Poe Dameron was far too generous with his belongings.
Rey noticed this very quickly into their living arrangement: but, it was a good arrangement for her, to be sure. Poe’s quarters were much larger than her own, as he was an established officer in the Resistance. When he started encouraging her to spend the night after their normal activities, Rey figured he was being economical. If they shared a bunk, that cleared a bunk for the ever-growing numbers of the army. And, Poe was a neat and tidy person to live near; his items never touched Rey’s small collection of things, and he even cleaned out a drawer (multiple drawers, but she hadn’t owned that much, so she just took the one) for her when she agreed to shift all her belongings to his living quarters.
But, she was confused by how casually he let her use his things.
“Go right ahead,” he’d said cheerfully, dropping a kiss into her hair when she asked if she could borrow some of his shampoo. “It’s made from Koyo extract, you’ll love it.”
Rey had frowned at him, not quite understanding. Soap for her hair was already a new concept: if it were made from Koyo, was she supposed to eat it?
When he wasn’t looking, she dabbed her tongue into the purplish shampoo and immediately wiped her tongue on the back of her hand, face wrinkled in disgust. Not for eating. Still, it smelled nice, which made sense because Poe’s hair smelled nice, so Rey shrugged and went to the ‘fresher and used a little bit of Poe’s shampoo. What was the most odd was that he insisted she not replace what she used, but rather insisted “use whatever you want, Sunshine, what’s mine is yours.”
In her decades of existence, Rey was positive of one thing.
All exchanges were transactional.
But Poe didn’t see the galaxy that way. Poe didn’t ask her to replace the shampoo. Nor did he ask her to give back the socks that she swiped from his drawer. Nor did he tell her to stop tinkering with BB-8 in the corner when he was reading his holonovels; no, he just watched her over the holopad with a smile on his face that was confusing and made her stomach do twists like a sandworm. Poe gave and gave and gave and shared everything without asking for anything in return.
Well, Rey rationalized that he did get something out of their arrangement; she often thought very smugly to herself as they lay side by side, skin cooling and Poe panting with an endearing exhaustion, that he was getting Very Good Sex.
But even that they shared- because Poe was very much a meticulous sexual partner- so she was stumped for what she could give him to show him that she saw him as more than a transactional living partner.
He asked for nothing and required nothing, and kissed her cheek if she so much as smiled at him the right way. Poe Dameron was absolutely satisfied with what little he had, and shared what little he had with her, and Rey was stumped.
Until he went on a mission and left his holopad behind.
Rey, while searching idly for a translation of an ancient dialect of Mon Cala, discovered a new, exciting diversion.
The Food Holonetwork.
Specifically, the Food Holonetwork's Life Day Baking Championship.
She watched that holopad until her eyes ached; Rey pretended to be sick and dodged her patrol duties for an entire day so she could watch the first two seasons. The Life Day Baking Championship was thrilling, and there were ten seasons, and Poe had access to every single one, and Rey figured he meant she could use his holonet subscriptions if he said “what’s mine is yours,” and as she watched, eyes wide and fingers gripping the sides of the holopad, an idea planted in her head and began to germinate.
Aha, she thought to herself on Week 5 of Season 6. That’s it.
The next day, the day Poe was due to get back from his mission, she got permission from Leia to take a speeder into the nearest village, and she used the credits she’d accumulated through gambling (and no, Finn, it did not count as cheating if she listened to the Force while playing cards because as a Jedi she was always supposed to listen to the Force) and collecting coins from under benches in the mess hall to make a few key purchases. She even found a stall that sold Koyo, and she clutched that find to her chest with all the joy she’d felt while watching the victors of the Life Day Baking Championship as they succeeded through a difficult technical challenge.
“This won’t be hard,” she said to herself as she sped back to base. After all, the contestants always made it look so easy.
Rey spent the next three hours measuring and cutting and dicing, squinting down at a recipe she’d pulled up from the Holonet. She frowned and rewatched segments of the show, and frowned more when her pie, which was baking in a rigged oven she’d made in an engine room with thermal panels and a whole lot of hope, didn’t quite look the way theirs did.
But she had to make this work: on Jakku, there was one way to let someone know that you wanted to be their love-partner, and Rey knew this was the best way to do it. Everyone always looked so happy on the Life Day Baking Championship, and when their families came to eat their delicious treats, and everyone gathered around and looked so happy and proud…
Rey wiped a tear away from her eye and crouched down to frown through the improvised window of her ramshackle oven.
The small D-O unit that was so fond of BeeBee-Ate rolled up to her right as she pulled her pie out of the oven, wincing slightly as the heat bled through the wraps she’d tucked around her palms. It trilled at her anxiously, and Rey nearly dropped her pie.
“He’s back already?” D-O chirped. “Well, I can’t meet him - no, tell him - tell him to come to our room!”
D-O sped off, and Rey shut off the oven’s power source with her boot before running as carefully as possible through the base back to the room. She set it down on a place of great importance at the front of the room, right on the small table that she’d built from some scrap a few weeks back, and frowned at the sight of it in the dim light of the room.
“Hm.” The pies on LDBC didn’t look...quite like that. Hers was burnt on the edges, but sagging in the middle, where purple fruit had burbled out of her lopsided pastry. The crimped edges had turned much more into char than into the pretty leaves she’d been going for, and, on the whole, the meat inside had begun to smell rather like…
The doors hissed open, and Poe walked in, whistling. “Hey, Sunshine, Dee-Oh said that you- oh… wow...something...smells…”
“Good?” Rey asked hopefully, standing and spinning on her heel to smile at Poe.
He looked exhausted, a cut on his forehead and engine oil streaked along his cheekbone; Poe smiled at her though, and then his eyes flickered to her pie. Suddenly, Rey felt foolish, and she twisted her hands together.
“What’s that?” Poe asked politely, smiling in that holo-star way of his.
“A Yavinese...Moon pie…” Rey muttered, her face burning. This was the worst idea ever. “It, uhm, it said to mix the Koyo in with the meat, and that sounded...wrong, but I figured the Holonet wouldn’t lie…”
“No, that’s right,” Poe assured her, squatting down to examine her pie with an adorable level of intensity. “Did you make this for me?” His smile was back, and even more powerful than before, a blast of supernova happiness that almost knocked her backwards.
“Yes.” Rey nodded, and Poe stood slowly, still smiling. “I, uh, I was watching a...silly baking show-”
“The Life Day Baking Championship?” Poe guessed, and he laughed when she nodded. “Gods, Kes loves that show, he sends me updates about every episode. I’ll have to tell him you’re a fan!”
“Right.” Rey smiled awkwardly, and Poe went back to examining her pie, picking it up this time. She winced when some liquid dripped from the bottom - soggy, then. “So, um, they had a Yavinese focused episode…”
“And this was the technical!” Poe whistled between his teeth. “You picked the hardest Yavinese pastry to make. I’m impressed!”
“Don’t be.” Rey shook her head vigorously. “I’m sure it’s awful, I’ve never even baked before, and I went to the market and I didn’t know what half of the things were that the recipe needed, and it was - it was so stupid, but I thought…”
“You thought what?” Poe set the pie down gently and wiped his hands on his trousers before reaching out for her. Rey let him wrap his hands around her wrists and tug her in slightly, and she went willingly enough, let him hold her gently and kiss the side of her head, as she muttered into the air over his shoulder:
“I thought if I did it correctly, you might … want to be my love-partner.”
“Your love-” Poe spluttered and pulled away but still held her hands. “Wait a second, you were - you were trying to ask me out?”
Rey nodded, blinking rapidly as embarrassment overwhelmed her. “It was silly, I know, and I ruined it, and you probably think I’m the worst love-partner ever, and-”
“Rey.” Poe stroked his thumbs over her knuckles, and she stopped rambling, a thing she only really ever did where Poe was involved. “Rey, do you - did you think … we weren’t dating?”
What. Rey stared at him.
“Rey, we - we live together.” It was Poe’s turn to splutter.
“Yes, but that seemed like an efficient decision,” Rey said matter-of-factly. Poe turned the color of the liquid leaking out of the pie, and she hastened to explain herself. “I want to date you, I really, really do, more than anything, because I love you, and on Jakku if you … if you share portions with people, it means you love them, so I thought...I thought....”
“You love me,” Poe repeated weakly, “And you thought you had to ask me to date you by giving me a pie that you made?”
“Something like that,” Rey whispered, wondering if she could live outside for the next few months. With her training in the Force, she probably wouldn’t be eaten by wild beasts. And as it was, that was a preferable fate than to suffer this a moment longer.
“Rey.” Poe shook his head wonderingly. “I love you too, Sunshine.”
“You do?” Rey decided against moving outside in a split second. “Really?”
“Really really. And - and for the record, I thought we were dating this whole time.”
“But…” Rey wrinkled her nose. “We never did any of the courtship rituals-”
“We have sex.” Poe looked fit to pass out by that point. “Daily. Multiple times a day.”
Rey nodded, eyebrows raised, and Poe groaned. “Okay. We’re dating. We’re really dating, and we’re in love.”
She liked the sound of that, so she offered him a real smile, the kind she so rarely gave because the galaxy had made her wary and suspicious and unlikely to show true happiness for fear of it being snatched away. Poe blinked at her, as though temporarily stunned. Then, he shook himself.
“And I have a pie to eat.”
“No,” Rey protested, as he pulled his hands away and snatched up the pie, “Really, don’t-”
“Mmm.” Poe took a bite, and to his absolute credit, did not immediately vomit. Rey winced as he chewed and swallowed. “Just like dad used to make.”
“Really?” Rey winced as he took another dry bite of pie.
He ate the entire thing despite her constant protests, and then kissed her silly. Later, after they’d cleaned up the mess it had made and gotten into bed - and had their first Very Good Sex as love-partners - Poe smiled at her and stroked her hair back from her face, and Rey felt a warm little bubble of happiness that wouldn’t be destroyed by anything.
“I love you,” Poe said, and Rey smiled back hard enough that her cheeks hurt.
“I love you.”
“I love you,” Poe repeated, and then eyed the ‘fresher door. “But I really need to-” he was out of bed in a second, and Rey spent the rest of the night sitting next to him as he fought back the nausea inspired by a very, very badly made pie.
And it was easily the most romantic night of her life so far.