Everything We Need: Chapter 3 - Take Shelter
“Rough night?” Poe asked, not sounding concerned so much as just needing to hear the truth.
“Yes, in fact, it was the worst one in a while,” Rey admitted.
Once Poe was sure Rey wasn't going to lie, though come to think of it, Rey was a surprisingly bad liar for someone with more Jedi mind tricks than she let on, Poe softened.
“Well, what happened? Why were you coming from Maz’s?” he asked, this time genuinely interested.Rey looked at BB-8.
“I see you told them where I was going.” Rey looked down at the droid like he had broken a promise. BB-8 looked from Poe to Finn, to Rey, and back to Poe again.
“He was worried,” Poe said, throwing a hand in the air as if to acknowledge that her blaming a droid was just a momentary distraction and, eventually, Rey would have to say something.
“We all were,” said Finn, moving closer.
The circle they formed suddenly felt very small.
Rey got up to move back to her hut and found Poe in front of her door.
“So...what happened?” he asked, his arms folded across his chest, not budging an inch.
Rey stopped and turned around to sit on one of the tree stumps in the middle of their shelters.
“I didn’t know, honestly. One minute I was falling asleep, and the next, it was like someone pulled me out of a dream. And then once I was conscious, it was like it all hit at once: something I hadn’t felt in a long time.”
“How long?” Poe asked, becoming more suspicious, his words becoming sharper and more direct.
Finn could feel that Rey was becoming defensive, so he moved between the two of them, trying to cut the tension with his presence. Rey looked down, knowing the fight was already lost.
“Five years,” she said, looking down at her boots, then up and directly to Finn, “It felt like Ben.”
Finn’s face dropped, and Poe stepped around him.
“Nope. I don’t know what you think is going on here, but I’m not gonna listen to anything that has to do with that monster,” Poe said, already threatening to walk out, to who knew where.
Finn, in a move that seemed to surprise even himself, pulled Poe back by the arm.
“Wait, just...wait. We have to hear this out. We can’t be here for each other if we’re not even willing to listen. Please, Poe...stay,” he urged.
Begrudgingly, Poe allowed himself to be pulled back. Finn and Poe sat on two other trunks, and Rey went over what she knew. What she had felt, what she had seen, what Maz had helped her figure out.
“But I don’t understand,” Finn finally said, after several moments of silence, “Are you saying that Kylo Ren isn't dead? Are you saying that he wants you to bring him back?” his words gaining anger as he got closer to crystalizing his assumption.
Rey looked deeply into Finn’s eyes, pleading with him to understand.
“No, Kylo Ren is dead, I’ve told you that. I'm telling you that Ben reached out to me. I don't know how, but he did. I don't know exactly where he is, or even what he is, or anything more than what I just told you."
She kept going because she knew that she still wasn't explaining this correctly.
"I know you don’t believe me because you never saw it, but Ben was the one who saved me. Finn, I was DEAD. My fight with Palpatine killed me. That was the price of our defeat against the Sith. But Ben, he gave up his life, so I could be here, with you right now.”
“You’re right, we don’t believe it,” Poe said curtly. “That day, you just blacked out, and when you came around, you saw him lying there. We’ve been over this too many times already. If you’re starting to think you sense Ren, we need to move, or find someone more powerful than Maz.”
It was like Poe was already packing his bags, getting ready to go, anxious at the first sign of an adventure in a long time, but Rey wouldn’t let it happen. She couldn't let him just take over. Not when she was so close to finding Ben. But how to make them understand? She knew at that moment, the only way to get them to really listen was to tell the truth. And she knew that this time when she broke down, it would be in front of the two people in this world who knew her the best.
Finn had been quiet, too quiet, and she looked at him again, begging him to see it before she had to say it. But he just looked at her with something that seemed like hurt.
“Why do you need us to believe you, Rey?” he finally asked. “Why does this matter so much to you?”So, he wasn’t going to make this easy on her then.
“Because I love him.” She said quietly to Finn. Then looking between Finn and Poe, she continued, stronger now, the thought of Ben’s voice saying her name echoing in her head.
“Because he’s a part of me. I don't know how else to say it. Because when he died, he gave up everything for me, and no matter how hard I try living in this world, even with you two by my side, it feels like I’m only half here.”
And now she couldn’t stop. Now the whole story, their whole story, needed to pour out of her.
“I'm not lying when I tell you that I killed Kylo Ren, I did. I killed him on Endor. And it was the worst thing I've ever done. Because I thought it meant that I hadn't been able to save Ben. And I was right, I hadn't been able to save him, but Leia had."
She took a breath and looked at Finn and Poe. They were looking at her with concern in their eye, but not belief. And she didn't know how to make them see. "Listen, I know it sounds crazy, but a lot of crazy things were happening that day. Before I left Endor, I could feel something different, so I tried to heal him. It was the one thing I could do to prove to Leia that I hadn't failed her. And when he showed up on Exogul, I...I just knew that it was Ben this time. That Leia had saved him. That she was stronger than any of us ever knew, and she had pulled him back."
Now she looked at Finn, knowing that he was her best hope.
"And then I died. I was gone, and when I woke up, his face was the only thing I could see. And I knew he had saved me. For a moment I thought, we could finally save each other. But then he was just...gone. And I had nothing. Nothing to remind me of him. And I know this doesn’t make any sense. I know it sounds insane, but if you only knew what this has felt like...for five years to be the only one who knew..." she trailed off, the tears took over.
She dropped her head and then suddenly felt Finn’s hand on her shoulder.
“It feels like you’ve been living with one foot in this world and one foot outside of it. Constantly wondering about what you would need to do to be with him.”
Rey looked up, shocked.
He walked over to Poe now, who had sat back down. He clearly didn’t like anything he was hearing, but he also didn’t know what to say. So he stayed angry and quiet.
“We’ve heard you, Rey,” Finn said, sitting next to Poe.
“At night, you would say things like ‘stay with me’ or sometimes just his name, and we would just ignore it in the morning. It used to happen a lot more, but it seemed like it had stopped. I figured it was some sort of nightmare, or maybe something from your past on Jakku, I don’t know. I guess I was hoping that I was wrong and that if I didn't bring it up, we wouldn't have to talk about it the way we're talking about it now. But, all I can say now is I'm sorry, Rey. I wish I had been ready to listen.”
Rey didn’t know what to say.
“I mean, I still don’t really get it. But I think I can at least understand where you’re coming from,” Finn said.
He was talking to Rey, but he was looking at Poe as he said, “if you’re lucky, you get a one in a million shot at someone you’d cross galaxies to be with. And even then, they might drive you crazy. But your life with them is the life you’d choose over and over again.”
And then he looked at Rey. “I know you’ve tried to choose this life instead, I know you've tried to be happy, and I know sometimes you are. But this morning is the first time I feel like you’ve come back to us fully. So if you’re telling me that’s because you know Ren is...sorry, BEN is somewhere, then I’ll help you find him. Or I’m here for whatever you need. But just know, I’m doing this for YOU. I’m not doing this for him. He hasn’t earned that from me. Not yet”
Poe stood up, and Finn did too, putting a hand on Poe’s arm. Poe stopped for a minute and looked at Finn, but he didn't stay this time. He walked quickly back to his hut and shut the door.
Finn looked at Rey. “He’ll need some time...a lotta time maybe. I don’t know if he’ll be able to see beyond Ren. But we’re family. He knows that. Just don’t push him right now, ok?” Finn asked, walking backward, towards Poe’s hut.
Rey nodded. Finn turned and walked in, closing the door behind him.
Rey stood up and turned her face to the sky. She took a deep breath, feeling like the air was making its way to the deepest parts of her lungs for the first time in forever.
BB-8 rolled up gently to touch the back of Rey’s leg.
When she turned, he beeped curiously again.
“I don’t know how I know. I don't think you can ever explain that kind of thing. I just know that I had moments with Ben, and I’ve had five years without him, and I still haven't ever felt the way I did in those few moments. If the choice is between being with him or to keep living without him, I'll take the path that leads to Ben every time."
Rey headed back to her hut, the droid followed behind her, now beeping more animatedly.
"No, BB-8," Rey said, laughing a little now, "I don't think I can tell you the exact moment I knew."
Once inside, Rey laid down, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, she slept deeply.