, revels in the fact that it's true now, and that it's true without feeling like a betrayal of everything and everyone they've lost.
This time, when she puts in the launch sequence, keeping the controls so they can just fly in Naboo's atmosphere, she puts it all in right, and Poe is next to her, only a beat behind. “Yes we are,” she says, fierce and joyful, and launches them off the ground.