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Running From It All

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They always ran. It was a fact of life, and the General was accustomed to it. Anyone she let into her heart left her.

Keeping Poe at arms' distance was necessary, even as she found herself taking comfort in his easy personality, so much the child of his parents. He wouldn't run; he'd be safe to keep as a friend, the way she had kept Wedge and Wes and others as friends.

No, it was the ones she loved so fully that her body choked off her very breath with fear for them that left. Han could never stay, and he always took Chewie with him, thank the Force. Luke had run far away and hidden, because…

…because Ben had run away where none of them could follow. How had she failed her son so much? Why hadn't she given him more of her time and attention?

Thinking about her son consumed what free time she allowed herself. If she thought too long on it, though, she'd do the same thing. She'd given her entire life to the Rebellion or the Resistance. Who would fault her if she ran now?

"General?"

The hesitant voice drew her attention around, and it was Rey standing there. Rey was the one who carried the mark of Han's death on her. The boy, Finn, he'd been there too, but Finn was still healing in medical. Rey was the one Chewie had chosen. Rey would leave soon, to go find Luke. Would she ever come back?

Better not to open her heart too much, or the fate would be set.

"You need things, before you go," Leia said in a more formal tone than she'd meant to use. Rey straightened, almost like a soldier, and it made the lightsaber on her hip more visible. Leia started to crumple at the sight of it, reminded all over of her losses, of the fact they always left her alone.

Rey was suddenly at her side, arm around her and guiding her to sit on the bed. The connection between them was thick with concern, and Leia let herself lean into it, too weak in her emotions to resist the support.

"I will come back, even if he says no, General," Rey said, and Leia stared at her. She hadn't voiced her fears, yet the girl knew them.

"We'll see, Rey. I'd rather you bring him home, but if you don't, and he won't teach you, we'll have to find a different way," Leia said, trying to shove her emotions down.

"I think, as long as I have you to help me, I can do just fine on my own, ma'am," Rey said, eyes set with determination… and emotional vulnerability.

Leia laced her fingers in the young woman's, not speaking. If she didn't say anything, Rey wouldn't run away forever.