She awakes to the sound of the hyperdrive. She knows the sounds of her ship instinctively, like a mother knows her baby's cry. It means that she’s safe now; they’re away, she can relax. Only, of course, she can't.
Opening her eyes is a wrench, and she finds she's on the medical bunk, hooked up to pain suppressants & a fluid bag. Judging from the cool numbness seeping over her body, she's been like this a good few minutes already.
A few moments later he dashes back in; face pale and tight, clothes dirty and singed. He stops and gives her a small sort of smile when he see she's awake.
He tends to her injuries in silence; starting with the head wound and working his way down. He tends to an arm wound seeping blood so thick it's almost black, and she watches a moment before the room start to sway. The air grows heavy with antiseptic and the sweet tang of bacta, and his hands are methodical and cool. The pain meds are making her hazy, and time is moving in a strangely swooping loop.
He eases her flight suit down past her hips and she hears him suck in a breath, confirming an awful suspicion she hadn't quite voiced. She has tried to ignore the throbbing and damp as it crept down her thighs, but as his hand comes away scarlet from between them, she already knows what he's found. He speaks then, in a voice that’s a little cracked with empathy.
She knows what he’s going to say but she doesn’t want to be here. Pressing her palms to her eyes she chokes down a sob, tries to nod as he tells her, calmly and tenderly that he needs to see where the bleeding is coming from.
“I’ll be as gentle as possible” he says, and she’s sobbing for real now, because it isn’t the pain she’s worried about.
He cuts away her blood-soaked underwear and eases her knees apart. Her mind thinks, ludicrously, of the legs of a frog. He’s unspeakably gentle as he bathes her with warm water and traces the wound to its source at her core.
“How did this happen Mara? Did somebody…”. He can’t seem to finish that thought, and she's grateful for that. When she shakes her head from behind her hands, he lets out the breath that had caught up inside of him. She doesn't want to say any more.
He leans in close in concentration, and warns her when his touch will be invasive. She feels the soothing cool of the bacta gel and his fingers, impossibly gentle and confident. “It’s not so bad” he tells her, “we’re nearly done now”. There’s no blushing farmboy modesty here, and she’s grateful for his professionalism. This is the war-hardened Rebel, first aid trained, and she wonders how many friends he’s had to tend to in battle before.
“That should do it” he tells her, and gently squeezes her knee as he rises and moves to clean up. Gives her a moment to collect herself. She wipes her damp cheeks hurriedly with her palms, annoyed and ashamed by her unusual lapse.
When he returns, he sits at the foot of the bed and adds a bacta patch to one final scrape below her knee. Then he’s gently pulling fresh underwear up and over her hips, and it takes her a minute to realise that they’re his – soft blue shorts, loose and faded and smelling faintly of laundry detergent. It’s a small gesture, but the meaning is great to her; it feels like something tender, an offering of vulnerability to counterbalance her shame. Her eyes burn with fresh tears and this time she lets them fall freely and silently, as he drapes a blanket over her and eases himself to lie down behind her. He wraps his arms around her, tightly, and she cries quietly in his arms until sleep takes her.
When she wakes, the cabin is dark, the hyperdrive still hums and his breathing is warm and regular behind her. The pain is less, and his arms are heavy and dense in slumber. Now, finally, she feels something close to safe.
The next morning they wake almost simultaneously, but there’s no point in awkwardness here. He rises and brews them both caff, and she slips into a jumpsuit over his too-big blue underwear.
& then nothing has changed, the old rhythm returns, and he doesn’t ask any awkward or probing questions. By day, for the rest of the trip, all is just as it ever was. But each night when she slides into her narrow bunk, he wordlessly climbs in behind her, and she welcomes it despite herself.
Perhaps it’s a Force thing, or just the help of a true friend, but by the time they land on Coruscant, four long space days later, she’s almost herself again.