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Thunder and Lightning

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The frequent rumble of thunder roused Rey from her fitful sleep. She was in bed, warm under blankets, in one of the cottages in the hilly planet where she was deployed in her latest mission. The community housed the Elders of the Church of the Force, and Rey was tasked by General Leia Organa to re-establish ties with them, in the hopes of gaining their support and aid in addressing the issue of the growing population of Force-sensitive individuals seeking refuge in the Resistance. Diplomacy was never her strong point, so to help her, Leia sent with her the man she was grooming to be her successor – Commander Poe Dameron of the Resistance.

Which would have been fine, because she and Poe got along really well most of the time. They could talk for hours about engines and flying and droids (especially one that they were particularly fond of). Then there was those odd times that they just don’t see eye to eye on a certain issue, and they’d end up going toe to toe, stubbornly arguing with each other. Those tend to blow up in massive fights that would have them avoiding each other for a few days until they begin to subconsciously seek the other and carry on with their friendship as if nothing happened. The fights have become few and far in between as they got closer, perhaps both of them learning the art of tolerance and compromise, or perhaps it just became easier to accept their differences as their friendship evolved.

Unfortunately, today was one of the days that ended with one of those fights. They were in a meeting with the Elders that afternoon, and the subject of Luke Skywalker came up. The Elders were criticizing Luke’s decision to shut himself off from the Force and Rey found herself struggling to defend the man who was once her teacher. Poe had been in agreement with some of the Elders’ points. Their meeting eventually concluded late in the evening with Rey’s hackles still up, and as they walked to their lodgings, Poe had begun to talk about it again. By the time they reached her cottage, Rey was quite fed up with it. After a heated exchange of snarky remarks, Rey retreated to the bedroom, and she heard the front door slam. She tried to sleep off the day’s frustrations, but she found herself tossing and turning as sleep continued to elude her. Her ears continued to listen for the door to open, despite her mind telling her that Poe had most likely only gone to the cottage that they had provided for him, one that he hasn’t really stayed much in, spending more time in hers (and, so far, every single night in her bed).

Eventually, Rey drifted off to sleep, clutching the pillow that still smelled of Poe. As she slept, it started to storm outside. Not used to storms, especially thunderstorms, it wasn’t long before she woke up to the grumbling skies. Having grown up in a desert, she had an almost pathological fear of thunder and lightning. She remembered how her first encounter with it almost led to a full blown panic attack, which led to Poe staying with her as she slept, the first time they both slept on the same bed. They were still only just friends then, and it was probably the time when she realized how safe she felt with him.

Now, alone in her bed with a thunderstorm raging outside, Rey clutched the pillow tighter to her, burying herself deeper in the blankets. Soon, she felt herself holding her breath with every flash of lightning and bracing herself for the thunder that she knew would soon follow. She desperately wished for the storm to blow over, and after a few more minutes which felt like hours, she gave up and decided to go to the one place where she felt safe, even if it meant actually braving through the rain to cross the short distance between their two cottages. She just couldn’t bear to be alone any longer while the storm continued.

She quickly put her boots on, left the bedroom and headed for the door. The bright flash of lightning punctuated by a sharp crack made her emit a small shriek, stopping her on her tracks. She gave herself a mental shake, repeating over and over in her mind how it was just lightning and thunder, and she nearly made it to the door when she was startled by yet another unexpected sound. “Rey?”

She yelped at the sound of his voice, her heart nearly jumping out her throat. Turning around, she saw him move to a half-sitting position from where he had been reclining on the couch. Relief washed over her as she hastily made her way to him, almost jumping straight into his arms when she reached him.

“Hells, Rey, what were you going to do?” Poe asked gently as she trembled against him.

“I thought you left because you were upset,” Rey confessed, taking deep breaths, his familiar scent and warmth quickly calming her. “I didn’t know you stayed.”

“I was upset,” Poe admitted, his hand lightly going up and down her back. “But I wasn’t going to leave just because I was.”

“The door…I heard the door slam and I thought that was you going out.”

“The wind blew it shut,” Poe told her. He gave a small chuckle. “Or could’ve been the universe telling me to stay.”

Rey managed a small smile. “I should thank the universe then.”

Poe chuckled again and tightened his arms around her. “I wasn’t going to leave,” he told her again. “I thought we needed some space, so I just stayed here. I know how you are in storms, and I wasn’t going to leave you in one.” He kissed the crown of her head. They sat in silence as the storm outside raged on, Rey’s anxiety subsiding as Poe held her, her hand clutching the front of his shirt.

When Poe tried to move a bit to give her some space to lie on, Rey let go of his shirt and laid her hand on his chest. She raised her head to look at him and asked shyly, “Can we go to bed instead?”

Poe gave her a quick peck on the shoulder. “Sweetheart, that’s something I’ll never say no to.”

Rey felt her cheeks heat up in the darkness, her heart pounding once again, but for an entirely different reason now. She held his hand with both of hers as they both got up and headed to the bed, Poe not even bothering to put his boots on. He got into the bed first as Rey took off her boots, and he held the blanket open for her to crawl into. She heard him sigh as she snuggled closer to him, pressing her back against his chest. There was another loud crack from the sky, startling her again, and she felt his embrace tighten. “I’m glad you’re here,” Rey whispered, turning her head to try to look at him.

Poe raised himself up on one arm and leaned over her to give her a kiss on the lips. His kiss was thorough and unhurried, taking her mind off the cacophony outside. Rey welcomed his touch, and she found herself reaching for him when he pulled back. “I need to tell you something, before we, um, get distracted,” Poe said in low tone, his eyes locking onto hers.

Rey looked up to him as she settled on her back and waited wordlessly for him to continue. “You and I know this won’t be the last fight we’ll have,” Poe began. “But I want you to know now that I will never choose to leave you, no matter how bad those fights get. I’m here to stay, unless of course, you don’t want me to.”

“I’d never want you to go,” Rey answered. “I want this, us together at the end of the day, every single day.”

Poe leaned down and kissed her forehead. “I want this, too.” He kissed the tip of her nose. “Even if you’re not talking to me, I’d still want to be beside you at the end of each day.”

“Nowhere else I’d like you to be,” Rey held his gaze. She reached up to frame his face with her hand. “Now, you were saying something earlier about a distraction?”

“Sweetheart, it’s not even raining anymore,” Poe murmured as he let Rey pull him closer. His lips started another lazy kiss with hers.

“Distract me anyway, Commander.”