Title: As Impressions Go...
Author: H. Savinien
Disclaimer: The Star Wars universe is the property of Disney, Lucasfilm, and so on.
Summary: Rey explores the people around her.
Ren's head tastes like sand that something's died in. In the middle of blowing snow, she can almost feel it gritting between her teeth, her mouth sere as old grudges and misery and sour as the remains that even the ripper-raptors won't eat.
The next time she goes looking it's on purpose, not the flashes she gets from interacting with people.
General Organa's mind is tidy and private, with thick drapes that block her politely and firmly out. Rey catches a sharp look and excuses herself, but not before catching the scent of cool, crisp air – nothing like a desert – and ozone like blasterfire.
The general finds her later, with nobody around and suggests that the people of the Resistance appreciate privacy. “I know it must be second nature to check for safety with all the resources you have. In this base, please trust me to keep you safe and don't go prying to the extent you can manage it. Meditation helps.” She gives Rey an instructional holotape on how to try that and Rey mostly even trusts that she is safe there, as much as any of them are.
She's not very good at meditation, but it seems to stop her picking things up on accident.
She has to check on Dameron, though. He's watching Finn and she's leaving, she promised the general that she'd find Luke – not-a-myth – Skywalker, and she has to be sure that he'll keep Finn safe. Beebee-Ate's good opinion is promising, but not conclusive. She peeks carefully, not wanting to leave scars the way Ren would.
He's green inside. There are giant trees with stars filling them alongside the leaves and the swooping feeling of zero-g kicking in, his thoughts diverging and spiraling out along the star-paths that branch out in all directions.
That seems...safe enough. She leaves Finn in his care.
She doesn't try reading Skywalker until he tells her to. He sits her in the middle of his island and arranges himself, cross-legged, a couple of meters away. “Close your eyes and reach out. Trace the paths that connect you with your environment, with everything that lives and moves.” She reaches out, feels the grass and mosses and insects, points of uncomplicated life. Skywalker offers her a mental hand and she takes the invitation.
He's rock. It's not a rock she knows, but one with creases and dips like it's been folded, with tiny living things tucked into safe pockets, tickling her fingers as she runs them over the surface.
“Surface impressions,” Skywalker says. She can feel him nodding. “Useful things, but they can be masked. I'll teach you how to do it with your own mind.”
Going back is almost stranger. Skywalker and Organa hole up immediately. Dameron and Finn are both there to meet her and Beebee-Ate nearly knocks her over saying hello. She looks up at the two men and they both look so pleased to see her that she can't help smiling as they bustle her back into the base toward food and a 'fresher with actual water. It's hard to be open, let people see her soft bits, but they may deserve it a little bit. Dameron's beaming green and growing galaxies at her and Finn's grinning like a sun. Just inside, away from so many eyes, she throws her arms around Finn, who's upright and strong and whole again and lets her mind trail lightly across his to say hello that way too.
She glances off like a pebble off durasteel. His little bubble of self in the Force is as slick and impersonal as a mirror.
They both startle back and she almost trips over Beebee-Ate, who hoots in alarm. “Sorry, sorry!”
“Sorry!” Finn echoes. “What...?”
“Jedi thing, sorry, I shouldn't have tried to read you, I just wanted to-”
“Oh!” Finn grimaces. “Autopilot reaction.”
“??????” Beebee-Ate demands.
“Seconding that,” Dameron adds. “What's going on?”
“I tried to read Finn through the Force and bounced off. It was weird!”
“I was just...there's a way of thinking that you do that means that they- he- Force users don't get anything off you, don't notice. You're just the armor and whatever they expect unless they go looking carefully,” Finn explains, shrugging. “I figured it out when I was a cadet.”
“Finn,” Rey grabs him, “Finn, that's a thing that Force-users do. Finn, you're using the Force. This is fantastic!” He stares back at her, mouthing silent confusion.
“Finn, buddy, just when I think you're done surprising us.” Dameron wraps an arm around Finn's shoulders.
“Hey, can you let me in your shield, for just a second?”
Finn gulps and nods, eyes sparkling. He leans back into their support, frowns in concentration, and the slick surface melts away from Rey's senses and what's left is simply
There are sunlight-flashes on rippling water and steady greens like a ship's systems all good, firelight orange, and clean blue hum of the lightsaber blade.
She pulls away with a gasp and grins at him and he smiles back.
“You feel like freedom,” Finn says.