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A Profession of Hope

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Ever since she was a little girl, Rey had loved going to the market.

It started in the late spring when she was ten, when her uncle Ben slipped two dollars into her hand with a wink and a smile as he headed to his office to help a client in crisis. He left Rey at the open air market three blocks over, and she’d wandered around, eyes wide, taking in the sights and smelling freshly cooked baked goods. The apples on display at the second to last vendor proved to be too tempting; and, after she’d done three more circuits, the dollars tucked into the front bib of her overalls, Rey finally decided that the apples were her best choice with the best value.

With three red-yellow apples clutched in her grubby hands, Rey scampered back to the familiar sight of the window reading Kenobi Law Offices and sat outside on the maple wood bench, her feet swinging back and forth in her beat-up Converse. 

She ate the first apple quickly, juice sticking to her inner wrists and the meat of her thumbs; her second apple she ate slowly, as the core of the first settled, attracting ants, at the base of the tree she sat under. 

When Uncle Ben came outside an hour later, his hat in his hand and a smile on his marvelous, wrinkled face, she handed him the last apple with a bright smile, and he took the apple in one hand, and her sticky fingers in the other, and they walked home swinging their hands between them as Rey talked excitedly about each and every dog she had seen in the market (twenty-four, to be precise).

It was her first time to the market, but it certainly wasn’t her last.

Rey wheeled her ancient, well-kept bike to its normal parking spot and snapped her U-lock around the fender. Testing the strength of the milk crate tied to the back, Rey smiled and grabbed her reusable grocery bag, humming to herself as she checked her wallet for her cash - thirty dollars now, and not the two she used to get by on when Uncle Ben would take her to look for produce -- before tucking it back into the pocket of her overalls.

Some things hadn’t changed at all in the Coruscant Village farmer’s market: the wooden sign was still there, even if the paint was newer and the font more Helvetica (to tempt in the hipsters). Some of the vendors from her childhood still kept shop there, and while there were certainly far too many gastronomical-faux-farmers and micro-brewers, there was enough actual farmers and good-smells to keep Rey coming back each Saturday morning.

Dogs ran past on their leashes, sniffing the air eagerly as the gourmet dog biscuit vendor began to waft out the savory scents from their portable ovens, and Rey laughed when she got tangled up in a small altercation between a beagle and a Mastiff. Searching the market for her favorite apple seller, Rey did at least two circuits before sighing and accepting that Arthur wouldn’t be there that day -- he’d been talking about how his husband, Threepio (Rey still had no idea what his real name was, even after fifteen years of frequenting their booth) had wanted to go on a vacation but kept getting cold feet. Hopefully, this meant they were actually on vacation.

Even if it meant she couldn't get her favorite honeycrisp apples.

No matter: bright colors had caught her eye more than once as she searched in vain for the two old farmers. Rey bought some asparagus and potatoes from the Wexleys and then headed over to the sunburst of yellow down at the end of the second lane of the market.

“Hey Kes!” She greeted the farmer, who was digging around under the stall counter. “Looks like the sunflowers are finally in season!”

“Ow!” The man stood up too quickly and slammed his head into the counter; Rey frowned because this certainly wasn’t Kes - his hair was black still, even if it was also curly.

And then he straightened up all the way, and Rey had to snap her mouth shut: 

It certainly wasn’t Kes.

Not that Kes was old -old - he was in his mid- to late-fifties. And, he was very attractive for an older guy.

No - this man was twenty years younger than Kes, at least. And he had a Disney Prince face. And he had broad shoulders. And -

And he was staring at Rey, having clearly said something.

“Sorry.” Rey blinked. “About your head, I mean. Are you okay?”

“Ugh. Yeah. Mostly worried a spider fell down.” The guy’s voice just had to be pleasant; he ruffled a large hand through his curls with a grossed-out face.

Rey leaned over the counter and searched his hair diligently. “I don’t think so,” she declared, rocking back on her heels. “Spider-free.”

“Well that’s a relief.” The guy grinned. “I’m guessing you know my dad?”

“Kes! You must be the smart, engineer son I’ve heard so much about.”

If she didn’t know any better, she’d think Kes was often talking his son up in an attempt at matchmaking.

(Kes had also found her dumpster diving for currants once, after the market had closed down and day-old produce had been discarded, so he probably didn’t want her dating his son)

“Guilty. Poe Dameron.” He held a tanned hand towards her, and Rey shook it firmly. 

“I’m Rey.”

“I know.” Did his eyes actually twinkle? No. Trick of the light, Kenobi. Get it together. “I mean, my dad told me all about Old Ben’s kid. You took over his law office when he died, right?”

Rey twinged internally at the reminder that Uncle Ben had passed away, but at the same time, she sort of liked that Poe was up front about it - most people said ‘passed away’ or ‘gone’ or ‘left us.’

“That’s me.” Rey smiled and then touched the smooth-silk petal of the nearest sunflower. “These are my favorite; I’ve been asking your dad about them for weeks.”

“Well you’re in luck, honestly. They just bloomed on Wednesday, and these are our earliest crop.” Poe leaned over the counter with a grin. “And, you’ll be happy to know that you’re going to get a Yavin Farm discount on ‘em.”

“What’s a Yavin Farm discount?” Rey laughed, still admiring the cool petal between her fingers, if only to distract herself from how dazzling Poe’s smile was.

“You get a free half dozen,” Poe said breezily.

Rey’s eyes widened. “I couldn’t possibly. Poe, that should be at least fifteen dol--”

“Nope.” Poe popped the ‘p’ charmingly. “Yavin Farm discount. Dad insisted.”

“He insisted you give away your sunflowers for free?” Rey asked dubiously.

“Well, he said I should give ‘em away to the prettiest girl who came by,” Poe teased, and Rey felt her entire face light on fire.

God, she probably should have worn sunscreen today - no. It isn’t a sunburn, Kenobi. You’re blushing like you’re thirteen years old. Get it together, even if you do like his face.

“Is that so?” Rey arched an eyebrow.

“Well.” Poe snorted and ducked his head. “Fine. My dad knew you were waiting for them, so he told me to give you some. It’s weird, he never misses market day, but he was just so busy today, and I didn’t have to go into the office, so…” 

He trailed off meaningfully, and Rey laughed when she put it together.

“Wow. Kes is trying to flirt for you, huh?’

Poe’s eyes crinkled when he smiled this time; she liked that. Quite a lot. 

“Maybe a little.” Poe tilted his head, a very cute gesture, really. “ it working?”

“Maybe a little,” Rey teased. A movement behind the counter caught her eye, and Rey leaned over, gasping. “Oh my god who is that?”

“This girl?” Poe stood back and gestured at the dozing hound behind the stall. “That’s Beatrice. She goes everywhere with me. Hey, Bea. Hey!”

The dog lifted her head and snuffled at Poe. 

“Bea, come say hi!” 

Tail wagging, Beatrice rose slowly and then trotted over to stand next to Poe; he patted the counter, and she stood up, putting her paws on the counter. She very graciously accepted the head scritches from Rey, who laughed delightedly as the dog sniffed her face and licked her chin.

“You’re the best girl!” Rey cooed. Beatrice snuffed in agreement.

“You know, Beatrice knows a really great coffee spot,” Poe said as he tied up half a dozen sunflowers, after Beatrice finally hopped back down and laid out in the sun once more. “If you were ever … interested in coffee.”

Rey smiled as she took the flowers and tucked them into her bag. “Coffee sounds great, actually.”

Rey had always loved the farmer’s market.

She loved the apples spilling out of their baskets at Arthur’s stall; she loved the dogs tripping over their leashes in the lanes; she loved the smell of fresh baked fritters wafting out from their cases; and she loved the flowers and their happy, bright colors.

Most of all, Rey loved the stall at the end of the second lane, and the people who sold their produce from it. She loved the goofy hound dog and Kes’s loud singing; she loved the flowers and delicious, purple melons. And of course, she loved the smart, funny, kind engineer who doubled as a farmer and who always saved her the most beautiful flower with a special Yavin Farm discount.

(Like Kes always said to his son, it’s just plain rude to make your wife buy her own flowers)