Kylo has a sack of balls and Rey can't cook.
Gratuitous ball jokes.
"Hey, man," Kylo yells at Finn when he finally returns from the field.
Kylo has had enough time to shower and change and is on his way to the parking lot.
"Hold up a second," Kylo holds up a hand to the catcher and runs back to his locker. He pulls out a small First Order branded tote bag filled with baseballs that he'd quickly signed and shoves them at Finn.
Finn gapes, confused.
"I didn't get to sign the little girl's ball, so I thought I'd sign some for everyone and you could give them to - to them." He'd almost said to her , but Christ. He didn't even know her. He couldn't go giving a bag of balls to some woman he didn't know. Kylo ducks his head and turns away.
"Thanks?" Finn says, but Kylo's already gone.
When Kylo reaches the parking lot, the lights are still lit, and the Resistance team travel buses are still there, a few players milling about while the last of their gear is loaded underneath. Ben thanks the gods he doesn't believe in that Luke seems to already be on the bus, but he sees Poe's dark curls bobbing toward him, weaving between Kylo's teammates' cars.
It's not Poe that Kylo is avoiding, not really. If he's honest with himself, Kylo knows he'd actually like to see his old friend. But the inevitable questions and repressed memories that would come with that interaction aren't worth it. So Kylo pretends he doesn't hear when Poe calls out his name, throws himself into his sleek black Silencer, and squeals his tires on the way out of the parking lot.
Rey Niima is in the middle of heating canned spaghetti sauce and trying desperately to separate out the noodles that have formed a giant glob of goo in the bottom of her largest pot when Finn shows up. She knows this because the six kids who'd been gathered around her, pestering her for food left, and Finn's the only person other than Rose that can get them to forget about a meal. If only for a second.
As frustrating as it can be, Rey can't be mad at them. The littlest, Jaina, is four, and the look on her face when Rey had told her that yes, she could eat as much as she wanted at dinner time, or any meal, as long as she didn't make herself sick, had shattered Rey's heart. She knew how the little girl had felt on arriving at Jakku Home, though Rey had had to survive on her own for longer. Every night, Rey prays that the little girl will stay the sweet, happy little thing she is, despite the hardships she's faced.
Steam billows up in her face as she lifts the lid of the large pot of sauce, and she stirs blindly and manages to splash little dots of sauce on her new First Order shirt. Shit. At least it's black and won't show stains.
Finn and the kids troop in with pizza boxes and a few gallons of ice cream, and as exasperated as she is with him for not asking her first, she's thankful for not having to eat her own cooking. Again.
"How's it going, Peanut?" Finn deposits the pizza boxes on her small counter and kisses her temple. Rey swats his hand away as he pokes at a particularly large chunk of tomato sauce that has landed on her front.
"I was doing fine! There were almost distinguishable noodles this time!" she says earnestly.
"Where's Rose today?" Finn asks, opening a pizza box and handing it to Jacen, the oldest, quietest boy. He watches to make sure all the others get at least a slice before he grabs a slice and a napkin for himself and goes off to sit alone at the table.
"She's out making a supply run, so I'm watching those three for her," Rey gestures vaguely at the kids, who are all happily chewing enormous slices of pizza while sitting on the floor.
Finn opens another pizza box, inspects it, sighs, and hands a slice to Rey. He hates Hawaiian pizza, but he always gets it for her knowing it's her favorite. It was the first meal she'd had at a restaurant, and the weird taste of pineapple and ham with cheese and tomato always brings back the feeling of realizing that things would be okay. Finn finds a box of Meat Lover's, and they eat and watch in silence as the kids stuff their faces and talk about their favorite parts of the baseball game.
This is Finn's first year playing majors, and Rey knows how much it means to him that he was able to bring all the kids out to watch him play. He's like a big brother to their kids at Jakku House, and they're all just one big happy, messy family. Very messy. Honestly, her kids are lucky they got placed with Rey because she sees several wadded up napkins and a couple of drops of sauce on the vinyl floor.
Jacen sees it too and quietly stands to go clean up after the other kids.
Rey watches him, frowning. She's worried about him. Siblings Jacen and Jaina are the newest kids at Jakku House, and while Jaina seems to have been young enough to have brushed it off, or even partially forgotten everything that had happened to them, at ten, Jacen is old enough to remember. He's very quiet, although he has excellent manners. He likes things to be neat, and sometimes Rey wonders if he hates living with her because she is chaos incarnate. But then sometimes he'll give her the biggest smile and she feels a ray of hope that she can help him move past what happened to him. Rey's seen his file: years of neglect and suspected physical and verbal abuse, but whenever she tries to talk to the boy, he shuts down.
She's made it her personal life goal to bring that boy back to life and be just as happy as his little sister is.
Eventually, Rose returns, gathers her kids, and shuffles them all next door to their own house, and Rey and Finn corral her three through baths and then to bed.
Rey knows Finn must be exhausted after catching the whole game, but he helps her when he can. He and the kids love each other, and she takes any help she can get. Finally, when they're all asleep, Finn goes to the refrigerator and rummages about until he's found two beers. He pops the tops and takes a long pull off his before handing Rey hers. They flop down on the sofa, propping each other up.
"So," Finn says, "what did you do to Ren?"
"Who?" Rey asks, pressing the cold glass bottle to her forehead.
"Ren? Outfielder? Tall, long hair, kinda surly?" Finn replies.
"Oh! You mean the one Jaina wanted to sign her ball?" Rey hadn't paid much attention to him as she'd been too flustered by dropping her bag. She blushes when she remembers that he'd grabbed her tampons, but smiles when she remembers his response. More men should be like that, she thinks. "I didn't do anything to him. Why?"
Finn waves to a black tote bag he must have dropped by the door when he came in.
"He gave me those to give to you and the kids. Said he didn't get a chance to sign the one you asked for."
"He gave me a sack of balls?" Confused, she takes a sip of beer.
Finn snorts with laughter, and Rey nearly sprays him with her beer, laughing at his snorting. Once they've both calmed down, Finn continues.
"Yeah," he says, "it was weird. I've never seen him act like that before. He was almost nervous."
"Well, I don't see why he would be," Rey scoffs. "It was very nice of him to send the… balls to the kids. Tell him I said thank you, won't you?"
Finn leans back into the arm of the couch and flops his legs into her lap.
"Ya know," he says, finishing his beer, "I don't think I've seen Ren sign anything all season."
"He was very nice to Jaina and he helped me gather up my things when I dropped my bag," Rey responds.
"You really need a new bag, Peanut," Finn says, laughing at her.
"It is a perfectly good reclaimed leather bag and it was a bargain! It's big enough to carry all my things and all the things for the children!"
Finn rolls his eyes.
"Yes, and so is a suitcase," Finn says. "Hey, do you want me to check on tickets for tomorrow's game too? It looks like it might be a rain check, so there are a few places left with a bunch of seats together."
"Ooh, yeah!" Rey's enthusiasm nearly knocks them both off the couch. "It'll just be me and my three, though, Rose and Kay both have plans, I think." She pauses, thinking. "I think it will be good for the kids. Jacen seemed to really enjoy it. Hey!" She smacks him on the arm. "When does small league start? Can he play that? Do you think he'd like it?" Her mind is already racing with the possibilities of getting him to engage with more kids his age.
"Rey." Finn is staring at her. "Small league?" He lets out a huge guffaw of laughter, clutching his stomach when she still looks confused. "Rey. It's little league ."