She was exhausted to the point she almost missed the quiet and monotony of her life on Jakku. Almost. She just wanted to sleep, she just wanted somewhere quiet. But the Falcon was filled beyond capacity, there was no room anywhere. She had one last spot to try or it was the corridor floor, thoughts of being stepped on be damned. “Sorry,” she stammered, backing out of the small alcove. Of course this place was taken too.
“It’s fine,” Poe mumbled, he was obviously half asleep. “There’s no damn room anywhere.”
“I’ll let you get back to sleep,” she said softly. Maybe Leia would let her sleep on the floor of the bedroom. She really didn’t want to be stepped on. Not after the day she’d had.
“You look ready to fall over, I can share my spot,” he said in reply. “Hell, I’ll give you my spot. I’d be dead if it weren’t for you, you were amazing today.”
Her whole body felt too hot, embarrassment flooding her. “No it’s fine, really.”
He gave her another kind smile. She could get used to him smiling at her. “I know we just met but you do look like you need a break,” he said while trying to rise. “Take my spot, I must have gotten an hour of sleep, I can go fly the ship or something. I don’t want to remember anything right now, I should keep busy.”
She placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him, sinking to the hard floor instead. “It really was a horrible day wasn’t it?” she managed with a weak laugh.
“Oh yeah,” he chuckled. “Maker, if I could do this day all over again.”
“You’re telling me. I’d give anything to do it over again.”
He was back in his bunk. How in the hell was he in his bunk? They’d left the base, he remembered it kinda vividly. It was a little hard to forget all those people dying. He shook his head, it had to have been a dream. They were evacuating, it was his head playing tricks on him. Some worst case scenario giving him nightmares. That had to be it.
Then it all played out. Exactly the same. It was almost like he couldn’t stop himself, daring the bad things to happen. And they did. The only bright spot was literally bright, seeing Rey move those rocks, bringing them all back out of the darkness and into the light.
He hadn’t changed anything, might as well stick with it. He approached her just like he had in his dream, introducing himself. Of course the one good part had to be different. She’d been happy, smiling that time, almost embarrassed by the attention. Now she just looked tired. “Yes, yes, I know, you’re Poe. We’ve met but I doubt you remember that either. No one else does,” she mumbled.
He stood there frozen, hand held out. “Wait? You remember doing all this too?” he whispered urgently.
Her eyes widened, mouth dropping open in shock. Rey’s mouth worked silently, opening and closing a few times before grabbing his outstretched hand and leading him to a familiar spot. He’d never set foot in the Millennium Falcon, but it was familiar somehow. “Did we fall asleep here?” she asked quietly.
He could only nod. “So you remember doing all of this before?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Rey, I’ve never been more confused in my life.”
“So this is getting annoying,” she said once they had reached their spot. They’d just met, but somehow they had a spot already.
“Oh yeah,” he replied, the hand tangling in his hair, giving away how annoyed he was feeling.
She gave a small sigh. “I don’t even understand how this is possible. How are we reliving the same day over and over?” she asked.
Poe shrugged, he did that far too often. “You’re the Jedi, you tell me.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “That would require Luke to actually train me. He hasn’t been very helpful, why do you think I keep showing up without him?”
He snapped his fingers. “Maybe if we stay awake, it won’t happen,” he said hopefully. “There has to be a way to stop this.”
“I’m exhausted, I don’t think I could stay awake,” she replied. “Being tortured by Snoke was bad enough the first time. The third time around isn’t any better.”
“So we keep each other up. Might as well get to know each other if we’re stuck in this stupid ... loop or whatever you want to call it,” he suggested. “I mean come on, we’re both pilots, we’re friends with Finn and ... torture buddies! We’ve got tons in common.”
Well that didn’t work. Rey had been mid laugh when he found himself in his bunk. This was getting ridiculous, time to change things. Watching his friends die had to stop.
She could feel the smile tugging at her lips. The beacon had brought them back to Crait for the first time in weeks. It had been constant worry, the signal being untraceable, going back to the planet just in case and finding nothing behind those rocks. Seeing the small band of people was a relief. Finn rushed over, hugging her tightly but she noticed the exhaustion on Poe’s face. The remainder of the Resistance scrambled onto the Falcon, she knew already where to look for him.
“Where have you been?” she asked worriedly.
“I tried to fix things,” he replied wearily. “I’ve been shot down in my X-wing, blown up with the rest of the fleet and someone shot me yesterday for attempted kidnapping. I just needed a break so I did what I did the first time.”
“Why exactly did you keep dying?” she asked in confusion. “Kidnapping?”
He sighed. “Not the smartest decision I’ve ever made, but I’m getting desperate. I tried to fix the battle so everyone didn’t die and I just ended up getting killed. So I tried to recall when the order came and the Dreadnaught always blew up the fleet anyways. So my newest idea was to get Leia to just evacuate early before the First Order got to base. I might have screwed that up too. Trying to kidnap her was a really stupid plan but she wasn’t listening. I need a second opinion. So, thoughts?”
“Well if you’d shown up, I would have told you kidnapping was bad,” she laughed.
“Maybe we should plan this out,” he said with a faint smile. “If we’re in this together, we should work together. What do we have to lose at this point?”
She wasn’t getting better at resisting Snoke, not in the least. And it still hurt like being run over by a walker, but what else was she supposed to be doing? Poe really needed to convince Leia, she was getting tired of going back to this damn ship.
She had a moment of pure joy when she saw the fleet orbiting Crait. Too bad her escape led the First Order right to them. Her last thought before she was shot down was she really hoped Poe remembered the plan.
She was a little surprised when she had the two of them hugging her tightly. Finn looked surprised as well. “How long was I out?” he asked.
Poe just laughed. “Too long buddy.”
She gave him a smile, no one would believe the truth. They met up in their spot once everyone was settled in. “Well, I finally found a way to convince Leia to head out early,” he beamed. “Then you had to get us all blown up again. Guess that’s the next item on our list?”
“I’d be more than happy to never set foot on that damn ship again,” she teased. “I’m not sure what I should do though. If I go, Snoke dies. I’m not sure what happens if I go straight to Crait.”
Poe looked confused. “Why do you end up on the Supremacy?” he asked. “I’ve never thought of it before now. I thought you were sent to find Skywalker not kill Snoke.”
She turned away from him. It had been weeks but she’d never told anyone the truth. She knew how to block the Force bond now but she’d allowed herself to try and talk to him over and over again. The thought that maybe this time, maybe if she got to know him better, she could find a way to convince him to turn back. All that had happened was being captured over and over. She couldn’t explain why she kept trying.
He knew about some of what happened, torture buddies and all of that. But she didn’t know how to tell him about Kylo. He wasn’t exactly fond of the man, he’d made that abundantly clear. Poe was the only person she had in this, he’d been honest about his mistakes. “Snoke did something to me,” she whispered. “He did something to me and Kylo Ren. We’re connected somehow.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, the confusion all over his face.
She sighed, how did she even begin to explain this. “We can ... talk to each other. In our minds,” she started hesitantly. “That’s why I keep going there. I saw a vision of him, he came to our side. I was so sure he could be good. But it keeps going wrong, he kills Snoke and takes his place every time.”
“Kylo Ren? Good?” he scoffed. “I watched the guy kill an unarmed man and give the order to kill civilians for being witnesses. He’s part of a group that killed an entire system just to be in power. You said he killed his damn mentor to take his place. Look what he did to us. He’s not good. Never will be. If you want someone good, get Skywalker. He’s who we need.”
She watched him walk away, disgust had taken over the confusion.
She blocked him out immediately, Poe’s harsh words had replayed over and over until she’d finally succumbed to exhaustion. She might as well try to get Luke again, it wasn’t like things would get worse. The only person who even remotely understood what was happening was mad at her. He was trying to fix what had gone wrong for the Resistance, maybe she should too.
He owed Rey an apology. He’d been so angry when she told him but the words had sunk in eventually. ‘Snoke did something to me’ kept repeating itself in his head and he’d barely let her explain. They needed to be together on this, they needed to be a team. But maybe it wouldn’t hurt if he killed a certain Knight of Ren first. Just the once.
The signal was untraceable again. Poe must still be mad at her. She wiped the tears from her eyes, Chewie looking confused at her mood. She would figure out some way to apologize to him, she would do better.
He stuck to the original plan, letting events go as they had the first time. Minus Finn and Rose. He knew that had been a wrong decision. The transports had reached Crait but still no Rey. He’d been hovering, Leia was going to end up slapping him for a completely different reason from the looks of it. He’d just had to screw things up again but shooting the bastard down had burned out the last of his anger. It had taken longer than he had hoped but he’d finally managed it. They’d made it safely to the bunker, none of the transports had been fired upon this time. He had to hope she was just waiting for the First Order to pass by completely. He had the nagging suspicion she was going to mad at his delay. No that he would blame her.
He chatted with Finn until his friend rose suddenly, grinning hugely. Finn bolted from their spot, rushing to hug her. Her eyes closed in contentment, maker he was worse than bantha breath for keeping her in the dark for days. He was ready to walk away when he heard Finn shout his name.
He approached them slowly, confused why he would be wanted. “Poe, this is Rey,” Finn said happily. “And Rey, Poe.”
“I know,” they both replied simultaneously.
Finn laughed, missing the tension. “I guess you guys met while I was out,” he replied, shaking his head with a smile.
She gave him a small smile, at least she didn’t look angry. Maybe all was forgiven. They could work on a plan later, she deserved some time with her friend. They had a long talk in their future.
Luke Skywalker was the must stubborn nerf herder in existence. No matter what she said or tried, he refused to leave this island. She could understand Poe’s kidnapping attempt, you do feel a tad desperate after a while. After a few uncomfortable reunions with Poe, they had managed to make up. And started to plan. Whatever was happening didn’t seem like it would end so they had little else to do but keep trying to make their day better. Kylo Ren wasn’t the Jedi they needed but Luke wasn’t willing either. So that left her.
She threw the book across the room. Well, the tree more accurately. This was going to take a while.
He was done. He had lived a life of monotony plenty of times, he was a former farm boy and career military man, routine had been his life before. This? This was a whole new level of hell. He reached for his blaster, pulling the trigger was far too easy.
It was no use, it just made him wake up faster. He marched through the base, determination the only reason he ignored the multitude of odd stares he was getting. It wasn’t until he reached command that he realized he hadn’t even bothered getting dressed, he was still in his military issue boxers and nothing else. Connix held his gaze firmly, never once looking down. She was about the only one. He had to be a deep red but it’s not like anyone would remember this anyways. “I need to talk to Rey,” he stammered. Well that just sounded pathetic, even to his own ears.
“Sorry Commander, that’s not possible,” she stated firmly. “General Organa’s orders.”
Well, kriff. Guess he was playing hooky by himself today. He could meet up with her later, she was still heading to Crait. They’d planned that as their rendezvous, no matter what.
Poe had been so right, they had needed this. She’d been worried when the signal stopped working but she had assumed he was just trying something new. It’s not like she hadn’t missed a day here or there. Canto Bight was nothing she had ever experienced. Not that she had ever experienced much, and little of it had been pleasant. They’d gone to several different planets over the last few weeks, spending outrageous amounts of credits she wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to know how he had gotten his hands on. But they both had definitely needed time away from the constant repetition. They would need to go back, this couldn’t last forever either.
She hated to bring it up though. He looked thoughtful for a moment, finally turning to her with a grin. “Date night,” he said proudly. “We need a date night. Once every week or two, so we don’t go nuts.”
“What’s date night?”
He laughed. “Pretty much what we’re doing,” he replied.
“Sounds like a plan,” she grinned. It’s not like spending the day with Poe Dameron was a hardship.
He wasn’t sure exactly when it happened, the days had started to blend together. Rey had become his best friend, partner, most valuable team member, whatever you wanted to call it. This was by far the strangest thing that had ever happened to him, probably her too but as much as he wanted out, he couldn’t help loving it. Just a little. Living life with no consequences did have its perks.
The worst part was wanting date night to be a real date night. So he had skipped the details a little bit it was sort of like a real date. She needed it more than he did at this point, he was pretty sure he had sorted everything on his end. They were assuming but this had to end at some point. His sanity depended on that belief. Fixing everything on what had to have been the worst day of either of their lives had to be the point of all this. So he saved the fleet, no one died anymore.
Rey, well, she had to convince Skywalker or become a full fledged Jedi on her own. According to her the latter was going better. Some days she showed up exhausted, spending her day reading ancient texts or training to fight. The rest were going back to the Supremacy to see how she fared against two of the most evil beings in the galaxy. She never wanted to talk about that.
So date night became the way to keep her happy, let her experience the galaxy a little. It wasn’t much but it was all he could do considering their situation. No matter how much he was starting to want more, she had too much going on. And it was one risk he couldn’t take, all they had were each other. We wasn’t willing to risk that. Nothing in their lives was permanent anymore. Nothing but each other.
She’d hit a new level of frustration. Date night had always helped but lately, it just made everything worse. She felt like she had hit some sort of wall with Poe. Luke was still stubborn and she’d hit a wall with training too. She was honestly getting to the point where she was willing to ask Snoke or Kylo for training. Then she remembered what a horrible idea it was. But she was feeling boxed in on all sides.
She’d gotten used to just dismissing Luke, no matter what she had said to the man, he always refused. She’d spent months trying to get to know ‘Ben’ but why had she never bothered to do so with Skywalker. What could really go wrong? She could anger him all she wanted, he never remembered the next day.
Being stuck in an endless loop did have advantages. Once they were safe he had nothing but time to do what he wanted. He’d caught up with friends, made new ones. He’d had a far better first meeting with Holdo when she didn’t consider him a trigger happy flyboy with no concern for other people’s lives, she was actually a fountain of knowledge for battle plans. So having years to go over and revise his own was a great time killer. Rey would show up eventually most days.
The knock on his door was more urgent than usual, something making him afraid even if he couldn’t explain it. He’d seen Rey in just about every way imaginable; happy, bored, angry, exhausted, drunk, giddy. But she looked destroyed, completely lost right now, something truly awful had to have happened.
He pulled her into his room, Rey collapsing into his arms. She’d never been been particularly affectionate with anyone unless the situation was really bad. The only exception was her daily reunion with Finn. She didn’t want to talk, he knew her well enough by now to know that but collapsing on his bed and clinging to him all night was certainly very new. Something had changed, something big. And he was honestly scared to find out what it was.
She’d confronted everyone. Several times. Everyone but him. He’d lied to her, she wasn’t sure why she was surprised. But she had to know, she needed to understand. So she opened the bond today. It had been some time since she’d gone to that blasted ship.
She’d been off for weeks, coming to his room nightly, exhausted and angry. He’d tried talking to her the next day but Kay gave him the runaround. He probably should stop trying to contact Rey half naked. That night she’d just shut down again, falling into a restless sleep, watching her trying to fight something as she dreamed. So he’d started waiting for her, spending time in the hanger, never knowing when she’d arrive. She would usually grab Leia, ignoring him completely. Other days she would reach for Finn, finding him later in his room. But sometimes she would just look over and he knew, she just wanted to get away from them all.
So he waited, trying to joke around with Finn. Teasing him more like it. He kept sneaking peeks over at the mechanics. Guess they didn’t run into each other anymore. Rose and Finn had never had told him how they met, he’d been too busy with Leia. Or he’d forgotten, it had been awhile. The Falcon showed up but he knew something was wrong, he’d felt off for the last hour or so. The huge cockpit let him glimpse at the pilots usually but it was only Chewbacca today. The sinking pit in his stomach felt heavier by the moment.
Leia Organa never ran. She was a former princess for kriff’s sake. When he thought of the word dignified, her face sprang to mind. So her running into the hanger moments later just about terrified him. He seen this before, the Wookiee exiting the ship while carrying someone out. It had been bad when it was Finn. It was worse when he knew it was Rey. She was covered in a thin blanket, face hidden, he knew it was her. They’d both died before, but this was the first time he’d had to see it.
After days of goofing off on the discord, I finally buckled down and finished the next chapter. And added another. Cause the trailer, sigh. You know what the best part is? I didn’t feel the need to change a word of the chunk I’d already written, even after the trailer dropped 😉
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He’d spent the night numb, seeing the multiple burn and stab wounds at least told him who was responsible. Chewbacca confirmed enough, Leia translating for them what had happened. She’d gone back to Snoke’s ship, hellbent on confronting Kylo Ren. He didn’t know what had happened just that she’d barely managed to escape. She had died from her wounds before he could get them back to the fleet.
He sprang from his bunk in the morning, not feeling the cold floor against his bare feet as he ran. Connix refused as usual but he wasn’t going to stand for it. Not today. Being locked up on the brig of the Raddus was new. Not that it would last long, the damn dreadnaught would get them soon enough.
It had been days of the same. Rey arriving hidden away from view under the karking blanket. Connix wouldn’t budge, he needed to talk to Rey! The guilt of each passing day was getting worse, he should have pushed, he had known something was wrong. He’d never make it to her in time, he had only two options. Kill Ren before he could get to Rey or beg Leia to contact her. Considering how long it had taken him to persuade her to abandon D’Qar, that wasn’t his favourite but he’d barely set foot in Black One since they’d been stuck in this loop. It had been a long time since he’d seen combat, he really needed to do something about that. But Leia first, he needed to help Rey more.
He remembered to get dressed thankfully, he needed her to take him seriously. He had no clue what to say, it wasn’t like he could bring up tactical advantages and vague rumours of hyperspace tracking. This was personal, and as far as anyone else knew, he and Rey were strangers. But he had to try.
He found her in her office, sorting through a stack of datapads. He knew where she would be already. Now he had to pull this off. Here’s hoping this Force thing actually worked, maybe she could sense how honest he was being. She looked stressed as usual, they were in the middle of an evacuation. “General ... Leia, I need to talk to Rey,” he said simply. “I think ... no, I know she’s in trouble. You have to let me speak to her. I can’t explain but something is very wrong.”
She stared at him intently, the small hope blossoming. “Kay said no?” she asked knowingly.
He could only nod. Maker, please let her listen.
She’d ignored him for days, still needing to confront ... him. She knew why she was doing it, telling Poe would make it real. She could tell anyone else, scream it out loud but the memory would always disappear the next day. Unless she told Poe. So she ignored his pleas over the comm, she wasn’t ready. But this, it was too big for just her. She needed to tell someone, talk it out. And Finn could only help so much when they had start at the beginning again and again. So she had to tell him.
When the call came through, she took it this time.
“Finally! Date night, you know where “ he said once he knew it was actually her. Leia looked at him strangely, good thing she wouldn’t remember anything. At least Rey agreed, he could finally get to the bottom of this.
The moon was uninhabited, nothing special at all. They both loved it anyways. Rey never seemed to tire of the sheer amount of greenery and the climate was similar to the home he hadn’t seen in what felt like forever. He beat her here, giving him too much time to go over what he should say. By the time she arrived, he still didn’t have a clue.
Rey still looked worn but it was a definite improvement over a corpse. She looked skittish, worried enough to stay on the Falcon’s ramp. He walked over slowly, half afraid she would turn around and slam the door on him. She didn’t of course.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered.
He finally bridged the gap, holding her like she would break. She’d survived so much, seeing her like this was indescribable. “You don’t need to apologize,” he began. “Hell, I should be the one saying sorry. How many times have I just disappeared without letting you know? Just ... just let me help you.” Don’t let me have to see you like that again.
She was quiet for too long. Face hidden, she finally spoke. “I needed to know the truth. I needed to ask my family what they knew.”
“Your family?” he asked cautiously.
“So why are you so scared of me?” she asked. “I’m not your nephew, so I don’t see why you care enough? Come on Luke, what do you have to lose?”
She’d been spoiling for a fight, just not he physical kind. The best part of being on an island, Luke couldn’t escape. She’d tried all sorts of ways to get him to open up and making him lose his temper worked best, he was usually more honest. “I’m not scared of you,” he snapped, walking away like usual.
“Then why are you running?” she teased as she followed. “I’m not going to leave you alone, you might as well answer.”
He stopped abruptly, giving a huff before he turned. “I’m scared of the power you possess not you. I’ve been where you are, you aren’t ready for this,” he answered. “You can’t stop what has to happen. You should just go home.”
Well it was a start she supposed. “I don’t have a home, I never have. I have no family, no one to go back to,” she replied. “And what exactly am I not ready for?”
He stared at her curiously. “Of course you have a family, your mother must have been with you on Jakku,” he stated.
She laughed. “I don’t have a mother, not that I remember. I said I was a scavenger. I have been all my life.”
She expected pity, disgust, apathy, anything but shock. “She never would have left you,” he whispered. “She was trying to protect you.”
“What?” she asked dumbfounded. “You knew my mother? So you knew who I was?”
He stared at her quietly. He’d always seemed to carry a weight on his shoulders. Some burden she assumed was related to his nephew. But the way he was looking at her now made her wonder if she’d been wrong. “I knew who you were the moment I saw you,” he said in resignation. “You have her eyes. Then you reached out with my lightsaber. No, my father’s lightsaber and I knew it was starting all over.”
“What are you talking about?” she pleaded in frustration.
“The Skywalkers are dangerous, she knew that,” he laughed bitterly. “Leia was the smart one, she stayed away from the power. She should have kept Ben away but Snoke interfered. Your mother kept you from me, but you’re here now. So I tried to push you away. We’re stubborn too. All of us..”
The pieces fit together in her mind, almost causing her legs to give way.
He hated waiting but he needed time to think. She’d explained what she’d found out, rambling the story out in bits and pieces. Luke Skywalker was her father. Her mother had disappeared, he’d never known Rey existed until she’d arrived. She’d spoken to him over and over, finding out all she could. Then she’d done the same with Leia, haltingly explaining how at least she now understood the instant connection she’d felt to the General. And why Leia had been so sure she would succeed in bringing her brother home. Leia hadn’t known she was an aunt but she’d known Rey was vital to her somehow. Then discussing it with Finn, the idea too much for her. He could understand the need to confront her cousin. But listening to her speak about his reaction made him feel sick.
She’d said she was getting better at resisting Snoke but any progress she’d make had been useless this time. He’d pulled the information from her head, taunting her. And Kylo Ren had not taken the news well at all. He’d raged, demanding it to be impossible. And they fought over and over. He’d seen the evidence, Rey’s battered body had been burned into his brain, Kylo Ren did not take finding out he wasn’t Darth Vader’s only heir well. And Snoke had enjoyed every moment.
He knew he had to help her. The question was how? He didn’t know anything about the Force or being a Jedi. He hadn’t been lied to his whole life. He didn’t have one of the most hated men in the galaxy as a grandfather. His family didn’t have a habit of going into combat with each other, the fate of everyone in the galaxy hanging in the balance. He was in way over his head.
She finally tried meditation, the quiet green home they had stumbled upon years ago was peaceful in a way she had never known. They met here every day without fail, Poe a strong light keeping the darkness at bay. She would need to decide what was right but whatever was happening to the two of them gave her all the time in the world. Did she kill her cousin? Did she go back to trying to save him? Did she leave it to her father? She wasn’t sure what was right.
So she meditated on what she now knew, Poe leaving her be unless it was to remind her to eat or go to sleep. Letting her vent her frustrations when she needed to. Holding her when she needed comfort. Everything in her life had shifted so dramatically, she needed his constance more than ever.
Rey had settled into some kind of routine. He supposed he had too, he would have a datapad full of battle plans if he could save them. And he technically had a no risk way to test them. He really was out of practice, might as well see what would happen.
It was still strange calling him father. Poe mentioned his dad on occasion. But Luke Skywalker wasn’t a dad. Not at all from the way Poe spoke about his own. So she settled on father, startling him every time she called him that. She needed a teacher, there was only so much books could explain. He’d finally been honest with her, not that he remembered but she needed to do the same. So she learned in bits and pieces, going over some aspect over and over until she got it right. He never remembered what he taught her day to day, never saw the progress. It didn’t matter, she learned. She would be a Jedi, like her father before her. She had Skywalker blood, she couldn’t run from her legacy. Both the good and the bad.
He wondered if she saw him differently. They must have been doing this for years now. Was he still 32? Was he 35 or 40? She wasn’t the same woman he’d met on the Falcon, embarrassed and alone. Had he changed as drastically as she had? She was different, more confident, more settled. And the nagging worry that she would outgrow him at some point. Did she even need him anymore?
She must have known something was bothering him, either just extended amounts of time together or the way Leia could just tell. Her small hand fit into his too well, keeping him close as they explored some market, the large planet hiding them in plain sight. Date night was getting harder and harder each time. He’d promised himself he wouldn’t do this but the thought of what if never quite left his mind. What if they never escaped? What if this was their life now?
Since she had left Jakku, her whole world had changed. She was a competent Jedi trainee (she refused to be called a Padawan), she had a last name (even if only two people knew it) and she had friends. Poe being the most important one. She loved flying with Chewie, spending time with Finn, getting to know her father and aunt but having the same conversations grew tiresome. So she always drifted off to find Poe eventually.
Some days they talked for hours, others had one of them excitedly explaining some new aspect they had tried but her favourites were nights they were quiet. The nights where she didn’t have to process what she had learned, nothing had gone horribly wrong and they could just sleep. Like they wouldn’t have to repeat this torment all over again.
He hated his bunk. He hated how far away she was. He hated waking up alone. He hated how this bed never smelled like her. He hated being at a stalemate.
“Why here?” she asked as they opened the large door. They hadn’t returned to Crait in a long time. Well, set foot on Crait at least.
“Because no one else will be here,” he shrugged. “I figured I could double check for supplies, I’m not in the middle of an attack this time.”
“Yes, that’s a fun way to spend date night,” she mumbled. “Shall I lift some large rocks for old times sake?”
He cringed. Poe wasn’t exactly the nervous type. “You could have done that any other time, Poe. What’s wrong?” she asked quietly.
“Maybe ... maybe we should cut back on the date nights,” he replied.
“Why?” She asked immediately. What had happened? He seemed fine last night. Well maybe a little distracted.
“We’ve been doing this so long, I’ve lost track!” he declared. “We need to try harder, stop playing around!”
“Let’s see you become a Jedi faster then!” she retorted.
“I’m not blaming you. I know you’re trying, you’ve got more work to do than me. I’m just ... frustrated,” he trailed off with a mumble.
“And you think this will help?” she laughed.
Poe sighed. “Nope, not really.”
“Then what’s really bothering you? I thought our date nights were for us to relax, not make things worse. Or are you just sick of me?” she couldn’t help asking.
“The exact opposite,” he muttered. At least that’s what it sounded like.
She’d gotten to know Poe well over the last... well, however long they’d been stuck. She could count on both hands how many times she’d seen him truly embarrassed. This made it nine times. What was the opposite of being sick of her? She took a deep breath. She’d taken so many risks since they’d figured out what was going on, nothing was ever lasting here. But this would be. It should have been terrifying but taking the step closer to him was simple. So was leaning forward to place her lips on his.
“Mmm, I thought we were going to go out today?” she hummed as she snuggled closer. “Isn’t that was the point of going somewhere new?”
He placed a hand on her naked back, stroking her skin until she gave a slight giggle. “There’s always tomorrow.”
“You didn’t even let me leave the Falcon, Poe,” she huffed.
“You complaining?” he asked. The grin on his face looked far too smug.
“Maybe I am?” she teased.
“Guess I gotta fix that,” he replied as his hand slid lower.
He was right after all, they had all the time in the world.
He had tried every battle plan he could think of. Variations of variations. No matter how risky or how safe they played it, whether they won or they lost, the fleet would always end up destroyed if the First Order got in range. He was sure leaving before they could be tracked had to be the right thing. There was nothing left for him to do, it was on all the woman he loved.
No matter what she did, how much she learned, Snoke would still crack her mind like a dried flower petal, fragile pieces crumbling. They would need to be trapped for 100 years before she could protect herself fully, or at least that how it felt. But she could protect certain things. Once she’d gotten over her anger, she learned to protect who she really was. She needed her cousin calm and on her side. She had to tell him herself.
She had admitted to Poe it wasn’t going well. It was the truth, mostly. He wasn’t happy that she’d gone back to trying to save him. He hated it but understood. Kylo Ren and Ben Solo were the same man and it wasn’t just her decision to decide his fate. He certainly wasn’t making it easy. Honestly, she was getting a little bored of chopping his head off over and over.
“Get your father,” he suggested. “If you really want it to be a family decision, you should have the entire family. Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do anyways?”
She had to think for a moment. “Yes, I think so,” she replied with a laugh. “Maker, how long have we been doing this? I can barely remember how things happened the first time.”
“It’s been years, it has to have been,” he shrugged. “I think I spent more than a year just on reworking one battle. Date night was the only thing keeping me going for a while.”
He learned in to kiss her, their affection easy to show at this point. The ring belonged on her finger, they must have been together for years. The only thing stopping him was he had no idea what would happen if he actually gave it to her. Would it be back on his chain in the morning? Would it disappear completely? Would it stay with her? No matter how long they had been trapped, neither of them knew the rules. It was guesses and hopes, no real knowledge though. So he kept it to himself, knowing it belonged to her but scared it would get lost in the shuffle.
“I know,” she teased. “What would you do without me?”
He reached for the chain, the second they got out of this, it was hers. He knew he never wanted to find out the answer to her question.
Do you know how hard I had to restrain myself to not do “no, I am your father”
I’m such a dork
She had gotten to know her father fairly well. She could understand why he had left, even if she didn’t agree. It certainly didn’t help that the only other Jedi Masters he had told her about had basically done the same thing. Exile seemed to be the typical form of self punishment from what she could understand. So how did she convince him to leave?
The knock was hesitant. He checked his chrono, it was around the usual time Rey would show. He felt the smile tugging at his lips as he opened the door but froze in surprise. She wasn’t alone. He moved away from the door, both entering his small room. He had a bad feeling about this.
Rey took a deep breath. “So ... Poe, this is my father. And this is Poe, the man I told you about.”
The shock wore off just as suddenly, reaching his hand out. “Master Skywalker,” he said uncertainly.
The man looked back at Rey, eyes squinting. “Wait, Poe Dameron? Kes and Shara’s kid? Really?” he said in mild annoyance. He turned back towards him. “Leia probably likes you too, doesn’t she?”
“Usually?” he replied in confusion.
“So I find out I have a daughter, that she’s been living in some weird time loop for years and has been tricking me into training her the whole time. And she’s in love with some guy who just happens to my old friends’ kid,” he vented. “I don’t even scare you a little, do I?”
For once in his life, he had absolutely no clue what he was supposed to say.
“And if I keep coming here, we’re probably going to have this conversation again and again?” the Jedi mused. “After getting yelled at by my sister, I was hoping for something better. I can’t exactly disapprove of him, now can I?”
The man left the room, muttering as he went. “What in the hell just happened?” he asked Rey in confusion.
“I told him the truth,” she replied. “He never believed me when I tried to tell him anything else. At least he’s here.”
He groaned. “So I’m going to have to get some half assed shovel speech daily? We need to get this loop to stop.”
“Maybe I should leave you out of it tomorrow?” she groaned.
They had tried various different methods now that she knew how to convince her father to leave Ahch-To. Reconnecting himself to the Force while Snoke was alive went wrong. Bringing him anywhere near the Supremacy went really wrong. Having him try to talk to his nephew by the Force bond just lead to a screaming match. She sighed, it appeared it was still up to her to try to and persuade her cousin not to be evil. She just had to remember to not mention it too suddenly, he didn’t take surprises well.
It was a little strange that the tiny room on the Raddus had become to feel like home. They would lay in the too small bed, cuddled together most nights. Sometimes it was easier to talk about everything in the dark. “What are we going to do when this stops?” she asked hesitantly.
Poe snorted. “Throw a party.”
She nudged him with her foot. Kicked might have been a better description. “We keep going, I guess,” he replied more seriously. “We’re still in the middle of a war, we can’t just stop. Even if we wanted to, the First Order knows who both of us are. You’re a Jedi and I’m ... I’m a giant pain in the ass who stole a TIE, but I’m pretty sure they’re pissed about me taking Finn and causing a hell of a lot of damage.”
“So nothing changes?” she said morosely.
“Everything has changed Rey,” he replied as he pulled her closer. “We had nothing the first time we did this. Can you imagine trying to win a war with a handful of people and one beat up ship?”
The throne room was littered with bodies as usual. She listened to him make his plea to join him, she knew the speech by heart now. The lightsaber always came to her, it always did now that she knew the truth. She wasn’t conflicted like the first time several times, she knew he had lied to get what he wanted. It angered him as usual.
“I’ll never turn,” she said quietly. “This is your last chance, come with me. It’s not too late.”
She sighed as he started ranting. She cut off his diatribe, raising her hand to knock him out with a hard shove to the nearest wall. Her father was right, the Skywalkers were all stubborn.
She decided she needed to try a new tactic. She always waited until Snoke died before telling him, maybe sooner would help. She waited until he saw Luke, waited until he tried to use the mind trick on her. “I’ll never give him over,” she replied. “Why would I betray my father like that?”
She didn’t see him for the rest of the day. She wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad one.
Maybe telling him in the elevator?
Definitely not the elevator. Fighting while handcuffed was hard.
She really hated her cousin. If she ever had children, they would definitely not be an only child. He really needed to learn how to share. Maybe she shouldn’t have children at all, the galaxy would probably be better off.
He knew she was frustrated. He was frustrated for her. But having three different people trying to understand a lunatic’s reasoning was beyond him. They had tried every combination they could think of to get this day to end and they were still trapped. Saving Kylo Ren was one thing she hadn’t managed so they had to try. If that stupid, murderous pain was the key to them getting out of this, they were going to be stuck for a lot longer.
It was time to step away from the problem, they deserved a bit of a vacation. No, a long one. Clearer heads usually prevailed and all that. Rey was too invested, having a family for the first time was a lot to take in and wanting them to be together made sense. Usually. Kriff, he really missed his dad. He tried to think if they could both get to Yavin.
She hadn’t gone near the place since the first time but she was curious to find out what she would see this time. It still felt off, the feeling seemed stronger now that she had much better control over herself and her power. It had felt irresistible, at least that’s how she remembered it, but now she felt nothing but mild curiosity. Would she see something new? Would it be the same vision as the first time? Would she understand it better if it was? Did it even matter? She stared at the large hole for what felt like hours before walking away. Her whole family seemed tempted by the dark side, there was no need to risk herself again. She needed to meet with her father anyways.
“What would you do?” she asked as she toed the water. She was tired, they both were. They needed to solve this soon.
“I thought we weren’t going to bring up you know who,” he replied, annoyed tone obvious. “It’s date night, that means no work. He’s definitely in the work category.”
“We’ve been slacking off for months. Maybe even longer,” she said sternly. “I’ve asked my family, I’ve asked Finn, hell I’ve asked Chewy but I’ve never asked you. I trust you, so I want your opinion.”
He walked further out into the water, he was supposed to be teaching Rey to swim but he needed the space if this conversation was going to happen. “I’d go back to killing him,” he replied honestly, “but I’m not the most unbiased person on the subject. I’d be happy if everyone in the First Order was gone, I could take you home and never worry about everyone I care about dying horribly.”
“But what if it was someone you cared about?” she asked. “What if it was me?”
“You’d never become like that!” he said vehemently as he marched back up to her. “You would never be a cold blooded murderer!”
“I already am,” she said softly. He tried to interrupt, what she was saying was ridiculous but she covered his mouth with her hand. “How many times did I kill him? I lost count, it must have been quite a few.”
He pulled her hand away. “You never murdered him, killed yes, but not murder. It’s not like I’ve never killed anyone either. You don’t hurt people for fun, you don’t enjoy it. If you did we wouldn’t be talking about this right now. Maybe he can be saved but from everything you’ve told me, everything I’ve heard and seen, he doesn’t want to be. So until that happens, you’re wasting your time,” he declared. “So can we stop talking about him and enjoy ourselves?”
She nodded once, pulling him back in. She didn’t know what was right anymore.
The tiny hut was more uncomfortable than usual for some reason, it was the only reason she forgot to block him. She’d long since stopped trying to fire her blaster on him, it never did any good but she was annoyed, her and Poe rarely fought. She picked up the weapon and aimed, knowing it would bring her father. She went through the motions anyways, she could block him in a moment.
He put her down as usual, if he only knew how much she had learned. “Yes, I know,” she said in disgust. “You’re so powerful, just like Vader. I still think you’ll never be as powerful or evil as he was.”
“Who are you talking to?” Luke questioned. Well that was different.
She laughed, she hadn’t told him the truth yet today. “Your nephew is being his annoying self, I’m just giving him what he deserves,” she replied.
“My father wasn’t evil, not at the end,” Luke stated before turning to leave. “He still had good in him or I would have died on the Death Star.”
She stood still for a moment, trying to understand what he had said. Vader wasn’t evil? She ran after her father, she needed to know everything.
He was waiting for her of course, pulling her into his room instantly. “Everything go okay on your end,” he asked with a smile.
“I think I got through to him,” she replied. “Once he knew the truth about Anakin, he actually listened to me!”
“So we did it?” he questioned hopefully.
She gave him a nod before wrapping her arms around his neck. Poe took the hint, kissing her soundly, tongue teasing her lips open. It had been years by her count, and this still felt as good as it had since the beginning. They had done it, they must have, everything was finally right. She had her father, a willing to actually help Master Jedi Luke Skywalker. Snoke was dead, the First Order would be in chaos. Her cousin might be able to be saved or at least he was slightly more likely to listen. And the fleet was intact. Tomorrow would actually be tomorrow. She was sure of it.
Kriffing, stupid, useless D’Qar! He marched through the base, ignoring the stares. It wasn’t like this was the first time he had stormed through the place half naked. Well, from his perspective anyways. Connix really was unflappable, she did nothing but look him straight in the eye. “I need to talk to Rey,” he said wearily. “Yes I know it’s not protocol, and yes I know you’re not supposed to. Still need to talk to her. Don’t make me have to get Leia, please.”
“Well it’s your lucky day, I was just going to comm you,” she replied, the laughter barely in check. Well this was new. “She’s already on the line.”
“Usual spot,” he said tersely.
“See you soon,” she replied.
He took his time getting dressed, pulling his flight suit slowly so he could think. After years of doing this, the guilt had all but disappeared at leaving his friends to die. It was a little difficult to feel bad when he knew they’d be fine. No one even looked twice as he jumped into his cockpit. The flight to their hideaway was alway boring but spending time alone to think was exactly what he needed. What were they missing?
She was waiting, the grass around the Falcon flat from her pacing. He landed far enough away as not to startle her too much. She was in his arms the moment he jumped down. “Why didn’t it work?” she moaned into his neck. “What are we missing? If I have to actually save my cousin, we’re never leaving!”
He kissed her hair, the salty smell still clinging to it. “I was wracking my brain the whole way here, I can only think of one other thing we missed,” he replied. “It’s on my end, I’ll deal with it tomorrow, promise. Let’s just take a break today and try again tomorrow. It doesn’t have to be about Kylo Ren.”
She nodded against his shoulder before pulling away. “Then we have the day to ourselves,” she teased. “Now come to bed, tomorrow can wait.”
“Does it have to be the bed?”
She’d gotten used to landing on the cruiser, she could almost do it in her sleep. Something was different this time, not that she was complaining. It had always been Leia and Finn waiting for her, Finn rushing over for a hug while Leia reunited with her brother. Poe always waited in his room, their nightly reunion easier in private but he was the one beside her aunt today. He was smiling proudly, he said it was on his end, it must have had something to do with their mutual friend. She grinned at Leia as they passed each other, she would get a welcome hug today from another man. And her father would get an earful from his twin as usual.
She ignored the odd stares, they technically hadn’t met but she honestly didn’t care. He snuck a small kiss to her forehead before pulling away. “I didn’t think you would mind,” he grinned.
“Not at all but I have to ask,” she replied.
He lead her away from the hanger, hand on her back. “Well the only thing I could think of that we could have possibly missed was the active tracking,” he whispered once they reached the corridor. “They couldn’t use it today because they were never in range but it’s still going to be a problem next time we run into the First Order. I have no clue how they met originally but it was Finn and Rose who figured out ... well the technical stuff went over my head. Whatever we changed meant they never met and started working on how to get around it.”
She frowned. “Who’s Rose?” she asked in confusion.
Poe laughed. “Remember when we were still meeting in the bunker?” he asked.
She rolled her eyes, it had been years since they had fixed that problem. “Do you remember Finn being distracted after, when we were still having to fight on Crait?”
They’d reached his room by the time she remembered, the confusion she’d felt when her only friend had been too busy to talk to her. “The woman who was hurt,” she breathed.
“Yep, that’s her,” he replied. “I introduced them and they hit it off. And when I brought up the hypothetical situation, they went full on techno babble. I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying. So Finn was too busy to met up with you. There was excited voices and words with too many syllables, I just stayed out of it.”
She looked him over, he seemed entirely too pleased with himself. She had to hope they finally had it right this time. “Well I guess we’ll see what happens,” she replied as she walked closer. “I’m out of ideas at this point.”
“Me too, sweetheart.”
He snuggled further into Rey, they must have fallen asleep, they usually did. He was definitely more than happy to hold her longer, especially if they would be on separate planets by morning. She gave a soft sigh, squeezing his hand before pulling it closer to her chest. “What time is it?” she mumbled. “I want to enjoy being warm just in case I get stuck in the rain again.”
He groaned, still exhausted. He didn’t have clue what had woken either of them up. He freed his hand from her grasp, checking his chrono. “Almost 0300,” he muttered. “I’m going back to sleep.”
“Kay,” she replied sleepily. He wrapped his arm back around her, perfectly content to enjoy this while they could. He was on verge of sleep again, every part of his body heavy when she sprung up suddenly. “It’s 0300!” she yelped.
He cradled his now sore arm to his chest, it had been flung back at the wall. “Yeah, so sleep sweetheart, tomorrow might just suck like usual,” he groaned again.
“It is tomorrow!” she said gleefully. “We’re out!
That certainly woke him up. He double checked the time, almost afraid he’d read it wrong. 0302, plain as day. “It’s tomorrow,” he said quietly. “It’s actually tomorrow.”
She jumped into his lap, hugging him tightly. They were finally out, it was a bit of a shock. No more tedious repeats was great but it also meant everything was at risk again. It was a lot to take in, they could die now (well stay dead), their friends and family could die. He didn’t have a clue what had caused it and he didn’t exactly want to live like that again but he’d gotten used to having a constant safety net if they messed up. Everything was going to be new again, and neither of them was the same person they were when this had all started. Would everyone else notice?
“Your dad knows what happened to us still,” he whispered. “Do we try and tell everyone else?”
She pulled away to look at him. “We might have to,” she replied just as quietly. “How else can I explain how much I learned? It’s not like we need to tell everyone, Leia and Finn obviously but most people don’t know me.”
“But a lot of people know me,” he hinted. “And there’s another thing we need to explain.”
Rey looked at him strangely when he pulled the chain off. “This is yours,” he said as he slipped it over her head. “I’ll explain everything to you tomorrow ... well later today but it definitely belongs to you. I’ve been waiting a long time to give it to the right person.”
She fingered the ring lightly, he knew she had to be confused but this was not a conversation for the middle of the night when they’d just been through years of complete and utter weirdness. It was a new day, and time for them to start over.