“I know you already understand, but I can't stress enough how important this is,” Galen frets as he paces across his quarters. “The Rebellion must receive this message.”
“I know,” Bodhi says, his voice completely calm, though he's shaking inside. “I know some people, some places. I can try to make arrangements so it gets to them even if I don't.”
Galen freezes and turns to him. “What?”
Bodhi meets his gaze. “They'll come after me,” he says, more calmly than he feels. “It's not like they haven't been telling me every day since I joined the Academy exactly what they do to deserters.” He spreads his hands. “And as long as I get that message where it needs to go, it doesn't matter, right?”
“Bodhi...” Galen looks stricken. He strides over, reaching for the younger man, pausing as if he doesn't know quite what to do, finally taking his face in his hands. “How can you speak about yourself like that. You are so important.”
Bodhi ducks his head, feeling his cheeks color. “To you, maybe,” he says softly. “But in the grand scheme of things, I'm just another man.”
“That's where you're wrong.” Galen's thumbs put gentle pressure on his chin, encouraging him to meet his eyes again. When he finally does, he tells him, “You're part of that message, too, Bodhi. You're not just a messenger.”
Bodhi's brows furrow. “I'm...?”
“Part of the message. An Imperial pilot,” Galen says, his fingers trailing over the cog insignia on Bodhi's uniform, “made to see the light, what's really going on. Made to defect.” His smile is so gentle. “That such a thing can be done, that's as important for the Rebellion to know as the content of the message.”
Bodhi doesn't know exactly what that that content is – it's safer for both of them that way, and he understands that – but to think that Galen could consider him as important as whatever information it may hold is shocking. He stares, wordless.
“You're part of the message, Bodhi,” he repeats, squeezing his shoulders.
“I'm part of the message.” Bodhi turns the words over in his mind.
“Yes. That's why you need to do everything you can to deliver this message to the Rebellion, and in person.” Galen's composure slips just for a second. “I couldn't bear to think otherwise.”
“I will.” Bodhi's words are strong, and he feels them now. He's going to do this. Galen has so much already to worry about; Bodhi doesn't need to be yet another of those things. “I'll make it.”
Galen smiles again, small and sad, his eyes crinkling. “I'm going to miss you, Bodhi Rook,” he says softly.
“Me, too.” He leans in without hesitation as Galen draws him in for a kiss, gentle and lingering. When they finally manage to separate, they stay close, foreheads leaned together.
“When I'm gone...you'll try to follow, right?” Bodhi asks. “You'll get out of here, too?”
“I'll try my best,” Galen promises. His hands on his lover tighten. “I don't want this to be the last time I see you.”
Bodhi shakes his head in agreement as he wraps his arms around Galen and kisses him again. They both know how unlikely it is that they'll meet again after tonight, but they have to keep believing just the same.