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Galactic Dreams (Or lets fly birthday girl)

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“Quite the opposite Poe dearest. I obviously outperformed you back in that mess last week.”

“Hold up right there!” Jess exclaimed, raising her hands halfway towards Snap and slowly blinking in mock disbelief. “Did you not see me save your left asscheek? Are you going blind in that eye?”

She let her palms fall with an audible smack on the mess hall table as Snap waved away the reminder.

Poe hunched over and began laughing, “Oh right, that’s why we changed formation. I let you take point.”

“Nonsense,” Snap dismissed, shoveling a spoon of oats into his mouth.

“Hah! You always start stuffing your face when you run out of arguments,” Jess said all too smugly, rolling an apple along her sleeve.

“Anyway,” Snap started around a cup of juice, “Aren’t you due to take off today?”

“Yeah, but not until later. The General was getting something ready for our Jedi hermits,” Jess answered, taking a bite of the polished apple.

“For both?” Poe questioned, curious.

“Apparently it’s Luke’s birthday today,” Jess got out between chews, “The General probably wants to attach a tracker onto him in case he decides to take another trip of self discovery,” she joked with raised eyebrows, “But Rey doesn’t remember much of her past,” Jess paused, “Leia wanted to surprise her with a gift as well.”

There was a slight pause around the table.

“Oh,” Poe said quietly. “Wow.”

Snap fidgeted, “Great, now I want to get them something.” He shook his head. “Jedi heartbreakers.”

Poe glanced at Jess and smirked. “What about you? Getting anything special for your Jedi crush?”

Snap twisted around just in time to see Jess’ face transition into a color not dissimilar from that of the half eaten apple in her hand. His face slowly morphed into one of understanding. “Oh goodness me! I knew we all admired Luke but not to this extent!” Snap exclaimed dramatically, causing several heads nearby to turn in alarm. Jess glared back venomously. He broke down into an uproarious laugh, “Listen though. Look. Sweetie. No judgement. Weirder things have happened,” Snap formed between heaving laughter. “I mean look at Finn and Poe.”

At that, Poe spit out the coffee he was sipping. “Eh! What no, relax. He’s my buddy.”

“Yeah, a buddy who just casually permanently borrowed your beloved jacket,” Snap snickered.

“There are plenty of jackets! Besides it’s cold where he is on his mission” Poe defended. He looked to Jess for aid, “C’mon have my back here!”

“Maybe up in the air but not down here you traitor,” Jess coolly responded, features back to normal.

Right as Poe was raising a finger in the start of a lengthy argument, Jess’ comm clip sputtered to life.

“What was that?” Snap asked as he swiped a bread roll from the tray of an unsuspecting Poe.

“It’s the General. Looks like I’m off a bit earlier than planned.”

Poe smiled, “I hope it doesn’t delay your gift buying.” He batted his eyes sweetly as Jess froze halfway in getting up to shoot an icy glare back down at him. “I’ll escort you!” Poe quickly slid his tray over to Snap and jogged over to Jess.

“Have fun lovebird!” Snap called back.

________

“A closed package, how mysterious,” Poe whispered, examining both Luke’s and Rey’s gifts from Leia. “Well Luke’s is too big to be a tracker but who knows it could be a set,” Poe theorized, stepping into the hallway leading to the flight area.

“Hey. Hey!” Jess grabbed at Poe’s bicep and steered him back towards the living quarters. “I need to go this way misoriented commander of mine.”

“The dor- Oh! You did get Rey a gift didn’t you?” Poe excitedly stated. Jess rolled her eyes but smiled despite his childish enthusiasm.

“Yes I did. Happy?” Poe nodded excessively, bearing a full smile.

They walked on in silence for a few seconds, Poe looking at his squad member with growing expectation. Jess side-eyed him, “Ugh. You’ll see it when we get to my room. Not like I could package it so nicely anyway” she mumbled the last bit, glancing at the general’s gifts.

They reached her room and Jess slid open her door to retrieve her ‘gift’ as Poe stood patiently outside. He glanced down to the object under her arm when Jess came out and let out a confused noise at the back of his throat. Poe shot his gaze back up to Jess and stared at her with furrowed brow. “I’ll explain it on the way to the deck okay?” Jess acquiesced turning back to walk down the hall.

“You got a helmet?”

“It was custom made and-”

 

“But why a helmet?” Poe looked back forward in confusion as they walked.

“I’m getting to it,” Jess ground out.

“By all means get to it.”

Jess rolled her eyes again. She’ll be setting records if she doesn’t fly out soon. “As I was saying, the helmet was custom made for Rey. She told me how she had a beat up old rebel helmet back on Jakku and how she would sit in the evening with it on, imagining she was out flying across the galaxy instead of waiting on some desert dump for someone who wouldn’t show. She dug up old manuscripts and training manuals and taught herself everything she knew about flying.” Jess pointed down towards the helmet under her arm, “The Yellow Aces sigil was the one on her old helmet. I also added a inter-planetary comm device so we could actually speak between my missions there. You know how I told you Luke doesn’t like the distraction of a holo comm device? I figured that, at night, when training would be done for the day, she could go out, wear the helmet and talk to someone here.”

Poe walked along a while, looking at Jess curiously.

Jess continued, “I thought she could wear it to remind her of something nice that she left behind.”

 

“And to not be alone like that again,” Poe finished.

Jess glanced back at Poe and was met with his reassuring warm smile. “I think it’s a wonderful gift,” He said. “She’s going to love it.”

“I hope so,” Jess admitted nervously. “I did also have something else in mind but it might be a bit more forward.” She looked over to Poe for support.

Poe nodded back at her, “What did you have in mind?”

________

Jess climbed the steps up to the cockpit of her craft and settled into the leather seat, strapping down for the flight. Poe climbing up after her but leaned over the edge with his forearms to speak with her.

As Jess got out her helmet from underneath the seat and pushed Rey's helmet in its place she turned to Poe for one last reassurance.

Poe must have seen the trepidation in her eyes because he reached out and squeezed her shoulder, giving Jess a light smile. “Don't overthink it. Just ask her. I'm sure she'll be all for it.”

“And if she isn’t?” Jess worried, biting her lip.

“Not a chance of that,” Poe encouraged.

“I get the feeling that most of your plans come without backups,” Jess drew out with a sigh.

“You only got the feeling now?” Poe teased. “Shame that General Leia doesn’t celebrate her own birthday. We could have thrown something spectacular there,” He lamented.

“Yeah keep dreaming Dameron,” Jess chuckled. “The General is a no nonsense woman you know that. She must just be relieved to finally have found Luke after all this time. I think it’s more of an excuse to do something nice for Rey.”

“Still a shame that she hates celebrating it. I, for one, am grateful for our general’s birth,” Poe spoke with a hand to his chest.

Jess laughed, “Aren’t we all though? She knows it too.”

Poe winked back, “Force sensitives man.”

He hopped off the ladder and moved it away from where Jess sat. Poe stood by and waved as she set up her lifters and began her ascent. Poe remained watching after the x wing until it's speck was gone. As he turned to head towards the buildings he spotted a set of wings beginning their descent in his periphery.

Poe changed direction and stood by the landing strip as the formation broke and the pilots landed on the deck one by one. The double seater that landed second to last, Poe recognized, was the one Finn boarded four days prior on his mission to a frost planet. “Buddy!” Poe shouted as Finn climbed out of the gunners seat in the plane. He looked towards the source of the noise and his face broke into a smile. Twisting around Finn jumped down the last few rails and threw himself into Poe’s embrace.

“I hope that jacket kept you warm,” Poe got around a peppering of kisses from Finn, noting that his skin was still cool under his touch.

“Freezing,” another kiss, “Hungry,” one to the forehead, “Tired,” the nose, “Missing,” lips, “You,” Finn finished against Poe’s mouth. Poe smiled against Finn and pulled back a little.

“Let’s see what we can do about some of those why don’t we?” Poe said as he pulled Finn away from the plane. “In the meantime, guess who just left before you landed…”

________

Rey wiped at a layer of perspiration gathering at her forehead with one hand, keeping the other on the ground to balance her out. Luke silently strode across the stone platform to the set of staffs he had prepared for their training that afternoon. Rey turned her head to look after the lower portion of his robe, cursing the beings that invented planks.

She faced back toward the ground, arms beginning to shake somewhat. Her mind wandered over to some stories she was able to wheedle out of Luke the week before. She now knew that it was Luke and General Leia’s birthday today. Rey hadn’t expected the information to bother her for so long. It would feel different if she actually remembered her own birthday, or anything about her past before the desert planet for that matter. She had hoped that an added focus towards her training would help alleviate that gnawing feeling.

As it were, she found herself thinking about her lack of history more and more each day. What was worse, Luke didn’t seem to acknowledge either the occasion or her mental discomfort. Rey sighed and slumped down onto her knees, winded. Luke turned around toward his apprentice and frowned, “I see that you finally decided to rest,” he told Rey with raised eyebrows. “I was waiting when you would stop running yourself into the ground.”

 

Rey turned her head to him in surprise, “You knew?”

“Did you think, that by throwing yourself into your training, you would be able to hide your emotions from me?” Luke gently responded. “I wanted to let you stop yourself for a moment before I mentioned it.”

Rey looked back down, “It’s nothing to be worked up over,” she let out, “There are plenty of other things to be worried about like Kylo Ren and the dark side. I need to be ready for when the First Order gathers its strength again I-” Rey stopped abruptly when she saw Luke hold up his hand.

“You have only been with me for five months,” Luke began slowly, “but you have already shown so much dedication and promise and” he paused, “... loyalty,” He finally said with an overbearing sadness in his eyes. “You have no obligation to do anything other than learn how to control the force in a responsible fashion. My sister is quite capable of handling the First Order in all of its disarray.” Luke paused again, “So will I, when the time will come for it.”

Rey sat down and contemplated Luke’s words. She looked up at him as he bent over and held his hand out on her shoulder, “I am not just here to torture you and act as an old statue to the birds,” Luke joked, eliciting a small smile from his apprentice. “Should you ever need advice or a conversation, I will be here. Remember Rey, I am your friend.” Luke squeezed her shoulder and straightened out, looking backwards toward the horizon. “I sense that Leia has sent a messenger.”

“It’s Jess?” Rey questioned, excited.

Luke smiled back at Rey, “Don’t be long. We still have some work to do.”

Rey hopped to her feet and started at a run down to the flat strip of land where Jess always lands. She glanced behind at Luke one last time before she rounded an outcropping of rock and slowly began to climb down.

She paused only momentarily, to note the glistening waters and the Falcon reflecting late afternoon sunlight back towards the sky. Regardless of what happened in her past, Rey was so grateful to be here with Luke on such a beautiful planet. No dull browns and grays burned her eyes and the sun didn’t leave angry red patches on her skin. She knew that her past would continue to haunt her but she admitted that she could still stop and appreciate what she gained in the present.

Rey skidded to a halt right as the familiar x wing appeared around the northern edge of the island and made its descent toward her. Rey often admitted an excitement for what her future could bring as well, when she looked upon the familiar wings.

She bounded to a spot just underneath the pilot’s seat when the plane landed and looked up with a wide smile. “Jess!”

“Hey girl,” Jess called over as she unhooked from her seat and took off her helmet. “Did someone call for a pilot? No wait, I think I called for a Jedi.”

Rey laughed, “I’m not a Jedi yet, you know that.”

Jess padded out her hair where it stuck up and shook her head, “Nope, you are, sorry, I don’t make the rules.” She pulled out the two flat packages that Leia had prepared as well as the helmet she’d had made for Rey from under the seat. “I also come bearing birthday gifts,” she waved the packages and helmet at Rey.

Rey smiled but then stopped short when she saw the helmet. “You got a new helmet?”

“Nope,” Jess said as she threw down the gifts into Reys arms, making the girl on the ground stagger back a bit. Rey was examining the helmet when Jess jumped down onto the ground beside her. “It’s for you.”

Rey looked back at Jess incredulously, “It- It’s just like the one I had,” she got out as she looked back at the helmet in her hand.

“Except this one works,” Jess said happily, “It also doesn’t seep sand when you put it on,” She mentioned as an afterthought.

“It works?” Rey looked back at Jess then slowly smiled, “You mean I can talk to you when you’re away?”

“Exactly,” Jess smiled back. She lightly pushed the helmet up towards Rey and nodded for her to put it on. “Let’s see how it looks.”

 

Rey bent down to place Leia’s gifts on the ground and lifted the helmet over her head as she stood back up. The look of joy on Rey’s face when she fitted the helmet over her head made Jess’ heart swell with warmth. “Now I’m sure you’ll tinker with it a bit when you have the time but before you do I still need to show you your second gift,” Jess told Rey while adjusting the helmet with both of her hands.

Rey threw her a look of confusion, “This is more than enough Jess, you really didn’t have to do so much. It’s not even my birthday!” she protested.

“Well we needed a set date anyway. So now you have one Jedi girl,” Jess teased, stepping back and admiring Rey.

The helmet wasn’t as big as the one back on Jakku was, Rey noted. It was a perfect fit, with leather padding at the back and a functioning display set in the visor. She noticed Jess staring at her through it and self consciously brought her hands up to the helmet’s front.

“This is amazing,” Rey looked at Jess thoughtfully through the visor, “Thank you,” she said quietly.

“Awesome!” Jess fidgeted. “Alright, I can um- we can- well I can, I’m the messenger. I can give Luke his gift later and y- oh do you want to open the general’s gift first?” Jess looked up suddenly as she was picking up the two packages Rey had set down. “Sorry I didn’t think about it- that, the gift,” Jess laughed awkwardly.

“No it’s fine. I don’t think he’ll mind opening it later,” Rey smiled reassuringly, “Neither would I,” she added quickly.

“That’s good. Okay so I guess-” Jess started back toward the plane but stopped short and turned around. “Um. I don’t just want to leave them anywhere and we’ll need to put away the helmets for this.”

“Okaaayyy?” Rey drew out. “Just put them in the Falcon with Chewie for now,” She pointed back to the Millennium Falcon near the other end of the land strip.

Jess walked over to the ship with Rey, trading stories between what happened between then and the last time Jess flew in for a mission. Rey listened intently as she stepped over to open the hatch leading into the Falcon.

“I still can’t get over the fact that you can just casually come in and fly the Millennium Falcon whenever you want,” Jess sighed as they entered and left the set of helmets and packages.

“It’s more of a rusted relic, besides, it’s not like I can just get up and fly out on a whim,” Rey looked around at the interior, “Whenever I’m not training I’m too sore to walk, let alone fly.”

“I hope you’re not too tired now,” Jess said shyly.

“To fly the Falcon?” Rey looked at her in confusion, “I mean I flew it with you before I don’t really think-”

“Not too tired to fly an x-wing,” Jess interrupted.

Rey paused, mouth slightly agape. “What? Wait you’re allowed to let me pilot it?”

“Not exactly,” Jess looked sideways, “But it’s not against regulations for you to fly with the pilot,” Jess added and looked carefully back at Rey, biting down on her lower lip.

Rey stared back, then: “Would we even fit in there together?”

Jess let out a breath of air in a relieved laugh, “So I take that as a yes?”

“Yes!” Rey all but yelled. Then her face dropped, “No.”

“No?”

“Luke told me not to take too long,” Rey said, eyes downcast, “He’s expecting me back soon.”

“Oh come off it!” Jess playfully slapped at Rey’s arm, “It’s your birthday for crying out loud!”

Rey cocked her head and looked at Jess, “It’s not though.”

“It is now, besides, what is he going to do? Stop you?” Jess questioned, “From all the way up there?” She nodded her head in the general vicinity of the peak of the island.

Rey had to admit that she was sorely tempted and it really wasn’t like Luke could possibly sense her from all the way down here. It wasn’t like he could somehow stop her if he possibly did. It wasn’t like he could outrun an x-wing at any rate. Great motivations and suggestions from a supposedly even-headed Jedi in training but Rey had only ever piloted the Millennium Falcon. Opportunity like this didn’t just come flying in every day.

A grunt issued behind them at that moment and they turned to face Chewie standing in the hatchway. “See? Even he’s telling you to go,” Jess prodded at Rey’s back. Rey swatted her hand away with a laugh, “Okay, okay,” she said holding her other hand up in surrender but her smile gave away her excitement. Jess felt warmth in her chest again but held back her emotions for the moment. If everything went according to plan, she’d address them later. Jess grabbed Rey’s arm and started to drag her outside while Rey shouted back at Chewie to bring Luke’s gift up and apologize for her if he could. They left the ship followed by an affirmative grunt from him.

Jess stopped short right by the wing of the plane and turned to Rey, cheeks blushing just a bit, “So just let me hop in and follow alright?” Rey nodded an affirmative and Jess climbed the side until she was dangling over the pit. She swung her legs over and took a breath as she sat on the edge, steeling herself for what was to come. “C’mon tester get it together,” Jess whispered to herself and settled onto the seat. She leaned over saw Rey’s expectant face below.

At a wave from Jess, Rey began her climb up to her. She stopped at the edge of the pit and waited for Jess who was fidgeting with some controls by the edge of her seat, “Ah! There it is that blasted handle,” Jess exclaimed triumphantly as she pulled at something beside the seat and it began to move forward.

“Oops, wrong way,” Jess laughed nervously and adjusted the handle again so the seat would move backwards. “See?” She told Rey when the seat was pushed back all the way, “Plenty of room for the both of us.”

Rey’s eyebrows shot up in understanding, “Didn’t know that you wanted me in your lap so much Jess,” She teased.

Jess blushed furiously, seriously regretting how easily Rey had picked up casual flirtation from the pilots on the base before she left. “No not like- it’s really the only way I could think of us- you- it was Poe’s idea!” she finally blurted out to the amusement of Rey, still hanging at the edge, “I’m just teasing, it’s fine,” she said as she sat on the rim of the cockpit and slowly turned and climbed her way down onto the edge of the seat in front of Jess.

After a slight pause, Jess pressed a button on the side to close the hatch and set up a sequence on the display in front to start up the ship. Rey noted all of this with a quiet fascination. She also noted the slight trembling in Jess’ hands as she began explaining the lifters and controls to Rey. Rey smiled slightly to herself and leaned back into the pilot behind her. “What about safety precautions?”

“Pardon?” Jess stuttered.

“I don’t think that the straps will hold us both,” Rey pointed to the straps harnessing Jess to the seat.

“Oh. I didn’t think that one through,” Jess panicked.

Rey turned her head sideways and smirked at her, “I have an idea,” she quipped and quickly grabbed Jess’ hovering arms and wrapped them around her waist. “Hold tight,” she winked and launched them up before Jess could respond. Rey turned her head back towards the front of the plane and pulled the wings up into a hard vertical ascent.

Having Rey pushed into her even harder from the force of the ascent did absolutely nothing good to Jess’ complexion as she held her wrapped arms tightly around Rey’s waist.

She noticed that Rey didn’t move forward when they finally settled into a horizontal flight, despite the room in front of her. In fact, Rey seemed to lean farther back into Jess, if it were at all possible. Jess also took the calm of the flight to casually splay out her hands against Rey’s waist instead of having them clenched into fists.

If it was hard to keep her composure before when Jess first suggested that Rey should practically sit in her lap, it was now impossible with her pressed so tightly against the Pilot. Jess took in a shuddering breath as her hands moved in rhythm with Rey’s exhilarated breathing from their place across her abdomen.

“I hope I didn’t startle you with that move back there,” Rey called back, giddy with the intensity of the take off.

Which move exactly? Jess thought, “No I’m good” she laughed out instead. Now that her heart rate had slowed down to a respectable level she noted the faint smell of rocky dust and sweat coming from Rey. She also didn’t fail to notice the heat emanating from Rey’s body and the way her tank top had edged its way up so that some of her fingers were on her bare skin. Jess swallowed hard as loose tendrils of Rey’s hair tickled her face and moved her chin to rest on her left shoulder, watching the clouds pass by around them.

“What’s the mission commander?”

Rey glanced towards Jess resting on her shoulder, “I always imagined flying with the resistance in… intense environments with crashed ships... and mountains and endless oceans of water, between stars and moons.... through planetary systems and galaxies,” Rey dreamed aloud.

Jess looked up at her profile and whispered back, “So second best thing?”

Rey turned her head again, causing Jess to lift hers, and shook her head, “No. This is the best.”

Her smile turned mischievous and Jess tightened her hold reflexively. “What is it?” Jess said cautiously.

“It’s my pretend birthday right?”

“It’s your real birthday now,” Jess admonished, confusion streaking her features.

“Then exactly how far can we go here?”

At that, Jess lost any witty retort that was forming in her mind and the redness started to creep its way into her features again.

Rey smiled again and gunned the thrusters.

Right, Jess thought wondering whether Rey was oblivious to her words or if she just had a sick sense of humor. Jess now realized that Rey’s intention for her to hold onto her waist was to hold Rey in place on the seat as she began to flip and roll the aircraft, testing its limits with shouts of joy.

Jess had no problem physically keeping Rey in place. She noted dully that the girl was relatively light but the force with which Jess had to hold onto her exposed midriff sent Jess’ usually controlled emotions into spins, mimicking the tricks that Rey was pulling just now.

“Don’t go too low!” Jess warned as Rey began a steep spinning descent towards the ocean below.

Jess braced for impact reactively but Rey pulled up meters away from the surface and skidded a wing against the waves as she raced for a cluster of islands ahead.

Jess marveled at Rey’s grasp of flight as she observed the narrows of rocks and peaks zooming past her. Rey was flying through the islands as if it were an obstacle course. Fallen ships and oceans, mountains, stars and galaxies Jess imagined as they passed islands of varying size and formation.

Jess relaxed her body now that Rey’s close presence had become comfortable enough for her stomach to stop flying on its own galactic dream. She pushed her knees out to the edges of the cockpit and moved forward to press up against Rey. She looked up and onto the green and blue terrain blurring by as Rey flew the wings upside down.

Rey spared a glance at Jess and the light smile on her face as she looked around at the land. Rey turned back with a warm smile on her face and a warmer feeling her own chest.

Jess turned her attention back to Rey and decided that if she could, she would celebrate this girl every day. The thought scared Jess in a way that made her heart stutter and her palms sweat. She was in trouble.

_______

By the time the x wing made its descent towards the island where the Falcon was stationed, the evening stars had come out in the dark sky and were twinkling in the slow moving water all around the island. Rey shut the plane down to a quiet mass and looked up to contemplate the stars shining right above them. Jess moved an arm away from its place across Rey’s waist and raised the glass dome above them to let in the short sea breeze. She, of course, brought that arm back to Rey’s waist, to its proper place in this cold, ruthless universe, Jess joked internally.

“This was the best birthday you ever had,” Jess informed Rey, nodding to herself and setting her head on the girl’s shoulder again.

“This was the only birthday I’ve ever had,” Rey whispered, emotions running thick in her tone. She turned to Jess, eyes shining, “Thank you.”

 

Jess took a moment to take in her features, “Then you now have a good frame for how it should be,” She finally said.

Rey smiled that brilliant smile that Jess loved and so few were graced to witness. Jess’ chest swelled again for the girl in front of her, “I’m glad that you enjoyed it.”

 

Rey bit the side of her lower lip and narrowed her gaze, “Luke probably didn’t,” she said with some shame.

The comment and expression sent Jess into a fit of laughter that Rey joined soon after.

“I still have to get back to him. Crawl on my knees. Beg for forgiveness,” she joked.

“I think that’s Ben’s job honey,” Jess chastised.

Rey paused but shook the thought away, remembering what Luke had told her before.

“And hey, I don’t think Luke will mind you playing hooky this one time. He looks like a grouch but I doubt he hates fun,” Jess reassured.

Rey smiled back at her, “Thank you. For everything.”

She slowly began pulling herself up and out of the seat as Jess reluctantly pulled her hands away from Rey’s waist. Rey moved over to the edge of the pit and jumped down to the grass below. She turned in time to see Jess settle herself over the edge as well before she dropped down beside Rey.

“I hope you won’t get into trouble back at the base,” Rey worried.

“The only trouble I’ll get is the incessant teasing from Poe. As if he knows the concept of subtlety,” Jess laughed, remembering the way Poe acted around Finn.

“I hope you enjoyed your official birthday.”

“I did,” Rey said quietly, not quite looking at Jess in the eyes. “Although I’m still waiting on that third gift.”

“What third gift?” Jess asked, completely confused.

Rey took the short moment to grab at the lapels of Jess’ jacket and pull her in for a kiss. Jess might have mumbled something out but it was lost to the kiss as Rey circled her arms around Jess’ neck and she held onto Rey’s waist. Rey pulled away almost reluctantly, keeping inches between her face and Jess’.

“I never said you mentioned it,” Rey grinned.

Jess stared back and slowly began to smile as she tightened her embrace on the girl. “I’m pretty sure I could manage a fourth,” she whispered against Rey’s lips. “And a fifth,” she said after kissing Rey again. Rey laughed and all Jess wanted was for the night to never end.

_______

“Hey-ho! The mighty messenger returns from her perilous quest,” Poe called out, marching towards Jess as she entered the mess hall, “From a dangerous planet,” he whispered loudly, “Whose sole inhabitants are the dangerous old man and girl who weighs less than my droid.”

Jess stopped a few feet in front of him and shook her head, a smile on her face.

“I take it the mission was a success?” Poe got up from his crouch.

“Come on,” Jess waved him towards her and walked to the table with the rest of blue squadron. “It was,” she whispered back so only Poe would hear and he gave her a clap on the back.

“That’s the stuff I like to hear! Mission success everyone!” Poe addressed to the rest of the pilots.

“You. Told. Everyone?” Jess slowly turned to Poe with wide eyes.

“Depends on your definition of ‘everyone.’ In my defense, Finn kept pestering me about it so if I told him I was obligated to tell everyone else.”

“Go scream it outside while you’re at it next time,” Jess said through gritted teeth, “There’s barely a difference.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I could lose my voice,” Poe said, reaching up and pawing his throat.

“Doesn’t stop you at night,” Jess smirked. She grinned widely when the rest of the table broke out into hoots.

“Point to tester,” Poe grumbled.

“So when can we talk to her?” Finn spoke up by Poe’s shoulder.

_______

Rey sat down beneath the tree sticking out between the ground and the outcropping of rock with the helmet Jess had given her earlier that day. She also set the book that Leia had packaged for her on her lap and smoothed the cover with one hand.

She smiled at the memory of her ripping open the gifts for both her and Luke right after they had eaten their supper. Luke didn’t have the heart to chastise Rey about skipping her training for the day and looked on with a small smile as Rey examined the chess holo game board for Chewie and R2D2 as well as the large communications headpiece Leia had sent for him. He had shaken his head, he figured the old design was fitted to be untraceable so that Leia could speak to him in peace from across worlds.

He let Rey take her usual spot outside that night and himself fitted the headpiece over his head and prepared himself for his sister.

Rey fitted the helmet over her head and looked through the visor up at the stars. She was broken out of her usual reverie when a noise ran through the helmet, notifying her to a call. She took a breath and switched on a response switch.

“REY!” a cacophony of voices greeted her ears as the entire blue squadron yelled at their end of the comm relay.

Rey looked up at the stars and smiled. She admitted to herself that she was very excited for what her future would bring.