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A Phoenix Must Burn To Rise Again

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“Get to the AT-AT, over there. You’ll be safe.”

 

Rey opened her eyes and turned her head over to where the voice had come from.

 

A brown-haired man crouched next to her, glowing with a soft blue light. Both of them sat behind a piece of scrap metal that she had been using to block herself from the oncoming storm. His eyebrows were knitted together in concern.

 

She squinted at him, hugging her knees tighter to her chest.

 

“What?” Rey whispered, her voice quickly dying out in the sound of the howling wind.

 

He inched closer and reached to put his hand on her shoulder. She flinched, and he curled his hand back, guilt flickering over his expression. But he leaned against the metal wall of scrap and pointed over to her far left. It was hard to see in the wake of the swirling sand, but it was there.

 

“It has legs,” Rey murmured, frowning. She turned back to the man, and he smiled softly at her.

 

“Yes, that’s the one, youngling. Now go, before the storm is really here.” He glanced over to the hurtling mass of sand with urgency in his eyes.

 

But I don’t want to go, she wanted to say. Rey wanted to stay with the only person who was actually trying to protect her. The only person who actually cared.

 

The man sighed softly, like he knew what crossed her mind, and put his arms on his knees. He pointed his chin over toward the legged structure.

 

“Go. Don’t worry, Rey. I’ll come back.”

 

She bit down on her lip, but shifted her hands onto the ground to get up, and ran towards the fallen AT-AT.

 

As Rey stumbled into the transport, drowsiness swept over her immediately as she quickly fell asleep on the floor from exhaustion. And when she woke, all that was seen was the barrier of scrap metal slowly getting eaten up by the dust.

 

Only a mirage, Rey thought. Anything else would be too stupid to come out here.


 

She had sat at a table, fiddling with small bits of metal, bending and twisting them in and out of shape. There was no use for these scraps, anyway.

 

A sudden noise startled Rey out of her peaceful pondering. Or however peaceful it could get while the wind was screaming in your ear.

 

She picked up a fairly sharp metal piece, which was fashioned into a crude knife.

 

“Who’s there? Show yourself!” Rey shouted, jumping up from her seat, the high sound of a seven-year old’s voice much less intimidating than intended. She took in heaving breaths, whirling around and pointing her weapon everywhere in her panic.

 

The man with long robes and brown hair stepped out from behind a wall, his hands held up in the universal ‘I surrender’ gesture. Rey turned to meet him, lowering her knife but still facing him. Her forehead scrunched together.

 

“Oh, it's you,” She huffed, irritation making her neck prickle.

 

The man crossed his arms, pouting in fake hurt and looking down at her.

 

“Rey, you sound so disappointed! I'm upset.”

 

She frowned, turning around and placing her small weapon on a nearby bench. She crossed her arms in suspicion as she went back to face him.

 

“How do you know my name?”

 

He quickly sobered up, clasping his hands behind his back. But still, his lip twitched with the hint of a smile.

 

“I'm magic.”

 

Rey rolled her eyes, faintly amused, as she watched him stand there. She sighed, moving back against the table.

 

“I bet you’re just a mirage,” Rey mumbled as she looked down, picking at a small scab on her wrist. It was just like her to reach out towards anyone who was nice to her. She just wanted her family to come back. Rey shook her head. No, they were going to come back. Even if they left her all those years ago. They told me they would come back.

 

The man made a small guilty noise and sat in front of her, crossing his legs. His robes were draped along his knees, and he was floating about an inch off the ground. He held a glowing blue palm out and glanced over at the metal pieces she had been playing with, waiting.

 

Rey’s eyebrows knit together in confusion.

 

“What are you going to do?” She asked, curiosity taking over, but then cursed herself for trying to interact with a mirage.

 

He sighed sadly and twitched his fingers. The scraps flew into his waiting palm and swirled around in circles. She gasped and reached her hand out. They were there, alright, as real as was the blistering heat of Jakku.

 

The man smiled softly, and let the pieces drop through his now-empty hand.

 

“I’m really here, Rey.”

 

And that was when the dam truly broke. Rey stepped back, her thin shoulders trembling, as tears streamed quietly down her cheeks. She took in soft gasps and leaned back against the metal wall of the AT-AT, sliding down to sit on the floor and wrapping her arms around legs that were curled against her chest.

 

The man got up to sit next to her, resting a comforting hand on her shoulder. Rey shuddered, putting her head on her knees. And as she drifted off into sleep, he stayed, caring for her far more than anyone else had ever done.


 

She had woken once the storm was gone, and Rey had ended up flicking at the small grains of rock littered across the surface of her new table. Her nose scrunched up in frustration.

 

“I hate sand,” Rey muttered. “It always gets everywhere.”

 

The man laughed, smiling down at her annoyed expression, and moved to sit down close by.

 

“I’ve heard that before.”

 

She glared up at him, picking up the sand and throwing it. It went straight through his body. Rey sighed, putting her chin on her elbow, and went back to flicking them off the table. He leaned back in his chair, clasping his hands together in his lap. He smiled, quietly watching her once more.

 

The silence was soon broken by the quick curiosity of a child.

 

“Who are you, anyway?” Rey asked as her question was muffled by the cloth on her arms, sudden interest filling her voice, although she didn’t turn to look at him.

 

His eyes flickered over her warily, but he answered.

 

“I taught someone…” He paused, choosing his words carefully. “That you knew, once.”

 

Rey blinked, processing what he was saying. Then she whipped her head around, forgetting all about her small quest to flick all the sand off the table. Desperation colored her features as she leaned forward.

 

“Did you know my parents?” Rey gasped, her wide hazel eyes searching for answers. “Did you teach them? What were they like?”

 

The man looked down at his hands in sorrow, his forehead scrunching up in guilt.

 

“No, Rey. I am afraid I did not know your parents.”

 

Her hopeful expression deflated, her voice shrinking back to a small, weak, “Oh.”

 

She turned back to the table, but this time she didn’t play with the grains of sand. Rey sat there solemnly, turning her thoughts over in her head. The thoughts of how stupid she was for thinking that he had all the answers. Thinking that he knew who her parents were.

 

The man sighed, taking out a stick of metal that was attached to his waist, turning it over in his hands. He looked back at Rey’s blank face.

 

“Rey…If I did know who your parents were, I would tell you. Believe me. I would give anything for you to meet your family once again.”

 

She blinked, taking in a deep shuddering breath, her features becoming pinched.

 

“It’s fine. I should have expected it, anyway. It’s alright…” Rey frowned, her mouth hanging open as she trailed off. “What should I call you?”

 

The man slid the metal stick back onto his belt and leaned his elbows on his knees, steepling his fingers. He squinted down at the floor.

 

“Well, some call me Ben…” He tilted his head, contemplating over his next words. “But you can call me Obi-Wan.”

 

“Okay, Obi-Wan,” Rey spoke slowly, testing the name out. The name stirred something in her memories up, something in her made her chest feel like a pit. But as she tried to grasp at it, the feeling soon faded.

 

Shaking her head to distract herself from her convoluted thoughts, Rey then rested her chin on her palm, her forehead becoming creased from with confusion. “Why are you blue?”

 

His face was serious, but his mouth twitched as he tried to hold back a grin.

 

“I’ve been holding my breath for a very, very long time.”

 

Rey’s expression became one of horror and confusion. “What?”

 

Obi-Wan barked a laugh, throwing his head back in amusement. Rey frowned in embarrassment, making her blush a deep red. He waved his hand.

 

“No, no! I’m just messing with you. Anyway, It’s fine that you asked! I just didn’t expect it.” He paused, schooling his features into something more serious. He took a deep breath. “You see, Rey, there’s something called the Force…”

 

And he talked to her about an energy field created by all living things, and how it bound the galaxy together.

 

But he told her not of the stories of the past. Too dangerous, Obi-Wan thought.

 

Only the Force was what he spoke of until the twinkling stars rose above Jakku and Rey’s eyes fluttered shut into a long and peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

Rey tugged at a loose bar of metal sticking out from the side of an old machine. It was partially rusted, but most likely still useable. And impossible to take off.

 

She kicked at it in frustration, and it bounced back, hitting her in the shin. She howled, clutching at her newly formed bruise and hopping backward. Rey slipped in the easily shifting sand, and fell quickly to the ground, landing on her back with an ‘oof’.

 

“I'd say you deserve it, but you've been getting hurt far too often lately.”

 

She looked up to see where his voice had come from, holding up her hand to block the glare of the sun. At the top of the metal structure, Obi-Wan stood, crossing his arms and frowning in disapproval.

 

Rey rolled her eyes and leaned onto her side, pushing herself up into a sitting position.

 

“Oh, shove off, old man,” She grunted, glaring at the offending piece of metal that had slammed into her leg.

 

He hopped down next to Rey, into the looming shadow of the machine, raising his eyebrows.

 

“Old man? I'm not even forty yet!” He spoke, pretending to be offended at the insult.

 

Rey snorted, finally pushing herself up on her feet, panting hard.

 

“I bet you're much older than forty.” She shifted her weight onto her good leg, leaning against the wall of metal for support.

 

He grinned, clasping his hands at his back. “Perhaps. But at least I look like it.”

 

“I'm the only one who can see you.”

 

“Well, it’d be no fun going about as an old man, would it?”

 

Rey shook her head, amused, and plucked at the rusted stick of steel, each time making a loud clanging noise. She then hung her head down from exhaustion, the circles under her eyes more prominent than before.

 

Obi-Wan’s eyebrows knit together in concern as he reached out. She waved him off but winced as a headache spiked through her head.

 

“Nightmares?” He asked softly, not wanting to worsen the ever-growing pain in her skull.

 

Rey rubbed her eyes and nodded. But she opened them and leaned against the scrap, pointing towards the thing she had tried to rip off earlier.

 

“Could you maybe use your…” Rey moved her hand around in the air, yawning. She squinted, her mouth snapping shut and tilting her head. “Magic? The Force? Whatever you want to call it.”

 

He snorted softly and waved his hand in a simple gesture, taking it cleanly off the bolt. It flew gently into her waiting hand. She raised her eyebrows.

 

“Huh. That's useful.”

 

Rey picked up the bag she had taken with her and swung it onto her back. She then turned towards the direction where Unkar Plutt lived, ready to trade any scraps she had for rations that always left her still hunger.

 

When she started to limp forward, using the metal bar as a walking stick, Obi-Wan quickly caught up with her, floating above the sand. They traveled in silence for a while, but after a while, he spoke.

 

“You could run off, you know,” He paused for a second, then continued. “Steal a ship, travel the galaxy. You've got the brains and the tools. Find someplace better than Jakku, where you won't be hungry half the time.”

 

He looked over at Rey, the sun beating down on her skin and sweat trickling down strained arms. Loose bits of hair that had not been tied up in a bun was stuck to her forehead.

 

Rey’s eyebrows knit together as she bit her lip, drawing in a sharp breath.

 

“But, my family…they said they’d come back. What if I'm not here when they come back?”

 

He sighed sadly. “Rey…have you considered that they might-”

 

Rey grit her teeth, something dark flashing in her eyes even as they shone with unshed tears.

 

“Shut up,” She bit out, voice cracking and her muscles tensing so much her arms trembled.

 

Anger was bubbling at the surface, but deep down, all she felt was heartache. They had to come back, right? They had said they would.

 

Obi-Wan’s concerned expression turned morose as he nodded, apologetic, and looked away from her and forward once again. They didn't speak for the rest of the trip.

 


 

 

Once they had reached Niima Outpost, Rey turned to Obi-Wan and raised her eyebrows, a question in her eyes.

 

He lowered his head, sighing. “Yes, well, I’ll meet you back at home.” Glancing over at the tents warily, he waved a hand as a goodbye and slowly faded into the wind.

 

Rey’s eyebrows pinched together in guilt as she exhaled, her shoulders dropping. She turned to the center of the of the outpost and started ahead as her thoughts turned inward.

 

She hadn’t meant to lash out at her friend, she just…was tired of losing hope of her family. Such a precious thing that exists on Jakku, she mused. Hope. Rey thought about what Obi-Wan would say.

 

“Thoughts like those are much too wise for a ten-year-old to speak of.” He would joke, and she would stop working on whatever she was repairing and smirk, wittingly replying,

 

“Maybe I’m becoming smarter than you.” And then he would act like he was so offended, because he was supposed to be the teacher, and pretend to ignore her until she didn't stop throwing sand through his body. Rey smiled. No matter how much they argued, or how much sand got kicked into him, he always tried to do what he thought was best.

 

“That's what matters,” She whispered, deciding she would apologize to him right when she got back.

 

Rey didn't want to see her only friend moping around the fallen AT-AT with soul-crushing guilt, or watch him stare at her worried and unspeaking with steepled fingers as she shoved rations down her gullet, glaring relentlessly at his motionless gaze.

 

Or better yet, she thought, swallowing, he would leave, thinking me too stubborn to deal with, and never come back. And she'd be alone once more. Rey then nodded, painfully forcing herself to accept what would probably happen. People always left her, that was their nature. But she could enjoy their company why they were with her.

 

Or not. She shuddered, thinking of the few times others had tried to get a little too close. Rey had stabbed all of them each time and run off, her thin frame allowing her a quick getaway. Obi-Wan had found her crying in the corner of the fallen AT-AT and had sat with her until she stopped, panicking about losing the moisture.

 

He had assured her that it was okay to cry, and emotions were a crucial part of life, although you couldn’t let them blind you. She wanted to argue with him about that because she clearly had remembered him saying something of quite the opposite a long time ago. Duty before love…

 

She shook her head, ridding herself of such strange thoughts. Rey trudged forward through the burning sand, focusing only on getting to the trading post.

 


 

 

Unkar Plutt picked up her net and shook the contents out, sorting through the partially dented metal pieces. He held one up in front of his face with meaty fingers, eyeing it carefully. Dropping onto his trading table, he leaned forward.

 

“Three rations,” he grunted.

 

Rey’s eyes narrowed as her face flushed with anger, clenching her teeth. Her stomach rumbled with hunger.

 

He frowned, looking at her rage-filled expression, knowing what it meant and shook his head, crossing his arms. “Three rations or nothing.”

 

Rey’s face flashed with shock, almost about to yell, that’s not fair!

 

But in her experience on Jakku, there was no such thing as fair. You had to fight for what you wanted, and you didn’t always get it, no matter how hard you tried.

 

Rey growled in irritation, stretching up onto her tiptoes to reach the counter. She held her hand out, waiting for food that never made her feel satisfied.

 

He squinted. Rey closed her eyes, tired, and mumbled, “Just give me four,” waving her hand towards herself. Then her eyes flashed open in sudden panic. Four?! Why would I say four?! Kriff! Now I’ll get nothing!

 

But as she looked up, terror in her expression, he did something she had never expected him to do. His eyes glazed over for a second, and he nodded, detached, murmuring, “I will give you four.”

 

Her jaw dropped as she watched him reach to the side and hand her four. She snatched at them, taking this opportunity. It would probably never happen again.

 

Unkar Plutt narrowed his eyes at her small form, standing there awkwardly clutching the rations. He shook his head, then growled, “Run along, girl.” Then he stalked to the back of his post, dismissing her.

 

Rey nodded and licked her dry lips, reaching over to grab her net and dashing away. She didn’t look back.

 


 

 

Rey dropped the net down on the ground, her knees buckling beneath her from exhaustion once she reached the front of the AT-AT. She just wanted to close her eyes and lay there forever, to let the sand cover her up until she couldn’t see the blackening sky anymore. To rest in final peace, she thought. How nice.

 

A voice called out from the comfortable darkness, echoing around the metal AT-AT and outwards.

 

“Rey! Are you okay? What happened?”

 

She rolled to her side, looking behind her. Obi-Wan ran out from the transport, his feet making no sound in the burning sound, his expression looking panicked.

 

“Hmm? Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Just tired.” She sighed, closing her eyes from the still-setting sun that glowed gold.

 

He slowed his pace, less worried now, but still watching her with a concerned gaze, then tilted his head up at the inky-black sky that was slowly getting dotted with stars. Obi-Wan looked back at her, shrugging.

 

“Well, if you’re going to sit here all night, I’d better get comfortable. I don’t want to stay in that clanky old machine all by myself. It’s much better there with you.”

 

Rey snorted and rolled her eyes, patting the sand next to her, motioning him to sit down. He did, chuckling when she brushed the sand off on her clothes, pursing her lips in irritation.

 

“I told you, I don’t like sand.” She growled, using her arms to push herself up into a sitting position, narrowing her eyes at the grains that were still littered across her skin.

 

Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow at that, smiling. “I’ve heard that from you many, many times.”

 

Rey bit her lip, still focusing on brushing them all off. “I know. Sorry about that. Of all the places to be abandoned,” She swallowed at those words. “Jakku is the worst.”

 

His eyes unfocused, slowly turning his head and staring off into the horizon, where there now lay only darkness.

 

“Perhaps it’s your purgatory,” He whispered, not really paying attention to what he was saying.

 

She frowned, watching where he was now looking as if that would give her all the answers.

 

“What do you mean by that?”

 

Obi-Wan turned his head towards her once again. “I don’t know.” He spoke slowly. He didn’t want to lie, but…but he had to.

 

For her own good. But those words always felt like what changed fate, for better or for worse.

 

Rey sighed wistfully, bending her legs into her chest and wrapping her arms around them. She rested her chin on her elbows, gazing at the night sky.

 

“Do you think my family is up there?” Rey whispered in a small voice, going back to all those years before when a small, scared girl hid from the screaming winds of a sandstorm.

 

Obi-Wan exhaled, his head tilting up and studying the stars alongside her. His eyebrows knitted together.

 

“Perhaps.”

 

Rey let out a quiet sob, and his expression turned to one of concern as he moved closer,  reaching out and holding his arm around her shaking shoulders.

 

“Rey, you’re alright. It’s going to be okay.”

 

She shook her head wildly, the hair still tied up in her three buns moving along with her.

 

“I shouldn’t have told you to shut up, I’m so sorry - and what if,” She took a large gulp of air. “What if my family doesn’t love me, what if I’ve just been lying to myself-”

 

His heart ached as he saw her dig nails into her skin in an effort not to cry.

 

“No,” He spoke softly. “Rey, I’m sure they love you very much.”

 

I think Luke would be happy to see you, if not shocked.

 

“And well, if they don’t find you,” He closed his eyes, not wanting to see the pain on her face. He heard a choked sob. “I’m sure you’ll find them.”

 

Whether it be the dark or the light… let us hope it is the light.

 

Rey’s breathing slowed to a calmer pace, and she wiped tears off that had begun to trail down her cheeks. As she uncurled from her position and lay down, crossing her arms over her chest, he moved to accommodate her.

 

Neither of them spoke for the rest of the time. The silence was never awkward, only a quiet acknowledgment that they were both side by side, and the stars watched them all the same.

 

And when Rey’s head finally lay still in the sand, peaceful sleep taking over, it never occurred to her that Obi-Wan had considered Rey family since the day he had met the child of the desert.

 

Whether it be the sandstorm or the Jedi Temple, he thought as he watched her sleeping form. And like all those years before, he would not move away until she woke.

Chapter Text

Rey sat by a small crackling fire, the shadows forming the long twisted limbs of made-up monsters that lurked in the emptiness of night.

 

Goosebumps prickled along her neck, the cool night air drifting along bare skin. She held a broken datapad, fiddling with the mechanics and occasionally zapping herself with electricity, hissing every time she did.

 

“I heard he could fly,” Someone spoke, their voice hidden in darkness from across the bonfire.

 

Rey looked up, eyebrows knitted with confusion while rubbing at her burnt thumb. Fly? Who could fly? In a ship, maybe.

 

A snort echoed a little to the left. “Fly? He was human. Just because he had the Force-”

 

She sat up instantly, eyes peering into the unknown in front of her. “Who had the Force?”

 

There were a couple seconds of awkward silence, interrupted only by the quiet crackling of the flames. Rey held her breath, waiting.

 

A curious noise, then, “Hmm, you know about the Force, do you, girl?”

 

The question was not meant to be insulting, and she could feel the smile in their voice, but something inside Rey made her feel like she was being made fun of.

 

“I do. What does it matter to you?”

 

She had the urge to sneer at them, but she knew that would discourage them. Rey wanted to know who were they talking about. Did Obi-Wan know them?

 

She heard a quiet cough and then a loud slap, accompanied by an irritated ‘ ouch ’ and a muttered apology, and then the one who had berated the other replied with a kind voice, aged with experience from the harsh life of Jakku, “You’re a curious one, I can tell. Come over here.”

 

It sounded like an ominous beckoning, and Rey shifted in her seat, nervous. But she slowly got up, sticking the broken datapad back into her pocket and carrying her empty net over to where they sat.

 

The two were elderly women, and both had rations sitting their laps, although neither had gotten to eating them yet, only chatting on about their mysterious stranger with the Force.

 

She swallowed and stepped forward, footprint-shaped indents trailing behind her, the shadows of the flames rippling back and forth across the depressions in the sand. They nodded and waved her forward, both of them moving to the left simultaneously, making a place on their rock for her to sit.

 

The one closest to Rey had crinkled eyes and a kind face and she clasped her wrinkled hands together.

 

“You know about the Force, young one?”

 

Rey nodded, slowly moving to sit down next to her. The woman smiled encouragingly, waving her down towards the seat. Rey placed herself on the seat, biting her lip.

 

“Yes, I’ve heard of it.”

 

The grouchier one tiled her head, curious as she leaned forward.

 

“Have you heard about Luke Skywalker?”

 

Rey instinctively froze for a second, and it felt like someone was poking her brain because this Luke Skywalker was important .

 

Why was he so important ? She started to panic, the name bouncing around in her brain. But then that feeling escaped, and something hollow was left inside. Never mind, She thought. Who was he, anyway?

 

Rey shook her head jerkily, indicating that she didn’t know. Both ladies nodded, raising their eyebrows at the same time and looking at each other.

 

The first steepled her fingers together. “Well, you can call me Talanis. This here,” She paused, pursing her lips in irritation as she looked over at the woman sitting by her side. “Is my sister, Teyna.”

 

Teyna sniffed, shrugging and turning away from both of them. “I still think he can fly.”

 

Her sister sighed wearily, rolling her eyes. “He can’t fly. Anyway,” She hesitated, looking over at Rey. “What is your name?”

 

She looked warily at Teyna before answering. “Rey. My name is Rey.”

 

Recognition echoed in Talanis’ face as she grinned. “Ah! Unkar Plutt has mentioned you several times. Says you’re his best scavenger, no?”

 

Rey’s eyebrows rose in confusion and shock. “Not really. I mean, I’m only twelve. I think.”

 

That’s what Obi-Wan has said, but even then, it’s kind of hard to tell, she thought.

 

Talanis’ eyes widened as she clasped her wrinkled hands together, concern in her expression. Even her sister, Teyna, had slowly turned her head around at that comment, hiding her worry in the darkness of the night.

 

“How long have you been on Jakku, child?” It the murmur of quiet shock that had Rey shifting nervously in her seat.

 

“Since…since I was six.” She said, knitting her eyebrows together in confusion at why they were acting that way. The year before she had met Obi-Wan, the year she had been abandoned.

 

How would I have fared had I been left alone?

 

Her eyes widened in realization.

 

Would I be happy?

 

The sisters looked over at each other, having a silent discussion. Finally, Teyna raised an eyebrow and pushed Talanis towards Rey. “You tell her.”

 

Talanis tilted her head and watched Rey for a second, scanning her expression. Then she made a humming noise and nodded, turning towards the fire.

 

“There are rumors all over the galaxy about Luke Skywalker.” Talanis nudged her sister and motioning for her to go somewhere. Teyna looked between them, glancing at both their faces and looking for something, then sighed, trudging off into the distance of where a group of tents was located.

 

Talanis turned to Rey, who had been watching the sister go. Rey whipped her head back to her, expecting to be admonished for not paying attention, but she only saw a smile and raised eyebrows.

 

“And in every story, he’s a legend.” She waved her hand. “Saved the galaxy, brought down the empire. They say he was a Jedi.”

 

Rey frowned, the name catching in her mind. I could’ve sworn I’ve heard that before.

 

“What’s a Jedi?” She asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

 

Talanis drew herself inwards, her expression mirroring her suspicion. “You wouldn’t believe me.”

 

Rey took a deep breath, hesitating. “Try me.”

 

At that, the woman’s eyes sparkled with excitement as she scooted closer towards Rey.

 

“They say he was a Force user. Once he won, he started a new generation of Jedi.”

 

Rey froze, keeping her very carefully still so it wouldn’t betray her shock. She tensed, fingers clenching down on the rim of her seat.

 

“The Force?” She whispered, swallowing. Her pain and fear and worst of all, hope , were churning inside her. Rey shoved it down, making herself focus on the woman in front of her.

 

Talanis leaned back, impressed. “So you do believe in the Force.”

 

Rey nodded her head jerkily. She suddenly realized how late it was, and, ‘ oh, kriff, Obi-Wan is going to be so worried’ and she waved her hand over into the section of the desert where the AT-AT was located. “Um, yeah, I'm so sorry, but I gotta-” She glanced over to the side. “My home, it’s time for me to leave-”

 

Talanis nodded quickly, standing up and pushing Rey lightly along in the direction she had pointed.

 

Rey stumbled, tripping over her feet.

 

“Of course, of course, child. I shouldn’t be bothering you about mere legends,” Talanis muttered, shaking her head as if berating herself. As she turned to leave, she paused and clasped Rey’s hands in hers, taking a deep breath.

 

“Thank you for believing.”

 

Rey’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open a little, but she smiled. “Always.”

 


 

 

Once the old woman, Talanis, had wandered away from the fire to meet up with her sister, Rey swiftly picked up her net and dashed towards the direction of where the transport was located.

 

At what she assumed was the halfway point, she slowed, the light of the moon easily guiding her way. Rey took a deep breath, stopping.

 

“Obi-Wan? Can you hear me?” Her voice was loud, much too loud in the silence of the desert. Not many things stayed around at night on Jakku. Superstitions had bloomed over time, and for whatever reason, everyone had said that it had to be strange creatures that would burrow in the sand and eat you alive.

 

For all the years I've spent on Jakku, she mused, I haven't even figured out that.

 

After a minute of quiet, she assumed he was busy wherever force ghosts went when they weren’t visible. Then there was a quiet whisper of “Rey? Are you all right?”

 

She spun around at the voice but then relaxed at the expected glowing blue form of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He was standing patiently, hands behind his back. Rey nodded, looking down and turning back around to continue walking. He followed, watching her curiously.

 

“How was Niima Outpost?”

 

She shrugged. “I met someone. They knew about the Force.”

 

He lifted his chin. “Oh, really?”

 

“Yeah. She was talking about someone named Luke Skywalker.”

 

Obi-Wan’s eyes sharpened at the name, and he stiffened. Taking note of his reaction, she carefully asked a question, still not looking at him directly.

 

“Did you know him?”

 

Sorrow filled his eyes, eyebrows knitting together as he looked down.

 

“Maybe. Once. But not anymore.” He looked over at Rey, who was facing him with a worried expression. He sighed and smiled at her.

 

"Come along. We’ve still got a long ways to go.”

 

And when they ventured forward in the moonlight, Obi-Wan drifted silently behind her, floating above the sand.

 

If only I could find her family. If only I could find Luke.

 


 

Rey sat in front of the AT-AT, leaning back on her arms and staring at the slowly rising sun. Her hair, normally set in three buns, was down, the gentle desert wind brushing it around her shoulders. Obi-Wan appeared slowly behind her, watching carefully. He sat down, crossing his legs.

 

“Rey.” Is she okay? I’ve watched her all night, she hasn’t slept at all.

 

She opened her mouth, then closed it, licking her lips. Then she shook her head, quickly changing her mind.

 

“Can you…control people? With the Force?” She asked, her voice coming out calm, but a rapid heartbeat betrayed her true feelings.

 

His eyes widened slightly, tense at the faint question that had sprung from her mouth.

 

Had she done it?

 

“It depends what you mean by control.”

 

The dark side can completely dominate the mind.

 

The light is merely a suggestion to their thoughts.

 

She tilted her head, narrowed eyes flickering over the fiery sunset that seemed to be burning up the horizon.

 

“Like…tell them to do something. And then they do it.”

 

Obi-Wan nodded slowly, uneasily confirming her question as correct. “Why?”

 

Rey put her arms behind her, leaning back on her hands and biting the inside of her cheek with agitation.

 

“There was that one time…with Unkar Plutt. The time I told you to-” She swallowed, changing what she was about to say, drawing in a shaky breath. “The time we talked about my family.”

 

The time I told you to lose hope, he thought, regret that made him feel sick echoing throughout his mind, and he shut his eyes in shame. But even so, he nodded in affirmation.

 

“I know what you mean.”

 

She continued with the story.

 

“Unkar Plutt…he said that he would give me three rations. I accidentally told him to hand me four. I ended up walking home with an extra ration that day.”

 

Rey saw him open his mouth to object, but she shook her head.

 

“Normally, he would've given me nothing if I asked for one more. It was luck.”

 

Obi-Wan turned the words over in his head, then raised his eyebrows, impressed.

 

Only twelve, and so strong in the Force. Although maybe I should have expected it with a youngling such as her.

 

He sighed, pushing himself up onto his feet with a quiet grunt.

 

“Rey, I think it's time I start teaching you.”

 

She looked up at him in confusion. “To do what?”

 

Obi-Wan smiled, crossing his arms over his chest in a proud manner. “Well, my young Padawan, you’re going to learn the Force.”

 


 

Rey kicked aside a small pile of scrap, the metal pieces cluttering along in the sand. She huffed a breath in annoyance, blowing the hair out of her eyes.

 

Obi-Wan looked around in confusion at the mess. “What are you doing?”

 

She groaned, plopping down into the sand. “Looking for a weapon. If I’m going to be fighting, I’m going to need a weapon.”

 

He raised his eyebrows but started to walk around, looking for something of the sort.

 

If she wants to fight, a lightsaber might be better, but we won’t find one on Jakku, Obi-Wan mused, waving his hand to move a large bar of metal. But as he was about to toss it away, he looked closer.

 

A quarterstaff, he thought, turning it over in circles and examining it.

 

“Rey,” He called. “I found something you might like.”

 

She turned to face him from where she was sitting in the sand, a question in her eyes. But as soon as she saw the staff, her face lit up.

 

Rey scrambled to get up and rushed over to where Obi-Wan was hovering, gasping when she finally got a good look. She grabbed it eagerly and ran her fingers over the metal.

 

“Can I use it?”

 

He laughed. “Of course you can use it! A quarterstaff is a good weapon.”

 

Her face brightened, and she twirled it around in her hands like she had done it a million times, swinging it in the air every which way.

 

Obi-Wan watched her with a small smile on his face, then tilted his head and eyed her as she attacked the air. “You didn’t seem that surprised when I told you I was going to teach you.”

 

Rey stopped, heaving for air and leaning on her staff. She shrugged with one shoulder, looking into the distance.

 

“I could guess. I think that…I was scared to ask you.”

 

He frowned, troubled. “Why?”

 

She bit her lip nervously as if this was some great confession she had kept for years. Maybe it was.

 

“I don’t know. I guess convincing myself I could somehow use the Force…was like telling myself I wasn’t Rey . Like I was someone else.”

 

Obi-Wan’s heart clenched, both in shameful fear and in sorrow. He stepped forward, reaching an arm out.

 

“Rey, you using the Force doesn’t make you someone else. It’s a part of you.”

 

It will always be a part of you.

 


 

She had died, Rey thought. Died and it was my fault.

 

She stepped out the tent, rage twisting and snarling in her gut. With tears in her eyes, Rey pulled something out from her belt and turned it on.

 

A lightsaber , she thought, something inside telling her the name.

 

The weapon glowed a bright glaring blue, and she could feel the heat it was giving off.

 

It must be plasma.

 

She swung the blade at the Sand People beside her, anger overtaking any moral qualms. And as their heads dropped to the floor, and she wanted to claw at herself, scream at herself, no, no, no, don’t do this!

 

But that part was swallowed up as she stalked forward with murder in her eyes. Torment and hatred fueled her, made her cry out at each swing, made her relish the feeling of the blade slicing through them.

 

And they could not hold her back.

 


 

Rey gasped as she woke, her mouth dry and sweat beading on her forehead and neck as she scrambled out of her bed, vomiting onto the floor and clutching at her stomach.

 

Well, whatever rations I got today are now gone.

 

Obi-Wan rushed over to her side and onto his knees. “Rey? What’s wrong? What happened? Are you okay-”

 

“I’m fine, I’m fine, just…just a nightmare.”

 

She didn’t see him take in a sharp breath, or see his fingers curl inward into a fist.

 

“What happened?” He whispered, still a hint of panic under his breath.

 

Rey wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand. I don’t know, she wanted to say, because most of the time, she didn’t know. Normally the strange dreams were forgotten, lost somewhere in her memory.

 

“I killed them.” The blood drained out of her face as she realized what she was saying. “An entire village. The women, the children, it didn’t matter.” She began to hyperventilate, staring off into space and recalling what she had dreamt about. Her nails dug into the flesh of her arms.

 

Obi-Wan’s eyes flashed in recognition at the story, looking down at the ground.

 

“Do you know why you did it?” He murmured, not accusingly, only in askance.

 

She took in a shuddering breath and held it, not answering for a minute. He was not impatient, only waiting for her to answer. Finally, she looked down in shame, biting the inside of her cheek.

 

“There was a woman- my mother, I think, and-” Rey closed her eyes, tears streaming down her face. Obi-Wan reached out an arm and put it comfortingly around her shoulder. She continued. “It was my fault, she died, and I couldn’t save her, and I was so angry, I couldn’t stop-”

 

“Rey, Rey, calm down, it was just a just a dream. It’s alright.”

 

Her head whipped towards him, her eyes widening. “No, it wasn’t a dream, I know it wasn’t a dream.”

 

Obi-Wan’s brows rose as he nodded slowly, eyes flickering over his face and watching for something.

 

“What do you think it was?”

 

Her forehead creased at the question. What did she think it was? Still, no reasonable answer was found when she asked herself the question. Rey leaned forward, eyebrows knitting at her loss of words. Then she shook her head, admitting the only response she had come up with.

 

“I don’t know.”

Chapter Text

Rey put her hand up in the air, facing away from her, and focused on the sand that was covering the table. One by one, each grain floated into the air and plopped down onto the ground.

 

Obi-Wan raised his eyebrows, looking over at her. “Are you…using the Force to move sand?”

 

Rey didn’t look away from what she was doing, but she smirked, lifting a shoulder.

 

“Sand is annoying. If I don’t need to get it near me, I’m not going to.”

 

He rolled his eyes, exasperated as he covered his face with his hands.

 

“Years of training have led me to this?” He muttered, shaking his head in pretend disappointment.

 

Rey snorted at that, letting the rest of it drop to the floor. She sat on her table, crossing her arms and leaning back against the wall. Her expression turned serious as she pursed her lips.

 

“Tell me about Luke Skywalker.”

 

She’d only asked several times before, but he had turned her down every time.

 

Now Rey demanded an answer.

 

Obi-Wan nodded, walking over to where she was and joined her. He stared out through the entrance of their home to the horizon, sighing. The glow of the setting sun washed over the transport, turning the inside into a bright gold.

 

“Well, what do you want to know?”

 

Rey’s eyebrows rose in surprise at first, not expecting him to answer her question. Her expression turned into a frown as she bit her lip.

 

She crossed her legs, her elbows digging into her thighs, and rested her chin on both palms.

 

“How did you know him?”

 

“Well,” He paused, squinting. “The first time I met him was when he was born. Though I don’t think you want to hear about that.”

 

Rey huffed a breath. He grinned at her but continued.

 

“When I first really met him, I was an old, old man. A coward, too. Hiding from my past mistakes, hiding from my failures.”

 

She opened her mouth to interrupt, to ask him what had happened that made him run away. He shook his head.

 

“That is, perhaps, a story for another time. You asked about Luke.”

 

She nodded reluctantly, letting him continue on with speaking.

 

“It was on Tatooine, where I saw him once again.”

 

Something caught in Rey’s throat and her body froze as she nearly stopped breathing.

 

That name, she thought. I know that name. But Rey soon brushed it off as nothing, just a strange feeling she felt from time to time. The story he told was more important now.

 

Obi-Wan looked at her curiously, then proceeded with the rest of what he had to say.

 

“He was a moisture farmer. I found him along with two droids. One was an astromech and the other was a protocol.” He tapped his chin. “Very interesting personalities, those two.”

 

Rey nodded in agreement. “I’ve met a few, here and there. Not many had time to talk. Those who did…had a very colorful vocabulary.”

 

He snorted. “I have to say I agree.”

 

Rey turned to face him again. “What did you do after you met him?”

 

Obi-Wan sobered, raising his eyebrows and looking down at her.

 

“Well, would you believe me if I said we chased after the empire with a smuggler and a Wookiee to rescue a princess?”

 

She rolled her eyes in exasperation. “No.”

 

He crossed his arms and leaned back against the wall, grinning. “Well, that’s exactly what we did.”

 

Rey’s eyebrows rose in disbelief. “Uh huh. And my name is Han Solo.”

 

Obi-Wan barked a laugh. “That’s who we rode with!”

 

“You’re kidding.”

 

“Nope.”

 

Rey snorted, holding her hand out. A screwdriver and a half-flattened holocube floated into her palm and she began to fiddle with the mechanics absent-mindedly. Rey looked up at Obi-Wan, smirking.

 

“Well? Continue. I won’t get bored. There's plenty of time before morning.”

 

He made a humming noise, facing towards the horizon once again.

 

“Alright, then. But I’m warning you, if you wake up exhausted, it’s not going to be my fault.”

 

“Don’t try to evade telling me.” She tilted her chin up at him. “You promised.”

 

Obi-Wan nodded, sighing. “Yes, I suppose I did.”

 

I promised to train a Jedi.

 

And so, I think I finally have.

 


 

Unrecognizable faces flashed in front of her eyes. One, a woman, with cuts on her face and eyes half closed. Another, a short green alien with long ears, shaking his head in disapproval. She quickly forgot them, leaving as quickly as they had come. Finally, the flow stilled.

 

It was a pale old man with knowing eyes that unsettled Rey. She watched as she turned slowly to face her and spoke in a gravelly voice.

 

“Ironic. He could save others from death, but not himself.”

 

She could feel herself about to respond, something deep inside leaping at the bait the man dangled in front of her. But Rey knew, in those words held a sharpened fish hook, waiting for willing prey.

 

He has the bait, and I am the prey.

 

The man disappeared from her distrustful view, and darkness overtook Rey.

 

She suddenly woke, eyebrows furrowed and hands clenched tightly into fists. She blinked sleepily in confusion.

 

Who was that man?

 

Rey shook her head, rolling over and shutting her eyes.

 

And for the rest of the night, her sleep held no dreams.

 


 

Rey drew in a deep breath, wiping her forehead with the back of a hand, the sun beating down on her skin. Most times the burning days of Jakku were bearable, but today was agony . It was like getting flayed alive.

 

Rey had finally acquired the second engine needed for her speeder. Obi-Wan had watched while she built it, pacing silently around her and making small comments here and there, mostly telling her about mistakes she could make. She accidentally burned herself with the wires on many occasions, and each time he would grin cheekily and not say anything. Rey would glare daggers at him every time, muttering to herself grumpily. And he would shrug, still smiling, and keep pacing around her.

 

She leaned against her quarterstaff, slowly looking around. Rey was surrounded by old starships and fighters, ones that she had daydreamed about so many times, going on an adventure and never coming back to this desolate wasteland of a planet ever again.

 

Rey shook her head, looking back down at the ground. Thoughts like those would get her nowhere. Physical things, she could deal with, like broken speeders and datapads. Daydreams were nothing helpful, not on Jakku.

 

A sudden noise disturbed her thoughts. It was a quiet rustle, once she could recognize from training. Obi-Wan would disappear, then appear again behind her. The only thing that gave him away, she realized, was the sound when he shifted his position to attack.

 

Rey swung around, her exhaustion almost forgotten as she pointed her staff at a man who stood across from her. He loomed over Rey, a jagged scar running over his left eye and was gripping a long, sharpened stick of metal in his right hand. The man’s beady eyes flickered over to her net that held the engine.

 

“Give me what you have.” He snarled at her, spit flying at her face.

 

Rey narrowed her eyes and kicked the engine behind her as she backed away, still holding the quarterstaff towards him in defense. How had he snuck up on her?

 

“Never.” She growled. Rey needed this engine, and he was not going to take it from her.

 

The man stepped forward, swinging the metal pole at her. Rey immediately blocked it, moving her weapon against his. He grit his teeth in anger and pressed down on her. She grunted, her arms straining as she pushed against his weight. Suddenly, her foot swung forward and he stumbled back as he was kicked in the stomach.

 

Her staff slammed into his throat, and he crashed to his knees, wrapping an arm around his abdomen while a hand scrabbled at his windpipe. She pointed the quarterstaff at him in warning, and he tilted his head back, trying to avoid it.

 

“Did someone send you?” She hissed, glowering down at him. He sneered at her.

 

“I’m not telling you anything, girl.

 

Something inside Rey snapped. Choke him, a voice whispered. Make him pay for this disrespect. She reached out a hand, the man’s eyes widening in terror as he clawed at his throat, trying to gasp for air.

 

Did someone send you? ” Rey spoke harshly, grip tightening on her staff in rage.

 

He glared at her, pressing his mouth shut as his face started to turn blue. She clenched her hand harder, causing him wince. Finally, the man nodded shakily. Rey let go.

 

“Of course I was!” He coughed out, spitting blood onto the sand. “I was sent by somebody!”

 

Who?! ” She bellowed, slamming her staff into the ground. “Was it Unkar Plutt?!”

 

The man laughed at her, wheezing, and looked up. “Him? Oh, no, he likes you. Says you’re the best scavenger he’s had in years! No, my boss is Orukur, you stupid little brat.”

 

Her fist clenched, but she tried to ignore the insult. “Well, tell this…Orukur that no one touches my stuff. No one.

 

He looked at her warily up and down, then snorted and began to limp away, shaking his head and muttering random things to himself.

 

Rey watched until he was nothing but a speck in the distance, then she collapsed onto her knees, entire body trembling. Rey stared at shaking hands she could barely recognize, tears springing to her eyes.

 

She let out a sob, curling her body over her knees and covering her face.

 

What have I done?

 


 

As Rey limped home, clenching her staff tight in her fingers, it felt like something was twisted up inside her, crying out and snarling with pain and confusion.

 

She just wanted to lie down on the ground forever, to let the sand slowly consume her. She didn’t want to face the wary eyes of her friend that would surely come, and then he would leave, untrusting of her, and she would never see him again, and he’s my only friend, please, he can’t leave.

 

Rey’s cheeks were dry now, but new tears pooled in once-swollen eyes. She choked down a sob and clenched her teeth, willing them to go away. She couldn’t cry, it was a waste of moisture, and she had to stay strong.

 

On Jakku, it’s either stay strong or die.

 

Rey was close to home now, with the metal of the AT-AT shining brightly ahead of her. Too close, she felt, wanting to drop everything she was holding and run away, run away until everything she could remember was nothing but a speck on the horizon.

 

She felt fear build up inside her, fear that wasn’t just going to be brushed away by the quick shake of a head.

 

Would Obi-Wan leave if I told him I nearly killed a man?

 

That when I took his breath, I felt a sickening glee when he clutched at his throat, gasping for air that wouldn’t come?

 

Rey ran towards the transport, adrenaline pumping through her veins as she raced to the entrance and threw her stuff onto the ground with a loud clang. She wasn’t working on the speeder today.

 

Metal creaked around her, denting, as she clenched a fist, trying to reign in wild emotions. Rey bent over, eyes clenched tight and tears slipping down her face.

 

Obi-Wan appeared to the side, kneeling to her height with both a shocked and concerned expression.

 

“What happened?”

 

She shook her head, not wanting to speak, but she had to force the words out, she had to.

 

“There was a man, he tried to take the engine, I said no, then he attacked me-”

 

His gaze sharpened as he looked her over, quickly checking for injuries. “Are you hurt?”

 

Rey snorted and she stood straight once again and turned around to face the wall, crossing her arms.

 

“No, but he was. That man won’t be coming back after what I did.”

 

Obi-Wan stood with her, hesitating, before asking very calmly, “What did you do?”

 

Her shoulders curled inwards at those words as her face crumpled, her breathing speeding up in panic as she covered her face with her hands.

 

“I almost killed him, I stopped him from breathing, he was choking until I let go-”

 

Obi-Wan’s eyes widened as he reached his hand out to her but then thought better of it, letting it fall back.

 

“Rey…you were angry, you were afraid, it's not your fault-”

 

Her fist slammed into the metal wall, cutting him off with terror-filled words. “Of course it’s my fault, I almost killed him, I never should’ve fought back, I should’ve just given him the engine!”

 

He opened and closed his mouth, looking down at the metal floor as he shut his eyes, saying the only thing he could think of.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Rey laughed bitterly and dropped her arm to her side, shaking her head.

 

“You have nothing to apologize about, Obi-Wan.”

 

“Rey…”

 

She squeezed her eyes shut as she covered her face with her hands, facing away from him and leaning one shoulder against the wall. Obi-Wan watched her sadly, waiting. Soon, Rey took a shuddering breath and spoke, almost like there was no time to get the words out.

 

“My parents left me here, left me on Jakku,” Why did they have to leave me here?

 

“And because of that I nearly killed a man,” Her hand waved off to the side as if pointing it out, her voice choked up in pain. “And I’m so scared of myself, and I just want my parents to come back, and I know they’re not going to come back, you said it yourself-”

 

Obi-Wan sucked in a shocked breath, something inside him splintering at those words, his heart feeling like it was getting squeezed.

 

“Rey, I never should have said that, I regret it, I’m wrong-”

 

She hung her head, her voice dropping down to a weak whisper. “I don’t think you are.”

 

Obi-Wan watched in heartbroken silence as she walked to the front of the AT-AT and sat down, curling in a ball and waved a hand, building a wall of containers and equipment to block everything out.

 

He could drift through it, of course, she knew that he could. But she trusted him not to go through it, to just let her build a shelter between her and the world.

 

And oh, how he wanted to walk through, to wrap his arms around her shoulders and hold her until she stopped crying. How he wanted to go back to all those times when they just lay down in the sand, staring at the stars in happy, peaceful silence.

 

But he knew she could hear him, loud and clear. And so he spoke.

 

“I never wanted you to lose hope. Ever. That was a shining beacon in you, you know?”

 

Obi-Wan paused as a quiet sob came from behind. He closed his eyes as agony coursed through him, his voice close to shaking.

 

“I’m sorry, Rey.”

 

I’m sorry, Anakin.

 

“I am so sorry.”

 

I am so, so, sorry.

Chapter Text

After a while, Rey got up and pushed aside her makeshift wall with a weary wave.

 

Obi-Wan hovered in front of her, quietly watching as Rey leaned slightly against a container with exhaustion. Deep circles hung under her eyes as she wrapped her arms around her chest.

 

“Will you stay on Jakku?” He murmured softly, disturbing the silence as he watched her expression carefully.

 

Rey’s face crumpled, looking away with misery in her eyes. But she took in a shuddering breath and turned back to him with an impassive shrug.

 

“What else is there to do?”

 


 

A Year Later

 

Rey walked across the scorching desert, grumbling about ‘lost droids’ and kicking up the sand in frustration. The BB unit on her side paid no mind, only chirping happily as they both moved along.

 

Obi-Wan appeared, walking with her, trying to hide a smile.

 

“I see you’ve picked up a new friend.”

 

She rolled her eyes. “He said he’s scared and alone. I felt bad, okay?”

 

This time Obi-Wan grinned. “Oh, no. I’m not blaming you. I just like seeing you with friends.”

 

She frowned, turning to him with an annoyed expression. “I have you , don’t I?”

 

His face softened as he sighed, looking off into the distance. “Yes, well, I’m only a ghost, Rey.”

 

BB-8 beeped a question, his head swiveling to look up at Rey.

 

She shook her head and kept marching forward. “Nothing. I’m just–” Rey turned her head slightly at Obi-Wan, glaring. “–talking to myself. Let’s go. We need to get back soon.”

 

Her pace began to quicken, with BB-8 making an alarmed sound before quickly catching up.

 

Obi-Wan stopped, wearing a forlorn expression as he watched Rey go.

 

She peeked around her shoulder to look back, but all she could see was the sand, getting blown away by the wind, farther and farther away.

 


 

Rey dumped the BB unit on the ground, watching him roll around as she circled back around to the other side of her speeder. Stupid, stupid, stupid, shouldn’t have left Obi-Wan behind–

 

Never mind. It doesn’t matter.

 

“Don’t give up hope. He still might show up. Whoever it is you’re waiting for.” She paused. “Classified.”

 

Rey put the bag of scraps onto her shoulder, watching the droid.

 

“I know all about waiting.”

 

BB-8 chirped a question, rolling back around to look at her. Waiting for whom?

 

“For my family.” She turned to face the sky, squinting as the sun shone in her eyes. “Except now…now I don’t think they’re coming back. Now I just have to survive. Don’t have enough scraps or credits to trade for a ship, anyway.”

 

BB-8 beeped sadly, looking down. Rey shrugged. “It’s fine. I’ve got a friend. Come on.”



Unkar Plutt tilted the metal in his hands, examining it carefully.

 

“These five pieces are worth…let me see here…one-half portion.”

 

One-half portion! Are you kriffing kidding me?

 

Rey watched him with apprehension, eyebrows furrowed. “Last week they were a half portion each–”

 

“What about the droid?”

 

The– the BB unit? Wait, what?

 

Rey turned to BB-8 just as the droid did the same. Confusion was evident in her expression. “What about him?”

 

Unkar Plutt sounded surprised as he said, “I’ll pay for him.”

 

He turned to the side of his post and grabbed a handful of something. No, not even a handful, an armful! He slammed the rest down on the table with a grunt. No way...

 

“Sixty portions.”

 

Gasps and voices full of awe could be heard behind her from others in line.

 

Really? That much for the droid?

 

She’d better take that deal, or I’m taking the droid.

 

Rey stepped forward, wrapping her arms around the rations with amazement. She would never get this much again, not in a billion years! And she could have it now, without ever going hungry ever–

 

But– the droid. Rey turned back to the BB unit. The droid watched her, waiting for a choice. It was–

 

It was sweet. Cute. Funny. Endearing.

 

Perhaps Obi-Wan was right. She did need more friends.

 

Even if the friend was a droid. And it had to leave soon. But you know, take what you can get.

 

“Actually,” Rey paused, slowly taking her hands off the pile of food. “The droid’s not for sale.”

 

She grabbed her half portion, ignoring the shocked expression on Unkar’s face.

 

“Come on,” Rey said softly, before walking away with BB-8 trailing after her.

 

She didn’t notice Unkar pick up a radio and mutter, “Follow the girl and get that droid .”

 


 

After fighting several of Unkar Plutt’s men (and biting one of them) for the custody of BB-8, Rey crouched down and took the net off the little droid.

 

He beeped inquisitively. She sighed, picking up her quarterstaff.

 

“They work for Unkar. That guy that wanted you.” Rey frowned. “He must have really wanted you.”

 

Suddenly, BB-8 turned to the side and let out a shrill chirp, going on about someone wearing… a stolen jacket? From his master?

 

“Who?”

 

The droid turned to the side, beeping urgently. Rey peered over at the tents, squinting. There was only one person there, watching them and…wearing a jacket. That must be him.

 

“Him?”

 

Some more beeping. Yeah, that’s the guy.

 

Rey began to run, with the person wearing the jacket running to the other side of the trading post, crashing into every other stall.

 

Well, I’m glad I know the shortcut.

 

She went around him and met him at the other end, knocking him to the ground. She stepped forward, pointing her staff at his neck.

 

“What’s your hurry, thief? ” She hissed, while BB-8 rolled to the man’s side.

 

What?! Thief?!” He exclaimed incredulously. BB-8 zapped him.

 

Ah. Nice to know that useful feature.

 

“Ow! Hey! What?!”

 

“The jacket. This droid says you stole it,” Rey snarled.

 

He glared at BB-8, then looked back up at her. “Look, I’ve had a pretty messed up day, alright? So I’d appreciate it if you’d stop accusing me of–”

 

BB-8 zapped him again.

 

“Ow! Stop it! ” He spat, flinching away.

 

“Where’d you get it? It belongs to his master .”

 

He looked at the droid, then leaned back with an exhausted sigh.

 

“It belonged to Poe Dameron.” He turned to the droid. “That was his name, right?” BB-8 faced her, then the man.

 

“He was captured. By the First Order. I helped him escape, but our ship crashed.”

 

He looked back at BB-8, shaking his head slightly. “Poe didn’t make it.”

 

The droid froze, then made a mournful noise, lowering his head.

 

Oh, no.

 

The guy spoke again, trying to comfort BB-8. “I tried to help him. I’m sorry.”

 

BB-8 ignored him, instead choosing to turn around and roll away dejectedly. Rey watched him go, slowly lowering her quarterstaff. She looked back at the guy.

 

“So you’re with the Resistance?”

 

He didn’t answer for a second. Yes or no…?

 

But then– “Obviously.” Okay, then. He jumped up, followed by– “Yes, I am. I’m with the Resistance, yeah,” and straightening his borrowed (stolen?) jacket.

 

There’s something about this guy that seems…off. But he seems trustworthy. For now.

 

Better ask Obi-Wan later.

 

He leaned in, whispering, “I am with the Resistance .”

 

Hmm.

 

She smiled a little, watching him. “I’ve never met a Resistance fighter before.”

 

He nodded. “Well, this is what we look like. Some of us. Others look different.”

 

Rey turned around to where the droid had gone. “BB-8 says he’s on a secret mission.” She grinned. “He has to get back to your base.”

 

She heard him groan in exasperation. “Apparently, he has a map that leads to Luke Skywalker, and everyone’s after it.”

 

The ‘chase the empire, save the princess, save the galaxy’ Luke Skywalker?!

 

“Luke Skywalker?” Rey whispered excitedly. “Really?!”

 

Suddenly, BB-8 rolled towards them, chirping nervously. Come! There are stormtroopers, look!

 

Both of them walked over to the area BB-8 was talking about. Someone was talking about two people and a droid, yeah, we saw them, over there

 

He grabbed her hand. Excuse me?! “What are you doing?!

 

The stormtroopers started shooting at them, blasts of red zooming past their heads. “Come on. Come on, BB-8!” He yelled, dragging her through the trading post with the little orange droid rolling right behind them.

 

He was holding her hand!

 

“Let go of me!” She yelled, trying to yank her hand out of his grasp.

 

“Come on, we gotta move!”

 

“I know how to run without you holding my hand! ” Rey growled, finally managing to rip it away from him.

 

This time, she led them, yelling behind her, “BB-8, stay close!”

 

Rey moved through the crowd of tables and stalls, knocking several of them down. “This way!”

 

They finally found cover in a tent, both of them gasping for breath. “They’re shooting at both of us.”

 

She could hear him making clunking noises, picking up and putting down random things that were sitting on a shelf of some sort. “Yeah. They saw you with me. You’re marked.”

 

Rey turned to the side, glaring at him. “Well, thanks for that!”

 

He pointed a finger at her in accusation. “Hey, I’m not the one who chased you down with a stick!”

 

She rolled her eyes, moving to the edge of the tent and leaning against a table.

 

“Okay, Obi-Wan, I really hope you can hear me…” She muttered, glancing over at the Resistance fighter to make sure he wouldn’t hear her talking to thin air. (Otherwise, people tended to look at her strangely.)

 

But nope, the guy was still shoving aside random things and yelling frustratedly, “Does anyone have blasters around here?!”

 

Obi-Wan flickered into view with surprise, glancing at the tent around them and listening to the absolute chaos outside. “Well, this is interesting.”

 

Rey scowled at him. He noticed her expression and lifted his hands in defense. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t always hang around invisible. I do go somewhere .”

 

She stared. Obi-Wan sighed. “Never mind. How can I help?”

 

She opened her mouth, about to explain about the droid and stormtroopers and Luke Skywalker , but the other guy ran over, holding up a finger to silence her. “Shhhh!! Listen!” He whispered, looking up.

 

A high pitched noise could be heard, roaring through the sky. She turned to Obi-Wan with a frown.

 

Ion engines, he mouthed.

 

Then the mystery Resistance guy grabbed her hand. Again. “ Stop taking my hand!

 

As she got dragged out of the tent, she could hear Obi-Wan laughing.

 

Eat sand, old man.

 

As they ran, a ship flew overhead, shooting blasts of green. The ground blew up in front of them, knocking them off their feet. Rey watched more fly across the sky, then crawled over to where the guy had been knocked down.

 

She grabbed his shoulder, shaking him. “Hey!”

 

He blinked, then forced himself up, grunting. He turned to her. “Are you okay?”

 

Rey nodded. “Yeah.” She held out a hand. “Follow me.”

 

They ran through more stalls, dodging the mini explosions of sand around them.

 

“Obi-Wan…this would be a really nice time to appear…” She murmured under her breath, looking back and forth to make sure they wouldn’t get hit.

 

Luckily, he was listening. He came into view right next to her, running with a cheeky smile. “You called?”

 

She glared at him, yelling over the noise of the firing lasers, “I thought you were just laughing at me!”

 

“Oh, come on, that was in the past, Rey. I promise I’ll help!”

 

She raised an eyebrow. “If you say so. I need a ship.”

 

Rey fully expected him to shrug and say, I really don’t know any of the ships here, sorry, but instead, he grinned with a twinkle in his eye. “I know exactly which one you can take.”

 


 

 

They ended up turning right and arriving at a grey ship that was sitting, partially covered by a large, faded cloth. Rey had looked at him, disbelieving, but he just wore a huge smile and said, “I know what I’m talking about, Rey, don’t you worry.”

 

The old man’s finally gone insane, she had thought. This one is garbage.

 

But they ran up the walkway with BB-8 beeping wildly behind them.

 

Rey pointed to the middle, shouting, “Gunner position is down there!”

 

As she sprinted to the front, she heard, “You ever fly this thing?”

 

I’m only here because my idiot Jedi master told me to go here. So:

 

“No! This ship hasn’t flown in years!” Rey reached towards the ceiling, flipping switches on and preparing for them to take off.

 

What?! Then why are we here?!”

 

Rey was about to give him a really stupid answer like, “It looked nice?”, until she looked outside and…all the other ships were blown up. Just her luck.

 

“All the other ships are gone! This is the last one!”

 

She didn’t hear a response, so she assumed he was doing something like banging his head repeatedly on the wall in frustration. Which was what she would do.

 

Rey shook her head. “I can do this, I can do this…”

 

Obi-Wan appeared next to her, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, crossing his legs and admiring everything with a smile. “Ah, what an excellent ship.”

 

She whipped towards him, glowering. “Is that why you chose this piece of junk?! Because you thought it was pretty ?!”

 

He tilted his head, frowning in contemplation. “Hmm, no. More like…” He knitted his together fingers with an excited smile as the ship began to power up. “ Nostalgia.

 

Then the thrusters fired and the engine was on and they were–

 

Not in the air. It tilted downwards, crashing into the ground and sliding across the sand.

 

What am I doing wrong…?! Ah, okay, that one there…

 

Rey finally managed to take off, speeding away from the mayhem that they had caused. Up into the sky–

 

“Woah, no, hey! Stay low, stay low!” She could hear the other guy’s voice on a speaker.

 

“What?!” Why?! We need to get away!

 

“Stay low! It confuses their tracking!” Well, okay, then.

 

Rey turned around, shouting, “BB-8, hold on! I’m going low!”

 

She pulled back on the control, flipping the ship over and speeding down towards the sand dunes. BB-8 was getting rolled around in the hallways, making alarmed beeping noises.

 

Sorry, little guy.

 

The TIE fighters’ engines roared as they chased after her, and soon one green laser smashed into the bottom of the ship, causing everything to shake.

 

“What are you doing back there?!” Rey snapped, turning back to face the gunner bay. “Are you ever going to fire back?!”

 

“I’m working on it! Are the shields up?” Right, right, right, kriff, kriff, kriff–

 

Rey glanced over at Obi-Wan, who was still relaxing in his co-pilot chair. Why do ghosts not have to do anything?! “Hey, old man, flip the switch!”

 

He raised his eyebrows, turning to face her with a frown. “Old man?!”

 

She groaned, looking up at the ceiling. “Just do it!”

 

Obi-Wan grinned, waving a finger and using the Force.

 

“Shields are up!”

 

Rey dodged the fighters, swerving left and right. A blast of green hit them at the bottom, and she could hear the Resistance guy’s voice, “We need cover, quick!”

 

Cover, where can we get cover…?

 

Obi-Wan spoke up. “The graveyard, fly there.”

 

Rey nodded in agreement. Perfect.

 

“We’re about to get some!” She grimaced, muttering, “I hope.”

 

Rey turned the wheel to the right, curving them around a sand dune and into…

 

The Graveyard of Giants.

 

She sped towards the graveyard of destroyed battle stations, pushing up a knob and swerving their ship to the left. Rey could see green light shooting past them, almost hitting them–

 

One of the TIE fighters exploded. Good job!

 

Rey looked back at the gunner bay. “Nice shot!”

 

More blasts echoed behind them, then another below the ship. Kriff.

 

“The cannon’s stuck in forward position!” Great, just what I assumed. We got hit. “I can’t move it, you gotta lose him!”

 

Oh, kriff, I do not know how to do this, I’ve only done simulators–

 

Obi-Wan sat there, silently watching Rey from the side as she frantically steered the control wheel, the TIE fighters from outside making her panic even more.

 

“Are you even going to help, old man?” She snarled, not even risking to look at him.

 

He made a humming noise. “Use the Force, Rey. It might help more than you think.”

 

She shook her head, trying to clear it as she zoomed forward, mumbling, “Okay, okay…use the Force, use the Force…”

 

Rey frowned, closing her eyes–

 

And she could see everything.

Chapter Text

Time stood still.

 

Something inside Rey finally slotted into place; like someone opening a door after living forever in darkness. Something, for once, was right.

 

(Something was put back together, something was coming back, something she couldn’t remember that was just out of her reach–)

 

Everything was crystal-clear, sharp and in focus. Her senses seemed to stretch out through the Force, alerting her of every laser, every ship that was going to be racing her way.

 

Emotions and energy swirled around each living being, a maelstrom of panic and excitement and exhilaration and so many others : Obi-Wan, the man sitting in the gunner bay, even the TIE fighter pilots (although weak), she could feel them all.

 

Her new companion, the one from the Resistance, was glowing dimly, a faint blue light hovering around him. (Rey couldn’t even see him, yet she knew, she just knew .) She could poke at his mind, prod at it if she wanted to, crush it if she wanted to , find out his life, the truth, rip apart his memories, leave him screaming in pain as she shredded it to pieces–

 

“Rey,” Obi-Wan murmured, sitting peacefully in the seat on her right. His eyes were sharp, though, watching her carefully. He knows something, Rey thought. He knows what I thought.

 

(Alas, her master knew far more than that. Far, far, more.)

 

Obi-Wan continued speaking in a quiet whisper. “Focus.”

 

Right. Focus.

 

She breathed in, her mind finally stilling.

 

Rey was one with the Force, and the Force was one with her.

 

(She was one with the Force, she was born of the Force, she was the Force–)

 

Rey exhaled, and the world moved once again.

 


 

Rey swung the ship around, scanning the entrance of the enormous fallen battleship for the best way in. It was almost too easy, dodging the TIE fighter and the green blasts that came shooting towards them.

 

She’d had some practice dodging Obi-Wan, but every time, she’d complain that she couldn’t really fight him. Her quarterstaff would just go right through his body.

 

Of course, he’d just wear that all-knowing smile and say, “Continue!”

 

The Force seemed to alert her almost instantaneously, little pings in the back of her mind, little dots on a sensor, glowing a bright and alarming red. She was always watching, always at the ready.

 

On Jakku, if you didn’t, you disappeared. Gone, never to be seen again.

 

Such is the life of a scavenger.

 

She cranked up the engine, racing into the darkness of the crashed Ravager thrusters, the TIE fighter zooming after them.

 

Are we really doing this?! ” She could hear her companion’s voice from the gunner bay, filled with incredulity.

 

Rey grinned, effortlessly swerving past the metal shafts that held the ship together. “Yes, we are!”

 

She could hear him splutter. “How are you happy about this?!”

 

Rey whooped, ignoring his question and lurching to the side, exiting out of a massive hole on the right. Excitement alight in her eyes, she glanced over at Obi-Wan.

 

He was clutching at his armrests in terror.

 

“Finally feeling your age, old man? ” Rey called with glee.

 

Obi-Wan looked at her nauseously. “You know, Rey, when I told you to focus, this isn’t what I meant–!

 

Rey suddenly shut off the engine and flipped upside down. Come on, Resistance guy, shoot the TIE fighter, we don’t have much time…

 

She heard an explosion behind her ( yes! ) and powered the ship back up, speeding away into space.

 


 

Rey rushed out of her seat, taking a second to glance at Obi-Wan, who was looking vaguely horrified at her flying. He looked at her and shook his head, mouthing, “never again” . She just laughed, running forward towards the gunner bay.

 

Rey found the Resistance fighter in the hallway, the both of them immediately excitedly congratulating each other.

 

“Nice shooting!”

 

“Now that was some flying.” Obi-Wan would disagree.

 

“Thanks!”

 

“How did you do that?!” It’d be best to keep quiet about the Force...

 

“I don’t know! I just kind of…did it?”

 

“No one trained you?!” For flying? Not really. Last time she flew a ship, Obi-Wan complained about feeling sick, then complained that ghosts shouldn’t even feel sick. She crashed it, too.

 

It was fun.

 

“I’ve flown some ships but I’ve never left the planet! Your last shot was dead on.”

 

“You were amazing –”

 

They were interrupted as BB-8 rolled over to them and beeped urgently. We need to get to the base, we can’t trust him! He might give away our position!

 

Rey kneeled down to the droid’s level, speaking reassuringly. “You’re okay. He’s with the Resistance.”

 

She watched at BB-8 looked to their companion. “He’s going to get you home.” BB-8 turned back to her as she paused, eyes flickering over the droid’s body. “We both will.”

 

Rey slowly got up, turning to face the guy behind her. “I don’t know your name.”

 

“Finn. What’s yours?”

 

“I’m–” She hesitated, frowning, but continued. “–I’m Rey.” There was another name about to rise to her lips, something– something from long ago, that she couldn’t quite remember–

 

Finn looked at her strangely, but nodded, eyes roaming around her face, nervous. He glanced away with pursed lips, then back to her, stepping forward. “Rey–”

 

Something burst behind them, hissing dangerously. She whipped around with horror as white gas began to spew from a burst pipe. Oh, kriff.

 

Rey ran over to a metal grate. “Help me with this, quick!”

 

“Woah, what’s going on?!” Finn yelled, sprinting to the opposite side.

 

Rey bent down and began to pull at the lid, straining with the effort.

 

She grunted, and finally, finally , it lifted, revealing a collection of wires and machines below. Rey jumped down, scanning through them until she found the source of the problem. Oh, kriff .

 

She reached back and twisted a knob, then straightened up to face Finn.

 

“It’s the motivator.” Kriff, kriff, kriff. Rey pointed to a box across the floor. “Grab me a Harris wrench, check in there.” She ducked down again, fiddling with everything she could just to fix the kriffing problem.

 

She really ought to stop swearing so kriffing much.

 

Obi-Wan would sigh.

“How bad is it?” She heard Finn ask. Here’s her quick analysis:

 

“If we want to live, not good.

 

“They’re hunting for us now. We’ve gotta get out of this system!”

 

She stood up, glancing hurriedly between her two companions. “BB-8 said the location of the Resistance Base is ‘need to know’. If I’m taking you there, I need to know!”

 

Finn turned around, throwing something– the Harris wrench! Thank you! “This?”

 

Rey nodded, grabbing it and ducking down once again, fixing the tool against the pipes. Come on, come on, please work. She twisted it– and of course it didn’t work. Gas was still spewing rapidly out from behind her. Kriff!

 

Rey pointed to a box beside Finn. “Pilex driver, hurry.”

 

Finn kneeled over it and began looking through the container of tools, digging through the metal pliers, screwdrivers, hammers, and who-knows-what recklessly. She glanced between him and the droid. “So where’s your base?”

 

He turned around, waving a wrench at the latter. “Go on, BB-8, tell her.”

 

BB-8 looked back and forth between them several times, seemingly unable to decide whether to tell her or not. Why is Finn mouthing the word “please”?

 

Finally, the droid turned to her, beeping a message quickly. The base is in the Ileenium System.

 

“The Ileenium System?!”

 

Wow. “I want to travel the galaxy,” She had said, lost and blind on Jakku. “It won’t be stressful at all,” She had said. The kriffing Ileenium System?! Why would it be there ?!

 

Right. So no one can find it.

 

“Yeah, the Ileenium System, that’s the one! Get us there as fast as you can.” Finn nodded, pointing at BB-8 with a seemingly nervous smile and swiftly tossing the Pilex driver over to her. She crouched down, picking at the bolts and wires once again. Rey suddenly paused.

 

She wanted to go somewhere, right? Other than Jakku?

 

Rey bit her lip, fingers clenching around the tool she held in her hand. Rey looked up at Finn, squinting. “Can I come with you? To the base, I mean?”

 

He looked surprised, glancing at BB-8 worriedly. The little droid just swiveled his head around to look at him innocently. Finn turned to her, sporting a nervous grin.

 

“Uh, yeah, sure! Yeah, definitely. Of course.” He coughed, looking away. “Yeah.”

 

She frowned, her hands slowly reaching towards the wires to begin fixing them again.

 

“Are you okay?” Rey said suspiciously. She could use the Force now, tap into his mind, see the truth, see what was really going on–

 

No. She wouldn’t. That wasn’t her place. That was never her place.

 

(But she did it once, she ripped and tore thousands of minds apart, destroyed them utterly and she doesn’t know where these thoughts are coming from –)

 

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine.” Finn glanced down at the box beside him, eyes widening. “Oh, kriff, the gas! Anything else you need?”

 

Rey’s head whipped over to the pipe with alarm. How could she forget?!

 

“Bonding tape, hurry!”

 

Finn nodded, digging through the box once again. Rey shook her head.

 

“It’s not that one.” He picked something up with raised eyebrows. She sighed.

 

“The one I’m pointing to. No. No!” Rey groaned in annoyance, finger directed at the (quite obvious, in her opinion) tape. “If we don’t patch it up, the propulsion tank will overflow and flood the ship with poisonous gas!

 

Finn grabbed the yellow roll, holding it up in frustration. “ This?!

 

Rey huffed, exasperated. “Yes!”

 

He threw it over to her as she bent back down ( if she wanted, she could use the Force, use her power to take anything she desired, anything at all– ) and continued tinkering with the pipes. Finn crouched next to Rey, leaning over the hole she was in and looking down at the problem currently being patched up.

 

“Hey, uh, Rey,” He spoke quickly, sounding like he was nervous. “Got any family? Siblings? Parents?” Finn looked away, muttering more to himself, “Boyfriend? Girlfriend?”

 

Hearing the last part, Rey didn’t speak or stop what she was doing, only looking up and raising her eyebrows at him. Really?

 

He grinned sheepishly, awkwardly shrugging. “I don’t know, I’m trying to make conversation, you know? Something to pass the time?”

 

Rey shook her head, leaning forward peering into the dark and shadowy corner she was trying to correct. She really needed a light. “No, I…on Jakku, for the most part, I lived alone. I had a friend, but I didn’t really know when to expect to see him next.”

 

More like she has a friend, but that’ll sound like she brought on a stowaway.

 

Obi-Wan is staying a definite secret.

 

For now.

 

He’ll probably complain about only being able to talk to me, Rey thought, rolling her eyes.

 

Finn watched her work, rambling on a bit about oh, well, I don’t know what I should talk about. Jakku is hot, right? Did you get used to the heat? I mean, there is so much sand. So much kriffing sand, I do not know how you dealt with it

 

The lights above them suddenly turned an alarming red, a strange noise accompanying it that could only mean the power was strangely…shutting down.

 

The day can only get so much worse, can it?

 

Finn looked up with dread, eyes roaming around the dark hallways which were now glowing crimson against the walls. “That can’t be good.”

 

Rey dropped the tape and shot up, twisting to look behind her. “No, it can’t be.”

 

She grabbed the edge of the hole, swinging her leg around and standing. Rey scrambled over to the control board at the front of the ship, with Finn throwing himself in the seat on the right. BB-8 whirred after her, it’s head turning back and forth in agitation.

 

She pressed buttons and flipped switches, trying to see if anything would respond. There was no use. Everything was shut down, turned off. Kriff.

 

This is going to be her record for the most times she’s sworn in an entire day.

 

Minus that time she hit herself in the shin with her quarterstaff.

 

Ouch.

 

“Someone’s locked onto us. All controls are overridden,” She said, eyes wide open with alarm, hands still hovering over the controls.

 

There was a dull clang above both Finn and Rey, making them look up with surprise. A slow screeching noise echoed around them as Finn began to climb towards the ceiling, using her head as support.

 

Rey pried it off, slapping it away and muttering, “Get off! Get off!”

 

Finn ignored her, straining his neck to see through windows above. What does he fear, Rey wondered. What does he fear that lurks in the shadows, hides in the dark? Is that it, what he is escaping from? Why he runs away from Jakku like there’s a rathtar on his tail, runs like a coward , the voice snarls. Why he lies about everything, lies about being in the Resistance–

 

Rey shook her head, trying to clear it. What was going on with her thoughts these days?

 

“See anything?” She asked, turning towards him with an anxious expression. Rey clutched at the armrests of her seat. She didn’t know who was capturing them, or what, but it couldn’t be something good.

 

( On Jakku, nothing was ever good, nothing was ever pure, it was just a bunch of crooked thieves and liars that used every dirty trick they knew of to get anything they wanted needed, the kind of people that sold their children for drinking money– )

 

Red washed over Finn and Rey’s faces as they were pulled into a dark, enormous hangar.

 

Finn began to hyperventilate, eyes scanning the inside of whatever cruiser was dragging them in. “Oh, kriff .”

 

Rey’s hands instinctively reached for the controls, eager to leave, to escape from wherever they were being taken. But it was useless, the pull was relentless, it was like trying to leave your home when a sandstorm was at its peak; wait it out, or run and die.

 

Rey learned many, many lessons on–

 

(–TatooineitwasalwaysTatooinetheagonystuckasaslavewatchhermotherdieslaughteravillage–)

 

–on Jakku.

 

“What is it?”

 

Finn swallowed at her question, falling back into his seat and breathing rapidly, staring at the control panel with terror.

 

“It’s the First Order.”

Chapter Text

The First Order, Rey thought, the words ricocheting throughout her mind. The explosions she thought they had escaped came rushing back, shoving their moment of, okay, we’re doing fine, we’ll be okay, far away. Adrenaline and fear wrapped together to form an unpleasant, sour feeling in her stomach.

 

Rey’s hands tightened, then relaxed as she tried to calm herself. She looked at the control panel, glancing anxiously over it.

 

“What do we do? There must be something–” Rey cut herself off, fingers grasping nervously at the edge of her seat. Her eyes flickered across the controls.

 

She could try using the Force to somehow move their ship out of the cargo bay, but even she knew she wasn’t strong enough to that. Maybe throwing a bomb of some sort when the stormtroopers come in? No, stupid idea. That would just wreck the ship.

 

They were knee-deep in a pit full of bantha fodder. Kriff .

 

Suddenly, Finn leaned forward in his seat and pointed at her, snapping Rey out of her thoughts.

 

“You said poisonous gas–” He said quickly, eyes flickering between her face and the entrance of the ship. 

 

Rey shook her head, confused. “Yeah, but I fixed that–”

 

Finn ignored her. “Can you unfix it?”

 

Her eyes moved back and forth across his face, trying to understand what he was saying.

 

Unfix it? Was he trying to kill them all? Wait, no. Everyone but them.

 

Rey quickly got up and sped past her chair, rushing over to the several gas masks hanging against the wall. 

 

As Finn followed her over, they both grabbed one each and jumped into the hole that she had been working in earlier.

 

She didn’t know how long it would take for the First Order to come barging in, but this could give them a small chance of survival.

 

Hurry, hurry, hurry– Rey’s heart raced and her breathing quickened. Okay, don’t think about that–

 

“The droid,” A voice said carefully, and she whirled around to see Obi-Wan lurking at the edge of the room, hands tucked into his robe. She didn’t say anything, choosing instead to nod and reach for BB-8.

 

“Come on,” Rey whispered to the droid, pushing it along into the hole where Finn had jumped in. 

 

He stood up and tried to pick up BB-8, but only succeeded in dragging the droid down and landing with a painful thump. Rey winced. That droid was not lightweight.

 

The ceiling that had been basking them in red light suddenly switched to blue, and with a hum, the power was switched on.

 

Well, no time to hide like– now .

 

Rey jumped inside the hole and leaned over the edge, reaching towards the grate to cover them. Her fingers hooked onto it as she dragged it to the both of them–

 

Wasting time, wasting time, wasting time–

 

She let out a frustrated grunt and crouched down, closing her eyes and waving her hand. The Force obeyed, wrapping around the metal cover and yanking it over them with a clang. 

 

Rey glanced down hurriedly at Finn, anxiety clawing at the insides of her mind and begging that he hadn’t seen her. He was still struggling with the droid, and it was just dark enough so that he wouldn’t notice what she had done.

 

Well, she hoped he hadn’t noticed.

 

Rey leaned over to the wires where she had been working before, breathing heavily as she wrenched them apart, trying to find the damaged pipe from before.

 

“Do you think this will work on the stormtroopers?”

 

Finn scrambled over next to her, nodding as he watched. “Yeah. Their masks filter out–”

 

“Smoke, not toxins, right,” Rey interrupted without thinking, still stressfully searching for what she had fixed previously. 

 

They both froze for a second. Finn’s face twitched anxiously. “How do you know that?” His voice came out slightly hoarse.

 

Rey paused, fingers tightening around the pipe. She looked down with a frown, squeezing her eyes shut. 

 

How did she know that? 

 

She tried to think, tried to remember where the words came from, but only succeeded in giving herself a headache. Rey rubbed her forehead.

 

“Never– never mind. Just–” Sudden clunking and footsteps echoed near the entrance of the ship. Rey blinked and looked up. Finn didn’t wait for her explanation. He waved a hand at the wires.

 

“I agree, never mind! Let’s hurry!”

 

Rey nodded and rushed back into the work, a tool in hand. She was so close, just unscrew that bolt and–

 

She dropped the tool.

 

The footsteps above went silent. Finn turned to her with a horrified expression.

 

Rey swallowed. Maybe, this one time, she could use the Force and escape. Then what? They’d be on a First Order ship in space. Nowhere to go.

 

Either way, she planned to go out fighting. Rey gathered the Force around her, energy pumping through her veins as she closed her eyes–

 

“Actually, I think they’re friendly,” Someone whispered next to her. 

 

She cracked open an eye and saw Obi-Wan crouching next to her and grinning. Rey glared. Obi-Wan grinned wider. 

 

Trust me, he mouthed. Then his image vanished, leaving Rey rolling her eyes at thin air.

 

The metal grate above them was lifted, and she was left staring at a Wookie and a face that felt all too familiar.



Rey stood there for a second, frozen. She knew this person, right? But that couldn’t be right. She had only met several humans on Jakku, and one of those few was a ghost. The rest that she remembered just tried to steal her belongings. Or, well. They tried to.

 

Rey attempted to tell herself with utmost confidence, no, she did not know this person, but– but why did she recognize him? 

 

A small part of her wished so, so desperately that she had found the one thing she had been looking for her entire life, a small part that begged that this was her family, that she had finally found them, found someone who wasn’t the one that abandoned her on Jakku–

 

Something was lingering in the back of her mind, a memory and a time she couldn’t call up, and yet she was so sure

 

“Answer me!”

 

The stranger – he was a stranger , she firmly decided – barked the question, shaking Rey out of her stupor. He pointed a blaster at both her and Finn, glaring.

 

Finn shook his head rapidly, pointing a finger at her and stumbling back into the wall. 

 

“She’s the pilot!” He yelped. “We’re the only ones on board!”

 

“Sure you are,” The Wookie growled, standing beside the man.

 

Rey managed to come back to the present, swallowing. “No, we’re the only ones, I swear.”

 

Finn looked at her with wide eyes. “You can understand that thing?”

 

The stranger raised his eyebrows. “And that thing can understand you, too, so watch it.” He glanced between both of them, then waved the blaster to the side. “Come on out of there.”

 

Rey climbed out, breathing heavily. Not the First Order, then. For once, the Force was on their side.

 

The man turned to her, frowning. “Where’d you get this ship?”

 

She blinked. “Niima Outpost.”

 

He looked shocked. “Jakku? That junkyard?” He turned to the Wookie with an annoyed sigh. “Told you we should have double-checked the Western Reaches.”

 

The Wookie looked offended. “I didn’t know!”

 

The man narrowed his eyes at her. “Who had it?” He raised his eyebrows. “Ducain?”

 

“I stole it,” Rey answered quickly, glancing between the two of them. “From Unkar Plutt.” 

 

She continued after a moment’s hesitation. “Who stole it from the Irving Boys, who stole it from Ducain.” 

 

“Who stole it from me!” He said incredulously. He made a frustrated noise and turned around, walking towards the cockpit. “Well, you tell him that Han Solo just stole back the Millenium Falcon for good!” 

 

Rey stepped forward with a confused expression, holding up a hand. “Wait. You’re Han Solo?

 

The man, who was apparently Han Solo, stopped walking and turned back to face her with a frown. Perhaps he had expected something akin to hero-worship. Or fury, considering that most of the people who recognized him wanted either his money or his death. Or both. 

 

He raised his eyebrows. “What’s it to you?”

 

Rey hesitated, her arm dropping to her side as she shook her head. “No, I just…I guess I thought I recognized you.”

 

What had she been expecting? Had she thought, somehow, that this was– this was family? Perhaps she was so unused to such luck that she had been hoping for it to be true.

 

Rey’s eyes threatened to water– whether it was from anguish or self-loathing, she didn’t know. Her fingernails dug into her palms, the sharp pain reminding her to focus.

 

We’re supposed to get to the resistance, not spend our time reminiscing about things that don’t matter. She gritted her teeth. What’s done is done.

 

You can’t change what was in the past.

 

Han Solo looked surprised at her words but smirked. “Unless you’re lying about who stole my ship, I don’t think I’ve met you. Sorry, kid.”

 

Finn, who had seen enough, stepped forward with his hands up. 

 

“Woah, woah, woah, hold up a second.” He pointed to the apparent Han Solo with wide eyes. “You’re Han Solo? The Rebellion general?”

 

Han’s cocky attitude slipped away, his eyes hard as he shook his head. “I used to be.” Melancholy seeped into his tone, any happiness wrung dry from it with each word.

 

Rey watched him slip into the hallway, watched the shadow of a man slink away as if the meaning of the name Han Solo had never existed. As if it had meant nothing. Her heart twisted.

 

“Hey!” Han called out angrily, his voice echoing clearly from the cockpit. Rey twitched at the noise, shaking away the static in her head. “Some moof-milker put a compressor on the ignition line!”

 

So she wasn’t the only one that thought Unkar Plutt was being an absolute– well, Han Solo described him perfectly.

 

Rey rushed over, joining his side with a vigor she hadn’t expected of herself. “Unkar Plutt did. I thought it was a mistake too, puts too much stress on–”

 

“–the hyperdrive,” Han spoke with the end of her rushed sentence, nodding agreeably. He turned to the Wookie. “Chewie, throw 'em in a pod, we'll drop them at the nearest inhabited planet.”

 

What?! No! She stalked after Han, indignation marring grooves in her expression. “Wait, no! We need your help!”

 

He raised an eyebrow at her, still walking towards the cockpit. “My help?

 

Rey ignored his skepticism. “This droid has to get to the resistance base as soon as possible.” 

 

They had to get there, the droid is carrying–

 

“He’s carrying a map to Luke Skywalker,” Finn said, finishing her thoughts exactly.

 

Han paused, still facing away from them. She watched him carefully. Han Solo knew Luke Skywalker, right? They were friends, weren’t they? Rey frowned in thought. She–she knew this. (Of course she knew this, everybody did, but– it wasn’t just that , was it? No… no, it was something else…) 

 

She closed her eyes, a sharp pain building in her forehead. Images flashed in the darkness, and she winced as the headache grew.

 

There was mist everywhere– why was there mist? And someone was breathing– with an apparatus? It sounded heavy, strained–

 

“I love you.”

 

Who was that? They sounded familiar…

 

“I know.”

 

That voice… wait, she knew that voice, didn’t she? It came from the person that was standing right in front of her–

 

She jerked as a hand brushed against her arm, the odd memory drifting away from her like sand in the wind. Finn’s concerned eyes came to meet hers, but his voice was directed at Han.

 

“You are the Han Solo that fought with the rebellion.”

 

Han slowly turned back to face them. Finn grasped at her arm, probably making sure she was still standing upright. Rey nearly knocked his hand away until she swayed slightly. She… didn’t want to fall over right now. Her head had seen better days. Specifically, when it didn’t feel like it was being squeezed by a vise.

 

Finn’s voice was quiet when he spoke next. “You knew him.”

 

Han nodded slowly. “Yeah. I knew him. I knew Luke.” He sounded… tired. Defeated. It was a sharp contrast to the memory she had– seen? Heard? Felt? The Han Solo there sounded confident, sure in everything he was about to do.

 

She winced as the headache that was receding suddenly came back in full force. Okay, no thinking about memories or weird visions from the Force or whatever.

 

Rey rubbed her forehead, squinting. One of these days, could the Force just–

 

A quiet thud from above made her look up, as did everyone else.

 

“Oh, don’t tell me a Rathtar’s gotten loose,” Han growled, making his way back towards the center of the ship.


Rey and Finn stumbled after him. “Wait, what?