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Friends Indeed

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It’s so late that it's rolled over to early when Rey lands the Falcon back at the Resistance base. The war is over, but the base hasn’t fully closed yet. Rey is thankful for that. She’s starving and hadn’t thought to bring extra rations on what was supposed to be a quick trip to Tatooine.

Resistances take time to disperse, just as much as they take time to set up, she muses.

Chewie looks at her and gives her a growl.

“I don’t want to leave you with all the work,” she protests, but heading out to find food and a bed sounds amazing.

He gives a hooting laugh. “Go,” he growls again, and Rey gives him a smile, picks up her staff, and heads to the hatch.

BB-8 trails her down the corridor, then down the ramp. They check in with the duty officer, who looks just as tired as the landing officer had sounded, and Rey gives the woman a small smile before she heads down the halls.

Now that the need to be constantly vigilant is gone, there are a lot fewer people awake at all hours. Instead of a full shift of people watching the landing area, it’s just essential staff like the duty officer.

Rey considers the chance of there being food available in the mess hall, and gives her head a shake. No matter. She can always find a ration pack, and some water to mix it in. And unlike back on Jakku, it’ll be a full ration pack. That’s not so bad.

BB-8 gives her a chirp, and rolls on ahead. Heading for Poe’s room, Rey knows, and bids her friend goodnight. She doesn’t see another soul on her way to the mess hall, but she hadn’t expected to.

She ducks inside the low door of the mess hall tent, and blinks at the unexpected brilliant light. She can smell something delicious, and her stomach cramps in hunger.

“There she is!” says Rose, and then Finn is in front of Rey, giving her the tight hug she’s come to consider traditional.

“Finn?” she says, because she hadn’t thought she’d see him at this hour. He gives her an extra squeeze and steps back, and Rose steps up next, her cheek pressing tight to Rey’s as she reaches up to hug her friend.

Rey hugs her back, because Rose is amazing at hugs, and Rose gives her a grin when she steps back. “We thought you’d be home about now. Then Finn did his thing-”

“Hey,” says Finn. “It’s not a thing, it’s just-”

“Taste this,” Poe commands, suddenly in front of her, and hands Rey a spoonful of something steaming hot and delicious smelling. Rose and Finn’s voices seem to fade into the background as she obeys and puts the spoon in her mouth.

Her eyes roll back in her head and she moans without meaning to- Poe’s whatever it is is really, really good. When she manages to pry her eyelids up again, all three of them are looking at her, various expressions of amusement on their faces.

Rey flushes. “What? It’s good. What is it?”

Poe takes the spoon back and gives her a quick hug, and she can feel his smug smile against her hair. “My dad’s Yavin stew,” he says, and heads back to the stove.

“I didn’t know you could cook,” Rey says, following him. Poe has a ladle and bowls, and he gives her a full bowl before she can ask. Finn accepts a second full bowl and hands it off to Rose, who nudges Rey on her way over to a table set with napkins and real bread and four glasses of water.

Rey follows and sits across from her, already reaching for a slice of bread. “Why are you all awake, though?” she asks, just before she dips the bread into her stew and takes a bite.

She tries not to moan out loud again. Rose’s eyes crinkle, and Rey thinks she failed.

Finn drops into the seat beside her, grabs his own slice, and dunks it into his bowl before putting half of it into his mouth. To her relief, he makes a happy food noise, too.

Rose laughs outright at that and blows on a spoonful of the stew. “I told you. We thought you’d be home, and Poe didn’t think you’d packed enough rations. So he started the stew about, what? How long ago?”

“Three hours,” Finn says through his mouthful.

Poe sits beside Rose. “Do not disrespect my father’s stew by talking through it,” he says.

Finn rolls his eyes.

Rey eats another bite and manages to not moan, but it’s close. There are spices and flavors in the stew she’s never had before, but it’s still one of the best things she’s ever eaten.

Rose sips her water. “Yeah. So he put the stew on low, and we all went for a nap, and about twenty minutes ago Finn came and woke us up. He did his thing-”

“Not a thing!” Finn says again.

“Wait,” Rey says. “What thing?”

“His Force thing,” Poe says. They all ignore Finn’s continued protest. “He feels when you’re around.”

“You do?” Rey says, surprised. “You never told me.”

Finn shrugs and reaches for more bread. “It hadn’t come up yet.”

Poe takes a bite of the stew and makes a yum noise. “I did good with this.”

Rose crinkles her nose. “It’s okay,” she says, but her eyes are dancing.

Poe shakes a finger at her. “Fine. Next time we have second dinner at stupid o’clock, you’re not invited.”

Finn scoffs. “Of course she’s invited. Her turn to cook next time, remember?”

Rey eats some more, and wipes up the last of the stew with another piece of bread. Poe takes her bowl from her and heads back to the stove. “You want another bowlful?”

“I can have more?” she asks, honestly surprised. The Resistance doesn’t make her work for every mouthful the way she had needed to on Jakku, but having two bowls of stew seems extravagant.

Poe gives her the gentle smile he uses when he realizes she’s having a Jakku reaction. “Yeah, there’s plenty, I made it for us.”

“Yes, please,” she says. She feels a twinge of guilt when Poe hands her another full bowl, but no one else bats an eye.

Chewie hoots from the doorway, and ducks his way in.

“Of course there’s enough,” Poe answers, and fetches down a fifth bowl. Rose gets up and gives Chewie a hug, and Finn fetches him a glass of water.

Chewie takes the seat on Rey’s other side and tucks in, the spoon looking tiny in his large hands.

“This is really good,” he tells Poe, and Poe beams at him in reply.

Rey eats her second bowl more slowly, feeling satisfied in more than just her body. Her four friends shine in the Force, Finn perhaps more than the others, and she feels the calm, happy, peaceful atmosphere surrounding and embracing her.

Rose looks across the table at her and gives her a smile. “You look tired,” she says.

Rey tries to hold in a yawn and fails. “I am. It wasn’t a long trip-”

Chewie snorts.

Poe gives her a lopsided grin. “Except it was.”

“Shhh,” she says. “I’m pretty beat.”

Finn takes her empty bowl away from her and puts it in the dishwasher. “Don’t stay up just for us,” he says, and gives her another hug. “Here, I’ll walk you to your room.”

“I’m not that tired,” Rey says with a laugh, and squeezes his shoulders. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Or later, I guess.”

Finn twinkles at her. “Sleep well,” he says.

“Thank you, Poe,” Rey says on her way out. “Actually, thank you all. It was nice to come home to real food.”

Rose gives her a bit of a wave. “What else are friends for?” she asks.

Rey laughs and goes to find her bed.