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And I was on the shore

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In between missions, whenever he was back at base and had a moment, Poe visited Finn.

Sometimes he stayed quiet, sitting in the chair, listening to the beep of those machines hooked up to Finn’s body. Watching the rise and fall of his chest, the reassurance that life was still there, and that any minute now, Finn could wake up, confused, demanding to know what had happened, where was Rey. The medics told him it took time to heal from a wound of that kind, the slice and burn of a lightsaber down Finn’s back.

Sometimes Poe talked, telling Finn about his latest close call, or a funny story about Red Squadron, or some out-of-the-way cantina. He recounted bawdy jokes, purposefully ratcheting up the details to shock and embarrass Finn, who didn’t seem to know a lot about such things, being buried as he had been in a Stormtrooper’s armor, First Order rules and regulations, and rote work.

Poe knew about wounds, he knew about injuries, and death, first-hand; he knew about the risks of this fight, as did his parents before him. That pragmatism didn’t keep him from hoping (maybe even believing) if he found the right story, one funny enough, raunchy enough, surprising enough, or if he could cajole, annoy, charm, entertain, provoke enough, Finn would wake up sooner rather than later.

That Finn would wake up at all.


After being off-world on a mission for days, Poe came by to check on Finn and General Organa was sitting in the chair by Finn’s bed. Poe hesitated outside the door, watching the still calmness of her profile. She carried an extra sadness around her these days like an invisible cloak; even with what she’d always carried on her shoulders for them all, as long as he’d known her, this was something more than before, something else, and it wasn’t because of Finn.

He considered going in, standing at her side; she was his General and whatever she needed, he’d do.

“You can’t lie around here forever, you know,” she said, her voice wry and only a little stern. For a second Poe thought she was addressing him, that she’d sensed him lurking outside the door, but he immediately realized she was talking to Finn. She leaned down to bring her face closer to Finn’s ear. “There’s work to be done still,” she said, voice low.

Then she straightened, stood up, smoothed the front of her vest with strong, worn hands. Poe drew away before she could catch him watching. He’d visit Finn later.


There was the time BB-8 followed him in, head canting down to the side in a melancholic way. He found the droid comforting; he reached down to touch the side of the cool metal sphere, and the droid rolled closer.

A whirring noise sounded out in the corridor, a counterpoint to the steady beeps of the medical equipment monitoring Finn, and the other droid, R2-D2, rolled into the room. BB-8 rotated to face R2-D2, who came to a stop next to Finn’s bed. R2-D2 made a series of mournful beeps.

The bigger droid was more battered and older than BB-8, with scoring and dings in the metal no amount of polishing could hide. Finn likely wasn’t the first injured soldier it had watched.

Poe launched into one of the many stories he knew about Maz’s castle—a tale he’d grown up hearing.

Finn didn’t stir, but the droids seemed to enjoy it.


He started wearing the jacket again, and it wasn’t quite like wearing a stranger’s clothes, and it wasn’t quite like wearing his own either. This was a placeholder, wearing it to keep it from getting stiff from disuse, until Finn woke up and needed it again.


Another mission. The starboard engine of Poe’s X-Wing caught fire, but he managed to land on a nearby moon and waited for rescue, cursing under his breath as he stared up through the X-Wing’s canopy at the scattering of stars and the moving spots of light that signified the ongoing skirmish.

The cockpit smelled of burnt wiring.

He had enough air to last a few hours. He wanted to get out and pace. He needed to be up there, with his squadron.

To pass the time, Poe started to sing, some folk song his mother had taught him, about the Battle of Endor. BB-8 made an approving sound over the intercom.


“Glad to see you in one piece, Commander,” General Organa said, after they all made it back to base. She nodded at him briskly.

He grinned. The corner of her mouth twitched upwards, just a little, before she went completely stern again and turned back to the schematics display, the blue-green light playing over her face.

Poe never gave much thought to dying, at least not for his own death.


“You didn’t actually quit The First Order and ditch that ridiculous armor for this, did you?”

He put his hand on Finn’s chest, felt how warm Finn was against his palm through the white cloth, the steady heartbeat.

“Come on, Finn.”

Reluctant to lose contact with that warmth, the reassurance that Finn was alive, Poe slowly pulled his hand away.

“Come on.”

The medical equipment continued to beep steadily. But that was all.

He got to his feet. “You kriffing lurdo, wake up.”

When that accomplished absolutely nothing, Poe shoved his hands deep into the pockets of the flight jacket.

“Finn,” he said, softly. Then walked away.


Days later, Poe was off-world again when BB-8 received a transmission: Finn’s awake.

He found Finn in one of the hangers. When Poe approached, Finn jumped down from the crate he’d been sitting on, only a little wobbly on his legs. His face was thinner than Poe remembered, and he was a little hollow-eyed.

“You look terrible,” Poe said, before he grabbed Finn and pulled him into a hug.

“Not as bad as you,” Finn said, hugging him back.

He smelled too clean, too much of medical bay, no sweat or grease, sand or dirt.

They moved apart and looked at each other until finally Poe shrugged out of his jacket.

“Here.” He held it out to Finn. “Been keeping this warm for you. Knew you’d get up off your ass eventually and you’d need it again.”

Finn stared at Poe, then took the jacket and put it on. He tugged the sleeves into place, just so.

Poe nodded. “Always looked better on you anyway.”