It was strange to think about the future. The Battle of Exagol had meant the end of the First Order. In the hangar, hugging tightly the two beings he loved most in the entire universe, Finn told himself over and over again that they had succeeded. They’d done the impossible. Perhaps he’d been innocent believing that from that moment on, everything would be fine.
Finn opened his eyes slowly trying to discern what was that red light that blinked intermittently. Without much coordination he lit the holo and Rey's bluish face lit the room. The Scavenger’s image laughed nervously.
"I feel ridiculous talking to myself... Hi, Finn!" she smiled more calmly "I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. I'm sorry we didn't have more time to talk but there is something I have to do and not”
Finn stumbled in his hurry to get up and took the hologram closing his hand tightly around it. Without bothering to put on some pants, he left with the same shirt he wore the day before. Bluish light escaped between his fingers. Rey's voice was choppy until it was nothing more than an unintelligible whisper.
"Rey!" He shouted, knocking insistently against Rey's cell door. “Rey! It's me, Finn! Open!”
From the other side of the door, he only heard silence. Frightened by what it could mean, he typed the combination and the door opened with a metallic creak. It was as if Rey had never been there. The cot was completely bare, only the yellowish mattress and an almost flat pillow.
Between shoves and trips, he kept going without bothering to apologize to everyone who crossed his path. He was convinced that his heart was going to get out of his chest. The hallways seemed to have lengthened during the night. He felt the cold floor against the soles of his feet.
The Falcon wasn’t there.
“Kriff!” He kicked one of the spare containers. “Kri” The pain left him without air.
“Finn? Is everything okay?” He felt Poe's hand against his shoulder.
"She's gone" he answered, frowning when he saw the horrible appearance of his big toe. He would be lucky if he hadn't broken it. "Poe" he looked at the pilot, feeling lost. "Rey is gone. We are supposed to be a team”
"Finn, friend," Poe's voice took him out of his reverie “someone should look at that finger.” Finn shrugged with his eyes fixed on his bare feet. "I know what Rey means to you, but she will come back. Rey always comes back.”
"What if this time she doesn’t?" He whispered to himself. At that moment, in the middle of the hangar, he felt pathetic. “I’d better go. I’m sorry” he pointed to himself without knowing what was he felt sorry about and limped away before Poe had a chance to reply.
"It looks like you're not the only one who hasn't said goodbye" he heard Poe mutter at the indignation of BeeBee-Ate. The deafening noise of the engines was smothered until it was nothing more than a distant rumor.
That night, curled up on his cot, Finn watched Rey's face. The blue of the holo-vid blurred the vivacious color of Rey's eyes, leaving only a dull gray.
“I’m a coward for not saying goodbye to you in person, but you’d have liked to come with me and your place is here with The Resistance.”
Rey's words still echoed in his head hours after he turned off the holo-vid. He only had wanted for them to stay together but maybe Rey was right. Poe was still there and at least his obligations to the Resistance kept him sane for most of the day.
Rey leaving had been a hard blow but the Jedi was only one more among the dozen beings than had left the Resistance in recent weeks. Poe sighed pulling his black curls away from his forehead. At that rate, those who considered that the Resistance was nothing more than a useless relic from the war were going to have it very easy to make them disappear.
Poe was going crazy. He didn't have enough credits to pay for the fuel but the money would have to come from somewhere. Without fuel their X-Wings were nothing but useless scrap. BeeBee-Ate's irritating beeps had been digging into his brain for a while when he finally couldn't take it anymore.
"I'm not hungry!" He shouted desperately at the insistence of the droid. "I don't even know if we're going to be able to pay for the food!"
Poe looked at the Datapad for the last time before throwing it against the desk. He couldn't help feeling he was fighting a losing battle.
“[And Friend-Finn?]” BeeBee-Ate asked.
“He already has enough problems. He doesn’t need to know” Poe leaned back in his chair, his gaze lost on the chipped ceiling. “Do you think he confessed what he felt and she still…?” He felt a lump in his throat. Remembering Finn's face, Poe couldn't help but hate Rey a little.
BeeBee-Ate ignored his comment and kept insisting with squeaky beeps that he needed to eat something.
It was already late when he got in the almost deserted canteen, tired of hearing BeeBee-Ate's complaints. For a moment he thought he saw Testor and Snap laugh but it was impossible. Sometimes he thought he was still in Black-One cockpit, hearing again and again the explosion that had ended Wexley's life. He didn't even know if Jess was still alive.
“[Friend-Finn!]” The droid's beeps took him out of his reverie.
Sitting at one of the tables, the former stormtrooper ignored the tray in front of him while he played with a holo between his fingers.
"There’s news of Rey?" Poe sat next to him, slapping him on the back.
"Poe!" Finn was startled. "No" he sighed defeated. “I hoped that at this point she’d have at least sent a message but... I'm worried that something might have happened to her.”
"It's Rey who we're talking about." Poe forced a smile.
"Rose is leaving too." Finn pushed the tray away, leaving it abandoned in the middle of the table. “She wants to go home. Help rebuild.”
"Rose is going to be there if you need her." Poe placed his hand on Finn's thigh. "It doesn’t mean you're going to lose her."
"That’s not what it seems right now" Finn complained. Poe didn't know what to answer. With things as they were, he was afraid that whatever he said was nothing more than an empty promise. "I feel so stupid." Finn hid his face behind the palms of his hands.
“Finn, buddy” Poe dragged Finn towards him “It doesn’t matter
"General Dameron, Sir!" Lieutenant Connix broke the moment. The urgency in her voice couldn’t be good and the expression on her face only confirmed his suspicions.
"Report, Lieutenant." Poe ordered, getting up from the table. Finn was still sitting but kept staring at Connix.
“A message from the High Admiralty. I thought you’d like to know immediately. It is in reference to Lieutenant Kun.”
Kaydel handed him the datapad. The emblem of the Republic shone on the screen. Poe looked at the screen with some apprehension.
"Is she ok?" Finn asked, getting up too. "Why didn't she get in touch with us?"
“They are accusing her of desertion” the datapad shook in his hands. “If you'll excuse me”
“Poe! Poe!” Finn shouted following him down the hall. “What are you going to do?”
“I don't know yet, but I’ll think of something.”
In the following days, life in Ajan Kloss had become increasingly oppressive. The news of Kun's arrest had left no one indifferent. For the most part, the pilots, much of the infantry and even some of the engineers were Army deserters. Uncertainty seemed to be undermining the moral of everyone. Poe tried to hide how much it affected him but it was easy to see the tiredness on his face. Finn was convinced that the pilot wasn’t sleeping more than two hours each night, lost between reports that no one saw but him.
"Kriffing Co-Generals, my balls" Finn hit the wall, frustrated. They had known each other for a long time now. Poe was up to something and, whatever it was, it couldn't be anything good.
“What has the poor wall done to you?”
"Rose!" Finn smiled for the first time in days. "I thought you were gone!"
“Without saying goodbye? And I think I’m more needed here right now.” Rose shrugged. “Poe is making things difficult?”
"And when he isn’t?." Finn leaned against the wall, exhausted.
"Well… It wouldn't be Poe, then." Rose shook her head. “Maybe you can take care of these for him?” The engineer showed him the datapads in her hands.
"Promissory notes?" Finn looked at them curiously. “I thought that was the administration's job”.
“Iori has returned to Naboo, so I lend them a hand when I can. These should have already been paid but with the whole issue of Karé…”
Finn opened them one by one. They were expense notes: spare parts, bacta, fuel, thermal blankets, boots, coats... Never before had he thought about where everything they needed came from. He felt vertigo when he saw the speed at which the figures were shooting up.
"Leave it in my hands." He muttered, looking at the datapads one last time. "Thank you, Rose." Finn wrapped her in a hug before running off to command.
Almost all the lights in command were off except for the slight reflection of the lamp that illuminated the corner in which Poe used to work. Finn came near slowly. The exhaustion seemed to have managed to beat Poe. He slept on the table, twisted on himself. Finn couldn't help thinking about the neck pain he was going to have when he finally woke up.
"Shh," Finn shook him carefully. "Poe."
The pilot was startled, dragging with him the datapads that had been trapped under his arms.
"Finn?" Poe looked at him still lost. "I'm-I'm sorry! Did I fall asleep?” the pilot tried to tidy up his curls. “I was”
“Asleep. I've noticed” Finn leaned on the edge of the table, his sight wandering on the datapads next to his thigh. They were more promissory notes like the ones Rose had just given him.
"How much are we talking about?" Finn frowned.
“About three million” Poe replied apologetic while collecting the datapads from the ground.
“Didn't you think that maybe I needed to know? We are supposed to be co-generals!” He growled noticing all his muscles contracting from the anger contained.
Poe dropped against the chair with his eyes lost in infinity. The silence became oppressive.
"I just wanted you to keep something. Even if Rey was gone, even if Rose left, even with everyone we lost in the war” Poe's voice broke into pieces “at least the Resistance was still there.”
"I'm not a child you have to protect from reality" Finn spat. "I was a soldier before I found the Resistance and I’ll still be one when it’s gone." He slammed Rose's datapads on the table. Without waiting for an answer, he turned around, unable to keep looking Poe in the face.
"I'm going to surrender." Poe's voice stuck like a dagger leaving him paralyzed. "I'm not Leia Organa, but I still have some friends left."
"What are you talking about?" Finn turned. Poe was staring at him with an intensity he hadn’t seen in the pilot for some time.
“Kun ... Her only crime was to follow the orders of his Commander.”
"So you're going to let them arrest you and for what?" Finn pounced on Poe, taking him by the lapels of his shirt.
"She already lost Snap because of me, I'm not going to let her" Poe got up breaking Finn's catch.
"Are you doing it for her or are we just talking about your pride?" Finn growled.
"It's how I can do the greatest good!" The screams continued to escalate.
"Great then, General!" Finn raised his arms in despair. "Do whatever you want! It isn’t as if my opinion matters to you at all!”
Finn noticed the pilot's fingers digging into his arm trying to hold him there, but they had nothing else to discuss. Without any pity, he got rid of Poe without looking back.