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A Lonely Company

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Rey is deep in the Falcon's controls, muttering insults at the wiring, when General Organa finds her.

“Han never used to talk to it, but I think that's more because they knew each other too well than because he didn't want to,” the general calls down, and Rey comes out, dusting her hands against her clothes, smearing oil.

“It's like it's broken on purpose,” Rey says, a little frustrated. She's never met a machine she couldn't fix before, and she owes the Falcon, and owes Chewbacca, who it belongs to now, and Han, who it used to belong to. “Sometimes on Jakku—well, things went a little easier, sometimes, if I could talk a problem out loud.”

General Organa touches a hand gently to a wall, some random spot that her hand finds unerringly, some piece of memory caught there. “Maybe it just doesn't want to move. Machines aren't alive in the Force, not the way a plant or a person is, but—”

“But they have some sort of life. They can miss people,” Rey agrees, and looks down. “Sorry.”

“Don't be.” She coughs, looking for Rey's attention. “I've been told by reliable sources that you've been here for hours. The mess hall will be serving dinner. Come on. If you come, maybe they'll stare at you more than at me.”

Rey never realized the world outside Jakku could be so kind.

*

The second one problem is fixed, another crops up, and Rey sets herself to fixing them with jaw-clenched determination, still going hours after Chewbacca leaves to regale Luke Skywalker's R2 unit with tales of his adventures with Han.

She isn't shocked that General Organa is the one to come to her. “My quartermaster tells me you have a perfectly good bunk.”

“I can't sleep.”

“And my medical staff tells me that your friend Finn might not wake for some time.”

Rey almost tears a wire from its socket. “I know that. I can't do anything for him, waiting there, but I might be able to do something here.” She dashes at her eyes and ducks her head and feels like a child when General Organa comes to stand next to her, a steady presence at her shoulder that may as well be an arm around her. “And you shouldn't be comforting me—not with—”

“If it's a competition, I don't think anyone is winning.” General Organa sighs and touches Rey's arm gently, and Rey just barely brings herself to turn and face her. “We're both going to miss him. Isn't that enough?”

“You loved him. I just—”

“Believe me,” says General Organa. “I know.”

*

“I want you to go after Luke.”

Rey looks up from the mess of a picked-apart hyperdrive that's on the floor in front of her to find General Organa standing, resolved and poised as ever. Rey would like to be like her, someday. “He's your brother. Wouldn't he be more likely to come home for you?”

“I don't think so.” That should be bitter, but it's wry instead. Rey doesn't know how General Organa manages to avoid bitterness. “And if he won't come back, you deserve training that I can't give you with his light saber.”

When she can sleep, Rey's dreams are restless, half memories of her time on Starkiller base and half, she thinks, glimpses of the Force around her. The Force is terrifying and wonderful and the only purpose she has, right now, so she nods, and looks at the spare parts around her. “And Finn?”

“You look after my brother, I'll look after your friend,” she says, instantly. “And Poe will too, when he can. He won't be alone when he wakes up.”

She would be gladder if she could be with him when it happened, so she could make sure he knows that she wanted to stay, that she would have, the same way he came after her when she never could have expected it. It still eases her worry a little, to know he'll be watched over. “If you think I can help, General, I owe it to you.”

“It's Leia, to people who don't take my direct orders.”

“This isn't a direct order?”

“I'm hoping it will be a favor to a friend.”

Rey looks at the parts of the Falcon strewn around her, and thinks of Han and Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker and how lonely Leia Organa must be, lonely in such a different way than Rey was on Jakku even if they were both left by the people who love them. “Okay. Leia. I'll find your brother for you.”

Leia is looking at the ship parts as well, and she's smiling when she says “It was always the hyperdrive that gave us the most trouble.”

*

When the Falcon starts up perfectly for Rey, nothing new instantly breaking down, she feels as though she's passed some sort of test, made herself worthy of sitting in the pilot's seat where Han used to sit, and Chewbacca nods at her as though he agrees.

She goes to find Leia in her office. “It's fixed,” she says when she's allowed in, talking her way past a droid and a secretary who are both as fiercely protective and loyal as everyone else on the base seems to be. “I can go whenever you would like me to.”

“This afternoon, if you can. I'll send Chewie to the quartermaster for supplies. He knows how much you'll need for a journey of that length.” She looks tired, but there's a glint in her eyes. “Before you go, maybe you would do me a favor?”

“A favor for a friend?” Rey asks, careful.

Leia's mouth twists a little, but she nods. “Take me for a little ride first.”

It seems fitting, that Leia get the chance, some kind of greeting or farewell she needs to have before they go on their journey and hope they find Luke Skywalker. Rey nods. “Do you know how to work the copilot controls, or should we bring Chewbacca?”

Leia smiles and stands up. “I think I remember how to do it. Let's go find out.”