Poe smiled at Rey as she walked towards the tree. They were visiting Kes on Yavin IV. It had been about three months since the war with the First Order had ended, and Poe felt it was time to introduce her to his father. Well, Kes had insisted on meeting the girl who was going to be his daughter-in-law soon enough, and Poe had no objections. Rey had been so excited when Poe told her about the tree, and now here she was, staring up at it in awe.
The slight glow that Poe always insisted hovered around the tree seemed to engulf her, reaching for her, cradling her in its warmth.
“Poe?” Rey asked, snapping his attention to her face. “Tell me a story about this tree.”
“I’ve told you a lot of stories about this tree,” Poe said, laughing as he walked over to sit in his favorite dip between two roots.
Rey knelt across from him, resting a hand on the raised root of the tree. “Yeah, but I just, I want to hear them again.”
Poe hummed. “Alright.” He tugged on her hand to pull her against his side, playing with the ring now sitting on her finger. She'd only said yes a few weeks ago, and Poe had been floating on a cloud of happiness since. “Did I tell you the story of how I singed it when I modified the harvester when I was thirteen?”
“Yeah,” Rey said, smiling as a tendril of light reached around a loose strand of hair and made it dance. “Tell me another story.”
“Hmm,” Poe thought, scratching at the beard he had let grow out in the last couple of months. “Do you want me to tell you the story of how my mom got it?”
“No.” Rey was frowning.
Poe wracked his brain for another story. There were plenty of them he was sure but he couldn’t think of any others right now.
“What about the little girl?” Rey asked.
“What little girl?” Even as he said it, Poe could feel the memory nagging at him.
“The one with the green eyes and black hair.”
All of a sudden the memory came rushing back to him. “I remember now,” he said, a bemused smile spreading across his face. “I was probably twelve the first time I saw her. She was climbing up in the branches. Dad didn’t like other people playing on the tree. He said he didn’t mind if they came by but climbing up the tree was just for family.”
Rey smiled up at him before resting her head on his shoulder. “So what happened when you saw her.”
“I walked up to the tree and yelled at her,” Poe said. “She was up there on that branch.” Poe pointed to the branch about ten feet above their head. “And I told her she would be in big trouble if my dad saw her.”
“What did she say to that?” Rey was staring at him, enraptured.
“She said,” Poe paused trying to remember exactly what she had said. “She said, it was alright because her father said it was okay.”
“Really? Who was her father?”
“No idea. I started climbing, got sick of talking to her from the ground I guess. But when I got up there, she was already on the ground.”
“How’d she manage that?” Rey’s question was less puzzled, more curious.
“No idea.” Poe stared up above them at the branch. It was higher than it had been twenty years ago, the tree was still growing even now, but the distance wasn’t something to scoff at even then. “She was probably about eight or nine, and her hair was wildly curly.” Poe scratched the back of his neck. “When I got back to her level she said, ‘Fine we can both play on the tree.’ And we ended up playing for hours.”
“What was her name?”
Poe shook his head. “She never told me. When I brought the matter up to Dad, he said he didn’t see anyone playing with me.”
“How many times did you play with her?” Rey was staring at him, contemplating something. Poe reached out and smoothed out the wrinkle between her eyebrows.
“I only saw her twice, when I was twelve and once right before I left to join the NR Navy. She waved to me from the branches as I was leaving. She still looked the same tho.”
“What did she look like?”
“Black hair, gray-green eyes, kinda like yours,” he mused, staring at her. “Younger than me by a little.”
“Did she look like that?” Rey pointed over his shoulder, up at a branch across from them. "She's been sitting up there for a little while now."
There, sitting with her feet dangling in the air, was the same little girl Poe remembered from his youth. She didn’t seem to have changed at all, still around eight or nine years old, same wild, black curls, same toothy grin.
“Hi,” she called down to them.
Poe’s jaw dropped. He stood up in a daze and walked closer to her branch. “Hello.”
“I knew you two would find each other,” she said, her eyes darting between Poe’s face and Rey, who was now standing at his elbow.
“Who are you?” Poe asked, bemused.
The little girl, smiled and stood up on the branch. She walked towards the trunk of the tree and disappeared behind it.
“Wait!” Poe yelped. He ran a few strides closer only to see the little girl smirking up at him, standing on the ground now.
“I told you my papa said I could play on the tree,” she said.
Now that she was closer, Poe could see several other familiar features. The girl had freckles dotting her nose, cheeks and even down her arms. She was wearing a white tunic and leggings, with a sash looped around her torso, the same way Rey wore hers.
“What’s your name?” Rey asked, coming up behind Poe.
“I don’t know,” the little girl said. “Mama and Papa haven’t given me one yet.”
“What do you mean?” Poe asked. She wasn’t making any sense.
The little girl rolled her hazel eyes, in a way that reminded him so strongly of his mother that he almost gasped. She bent her finger to him.
Poe, feeling more confused than he had felt in a long time, knelt down.
The little girl threw her arms around his neck. She felt very real in his arms, but at the same time, not really there. “I’m glad you found Mama,” she whispered in his ear. “Make sure to give me a good name.”
Poe’s jaw dropped as she kissed his cheek before letting go of his neck. Poe stared at her as she hugged Rey as well, whispering something in her ear before releasing her, too. The little girl took a few steps backwards, smiling at them as put her hand on the trunk of the tree. “I’ll see you later.” Poe blinked and she was gone.
Poe turned to look at Rey, his mouth hanging open.
Rey’s face mirrored his shock. Laughing, she tugged at his hand and pulled him to his feet. “Come on,” she said, linking her arm in his. “We should go back inside.”
“But-what?” Poe stuttered. “Who was that?”
“I guess the Force has a plan for us after all,” Rey laughed, leaning up to kiss his cheek. “Now, come on, Darling, I’m getting hungry.”
“Rey?” Poe asked pulling them both to a stop. “You’re not-” he gestured vaguely to her midsection.
Rey laughed. “No, not now, but I guess we know what’s coming.”
Poe ran his free hand through his hair. “Yeah, I guess we do.” He kissed her grinning mouth.
Rey’s stomach rumbled and Poe broke away with a laugh. “Come on, let’s get you fed, Sunshine.”
They both laughed as they walked back inside the Dameron house.