The journey after Crait felt like it went on forever when really it only lasted about three days. Between sleepless nights, scares, and the endless blackness of space, the sense of time no longer existed.
Under orders by General Organa, on recommendation by Commander D’Acy, the Millennium Falcon was on course to the Outer Rim, where they were confident the survivors of the Resistance could get help. Most of them needed some kind of medical attention, whether for a bad cut threatening to become infected or life-threatening head injuries, and they were rationing supplies of food to last as long as possible. Those that were able would make themselves as useful as they could to treat the wounded or to take a shift in the cockpit. Anyone with basic knowledge of flight mechanics would co-pilot when necessary.
Now what should be the middle of the night, Rey volunteered to take a shift as a pilot, welcoming the quiet. In all likelihood, she wouldn’t need any help. The cruise through lightspeed was uneventful, the beams of light passing by hypnotic. Earlier, she had C-3PO translated a section of the ancient Jedi texts and mulled them over later while she sat in silence, nodding off occasionally.
It had been over 36 hours since she last slept. Her mind was plagued with guilt and wondering what might have happened if she went straight to the Resistance from Ach-To. Would she have been able to save more if she and Chewbacca showed up earlier? How many more people would have been crammed into the old Corellian freighter instead of lying dead on the salt fields of Crait?
Rey had been desperate to save the Resistance and the galaxy, but desperation made her stupid and more people might have died for her mistake…
Her stomach growled to remind her that she gave her portion for the night up to help someone else. Hunger was no stranger to her. She could survive a night without dinner; it was the least she could do. Soon the initial discomfort would fade anyway, she knew this all too well.
Sleep would probably come before food anyway and she wrapped a blanket kept in the cockpit for the pilots to share snugly around her shoulders. Nodding off wouldn’t be a bad thing while the Falcon was set to autopilot. If anything came up on the radars, the warning would be loud enough for her to hear.
The nightmares would probably startle her awake first. Every time she closed her eyes, Kylo was there, pointing at the freighter and giving orders for the First Order fleet to fire upon it.
It was those moments she felt like the night was too quiet.
“Need a co-pilot?”
It was credit to her exhaustion that she didn’t hear Finn enter the cockpit, though perhaps his training as a stormtrooper taught him to take lighter, quieter steps. She certainly learned the value of going undetected when she wasn’t the only scavenger in the echoing corridors of phantom Star Destroyers. He looked like he hadn’t slept much either and wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he had kept constant vigil over Rose Tico as she lay on the bunk set aside just for her.
Rey shook her head. “Not really, but you can stay if you’d like.” She hadn’t gotten a chance just to talk to him by himself yet and really, that was all she wanted now. After days of fretting if he was safe, it would be a small comfort to spend time with the only person that ever went back for her.
Taking a seat in the co-pilot’s chair, Finn stumbled a little at the forward sitting position until he got comfortable with an embarrassed grin.
“How’s Rose?” Rey asked.
He shrugged. “Still sleeping. I’m not a doctor, but I’m worried she might not…” His fingers gripped the material of his pants.
“I’m sure she’ll be fine.” She couldn’t say she was any more experienced in the medical field as he was, but Rey didn’t know what to say. On Jakku, those that got hurt the way Rose did usually didn’t wake up again once they slipped into unconscious. After a couple of days, if they weren’t already dead, they were still a hopeless cause, but Rey would never tell Finn that. She wondered if he had seen slow deaths before as a stormtrooper or if suffering in the First Order had been quick and hidden. She might have thought once that the Order would have treated their wounded, but now she wasn’t sure. Maybe they were more savage than the starving scavengers of her desert world.
“I take it Luke Skywalker wasn’t who you thought he was,” Finn guessed. The observation made her heart ache. If she had known, Rey would have stayed with the Resistance, wait for Finn to wake up and be ready to die at his side if it came to that. She would still be ready to, honestly, perhaps even more now that the galaxy seemed doomed. Leia believed there was hope, but Rey had her doubts when she looked at the fragments of metal components and kyber in her hands.
She shrugged. “I suppose no one is who we think they are.” If it were up to her, she’d leave it at that, but she felt like a lack of response would bring more questions. “In the end, he was a bitter old man that wanted to die alone, and I was stupid to think if I just waited that he would turn around.” Waiting. Always waiting. Look at all the good that did her. Rey wasted her life on a junkyard planet on the hope that parents that didn’t want her would come back for her. If she were smarter, she would have bartered her way on to a transport the moment she had skills to offer and left a life of sandstorms and hunger forever.
It almost brought tears to her eyes, but she was too tired to do even that.
“I’m sorry, Rey.”
Blinking, she looked up at him in shock. It was the first time she could recall someone ever apologizing to her and it wasn’t for anything that was his fault.
“Why?” she asked, puzzled.
Finn stared back at her, almost equally confused. “I… you look so sad. I guess I’m just sorry for whatever is making you feel like that.”
“It’s not something you’ve done,” she pointed out.
“No,” he agreed, “but I guess it felt like it was the right thing to say.” He looked to the exit of the cockpit uncomfortably. “Do you want me to leave?”
Thinking for a moment, Rey realized that she really did want someone to be here with her. She had been alone for so long that she forgot that she could have good company now. She couldn’t think of anyone better than the man that sat next to her now.
“Please stay,” she requested, her voice was almost a whisper.
At some point in the night, Rey drifted into sleep with Finn’s voice in the background. There were no nightmares that time.
When she woke up the next morning, she found she was tucked into the pilot’s chair so she wouldn’t fall out, the blanket draped in a way that only someone taking the utmost care would do.