Black Rapier___________________________________________________________________________________________ Summary:A Poe Dameron centric story. Taking place before, during, and after the events of The Force Awakens. (Poe, Rey, Finn, Luke, Han, Leia, Kes, BB-8) ST ___________________________________________________________________________________________Disclaimer: I don't own Star Wars.___________________________________________________________________________________________ Hello all, it's been a while since I've posted any of my fanfiction here, but I received a request to do so from a reader on ff-net, so I'm posting the first chapter to see how it's received and I'll continue to post the chapters if requested. (This is an ongoing story, you can find it here also here at Ao3. This might, well, inevitably, turn AU at some point, given the subject matter. ___________________________________________________________________________________________[ABE= After the Battle of Endor]___________________________________________________________________________________________ [15 ABE]Location: Great Massassi Temple, Yavin 4Fifteen Years Before The Force Awakens...___________________________________________________________________________________________ Pulling uncomfortably at the high collar of his brand new, formal, New Republic Starfleet cadet uniform, seventeen-year-old Poe Dameron let out a sigh of temporary relief, as he peered around from the sandstone pillar he was hiding behind. Looking out into the crowded Grand Hall, amongst the chattering, eating and some dancing beings, Poe could no longer see the brightly dressed, cooing group of several senators daughters, who had targeted the good-looking, dark haired, dark-eyed young cadet pilot, en masse, as their potential prey this evening. Not naturally shy by nature, Poe, nevertheless, was firmly against the idea of four women, between the ages of late-teens to early thirties, encircling him and making awkward suggestions, that would make the most hardened of outer-rim space-pilots blush. Poe ducked his head back behind the pillar and gently thumped his head back against it, a temporary smile of relief on his lips. He was just thankful his grandfather hadn't been around, or his escape from the encircling senators daughters might not have been so clean. The old man was notoriously protective of his only grandchild, and had, on past occasions, reached out with his wooden walking-cane, and whacked the back of the ankles of young women, and some men, who made any insinuations and unwarranted suggestions about Poe's appearance, within his earshot. Rubbing the back of his neck, Poe knew that, in repose, his grandfather had been nothing but charming to the high school academy girlfriends his grandson had formally introduced him to, and always said that he trusted him to make the right decisions. But, Poe was still thankful that the old man had watched out for him as a young teenager, and wouldn't let him down by being a notorious playboy, now he was reaching manhood. It's my own fault, I suppose, Cadet Dameron mused, as he looked around for an exit from the Grand Hall of the Yavin 4 temple. I mean, I was flirting with Senator Glarison's daughter, I just didn't know she was in on the 'game' with the other senators daughters who had singled me out...blast it! I'm only seventeen, how am I supposed to know it was all a set-up? Poe's grandfather had not given his grandson much in the way of advice when it came to sex, only that, as Grandfather Bey would often say, he trusted his grandson to make the right decisions. And as for his father, General Kes Dameron, Poe had seen him so rarely since Kes had returned to military service after the death of Poe's mother, and he'd absolutely, not once, branched the subject to his only child. Kes was here at this tightly guarded, invitation only celebration event, the nineteenth anniversary of the First Death Star Battle, (it was a very intimate affair, with only the well known ex-members of the Rebellion, adding up to about a hundred and forty people or so. And, of course, Poe's squadron of Starfleet cadets as honorary guards, symbolising the still young New Republic.) but Poe had only seen him briefly across the room, and his father hadn't acknowledged him. It's been almost two years, Poe mildly reasoned, as his dark gaze still darting around, looking for an exit, he might not have recognised me. But surely Grandfather told him I'd started at the Academy? Shouldn't he have been looking for me amongst the other cadets...? Poe's thoughts trailed off, and he shook the sad thought from his head, that maybe his father really didn't care. Finally, Poe noticed a side exit and, looking around again, slipped into the shadows and leaned his back against the ancient, sandstone wall, shuffling along against it, keeping his gaze on look out, before slipping through the stone doorway, and stepping into the durasteel floored hallway. The long hallway had been lit up with real flaming torches, adding to the grandeur of the occasion. Poe had attended the majority of these anniversaries, living on Yavin 4 as he did during his childhood, and always enjoyed the sight of the flames casting shadows across the ancient stone walls and lofting ceilings. Poe stretched his arms up above his head and reached up to undo the top button of his formal uniform, sighing in relief from the pressure released from around his neck. The lanky teenager was still skinny, and just starting to broaden out, the fitted, Starfleet cadet uniform displayed that fact. Poe had also started to gain promises of his full grown height, after a growth spurt the past year, standing at about five foot five, he was easily of average height amongst his peers, so the perfect height for an X-wing fighter pilot. This had pleased the young Dameron. Wedge Antilles is five-foot-six and Luke Skywalker is five-foot-seven, Poe thought gleefully of his idols as he walked down the vacant hallway. My Mom always said that being more than six-feet in an X-wing's pilot's seat didn't quite give you the flexibility and dexterity being under six-foot did in such a cramped space, so hopefully I don't grow that much more. Dad's five-foot-seven and Mom was five-foot-four, so my odds are pretty... "...oh no! We're surrounded!" A child's voice interrupted Poe's train of thought and the cadet pilot stopped by a door-frame that lead to a side balcony. Peering around the side of the sandstone carved exit, the teenager's dark eyes locked on the source of the childish prattling. In the centre of the balcony, sitting outside in the warm night, was a small, dark haired girl, dressed in a dark green formal dress. The small side balcony, was brightly lit up with dozens of small lights, strung along the stone balustrade, and light also shone down on the balcony from the Rebel era floodlights. The girl was sitting tailor style on the balcony floor, with an audience of several dolls in front of her, one of whom was in her tiny grasp, and she was rocking him back and fourth, like he was talking to his fellow doll populace. "...how are we going to save everybody now? I know! We'll use my lightsaber!" The girl pressed the side of the orange jumpsuit wearing doll, and the lightsaber in his grasp lit up a bright green colour, and she proceeded to attack the two white stormtrooper dolls with the lightsaber wielding doll. "Vwwoom, vwwoom!" The girl, much to Poe's mirth, imitated the sound the lightsaber was making, as she knocked down the plastic armour clad stormtroopers. The girl then grabbed another doll, "And I'll use my blaster!" She used the female doll to shoot at the knocked down stormtroopers. "Peew, peew!" The girl then reached out for two of her other dolls, a human and a wookiee. "Us too! Peew peew! Boom!" The child threw all her dolls into the air for dramatic effect and let them all crash to the ground. At the sight, Poe couldn't help but burst into laughter at the girl's antics, clapping his hands in applause as the little girl spun around to look over at the dark haired teenage boy watching her, looking him over with a wary glance. Poe cleared his throat, "I'm sorry I interrupted you, but you're very talented at playing battles," he walked over to squat down next to the little girl, her dark brown hair was done up in two small, braided buns atop her head. "I don't think I was ever that good at playing battles, when I was your age." The girl grinned, her hazel eyes sparkling, "Thank you!" She picked up the Wookiee doll and brushed down his fur. "I know you, don't I?" She questioned, cocking her head to the side as she looked over at the boy. Shaking his head, Poe sat down tailor style like the girl in front of him, "I don't think so, unless you went to my school academy... or you're the youngest cadet the New Republic Starfleet has ever had." he teased, and the girl shrugged with another grin in response, before Poe offered out his hand. "I'm Poe Dameron, first class cadet of the New Republic Starfleet." The little girl shook the offered hand as firmly as her tiny grip could muster, "I like your name. Poe is a good name." She affirmed, her hazel eyes studied the teenager. "You know who I am?" Poe rubbed the back of his neck, "I don't think so, should I?" He was genuinely confused as the girl laughed, before reaching out with her hand, the young cadet pilot watched on as the fallen dolls suddenly lifted up into the air, and glided right back over into the girl's waiting embrace. Looking over at the girl with amusement, Poe put his hands behind his neck, "Ah, a young Jedi," he mentioned, as the girl nodded enthusiastically, very pleased that the teenage boy called her that. "Yes!" She offered out the blond haired doll in her grasp, dressed in an X-wing pilot's uniform. "And you're going to be a pilot, like my dolly." Poe took the offered doll in his tanned grasp, and smiled down at the doll. "Yes, just like Luke Skywalker. He's my favourite. Is he yours?" He questioned, the girl nodded and Poe chuckled. "Of course he is, he's the head of the Jedi. Are you going to be a Jedi and a pilot, too?" The girl smiled, showing off a perfect set of white baby teeth, "I would like to. My Uncle says I'm already a much better pilot than my grumpy-lumpy cousin." She pouted. "My cousin was supposed to stay here, and play with me while my Daddy was busy, but he left earlier, saying I was a stupid baby. I think maybe it's 'cause I wouldn't let him play with my favourite dolly." The girl's bright gaze looked back up at Poe, "If I let you play with my Luke Skywalker dolly, will you stay with me?" She questioned with such a downtrodden, little voice, that Dameron couldn't help but completely melt under the gaze of those earnest, plump features turned towards him. "Absolutely," Poe agreed and the girl clapped her hands, before turning serious again. "Okay. Now," the little posed the dolls in her grasp, "the stormtroopers are trying to capture Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca, and R2-D2. They already captured C-3PO, 'cause he's silly and was talking too much..." Poe obligingly played 'battle' with the young girl under the starry Yavin 4 sky, making sure to make the appropriate lightsaber noises and, to the girl's approval and delight, even made Shyriiwook sounding growls for Chewbacca, and exploding noises for the thermal detonators. After concluding that the Empire was defeated and the Rebels won, the girl flopped down next to Poe and looked up at him, as Poe adjusted the control panel on the front of the Luke Skywalker doll's uniform. "Do you have any brothers or sisters?" The girl questioned. Shaking his head, Poe pushed back his longish bangs from his eyes, "No, I would have liked to, though. But my Mom and Dad never had any more children, then my Mom died when I was nine. I've lived alone with my Grandfather, and sometimes my Dad, ever since. How about you?" He reversed the question to the little girl, who also shook her head. "No. I wish I had a brother or sister. All I've got is my big cousin who is supposed to like me, but I know he doesn't. He always acts like I'm in his way." The little girl looked cross for a moment, then looked back up at Poe and motioned to him. "Can I tell you a secret?" Puzzled, Poe, nevertheless, bent down so the little girl could whisper in his ear. "I'm scared of my cousin. He's supposed to be a good Jedi like me, but he says and does really scary things sometimes." Pulling back, the youngest Dameron didn't quite know what to say to the dark haired, green dress clad girl...a Jedi child...who looked at him with genuine worry for her predicament. "I—" Poe began. But the young cadet pilot was cut off mid-sentence, when the girl looked past him, back over at the doorway that lead to the balcony, and let out a delighted cry. "Hi, hi, hi!" The girl was suddenly changed from a serious Jedi child, to a normal little girl, as she got to her tiny, white slippered feet and went running over to the dark clad, masculine figure waiting in the doorway, who bent down and scooped the girl up into his arms. Poe immediately got to his booted feet, and stared in surprise as the recently arrived, slender, fair-haired man lowered his head to the girl's level, as she whispered something to him, and then deep-set, very blue eyes turned upon Cadet Dameron, who immediately straightened his shoulders. The man in the brown and black Jedi robes walked the short distance between himself and the dark haired teen, smiling down at Poe in virtually the same way as the little girl in his arms was also looking down at the surprised young man. "You're..." Poe cleared his throat and began again. "Jedi Master Skywalker." He bowed his head respectfully and lifted back up his gaze, when the slightly taller human male put his left hand on the teen's shoulder. Luke Skywalker's clean-shaven, handsome features were friendly and kind, immediately Poe felt at ease, even before the Jedi Master spoke, "The little one here tells me that you stayed with her all this time, young man." He squeezed Poe's shoulder gratefully. "Thank you." Closing his slightly agape mouth, Poe glanced between Luke and the little girl, suddenly seeing something he'd missed before. His grandfather knew, somehow, and had mentioned the girl in passing, once. Poe thought the girl's mother might be someone who had visited them in the past, since there was also a resemblance to her...maybe... "She's—oh. I'm Poe...Cadet Poe Dameron, sir." Poe saluted, making the girl giggle a little at his sudden seriousness. Flashing another smile, the Jedi Master adjusted his grip on the girl in his arms. "Please, don't call me sir. You can call me Luke." He tilted his head slightly. "You've certainly grown since I last saw you. I used to come by and see you and your parents when I could, do you remember? " Poe flushed slightly at the compliment, "I...I remember sir—Luke," he corrected, folding his arms to stop them from shaking slightly, in awe of being in the presence of one of the greatest heroes of the Rebellion, if not the absolute greatest. Luke looked down at the dark-haired girl on his hip, "Now, sweetheart, why don't you go put all your dolls back in their satchel and I'll take you back inside," he suggested, putting the girl down on the ground and she nodded. "Yep, yep!" The child chirped back enthusiastically, Poe watching on as the girl reached out with her hand and lifted up the discarded, cloth satchel bag and flipped it open, then proceeded to lift up and place her dolls into the grey coloured satchel using the Force. Luke moved to stand beside the teenager, as they watched the girl gather up her toys, humming a playful tune as she did so. "She's really talented," Poe mentioned with slight awe, and Jedi Master Skywalker glanced aside at Poe, the younger human male catching the Jedi's gaze and blinking his dark eyes cautiously. "Yes, she is." Luke looked Poe over again, raising an eyebrow with a curious expression. "Is the Jedi Temple tree I left with your parents flourishing, Poe?" Looking askance, Poe nodded, "Yes, Luke. My Grandfather always tends to the tree, and I also used to take care of it as a child," he admitted, watching the strange expression on the Jedi Master's tanned features. "Did you now?" Luke mused distantly. Poe rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah...why?" Smiling slightly, Luke rested his hand again on the teenager's shoulder, "Ask me again, sometime," he replied cryptically. "I was thinking I might drop by, and see you at the Starfleet Academy, since I visit from time-to-time. Is that all right with you?" Poe knew he was gaping, but he didn't care at that moment. "I—sure," he stammered out his agreement, and the little girl went rushing up to them, wrapping her arms around Poe's arm. "Me too! I like you! And I wanna see more pilots, and lots of ships!" The child enthused, rushing from Poe back to Luke, grabbing the Jedi Master's hand. "Da—I mean, Master Skywalker, me too?" Luke laughed and patted the girl's head, "Only if you're good, and it's all right with Cadet Dameron." The girl looked pleading up at Poe, who nodded, and she grinned from ear-to-ear. "Yay! Come on, Poe!" She grabbed the teenager's hand and pulled him along. Luke observed the teenager and the girl with careful consideration, as he followed them out of the balcony and into the hallway. When they arrived back in the Grand Hall, Poe halted at the same time as the girl, as she looked through the crowd, and then let out an enthusiastic cry when she found who she was looking for. "Hey!" The girl let go of Poe's hand and went rushing into the gathering, letting out another happy yell as Poe saw a pair of strong hands lifting the girl up into the air. "Fly me! Fly me—yay! Chewie!" The girl was lifted from the pair of male human hands, into the embrace of a tall, furry Wookiee. Attempting to slip away through the crowds, Poe felt a hand on his shoulder and turned around to see the famed ex-General Han Solo, in relaxed formal clothing not so different from his everyday wear, (a white shirt and black pants, with brown boots,) grinning down at him. "It's Poe Dameron, isn't it?" Nodding up at the greying-haired Han, Poe saluted and stood a little straighter, despite the fact that Solo had been close friends with Kes and he'd seen him a lot during his childhood. It had been a while, almost as long as not seeing Luke. Han laughed, "At ease, kid. I thought it might be you, you're almost a dead-ringer for your dad," he looked Poe up and down. "Stang, when did you get so grown-up? And what's this?" Han brushed off the shoulder of the teenager's uniform. "A Starfleet cadet? Well, what do you know? Your mom would be real proud, kid." Smiling and relaxing his stance, Poe shuffled his feet a little, "I hope she is, I mean, it's what I've always wanted," he admitted, glancing over at where Luke was now standing next to him, feeling a little overwhelmed at his company. Han ran a hand through his hair, "You're a good kid. Speaking of kids," he looked over at his brother-in-law, "where's Ben? I thought he was watching the little darlin', like he promised you." Luke let out a sigh, Poe suspecting this wasn't the first time Ben Solo had broken a promise to his uncle, "I don't know, Ben—" "He ran off and left me all alone, and he ordered Artoo to go with him, too" the little girl in Chewbacca's arms interrupted, "Poe found me and stayed with me. Ben said I was a stupid baby, and he said he didn't care what happened to me." Folding his arms over his chest, Han looked up at the little girl with a raised eyebrow, "Oh he did now, did he, darlin'?" He questioned in a low voice. "Han, maybe I should go talk—" Luke began, but Han held up his right hand to silence his brother-in-law. "No, Luke. This isn't your problem. I'm sick of his jealous attitude, especially towards the kiddo." Han lifted up his head and scanned the crowd, cupping his hands over his mouth. "Leia!" He called out. After a brief moment, some of the crowd murmuring in response to the yell from Han, the lovely, middle-aged, former Princess of Alderaan, and current senator, dressed a fitted, sparkling blue dress, and her long, brown hair braided atop her head, glided over to her family, looking disgruntled. "Yes, love of my life, who always happens to find just the right time to interrupt me, usually in the middle of an important conversation?" Leia Organa blithely questioned Han in her famous low, smoky-honey voice, looking aside at Poe with a raised brow. "Who is this young man?" Poe saluted the senator, "Cadet Poe Dameron, ma'am." Leia smiled, "Of course you are. Look how handsome you've gotten," she placed a kiss on Poe's cheek, making him blush. "Are you going to be an starfighter pilot like—" Han placed his hand on his wife's shoulder, "Leia, I'm sorry to interrupt, but we have a problem, well...it's the usual problem," he raised an eyebrow and Senator Organa let out a sigh, glancing away as she clasped her pale hands in front of her. "What did Ben do now?" Leia questioned softly, with a tired expression, almost perfectly mimicking her husband's equally tired expression. "He ran away and the little darlin' all alone. Luckily Poe here was passing by and stayed with her, thanks, kid." Han added. Poe nodded again, glancing aside, he saw Leia looking around the room, the cadet pilot knowing enough about Force powerful people, to know that she was trying to get a location of her son. Luke cleared his throat, "I was saying to Han, Leia, that maybe I should—" "No," Leia interrupted calmly, reaching over to grasp her twin's arm. "He's my son, Luke. Han and I need to handle this." She reached up towards her niece and Chewbacca lowered the girl in his grasp, so that her aunt could kiss her forehead, whispering to her so quietly, Poe could barely hear her. "...you look very pretty in the new dress we bought you." Leia pulled back and nodded at Poe with a smile, before turning on her high, dark blue shoe clad heel and making her way through the crowd. Han patted Poe's shoulder as he departed, a look on his face of regret and wistfulness, before it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and turned back into tiredness, as Solo followed his wife through the crowd in search of their only child. Poe glanced over at Luke, who smiled apathetically and the cadet pilot knew that it really wasn't his place to ask any more questions about the difficult teenage son of Han Solo and Leia Organa. Poe had only met Ben Solo a few times, and the younger teen had either ignored him, or kept away from him, looking down his rather long nose with a snobby expression, whenever forced to interact with Poe. Although there was that time on Endor, four years ago, when we got into a fight... "Ah, there you are, lad," an aged voice called out, and Poe turned to see his grandfather, accompanied by his father, Kes, standing behind him and he smiled in greeting. "Hello, Grandfather," Poe looked over at his dark-haired father, roguish streaks of grey hair running through his short-cut tresses. "Hello, Dad." He added quietly. Kes reached out to grasp his son's shoulders, "Hello, Poe. Well, look at you," he greeted, looking his son up and down. "I almost didn't recognise you." He turned to smile over at Luke. "Can you believe a kid this good-looking is my son, Skywalker?" Luke chuckled, "I'd believe it. Poe could almost be your twin, Kes." Grandfather Bey scoffed as he rested his hands atop his cane, "Nonsense, Jedi Master Skywalker, Poe gets his good looks from my lovely late daughter, Shara, and you know it." He beamed up at the girl in Chewbacca's grasp, who was staring down at him. "Is that who I think it is, up there?" Inclining his head, Luke smiled proudly, "She is." He replied softly, and Grandfather Bey nodded his greying-haired head. Kes also grinned up at the girl, who smiled back down at him, "I thought so. She looks her father, but she's half her pretty mother, too." He nudged Luke's arm, whispering to him. "Aren't you grateful she didn't get those baby-blues of yours, though? Especially as she gets older." Raising an eyebrow, Luke shook his head and Kes laughed at his former military comrade's expression. Poe rolled his eyes, thankful that his father's sense of humour was not hereditary. Grandfather Bey looked concerned at Luke, "I never thought you'd bring her to a gathering, even if this one is quite intimate." He pointed out in a low voice. Jedi Master Skywalker folded his hands in front of him. "People have been assuming she's one of my students. I don't correct them, because she is, in fact." Luke explained softly, with a reluctance in his voice, and a sadness. "She understands, don't you, sweetheart?" The little girl pointed to her self, "I'm a Jedi student. Master Skywalker is my teacher." She explained with a bright smile, that instantly brought comfort to Luke's previous sad expression. Kes rested his arm on his teenage son's shoulder, "I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to steal my son away from the party for a moment," he placed his hand on Poe's shoulder, about to steer his son through the crowd, when the dark haired girl in the gentle Wookiee's grasp, let out a cry. "Wait! Please, put me down, Chewie." The girl asked Chewbacca, who placed the small girl down, and she went trotting over to Poe, reaching over and opening up her satchel, the girl pulled out her Luke Skywalker doll, dressed in his X-wing pilot's uniform. Looking down at the doll fondly, the girl looked up and held him out to Poe, "Here. I want you to take him with you, when you go to the Academy," she said solemnly. Poe got down on one knee to the girl's level and shook his head. "I can't take your doll, he's your favourite." The girl frowned, "He's an X-wing pilot, and you're going to be an X-wing pilot." She explained, looking like she was trying to find the right words in her very young vocabulary. "My Uncle says pilots need a lot of good luck. So I'm going to give you my dolly, for luck." Poe took the doll from the little girl's hands, and then placed his free hand on the girl's shoulder, "Okay, but it's only a loan, all right? After I'm done with the Academy, I'll give him back to you, okay?" He gave the girl a comforting smile. "He'll be a well travelled doll by then, and he and I will have lots of stories to tell you." The girl nodded her head, excitement all over her slightly freckled features. "Yay!" She furrowed her brow suddenly. "You promise?" As the teenager nodded, the girl threw her arms around Poe's neck, and shyly gave him a kiss on the cheek, before rushing back to Jedi Master Skywalker. Luke picked up the precocious child and gave a smile and nod over at Poe, who waved to Luke, the girl, Chewbacca, and his grandfather, before getting to his feet, and following Kes through the formally dressed throng of beings. "I think you've got yourself a little fan there," Kes commented, as Poe tucked the Luke Skywalker doll into his empty blaster holster, (all weapons having been checked at the Massassi Temple door, prior to entry into the celebration.) and shrugged. "She's a cute kid. She makes me wish I'd had a little sister or brother." Poe revealed quietly, and he heard Kes exhale. "I know Mom couldn't have any more kids, but still, it was a bit lonely growing up alone." Father and son walked in relative silence through the crowd, Kes smiling over at one or two beings known to him, but neither himself nor Poe said anything more until they reached one of the exits of the Grand Hall, heading down a set of ancient stone stairs, that lead to the old Rebel docking bay beneath the temple. Kes cleared his throat as they walked down the stairs, "Those early years, re-establishing the Republic, kept us busy. We already regretted having to leave you behind with your grandfather all the time, and thought we didn't want to put another kid through not having us around." He explained, looking over at his son with a sad smile. "And when things had some what settled back down, we really didn't get a chance to get around to adopting another kid, before your mother passed away." Poe nodded, "I understand." He assured Kes, who placed a hand on his son's shoulder as they reached the landing bay, filled with dozens of fancy yachts and other ships, belonging to the guests above. "I've got a gift for you, Poe. A congratulation present for getting into the Academy." Kes revealed, and Poe blinked his dark gaze. "Dad, you really didn't—" Kes inclined his head with a smile, "Yeah...yeah, I did, son." He put his right hand index finger and thumb in his mouth and whistled. There was a shrill, bleating whistle in response, and Poe looked over in the direction the responding noise had come from, and his eyes lit up when he saw the round, humming shape, barrelling towards the Damerons across the durasteel floor of the old docking bay. The BB astromech droid unit, was decorated with orange circles around it's spherical build, with grey designs within the orange circles. Its tiny dome top rocked back and fourth on its body, as it warbled up at first Kes, then looked up at Poe, its little red glowing ocular receptor flickered on and off as it beeped up at the teenager, whistling in greeting. Poe dropped down on one knee to the BB droid's level and put his right hand on the little dome, "Hey there, little guy," he greeted, and the droid leaned back, chirping a greeting merrily, as he rolled back and fourth. "His designation is BB-8, he's fresh off the manufacturing line." Kes mentioned, squatting down and placing an arm around Poe's shoulders. "He's yours." Looking up at his father with happy surprise, Poe blinked his dark gaze, "I—really?" He questioned, and Kes shrugged his shoulders with a grin, reaching over to pat Beebee-Ate affectionately, as he got to his feet. "My boy's going to be an Starfleet pilot, so he has to have a top of the range astromech droid to keep him safe out there," the elder Dameron affixed his gaze on his teenage son, who was looking over his new droid with glee. "I am proud of you, Poe." Poe glanced back up at his father, who smiled down at him as the young cadet got to his feet. "Thank you, Dad." He answered back with an equally bright smile, as Kes pulled his slightly shorter son into a tight hug, before pulling the boy back. Kes folded his arms, "I know I haven't been around enough, especially as you entered your teenage years. But I want you to know that I'm here now," he smirked. "Anything you want to talk to me about? Girls, maybe? Or guys, or whatever..." Kes trailed off when he heard Poe let out a snort of laughter. "Oh, come on now, kid, give your old man a break. C'mon," Kes put his arm around Poe and lead him towards an old, faded yellow Rebellion era transport, Beebee-Ate rolling behind the Damerons, merrily humming. "Talk to me, son." Poe relaxed under his father's one-armed embrace, as they sat down on the worn seat of the old transport vehicle, "I do have a few questions," he admitted, pushing back his lanky fringe from his forehead, as Kes waved his hands encouragingly. "Fire away, kid." Father and son talked way into the night, Poe thankful that all his fears of his father not caring about him laid to rest, firmly and forever. The future Resistance pilot grateful for many years to come, that Kes Dameron was the father he'd always hoped for, perhaps not always around, but one who made time for his son whenever he could, and let him know that he loved him. That anniversary of the First Death Star Battle, had exposed the teenage Poe to three fathers who cared so much about their children. Poe's own father who was free to express his love for his child, and did so openly. Another father who's love seemed often rejected, but he still tried. And, finally, another father who had to hide his love away, but expressed it much as he could in other ways. It was the first time Poe thought of one day being a father himself. Wondering if it would be possible to have a large family like he'd always wanted, with many children, who would never have to question their father's love. Smiling broadly, as Kes dove into yet another anecdote about his mischievous, youthful past working for the Rebellion, Poe decided he couldn't wait to accumulate stories of his own, to tell to the next generations of Damerons. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Thank you for reading and, if you'd like to see more of this story posted here, let me know.