Poe wished he'd been able to make his hair a little less unruly before leaving his quarters. Some days there was no taming those curls, and of course, today was one of those days.
You're being ridiculous, Dameron. He crossed the compound to Finn's quarters, swallowing the worst of his nerves. The two of them had been spending a lot of time together lately, especially since Rey had returned to D'Qar with Luke Skywalker. Luke Skywalker. It still didn't seem real. Poe had heard so much about him from his parents he felt as if Skywalker were family.
Since his return, Luke was staying in seclusion, reportedly seeing only General Organa and… Rey. Judging from Finn's complaints, Rey was spending almost every waking moment with him, training to use the Force. Well, Poe was happy to fill in for her, especially since the Starfighter Corps had been grounded for the past few weeks.
Poe paused outside of Finn's quarters before pressing the signal button. He needed to get a handle on himself. Jess had already started to give him a hard time about his crush on the former stormtrooper, and while she'd been quiet about it, if she'd noticed…
The thing was, Poe was too damn old to have a crush. It was infuriating. And yet, here he was, hesitating on the man's doorstep. To hell with it. He pressed the button.
The door slid open almost immediately, revealing Finn. "Poe! Come in, you gotta see what Lieutenant Connix gave me." He grabbed Poe by the arm and pulled him in. The quarters were spartan even by Resistance standards, little more than a bunk, a table, and a shelf. But oh, that shelf. It was crowded with Finn's treasures. Finn, who had never owned anything, had become a collector with an indiscriminate eye. Pieces of interestingly-shaped junk lay next to potentially valuable souvenirs. Just the act of owning something gave Finn a joy that was breathtaking to see.
Literally breathtaking. Finn's dark eyes glowed, his face lit with a bright smile. Oh Maker, Poe was in so much trouble. "Look at this holocube," Finn was saying. "The lieutenant said it came from a planet called Shownar." He turned the cube in his hands, showing Poe images of crystal spires, before putting it into Poe's hand.
"Nice. You should see the real thing someday. When the wind is just right, they make this eerie sound I can't describe. They call it a lullaby, but I don't know if I could sleep to it. It's a little creepy." Poe was on the verge of babbling, just to distract himself from the brief warmth of Finn's fingers against his.
"You'll have to fly me there sometime." Finn's smile didn't waver.
"I—yeah. Yeah! We should go." They paused, looking at one another, before Poe handed him back the holocube. "You ready to eat, buddy?"
"Starving." Finn headed for the door. "Rey said she might find us later. I think Skywalker is working her too hard. Do you think he might be? I mean, she's tougher than me, but…" He walked out, still talking. Poe jogged to catch up, listening while Finn fretted about her all the way to the mess.
That was just the kind of guy Finn was. The first thing he did when he woke up from his injuries was ask if everyone was okay. Well. The first thing he asked was if Rey was okay. Poe couldn't find it in his heart to be too jealous. They'd been in terrible danger and well, Rey was pretty amazing. Poe could see what Finn saw in her. If Poe were a few years younger, he might be smitten too.
They got their food and were just about to sit when one of the junior officers approached their table. "Excuse me, Commander Dameron."
"The general has asked to see you right away, sir. In her quarters." The officer saluted, then turned on her heel and left.
So much for his lunch with Poe. "I'm sorry—" he started to say.
"Go," Finn said. "That is one woman you do not want to keep waiting."
It took Poe a moment to remember where the general's quarters were. And why was he meeting her there?
When the door slid open, he understood.
General Organa wasn't there. Instead, he found himself facing Luke Skywalker. Rey was with him, standing at his shoulder. He wore the brown, outdated robes of a Jedi, and she was dressed similarly, which come to think of it, wasn't so different from what she'd worn before.
"Sir!" Poe started to salute, then thought about bowing—how the hell did you address a Jedi, anyway? He went with the salute, sticking to what he knew.
Commander Skywalker—Poe couldn't think of him any other way—returned the salute with a ghost of a smile. "Commander Dameron."
"I'm guessing it wasn't the general who wanted to see me after all?"
"No, but I'd like to keep this between us." Skywalker gestured at the seats. "Sit down. I have a favor to ask of you. And it is only a request, but I think you might be glad to hear it."
They sat down, and Poe was conscious of Rey's sharp, observant eyes moving between him and her teacher. "Anything I can do to help." It was easier to see the man in front of him as a former Rebel pilot than as a Jedi master.
"I was sorry to hear about your mother. Shara was a great pilot and good friend."
"Thank you, sir." It had been over twenty years, and Poe still missed her fiercely. "She spoke highly of you." He laughed. "Highly enough that I think it made my father jealous now and then."
"Kes should have known better. The only thing Shara loved more than him was you."
Poe had been expecting a stern, stoic man, in keeping with the bearded face and the troubled blue eyes, not the man sitting across from him with a quiet, nostalgic smile. "And flying, maybe," he joked.
"Maybe a tie." Commander Skywalker glanced at Rey, who returned a short, unreadable smile. "Poe, your parents are part of the reason I wanted to speak to you."
Had something happened to his father? He hadn't heard from Kes in a few days, but that wasn't unusual. "Yes, sir?"
"I need to go to Yavin 4. With Chewbacca gone to Kashyyk, the Millennium Falcon needs a co-pilot."
Several things went through Poe's mind. First of all, co-pilot, why not pilot? But second, the Millennium Falcon. No way he could say no to a trip home aboard the Falcon, pilot or no. Kes would burst his buttons. "Just say the word when. Who else is coming?"
"I haven't—" Skywalker started.
Rey spoke at the same time. "Finn."
"Rey, I'm not sure about that," Skywalker said.
"I am." Her chin jutted out slightly, giving the impression of an immovable object. "He knows the Falcon, and he's good in a fight."
"She's right, sir. I'd trust Finn with my life." He paused, then added, "Again."
Rey nodded. "And we could use another gunner."
Commander Skywalker looked between the two of them, and Poe would have sworn he felt those intense eyes scan into his very soul. "With recommendations that high, I'll at least talk to him."
Rey had a love-hate relationship with the training remotes. Especially when Luke made her put that stupid helmet on. Without the helmet, she could dodge and block just fine.
"It's not about how well you can fight," he'd said. "I know you're good. It's about learning a different way to fight."
So here she was, unable to see anything, reaching out with the Force to track the little glowing orbs. Three of them circled her. Behind the helmet, she closed her eyes and let go. The lightsaber in her hands seemed to move of its own accord, swinging her around to deflect each bolt.
"You're getting better," Luke said, and lifted the helmet from her.
She turned off the lightsaber and grinned. "I think it's getting easier!"
He tossed her a towel and she wiped her face. While she cleaned up, he said, "You care about Finn a great deal, don't you?"
Rey froze, then shrugged. "He's my friend. He nearly died saving my life." Finn came back for her. He came back for her. That was everything. That was why she felt so warm whenever he was around, like she was in the high noon sun on Jakku.
"He's a good man." Luke's voice was measured and calm. "Rey, be careful. Strong emotions can open the door into darkness. You've felt that. Hatred, fear, anger, the desire for revenge."
Rey went over to him and sat. "Yes." The shiver that passed through her was nothing but drying sweat. It had nothing to do with the voice she'd heard as she stood over Kylo Ren. Just cold.
"Not all strong emotions are negative. Love, for example. Love can be compassionate and full of light, but it can also feed jealousy, fear of loss. As a Jedi, you must be wary of this."
She knew all about loss. Maybe more than he knew. "Why are you telling me this now?"
"Because I've seen the way Finn looks at you, and how you look at him." He paused as if he were going to say something else, then thought better of it.
Rey's cheeks burned. "I don't know what you mean." She did, though. She might have kept to herself on Jakku, but she wasn't hopelessly ignorant. She'd listened to the gossip, watched couples courting between scavenging trips. Was that what she wanted with Finn?
"Once, the Jedi were forbidden to marry, to have a family." Luke glanced up at her, his head tilted curiously.
"What? Not have a family, but that's—" —all I want. Rey took a few deep breaths to still her suddenly-racing heart. "Is that why you left yours?"
"No." Even after this time, she still couldn't get him to talk about why he'd left. He tucked his hands into his robes. "I said 'once'. And there was a certain logic to it. Love, even love for friends and family, is like fire. It can warm us, keep us alive, but out of control, it can consume everything."
She'd seen that on Jakku too. People died from love as easy as from thirst. "So what do we do?"
He answered her question with a question. "When you were on Starkiller base and you were afraid and angry, what did you do?"
Rey furrowed her brow. "I… nothing. I just… was. I couldn't help being afraid. There was nothing to do about it, no way to fix it, so I was… just afraid. I still had things I needed to do." It was a weak answer, she was sure of it.
Luke smiled at her though, as if she'd solved a puzzle. "Exactly. What about anger?"
"I wanted him to die," she confessed, not needing to clarify whom she meant. "I thought he'd killed Finn, and I wanted to kill him."
Luke's voice softened. "Why didn't you?"
"Because it wouldn't have fixed anything. It wouldn't have brought back Finn or Han. It wouldn't have stopped the First Order. It just would've been… because I was mad." She paused, then added, "And I don't think Han would have wanted that. Or the general."
"You're already starting to learn the secret." Luke pressed his hands to his knees and rose to his feet before offering her a hand up. She hadn't realized how rubbery her legs had become from practice. "With the Force, you've already learned that sometimes you must let it use you as much as you use it. With our feelings, however, the secret is not to let them use you. You cannot change them, or ignore them, or fight them. But, like the Force, you can let them flow through you. They do not have to control you."
"I don't understand."
"There may come a time when your feelings for your friends must come second to your duty." Luke squeezed her hand and let go. "Or there may come a time when fear and anger feel like the strongest powers in the world, growing out of love. If that happens, come to me. You won't face it alone."
It felt a little bit like a blessing. But for what, she couldn't say.
Finn still couldn't believe it. He was going on a mission with Luke Skywalker. It was enough to make his hands sweat just thinking about it. Skywalker was the name they used to scare each other with as kids. Saying his full name on a dare. He was the specter who haunted their training, the monster under the bunk.
"I heard that he laughed while he killed an entire space station. Twice."
"Well, I heard he cut Darth Vader to bits!"
Finn never expected the boogeyman to look so sad. And he didn't expect to feel jealous of him.
Rey was the one who brought him to Skywalker, and she stood by Finn's side while Skywalker questioned him. When Finn was too overwhelmed to answer at first, Rey nudged his arm and gave him a smile. If it hadn't been for her, he would have thought the whole thing was some sort of trap. Or that the Resistance wanted to use him as bait for something.
But no, Rey and Poe were going on a mission, and they needed an extra pair of hands. Skywalker mentioned that both of them had spoken highly of him, and Finn glowed. He forgot, for a moment, some of his resentment towards Skywalker.
He knew it was a little childish, but Finn missed his friends. Rey was spending all of her time with Skywalker. And when she wasn't with him, she was talking about him. Finn tried to understand. Rey had never belonged anywhere, and now here she was, someone special. Of course she was excited about it.
And Poe had a job to do. Everyone had a job to do. Finn hadn't found his yet. Poe tried to tell him that he was still healing, that he should take it easy. He was long past healed, though, and was ready to do something more.
The truth was, he was still an outsider in a lot of ways. General Organa had been nothing but kind to him, and made it clear that he was part of the Resistance, but Finn saw the glances and whispering behind hands. There were plenty of people who didn't quite trust a former stormtrooper yet.
He suspected that was the real reason no one had given him a real job to do. So when Poe and Rey weren't available, he spent a lot of time trying to catch up on the world he'd never seen. He read everything he could, watched old holovids. Talked to anybody who'd give him the time. The galaxy was nothing like he'd been taught. It kept him busy, and distracted him from some of his more confusing thoughts, the ones he didn't dare put a name to.
But maybe now he did have a job to do. Maybe this was the start of a change. He couldn't mess this up. So, getting ready for the journey to Yavin, he focused on Luke Skywalker instead of on what it might be like to spend an extended period of time with both Rey and Poe.
They were already on board when he carried his small bag of belongings onto the Falcon. Poe literally dropped what he was doing and rushed over, first clapping Finn on the shoulder then giving him a hug. "I was starting to get worried!"
Rey poked her head out of the hole in the deck before vaulting up, joining them. She grabbed the side of him that Poe hadn't claimed and Finn just stood there, smiling wordlessly between them.
There wasn't a word for this that he knew, other than right. Right here, right now, he was on the inside, between the person who gave him a name and the person who gave him something to fight for.
Who knew how long they might have stood there, but for the sound of a throat clearing behind them. "Rey, how long before we're ready to take off?" Skywalker came up the ramp, his robes flowing behind him.
Rey practically jumped away from Finn. "Just a few more minutes, master. I need to re-check the power couplings."
Poe snapped to attention. "Sir, the supplies are all on board."
Rey called him 'master', Poe called him 'sir', and Finn still wanted to sink into the ground and hide whenever he appeared. Every time he half-expected Skywalker to pull out a lightsaber and cut him to ribbons. He ducked his head and stowed his gear before disappearing to the cockpit.
He buckled himself into the seat behind the co-pilot, knowing that from this angle he'd be able to see Rey's profile while she flew, and watch Poe's hands on the controls. Why both were so important to him he wasn't sure, but they were.
He didn't have much time to himself before Skywalker came in and sat next to him. Finn's hands started to sweat, and the scar on his back seemed to burn in memory. Stay calm, he's one of the good guys. And you are too now.
Still, a lifetime of stories was hard to shake, and Finn felt a lot better when Poe showed up. Poe squeezed his shoulder and some of Finn's fear drained away.
"You still haven't said, where on Yavin 4 are we going?" Poe slid into his seat and buckled in.
"Your home," Skywalker said as Rey came in.
"I'd hoped as much," Poe said, "but what's our objective?"
"Your home," Skywalker repeated, with an enigmatic smile.
"We're taking Poe home?" Rey asked. "Why?"
"I gave a gift to his mother once," Skywalker said. "A very long time ago. I need to take it back." He refused to say anything more.
Poe and Rey exchanged glances, and Poe shrugged. "I don't know what he means, but my father is going to be over the moon to see us."