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Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Heard Ren kicked your ass this morning.” A nasally voice stands beside her in the command center. She looks up from her most recent drawing: electrical modifications to Phasma’s new staff.

“Did he tell you that? Because there was no one else in the room besides the Supreme Leader,” she rolls her head towards the General. “And you know how much my brother likes to exaggerate.”

“I don’t have to hear everything, Kira, I can see with my own two eyes,” he surveys her up and down, “You look like Bantha Shit.”

Oh how I’d love to Force-smack that stupid smirk off of his face.

But Kira knows her place. And the role she has to play in this Maker-forsaken war.

Kira Ren. Compart to Kylo Ren. Student of Supreme Leader Snoke. Handler of the First Order Ground Weaponry System.

But also.

In that small, tiny part of her mind. The part she shoves deep deep down for her own safety and the safety of others. In that part of her mind, her real role lives.

Jaina Padme Solo. Daughter of Leia and Han. Sister of Ben. Ace Mechanic. Pilot. Jedi Knight .  

But most importantly, Resistance Informant.

She shoves it deeper. And settles for throwing her pencil at Hux’s stupid smirk.

“Fuck!” His hands come up to protect his face and it bounces harmlessly off of them. “The Supreme Leader will not -”

“Because the Supreme Leader definitely cares about me throwing a pencil when I have a lightsaber as a weapon,” she says with an eye roll, “I so look forward to listening to your empty threats, Hux. It gives me practice in restraining my dangerous irritation.” She wiggles her fingers at him.

He purses his lips in a very unamusing way. “If we didn’t have overlapping jobs I’d make a concentrated effort to never see you. I much rather prefer dealing with your brother. At least he doesn’t-”

“You honestly think I give a Trooper’s ass what you prefer ? This is war, no one gets what they want.”

“Except for our Supreme Leader,” he says carefully. Testing her, as always.

“Well of course,” she replies cooly, “Our Supreme Leader is the notable exception. But for the rest of us soldiers , we need to invest all of our focus and energy into making his wishes a reality. There’s no time for preference. You should have learned that by now.”

He eyes her carefully, and she internally smirks. “Well I-”

“General Hux!” A lieutenant calls, running up to the two of them. Kira hardens her exterior more, scowling at the poor man.

“What is it?” His voice is quipped.

“We have confirmation of the missing piece of the Skywalker map.”

“Where is it?” Kira moves past Hux to grab the datapad. Tracing the map with her eyes, she figures it is-

“Jakku?” Hux steals it out of her hands again, “That Desert dump heap?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Has the Supreme Leader been informed?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, then, we’ll finally get to give him some good news,” Hux smiles. Kira can’t help but think how creepy it is. “Come, Kira.”

And she can’t help but feel how patronizing he is. Regardless, Kira squares her shoulders and marches towards the throne room.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“This will begin to make things right.” Lor San Tekka turns to Poe, handing him a cloth sack. “I’ve traveled too far, and seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy. Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.”

Poe knows exactly what he’s been given. One of the true pieces of the map to finding Luke Skywalker.

“Well, because of you, we have a chance. The General’s been after this for a long time.”

The General. To me, she’s royalty.”

He can’t help but think how happy Leia will be to see this and clenches the sack slightly tighter in his hand. She’d never once pretended like she was anything more than the best leader. Sure, she was Princess of Alderaan, but she never came off as entitled. She was steady, diplomatic, always took everything into account.

And sure, it helped that she had a soft side for Poe’s flyboy attitude.

Frantic, familiar beeps sound from outside the tent and get louder as Poe’s BB unit enters the tent. Concerned, Poe turns to Lor San Tekka, translating the message.

“We’ve got company.” Poe peaks out of the tent, glancing out of his quadnocs. A massive First Order ship wreaks havoc on the village. “You have to hide.”

“And you have to leave.”

“I won’t leave you defenseless-”

San Tekka gestures to the cloth in his hand. “Go! I can manage myself.”

Poe, realizing the importance of keeping this data away from the First Order, bolts back to the ship. BB-8 rolling after him at breakneck speed.

As Poe runs, he sees many of the villagers armed and ready to fight back. Of course they are , Poe thinks, no one waits around for the First Order to decimate them.

There’s a roar of wind and dust as the transport ships land. Stormtroopers run out in waves, firing blasters. At first, Poe is calmed by the fact that the villagers have a better vantage point and cover. But it doesn’t look like it’ll stay that way.

When he finally, finally reaches his X-Wing, he gestures to his droid.

“Come on, BB-8! Hurry!”

Poe, himself, clambers up into the cockpit and flips on the series of switches to start it up as easily as breathing.

Once the engines finally turn on, he starts his quick ascent. BB-8 chirps, “ Watch out!”

He turns to see two stormtroopers shooting at him just as he feels the jolts in his ship. “I see ‘em!”

Using the ship’s firing mechanism, he blasts them right back and they both fall. Finally , Poe thinks, as he begins the ascent again. Only to find that he can’t. Only to find that his rear engine panel is shot.

Shit shit shit.

There’s only one other option.

He lands.

"What are you doing!?” BB-8 beeps. “ We could fix it!”

Poe kneels next to his droid who has just rolled out.

“You take this.” He says softly, depositing the small data unit into one of BB-8’s internal storage units. “It’s safer with you than it is with me. You get as far away from here as you can, do you hear me?”

"What about you?"

Poe’s heart sinks. He shouldn’t be leaving his little droid out here all alone, but it’s the best plan he’s got.

“I’ll come back for you! It’ll be alright,” he says more for himself than for the droid.

After BB-8 rolls off a verifiable distance away, Poe grabs his blaster and fires at troopers near his cover.

As he bolts back to the village to see whom he can help, he is stopped short by the sight of Lor San Tekka walking right into the grasp of-

“Look how old you’ve become,” the masked voice of Kylo Ren says.

Jaina , Poe thinks immediately. Then, he sees her.

She, unlike her brother, does not wear a mask. Her face is hard, stern, lips pursed. Her dark black hair is half-tied back and much, much shorter than he remembers. A ripple of scar tissue runs from her temple to her top lip, very noticeable in the firelight. And her eyes are still the same, one a very light brown, the other darker. She holds her lightsaber in her hand, it’s power seen on two victims laying near her.

“Something far worse has happened to you.” The old man replies. “To the both of you.”

He knows she can feel him here. She could always feel his presence when they were younger. She makes no indication of it though, no indication except for a clenched jaw and an intense focus on the conversation between her brother and the old man.

She’s trying not to look for me .

“You know what I’ve come for.”

“I know where you come from . Before you called yourself Kylo Ren.” He turns to Jay, “And long before you became Kira Ren.”

“The map to Skywalker.” Jaina says, voice distant,metaphorical mask on. “We know you’ve found it, and now you’re going to give it to the First Order. For the sake of your village.

It is the addition of that last part that relieves him. She’s still in there. If he hadn’t known from her sporadic, cryptic voice messages over the past few years, he’d have known in this moment that she had not turned.

Of course she hasn’t.

“The First Order rose from the Dark Side...neither one of you did.”

“I’ll show you the dark side!” Kylo Ren’s voice is tight, agitated.

“You may try,” Lor San Tekka bites back,” but you cannot deny the truth that is your family.” He looks back and forth between the two siblings and Poe gets an uneasy feeling in his stomach.

“You’re so right.” And in two quick moments, he ignites his red, crackling lightsaber and swings it down , halving the old man.

Poe acts, as usual, on instinct. He yells and fires at Kylo Ren. But then an odd thing happens. Poe is stopped mid run, just as his bullet is in mid air. Stormtroopers grab both of his arms and kick out his legs, forcing him to his knees.

Poe steels himself as Kylo Ren kneels in front of him. There’s a beat of silence as the mask just stares at him. If Poe was in any other scenario, he’d burst into laughter.

Instead, he says, “So who talks first? You talk first?”

He can practically hear Jaina’s internal screaming at him.

“The old man gave it to you .”

“It’s just very hard to understand you with all the...” Poe gestures to his mask.

“Search him.”

“...apparatus!” They shove Poe hard onto the ground and the troopers brutally pat him down. Poe struggles, making it look like he actually has something to conceal.

The more time he wastes, the more time BB has to-

No. Jaina taught him to never think things he didn’t want revealed.

He shoves the thought down as the troopers finish his search.

“Nothing, sir.” One of them says.

Kylo Ren considers this, “Put him on board.”

They roughhouse him again as they drag him up to the transport. Really?

He passes Jaina as he’s dragged up and feels her finally snap her eyes to him. It’s less than a second and she looks away, clenching her jaw again.

“Sir, Ma’am, the villagers?” A Chrome-skinned trooper says in a light voice.

“Kill them all.” Kylo says simply, following after Poe.

“Phasma, hold it.” He hears her voice in person for the first time in years. It still has the same tug on his heart. “We need to have survivors. How else are they going to spread the warning to other towns harboring fugitives?“

“Decimation is warning enough, Ma’am.” Phasma says in response.

“You know as well as anyone that word of mouth is the best spreader of news, Phasma.” Jay says with an edge in her voice, implying something. There’s a beat of silence as Phasma considers.

The ramp of Poe’s transport begins to lift as he catches Phasma’s: “One survivor, then? I’ll let you pick this time.”

And the doors shut.

***

I jolt in my seat, arms and legs digging painfully into the restraints that hold me back. The cuts and bruises on my body sear painfully and I remember where exactly I am.

Shit.

“I had no idea we had the best pilot in the Resistance on board.” He hears that masked voice again. Kylo Ren. “Comfortable?”

I lick my dry lips. “Not really.”

“I’m impressed. No one has been able to get out of you what you did with the map.”

My eyes threaten to close again from exhaustion. “Might wanna rethink your technique.”

I regret the words as soon as they’re out of my mouth.

He reaches out his hand, so close to my face. And I feel it then. The pain, the pressure-whatever it is-searing through my very being. I can’t help but flinch as he brings his arm closer.

Think about something else, think about Yavin IV. Think about Shara Bey, the best mother in the galaxy. And playing in the grasses of-

The pain increases exponentially and my body starts to go into panic mode. I tremble and am so sure that I’m going to throw up.

“Where is it?”  

-grasses of Yavin and getting my first ship-

My head slams back painfully in the chair and my thoughts stream beyond my control.

“The Resistance...will not be intimidated by you.”

-Jaina showing up in my kitchen and an airplane soaring-

Shove it down, shove it down-

He brings my head forward so fast it feels like my neck is very close to snapping.

“Where is it? ” He says, enraged.

My head-my body-I can’t-

-I’ll come back for you, it’ll be alright , Poe turns and watches his little droid roll off into the desert-

I start to scream.


Jaina (Five Years Old)

“This is Lieutenant Shara Bey. And her husband, Sergeant Kes Dameron,” Uncle Luke says, gesturing me forward. “They used to work with your Mom, Dad, and I.”

“Hi! How are you?”

Shara laughs, crouching down. Her hair, a darker black than mine, falls out of her bun messily.

Mom’s buns are always too tight to let that happen.

“I’m well, how are you?”

“Okay,” I shrug, “Could I please get something to eat?”

“Of course,” Kes crouches down. He too, has black hair. Except his is cut pretty short.

“Aren’t you going to introduce yourself first?” My Uncle says, a small smirk on his face.

Ah, Maker, Mom always tells me to remember my manners.

“I’m Jaina Padme Solo. I’m five years old. Nice to meet both of you,” I stick out my two hands to each of them. They look at each other once, then shake my hands.

“Nice to meet you too, Jaina,” Shara smiles, “You know, I think you’d like our son, Poe.”

“That’s a cool name,” I scratch my nose,”My father wanted to name me Mille after the Falcon but my Mom said he should take his head out of his coc-”

“Okay!” Luke says, clasping my shoulders, “Jaya, why don’t you go find Poe and ask him to get you a snack. I’m going to talk to Shara and Kes for a bit.”

“He’s in the kitchen,” Kes whispers to me and points through a hallway.

“Thanks!” I skip towards the hall.

“Pew pew,” I hear, “This thing’s got a kick!”

I peer around the wall into the kitchen and see the back of a boy with curly black hair sitting in a chair at the dining table. He’s wearing an oversized brown jacket and flying goggles sit on his head.

“The Rebellion will not be intimidated by you!” He says, then makes a crashing sound. “These bucketheads don’t stand a chance!”

I move closer towards him, quiet as a mouse.

“All teams, I’ve got eyes on em’!” He whoops, “Tell Princess Leia the mission was a success!”

“You know my Mom’s not a princess anymore, right?”

He whips around, the model X-wing he was holding flies out of his hands. I stop it mid-air right as it takes a nosedive.

I pull it towards me through the air, walking over to the boy and offering it to him. He just stares at me, mouth looking like an O.

“My Mom says if you leave your mouth open, you’ll catch flies. She said it happened to my Dad-”

“Are you a Jedi?” He asks, his eyes wide.

“No,” I scrunch my nose. What a silly question.

“But you lifted my X-wing in the air!”

“I did. But I’m not a Jedi. Not yet, anyways. Uncle says in a few years I can start training with him and my big brother.”

“That’s cool, I’m going to be a pilot.” the boy grins, dimples appearing on his cheeks when he does, “I’m Poe. Poe Dameron.”

How does he remember his manners?

“Jai-wait you want to be a pilot?”

“Your name is Jay?”

“No, it’s Jaina Solo. So a pilot?!”

“Yeah! My Ma’s teaching me the basics right now, then when I turn 10 she said she’d let me actually start flying!”   

“That’s so cool! I don’t know if my Dad would teach me flying, but I do know a lot of the parts of his ship,” I grin.

“I can teach you! I mean, once I turn 10,” he grins back, hopping off of the chair.

“Thanks! How old are you?” I scrunch my nose, looking him up and down. He’s just a little taller than me.

“8. How old are you?”

“5.”

“You don’t sound 5.”

“My Dad says I’m ‘too damn smart for my age’,” I smile.

“I think that’s a bad word, but it’s okay I won’t tell,” He smiles back, “Are you hungry?”

“Yes!”

“My Ma makes this really good banana bread. You’ll love it.”


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

The cell door slides up, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t jump a little. After my brother walks out I glance quickly into the cell. He looks horrible .

The screams behind that door are ones I won’t forget for the rest of my life.

“It’s in a droid. A BB unit.” My brother says to Hux and I.

BB-8, then, if Poe was there.

“Well then. If it’s on Jakku, we’ll soon have it,” Hux says with a sneer upon his face. When doesn’t he sneer?

“I’ll leave that to you,” my brother says, “Kira, we have business to discuss.”

“Yes, brother.” I nod, and follow him off further into the base.

Further from Poe.

We traverse the ship till we get to the hallway with our quarters. He puts in a code and we enter his room. The door whooshes shut and I finally relax slightly. I jump onto his bed and sprawl myself out while he removes his helmet.

With a click , it comes off, and, for the first time in days, I see the true face of my brother. He’s finally grown into the Solo nose that I teased him so much about. His jaw is permanently set, true voice solid and deep. The cheekbones and stern expression on his face a clear mirror to our mothers.

Our paternally Solo black hair and tanner skin mark us as family. As brother and sister.

I snort. “You need a haircut.”

He scowls at me, before starting to remove his outer cloak.

“So what’s up?” I sit up, crossing my legs.

“How do you know that pilot?” He asks suddenly.

Poe. My heart hammers in my chest. My mental walls stay up and alert.

“The Pilot?

“Don’t play this game with me, Ki,” he says quietly, “I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, which is why I’m asking you instead of going to Snoke. I saw inside his mind.”

“And?” I cross my arms. No, this is not good .

This means I have to get Poe out of here quicker than I realized. Maybe even right after this conversation. Because the longer he’s here, the greater the chance of my cover being blown.

And , it seems he’d taken a liking to you whilst we were living on Yavin.”

I sigh, exasperated. “You know how the Damerons had a Force Sensitive Tree, right? Well I kept making excuses to go with Skywalker whenever he went because I took a liking to the pilot boy. We became good friends, as you know. But once we left Yavin, that was that. I threw myself into training and he left for flight school. I haven’t seen him for a while . I didn’t even know he was in the Resistance.”

Truth mixed with lies . That’s what I was told would help me gain trust here. It’s a shame I have to use my mother’s technique on her own son.

“Hm,” my brother takes a seat next to me, exhaling, “I suppose Snoke doesn’t need to know about a pathetic crush.”

Pathetic indeed.

“I should hope he has more important things to focus on.”

He chuckles slightly at that. A rare thing for us.

“Just as long as there’s no compassion left for him, consider it dropped. He’s a Resistance fighter, however pretty he may be.”

“You know how I feel about the Resistance,” Apparently I don’t like anything or anyone associated with my mother. Apparently it’s too painful for me because she betrayed us. Apparently. “Of course there’s no compassion.”

“Good,” he says, then stands and offers me a hand, I stand up, heading for the door. “Now, about your birthday-”

“My birthday?” I stop.

“You know, the one in a few days?”

“Well, what about it?”

“What can I do to make it special?”

He smiles, a soft, genuine one only reserved for his little sister. In these moments, I want to kick myself for betraying him, for consistently and always breaching his trust.

I’m the only family he’s allowed to have, and yet I’ve had to emotionally distance myself so far that I could deceive him.

He’s my blood, yes. He’s my brother, yes. But if something happened, if it was him or the Resistance, him or the fate of the galaxy-I’d pick the latter every time.

And, despite all of the horrid things he’s done in the past 7 years, I can’t help but think he can still be saved. Still have light left in him.

No one truly turns to the dark side and can still care for their little sister, can they?

“You don’t have to do anything, we’ll probably both be on mission that day anyways.” I press the button and the door sweeps open.

“Alright...if you’re sure.” He nods.

“I’m sure,” I smile, getting up to leave “But thank you for remembering.”

***

If Hux is working on the Jakku plans and big brother’s in his room, now’s the perfect opportunity to-

I stop short near the cell when I hear, “Ren wants the prisoner.”

What? That’s impossible he was just undressing. Also, that was my excuse so what in the galaxy is going on?

I hide behind a pillar as Poe, handcuffed and weary, is marched down the corridor by a Stormtrooper. A blaster is held at bay.

Ah shit.  I don’t have my brother’s blaster-stopping capability.

Regardless, I follow them.

“Turn here.” The trooper says and takes him into a narrow, empty passageway. I follow, but quickly scramble into an alcove as they stop.

“Listen carefully: you do exactly as I say, I can get you out of here.”

Thank the Maker , the Resistance has sent someone.

“If-what?” His hoarse voice makes me choke.

“This is a rescue, I’m helping you escape. Can you fly a TIE fighter?”

“You’re with the Resistance?” Poe asks exasperated.

“What? No no no!” No? A regular stormtrooper’s breaking him out?! “I’m breaking you out, can you fly a TIE fighter?”

“I can fly anything.” I can practically see the smirk on his face, “Why, why are you helping me?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Aka , he needs a pilot.

There’s a moment of silence before I hear Poe say, “You need a pilot.”

I almost snicker.

“We’re gonna do this.”

“Yeah?” The trooper replies. Oh like hell they are .

“Well, perhaps,” I step out of the alcove, speaking quietly, “But you won’t make it very far without a solid plan.”  

“Ah, shit! ” The Stormtrooper, FN-2187 from what I can see, curses and raises his blaster.

I lift both of my hands. “I come in peace.”

The trooper eyes my hands wearily. I always forget they’re more of a threat than I realize.

Poe gives me a dazzling smile. My heart skips a beat and I mentally kick myself. Damn you.

After all these years, damn you .

“You guys need a plan to get out of here. And I’ve got one.”

“Let’s hear it, Jay, ” Poe says. My heart soars at the nickname. At the piece of my old life.

“Did they hit you too much on the head? You do realize who this is?” FN-2817 says to Poe. “We’re going to trust Kira Ren .”

Poe scowls, his face contorting like he just ate something bitter. “That’s not her name. It’s Jaina.”

The trooper turns to me, brows knotted. “I’m confused.”

I grit my teeth and say quietly and reluctantly, “I’m with the Resistance, and I’m trying to break my best friend out of here so he doesn’t blow my cover.”

“Best Friend? Resistance? But you-you’re-”

“It doesn’t matter what I am. What matters is that I’m going to get you both out of here, so listen carefully.”


Poe (Present Day)

After explaining her plan to us, she sends the stormtrooper to grab a proper pair of handcuffs. The moment he gets back, we go.

“How are you? Are you okay?” I cup her face with both hands, smoothing my thumbs over her cheekbones.

“I’m alright. I miss you all a lot but I’m doing my job.”

Jay-“

“Really. I’m okay. I actually-“ she pulls back and I let my hands drop back to my sides.

“I need you to give this to my mother.” Jay presses a small necklace into my palm. It looks normal enough to hide under my jacket, but hanging off of it is a data chip. “Please.”

Her hand lingers in mine and she looks down at it. My heart soars.

The last time I properly saw her was intense. A few hours that needed to be filled with years of longing and passion.

We didn’t address it in the day that followed, when she left the Rebel base for the Praxeum. A week later was the attack on the temple.

And that was 7 years ago.

“Jay,” I grab both of her rough hands in my own. Her nails are bitten down to the stubs. I rub my thumb over the pulse on her wrist, then I kiss it. It’s so fast, her skin unbearably hot. “You are so, so brave. I’ve missed you so much and-”

And I can’t stand this distance between us.

And I’m still in love with you. Even after all these years.

“I’ve missed you so much. So much that I-” She shakes her head, finally looking into my eyes. The gleam in them sears through my very soul. The dual colors, one a caramel color, the other a dark brown. Heterochromatic and beautiful . “How are you? Are you alright? Maker I’m gonna kill him for what he-“

“It’s alright Jaina, I’m fine.”

The look she gives me proves she doesn't believe me. But I raise my eyebrows and she drops it.

“How’re my parents?”

The last time we saw one another was a year ago. She was heading a raid on a town for Resistance fighters after a mole revealed our position and, fortunately, helped Black Squadron escape.

But even then,we never had more than a moment alone.

I bring her hands to my chest, close to my heart.

“I’m alright. Black Squadron’s the same, Snap and Karé finally got married.“

“Oh! That’s amazing!” Her voice is choked, obviously upset to have missed it.

“Your mother is well. Still the General she was born to be.”

She laughs a little, the raspy sound skittering along my bones.

“And Dad?”

Poe hesitates, “He’s been here there and everywhere. He makes contact with me to check up on you and your mom every few months.”

She nods slowly. I know how hard she took it when her father started coming home less and less.

“Rogue Squadron?”

“Lora’s doing amazing as Commander, doing a lot of what you taught her. Cal and Sken always ask if I’ve heard anything about you. They still honor Anthur, Manna, and Kalex every year.”

Some of the closest people to her, fallen in battle not even a few months before the attack on the temple.

She sighs, squeezing her eyes once so the heavy tears won’t fall. “Any life updates from you?”

“I’m still the same. I saw my dad a few months ago and he’s still alive and well. He says he’d jump in his old X-wing and join us if his back wasn’t so bad.”

She laughs, “I honestly expected nothing less from Kes Dameron.”

“And...they gave me a bigger room on the base recently. And the mechanics used some of your design mods to the transport ships to update our X-wings, though mine’s probably sunken in the Jakku desert by now... But I want to know about you . Are you okay?”

“I’m sorry,” Jay takes a heaving breath, voice cracking,eyes filling with tears, “I’m sorry we didn’t have more time.”

“Jay, come back with us.”

Her face is stricken and she opens her mouth-

“Alright, you guys ready?” The Stormtrooper comes into the hidden alcove.

I nod, clearing my throat.

Jay pulls her hands out of mine, then gives me a brief, tight hug.

Guess that answers my question.

“Be safe.”

“Don’t worry so much.” I respond softly. Our signature exchange. Somehow, it holds a lot more weight than when we were younger.

I kiss the top of her head and she squeezes me once more, then releases me.

***

“Okay, stay calm, stay calm.”

“I am calm.” I say, as the Stormtrooper marches me through the hangar. My hands chafe through the handcuffs he has me in.

“I was talking to myself.” He admits.

I bite my lip to keep from laughing. Maker , what a mess we’re in.

Jay told us of a two-person Special Forces Tie Fighter with a special access point. She said it would be connected by a charging cable but she’d try to help us out with that. 

“Not yet. Okay, go. This way.” The Trooper directs me towards the far wall. We run up a backwell of stairs and into a small opening that lets us hop in the Tie Fighter. 

I wince from residual pain as I drop into my seat, quickly removing the cuffs and my jacket. 

As soon as I see the controllers, though, I forget all that pain. Oh, it’s good to be back.  

“I’ve always wanted to fly one of these things. Can ya shoot?” 

I hear his voice clear from the other side. “Blasters, I can.”

Not a normal Stormtrooper at all.  

“Okay, same principal! Use the toggle on the left to switch between missiles, cannons, and mag pulse. Use the site on the right to aim, triggers to fire! 

“This is very complicated.” He yells back.

I send a silent prayer to the Maker as I put the damn thing in full thrust.

We lurch forward a bit and I’m about to whoop when I feel a snag. I thrust it again but we still hit it.  

Jay, where are you?  

“I can fix this.” I say, frantically looking for something that might help. There’s got to be an internal switch somewhere.  

I hear the Trooper curse and whip around. Stormtroopers have unpacked and aimed megablasters at us.

With a yell, the trooper opens fire on them, blasting away a good number. 

I attempt to fully thrust the ship again and, finally, it doesn’t snag.

Thank you, Jay.

“We’ve got it!” I yell as we blast away from the ship.

We jolt, my flying a little unsteady with the lack of give from the ship.

“Woah! This thing really moves.” I say in amazement. I hope Jay passes on some of the specs of these things so we can make modifications. “All right, we gotta take out as many cannons as we can or we’re not gonna get very far!”

“All right!” He shouts behind me.

“I’m gonna get us in position, just stay sharp!”

I arc us back, diving through the opening between the levels of the massive Star Destroyer. Then I fly down and back under the belly of the ship to throw any followers off. Also the prime spot to take out the cannons.

“Up ahead! Up ahead! You see it? I’ve got us dead centered. It’s a clean shot.”

“Okay, got it!” I hear the click of his targeting system and the grunt as he fires. The cannons explode and I plow us expertly through the debris.

“YES! Did you see that?!”

I can’t help but grin at his excitement. 

“I saw it!” And then I realize my manners. “Hey, what’s your name?” 

“FN-2187.”

“FN-what?” 

“That’s the only name they ever gave me!”

I remember, suddenly, one of the pieces of information Jay once sent: Stormtroopers are taken from their families very young and trained (brainwashed) to do one thing. It’s not their faults that they kill for the First Order.  

I wonder why the brainwashing went wrong on this kid.

“Well I ain’t using it!” He’s a human, not a robot. “FN, huh? Finn. I’m gonna call you Finn! That all right?”

Finn . Yeah, Finn , I like that!”

I can’t help my smile. “I’m Poe. Poe Dameron.”

“Good to meet you, Poe!”

“Good to meet you too, Finn!”


Jaina (Present Day)

“General, why in hell are my new Megablasters lying decimated in the hangar?!” I storm into the command center yelling, papers and binders flying off of desks with my anger. I see a few of the Lieutenants cringe as I walk past.

I had just nearly gotten the cable to disconnect. I had to Compel the Chief Power Operator on duty to do it.

“Let me deal with it, Kira.” He turns away from Lieutenant Mitaka’s console to face me. “Use the ventral cannons.”

“Yes, sir. Bringing them online.” Mitaka says. I reach over to watch what he’s doing.

“Why aren’t you sending some of our own out after them? There’s a 47% increased chance of an accurate hit!” And gives them more time to get away.

“Is that a formal request, Ma’am?” Mitaka pauses, looking up at me. Then, to Hux. “Ventral cannons hot.”

“Ignore her. You have your weapons, and I have mine, Kira. Lieutenant, Fire.” Hux moves to view their progress from the window but I stalk after him, skipping down the three steps, my black cape swishing after me.

I clench my jaw as I say, “Actually, General , my weapons are lying in the hanger: Broken and in need of time consuming repairs. Thanks to your inadequacy in providing routine surveillance on the prisoner.”

“You-”

“General Hux.” I hear the masked voice of my brother. Turning, he enters fast, looming large on the steps above us. “Is it the Resistance pilot?”

I mask my face into pure annoyance. “Yes, and he had help. From one of our own.”

“What?” My brother asks sharply.

“We’re checking the registers now to identify which Stormtrooper it was.”

“The one from the village. He was... reluctant when I saw him. FN-2187.”


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“One’s coming towards you. My right, your left. Do ya see it?” I see the blue-white blast of the directive cannon fire coming at us.

“Hold on.” I hear his seat swivel and then an “I see it!”, followed by a blast.

“Nice shot!” I direct us down towards Jakku. Towards my buddy, whom I promised I’d come back for.

“Where are you going?”

“We’re going back to Jakku. That’s where.”

“No no no!” Finn shouts, and I turn back for a second, alarmed. “We can’t go back to Jakku! We need to get outta this system!”

“I-” I start before having to barrel roll us away from another laser blast. “I got to get to my droid before the First Order does!”

“What-a droid?!”

“That’s right. He’s a BB unit. Orange and white: one of a kind.”

“I don’t care what color he is! No droid can be that important!”

I’m thankful BB wasn’t here to hear that.

“This one is, pal.”

“We need to get as far away from the First Order as we can! We go back to Jakku, we die!”

I sigh. The only way I’ll get him to agree is if he knows the full truth. And, after what he did today, I think I trust him.

“That droid’s got a map that leads straight to Luke Skywalker!

“Oh you gotta be kidding-”

And suddenly, the ship is hit and we go spiralling.

Shit, shit, shit!

I see and smell smoke and I hear alarms and Finn yelling. And then I feel my head slam against the console and nothing but blackness consumes me.


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“General, they’ve been hit.”

No!

“Destroyed?” Hux asks.

“Disabled. They were headed back to Jakku...the fighter’s projected to crash in the Goazon badlands.” Mitaka reports.

“That’s the middle of the desert. They can’t make it very far without someone to guide them out of it.” I bite my bottom lip. They won’t make it at all. If they crash-they can’t survive that. Even Poe can’t survive that-

“They were going back for the droid,” Hux considers a moment, “ Pathetic. Send a squad to the wreckage.”

I scowl. “You better hope and pray to whatever pathetic deity you worship that you find the droid and you did not royally screw this up for all of us. The destruction of my hard work will be worth it only if it leads to us finding the map to Skywalker.”

“Supreme Leader Snoke was explicit. Capture the droid if we can, but destroy it if we must.”

“So you’re saying if your soldiers are capable enough, they’ll bring it back in one piece?” I snort, “How reliable .”

My fear and anger flows around me so fast I can practically feel my eyes go dark.

“I’d like to see you train an entire army of brainless buffoons, Kira,” he sneers, “You’d’ve gone insane in the first twenty minutes.”

“And just how capable are your soldiers, General?” My brother interrupts, leading the two of us of the control room and onto the bridge.

“I won’t have the two of you question my methods.” Hux nearly spits.

“They’re obviously skilled at committing high treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke should consider using a clone army.”

Hux almost has a fit at his words and I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

My men are exceptionally trained...programmed from birth -”

“Then they should have no problem retrieving the droid. Unharmed.”

“Careful, Ren. That your personal interests not interfere with orders from Leader Snoke.”

“Careful Hux. That you don’t piss off two Force wielders who could choke the air out of your lungs and shove you off of this bridge in the time you can yell, Supreme Leader -”

“Kira.” My brother snaps at me to shut up. Then turns to Hux. “I want that map. For your sake, I suggest you get it. I’m not responsible for what she does.”

And he stalks off. Leaving me to grin at Hux maniacally before he trots in another direction. Not having anything to do until my meeting with Snoke, I sit on the bridge, dangling my legs off of the edge.

It’s a far, far fall. One that I could easily survive. Given that the Supreme Leader once had my brother and I throw ourselves off of it and find a way to stop ourselves before the ground splattered us.

Unlike Poe, who doesn’t have my means of Force Leaping or my brothers of stopping himself mid-air. Could he have survived a fall from Jakku’s atmosphere?

I’d know if he was dead, right?

Right?

Right.

“Kira Ren,” I hear the robotically female voice of Captain Phasma. The voice makes me even sicker to my stomach than my thoughts. She’s a cruel, horrid woman whom is probably the most successful of Hux’s brainwashings. She cares for nothing and no one but herself.

Unfortunately, she hates me because I was the one that put her in that metallic suit.

I shudder at the memory.

“Yes, Phasma?” I stand up.

“The Supreme Leader is ready for you.”

I instantly shove everything down, down, down. There is no love. No goodness. No miracles or hope. There is nothing but the Darkness.


Jaina (Age 7)

“Both of you all snuggled in?” Auntie Shara smiles as Poe and I squirm farther underneath the covers.

“Yes. I’m as snug as a bug in a rug,” Poe laughs as his mom gives him a kiss on the top of his head.

“That doesn’t make sense. Bugs don’t sleep in rugs.”

“It’s an idiom.”

“Okay Mr. 10 year old.”

“Cool it with the sass.”

“The two of you can bicker in the morning. Rest your brains so you can think of better comebacks.” She puts a cool hand on each of our foreheads, then shakes them, making a funny noise.

The both of us laugh and swat at her hands.

“Ma!”

“Shara!”

“Come here my little pilots,” she leans down and hugs the both of us, squishing our faces against her, “I hope you have sweet dreams.”

“I want to dream of flying through the stars,” Poe says.

“Me too!”

“It doesn’t have to be a dream you know. I can take the both of you flying tomorrow before Jaina and Luke have to go.”

“YAY!” Poe and I cheer.

“Alright, now goodnight!” She stands up, turning off the light.

“Jaina,” Poe whispers.

“Yeah?”

“Move your feet, they’re cold.”

I don’t.

“That’s why they’re on you so they can warm up.”

He giggles and shoves me and I shove him back.

“You both better be asleep in there!” We hear Shara call through the door and both immediately stop. “Good night, love you both!”

“Good night!” We both yell back.

***

I sit up, gasping for breath. It feels like there’s an invisible heavy thing pressing on my chest.

I know that feeling.

“What-Jaina are you okay?” Poe grabs my shoulders, holding me up.

“So-something’s wrong. I-It’s not me but I can’t-”

“Hold on, come with me.” He lifts me off the bed and supports me as we go to the door. But when we open it, we see lights on, and Uncle Luke, 2 people in tow, running into Uncle Kes and Auntie Shara’s room.

I feel Poe’s panic in the Force around him. It smothers me with its static and I flinch.

“What’s going on?!” He asks loudly, setting me on the floor and rushing over.

I can barely hear over the thrum in my ears as Uncle Luke grabs a struggling Poe in his arms and says something to him that makes him start sobbing.

And then I feel something snap, and I know what it is.

And then my hearing comes back, just in time for me to hear Uncle Kes scream “No!”

Auntie Shara.


Jaina (Present Day) 

“Supreme Leader, you wanted to see me?” I bow before his almighty figure.

“Come closer, child . We haven’t talked just the two of us in awhile.” I move closer to the large hologram on the dais, kneeling in front of him.

“We’ve both been busy, Supreme Leader. Running a Star-killing machine and ruling the galaxy does not leave much time for idle chat.”

“Yes, yes we have,” He nods, “There is a matter that has been troubling me, Kira.”

“What is it, Supreme Leader?”

“I have felt a disturbance in the force. Have you felt it?” I look up at him.

The nagging, incessant feeling of the scales tipping. Of a sort of awakening in the Force.

“Yes,” I whisper in truth and awe, “I feel the balance of the galaxy shifting. Shifting towards the light.”

“Exactly. You do have more of a sensitivity of the Force as a whole than your brother, I commend you.”

“It is not more of a sensitivity as it is knowledge about the Force. I have studied a lot of theory on both sides, Supreme Leader.”

“Yes, I know that. And I also know that, because of that, the Light still calls to you.”

I look down, wishing to have hidden that. “I would be lying if I said it didn’t. But if the scales are tipping, if it is my own fault, what can I do to restore it back to the Darkness?”

“Don’t try to hide your Light, Kira,” His hologrammed finger lifts my head up, just as I feel a physical pressure doing so, “It is a function of you that I believe will soon be stamped out. Just give it time.”

How can I stamp it out?

“This is why I called you here. While I don’t necessarily think you are the sole reason for the tipping scales, you are definitely a factor. As such, I would like for you to meet an acquaintance of mine on Takodana. They are known to deal in kyber crystals.”

Kyber crystals? But that can only mean-

“Yes, Kira. I want you to build yourself a new lightsaber. It’s time to detach from the old. I’ve tolerated your purple one as long as I have because it represents both Light and Dark, and making a new saber takes up too much time and energy, as seen by the pathetic excuse for Kylo Ren’s saber,” He sighs, breathing erratic, “However, since you have been most loyal to me recently, I think it’s time for me to show you gratitude and teach you how to properly build a Sith saber.”

“Thank you for your generous gratitude, Supreme Leader. I will travel to Takodana and meet your acquaintance. But how do I identify them?”

He produces a hologram of a green key. “Keys are an archaic tradition, in my opinion. However, this key is concealed in a temple on Takodana. If you find it, and the door it unlocks, you’ll find my acquaintance. Build your saber there, on Takodana.” And then he leers down closer to me. I do not balk or flinch-this is my Supreme Leader. I have nothing to be afraid of. “I am entrusting you with aiding me to returning the balance as it should be, Kira.”

I nod. “I will not let you down, Supreme Leader.”

***

As soon as I’m out of his presence I nearly run to my quarters. Once the door slams shut behind me, I let the contents of my mind flow out. And the contents of my stomach into the toilet.

He’s suspicious of me-I need to try harder-How can I spy whilst on Takodana-How do I part from my lightsaber and retain the light-I just killed so many innocent villagers-Are Poe and that stormtrooper okay-

I flush and stand up, wiping my mouth. I try and try not to look in the mirror while I wash my hands but I can’t help myself.

Void. Blackness, darkness, fear-everything is reflected in my dark eyes.

I like your eyes.

I’m startled for a second, before I realize it’s my own mind conjuring a memory. I close my eyes.

Breathe, Jaina.

Center yourself, Kira.

I open my eyes and grip the countertop, breathing heavily. In. Out. In. Out.
And finally, finally I look back up into the mirror.

Chapter Text

Poe (Present Day)

I wake up to a massive pounding through my head and ribs. Sitting up, I find it a lot easier to breathe and I cough up copious amounts of blood.

 

Hell .

 

I scramble to my feet, looking around the dark desert night for, well, anything. But there’s no ship, no Finn in sight. No droid.

 

“Finn!” I scream, my voice hoarse. “Finn! BB-8!”

 

“Parqual yantoya!” I hear a screech and instinctively grab for my blaster. Well, shit.

 

A small desert tyrant dressed in sandy robes runs up to me.

 

I put up a defensive posture. I need to find where this guy came from.

 

“Where’s the nearest outpost?”

 

“Oppana broetal!”

 

“Outpost. Where?” I make hand signals for him. He just screeches in response.

 

Well this conversation’s getting absolutely nowhere .

 

He makes a move to grab me, but I dodge it easily. And then, I have an idea.

 

The next time he makes a move to grab me, I let him.

***

We walk for a while, the sand and dust and dirt flying into my eyes because he tied my hands together.

 

Finally, as the sun rises, we reach a clearing with a bunch of small tents. The outpost, thank the Maker .

 

“Pei, tal’ama marta?” The old human man behind a counter of a tent says as we approach.

 

The desert man- Pei , I’m assuming-shoves me forward in response.

 

“Who are you?” He says in a heavily accented version of the common tongue.

 

“My name is Jay.” I sent a silent sorry to her for plagiarizing her name, “My ship crashed in the middle of the desert and Pei here was just showing me to the nearest outpost.”

 

“Funny,’cause he just told me he was sellin’ ya. I already had the First Order tryna pine a boy off on me.”

 

“Selling-no, no I just need to borrow the communicator.”

 

He looks from me to Pei and back to me before sighing. “Parqual zatana!” He shoos Pei away.

 

He makes an obscene gesture at the old man and drops the rope holding me.

 

“Come ‘ere, boy.”

 

I slowly walk towards the counter and he slams a knife down on it, gesturing for me to take it. I do and cut myself out of the rope, rubbing my wrists.

 

“Thank you, sir. But please, could you tell me where this outpost’s comm system is?”

 

“I own it.”

 

“Wonderful! Can I-”

 

“Ya can use it. But yas gotta pay for it.”

 

Well, shit.

 

“I-I crashed my ship, sir, surely you understand. But if I can use the comm I can ask my friend to bring some money-”

 

“All payments must be made in advance, unfortunately. But I’mma let ya work it off.”

 

“Work?”

 

“It gets hot, and mah head hurts from being out too long. If ya take a 5 hour shift for the next two days, I’ll consider it paid.”

 

I don’t have the time for this. I need to either be contacting the Resistance or looking for my droid.

 

But I’m shit out of luck.

 

“Fine, yes I can do that.”

 

“Perfect. I got a room in the back so ya can clean up and not scare away mah customers with that blood. Ya start in an hour.”

 

“Thank you.”

________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

“We were unable to acquire the droid on Jakku.” Lieutenant Mitaka cringes. “FN-2187 and a girl stole it and-

 

“Why are you doing that with your face?” I imitate the cringe and then raise a brow. “It’s not like I’m going to slap you, Mitaka. It wasn’t your fault.”

 

“Kylo Ren did not take well to the news, Ma’am.” I sigh. Of course he didn’t.

 

“Oh, you are so underpaid for your job. You’re one of the only competent Lieutenants here,” I say, then sit down into one of the console chairs, propping my legs up on the desk. “What was this you were saying about the Stormtrooper and a girl?”

 

“Thank you, Ma’am. They both helped in it’s escape, “ He’s more relaxed now, coming to sit down next to me, “We know of FN-2187 but the girl remains a mystery to us.”

 

Interesting. Another player in this game. I wonder who she’s sided with. I pick at my nails.

 

“Huh. And this girl and the Stormtrooper did, what, run away with it?”

 

“They escaped. Aboard a stolen Corellian YT model freighter.”

 

I whip my head up so fast, a sharp pain sears through my neck.

 

“A Corellian YT model freighter?!’

 

“Ma’am?”


“I know my ships, and that’s a rare one.” I recover, “And a fast one-Did it happen to have any distinctive markings or addendums? Something we could identify it with.”

 

“It looked fairly old. It had dorsally and ventrally mounted Corellian AG-2G quad laser cannons with enhanced powercyclers, according to our eyes. And I assume it had a hyperdrive considering how fast it was reported to have evade-”

 

I tune him out briefly. It’s gotta be it. I’ve worked on that ship millions of times before. All throughout my childhood and into early adulthood.

 

The Millenium Falcon.

_____________________________

Jaina (Age 8)

 

“Alright, Pilot, so we’ve diagnosed the problem correct?”

 

I rub my sweaty hands on my jumpsuit.

 

“One of the powercyclers seems to have conked off.”

 

“In more technical terms?” He raises a brow.

 

“The powercycler’s Fried Rod overheated after one of your shady deals in a way-too-hot planet and that caused part of it to melt into the Thermoregulator, which should have immediately diagnosed the problem but stopped working as well.”

 

“Whose deals are you calling shady?”

 

“The man who once brought back a Firga as a pet for Ben and I, which, I checked, you can only get from Cron in the Outer Rim. Cron is a shady planet. Therefore, a shady deal.”

 

Han Solo stands there, looking at me like I’ve got two heads. Looking at me like he doesn’t know how I’m his daughter.

 

Looking at me like he knows exactly how I’m his daughter.

 

“Why you little-!”

 

I squeal and throw my oil rag at him, running towards our house.

________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

I step into my unidentifiable ship as my brother climbs the ladder and looks down on me in the cockpit.

 

“What’s up?” I look up at him.

 

“Be careful. Don’t trust anyone, even if-”

 

“Even if I knew them long ago, I know. And I know where my allegiances lie.”

 

And where do yours lie, brother? I can’t even tell you about the Falcon.

 

“Good. I have a meeting with The Supreme Leader and Hux soon. I’ll inform him of your departure.”

 

“I presume he already knows. He’s the one sending me off on this adventure.”

 

He hums in agreement, delaying my leaving.

 

“Is there...something you wanted to say? Or are you just really sad that your little sister gets to have all the fun?” I ask, laughing at his awkwardness. Even behind a mask I can practically see his pale face reddening.

 

“I just wanted to give you this.” He sticks a small black box down into the cockpit.

 

“Wha-brother, I-”

 

“You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?” I smile, exasperated.

 

“It’s just a birthday. Just another year passing.”

 

Another year in hell.

 

“Another year that you’re here with me, despite it all.” He says, soft enough so no one can hear, “So Happy Birthday, Kira.”

 

“Thank you, brother.” I take the box from him, setting it next to my leg.

 

“Safe travels.” He starts to climb down the ladder.

 

“Thank you. And have a good meeting. Maybe harass Hux for me a bit while I’m gone!”

 

I don’t hear his response but I can guess his smile under his mask.

 

I sigh and shut the top of my ship. It’s structured very similar to an X-Wing and a heaviness settles upon my chest.

____________________________________

Poe (Present Day)

 

“Unkar’s offering me 10x more for this. I’ll just go back to him.”

 

“Well go to him then. I’m sure he’ll appreciate being your second choice,” I smirk at the blue-headed creature and hold out my palm. “5 portions, take it or leave it buddy.”

 

He grumbles, smacking the steel plate on the counter. I slide the portions over to him just as I feel a clap on my back.

 

What the-

 

“Good, Jay. Ya have a knack for this sorta thing.” The old man, T’licl, coughs. “Ya sure you don’t wanna stick around. Help an old man out?”

 

I smile and shrug. “Sorry, T’licl. I gotta get home to my family. The wife and kid would be really mad if I just up and left.”

 

“Wife and kid, eh? Ohh, well I wouldn’t wanna keep you from em.”

 

“Thank you.” I say, fiddling with a loose piece of wood from the desk.

 

“So what’re they like?” T’licl asks.

 

I look up, startled, then just start speaking. “Uh, well. My wife, she’s brilliant. My best friend. She loves getting wrapped up in theory and books and knowledge. And yet, she stays grounded.”

 

“Well is she pretty?”

 

“Stunning. It’s like the stars themselves live in her eyes.”

 

“And yer kid?”

 

“My kid... is my perfect complement. He can be a little strange at times but he’s always up for adventure. Somehow, he seems more mature than me, more rational, though I’m the adult.”

 

It’s only when I finish that last thought that I realize who I’ve just described.

 

Jaina. And BB-8.

 

Maker .

 

“Sounds like ya love em very much,” he smiles a toothy, genuine smile, “Mah wife died in childbirth and mah daughter left me for the Resistance. Told me she wasn’t gonna shack up with no First Order sympathizer on some desert planet far from home. Not when her mama would have disapproved.”

 

My heart skips a beat. Shit shit shit-

 

“She did?” I blurt out. “That-I’m sorry that’s awful.”

 

“Yeah, but it’s alright.” He chuckles, “She’s better off doing her own thing. Always independent she was, my Karé  .”

 

He was Karé ’s dad. Karé , the Victory Kid. One of the most competent and trustworthy pilots in my squadron. Not to mention a dear friend.

 

Oh Karé .

 

“Yeah. Sometimes we forget that everyone’s their own individual. We forget how to support differing ideologies. We forget we were all forged of the same stardust despite our differences.”

 

“That we do, kid, that we do.”

***

“Just lock these last portions into the cellar for the night and ya can rest.” He says, tossing me the keys.

 

“Thank you, T’licl.”

 

He waves me off, smiling.

 

I grab the sack of portions and heave it over my shoulder with a grunt. Just as I’m about to lock the door, I hear the metallic sound of boots clacking.

 

I spin around, yet no one’s there. Hastily, I lock the cellar and quickly hop into my small room for some cover. I blow out the candle and crack open the small window.

 

“T’licl Kun?” I hear.

 

“Ah. Lieutenant Quadrix. Was wondering when I’d get to see ya.”

 

“How’ve you been?”

 

“Old. Withering. But otherwise alright. And yerself?”

 

“Stressed beyond belief. General Hux blames my unit for letting a prisoner escape. Which is why I’m here. Have you seen anyone suspicious or heard of the name Poe Dameron?”

 

I heave silent breaths, grabbing the candlestick holder as a weapon.

 

“Seen anyone suspicious?” T’licl asks and I hold my breath. “Nope.”

 

My entire body wracks with relief.

 

“Well, not since that young man and woman ran through the outpost and stole that ship with that orange and white droid.”

 

BB-8! So he’s not on Jakku then. And the young man could possibly be Finn, but a woman with him?

 

So where the hell is my droid?

 

“Yeah. We’ve been looking into that. And the ship they stole was, apparently, the Millenium Falcon.”

 

The Falcon?

 

The Millenium Falcon ? That was the rundown ship that’s been taking up space the past year?”

 

The fucking Millenium Falcon?

 

“Yes. So we’ve been trying to track it. I’ll give you updates, of course, if we find anything.”

 

“Thank ya, Lieutenant. And, as always, I’ll keep mah eyes an ears open for anything.”

 

“Long live the Supreme Leader.”

 

“Long live the Supreme Leader.”

 

And the metallic boot crunching gets further and further away.

 

I let myself relax, clutching the candle holder to my chest.

 

I have to get out of here. If they happen to come in the daylight tomorrow then I’m screwe-

 

The door flies open and I scramble to my feet with the metal piece in hand. I stare at T’licl’s face.

 

“Poe Dameron?” He whispers. I nod, for fear of how small my voice would come out right now.

 

“Come with me. You’re hoppin on that com link right this minute.”

 

“I-” he drags me out by my elbow out of my small wooden shack and into his quarters right next door. He shuts the door behind us.

 

“Who knows when they’re gonna come for ya next. An’ though I do support the First Order…” he sighs, “You remind me a lot of my daughter, kid.”

 

“I know her.” I clear my throat, “She’s a very close friend. And one of the best damn pilots I’ve ever seen.”

 

“She’s keepin’ well, yeah?”

 

“Yes, sir. She got married recently. To another one of my very close friends. He treats her like a queen.”

 

He nods, sniffling a bit and grabs the comm for me, pressing it into my hands.

 

“They can’t trace the link if you press the clicker 5 times before establishing the connection.”

 

“Thank you.” I whisper.

 

He just gestures to the comm.

______________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

I land on the vibrant, green planet and stash my ship in the forest by the main lake. Inhaling, a plethora of memories threaten to overtake me. I can’t let them, I can’t-

 

“I’ve never seen so much green before, Dad!” I sit up in his lap, gazing over the console to the bright beauty of a planet. “Not even on Yavin!”

 

He kisses the top of my head. “Well then, we’re gonna have to fix that, won’t we, Pilot? I’ll take you everywhere and anywhere you want to go.”

 

I sit down on the grass for a second, catching my breath. Wherever my father is now, I hope he’s safe. I forgave him a while ago after I learned he and my mother split. They were always fighting, both too proud to admit when they were wrong.

 

They love each other endlessly, I know they do. I can feel it. But sometimes love isn’t strong enough to keep people together.

 

Or, in my case, keep them from being apart.

 

“It’s an Ewok!” I lay back, my head slightly itchy because of the damp grass.

 

“No it’s not! It’s clearly a Fathier!”

 

I sigh and grab his outstretched hand, tracing it for him. One star after another. Clearly an Ewok.

 

“See?!” I sit up a little, pursing my lips.

 

He mocks my sigh and grabs my hand, motioning for me to lie back down in the grass.

 

“Jay, look here are the four hooves and here are the horns,” he traces them with our hands.

 

“Those look like two arms and legs and the flaps of their little head gear, I swear to the Maker.”

 

He traces it again, and I jerk our arms in a different pattern, causing him to sprawl over me.

 

“Oh shit!” I curse as he catches himself on an arm in an attempt not to crush me.

 

“I’m sorry!” I laugh, looking up into his face. His beautiful, chiseled, determined face. He stares at me with a softness I know he reserves only for me.

 

“Don’t worry about it,” He sits up straight, staring at me. And I start to get nervous as he doesn’t break the gaze.

 

So I make the most ridiculous face possible. And Poe bursts out laughing, the sound rattling through my bones.. .

 

I stand up quickly, swiping furiously at the wetness in my eyes.

 

My best friend in the entire galaxy -

“I heard rumors you were coming here.” I whip around, blaster at the ready, hand on the hilt of my saber. “Put that down girl, I was the one who taught you to shoot it.”

 

My breaths come heavily through my nose as I try to calm my heartbeat. Slowly, I put the blaster back into its hilt on my belt.

 

“Maz-”

 

“No one’s around, come here girl.” She opens her frail arms and I fall to my knees in front of her and embrace her, sobbing. Maz rocks me in her arms like she did when I was a small girl.

 

“This is Maz, Pilot. Maz Kanata. She owns a castle on this planet.” My father says, nudging me forward.

 

I can’t help but giggle nervously at the fact that she’s as tall as me. And I’m only five!

 

“I know. We could be twins.” Maz winks at me and I immediately shut my mind out like Uncle Luke told me to do.

 

“You’re Force Sensitive?”

 

“Yes, girlie. That’s why I said we could be twins.”

 

“Only your skin is orange and wrinkly.” My father chuckles and she wacks his legs, “Ouch!”

 

I laugh again.

 

“If you ever need anything, anything Jaina, you come to me, alright.”

 

“Okay, Ms. Maz.”

 

She leads my heaving self to a small cottage nearby and promptly locks the door behind us.

 

“Maz, I-”

 

“Shh. Nothing more till we get some caf in you. Still like a boatload of sugar in it?”

 

I slump on the small couch. “Yeah.”

 

She hands me the caf and sits opposite me, clutching her own steaming cup. I take a sip and instantly feel better. Then, burning my throat in the process, I gulp down half of it. And scarf down some of the cookies on the table.

 

“Goodness sake, girl, do they not feed you on that Base of yours?”

 

“They do, very well actually, but it never compares to yours.”

 

It never compares to something made with care.

 

“Hmm.” She smirks, triumphant.

 

I bite my lip before finally saying what I need to.

 

“Maz, Snoke sent me here.”

 

“Yes, I know. To get the kyber crystal and make your own saber.” I’m not surprised. Maz has her spies everywhere . It’s how the Resistance first got in contact with me when I left abruptly after the Praxeum attack.

 

“Yeah. I have to find a green key on this Makerforsaken GREEN planet. And find Snoke’s acquaintance who somehow happens to have a kyber crystal.”

 

“Try looking through my temple first.”

 

“That’s my endpoint. Apparently there’s a door where this green key will work.”

 

“There is, indeed. Right above the kitchen. A green lock to it too. I’ve never bothered to open it. Too much... energy surrounding it for my tastes.” She finishes her cup and sets it on the small table beside her.

 

Dark energy?”

 

“Not necessarily,” She folds her hands in her lap, thoughtfully, “Just a lot of it concentrated in one area.”

 

“Interesting.” What kind of being lives in there?

 

“You can stay here while you’re looking. It’s secluded and no one will mess with your ship nor your things. I’ll enforce it, if I have to.”

 

“Thank you, Maz. Do you think you could ask around, discreetly? See if anyone knows about a green key.”

 

“I think it’s best if you do that, kiddo. I don’t want people asking questions when I’m supposed to be neutral territory.”

 

I nod, smiling at her, “That’s true, yeah.”

 

And Snoke wanted me to do this on my own. Wants me to-

 

I shiver.

 

“What’s bothering you, Jaina?”

 

“I-” I sigh, “My brother. I fear how far he’s fallen. And how far I’m willing to let myself fall. The memories are coming back.”

 

Tears spring up in my eyes as I put down my own cup and stand up, turning away. I make my way over to the window and look out into the forest.

 

“How?” She tilts her head, studying me, “That sort of thing is what I’m best at.”

 

I didn’t intend for it to happen, but when it became apparent that Snoke would start probing through my mind, I knew I had to somehow make myself forget. For my memories were so scarily revealing of the Resistance. And a few of its top officers.

 

Maz was the only being I knew who could take memories away, with her slight connection to the Force. And though I have the knowledge that she did so, I have no memory of it. So I don’t even remember what I asked to be removed until I see them again.

 

“I don’t know. It happens when I need to pull myself out of the darkness. When I need to get back to walking the wire between it. And these newly dug up memories make me more vulnerable to Snoke.”

 

“You, my dear, are a special case. Your mind is probably grasping at the loose ends to preserve your sense of self.” She sighs and hesitates before saying, “Just be careful. There are some memories you asked me to take that... are too painful to be dug up.”

 

I cringe.

 

“Making a Sith blade requires something of a Force user,” I say quietly, “I’m going to have to bleed the kyber crystal dry, nearly kill it completely. I have to kill a source of life-a source of light. And to stay in the light whilst doing so might just bring back whatever memory that is.”

 

“You’ve killed before,” she offers, coming to stand next to me.

 

“And each time a small part of me has died with them. Killing what some consider to be the core of all life...I don’t know how much of me will die with that.”

 

“Yes you do.” She says with conviction, taking my hands. “The Force isn’t an active being. It’s a passive one, a simple energy that either drives or destroys us. Forms or fractures us. And it is what we allow that makes us what we are. Light or Dark. Jedi or Sith. You and you alone know what will happen because you and you alone allow it.

 

A few hours later, after a nap and another good meal, I pack most of my belongings in the small sack I brought. I realize I still haven’t opened the present Ben gave me. I shove it in the pack and store it in the cargo portion of my ship.  On me, I keep my gloves, my saber, the dagger, and the key.

 

Glancing back into the cottage, I steal one last, long glance at the familiarity of it. And then, abruptly, I shut the door.

***

Weirdly uplifting music plays as I walk into the temple-which is more like a bar than an actual temple.

 

Maker , Maz.

 

As I walk to the counter for drinks, heads turn towards me. I make sure to keep my chin up and gaze fierce. My own version of a mask.

 

“I’ll have the house drink.” I say sharply, slamming some coins on the counter.

 

“You’ve got it.” The bartender seems unfazed by my show. A little boy in a hat with one wide dark eye and an eyepatch looks at me with awe as he hands the guy a glass.

 

“What’re you staring at?” I force my gaze to harden further as he gapes at me like a fish.

 

I’m not the monster I pretend to be, I want to scream.

 

Shove it down.

 

“Kira Ren, I presume.” I hear a snively voice and slowly turn my head to my right.

 

A blue creature in a quilted vest and wide set black slacks takes the seat next to me.

 

“Depends,” I narrow my eyes, “Who’s it to?”

 

“Clarec Formid. First Order informant, at your service.”

 

“That can’t possibly be the title you throw around at bars.” I scoff, taking my drink from the bartender. He gives me the slightest of nods, indicating towards my cup.

 

I take a quick peek at it as Clarec sputters, trying to come up with some sort of rebuttal. A single ice cube in my cup is tinged with a purple dye.

 

He’s with the Resistance. Good to know.

 

I down the drink and slide it back. Holding up a gloved finger to the Clarec.

 

“Can I get an Outerclare in the smallest glass you have, and the biggest Quemp you have for my friend over here?”

 

“Write your info here so I can start a tab for you.”

 

Their attacks on the Outer Rim are slowing but they’re focusing their biggest ones on the Middle Rim I write in binary. Just some of the information I passed along with Poe. I hope to the Maker , this is just repeat information for them.

 

The bartender nods slowly and retreats to get our drinks. The little boy, who is given the ‘tab’, stares at it, and steals another quick glance at me.

 

I turn back to the blue creature. “You were saying?”

 

“I’m one of the best there are! I give so many tips to the General himself-”

 

“Ah yes, and I know that General Hux receives these many tips from untrustworthy lowlifes, such as yourself, and promptly discards them or hands them off to Lieutenants to weed through as punishment.”

 

“Well does General Hux know that I know who all of his informants are on this planet? That I give them the information that they then pass onto him.”

 

I snort, taking my next drink. “Ok? Congratulations?”

 

“And I also know where you can find what you’re looking for.”

 

I roll my head to him. “Do you, now?”

 

He brings his elongated lips close to my ear, nearly brushing it. “The key, right?”

 

“Sure. But if you don’t want to have a scene in the middle of this respectable place, I suggest you know yours. You slimy piece of filth .”

 

He sits back, relaxing in his chair. “I’ve heard you were feisty.”

 

“I am. Especially if I don’t get what I want. So where is it?

 

“Well, for that you’re going to have to do, a couple favors for me.” He glances at me, up and down.

 

I should decimate him on the spot.

 

“Actually, I won’t.”

 

“I’m the one with all the cards here sweet-HEART-” he chokes as I make a miniscule pinching gesture with my left hand.

 

“Oh, are you now?”

 

“Kira-” he sputters, grasping at his crotch.

 

“That’s Ren to you,” I smirk, “Will you cooperate? Because I’m just getting started and I really wonder how much pressure it takes for certain parts to stop functioning all together.”

 

He nods his head vigorously and I let him go. He gasps quietly, everyone around us oblivious to the exchange. Everyone except the little boy behind the counter.

 

Don’t follow my example, kid. I try to mentally project.

 

“Where is the key?”

 

“It’s buried deep in the basement of the castle.” He coughs violently, “It’s said Force Wielders can detect it and bring it out. But there-there are very few of you left.”

 

I hop out of my seat, downing my drink and placing it back on the counter.

 

“Thank you for being such a dedicated informant, sweetheart .” I pat his back, then take off.

____________________________

Poe (Present Day)

 

“Damn you. I thought I’d get to be leader of Black Squadron since you’d been missing,” Snap chortles as we travel through hyperspace back to D’Qar.

 

“Sorry, bud. Looks like you guys are stuck with me.” I take a swig of his canteen and he glares at me. Then, his face settles into something softer.

 

“Good to have you back, Poe.” He pats me on the back.

 

“Good to be back, Snap.”

 

“Oh just wait until you see Jess and Karé. They’re going to rip you to shreds.”

 

Oh Karé. I still have to decide what I’m going to tell her about her father.

 

“I can’t wait,“ I smile, so excited to be back with my squadron. And with the rest of my Rebellion family.

 

There’s only one piece missing.

 

Or maybe two, depending if Finn got back or not. I really, sincerely hope that he somehow survived as well.

 

“And The General nearly cried when we got your comm.”

 

“Now you’re just bullshitting. Leia never cries.”

 

“I said nearly didn’t I?”

***

As soon as I climb out of the transport ship, I hear a big commotion. The familiar commotion of a Resistance Base, yes, but also-

 

“Hey, asshole, how dare you worry us like that!”

 

“Heroic piece of shit !”

 

The two girls pile on me and I wrap my arms around them both.

 

“Oh I missed you guys,” I mumble into the triple hug, burying my face into their collective hair.  

 

“Jess, Karé , give the old man some space,he’s kinda banged up,” Snap laughs.

 

“Pretty sure this old man could take you in a fight, banged up or not,” I grin. “Where’s L’ulo?”

 

“He ran to get Leia,” Jess says.

 

“But between us, we think he didn’t want you to see him crying,” Karé   grins and I can’t help to feel an intense feeling of gratitude. Gratitude that they are all alive and well and happy and that I could come back to them.

 

“Talking smack, Karé? Just wait till we get back in the air I swear I’ll-”

 

I push past the girls and embrace him so hard he cuts off.

 

“How ya doing Lu?”

 

He snorts, pulling away, “Better than you, Poe. How many whacks to the head did you get if you’re this huggy?”

 

“More than he deserved, I’m sure,” I look past Lu and see the General smiling softly at me. “Welcome back, Commander Dameron.”

 

I nod my head, grinning back. “Good to be back, General. I think I should debrief now, considering everything’s still fresh and-”

 

“No.”

 

“No?”

 

“As in, no, Commander, you will go and clean up, get those cuts on your face and elsewhere looked at, and then come to Command to debrief.”

 

“But I-”

 

“Poe.” She warns, with a very motherly tone.

 

I shut up and nod.

***

Bacta is the best thing to ever exist.

 

Seriously. I’d marry the person who let me be ready to be back in the field in only a few hours after having multiple gashes,a broken rib cage, nose and wrist.

 

“Alright, Commander, what do you have for us?” Admiral Ackbar asks from his seat.

 

I move to the center console, pulling up our map of Starkiller Base. A map that half of Rogue Squadron was decimated to get.

 

I tell them a lot about Jakku and the death of Lor San Tekka and what little I know about the whereabouts of my droid. And very little about what torture I endured.

 

I reveal what information was given up through the mind probe and that a Stormtrooper named Finn helped me escape because he needed a pilot to get off of the Base.

 

“So this means the programming of their troopers is failing. This could prove useful.” Leia says, “If we’re ever in dire need of more recruits that might be an option we could look to. Of course with great precautions. Are you sure this Finn is trustworthy?”

 

“Yes. He seemed to understand the horrors that were being done. He seemed to want nothing more than to get away from the First Order. So, if he’s still alive, he’s a valuable ally with insider information.”

 

“Duly noted,” Major Brance says, “We’ll keep watch for him on Jakku.”

 

“Speaking of valuable insiders,” I inject, and Leia leans forward, “Captain Solo made contact with me during my escape. She provided Finn and I with information on how to make our escape. And she gave me this.”

 

I take off the small microchip and hand it to Lieutenant Cypress. He inserts it into the console and a link for a passkey comes up.

 

“She’s close to being found out. That’s what this extra security is for.” Cypress says. “It’s something I told her to do.”

 

“Shit, she didn’t tell me a passkey.” I run my hands through my hair, trying to remember our short,frantic, awkward conversation.

 

“For a good reason,” Cypress nods, “It must be something to do with what we know.”

 

“Her callsign?” Admiral Ackbar offers, “Rogue Two?”

 

“It’s only five letters, Admiral.” Cypress chews on his lip.

 

“Jaina?” I offer. “Just Rogue?”

 

Cypress types them both in. “Nope, neither.”

 

“It’s Pilot,” Leia offers, and then seeing the blush rising on my face, “It’s what her father called her growing up. Don’t flatter yourself, Dameron.” Of course it is.

 

The Lieutenant types it in and the screen lights up.

 

“What is that?” I lean forward.

 

“There are multiple files. This first one shows designs-her designs-for new First Order weapons: megablasters, a type of contraption that looks like it can be used as a beating stick with a laser component to it. And another, cannon-like structure, for their Tie Fighters.”

 

Maker , Jay.” I mutter under my breath. I know she’s highly skilled but she came up with all of these in such a short amount of time. She must really have to prove herself now.

 

“Start productions on these weapons immediately, with slight design modifications. Whatever the First Order’s got coming for us, we’ll give straight back to them.” Leia says to a Lieutenant in the corner. “Continue, Cypress.”

 

“The second file shows their focus on attacks in the Middle Rim and their plan to pull slightly out of the Outer Rim.”

 

“Oh yes, we got confirmation from a source on Takodana of the same thing. This is good to note.” Major Ematt says.

 

“Takodana?” I ask, “Is she there?”

 

“Seems like it, Commander.”

 

Takodana ? Where Maz is? There’s no reason she should be there unless Snoke told her specifically to. Or unless she was found out and needed a place to hide-

 

No. There’d be so much more of a commotion if she was. And she’d have sent her own coordinates as message so we could go get her.

 

She’s fine. She has to be.

 

“This third file is weird. I think it’s a video message but for some reason the file isn't opening-”

 

And then the room fills with a video version of her face. Her dual colored eyes are stark in the lighting of her room.

 

“Update: No eyes on you. Tin has climbed the ladder. Wrinkle’s trials are worsening. Night continues strong, but day has begun to rise.” She shrugs, then stares directly at the camera, directly into all of us, “B is stronger attuned, but day and night both help me. Mask is still on, for now. Wrinkle will soon know though and then day will end. Over and out.”

 

We all sit in stunned silence for a few moments. Then, Leia breaks it.

 

“A translation for those of you who don’t quite understand this new lingo yet. Her cover has not been blown and they haven’t figured out our base is on D’Qar yet.” Thank the Maker.

 

“Phasma is gaining more power. Captain Solo’s meetings with Snoke are getting more challenging. The balance of the force continues to be dark but for some reason the light is coming back, shifting it into balance.”

 

She shrugged after she said that. She didn’t know why.

 

Leia has to clear her throat before continuing. “Kylo Ren is getting stronger with the Dark side, but something about attuning to both the light and dark sides have helped her. She’s worried Snoke will find out and have her stamp out all of the light from herself.”

 

“We have to pull her out of there, General,” Ackbar says, gently, “We can’t risk her falling too.”

 

Leia sighs, and I can see the mother in her, the part of her she shoves deep down whenever acting as the General, rise and conflict with her.

 

I feel like this is a common thing with the Solos. This double life business.

 

Han Solo can be charismatic and cocky, yes. But he also has his soft side that he rarely lets anyone see.

 

Leia Organa prefers her General self, the one who can do the most, over her family self, the one who sympathizes with her son, daughter, and ex-husband.

 

Kylo Ren, who previously went by Ben, hides behind a literal mask. Though Jay has told us many times that he’s soft with her, I don’t know if I fully believe that.

 

Jaina Solo loves being a pilot and ace mechanic but has to hide it in order to do her duty, protecting the galaxy. And to do that she has to mask her Light with her Darkness.

 

“How do we know she hasn’t already fallen?” Admiral Nassa says, shaking her head. Her platinum hair a stark contrast to her navy blue scales. “How do we know this isn’t what Snoke wanted her to do?”

 

I move to speak up, but Ackbar does it for me.

 

“Admiral, you’ve known Jaina for a long time now. Seeing as we’ve accepted her help for this long and none of it has been a trap-”

 

“Yes, but many people here haven’t known her as long, as they’ve brought up their concerns to me,” she says, a murmur of agreement erupting from one corner of the room. Nassa braces her hands on the console, “Regardless of the fact that she’s the General’s daughter, we need to be more careful with trusting her. She could have fallen in the time from the last piece of information to now and-”  

 

“But none of you were there.” I start, moving to see the whole room better, “ None of you know the emotions she felt when she was giving the chip to me. Emotions , something not known too well by the Dark Side.”

 

I turn to Nassa. “She hasn’t fallen yet. And she won’t fall .” I say with conviction.

 

“Poe-“

 

“She won’t. She’s strong enough, supportive enough of her cause, not to.” I turn to Leia who doesn’t return my gaze. Her eyes are fixed on her daughter’s face on the screen. A face she hasn’t seen in person in years.

 

“I do concede that a conservative approach is important,” Akbar says, carefully, “And even if she doesn’t fall, she’s got to be feeling intense pressure right now. Which is unhealthy on top of everything else.”

 

Murmurs of agreement go throughout the room. I lower my head.

 

Finally, Leia speaks.

 

“We’ll monitor Takodana closely then. If she needs to get out of there, our response time needs to be almost instantaneous.”

 

“Yes, General.”

_____________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

I walk slowly down narrow and slippery steps of the temple basement.

 

Kiraaa, I hear and whip my head around. Seeing no one, I choose one of two paths to walk at random and follow it.

 

Kiraaaaa, the voice gets louder the direction I travel. I find myself drawn to it, my feet moving of their own accord.

 

KIRAAA , it practically yells at me.

 

Clarec said only Force Wielders could detect it. But it can’t be this easy, can it?

 

I reach a vertical door a quarter open. Pushing it, it gives easily beneath my hand. It’s a small room, no bigger than my quarters on Starkiller Base. Surrounding the walls there are a lot of artifacts and trinkets. And in the middle of it, a glass box balanced precariously atop a pillar.

 

KIRAAAAAAA . I feel myself launch forward, adrenaline coursing through my shaky body. I grab the box off of the pillar, tilting it towards the torch light to get a better view. But no matter how much I tilt it, a glare remains, obscuring its contents. I smack it with my palm a few times but it doesn’t give.

 

I place it back on the pillar. The only other weapons I have are my blaster, lightsaber, and dagger. I whip out the dagger and try and cut through the box. But it’s as impenetrable as diamond.

 

You have got to be kidding me.

 

Frustrated, I take my lightsaber from its hilt and ignite it, the purple glow emanating throughout the room.

 

Jaina.

 

I jolt back around, facing the open door, lightsaber at the ready. It came from the other direction of the tunnel.

 

Jaina , turn back.

 

I return to myself. My heart suddenly in control of my motions instead of my fear. Taking a deep breath, I take a step back towards the other side, sheathing my saber and placing it back on my belt.

 

Moving slowly, for fear of angering something, I move back towards the center, where the bottom of the steps were.

 

It’s quiet, save for the muted sound of the bar far upstairs and small drops of water.

 

KIRA-

 

JAINA-

 

I hear screamed in each ear at the same time. Gasping, I collapse on the floor, covering my ears.

 

“No, no!”

 

Kira, we have what you want-

 

Jaina, this is dangerous-

 

Show them who you are, why they were all wrong about you-

 

You are surrounded by so much love, though it may not be with you-

 

The voices continue, each overlapping, each trying to out-do the other. And I can’t figure which one to side with.

 

“What do you want from me ?!” I shriek, pressing my forehead to the cool floor to offer some reprieve to its pounding.

 

The screams resonate in a single chord and a pressure builds up so tightly in my head.

 

“Enough!” I sit up violently, holding my hands out to either side in a stopping motion. But nothing stops, everything within me flows. My blood, my energy, my soul pour out of both of my hands in the form of electricity.

 

Dark black lightning snakes across both of my forearms and extends to both sides, making a loud crackling noise that ends in glass shattering in one direction and a thudding noise in the other.

 

And then everything’s quiet again. I clutch my hands to my chest, heaving.

 

Black Lightning . I haven’t done that since I was last truly balanced. Back before the massacre.

 

Those names cause a sharp pain in my right temple, and I scurry away from the right hallway and into the left. Back into the room with the box.

 

Well, it’s not really a box any more. Glass shards lie scattered around the room, smoking with a white dust. And on top of the pillar, a small green key.

 

My slow breaths are the only sound in the room.

 

I move towards the pillar slowly. I reach my right hand out, carefully in case of any traps.

 

Finally, finally I touch the key-

 

“Poe! Poe, listen to me-“ I run after him, grabbing his hand. He turns to me, his face murderous, pulling his hand out of mine.

 

“What in hell were you thinking out there?!” Poe yells loud enough for the entire docking bay to hear.

 

“This is something you do all the damn time. You consistently put yourself in danger-”

 

“That doesn’t mean you follow my example Jay!” He throws up his hands incredulously.  “Can you even comprehend how badly you could’ve been hurt? You’re supposed to go back to the Temple tomorrow, how would you explain it to your Uncle? ”

 

“No,” I grit my teeth, “that’s not fair. You don’t get to have a double standard like that!”

 

“I’ve been training as a pilot my whole life! Your skill set favors heavily elsewhere and you know it.” He walks into the base and I storm in after him, grabbing his arm and turning him towards me.

 

“Hey! Just because I’m not cleared for aerial battle does not mean I can’t pilot a ship! You know my father trained me to pilot during special scenarios like that. Trained me for risky scenarios-”

 

“That’s not what I’m saying I-” he starts, and then sighs heavily, storming away.

 

“Poe!” I yell after him.

 

Then, turning away I stare into nothing but darkness. Suddenly, I’m peering into a vertical crack. I push against it, easing it open even more.

 

“You are putting our children at risk!”

 

“No, you are, by not letting them reach their full potential!”

 

My mother and father stand in the kitchen, very close to blows. I scoot a little closer to hear better.

 

“Luke was taught the hard way that you either interact with the Force or let it interact with you. However it wants. If you want our children to be able to protect themselves from any force of evil or darkness, they have to train with him!”

 

“Leia. If The Force ” He uses air quotes, “Is such a bad thing, why not hide them from it? Protect them? Instead of putting them out there like lambs to a slaughter!”

 

“Luke will be the reason they won’t be vulnerable!”

 

“Do you think they’re going to get a divorce?” I hear a whisper in my ear and I turn left, only to be met with the 5 year old face of my brother.

 

The floor gives way and, yelping, I fall down and land on my feet.

 

“What a freak!” I hear the snively voice of my childhood rival, Divep. “She’s too self indulgent. No one can be a Jedi and make use of the dark side.”

 

I look up and see him and a few other padawans lingering in one of the huts in the Praxeum. I look back down and see my droid, MSE-9, bump against my leg again, wheels whirring.

 

“Well are you a Jedi master yet?” I look up and see a young teenage version of my brother, Ben, storming over to them. Scrambling up from my place, I go over to them.

 

“No, but-”

 

“Then how can you know what’s normal for a Jedi? You absolute piece of-”

 

“Ben! Leave it!”

 

He gets bigger, taller, swathed in white training robes. Then turns to face me, the scene behind him swathed in flames.

 

“Come with me, Jaina.”

 

“Ben, I-”

 

The screams and crackles of fire combined with the sounds of sabers swishing and clanging is too much.

 

He extends his hand, eyes watering.

 

“Come with me, please . It’s time now to serve the Supreme Leader.”

 

I shake my head, 10 million thoughts running through it. The younglings-Uncle Luke-My parents-The Resistance-Rogue Squadron-The First Order-

 

I shut my eyes. And then I am sobbing in agony, lying on the floor, refusing to look at something.

 

“Jaina are you certain?” I hear a voice.

 

“Yes! Please just hurry-please!”

 

I hear a wail. Which then turns into so many louder, more terrified wails.

 

“One survivor, then? I’ll let you pick this time.” I hear and promptly open them again. Captain Phasma stands next to me, blaster at the ready.

 

I can’t-how can I pick only one-

 

“My son! Please, please pick my son.” A woman holding her 8 year old boy against her says. His face is strong,resilient though so much horror has happened here.

 

I can feel him through the Force. Which means he’s like me. Which means I have to get him as far away from us as possible.

 

The rest of the village murmurs in agreement, stoically accepting their fates.

 

I have to put up the front.

 

“So your choice is made, Ma’am?” Phasma says, firing up her blasters, and motioning for the other Stormtroopers to do the same.

 

“Yes.” I say curtly, “And finish this quick Phasma, we’ve got more important things to do.”

 

I nod, far away from myself, and motion for the boy to come next to me. His mother hands him something small and kisses his face. He quickly makes his way over to me, and I move to shield him. If anyone, especially Phasma, gets any wrong ideas, they’ll have to answer to me.

 

And then the rattling sound of gunfire starts as his family drops dead in front of us-

 

Which turns into the rattling of chain, rubbing against each other.

 

I dangle from the bridge over the long drop in the Base. My face sears hot from the pain of a long and brutal ass-whooping and my head throbs steadily. Blood trails down the side of my face and gushes from my nose down over my lips.

 

“The Supreme Leader said we couldn’t quite kill you yet .” I hear a Knight’s gravelly voice and shiver, whimpering slightly. “You’ll never be one of us.”

 

The newly seared brand on the back of my neck, indicating I’m bound to the Knights of Ren, sends pins and needles through me every time my tunic brushes against it. The gash across my stomach pounding and throbbing with pain.

 

I fiddle with the chains above me when, all of a sudden, they snap, and I fall and fall and fall and-

 

I land on the ground of the basement and have to catch my breath in this spinning room.

 

Holy shit. Holy fucking shit -

 

I vomit into the nearest small pot I could find. Again, and again, and again.

 

When I finally get my bearings I stand up on shaky legs, wiping my mouth.

 

It’s too hot, too enclosed in this tiny space. I need to get out of here. But not without that key.

 

I grab my leather gloves from my pocket and put them on. Then, finding an old piece of artistic tapestry from next to the pot, I cut a tiny square of it with my dagger. Wrap the key in it and stuff it in my pocket.

 

And then I feel another presence behind me.

Chapter Text

Poe (Present Day)

 

“Leia!” I run to catch up with her, wincing at the pain on my side.

 

“Commander, how can you be back in the skies asap when you won’t let yourself get better.” She sighs, turning around to me. Her lips are pursed in a very exasperated way.

 

“I-you have a good point,” I nod. She motions for me to sit down next to her.

 

Up close, her face is tired, drawn. The wrinkles very pronounced.

 

“What is it, Poe?”

 

“I just wanted to let you know that Jaina’s alright. I mean, she looked to be holding herself okay.”


“Thank the Stars.” She says into the knuckles of her hand, which she’s brought up to her mouth. “I always wonder if I made the wrong choice. In letting her go. In exposing her to the Dark Side so blatantly.”

 

I look down. Yes, I want to say, she should be here with us. But she’s served us so well from there. And I do know that a small part of her would have regretted not going with her brother.

 

“In some ways, maybe,” I settle on, “But I think she would’ve found a way to be in the middle of it eventually. Some strategy that would let her use her proximity to the First Order to be of use to us. At least this way, she’s somewhat safe.”

 

“Somewhat safe. I thought my children would be at least somewhat safe if I let them train with their uncle. If I’d been a good mother-”

 

“Leia-” I turn to her, sharply, “If that Darkside bastard had decided he wanted your children there was nothing you could have done about it.”

 

“Maybe. But I know my son turned so easily because he didn’t have a support system to guide him. At least Jaina had you.” She turns to me, a heaviness setting on her. “Whenever she comes back, she’s going to need you again, Poe. Who knows what horrors Snoke made her inflict...”

 

I can’t help but feel the surge of warmth in my chest at that. The familiarity that comes with us always being there for one another. But the way she seemed back on Starkiller Base...she’s going to need something much stronger than what I can give her.

 

“She’s going to need you too.” I nod, with resolve “And she’ll have us.”

 

Leia nods, tears shining in her eyes.

 

“We can only hope she will.”

***

 

I lean against my recovered X-Wing, finishing the last of a long series of repairs that has taken pretty much all day.

 

At least the First Order was merciful to my ship, if nothing else.

 

“Commander!” I hear a yell and I stick my head out of the belly of my ship.

 

L’ulo stands there, crossing his arms, giving me an exasperated look.

 

“What, Lu?”

 

“How in hell did you finish all those repairs so soon without a mechanic, son?” He walks up close, rubbing the side of my ship with his blue hand.

 

“There’s only one mechanic I’ll ever let work on my baby,” I say, ”And Jaina kept extensive notes for what to do if something went brutally wrong. I just...followed em.” I shrug, “And maybe worked through the night, but hey, semantics.”

 

He smirks at me, with a knowing expression. “You’re still head over heels for her, aren’t you?”

 

I put down the wrench and wipe off my oil stained hands on a rag.

 

“This conversation’s getting old, Lu.”

 

“And yet you haven’t answered it in all these years. Don’t bother beating around the bush. I’ve known you since before you were born.” He smiles softly at me.

 

I blink a few times to get the burning sensation out of my eyes.

 

“Yeah.” I wipe the sweat off of my forehead and look up at him. “Yeah, I am.”  

 

“It’s been 7 years, Poe. 7 years of you not even glancing in the direction of another girl, no matter how much they’ve thrown themselves at you . If I may give some advice, as your honorary uncle,” He puts a hand on my shoulder, “I think it might be time to stop pining-”

 

I throw the rag like it’s a holoball back on my workbench and stretch out my wrists.

 

“It’s not pining, Lu. It’s simple. She is the only one I’ve ever loved. The only one I will love. And I’m not going to waste my, nor anyone else’s time, by pursuing something I don’t want. Not when there are more important things to be focused on.”

 

He looks at me a moment, then claps me on the shoulder.

 

“For your sake, actually, for all of our sakes I hope Nassa is wrong. I hope Jaina proves us all wrong. I hope she doesn’t break your heart.”

 

She won’t , I want to say in frustration. But he’s already walked over to his own ship.

_________________________

Jaina (13 years old)

 

“Dad said I could take you flying to Naboo today. As your present.” I say from the doorway to Ben’s room, “Since he couldn’t be here.”

 

“Yeah he told me when he commed,” I nod, “You’d think he’d make it back in time for his own son’s birthday.”

 

I sigh and lean against the frame.

 

“You know how busy he is-”

 

“Mom made it back.”

 

“He still commed you. He’s still going to come back tomorrow. For your -”

 

“It’s the principle of the thing, JP. You’re too young-”

 

“Don’t you pull that with me,” I shake my head, “We’ll all celebrate tomorrow, you’ll see. Now are we going flying or not? I heard there’s a place our grandfather used to go to on Naboo that we could explore-”

 

His head perks up at that. He’s always been interested in our family history. “Sorry. Sure, let’s go.”

 

I wish I could tell him that Dad is going to come back tomorrow with a really cool present for him! That he didn’t forget him or his birthday, but was just taking some time to find out how to make it special. Which I can’t tell him, of course. So I just have to cheer him up until then.

 

Little do I know that I won’t get the chance to. That, the very next morning, bright and early, Ben leaves for the Praxeum. And my father comes home to a very somber house.

__________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

“What’s that?” I hear a tiny voice say in a light accent. It’s so high, he must be very young.

 

I compose myself and turn. “Nothing a little boy should concern himself with.”

 

His skin is an olive tone, and his one eye is a deep chocolate brown. He has permanent dimples in his cheeks. There’s something about him that’s so familiar, and yet-

 

“I’m not little, Ms. Ren, I’m 7!”  He says, walking forward with no fear, “You’re like me, aren’t you? You can hear the voices.”

 

“How-” I move towards him as well, furrowing my brows. I drop the harshness of my tone. “ You can hear the voices?”

 

“I can hear a man’s voice. And a woman with a voice kind of like yours...but yours is just slightly different. Which was why I was staring earlier.”

 

I crouch down to his height and he, too, furrows his brows, looking at me inquisitively.

 

“What do they say?”

 

“They don’t talk to me. They talk to other people. And at weird times I can hear what they’re saying, but...” He hesitates, “It’s usually normal stuff. Just for a few minutes. Are your voices like that too?”

 

He asks it so innocently. I wonder how he lost that eye. What horrors he’s been through at the age of just 7.

 

“My voices scream my name,” I sigh, “They try to tell me what’s the right thing to do.”

 

“Don’t you know what’s the right thing to do?” He sits down, crossing his tiny legs, “Maz says you just have to think about how your actions are to other people. She says I need to treat beings the way I want to be treated.”

 

“You’d think I would.” I too take a seat, taking out the key. “But the galaxy’s not as black and white as people think it is. Maz is right, though, that is the first step.”

 

“That’s what was in the box?” He whispers, staring wearily at the key, “I felt something weird down here and even though Maz told me not to, I came to see what it was. That’s when the voices started. So I come down here to keep hearing them.”

 

I make a mental note to ask Maz about him.

 

“What are your voices saying now?”

 

“I don’t hear the lady’s voice. She might be asleep. But the man is talking with a friend,” He fiddles with his sleeve.

 

I show it to him, turning it over. One side of it has a small marking I swear I’ve seen in some Jedi text.

 

“Be careful, it’s weird. I touched it and it showed me memories of some of the worst days of my life.”

 

But that marking doesn’t make sense in the context of the visions it showed me. They were all associated with negative, hateful emotions: anger, hate, fear, frustration. All of which can help lead one to the Dark Side.

 

Maybe it was a test. Actually, knowing Snoke it was probably a test. To see if I am still worthy enough to be one of his apprentices. Isn’t that why he sent me here in the first place?

 

Which means I’ve wasted enough time already. I need to find that damn kyber crystal.

 

“Maybe if I touch it, it’ll show me my parents when they left me with Maz. I don’t remember them.” His eye gleams, but not with tears.

 

“I’m sorry. I haven’t seen my parents in 7 years.” I touch his shoulder with my free hand and feel the Force radiating off of him in gentle waves. Not strong enough to sense remotely, but there.

 

But even still, it’s like something is off. Something not right. But he stares at me with the same wonderance, as if he can feel it too.

 

“I should go, I’m sort of on a top-secret, time-sensitive mission.” I don’t want to. I want to ask this kid a hundred more questions.

 

For starters: How the hell does Snoke not know about you?

 

I force myself to stand and he does too.

 

“Yeah I told Maz I’d help her fix her speeder. The arrays of the micro-coils of the repulser need tightening.”

He turns to go up the stairs.

 

“You know how to fix a speeder?”

 

He turns back and grins. “Yep! Maz says it’s in my blood. That I could be the best mechanic in the galaxy if I put my mind to it.”

 

I’m the best mechanic in the galaxy, I want to tease. But I’m so taken aback, nothing comes out.

 

“I’m Cas, by the way, Casimir. Sorry I always forget my manners.”

 

“It’s okay, I forget them too,” I smile at him. “Best go on, then. I’ll see you again, Casimir.”

 

“I hope so, Ms. Ren.”

***

I disappear into the kitchen portion of the bar. I push past people and creatures cooking, ignoring the complaints. Finally, I make it to the extremely narrow spiral staircase.

 

Of course he had to make this difficult, of course.

 

Huffing a breath, I start up it, running up and up and up.

 

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, I reach a short hallway with one door at the end. Sure enough this door has a green key hole.

 

I take the key out of my pocket as I walk as quietly as I can to the door. Reaching it, I press my ear against it and hear nothing.

 

What kind of an acquaintance to Snoke lives somewhere as rundown as this?

 

I take the key and slowly, slowly insert it into the hole. It fits and I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding.

 

And then a feeling of familiarity washes over me, so startling that I catch myself on the wall. A feeling definitely sent via the force.

 

I sense my father.

 

Why is he here? On Takodana of all places? Now that I’m here...He can’t see me like this. How could I let him down like this?

 

Jaina . I hear that old voice again, this time in both ears, and clap my gloved hands over them.

 

I can’t I’m not strong enough I-

 

You need to balance yourself, Jaina. Only then will you be able to balance others.

 

I remove my hands from my ears and take a few deep, calming breaths. Okay. It’s okay that my father’s here. I just need to get this damn kyber crystal and get off of this planet as soon as possible so he doesn’t see me.

 

I turn the key and then the knob of the door. I push it in, but it doesn’t budge. Not even after a couple of times. So I shove it with my shoulder and it finally opens.

 

To nothing.

 

Absolutely nothing .

 

Damn it!” I scream, throwing my dagger into the room.

 

With a whoosh sound similar to that of a lightsaber, the dagger disappears.

 

What?

 

I grab another one and step to the point in the room where it disappeared. Tentatively, I push the point of my dagger in that direction, and that part of it disappears. I pull it back, and it comes back completely whole.

 

Blinking, I see kind of a shimmer before me. So I part it with my hand, and step forward.

***

My uncle sits before me at a table, staring straight into my soul with his clear-blue eyes.

 

“Uncle Luke,” I whisper in wonder.

 

“She’s 19 Han,” My uncle’s voice is calm, and I pivot to see if my father is there. And he is. Only a much younger version of him. “A year older than when you first met me...and you know how little I knew about the world then.”

 

What in the stars is happening?

 

I step sideways to get out of the middle of their conversation.

 

My uncle’s very short compared to my father. This is exacerbated by the fact that my uncle is sitting down in front of my now pacing father.

 

“She wants go go to flight school. She has the talent to do it! And if not flight school then she wants to work on ships and by having her train full time you’re stopping her from doing what she wants to do!”

 

“You are just assuming that’s what she wants...being a Jedi is in her blood ,” My mother appears next to her brother. Mom. My father throws her an incredulous glare.

 

“So is piloting. So is the ‘Dark Side’,” he crosses his arms, “I can almost tell you for a fact-”

 

“What, from something she said when she was 5? Luke just wants her to take the next step in her training.”

 

He runs his hand through his hair. “I can see the gleam in her eyes, Leia, whenever she’s piloting the Falcon. Whenever her and that Dameron boy talk about his time in Flight School. Whenever she’s tinkering with things, trying to figure out how they work. Whenever she--”

 

“That’s interesting,” my Uncle says, “Because she is more interested in the theory, in trying to figure out how the Force works to affect all of us than she is for things the other padawans are interested in.”

 

“Well, what if she trained half-time? And worked as a pilot for me the other half.” My mom says, her face somber. She doesn’t admit that my dad was right.

 

“Not as good as flight school but at least it’s controlled practice. We’d have to ask her.” My dad says. “Pilot, come here!” Then they all turn and look at me expectantly.

 

I gape for a few seconds, struggling for the words.

 

“Yes,” I find my voice, strangled as it may be. “I heard your whole conversation. And I agree.”

 

“Then it’s settled,” My mother says, smiling through closed lips.

 

I can’t help but smile back at her, my eyes filling up with tears.

 

A hand touches my shoulder and I turn. Straight into someone’s chest.

 

But the feel of this hug envelops me and makes me feel so secure. It’s a hug I had not too long ago.

 

“Blue Jay you did it!” Poe picks me up, then, and spins me around. I laugh, throwing my head back. As natural a position as ever, “Commander of your own Squadron!”

 

I know this conversation by heart.

 

“It’s a throwaway title, you know. We’re barely gonna get to go on missions. Rogue Squadron’s just a band of the few of us who don’t fit in the other squadrons. And I’m the queen of the freaks so-” He sets me down abruptly.

 

“Not queen. Commander . Commander of the Freaks.” He grins cheekily and I frown. “I’m making sure that nickname sticks-”

 

“Don’t you dare!” I swat at him with the oily rag I was working with and he bolts away laughing.

 

Poe’s laughter turns into mine. My raspy cackle.

 

“Not so tough now, are ya big brother?” I wheeze in hilarity after seeing the state of my brother once I finished the multiple barrel rolls in the Falcon.

 

I remember this day. When I somehow convinced my brother onto the Falcon and into the thermosphere for a little joyride.

 

The stars whiz past us and the sight causes a flutter in my heart. Even now, after all this time.

 

“Jaina! Dad’s going to kill us!”

 

“He’s not the one we need to be worried about. He taught me that.” I smile, turning to him in the copilot’s chair. “Though, Chewie might be mad that you’re destroying his armrests with your nails.”

 

“Mother’s going to have a conniption.”

 

“I’m 16, practically an adult,” I toss my long braids over my shoulders, “I can handle her, Ben.”

 

Ben . I haven’t called him that since-

 

My mouth and body aren’t doing this on the accord of my mind.

 

Ben sighs and adjusts the seat restraints tighter over his lap. Over his lightsaber-

 

Lightsaber. Kyber Crystal.

 

That’s why I’m here. I’ve wasted too much time already. No matter how good the memories may be.

 

Nothing good can come from too much good.

 

The vision shifts, but before it can show me anything else, I shut my eyes and cover my ears. It worked the last time.

 

And I hear and see nothing. So I let myself open my eyes again, and a glowing white figure stands before me. His face is completely blank and devoid of any markings. He wears formal senator attire from the neck down.

________________

Poe (Present Day)

“General! We just received a communique from GA-97. BB-8 was spotted on Takodana,” Connix yells from her post.

 

My droid .

 

“Takodana? That’s where Jaina is, no?” I move to crouch next to her screen.

 

“Yeah. She wouldn’t take him back to the First Order, would she?” Connix says. “Because not doing so would also blow her cover.”

 

“She’ll find her way out of this. She has to know this is a line she cannot cross.”

 

The General, having finished reading the entire communique clears her throat. And the room goes silent.

 

“All right, everyone to their stations. I don’t care what the odds are, we need to get that droi-” she cuts off, and the room stares at her expectantly.

 

Connix and I both turn and see the General staring at the floor, her hand over her heart.

 

Suddenly, alarms all over the command center go off.

 

“Shit, shit, shit !” I curse.

 

“Hosnian Prime! It’s been decimated!” Ackbar shouts.

 

Gasps of shock and horror fill the room.

 

The entire New Republic gone in the span of a second.

 

“What are we going to do-”

 

“The First Order, they’re too powerful-”

 

“What if we’re next?”

 

“Enough!” Leia walks to the center console. “As of right now we, the Resistance, are the majority of what is left of the New Republic. We need to keep fighting to make sure we uphold their legacy of being a peaceful galaxy. Which means there’s absolutely no time for panic.”

 

Murmurs of agreement go throughout the room and the other commanding Admirals and officers go to their posts and start setting up for this soon to be battle.

 

She turns to me, quick as a whip. “Commander Dameron, how soon can your Squadron fly?”

 

“Whenever you give the signal, General.” I say, looking over to where they stand assembled in the corner. They straighten up, ready to go.

 

“I want you to go to Takodana and receive that droid as soon as possible. If BB-8’s been spotted by our intel on a neutral planet, the First Order’s definitely already on their way. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose.”

 

“Copy that, General.” I nod to her. Then squeeze Connix on the shoulder as I move to join my Squadron in the corner.

 

“Commander Claire. I need Blue Squadron on standby for backup.”

 

“Copy that General.” Moili nods, her squadron coagulating near us.

 

“And Commander Penter, I think it’s time you extracted Captain Solo if possible.”

 

She’s coming home. Maker , she’s coming home.

 

I see the entirety of Rogue Squadron faces light up. They hardly ever get to go on missions.

 

“Consider it done, General.” Lora nods vigorously, her ponytail bobbing with her head.

 

“I want your entry to be from a distance.”

 

“We’ll be on the ground, General. As discreet as possible. Perhaps we make it seem like a kidnapping?”

 

“Perfect. Gives us room to get her back in if possible. Everyone else, standby for your assignments. Let’s go!”

______________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

I hold out the dagger I realize is still in my hand.

 

Who could this be? Snoke’s acquaintance?

 

“So you resisted the complete pull to the Light.” I hear a disembodied, indistinguishable voice. What hole in its body could it be coming from? “Interesting.”

 

“This was your doing, then. Are you a Sith? Or working with the First Order?”

 

“I’m the Keeper of Memories. I can see all that has passed. I’m intimately familiar with the Force, but have no allegiance either way.”

 

Like me , I want to think. But that’s not entirely true. I’m not neutral in this war.

 

“What can you do?”

 

“I draw from both the Light and the Dark, on the memories associated with the emotions of both, and bring them forward. In your case, your call to Light was ever so slightly stronger than that of darkness, so I brought it forward in terms of what makes you Light, to see if I could tip the scales.” It steps slightly closer, “Interesting that your soul is adamant on keeping both.”

 

“Why could that be?” I shake my head, needing to satisfy my curiosity, “Why am I different than my brother? Than my uncle, or the other wielders?”

 

“The Force works in mysterious ways.” He sweeps his hand, “Across time, many have been like you. No allegiance either way. But for some people, it’s taught. Preferable almost.”

 

And yet, I’ve been called a freak my whole life for it.

 

“Preferable?”

 

“It represents a balance. There was once a sect of Jedi called the Grey Jedi who pulled from both the light and the dark. I can show you,” It extends a hand to me.

 

I take a step back. “Listen, uh?”

 

“Keeper.”

 

Keeper , I enjoy a little experiment as much as the next being, but I really am on a time crunch here. Do you happen to have a kyber crystal?”

 

Please, please-

 

“Indeed I do.” It says after a moment. I sigh in relief.

 

“Great. Is there anything I can do to take it off your hands?” I say, sheathing my dagger and dusting off my hands.

 

It cocks its head to one side and, though it doesn’t have a face, I can feel it studying me.

 

“You look a lot like your grandmother. The one you’re named after.”

 

I furrow my brows.

 

“Jaina?” I speak my true name for the first time in years. My father’s mother’s name. Apparently she had black hair and darker skin. Just as I do.

 

“The other one. You act like her too. She was truly a good soul.”

 

“Padme?”

 

Padme. Neither my mother, nor my uncle truly remember my grandmother, though my mother remembers her sad. For she died when they were very young. From what I gathered, she was wholly beautiful. And a warrior. And loved by so, so many.

 

I’m not whole. And a killer. And hated by so, so many.

 

“I’m the Keeper of Memories. And that also pertains to artifacts that have stood the test of time.” It says, stepping closer. “I will give you the kyber crystal. If you wear it close to your heart with this. I like to see the circle of life completed.”

 

He holds out a necklace in his blank hand. It’s a cordy black necklace with what looks like a segment of Jappor wood in a square-like shape with carvings into it. I take it into my own gloved hand, inspecting it.

 

“Was this my grandmother’s?”

 

“It was indeed. Given to her by your grandfather, Anakin Skywalker.”

 

“Before he became Darth Vader?” I whisper.

 

“Yes. It represents a love between good and what would turn out to be evil. It represents a balance . One that you must remember to carry for the rest of your life. And pass off to your descendant.”

 

I look up at It. “I will."

 

“Take this, then.” He hands me the uncolored crystal, already made into a pendant. I slip it onto the necklace, then secure it around my neck and under my tunic. “And may the Force be with you.”

 

“Thank you, Kee-”

 

My throat closes up. I drop to my knees, feeling like the breath was knocked out of me. An entire world a galaxy away is suddenly silent.

 

No, no, no, no-

 

The Keeper looks down in silent defeat.

 

Starkiller Base has been fired for the first time.

 

And then the sound of explosions fills my ears. Keeper disappears, and the entire room around me comes down.

Chapter Text

Jaina (Present Day)

 

I feel myself falling, and I catch glimpses of nearby towers as I do so. And I close my eyes, grasping onto the tethers of the Force around me. I open them, and Leap off of one of the rocks onto another turret.

 

Grasping onto it, I catch my breath, looking around for what the hell is going on.

 

Tie Fighters and other First Order ships zip through the skies, shooting at random and causing chaos.

 

In the midst of all of it, I spot my father and Chewbacca. The sight catches me so off guard that I slip a little on the turret. Securing myself I glance back again. They’re with Maz and little Casimir and...that Stormtrooper who left with Poe! Which means that BB-8 is here, which would explain-

 

Jaina.

 

I can sense him sense me and the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I turn and see his big dark ship descending behind the castle.

 

I need to avoid both members of my family. I need to find that Droid and get it out of here .

 

A girl stands at the edge of the forest, swathed in beige and white. And down next to her-

 

BB-8! This was the girl they were talking about, then. She takes out a gun and struggles to shoot at first, but then finally finds her target. She bolts off into the forest, BB-8 hot on her heels.

 

I should move into action immediately, but I can’t. This girl has the force emanating off of her like a Dreadnought plowing straight into me. It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

 

Go .

 

I shake my head and Leap again, onto the ground, and take off after her. Behind me, blasters and shouts go off. The people have started to fight back.

 

“Jaina!” I hear Maz call, but I can’t turn around. I don’t have time.

 

I bolt into the forest and follow the easiest path for BB-8 to roll.

 

And then I see them, hiding behind a mound of dirt.

 

“You have to keep going, stay out of sight,” the girl says in a light, accented voice that sounds familiar, “I’ll try to fight ‘em off.”

 

“I hope we’ll both be okay.” BB-8 beeps.

 

“I hope so too.”

 

She knows Binary. Who is she?

 

I see a few Stormtroopers behind me and turn to face them, bringing out my blaster.

 

“Ma’am, we’ve located the droi-” I don’t let them finish as I shoot all four of them one by one, precisely in the forehead of their helmets. Then I shoot the many lining the edge of the forest until my blaster clicks with no ammo.

 

Hopefully that’ll buy us some time.

 

Turning back, I see no BB-8, but the girl staring at me with wild eyes. Not necessarily scared, but more bewildered.

 

And then I realize why. I’m supposed to be Kira Ren. I can’t kill my own soldiers.

 

Shit shit shit-

 

She holds out her blaster between us as I go closer.

 

“Stay back!”

 

“Which way did BB-8 go?” I ask, looking in every direction.

 

“And why would I tell you?” She says coldly, teeth gritted.

 

My reputation precedes me, and yet, she’s brave. I like her.

 

“I’m Captain Jaina Solo. I’m with the Resistance and BB-8 is my friend Commander Poe Dameron’s droid. I’m undercover in the First Order and I need to find that droid and get it the hell out of sight!”

 

“Solo?” She whispers, then takes a long look at me, as if comparing my features. I nod. She’s met my father, then. “He went that way.” She points, and I nod at her.

 

“Thank you!” I run off .

 

I continue for a while, twisting and turning and looking into small crevices, until I see a ball like bottom sticking out of a well hidden fern.

 

“BB-8,” I whisper, crouching down next to the plant.

 

The droid rolls out in full attack mode and I scramble back, falling on my ass. As soon as it sees me, all of the exterior defenses get shoved back inside.

 

“Jaina!

 

“Hi bud!” I smooth my hand over its head. “I’m going to get you out of here, okay?”

 

“Yes, okay. Also, you’re bleeding .”

 

I stand up, ready to move.

 

“I am?” I feel around my face and, indeed, there is a gash along my jaw. “Great.”

 

I turn us in the direction of the cottage Maz had given me and, once we reach it, I lock the door behind us.

 

“This isn’t very defensible.”

 

“We won’t be here long.”

 

I grab a few kitchen knives and a blaster from Maz’s closet. I stick it in the holster on my leg.

 

“Alright, let’s-”

 

“You two, check inside that cabin.” I hear the modified voice of a Stormtrooper say.

 

“Shit,” I mutter, moving to shove BB-8 inside of that same closet and underneath a few blankets. BB-8 whirs quietly and I shush it.

 

There’s a pounding on the door and I move over to it with a stoic, annoyed expression on my face.

 

“This is the First Ord- Ma’am? ” It cuts off as I open the door.

 

“What is the meaning of this?” I open the door wider and allow them inside.

 

“Why are you here, Ma’am?”

 

“I believe I ask the questions here.” I ignite my saber and the two of them shrink back, the purple glow highlighting their faces. “I was sent here with an important mission from The Supreme Leader himself. Next thing I know, I’m falling out of that starsforsaken castle blown apart by my own Tie Fighters. I came back here to clean up and go rejoin the fight, so tell me. What the hell caused this ambush?”

 

They look at one another, then back at me. “The droid was spotted heading west into the forest.”

 

“The droid? The one with the map?”

 

“If you ran this way after the castle fell, you should have seen it, Ma’am.”

 

Since when were stormtroopers smart? I waste no time in cutting them both down. They fall in front of me with a thud, and I shut the door.

 

“BB-8.” I open the closet and he rolls out, shaking off the blankets. “We’re gonna have to run.”

 

“Let’s do this thing.”

 

I throw open the door, and see four more troopers staring at me from near my ship with KR-14 Range Blasters... my blasters. And then the droid, and back to me. They start firing and I block each blast with my saber.  One gets me in the leg and I grunt in pain.

 

BB-8 rolls next to me and starts firing small metal coins at them.

 

“Where the hell did you learn to do that?” I huff, centering myself to the force.

 

“Don’t ask.”

 

“Alright. Well can you cover me?”

 

BB-8 increases its speed of its extrication and the troopers momentarily put down their blasters. I strike in that very moment. Hands extended, I blast them with my lightning, all four of them convulsing on the ground with aftershocks.

 

Where the hell did you learn to do that?”

 

“Don’t ask. Also, Language , bud. Come on!” I race over to the ship, BB-8 hot on my tails. I turn and hoist it into the cockpit and scramble in myself.

 

I scramble to turn on the damned thing and hover us in the air.

 

You took out the droid controls?!” BB-8 beeps, exasperatedly near my feet.

 

“Of course I took out the droid controls, do you think I want First Order droids to have a say in my piloting?” I fly us through the trees, staying just under the treeline. We swerve so much BB-8 has to extend its stabilizers so he doesn’t break my legs.

 

As I’m trying to get us farther and farther from the site of battle, BB-8 whirs excitedly.

 

Jay! Jay! Poe-Poe is-!”

 

“Poe? Poe is what?!”

 

Look left!” I glance quickly and see both Black and Blue Squadrons skim the lake.

____________________

Poe (Present Day)

 

“Commander Claire looks like you guys are gonna have to flank right. That’s where the majority of em are!”

 

“Agreed, Commander Dameron. Commander Claire to Bridge, Rogue Squadron’s just cut off behind us.”

 

“Sounds good, keep us updated.”

 

I switch my mic to just my Squadron’s frequency.

 

“Alright Blue’s flanking right and Rogue’s cut off.”

 

“Oh shit !” I hear Lu curses so loudly a buzz of static rummages through my brain.

 

“‘The hell Lu?” Jess says

 

My heart jumps to my throat.

 

“What, what is it?!”

 

“Isn’t that the kind of ship that took you? Kylo Ren’s ship? To your nine.”

 

Indeed to my left is that dark black ship from Jakku.

 

Well since it’s more equipped for transport than fighting we shouldn’t be concerned. Just the Tie Fighters-

 

“It’s all right. Go straight ahead and don’t let these dogs scare you!” I say, taking out the parked Tie Fighters in front of Maz’s castle.

 

“Copy that!” Jess says.

 

“We’re with you, Poe!” Snap adds.

 

I pull up ahead, ready to take the first brunt of attack and immediately engage two Tie Fighters and the gaggle of Stormtroopers holding hostages. I’m going too fast to see who it is.

 

I make a wide arc, targeting and eliminating them all in one fell swoop. The hostages break away and the tightness of adrenaline rushing through me releases a bit.

 

“This is Blue Leader. Update for Bridge, Kylo Ren’s ship has just touched ground.” Moili’s voice says.

 

“Copy Blue Leader.”

 

That’s when I spot the large, furry brown which is unmistakably the Solo family friend, Chewbacca. And next to him, Han Solo. And...Finn? Holy shit!

 

How is it that everyone is on this damn planet at once?

 

“This is Rogue Three. Update for Bridge, no sign of Captain Solo or BB-8 yet. Rouge 4 and 5 found a cottage with many fallen stormtroopers with lightsaber wounds and an imprint of a ship in the grass, so the Captain must be nearby. I continue to look aerially.”

 

“Copy Rogue Three.”

 

Continuing the arc, I flank left and tail one before blasting it out of the sky. Then another, and another, and another. They spiral down, causing smoke and debris to fly all over the ground.

 

“Leave some for the rest of us, boss,” I hear Karé snicker.

 

“Keep up, VK,” I grin and see a familiar face as I swoop low.

 

Finn, lightsaber in hand, is locked in battle with a Stormtroopers. What in the skies-

 

Close by I see Han and Chewie crouching behind a rock, so I make another arc and, on the downward, eliminate three stormtroopers going after them. I fly right over Finn as I move off to help Snap.

 

He cheers something and I can’t hesitate to let out a “WOOHOO” as Snap and I lay it on an evasive one.

 

“Commander Dameron any updates? We haven’t heard from you in a while.”

 

I arc up and slightly away from the thick of battle.

 

I switch my mic back to the overall frequency.

 

“Black Leader, copy that. Update from my end, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the stormtrooper that helped me are on the ground.”

 

Silence from the other end. “Bridge, do you read me?”

 

“Yes, Commander, loud and clear we-”

 

“This is Rogue Three! We’ve spotted Captain Solo, preparing for extraction now.”

 

Jay .

 

“Steady on, Rogue Three. Be careful.”

 

“Copy that.”

__________________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

I felt my brother’s presence even closer just a few minutes ago, so I take us off in a different direction. Suddenly, an X-wing descends before us and I all but crash into it. I screech to a stop and BB-8 whirs in annoyance.

 

Are you trying to kill us?!”

 

“You wanna fly the ship next time, bud, be my gues-”

 

I recognize the markings on that ship. Because it matches the one I flew for years.

 

Rogue Squadron. Rogue 4 to be exact. It’s Lora’s ship.

 

BB-8 recognizes it the instant I do. Lora jumps out of the ship, her ponytailed light brown hair falls out as she removes her helmet. Her very pale skin and horns are a welcome and familiar sight.

 

She was one of my first friends in the Resistance because she was different, like me.

 

I open the hatch and, after grabbing hold of BB-8, slide down the side of my ship. The blaster wound in my leg sends hot pulses down my leg as I land. I set it down on the ground and throw my arms around her in a hug.

 

“Where’ve ya been, Jay?” She holds me out by the shoulders looking over me.

 

“Oh you know,” I grin, huffing in disbelief, “Here, there, everywhere. I take it you’re here for this little guy. Stormtroopers are crawling this place, so you should probably-”

 

She shrugs, nonchalantly. “Actually we’re here for you.”

 

“I doubt Black, Blue, and Rogue Squadrons would all be here for me ,” I laugh, gesturing for BB-8 to go stand near her. But it turns and looks at both of us inquisitively.

 

“Black and Blue aren’t. But Rogue most definitely is.”

 

I frown. “I’m-I haven’t finished my mission.”

 

“And when will you have finished it?” I turn and hear Skena Tano’s voice.

 

I turn and see the Togruta walk over to me, her bright orange skin tone and large white montral blending in so well with her flight suit.

 

“When the First Order’s been stopped.” I say, grimacing at the pain that is coursing through my leg and seeping its way up into my veins from the blaster wound.. Damn my weapon making .

 

“Not to be a pessimist, but that could be a long time from now.” Skena walks over to me, grabbing my hand, “It’s time to come home.”

 

But my brother...who’ll watch out for him if I go. How do I preserve that light that’s left in him if I leave?

 

A small, tiny part of me asks, how do I preserve that light that’s left in me if I stay ?

 

I shake my head, pulling away my hand. “Not yet. It’s not time yet. But it is time for you guys to take BB-8 and-”

 

“Sorry, JP, these are direct orders from the General herself. Let’s go-”

 

“I can do this, guys. I don’t mind wasting the rest of my life if it means saving so many more in the long run.” I limp away from both of them and towards my ship, tears springing in my eyes at each step. I feel a weird prickling sensation at the back of my neck, but I continue my backward trek. “I’m sorry, but I really should be go-”

 

I feel a sharp pain in the back of my head, and then the world goes black.

________________________

Poe (Present Day)

“Bridge, they’re pulling back!” I say, as I see the remaining Tie Fighters pull off and away. Stormtroopers race back to the transport ships.

 

“This is Rogue Three. We have Captain Solo and BB-8. Permission to extract?”

 

“Negative. Are you secure?” Admiral Ackbar says. I furrow my brows. Why not?

 

“Yes? What’s going on?”

 

“They’re pulling back, Commander. So they’ll all see you in plain view if you leave as well.”

 

“Captain Solo might need medical attention. Bleeding blaster wound to the left thigh and an unavoidable blow to the back of the head. She’s unconscious.”

 

Ah shit .

 

“This is Black Leader, do you need backup?”

 

“No Commander Dameron, we need you monitoring the skies. Send one of your crew, with permission to reach the Bridge, and perhaps have them bring her to what remains of the temple.”

 

“Copy that, Bridge. Rogue Three, send me your coordinates.”

 

“Copy that.” Lora says.

 

Jaina , please be okay. I receive the coordinates and immediately send them out to all of Black Squadron.

 

I switch my mic. “Jess, Snap, Rogue Squadron is in need of assistance, can you pull off and away to help em out, they’ll tell you what to do. You have permission to connect to Bridge.”

 

“Gotcha!” Jess says.

 

“Heading there now. Lead the way, Jess.”

 

They cut off and I pull back down to the brunt of the fight. As the Ties are evacuating we cut em off and try to destroy as many as we can. The less they have in their fleet, the better.

 

Lu and Karé weave seamlessly around me, no words needing to be exchanged, save for yells of elation as we hand their asses to em.

 

Blue Squadron picks off the Stormtroopers still on the ground, though 2 of their pilots had to pull away after being hit.

 

A few minutes later, and all of those Stormtroopers on the ground have either already gone or are isolated around Kylo Ren’s ship.

 

“Commander Dameron, Commander Claire.”

 

I switch my mic again. “Yes, Bridge?”

 

“Bridge?”

 

“General Organa requests to land on Takodana. We’d like for the two of you to escort her transport ship.”

 

Why does everyone have to be on this planet? I sigh internally.

 

“Copy that, just let us know when.” Moili says.

 

“Update for Bridge from Black Three. Rogue Three and Black Five will secure BB-8 in this location until the entirety of the First Order has pulled out. The rest of Rogue will be falling back. Captain Solo’s health has worsened, so I’m bringing her to the temple now,” Karé’s voice comes loud and clear.

 

Jaina .

 

“If you absolutely must, Black Three, then proceed.”

 

“Copy that.”

 

With almost all of the First Order ships gone, I send Lu and Karé back and Moili sends her squadron back as well. The two of us stay suspended on the lake in front of the temple, watching over the scene below us. We shoot at the occasional leaving Tie Fighter. As I’ve turned my sights on another one, I hear her curse.

 

“That bastard ,” she swoops farther downward. And I pivot, letting that Tie Fighter go.

 

Kylo Ren walks with a girl in his arms, holding her too close to his chest for us to get a clear shot at him.

 

Oh no-

______________________

Jaina (Present Day)

 

NO! REY!” rings through my ears as I struggle to open my eyes. My leg throbs and I can feel all the cuts on my body pulsing. The back of my head aches as well as, whomever is holding me, breaks into a sprint.

 

“Hey, doucheface! We have your sister!” Is that...Jessika Pava? “Let the girl go!”

 

When I finally open my eyes, I see smoke and dirt and many, many dead.

 

“Jess?”

 

“Jay! Oh, thank the stars,” Jess stops and sets me up against a slab of marble. I’m guessing it was once a part of the temple. “Maz!”

 

I feel my brother’s presence and I turn my head towards where he stalks towards his ship, carrying someone in his arms.

 

“REY!”

 

I start to struggle towards them, but Jess holds me firmly as I thrash.

 

“Jaina-what-” She yells alarmed.

 

“NO!” I scramble away from her, only to fall on the ground again and lifted upright.

 

Ben stares back at me, for a split second, before the door of the ship closes behind him.

 

“What in hell-?”

 

“He has to believe I struggled. That-that I-didn’t-AGH,” I moan as a wave of pain courses through me.

 

“They’re gone! Now help a girl out and sit up.” Jess holds my shoulders, eyeing me for any sudden jerky movements.

 

“Wha-what happened?” I taste blood in my mouth as I speak and I cough.

 

“You got shot in the thigh, remember?”

 

“T-Thigh? I thought it was...n-n-nevermind and then-then I …” I sit up straighter, pain coursing through me as I do so, “BB-8?! Is it-”

 

“BB-8’s secure, don’t worry. Snap and Lora have got ‘em.”

 

“He took her! Did you see that? He took her. She’s...gone.” I turn my head slightly and see FN-2187 freaking out.

 

Her ? Was it the girl he was traveling with?

 

I turn to call out to him, but I’m distracted by the stature of my father. He locks eyes with me and mumbles something to FN-2187.

 

Dad , I mouth and he makes his way over to me. Chewie follows him.

 

Another bout of dizziness overtakes me and I feel very, very faint.

 

I turn back to Jess so my head is a little more stable, and see that Maz and little Cas have joined her. She’s pulling up my robes and bunches it around my chest. I look down at the wound and see a very fast progression of infection.

 

Of course my own weapon would be used against me. Of course . I start to shiver violently.

 

“Casimir, hand me another dollop of Seep Root.”

 

“It-it’s a poison,” I breathe shakily, closing my eyes, “I ma-ADE it.” I yell as the medicine stings my wound. “It’s solidif-FIED dioxis GAS!”

 

Maker, girl,” Maz clicks her tongue.

 

I cry out again, and suddenly my head feels very heavy.

 

“Maz, what the hell are you doing to my daughter?” I hear the gruff voice of my father.

 

“Seep will keep it from spreading more than it already has. I know she’s cured poison before with her Healing, but it’ll be at least a few hours before it’s run its course and she’s expelled it from her system. Keep pressure on that, Sergeant Pava, I need to go check on my temple. Casimir, stay with them.”

 

I feel a hand smooth the hair away from my face. “Stay strong, Pilot. You’ll be okay soon.”

 

Dad ,” I breathe a sigh of relief, leaning into his touch. He takes one of my hands in both of his.

 

“I’ve missed you, sweetheart,” I feel him kiss the top of my head, but his voice seems so distant, “More than you’ll ever know.”

 

“You’ve gotta stay awake, Jay,” Jess says and I open my eyes. “Poe would kill me if you’re anything less than okay. Look, he’s up in the sky right now watching our every move.”

 

“He’s alive,” I breathe in relief, tears spilling down my cheeks at an even faster rate.

 

“Yes, very much alive. And still as cocky as ever.” Jess says, removing a hand to wipe my cheeks.

 

“Her name is Jay?” Cas whispers to my father.

 

“It’s Jaina. But her friends call her Jay,” Dad nods to him, still wrapping his arms around me. “Who are you, kid?”

 

“Casimir. But my friends call me Cas.” He says distantly.

 

The little boy sneaks a glance at me and then looks up into the sky, a small smile appearing on his face. I crane my neck and see the X-Wing of the Black Leader fully repaired after all we’d damaged it on Jakku.

 

It looks like Poe and whomever is now Blue Leader are escorting a transport ship in.

 

“Keep talking, Pilot. Don’t fall asleep on us.”

 

“Wh-what’s he d-doing?” I gesture with a shaky hand up to the sky.

 

“He’s gonna be securing this planet aerially. But right now, he’s escorting your mother in.” Jess smiles at me, “She’s been waiting a long time to see you, though she won’t admit it.”

 

I can’t help the grin that appears on my face, nor the rush of nervousness that bolts through me.

 

“Leia’s here?” My dad stands up as the ship touches the ground, looking like he wants to get the hell out of here.

 

“G-go to her, Dad,” I shiver and shove the hands that hold my own away and towards the ship.

 

“Pilot...your mom and I-” he rubs his beard, “We’re-we haven’t been together much in the past years. After Ben-we didn’t...I mean I didn’t-”

 

“Dad, please,” I sigh, “It doesn’t matter. Please.”  

 

He nods, and moves in front of her ship as it lands.

 

Chewie finally squats down next to me.

 

“You alright, Jaya?” He says to me in Wookie.

 

I grin, I haven’t heard this language in a while.

 

“I-I will be, Chewie. How’s the old man be-been doing?”

 

Same old Han, always getting us into trouble.

 

“Sp-speaking of which, what happened to them? They always fought before-”

 

I’ll tell you later. It’s a long story.”

 

He turns back and sees my dad standing among a swarm of Resistance officers and droids and rushes over to him.

 

“You can understand Wookie? That’s so cool!” Cas says, sitting his tiny body next to me on the rock.

 

“I grew up w-with Chewie, so I had t-to learn.”

 

“You know what’s even cooler? Understanding Binary,” Jess says, keeping pressure on my wound. “You can talk to droids.”

 

I nod vigorously.

 

“I’ve tried to learn, but Maz won’t let me! She says the droids here only speak rubbish.” I shakily wipe some ash off of his cheeks and forehead with my sleeve as he talks. He grins at me, his cheekbones even more pronounced, and grabs my hand with both of his to steady it. “But I’ve secretly picked up a little.”

 

“T-they are pretty vulgar.”

 

“Well what about the droids everywhere else?” Jess takes off her helmet.

 

“I haven’t been anywhere but here in my whole life.”

 

“You haven’t?”

 

He dangles his legs, swinging them back and forth. He doesn’t let go of my hand.

 

“I told you, I never knew my parents. Maz takes care of me, and whenever she leaves it’s too dangerous for me to go with her so I usually stay with the bartender and his family.”

 

I feel a drop in the pit of my belly that can’t be from the poison.

 

“Well, I’m sure-” Jess starts.

 

“Captain Solo.” I snap my head up and see my mother walks over to me. I attempt to sit up a little straighter.

 

My heart jumps up to my throat, remembering the last conversation we’d had.

 

Oh. Oh shit-

 

“General.” I say softly, trying to stop my teeth from chattering. Jess tries to make herself as small as possible and Cas looks between the two of us rapidly.

 

She kneels down in front of me, placing a hand on my lower thigh, the other on my cheek.

 

“It’s time to come home, baby. It’s time.”

 

My face cracks into agony.

 

“There’s so much more I could have done.” I say softly, “I could-”

 

“There are probably so many more things you could do, I’m not doubting that,” she sighs, glancing at my wound, “We can’t get your brother back. But you...you’re strong enough to not turn, but there’s a certain point where everyone breaks. And I can’t risk losing you too.”

 

I close my eyes, tears threatening to pop up.

 

“Open your eyes, Ms. Jaina.” Cas’s innocent voice pleads from next to me. I do, and let the tears trickle down my face.

 

“There’s s-still light left in him, Mom,” I sniffle, “I know there is.”

 

She looks down at the ground, then shakes her head. “It’s not your responsibility to bring him back. You’ve done enough. More than enough.”

 

Not enough. Definitely not enough.

______________________

Jaina (7 years ago)

I wake up in the early dawn completely covered in warmth. Poe’s arms are banded around my back and he looks down at me with a small smile on his face.

 

“Good morning.”

 

“I want to marry you.”

 

I sit up abruptly, choking coughs coming out of me until my eyes water.

 

“Oh shit, Jay I-”

 

“Poe! Maker.” I laugh, twisting around to see him sprawled, looking like a majestic God. Looking as serious as my mother during a strategy meeting. “You’re serious?”

 

“I am.” He nods, a soft smile I know is reserved for me on his face.

 

All of the humor goes out of me and I lean back down to kiss him. Again, and again, and again.

 

Yes, neither of the two voices in my head say.  But rather, my heart.

***

“I don’t know if I want to train anymore,” I say quietly as I shoulder my bag.

 

“What?” My mom places a hand on my arm.

 

“I just...my place is here. Working alongside you in the Resistance.”

 

She purses her lips, “Why not both?”

 

“I could contribute so much more here if I wasn’t part time. When I’m at the Praxeum, all I can think about is returning to my friends and family here, and the next modification I’ll design or-”

 

“Did something happen there? What’s going on?”

 

“I mean, the others at the Praxeum have never liked me. I’m teased relentlessly when I’m there, but I’m already used to that...what bothers me is how increasingly distant Ben’s become. He’s my only lifeline in there, cause Uncle doesn’t give us special treatment,” I take a deep breath. “And here. Here I have you and Lora and Cal and Skena and Snap and Jess and Karé and Poe-“

 

“Jaya-”

 

“You said I could choose, Mom,” I nod with resolve, “I’m not a child anymore. And this is me, making that choice.”

 

“You already made the choice when you completed your Knighthood.”

 

“I did so because I thought many of the principles to be very apt, and the training was keeping the sides at bay. But I have a good handle on it now.”

 

“I understand, Jaina, but you took an oath when you started training. An Oath when you officially became a Knight. You’re about to take on a padawan. You have an oath to the Jedi-“

 

“Well I don’t want to be a Jedi anymore! Not... with what it forces me to do.” I exclaim, chest heaving. Shaking my head, I climb into my ship.

 

I close the top, and mouth May the force be with you, Rebels.

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Please!”

“Casimir, we’ve talked about this.”

I alternated between the arms of my mother and father as I rode out a lot of the poison. Jess and Casimir stayed with me the whole time. I stopped shivering an hour ago and, after a quick reconciliation with Snap and Threepio, went back to the forest with Jess to grab all of my belongings from the jet. We’d just then returned when the entire Resistance seemed to be finished helping with the removal of debris and packing up.

We were leaving. Which meant we’d be leaving Maz and Casimir. I can’t help but stop around the corner of the temple remains and eavesdrop on their conversation.

It’s in my nature as a spy.

“I promise I’ll be on my best behavior! I won’t bother anyone and-”

“It’s too dangerous for a little boy to be in the middle of that, it’s why your parents left me with you in the first place!”

“So my parents are in the Resistance, then?”

“They died, a while ago, you know that.”

I muster up my courage and round the corner. Casimir scrunches his nose, teeth gritted in anger as he sits on a stone, trying to gather up the scraps of a flag. Maz looks older than I’ve ever seen her. Especially when she looks up and sees me. She does a double take and then sighs.

“So you didn’t immediately fly back to the First Order, girlie?”

I hug my waist. “No. Despite the fact that we won’t have insider information anymore, my mother convinced me I’d have as effective a position in the Resistance.”

“I’m glad. That place was destroying you. It does no one any good to dwell that much in the Dark Side. It changes you, no matter how much one can resist.”

I nod. It really, really does.

“I came to say goodbye. To the both of you.”

Maz gives me a hug. “Travel safe, Jaina. And tell my boyfriend I said hi. Tell yours too.”

“Thank you for everything, Maz. I’ll let Chewie know. And...you believe what you want to believe-” at her knowing, I smile, rolling my eyes, “Honestly I don’t know why I even try with you.”

She humphs and picks up another wire.

I turn to Casimir, who looks up at me, a pout on his face.

I kneel down in front of him, wincing at the sharp pain from my wound, “I wanted to apologize to you. I know I was kind of curt and rude when we first met but that was a front I was putting up.”

“It’s okay, I know. I could tell when I saw you with your mom and dad. I’m happy you got to see them again.”

I smile at him and he hops off of his seat and throws his arms around my neck.

“I want to come with you.” He says, tightening his arms around me. I do the same, rubbing circles on his little back.

“I wish you could, bud, but the Resistance is no place for a kid to grow up,” Even though the words sound wrong in my mouth.

I just met this kid. Why is there this inherent trust in me that he’d be fine.

“Ms. Jaina-”

“Just Jaina. Jay if you want.”

Over my shoulder, I hear him go, “Maz, please .”

“Casimir-” at her negative tone, he pulls away from me and stomps over to her.

Please . There is nothing left on Takodana-it’s going to take a long time to rebuild and I’d be better off on a base. You can focus on rebuilding your palace and not have to worry about who I’m with. And I can work and get my education with the mechanics on base there! You said yourself fixing things was in my blood!”

At that last sentence, I can practically feel Maz’s blood go cold. It pangs so sharply through the Force that my own heart rate increases.

“The First Order is what separated me from my parents. I can’t just sit here the rest of my life,” he says, eye pleading.

So his parents were mechanics in the Resistance. I bet I could find them for him.

Then, her face softens as she considers. She looks to me sitting on the ground, then to Casimir, then back to me.

“Will you care for him, Jaina? Promise me no harm will come to him.”  

Can I take on this responsibility? With everything going on will I be able to?

The yes that pulsates through the Force, that pushes through neither Dark nor Light but my very being frightens me. There’s something tying us together, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

“I won’t always be around. I can’t promise that. But...if he does join the Resistance I promise you with my life, I’ll do everything in my power to keep him safe.” And I can feel it in my bones, the weight of my promise. And I can feel the rush of resolve through me that I will keep that promise for as long as I am able.

Maz smiles softly at the boy. “Alright, go. And keep your wits about you, boy.”


Poe (Present Day)

I jump out of my X-Wing, my helmet feeling heavy on my head. Jaina must be back by now. And though it’s not the first time I’ve seen her for a while, somehow I’m even more nervous now than on the First Order base.

“Relax, Poe, your girlfriend’s fine,” Karé says next to me, “Snap told me so.”

I grimace at her gratefully and turn away, removing my helmet and shaking out my sweaty hair. And I thought D’Qar was humid.

Suddenly, something hits my leg. And it’s such a familiar feeling I know what it is before I even look down.

Buddy!” I kneel down and BB-8 starts spouting off a mile a minute.

“-I was in the desert then this girl came to get me and then this dark haired boy who was wearing your jacket and the girl had a staff and started hitting-”

“Wait, you said a dark haired boy with my jacket?” It couldn’t be-

He said he was in the Resistance but he was lying! The nerve!”

“Is he here? Is he-” I look up and see him staring at the two of us in awe.

Finn.

“Oh, ho!” I say, unable to help the smile creeping up on my face. “Finn!" 

Poe! Poe Dameron.”

I run up to him, BB hot on my tails and embrace him, patting his back. How is this real? I’d thought he’d-

“You're alive!” He says in amazement.

“So are you!”

“What happened to you?”

“What happened ?” I snort, “I got thrown from the crash, woke up at night -- no you, no ship, nothing- and I-”

Finn helped save me from the First Order, even if he’s a liar.”

“BB-8 says that you saved him,” I abridge.

“No, no, no. It wasn’t just me.”

“You completed my mission, Finn.” I grin, like a proud brother, “That’s my jacket?”

“Oh, here!” He tries to take it off. And then I realize these are probably the only clothes he has.

“No, no. Keep it. It suits you,” I pat his back, “You’re a good man, Finn.”

“Poe...I need your help.”

***

We finally catch up to Leia, who stands with a lot of the officers.

“General Organa, sorry to interrupt, this is Finn. He needs to talk to you.”

She takes Finn’s hand.

“And I need to talk to him. That was incredibly brave, what you did. Renouncing the First Order, saving this man’s life-”

“Thank you, ma’am,” Finn interrupts, “But a friend of mine was taken prisoner.” 

“Han told me about the girl, I'm sorry.” She says, shaking her head.

 I jump in with an idea.

Finn's familiar with the weapon that destroyed the Hosnian system. He worked on the base.”

 “Well we just finished taking Captain Solo’s account, but we’re still desperate for anything you can tell us.” I look around for her immediately. The conversation background noise to me.

 “That’s where my friend was taken...I’ve got to get there, fast.”

 “And I will do everything I can to help, but first you must tell us all you know.”

“Alright, so-” Finn launches into anything and everything about the back rooms of the base. I try my hardest to listen in, but then I finally see Jay on the other side of the room. Sitting next to Chewie and Doc Kalonia, whose bandaging her up.

Her hair is fully down now and she wears one of her old outfits from 7 years ago. It’s tighter on her hips and-

Her eyes snap up. She’s caught me staring (she could always tell) and lets out a little laugh. The doctor pats something down at her side, and then Jay hops off of the table and weaves her way over to me. 

I excuse myself, and furiously push past people.

Jaina-Jaina-Jaina- It’s like I have tunnel vision.

“Poe,” she sighs in relief as she throws her arms around me and I wrap my arms behind her back, pressing her to me. “Oh Maker I missed you”

She smells exactly how she used to. And it’s intoxicating. And I cannot bring myself to think past it.

I feel her grasping onto my shirt like she’s afraid I’ll somehow be dragged away, and I press her even tighter to me, one hand tangling up in her hair. But then she tenses ever so slightly.

I pull away, still holding her back.

“Sorry, are you okay? How’s the wound?”

She smiles softly, running her hands over my face, my chest, my arms, “Much better. Mom told me all about how you survived the crash...I thought the worst when I’d heard but I figured I’d know if-”

“I’m alright now. And, hopefully, we’ll all be.”

“Poe-” her voice chokes up and I bury my face in the crook of her neck. She sighs shakily, a hand cording through my hair. I kiss her clothed shoulder and she shudders. “There’s so much I have to tell you.”

“What’s seven years worth of secrets added to the 20 I already know?” I chuckle and she pulls away slightly, leaning back into my crossed arms behind her, her hands around my neck and a smirk on her face.

“You certainly like to sound important.”

“That’s because I am Blue Jay,” I use her old nickname and she rolls her eyes at me, “Did you know I’m the Best Pilot in the Galaxy now?”

She scoffs, “Bullshit.”

“I swear on BB-8!”

Oookay ,” she widens her eyes in a way that I can only describe as sarcastic, “And I'm the queen of the First Order now. You can bow down whenever you’d like.”

“Ok let’s get Jess over here, she’ll tell-” I start to turn to look for my comrade.

“I’m kidding , Dameron. You haven’t forgotten my sense of humor yet, have you?” she cups my cheek, drawing me back towards her, “And just...don’t let go of me just yet.”

We share a long, meaningful look before she makes the stupidest face in the world and I burst out laughing.

“You’re ridiculous.”

“You love it.”

I love you.

“General!” We both turn at the tone of Threepio’s voice,not letting go of our embrace, “I regret to inform you, but this map recovered from BB-8 is only partially complete. And even worse, it matches no charted system on record. We simply do not have enough information to locate Master Luke.”

My heart sinks. After all that, we still can’t find Luke.

“I can't believe I was so foolish to think that I could just find Luke and bring him home.” The General says softly, and Jaina purses her lips.

“Leia…” her husband says.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?” Han looks at her, flummoxed.

“Anything!” She complains stalking out. He follows after her.

Jaina watches with a sad, small smile on her face. I pull her even closer.  

“It’s such a familiar sight, isn’t it?” She shakes her head, ultimately resting it on my sternum, “It’s kind of messed up, but I feel so much more at home now.”

“Do they always do that?” I hear a little voice and am shocked when I see a little boy with curly jet black hair and an eyepatch. Surely I would’ve recognized him around base. Jaina detaches herself from me and turns to him.

“It was a staple in my household growing up, Cas. It sounds weird, but it’s how they show their love.”

Cas. Jaina knows him. Did she rescue him from the First Order?

I squat down to his height. He’s just slightly taller than BB-8.

“Hi. I’m Poe. Poe Dameron.” I extend my hand and he shakes it. His tiny hand small in my own. “What’s your name?”

Cas looks at me, then back at Jay, then to me again.

“I know,” she says, also crouching down and wincing heavily, “He has much better manners than either of us.”

I furrow my brow doubly at her wince and being left out from this joke. Also at the fact that his little rough laugh sounds so familiar.

“Jaina here was the worst at social interaction when we were little.”

“Still am. Probably always will be.” She shrugs, sitting properly on the floor now, bad leg extended. “Go ahead, he doesn’t bite.”

“I beg to differ,” I smirk, then blanche as I realize I’m in the presence of a small child, “I mean...I get a lot of bug bites. But no, I don’t bite.”

There aren’t too many children in the Resistance to begin with-let alone those who could probably comprehend the innuendos-so I’m going to have to watch myself.

Jaina shakes her head at me, trying to conceal a smile. He’s not phased in the slightest.

“I’m Casimir. But most people usually call me Cas.” He smiles, one dark eye glancing rapidly between us.

“Nice to meet you,” I grin back, “Are you from Takodana? Or... the First Order?”

“Maz raised me,” He says softly, “This is the first time I’ve been off that planet.”

“Maz is your...mother?” I ask, even though I already know the answer. He’s short, sure, but that has to be because of his age. And his skin tone’s nowhere near orange. Also Jaina’s cringe could set her face permanently.

“No, she’s my Guardian.” He says diplomatically, “My parents were in the Resistance, but they died when I was young.”

Jay purses her lips in thought at that.

“Oh. Well I’m sure they’d be proud that you’re here. Just like they were.”

“I know they are.” He smiles at Jay, who nods encouragingly. “Now Jaina’s in charge.”

“Oh, is she now?” She rolls her eyes at me.

“Yeah! She’s going to show me how to be a proper mechanic.”

“You can fix things?” I quirk a brow at Jay whose eyes are not on the conversation, but in the direction of Finn who is pacing back and forth.

She should talk to him.

“Yeah! I even know all the parts of an X-Wing.”

I glance around the room, where planning appears to have lulled for the moment. I need to go and finish repairs on my own ship before Jaina notices and gets herself waist deep in it.

“Really?! Can you show me on my X-wing?” I stand up and he nods, excited.

Jaina grins at us so widely I feel like she’s going to crack skin.

“I, uh, need to talk to FN-2187 about a potential plan but the two of you go ahead if that’s alright?” Jay says and I nod.

“Thank you,” She whispers to me, coming in close for a hug and I embrace her. I can’t help but give her a kiss on the cheek. She bats my arm away, face reddening. Cas pretends not to see.

“We’ll talk later, Dameron.” She laughs.

“Definitely, Blue Jay. And for the record, his name is Finn now.”

***

“So Mr. Poe, you like Jaina?” He sits on my little workbench, handing me tools when I ask for them.

“Just Poe, Cas.” I grunt, finally loosening the final bolt I’ve been working on. “Can you hand me the-”

“Rapin Wrench? Here-” He hands it to me. I nod in approval at his foresight.

No wonder Jay took to him so quickly.

“Well?” He dangles his feet, watching my every move.

“You know, you’re not the first person to be this pushy about this.

Lu is gonna love this kid.

“There’s probably a reason for that. Are you secretly married?” He insists, dropping his voice into a hopeful whisper.

I look back at him, flummoxed. “Wha-no-uhm-no we’re not.”

“Are you going to be?”

Are we going to be ? I’ll admit, when we were younger the thought of us being together forever was never even questioned. That last day I’d had with her, we’d whispered so many promises that were said in bad timing.

But now... now-

“I don’t know.”

“Hmm.” He hums in approval, handing me the replacement bolt and my original tightening tool without my even asking.

I take them from his tiny hands.

“I think she’ll say yes. If you ask her.” He sniffs, running the back of his sleeve over his nose. “She’s in love with you.”

“How do you know?” I tease, finishing the last bolt. I turn around and grab the rag from the table to wipe my hands of the oil.

He flashes a cocky grin at me. “I’ve been told I’m a love expert .”

“At what 5, 6, 7 years old?”

“7! The girls used to ‘fawn over me’ as one of Maz’s friends used to say.” He hops off of the table with a swagger and I can’t help but laugh. “I guess it was my good looks.”

“Oh, ho!” I laugh, throwing the towel softly at him, “You know they usually say I’m the best looking one here. I guess I’ll have to watch my back.” I raise up my hands as if in mock surrender.

“No one says that, Poe,” Snap says, rounding my ship, an arm around Karé.

“Who might this be?” Karé asks, crouching down.

“This is Cas. He’s the newest member of the Resistance and an accomplished mechanic.” I offer.

“Why hello, Cas. I’m Karé Kun!” She extends her hand and he shakes it, “And this is my husband Temmin Wexley.”

“But I really don’t like the name Temmin. It sounds like a bug,” Snap crouches down at Cas’s giggle, “So I go by Snap.”

“Sounds even more like a bug,” I mutter and Karé snickers.

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Karé and Mr.Snap.” He says.

Mr. Snap, I mouth at my friend and he rolls his eyes.

“So why’re you with Poe?” Snap then asks, eyeing between us suspiciously.

“Well, Jaina’s taking care of me and she-”

“Ah, well that would explain it,” Snap raises his brow at me and, behind Cas, I give him an obscene gesture.

“What would?” Cas asks innocently.

“Well, our little Poey here always goes above and beyond when it comes to J-”

Alright ,” I interrupt, giving him a very harsh glare. “I think you guys have somewhere to be. Right?

Actually , we all do,” Karé says, checking her datapad, “Leia’s requested us all, urgently.”


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

Kylo sits watching the girl sleep. He can’t help but think of the last prisoner he had interrogated in this chair. Of the way he’d just barely recognized him. Of the way the pilot’s thoughts drifted so often towards Kylo’s little sister.

Of the way his sister had lied to him to protect that pilot.

Of the way he had skillfully lied to the Supreme Leader to protect his sister.

Shit. He was in such deep shit.

The girl starts awake, jerking in the restraints. A cold sheen of sweat suddenly coats his body.

Not that she’d be able to tell beneath the mask and clothes, thank the Force.

“Where am I?” Her terror is plain on her pretty. She’s definitely not as cocky as Kira’s pilot. There’s an innocence to her, something fresh, and that causes a pang in Kylo’s heart.

“You’re my guest,” Kylo says. He has to focus on this interrogation. Get in her head, find the information, get out, kill her.

Simple. Routine.

“Where are the others?” Kylo hears the edge in her voice. The only giveaway to her fear being the very faint tremble in her voice.

“You mean the murderers, traitors and thieves you call friends?” The care in her voice sparks Kylo’s annoyance, not least of all because it reminded him of the concern of the pilot for his sister. “You’ll be relieved to hear I have no idea.”

Anger overpowers the girl’s relief and he can feel it rolling off of her in waves. Almost as strong as the Force.

Who is she?

“You still want to kill me?” Kylo says, amused.

“That happens when you’re being hunted by a creature in a mask,” she spits.

A creature? No he’s much more dangerous than a nameless creature.

He’s Kylo Ren. Second in command to Supreme Leader Snoke.

He raised his hands and disengaged his mask. He can see the recognition and shock course through her, even without the Force.

Kylo can’t help but wonder if she knew his familial relation to his enemies. Han Solo had been on Takodana after all.

She didn’t expect him to be this young, he senses, to look so ‘human’.

Huh.

Kylo sets the helmet down and paces closer to her. She’s afraid, but trying desperately not to show it.

“Tell me about the droid,” he says. Maybe he can make this quick and painless for them both.

“He’s a BB unit with a selenium drive and a thermal hyperscan vindicator—“

“Carrying a section of a navigational chart,” Kylo finishes, because it is obvious. And also what he does not need to know, “And we have the rest, recovered from the archives of the Empire. But we need the last piece and somehow you convinced the droid to show it to you.”

Kylo stares at the girl. She keeps her gaze straight ahead. “You,” he says, “A scavenger .”

It’s not that scavenging is the worst profession in the world. There are much worse things for a young woman to be doing in the galaxy, after all.

And yet, the girl looks down, seemingly embarrassed of it. She, Kylo realizes, is unaware of the power roiling around and off of her. Untrained. Such raw potential.

The Supreme Leader warned him that as he rose in the Dark, his equal in the Light would rise. He’d always assumed it would be his little sister. But when the time came, she too joined him in the Dark, albeit less so.

It was almost poetic. Them meeting for the first time.

All is as the Force wills it , he remembers his mother saying.

Kylo internally slaps himself back to reality.

“You know I can take whatever I want,” he tries to sound intimidating, to not sound like he was thinking about his estranged mother. He extends his hand and leans close enough that he barely has to whisper for her to hear him.

“You’re so lonely, so afraid to leave.” he says. He scans the surface of her mind and a name jumps out. Rey .

How fitting , Kylo thinks. A royal name.

And was he not royal and respected in the Dark Side?

Kylo pushes in deeper, starting to feel a ghost of guilt as she cringes in pain.

“At night, desperate to sleep, you imagine an ocean.” Kylo feels a pang of empathy. “I see it,” he says softly. “I see the island.”

The pictures in the girl’s mind change as she tries to direct what Kylo could see. “And Han Solo.” Kylo feels a pang of some near-forgotten pain as his father’s face swims before him. He had aged since Kylo had seen him last. “You feel like he’s the father you never had.”

Kylo digs for the anger at the family that abandoned him, for the despair of knowing they had given up on him. “He would have disappointed you,” he tells the girl, reminding himself.

“Get out of my head,” she grits her teeth, speaking slowly. He feels an authority in the words, driven by the Force. Though he knows he cannot be compelled by such things, he pulls away.

“I know you’ve seen the map.” He steps back. “It’s in there. And now you’ll give it to me.”

Kylo, swallowing the lump of guilt in his throat, easily peels through the first layers of her mind and watches her face tense up with pain as she tries to repel him. “Don’t worry,” he says. “I feel it, too.”

“I won’t give you anything,” she flares her nose in anger. Kylo feels her drawing unknowingly on the Force, shoring up her defenses. His pride flares and the pang in his heart blossoms throughout his entire chest.

“We’ll see,” he says, drawing on his real power for the first time.

Kylo needs to open the girl’s mind. He needs the information only she can offer. The thought of failing disgusts him. But the thought of forcing her, makes him disgusted with himself. Each time he tries, he finds himself holding back. Each blow he throws, he pulls at the last moment.

And with each time she withstands his attacks, the girl grows more confident. More self assured in the Force. He feels her becoming aware of it, grasping on to the strings of it, just the opposite of his own. If his sister was here, she’d probably be able to feel how taught it became between them.

She leans forward, pressing him now. He scrambles to keep the grasp on his own end but, as he touches that dark place inside him, he draws out his own memories as well.

“Threepio! Look at what I can do!” Nine year old Ben lifts his toddler sister out of her high chair and sets her gently on the couch on their small home.

“That’s wonderful, Master Ben!”

“Ben, ‘gain. ‘gain!” Jaina lifts her hands up wanting to grab for him.

Then he’s nineteen and she’s twelve and Force grabbing for her own lightsaber as a few of her fellow padawans tease her.

“No one can be a Jedi and make use of the dark side.”

“Well are you a Jedi master yet?” Ben storms over to them, anger rolling off of him like waves. He doesn’t give a shit about anger leading to hatred and all that crap. No one messes with his little sister.

“No, but-”

“Then how can you know that? You absolute piece of-

Then he’s twenty seven and she’s twenty. And he has his hand extended, begging and pleading with her to come with him as destruction rains down behind her.

And then, seven years later, he stands in his chambers with his sister sitting on the bed staring at the slightly melted mask of his grandfather. And wishing, and praying that he lives up to his family name-

“You. You’re afraid,” she says, a glint of inquisitiveness making her eyes glitter, “That you will never be as strong as Darth Vader .” Kylo jerks back his hand like he’d been burned. The name off of her tongue causes an acidic taste in his own mouth. Enraged at his own failure, he grabs his helmet and flees the room.


Poe (Present Day)

After leaving Cas in Doctor Kalonia’s care, I join the group formed around the Map Table. Karé and Snap briefed me on the way over about Jaina and Finn’s combined plan and how we can help.

“The scan data from Snap’s reconnaissance flight confirms Finn’s report.” I introduce, bringing the data up on the hologram.

“They’ve somehow created a hyper lightspeed weapon built within the planet itself.” Snap says.

“A laser cannon?” Major Brance turns to Jaina who shakes her head.

“We’re not sure how to describe a weapon of this scale.” Snap offers weakly.

“It’s another Death Star.” Major Ematt says, shivering at the memory of it.

“I wish that were the case, Major. The Death Star was a mere satellite in comparison to what this is,” Jaina shakes her head.

“This was the Death Star.” I move that hologram off to the side and bring up Snap’s data. “And this is Starkiller Base.”

Gasps of shock and horror go throughout the room and I meet Jaina’s determined eyes through the hologram.

“So it’s big.” Han says from next to his daughter.

“Big is an understatement.” She says in response. “It used to be a planet.”

“How is it possible to power a weapon of this size?”

“It uses the power of the sun,” Finn jumps in before Jay can answer, “As the weapon is charged, the sun is drained until it disappears.”

“Hence the clever name of Starkiller .” Jay sighs, crossing her arms.

Connix runs up to Leia, handing her a datacard.

“The First Order; they’re charging the weapon again, right now.” She purses her lips, “Our system is the next target.”

Even more gasps of shock go throughout the room. I can feel them in my very bones, feel the terror pulsating through us.

“Oh my. Without the Republic Fleet, we’re doomed.” Threepio says.

Alright. Well if we had to evacuate, we do have means of doing so but we’d have to start right now. Or if we wanted to tackle the problem head on-

“Okay, how do we blow it up?” Han asks. “There’s always a way to do that.”

“Han’s right.” Leia says, and both husband and daughter look to her in surprise. “Jaina?”

“We installed a containment field in the planetary core where all of the energy gets redirected for use. So blowing that up would definitely debilitate the weapon, but not necessarily destroy it,” She offers, “But this was all done to contain the energy of the thermal oscillator built into the planet, which is a lot more accessible and critical to the weapon.”

“I know where it is!” Finn moves around the hologram and zooms in to a giant hexagonal structure. “Precinct 47. Here.” He points.

“If we can destroy that oscillator, it’ll destabilize the core and cripple the weapon!” Admiral Statura hypothesizes.

“Maybe the planet,” Major Ematt says to Jaina who nods in agreement.

I look over the hologram, a plan stitching its way into my mind.

“We’ll go in there and we’ll hit that oscillator with everything we’ve got.” I say, more so to boost the morale of the room.

“They have defensive shields that our ships cannot penetrate.” Ackbar says.

“We disable the shields.” Han says, like it’s the simplest thing, “Kid, you worked there, what do you got?”

Finn thinks for a moment. “I can do it.”

“I like this guy.” Han mutters to himself.

“I can disable the shields, but I have to be there. On the planet-”

“Me too.” Jaina adds, “I know the guard rotations, I know the ins and outs of sneaking around. I can help.”

I throw her an exasperated look. She just got out-

She raises a brow back, daring me to stop her.

“We’ll get you there.” Her father says, nodding.

“Han, how?” Leia asks, glancing between her family.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t like it.”

Alright, if this is how it has to be then so be it. We can make this work, everything will be fine.

“So we disable the shields, take out the oscillator, and we blow up their big ass gun.” I sum it up, more so for myself, “All right, let’s go!”

***

“Be good for Doc, alright,” Jay finishes putting on her First Order attire, attaching her saber to her hip. She looks exactly like she did the day I saw her on that blasted base, minus the hair, and a bruise  forming on her cheek that she made Jess give her to look like she’d been roughed up, “I don’t want to hear any complaints from her when I get back.”

“I will.”

“And don’t go around tinkering with her things.” She sounds like her own mother. I’d tell her, but I’d probably get the pummeling of my life. “Maker knows how much trouble Poe and I got in with her when we were little.”

Not something I need right before a battle.

Cas starts to protest but she shakes her head. “Tinker with the old droids if you have to. That’s what I did before my father let me work on the Falcon.”

He groans. “Do you have to go?”

“That was part of the deal remember? You’ve got to be strong. It’s what your parents would have wanted you to be,” He nods, straightening up a little bit at this. Surely acting braver than he feels.

“Please don’t get hurt either, Poe. The Tie-Fighters are so fast and-”

“It’ll be alright, Cas.” He runs up and hugs my leg briefly as Doctor Kalonia walks up.

“Good luck, you two.” She says, taking Cas’s hand and leading him away.

“So you have a son now?” I tease and Jay slaps my shoulder.

No , I do not have a son,” she sneers, scrunching up her nose, “I’m just...being responsible for him until he’s old enough-”

“So basically a mother.” She smacks my arm again, “Ow!”

“If I’m a mother to Cas, you’re BB-8’s father.”

“I mean I pretty much am-” I laugh and she throws her hands up.

“No winning with you, is there Dameron?”

“‘Fraid not, Blue Jay.”

She smiles, albeit stubbornly. It’s a smile I’ve gotten so used to I can’t help but replicate it on my own face. We get locked into another staring contest. I raise a brow, she sticks out a tongue, I widen my eyes-

And then I hear the siren calls for the Pilots.

So I end it with the best funny face I can think of and she laughs, losing.

“Be safe.” Jay nods at me.

“Don’t worry so much.” Come back to me.

But duty calls, like it always does. And we go our separate ways.

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“If you see our son again, bring him home.” I hear my mother say as I walk up to the two of them embracing. I stop, dead in my tracks, pivoting away from them.

If I’d already done that then-

“Jaya, come here.” I turn around slowly with a pained expression on my face. Mom opens her arms and I walk into their hug, embracing both of my parents.

“I love you guys. So much.” I say, softly, “And I...I’m sorry. For everything I’ve done.”

“Pilot!”  “Jaya!” They break apart, pulling away from each other and from me.

I breath in deeply, “I’ve done... horrendous things in the name of saving the galaxy. But starting today, I’m going to try my hardest to repent for that. To make the two of you proud.”

My father shakes his head. “We couldn’t be more proud of you, already Pilot.”

I’m sorry I’ve asked so much of you,” My mom fidgets. She never fidgets, “All you’ve sacrificed and endured to help me...It’s more than any parent can hope to ask of their child in a lifetime.”

“Come here, my girls.” My dad opens his arms again, and we all embrace.

Deep in the back of my mind I hope and pray this isn’t the last time we’ll all be together.

***

At lightspeed, I grab the back of my father’s chair to stabilize myself.

“How’re we getting in?” Finn asks.

“Their shields have a fractional refresh rate. Keeps anything traveling slower than lightspeed from getting through.” My father responds.

Luckily for us, this ship was born for lightspeed.

“We’re gonna make our landing approach at lightspeed?!”

Hell yeah we are!” Chewie growls and I snicker at his tone.

“Alright, Chewie, get ready!”

I’m ready. Are you?”

“And Now!”

Finn and I jolt, having to sit down in the rear chairs.

We suddenly appear on the Ice Planet I made sure to never spend time outside in. We’re at least 100 feet above the snowy, rocky ground and start to plummet toward a thick forest.

“Pull up, Dad!”

“I am pulling up!” My father yells. And then we crash through the trees.

Alarms blare throughout the Falcon and I flip some switches above me to turn them off.

Chewie groans as we all jolt back and forth in our seats.

We have to get higher!”

“If I get any higher, they’ll see us!” He says, and the ship dives out of the treeline into a clearing. Branches bounce off of the ship as we slam, nose first into the snow. We skid, just as the map of the geography of this planet becomes familiar in front of me.

“There’s a cliff!” I point, reaching past my dad to deploy the backup landing gear. Hopefully that’ll give us some extra traction.

And it does, and we come to a canted stop. I’m sure we’re half buried in the snow at this point. A few paces away are the entrances to the tunnels. Slightly closer is an alcove used to dispose of trash. It’s very close to the bridge.

“Everyone alright?” My father asks, and we all give the same affirmatory groan. Everyone gets up to start putting on coats when-

Sister.

I sit down, putting my head in my hands.

He’s definitely become stronger in understanding the Force since the last time I saw him. I’m going to have to see him much sooner than I thought.

And if he’s recognized my signature there’s no way in hell he missed my father’s.

Ah, shit.

“Hey, Pilot you okay?” I feel my dad’s hand on my shoulder.

“Mhm. Yeah, just...go ahead towards the tunnels.”

“No, uh, uh. That’s not how we work,” He shrugs on the jacket Chewie hands him, “Tell me, what is it?”

I sigh, “I felt his recognition through the Force, Dad. He knows I’m here. Which means-”

“He knows I am too.” My father says softly.

“And that they’re probably under attack. Which is why I need to go distract him somehow while you guys disable the shields and find Finn’s friend.”

“Well...at least take Chewie with you-”

That won’t work.

I imagine trying to sneak around the base with the gigantic furball and almost burst into laughter. It has to be the nerves, Maker-damnit.

“I’m going for the The Resistance and My Horrible Father Kidnapped Me and Brought Me as Bait but I Escaped appearance. Kind of hard to do with Chewie watching my back.”

I can be your kidnapper.” Chewie scoffs from the other room.

“I don’t believe you, Chew.” I call, “You don’t have a mean bone in your body.”

“Oh I’d beg to differ,” my father grumbles. He glances at Chewie, then me, then nods curtly, “Alright, Jaina, but be careful.”

“No one will move a hair on my head. I’ll sever their arm before they do.”

“That’s my girl.” He offers me a hand up and I take it, grabbing my own cloak from off of the wall. “Stay safe, Pilot. I’ll see you soon.”


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

In his quarters Kylo sits on his bunk, trying to steady his breathing.

The scavenger girl has no idea what she was talking about, though she had spoken a truth he’d been trying to hide even from himself. Him and his sister were told the story of his grandfather. It’s not as if their parents had tried to hide their past from their children. Darth Vader was the chosen one, said to have brought balance back to the Force by pledging himself to the Dark. His mother liked to think that her father was the Chosen One because, in his last moments, he redeemed himself by saving Skywalker and returning to the Light.

Though the story had fascinated him when he was young, the semantics mattered little now. The important thing was that Darth Vader had the strength to stay in the Dark to ultimately restore order. He had to let go of everything for it, his family, his master-that was the only legacy that held any meaning for Kylo.

And yet, he’s afraid.

Kylo lets his head fall into his hands. The fear doesn’t come from the inevitability of Snoke’s punishment. No, him and his sister have endured enough punishment for a lifetime-short of permanent dismemberment or death. He’s afraid of the Resistance stopping him before he can complete what he’d set out to do. He’s afraid that he’ll be killed before that happens. He’s afraid of never again seeing his sister, the one true person to follow him to the ends of the galaxy, because of the brainwashing of his parents.

Kylo deserves it, this dread, for being bested by a scavenger girl. Regardless of if she is his supposed ‘equal in the light’.

He jerks to his feet.

The scavenger girl. It’s so obvious.

If he could train her, cultivate her strengths until she was ready... Together, it would be possible to continue on his grandfather’s legacy. Together, unstoppable, they could bring true order to the galaxy.

That would show his Uncle. That would show the entire damn Resistance that he was no longer a child with a strong and dangerous attachment to the Force.

With a sudden lurch in his stomach, Kylo wants to sprint to the interrogation chamber but manages to contain himself. With her, he wouldn’t be alone. With her, there was-

Hope. That damned word.

Kylo leaves his own chambers and walks briskly back to the girl. To Rey.

He rounds the corner, only to face an empty chair, the restraints all released.

Of course she escaped.

“NO!” Kylo yells. His lightsaber flares to life in his hand, swinging blindly around the room, destroying the chair. Destroying this little bloom in his chest with each crackle of his saber against metal. “NO!”

He’s alone. His parents gave up on him. He had no friends left. His sister was probably lost to the Resistance forever . And now this girl, Rey , left him as well.

They all betrayed him. All left him alone in the Darkness. And he’d be damned if he didn’t live up to the monstrous reputation they’d created for him.

They wanted the Dark Side. He would show them it’s power.

Let the past die.


Jaina (Present Day)

I entered the base through an air vent and now, I crawl through the air ducts. Based on what I’ve seen through the vents beneath me, I’m right near the throne room, though I know Snoke is nowhere near the base. I move on instinct, my tether to my brother carrying my movements.

“The prisoner escaped?!” I hear the sharp voice of Hux say. I pause, my breath catching in my throat, “Well, that’s Ren’s problem. Bring his report to me in the Control Room.”

If he goes to the control room, he has much less use to me there. But if I get the drop on him now…

I crawl into the vent over an adjacent hallway and, once I determine the coast is clear, I remove the vent and drop down.

Oh I know exactly where I am. I maneuver myself so that I’d be in Hux’s direct line of sight before he reaches the control room.

And just when I’m about to cross paths with him-

“Kira?” I remove my hood and grab my saber.

Hux glares at me, blaster at the ready.

“Oh, it’s you ,” I harden my exterior, faking a sigh of relief and a sense of urgency, “Listen, the Resistance brought me here but I’ve escaped and I need to find my brother. Do you know where he is?”

“And why should I trust that they haven’t brainwashed you?”

I grit my teeth, “ Because they came to try and assassinate the both of you and I came to warn him so he could arrange for protection. They’re combing your quarters now for the two of you-”

What? ” He growls, then scrambles for his comms, “Phasma, there are Resistance fighters in the western corridor! Secure it now, I’ll be in the control room.”

Hux turns to me, grabbing my arm roughly and pulling me in one direction. “I’ll take you to the Supreme Leader, first, so he can-”

“There’s no time you imbecile!” I jerk out of his grasp, “They’re on our base and I need to warn my brother!”

He studies my face for a moment as I make my face fiercer.

“Hux,” I shake my head, “Believe me, I know we have our differences. But our cause is too great to be upstaged by the Resistance . And we can and will stop this attack if we work together. Now, are you with me?”

Grimacing in reluctance, he nods.

And my plan has begun.


Poe (Present Day)

We maneuver in perfect formation down toward the snow-covered planet. I can feel the temperature difference inside my X-wing so I can only imagine how cold it is out there.

“Almost in range!” I make sure my targeting computer is working, “Hit the target dead center, as many runs as we can get!”

“Approaching target!” Snap says back.

“Same over here,” Lu acknowledges.

Running our fleets up to the oscillator, Red, Black, and Gold Squadrons all line up.

“Let’s light it up!” I say into the General Comm.

We all dive bomb towards the oscillator, some of us making direct shots, and others missing.

“Direct hit!”

“But no damage!”

They wouldn’t have made a unit with the capability for such great power be so weak. It’s going to take a lot more.

“Yeah, we gotta keep hitting it!” I say, taking another shot myself, “Another bombing run. Remember, when the sun is gone that weapon will be ready to fire. But as long as there’s light we got a chance!”

BB-8 starts to freak out just as we get back in bombing formation. I look out and-

Shit .

Dozens and dozens of Tie-Fighters join us above the oscillator.

“Guys, we got a lot of company!”

“I got one behind me. See it?” Snap says.

“Yeah, I’m on it!” Jess’s voice.

Suddenly, heavy cannon fire starts raining down on us from what seems like everywhere. Expertly, most of us who aren’t engaged in dog fights are able to dodge it.

But suddenly, I hear a scream through the Black squadron comm.

“Lu just went down!” Jess yells, "He just...FUCK!"

I feel my heart sink in my chest. But there’s no time for that. Not now, not when he died so that we could continue the mission.

So I compartmentalize and snap back to reality as Snap says in a slightly choked voice, “Watch out for ground fire!”      


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

“I believe this is your problem,” Phasma’s voice is cruel as she presents him with his sister, who looks worse for wear.

Kylo needs to go make sure the oscillator is intact, he doesn't have time for this. He doesn’t have time for-

“Brother, I escaped . I escaped and I have so much I need to tell you,” she looks up at him so innocently and he hardens himself. He won’t be fooled by false hope again...but he will hear what she has to say. “ Please.”

“Leave us,” Kylo motions to Phasma who does so promptly, “Walk with me, Kira.”  

He walks ahead towards the oscillator, not waiting for her. She catches up with his long strides with a slight run and he slows down ever so slightly.

“So?” He says after a minute of her silence.


Jaina (17 Years Old)

I swallow my fear. " Why are you and Dad not talking anymore?”

My mother sighs into her mug of coffee, she never drinks coffee.

"How old are you now?”

“Seventeen.”

“Seventeen,” she chuckles, “I had the whole Galactic Senate in the palm of my hand at seventeen.”

“What?”

“You’re old enough, I suppose. But I wish it had never come to this-”

“Mom,” I cut off her rambling, “Tell me what’s happened.”

“This is between you and me, Jaina. You can’t tell your brother. You can’t tell your father,” My mom says, sitting me down at the dining table in her Hosnian Prime house, “Promise me.”

Our home on Yavin was barely inhabited anymore. What with Ben and I at the Praxeum or my father off on trips, and my mother here.

“You’re scaring me.” I shift forward in my seat. What could be this important?

“Promise me, Jaina,” she imparts. Her eyes are pleading, and so alarming.

“I promise.”

She relaxes, “There’s a new threat in the galaxy.”

“A threat?” What does that have to do with her and Dad?

“Yes,” she nods, “There’s this...being named Snoke. He just sort of appeared out of nowhere on our radars. I don’t know how, considering how powerful he is. And he’s raising a small army, calling himself the Supreme Leader of the First Order and demanding that the Republic be dismantled and bow to him.”

I snort, “Okay, he has a small army, so what ? The Republic has a huge one. Poe was telling me the other day that their fleet had the highest numbers since its inception.”

“That’s what most of the other Senators say. They don’t understand the threat, but I can feel it, Jaina,” she says, standing up and pacing, “I thought you’d understand, given your sensitivity to the Force.”

I look down, “I’ve felt a greater calling to the Darkness recently. I mean... it’s always been there, like a slight pressure. But now, it’s like I’m resisting a tug.”

“Speaking of resisting,” she stops her pacing right in front of me, “I’m assembling a small group of sorts. Nothing major, just a few people who I want to help me look into this threat and maybe stop it at its root.”

“And you want me to join you?” I look back up at her, and she smiles.

“I don’t want to make you take more on your plate. You’re just completing your Major training at the Starfleet Academy and still training with your Uncle-”

“I’d be honored to join you. But what exactly would I do?”

“Well, you’d be our Jaina-of-all-trades. You’d help me feel out the Darkness and balance in the Galaxy, you’d be an amazing ground fighter, but most importantly, I want you to be our in-house mechanic. You know how to fix up ships, and I’m certain you could design effective weaponry if you put your mind to it.”

“Oh, Maker, Mom,” I laugh in exasperation, putting my head in my palms. This is the last thing I was expecting.

“What?”

“I can’t believe this is happening,” I sigh, “I can’t-It won’t get as bad as it was all those years ago, right?”

She just purses her lips, and the pit forming in my stomach drops to my feet.

“If we’re successful, let’s hope not,” she nods with conviction, “Your father would kill me for even telling you, which is why I’ve been keeping things from him. Which is also why we’re not communicating well these days.”

My mother was not as involved in my life as she perhaps thought she was. What with helping out with the Senate and dealing with other crises, I would see her maybe ½ of every month growing up.

I understood. I really, truly did. Unlike Ben who got upset at her frequently for not being there, I could justify why she wasn’t with us. I was the surprise kid, I was used to the idea of being a child to two parents who were always so busy.

She did make time for me. And when she did, she was a better mother than I could have ever asked for. When she was gone, she would make sure I was well cared and provided for with people she trusted: my father, Chewie, Threepio, The Damerons, or even my godfather, Lando.

But maybe with this...maybe with her putting this trust in me to help her now that I’m older, we can strengthen our relationship. Seeing my mother talk about this inherent need to help out the galaxy, out of pure selflessness, is making me see her in a new light.

And I’m excited for what the future holds.

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Why won’t you just listen to me ? Stop being evasive!” We’ve been at it for what feels like hours, but was probably only a few minutes.

“Because the will of the Supreme Leader...the path to the Dark Side is crystal clear , Kira.” He walks out onto the bridge. “Obviously it’s not for you.”

No, no ...we can’t be in here. This is where they’re gonna blow it up.

I take a deep breath and try to walk faster, to make him walk faster. And it’s somewhat working.  “Seeing the aftermath of what we did on Takodana, on Jakku...there are innocent people in the galaxy, brother. People who won’t believe in Snoke’s reign even after we’ve crushed the Resistance if we continue to destroy their peace!” I can feel him consider the weight of my words, his mouth twisting.

“So you haven’t fully embraced the Dark Side, then?” He stops abruptly, grabbing my arm. “Is that why you’ve never called me by my name?”

“How dare you!

“Do you not approve of our business here, Kira ? Has being with Mommy and Daddy made you soft?” He says in a tone cold enough I can feel it through the modifier. A tone that’s never been used with me. I falter a bit. “Ah, and there go your multicolored eyes. I wonder if your fraudulence has been apparent on your face this whole time.”

He feels betrayed. I’ve betrayed him.

“Brother, I-”

“Look who’s being evasive now. Go on, say it. Embrace who I truly am,” his grip on my arm gets harder as his voice gets softer, more sinister. My chest heaves. “Say. My. Name!”

Ben !” The voice echoes through the abnormally silent base. Even with stormtroopers running amuck, everything is so quiet.

Which makes my heart thrum as the two of us abruptly turn to see-

“Han Solo.” my brother says through the modifier. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”

Maker , Dad. Why’d he oust himself?

I pull my arm out of his and he looks down at his own hand. Flexing and stretching his gloved fingers to relieve them.

My father gestures for me to move behind him, but I stand my ground, shaking my head.

That is, until I see Chewie climbing down to the first floor, and a few Stormtroopers poised above all of us. If my father insists on having this conversation with his son, then I can at least cover him.

I start, slowly. Then when I see my brother doesn’t make any moves to restrain me, I continue until I reach my father. He grabs my hand in passing, squeezing it reassuringly.

No. Not squeezing it. He passes me the detonator.

I clench it in my fist, hiding it under the sleeve of my robe, continuing on until I get to the other side of the bridge.

My focus wholly attuned towards my family members on the bridge, I barely notice when Chewie appears at my side and pulls at my sleeve, telling me to look up.

I force my gaze away and see Finn and the girl Rey a few stories up, far from the detonator range, but close enough to see what is happening. They found her.

“Take off that mask,” my dad’s voice is gravelly now, “you don’t need it.”

“What do you think you’ll see if I do?”

“The face of my son.”

For a few, split seconds the tension in the room is as solid as the metal innards of the Falcon. But then I hear a click and a whoosh as Ben removes his helmet.

He still needs a haircut.  

“Your son,” Ben says with a sneer, “is gone. He was weak and foolish, like his father. So I destroyed him.”

Chewie takes a better grasp on his crossbow. I hold on to the clicker like it’s a lifeline, my other hand drifting to the saber on my hip.

“That’s what Snoke wants you to believe.” My dad takes a few steps forward and I grip the clicker even harder. “But it’s not true. My son is alive.”

“No.” Ben says simply, “The Supreme Leader is wise. “

I start to go towards the bridge to aid my father, but Chewie shakes his head. Not yet. Be patient.

“Snoke is using you for your power.” He steps even closer to my brother clad in black, sweeping robes. “When he gets what he wants, he’ll crush you.”

Exactly. Please, please listen to our father.

“You know it’s true,” My dad says, softer.

“It’s too late.” I hear a catch in his voice and nearly sob in relief. My brother, he really is still there. I knew it-

“No it’s not. Leave here with me, come home.” And then, softer, softer than I’ve ever heard my ruffian of a father say anything, “I miss you.”

“I’m being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain.” Ben says, an actual tear running down his cheeks. I then feel the wetness on my own face, “I know what I have to do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. Will...you help me?”

Oh, thank the Maker.

“Yes, anything.”

I jump as I hear a solid and resonating thud , as Ben drops his helmet on the bridge. I nearly collapse in relief.

Ben removes his saber from its hilt and slowly offers it to my father. I move to join them, eager to join my family on the bridge. I make it onto the edge and-

Then the sun goes out completely, throwing the room into a dark red highlight because of the emergency bridge lights.

It’s fully charged. We have to do something...detonate the bombs! Maybe together Ben and I can-

But then the saber ignites. And I hear nothing- nothing -except it’s crackling messed up sound rattle through my skull. The red blade certifiably piercing through the chest of Han Solo.

My whole body is numb, my senses dulled. My heart cracks and crumbles in on itself.

Daddy!

I can barely hear Chewie screech next to me in agony and, Rey’s voice from above screaming “No!” seems like a whisper.

I can only stare and stare as my brother-no, a traitor -drives home the blade again. As he has the nerve to whisper “thank you.” My vision blurs with tears, knees buckling and sending me to the ground.

You were wrong, Kira. So, so wrong.

There’s no light left in him. In Kylo Ren.

And as my father caresses his cheek before falling off of the bridge, I snap back into myself.

My brother looks up and sees me, false agony written over his face. Crocodile tears pool in his eyes. My anger bubbles and boils, starting from the edge of my pinky toes and rapidly making its way up to my head and heart.

A startling thought racks through my brain. I want to kill him .

I start to shake and seethe and-

Feed that anger. Feel it in your very bones and soul-

No. We have to get out of here, we have to destroy this Makerforsaken place before they destroy the only family I have left. Now’s not the time for revenge. Using all of my willpower, I get back on my feet.

“Kira,” he shakes his head as I stare him down. I ignite my lightsaber, its hum a solid and resonating comfort. “He-”

“It’s Jaina,” my voice comes out solid, “It’s always been Jaina. But not to you. We’re nothing. ” I shake my head, walking backwards, holding the saber between us. And when I reach Chewie, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Chewbacca cries out again before shooting my brother in the chest with his crossbow. I cut a part of the bridge so it wobbles to the left and get close enough to a few guards to cut them down as well. My senses feel heightened. I run past Chewie to get a trooper on his left towards a staircase, only to be shot in the arm.

I hold my arm, deactivating my saber and Chewie shields me behind him, killing the one who shot me. I grab my blaster and kill a couple more.

My brother’s made it across the tilted bridge already. Realizing the bombs are the only way to get out alive I yell, “Chewie we gotta get out of here!”

He and I bolt through the nearest panel we see and he covers me as I detonate the bombs. Dust rains down all over us. From there, we find a clear, straight shot out of the base.

***

We run through the cold and finally find the Falcon. I have to catch my breath before entering the cockpit. I throw up into a small waste bin. Chewie stands next to me, rubbing me on my back.

We have to go ,” he says.

“Yes, I know, it’s just-” I heave again, gripping the strip of metal beside me, “ Chewie how can I”

He always wanted it to be yours someday ,” Chewie says, opening a small panel- too far up for me to reach- to reveal a pair of dice, the chain linking them a purple tint. The exact color and shimmer of my lightsaber.

I take them gently in my hand, closing my palm and clutching it to my chest. He believed in me. He always did. And I have to prove him right. I can’t let his death be in vain.

After a deep breath, I move into the pilot’s seat, wrapping the dice next to my father’s own. Chewie occupies his regular seat and starts flicking on all sorts of switches. It’s a relief when I realize I know exactly what he’s doing. And exactly what we must do. This ship is home.

“Alright. Well, they couldn’t have gotten far. Let’s check the forest.”

We lift up, steady as ever, and fly towards the forest. Scanning and scanning, neither of us see anything until-

There!” Chewie says, pointing to a giant, man-made crack in the mountain.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Chew.” I say apprehensively as we fly towards it.

You and me both .”

But there, on the ground, we see two bodies. Rey, crouched over an unconscious Finn. She looks up at us, a sigh of relief wracking her body.

“We’ve gotta help them!” I say, “pull out the landing gear.”

After we land, Chewie runs off the Falcon to help them. I rev up the engine, waiting to punch it the second they get back.

While waiting, I grab my father’s old headset, blow the dust off of it, and set it on my head. As I enter the code for the Resistance Base, I hear a commotion in the back that could only be them returning.

Chewie runs into the cockpit, “ Everyone’s in, punch it.”

Finishing the code, I thrust the engine and send us hurtling upward as the ground beneath us crumbles.

“This is Captain Jaina Solo of the Resistance calling to you from the Millenium Falcon. I’m requesting coordinates to-”

“Captain Solo! Hold on, I’m going to reconnect you.” I turn to Chewie in exasperation as he pulls on his own headset.

“Wait! No I-”

“Falcon?” I hear a firm voice. “This is Black Leader. Who am I-”

“Poe?” My voice cracks. My hand trembles on the throttle.

Thank the Maker ,” he whispers, then, louder, “All teams. I’ve got eyes on em!”

The planet explodes behind us, and a gaggle of Resistance X-Wings, barely emerge from it.

At least half of the fleet is missing. My shriveled up heart cracks even more.

“Our job is done here,” I hear the Commander in his voice,” Let’s go home.”

And then I’m sent the coordinates to the little piece of home we have left and we all jump to lightspeed.

***

As soon as we arrived on D’Qar, I was ushered off to give my account of all that had happened. It was horrible, standing in the Command Room in front of Connix and Admiral Ackbar and Nassa, having to give an account of everything. Nassa seemed to nitpick every little choice I made from splitting up with the group at the beginning to letting my father stand on that bridge when I knew my brother was a killer.

After that question, Ackbar let me go.

Meanwhile, my mother was getting her hands dirty helping those who came back. I didn’t see her.

Now I’m on my way back to the Falcon because Lora, Cal, and Sken, as well as my few other friends are currently preoccupied and I really don’t want Cas to see me like this. Also, many others on this base are giving me weird looks. Like I might go as crazy as my brother did.

Aren’t you already, I hear in my mind, They fear you.

I double time it to the Falcon when-

“Jay,” Poe comes in front of me, face crestfallen as ever. The sight is so unusual and horrid that I immediately grasp him in a very tight hug.

I’d been told that L’ulo didn’t make it back. As well as Commander Moili Claire and practically her entire Squadron.

“I heard about Lu and the rest, I’m so sorry, Poe.” I say softly into his chest. He takes a few heaving breaths that, because of how long I’ve known him, are stifled sobs.

“They died doing what they loved. Heroically ,” he rests his head on top of mine. Then, angrily, “I’m going to kill every last one of them. They’ll regret ever terrorizing the galaxy.”

I pull back a bit, surprised at this sudden rage. I’ve seen Poe annoyed, pissed off, upset, and even mad before. But this sort of cool anger is new...and slightly frightening to be honest.

His eyes soften though, when he looks back down at me.

Having just made it out of the med ward, I don’t think he knows the amount of pain I’m in. That I share in the loss of a father/father figure. The loss of a comrade. He tries to look deeper into my eyes, but I bury my face into his chest again, so he can’t see my heart breaking. I’m not sure how to offer him words of comfort when I can barely hold myself together.

And I refuse to burden him with my sorrow.

“Your arm!” He says, concerned.

I just then remember the blaster wound in my right arm. But it still doesn’t hurt. It still doesn’t compare to the pain-

“Well-I’m-” but for fear of collapsing into a puddle of relief and sobs in front of the entire Resistance, I say, “I’m alright it’s barely a scrape. Have you seen Cas? Can you please just check on him?”

I turn to see my mother in an embrace with Rey. The feeling of jealousy surging through me is quickly suppressed with the thought she just lost the closest thing she had to a father.

Just like me. Only, it was my father.

“Hey, hey what happened?” He cups my face with his hands as I shake my head no , “You’re my best friend, we always tell each other the truth.”

I shake my head, afraid to speak. Poe looks up, taking inventory of all of the passengers of the Falcon, and I see the realization on his face.

Maker , Jay.” He pulls me back into the Falcon for a little privacy.

Once we’re inside, I start to sob. Loud, gasping sobs that wrack my entire body. We sit on the floor of the cockpit, wrapped up in one another. He strokes my hair, and I can feel his own tears running down my shoulder, though his crying is quieter.

After a bit, after my tear ducts have dried up, after his sniffles stop, I pull back.

“How does anyone recover from something like this?” I say, my voice hoarse.

He shakes his head. “You keep going. You find a purpose and do it.”

“Like you did with flying after...”

Shara.

He looks down. “Yeah. Exactly like that.”

“I hate war.”

“Really? Couldn’t tell.”

I huff a choked laugh and look up, wiping stray tears from his face.

“Lu was a good being. So incredibly generous and caring-”

Poe nods, resting his forehead on mine as his breaths get haggard.

“He loved you so much.”

“Your father loved you that much too.”

We sit in a comfortable silence for a while, just holding one another, until Poe receives a comm summoning him to the Command Room.

“Purpose awaits.” He sighs, detaching himself from me slowly, “We’ll get through this, okay? Both of us will.”

I nod, not wanting him to leave yet. Not wanting to be alone in this ship to my own thoughts and memories.

“I really hope so, Poe.”

“I’ll see you in a bit.” He stands up fully, kissing the top of my head, and leaves. “And get something to eat, Jaina, you look famished.”

Taking a deep breath, I heave myself off of the floor and curl up in the pilot’s chair.


Jaina (4 years old)

“Come out, come out wherever you are!” I hear my dad’s gravely voice and slap my hand over my mouth to suppress my giggle.

“Where are you, my little Princess?”

“I’m not a Princess daddy, I’m a Pilot! The best in the galaxy, remember?” I stand up in the chair on my tiptoes to peer over the back of it to my father.

“HA! Gotcha!” He grabs me and flips me over, tickling my belly.

“Stop!” I giggle endlessly.

Suddenly he flips me over and sets me back down in his chair, crouching to my height.

“Well, if you’re gonna be the best pilot in the galaxy, you’ve got to learn from the best there is, right?”

“Which is you!”

“Of course it’s me, Pilot. And I’m gonna teach you everything I know. One day, this ship will be yours.”

I grin, before a realization comes to me. “Won’t Mom be mad? She wants me to go to train with Uncle Luke like Ben.”

“What your mother doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Besides, even your Uncle Luke had a ship once.”

“She’s gonna call you a nerfherder if she finds out.”

“Oh let her,” he waves his hand, “she’s called me much worse!”

“Like moon jockey?”

“Why you little-” He starts and I squeal.

And the two of us laugh and laugh and laugh.


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“I remember the first time he told me about your flying.” I whip around to see my mother standing in the doorway of the cockpit. I swallow the lump in my throat. “He said you took to it as naturally as to the Force and told me that if I wouldn’t let you fly, he’d keep sneaking you out of the Praxeum to teach you.”

I wipe my tears and laugh. “He didn’t have to. Poe always picked up where he left off.” We were lucky the Praxeum was on Yavin for a short while.

“And what a great flyer you became. And a great Jedi. Regardless of if you wanted to be one.” She sits in the copilot’s chair next to me, brushing back my unruly hair. “Speaking of which, I wanted to ask you something.”

“Yeah?”

“If we somehow figure out this puzzle...would you be willing to go retrieve your Uncle? With Rey?”

Apprehension coils up and courses through me. Always the General, my mother.

“Mom I-” I sigh, “I don’t think I can.”

She purses her lips in a very General -like gesture, glancing at the second set of dice hanging from the Falcon. “Can I ask why not? I wanted to send Rey with the Falcon, with your permission of course. I was thinking that maybe nostalgia could help bring Luke back. But I think you’d also do tremendously.”

“Why? Because I now own his dead best friend’s ship?”

“No.” She shakes her head, “Because you’re his niece. And the only one of his students alive. It’ll remind him of what good he’s done. Of why he should return from exile.”

I sigh. She has a point. But would he blame me ?

“I’ll think about it.” I say honestly.

“Thank you.” She smiles. Then her hard composure breaks and she gestures for me to come to her.

I stand up and fall into her soft embrace. She squeezes me tightly and I bury my neck into her shoulder.

“I loved him so much,” she says.

“He knew, Momma.”

No tears come out of either of us. I think we’re both beyond that.

We’re the last members of our little family left. And maybe, just maybe I can help to bring another one back.

Maybe.

We stay like that for a long while before returning to the base and our duties.

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“General? Excuse me, General?” Threepio says once the two of us walk back into the Command Room. My mom turns around. “R2-D2 may contain some much needed good news.”

I ease closer, moving next to Poe. He nudges my arm with his just ever so slightly, and I smile tightly up at him.

“You alright?” He murmurs, looking down at me through his long, dark lashes.

“I will be.” I whisper back, “What about you?”

“I think... we’re about to find some purpose, Jay.” I furrow my brows about to ask him what he means when-

Cas joins me on my other side, pulling at my robe and grinning up at me. I manage a small smile back.

“Jaina! I’m so glad you’re back,” He says excitedly, “You’ll never guess-”

“Tell me,” my mother says, and Cas falls silent despite my inquisitive nudges.

Suddenly, R2-D2 projects a large hologram. It appears to be a navigational map with a certifiably missing chunk in it. BB-8 beeps, suddenly, knocking into my leg.

“That’s my chunk! Take out the piece.”

Poe crouches down, removing his hand from mine. “Yeah, all right, buddy, hold on.”

He removes the small data device that Lor San Tekka had given Poe what feels like forever ago. He inserts it back inside a port BB-8 opens.

The droid then rolls over next to R2 and projects its piece of the map directly over the existing one. It’s a perfect fit, with a clearly drawn line to-

It makes perfect sense.

“Oh! The map! It is complete!” Threepio cheers. The entire hangar, entire Resistance cheers. Poe envelops me in a deep, quick hug.

All of it, all of it was for something.

“I fixed R2D2.” Cas whispers between Poe and I.

“You what?!” I look at his shining bright eye. Poe pulls away from us, alarmed.

“Droids usually go mum when their master’s are away, right?  And, since the master was technically your uncle, I just asked C3PO for his old personal code and re-coded it and inputted it into-”

“-into his most recent information database! Casimir, you’re a genius!” I grasp his shoulders, crouching down.

“How in the galaxy? ” Poe shakes his head in disbelief, mussing up the little boy’s hair, “Can you upgrade BB-8 next?”

“Of course! I already have so many ideas like a slot for-” I pass him off to Poe who listens intently, dragging him towards the crowd.

“Luke.” I hear my mother whisper, a hand going over her heart. She too, turns to join the celebration.

“Ahch-To.” I say to myself, stepping closer to the map, “The first Jedi Temple.”

“The first Jedi Temple?” I turn and see the girl we rescued standing right beside me.

I realize, suddenly, that the two of us haven’t ever had a proper introduction. Besides that haste moment in the forest.

I heard about her, Rey , during my debriefing. I heard about how she stumbled upon the Resistance. How she impressed my father. How she defeated Kylo Ren in the forest armed with my uncle’s saber, which now hangs on her belt. But I know nothing else about her.

“It-he taught me it was the Birthplace of the Jedi Order. But that was kept a secret from anyone who was not a part of it. Or any Jedi-in-training who didn’t care for history, which...wasn’t many people,” I sigh, “No wonder Kylo Ren didn’t think to look there.”

“He-he was your brother?”

“Was.” I glance to the floor, taking a seat at one of the consoles. “Big emphasis on was .”

“I’m-your father was the best they come. He was a big inspiration to me-for the short while I knew him. I can only imagine what he was for you.”

“Thank you.” I say, softly. “I know we met briefly on Takodana, but I was being really curt and rude and frantic. I’m sorry, it’s Jaina. Jaina Solo.”

“I’m Rey. Just Rey.” She takes the seat next to me.

I shake my head. “No-not just Rey. From what I understand, you’re Force Sensitive.”

“Can you tell because you are too?” She asks in wonder.

“Well, yes . But I also heard it from my mother.”

She nods, staring back at the map. “I’d always felt like there was something missing. Now I can find clues as to where it comes from.”

“I still feel like I don’t know where mine comes from.”

“Well...your family.”

“It doesn’t always happen to be hereditary.”

“But you’re a Jedi? Just like your Uncle and your Grandfather before him.”

“I’m...sort of, yes. But these distinctions of Light and Dark don’t come to me the way they do most and Uncle struggled to teach me,” She looks alarmed, so I offer a better explanation. “There were times I’d pull a little too much on the Dark and my Uncle said that was a dangerous path to tread, and I’d have to be so careful. There were times I went so far into the Light that I forgot myself, and my Uncle saw danger in that too. He taught me how to fairly balance it, but a few people in the Resistance- and even other padawans- didn’t trust that I’d have to pull from both. ”

She glances towards Nassa. “But they’ll rely on it now.”

“It’s not just that.” I rub my temples, “It’s the fact that I spent so much time with the First Order and so much time in the Dark, that many people don’t think I’ve stayed balanced or true to our cause.”

“Is that why they’re all looking at you like they’re looking at me?”

“We’re outsiders. No matter how much we fit in.” I grimace.

“Come with me,” She offers a hand, “To find Master Skywalker. You’ll be able to convince him-”

“I don’t think I should.”

“Why not? You’d remind him that not all hope is lost. That he should forget his exile and come back to help us.”

“I just-” I pinch the bridge of my nose, “I don’t think I’ll make a difference.”

“You’re afraid.” She says, plainly.

“No. Not afraid. Ashamed.”

“He won’t be ashamed of you. You survived all these years, you’ve made yourself indispensable to the Resistance-”

“At what cost? I also failed to stop Kylo Ren from burning down the Temple and killing all those younglings. I could have tried harder to turn him back...and Maker the things I did for Snoke...how could I face him after that?” How could I face the man who taught me everything?

My head and heart feel so heavy with everything in this moment that I swear I’m being reeled into the gravitational pull to the center of D’Qar.

“He can’t blame you for that.”

“He should.” I say softly. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to just dump all this on you.”

“It’s alright...I do think that’s a risk you should take.” She says, firmly, “The Resistance, this cause is far too important to let these what-ifs and emotions get in the way of getting back the galaxy’s best hope.”

Light side, indeed.

She extends a hand again. “Come with me. Please.”

I bite my lip and glance in the direction of the celebration. Rogue Squadron all hug one another and Lora, Cal, and Sken gesture for me to come over. I smile at them. Then, I catch Poe’s eye for a second and he grins widely at me, holding Cas, who matches his exact grin. And even my mother, who is smiling along at the celebration.

I’d give anything for their smiles to be permanent. I’d give anything to give all of these people a moment of peace.

After all you’ve done-

I immediately put my hand in hers, and it seems to block the voice instantaneously.

After a beat of awe at this, I nod, “Alright. I’ll come with you.”

***

“Heard you were going on an adventure without us, Commander,” Lora smirks at me as I brush my teeth late the next night.

Cas asked to sleep in the Falcon. Something about liking the cots in there, though I always hated them growing up.

My old room was given away to a few other recruits, so I’m staying in the barracks with my old Squadron.

“Don’t call me that,” I laugh, spitting into the sink,“ You’re commander now.”

“Nope. I was interim Commander. You are the actual Commander.”

I shake my head, wiping my mouth, “An actual Commander wouldn’t abandon her crew for 7 years and then take off again without them.”

“To be fair, we’re taking off without you as well,” Sken enters Rogue Squadron’s barracks, mane swishing as she walks towards us, “The General’s got us on a top secret mission. Cal’s still in debriefing.”

Top secret?

“Come on,” I say, “You can tell your ole’ Commander now, can’t you?”

“Oh so now you’re Commander-” Lora says, throwing a pillow at her. I laugh, chucking it back at her, hard.

“Oh you are done for-”

By the end of our massive pillow fight we all collapse on the floor giggling at the fact that we are all well into our 20s and still acting like the teenagers we knew each other as.

Maker I’ve missed you guys.” I say, rolling on my side to face them.

“We’ve missed you too, Jaina,” Lora says, hugging me tightly. Sken then joins in and soon, we’re pouring out our hearts and souls and so much from the past 7 years that I’ve wanted to tell them, well until Cal, the last member of this little squadron, gets back from the debriefing.

Their job for the past few years has primarily been making contacts with people who have retired from the Resistance but still passed along info every now and then. They’d also followed up on a lot of the intel I was able to provide to very successful ends.

I told them a lot about how it was working with Hux and being around the Supreme Leader. They were so impressed with how I was able to keep him out of my head, having heard what Poe had gone through with his interrogation. But we didn’t linger on the serious stuff for long-

“Okay, last question for me, because it’s late and I really want to sleep before we leave tomorrow,” Cal says.

“Shoot.”

“What’s the deal with you and Poe now that you’re back?” I drop my face in my palms.

“Yeah I saw the two of you get cozy when you first got back,” Sken says, twiddling with her blanket.

I look down at my own blanket through my fingers, a military grade one made more to conserve resources than for comfort. Despite having silk sheets at the First Order, this ratty old one seems so much more comforting. I run my hands over it.

“It’s not a cop out answer if I truly think I don’t know, right?”

“Ruling?” Lora says.

“COP OUT!” Sken and Cal both say.

I glare at all three of them. “Alright, fine. I just...nothing has changed for me except...a lot of myself? And I don’t know how to handle who I’ve become just yet. I know Poe’s changed too and...yeah we could pick up right where we left off, but those kids aren’t who we are anymore.”

They all stare at me for a second.

“That...was the most convoluted way of saying I don’t know,” Lora snorts and Cal and I both laugh.

“Wait no I think I kind of get it. It’s like you’ve both become so integral to this war that you need to put duty first before thinking about where the two of you stand. No matter how much you care for each other.”

I hug my knees, laughing at how awful my explanation of that was. “In a more poetic way, yes .”

They all laugh along with me and none of us go to sleep for the next few hours. Though I never do get it out of them where they’re headed on their classified mission, I’m glad that, despite everything, at least nothing has changed between my squadron.

***

“You sure you got it, Chew?”

I’ve been working on this thing since well before you were born ,” he snorts.

“Well no need to get all sassy about it.” I roll my eyes. He shoves me lightly, walking around finishing the last minute checks on the Falcon. On my ship.

Maker.

After about 4 days it was finally ready for this long trip. Restored back to its former glory.

Not that I’d be piloting it this trip. I’d told Rey I’d teach her all of the ins and outs of the Falcon. Somehow, I feel that’s what Dad would’ve wanted.

“Blue Jay!” Poe runs over to me as I round the back of the ship. “Oh, ho...What’s this uh, outfit you have going on here?” He points up and down.

My standard fitted cargo pants are tucked into boots and my tight white 3/4-sleeved shirt is tucked into my pants. My usual snug utility belt from which my lightsaber and a blaster hang, is also normal. But it’s the high-necked vest instead of my usual jacket that he’s talking about.

I cut my First Order robe into something a little more Solo like than Ren like.

“I really tried to channel my father today. I-I needed his courage.”

“Han would be so proud of you,” He just looks at me in awe. “He’d also be proud, and I’d love if you came back in one piece.”

“This isn’t a dangerous mission, Poe. Mom even approved Casimir to come with us. Says he’ll be safer there than with no set chaperone on base.”

“Stil. Anything can happen. To either of you,” he says softly, “I can always take care of Cas.”

“And the next thing he’ll know you’ll be ordered to jump in an X-Wing to blow something up.” I raise a brow. “I’ve heard stories about how you operate now, flyboy.

He reels back, raising a brow, “Excuse you. Who are you calling Flyboy?”

“The person who I've heard is apparently known for flying dangerous missions that no one else wants because he gets a thrill out of it. Flyboy- ” I scrunch my face up at him, “And that’s besides the point. I promised Maz I’d keep him safe, so that’s what I’ll do.”

He scrunches his nose. “I can’t argue with that. But if you did leave him with me I’d do everything in my power to keep him safe, you know that.”

“I do.” I smile, knowing that with absolute certainty. Some things haven’t changed.

My heart skips 10 beats.

“I’m still going to be worried.”

“Hey,” I tilt his chin up until he meets my eyes, “I’ll uphold my end of the bargain only if you do the same.”

“I’ll try,” he grimaces.

I grimace back exaggeratedly . “Nope. Try isn’t good enough.”

“I can’t promise anything. Comes with the job.”

“Same here.” I raise my brows. We both turn when we hear the noise signaling a departure occurring soon.

“Why does it feel like one of us always flying off in the other direction?” He shakes his head, turning back to me.

“I know,” I whisper as he steps towards me, “Sometimes I get scared that all of this flying off and saving people...what if it’s all just insignificant in the end? And we’re delaying the inevitable.”

With the number of times we’ve collectively cheated death between us...I’d say our luck should theoretically run our pretty fast.

He looks down at me. Heat courses through my body.

“All those years, I wondered what life might have been like if I’d stayed. How different my life and the galaxy might’ve been then. It still scares me,” Goosebumps dot my arms and I shiver.

“We’ll never know, Jay,” he chews on his lip, “You know how you’ve always said I’m good at compartmentalizing?”

“Yeah?”

“Well it’s because all I have in sight is the end goal. When, and only when, I get there, will I let myself look back and reflect on everything. That’s the only way to justify everything that’s happened.”

“I don’t know if I have it in me to do that. Especially with the voices harping on my every mistake.”

“In that case,” Poe murmurs, cupping my cheek, “You need to make the most of every good moment you have. Capitalize on it, and draw strength from it in those times you doubt yourself.”

“I’ve really missed you. And your obnoxiously good advice.”

“That’s why we’ve always complemented each other,” he smiles, pulling away and counting on his fingers, “You do something weird, I give the obnoxiously good advice, you don’t follow the obnoxiously good advice, and then do another weird thing.”

“No wonder I’ve been stuck with you for so long!” I gasp in mock realization, “It’s a cycle!”

“It’s a cycle!”

We both burst out laughing, and my chest blooms with something long forgotten and unanswered. It seeps through my entire body, every vein and cell. I read the subtle shift in Poe too, his emotions so readable to me even after so much time.

Don’t get attached.

You can have everything you’ve ever wanted.

I force the voices out and just let my body overtake my overthinking mind. I grasp onto the lapels of his Commander jacket and he wraps an arm around my waist.

When our lips finally, finally meet, it feels like I can breathe again. It's barely a kiss, but the feeling melts away the cold and the hot and the light and the dark and it’s all just him.

It’s slow and reverent, almost as if we are both in awe at the concept of an us still existing after all these years. I start to tremble at the intensity and slowness of it all. At the sensation of being touched and wanted and loved despite so many years of darkness. It’s as if a life raft is pulling me up up up.

When are you going to tell him about the Jakku tribes you killed? Or your planned bombing on Mebyrt? I shudder.

It’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to pull him into the destructive tornado that surrounds my life and hurts the people standing closest to me.

I pull away slightly, shaking my head.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t-” he audibly swallows and takes a deep breath, collecting himself, “please don’t apologize.”

“It’s just...I’m go-”

He cups my face, suddenly, brows furrowed in concern, “Jaina, your eyes-”

My eyes?

"Are you-"

“All right, you two, wrap it up.” Poe instantly releases me and attempts to compose himself. I shake my head, placing it in my palms.

Caught by my mother .

“Uh-Leia- General- ” he splutters to Mom, resplendent in a dark blue suit.

“We can explain,” I say, even though I’m a 27 year old woman who can make my own decisions. I look up at Poe and his face is flushed a deep scarlet. I try and fail to stifle a smile, straightening my clothes.

Mhm . Come, Jaya, it’s time.” She inclines a brow and greets Chewie around the side of the Falcon. I hop off of the work bench.

“Coming!” I turn back to Poe, my cheeks flushing with heat at his, obviously just made-out-with face, “Good luck... hug?”

He laughs, the sound vibrating through his chest when he embraces me. “When have you ever relied on luck?”

“I don’t. It’s for you,” I say and he frowns, adorably scrunching up his face. “Be safe.”

He shivers. His voice is huskier than usual, “Please don’t worry so much.”

If I could stand in his arms till the end of time I’d be the happiest girl in the world. It takes everything in me to leave my best friend.

But we have a purpose. We both have jobs to do. And...it’s better this way.

He hugs me one last time and walks in the opposite direction.

I turn and catch up to my mother. We said our goodbyes earlier but still she says:

“You know what words I have to leave you with, right?”

“I feel like it’s our family motto at this point.” I smirk.

“Maybe the Skywalker family motto. The Solo one’s probably something like don’t tell us we can’t because we’ll prove you wrong just to spite you .”

“I feel like that one’s a bit long,” We laugh. “Same time?”

“Same time.”

“May the force be with you, always .” We say in unison, grasping hands.

“Alright, now get the hell out of here. Before you make this old woman cry.” She cups my cheek briefly.

“I love you, Mom.”

“Stars, you’re really gunning for the tears- I love you too, my Jaina. Go bring us some hope.”

And then I move into the Falcon after Rey.

***

After we land, I have to stop and take in the beauty that is this planet and the island. Ahch-To’s pristine and mighty ocean crashes against the steady, vivaciously green island.

I remember seeing pictures of this place in my old textbooks.

“Jaina, I’m ready.” Rey beckons to me. I turn to her and see her staff strapped to her back, and her bulky supplies pack hanging near her waist. Cas stands next to Chewie, making sure that the Falcon is secure on the ground. Satisfied they’re doing a thorough job, I put my pack on my back.

“Coming!”

We begin our hike up the considerable mountain. She stops, taking a deep breath, and I realize she’s just as nervous as me. Probably more so, considering she’s never met my Uncle.

“We’ll be fine.” I whisper to her, though there’s no one around for miles. “Right?”

“Let’s hope so.” She grimaces, before continuing to climb.

Built within the rock and foliage of this island are, what seems like, and endless climb of stone steps. We don’t stop, we don’t take any breaks as we travel up them. We don’t speak. It somehow seems rude to.

Finally, we arrive at a clearing. There are less stone structures here. And one more person. I intake a sharp breath as we see the back of my uncle’s robes.

Both of us are frozen, both unsure what exactly to say. Until he turns, finally. A slow, poignant turn and pulls back his hood.

My uncle is older now. White haired and bearded. He looks at Rey with a mixture of kindness and confusion. And then he turns to me, and his eyes widen beyond belief, even flare a little.

His attention is turned back to Rey, however, when she pulls something from her pack. His Lightsaber.

The Lightsaber I’d practiced with so many times-practiced against. And as we stand there, Lightsaber outstretched to him, my uncle’s face gets conflicted.

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

My uncle’s conflicted face gets even more so as he takes the lightsaber and, with no words, chucks it over his shoulder. 

“Wha-” I start, but then he brushes right past me. I give Rey an incredulous look and she starts after him. 

“Master Skywalker?” 

We follow after him for some time, keeping up with his unsurprisingly brisk pace until he reaches a hut very close to where the ship is parked. And promptly slams the door in our faces. 

Well, shit.

“Master Skywalker? I’m from the Resistance. Your sister Leia sent me.” Rey knocks on the door with her staff.

Silence. “We need your help.” 

Silence again. “Hello?” 

“Go. Away.” I can practically feel his irritation through the door. 

Rey motions for me to try. I grit my teeth and reluctantly edge towards the door.

Get it together.

“Uncle Luke?” I ask quietly, trying to hide the fact that my voice is shaking, “It’s your niece. It’s Jaina-” 

“Leave, ghost.” 

“Ghost?” I mouth to Rey. 

***

In the end, we get Chewie to break down the door. I hang back ever so slightly, hands trembling with nerves. 

Get it together, Jaina. I tell myself. You’ve been in too many battles to count, faced Snoke, have taken too many beatings to count, and even once flew a damaged Tie Fighter into hostile territory one-armed with a severe concussion. 

“Hey! Chewie what are you doing here?” 

You’re coming back with us.” 

“He said you’re coming back with us.” Rey says, as I step into the hut.

“I can understand him just fine.” He grunts, “How did you find me?” 

“Long story, we’ll tell you in the Falcon.” 

“Falcon?” He says, then spots me again, “Is that why you’re here?” He says, directly to me.

“Jaina?” Rey asks. “She’s-”

“You can see her?” He asks, glancing at me suspiciously.

Why wouldn’t she be able to? He’s not old enough to be senile yet-

“We all can.” Chewie says, snorting. 

My uncle walks towards me and tentatively places both hands-metal and normal- on my shoulders. When he finds I’m solid, his face visibly drops. I find myself in his arms as he suddenly embraces me. 

“How-I...you were dead . I was sure you were-”

“Dead?”

“No, Jaina . I couldn't feel any ties to the light when I left so I'd thought...wait how are you here?” 

“It’s a long story. Like Rey said, we can explain everything in the Falcon but we really have to-” 

“Listen, niece, I’m glad you’re alright. But you really need to go.” 

I shake my head, “Mom’s been trying to find you for years. Years, she-” 

“I failed your mother,” he spits, “She should want nothing to do with me. And neither should you. Safe travels, Jaina.” 

Uncle Luke turns out the door, pushing past a flabbergasted Chewie and walking away briskly. No, no- This trip can’t be for nothing. After all the Resistance has sacrificed-

“He killed my father!” I yell after him, my voice cracking in the wind. 

He pauses, waiting for a second before turning around. 

“Who?” 

I let the word hang between us for a second. How could he not have felt it?

“You know who,” I purse my lips, “Please, please just hear us out. For a minute.”


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

Kylo feels like he can’t breathe in his mask as the elevator springs up to the throne room. Every mistake he’s made since the battle on Starkiller Base runs through his mind like a holovid and he can’t stop thinking about her.

The girl who’d bested him without even the slightest bit of training. 

How could that be possible?

The doors open and Kylo realizes he’s walked into the middle of a conversation. Hux stands there in front of the Supreme Leader. Back straight as a rod and face filled with glee. 

“Tied on a string indeed, General Hux. Well done. The Resistance will soon be in our grasp.” 

“Thank you Supreme Leader.” Kylo continues forward and as Hux passes him, he gives Kylo a cheeky grimace. 

Why does Snoke keep this rabid cur around?

“You wonder why I keep a rabid cur in such a place of power,” Snoke says, lounging on his throne. Kylo immediately shoots the walls of his mind up, forgetting that a helmet alone wouldn’t stop Snoke from knowing his mind’s eye. “A cur’s weakness, properly manipulated, can be a sharp tool.”

In the back of his mind, Kylo thinks of what this possible weakness could be. But he files it away for later, bowing instead.

“How’s your wound?” 

The wound she gave me-

“It’s nothing,” he says nonchalantly, “I-”

“The mighty Kylo Ren,” Snoke stands up, moving towards him, “When I saw you, I saw what all masters live to see. Raw, untamed power . And beyond that, something truly special. The...potential of your bloodline. A new Vader .” 

Rey’s voice saying You will never be as strong as Darth Vader -

“Now I fear I was mistaken. First with your sister, and now-” Snoke gestures towards him.

Kylo is taken aback. His whole life has been building to this moment, to making Snoke proud, to fulfilling the legacy of his family.

“I’ve given everything I have to you...to the Dark Side!”

“Take that ridiculous thing off ,” Snoke hisses, temper flaring like an inward combustion. 

After a few deep breaths, Kylo clicks his helmet off, baring the evidence of his humiliation on his face. 

“Yes there it is. You have too much of your father’s heart in you, young Solo-” 

I killed Han Solo ,” He grits his teeth, “When the moment came, I didn’t hesitate.

He didn’t- doesn't care . His family had betrayed him, it was only fair for him to do it back.

Despite his sister’s silent pleading. Despite Rey’s screams of horror. Despite Rey-

“And look at you, the deed split your spirit to the bone ,” He saunters forward menacingly, “You were unbalanced . Bested by a girl WHO HAD NEVER EVEN HELD A LIGHTSABER! YOU FAILED-”

In that moment, Kylo doesn’t think. Every grievance, annoyance with Snoke, comes bubbling to the surface. After everything he’s done for the Supreme Leader-

Kylo stands up to stand up to him, but is quickly knocked backwards by a blast of lightning from Snoke. 

The Praetorian Guards all around him extend their spears in his direction. He sits up slightly, regaining whatever little is left of his composure.

I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry-I shouldn't have I shouldn't-

Skywalker lives ,” Snoke shakes his head and turns around, “The seed of the Jedi Order lives. And as long as it does, hope lives in the galaxy.”

Hope - something he’d heard so often growing up. How important it was to believe- He’d always thought it more poetic of a word than an idea. His sister had almost been named that beautiful name.

How could Snoke say the word with such...distaste?

“I thought you would be the one to snuff it out,” Snoke sits on his throne, “ Alas , you’re no Vader.”

Kylo purses his lips. Not yet, I’m not .

“You’re just a child in a mask.” 

A child? The things he’s done for the Dark Side- for the good of the galaxy-

It’s not until he’s back in the elevator that his anger at himself really manifests. 

Stupid fucking bastard, he thinks, taking heaving breaths, Stop being a child hiding behind the Supreme Leader. 

He looks down at the helmet, the mask , in his hand, and smashes it against the elevator wall. 

Let it die. Let it die. Let it die.

Let the past die

There is no one left for him in the world. No one to care about him...so why should he give a shit. All that’s left for Kylo, is fulfilling his legacy. And he will do so by any means necessary.

As soon as the elevator doors open to two startled cadets, he storms ahead, yelling “Prepare my ship.”

He’d show Snoke that he isn’t some sissy. He wouldn’t just abandon the Dark Side like his sister or stay stuck in the past of their family. 

He would end it. Today and forever .


Jaina (Present Day)

We all sit in the hut around a makeshift fire. 

“There is no light left in Kylo Ren. And...he’s only getting stronger,” Rey shakes her head, “The First Order will control all the major systems within weeks. We need your help...We need the Jedi Order back. We need Luke Skywalker-”

“You don’t need Luke Skywalker.” 

What?

Rey narrows her eyes. “Did you hear a word I just said?” 

“You think-what? I’m gonna walk out with a laser sword and face down the whole First Order?” He scoffs, “What did you think was going to happen here? Did you think I came to the most unfindable place in the galaxy for no reason at all?” 

Luke stands up, and so do the two of us. 

“Look, you’ve dealt with a threat like this before,” I say, irritation slowly creeping into my tone with his half-answers and repetitive responses, “You fought in the war against Darth Sidious and came out the other side to tell the tale. We don’t expect anything of you other than your expertise or advice-”

“Your mother is experienced with it too. And I shouldn’t be preaching to anyone except the old porgs on this planet. You should know best of all Jaina that it’s never any good to go following my path. Look where it led us,” He says, gesturing to me “Look how broken your spirit is.” 

“What do you know about my spirit?” I say defensively, “You have no  fucking idea what’s happened in the last 7 years!”

“And the galaxy’s better off for it. Skywalkers getting involved in the galaxy’s business always ends poorly-”

“Yeah, well when this Skywalker inserted herself in the galaxy’s business she was able to provide intel for the Resistance,” I put a hand on my chest, “My mother has been an integral part in keeping this galaxy free of oppression. Just imagine how much you could -”

“Perhaps. But think of how many you’ve killed or tortured. Think of the innocent lives lost. All for the betterment of the galaxy ,” He spits, shaking his head, “You should’ve stayed out of it, Niece, made a run for it like I told you to.” 

I blink a couple of times, inhaling sharply. The night of the attack is something I’ve left untouched in my memories. It’s not a night I want to recall at all.

“A lot of the killing I’ve done is because you ran away...It was to try and find you ,” I grit my teeth and speak slowly, reigning in my temper as it threatens to overwhelm me, “You staying out of it didn’t do the galaxy any better.”

He stares at me, light eyes staring into my soul. 

I don’t want to be here any more. I can’t have a rational conversation between us...there’s too much history. Too much buildup of blame and guilt and resentment.

You never should’ve come .

I shudder at the old voice, my weirdly hetero-chromatic eyes definitely darkening. I shut it out and blink to rid the color.

“You want my advice?” He says, gesturing to my eyes, “Figure out who you are before you go sermonizing. Maker knows I didn’t. Now go away.”

His words sting, sear through my very soul. But he’s right

My father and many others have been killed and tortured and now the Resistance is on the run. No matter our connections to the Force, Rey’s, mom’s, and my own, we’re not enough. And I don’t know why.

And then he’s off, walking up the stairs at a breakneck pace.

“We’re not leaving without you!” Rey calls after him, then turns to me expectantly.

I need some time to cool off. I can't be constructive with him right now-

“You go on ahead I’m gonna...check up on Cas,” I say and she nods, running after him.


Rey (Present Day)

Following a day in the life of famous Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is not as exciting as Rey thought it would be. When the General told Rey that her questions could be answered by him, she’d pictured a man, wise beyond his years, with a gentle smile and a willingness to help. 

Someone as put together as the General herself. But no, this twin could not be more different from his sister. 

So far he’d drank this...blue milk straight from a huge, birdlike creature. Had pole vaulted to catch a fish. And had trekked up and down the mountains of Ahch-To several times. Rey is pretty sure he’s doing this just to get rid of her. 

But she’s unrelenting. Following him here and there, to and fro. Leia entrusted her with this mission. 

Her . A nobody from nowhere with a possible connection to this thing that everyone seems obsessed with. 

She wouldn’t destroy the General’s faith in her. 

Jaina couldn’t stand to be in the same room as her Uncle, and Rey could understand why. After so many years of implementing her Master’s teachings only to have him say she shouldn’t have bothered-

It was alright. Rey, as the objective party in this scenario, would and could convince him to return. She would not fail.

But on another uphill trek, when Rey stops to catch her breath for a second, she swears she hears the whisper of her name, and the beckoning of something familiar. 

Rey -

Her heart jumps up to her throat, remembering the last time she’d heard that voice. Underneath Maz’s castle. 

But a patch of fog catches her attention, and she can’t help the curiosity that propels her towards it. That curiosity made her a good scavenger, but an even greater adventurer. 

And wasn’t that what this was? An adventure. 

The closer she gets to it, the more she feels in a trance-like state. It’s almost something straight out of the dreams she’d had growing up and to this day. 

She knows that it’s a sort of tree. And if she walks inside that tree and sees leather lined books-

Shivering, Rey heads inside, and a jolt wracks through her body when, indeed, there are stacked old books there. 

She reaches out to touch one-

“Who are you?”

“I know this place,” she turns back to Luke, then looks around. 

“It was built a thousand generations ago. To protect these,” He runs a hand over the books, opening one,“The original Jedi texts. Just like me, they’re the last of the Jedi religion.”

All Rey can do is stare in wonder. 

“You’ve seen this place. You’ve seen this island.” 

“Only in dreams ,” She whispers in awe, shell shocked.

Who are you ?” 

“The Resistance sent me,” she says, internally shaking the haze out of her brain.

He walks towards her, “They sent you? Why not just my niece? What’s special about you ?”

Rey looks down. Not wanting to say that she’s nobody .

“Where are you from?” 

A desert dump heap.

“Nowhere.” 

“No one’s from nowhere-”

“Jakku.” She says, finally. 

He nods, “Alright that is pretty much nowhere.”

She tightens her grip on her staff. This isn’t how she envisioned this conversation going. 

How else would it have gone?

“Why are you here, Rey, from nowhere?”

“The Resistance sent me,” she reiterates in a voice that is almost monotone, “We need your help-The First Order’s become unstoppab-”

Why are you here?”

Rey looks down for a second, then off to the line where the light streaming into the tree meets to cool dark interior of the trunk.

“Something,” she swallows, “...inside me has always been there. But now it’s awake. And I’m...afraid.”

So, so afraid.

Luke just takes a deep breath. 

“I don’t know what it is. Or what to do with it. And I need help.” Her voice is barely a whisper, both in awe and fear.

So many questions she wants to ask run through her brain a million miles a minute. 

Why is this thing calling to me? What does it want? Should I be afraid of it? Did I get it from my parents? 

But primarily: H ow did I wield that saber in the forest?

“You need a teacher,” he sighs and turns around, “I can’t teach you.” 

“Why not?” She says, growing agitated. 

If he is the last of the Jedi religion then he’s her only chance at understanding this… understanding herself.

“I’ve seen your daily routine. You are not busy.”

“You heard me earlier. I will never train another generation of Jedi. Look who it got me the last time.”

Rey hears what sounds like a stumble against a rock and looks past Luke to see Jaina standing at the doorway, hurt flashing in her eyes. 

The worst point in the conversation for her to come back.

Luke, without turning, closes his eyes and sighs deeply, looking older than ever. Jaina nods in some form of understanding, and heads away.

Luke too nods, and moves towards the door, “I came to this island to die.”

He looks outside, presumably watching Jaina walk away. “It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

Please- she wants to plead. But Rey settles for-

“Why?” And then, “Leia sent me here with hope. If she was wrong she deserves to know why...We all do.”

I do . Please teach me-

But Luke just walks out, and Rey can almost physically feel her heart crumble.

Chapter Text

Luke Skywalker (Present)

After determining that Rey was asleep outside his hut and Jaina and Chewie are trying to start a fire outside, Luke Skywalker enters the Falcon quickly and quietly. 

Just a short trip down memory lane, he thinks, for old times sake. And then that’s it.

He looks around a bit, walking into the cockpit, almost hearing Han’s deep voice and laughter and calling him kid . Seeing Leia argue with him over the chess board in the bay. He touches the table, wishing immensely to see his twin at that moment. 

But then a beeping noise from the corner startles him, both at the familiarity and the noise itself. 

“Artoo?” He takes off his hood and his blue and white droid rolls over to him, beeping something about where the hell have you been?! Did you know people were looking for you?!

“Yes, yeah I know.”

“While you were just here on this fucking island!”

“Hey, sacred island, watch the language. You’ve been around Jaina too much.” His niece had always had a spunky attitude and a big potty mouth. She was so much like Han.

And I missed you.”

“Old friend.” Luke says reverently, smiling softly at one of his closest friends. He almost laughs at that, that his closest friend would be a droid. But it was a truth far greater than any other- Artoo had been with him since the beginning.  

Come back with us.”

“I wish I could make you understand. But I’m not coming back. Nothing can make me change my mind.”

Artoo looks at him like that’s a challenge. Then swivels its head and projects onto the floor. 

“Years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person-”

‘That was a cheap move,” Luke glares at his droid with no malice. Seeing Leia just makes him want to forget everything he’s ever thought and just go and support her.

But he can’t afford to screw up her life again.

“- but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed. This is our most desperate hour. Help me Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope .”

Luke looks down, and then back up to see a small child with an eyepatch staring at the hologram in wonder. 

“Is that the General when she was younger?” The boy says, staring at the fuzzy picture with his one good eye, “She looks just the same now.” 

For a moment, Luke is sure he is seeing a vision of his nephew as a child. But as he just stares, it becomes apparent that this boy is no Ben Solo.

“Artoo you see him too right?” 

“Yes, Luke, he’s real.”

“Okay.... Who are you?” 

“I’m Casimir.” He says plainly. 

“Alright, well, hello Casimir. Did you stow away on this ship?”

“No!” His one eye gets wide, “Mr. Skywalker, Jaina is my guardian. So I’m here with her.”

Why is his niece taking care of a 7 year old in the middle of a war?

“I take it I’m not supposed to know that you’re here?” The little boy is suddenly very interested in his shoes.

“I don’t think so. Not yet, anyways. But it’s really good to meet you Master Skywalker! And I know General Organa is going to be so excited to see you again. Before I left, she told me that you would give us hope to actually win the war, which is why it was important for us to come find you. She said that we all have our roles to play, and that even if I could pull my weight a little bit, it would make a difference. She said-” 

“I think I understand, kid. But thank you for telling me.” 


Rey (Present Day)

Rey wakes with a start and turns over to see Luke staring down at her. Heart pounding wildly in her chest, she sits up a little. 

“Tomorrow. At dawn,” He says cryptically, then turns and walks away, “Three lessons.”

Rey sits up completely now, every ounce of her body vibrating with excited energy. She was going to learn from Luke Skywalker.

“I will teach you the ways of the Jedi. And, why they need to end.” He turns into his hut and shuts the door, leaving Rey with a confusion beyond compare.

She collects her thoughts for a bit, then bounds down the mountain to tell Jaina.

“He’s going to teach you?” The black haired girl says raising a brow, poking at the fire, “Good. At the very least Uncle will give you some clarity.”

When Rey had asked Jaina to teach her even just a little, and Jaina had thought about it for a while before refusing. She’d said that she needed to figure out her own relationship to the Force first and didn’t want to mess up Rey’s perception of it. That, when they found Luke, he would be able to help her best. I hope she’s right.

“I still don’t understand why he keeps saying the Jedi need to end. Not all of the Jedi ended up bad- I mean, look at you.” 

Jaina frowns, still looking at the fire, “I’m not... technically a Jedi.”

Rey furrows her brows. “But I thought-” 

“I was just about to have my ceremony into Knighthood and take on a padawan. The next day, actually... not that I really wanted it at the time. But then the attack happened-” 

“What happened, exactly?” 

Rey can practically feel the anxiety emanating off of Jaina, and it shocks her at its intensity. She doesn’t think she’s ever recognized the feelings of someone else before.

“I don’t really like talking about it.”

“It might help Ms. Rey,” Jaina whips around to where Casimir comes out, a blanket wrapped around him as he yawns, “If you tell her what happened, she’ll be able to figure out how to convince Master Skywalker.”

“Exactly,” Rey nods at Cas, who sits down next to her. The little boy has surprised her with how mature he is. Rey, herself, had needed to grow up at such a young age, and she sees a lot of herself in him. She sees a lot of what she went through reflected in his own eye. “You can trust me, Jaina.”

Finally looking up at Rey and down at Casimir, Jaina sighs, and delves into what she remembers. 


Jaina Solo (20 Years Old)

I sit up with a start, gasping for breath, the tightness in my chest akin to that of the night Shara died. My vision is hazy and I-

Is that smoke?

And then I hear the screams.

***

“BEN?” “UNCLE LUKE?”

I run in my plainclothes and training boots throughout the Praxeum, fires burning all around me and the cause of them not apparent. No one runs away, that’s not what we’re trained to do, but there is no one left around me to even defend our base.

One by one I pass bodies of those fallen, a youngling- 2,3-among them.

Find your brother- both voices seem to whisper at the same time. 

“BEN!” I yell.

“JAINA!” That doesn’t sound like him at all.

“Wha-“ I slowly turn in the direction of the voice. 

“JAINA COME HERE.”

I run towards it to see my Uncle slumped against debris.

“Uncle, you’re hurt!” I kneel and smooth the hair from his face as he tries to sit up taller, ever the Master.

“Jaina, listen to me. It’s your brother-“

FIND HIM-

“-who did this. He called Snoke’s men.”

BEN WILL EXPLAIN-

“No, no!” I pant, looking around to make sure no one else is around, “There has to be some sort of misunderstanding-Ben would never-he’s-we’re family!“

“Even family can do terrible things Jaina, but listen to me: I need you to take as many students as you can and flee.”

I sit back on my heels, “I’m sorry?”

“You have to leave! Get out of here! Save the heroics for another day. Let the Praxeum live.”

“I can’t just run away,” Tears start to spill down my cheeks as I stand up, “What about you?”

He looks down and then back up at me, “This, this right here is evidence of my failure. I should never have trained the two of you-“

“But-“

“GO, JAINA.” He shoves me backward a bit with the Force,”GO! SAVE WHO YOU CAN!”

I nod, vowing to come back for him, and run back into the smoldering Praxeum.

I weave silently through the residential huts, not finding anyone until I get to the training grounds. I hide behind a weapons shed as I peer around. 

A tall man in Jedi plainclothes stands holding a blue lightsaber. His face is covered by a helmet, but I’d recognize that broad stature anywhere. Ben-

But surrounding him-white, illuminant stormtroopers. And 5 other young men and women laughing and snickering at the burning. One of them is his padawan, Grio. The others I don’t recognize. 

What-what’s he doing with them?

In front of Ben’s is an older man, lightsaber holder empty. Head slung low in defeat.

“This is the last one?”

“The last one sir,” the modulated voice of a stormtrooper.

“And my sister?”

“Still sound asleep. But I can check again if you’d like, sir?”

“Yes in a short while, those pills I gave her should be wearing off soon.”

Eyes widening, I quadruple-time it back to my tent all the way across base. I finally get to my quarters and heave at the pain shooting through my leg. 

I’m going to have to go with them. Or else risk death, and be useless. 

So be useful.

I glance around my tent and my eyes snag on the secret holovid on upside-down flight maneuvers Poe gave me to pass the time. And the illegal cloaked binary beacon my father gave me. 

Be useful.

I run over to my mechanic pack and take apart the bottom compartment of my lightsaber, shoving the beacon into it and sealing it in.

Then, I grab the holovid and erase the maneuvers video. Quickly recording my own, I put the holovid back under my pillow and lay back down in pretend sleep. 

The stormtrooper arrives shortly after, delivering me to my brother.


 Poe Dameron (23 Years Old)

I walk slowly into her tent, one of the only ones not burned into the ground. 

How could she do this?

"Dameron did you find our girl?" He can practically hear Lora gritting her teeth over the comm. 

"No. She's definitely gone Lora," I exhale shakily, "I'm sorry." 

"Me too."

She couldn’t, that’s what’s bothering me. Regardless of the fact that she may have fallen to the Dark, she would never join the First Order.

How could she do this?

With a wave of nausea, I sit down on her cot. On her bedside table is a photograph of her family, taken when she was still a kid. And a second one of the two of us, on the day I'd graduated the flight academy and she'd jumped into my arms whooping about how proud she was. Karé had taken that, telling me privately later how adorable we looked together.

I end up putting my head in my hands, the pressure in my brain far too great to handle. Year after year of memories flash by my eyes. The majority of the time, she'd been happy. I thought I'd made her happy. But she did change when the  accident happened with the rest of Rogue Squadron-

What’s that?” BB-8 rolls over next to me and extracts something from under Jaina’s pillow. 

I whip my head up and my heart sinks in recognition. 

“It’s the holovid I gave her. Before she left...it's a video on upside down-” 

" B ut why would she sleep with it under her pillow? "

Grasping tightly at my necklace I snatch the tablet from BB-8, enter the passcode, BlueJay, and playback the video. Only, it’s not my video. 

“ Hey Poe.” I shudder at her voice, at the frantic way she looks into the camera and back at the entrance to her tent. I can see residual tear streaks on her face, her eyes rimmed with red and puffy, though she speaks solidly, “ Foremost, I need you to get this video to the General, and tell her that I’m sorry and that I haven’t fallen to the First Order. I’ve just found out through my uncle that Ben has... fallen to the Dark Side and has called Snoke and his disciples to end the Jedi Order. I think a few of the other students here have joined him too, and I couldn’t stop it. Luke couldn’t stop it-we couldn’t have known.”

She takes a shaky breath in time with one of my own. 

“ I’ve put my father’s cloaked binary beacon into my lightsaber, but they’re coming for me right now and I have to go with them or they'll kill me. If you can send me a way to communicate with you, I can be of some assistance to the Resistance by giving you intel from the inside, but I am helpless as of right now. I am truly, deeply sorry that I couldn't stop this. And Poe  I...May the Force be With You. And with the Resistance too.

Holy fucking shit.

"Come to her tent," I speak immediately into my comm.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“You’re demoted,” The slap across his face from Leia hurts a lot more than Poe thought it would...but it was completely unwarranted. 

Their entire world was upended in the past few hours. They’d got intel, just in time, that the First Order had found the Rebel base- something about them narrowing it down to a few planets and just happening to choose the right one.

Poe’d just taken down a Dreadnought. And with it a lot of their fleet, but the majority of them made it away safe and sound. And they’d just destroyed one of the First Order’s major advantages. 

If Poe could make it easier for when Jaina, Rey, Casimir, and Luke return by increasing our advantage, why wouldn’t he? Why would Leia not want that?

“What?! Wait!” Poe stops the General before she can just leave after demoting him, “We took down a dreadnought .”

“At what cost?” She asks him, exasperated. 

“You start an attack, you follow it through.” 

“Poe, get your head out of your cockpit,” she says, and Poe takes a breath, trying not to lose his cool, “There are things you cannot solve by jumping in an X-wing and blowing something up.”

He’s sure Jaina had said that to him once or twice. 

But this mission was a success. They lost people every day, and if jumping in an X-wing was the fastest way to stop that from happening-

He wouldn’t lose anyone like he lost Lu ever again. 

“I need you to learn that,” she chides in a way much like his own mother. And he can feel her disappointment in his bones. 

He’d gotten a lot closer to Leia after the attack on the Praxeum. Not only were his piloting skills appreciated by her and her ability to be diplomatic and strategic influential on him, but they shared in a common loss. And understood each other better than anyone else in the Resistance.

Leia was right about a lot of things. But Poe can’t help but truly believe he’s right on this one.

She shakes her head, walking away from him, but Poe stops her, “There were heroes on that mission.” 

“Dead heroes, no leaders,” she says pointedly, glancing down at his Commander’s flight suit.

Poe stands there for a moment, in shock of the demotion and her disapproval at his actions.

“We’re really in the middle of nowhere.” Finn says, looking off of the map hologram. “How’s Rey gonna find us now?”

Poe walks over to Kaydel Connix, who sits at a computer, monitoring something intently. He’d become very good friends with Kaydel over the last few years. She was so intelligent, resourceful, and so high ranking even for a Lieutenant that he wouldn’t be surprised if she was the next General, Maker forbid the Resistance outlive Leia. But Kaydel was a lot quieter than most would expect, which Poe found refreshing in a world where everyone boasts about their accomplishments.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Leia show Finn the cloaked binary beacon, and Poe shakes thoughts of how Jaina was doing out of his head. 

“What’re you staring at, Kay?” 

She startles, turning back to see him and then relaxing. “Oh, it’s just you. There’s just...something off about how easily they found us that first time. It wasn’t that long after Starkiller Base-” 

“I was thinking the same thing, but-”

Alarms start resounding throughout the ship and Poe and Kaydel look at each other, and then run to the central console. 

“PROXIMITY ALERT!” Ackbar screams. 

“They found us!” 

No -

Poe shares a terrified look with Kaydel over the central console, “That’s impossible.”

Blips of more and more ships arriving start dotting the map in red. Finn shakes his head, glancing at Leia, then back at the map. 

Then, the biggest ship of all shows up, taking up nearly half the map and what they can see out the window. 

“That’s Snoke’s ship,” Poe curses, remembering one of Jaina’s last data transfers, “You gotta be kidding me.”

He runs back over to where Finn is now standing next to Kay. 

“Can we jump to lightspeed?” His mind is running through all possible scenarios to get them out of this. Each one more based on luck than the last. 

“We have enough resources for just one jump,” Kay says, but has a frown on her face. 

“Well, then, do it! We gotta get out of here-”

“Wait-” Leia says, holding up a hand, “They’ve tracked us through lightspeed.”

“That’s impossible,” Finn says in disbelief.

“Yes. And they’ve done it.”

And when Poe looks back at Kay, it all clicks. That’s what was wrong with the ease of their escape...it was because the First Order let them . They’d already had them tracked...it was just a matter of time.

“So if we jump to lightspeed, they’ll just find us again and we’ll be out of fuel. They’ve got us-” Finn says in a low tone. As if this was the end. 

Like hell it would be -

“Not yet, they don’t,” Poe stalks over to Leia, “Permission to...jump in an X-wing and blow something up?”

“Permission granted,” Leia says, though he can see how much she hates doing it, “Admiral, swing us around!”

Poe runs off towards the ship hangar.

“Jess! Snap! Karé!” He yells to his team as he runs out of the control room. 

Karé, on a comm with him, informs Poe that Snap is already in the hangar with her and Jess will get there soon with their droids. 

“Don’t wait for me! Jump in and fire her up!” BB-8 whirs past him as Poe bolts as fast as he can. 

BB-8 rolls into the hangar and Poe just makes to follow him when his world blows up in an explosion of fire and a metallic taste in his mouth. 

Poe slides and lands on his side, his ribs most definitely cracked and burns and cuts over his face and hands. He sees BB-8 land next to him in two mostly whole pieces. 

But then the hangar doors seal shut. 

And it takes Poe a minute to get his bearings. It takes him a minute to realize that both Karé and Snap were in there. And that they, along with almost every other pilot in the Resistance, were now dead.

Poe? What just happened?” He hears Jess’s voice through his radio but can’t bring himself to respond. 

He’s in shock, he must be, because the next thing he knows, Finn is sitting him up and asking if he’s alright. All Poe can respond with is: “We need to get out of range of those Star Destroyers.”


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

The Resistance ship concentrates their rear shields and jettisons ahead, getting further and further away from the First Order’s fleet. 

Kylo scowls as he expertly flies around the ships, placing strategic hits to essential components. His mind is blank and devoid of any emotion as he flies near windows of the cruiser, seeing the terrified expressions of the Resistance fighters…

Let it die, let it-

And then he can feel it. The familiarity of a soft, warm, and fierce presence in the Force. 

Leia . Mom .

His anger boils and bubbles up. All the resentment towards his mother for leaving him alone with Threepio and Chewie for long stretches at a time, for shipping him off to his uncle as soon as he was old enough, for not being there for him when he needed her. 

He feels it all pierce through his heart as acutely as his saber pierced Han’s. 

He sets his targets exactly on where he knows his mother is. 

I know I failed you, Ben. And I’m so, so sorry.

He hears it- feels it- and doesn’t want to. So he hovers his thumb over the buttons that would destroy her and wills everything in him to press it. 

Whatever you choose, I will always love you.

He feels choked, like the entire weight of the universe is on his shoulders at this one moment. He could forgive her, she could forgive him, and maybe-

He takes his thumb off of the blaster. 

And one of his details makes the choice for him anyway, blasting the entirety of the command center. Ben hears screaming, and for the first time in a long while, he realizes it is himself and has to reign it in. Before he even has a chance to process, Hux’s gravelly voice and picture appear in his console. 

“Ren, the Resistance have pulled out of range. We can’t cover you at this distance. Return to the fleet.” 

Kylo grunts in acknowledgement, taking a few deep breaths before flying right back to the fleet. 

Chapter Text

Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“General Organa... Leia... is unconscious but recovering. This is the only good news I have. Admiral Ackbar... all our leadership, they're gone,” Commander D’Acy says.

“Oh dear, oh dear.” Threepio says, shaking his head. 

Poe looks down, setting his jaw. 

Snap. Karé, Ackbar, and so many more were dead. Gone. Their life’s work resting now on the shoulders of their Resistance. Poe refuses to think about them now. If he does it’ll surely be the end of him. 

He just needs to make sure the Resistance escapes from this and lives to fight the good fight and then he can-

“Leia was the sole survivor on the bridge,” D’Acy continues, “If she were here, she'd say: save your sorrow for after the fight. And to that end... The chain of command is clear as to who should take her place. Vice Admiral Holdo... of the cruiser Ninka.” 

She gestures to a tall, thin woman with light purple hair and a white gown. To be honest, he's a little jealous about her sense of style.  Poe’s definitely seen her across the base before, but has never had to cross paths with her. Never actually knew who she was-

“Thank you, Commander. There are four hundred of us... on three ships. We're the very last of the Resistance...But we're not alone,” she smiles at all of them, “In every corner of the galaxy... the downtrodden and oppressed know our symbol, and they put their hope in it. We are the spark that will light the fire that will restore the Republic .” 

Poe looks up at that, finding himself drawn to that phrase. Spark that will light the fire-

“That spark...this Resistance, must survive. That is our mission. Now, to your stations. And may the Force be with us.” 

“That's Admiral Holdo? Battle of Chyron Belt, Admiral Holdo?” Beside him a Major nods, “Not what I expected.”

As everyone moves back to their stations, Poe realizes he has none. The ship hangar was gone, decimated. But he needs to keep working-
“Vice Admiral?” Poe moves over to her. Hopefully she’ll entrust him with some sort of responsibility like Leia would’ve. Hopefully he can help her out in this time of crisis.

“Commander Dameron.” He shakes off the fact that she knows his name.

“With our current fuel consumption there is a very limited amount of  time that we will stay out of range of those Star Destroyers,” he presents to her. 

“Very kind to make me aware,” she says distantly, looking at holograms. She turns away, talking to a lieutenant, “Let's get me those fuel projections.”

Poe frowns, frustrated, “And we need to shake them before we find a new base, so...what's our plan?”

Holdo finally turns back to him, an exasperated expression on her face. 

“Our plan, captain? Not commander, right? Wasn't it Leia's last official act to demote you? Because of your dreadnought plan? Where we lost our entire bombing fleet?”

Maker the sarcasm dripping off of this woman could fill a pool. 

"‘Captain’, ‘Commander’, you can call me whatever you like. I just want to know what's going on.” So I can help. So I can get the Resistance to safety.

“Of course you do,” she nods, getting a little too close to him for comfort, “I understand. I've dealt with plenty of trigger happy flyboys like you...You are impulsive . Dangerous . And the last thing we need right now.” 

He wants to scoff, but only reigns it in out of the respect that Leia has for her. What is with people calling him a flyboy recently? 

“So stick to your post... and follow my orders.” She smiles extra sweet at him and turns away. Poe can feel his eye twitch.


Rey (Present Day)

Rey wakes up to a small strip of sun on her face. The natural light better than the blaring heat that used to wake her up in Jakku or the loud alarms at the Resistance base. 

She gets her bearings, sitting up slowly so as to not get dizzy. 

Excitement builds in her slightly, knowing that today was the day . She was finally going to learn more about why she is the way she is. 

All of a sudden she feels a sort of tugging motion. Like someone is pushing her head to the right, but also more in depth than that. She can feel it tugging her soul in that direction, and she gives in out of curiosity.

Only to be met with the eyes of Kylo Ren. 

Rey sits there, shocked for a moment, because it is as if he’s sitting there in the hut with her. But he couldn’t be...she’d know if he were there. Before he could even get up here to her, Jaina would’ve-

Jaina would’ve shot him. 

My blaster!

She grabs her blaster, quickly turning the safety off, and shoots him in the stomach. 

Only, he’s not there anymore. All there is, is a hole in the side of her hut. 

No, no- that can’t be!

Rey was sure he was-

She runs out of the hut onto the grassy path, moving until she can see the Falcon from where she stands. 

But then she feels that tug again, turning her around. 

And she does it with no hesitation this time. And Kylo Ren is still there, unhurt from the blaster wound that should be causing him to bleed out right now. 

“You’ll bring Luke Skywalker to me.” He says, raising his hand towards her. 

Rey’s breaths are heavy with anger, realizing he is trying to compel her. Trying to play with her mind again, as he did when he was interrogating her. But she was strong enough to resist him then. And she can be now as well. 

As if realizing this, Kylo drops his hand, “You’re not doing this. The effort would kill you.” 

Doing what?! She wants to scream.

“Can you see my surroundings?” He says in such a calm voice that irks her -

“You’re gonna pay for what you did!” 

“I can’t see yours.” His voice soft in response, “Just you.”

Why don’t you stop trying to figure it out and leave-

“So no,” his voice is wondrous in nature, “This is something else.”

A clanging noise causes Rey to turn her head back. 

“Luke.” 

She sees Luke open the door to his hut, and looks frantically back and forth between where Kylo-

Where Kylo was standing. And where Luke is now, pointing at her hut. Where these frog... maidens are trying to rebuild the structure. 

“What’s all that about?” 

Rey looks down at the blaster still in her hand. Something in her tells her to keep this to herself. It’s probably her self-preservation instinct. If he senses that something is off with her, with him so close to relenting, he won’t teach her. Or worse, he would never come back with them. 

“I was cleaning my blaster, it went off.”

He nods, seemingly satisfied with this answer, and then heads up towards the temple, “Let’s get started.”

Rey, getting the last of her bearings, starts up after him. 

“Who were those things?” She asks, about the frog maiden things. 

“Caretakers. Island natives. They’ve kept up the Jedi structures since they were built.” 

The Caretakers shout something that sounds a lot like an expletive after her. 

“I don’t think they like me.”

“Can’t imagine why.” Luke says, sarcasm filling his tone as they climb up the rest of the length to the temple. 


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Ready to go exploring?” I say, tightening the straps of Cas’s backpack. “Remember, Luke shouldn’t know you’re here. I don’t want to risk upsetting him further, because I don’t know how he’s gonna react to more than one stranger on his planet.” 

I realized that nothing good can come from me just sulking in the Falcon. I thought about it for a while and decided to let Rey handle the convincing of my Uncle. It looked like she had a lot to ask him herself anyways and I didn’t want to intercede.

Plus, this island has been giving me a strange vibe since I got here, and I need to figure out why. The hair on the back of my neck has been risen since we touched down. I swear I can hear whispers of moments long gone, but can never place a finger on it. And then there's just the perpetual feeling of being so in tune with the Force...almost bal-

“It’s okay! I’m so ready anyways,’ He bounces up and down excitedly, “I’ve been stuck on this ship for days!” 

And he’s been driving me crazy,” Chewie grumbles, “Trying to tinker with everything, Jaina. He remind-” 

“I’ve been driving...what?” Cas asks. He’d been picking up Chewie’s phrases and intonations here and there, slowly but steadily learning Wookie.

“Never mind the fur ball,” I playfully glare at Chew and he grunts something about this fur ball partially raised you - “Love you, Chewie. You know that.” 

He snorts and gestures for us to go. 

He leads Cas and I around to the other side of the island first before I take the lead and we begin our ascent. I’m going up the steps at a pretty rapid pace and I don’t realize it until Chewie yells at me to slow down. Cas, next to him, is huffing and puffing. 

Having had to be in proper fighting form constantly for the last 7 years, the ascent feels like nothing to me. But eventually, Chewie starts carrying Cas on his back, neither of the two minding that arrangement. Especially Cas, who can see so much more from that height and has started spewing incorrect tour guide facts. 

“And to our left we see the eerie Stones of Death. Legend says those who step on it get instantly spaced by the Force.” 

I snort, “Wouldn’t that be useful.” But when I look left to the stones, they do, in fact, look like Stones of Death. Jagged and chock full of places to break bones on, I think I’d rather be spaced than attempt to climb through that. 

Once we finally reach the top, my breath catches at the wide expanse of sea all around us, I can smell the saltiness of the water even from up here. The sky is a bright blue, grassland around us a vibrant green. see dales flipping in and out of the ocean, and hear the mating calls of these loud squawking porg birds nestling together. The wind whips warmly around us, enveloping us in a tight hug of humidity.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt such peace.

“It’s so beautiful!” Cas exclaims, sitting on the grass as Chewie walks further back to avoid the porgs. “I wish I could take a holo of this, but it just wouldn’t...”

“Do it justice. I know what you mean,” I say, taking a seat next to him, “It’s like all of your senses being stimulated all at once.” 

I stretch my arms out, “I could sit here forever.”

“Jaina can I ask you something?” 

I look back at him. “Always. What’s up?” 

“If... you could have escaped your brother that night with some of the other padawans, would you have come to somewhere like here, too? Somewhere this peaceful to get away from it.” 

The question catches me so off guard I find myself clenching fistfuls of grass. But I do think about it. 

“I think...I think I would’ve dropped them off somewhere like here and...maybe stayed a bit to recover and collect my thoughts. And to figure out what to do. But I would’ve gotten bored if I stayed. And I would’ve ended up back at the Resistance regardless.”  

He starts braiding grass in the ground. “Maz always said I had a restless soul. I’d always be asking what can I do over and over until I drove her crazy. So I totally get what you mean by getting bored of here, but also I think I get why Master Skywalker wants to stay here.” 

I furrow my brow. “What do you mean?” 

“He likes this feeling that we feel now. He could’ve originally wanted to do what you said you would: come here and figure things out before going back and helping. But maybe he found it easier to stay here and pretend like nothing is happening than face the bad things. Maybe after thinking about it he felt that he should ultimately stay out of it and not make things worse. And after all this time he just thinks he’s better off staying out of it.”

I could definitely see my Uncle’s line of thinking following this pattern. Mom had always said he felt the need to distance himself when there were fighting against Darth Sidious to protect her and dad and the rest of their friends. Perhaps he thought that he would distance himself and that would help fix it, and then got stuck on that idealistic prospect that he was doing good by being here. By being where it was easier to be. 

A light bulb goes off in my head. 

“Casimir, you little genius,” I stand up and hand him an arm, “I think you just gave me the idea that’ll bring him back.”


Rey (Present Day)

“Master Skywalker, we need you to bring the Jedi back because Kylo Ren is strong with the dark side of the Force. Without the Jedi, we won't stand a chance against him.” She tries again, before they start their lesson. 

He’d taken her to the top of the stone structures, into a cave that had a ledge where you could see the whole island and beyond. It was a sight so breathtaking that Rey could even comprehend it fully. 

You’re a good bit away from the desert now.

“What do you know about the Force?” 

“It's a power that Jedi have that lets them control people and make things float,” she internally groans.

“Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong,” he glares. She was grasping, Rey knows this, but it still feels like failure. 

“Lesson one, sit here, legs crossed,” He gestures for her to sit on this pedestal made of rock, “The Force is not a power you have. It's not about lifting rocks. It's the energy between all things, a tension, a balance, that binds the universe together.”

She nods. This is like textbook, surface level knowledge. “Ok. But what is it?”

“Close your eyes. Breathe,” she does, “Now, reach out.”

Rey sticks out a hand, entire body tense as she waits in apprehension for it to come to her. 

Suddenly, it’s like something is tickling her hand, causing goosebumps to form on her arms. 

“I feel something!” She gasps. 

“You feel it?” He asks.

“Yes, I feel it!” THIS IS SO COOL.

“It's the Force.”

Really ?”

“Wow, it must be really strong with you.”

A happiness like no other blooms in Rey’s chest. It’s actually calling to her!

“I've never felt anythi----OW!” She opens her eyes to see Luke glaring at her with a palm leaf in his hand. Oh, “You meant reach out like.. .I'll try again .”

“Breathe.” He sets her hands in front of her on the rock and she closes her eyes, “Just breathe. Reach out with your feelings. What do you see?”

Without too much thought, Rey can feel the island and see it in her mind’s eye. 

“The island. Life . Death and decay , that feeds new life. Warmth . Cold. Peace. Violence.

“And between it all?”

She feels it coursing through her veins. In her mind. In the wind that whips around her. She can feel it in Jaina. And in little Casimir. And in the sea and suns and sky.

“Balance and energy. A Force .” 

“And inside you?”

Her body practically thrums in harmony with everything around her.

“Inside me... that same Force .”

“And this is the lesson. That Force does not belong to the Jedi. To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity. Can you feel that?”

She tries to pay attention to his words, but she feels an incessant tug. Much like when Kylo Ren appeared to her. And her mind’s eye travels down down down the island. “There's something else beneath the island. A place. A dark place.”

“Balance. Powerful light, powerful darkness.”

She can see thick black rock. And a hole that she wants to repel like an antagonistic magnet. But instead, she finds herself pulled toward it. She feels Jaina again. And Casimir. And fear and cunning and knowledge-

“It's cold,” she says, shivering, “It's calling me.”

“Resist it, Rey.” She can barely hear him over the roar in her ears. 

The next thing she knows, she’s gasping for breath and drenched in sweat. Holding on to the pedestal rock for dear life. 

“You went straight to the dark,” Luke shakes his head and she gasps.

“That place...it was trying to show me something.”

What could that knowledge have been? What could a cave know that she didn’t?

“It offered you something you needed. And you didn't even try to stop yourself,” his voice is laced with disgust.

“But I didn't see you,” she realizes it as she says it, “Nothing from you.” 

He looks down, and Rey realizes exactly why. “You've closed yourself off from the Force. Of course you have.

Luke stares at her for a good minute. Then something tics in his face. “I've seen this raw strength only once before, in Ben Solo. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now .”


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“Just give it to me one more time, simpler.” Poe says, brow furrowed at their overlapped speech. 

Poe was all too eager to listen to Finn and (Jaina's old mechanic friend) Rose's plan, but they were using technical terms that made his head spin. Whatever they were about to do, Poe hoped it was feasible. Because then he'd actually be helping out instead of relegated to meandering around the cruiser.

“So the First Order’s only tracking us from one Destroyer, the lead one,” Finn starts.

“So we blow that one up?” Poe eagerly jumps in. Oh how hed love to-

“I like where your head’s at, but no. They’d only start tracking us from another Destroyer.” 

“But if we can-” Rose starts.

“If we sneak on-board the lead Destroyer and disable the tracker without them realizing-” Finn steps in front of her.

“-they won’t realize it’s off for one system cycle.” Rose finishes, stepping closer, “About six minutes.” 

Rose pulls up a hologram and I stand up to peer at it closer. 

“Sneak on-board. Disable the tracker. Our fleet escapes before they realize.” 

Poe looks between the two of them inquisitively. How they came up with this batshit crazy plan-

“Hmm.” Poe says, standing up to go closer to Leia. “How’d you two meet?” 

They share a knowing look and Poe wants to raise a brow at his buddy. “Just luck,” Rose says simply. 

Poe looks at the General and sighs, hoping to the Maker that she'd make it out alright from this medically induced sleep she's in.

“Yeah? Good luck?” 

“Not sure yet,” Rose says softly. 

Poe frowns, looking at the General's sleeping form. He’s all for actually doing something instead of whatever holding out for hope Holdo’s got planned, but he can’t lose another friend. He won’t-

“Poe we’ve gotta do this. It’ll save the fleet and it’ll save Rey.” 

Rey. The girl he still hadn’t had the honor of properly meeting. The girl who apparently helped save all of their asses from Kylo Ren. The girl who was currently with Jaina-

Poe wondered if and deeply hoped that his best friend was doing alright. She’d had tragedy after tragedy happen to her, and all Poe wanted to do was wrap her up in a bear hug she hated so much and never let anything bad happen to her. 

If this is their only shot for him to make that happen-

“If I may be the sole voice of reason,” Threepio starts, and Poe jumps a bit, forgetting he was in there, “Admiral Holdo will never agree to this plan.” 

“Yeah. You’re right.” Poe nods in resolve, “It’s a need to know plan. And she doesn’t.” 

“That was not exactly-”

“All right, you guys shut down that tracker, I’ll be here to jump us to lightspeed,” he says confidently, “The question is-how do we sneak the two of you onto Snoke’s destroyer?” 

“We steal clearance codes?” Rose offers.

“No. They’re bio-hexacrypt and re-scrambled every hour,” Finn sighs, “we can’t get through their security shields undetected. Nobody can.” 

Poe thinks for a moment, but the answer comes to him almost instantaneously.  He calls up Maz, using an old code she gave Jaina and him when they were children. It still works. 

She was surprised to see Poe on the comm instead of Jaina, but Poe jumps right into the explanation before she can comment on it. 

“You could do it right?”

“Can I do it?” She scoffs,” Of course I could do it. But I can’t do it-I’m a little tied down right now!” She turns and they hear blasters go off. 

Maker . Where is she?

“Maz, what’s happening?” Finn asks. 

“Union dispute. You do not want to hear about it,” She rolls her eyes, “But lucky for you, there’s someone closer who I trust who can crack that kind of security! He’s a master code breaker, an ace pilot, a poet with a blaster!” 

“Oh my!” Threepio interjects, “it sounds like this codebreaker can do anything.” 

“Oh yes he can,” she smirks with a devious laugh. 

Poe shares an uncomfortable look with Finn. Though he’s used to his fair share of dirty jokes, it somehow sounds wrong coming from someone who was practically his Aunt.

“You will find him with a red plum bloom on his lapel, rolling at a high stakes table, in the casino on Canto Bight.” 

“Canto Bight?” 

That’s so far! There's no way-

“No, no. That’s...Maz is there any way we can take care of this ourselves?” Poe sighs.

“I’m sorry, kiddo. This is rarified cracking. If you want to get on that Destroyer, I only know one option. Find the master code breaker.”

They look at one another in silence. But Poe can feel the resolve throughout the room. They were going to do this regardless. And get the Resistance its fighting chance. Get the Resistance its hope.

Finn hands the tracker to Poe, who takes it with a nod and a wish to the Maker to keep him and Rose safe.


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

We continue our exploration down to a narrow expanse of beach, where the water crashes violently at the rocks. Chewie and I decide we should probably turn back, since it’s about time for lunch with Rey, but Cas is adamant he wants to touch the water. 

“I’ve never been near an ocean before!” 

It’s the same as the lake on Takodana. Two Hydrogens bonded to an Oxygen-

“I didn’t know you took chemistry, Chew,” I laugh.

I took a full year at a university that one year we  were stuck on-”  

“GUYS,” Cas throws up his hands, “I saw a place where the water ran smoother when we were at the top. It’s just around there, we can go quickly and be back for lunch.”

Chewie and I look at each other and shrug. I mean...I didn't exactly find the explanation for the island I was looking for during our hike. Might as well keep trying.

Cas grabs my hand and pulls me in the direction he’s going. 

My stomach tightens as we travel toward the beach.  And when we get to the open expanse, and I see a black circle of seaweed that looks like it’s falling inward, I stagger back a little, trying to place what this is.

There's a hole...maybe a cave inside of there. Some inherent part of me feels uneasily comfortable around it. 

Cas on the other hand looked at it and decided he didn't want to go near it or the water anymore, squeezing my hand tighter.

As we turn to leave, I notice the rocks around here are different than they are around the rest of the island. They're a black, shimmering obsidian. 

And then it hits me. 

Holy fucking shit!” I run over, pulling Cas with me, and touch the stone. If comes off a bit chalky in my hands. 

JAINA PADME SOLO there is a child-”

“Sorry! Sorry Cas don’t ever say those words. But guys- ” I break off a chunk, handing it to him, “This is Misthor. Do you know how rare this is?!”

“What’s it used for?” Cas turns it over in his hands, frowning at it. 

Your father and I got stuck in the middle of a huge fight for it once. Isn’t it a material that you can make poisons out of to knock people out? ” 

“Exactly! Snoke had been hounding me to track a supply of it for so damn long. And now it’s here! Look how much!” I gesture all around, “We could use this so well. It’s unreactive in its rock form but if I could get the formula just right-” 

“So if you put it into... like, a misting cannon type thing, you could make it a ship appliance and knock out people on battlefields without actually hurting them!” 

“A misting cannon. Yes, that'd be perfect!” I break off some more. It’s a very lightweight substance and wouldn’t weigh us down at all. “Chew, how much of this do you think could fit on the Falcon?” 

The Wookie just grins at me.

***

After we bring back as much as we can carry in our arms and Cas's backpack, we vow to go again later and get some more. As we washed the black dust off of our hands, I quickly realized that Rey never showed up for lunch. So I set out, once again, to find her. 

“Started without me?” I grin as I catch up to her. She turns slowly, finally breaking her concentration from the Lightsaber in her hand.  I spotted her practicing on a rock surface a few minutes ago and made the trek over.

“Would you want to duel?” She holds up the saber in her hand, “I think I need a little more practice with it, lest the Caretakers hang me for destruction of property.”

Rey gestures to the cleanly sliced rock behind her and I glance down to see two frog-people make an obscene gesture back at me. Yikes.

“Yes. Of course,” I drop my pack and blaster, shrugging off my vest. I ignite my saber as she does hers.

“Ready?” She asks. I move into a dueling stance and she mirrors it.

“Ready.”

Our sabers clash as we move around one another in fluid motions, careful not to strike any fatal blows, but rather mimic them. Between it all, she teaches me bo staff techniques and I show her tricks and trades of saber fighting.

“If you’re ever in a hold like this, a trick I learned once but didn’t really master is-“

She holds me against her, blocking my neck with her staff and preventing me from touching her with my saber.

I drop my saber and my weight, catching it on the way down and pretending to slice across her stomach. My handling of it is a little wobbly, but I execute it enough for her to get it.

We train from midday until dusk, while the Suns scorch us at their highest. Both of us are sticky with sweat and exertion. 

“When I fought Kylo Ren in the forest,” She pants lightly, as we pack up, “I’d never used the lightsaber before. But it was like the Force was controlling me. Like it was someone else in my body worlds away having the same battle. And yet...it was me.”

Interesting.

“The Force can connect people, yes-” she glances up at me as I grasp for an explanation, “but it usually only does so in the case of twins, like my uncle and mother, or people destined to have their fates intertwined. But, as far as I’ve read, there’s never been any case of something like a full bodily inhabitation through the Force.“

“Huh.”

“The best I can guess is that, in that forest, you were focused, determined, and most importantly balanced,” I bite my lip, “Regardless of your skills with the saber, you let go to the Force around you, anything was possible back there.”

I should know. It’s what I rely on myself.

“That’s actually interesting because I-“ she stops, staring up the mountain.

I follow her gaze to see my Uncle watching the two of us with a sharp gaze.

“Rey, I think I have an idea.”


 

Rey (Present Day)

“Lesson Two,” Luke says walking about the room to the pool in the center of it, “Now that they’re extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified. But if you strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure. Hypocrisy, hubris. ” 

“That’s not true,” Rey frowns. All she can remember is Jaina’s guilt. Leia’s guilt. Luke’s guilt-all of those being the driving forces for their actions. She’s pretty sure that is the exact opposite of hubris.

“At the height of their powers, they allowed Darth Sidious to rise, create the Empire, and wipe them out. It was a Jedi Master who was responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader.” Darth Sidious , she remembers Jaina calling him that too. The name alone sends shivers down her spine.

“And a Jedi who saved him. Yes , the most hated man in the galaxy,” she presses. This is the opposite of failure, “But you saw that there was conflict inside him. You believed that he wasn't gone. That he could be turned.” 

“And I became a legend. For many years, there was balance.... and then I saw Ben. My nephew with that mighty Skywalker blood. And in my hubris, I thought I could train him, I could pass on my strengths. And again, when my niece was born. Han was...Han about it, but Leia trusted me with her children. I took him, and a dozen students, and began a training temple. And soon enough Jaina was old enough to tag along.” 

He sighs, getting up to pace. “She had exposed me to the prospect of a prevalent Dark Side by the time she was an infant. And I’d taught her control from an early enough age that I wasn’t worried about her growing up and falling at all. I pushed it to the back of my mind once she had a handle on it. She was so strong for being so young. And then Snoke appeared, and Jaina and I again worked to fortify her mind. Again, she was an apt enough learner to block it out and be alright. But by the time I realized I was no match for the darkness rising in him , it was too late.” 

“What happened?” Rey whispers as Luke sinks next to where she sits.

“I went to confront him. And he turned on me.” He exhales, “He must have thought I was dead. When I came to, the temple was burning. I had told Jaina to run with the rest of the padawans, but I’d heard that he had vanished with a handful of my students, including Jaina. And slaughtered the rest. I knew Jaina wouldn’t fall, so she would be slaughtered soon enough too. Leia blamed Snoke, but it was me . I failed. Because I was Luke Skywalker . Jedi master. A legend .” 

Jaina told her about Casimir’s theory of how Luke was originally going to return to the Resistance and then didn’t. She’d asked Rey to bring it up to him and see what he said, but somehow Rey doesn’t think it needs to come from her. Especially not after what Luke just said.

As for her approach-

“The galaxy may need a legend... I need someone to show me my place in all this,” she says, regaining confidence, “And you didn't fail Kylo. Kylo failed you. I won't.

She sets her jaw in resolve. No matter what, come what may, Rey would never betray her new friends. She would never fall to the Dark Side. And she just needed to prove that to Luke.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“The last of our crew has been evacuated and heading your way,” the medical frigate pilot says. He has to stay behind to man the ship, and Poe wants to scream at the absurdity that he has to make that sacrifice at all,”It’s been an honor, Admiral.” 

“Godspeed, Rebels!” Holdo says, turning off the holo comm. 

Poe wants to kick and scream. They are running out of time. At this rate, all they’re doing is delaying the inevitable. 

Shouldn’t they at least make an effort to make it out of this alive. 

“Admiral, fuel reserves at six hours,” Kay says, shooting a worried glance at Poe. 

“Maintain our current course,” Holdo says, eyes narrowing, “Steady on.” 

Poe goes over to the window, worried breaths fogging up the glass. 

“Finn, Rose, where are you guys?”

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Uncle Luke?” 

He startles, turning around in the midst of preparing a gigantic fish. 

“I’d offer you some, but if I recall correctly, you don’t like seafood.” 

A small smile creeps up on my face, “It’s the eyes. They freak me out.” 

“Some would say the same about you,” He looks at me pointedly and I laugh. 

He smiles a little, and then goes back to hacking at the fish. 

“If it’s alright, I actually want to talk to you about something.” 

Luke sighs, dropping the knife on the table, and turns around. He gestures for me to sit down on a bench across from him.

“Do your worst, kid.” 

Here goes nothing.

“I-” I twist my mouth, “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. For being so rude when we first got here...I don’t know where all that came from.” 

“I apologize too. It isn’t fair of me to lump you into the same category as your brother. You are two very distinct individuals and...it was the greatest challenge of my life to help you stay balanced. But I’m honored I got to do it.” 

“I’m so grateful for it. Without you, I never would’ve been able to block Snoke from my mind. My brother’s mind was like an open book, but I could show him what I wanted him to see. And even if he got some things out of me, they were lesser details/memories. If it weren’t for you, I never would’ve been able to remain a spy. It was because of you that the Resistance got so much information.” 

He sits there stoically for a second, and I’m not exactly sure how he’s going to respond. When I was little and had a setback as he was training me, he’d never yelled. Never lost his temper. He’d always push me to be better, but in a constructive manner. I loved him dearly for that. I could rely on him to never get angry. 

But now...this old man who looks like my Master is a mystery to me. I don’t know what he’s going to say. 

“Hmm.” 

I’m officially underwhelmed. But still, I continue. 

“Why did you leave the map?”

His head immediately shoots up, “Excuse me?” 

“Why leave the map if you never planned on returning?” I furrow my brows, “If you left it, at least some small part of you knew that something would compel you to come back. What would that reason have been? Why would you have come back then?” 

“It doesn’t matter now.” 

Please , Uncle. Help me understand-” 

“No, Jaina-” 

“THE RESISTANCE IS IN DANGER - ” 

“IT’S THIS, alright?!” He yells finally, panting, “I left the damn map knowing that if you were actually desperate or insane enough to risk putting together all the pieces of the map, that I would’ve returned to see how I could help.” 

My chest caves in, “So why won’t you come with us? We’ve reiterated just how desperate we are.” 

He stands up abruptly, pinching between his eyes, “I’ve reflected a lot over the time I’ve been here. And I’ve come to the conclusion that neither the Dark Side nor the Light should dominate. Who are we to say that Light is good and Dark is bad when it’s really the people behind either side making the choices. Jedi make mistakes. Sith are capable of doing good.” 

He comes over and puts a hand on my shoulder.

“You overheard me saying I’d never train another generation of Jedi, and it’s true, I won’t. Because doing so, just perpetuates the cycle of righteousness on either side.  And me, staying out of this war, is the best way to break the cycle. Can’t you see that?”

I drop my head slightly. He’s right. The way the Jedi and Sith have been battling for so long has just continued this cycle of hatred and destruction over generations. The conflict could and should be easily resolved by breaking the wheel. But it can’t just be one sided. 

“In order to stop the cycle, shouldn’t we ensure that their side also does?” I shake my head, angrily blinking away the emotion clogging my voice, “Snoke will never stop. If you die off, and the Jedi die with you, then the balance will remain permanently skewed to the Dark. And any chance of an end to the cycle would be gone. Can’t you see that?”

Luke is silent for a long while. I sit there, picking the splintered wood off of the bench as he ponders our conversation. Finally, he gives me an answer. 

“I cannot predict what my actions would do...And I cannot in good conscience risk the galaxy with my righteousness again. I’m sorry, Jaina.” 

I nod, standing up silently, and take my leave. 

***

I hike up the mountain, not ready to talk to Chewie and Cas and Rey just yet. 

Break the cycle. 

Break the cycle. 

Break the cycle.

It scares me how much that resonates with me. My whole life has been spent trying to fend off both sides so neither consumed me. What a blessing it would be to just do away with the Force for good. But I know that’s neither plausible nor realistic. 

The Force is an ever-present energy. It’s something I feel like I would die without. So compromise then, embracing both sides, would have to be the only way. But how the hell would we impart that on everyone?

Jaina-

“Go away!” I stop and turn my head in the seeming direction of the voice. It’s that old, familiar voice again. Nothing like Snoke’s. I shut my mental shields so fast it physically hurts, but to no avail.

There are things you should know -

“Then just tell me and leave me the hell alone!” 

The sky darkens significantly and the wind whips around me, until I’m made to turn backwards and walk towards this large stone structure. 

What the hell? It’s the Stones of Death...but somehow rearranged.

I move tentatively towards the structure, the porgs squawking loudly as I do so in alarm.

Great. Just wonderful. 

I ignite my saber, holding it out before me as I duck under the arch of stones to get inside.

It’s so peaceful here- the dark, slightly marbling stone in perfectly spherical rocks are spread around me in a perfect circle formation. A great contrast to the heavy storm forming around it.In the middle is a slight platform made of the same material. 

Take a seat .

I jog over, still holding out my saber, and stand on the platform. I look 360 degrees around me before sheathing my saber and sitting down tentatively.

In order to save your future, you must reconcile your past.

“My past?” I say, then gasp as I feel sucked into a vortex of memories. Looking around me in the spaces between the spheres, I see memories flying all around me. Just glimpses of them, like someone is fast-forwarding through my life, but solid and clear.


Jaina Solo (17 Years Old)

Mom eats with some of the Senators secretly a part of the budding Resistance, Senators Ematt and Nassa. Ematt grins at me as I greet her but Nassa just nods curtly. She’s never really liked me.

The Resistance has been growing and growing in number recently, with many of Mom’s old allies and their now-adult kids joining. Admiral Ackbar and Major Brance have been fundamental in helping us inspire these allies recently.

I set down the two cups of coffee and a plate of assorted foods and slide next to my mom at the table. 

“I was hoping you’d have brought Poe with you to breakfast. There’s something I’ve been meaning to discuss with him.” 

Poe had come with me to visit my Mom, because he was granted some vacation time and wanted to spend it with me. He was still passed out on the couch when I left.

“What’s up?” I take a sip of my own coffee, filled to the brim with cream and sugar. So unlike Poe’s dark black favorite.

My mom spills her own tea, cursing and jumping up. “I’ll get napkins, fill her in.”

“Since we’re now assembling Squadrons, Leia believes he’d be a great candidate for a Captain,” Ematt says, “And we both agree with her. He got top marks all throughout his time in the Academy, has shown commendable leadership skills with Rapier Squadron, and he’s not afraid to take risks-something integral to our mission.”

“That’s a great idea,” I brighten, “I think Poe would probably say yes if we asked him.”

Now I wouldn’t have to hide it from him.

“If you asked him, then certainly,” Nassa quirks a brow as I take a bite out of a biscuit. “Anyone with eyes can see you’re together. Despite your vow of celibacy.”

“I’m sorry, you must be misinformed,” I glare at her, “We aren’t together. He’s my best friend, and there’s no Jedi rules against that. And he’d agree not because he’s loyal to me and my family, but because he’s even more loyal to his. And joining us is something his Mom would’ve wanted to do-to protect the peace and well-being of the galaxy that she fought so hard for all those years ago. So he’ll want to do it to honor her memory, if nothing else.”

“So what do you think?” My mom says, back with an exorbitant number of napkins. I help her mop up the mess. 

“I think he’s a great choice. Though you know we are a little biased. Have you asked any other pilots?” 

“Snap Wexley and Jessika Pava, his peers in flight school, both agree he’d make an excellent captain. And so does Commander Claire. She’s heard of his success far and wide wherever she’s travelled in the galaxy. I think he’d be an excellent addition to this team.” 

“Great. So when are you going to ask him?”

Nassa nods, “Fill him in on the details when you get back. Tell him we’re coming over at o’1200 hours to discuss his decision.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I purse my lips, downing my coffee. I stand up, grabbing my plate of food and a coffee for Poe, and kiss my mother goodbye. 

***

“A secret Resistance?” Poe asks incredulously, rubbing the tiredness out of his eyes.

I fill him in on the majority of their plans for him. As well as that Being who is responsible for my increasing mental breakdowns.

“Yeah.”

“And this is what’s kept you so busy recently?” 

I nod, “Almost any time I’m ‘ visiting my Mom’ , I’m with the Resistance. Well...except this time cause we’re actually just visiting. But we have a base. I won’t tell you where exactly until you make your decision, but we’re growing every day. And we want you as a Captain of one of our Squadrons.”

He pinches the bridge of his nose. “Well, who else knows about this?”

“In my family it’s just my Mom and I for now, though I’m sure we’ll tell Ben and Dad soon enough. And you remember Anthur and Kalex and Manna, right? Maz knows, because she has to know everything. Some of your classmates from flight school. And Lu’lo just joined and-” 

“Lu knows about it?! Maker , next thing you’ll say my Dad knows.” 

I bite my lip. 

“Oh that’s just great. Well at least you guys know you’re keeping it a pretty damn good secret.” 

I sit down next to him. “The question is, will you join our pretty damn good secret?”


Jaina Solo (18 Years Old)

“She’s all yours, Blue Jay.” 

I wipe the sweat off my forehead, squinting up at the black X-wing gleaming in the sun. 

“Blue Jay, huh,” I move closer to the ship as Poe climbs down in his bright orange and white jumpsuit, just as his matching droid is lowered out of the ship. “That’s a new one.”

“I like to keep you on your toes,” he smiles.

Jaina, guess what we did?” BB-8 rolls in circles around me.

“What’d you do, bud?” I crouch down, fixing it’s bent antennae.

We grabbed intel on the different places the First Order plans to strike first. Now we can stop them!” 

“Oh, wow,” I stand back up and face Poe, grinning, “Did you guys really get it?” 

“We really did,” He grins, wrapping arms around me as I bounce on my toes. Then, a little louder, “And Snap didn’t shit himself this time.” 

“Can it, asshole!” We hear from the other side of his ship. A boot flies along with the yell, and I stop it mid-air just as it’s about to smack me in the face. 

Poe grabs it out of the air and chucks it back over. 

“You hit Major Solo!” Poe yells back. 

“Liar! If I did, I’d be dangling upside down by now.” 

“I mean, he’s right,” I whisper just to Poe, grinning. 

“Would the two of you shut up! I’m tired and my mechanic hasn’t shown up yet,” Jess yells two ships down. 

“I agree!” Karé exclaims.

“Same here.” Lu’lo adds.

“I got mine right here!” Poe screams cheekily, mussing up my hair. “Woohoo!!”

And there’s a collective groan from the rest of Black Squadron as I laugh loudly. 

***

Anthur, Kalex, and Manna are three of my closest friends in the universe. 

I’d met them when I was off world doing some recruiting for the Resistance and these three friends had accidentally talked to me, thinking I was someone else. We’d quickly sorted it out, but when they told me they were racing pilots, I couldn’t pass on the chance to recruit them.

“We’re backup, Jaina, backup!” Kalex huffs, auburn hair flopping down in a barstool chair next to me. 

The electro-shock machine I just finished designing a prototype for makes all ships with frequencies other than The Resistance’s in a surrounding area emit a loud, high pitched squeal.

“Oh right you had your Squadron placement test!” I lift up my welding helmet. “What made them decide that ?”

“We all took a flight simulation to rank us and deem us suitable for flight. The three of us passed, but apparently the maneuvers we used weren’t exactly proper,” Manna sighs, massaging his temples.

“Meaning you guys flew with tricks and shortcuts?” Like I do . Basically the only reason I’m not a Resistance Pilot.

“Exactly. It’s not our fault we didn’t go to some fancy flight school,” Kalex shakes her head, “And Anthur’s so upset, he’s locked himself in his room.” 

“Oh, Ant,” I shake my head, “At least they’re not grounding you guys.” 

“But we’re not on a Squadron. We may as well be grounded,” Manna steams. 

“Look on the bright side...at least you’ll get to fly every now and then! Unlike some of us-”

“Oh, boo hoo, little miss Jedi-mechanic doesn’t get to fly with her boyfriend.” 

“Shut up, Kalex,” I throw a rag at her, no menace in my words or actions.

“Fine. But like, you know how ridiculous this is, right?” 

I frown, “It’s pretty horrible. I mean, when are they ever going to need backup?” 

***

I end up eating my words.

“This is Commander Dameron, do you copy?”

His voice comes in frantic through the center console. My heart stops in my chest as I cancel the holographic blueprints I was presenting on and run to my mother with the rest of Command.

“Copy Commander.” 

“Blue and Black and Gold are getting rained on pretty hard out here. They have so many more Tie-Fighters at their disposal than we thought, at least 50. We’ve lost Commander Y’Ace as well as the majority of Gold Squadron and Blue 7- Shoane ,” his voice stern, “We’d pull back, but there’s no clear shot out yet. Send any and all available backup.” 

“Copy that, Commander. We’ll have reinforcements sent your way.”

“Someone comm Lieutenants Anthur, Kalex, and Manna, they should already be at the Docking Bay on standby.” 

“On it, General,” Lieutenant Kaydel Connix, a bright eyed young girl who looks a lot more like my mother than I do, jumps at the chance.

Just the three of them? Three more fighters won’t do them any good.

But maybe four, with a technological advantage-

“General, send me,” I say, putting my hands on the console. 

“What?” 

“Major Solo, you haven’t been tested by the flight simulator-” Nassa shakes her head.

“Screw the simulator, this is real life!” I slam my hands down, “Admiral, remember those plans for the electro-shock machine I showed you the other day?” 

“Yes? What about it?” Ackbar asks, gruffly. 

“I finished it just last night. And if I can go and set it off, it could be the distraction we need to get us the advantage.” 

My mother purses her lips, “I don’t like it, Major. What if it doesn’t work?” 

“What other choice do we have? Three more fighters won’t make a difference if they don’t come in with some sort of advantage or plan. Please. ” 

She looks to the rest of Command. “All in favor?” 

There’s almost a resounding aye , and I nod, sprinting to my mechanic bench. 

***

One of my fellow mechanics, a lovely girl named Rose, has a spare A-wing already ready for me as I sprint up with the heavy machine in my hands. 

“Good luck, Jaina.” 

I set the machine in the cockpit and grab a helmet from her. 

“Thanks Rose. I’ll make sure to watch out for Paige.” 

She smiles, hand going to her necklace as she climbs down the ladder. 

“ALL CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF,” she yells, directing me with a flag. 

I connect to the comm system. 

“Anthur, Kalex, Manna, you guys here?” 

“Here, Jaina.” 

I switch the line, “Command, do you copy?” 

“Copy, Major Solo.” 

“Alright, we’re in the air.” 

***

“I’M GOING DOWN!” I see the bright orange explosion in a cloud of grey. 

We arrive on the planet full of smog and dust. Explosions sound all around us as we enter into the atmosphere, swerving down in a diamond formation. 

The Trading Center the Resistance was trying to protect seems to still be intact, though all of the stone buildings around it have collapsed. 

“Jaina, where’d your device work best?” Kalex starts. “ Maker , I can barely see.” 

It needs to be somewhere where nothing can interfere with its frequency. Somewhere high enough, but not so high that it’s coverless-

And then I got it. 

“The roof of the Trading Center. That’s our best bet.”

“Jain, that’s right in the middle of the city. How’re we going to avoid the debris?” 

I know. “You guys can fly sideways right? We’re about to go Rogue.” 

***

“GET READY,” I yell into my head seat, running with the machine. Ant holds on to the other side of it, panting in time with me. We’d been avoiding blasts this whole time, dodging under random pieces of buildings and trusting in Kalex and Manna to cover us. 

Maker, let this work.

“This is Black Leader. All pilots safe and clear, Major Solo,” Poe’s voice says, “Light em up.”

“Copy that, Black Leader.”

I am one with the Force the Force is with me.” Ant whispers under his breath, and I nod at him. On the count of 3, we run out to the clearing on the roof and set the device down in the middle of it roof. 

Trust in the Force, Jaina. 

Ant bolts back for cover as I punch in the code to activate the Electro-Shock. As I’m about to put in the last digit, I see blaster from a Tie-Fighter shooting across the roof, causing it to partially cave in and dust to fly everywhere. I put in the final number and Jump under a broken slab of stone for cover.

My helmet provides some protection for my eyes, but I have to cover my mouth with a handkerchief against the dust. From what I can see, the planes start spiraling, losing formation, and some even dropping out of the sky. Poor on the First Order to use the same frequency across all of their Tie-Fighters. Must suck.

***

I hop out of the shower, yawning as I wrap myself in a towel. It took me a good 45 minutes to get the dust and debris off of my skin and out of my hair. I grab my shower caddy and slippers and walk back to my quarters. 

It’s around 2 in the morning and almost no one’s awake. Sure, some people have the night shift, but never in the residential quarters.

As I round the corner, I see Poe, crouched outside my door, half asleep in his sweatpants and a shirt.

I purse my lips. “Hi, Dameron.”

His head jolts up faster than a bolt of lightning. A grin appearing on his face when he sees me.

“Hey, Blue Jay.”

“Couldn’t sleep?” He shakes his head and I key in the code, “Why didn’t you just go in?”

“You weren’t in. Didn’t want to scare you so late.” He mumbles, standing up and opening the door.

I motion for him to turn around and he does while I pull on a tank top, underwear, and sleep shorts.

I sit down at my desk. Drying my hair with a small cloth, I tell him to turn back. 

He does and immediately kneels and wraps his arms around my stomach. I laugh, dropping my cloth on the ground.

“Poe-“

“I just...I keep running today through my mind. I can’t help but think what would’ve happened had you guys not shown up.” 

I stroke his hair, “You would’ve been fine. Eventually you guys would’ve found a way out of it. You especially are a brilliant, resourceful fighter.”

“It’s like, the mission itself required flying in the most convoluted way. And the four of you did that. And, Maker, your brilliant device saved us so much time,” he looks back up at me, placing a stroking hand on my knee, “ You’re brilliant.”

I feel my face growing hot and I shake my head, “Poe-“

“No one ever says it enough...but this Resistance wouldn’t be where it is today without you.”

I stand up quickly and bring him with me as I embrace him in a tight hug. 

He wraps his arms tight around my back and I clasp mine behind his neck. As I bury my face into his chest, he kisses the top of my head.

I just want to stay like this forever.

You can -

I tense and Poe can feel it, holding me back and looking into my dark eyes. 

“This why you’re up at 2 AM?”

I nod, closing my eyes as the tension of the voice starts to dissipate with every exhale. That voice had been telling me everything that I could have done better in that battle from the moment I arrived back on base to get debriefed. I tried to shut it out, but it’s almost like a part of me didn’t want to. Like I needed to hear it.

“Stay with me?” I ask quietly.

He nods, releasing me and jumping backwards into my bed. I laugh, turning off the light and sliding in next to him. Just like I did when we were kids, I put my cold feet on his warm legs. This time, he doesn’t kick them away.

I turn towards him, seeing his sleepy, mischievous grin at me in the moonlight streaming through my window. He keeps one arm tucked behind his head, and the other wraps around my back. I settle into his side, breathing the familiar and dependable scent of him, resting my head on his shoulder.

“Poe?”

“Yeah?”

I grin in the darkness. “My squadron’s better than yours.” 

“Not a chance.” 

“We’ll see about that.”


Jaina Solo (19 Years Old)

I sit in the cockpit, ears ringing and mouth tasting like acid. 

They’re gone.

They’re all gone.

I hear the pressure release as the top of my X-Wing opened. 

“Jaina-“ I hear distantly. Rose’s voice? “Jaina I’m so sorry-

I don’t look at her. I can’t stand to.

I failed her. And Ant. And Manna. And Kalex.. The whole Resistance. I failed them

“Come on, Jaina, give me your helmet and get out of-.” 

I robotically take off my helmet and hand it to her, my seatbelt following.

“I’m going to get the other mechanics.” Rose nods at me, awkwardly scurrying down the ladder.

I can’t bring myself to do the same. 

Not when the entirety of the Resistance stands watching me on the platform.

Nonononono-

They compress the legs of my X-wing-so I won’t have to climb down the ladder-

Down the ladder to the people I’ve disappointed. To the absent people I failed-

You did fail them. If only you had more power-

I take a breath and put my head between my knees, forehead resting on the joystick, and arms going up over my head.

Goawaygoawaygoaway-

The compression stops. The voice doesn’t come back.

I know they are still dead.

“Jay-“

I tighten my arms around my head. I couldn’t face him most of all. Facing him would be like facing myself.

I start to shake.

I feel arms wrapping around mine, his chest pressing against my back. The pressure helps with the shaking.

“Tell me what you need Jaina-“

“I-“ the letter burns in my throat as I whisper it, “I let you all down I-I can’t-“

I feel his hand stroke my hair. 

“You’re forgetting who I am, I’m afraid,” he says hotly, his breath on the back of my already warm neck, “I’m your best friend, you could never let me down. Ever, you’re stuck with me for life.”

And I don’t deserve it and I’m going to get him killed and-

There is a way to protect him, you know-

I sob. 


Poe Dameron (22 Years Old)

Jaina was never a crier. Not as a baby, not as a kid-

Only if there was something so horrible that there was nothing left to do but cry. 

And the sound of her sob, now, shatters my heart into pieces. It’s the sort of piercing wail that seems to lyse your each and every cell.

Her chest heaves as she curls more into herself, and Poe can feel her shutting out the world entirely. The mechanics work silently to pull the metal away from where it crushes her left leg. 

He strokes her back gently, tears forming in his own eyes as he thinks of Jaina’s closest friends. 

Ant: bold, brash and with sassy tendencies to rival Poe’s own

Manna: clumsy, but loveable nonetheless

Kalex: so incredibly thoughtful and sincere, not to mention skilled

Their lights in the galaxy, gone. 

Unimaginable. 

If Poe had lost his entire squadron-

She is going through something he could not fathom. 

And he has no idea how to help her through it. 

“Jaina-” 

“It’s all my fault,” she sobs, “it’s-oh Maker -”

“It is not -” 

“Oh Maker , they-” she heaves, and Poe forces her to sit up so he can see her face. 

She stares straight forward, eyes glazed over.

Her eyes are darker than he’s ever seen, blacker than space-the mischievous spark in them gone like a dead star.

Her face is covered in cuts and bruises, with a considerable gash from her temple, blood streaming down her face and staining her clothes. 

She heaves again, pressing her hands to her mouth. 

The mechanics finally cut the metal open. 

Poe puts his hands under her legs and holds her back, lifting her out of the X-wing. It’s then when he notices the awkward angle of her leg and the numerous gashes

He turns around to see the 50 people in the Resistance here with us, most of them with their hats off, or heads bowed, as they always did when the Resistance came back with losses. We were a small Resistance, and closer knit for it.

Jaina covers her face and sobs even harder as he sets her on the waiting stretcher.

Leia walks towards them, but he shakes his head and walks over to the med bay. 

***

She stays silent for 3 whole days, refusing to eat, not sleeping, not crying-nothing. Not after she was transferred out of the medbay with a major surgery on much of her left leg and 47 stitches her face. Not after she gave a written debrief. Not after Leia and Poe had stayed with her for hours. She was an empty shell-someone Poe could hardly recognize.

Time , Jess and Kar é had assured him, she just needs time -

On the third day, when Poe leaves her room after trying to get her to talk, he goes to see Leia to update her. 

“I’m going to tell Han,” she says when he enters the room, “Given our family history she’s going to be susceptible to horrible things beyond her control if she can’t move on from this. And-” 

Leia takes a breath to compose herself, “Han always distracted her when her Training was getting to be too stressful. She’s her father’s daughter...I-I can’t help her.” 

“Leia-” 

“No, Poe. I’ve already decided. And it’s about time Han knew anyways.” 

***

How could you let this happen?” Han yells, after having seen Jaina in her room. 

She took one look at him and broke down sobbing again.

Here in the comm room, everyone’s heads turn at the loud voice. No one really used to fighting tactics like this. 

Ackbar motions for everyone to leave. Most people rush out, but Poe lingers slightly, packing up his reports. BB-8 quietly whirs for him to hurry up.

I did no such thing, Han, and you know it. You know your daughter, you know she volunteered herself. And it-it was unpreventable.” 

“You sent our daughter on-on a suicide mission -” 

“What part of volunteer do you not understand?!” 

Han slams down his hand on the center console, “This goody-too-shoes bantha fodder is what almost got us killed all those years ago-Leia we fought so our children would never grow up having to fear for their lives. And you’ve thrust Jaina right into the middle of what we wanted to protect her from-” 

BB-8 hits Poes ankle, and the two of them leave. 

***

“Hey Blue Jay.” 

She’s asleep. Even though it’s 3 in the afternoon. 

I move over to her and start to poke her cheek like I used to do when we were little.

Slowly, she opens her eyes and looks at me.

“Guess what?” 

She quirks a brow. 

“I bought a friend.” 

She furrows her brows.

Stepping aside, Poe reveals BB-8 behind him and he swears he can see the ghost of a smile on her face, the sides of her mouth quirking up ever so slightly. 

Or is he imagining things.

Poe was being an idiot again today.”

“No I wasn’t.” 

Yes he was. First, he tripped over me on his way to the refresher this morning.” 

The droid projects the video and Poe hurries to cover it, but BB-8 is faster and projects it onto the wall beside Jaina’s bed.

She looks up and a smirk definitely graces her face as past Poe falls and curses colorfully. 

The video turns off. 

And then he wore his flight suit and leather jacket over it out into the caf.” 

Poe covers his eyes as BB-8 projects the video of everyone laughing as video-Poe sleepily realizes his outfit choice was insane.

A full blown smile, though she hides it behind a hand, breaks her face. 

And Poe feels like he can take the first breath of fresh air in weeks. 

“BB-8 stop she doesn’t need to-” 

Finally, he tripped out of his X-wing.” 

“No he didn’t-” she says hoarsely, eyes widening herself with the sound of her own voice. 

“Unfortunately, Blue Jay, I did,” I turn to BB-8,”Go on, now. Show her the video. You’ve already done enough damage to my reputation.” 

BB-8 whirs in amusement, then projects the video onto the wall. Poe, desperately trying to catch himself, then falling onto the mat below. 

Then she snickers. Just slightly, barely the whisper of a laugh, but it’s enough. 

It’ll be enough for now. 

Poe smiles at her when she asks, “Off day?” 

“You could say that.” He grabs her a glass of water as she clears her throat.

“-time’s it?” 

“Half past 3, sleepyhead,” Poe kneels down next to her bed and grabs one of her pillows, “Time to get up and help me salvage my reputation.” 


Jaina Solo (19 Years Old)

“Get up.”

Sometimes my movements, no, the entire world feels sluggish. Like I’m swimming through a pool of viscous sarlacc slime and everyone’s on the other side treading sweet clear water. 

My leg healed remarkably, but I still limp slightly. And the aches and pains come back every once in a while. Meanwhile my mental state…

All your fault-

So I take my time, as Poe keeps telling me, as my Mom keeps telling me, I need it. I have time. So I should take it. 

All your fault-

My old friend Lora had taken over Rogue Squadron and staffed it with others she knew I would approve of, Cal and Sken, one of which used to be a scavenger and the other a smuggler. Both with an aptitude for flying fearlessly.

Slowly turning my head to meet the voice at the door of my room, I hear a shit ton of expletives that I know could only come from the one I inherited my own potty mouth from. 

I raise a brow at him. 

I am up. I mean, not literally because I’m sitting in a chair. But I’m awake before noon, and have been up at dawn every day for the past two weeks, which is...better than before.

And I’m not lounging about either. 

Poe’s been making demands left and right for improvements to his X-wing, sitting with me as I do them and chattering away about this and that new improvements he’s heard of. 

And Mom stockpiled me with paperwork. She said that, as long as I choose to stay grounded, I can. But she’d be damned if she let me not contribute to the cause I dedicated myself to. 

So paperwork and Poe’s X-wing have been my life for the past week.

Paperwork, Poe’s X-wing, and Pretending my father isn’t on the base.

You failed him most of all.

“I am up.” 

“No, I mean get your ass out of that chair, young lady.” 

I cross my arms, “My ass will stay in this chair, old man. I have work to do.” 

“And I have cons to run and Chewie has termites to pick out of his fur. But we’re here, aren’t we? So how come you’re avoiding us?” 

Everything he taught you-all for naught.

“I-”

“And don’t even bother trying to deny it,” He moves over closer to me, “Come on, Pilot. I know the lie you’re thinking up, you get that craftiness from your mother, and I know exactly how to see through it. In fact, I wrote the book on it. You can tell me anything.” 

I frown. 

Don’t tell him. He won’t understand. He’ll be so disappointed in you. 

These days, I’m good at blocking out the voice so it’s just a whisper in the back of my mind. There’s not much else for me to do to keep my mind occupied, and I’ve adapted to getting that voice out of my head instantly. And some days, on the especially good days, I get defiant at it.

No he won’t be.

“I can’t go into a cockpit,” I rush out so I don’t change my mind mid-confession. 

He frowns, “Can’t go into a cockpit.” He says it like he doesn’t understand the individual words.

“Yeah. I can’t-can’t bring myself to.”

Dad nods, then smiles slightly, “We’ll see about that.”


Jaina Solo (20 Years Old)

“Hey hey Blue Jay,” His hair is mussed up and his face is softer than all of the pillows on base, especially when he takes off his reading glasses. He’s also shirtless, which I try not to note, “Couldn’t sleep?”

“I’m leaving for the Praxeum tomorrow,” I blurt, knotting my fingers into themselves.

He straightens up abruptly, nightstand shaking with the jolty movement. 

“What?! Since when?!” He asks, “You’re here for another week.”

“I kind of think I just want to get this Jedi ceremony over with, you know? Just...be done with training already,” I chuckle, wrapping my arms around my waist, “And you’re my best friend and I’m worried that if I don’t spend every free moment with you, you’ll find a new one. I haven’t been very grateful for you lately.”

He stands up, pulling on a shirt and grabbing his jacket from off of his desk chair. 

“That would never happen, are you kidding me? And screw gratefulness, I’ll be here for you whether you want me to be or not,” He switches off the light and guides me out the doorway. “I’m always down for spending time with you.”

“Classic Poe and Jay midnight adventure?”

“You know it. Only this time we don’t have to sneak around our parents.” I interlock my arm with his, flashing a mischievous smile at him.

“My mother may very well be lurking these halls late at night,” I drop my voice to a whisper,”I wouldn’t put it past her.”

He laughs in agreement as we make it outside, the fresh air filling my lungs and easing some of the tightness in my chest.  Poe leads us in a direction west of the base.

“So I was exploring the other day-“ he starts.

“You mean shirking off your duties?” I mock gasp, bringing my free hand to my heart, “The budding Best Pilot in the Resistance? Scandalous.

“No, I was not shirking off duties,” he scoffs, “I had to wait for Threepio to gather some data for me, so I took a stroll in the meantime.”

Ohhhkay ,” I express sarcastically and he flicks me on the nose, “Rude!”

As I was saying ,” he raises a dark brow, “I was exploring and I found this cave right. It’s carved out like it used to be a house. And the roof- Maker it’s absolutely perfect for stargazing.”

I can’t help but grin at the excitement in his eyes, “Let’s see it then.”

We walk for a short while before reaching the structure. 

“Wow.”

“I know right.” 

The cave isn’t really like the other black rocks on this planet. It’s made of a dark swirling marble and has intricately carved windows and a door in it’s massive structure. And, atop of it, is a raised flat expanse of that same marble, just the size for two people. 

“I didn’t think anything would impress my cold dead heart, but I’m already in love,” I want to take it all in at once, but I’m so in awe at the way the moonlight reflects off of it, causing it to twinkle and sparkle. 

“You’d think I’d know the way into that cold dead heart by now,” Poe squeezes my hand and pulls me inside. 

We walk inside and it’s just as impressive as outside. Letting go of Poe, I explore the cave. Multiple rooms go further inside it, making the place much more spacious than it looked. Solid wood carvings with intricate designs create the furniture. A table. A few primitive chairs. A slat covered in furs that looks like a bed. 

I carefully inspect the designs carved in the wall. They’re drawings of, presumably, the creatures that used to inhabit this planet. A few of them hold sticks that seem to shimmer with the same marble as outside. 

And then I realize, they’re supposed to be lightsabers. 

The creatures holding them live in peace with the rest of them. There’s no fighting or war or Force Wielding in any of these pictures.

“Jay-” I startle at Poe’s soft voice through the silence.

“They’re lightsabers , Poe. Jedi used to live on this planet.” I smile, looking over the picture again.

When you’re a small race, seeing things like this-un-deified depictions of the Jedi- are a blessing and relief.

He smiles softly, hands in his pockets. “You still haven’t seen the best part.” 

“The roof?” 

“The roof.” He rocks back and forth on his heels. 

“Well what are you standing around for, Dameron?” I reach for his hand, “Lead the way!” 

He laughs, taking my hand.

In the corner of the bedroom is a small set of stairs with a hatch at the top. He pushes open the hatch with his free hand and we both climb out. 

My breath catches in my throat as I turn around. The top of this thing offers a view of the entire clearing we’d just walked across and the base off in the distance. But looking up-

The sky swirls with gaggles of stars and the smaller moons dot the sky in perfect alignment. But the true beauty of this is the aurora visible throughout the sky, pink and green and blue and purple melting into one another. 

“Oh, Maker -” I turn to him, smiling wider than I think I’ve ever smiled before. But the rest of my words get caught in my throat.

I lied before. 

True beauty isn’t the aurora. It’s the way the moonlight and the colors highlight his face. The way it makes his dark lashes seem longer, darker, his eyes more alluring. The way the jaw of his own smile more defined. The way the dimples in his cheeks perfectly punctuate his face. 

His grin falters a bit and I realize I’m staring. I turn back to the sky abruptly, heat coursing through my body.

Get it together, Jaina-

He’s my best friend and I’m a Jedi and I’m leaving tomorrow and I’ll always be leaving and so will he-

Jedi oath of celibacy jedi oath of celibacy-

I squint and try to look at the base. Pointing to it, I start- “Do you think that-”

“Jay, I think I need to tell you something.” He sighs, his face now serious, “And you might hate me for it.” 

My mind instantly runs through all of the things that could be wrong. Is he going on a dangerous mission? Is he quitting the Resistance? Does he not want to be friends with me anymore? 

“I could never hate you. You know that, right?” I swallow the lump in my throat and grab one of his hands, moving him to sit on the little raised expanse the size of a couch, with soft furs piled on top for comfort. I sit cross legged facing him. “And you know you can tell me anything. Whatever it is, we’ll solve it. We make a pretty damn formidable team.” 

“That’s the thing,” he licks his lips, “You might not want to solve it.” 

I grasp the same hand I’m already holding with my other one as well and bring it up to my heart. 

“Hey! I’m your best friend in the entire galaxy. And you’re mine. Whatever it is, I promise I’ll help you.” I smile and tightly hold his hand in my grasp, “Cross my heart hope to die, all that crap. Though I hope I don’t get needled in the eye.” 

“Ok...I was trying to be serious but now I’m just imagining getting needled in the eye and ugh ,” he groans, laughing hoarsely.

I mime needling him in the eye and he smacks my hand away, rolling his eyes, “Anyways stop beating around the bush, Dameron. I know you too well for that.” 

“Is that so?” His signature small smirk reappears on his face.

“I know every little quirk about you.” I nod, “I can read your emotions through your body language as easily as I could read your mind. So I want to know what’s bothering you this much because I know that whatever it is-” 

And then his hand is cupping the back of my head and his lips are on mine.

My heart seems to stop- time itself seems to stop -as I let go of his hand and sit up on my knees, grabbing both of his cheeks and melting into his kiss. A heat blooms from everywhere he touches me and spreads all throughout my body. The world tilts off its axis, plummeting into something spectacular and fantastic. 

I don’t feel the lack of oxygen until he pulls back, breathing heavily. I stare at him incredulously. 

He-we-he just-

I stand up, pacing in front of him.

Shit Jay, I’m sorry,” his voice is hoarse, pleading.

“Why?” My own voice cracks, my eyes blur with tears and I have no idea why.

“Because I’m so in love with you. And no matter how much you think you can solve it, because you can usually solve anything, this is something you can’t. It’s an unchangeable, adamant, integral part of who I am.” he lowers his eyes, “And I’m so, so sorry.” 

“I should be the one who's sorry.” My voice wavers and his eyes snap back up to me.

“No, Jaina. Please it’s-”

I should, Poe.” I walk over to him on shaky legs and wipe the tears that fall down his own face, “I’m sorry because, as much as you can’t believe it, I’m in love with you too. And it’s probably been a part of who I am a lot longer than it has been for you.”

He shakes his head, “Impossible.”

“What?”

He cups my face, “There’s no possible way you’ve loved me longer than I’ve loved you.”

“I thought we promised to always tell each other the truth.”

He grins, then wraps his arms around me, enveloping me in a hug as I stand between his legs.

I don’t want this night to end. Because once it does, I’ll go back to being a Jedi, and having this oath of celibacy and Poe will go off on some daring mission for months at a time. 

You can have him. You can have it all-

“Don’t lose me in that wondrous mind of yours,” he says, after I realize I haven’t let him go from the hug. He pulls back, arms around my waist. “What are you thinking?” 

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hatred. And hatred leads to suffering.” 

He furrows his brow, “Sorry, you know I’m not good with Jedi stuff. How does that relate?” 

I grab his hands and he moves a little closer to me. I can feel my heart bombardiering inside of my chest. 

“It’s the first thing Uncle Luke taught us. Fear is the quickest path to the Dark Side...And I’m scared, Poe. I’ve lost so many people I’ve cared about. I fail time and time again. And one day, these mistakes are going to be the death of me and everything and everyone I love and I’m so, so afraid.” I take a ragged breath, my voice crackling, “But the thing that scares me most is falling completely to the Dark.”

“When I was on a mission to fly your mother somewhere when she was a senator, I’d overheard her saying that the people who fell to the Dark Side did so because they were lonely. They were lonely and afraid. And she told them that the only way to fight the rising Darkness was to band together,” Poe runs a hand through my hair, “Jay, you’ll never fall to the Dark Side because you’ll never be lonely. You have Leia and Han and Rogue Squadron and Black Squadron and Rose and so many more beings all over the galaxy that care about you. And you already know that I’ll always, always be there for you. You’re never alone-”

I pull him in by the collar and smash my lips to his and he pulls me onto his lap so I straddle his hips. My hands slip under the collar of his shirt and press him closer to me. 

I feel...not alone. 

His hands slip under my shirt on my back as he moves his lips to kiss the side of my mouth. My jawline. My neck-

“You are-” he pulls away slightly, panting, “The most beautiful being in the entire galaxy.”

Oh, oh-

“May I?” His hands dance upward to the clasp of my bra. 

“Yeah,” I say breathy. I feel the clasp come apart and the straps slide down my arms as I coax it, along with my shirt, off of me. 

Poe runs a hand down my bare shoulder, all the way down my arm, and into my own palm as he intertwines our fingers. 

His other hand comes up and cups the side of my face. I lean forward and press a kiss just upwards of his Adam’s Apple, which causes him to buck up and I can feel all of him

I guess he has a sweet spot.

“Please, please do that again,” he whispers. 

“As long as it keeps making you do this ,” I place my lips on that spot again, kissing and biting and sucking and the normally cool, calm, and collected Poe is anything but. In the process, I manage to get his shirt off, and the feel of our bare chests pressed up against one another causes the wetness between my legs to increase exponentially. Especially when he brings a hand up between us to palm my breasts, tweaking my nipples until they’re permanently hardened. 

And eventually, the rest of our clothes come off and we’re not Resistance Commander and Jedi. We're not Pilot and Mechanic. We're just Poe and Jaina. Two people in love and determined to prove it to the other. Over and over again.


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

I feel like I land back in my own body with a jolt and stumble slightly, ankles hurting. 

All those memories were ones I’d forgotten. Forgotten or suppressed or something. But now I realize precisely why I’m so good at resisting either pull. 

I remember falling so far within myself those 3 days after Ant, Kalex, and Manna passed. If you could call it anything, it was that the Dark Side had consumed me. But with the family and friends that surrounded me, I was able to pull myself out. They pulled me out. 

And in those times I felt so happy I could conquer the universe, I knew that the idealistic sense of the world and how it should work wasn’t right either. I knew it, because I had spent time in the other side. And it took my loved ones being so realistic and sensible to bring me out of it. 

It isn’t me. It’s them. All of them, my friends and family. Mom, Dad, Poe, Chewie, Maz, Lora, Cal, Sken, BB-8, and even Threepio- they all motivated me to be my best. And my best is not falling to either side. 

I feel something bloom in my chest. It’s like...completion almost. Wholeness. And yet it still feels like there’s something-

“I can’t let them take it. I won’t let Snoke corrupt it.”

I spin around again, seeing myself lying down on a makeshift bed, face sweaty and panting heavily.

“Jaina, you know I’d be more than happy to do this for you, but why not just send the child to the Resistance? To its family?” Maz says as I grunt in pain, squeezing her small hand.

“Because Snoke will know.” I pant ,”He’ll know and he’ll find some way to get into his or her head. He has to think it’s dead-“

“But you’ll know...and he can-“

“I can block him out, but I also wanted to ask you, aghhhhh. In case something happens, I need you to take away any incriminating memories for the Resistance. As well as of this.”

“Kiddo, you know this power of mine isn’t that selective...I’ll be able to get rid of those, but other memories will have to be gotten rid of as well in the process...you might forget things before and after I-“

“It doesn’t matter. Please , Maz.”

She sighs, “If you’re certain, then I will help you.”

I’m shoved down to the stone, which is now a reflecting pool. Staring down at it, I see myself as I was 7 years ago. 

Tears stream down my face as I hang on the wall, beaten to a bloody pulp  in a daze and in pain in Snoke’s Throne room. I’d failed- I’d failed him. He’d detected the next generation of Sith growing in my womb, and the baby had died. And I had failed the Dark Side. 

I jolt back, abruptly, chest heaving. The stones around me hum in contentment, as if they have done their job.

I had a kid. That last night with Poe, we-we-

The world around me spins and I sit back on the wet stone, putting my head in my hands.

If I had a kid whom I left with Maz then-

“Maz says being a mechanic is in my blood-“

Whispers of conversations past spin around me.

“My parents were in the Resistance-“

“It’s why your parents left me with you in the first place-“

Casimir. 

I whisper his name as thunder crackles over me.


Rey (Present Day)

Rey would be the first to admit she’s slightly concerned at Chewie being unable to contact the Resistance. More than likely, Cas had assured her, it was because they were on a small island, in the middle of a huge body of water, which causes interference. She guesses she’ll just have to take the little guy’s word for it.

She saw Jaina hiking up the mountain angrily and decided that she probably needed to talk to her. Help her out, as she knows Jaina would for her. But Rey has been searching for a long while and still hasn’t found her. Concerned, and slightly irritated at the brewing storm, she walks a bit further-

She feels the prickling sensation at the back of her neck and just knows he’s there. 

“I’d rather not do this now,” Rey says, not wanting to even see his face right now.

“Yeah, me too.”

But curiosity has always been her vice. 

“Why did you hate your fathe-” she shouldn’t have looked. Instantly averting her eyes, she sees he’s shirtless. Vulnerable. 

No not vulnerable. Strong. Scarred-

Distracting. 

“Do you have something...a cowl or something you can put on?” She’s met with an exasperated silence, “Why did you hate your father. Give me an honest answer.”

If anything, Jaina deserved to know. He still doesn’t say anything, however, and all of her frustration and anger bubbles over at once. 

“You had a father who loved you , he gave a damn about you .”

“I didn't hate him,” he says simply. 

“Then why?” Tears roll down her face but she can’t bring herself to wipe them away. Afraid that if she closes her eyes, even for a second, she’ll see Han being impaled and falling off of the bridge again.

“Why, what? Why, what? Say it.”

She knows it’s a taunt. But Rey has to know-

“Why did you... Why did you kill him? I don't understand.” She can’t even comprehend doing something like that.
“No? Your parents threw you away like garbage.”

No... no they were probably still just busy.

“They didn't!”

“They did. But you can't stop needing them. It's your greatest weakness. Looking for them everywhere.... in Han Solo.... now in Skywalker,” Rey needs to tell him it isn’t true. She needs to prove it, but no words come out of her. Nothing to defend herself, “Did he tell you what happened that night?” 

“Yes.:

He looks at her like he’s looking into her again, “No. He had sensed my power, as he senses yours. And he feared it.”

She can practically see what Kylo wants her to see. Luke, with a crazed look in his eye, standing over a scrawny, defenseless boy, about to strike him dead. 

“Liar.”

He doesn’t respond to it. Instead he says, “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That's the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

No, no - she would not let go of her past. She couldn’t let go of all of the things that brought her to be the person she was today. Self-sufficiency, independence, having hope- those were things you couldn’t be taught. And she would never let her past self die if it meant moving forward to the Darkness. 

So she wouldn’t let it die. She’d go down to that cave, that Dark cave and demand it give her answers. Then she’d take her answers and never look down the Dark path ever again.

Chapter Text

Luke Skywalker (Present Day)

“Hey!”

The little boy turns around, startled. His eyepatch slips slightly in the rain and he quickly fixes it. 

Luke had thought he’d spotted his old X-wing, but didn’t realize that the little boy was near it. 

“I’m sorry!! It just-I was-” 

“Did you lift it out of the ocean?” Luke furrows his brows. There was no possible way-

“No,” Luke almost sags in relief, “I had Rey do it for me.” 

The throbbing in his head returns. This girl could do so much more than even Luke could at her age. That raw strength-

“I’m sorry. I just thought that if I fixed it you would fly it and maybe come with us to the Resistance.”

Luke can’t help but smile softly. At his innocence, naivety-

“That thing’s been under the water for so long it’s probably beyond repair now.” 

“No it’s not. I checked it out, you just have to drain the water from the central engine and replace the S-foils and fill it with fuel and that should be enough to just get it back to the base for more repairs.” 

He narrows his eyes at Casimir, who sneezes rapidly. Luke just then remembers that it’s cold and raining. “Come with me. Let’s get out of this rain.” 

“I have to tell Chewie where I’m going. You’re not supposed to know I’m here. Jaina said you might be mad at having more than one person you don’t know on your island.” 

Luke exaggeratedly rolls his eyes at his niece, and Casimir laughs, then sneezes again.

“Alright then, let’s go tell him. Then I’m gonna make you some tea. And you’re going to tell me precisely how you came to be so knowledgeable about ships. And how you came to be here on this island.”

“Okay.”


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

I slip as I run down the mountain, tears mixing in with the heavy downpour of rain. Finally, I faceplant up the ramp of the Falcon, the rain making it wet.

Shit !” I yelp as my face meets metal. Standing up, I enter the Falcon and run directly into Chewie, who looks at me with concern.

You just missed Rey ,” Chewie says, then grabs the Aid kit, “ Your forehead’s bleeding.”

I wave him off, “I’m not looking for her. Where’s Casimir?”

Luke took him to see his hut-” 

“Luke knows about him? And you just- Chewie!”

He’s fine with it, Jaya.” 

“Ok, ok that’s fine. I’ll just-I’ll be back,” I say and run out of the ship, slipping again on my way out. 

I make it through the mud and finally reach the door, knocking loudly and quickly.

“Uncle!” He opens it up on the third one, and I see Cas sitting in a chair munching on some bread in the firelight.

How didn’t I see it before? Poe’s jawline and smile, the dimples on his cheeks, the Solo nose-

“Jaina you’ll catch your death! Your forehead! What were you...thinking,” My uncle’s voice trails off when he sees my focus elsewhere.

I swear I’m having an out of body experience. Like this life that I’m living is not my own. 

I move past my uncle towards the little boy. Water drips off of my lashes and rolls down my cheeks like tears. Accompanied by real ones.

“Casimir.” 

His one eye goes wide at the break in my voice. 

“Yeah?” His eye now avoids my own, and I realize then he knows. He knew-after all this time he knew.

“You’re my boy?” 

He nods, dropping his head to his chin. 

My breaths come in short spurts and I grab the table next to me for support. Someone behind me holds me up, and I realize it is my Uncle. 

“What do you mean your boy?” 

“I’m her son. Her actual son,” Cas says, standing up.

“You’re my great-nephew,”He laughs incredulously, “You’re a Skywalker.” 

“A Dameron actually.” He says, and my chest tightens and spasms, tears prickling my vision.

Luke tenses behind me. “Poe, Jaina?” 

I nod this time and Cas hugs my waist. I drop down and pick him up, holding him tightly to me. 

“I’m sorry, I’m so, so sorry-” I hold him for some time, my Uncle asking Cas how he knew and peppering him with questions about the way he was raised. Those voices in his head were our voices. Though we hadn’t been with him, he’d been with us his whole life. 

“Jaina-” I take a ragged breath at the word he whispers, “There’s, uh, one more thing-” 

“What is it? Has something else happened?” I pull away cautiously.

“It’s not bad it’s just...my eye.” 

“Your-” I gasp as he removes his eyepatch. Blinking a few times in the firelight, I can see, now, why he covered it up. And just how exactly, he knew I was his mom. 

His own eyes are heterochromatic. Dark and Light Brown. Though mine are due to the Force-

Hell -” Luke mutters and I sigh deeply, “So do you feel the pull like Jaina does? To both sides?” 

“Not really. I can just...feel the Force. And it shows me good things and bad things, but always both. Never one or the other. I don’t ever feel like I have to choose like Jaina does. There were a few others at Maz’s temple who were like me. Maz herself is a lot like me.” 

Luke looks between us, then at the door. 

“I’ll be back.” 

“Uncle?” 

“I thought everyone in the galaxy would be like your brother. Or like Rey. With only the Dark or the Light calling to them so heavily. But that’s not true, is it? You’re proof of that, which should have been enough...but I thought it would’ve only been you. But it doesn’t- your son and his friends are proof of that. The calling isn’t always genetic.” 

I hold Cas a little tighter. 

“So what are you saying?” 

He looks down. “The Jedi way is hypocrisy, yes. But what if we found a different way to teach people. A way that would ensure a just and fair following of the Force. Would that work?” 

“More so than teaching hypocrisy. I’ve heard of the Grey Jedi.” I think back to the Keeper and wonder where it is now.

My uncle moves towards the door, “The Jedi should end. But in the way it is now. Not the order, just the teachings. And I’m going to help you and Rey accomplish that, so you can finish this First Order business and restore the balance of the galaxy. I think, with the two of you, we have enough between us to solve this.” 

I almost cry, “Thank you. Thank you .” 

My uncle nods, then sets off. Presumably to find and tell Rey.

***

After talking for a while, Cas fell asleep, so I carried him back to the Falcon. 

I think I’m still in shock at this concept of having a child. How do I raise him? I can’t just always go off leaving him like my parents did to me. 

I don’t know what I’m gonna tell Poe.

But I shove that thought down as I feel a prickling sensation at my neck. I’ve been feeling it a lot, lately, but I can’t quite place it.

Suddenly, I hear a “Stop!” and the sound of crumbling brick. I frantically rush out of the Falcon and climb up the path to the huts when I see Rey standing over my Uncle with the blue lightsaber off in the distance. 

Soaking wet, I make a mad dash over to them. 

My heart skips a beat in my chest. What?

“Tell me the truth.” 

“REY!” I yell, igniting my own saber. They both turn to me in surprise, “Stop this! What the hell are you-?”

“He created Kylo Ren,” she says, chest heaving.
“You’ve got it wrong, Snoke d...” I trail off as my Uncle bows his head, “Wait-” 

He sighs. “I saw Darkness. I'd sensed it building in him. I'd see it at moments during his training, as you know, Jaina.” 

“But so did I . I had Darkness inside me as well.” I pant.

“Yes, but also Light . Of that I was sure. But then I looked inside him. And it was beyond what I ever imagined.” He looks down, “Snoke had already turned his heart. He would bring destruction, and pain, and death...and the end of everything I love because of what he would become.” 

I look away, my eyes stinging with the pressure behind them. But the time for tears was over.

“And for the briefest moment of pure instinct...I thought I could stop it. It passed like a fleeting shadow. And I was left with shame...and with consequence.” He wipes a hand over his face, “ And the last thing I saw were the eyes of a frightened boy whose master had failed him.”
He’s good. I always knew he was.  

“You failed him by thinking his choice was made. It wasn't. There is still conflict in him, if he turned from the Dark Side, that could shift the tide. This could be how we win.”

My head is reeling so much that the wonder in how she knows my brother so well is shoved to the background.

“She’s right.” They both turn to me again, “I’d thought Ben brought me with him to Snoke purely for selfish reasons. For another Force-Wielding weapon on the side of the First Order. But it wasn’t that. He was preventing me from being Snoke’s opponent. He was trying to protect me . I knew it and I felt it then. It just felt so out of character then, thinking I knew the truth.” 

“Jaina-” Luke starts.

“He had been all throughout my time with the First Order . And again , on the bridge, when he needed to convince Snoke that neither one of us had ties to the Light by killing one of our clearest links to it.” His dichotomous personality over the past 7 years suddenly justifies itself. And I’m so disappointed in myself for not considering it sooner.

“But he still did it, with no remorse. No hesitation. How can you forgive him for that?” 

I sigh. “I don’t forgive him. I’ll never forgive him. But shouldn’t we at least try to save him? If nothing else, we could gain a strong ally for the Resistance.”

Still, Luke shakes his head at us. “This is not going to go the way you think.”

“It is.” Rey nods, “Just now, when we touched hands...I saw his future, as solid as I'm seeing you. If we go to him, Ben Solo will turn.” 

Touched hands? I look at Rey with wonderment. Could she really be the key to resolving my brother’s conflicted soul?

“If the both of you truly think Ben can turn...I can’t stop you.”

“You can still come with us, Uncle.”

Rey extinguishes the lightsaber, handing it to him hilt first. He doesn’t take it, and disappointment blooms in my chest. 

“Snoke has a death warrant for my head. I’d be of no use...And even if I survive, I couldn’t face Leia with this guilt. I’m sorry.” 

What happened to the Uncle who was always full of spirit, full of hope? Could Ben and I have destroyed him that much?
“Then he is our last hope.” Rey says with conviction, turning away. 

I can hardly look at him right now. The man who helped raise me and Ben. The man who taught me how to protect myself, both mentally and physically. How could he have done this?

I hesitate before speaking again. 

“Promise me, that if my mother ever truly needs you, you’ll help her. However you can. You owe her at least that.”

“If she’s lost all hope, I’ll be there. I can promise you that.”

My mother would never lose hope. I shake my head in exasperation.

I’m sorry Uncle. For my part in it.” I say loudly over the thunder. “I wish you well.”

“Me too, kid. Be safe.”

***

As the two of us hike back to the Falcon, I feel the Force Tree’s presence lingering in the back of my mind. 

“Jaina, there were texts. Volumes and volumes of texts that we could use. They’re just sitting here collecting dust. You don’t suppose we should-” 

“Take them.” I nod, glad that she had the same weird feeling I was, “I have a feeling we should.”

She makes the trek to grab them and I go to the Falcon to start it up. 

Chewie startles at my wet clothes sloshing water around the ship.

You’re getting the floor all wet. And your forehead is still-” 

“Shhh, Wookie, I’ll change.” I rush over to grab a change from my pack and see Cas sleeping soundly on one of the couches. Chewie or R2 must’ve laid a blanket over him. 

My son . I don’t know how I’m going to get used to that. I still don’t know how in hell I’m going to tell Poe.

I change into something practical: cargo pants, boots, and a plain grey long sleeve shirt and vest. I remove my hair from its braid, letting the curls form from the wetness and putting my cloth headband back on.

I plop down into the pilot’s seat and grin at Chewie who raises a big furry brow at me.

You look like you need to eat something .” 

“I will.” I say, flicking all of the necessary switches on. “Chewie I have to tell you something and you have to promise not to freak out like Dad would’ve.” 

He side-eyes me. “ What?”

“Cas is my child.”

What?! ” 

“Poe’s the father.” 

Excuse me?!”

“Oh and Rey and I are going to see Ben.” Might as well get it all out there.

Jaina are you out of your mind?!”

I put a hand on his arm, “There’s light left in him, Chew. And, to save the Resistance, Rey and I need to do everything we can to bring it out.”


Poe Dameron (Present Day) 

“She in there?” Poe says as he walks into the bridge. 

D’Acy looks at him exasperated. She’d always had a soft spot for Poe, just as Leia had, but he could tell he was getting on her last nerve. 

For the good of the Resistance, so be it. 

“The Admiral’s banned you from the bridge. Let’s not have a scene.” 

“No, let’s,” He walks right past her, heading for the purple haired lady, “Holdo!” 

“You’re not allowed in here,” D’Acy tries to keep up pace with him. 

Does a part of him feel bad? Of course, respect has been ingrained in him. But there was no time for respect.. .

“Flyboy-” 

“Cut it lady,” he moves right in her face, “We had a fleet, now we're down to one ship, and you've told us nothing! Tell us that we have a plan! That there's hope!”

Her calmness does nothing for his own nerves. “When I served under Leia, she would say, hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it…”

“...You’ll never make it through the night,” Poe looks down. It was a common saying, especially in times like this. And Poe wants to kick himself for not remembering. 

Holdo had to have a plan...why else would Leia entrust someone like her to take over in her place. 

“Yes.” 

He sighs. Alright, he could accept not knowing. He’d offer his assistance with whatever-

But then his eye catches on the computer screen behind her. 

“Are you fueling up the transports?” She doesn’t respond, “You are. All of them? We're abandoning ship? Is that.... That's what you got?” 

Poe laughs in exasperation, looking to the crew around him to see if they are as pissed as he is. No one is, save for Kaydel and Jess. 

“That's what you brought us to? Coward! Those transports ships are unarmed, unshielded . We abandon this cruiser, we're done. We don't stand a chance. No, you are not just a coward, you are a traitor.” 

He can’t contain his anger. They would not just run from the First Order defenseless. This plan would get them all killed. 

Holdo just looks at him for a second, narrowing her eyes. “Get this man off my bridge.”

Poe doesn’t fight it, knowing it wouldn’t do any good. The only chance they had now was Finn and Rose. 

Poe comms Finn the next chance he gets.
“Finn, Holdo’s loading the crew in the shuttles. She's going to abandon ship. Where are you?”

“Poe, we're on our way back to the fleet. We're so close,” hope surges in Poe’s heart at his friend’s words. 

“Did you find the Master Codebreaker?”

There’s silence for a few seconds, “We found... a codebreaker,” Poe hangs his head, “We can shut the tracker down. Just buy us a little more time.” 

How could he when Holdo would have them all load the transports? 

A crazy, insane idea starts forming in his head and Poe can’t help but think it’s the only and best option for the Resistance. To buy time. To give them a chance. 

He would have to tell Holdo about the plan and hope she would trust that it’d work.

And if not...he was gonna have to start a mutiny. 

“Alright. Hurry.”


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Isn’t it dangerous?” Cas swings his legs as I strap on my saber and blaster. 

I crouch down next to him, smoothing the hair out of his face. Out of the two beautifully multicolored eyes. 

“I’m not going to lie to you, bud,” I bite my lip, “There’s a good chance I won’t make it out of this.” 

Especially considering I’m the distraction to Snoke while Rey tries to turn my brother. 

It killed me to make the decision to do this. Knowing, knowing how shitty I felt every time my parents left me. It makes me have a whole new level of appreciation for them. The only thing that convinced me to go is that, worst case scenario, he’ll at least have Poe.

Maker forbid anything happen to him too.

“I just got you back!” he throws his arms around my neck and I wrap my arms around him tightly. 

“I know, I know,” I fight the tears off, “But if we’re going to have any chance of reuniting with Poe. If we’re going to get the Resistance it’s fighting chance , it’s what we have to do.” 

“Maz told me my parent’s commitment to the Resistance was absolute.”He nods, face tightening, “I didn’t get that until now.”

“Don’t worry. Our commitment to the Resistance may be absolute, but our commitment to each other is even stronger, “I pull back, placing a hand on his heart, “No matter what happens, we will always be with each other. You, me and Poe. Distance and Time couldn’t keep us apart-we’ll always find our way back.”

He nods, sniffling. 

And then I get an idea. 

“Here, take this.” I take the necklace off of me and put it on him. The jappor wood and kyber crystal hang off of it. What an odd combination. “Keep it safe for me, Cas.”

“I promise.”

“And listen to Chewie, he’ll keep you safe.” 

“I will, Jaina.”

“And, if you see him before me...make sure you give Poe my letter. It explains everything.”

***

“As soon as we launch you jump out of range.” Rey tells Chewie, hopping into the pod next to mine. “Stay there until one of us signals you where to rendezvous.” 

“If you see Finn before I do...tell him…”

That you’ve missed him?
She smiles, “Yeah, perfect. Tell him that.”

She turns to me. “Ready, Jaina?” 

“As I’ll ever be. May the Force be with you, Rey.”

She nods, mind distant. I close the hatch and she presses the button, shooting me off into space.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“So a stormtrooper and a who now are doing what?” She scoffs. 

“They are trying to save u s.This is our best chance for escape. You have to give Finn and Rose all the time that you can.”

She looks like she’s about to slap him and Poe instinctively steps back slightly. 

“You have bet the survival of the Resistance on bad odds and put us all at risk? There's no time now. We have to get clear of the cruiser. Load the transports.”

Poe shakes his head. They have no time for this. 

Plan B it is, then. 

“Yeah, I was afraid you’d say that,” Poe holds out his gun, Connix, Jess, and a few other friends of theirs doing so also, “Vice Admiral Holdo, I am relieving you of your command for the survival of this ship, its crew, and the Resistance.”

She looks at him, stunned. 

“I hope you understand what you’re doing.”

Poe nods, “Yeah. I’m going to the bridge,” and then to Jess, “If they move, stun them. Kay, follow me.”

Chapter Text

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“I’d say welcome back, but I don’t want to fool you with false sentiments.” Hux sneers as two troopers lift me out of the pod roughly. 

“Aw, you still care for my fragile feelings,” I smile a little too wide, “Didn’t know your soft side was still intact under all that... pleather .” 

He glares daggers at me, but I continue to smile sweetly. 

“Let’s see how the Supreme Leader cares for those fragile feelings.” 

***

“Ah, Kira. I was wondering when my littlest Ren would come and visit me.”

“Ah, Snoke. I was wondering when the biggest pain in my ass would, again, be before me.”

I feel Hux stiffen behind me, bracing for an attack for my insubordination. I, too, inwardly cringe.

But Snoke bursts out into a cackle. “I wonder, is it in the Solo nature to speak so blatantly with the odds stacked heavily against you?”

“Us Solos never like to be told the odds,” I bunch my fists, “They’re usually wrong anyways.”

“Such spunk. It’s a shame you didn’t turn out to be as loyal as your brother,” he says, pulling me towards his throne. I swallow the lump in my throat, “I find his personality much too...repressed.” 

“You didn’t have to take him under your wing. You could’ve just let us be. ” 

“And have the two of you on the side of the Resistance? Even I know when to acknowledge the strength of others. Speaking of which-“

He forces me upright, then sends me flying across the room. I stop myself mid air but he shoves me down face first. I can smell the blood as it pours out of my nose.

I push myself up just as one of the Praetorian Guards punches me in the stomach. Then again in the jaw.

Oh , you want hand to hand combat?

With a yell I uppercut and hit him under his helmet, knocking him out. Another guard rushes me and  I kick him straight in the chest, throwing him off enough to jump the third guard and pin him on the floor. I force his helmet off and wrap a hand around his neck, trying to pry his staff from his clenched fist with my other.

“That’s enough.”

I’m sent slamming against a pole and I crumple as pain radiates through my back and skull.

He drops me on my back in front of his throne and stands up to sneer at me from a greater height. 

“The Resistance, your little friends, your precious Mother - are all doomed. So much for your years of insubordination. It all amounted to nothing.”

“Y-you’re wrong.”

“I’m not often wrong. Am I, General Hux?”

“No, Supreme Leader,” his sharp accent cuts through me like knives from across the room, “They cannot jump to lightspeed for their fuel reserves are low. It’s only a matter of time now before we crush them for good. If you’ll excuse me, I shall go oversee the cannon fodder.”

Snoke waves him out and I screw my mouth in disgust.

“Screw you!” I spit at his retreating figure, “They’ll find a way. We Rebels always do.” 

“It’s poetic.” Snoke smiles, “That their greatest source of information is also what will cause their downfall. We’re using your cannons modifications to destroy them piece by piece.”

My heart plummets to my stomach.

“You seemed so loyal and dedicated to us. And to think,” Snoke laughs, dragging me upward by my leg. I gasp as the blood rushes through my face. He dangles my saber between us, “Your whole ruse was blown over this . A pathetic Jedi lightsaber.” 

I grunt as I ignite it through the Force and kick it towards him, landing on my palms and hand springing upright. It spins dangerously towards him, but then it boomerangs back towards me. I shove myself out of the way just in the nick of time for it to graze my thigh.

Screaming, I drop to the floor and my saber scatters across the room. Oh Maker

I Reach for it, and it comes to me. But quicker than it can reach am I thrust upwards in the air, rigid as a board. It clatters to the floor loudly, the belt clip attachment breaking off.

“And now, little traitor, you will give me Skywalker. You will give me all that you have ever hid from me .” 

I feel his probe into the cracks that have developed in my fortified armor from the pain and cry out as he extracts information out of me. 

No!

“Ah, so your child is alive then.” He says casually. Panic roils through me, “Casimir, eh? I’m sure he’s just as strong in the Force, what with the Skywalker blood in his veins. Perhaps he’d like to become a true Knight of Ren like his Uncle.”

Snoke pushes further and I grit my teeth with the effort to keep him out. He’s trying to break me down, he’s trying to-

“Maybe he too will one day kill his father-” 

“Never!” He’ll never get anything out of me again. 

I shove back at him through my mind and build up that tower of adamant obsidian, filling in the cracks with darkness and shielding myself within. 

Snoke sits back, startled, and drops me to the floor. I reach forward with both hands and throw Black Lightning at him. He reacts quickly, shooting his own, proper, Lightning back. The two meet in the middle, clashing and sparking loudly. Clumps of power spill from the joint and scatter across the reflective floor.

I feel tears stream down my face as my energy dwindles, both sides pulling and tugging at me. If I keep this up, it’ll split my soul.

Dropping to my knees, I feel both Rey and Ben’s presences coming nearer and nearer.

She couldn’t do it. He couldn’t be turned.

“Foolish child, his soul is mine . There never was any conflict in him to begin with.” I reach the brink of collapse when I finally let go, throwing myself out of the path of his lightning just in time. 

Unfortunately, I fall right in front of a Guard. And he stabs my arm with the electric portion of his staff. I scream as the shocks course through my body carefully enough to hurt but not enough to kill. Every wound on my body throbs with the pain and I can’t bring myself to fight it. 

I have to use whatever remaining strength I have as he tosses me to the floor again to fortify the block in my mind.

He pins my arms behind my head and forces me to my knees, bowing me so my forehead is touching the ground towards him.

“See now, Kira, giving in isn’t hard.”


Rey (Present Day)

“You don’t have to do this.” Rey turns to him in the elevator. She didn’t think it would get this far, that she’d be en route to Snoke before she could get 10 words out to him. “I feel the conflict in you. It’s tearing you apart.”

His face doesn’t change from the stoicism she saw when he first opened her pod. 

She knows she’s never been the best talker. Hell, the only time she talked on Jakku would be when she would curse the other scavengers for taking what was hers or yelling at Unkar Platt for his unfair portions.

The most contact she’s had has been in the past month of her life. So she thought she’d be grasping out of thin air for what she should say to Ben. 

And yet, it’s so easy to find what she says next.

 “Ben…, “ Rey steps closer to him, dropping her voice,” when we touched hands, I saw your future. Just the shape of it but solid and clear. You will not bow before Snoke. You will turn.” 

She can’t help but think how the flickering darkness and light of the elevator highlight his face perfectly.

She steps even closer, looking up into his deep brown eyes.

“I’ll help you. I saw it.”

“I saw something too,” his voice is raw, as if he’s been screaming for days, “Because of what I saw, I know that when the time comes, you’ll be the one to turn.”

His eyes flicker down, taking in her whole being and Rey’s sure her heart will thump out of her chest. 

You’ll stand with me ,” he purses his lips, “Rey, I saw who your parents are.”

Rey opens her mouth to say more, but the door behind her swooshes open.

She turns and her heart flies up to her throat.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“Yeah, I’m on it pal. You just hurry,” Poe says in response to Finn. They were almost ready to disable it. Rose and Finn were just outside the room. It’d only be a matter of moments now and the whole resistance would be saved, “ Clear the bridge, escort the officers down to the hangar.”

He walks in with Kaydel right behind him as they take the Captain’s bridge. Poe wanders over to the pilot’s seat. 

“Commander,” Poe whirls at Threepio’s voice behind him. Of course he’d be in here, “Sir, I am almost afraid to ask.” 

Poe almost rolls his eyes, “Good instinct, Threepio, go with that.”

Kaydel goes over to the computer to start prepping for lightspeed, when Poe hears shots near the doorway. 

“Seal that door!” 

After a struggle with Threepio and something about his programming not allowing him to commit a mutiny, Poe manages to seal the door. He ducks behind the seat and covers the door, stun blaster in hand, while Kaydel works the computer.

She turns and gives him a thumbs up as a loud bang rattles the bridge. 

They could do this . They were actually going to pull off another miracle-

“Finn? We’re ready to make the jump.” 

He hears Finn talk to their codebreaker and a whoosh. They did it! They must’ve got in-

Now all they would need is-

“FN-2187,” Chills rattle down Poe’s spine. That voice, the last time he’d been privy to it was when Kylo Ren had taken him in the desert. I’ll let you pick , she’d said to Jaina. “So good to have you back.” 

Kaydel looks at him expectantly but Poe can’t bring himself to look back at her. That was it. Their time was up. Poe had bet all of their hope on this and-

The door blasts open violently and Poe brings a hand up for cover. Poe can’t bring himself to shoot in the hazed state of disappointment he’s in.

The dust clears and Poe’s disappointment instantly freezes and turns into resentment at himself. 

“Leia.”

She purses her lips at him, then brings up a hand. And though he knows what’s about to happen, Poe thinks it’s for the best when she stuns him.


 

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

I take deep breaths to calm my racing heart and to slow the throbbing all over my face and body. My arms ache from where they are held behind my head, my knees digging painfully into the floor. My head pounds with the effort to keep Snoke out.

My body should heal soon enough. But he’ll know that. And make it hurt even worse. 

Perhaps make a wound that can’t fully be healed.

But I’ll never let him get anything else out of me.

“Well done, my good and faithful apprentice. My faith in you, is restored.” I hear Snoke say and painfully lift my head. Ben escorts Rey down in handcuffs. “Young Rey. Welcome.”

No, no! 

“Come closer, child.” She shuffles forward the slightest bit, giving an alarmed glance at me, then an angered one back at Snoke, “So much strength.”

He chuckles, “Darkness rises...and light to meet it.” He lifts his hands as if showing us all exactly how, “I warned my young apprentice that as he grew stronger his equal in the light would rise.
Skywalker...I assumed wrongly. And his sister, but again I was wrong.”

“Closer, I said.” She gives a startled cry as he whips her towards him, but quickly stifles it. 

“You underestimate Skywalker. And Ben Solo. And Jaina. And me,” She says bravely, “It will be your downfall.”
“Oh, have you seen something?” Snoke’s tone is too casual, too sardonic, “A weakness in my apprentice. Is that why you came?” 

He gives a scoff that could easily be a laugh. “Young fool. It was I who bridged your minds. I stoked Ren's conflicted soul. I knew he was not strong enough to hide it from you. And you were not wise enough to resist the bait.”

Shit. We’re in such deep shit.

“And now, since my littlest Ren has been so unhelpful, you will give me Skywalker,” I cringe, strengthening my mind yet again, “Then I will kill you...with the cruelest stroke.” 

“No,” she shakes her head and I instantly wish I’d taught her how to block out Snoke. If only I had known- “No!”

“Yes.” He smiles, shooting her back and suspending her in the air, “Give me, everything.” 

She starts to scream.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

Poe wakes up in a start. On a cot in a place much more crowded than any room on the Cruiser. 

“No, no, no, no no!” He runs over to the window only to see themselves drifting further and further from the Cruiser. 

His plan had failed miserably, he knew that. Rose and Finn were most likely-He couldn’t go down there yet. But running away was-

“Poe.” 

He turns around to the soothing voice of his greatest mentor.

She points towards a window on the other side of the transport and he follows her gaze. It’s a planet, a big one. Mostly white, but with streaks of red here and there. 

“What is that?” 

“The mineral planet, Crait. An uncharted hideout from the days of the Rebellion,” D’Acy says, coming up on the other side of Poe, “Abandoned, but heavily armored with enough power to get a distress signal to our allies scattered in the Outer Rim.” 

“Holdo knew the First Order was tracking our big ship,” Leia explains patiently, as if he was still a young boy, and she was teaching him to not run into the kitchen with dirty boots, “They're not monitoring for little transports.”

Suddenly, it all makes sense to Poe. And he feels like the world’s biggest jackass for refusing to believe that Holdo was more than capable of seeing the succession of the Resistance. 

“So we could slip down to the surface unnoticed and hide till the First Order passes. That could work.”

“She was more interested in protecting the light than she was seeming like a hero,” she says pointedly.  

It’s like an instant wave of humility crashes like a wave over Poe’s head. Protecting the light- wasn’t that what him and all of his friends joined the Resistance for? Isn’t it was Jaina had consistently told him was necessary. 

He’d forgotten it. He’d forgotten the true purpose of the Resistance. 

Sure, he’d made his secondary family here. Sure, he could be considered one of the best pilots here. But the reason he’d agreed to join in the first place had nothing to do with either one of those. 

It had been because of his mother, Shara Bey, who had always told him that goodness would always overpower evil. And that Poe must live his life doing everything he could to maintain that goodness. 

He touches his necklace. 


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Well, well, I did not expect Skywalker to be so wise.” He drops Rey in front of my brother, her face streaked with angry tears, and she pushes herself up, “We will give him and the Jedi Order the death he desires. After the Rebels are gone, we will go to his planet...and obliterate the entire island.” 

I swear I will hear her blood curdling scream for the rest of my life. The amount of pain she must have just been through-

I'd been through it as well. Not to that extent, of course, but...I know. And because of that I also know that this will haunt her for the rest of her life. However short it appears to be right now-

She stands up and reaches for the Lightsaber, only for Snoke to easily redirect it and hit her in the back of the head. 

“Such spunk,” Snoke mocks, “Look here, now.” He moves her over to the little hole on the side. And I feel myself moved as well, until I knock into Rey, my hands still pinned over my head. I groan as we collide, the pain radiating through me increasing exponentially.

"Jay-"

We look through the hole that is actually a magnifier and see about 20 transport ships being targeted from the cruiser we are standing on.
“The entire Resistance on those transports. Soon they will all be gone.” He chuckles, “For you, all is lost.” 

The entire Resistance? Just on 20, no 19, no 15 transport ships racing towards the nearest planet. That’s over half our people, gone. Just like that. I force myself to not think about anyone who could’ve been killed.

I’m cast back towards my brother, but Rey reaches for Ben’s saber and ignites it.

“And still that fiery spit of hope.” He smirks, “You have the spirit of a true Jedi!” 

She yells, running up to him but with a flick of his finger, he easily Moves her aside and to the ground, slightly closer to my brother than me. His saber spins, landing at his side.

The throbbing in my body finally dulls to a low hum and I fight to hide that fact. 

Snoke lifts Rey onto her knees and turns her to face my brother.

“And because of that, you must die.” 

No. No- I would not and could not let this happen. 

Rey-

Ben’s face hardens visibly as he steels his jaw. Please, I plead with him internally, Please see the wrong in this.

“My worthy apprentice. Son of darkness. Heir apparent to Lord Vader. Where there was conflict,  I now sense resolve. Where there was weakness, strength,” his voice crackles through me, “Complete your training and fulfill your destiny.

“I know what I have to do.” Ben picks up the saber and my heart pounds in my chest.

Please-

“Ben,” Rey says so softly I can barely hear her.

“You think you can turn him? Pathetic child .” He sits back in his throne, “I cannot be betrayed, I can not be beaten. I see his mind...I see his every intent.” 

No! ” A scream finally rips out of me as I struggle to fight his hold on me. 

I feel a tightening in my chest, I-

I can’t breathe. I start to choke-

No, no-

If I fight it he’ll get in my mind-

My body spasms with lack of oxygen-

Rey casts an alarmed glance at me, her chest heaving in fear.

“Yes,” he sneers, “I see him turning the lightsaber to strike true.” 

My vision starts to turn hazy with tears and a lack of oxygen.

Break free, Jaina. I hear but as much as I try, I can’t seem to-

Ben turns the saber in his hand, but out of the corner of my eye, I see another, smaller movement. What-

I feel a surge of pride and power coming from Snoke, his attention slightly diverted from me and I leap for it. 

I can breathe. I can move my hands. I subtly Reach for my saber across the room.

“And now, foolish child. He ignites it. And kills his true enemy!” When my saber reaches my hands I push myself up-

I hear a saber ignite. 

But it’s not Rey who’s pierced.

It’s Snoke. With Luke’s saber.

I drop to the floor as Snoke releases the final hold on me, finally igniting my saber. 

Ben reaches for Luke’s saber and Rey grabs for it as he helps her up. 

Groaning, I pull myself up, just as the Praetorian Guards surround Ben and Rey in swathes of red. 


Ben Solo (Present Day)

After having been trained to fight his whole life leading up till now, Ben would’ve thought he’d be used to it by now. But the fact that he’s fighting with both Rey and Jaina  on his side makes him exponentially more nervous and fearful for them. 

And his fears come true, when he sees guards closing in on an already injured Jaina across the room from him and Rey. 

“Jaina!” Rey yells. Jaina cuts down the guard in front of her and moves to do the same behind her when the guard smashes her head against the ground, then stabs her in the thigh with its staff, twisting and dragging it across her lightsaber wound, nearly severing the limb.

She screams in pain, a sound that ignites the fire in Ben. Once he’s finished with these last six guards he’ll-

But Jaina herself, lifts her arm up, choking the guard until it falls unconscious. Another one falls upon her and she shoots lightning at them, sending them spiraling across the room. And then she lays backwards, energy spent. 

He needs to get to her. His little sister-

A guard sneaks up on him during his distraction and fights him well enough to get him in a choke. Rey must’ve also been distracted because she ends up in a similar position. Ben’s lightsaber is somewhere across the room and he can’t quite Reach for it-

But then she does something spectacular. Then, Rey drops her weight, and slices her guard in the stomach. Where has he seen that before?

Ben pushes back against the guard, trying to get some advantage, when he swears he hears her before the name’s out of her mouth. 

“Ben!” Rey yells and throws the saber at him. He catches it at the perfect angle, almost poetically, and ignites it, instantly killing the guard. 

Ben’s never felt this in tune with a person in his life. Every move she makes, he matches. Every attack he begins, she follows through. 

When they’re done they stare at each other for a good while. In awe, at least from Ben’s point of view.

She was always meant to fight on my side

But then Rey’s concerned eyes flicker behind him and panic spikes in his veins. Ben pivots and throws himself down next to Jaina. 

No, no, no-!

She’s breathing, thank the Stars. He takes a deep heaving breath to center himself. But it’s shallow, the cut on her leg agonizingly deep. Blood pools around her.

No. No. His little sister came back for him. And he would not lose her again.

He smooths the black hair out of her face and pulls on the Force between them. He grabs her hand and her pain starts to cut through his own leg. There’s a slight pressure in his head as well, she probably has a concussion.

Please, please work.

It’s been years and years since they’d had a run in with this special power. 

He can feel the warmth of his own blood start to gather at his thigh. Just a little, just enough for Jaina to be able to live. Her breathing becomes steadier, and he sits back on his ankles, huffing at the slight pain. But he’s used to it by now.

“Ben, the fleet!” Rey turns to the porthole, once she’s satisfied Jaina will be okay, “Order them to stop firing. There is still time to save the... fleet.” 

Ben sighs, his breath getting caught in his throat. He turns around slowly.

“Ben?” She asks quietly, her face apprehensive.

He hates that he’s the cause of it. But he has to get her to understand. 

They came for him, Rey and Jaina. They came because they still believed in him, even when he’d thought they’d both abandoned him. So he has to make Rey see, has to make his sister see when she wakes up, that there’s another path for them.

“It's time to let old things die,” he chooses his words carefully, “Snoke. Skywalker. The Sith. The Jedi, the Rebels. Let it all die.”

She grimaces.

“Rey. I want you to join me,” He extends a hand, hoping with all of his heart that she takes it, “We can rule together and bring a new order to the galaxy.”

“Don't do this, Ben,” she says instantly, “Please don't go this way.”

“No, no you're still holding on!” He gestures with his outstretched hand, “Let go!”

She shakes her head, tears forming in her eyes. 

He’s never been a good talker. He didn’t have any friends growing up beyond his sister, who did enough talking for the both of them. He’s going to have to take desperate measures.

“Do you want to know the truth about your parents?” Ben grasps for the most heart wrenching string, “Or have you always known?”

Her face scrunches up and Ben hates himself for having to press it. Tears roll down her perfect cheeks and he wishes it didn’t have to go this far.

“You've just hidden it away, you know the truth. Say it.” With another tear rolling down her cheek, he lowers his voice, “Say it.”

“They were nobody,” she says with an inhale and erratic breath.

“They were filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money,” he scrunches up his hand in a fist. She deserved so much better, she deserves the galaxy,  “They're dead in a pauper’s grave in the Jakku desert.”

Ben steps closer to her. “You have no place in this story.”

We’re all outsiders. Himself, Jaina, Rey, all of them. They’ll never fit in no matter where they are, they’ll never be truly accepted. 

“You come from nothing, you're nothing. But not to me.” 

Please, Ben pleads with the Force, with whatever higher power pushes these luminous beings.
“Join me. Please. ” Ben extends his hand to her, his heart in his throat.

Chapter Text

Poe Dameron (Present Day)

They were being fired at. It was all they could do to go full speed ahead.

Poe watches with Kaydel as the Resistance cruiser lights up, as if preparing for lightspeed, slowly turning-

Turning towards-

“She’s running away.” Kaydel frowns, looking back at him.

He furrows his brows as the cruiser stops turning, directly facing the main First Order brigade.

“No, she isn’t.”

And then the ship jumps ahead through lightspeed. Jumps straight ahead, severing the brigade, as well as its surrounding ships in a heaping explosion of bright blue light.

She’d done it. She’d just bought them all the chance they’d need.


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

Kylo wakes up with a start, a vision of Hux shooting him in the head startling him awake.

His entire body aches with what can only be the strength of the kyber crystal inside his uncle’s saber coursing through his each and every wound.

“What. Happened.” Hux snivels through gritted teeth.

He’s the last person Kylo wants to see right now.

“The girls murdered Snoke,” he says simply, staggering up to a standing position.

When he looks outside, he sees no Resistance cruiser. No remaining fighters. Just destruction all around him. First Order destruction.

And no Rey. Nor Jaina.

It was his turn to ask now, “What happened?’

“They took Snoke’s escape craft.”

And then he sees the planet off in the distance. The only possible place the Resistance could be headed.

If Rey refusing to join him was any indication of her preference, she’d head down there as well. To rejoin her...little friends. Jaina would too, if she was conscious by now.

Anger. Anger and resentment and disappointment and a tiny, miniscule bit of fear fuel his next words.

“We know where she’s going,” he turns and walks to prep himself for another battle. One he refuses to lose, “Get all of our forces down to that Resistance base. Let’s finish this-

“Finish this?” His scratchy voice like nails on a chalkboard, “Who do you think you’re talking to? You presume to command my army? Our Supreme Leader is dead! We HAVE NO RULER-”

Kylo stops his walking, choking Hux with the slightest of thoughts. He turns, slowly, menacingly.

Never again would someone control his will. Never again would he let himself be belittled or betrayed.

“The Supreme Leader is dead.”

“Long live...the Supreme Leader.”


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“Go, go, move!” Poe yells at the remaining Resistance as they scurry further inside for deeper cover, “Get that shield door down!”

Blasts seem to come from everywhere, but nothing is more menacing than the big white transport that looks like it’s about to crash right into the door.

When he’s satisfied that everyone has moved far enough back, Poe, himself, aims his blaster at the incoming ship.

The door comes down, but the ship slides in by the skin of its teeth.

Poe shoots it continuously, Leia right behind him as they try to disable whoever is in there.

“No! Wait, don’t shoot!”

“It’s us!’

“No don’t shoot!”

The voices are so familiar, yet muffled. Poe holds up a hand.

“Hold your fire! HOLD YOUR FIRE!”

The shots stop as hands come up tentatively. Then two very familiar and welcome heads.

“Finn?” Leia yells.

“Finn! Rose!” He yells excitedly, “You’re not dead!”

His heart clenches at that, but there’s still one more thing unaccounted for, “Where’s my droid?”

BB-8 rolls out at that exact moment, zooming straight for Poe’s legs. He drops to the ground to hut it, “Buddy! I’m so glad to see you!” He rests his forehead on it’s dusty sphere, glad that, if nothing else was alright, at least his trustiest companion was.

Poe you’ll never believe. There was this codebreaker guy and we shot the bad guys and they-”

“Wait, what?”

AND THEN I MANNED A WALKER. I saved Finn and Rose and we all-”

“Wait, wait wait, slow down.”

It seems there was quite a bit of story to be traded.

***

“All right, our shields are up so they can't hit us from orbit. Use whatever power we've got left to broadcast a distress signal to the Outer Rim,” he says to Kaydel and Finn who stand at a computer.

Rogue Squadron had been sent to a very remote part of the Outer Rim to connect with an old ally of the Resistance, or so Leia had told him. If they were still off the grid, they wouldn’t receive the signal, but they did have other allies out there.

“Use my personal code,” Leia says, sitting down and looking older than Poe had ever seen the General, “If there  are any allies to the Resistance, it's now or never.”

Rose walks in then, having just taken stock of their belongings. She frowns down at her clipboard. She’d proven herself more than just a basement mechanic after her mission with Finn, and Poe was sure she’d be one of their greatest assets.

“Rose, what do you got?”

“Rotting munitions, rusted artillery, some half-gutted skim speeders.”

He sees Leia frown, “Well, let's just pray that big-ass door holds long enough for us to get help.”

Dust rains around them like an omen as soon as he says that.

Shit.

Finn grabs a scope to see what caused that.

“A battering ram cannon.”

“A what now?”

He sees a line of First Order battlements moving steadily towards them.

“Miniaturized Death Star tech. It'll crack that door open like an egg.”

“There has to be a back way out of here, right?” Rose comes up next to them, seeing for herself.

There has to be. Poe turns to his droid, “BB-8, what do you got?”

“BB-8 has analyzed the mine's schematics. This is the only way in or out.” Threepio says and Poe shakes his head.

Why in the galaxy would they build a Rebellion base with one way in or out? The entire base creaks again and Poe can practically feel the nervous energy in the room.

“Come on,” Finn says, “We have allies. People believe in Leia. They'll get our message, they'll come. But we have to buy time. We gotta take out that cannon.”

They had to preserve hope.

Holdo did it for them. She was willing to sacrifice everything if it gave even the meager leavings of the Resistance a fighting chance.

Poe would do the same. To make sure her sacrifice, and the sacrifice of so many more of their crew, was not in vain.

***

“Ground forces, incoming!”

“Copy that, on our way,” Poe says as they fly the rusted speeders out of the base and onto the white mineral, kicking up white and red dust as they go.

They all struggle to maintain control as soon as they hit the ground, but Rose, who probably knows the ins and outs of all former Rebellion ships as a mechanic, says, “Engage your mono-ski! The green toggle.”

Poe regains control, but finds himself frustrated with the outdated technology. “All right, listen up. I don't like these rust buckets and I don't like our odds, but.... what the hell?” His foot goes straight through the floor and he has to rest it precariously on the edge.

Shit these are old.

“Just keep it tight and don't get drawn in too close till they roll that cannon up front. All right, ground forces, lay down some fire!”

They get closer, but all the ground forces succeed in doing at that distance is kicking up more red mineral.

All of a sudden, Poe sees a whole legion of Tie-Fighters swooping down near them.

“Fighters! Break off!” Everyone in the speeders split in their respective direction to prevent the fighters from congealing on one person.

Nevertheless, R’ody’s speeder goes down first and Poe just hopes he’s well enough to make it back.

Jess, herself, is having a hard time, and maneuvers back to cover the ground fighters.

“We gotta hold them till they pull up that cannon!” Poe says. They just need a little more time-

“Rose, you’ve got 3 right behind you!” Finn yells into their headsets.

Poe, focusing up ahead, barely glances at the side to see Rose swerving in a zig-zag to shake them off.

“I can’t lose em!”

A pang of fear goes through Poe. There was no point in doing this if they’d all just die by the hands of the First Order like this. They needed another plan, they needed-

All of a sudden, the three Tie Fighters are shot through and spiral to the ground. Poe looks up to see, first a giant shadow, and then a very familiar ship.


Rey (Present Day)

“Wohooo! Yeah!” Rey cheers as she picks off three fighters in a row. “I like this.”

“Hell yeah!” She hears Jaina whoop, maneuvering the Falcon perfectly in line to give Rey a clear shot.

When Jaina had insisted on flying despite her injury, Rey was apprehensive. In the end, it was Chewie who said that Jaina was probably the best person to fly this ship, given that it was the one she'd learned how to fly in in the first place. With Jaina's skillful maneuvers, Rey now she sees she had nothing to worry about.

The explosion had jolted Jaina awake, and she had roused Rey, asking what had happened. Jaina's leg was completely incapacitated, which made the whole ordeal longer. Nevertheless, the next bit was a blur, leaving Ben lying on the ground and stealing what Jaina had informed her was Snoke's emergency transport. Rey had taken both pieces of the saber, completely astonished as to how and why it would be so evenly split between them. 

She had just gone for it, the way she'd done in the forest, knowing that Ben-Kylo Ren-had no right to claim the saber for himself just because of his lineage. It wasn't what the Force had wanted. 

Out of all this...disappointment and her heart aching from his betrayal, Rey had become aware of what she had learned. What Luke had knowingly or unknowingly imparted on her. 

Rey had learned that the Force was not her instrument. That, in fact, it was the other way around. Just as Kylo was its instrument, despite his determination to bend it to his will. She hoped that he, too, would learn that one day. 

Jaina, on the other hand, had seen eye to eye with her on most everything. Rey's own perception of the Light and Darkness, her own perception of what was inherently good versus inherently evil was starting to get blurred. Nothing was purely one or the other, as much as Rey wanted to believe she had zero qualities related to Kylo Ren. 

The younger Solo had taught Rey a lot, even though she hadn't wanted to. In addition to the Light and Dark perception, she taught Rey about trust and friendship. She taught Rey that it was good to have someone by your side who understood you. Someone you could relate to, but who wouldn't expect anything out of you. Someone who would listen to your opinions and have them matter. 

And this quality helped them both when it came to the battle against the Praetorian Guards. And even now, as they kill off the First Order ships. It feels almost as if they were meant to battle together. 

What was it Jaina said with heavy sarcasm? All is as the Force wills it-

That seemed very pertinent now.

“Get ‘em Rey!” Casimir yells from above her, where he is belted down at the chess table next to R2-D2, scanning the planet below.

Rey grins as she shoots a couple more, hitting them dead on. Maybe she could ask Jaina’s pilot to train her in marksmanship after this is over.

But her train of thoughts are cut short when she notices that all of the Tie-Fighters have finally started following them.

Perfect.

“Jaina, pull them out from the battle. Draw them away from the speeders.”

“Already on it,” she grunts back in the headset, swerving them away from the battle.

“Go through there.” Chewie mutters in the headset.

“Hold on everyone,” Jaina says, then plummets them sideways into a cave.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“They drew ‘em off! All of ‘em!” The Falcon pulled a maneuver Poe would’ve recognized anywhere. Jaina was alive.

“Oh, they hate that ship!” Finn exclaims.

They had made it back, though there seemed no sign of Luke Skywalker.

That’s alright. All that mattered now was getting everyone to safety. The Falcon could probably hold all of the Resistance, though it’d be crowded. All they had to do was make sure everyone got on it.

“There it is!” Rose says as their line of defense sets down some heavy machinery, “That is a big gun.”

No kidding.

“OK, it’s heavily armored. Our only shot is right down the throat!” Finn says, swerving towards its line of fire, “The cannon’s opening. This is our chance.”

Poe takes stock of the speeders left. Him, Finn, Rose, Sperch, Jess, and Monty. Everyone else had either fall back or had their speeder disabled.

Then, Sperch falls. And soon after Monty does as well. Neither hurt, only disabled.

And then the first order starts blowing up the trenches where the ground fighters are.

“They’re picking us all off,” Poe says to Command. And then, as realization dawns upon him, “We’re not gonna make it.”

“All right, making my final approach. Target in sight, guns are hot,” Finn reports, almost eagerly.

“No! Pull off!” Poe says, swerving his own speeder just barely out of the way of blaster fire.

“What?”

“The cannon is charged! It’s a suicide run. All craft, pull away!”

“No! I’m almost there-”

Poe shakes his head. His friend didn’t realize what Poe had realized. That they couldn’t afford any more losses. They’d have to play it smart, not by brute strength anymore.

“Retreat, Finn! That’s an order-” Poe pulls back, hoping his friends follow his minuscule semblance of authority.

“Finn?” Poe hears Rose in his headset, “It’s too late! Don’t do this!”

Poe reaches close enough to the trench that he unbuckles his belt, undoes his headset, and jumps through the hole he made with his leg. He rolls and stumbles on the ground, the mineral-salt, flying all around him. He can’t watch as Finn goes hurtling for the cannon and he sees Rose going towards him at full speed ahead.

He couldn’t see his friends die again. He had to keep moving.

So he picks himself up and runs to the trench, sliding into it just as more gunfire hits.

“Move! Go, go!” He tells the ground soldiers as they all bolt back into the tunnels. Poe glances back and sees Finn and Rose’s speeders demolished against one another, with no sign of either of them. With a quick prayer to the Maker, the Force, or whatever, that Finn and Rose are alright, Poe runs back into the tunnels.

***

It was like they were dangling their victory over the Resistance’s heads. They’d blown a huge hole in the shield door, but no immediate wave of First Order soldiers followed.

Finn had gotten time to drag Rose in, shouting for a medpack. And now it was all they could do to hide in the Command Room, everyone armed, and wait for any allies to help them. Wait to see if Jaina, Rey, Chewie, and Casimir could get them out of this.

The odds were not looking too great.

“Our distress signal’s been received at multiple points, but no response,” Kaydel sits back in disbelief.

“They’ve heard us, but no one’s coming,” D’Acy grabs Jess’s arm for support. Jess turns back to Poe, tears in her eyes.

He’s sure his own fear and frustration is reflected right back in his own.

“We fought till the end,” Leia says, loud enough for the entire Resistance to hear, “But the galaxy has lost all its hope. The spark...is out.”

Never...never in his whole life had Poe imagined Leia would ever say something like that.

Back before he had even met Jaina and Luke, his parents had told him stories about their adventures in the Rebellion. About their daring pilioting missions and a certain Princess who never gave up and risked everything to keep hope alive.

It was a gift...having that hope. He’d been privileged enough to have it his entire life. When he first met her, he’d hoped that him and Jaina would always be best friends. When his mother died, he hoped he could make her proud. When he graduated from the Academy, he hoped he could make his father proud. When he joined the Rebellion, he hoped he could save the galaxy-

And that hope had spurred him on, helping him live his life to the fullest until now. Until now when he was at his last few moments.

But he’d keep up hope. If they couldn’t save the galaxy, then perhaps Jaina, Rey, Chewie, and Casimir would be enough. They could go back and see Poe’s father on Yavin IV...he’d know so many allies who could help them. They could rebuild a new Resistance.

Leia may have lost hope...but Poe would keep it past the grave.

Poe hears many people gasp and he looks up to see none other than Luke Skywalker in front of them all.

Leia’s face lights up, “Luke?”

He nods at Poe in a very knowing way, clapping him on the shoulder. And then he walks right past him to his sister.

“I know what you’re gonna say,” she smiles at him, “I changed my hair.”

The entire Resistance, or what’s left of it, watches their exchange with bated breath.

“It’s nice that way,” he smiles at her, “Leia...I’m sorry-”

“I know. I know you are...I’m just glad you’re here,” she smiles, “at the end.”

“I came to face him, Leia...And I can’t save him,” He says, taking her hands in his own.

Poe wonders, then, what it would have been like to have a sibling. To have someone who you have such a close, common bond with that time and distance couldn’t overcome.

Luke was willing to try and cut down the entire First Order for his sister.

“I held out hope for so long, but I know my son is gone,” Leia looks down, tears in her eyes.

Luke seems to grip her hands tighter, “No one’s ever really gone.”

She glances up at him, alarmed, as he drops something in her hand. Luke stands up then, kissing his sister on the forehead, and heading out.

“Master Luke,” Threepio says as Luke walks to face the First Order.

Poe stares at the man who was much like his own Uncle as he walks through the newly formed hole in the shield. Please let him give us an advantage.

Chapter Text

Kylo Ren (Present Day)

“I want every gun we have to fire on that man, ” Out of all the emotions Kylo thought he’d experience seeing his uncle again, the rage is what is most comforting. Most welcome. 

The shuttle pilot looks back at Hux, but Kylo shuts him up with a glare. 

“Do it!” All of the guns fire on the singular spot that Luke Skywaler was smirking from, “More! MORE!” 

He would not be satisfied until that man, the man who ruined everything, was obliterated. Turned to dust and ashes.

All Kylo can hear is the hearty thrum of the guns firing and his own heart pounding in his ears. He nearly misses what Hux says, but the General says it again.

“That’s ENOUGH!” Hux turns to him, but Kylo doesn’t take his eyes off of the spot that Luke was. 

He hadn’t felt his uncle for years , but he would assume that if he’d died, Kylo would have felt it. So why-

“Do you think you got him?” Kylo can practically feel the smirk on his face, “Now, if we’re ready to get moving, we can finish this.”

But no. They didn’t get him. Kylo’s feelings were true...Luke walks out of the smoke, somehow unharmed, and brushes dust casually off of his shoulder. 

The very NERVE-

“Sir?” the shuttle pilot correctly asks Kylo.

After all, he is the Supreme Leader of the First Order. And if he wanted his army to respect him, he’d have to show them that he wasn’t some sissy.

“Bring me down to him. Keep the door covered and don’t advance until I say.” 

No one was escaping his wrath today. He would finally have his revenge. Finally have it so no one would tell him what or who to be. 

“Supreme Leader, don’t get distracted...our goal-”

Kylo shoves him against the wall. 

“Right away, sir,” the shuttle pilot says, pressing a few buttons to let Kylo down.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

Poe sees Luke walk towards Kylo Ren, completely unharmed. They’d all cringed at the round after round of blaster-fire wasted just on him, but Poe guessed it was necessary. After all, the old man was still alive and just staring at his nephew. But what would be the point of going to face him if he wasn’t going to go on the offensive?

“He’s doing this for a reason,” and then it clicks, “He’s stalling so we can escape.”

“Escape?” Finn scoffs, “He’s one man against an army. We have to help him, we have to fight.” 

Finn starts towards him but Poe holds out a hand to stop him. 

In every other case, Poe would have agreed with Finn. Hell, had you asked him a few hours ago he would’ve agreed. But with everything they’ve been through, everything they’ve sacrificed, they couldn’t just throw it all away. 

What was it Holdo had said?

“No, no. We are the spark that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down,” Poe shakes his head, thinking clearly for what feels like the first time in a long time, “Skywalker’s doing this so we can survive. There’s gotta be a way out of this mine. Hell, how did he get in here?” 

And if he was in here, there had to be an exit where they could meet up with Jaina and Rey. 

Poe looks around, seeing the terrified yet determined faces of the Resistance, seeing the rusted artillery, seeing one of the crystal critters running about, making clinking noises as it does.

“Sir, it is possible that a natural, unmapped opening exists. But this facility is such a maze of endless tunnels that-”

Where’d the rest of them go? 

“Shhh. Hush-”

“the odds of finding an exit are 15, 428-” Threepio continues.

“Shut up!” 

“To one-” Poe holds up a finger at Threepio listening closely for the rest of the critters. 

“Listen.” 

“My audio sensors no longer detect the-”

“Exactly,” Poe’s eyes follow the last one as it moves further back into the tunnels. 

They needed to follow it. 

“Where’d the crystal critters go?” 

Poe grabs the gun he’d set on the ground, “Follow me.”

His eyes are directly trained on that one last critter as he starts ahead. 

Behind him, he can hear Leia say, “What are you looking at me for? Follow him.”


Rey (Present Day)

While Jaina was looking for entrance points to the cave to fly into, Chewie and Rey were on scanning duty, and Cas was reading the signal. 

“I don’t understand! They should be right beneath us,” he says, frowning. 

“They’ve got to be somewhere. Keep scanning for life forms,” Rey says. 

They’d scanned and scanned for the Resistance, plugging the beacon into R2’s port, but no matter what, they couldn’t find them. Their best hope was just to-

Movement . There to her left.

“I see them! Chewie, there!” Rey points out the window past the Wookie. There’s a lot of those crystal looking foxes running out of somewhere. That has to be where the Resistance will escape through. 

“I’ll swerve us around,” Jaina says, gritting her teeth at this point due to the pain in her leg.

Jaina and Chewie swerve them down low onto the salt. The former limps pathetically to come help Rey, but Chewie stops her with a shake of his head. 

You can’t walk, Jaya .” 

“It’s okay, I can do this.”

You don’t need to.” He nods to Rey. 

“You’re right,” The girl nods in agreement, smiling back at Rey as she sits down,” I don’t need to.”

I can do this.

Rey moves out of the cockpit to see Casimir cleaning up the porg feathers from R2-D2’s sensors, waving away the pesky birds. 

As soon as they touch ground, Chewie deploys the landing gear and Rey runs out of the ship. She slides down the steep hill effortlessly and sees a crystal looking fox squeeze out of a pile of rocks.

So that’s where the trail of them came from. There’s no way the Resistance could squeeze through as well. At least not without a little intervention.

“Lifting rocks,” Rey shakes her head, smiling incredulously. 

Of course.

If only Luke were here to appreciate this irony. 


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

“I failed you, Ben. I’m sorry.” 

Kylo scoffs, “I'm sure you are!”

“The Resistance is dead!” he sneers, “The war is over. And when I kill you...I will have killed the last Jedi.” 

He was sure of it. Rey still needed a teacher. As far as he knew, Jaina was incapacitated for the time being. 

They’d rid the galaxy of everything that had ever held Kylo back. He wouldn’t even think twice about it.

“Amazing! Every word of what you just said, was wrong.” Ben growls at the depreciation in his voice, amazed at how unchanged his Uncle is after all these years. Still a judgmental, hateful, know-it-all.

Ben decides then and there, that today will be the bastard’s final day.

“The Rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be The Last Jedi.”


Rey (Present Day)

Rey opens her eyes with a start, breathing heavily as she struggles to lift more and more. But she manages it.

She looks on with awe, at her own power, at the fact that being in tune with herself has allowed her to do this. 

It was that simple. Letting the Force flow through her, letting it take over instead of her making it lift the rocks.

Slowly, the hole in the mountain becomes big enough for them to see the Resistance. 

The first person she sees is Jaina’s pilot. Then a blond lieutenant she somewhat recognizes. And then-

She drops the rest of the floating rocks off to the side as Finn rushes towards her, embracing her so hard she nearly falls over. 

Grinning, Rey’s heart grows fuller with each second as she embraces her best friend. The hug says, I missed you , it says, please don’t ever leave again.

And, deep in the back of her mind, Rey cringes at the thought of her almost choosing Ben. How could that flicker inside her even slightly consider him over the Resistance-the family that practically adopted her when she had nowhere else to go. 

“Rey, are you alright?” Finn pulls back, inspecting her. His gaze lingers on the now purpling bruise near her left eye and cuts on her shoulder and torso. “What happened?” 

“You’re the one who nearly died and you’re asking if I’m alright?” She shakes her head at him, cupping his face in her hands. “I can’t believe how much I missed you.” 

“Likewise,” Finn grins, pulling her in for another hug. 

It’s crazy to think Rey once was once afraid of touch. Afraid of getting close to someone only to have them not reciprocate. 

But Rey’s a different woman now. 

It’s crazy to think just how different she is from that girl on Jakku.

“I think it’s about time we all get out of here,” the unmistakable voice of General Organa- Leia says. 

Rey shares a nervous smile with her. She’ll be disappointed to hear the truth about what Luke said. About what Kylo had said.

They all walk up slowly into the Falcon, where Chewie is gently wrapping Jaina’s wounded leg with Cas’s assistance.

“Jaina,” she hears the Pilot, Poe, sigh in relief, and Jaina’s winces of pain instantly relax as she sees him.

“Poe!”

Light, disbelieving laughter, so unlike the normally serious Jaina, emit from the woman. Then he’s standing in between her legs, practically attacking her in a tight hug. She grunts in pain and he pulls away.

“Are you alright?” Poe holds her face in his hands, looking her up and down, “ Stars , Jaina what happened?”

“Got sliced open by some Praetorian Guards, you know the usual.” She tries to joke, but Rey can hear the strain behind those words.

Exhausted-they were all so exhausted. And in need of a good nap. And hot food. And quiet and peace and-

“I love you so much, Jay.” Poe says, shaking his head softly.

Jaina leans into his palms, a small smile Rey knows is reserved only for Poe on her face, “I know.”

Rey blushes. It suddenly feels like the rest of the Resistance is this giant third wheel to the both of them. 

That is, until Leia clears her throat.

Poe and Jaina sheepishly detach themselves from one another as her mother goes over and wraps Jaina in a deep hug, both women reigning in tears. Rey, herself, is on the verge of them. 

The Resistance is reduced to no more than 30 people, including Rey, Jaina, Chewie, and Casimir, who is still so little. Rey purses her lips as she sees an injured girl being carried in the arms of a medic and Finn looking on in deep concern.

What had happened while they’d been gone?


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

I'll destroy them both. And you. And all of it.” Kylo says, feeling the hatred deep in his bones, in his very soul. 

“No,” Skywalker shakes his head, “Strike me down in anger and I’ll always be with you. Just like your father.” 

What does he know?

With that, Kylo’s rage intensifies. He bolts towards his uncle, saber outstretched, ready to feel the killing blow-

But it doesn’t come, and Kylo almost slips with the forward effort. 

No, the saber went right through him.

That’s impossible...this-it’s what he thought Rey was doing all that while ago. The Force Projection. But...the effort would kill him-

Kylo walks back up to the old man, sticking him again straight through his chest. Again, the saber comes out clean on the other side with no resistance. 

“No.” He shakes his head. NO! 

Is he clinically insane? Why-

“See you around, kid.” Skywalker winks, dipping his head and dissolving into nothingness. 

“NO!”


Rey (Present Day)

They'd agreed on a rotating pilot schedule between Jaina, Poe, Chewie, Finn, and a girl named Jess, of which Jaina and Chewie got the first one (after much arguing between Poe and Jaina who insisted that she didn’t need a leg to fly). Meanwhile, Rey goes back outside to make sure nothing obstructs their takeoff, when she feels it. 

It’s a sort of stabbing pain, but not exactly painful. And it isn’t just in one part of her body, it’s as if her very soul can feel it. 

She grabs on to one of the poles of the ramp of the Falcon and breathes heavily through her nose. 

Master Skywalker-

She can practically see the scene before her-

Two suns shining warmly down on Ahch-To island, a wisp of air sharply resonating through the caves, and a newfound harmony settling down on her.

When she returns to herself, she realizes two things: 

One, Luke Skywalker is no more. 

Two, Her and Jaina were the only two ‘Jedi’ left.

And yet, Rey doesn’t feel sad at losing yet another father figure. She feels spurred on, enlightened. A resolve setting in her heart to protect, to live up to whatever expectations Skywalker had for her. 

To not fail him, like Ben did. Like Kylo Ren did. 

Pass on what you have learned .

Ridiculous ,  Rey thinks to whatever in the Force was talking to her now, Luke barely taught me anything.

You know more than enough.

Rey runs up to the top of the landing ramp when those names-Ben, Kylo Ren- clang in her mind like a gong and she sees him. 

Coward. She doesn’t say it out loud, but Rey knows he can hear it.

He crouches on the ground, staring up at her with a difficult emotion in his eyes. She wants to cry and scream and throw things at him for being so obstinate. But he doesn’t deserve that. 

And yet-

Rey decides her feelings are best shoved far down. If nothing for her own sake. And she closes the ramp on him. 

And effectively, her mind.

***

“Chewie!” General Organa embraces the Wookie as the Falcon takes off. Rey walks in, shaking her head to clear it of it’s fogginess. 

BB-8 rolls up to her excitedly, chirping away. 

“Do you like the antennae? I got it installed after you and Jaina and Casimir and Chewbacca went to find-” 

“It looks good,” Rey smiles at his excitement, just as a pair of boots appear beside the droid.

“Hi.” She stands up to see the pilot who actually owns BB-8. It’s crazy to think she’d started this insanity with BB-8 and never met the person who initiated it all.

“Hi,” She smiles in response, sticking out her hand. 

He takes it, shaking it firmly. 

“I’m Poe,” his smile is a million dollar one, and Rey can see how easily Jaina probably fell for him. How easily so many beings have probably fallen for him. 

“Rey,” she smiles back, wishing her own could be so commanding yet so charming in one twitch of the face. 

“I know,” he says, eyes flickering down to his droid, who circles around rapidly. “Sorry we haven’t properly met yet. I heard you helped my droid out for a while back there.”

BB-8 probably told him everything. 

After chatting a bit with Poe, his friend Jess, and a few other members of the Resistance, Rey sits on the edge of a console, holding the two pieces of the lightsaber. 

He didn’t deserve the legacy he’d spent so long shunning, especially not now.

She sees Finn tuck a blanket around the injured girl-Rose, and suddenly feels her own blanket of loneliness settling around her.

What would it be like to have a soulmate? Rey never even imagined having one, those days in the desert making her prone to like loneliness. 

However, she’d thought...in visions she’d seen Ben and her fighting side by side against the guards, yes. But also him at a Rebel base with her, training and making plans to take down the First Order for good.

And she’d thought that, with whom they both were, with the experiences they’d both faced, that neither of them would be alone again.

But it was for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because he was her enemy and she was his. And enemies were the polar opposites of soulmates.

“-our contact in the Outer Rim by now-”

“-it’s very possible. Excuse me, Lieutenant Connix.” She turns as Leia comes and sits next to her. 

“Luke is gone.” Rey says, because she doesn’t know what else to say to someone who just lost their twin brother they haven’t seen in ages. Jaina couldn’t even talk about it.

“I felt it.” Leia says, looking down.

“But it wasn’t sadness or pain. It was...peace and purpose.” 

“I felt that too.” 

Rey looks at the old woman whose weathered so much. The woman who, as rumor and history has it, never gives up hope. 

But looking around-they were all crammed onto a single ship, fleeing from the First Order for their lives. Could she still have hope, even now?

“How do we build a Rebellion from this?” Rey whispers, afraid that the woman will have no answers. Perhaps more afraid of what her answer will be.

“We have everything we need.” Leia places a hand on one of Rey’s, glancing towards what’s left of the Resistance as they plummet into lightspeed.


Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“Hey,” I limp extremely slowly and painfully over to where Poe is sitting as soon as I get off of my piloting shift with Chewie. The both of us traded off with Rey and Finn, having to maneuver around the 27 remaining members of the Resistance all sleeping in different places on the floor.

“Hey, you shouldn’t be walking,” he’s about to stand up, but I wave him away as I slide down the wall slowly to sit next to him, the pain shooting through my entire body and I grunt, “ What’s wrong with you?

“I’m a masochist, couldn’t you tell?”

He frowns at me, but I just yawn and rest my head on his shoulder.

“I think I figured out the next place we can refuel inconspicuously,” Poe whispers. He sits in what’s probably the only empty corner on the ship looking bleary eyed at a data pad. I look over and realize that, in the little nook next to Poe, Cas is asleep, resting on a powered down BB-8. 

Speaking of Cas-

“That’s great, Poe.” I swallow the lump in my throat, trying to remove the nervousness from my voice, “Where is it?”

“Sheris. It’s a trading planet but with a lot of greenery for cover, a lot like Takodana. But I was thinking that from there we could figure out a way to send people to the Outer Rim to contact-”

“Poe, slow down,” I lift my head up and look at him, “We’re okay to cruise for a while just...rest. You’ve been through a lot.”

“I can’t rest,” he shakes his head, “Not until I know we’re safe-” 

“The wellbeing of the Resistance doesn’t have to just fall on your shoulders-” 

“Jaina-” He huffs in exasperation.

“Listen to me, Poe,” I shift to face him, “There may only be 30 of us left, at most, but strength of character defeats strength in numbers every time. There is strength in letting us rest and recuperate. There is strength in working together to solve this. You don’t have to be the one to fix everything-” 

“It’s the only way I’ll make it worth it, Jaina,” he says so quietly it takes a moment for me to fully register what he said, “How can I justify the cost of the war, the cost of all our friends’ lives if I can’t avenge them?”

He drops his head on my shoulder, stifling his sobs so he doesn’t wake up Cas. And I take a deep breath or two to reign in how much my heart breaks at his hurting. 

I stroke the back of his hair with one hand, and grasp his own with my other. 

“We’re gonna destroy the First Order, Poe. I swear to you that we will, ” I murmur to him as he stifles another quiet sob, “But to do that, we need to all work together. We need to realize that it might not come as soon as we thought. We need... to gather everyone’s strengths and preserve this little family we have left to the best of our ability.” 

I look at our son, deciding that Poe can hear the truth about him tomorrow. We’re in no rush right now. We’re just in the beginning stages of readying ourselves for the final and true battle.

“And one day, when they’re least expecting it,” I whisper with a strong voice, “We are going to demolish their system of hate across the galaxy.”

Later, after Poe falls asleep with tear streaks down his face, I have to sneakily get up to change the bandage around my leg. As I edge myself along the wall, I let my thoughts wander to the recent tragedy that’s befallen.

So many of my friends were gone. Most of Black Squadron and the rest of the pilots, fellow mechanics, everyone on Leadership, Auntie Holdo . So many people who’d been with the Resistance since it was the Rebellion. I can’t even imagine my mother’s heartbreak. 

And then there was Uncle Luke. 

I have no doubt in my mind that he is going to show up again. I’d felt, in the exact moment he’d perished, that he was sitting next to me in that cockpit. That he would always be with me. It was like a promise...a comfort. But not necessarily a crutch I would require.

I could do this. Rey and I had made a pretty damn formidable team so far. And, we haven’t discussed our newfound relationships to the Force...but if we could pass on what we’d known. Perhaps in a way that rectified all of the wrongs Luke had described-

I finally make it into the cockpit, where Rey, one of only two other people awake right now, is flying. 

“Hey,” I ease myself into the pilot’s chair, bandages in hand, “Where’s Finn?”

“Hi Jaina,” Rey says, voice heavy as if she’s been crying too, “He went to check on Rose for a bit. Let me help you with that.”

“Oh, thank you. How’re you holding up?” I hiss in pain, as she removes the old bandage.

“As well as any of us,” she sighs, “I think I’m mostly just deeply disappointed.” And hurt , she doesn’t have to say. 

“Can I ask you something?” She nods, starting to wrap my wound with a fresh bandage, “Back on the island, you said you touched hands with him. And then in the throne room, Snoke said something about bridging your minds.” 

Rey takes in a ragged breath, closing her eyes for a second. 

“Are-Did something-” I grasp at the right way to ask this, “Would it harm us in any way now?” 

“No! He can’t, couldn’t see my surroundings. Just me,” she whispers, “And I closed him off. He shouldn’t be bothering me anymore.” 

“Okay,” I nod, “I hope you know that if you ever need anything, anything , I’m here for you.” 

I’d do right by her. She’d come to be one of my closest confidants. Someone who I know I could trust with anything. Someone who understood the betrayal I felt in my heart. And Rey’d been alone her whole life. She’d never had anyone to call her own until she joined us. 

Way back, when my brother had felt so alone, he’d used the Dark Side as his crutch. I would make sure that Rey never felt lonely again. Not that I was afraid of her falling to the Dark, but because I realized that nobody deserves to be alone. Everyone deserves people who love and care and trust them. 

Intentionally isolating myself for 7 years had taught me that.

“I hope you know I’m here for you as well,” She smiles, “We’re going to have to finish this together, aren’t we?” 

Without her explicitly saying it, I know her thoughts run along the same wavelength as mine. It’s our purpose now to fix the interpretation of the Force. To fix it so thoroughly that what’s happening today will never happen again. So civilizations across the entire galaxy, across the entire span of time, would never have to know the pain of losing someone they loved to the Darkness.

I nod slowly, “We are. But for some reason, it doesn’t scare me.” 

“Me neither.”

As it shouldn’t,” Both of us jolt and turn around in our seats, hands reaching for our blaster/saber. An almost blinding light fills the cockpit and we both hold up hands to block it.

But who I see through my fingers makes me immediately sigh in relief. Luke

“We’ve passed on all that we know,” He gestures behind him, and so many more beings crowd around the cockpit. Somehow this small space is enough for thousands upon thousands of people to fit, though I can’t make out any precise faces. But my eyes do fall upon an older man, a small green humanoid, and a young man. 

When I lock eyes with the young man, his own travel down to my neck and widen in surprise. I put a hand to there when I remember the necklace. Cas had given it back to me quickly in the commotion, but it’s significance was shoved to the bottom of my priority list. 

It’s only then when I realize that the man staring at me is, indeed, my grandfather Skywalker. 

“A thousand generations live in you now,” Luke says, and it’s like a collective hum of approval stems from the group, “But this is your fight.”

Rey’s hand finds my own, and I grasp it tightly. 

“We’ll always be with you,” Luke extends his hands to Rey and I, “No one is ever really gone.” 

We reach for his hands, but as soon as both of us come into contact with him, the bright white light in the room instantly dims, and Rey and I both jolt back. It’s as if something plunged into our chests. 

When I look back at her, she’s already looking at me, panting in time with my own breaths. The sense of resolve is reflected back in my eyes. 

We can do this.

Chapter Text

Years 

Later

Jaina Solo (Present Day)

“I can’t do it! There’s so much pain.” 

“It’s not the pain you’re afraid of,” I crouch down, “And, as frightening as it may be, you use it .  That pain will make you stronger .”

I look expectantly into the woman’s face. 

She was one of the survivors of the Dark War. The bad memories she has are probably innumerable. Just like so many. 

And just like so many, she’s lost almost her entire family-husband, children, grandchildren.

“I-I don’t know how. I’m not brave enough to face it.” 

“Yes you are,” I shake my head, “Don’t sell yourself short. Here, why don’t I show you.” 

I close my eyes, chest heaving as I think back. 

“She was, and always will be, the symbol for Hope in the galaxy. Now, after fighting the good fight for her whole life, she can be at peace knowing her legacy will continue on.” Poe looks directly down at me from the podium, his face blotchy with unshed tears, “Leia used to say that Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.” 

Cas squeezes my hand tighter, hugging my whole arm as I silently cry. My whole world had shattered in the past 48 hours. My mother had begun fainting abruptly multiple times, nose bleeding sporadically. They finally realized it was the unpredictable after-effects of being exposed to the astral atmosphere back when they were stalked by the First Order a year ago. And then she’d passed, Hope still in her heart as she ordered Poe, Cas and I to always have faith, never give up, and love endlessly with her final breath. 

I’d cremated her privately, keeping the ashes safely in the Falcon so she’d be close to my dad. And Rey, Finn, and Kaydel put together a memorial service for her, urging Poe, whom my mother had promoted to General before her death, to speak. They’d asked me as well but I declined, the pain still too fresh in my heart. The pain of suddenly becoming an orphan.

“And, though our situation as of now is not exactly ideal, we have to remember that, as long as there’s even one of us out of there fighting for what’s right, the galaxy can be made all the better. She wanted...and I need you, all of you, to Hope again.”

I sit up a little straighter and look down at Cas, who hugs my arm very tight. And back up at Poe who stares at the remaining Resistance with the same pride my mother used to. And over to Finn and Kaydel who became and were such close friends and confidants. And then to Rey who perhaps understood me better than anyone because of the common energy running through our veins. And to Chewie, who is basically another parent and the most loyal being I know.

And I realize, I’ll be okay. This Resistance will be okay. The Galaxy, too, would eventually be okay. No one is ever really gone.

I pull us both out of the memory and take deep breaths as I bring myself back. 

That was a memory I didn’t often visit, but one that reminded me of the universal truth that Light exists in Dark and vice versa.

“So be optimistic in the Dark and be wary in the Light?”

“That’s a good starting point. Why don’t you give it a go?”

“Okay. Okay,” she takes a deep breath, hands releasing the bunches of her dress she fisted. “Okay.” 

“Now reach out. Feel the energy around you,” I say softly, as she closes her eyes, “There’s the Darkness, but there’s also Light.”

She doesn’t let me in, but I can see the exact moment her face relaxes from it’s tense state.

“Thank you , ” She whispers, tears sliding down her cheeks, and I grasp her hands, “Thank you.” 

I smile back, widely at her.

Our training facility, t he Praxeum as Command calls it, accepts students from far and wide. The Praxeum is technically a separate entity from the Resistance, though it is protected by it and vice versa. Rey and I had a single goal in the establishment of it: teach people how to interpret the Force in a way that would enable them to improve their lives and the lives of others. Yes, we were in the midst of fighting a war, but we deemed it just as essential to train others the proper way as a form of prevention of something like the First Order ever having roots to rise again.

I handle the more mental aspects of the training, training students to fortify their minds and strengthen themselves against outside influence. To rely on themselves and only themselves to understand and interpret the Force, without anyone telling them what is right or wrong. 

Rey handles the more physical nature of being one with the Force. Our students trained with all forms of weapons, not just Lightsabers any more. We’d found that there were so many other types of weapons that called to certain people with the Force. The heart of a kyber crystal, properly cared for, nourished, and infused into any weapon, would call to its master. So she had mastered all forms of fighting in order to effectively teach her students. 

We’d also used the kyber crystal from my necklace to reconstruct Uncle Luke’s old saber for Rey. Things happened for a reason, right? We’d had enough reason to believe that for a lifetime. It was fate that led me to getting that crystal, fate that led Rey to meet BB-8 all those years ago, fate that led the Resistance to where we are today.

At the Praxeum, we were just Rey and just Jaina , forgoing the title of Master because who’s to say that the two of us know everything there is to know about the Force. We can only pass on what’s been handed to us, and work to make sure that any previous wrongs were being righted. At the guidance of Masters before us.

At the Resistance, we were Major Rey and Major Solo, heads of Training and Weaponry, respectively. She oversaw and delegated the combat/flight training of the new recruits. I worked in tandem with Rose, who was head of Mechanics, and together along with our team, designed ships, speeders, and the weapons that would grace them to give us a fighting chance. 

It was busy work, and Rey and I had to alternate between a couple of days at the Praxeum and a couple of weeks at the Base, which was a whole desert away for security. But hey, this is war.

***

“Have you seen him recently?” 

Rey doesn’t need to ask who him is. She’d revealed her Force telepathy to me right after the Battle of Crait. I remember her thinking it was over with, that she’d shut the gateway between them. However, it still happens from time to time. 

I’d be concerned if he could see her surroundings, or if I thought Rey was the type to betray, but neither was true. But she gave me updates of things she gleaned from their sporadic meetings, knowing that, as much as I resented my brother, a small part of me still wanted to know how he was. 

“Yeah. Last night, actually,” she sighs, taking a swig of her canteen as I fly one of our undercover replica Tie-Fighters from the Praxeum to our new base on Y’oto, a desert planet close to Naboo containing a very old Rebel base. Rey took to the planet quickly, having lived in a desert for most of her life. Finn, on the other hand, was...not too keen. He still isn’t, though we’ve been here for 5 years.

“The Force dropped me in during one of his strategy meetings. He barely glanced at me, but from what I gleaned he’s very upset with Hux. Something about a miniscule rebellion on Dantooine that they were discussing.” 

“Interesting. We’ll have to find some way to bring that up to Poe and Kaydel...if there are people interested in joining the Resistance, maybe Finn can take a team up there.” 

Major Finn was the Head of Recruitment for the Resistance. And who better? He’d lived and experienced so much that led him to staying with our cause that he was the perfect person to convince old allies and new recruits that joining the Resistance was better than ambivalence.

“If the First Order’s currently there, we’d do good to hold off on that intel for some time. So we don’t risk a run in with any of their soldiers. Or Hux, or Ben.” 

It’s been 8 years since I last saw Ben. 8 years since that fateful day in the Throne Room where I was so certain he’d finally see the error of his ways and join us. 8 years since I felt the disappointment in him crack and coarse straight through my heart.

If nothing else, I can give him credit for his reign. His Empire has been far less cruel than Snoke’s. No massacres, an abundance of resources for all, and laws that govern order throughout the galaxy. 

But looking closer, that order is a facade. Sure, there are no massacres, but that’s only because everyone is afraid to step even the slightest toe out of line to cause one. Towns are provided with resources if and only if they’ve pledged strict allegiance to the First Order and have very few lawbreakers. 

People with an inclination for the Force were being monitored, some even taken, for what I suppose is either an attempt to find us or to develop more powerful allies for the Dark Side.

We park the speeder outside under a natural rock awning and walk towards one of the hidden entrances to the rebel base. My limp from when I almost lost my leg slows us down a little bit, but I’ve learned to work through the pain, which irritates Poe to no end.

“That’s smart.” We walk down a small incline and then to a heavy metal door, where I press a series of codes that lets us into the Dome directly. 

The easiest way to describe this newest base is a big dome with brown one way mirrors to look like the mountain outside but lets us see the sky and the clouds and sunlight from the inside. Inside the dome is a big open space filled with many computers and digital centers and desks, our Command Room. Extending into the mountain from the dome are eight hallways: Halls 1-5 are rows of living quarters, Hall 6 is the Medwing, Hall 7 leads to a big hangar for ships with an opening hatch for the ships to leave and a separate warehouse for weapons making, and Hall 8 has the canteen and a few rooms for extraneous storage/private workspace. 

We took extra precautions building this place too. As well as precautions to ensure the First Order will never find us.

“Rey, Jaina!” The two of us turn to see Finn running towards us. 

“You’re back!” Rey smiles brilliantly, giving him a big hug. 

“Welcome back, buddy.” I clap him on the shoulder. Poe and him had grown even closer as friends over the years, and it came naturally that he’d be one of my good ones too, “How’d the mission go?”

“Took you long enough,” Rey teases.

“I know, I know. But Jaina, we found him. Chewie was so happy and said you’d be even more so! We tried to comm but they said you two were at the Praxeum for the week and it could wait. He’s actually talking to Poe and Kay-”

“Wait, hold on. Who is this ? ” Whomever knew Chewie probably knew my dad too.

Lando, Jay. It’s Lando Calrissian. We’ve found him.” 

Lando? ” I laugh in delight, “You finally found my godfather?” 

After all these years. Maz had always warned me against reaching out to him growing up, saying he’d run into some bad company, and to wait for him to contact me. So over the years, we lost track of where he was. And when we’d finally gotten settled here and I got the idea to contact him 5 years ago. He proved a hard man to track down.

“Godfather?” Rey looks incredulous, “People actually have those?” 

“It’s more of an honorary thing,” I shrug, unable to wipe the smile off of my face. The thought that he’d be my guardian if I was still young crosses my mind, “So he’s here? On base?” 

“Talking to your husband right now,” Finn nods, “Come on, I’ll take you. They’re in the hangar.” 

“Wait, actually. The two of you go ahead. I’m gonna find Cas. Some introductions need to be made.”

***

Cas and I walk into the hangar, past the Falcon, past our small stock of X-wings, and past the ground speeders towards the back of the room.

“So why don’t hear much about the Jedi training you do in the Outer Rim?” Lando’s theatrical voice carries through the noises of the hangar.

“We try to keep everything very low key, as you know,” I hear Kaydel respond, “The Resistance can’t afford the mistake of being tracked again.”

“And also because it’s not truly Jedi training. It’s understanding the Force and learning to act in times of balance and not give into the Light nor the Dark.” Rey adds.

“Mom, why does he talk like that?” Cas scrunches his nose. My son isn’t so little anymore. He’s one of the original members of the Resistance, though he’s one of the youngest, and is treated with a lot of respect. Cas, under Rose’s leadership, has helped to establish the whole mechanics division within the Resistance to what it is today. He’s accomplished so much in his short life, and yet he’s just gotten taller than me. 

“Lando’s always been like this. Acting like he’s always on a stage,” I shrug, “Your grandfather called him a scoundrel on many occasions. And...I can tell you the reasons why when you’re older.” 

Cas rolls his eyes, “Whatever it is, I’ve heard worse. Maz had me help out in a bar, remember? As a 6 year old.” 

“And that fact still amazes me to this day. I can’t even imagine what the hell she was thinking.”

The kiddo is strong enough to take it, Jaina. Expose them young, it’ll do them good.” He does a perfect Maz impersonation and we both snicker. His accent sort of faded over the years into something resembling closer to mine and Poe’s, but it shows up every now and then. In words like pour and door. “And besides, none of the rest of the Resistance censors for me.” 

“Fine, then I’ll just let you dwell on the fact that old Lando was once intimate with a droid.”

“Oh, Maker , Mom!” 

“See, told you.”

He shakes his head, “That’s something I wouldn’t want to know even if I was older.”

We round a replica Tie-Fighter and see the three of them around a worktable. Lando’s cape billows in the slight breeze that runs through the opening in the hangar-a familiar and welcome sight. 

“-could never stand the desert atmosphere, it was too hot for capes there and I-“

Finn clears his throat and five pairs of eyes snap up to us. 

“Hey,” Finn says simply, “Sorry to interrupt, Captain Calrissian, but this is-”

“Is that a miniature Han I see?” Lando squints exaggeratedly,  “My old eyes can’t see properly, but I’m almost certain I’d recognize the aura of swagger anywhere.” 

“Why does he say Han like pan ?” Cas mutters to Rey who moves to stand next to him, equally as baffled. 

“You haven’t seen me since I was a teenager, Lando,” I laugh, moving to hug him. “How would you know anything about my aura of swagger?” 

“If you’re still the same Jaina, you’ll still be exactly like your father. A little too much bravado, but a heart of gold.” He holds me out, arms on my shoulders and inspects me from head to toe. Satisfied there are no visible injuries, he nods. “Look at you, little girl, you’ve grown up so much.”

Lando’s aged a lot slower than my mother or father or uncle had. He still has the youthful gleam in his face and powerful timbre to his voice. I can only imagine what he looked like when he helped my parents the first time around.

“You too,” I smirk, “Though I see you still haven’t grown out of the cape phase.”

I pick up a side of it with my left hand and hold it up to him. He moves to snatch it back, but his eyes get caught on my fingers. On the ring sitting on my pointer.

“Little girl, you’re going to give me an aneurysm, ” Lando quirks a brow.

“It’s just a ring, Lando.” 

“No I know body jewelry when I see it. This is an engagement ring. A family heirloom, if I’m not mistaken,” He holds up my hand inspecting it. I throw Poe an exasperated look. This is your fault. “Who gave you this? Who do I have to rough up on behalf of your father?” 

Poe raises a hand tentatively. 

I grin back at him. Rey and I had to stay at the Praxeum the past week to come up with new lesson plans and, unexpectedly, for the last two nights helping a girl who was too afraid of her memories to sleep. So I haven’t seen Poe in over a week. 

Poe hasn’t aged a bit in the past 8 years. His face is ever handsome and youthful, a small hint of stubble emphasizing his rigid jawline. If you look closely, however, you can see how he seems to carry the weight of the Resistance in the slight crinkles around his eyes and on his forehead. 

But I can tell right now that Poe’s going to age just as well as Lando.

“Best friends turned lovers! My favorite trope!” Lando turns back to him, giving him a once over, before proclaiming, “Welcome! Welcome to the family.” and giving him a hug. 

“Not technically yet, but thank you, nonetheless.”

There’s been no time to get married. As soon as we’d established ourselves on Y’oto, he’d asked me and I had said no. I’d told him then that there were still things I needed to deal with myself before I could give myself to him. I had let the past define me for so long, and at that moment, it seemed like all of the guilt and weight of it was pressing down on me. We’ve worked through a lot over the years, dealing with past traumas and events by supporting one another. We lived together, we had a family. 

He’d asked again last year and I said yes, feeling more like myself than I had in a long while. 

It just...doesn’t seem like the right time yet. What with the ongoing war.

Lando turns back to Cas, who watches us with an amused glint in his eye. 

“And who might you be?” 

“If you almost had an aneurysm just then, you might spontaneously combust when I tell you.” Cas grits his teeth, almost to the point of smiling. “Sorry for the terrible joke, my name’s Casimir. But most people just call me Cas.”

Lando looks to me, then to Poe, then back to Cas. 

“Aura of swagger. A hint of bravado. That underlying heart of gold. Must be a Solo,” Lando grins, galavanting over and clapping him on the shoulder.

“Half Solo, half Dameron, full pain in the ass,” Cas glares a glare I’ve been told is almost identical to my own,  “That’s usually how my parents introduce me.” 

I mean, he did get the stubborn, ambition, brilliance, and sassy sides of both Poe and I. 

Lando turns back to the two of us and we clear our throats looking at the floor, picking fake threads from our sleeves. 

“Yes, well your parents are no better.” I smile, grateful that Lando is safe and can get to know Cas. He was always a confidant for me, I felt like I could tell him anything growing up. And now he’d be a great ally to the Resistance. 

If only my parents could see us now.

The caped man turns back to our son, chatting him up to get to know him, the exact moment I feel Rey tense up through the Force. 

Kylo’s here.


Kylo Ren (Present Day)

Kylo looks up and sees a figure standing at the edge of his bed. The figure that both graces and haunts his dreams, days, and nightmares. The unmistakable figure of Rey.

Her clothes are similar to those she wore when he’d first saw her in the forest of Takodana. Swathes of white and brown.

She stands, back rigid and arms crossed, looking at the floor.

Recently, the Force had been connecting them more often. Once a day, if not twice. And Ben could tell she’s getting annoyed.

They usually spent their time together in silence. Or in heated arguments which, Ben admitted, got them nowhere. More recently, however, she’s taken to ignoring him completely.

But today, had been a particularly harsh one. From Hux’s reports of a few small rebellions on Weret and Ginead to the one becoming more and more of a problem on Dantooine-he just could not catch a break. 

He needed to talk. He needed to get everything off of his damn mind.

“Why are you so wound up?” Kylo asks, only to be met with silence. “Out in public, are you?” 

“Talk to me.” 

“Rey.” 

“I know you can hear me.”

“I might be insane, but I know for a fact I’m not alone here.”

Her cheek tics and she looks up, but to the side of him, like she’s looking at someone. 

“I can get that for you Ja-” she stops for a split second, glancing quickly at Kylo,”I’ll go.”

“You’re with Jaina, then? How is my little sister?”

The last time he saw Jaina was when his mother died. Of course he’d felt it through the Force, a sharp sting of pain that cracked and crumbled at his heart. But the pain was worse when he was connected suddenly to Rey, who had Jaina in her arms. He’d been able to see Jaina and heard their conversation:

“I’m all that’s left of my family,” his sister had said, her voice cracking, “My little brother died in the womb. My older one is practically dead to me. Then my father...and now my mother-“

“You’re not all that’s left. You have Poe and Cas. And as much as you don’t think so-

“Spare me with the fact that my brother’s still out there wreaking havoc on the universe.“ 

“Well we can’t pretend he’s not.” He saw Rey stroke his sister’s hair, “And, regardless of the fact that he’s not Ben Solo and probably never will be, at least there’s someone else out there in the galaxy who-“

Rey’s voice cut out as she catches the glimpse of him out of the corner of her eye. Next to her, his sister gasped as she saw him, letting go of Rey and severing herself from the connection.

That had been 6 years ago.

Rey nods at the person, then takes off walking. She doesn’t move from the foot of his bed, but then she slams a door and he knows they’re alone. Finally, finally , her eyes go to him.

“What the hell do you want?” 

Ben doesn’t even know. He’s just glad to hear her voice directed to him. Glad and very, very unsettled,  “Just to chat. This year long silence has gotten awfully repetitive, you know.”

“These connections are what is awfully repetitive,” she scowls, “I’ve nothing more to say to you. I tried 8 years ago. I tried for 7 years after that and obviously nothing I say holds any sway to you anymore.” 

“Oh, you tried for 7 years?” He sits up, forgetting that he has no shirt on but not bothering to care, they’d both been caught indecently multiple times over the years,  “I’ve explained simply , order and rules are the most efficient way to run a galaxy. You told me to stop the unnecessary killings, I agreed, and I did. Now if you could only see things from my point of view-” 

“Your point of view? Up in your pristine palace of wherever the hell you are?” She scoffs, “You don’t know what it’s like, living under your rule.” 

“It’s not as bad as Snoke’s reign and you know it. There’s little to no rebellions or confrontations, we’ve practically eradicated war and poverty-” 

“That’s not the point,” she exhales sharply, finally picking up something from under a crate, “The point is that anyone who lives in a constant state of fear isn’t living. They’re surviving.” 

Rey shuts something violently, huffing, “And that’s no life. I would know.”

She moves out of the room and shuts the door, severing their bond. And, again, he’s alone.

***

He doesn’t sleep. Which is unsurprising.

These days he almost never gets any sleep, disturbed with visions of Rey and Jaina mostly-fighting alongside them, the looks of agony and ferocity on their faces in that throne room. And then there’s the dreams of his saber and his most horrendous kills flashing through his mind: his father and his uncle, both of whom appear to him from time to time, and Snoke, who, thankfully , remains dead. Finally, the daily problems that wrack through him in the day follow through to the night: Hux, negotiations, etcetera. 

Tonight, however, it’s just Rey. The sound of her voice resonating through his bones, the ferocity on her face searing through his very soul. He can almost see her lying next to him in his supremely big bed.

But the thing that bothers him more than anything is the fact that she wouldn’t lie to him. She understands him better than anyone ever could-and she knows exactly what he would and wouldn’t want in the galaxy. 
Could she be right?


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

Later in the day, Poe finds the love of his life asleep at her workbench in the empty weapons hangar. Her dark hair covers her entire sleeping form, obscuring her from the bright lights in the room.

Damn, she’s been gone for too long. How did he ever survive those 7 years? 7 days was too much for him these days. 

He walks over to her, gently rubbing her back. 

“Jay.” 

Hmm?”

“You’ve gotta get up.” 

Mmm. ” 

He laughs, shaking his head at her. Well past adulthood and she still acted like they were teenagers. 

And he loves her for it. He moves his hand in circles on her back and stoops down to hug her with his other, burrowing his face into the crook of her neck.

“I know you’ve had a long day-” 

“Ah!” She shrieks, shoving him off and moving away from the table, rubbing at her neck. 

“What-what in the-” 

“That tickled,” she scowls, “The hum of your voice it tickled my neck.” 

“Oh it did, did it?” A grin creeps up Poe’s face.

“It did,” she takes a step back, when he takes one forward, “And don’t you even think-” 

He’s running for her before she can finish the sentence and sweeps her up in a bear hug. 

“Dameron, I swear to the Maker- ” Poe starts to tickle her, “No-ah! Poe I’m serious!” 

“What’s the magic word?” 

“You- ah-I -” 

And Poe feels something hit his feet. He looks down and sees BB-8 smacking him with a metal rod. Jaina takes advantage of his distraction and pokes him in a pressure point that forces him to release her.

“Ow!” Poe drops Jaina, and goes to hold his stinging calf, glaring at his droid, ”Where’d you get that?!” 

Rose designed it for me.”

“Oh when I see her again-I don’t CARE if she’s Finn’s wife-

“Nice one buddy,” Jay, sitting cross legged on the floor, pats it’s head.

“Poe was being mean -” 

“I was not- ” 

Poe is ticklish too.”

“I know that, BB-8,” Jay says, “But I’m not cruel like him to wake someone up like that.” 

“Buddy, you can go back to your dock now,” Poe glares at it and it looks between him and Jaina before reluctantly rolling away, beeping something about if I hear any more tickling happened I swear-

“Sorry,” Poe shrugs, “But it’s really not my fault you fell asleep in a public place...that could’ve been anyone.”

“Mhm.” 

Poe holds out his arms, “Oh love of my life, Wielder of the Force, Ace Weaponsmaker, Commander of my Heart, please forgive me.” 

She raises a brow, “Having fun acting in your holo-drama over there?”

“Yeah, I’m trying to figure out a career for once this war is over. Someone’s gotta pay the bills Ms. We’re teaching people about this mystical force we can’t possibly charge them for it .” 

Jay thinks on it for a moment, “If our income is going to be based on your acting skills we better start rationing food now.” 

And that reminds him.

“I’ve actually been meaning to talk to you about that. We sort of already are,” Poe frowns, toeing at the ground. 

“What do you mean?” Jaina asks, moving towards him, “I thought that with Lando’s support-” 

“Lando can offer us the funds for the Mechanics Division and Recruitment, but the rest we have to spare for food isn’t sufficient for what we need.” 

“So we’ll send out Rogue again,” Jay puts an arm on his, “They were so good about finding us allies way back when, I’m sure they can-” 

“They’re too busy running training sims for the new recruits, whom I’m afraid will quit when they realize we don’t have enough to feed them,” Poe runs his hands through his hair, “Just... Fuck the desert and its inability to grow things!”

“Finn might leave Rose and steal you away from me if he hears you say that,” Jaina smirks. Poe’s lips quirk at the mention of his best friend’s fascinating hatred with desert planets. “We’ll figure it out. We wouldn’t be standing here today if you hadn’t had the ability to do so.”

He sighs into her hair, kissing the top of her head. 

Maker, I’ve missed you.”

“It’s been 7 days, Poe,” she laughs, and warmth blooms in Poe’s chest. 

“Is this your way of telling me I’m too clingy?” 

“Well apart from the fact that you are literally clinging on to me right now,” she pulls back, looking into his eyes, “I’ve missed you too, Dameron.”

An extension of himself. That’s what she was. 

It’d explain why he always felt so uneasy when she wasn’t around-it felt like a part of himself was missing. 

She’d saved him in more ways than he could count. And he’d done the same for her. They’d each taken the heartbreak and pain the other was feeling and shared the burden of it. He’d learned how to heal with her.

“Kiss me?” Poe says, after he’s sure he’s been staring in silence for a good minute.

She does, rising on her tiptoes, and bringing her hands up to either side of his face. 

It starts off slow and sweet, as their relationship did. And then intensifies, as if a tether shortens between them. 

He picks her up, mouth attacking the sweet spot under her ear, and sets her on the workbench.

She grabs him closer, hooking her legs around his back to pull him even closer to her. He can feel the heat of her against him and-

“Please leave the room.” They both start and turn towards the door. A cleaning droid stands there, staring expectantly at them, “Cleaning protocol begins at 0200 immediately. Please leave the room.”

“Sorry,” Jaina grimaces, swiping at her mouth, and hops off of the bench, not looking back at Poe.

He grabs her jacket and bag with one hand, and her hand with the other. 


Jaina Solo (8 Years Ago- 1 Month After Crait)

Sheris was a beautiful place to rest and recuperate, but we knew we had to keep moving. 

Lora and Rogue Squadron, who my mom had sent on a mission to recruit old allies for the Resistance, had gotten back into contact with us. They hadn’t joined us yet, but they found out that that the First Order needed time to rest and recuperate themselves. Regardless, we don’t want to take any chances. 

So we’d hopped from planet to planet, system to system, until we were sure they were off of our tail for good. It was an exhausting two weeks, but the wait was worth it. We’d ended up on a planet called Koa, which was tropical in nature. And more recently, here .

These last few weeks have featured our little band of 30 Rebels building huts out of straw, trying to learn the local language to bargain in the marketplace, and me having to heal my leg through just the Force and time. 

Supplies were scarce, and we didn’t know when we’d need the Falcon’s meager supplies for something. And Rose didn’t have the Force on her side to help her recovery. So I refused even the slightest bacta patch, instead opting for palm leaves and tether cord to keep my open wound covered. Plus, I’d found the perfect stick to use as a cane, so I’ve been pretty set.

I think the best part of this planet is the fact that we have space for our little family of three for the first time. It was a small little hut that Cas and Poe had to build mostly, but perfect enough for us. 

***

“Now, tha we’re settled, I think it’s time for me to get to know my grandson,” my mother says a month later, helping me take inventory of supplies, “Before we’re off to the next planet and task.” 

“Of course, Mom,” I smile, “I know he’d love that.” 

“Perfect,” she cups my cheek with her hand, “And, correct me if I’m wrong, but that night before you last left us for the Praxeum was when-” 

I clear my throat, stopping her right then and there, “Yep.” 

“Which is why you didn’t want to go back.”

Maker you don’t forget anything,” I laugh, and then feel guilty about it. 

It’s okay to laugh . I tell myself, keeping up the smile on my face. 

But the guilt that’s been eating me alive for everything I could’ve done to prevent what had happened still gnaws at me every day. It was my cannons, my weapons that decimated the majority of the Resistance. It was my fault. 

And I could tell it ate at Rey too. She’d been making herself seem alright, for Finn especially. Betrayal is the worst form of heartbreak.

“It’s why your father couldn’t stand me,” she smiles tightly, standing up, “I’ll come by your hut and grab him tonight? Maybe you and Poe can have some adult time to yourselves.” 

“Oh, Maker , Mom!” 

“What?! You’ve never had a significant other I can tease you about before. It’s fun,” she shrugs, “Finish up what you’re doing then get some rest. You’re gonna need it.” 

“Love you too!” I yell after her as she exits the Falcon.

***

“It was nice of Leia to do this,” Poe says, watching grandmother and grandson go towards the village, where a festival was occurring. 

“I swear she has ulterior motives,” I look back up at him, leaning on my cane, “She was using her insinuating voice.” 

“Her... what?!” He laughs exasperatedly, “That’s not a thing.” 

“Oh, alright. So if I went: Looks like we’ll have the hut to ourselves tonight. I can’t wait to see what those hands of yours can do again, ” I wiggle my brows at him, “Is that not an insinuating voice?”

He just stares at me for a second. And then his hands cup my cheeks and his lips are hot on mine, meeting and breaking and meeting again. I arch my body up to his on instinct, dropping my cane to the floor, grunting as my weight shifts onto my leg. It clatters on some rock and he pulls away, hands on my waist to stabilize me. His forehead rests on mine. 

“Sorry. I just-” He swallows, hard, “I’m sorry. Are you alright?” 

“I’m fine, Poe, it’s my own fault,” I laugh breathlessly, “ Wanna try again?

“Stop using that voice,” he growls at me, smiling through his attempt at intimidation. 

We better go inside. Warm up that bed with our sweet, sweet-”

The smile drops from his face as he drops his weight and picks me up like a princess, cane forgotten outside. 

“My cane!” 

“It’s just a stick!” 

“A perfectly sized stick!” 

I bet I can find one that fits you better ,” he says in an insinuatory voice, depositing me on the bed. My jaw DROPS.

Heat pools where my thighs meet and I can feel my heart beat exponentially fast. 

“Okay. Now I see why you kissed me so fast,” I fan myself. Did this room get a lot hotter? “Join me?”

“I don’t wanna crush you,” he kneels gently next to the bed on the floor, taking off my shoes “Your femur’s shattered still and your cuts-” 

“It’s been too long already, Poe. I don’t really care,” I sit up and meet his lips once more, pressing my tongue into his mouth until all there is is wetness and stickiness and Poeness.

He pulls away again and I grunt, tossing my head back, “Jay. If I do this with you...I don’t know how much I have it in me to not…” 

“I don’t plan on stopping, Poe,” I stroke the hair at the name of his neck, “I’m all yours. I’ve always been.” 

The adoration in his eyes at that moment melts me so thoroughly that I’m sure I’m nothing but a puddle on the bed. A body of water that will soon evaporate in the tropical heat. 

But then he cups my face with his hands, his thumb tracing over my cheekbone, and kisses under my ear, bringing me back to reality. 

He kisses down to my shoulder, to the nape of my neck. He kisses across my throat and up my chin. He kisses both cheeks, and then my nose-

“Stop playing,” I beg. 

“We stopped playing when we were kids, Jay,” he gently slides me over to the far end of the bed, taking off his shirt as he crawls next to me. I can’t stare past his biceps, my focus a haze around him him him This ...this is my reward for winning.” 

We both pounce. 

I sit up, leaning on my good leg as I kiss him furiously, running my hands up and down his abdomen and chest. He slides his hands up my waist, drawing circles on my back and stomach, until he gets to my bra. I lift up my arms, removing the tunic and he makes quick work of it.

When we’re both bare chested, we look to each other, panting, and in awe. Maker I’m so in love.


Poe Dameron (8 Years Ago-1 Month After Crait)

“I love you,” she whispers. Her voice low, gravelly, and needy with 8 years of need and longing.

She’s been so alone these past few years. And she will never be again.

“I love you so much.”

Poe captures her lips with his own, breaking the seal of her lips with his tongue as they explore one another again.

She groans under him, pulling Poe forwards and laying back herself. Poe catches himself on his forearms and slides his legs onto the bed so he crouches over her. 

He leans down, she pushes up, their bodies ebbing and flowing with the wave of their love.

Her hands go to the front of Poe’s pants, undoing the buckle. He laughs into the kiss. 

“Having fun there?”

“I need those off of your body stat.” 

“Needy needy-”

“Shut up,” she shakes her head, grinning.

He stands up, moving off the bed to shimmy off his cargo pants and underwear. Poe’s so hard already that he’s sure he’ll barely last. 

Turning back around, she pivots to where her calves lean off the bed, and stares at him open mouthed. 

“My eyes are up here, Solo.” 

“I’m well aware, Dameron.”

He leans over to the clasp of her pants, and undoes the ties there. She whimpers a little as he slides the pants and underwear down her legs, mouth in a firm line of silent pain.

“I know, I know,” He apologetically kisses her navel. This has been the routine every time he’d changed the makeshift dressing on her wound. Now there was no dressing, but just tenderness and bruising all over. Poor Jay, “Let me know if you want me to stop.” 

“Stop right here for a second, just let me catch my breath,” she closes her eyes, the torture apparent on her face, “Actually, just do it. Better to rip the bandaid off.” 

“If you’re sure.” She nods.

He removes it in one quick movement, casting her pants off to the side, and Jaina sucks in a harsh breath. 

“It’s over, Blue Jay,” He kisses her stomach again and again, slowly moving upwards to her face. She stares at him when he finally gets there, a small smile on her face.

“What’s up?” 

“I think you better get in me now, Commander .”

His face flushes, then heats up quicker than an inferno, and he can feel the strain near his legs grow harder. She looks down between them and licks her lips. 

Poe props her bad leg on his waist and she runs her nails across my scruff and curls. Slowly, he rubs circles over her clit, and she arches up quicker than a spooked Courwat. She’s already so wet that Poe finds himself able to slide two fingers in the first time he tries, hooking them with movement in and out. Rutting against him, Jaina lets out a long moan. Maker this goddess

Poe can’t take it anymore and groans loudly, removing my fingers and lining himself up with her, “I just-I can’t even explain to you how much you mean to me.” 

“The feeling’s mutual, Poe,” she pants, sucking on the sweet spot of his neck so perfectly that he instinctively nuzzles closer to her, “But it won’t be for long if you keep holding off on me.” 

She looks up at him, and, locking eyes with the love of his life, Poe closes the distance between them.

“I love you.


Poe Dameron (Present Day)

“General Dameron, do you read me?” the comm crackles through our quarters and Poe sits up abruptly.

Jaina does too, her hand jolting to Grab her saber from across the room. Then, blinking bleary eyed, she realizes it wasn’t an intruder and slumps back into her pillow, setting the saber on the nightstand.

“It’s 3 in the morning. Doesn’t Kay have the night shift today?”

“She should.” And that’s when Poe realizes something must be wrong.

He moves over to the wall and clicks the call button to connect them directly to their room.

“Yes, I read you. What’s going on, Draim?”

“General Connix is urgently requesting you-and Major Solo if she’s available-to the Command Center. The First Order has descended upon Dantooine.”

Ah, shit. Jaina bolts up. 

Alright, we will be there in 3.”

“Copy that General.”

Poe turns back to Jay who's already out of bed and grabbing clothes. She tosses him pants and he shoves his feet into them, going into their closet to grab a shirt.

There’s a soft knock on our door, and the commotion from the Command Room can be heard from their being the first room on the hall as Jaina opens the door.

“Cas?” Jaina says in confusion, “How’d you even know-” 

Poe throws a cotton shirt on. 

“I was awake and they called the Mechanic’s division.”

He’s not surprised his son is awake. He had his own room on base, now that he was well into his teens, but he was almost never in it. Cas had long been plagued by gruesome vision nightmares of things eerily similar to events in Poe and Jaina’s own lives. And though he’d mostly overcome them by now, he had truly adapted to only need a few hours of sleep every night. 

Poe couldn’t relate, searching high and low in his sleepy haze for his jacket, shoving on boots in the meantime.

“Rose and I finished up the new goggle tech yesterday. Now the pilots and fighters should be able to see through the smoke bombs.”

“Okay, I’ll help you finish the linking system quickly. We’ll lay out all of our options in Command-Poe, your jacket’s out here .”

Poe moves back into the room as Jay throws him the jacket. She Grabs for her Saber and straps it to her belt. 

“Good morning Cas,” Poe pulls his son into a hug. 

“I’d say it has been so far,” Cas laughs, "Maker you guys are so slow. I guess that comes with age-" 

"STOP!" Poe and Jaina say at the same time. The two of them had gotten sensitive about their ages over the years, now that they were technically the older generation of the Resistance, and Cas loved to tease them about it.

Shaking his head at his son, Poe and his family leave for battle.