scenes from middle of fuckall, michigan.
“Fuck,” Han said with feeling, resisting the urge to actually wail on the engine block. For one, it was still hot as hell and he didn’t feel like dealing with third degree burns in the middle of nowhere, and for another, it wouldn’t solve the problem. “Fuck, fuck fuck shit and—”
“That’s not gonna help.”
He came up too fast, and whacked his head on the hood. Through watering eyes he surveyed the skinny streak of nothing standing on the shoulder, shifting uncertainly from foot to foot. “It’s helping me plenty,” he groused. “Who the hell are you?”
He blinked, and the kid stared back. Girl? Yeah, girl. “It’s a cracked block,” she said finally. “You should get it pinned.”
“Yeah, thanks, I got that much.” She looked a little startled at his sourness, and he sighed, rubbing the back of his head. He was going to have one hell of a goose egg tomorrow. “Look, my cell’s been out of battery for a hundred miles. There a garage within walking distance of here?”
“Plutt’s Autobody is about a twenty minute walk that way. Although—”
The kid fell silent, worrying at her lower lip and staring at the open hood as though the answer she was looking for was somewhere in there. “Well?” Han asked. “Spit it out, I’m hardly gonna get younger over here.”
“Plutt overcharges,” the kid said quickly. “I can pin it for you easy—I’ve got a drill, guide fixture, and tap at my place. I’ll do it cheaper than Plutt would, too.”
“Look, you seem like a nice girl, and I’m sure—”
The kid blazes, drawing herself up and lifting her chin. She looks so like Leia in that moment that Han shuts up, purely out of force of habit. “No, you look. You can either let me do it now and be on your way without a fuss, or you can go to Plutt’s, where he’ll charge you three times as much and end of the day, I’ll still be the one who fixes your fucking engine!”
There was a long silence. Somewhere off in the distance, a hawk screamed.
“I’m Han Solo. That’s Chewie,” he said, jerking his thumb back at the Falcon. From the passenger seat, Chewie called out a half-garbled greeting, and the kid looked a little alarmed. He wondered if she’d realized they had company. “Don’t worry, he’s harmless. An asshole, but harmless.”
She was staring. “The Han Solo?” she asked, and Han felt himself flush.
“I, uh. I used to be. Not for a long time now, though.”
They stared at one another for another long moment. “Rey,” the kid finally said.
She couldn’t seem to look him in the eye.
“My name is Rey Smith.”
“All right. Well, Rey Smith—I’ll pay you once the job is done and we can agree on labor plus parts, and no funny business. If I think you’re cheating me, I’ll march right down the road to Plutt’s.”
He held out a hand.