Rey has nightmares after she returns to the Resistance with Master Skywalker.
The dreams come on sudden, dropping her into the middle of a battle, behind the cockpit of an X-wing; at the end of a lightsaber as she runs it through a mercenary; in the middle of a swamp, feeling her powers fail her.
After leaving D'Qar, the Resistance has settled on has near a lake, a vast body of water that still feels ridiculous, extravagant, even though Rey has now seen her fair share of wet planets. Rey likes to stand on this one cliffside, where a breeze comes off the surface, and she can see clear to the other side. It's backed by a cluster of trees, perfect for the meditation exercises that Master Skywalker gives her each day.
When the nightmares are particularly bad, she'll go out for a walk by the lake, where she can be soothed by the smooth, unmoving surface, reflecting back the light of the planet's three moons.
This night, she was woken by a dream of being left behind on an ocean planet. In the dream, Rey cried and screamed as the General's ship lifted off the ground, and when it cleared the atmosphere, all she could hear was an echoing silence.
The lake is quiet, but not silent. At night, there's always the steady humming of one of the local mammals, filling up the space between the trees. Rey scrambles up to her favorite spot, taking deep breaths of the planet's air with every movement. It's so damp, so humid. It sits heavy and pleasant in her lungs.
It's brighter tonight than usual. The moons are all full at the same time.
That's probably the only reason she notices them. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees movement down on the rocky beach next to the edge of the water. Two figures are leaning against each other, more dark shadows than anything else. Reaching out with the Force, she senses that it's Finn and that pilot -- Poe Dameron.
More than that, she senses a spark of-- desire, something too private, too intimate for her to look at any longer. She physically turns away, breathing hard.
She's not upset. Finn's been without her while she was out finding Master Skywalker. He's had time to make other friends -- to discover other feelings.
She turns back towards the base and scrambles down from her vantage point. This was a bad idea. She puts distance between herself and the lake, giving Finn and Poe the privacy they want.
When she gets back to her room, she dreams of Finn getting run through with Kylo Ren's lightsaber.
The next morning, she passes Poe Dameron in the hallway, looking rumpled and happy. He smiles at her, pleasant and friendly. Rey just nods at him, keeps her eyes down.
His concern and confusion follow her all the way to Master Skywalker's room.
When Rey isn't busy training with Master Skywalker, she likes to spend her days in the hangar with the ships. It's far busier than she's used to. She liked the cavernous, echoing emptiness of the Star Destroyers where she would scavenge for parts, and now she's surrounded by these tiny fighters, swarming with tiny people.
One of the X-Wings has a faulty stabilizer, and Rey works with Mora, one of the long-time Resistance mechanics, to replace it. Her hands get covered in grease and her hair starts falling out of the bun she tied up earlier.
Finn stops by after lunch. He's grinning from ear-to-ear, radiating his happiness into the air around him. He clambers up a ladder so that he can sit next to her on one of the S-foils, swinging his legs over the side, bumping her shoulder with his.
Rey makes sure to smile back, to hug him tight enough to let him know how happy she is that he's happy.
"How's it going?" he asks. He makes a gesture towards the ship she's been repairing.
Rey shrugs. "It's fine," she says with a shrug. The back of Finn's hand is pressed against her elbow.
Another X-Wing returns, the roar of its engines echoing through the hanger. The two of them watch as it spins in the air, landing gear extending as it lowers itself to the ground.
"Oh, that's Poe," Finn says. His smile gets wider, wide enough to show off his teeth, and Rey thinks about kissing him. Finn continues, "He's been training some of the newer recruits and doesn't get a chance to fly by himself all that much anymore, but he's really really good."
Rey tries to smile back. "He seems nice."
"He's great," Finn says, his voice far away and dreamy. He doesn't look away from the X-Wing as the cockpit retracts and Poe steps out in his bright orange flightsuit, chatting amiably to the mechanic who stops by to help him.
Rey looks down at her hands, at the hydrospanner clenched in her fist, and she doesn't say anything else.
"You're gripping the handle too tightly," Master Skywalker says.
Rey checks the positioning of the lightsaber in her hands. It feels weightless compared to her staff, insubstantial, like it will skitter out of her hands after the first swing. They're outside, next to the lake, where the dirt underneath Rey's shoes is damp and soft from the rain last night. The air is cool and breezy, and the sunlight is warm on Rey's skin.
"You do that when you're agitated," he continues. There's a question underneath his words.
Rey flicks the lightsaber off and clips it to her belt afterwards. "I'm fine," she says.
At first, after she returned to the Resistance, Finn was around all the time. He would ask about the Force, about her training, about the Millennium Falcon. His eyes would light up, and he would look at her like she was the most amazing person in the entire galaxy. But the moments Rey liked best were the ones where she would find him in the barracks or in the mess hall, surrounded by other people. He would smile and laugh and look honestly surprised by the affection and camaraderie that existed between everyone. She liked to see him like that, unaware of how amazing he really was
Now, he's always busy, always saying 'Poe this' and 'Poe that' and half the time they spend together, he seems like he's somewhere else. Rey's not angry about it, but she is a little-- sad. Finn was her first real friend, and she can't tell whether or not he's slipping away.
Master Skywalker watches her with a steady, unflinching gaze. In this light, his eyes are a clear, unsettling gray. "I don't want you to hurt yourself," he says, voice soft. "You should take the rest of the day off."
Rey bristles at first. She's climbed through the vent shafts of a Star Destroy scavenging for power cells with a broken finger. This is nothing. "I can do this," she says.
An enigmatic smile spreads across Master Skywalker's face. "I know," he says, "but you shouldn't." He nods back at the bulky brown fabricated building that serves as the main headquarters for the Resistance. "Avoiding your feelings is the least productive way of coping with them. Take it from someone who has a little experience."
Rey sighs. He's always saying things like that, but it never seems to mean anything. "Okay," she says.
She's alone in the mess hall when a tray clatters down onto the table across from her.
Poe settles down into the seat, still in his orange flight suit. He smiles in a way that seems mostly honest. "Hi," he says.
Rey nods at him. "Hi," she says back.
"Finn speaks very highly of you, as does the General," Poe continues. "I figured it would be good if we were-- friends."
Rey studies him, the quirk of his lips, the thickness of his eyebrows, the curl of his hair. He's handsome enough, friendly enough. She can see why Finn would like him, would want to be around him more often. "Okay," she says.
"How's Chewie doing? I remember him being around when I was little, but I haven't spoken to him in so long, and my Wookiee is rusty."
What does Rey say to that? Last she saw of Chewbacca, he was getting into an argument with Nien Nunb about the best way to upgrade the Falcon's engines. "He's good." She pushes some vegetables around her plate. She also wants some bread, but she doesn't have any on her plate right now, and Poe is staring at her. She'd feel self-conscious about standing up .
Poe says, "You know, sometimes I have a reputation for being a little... thick, but I get the feeling you don't like me all that much."
Rey looks at him. He has a gentle smile and a brightness in his dark eyes. It's impossible to fake that sort of kindness, as far as Rey's seen, and Rey has seen all sorts come through Niima Outpost. No wonder Finn is-- She says, "It's not that I don't like you."
"Okay," Poe says. His forehead furrows.
"I just--" she shrugs. "--don't know you all that well." Rey knows plenty about what Finn thinks of him, but that's not the same thing at all.
"Well," Poe says, somehow even now, smiling a bit, "we can fix that."
Poe does invite her to work on his X-Wing. It's not much more than routine maintenance: cleaning the engines, patching up loose panels, system checks on the flight computers. Poe obviously doesn't need her help with any of it -- both he and BB-8 have the whole process down to a science.
Still, he trusts her with serious work. He doesn't try to explain simple concepts to her. He asks her about herself -- not about what it was like to live on Jakku or anything about her family, but about the ships she's seen in the past, the ones she's had a chance to work on, the ones she's had a chance to fly.
"More exciting than all these X-Wings, I'm sure," Poe says, laughing. "They're all on the verge of falling apart, but I wouldn't have them any other way." He pats the nose of his X-Wing, where the orange paint is chipped and fading.
"I like them," Rey says. She likes the sleek way they dip and weave, likes the elegant engineering of their engines, bigger than most of the newer ones, but simpler, too. She finishes patching together some loose wires before closing up the panel she's working on.
"Yeah, I've always loved the design. My mother flew them, too, back when we were the Rebellion. I never wanted to fly anything else." He looks so fond while remembering her that Rey's almost hesitant to say anything.
Rey thinks about the helmet in her old AT-AT, the way she liked to put it on from time to time, look out at the world from behind the orange visor and imagine what space would look like from the inside of a cockpit. "Me, too," she says. "They were hard to scavenge from, back on Jakku, but I liked finding them and think about how they'd fly."
Poe studies her face, He's not easy to read, the way Finn is. He hides things in his smile. "Come with me," he says, eventually. He turns and walks down towards the far side of the hanger.
Rey scrambles to keep up with him. "Where are we going?" she asks.
He smiles in a way that could mean anything, but his feelings of warmth and amusement leak out into the force. "To get you fitted for a flight suit."
Rey takes a deep breath. The cockpit of the X-Wing is smaller than what she's used to. She's not claustrophobic, but it's so different from the larger freighter cockpit of the Falcon. It takes some mental adjustment. At least she recognizes all of the controls. All the ships have similar ones, more or less.
BB-8 burbles a question at her from where he's sitting in the astromech pod.
"Yes," Rey says. "I'm ready."
She fires the thrusters and guides the X-Wing out of the hanger. It's is more responsive than she's used to, letting her duck lower then soar higher with just the slightest adjustment.
The planet is covered in forest, green and blue leaves stretching out in every direction. It pulses with energy in the Force, and Rey can feel it with every breath in and out, in and out.
Poe's voice crackles over the comms. "You're lookin' good," he says. She turns to the left, catches sight of his own fighter on her wing.
She tilts the nose of her ship up, until it's facing the red-purple-orange sky. Poe follows her. On Jakku, she imagined flying an X-Wing would be about shooting down TIE fighters, attacking Imperial field stations, rescuing prisoners of war, but this is better.
Like this, it's just movement and speed and delight. She doesn't have to think about her responsibilities as Luke's student, doesn't have to worry about the next mission that Jessika might go on, doesn't have to face down General Organa if she fails.
She glances over at Poe's cockpit, He's little more than a shadow from what she can see, but that shadow gives her a thumbs up, and she laughs.
She climbs out of the cockpit afterwards sweaty and smiling. Poe lands his X-Wing next to hers.
When she climbs out and sets her feet on the durarete hangar floor again, she finds Finn waiting there for them.
"Rey?" Finn asks, squinting until Rey pulls her flight helmet off. His eyes widen, before a bright, beautiful grin spreads across his face. "That was amazing! You guys were great out there."
"Yeah," Rey says, ducking her head, feeling shy again. "Poe offered to let me fly one."
At that moment, Poe comes up behind her and throws an arm over her shoulder. "Great run for a rookie, but you have to keep a better eye out on your right wing."
Rey winces. "You're right. That tree didn't deserve that."
Finn glances between the two of them, and it is weird, with him looking at her and Poe, instead of her looking at Poe and him. His brow furrows for a moment before he smiles. "Do you want to grab dinner? I'm starving."
"Definitely," Poe says, and he's smiling back.
Rey extricates herself from Poe's side, ready to give the two of them some time alone together. She turns back towards the locker room, so she can change out of the bulky flightsuit and back into her normal clothes.
"Hey," Finn says. "Where are you going?"
Rey blinks at him. She gestures over her shoulder. "You were going to get dinner."
Poe looks at her again, and she feels a strange sort of understanding pass through him, but that doesn't make any sense. "We were inviting you, too."
"Oh," Rey says. She pushes her messy hair behind one ear. "Sure."
Rey expects it to be awkward over dinner, with her watching the two of them together again, but it's-- nice. They don't talk around her. Poe actually makes some funny jokes that have her and Finn keeling over with laughter. Even though it feels a little strange, Finn still looks at her the way he always has, like he can't look away. She waits for signs of jealousy from Poe, a thread of annoyance or upset coming from his direction, but there's nothing. He smiles at her, and all she feels is his happiness.
After dinner, she finally gets a round in the 'fresher and a chance to change out of her flight suit. It's quiet again, just her at this time of night, and she's not sure she likes it.
She walks out of the locker room and finds Finn and Poe waiting for her as she ties back her hair. They have their heads bent together, whispering to one another, but their eyes snap up to her as soon as she enters the hallway.
"Hi," she says. "What are you doing here?" She was expecting them to go back to Poe's room (nicer, because he's an officer) while she went back to her own, where she'll have to catch up on all the meditation she's already missed for today.
They exchange a look, and that familiar discomfort burns in the pit of Rey's stomach. Finn's the one who speaks, "We were waiting for you."
"We wanted you to come back with us, to-- talk," Poe continues.
There's something here that Rey is missing, but she trusts them. "Sure," she says.
Finn grabs her hand, his fingers warm and strong, as they navigate the hallways still bustling with people. Poe sticks to her other side, but he doesn't touch her. Rey isn't sure how she feels about that.
When they get back to the room, Poe taps the controls, and the door slides shut behind them. "Okay," he says. "So." He runs a hand through his hair, and it's the first time she feels like she's ever seen him at a loss. The room is small, as they all are, not really designed for three standing people all at once. All she would need to do is reach out to touch either of them.
"Can I kiss you?" Finn blurts out. He's all eager nerves and anticipation; his emotions are so loud, Rey thinks she feels nervous and anticipatory herself.
She looks up at Poe to gauge his reaction, but he's just smiling again. "Go ahead," he says, and something slots into place.
"Oh," Rey says. She looks at Finn, so kind and so handsome, and she lifts her hands to his face, leaning in so that she can brush her lips against his. And then she moves closer, deepening it. His arms wrap around her, warm and steady and comfortable.
She pulls back from the kiss breathing heavily. Finn's eyes flutter open, dazed.
Poe laughs. "He always gets like that when you kiss him," he says, and Rey thinks of the way he explained the tricks to flying an X-Wing, like a secret to be shared.
"It's nice," Rey says to him, grinning back.
"Hey! I'm right here," Finn grumbles, but he's flush with affection all the same.
"Can I kiss you, too?" Poe asks her, and now he sounds like he did when he approached her in the mess hall, curious and careful.
Rey holds out a hand. "Yes."
He closes the gap between them, cups her face in his palms. His hands are smaller than Finn's, but his fingers are longer. His lips are shaped differently -- thinner. He's more sure of himself than Finn is. He kisses that way, too.
When he pulls back, he asks, "Okay?"
Rey nods. It's strange, this feeling, this rush of connection and comfort. For so long, the only person she had was herself.
"Stay here, with us," Poe says. Finn nods enthusiastically in agreement.
Rey looks at them, and she thinks about the nights on Jakku, the way they could get so cold and so windy that even the AT-AT's insulation would rattle with it. She thinks about the warmth of Poe's body, so warm even where they're not touching. She thinks of Finn's hand in her own, sometimes sweaty, sometimes dirty, but always firm. "Okay," she says.
Finn laughs, and Poe smiles, and Rey reaches out to touch, to hold them both at once.
She sleeps soundly that night; she doesn't dream.