He’s not paid enough for this. Granted he’s not paid at all, but if he were it wouldn’t be enough.
Matt glares after the retreating stormtrooper, reaching for his kicked wrench while he grumbles under his breath. But someone beats him to it.
The dark flight suit makes him pause, even as the slim young woman picks up the abused tool and walks the few steps to reach him. She extends the wrench, handle facing him, and he just stares at her.
Her face is familiar, but he’s positive he’s never met her before, and he’s trying to place it when she frowns at him and pushes the wrench at him.
“That guy was being a jerk, you need your tools to do your job, just like the rest of us.” She said. He blinked, before reaching out to take the wrench from her.
She nods to him before turning and walking away, and he thinks that’s the end of it.
But it isn’t.
Two days later, someone sits down across from him in the mess hall, and he looks up to see dark hair and green eyes staring back at him. He pauses, his fork halfway to his mouth, openly staring at her.
“Uh…” He starts, unsure and confused.
“Is this seat taken?” She asks, and he simply shakes his head dumbly.
And so it goes.
She searches him out, and he lets her, his bemusement giving way to begrudging acceptance as, slowly, she integrates herself into his life.
He learns that her name is Rey, and that she’s originally from Jakku, of all places, and that she won’t tell him which squadron she’s a part of. The last bit frustrates him, because pilots are always hot gossip and he’s curious, okay? Sue him.
And because he’s starting to care for the scrappy little lady in the dark flight suit.
It isn’t until about two standard months after their first meeting that he get’s his answers.
He’s on break, flipping through a hollozine, when he’s suddenly staring at a very familiar face. He reads through the article slowly, carefully, and then reads it again, for good measure. When he’s done there’s something like ice sitting in the pit of his stomach, and he throws away his half-eaten ration bar, no longer even remotely hungry.
He doesn’t know why he’s so angry, maybe because it feels like he’s been lied to, but when he corners her in the hangar where her TIE fighter is housed it feels like there’s a hole being burned through his chest.
“Where you ever going to tell me?” He asks, teeth clenched. She just stares at him with her baleful eyes, and her silence makes him grind his teeth in frustration.
“The Empire’s best pilot, second only to Lord Vader, and you, what? Thought you’d slum it with the technicians? String me along and then laugh about it with your pilot buddies?” He’s seething by this point, fists clenching and unclenching at his sides.
“Just you.” She says, quietly, and something in the tone of her voice makes him deflate.
“I don’t have any ‘pilot buddies’, just you.” She repeats. The anger in his chest disappears and he takes a step back, really looking at her. At her dark hair and forlorn eyes.
After a few minutes he heaves a heavy sigh, running his hands through his hair.
“So, what, you were lonely?” He asks, but there’s no bite to his words now. She shrugs.
“A little. And hearing you rant about grav-ball is pretty funny.” She says, the hint of a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. He snorts.
“You don’t even understand the rules. And I don’t rant.” He says. She grins, then, and it lights up her face.
“You kinda do.” She says, and Matt throws up his hands.
“Whatever. They’re serving unidentified meat by-product in the mess hall, want to come with?” He asks, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. She nods and falls into step with him.
“Ooh, my favorite.” She says, and he’s only about 50% sure she’s being sarcastic.
“How you can enjoy that stuff is beyond me.” He mutters. She shrugs again.
“It’s better than the food on Jakku.” She points out.
“Remind me to never get stranded on that junkyard.” He says.
She laughs and Matt thinks that yeah, he’s more than okay with this.