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Walking Each Other Home

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Finn spends three months in a medically induced coma because no one knows what the fuck is going on with him. The First Order, cut off from the Empire’s endless supply of clones and given the relative expense of actually raising their cannon fodder from childhood, has been experimenting.

It’s 80% why Finn survived a light saber to the spine and 100% why the med droids, doctors, and specialists are worried about waking him up. What if he’s a walking, talking bomb?

Poe tucks himself in a corner and watches. Steals copies of all the scans, reads all the notes, overhears all the arguments and discussions and theoretical discourse. He simmers in his corner, his anger a slow-burning fuse, until the rages blooms within him.

“His name is Finn,” he says, voice quiet. The lethal rage inside him slices thru the room and silences it, startled eyes turning to him. “He is a person, not a medical mystery for you to solve. So get your shit together, figure out how to help him, and then wake him up.

There’s a moment of silence and then the room descends into organized chaos. Poe senses someone watching him and looks over quick enough to catch the tail end of General Organa’s approving smirk.

***

Finn wakes up and goes right back to sleep.

He wakes up again, blinks at the night nurse who had banished Poe for at least 5 hours to sleep in his own bed and, for the love of everyone, shower, and goes right back to sleep.

He wakes up a third time when Poe’s napping in the chair beside his bed, chin against his chest, because the Hero of the Resistance isn’t going to wake up alone again, evil nurses be damned. BB-8 rams into Poe’s ankle with an insistent whistle, causing Poe to flail about to stop himself from falling to the floor. He looks up, right into dark, hooded eyes.

“Rey’s off finding mythical Jedi knights in the deepest parts of space,” Poe offers, because ‘hi’ is beyond him and he can see the answer to “how do you feel?” is “not dead, but it’s a close thing.”

“But she’s ok?” Finn asks, voice strained and so worried.

“Better than you,” Poe points out, and Finn scowls. “Also, way better than you at fighting. She managed to not get light sabered in the back.” Finn makes a face and Poe gently helps him take a few sips of water. BB-8 starts asking questions about Designation:Poe’s-Finn and his repair status. (Which what? NO, BB-8, do not call Finn that in public! Change his Designation immediately!)

“S’at BB-8?” Finn mumbles, already sliding back towards sleep. The little droid beeps merrily from underneath the bed and Poe, heaving a long-suffering sigh, rigs up a chair and ramp so they can see each other. He’s mystified when the little ball of circuits and attitude sticks its butane torch out at Finn. Finn falls back asleep in the middle of a laugh.

***

Finn has some kind of computer structure affixed to his brain. It’s partially organic, has been growing with him since the First Order got their hands on him, but the extent of what it does is unknown. It did not blow up when they woke Finn up (or when he first deserted, Poe had pointed out), though his room is currently shielded from all communication signals.

They do know, however, that part of it regulates certain hormones and chemicals in the body, and has likely been used as a means of controlling Finn’s moods and, to a certain extent, his actions. A team of Rebellion programmers and coders are in the process of analyzing and cracking the underlying programming language, but it’s dense, and weirdly unique and they can’t actually test anything out on Finn because it might kill him. They have isolated the part of the implant that controls the endocrine system and have rudimentary control over it.

So Finn has several options: monitor the device but leave it alone and live his life as is; let it be until they can gather more information; try to turn off each bio-chemical control system one by one, using their best educated guesses to minimize fall out; or…turn off the endocrine regulation completely.

“Turn it off,” Finn says instantly, lips pressed together and nails biting into his palm.

“Sir. Finn,” the Doctor M’Benga amends at Poe’s sharp look, “we have no idea what that might do. Your hormone levels might be wildly out of sync. You’ll likely experience violent mood swings, depression, manic episodes…a rather unpleasant pseudo-puberty. It could put a great deal of stress on your body, and while you’ve made a frankly impressive physical recovery—”

“Turn it off.” Poe lets Finn fight his own battles, make his own choices and stand by them, but he’s glaring glacially when M’Benga glances his way.

“Alright. We’ll set everything up and do this today. No sense in waiting.” They leave Finn sitting propped up in his hospital bed while doctors and nurses start lining increasingly vicious looking tools on a tray by the bed, including a long, big ass needle that Finn stares at with wide, wide eyes.

The doctors don’t seem to realize the kid’s fucking terrified, so Poe waits until they’re all huddled over their tablets, ignoring the very patient they’re talking so intently about, to ease Finn’s hands open and give him someone else to hold on to.

---

The ‘surgery’ goes perfectly. It’s gotta be a trap, right?

They numb Finn’s head, shave a stripe through his hair, use a small, directed laser to bore a minute hole through his skull, and stick the Big Fucking Needle into Finn’s brain. The needle actually turns into a small, flexible wire that connects the implant to a computer. There’s a burst of excited chatter and technobabble that Poe only follows some of, partly because he’s only really interested in the systems of things that go very fast, mostly because Finn’s still very much awake and aware, sitting rigidly in his bed, both hands clutching Poe’s and breath barely in control. His grip has moved from Poe’s hands to his forearms, which is probably good for Poe’s fingers.

“Hey,” Poe says, voice pitched low and soothing. Finn glances at him, then back to the programmers, who have synced a second computer to the first. “Hey. I ever tell you about the first time I ever flew? It was on a dare. To impress a girl.”

“You crash?” Finn breathes, his attention shifting desperately to Poe.

“I didn’t crash, I fell with style.”

He regales Finn with his most embarrassing stories—and there are a lot of them, he hasn’t always been the Best Pilot in the Galaxy™. (Or the best at making decisions, though that’s certainly debatable.) But he’s thankful for every single choice he’s made, because they’ve all led to this moment: Finn’s brain wired to a computer, a solid dozen of the galaxy’s best medical professionals falling over themselves at the mystery of the empire’s latest bit of ethical shadiness, and Finn ignoring them all in favor of giving Poe a wide grin, trying to stay still and not laugh.

The moment breaks when Finn gives a gasp, goes rigid, and slumps over.

“It’s done,” a doctor says, checking Finn’s vitals with calm competence before sealing the surgical wound; they leave the thin wire coiled just underneath Finn’s skin. It leaves a strange bump but won’t pose any risk to him, and they can access the implant if something goes wrong, or they want to work on turning it off completely.

Finn crashes immediately after, possibly experiencing his first natural sleep in years.

Poe sleeps in his own bed that night, running the pads of his fingers over the sensitive bruises on his wrists.