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Acquired Taste

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Within a few hours of leaving Crait, pretty much every horizontal surface in the Falcon was covered with sleeping bodies. With how stims and the first shock of stress were surely leaching from people's systems, that came as no surprise to Poe. Most of the time, he would have joined them. They were safe in hyperspace for now, there was plenty of work ahead of them, and a nap would have gone a long way towards easing the dull pain in his head caused by days without real sleep. Finn and Rose were already huddled together on one of the bunks; the comm staff lay in a row along the corridor that led to the main cargo bay. Even the general was asleep, swaddled in her cloak and her head pillowed on the table in the lounge so that all that could be seen of her was the braided mass of her hair.

Poe wasn't going to let himself close his eyes. If he did, he'd sleep. If he slept, he'd dream. If he dreamt, he knew what he'd see. All the people who weren't here. All the absences that made it possible for the Falcon to carry every living member of the Resistance, and for Poe to still be able to walk a clear path to the galley.

He mixed up some instant caf, and then after a second's thought poured a second cup. Poe carried both with him to the cockpit, where he found Rey sitting in the pilot's chair with her knees pulled up to her chest, staring out at the bright blur of hyperspace.

"Everyone else is asleep for now. Thought you could do with something. Caf?" He held one of the cups out to her.

Rey stirred, sat upright, and took the cup readily enough, though her nose wrinkled as she looked down at the drink.

"Not a fan?" Poe asked as he sat down in the co-pilot's seat. It wobbled ever so slightly beneath him—bolts coming loose, he thought; he could fix that later—but the worn synthleather was so comfortable beneath him that it was hard to care. He knocked back his first mouthful of caf—scaldingly hot, a little too sweet, very thick. Perfect.

"I've never actually had any before," she confessed. "Imports were rare on Jakku and anyway, it would have been silly to drink something that would dehydrate you even more when you're out in the desert."

Poe huffed out a rusty laugh. "My mom was born on a desert world, but Dad always said she must have been half-caf by volume. Guess she thought the positives outweighed the negatives."

"I suppose so," Rey said. She sniffed at the caf with all the caution of a gundar, then took a tiny sip. The face she pulled was quietly hilarious, like Finn's when Poe had made him try mashed gweendanj. "That's, um. It's very interesting. Thank you for sharing it."

Poe smiled and let his head fall back against the headrest. His headache was getting worse, and he hoped the caf would get to work soon. "It's sort of an acquired taste, but trust me, once you've got it it's with you for good." Poe hadn't been able to get his day started without a mug of caf since he was a teenager.

"Oh, yes, of course," Rey said, but set the cup into the holder next to her seat and didn't touch it again.

Poe didn't feel too bad about that, to be honest. More for him, especially when the galley stocks were running low.

"It'll take about another four standard hours to get to the rendezvous point," Rey said. "If you want, you could get some sleep? I don't really need to keep an eye on the autopilot, it just makes me feel better to—"

Poe shook his head. "No, I'm… no, not right now. Thank you."

Rey's gaze flickered over to him briefly, and he felt the merest brush of her thoughts against his: there and gone, pulling some of the worst of the pain away with it like a feather against cobwebs. The gesture made tears spring to his eyes. Poe was tired, and he couldn't sleep, and he didn't feel like he particularly deserved any kindness right now.

"We can keep watch together, then," Rey said. That was a kindness, too, but one that Poe felt the better of—knowing that he could stay awake, stand guard, as the Falcon ferried the spark of the Resistance onwards through the night.