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Rest and Repair

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Nights on Jakku could be brutal. Dry heat turned to dry chill quickly, drawing away heat from anyone who dared travel after dark. It was hard for anyone—native and transplant alike—to live, let alone live well. But Rey knew what it took to survive. The confines of her AT-AT weren't perfect but it was an environment she could manipulate as she saw fit. Whether there were sounds that needed to be muffled or seals that needed to be reinforced, any problem that sprang up could be solved with her ingenuity.

It wasn't the same on Ahch-To. Humidity hung in the air and clung to her at all times, leaving her days warmer and nights colder than she had expected. During the day, she was able to ignore the sludge. Her mind, of course, was focused on the tasks at hand. But at night her body and mind stilled, leaving one thing on which to focus. Rey spent, at least, half her nights shivering and awake. She spent that time concocting ways to dull the wind's rattle or beat back the vegetation infiltrating her room—anything to make her world bearable.

On her own, thought would eventually equal action: she would formulate a plan and then scavenge or barter her way toward all the materials she needed. It was hard work but it always paid off. She had neither the time nor the access to such things in this new home.

Oh, how she wished she could return to the Falcon! It wouldn't have everything she needed but it would have blankets and tools, let alone a little extra man power to make sure each project was completed. But it was off limits.

There wasn't a week that passed that she hadn't asked about their companions near the shore. His answer never changed: "In due time."

The answer was clear enough: those two were pieces of a past he had run from. He wasn't ready to face them yet. She understood that. She could even respect it.

But she was cold just the same.

It wasn't long until she realized that focusing on solving the cold had led her to ignore the hole developing in the ceiling of her room. A sudden crack of thunder sent her eyes flashing up into its line of sight. She heard the rain thrum against the wall and sighed. A cold drip fell between her eyes. "This cannot last."

So she didn't care if she was quiet as she dragged her stiff pallet through the temple. With threadbare sheet wrapped around her shoulders like a cape, she jerked and jolted her bed toward its destination. Flickers of lightning through the windows lit the way toward his room. Rey smirked as the hall narrowed to a simple door at the end. She threw open that door and, eyes shut tight, shouted, "I need you!"

Rey opened her eyes to an unlit room. As she stared into the darkness she knew one thing: his eyes were on her. She could feel his gaze reaching out to her from the pitch black room. Lightening flashed and, for a moment, she saw his silhouette shift up and over. Rey sighed as she let the mattress drift to the floor. "Master, please, I need your assistance."

"What is it?"

The darkness parted as Rey's vision adjusted to the dim light. Luke came into focus. He and his pallet were the only things in his room. She looked down into blinking weary eyes. This wasn't an unfamiliar look: Rey knew there was much about her Master that was obvious yet unsaid. But this look seemed new. Did he have the same problem as she?

She knelt down next to his pallet, letting her sheet cape fan out about her, and said, "I can't sleep."

"Is this a new problem?"

"No!" a voice screeched inside her mind. She pushed that voice to the side with a blink. "I can't still myself," she said slowly. "My mind doesn't stop moving."

He nodded. "Meditation may offer...," he began.

"Not this time!" Her voice came out gruff, halting. She straightened her back and cleared her throat. "Forgive me, Master, but I don't think that will help. My mind focuses on the chill, on the wind. The cold infects my body and my mind can't shake it. Meditation may offer help but it won't solve the core problem."

Luke pulled away from her, shifting over to the far side of this pallet. Tilting his head back, he stared at her. Rey blinked, hoping to keep her insecurity hidden. "And what do you suggest?" he asked.

Rey leaned back and patted her pallet. "We sleep together."

Luke's brows knitted together, forcing Rey to stifle a giggle. "It's not like it sounds. We just have to share resources. The bed itself is fine but this isn't suitable for me," she said, rubbing the sheet between her fingers. She reached out and took his sheet in hand. "Yours is no better than mine. But..."

"Together..."

"Yes! Together we may both be warm. We push our beds together and use both sheets for warmth. We needn't even touch."

"Two threadbare sheets will be enough?" he asked.

Rey nodded, ignoring the smirk that seemed to slip into her Master's lips. "It will be something. And it'll be better than what we have now."

Luke looked away. Rey followed suit, unwilling to watch him think his way through this. Her back sharpened at his response: "Why not?"

"Really!"

"If it will help you sleep."

Rey jumped into action and pushed her pallet next to his. As she untied the sheet from her neck she said, "You won't regret this."

Luke didn't respond. She didn't notice at first. Rey almost audibly buzzed as she spread her sheet across the two beds. She paused, eyes focused on the sight. The second sheet flashed out in front of her before drifting delicately toward the floor. She could only smile.

She glanced at him and her smile dimmed. Luke stared down at the bed, mouth twisted in grim determination. "We don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with."

"No, it's fine," he said. Luke looked at her and smiled. "It'll be good for us both."

"Good," she said, barely audible. Her eyes shifted back to the bed. "Well then…"

"Let's go to bed?"

"Yes." Her eyes never drifted up. Rey sank down next to the pallet. She crept beneath the sheets and pulled them over her head. She heard him slip down behind her and shut her eyes tight. "If I do this, I can pretend he's not there," she reasoned. Should she acknowledge that he was there and bid him a good night, especially since she had awakened him? Rey kept quiet. Luke's silence confirmed her choice. She let out a deep breath and tried to drift away.

Except she couldn't. The cold, though no longer as biting, still nipped at her fingers and tickled behind her knees. Rey pulled her limbs close and tried to bury her head even deeper beneath the sheets. Her breath came out in pained, frenzied bursts. She wanted to coil in around herself and trap the last bit of heat that emanated from her.

There was a sharp, sudden freeze that seeped in from behind. Her limbs shot back out and she nearly screamed aloud. She heard a breath pull in sharply by her neck. "I'm sorry," he said. "I...I didn't quite realize how cold it was."

"Why...why are you...?"

Gently, he pulled her closer. She didn't resist. In a moment, she felt her body hit against his hips. She straightened and her back ran against his chest. "Why did you pull me close?"

Luke lay silent a moment. Finally, he said, "I saw you. I could hear you. You weren't doing so well."

"I would've been fine."

"Hardly!" The room again went quiet. "Listen, your idea was fine," he said, his breath nipping at her neck, "but it doesn't really work if we're so far apart. You can't share heat unless you get close."

"Maybe." Rey bit her lip and tried to relax. She was surprised by how quickly her tensions seemed to give way. She shifted again, nestling closer against his body. Save the hand, she couldn't deny that he was warm. Her breath slowed and her eyes again closed.

"Rey?"

"Yes, Master?" she asked.

"Did you sleep well on Jakku?"

"No, not really," she answered through a yawn.

He draped an arm over her and said, "Let's see how you feel tomorrow. This may be the way to go."

Rey nodded and pulled his arm closer. It was the last thing she remembered that night.

She woke the next morning slowly. She shrugged, attempting to move his arm. There was nothing there. Rey reached behind her and found that space was empty. She stretched out, sighing as the dregs of the night withered away.

"How did you sleep?"

Her eyes jolted open. Luke sat a few feet away. "Well," she managed to say. "You?"

He shrugged. "I can't complain."

Rey sat up. She took a moment to examine him. Was he different? She couldn't tell. "Then I guess we'll be doing that again tonight."

"I guess so." He rose up with ease. "Hurry up. We've got a lot to do this morning."

Rey nodded. She remained in place until he left. She fell back onto the bed once she was sure he was gone. She would get on with the day soon enough. But not just yet.