bloodyrosemccoy: (Lobot!)
[personal profile] bloodyrosemccoy
I wasn't planning to write this, mind you, but then this scene--set somewhere in the middle of The Force Awakens--showed up in a dream and then it WOULD NOT GO AWAY until I wrote it. So, you know. Blame the dream. And my current slight bout of hypomania, which is space-opera-themed. Y'all, I just finished the first Doctors! book's overhaul and I can already tell you that the sequel's gonna be EPIC.

But anyway. This had to come out first.

---

The first thing Poe Dameron did after his debriefing on D'Qar was take an X-wing out for an unauthorized spin around the planet. General Leia Organa told the incensed techs to let him, then waited alone on the landing strip and admired the last few swoops and rolls of the fighter before Poe put down and popped the canopy. She watched how he climbed out with practiced ease and was reminded suddenly of Luke. She tried to remember if he'd ever looked that young. Or if she had.

Poe had spotted her. Helmet under his arm, he jogged over. His eyes were bright, but there were dark circles under them. A cut on his brow had reopened and oozed sluggishly. His hair desperately needed a wash.

"General," he said.

"Commander," she acknowledged. "You look terrible."

He grinned. "Actually, I feel better. I'm always this ugly."

She let a small smile cross her face. "It's good to have you back."

"Good to be back. I just wish it was with better news."

She nodded. "They told me you asked to see me during your debriefing."

Poe grimaced. "Well, yes. I did. I wanted to tell you I'd failed the mission in person. And to offer my condolences for the death of Lor San Tekka."

Whom he probably also felt he'd failed. "He died fighting for the light," Leia said. "And the fight's not over yet. My sources say your droid is still at large. We'll find it. And we'll find Luke."

"You'll have to beat the First Order to it," he said ruefully. "They know about BB-8."

"Yes. I read your debrief. I'm sorry I couldn't be there in person. But it was very thorough. A pity the stormtrooper didn't survive." She raised an eyebrow, seeing the conflict inside him. "Was there something else?"

Poe seemed to come to a decision. "I spoke to Kylo Ren," he blurted.

She schooled her expression to neutrality. "So you did."

"Well, I guess you'd know. You read the report. Thing is, he's in here now," he said, pointing at his head. "I thought--you've got the Force, right?"

She smiled slightly at the artless turn of phrase. "Some sensitivity."

He finally met her eyes. "I asked for you because I thought you might want to see him."

"Oh," she said.

Yes. Absolutely yes. She'd read Poe's report almost hungrily, even as it described the horrors Ren had committed. To see him, even like that, even doing those things, had been beyond any of her hopes. Yes, she wanted this.

She wasn't sure what it was in Poe's stance--a twitch of the eyelid, a clench of the jaw, a tightening of the grip on the helmet--that made her halt, hand half-raised. A memory came to her, unbidden, of a stark cell and a dark figure stretching out a hand, intent on shredding her mind, meaning to rip the location of the Rebel base right out of her where the interrogation droid had failed ...

Leia rather transparently turned the gesture into a deprecating wave.

"It's a generous offer," she said. "But I never had time to learn that sort of thing."

Now that she was looking for it, she saw the slight sag of relief even as he said, "You sure?"

"I wouldn't get much except a few images and feelings. Hardly worth it."

"All right," Poe said, straightening. "But if you want it, he's there."

"I know." She would not take him up on that. She was ashamed she'd ever meant to.

Instead, she said, "When's the last time you slept?"

"I'm all right," he insisted quickly. "I don't need any leave."

It was all she could do not to laugh at him. Pilots. "I'm not asking about leave, flyboy. I'm asking how long it's been since you got any sleep."

"Oh." He considered. Then his careless grin returned. "I got knocked unconscious a few times not too long ago."

She shook her head. "Get out of here. Take a sedative if you have to. I want you fully rested when we track down your droid."

He saluted, heartened by the reminder that they could still find BB-8--and that he would be there to recover the droid. "Yes, General."

He's been through a lot, she thought, watching him head off with a gait that was either a swagger or a stagger. But he'll pull through. I did.

And who knew? He'd gotten his mission half-complete. They could still take it the rest of the way. They could still find Luke.

"May the Force be with you, Poe," General Organa muttered, turning toward the base and her next appointment. "It's not over yet."
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