D’Qar doesn’t have a lot of the same stars as Jakku, Rey thought to herself.
The thought wasn’t particularly surprising. D’Qar was an entirely different planet from sandy, dry Jakku. D’Qar was green, lush with grass, plants, trees that all thrived in the humidly muggy air, air which made Rey’s hair stick to her neck in tangles whenever she spent more than five minutes outside. Although the stickiness didn’t make Rey love D’Qar any less.
The whole planet was simply built for distraction, with so many nooks for her to explore and crannies to seek out that Rey could (and often was) outside for hours. Hours that, if she was honest with herself, would otherwise be spent trying to stop herself from dragging Poe down into the infirmary to help her force the Resistance’s tiny medical staff to give her an update on how long, really, it would take for Finn to recover or from trying to imagine what she’d say to Luke Skywalker when they finally met (besides “hey, Tatooine boy, you hate sand too?”)
So by day Rey explored the surface of D’Qar, and by night she tried to map the planet’s stars. Slowly.
“Nice night for stargazing, isn’t it?” a soft voice called from behind her.
“General,” Rey murmured back, hoping she didn’t sound surprised at seeing General Leia walking across the roof towards her, the General’s boots thudding softly on top of the roof of the Resistance bunker Rey had sat down on. “Yes, it is.”
“Not many people looking up at the stars these days though,” the General said as she came to stop next to Rey. “Hoping you’ll see someone taking off?”
“No,” Rey said. “Just trying to learn all the new patterns.”
“The constellations here are new. For me, I mean, so I- I thought I’d try to learn them.”
“Ah,” Leia hummed as she looked up at the sky, and for a brief moment the night was punctured only by the chirps of nocturnal forest animals Rey had no name for. “Are any familiar?” Leia asked at last.
“I found the Rebel,” Rey said quickly.
“…I don’t think I know that one,” Leia said, sitting down beside her. “Where is it?”
“Right there,” Rey said gesturing to a cluster of stars. “See, those two large bright stars in the center form the edge of her blaster belt; the four trapezoidal stars below her belt are her legs and the arch of stars above it her arms; and that last bit at the top is her head. Oh, and her blaster’s there,” Rey continued, pointing at a bright star that was surrounded by a host of tinier ones a little to the left of the belt.
“I think I see it,” Leia said slowly. “They call that one the Rebel?”
“On Jakku at least. I remember, when I was little, that people would say it’s the woman who stole the Death Star plans, still fighting in the stars. ‘Course, nobody ever said that when they saw First Order people around.”
“The woman who stole the plans. Her name was Jyn Erso.”
Rey stared at the older woman, suddenly reminded that the General had actually been alive in those days. “Did-did you know her?”
“No. No, I never got the chance to. Jyn died in the second trial fire of the Death Star just after she beamed the plans into space, where it got copied and, eventually, passed onto a disk and placed in my hands.”
“I was supposed to meet her though,” Leia went on. “My ship was in orbit, and I was standing, watching the planet when she died. I watched many good people die, in those days.”
“I…I am so sorry,” Rey murmured. “Not that that’s enough, I know but still. I am sorry.”
“Yes well,” Leia said after a moment, “it’s nice to hear that it’s her up there now.”
“It wasn’t before?”
Leia shook her head. “They called it the Naboo Queen when I was growing up,” she said. “After my mother.”
“Oh,” Rey said. “I never heard-”
“Not many have,” Leia interrupted. “The First Order’s not big on Rebel War Heroes, let alone the ones related to me.”
“Could you tell me? About her?”
Leia turned, looking almost surprised in the starlight. “You would really want to know?”
“I don’t like forgetting family,” Rey mumbled cautiously.
“Besides,” Rey continued, “it is such a lovely night. It be a shame to waste it, right?”
Leia smiled. “Yes, al- alright,” she said. “I- yes. Yes, well. My mother. Force, where do I begin to talk about Padme Amidala…”
And as Rey listened to Leia speak about heroes almost forgotten by the galaxy they had once fought to save, the night drifted until it disappeared, at last, into the haze of a D’Qar dawn.