Characters: Poe Dameron, Rey
“How does she do it?” Rey asked Poe one day, the two of them sitting by Finn's bed and watching the machines monitoring his vitals (both pretending not to pray he would wake up).
Being as they hadn't talked all that much about anything but their friend, it took Poe a second to fully register the question. “You mean the General?” he asked finally.
Well, that was a loaded question. “The General does a lot of things, Rey. You're gonna have to be a little bit more specific than that.”
“Why isn't she falling apart?” She seemed almost embarrassed by the question, a blush crawling up her cheeks. “I mean...I've barely been off Jakku a week, and I've flown a ship and made friends and lost them and been captured and escaped and fought Kylo Ren and almost died but didn't...anyways, so much has happened, and it's all I can do not to burst into tears at any moment.” Poe had a feeling that she didn't say that lightly. Rey wasn't the type to admit weaknesses to anyone but herself, and maybe not even then. Certainly not to a man she barely knew and only trusted because Finn and BB8 trusted him. “She's so strong.”
For once, Poe didn't have a ready answer on his tongue. Aunt Leia (he still had trouble reconciling The General with the woman whose shoulders he'd climbed on as a child) wasn't easy to explain when you hadn't grown up in the world she'd helped to build. Stories about the Rebellion and the fall of the Empire had been taught to him before he'd walked on his own. They were part of him, as much as sand and scraps and determination were a part of Rey that he would never totally relate to.
“The General is special,” he said finally. If only he had Aunt Leia's way with words. “Believe it or not, she's been through worse than this and then some. It hasn't stopped her yet.”
“And it didn't break her?”
Poe looked at Rey's shining eyes, and saw the first sparks of hero worship. Which was all well and good (and Aunt Leia probably was a safer role model than her husband, even though Poe had clearly followed in his footsteps), but he remembered a conversation he'd had with The General not too long ago. “We are all of us broken in some way. It's what we do with the pieces that makes a difference.” There had been a faraway look in her eyes that said she was thinking of Home again, which meant Han or Alderaan depending on the day.
He shook his head. “More like...she built something out of the pieces,” he said finally. “It all depends on what you build.”
“Hm.” Rey was quiet after that, thoughtful. And there was definitely some hero worship going on. “Build something....”
Good. Poe hoped he'd be around to see what she built.