As Finn watched, one of the little Bptan succeeded in rolling the whole series of balls through the numbered arches. Lights flashed and the Bptan crowed in triumph, its skinny orange arms thrown over its head. Its dozen identical clutchmates danced around it as the stallholder handed over a stuffed model tauntaun made of cloth, easily twice the Bptan's size. The children hauled the model off, burbling with laughter, though Finn didn't understand why they were so happy. He couldn't think of a single practical use for the thing.
A shadow blocked out the afternoon sunlight, and Finn looked up to see Rey standing over him. "Here," she said, holding out something steaming and spicy-smelling on a stick. "Poe said we should try this."
Finn accepted the stick from her, and Rey sat down beside him: her legs tucked neatly beneath her, her back utterly straight, in the way her Jedi training was teaching her to carry herself. The light picked up the few strands of hair that had pulled free of her braid, gilding them. Finn jerked his gaze away. "What is it?"
"I have no idea," Rey said, hitching one shoulder, "but Poe said that food on a stick is tradition." She had a stick of her own, though whatever was on hers was a deeper shade of blue and sprinkled with little seeds.
She took a bite of the stick-food—Finn could hear the crunch of something chitinous—and then chewed stoically. Finn figured that was all the encouragement he needed and tore off a bit of his own food. It didn't exactly taste good, each mouthful squeaking unpleasantly against his teeth, but if there was one thing Finn's time in the First Order had taught him, it was not to question the origins of a good supply of protein.
They sat side by side eating as the bazaar whirled on around them. Finn didn't know if he'd ever been surrounded by so many people who were all so busy doing nothing in particular. The rebel outpost on D'Qar might have been far less orderly than any base where Finn had ever been stationed, but even it couldn't compare to the multicoloured tumult of the markets of Tfee. It was common to hear Alliance personnel laugh and joke with one another as they worked; Finn sometimes heard the pilots singing together as they carried out maintenance on their fighters. But that had always been bustle with a purpose. Half the people in Tfee City seemed to exist with no goal in mind at all—they laughed and danced and ate, a swirl of people from more planets than Finn could name.
"So," Finn said carefully once he'd finished eating. "This is what fun is?"
"That's what Poe said," Rey replied. She was picking a stray seed from her teeth with the end of her stick.
"Huh." General Organa was insistent on the importance of her troops getting regular R and R—rest and relaxation, Poe had explained with a funny look on his face when Finn had asked what arrenarr was—and everyone on the base had been adamant that Tfee was the most fun you could have within a day's travel of D'Qar's system.
("Just remember," Pava had said solemnly, in a way that Finn was learning to understand meant she was joking, "what happens on Tfee stays on Tfee.")
Finn checked his chrono surreptitiously. They had to have at least four more standard hours of fun before they headed back to D'Qar, or Poe would be disappointed with them. Finn definitely didn't want that—Poe's mouth would turn down distractingly at the corners, and BB-8 would definitely say something rude. "What else did Poe say we should do?"
"We could put on other people's clothes and dance in a procession at sunset," Rey said, planting her stick in the ground like a leafless sapling. "Or there are competitions where you guess the weight of a live caraboose, or try to throw a really big piece of wood a long way." She sounded about as dubious at the prospect of all of this as Finn felt.
"I don't think I'm very good at having fun," he admitted.
"Me either," Rey said with a huff. "It's one thing to sit and rest at the end of a day's work, or if you're hurt and can't scavenge, but I don't get the point of spending all day doing this."
Finn thought a moment, twirling his stick between his fingers. "You know, on the way into the bazaar I think I spotted a scrap dealer. We could go see if they have that part you were looking for for the sublight engines."
Rey lit up, the way she always did at the thoughts of tinkering with the Falcon, and she jumped to her feet. "Yes! And maybe even something to help me with those mods I want to make on the hyperspace integrator."
Finn tossed the stick to one side, got up, and followed Rey as she moved through the crowds, which parted to let her pass—the Force easing her way, perhaps, or maybe just people reacting to the sight of a warrior carrying herself, straight-backed and proud.
"Well?" she called over her shoulder at Finn.
"'Well' what?" Finn replied, ducking around a slow-moving messenger droid.
"What's it going to take for you to hold my hand this time?"
Finn startled for a moment, almost tripping over his own feet, but then the grin that spread across his face was broad and helpless. "I can—yeah, I can do that," he said, reaching out and enjoying the feel of Rey's warm, callused palm against his, thrilling at the tangle of her fingers with his own. Colour bloomed high in Rey's cheeks, and Finn couldn't stop staring at her now that he finally had permission to really look. "I can definitely do this," he said, and thought maybe they weren't so bad at this having fun thing after all.