Rey leaned against a newly cleared wall of the old Lars homestead. Having grown up doing heavy labor in the Jakku desert, returning to those conditions wasn't as hard as it could have been, but she still tired faster than she would have liked.

"I need to get some air again," she said to R2-D2, who had wanted to come back to Tatooine. "I've only been away from Jakku a few years. How could this have happened?"

With the help of the Force, she had cleared away much of the sand that had turned the entrance to the lower, underground part of the farm into another dune, but she still had a lot of work ahead of her. Weeks, definitely. Perhaps months.

R2 beeped appealingly as she started up the stone steps.

"No, I'll only be gone a minute. Don't worry."

It was hotter in the open desert, but the non-stop wind was preferable to the stuffiness downstairs. Rey craned her neck, letting the wind tickle under her chin, and on opening her eyes, found she did not have to squint.

"R2," she called back down into the dune. "What's the hour?"

He beeped back the data, and she shook her head. Normally the suns wouldn't set for another two hours, but now they looked like they would within another thirty minutes or so.

The Force rippled through her like another breeze, bringing with it a flash of childlike excitement, a flash of sorrow and regret, and a feeling of peace.

"It's the solstice. The shortest day of the year," she said to herself. Then, more loudly, "R2—we'll stop now."

A curious whistle.

"It's a holiday."

And a chirp.

"Yes, for droids, too." She recalled Poe and Rose making Finn wear a paper crown as BB-8 amused them by using his lighter to set sparklers alight.

Rey walked downstairs and rubbed his dome. "I'll clean you before it gets dark."

She cleaned the sand from the blue and white droid, finishing just as the suns sank behind the horizon, sending the temperature down to nearly freezing. Satisfied, she put together a simple dinner for herself with her supplies.

R2 whistled inquisitively.

"No, I forgot all about it when I was packing, so I didn't bring anything special with me."

The droid made a noise almost like a whimper, and then played an old holo-disk.

"Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Rey dropped her bread at the sound of Leia's voice.

"Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi. You're my only hope."

Rey stared at the message. "You've kept this all these years?"


"Of course. They were your friends. Yes. Thank you for showing me."

The message vanished, and she patted R2's dome again.

"That was quite special."

Sounding pleased with himself, R2 made a purring sound. Rey smiled, and sat back.

"I'll eat later."

She eased into a meditative pose and began to breathe rhythmically. The droid watched interestedly as she began to levitate, a hint of a smile still playing around her lips.

The Force was peaceful.