I can fly anything. Are you Resistance?
FN-2187 stared at the words scrawled in messy Standard on his forearm. He didn’t know what they meant. Well, he didn’t know what they were supposed to mean at least. What they meant for him, though, was extra protocol sessions and more scrutiny from his superiors.
KG-7778 told him that it was because the words made them think that he was going to break protocol. To disobey orders. To betray the First Order.
His mind balked at the very idea. The First Order was all he knew. Obedience was all he knew. Why would he break protocol?
KG-7778, who received the same type of treatment because of the words written on his arm (You saved my life, written in neat, tidy script), wasn’t so sure it was a crazy idea.
“These words are on us for a reason,” he had insisted in a quiet whisper after lights out one night. He was lucky that only FN-2187, in the bunk directly above him, could hear.
“Everyone has words,” he had whispered back. “They never mean anything.”
“Because they control us too much.”
FN-2187 hadn’t said anything to that, knowing it was a dangerous thing for his fellow Stormtrooper to have said and that it would be even more dangerous to answer.
The sting of a needle in his upper arm broke him out of his thoughts and tore his eyes away from the words. He held back a wince as the medicine was injected into him.
No matter how much something hurt, Stormtroopers weren’t supposed to show pain. Needles, though, had always been something that FN-2187 had hated. Unfortunately, they were required to get a rejection every month. Without it, their bodies would be vulnerable to all kinds of deadly viruses and parasites that plagued the galaxy.
Still, FN-2187 really wished they could develop medicine that lasted longer than a month.
“You’re done,” the tinny voice of the med-droid informed him. “Get dressed and report back to your barracks.”
FN-2187 bit back a sigh as he stood up and pulled on his undershirt before methodically putting his upper armor back on. He fastened his neck guard and lowered his helmet onto his head without complaint.
Well, any verbal complaint at least.
He hated his helmet. He felt like he couldn’t breathe while wearing it. He knew it was crazy, because the helmet was designed to make sure their airflow was uninhibited. In fact, he probably got fresher air with his helmet on than without it, as the helmet filtered out any non-gaseous micro-particles in the air.
It felt so… confining though.
He had told this to KG-7778, who had just shrugged.
“I like it,” his bunkmate had told him. “It’s familiar.”
FN-2187 couldn’t understand that but hadn’t said anything else. It wasn’t like he had a choice not to wear it, after all. Stormtroopers were required to wear their helmets at all times, unless they were eating, sleeping, or showering, unless they had express permission to remove it.
And FN-2187 had never seen anyone receive express permission to remove their helmet.
Turn here. Can you fly a TIE fighter?
It was the words that led Poe to follow in his mother’s footsteps more than anything else. The words, written in meticulously even writing, that would be the first his soulmate ever uttered to him.
His mother had laughed at him when, at the age of six, he had told her that he was going to be the best pilot ever, and had told him that he better start learning now. That was the day she had started giving him flying lessons in her old A-wing fighter.
He could still remember those lessons, soaring over the trees of Yavin IV with his mother smiling brightly at him as she turned over the controls completely to him.
When he had joined the New Republic Starfleet years later, he knew he was the best pilot in his recruit class, but he wasn’t good enough.
TIE fighters, he knew, were a different breed of spacecraft. The intel the New Republic had on them was scarce, mostly because the tracking beacon inside each fighter made them inconvenient to capture. Not to mention how notable they were.
So in order for Poe to be good enough to pilot one, he had to make sure he could literally fly anything. Which meant getting practice on every type of spacecraft that he could. He flew anything he could get into the cockpit of, spending much more time in the air or in space than he did in his quarters.
His superiors had shaken their heads at his single-minded pursuit of being better, no doubt baffled by the idea that their best pilot felt he needed to be better, but they never held him back.
By the time he left the Republic fleet to join the Resistance, he had probably flown every type of spacecraft in the galaxy.
Except a TIE fighter.
He fell silently into formation with KG-7778. This was an unscheduled address to the entire regiment of Stormtroopers on Starkiller Base.
This had never happened before. The First Order scheduled everything. The order to assemble, then, had caught FN-2187 off guard. Especially since his unit was getting ready for their new assignment on board the Finalizer.
FN-2187 desperately wanted to lean over and ask KG-7778 what was going on, but not only would he get in major trouble with his officers, but it’d be a fruitless effort. His fellow trooper knew as little as he did.
They all stood a little straighter when General Hux strode on stage, followed closely by Captain Phasma. Two lieutenants followed them, each leading a helmet-less Stormtrooper with shackled hands at blaster-point.
The lieutenants forced the helmet-less troopers to their knees. FN-2187 winced at the sound of their plastoid armor hitting the stage. It sounded far too loud in the silence surrounding him.
FN-2187 was filled with dread even before General Hux opened his mouth to address them. These Stormtroopers had been singled out. Being singled out was never good.
They were raised to act together as a unit. There was no individual. On the battlefield, individuals were weak. Units, though, were strong.
And Stormtroopers had to be strong at all times.
“Loyal soldiers of the First Order!” General Hux began, his pale gaze sweeping over them. “Supreme Leader Snoke is grateful for your loyal service! There are those among you, though, who have not been so loyal! These two!” he cried, pointing a finger at the two troopers on stage with him. “These two have denounced their loyalties to the First Order and sworn allegiance to each other! This behavior cannot be tolerated! It cannot be condoned! And it must be punished!”
FN-2187 felt sick as his eyes slid to the two kneeling. They both had light skin and dark hair and seemed only to have eyes for the other. He didn’t see how they could shut out the general’s loud and judgmental voice. What could possibly be so important about one that would make him the sole focus of the other?
The lieutenants made a show of unholstering their blasters, stepping back, and lining up their shots. It was no mystery to anyone what was coming.
For once in his life, FN-2187 was grateful for his helmet as he closed his eyes. He couldn’t watch this. It felt… wrong.
“Let this serve as a lesson to you all!” General Hux continued. “The First Order will not tolerate its soldiers to waver in their loyalty. Their allegiance must be to the First Order alone.”
The blasters fired in unison, followed by the unmistaken twin thuds of dead bodies hitting the floor.
His squadron knew about his words. Living in close quarters, it was impossible to not know the more intimate details of each other’s lives.
Like he knew Jess had the words You startled me! written in loopy writing on her arm. In deference to these words, she took pains to not sneak up on anyone, always announcing her presence whenever she walked into a room.
Which, in Poe’s opinion, was ridiculous, especially when there was zero chance of there being anyone in the room who she hadn’t already met. After all, they were the first words your soulmate ever spoke to you.
Jess, though, didn’t want to hear those words from anyone but her soulmate.
“I don’t like hearing them knowing I haven’t heard them from her yet,” she had explained with a shrug.
Poe didn’t ask how she was so sure her soulmate was a her. Sometimes you just knew. Like how Poe knew his soulmate was definitely going to be a he.
Ello’s words were in Aurebesh, a language Poe had never quite learned to read but could speak passably well. Ello had translated it to them once after a particularly successful mission, while they were all getting wonderfully drunk. Though it lost something in translation, even in Standard it was a particularly scathing and vulgar insult. Ello said he would have fallen in love with his now wife even if he hadn’t had her words written on his skin.
Snap’s words were so faded they were nearly illegible. None of them ever talked about it, but they all knew what it meant.
It was a thing of nightmares, the thought of the words fading from your skin. It meant they would never be spoken to you.
Even worse for Poe, though, was the thought of the words fading from his soulmate’s skin. The thought of dying and leaving his soulmate alone.
He had seen what his mother’s death had done to his father. He didn’t wish that on anyone, let alone his soulmate.
FN-2187 felt like he was drowning.
He had been training for his entire life for this moment. His first foray into battle. No matter how much training he had, he still felt horrendously underprepared for what was happening.
There was fire everywhere. Fire that they had started.
What had these people done to deserve his unit coming in and destroying their village? What crime had they committed? Why did they have to die?
Why did he have to kill them?
He saw KG-7778 fall and was sure he would have screamed in dismay if he had been able to breathe properly. KG-7778 reached up for him as FN-2187 slipped his arms under him.
KG-7778’s fingers brushed the front of his helmet before his arm felt limply to his side.
FN-2187’s eyes watered as he held the other trooper’s body in his arms. He was the closest thing he had ever had to a friend…
He lowered KG-7778 back to the ground before getting up on his feet, crouching low as blaster fire flew through the air around him.
He straightened as Kylo Ren’s ship landed and the pilot who had been their main target was forced to his knees in front of the darkly clad figure.
FN-2187’s heart was pounding in his chest as he watched Ren and the pilot exchange words, unable to hear what the two were saying but feeling anxious all the same. He was so busy watching his fellow troopers dragging the pilot away that he didn’t notice the blaster bolt shooting straight at the fountain beside him, and he jumped as small pieces of debris hit him.
He glanced back over towards where the pilot once was, freezing as he caught Kylo Ren looking straight at him.
Neither of them could see the other’s eyes, of course, but FN-2187 knew that those eyes were boring straight into his.
Fear flooded him. It felt like Ren could see into his very soul and just knew that he was weak. That he was wrong. That he was a failure as a Stormtrooper.
Even worse, he wasn’t sure he wanted to be a good Stormtrooper. Not if it meant this.
He didn’t want to be a bringer of death to an innocent village that some random Resistance pilot decided to take refuge in. He didn’t want to be a bringer of death period.
His loyalty was wavering, as General Hux and Captain Phasma and a slew of protocol sessions warned him against.
And wavering, he knew, meant death.
And now Kylo Ren knew.
He had to get away. But how?
Getting captured by the First Order was not in the plan.
To be fair, getting captured was probably rarely in anybody’s plan, but it was absolutely not in Poe’s plan.
The torture was definitely something he could’ve gone without. It was par the course, being captured by the Darth-Vader-wannabe and all, but he would have liked to avoid it.
He could handle it, though. He knew this was a risk when he signed up for the Resistance. And accepting a mission like retrieving a map to Luke Skywalker? Yeah, he knew he was asking for the wrath of the First Order to be focused on him.
What he did not expect was Kylo Ren and his mind tricks. It felt like his mind was being broken apart as Ren forced his way into his head, pulling the information he wanted from Poe’s brain despite his agonized screams. When Ren finally pulled out, Poe was left panting and shuddering, feeling unbelievably violated and ashamed.
He had let the Resistance down.
Ren knew about BB-8 and the map to Skywalker.
He sagged in his bonds in despair as another Stormtrooper strode in confidently, telling the one guarding him that General Hux had requested Poe be brought to him.
He knew what that meant. He had outlived his usefulness to the First Order.
He was going to be executed.
Poe’s heart sank as the Stormtrooper led him roughly at gunpoint down the corridors of the star destroyer. He couldn’t help but think about his soulmate, out there somewhere in the universe, whose words would soon fade from his skin.
“Turn here,” the trooper ordered, nearly pushing him into a small supply closet before wrenching his helmet off.
Poe couldn’t help but stare at him, thrown completely at the sight of a Stormtrooper without a helmet. Despite knowing otherwise, he had never been able to picture the faceless troopers as human.
“Can you fly a TIE fighter?” the helmet-less trooper asked urgently.
Poe’s heart stuttered. He had ignored the “turn here” as a common directional command, one he had heard many times, but this man had said them. His words.
This was his soulmate.
“I can fly anything,” he answered the question in a daze before furrowing his brow. “Are you Resistance?”
The man looked visibly startled at his question, and Poe realized that he must have just said his words. The pilot bit back an elated smile at that. Their words matched. They were soulmates. The had found each other.
However, this type of situation probably required them both to keep their cool and be serious.
His soulmate was apparently much better at it than he was, though, because he quickly shook off his surprise and the urgency was back in his face. “No, but this is a rescue. I’m rescuing you.”
“Why are you helping me?” Poe couldn’t help but ask. He knew it was stupid to ask after finding out they were soulmates, but this man couldn’t have known that before.
“Because it’s the right thing to do,” his soulmate responded.
Poe narrowed his eyes, taking in the fear in his soulmate’s eyes and the tenseness in his shoulders and knowing without a doubt that this whole thing was a whole lot less about saving him and a whole lot more about saving himself.
“You need a pilot,” he called him out, a smirk on his lips to show that he didn’t mind the fact that he was only being rescued for his piloting skills.
Even if he hadn’t been Poe’s soulmate, any Stormtrooper desperate enough to get away from the First Order that he would break out a Resistance pilot was a man that Poe had absolutely no problem helping.
“I need a pilot,” he agreed, seeming relieved that he didn’t have to keep up a pretense anymore.
“Then let’s go,” Poe replied, grin spreading across his face.
His soulmate took a deep breath and nodded, reluctantly putting his helmet back on and leading Poe to the hanger bay, still holding him at blaster point in order to keep up appearances.
“Stay calm, stay calm, stay calm,” his soulmate kept whispering over and over again.
“I am calm,” he tried to assure him, not wanting the other to be worried about him.
“I’m talking to myself,” he told him.
Poe couldn’t help but wonder what exactly the other man had been through to make him so scared. What exactly was the recruitment policy for Stormtroopers these days? What was their training like?
He knew that at one point, the troopers used to be clones and raised from birth to be soldiers, but that was when the Empire was in place decades ago. They weren’t clones anymore, right? They couldn’t. Clones didn’t have soulmates. Did they?
Whatever had been done to him, Poe wanted to get his soulmate as far away from the First Order as possible.
Which meant flying them out of the Finalizer in a TIE fighter.
He could totally do this, he thought as he climbed into the cockpit.
The laser cannons were absolutely nothing like shooting a blaster, no matter what the Resistance pilot had told him. However, he was able to get the hang of it soon enough.
Succeeding in shooting the cannons on the star destroyer sent an exhilarating thrill through him that he had never felt before.
“I did it!” he cried in excitement.
“Yes, you did!” the pilot exclaimed. “Great job—hey, what’s your name?”
He was too caught up in basking in the warm feeling the pilot’s praise to register his question. “Huh? Oh, FN-2187,” he answered.
“FN-21—That’s not a name!” he protested.
FN-2187 shrugged. “It’s the only name they ever gave me.”
“Well I ain’t calling you that,” the pilot said, sounding personally offended at the idea. “FN, huh? I’m going to call you Finn.”
His heart felt lighter all of a sudden as a smile curved on his face.
He had smiled more in the past half hour, he realized, than he had in his entire life. But the pilot made him feel… more relaxed. Or as relaxed as he could feel while he was helping a wanted man escape from the First Order on a stolen TIE fighter.
“Finn… yeah, I like it.”
“Good to meet you, Finn!” the pilot crowed back, grin palpable in his voice. “I’m Poe, Poe Dameron.”
“Good to meet you, Poe!” he called back, happy to have a name to go with the handsome pilot’s face.
He quickly shook the thought away as he realized where they were heading.
“You’re going the wrong way!”
“We have to go back to Jakku!” Poe told him.
“You want to go back to Jakku?!?” he cried in a panic. “They’ll catch us! We’ll be killed!”
“I have to get my droid. An orange and white BB unit.”
“I don’t care what it looks like! We can’t go back to Jakku!!!”
“I’m not going to let anything happen to you, Finn,” Poe assured him, sounding so earnest that Finn believed him. “But I have to get the droid.”
“Why?” The question slipped out before he could stop it and he cringed. He wasn’t supposed to ask questions.
Poe didn’t rebuke him, though. “He’s carrying a map to Luke Skywalker. We have to get him back to the Resistance.”
The name was one that nearly every Stormtrooper knew but none dared to even whisper. Finn had never really been sure if it really belonged to an actual man, but it had to if Poe had a map to him.
It also meant that the First Order would definitely kill them when they inevitably found them.
“We’re going to die.”
“We are not going to die,” Poe stated firmly. “Just, hold on, okay?”
Fear clawed at his heart when Poe woke up alone in the desert with no Finn in sight.
He scrambled to his feet and climbed a sand dune desperately, whipping his head around and praying that he’d catch a glimpse of the wreckage somewhere and that Finn would be near it and alive, but he saw nothing but sand.
He felt to his knees in despair. No. He had just found him. He hadn’t even had a chance to show his soulmate, who had obviously been mistreated by the First Order, exactly what it meant to be loved.
He couldn’t just be gone.
Poe glanced at his arm, covered by the dark sleeve of his shirt. He was afraid to look. Afraid of what he’d see. But it was the only way to know for sure.
He nearly sobbed with relief when he pulled his sleeve up. The words were still there, still wonderfully clear black letters etched into his skin.
Which meant Finn was alive.
But where was he?
Surely the ex-Stormtrooper wouldn’t have just abandoned Poe. And where was what was left of the TIE fighter? How far away had Poe landed from the crash site?
He looked around again but saw nothing to give him a clue about which direction he should take. He didn’t know where Finn or the fighter was, and he had no idea where the nearest town was.
He couldn’t stay where he was, though, so there was nothing for it but to pick a direction and start walking.
Finn didn’t really know where he was walking to. He wasn’t sure if he even cared. Only one thought was currently occupying his mind, and it left no room for anything else to be considered.
Poe Dameron was dead.
He didn’t understand why it hurt so much to think about the pilot and his demise. Realistically, he had known the other man for about an hour, tops. But now he was dead and Finn felt like he had lost a piece of himself along with him.
He had felt like himself with Poe, which was weird because he didn’t know what being himself even meant. The First Order never allowed its troopers to be themselves. They weren’t supposed to be individuals, after all.
When his panicked mind had first latched onto the idea of running away, he hadn’t thought of himself as an individual, as a person. He assumed that he’d be like a small piece of rock that broke away from a mountain and rolled away—tiny, insignificant, something unimportant that no one would miss.
Poe made him feel important.
Maybe it was because the first thing Poe had said to him had been the words that were written on Finn’s arm. Finn wasn’t sure if that actually meant anything, but the words had to have been there for a reason, right? Not that that reason mattered now. Not when Poe was dead.
Or maybe it was because the pilot had given him a name. An actual name. Not a designation. Not a number. But a name.
It made Finn feel like a person.
As he kept trudging away in the desert heat, of course, something finally pushed thoughts of Poe Dameron out of his mind.
Kriff, was he thirsty.
If he had any hydration left in his body, he would have cried in relief at the sight of the ramshackle little town. It seemed to take him forever to get to, but he finally scrambled into it and found some relief for his parched throat.
Then, of course, he met her.
Night was just beginning to fall when Poe entered the small town. What was left of it, at least.
It didn’t take Poe very long to canvas the locals and find out exactly what happened.
As predicted, the First Order had followed them to Jakku. They hadn’t found Poe, though.
They had found Finn.
It didn’t matter that his soulmate had apparently gotten away with the help of some girl. What mattered was that Poe hadn’t been there for him.
He was the one who had dragged the man into this mess to begin with. It was his mission for the Resistance that had let them back to Jakku. Not Finn’s. Finn hadn’t escaped the enslavement of the First Order only to find himself beholden to the Resistance as his new master.
And while Poe firmly believed in the Resistance and what it was doing, if Finn wanted to run away together to the edges of the galaxy and leave all the fighting behind, Poe would do it in a heartbeat.
Because when he finally got his soulmate back, he was never letting go.
After losing Poe, the thought of losing Rey was practically unbearable to Finn. He was tired of losing people. KG-7778. Poe. He couldn’t add Rey to that growing list.
But he also couldn’t go with her and BB-8 to the Resistance. It hurt too much.
Never mind the fact that he wanted to be as far away from the First Order as possible. The Resistance in his mind would always be connected to Poe. The words on his arm made it impossible for it not to be.
Going there without Poe would be agony.
Besides, the Resistance would never accept an ex-Stormtrooper.
He still had a couple of weeks before his injection wore off, which meant he was protected from the viruses and parasites of the galaxy. Surely he could find some out of the way planet to hole up on by then.
“Take care of yourself, Rey,” were the last words he had spoken to his friend.
But he couldn’t leave. He couldn’t leave her. Not when she was the only person in the galaxy that actually cared about him.
Him. A failed Stormtrooper who was barely even a person.
So he went back.
But it was too late.
She was taken before he could get to her.
Even though he had known that Finn was with BB-8, hearing his soulmate calling his name as he greeted his droid still sent a thrill through him. He looked up to see Finn running across the tarmac towards him.
He was on his feet and running to meet him in a flash, wrapping his soulmate into a tight embrace and savoring the feeling of the man in his arms.
They both pulled back reluctantly, grinning from ear to ear.
“I thought you were dead!” Finn exclaimed, relief etched on his face.
Poe frowned in confusion. “Why would you think that? Your words are still there, right?”
Finn blinked. “I, uh, didn’t check,” he replied sheepishly. “Why would that matter?”
“They would’ve faded if I had died,” he told him with a gentle smile, realizing that Stormtrooper education must have been a bit lacking. “As long as they’re there, I’m alive.”
Poe would never get tired of seeing Finn smile, he decided. His soulmate was beautiful when he smiled. “Yeah?” he asked, toying with the sleeve of his jacket. The sleeve that no doubt hid the words from sight.
Wait a second. “Is that my jacket?”
“Oh, yeah,” Finn said, looking sheepish. “You can have it back.”
“Keep it,” he replied immediately, undeniably thrilled to see his soulmate in his clothes. “It suits you.”
“Thanks,” he said before his eyes turned serious and his smile slipped from his face. “Poe, I need your help.”
“Anything,” the pilot said automatically, not even caring what his soulmate was going to ask of him.
“The First Order took my friend. I have to get her back.”
“Then we’ll get her back,” Poe told him confidently. “Come with me.”
Finn couldn’t help but stare at the words on his arm. Poe’s words. The words that meant Poe was alive.
He hadn’t had time to ask Poe what it meant that his words were connected to him, but it was enough for him right now to know that they were. That as long as the words were still there, it meant Poe was okay.
Which was good, because now that he had gotten the pilot back, he didn’t want to lose him again. A feeling that it thrilled Finn to know went both ways.
“Stay safe,” Poe had pleaded with him before he left, after pulling him into a small alcove of the Resistance base. He had pressed their foreheads together and gripped Finn tightly. “Please come back to me, okay?”
“You too,” he had replied, relieved that his inexplicable attachment to Poe didn’t seem to be weird. It couldn’t be if Poe felt it too, right?
“We’ll get her back, kid,” Han’s voice broke through his reverie. “And as long as those words remain dark, she’s okay.”
Finn frowned at that. “Poe said they meant he was okay, though? Are they connected to both of them?”
“What? No!” Solo cried, giving him a strange look. “They’re connected to your soulmate, kid.”
“What’s a soulmate?” he asked. “Is Poe my soulmate? What does that mean?”
Han was looking at him like he had just asked the dumbest question either before understanding dawned on his face. “Just what exactly did the First Order do to you, kid? A soulmate—”
He was interrupted by a growl from Chewie. Finn had no idea what the Wookie said, but it must have been important because Han gave him an apologetic look.
“We’re approaching the planet. Come on. We gotta strap in,” he said, leading Finn towards the cockpit. “I’ll explain what soulmates are later.”
Finn nodded and followed Han, anxious to get Rey away from the First Order.
He didn’t know what they were doing from her, but he definitely knew it wouldn’t be good.
Poe’s heart stopped as he saw Chewie carry Finn’s limp body off the Falcon. A med-team met them immediately, taking Finn from the Wookie’s arms and beginning to work on him immediately.
It reassured Poe a bit, as he was sure they wouldn’t be working so diligently if Finn was already gone, but it didn’t stop the fear from coursing through him.
He trailed behind the med-team in a daze as they rushed Finn to the med-bay, trying to get him stabilized enough to get him in the bacta tank.
It was only when Finn was safely submerged in the healing fluid that Poe was able to breathe again.
It only took one night in the bacta for Finn’s injuries to be healed. Poe stayed by the tank all night, the young girl who could only be Finn’s friend Rey joining him after the commotion caused by R2-D2 waking up had caused.
“Are they your words?” she asked suddenly, breaking the silence between them. He looked at her in askance and she nodded towards the familiar writing visible on Finn’s bare arm.
“Yes,” he admitted, staring at the words he had never seen before. Sure, he had figured they were there, and that they would be in his messy handwriting, but he hadn’t seen them before.
“Good,” she declared with a soft smile as she turned back to watch her unconscious friend. “Chewie and I are going to find Luke Skywalker. I don't want him to be alone when I’m gone.”
He didn’t ask why she was going to find Skywalker. He didn’t have to. Given that it was pretty obvious that her and Finn had come across Kylo Ren and had gotten away, it was pretty safe to assume that his soulmate’s friend was a lot more than she appeared to be.
“I think he spent long enough alone,” Poe told her. What little he had been able to guess about the life of a Stormtrooper had taught him that. “I’m not going to let him have to go through that again.”
Finn was taken out of the bacta that morning, but the medics weren’t taking any chances.
“He has a high concentration of foreign agents in his system,” a Mon Calamari medic whose name Poe didn’t know told them gently. “We’re not sure what all of them are, but some of them seem to be suppressing his endocrine system and inhibiting his hormone production. As it is flushed from his system, it could compromise his immune system. We want to keep him sedated until his bodily functions even out.”
“How long will that take?” Poe managed to ask through his horror. What had the First Order done to Finn?
“At least a week,” she replied apologetically.
Rey looked crushed. “I’ll have to leave before he wakes up,” she said sadly. “I won’t be able to tell him goodbye.”
Poe wasn’t sure how to comfort her so he decided to let her have a private moment with Finn to say what goodbyes she could.
Finn slowly came aware of the bed beneath him. He frowned. That wasn’t right. The last he remembered, he was lying facedown in the snow after being slashed in the back by Kylo Ren’s lightsaber.
Where the hell was he?
He blinked his eyes open with great effort. It didn’t help him figure out where he was, because all he was faced with was an unfamiliar ceiling over him.
His breath caught in his throat as he jerked his head to the side to see Poe smiling at him in relief. “Poe,” he said, instantly relaxing.
He was with Poe. They were safe.
Panic gripped him as he remembered what had happened.
“Rey?” he asked, jerking up and halfway out of the bed.
“She’s fine,” the pilot assured him, reaching over to help him lay back down. “Better than you. You need to rest.”
“Where is she?” he asked insistently. He was infinitely grateful that Poe was okay, but he needed to see that Rey was as well.
“She went after Skywalker,” Poe told him with a sigh. “She didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye, but she had to go before the First Order regrouped and tried to stop or follow her.”
He nodded slowly as he settled back on the bed. It made sense. Still, he was going to miss her. “Is she going to come back?” he asked, knowing he sounded a bit pitiful but not caring.
“She’s going to try her very best,” the pilot said confidently. “And I’m sure Skywalker will want to see his sister eventually, right? I’m sure they’ll both be joining us as soon as they can.”
Poe’s words made sense and allowed him to relax fully in the knowledge that he’d see Rey again. “Good.”
Thinking about words, though, made him think about the conversation he had with Solo before they had reached Starkiller Base.
“Poe?” he asked hesitantly, not entirely sure it was an appropriate question but needing to know anyway. “What’s a soulmate?”
The pilot sat up straighter and looked at him in confusion. “What do you mean?”
Finn shrugged helplessly, looking up at the ceiling to avoid Poe’s eyes. “I never heard the word before Han said…”
He didn’t know if he wanted to admit that Han told him that Poe was his soulmate. What if he wasn’t Poe’s soulmate? What if being someone’s soulmate wasn’t a good thing? What if Poe didn’t want one?
“Hey,” Poe said softly, breaking him out of his panicked thoughts. “I can guess what Solo told you, and he was right. You and I? We’re soulmates. And I wouldn’t want anyone else.”
Finn huffed a laugh as he looked up at Poe’s face, the knot of worry disappearing from his throat. “But what does being soulmates mean?”
“It means that I love you,” Poe answered, giving Finn a soft look. “It means that I will always be here for you, that I will always want you around, and that you will always be the most important person in my life. I know all that is overwhelming for you, but for right now, all you have to know is that it means you’re not alone.”
He swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat at that. “I can handle that,” he whispered thickly, eyes wet for some reason.
Poe smiled down at him. “Good,” he said, taking Finn’s hand in his own and squeezing tightly. “Good.”