Chapter 1: Rebellion
There was blaster fire and screaming and Bodhi was confused.
Not by the blaster fire, that was to be expected when some idiotic defector landed a shuttle in the middle of an Imperial data archive and hoped for the best. The screaming was...a little more unexpected. Rebellion soldiers didn’t seem much like screamers, but battle brought strange things out in everyone.
It was just…
Bodhi would have sworn there was a detonator right in front of him a second ago. He could still almost feel the heat against his skin. Bodhi looked down at the skin of his hands.
“What the FUCK.”
Bodhi was certain he hadn’t been blue a minute ago. Or translucent.
Mostly oblivious to the battle raging around him, Bodhi swung his hand through a nearby figure in white armor. It passed right through.
“This is fine,” muttered Bodhi, as he took in his surroundings for the first time. This wasn’t Scarif. It wasn’t daytime. It was the middle of the night, in the middle of some small village, fires burning and…
Oh. Stormtroopers marching en masse on mostly-unarmed civilians. Blaster bolt stopped in mid-air by a figure in a black mask. Vader? Some pilot that looked like he was cut from a recruitment poster thrown to his knees before that same figure. Flyboy spitting defiance as he was dragged on the ship.
Civilians rounded up in a pit, sheep for the slaughter.
“Kill them all.”
Bodhi flung himself in front of one of the troopers blasters with a sort of resigned defiance. The shot went right through him, and he tried again, putting his fist through one of their helmets and waving dramatically. Nothing. He shoved at a third, screaming in frustration. “This is the worst imaginable afterlife!”
The white helmet turned towards him, Bodhi saw red streaked down the front of it. For a moment Bodhi thought he might be seen, might finally get a reaction, but the helmet turned away again, looking back at the villagers. Corpses, now.
Bodhi turned and started walking away, cursing the Force or whatever that had pulled him to this place in its cruelty. Bastard of a cosmic entity. As Bodhi crested a sand dune, he felt a tug, and with a grunted, “Oh no,” he was pulled backward, as if on a tether. He flew, disoriented and furious, until he wound up on a troop transport, hyperspace whizzing past the viewports, rows of white helmets staring straight ahead.
“Oh, come on.” Bodhi paced up and down the length of the transport, and the white helmets sat, staring impassively forward. “I hate all of you. I just want you to know that. And not in a vague, ‘symbol of totalitarianism’ sort of way. Personally. With a vengeance.”
He reached the front of the troop transport, pointed dramatically the first impassive helmet. “You. You probably steal little children’s spending money. She was going to buy a doll with that, you heartless monster.”
He pointed at the next. “You! You don’t understand the importance of proper flight protocols, because you’re a fighter jock, and jump to atmo in front of the cargo transports. You know how big we are compared to you? We would crush you like a BUG if we weren’t careful! And we have to be, because YOU sure aren’t.”
Shouting baseless petty accusations at the impassive faces didn’t help anything about the situation, but it made Bodhi feel better.
Eventually they landed on a massive ship Bodhi didn’t recognize and had never been to. Everything seemed...wrong. He thought he would have known about a ship this big. The equipment, the uniforms, the strutting of the officers was all so close to the Empire Bodhi knew, but also just slightly off. It was enough to throw Bodhi off-balance.
The one stormtrooper with blood on his helmet separated from the group. Nothing better to do, Bodhi followed.
The man...pulled off his helmet. He was human, which wasn’t a surprise, young, which wasn’t either. He was terrified. That was not so expected.
Bodhi watched the sweat shine against the man’s rich brown skin as panicked breaths heaved out of his core. Bodhi sympathized. It was terrifying, to realize you were an individual in a machine that demanded uniformity. It didn’t seem safe to stand out, here.
Sure enough, a commander, gleaming in chrome, came up behind the trooper, berated him for removing his helmet, demanded his blaster, and told him to report to “my division.”
Bodhi looked over at the young man left alone in the transport truck with a great deal more compassion than he had before. “You, my friend, are fucked.”
“Got any ideas on what to do about it, or are you just going to yell and insult me some more?” the trooper snapped back.
“You can hear me?” Bodhi whirled to face the figure directly.
“Yes. And you are really distracting, so maybe you could be quiet and let me think?” The trooper started pacing along the transport troop.
“Okay, you need to put your hat back on, and march somewhere a little less conspicuous.” Bodhi floated down the ramp of the transport. “There’s way too many people around for you to have your little freakout in here.”
“Right.” The trooper took a shaky breath, then put his helmet on. More muffled, he said again, “Right. Helmet on.”
“So, why’d they want your blaster?”
“They must have noticed I didn’t fire it. I couldn’t.” The trooper looked impassive now, but Bodhi could imagine, now, sadness in the brown eyes behind the mask. “You tried to stop it.”
“No. It didn’t. They’re going to reprogram me.”
Bodhi didn’t understand the Force, didn’t understand anything that had happened since he had shown up, all blue and flickering. But suddenly, he had a very good idea why he was tethered to this particular young man. “You could leave. That’s what I did.”
“How?” Even through the mask’s distortion, the hunger was clear in the troopers voice.
Right, okay, Bodhi was a lousy spiritual mentor, but he could kriffin’ well talk someone through a defection. “I’m a pilot. Grabbed a ship, scuttled the transponder, ran for it.”
The trooper’s shoulders sagged. “I can’t fly. I don’t...can you fly?”
“I’m a ghost?”
“I don’t know how ghosts work!”
“I don’t either! This is my first time being incorporeal.”
“Okay, so have you tried?”
Bodhi tried to stalk his way over to the piloting controls on the transport, but all he could manage was an irritated glide. He arrived at the pilot’s chair, phased through it, then angrily drew his hands through the console’s buttons. “That’s a big nope there, buddy.”
“So I’m doomed.”
“So you need a pilot.” Bodhi rolled his eyes. “There’s has to be someone else on this base that doesn’t want to be here.”
The trooper went quiet for a long moment. “You know, I can think of one person who definitely doesn’t want to be here.”
“That sounds promising. Lead the way. I can...lookout, I guess. Wave if someone gets too close.”
“Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Bodhi snorted. “There’s no way he’s going to buy that.”
The flyboy stared at the trooper for a long moment. “You need a pilot.”
“I need a pilot.”
“We’re gonna do this.” There was something reckless in the pilot’s grin.
The trooper hesitantly smiled in return. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Bodhi gave a half-smile, looking from one of them to the other. The kind-eyed stormtrooper would be fine. He looked down at his hands, half-expecting himself to fade out again, perhaps yanked back into existence the next time someone over their head needed a nudge to get out.
It wouldn’t be the worst afterlife.
Chapter 2: Home
“Poe!!!” Finn screamed.
The desert didn’t care about his screaming, and ate the stolen fighter anyway.
“Oh. That’s bad.” Bodhi said, futilely tugging at Finn’s shoulder and trying to get him away from the sand that was, even then, slipping under his feet.
Finn stood still.
“Finn! Damn it! You didn’t get out of the Empire just to die in the desert!” Bodhi practically screamed in his ear.
That finally got Finn moving, stumbling back and away from the ship.
The desert, apparently just to mock them, exploded an avalanche of dirt and rocks up into the air. Bodhi threw his hands above his head, because apparently his reflexes hadn’t gotten the memo re: his untimely demise.
Finn stared at the desert, holding a jacket. Bodhi looked around. “Come on. If we make it to that mountain over there we’ll have a better view. Know exactly how fucked we are, at least.”
Finn sank to his knees, staring at the desert where the fighter used to be.
Bodhi drifted around to in front of him. “Finn. We need to move.”
“He named me.”
Bodhi’s chest ached. “I know. He’d want you to stay alive.”
Jedha City, gone, all that remained was boiling rock and burning sky. “I know. And it hurts. But if you stay here, you’ll be gone too. Come on.” Bodhi stood in front of Finn, worry eating at him. He couldn’t grab Finn, couldn’t drag him along. Could only watch.
Finn gradually focused back in on Bodhi, staggering slowly to his feet. He looked around wearily, saw the mountain Bodhi indicated. “Mountain, huh?”
They trudged through the desert. Finn slowly dropped his armor, one piece at a time.
He looked good, being a person.
“It’s not the Empire,” Finn said, breaking the silence of the sands.
“You said I escaped the Empire. Empire’s been dead for years. That’s the First Order.”
“I...don’t even know where to go from that. It looked like the Empire. How many years?”
“That’s not that long ago.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“About thirty years.”
Bodhi fell silent. Thirty years. Even if he ran into somebody he knew…he should have just stayed dead. That was a better plan. Peaceful. Then he wouldn’t know that thirty years after he died they were still fighting the same damn battle.
“Do you know...what happened to the Death Star?” Bodhi didn’t want to ask. He had to ask.
“What do you mean which ONE?”
“There were two. But don’t worry! They’ve both been dead for a long, long time now. Longer than the Empire, actually.”
Bodhi stopped gliding. “Oh. Okay. That’s good to hear.” He licked his lips, bemused that despite the futility of the gesture it still felt natural. “It blew up my homeworld. It’s why I defected. And I died trying to stop it. So, you know, I’m invested.”
“You’re from Alderaan?” Finn asked.
“Um. No? Jedha. It destroyed Alderaan?” Bodhi winced, his voice was too high, too thin.
“I thought that Alderaan was only planet it destroyed.” Finn looked up, and held up his hands. “Oh, shit, no, don’t cry. I didn’t know ghosts could cry.”
Bodhi sniffled, just as confused as Finn was. “It didn’t...destroy Jedha the moon. Just the city. My hometown. I watched it happen.”
Finn stared at Bodhi, his hands twitching like he wanted to comfort him somehow, but didn’t know how. Bodhi pressed his palms against his eyes, wondering why he felt solid to himself, grateful that he could at least feel something. “Come on. Keep walking.” Bodhi drifted ahead.
They walked past three more sand dunes in silence.
“I don’t know where my hometown is,” Finn said. “I was stolen from my family as a baby. Raised by the First Order to fight.”
They trudged on. After a while Bodhi sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m a crap ghost guide. I was probably supposed to have something reassuring to say there.”
“Nah, man, it’s cool. You’re...doing alright.”
“Are you seriously reassuring me right now?”
“You seemed like you needed it!”
“Well, good news, if we die in the desert you’re going to make a great spiritual mentor someday.”
Finn actually laughed at that, and Bodhi found himself smiling in response.
“Hey...what’s your name?” Finn asked.
Bodhi stopped. “That had to have come up before now.”
Finn just shrugged.
Finn nodded. “Bodhi. I like it. Names. They’re great.”
Bodhi felt a laugh choke out of him, muscling their way past the grief lodged in his chest. “Yeah, I’m a fan. Kriff, Finn, I like you, I really hope you don’t die in the desert.”
“Me too, Bodhi.”
“You don’t have to use my name in every sentence. That just sounds strange.”
“Okay.” Finn smiled. “Bodhi.”
Bodhi mimed punching him.
They walked on.
“I wonder why you’re haunting me.”
“Me too. I mean, I figured it was the defection. But...you’re defected, now. Who knows? The Force is a mystery.”
“Maybe we’re related,” Finn said, and his voice was so wistful you could choke on it.
“I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any kids before I died.” Finn’s face fell, and Bodhi hastened to add, “But I a sister! And ton of cousins. You wouldn’t believe. It’s possible!”
“Nah. I know it’s not likely. It was dumb.”
“Hey. Finn. Whether or not we’re related, you’re stuck with me. Literally. I can’t leave your side.” That thought didn’t bother Bodhi nearly as much as it had earlier.
Finn looked pleased. “I’m alright with that.” He coughed a little, licking his lips. “You know, my mouth is starting to get pretty dry. I should probably stop talking.”
“Oh. Shoot. You are very right. I should have thought of that earlier. I grew up in a bloody desert! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Tell me about it?”
“Horrible death by dehydration?”
“No!” Finn gave him an incredulous look. “Why would I want to hear about— No. About your home? I get it. If it’s too much to talk about. That’s cool. But. If it’s not...I never had one. It’d be nice to know what it was like.”
Bodhi stopped, running through his own internal scale, weighing the pain of knowing Jedha was gone against the desire to share what was left of his memories. It’d be nice, the chance to preserve a bit of what had shaped him.
“No. It’s not too painful. Alright, you shut up, I’ll ramble. I’m good at that.”
Bodhi took a slow breath, remembering brown eyes in a sun-lined face, a hand that dwarfed his shoulder settling gently down on it. “In fact, my mum would beg me to use my ears instead of my mouth. Once I got started, it was hard to stop. And that could get you in trouble, in NiJedha. While I grew up, it was under occupation, Empire all over the place. Say the wrong thing and it could get you into trouble. Or your family.”
“Still, it wasn’t all bad. NiJedha was full of thousands and thousands of people, all living on top of each other. Travellers, too. You could go to the market and see the trinkets of ten thousand worlds, all packed in one place. People from ten thousand worlds too. And the food…”
Bodhi rambled and Finn trudged, and they made their way across the desert together.
Chapter 3: Light and Dark
The girl looks at Finn, for the first time not looking particularly murderous. Instead, she looks almost impressed. A slight thread of excitement wound through her voice as she asked, “So you're with the Resistance?”
Bodhi looked down at Finn. “No. No, don’t do it, bad plan, she has a stick and she will beat the everliving daylights out of you once she finds out the truth.”
Finn coughed, “Obviously. Yes. I am. I'm with the Resistance, yeah.”
“Oh my god you idiot. Even if I could stop her from beating you up, I wouldn’t.”
Finn jutted his chin out, voice lowering to a whisper, filled with significance, “I'm with the Resistance.”
“Never play sabacc. You horrible liar.”
The girl lowered her staff, staring at Finn. After a painful moment of examination she said, “I've never met a Resistance fighter before.”
“Oh, kriff, no. No way she actually believes you. That’s just sad. Don’t take any pride in this. This poor girl probably just assumes that stuttering and tripping over yourself are the hallmarks of Resistance fighters.”
Finn shook his head, trying to look casual. “Well, this is what we look like. Some of us. Others look different.”
“How are you so bad at this?”
“Okay, I’ve changed my mind, it’s just funny now.”
Finn shot him a glare before going back to pleading with the droid. “You gotta tell us where the base is.”
[Or! I could watch you crash and burn! That seems fun!]
Bodhi snorted. He liked this droid.
“I...don’t speak that.”
BB-8 gave Finn a skeptical head-tilt.
Finn looked around, winced, then leaned closer, “Alright, between us, I'm not with the Resistance, okay?”
Bodhi had never seen a ball look so affronted. Finn’s eyes went wide as he looked around and whispered frantically. “I'm just trying to get away from the First Order, but you tell us where your base is, I'll get there first. Deal?”
“I’m tremendously amused that you seem to think that the easier course in this particular situation is to talk the droid around rather than just tell Rey the truth.”
Finn glared at Bodhi, then hissed, “Droid, please.”
“Solo? The man just barely decided not to throw you into an escape pod, you probably shouldn’t take liberties with the name.”
Finn ignored him. “I'm not sure what we're walking into here—”
Han turned, fixing Finn with a withering look. “Did you just call me "Solo"?”
“Sorry. Han...Mr. Solo.”
“I guess you are still figuring out how names work. I should give you more slack.”
“You should know, I'm a big deal in the Resistance.”
“Nevermind.” Bodhi flung his hands in the air. “No sympathy for you! You idiot. He is a professional scoundrel! You lie like a guilty toddler. Which is to say, badly.”
Finn still managed to ignore him, but his eye twitched a little. He continued, more or less undaunted, “Which puts a real target on my back. Are there any conspirators here? First Order sympathizers?”
“Alright, fine, I see why you asked. Still real dumb.”
Han turned around, facing Finn more fully. “Listen Big Deal, you've got another problem. Women always figure out the truth.” Han slapped a blaster against Finn’s chest. “Always.” He smirked as he walked away. Finn looked more than a little stunned.
“That went better than I expected, really.” Bodhi leaned back against the wall.
Finn looked over at Bodhi, looking lost. “What am I going to do?”
“Well, you could keep lying until you die—”
“Not about that. I’ve got that under control.”
Bodhi just laughed.
“Bodhi! Please! If the First Order finds me, I’m dead. No, I’m worse than dead. I’m an example.”
Bodhi pushed off the wall, drifting over to Finn, his chuckles dying down. He wished he could lay a hand on the young man’s shoulder. He looked like he could do with some reassurance. “Unless you’re also harboring the truly suicidal thought of trying to steal the Falcon back from the professional smuggler, you were always going to need to find another ship. This might actually be a pretty good place to do it. There’s probably some bad news here, but there’s a lot of opportunity. And, if someone tries to shoot you in the back, I’ll...scream really loudly.”
“Thanks, man, I appreciate it.” Finn nodded, taking a deep breath. “Okay. Here we go.”
Maz’s enormous eyes stared Finn down, and Bodhi bristled, wishing he could place himself between Finn and the tiny orange woman who was judging him. Finn was his.
“If you live long enough you see the same eyes in different people. I'm looking at the eyes of a man who wants to run,” Maz said as she rendered her judgement.
Well, of course Finn wanted to run. Why did people not understand how comprehensively terrifying totalitarian regimes were? Why didn’t people understand how badly things could go, even if you did find the “good guys”?
He was going to give Finn such a reassuring speech. Just as soon as he figured out one that would actually make the situation better, not worse.
Not for the first time, Bodhi wished that ghost mentoring had come with an instruction manual.
Finn leaned forward, locked onto Maz. “You don’t know a thing about me.”
“Yes.” Bodhi punched the air. “That’s right!”
Finn continued, gaining strength, “Where I'm from. What I've seen. You don't know the First Order like I do. They’ll slaughter us. We all need to run.” Finn placed gentle emphasis on the all, looking over to Rey as he did so.
Rey just looked surprised. Her expression slid from stunned to horrified as Finn took Maz’s advice regarding some pirates who would trade work for a berth.
Bodhi winced. Finn was where his soul was tethered, where the Force had decided his calling rested. But for all that, Bodhi had also grown fond of the desert child who loved ships, whose eyes traced the stars. He saw something of himself in Rey, too, in her yearning heart.
Her heart that now looked shattered, staring at Finn as Finn tried to hand the blaster back to Han, as Finn left to talk to the pirates.
Bodhi felt cautiously hopeful as she came tearing after them, stalking her way over to their table. Eyes flashing, she grabbed Finn, asking, “What are you doing?” As Finn moved her away from the table, she continued, “You can't just go.” Determination flooded her voice, “I won't let you.”
Bodhi looked over at Finn, and was surprised to find Finn looking slightly past Rey, at Bodhi. Bodhi shrugged. “You know what my advice is.”
Finn sighed, turning back to Rey. Saying the words like they cost him dearly, he admitted, “I'm not who you think I am.”
Bodhi nodded encouragingly. It didn’t matter, though. Finn only had eyes for Rey now; he stared up at her, pleading, as he explained, “I'm not Resistance. I'm not a hero. I'm a Stormtrooper.”
A complicated expression crossed Rey’s face, it looked like she might say something, but Finn continued, plowing forward, “Like all of them, I was taken from a family I’ll never know. And raised to do one thing…”
Finn took a shaky breath and Bodhi’s hands clenched. It had been so much easier for him, by comparison. Finn’s entire purpose had been to become someone who, when they were pointed at a target, destroyed it. He couldn’t fly, he didn’t have access to a ship, he didn’t have someone on the inside who believed in him. And yet, Finn had somehow gotten out anyway.
Well, Bodhi couldn’t fix the rest of it, but he could damn well make sure that Finn had someone firmly in his corner from here on out.
Finn found the strength to keep going. “But my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn't going to kill for them. So I ran.”
Finn blinked, looking away from Rey, his eyes flicking over to Bodhi again. Bodhi was certain he had an absolutely ridiculous expression on his face, his pride in Finn making the most overly-invested doting parent look distant and cold by comparison. He gave Finn the most reassuring nod that he possibly could.
Something cleared on Finn’s face, and he looked back to Rey. “I’m done with the First Order. I’m never going back. Rey, come with me.” Finn pleaded with her. Bodhi bit his lip, as he looked over at Rey. He hoped, for Finn’s sake, for her sake, that she would come with them. But he suspected she had another path.
Bodhi was right. Rey refused to go with them. Finn walked back to the pirates. With one lingering look at the heartbroken girl, Bodhi turned and chased Finn.
“Do you think I should have stayed?” Finn asked quietly, as he picked up a crate and hauled it up the stairs onto the shuttle.
“No.” The answer came easily.
“You didn’t want to.”
“But you stayed. Right? You said you died fighting the Empire. That implies staying.”
“Yeah. And I died. It’s not really a course of action I recommend.”
“I really feel like you should be arguing the other way on this one. You’re my Defection Mentor. Or something.”
“What do you want me to say?” Bodhi threw his hands up, exasperated. “That Rey would be better off if you were with her? Sure. That you seem sharp and competent and whatever the Rebellion is calling itself these days—”
“—could use you? Sure, they probably could. But all that shit Maz said about light and darkness and the fight going on for a long time...there’s more than one way to fight, Finn. You’re pretty clearly on the side of the Light, wherever you are, whatever you end up doing.”
“You think so?” Finn asked, and he was so quietly desperate for affirmation that Bodhi spared a moment of loathing for every single person who had ever looked at this bright, kind-hearted young man and told him he wasn’t good enough.
“Yeah. I do. And I’m one with the Force, so I should know, right?”
Finn gave a soft chuckle. “You’ve been around me long enough that I know you’re just as confused about this whole thing as I am.”
Bodhi huffed. “Fine. I’m still proud of you, though. I know telling Rey the truth, that was hard.”
Finn set a crate down and sighed, leaning his head against it. “It was. You were right, I should have told her from the beginning.”
“Hey, you get to make your own choices. That’s the whole point of freedom. Sometimes they’re gonna suck. The question is what you do next.”
Finn pushed out of his collapse, went and grabbed the next crate. “You think that this is going to be one of those bad decisions?”
Bodhi shrugged. “Like you said, I’m just as lost as you are. But, Finn, even if this winds up being the wrong call, I’ll ride it out with you. For as long as the Force lets me.”
Finn’s eyes went bright as he looked away. “If it was just death, it wouldn’t be so bad. But they’re going to try to erase me. Remake me. And you know what?”
Finn’s voice gained some strength. “I like who I am. I like Finn. I’m not letting them erase that.”
“Fuck yeah.” Bodhi said, smile on his face. “You tell ‘em. Finn is great! I like Finn too.”
Finn’s shoulders relaxed a little, and he smiled over at Bodhi. “You’re not so bad at this mentor gig, you know that, right?”
Bodhi reached out, did his best to pat Finn’s shoulder without his hand going through Finn’s body. “And you’re doing pretty great at this ‘being free’ gig. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.”
Finn gave a small nod. “Me too.”
Chapter 4: Family
Bodhi watched Finn load the last of the crates when his eye was caught by a flicker of light, streaking across the sky.
“Huh. Didn’t know there were comets around here.”
Finn set the crate down then leaned back, looking up at the blue sky, red line streaking across it. Bodhi glanced back up at the sky, then back over to Finn, who looked…
Bodhi had been in the cockpit for a total of three in-flight collisions. Every time there was this moment; when he looked through the front shield and saw the impact unfolding just before it happened. When he realized that there was nothing he could do to stop what was going to happen, that all he could do was deal with the coming aftermath.
That was how Finn looked.
Bodhi looked back up to the sky, stomach twisting in horror at the red streak, which had split and started fragmenting across the sky, not understanding what was going on but knowing by Finn’s face that it was going to be bad.
The lines stopped, burning out at one, two, three, four, five different points.
Bodhi looked back to Finn, about to open his mouth and ask him what had happened, when the pain came.
Fear. Terror. Horror. It was the shake of the caverns on a world tearing itself apart. It was fire and pain and blood and the screams of the dying. It was the grenade, in front of him, the horror that this would be his last—
Not his. All his. His fear was joined by another, and another, and another, his panic, their panic, all shaking up and through him. There was searing death in the tens, the thousands, the millions, the trillions. Pain unimaginable, unfathomable, and he could do nothing but scream. He collapsed, screaming, as he felt himself shake apart, fall to pieces, the pain of a solar system channeling through him, screaming for those that could no longer scream for themselves.
And then it ended, those trillions of voices fading into oblivion, returning the Force, and Bodhi remained.
Finn was crouched on the ground next to him, drawing some strange looks as he muttered urgently at Bodhi, “Bodhi, Bodhi, man, you’ve gotta be okay. Come on. Stay with me. Please.”
Bodhi shoved his way upright again, jaw needing to work a few times before he finally choked out, “What was that?”
“You’re okay.” Finn collapsed to a messy sprawl.
“I am fucking well not okay! What WAS that?”
“They fired Starkiller.” Finn glanced back up at the sky. “They actually did it.”
“Starkiller Base. It’s one of the First Order’s largest bases, and one of it’s strongest weapons. It’s capable of destroying a whole system…I wasn’t sure if it was operational yet.”
Something cold wrapped its way around Bodhi’s stomach. “You knew.”
Bodhi snarled, leaning in to Finn’s face. “I asked. I asked what happened to the Death Star and you told me it was destroyed. You said that to me.” Bodhi pointed accusingly at Finn. “And you said that knowing there was a bloody weapon that could destroy an entire system from half a galaxy away? And you didn’t think it was important to tell me!?”
Finn looked devastated. “No,” his voice was soft, something almost child-like in the way he spoke, “you just asked about the Death Star, I didn’t…” He clenched his hands, voice growing stronger, pleading, “I thought I was going to die in the desert! That’s what I was thinking about! I just didn’t—I wasn’t thinking about Starkiller at all. I didn’t think they’d use it so soon. I didn’t know they were going to—”
“It’s what evil does Finn. If they have weapons, they use them.” Bodhi lost the energy his anger had given him, drawing his knees up and curled over in on himself, away from FInn. “It didn’t matter. I didn’t stop anything.”
Finn leaned forward. “Bodhi, I—”
“Go away,” Bodhi snapped. “Leave me alone.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think to—”
“It doesn’t matter.” Bodhi was full of impotent rage, the echoes of a trillion funeral pyres still rattling around inside of him. “You’re right, there’s no fighting this. But now I have to sit and feel everything implode. I’m DEAD. I should have been spared this, at least.” Something terrible and terrifying took hold of him and he choked back another sob. “Leave me be.”
Bodhi couldn’t say how long he spent after that, blankly locked in despair. He had fought and died and it wasn’t enough. The galaxy was still fucked. Homicidal maniacs could still commit genocide. And this time there wasn’t any Galen with a carefully designed flaw, there wasn’t any base for him to get a team into, there weren’t any plans that could fix this. There wasn’t anything Bodhi could do.
He was doomed to just witness the destruction of everything he fought for...over and over again.
He was finally jerked out of his inconsolable reverie by the flicker and ignition of the pirate ship’s atmospheric thrusters. With a roar they started up, the ship lifting off the ground. Bodhi squeezed his eyes shut, bracing for the sick wrenching tether that would pull him to Finn once again.
Thirty seconds later he opened his eyes, blinking as the point of light from the thrusters smeared to hyperspace, and Bodhi was still on the ground.
Finn was gone and Bodhi was still here.
Bodhi had made a huge mistake.
Bodhi was hurting and angry but he hadn’t actually expected Finn to leave without him. He didn’t think Finn could leave without him. Bodhi’s chest ached as he stared at where the shuttle had been. He had abandoned Finn. Bodhi had never meant to leave him, he just needed some time to think…some time to try to put himself back together again.
Maybe Bodhi could figure out where they went, meet up with Finn again. Let him know that Bodhi hadn’t meant to leave him behind. Could he even fly on a ship that didn’t have Finn? He might just float right through the walls. Might be stuck on this rock forever, watching people enter and leave Maz’s and never being able to talk to them.
An icy chill ran down his spine. He had just let the only sentient being who seemed to be able to hear him walk away. Needing some solitude to mourn was one thing, but he would quickly go mad if he was supposed to spend eternity unseen and unheard.
This was bad.
Somehow, it got even worse. TIE fighters suddenly flooded the sky, screaming into existence and bombarding the castle. Ominous-looking troop ships descended with, hiss of repulsors filling the air as ramps dropped to reveal row after row of identical white helmets.
The stormtroopers flew down the ramp, rounding up the crowd, shooting some, herding others.
Bodhi knew what came next. There wasn’t a damn thing he could do to stop it. Unless...maybe someone here was attuned enough to the Force that he could distract them long enough to save someone.
It was worth a try.
Bodhi drifted his way across the battlefield, yelling at some soldiers, waving his arms at others, forcefully going through a few more. He accomplished nothing, aside from realizing that already being dead had worked wonders for his battlefield terror. He could run that Scarif comm line no problem, now.
Aside from the fact that he wouldn’t be able to pick up the comm line, he thought as he batted ineffectually through a Stormtroopers rifle.
Then, from across the battlefield Bodhi heard one of the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard in his life. Or death, for that matter. A familiar voice yelled, “I need a weapon!”
Bodhi spun around, and there was Finn, with Maz shoving something into his hands yelling, “You have one!”
Finn stared at the whatever it was for a long second before pushing a button. A long blue sword sprung up for the...lightsaber. That was a lightsaber. Finn had a lightsaber.
Bodhi watched in horror as Finn, untrained, started attacking stormtroopers with a damned laser sword. He was going to cut his arm off. Unless he was a Jedi.
Was Finn a Jedi? That would explain why he could see Bodhi.
Either way, Bodhi mused as Finn sliced down one stormtrooper and ran the sword through another, Finn was effective.
It was hard, but Bodhi managed to tamp down his urge to immediately fling himself across the field to Finn and apologize for his earlier rage. There was exactly one person on the battlefield he could distract right now, and that was the one person he was trying to keep safe. So Bodhi watched, heart in his throat, as Finn squared off against a stormtrooper with an electro-mace.
“Come on, Finn. Kick his ass.”
When he could manage to tear his eyes away from Finn, Bodhi tried to watch the ebb and flow of the entire battle. For long bloody minutes, First Order steamrolled over Maz’s castle, only return fire in the various smugglers and pirates potshots back at their ships. Mostly, though, people just seemed desperate to run.
Finn won his struggle with the trooper, but was surrounded by at least ten more.
Then suddenly hope, when out of nowhere a double wedge of X-Wings punched into the fight, low and fast, S-foils kicking up spray as they skimmed over the water. He watched as the tide of battle shifted, Resistance driving the First Order back.
Hope was followed by dismay, as Bodhi saw the menacing black figure from the village emerge from the woods, Rey cradled in his arms as he approached the shuttle ramp. “No, Rey!” Bodhi yelled as he started towards them uselessly, tossing a glance over his shoulder to see if Finn had noticed.
Finn had noticed, and less than a second later was throwing himself across the field, fast and reckless, blaster bolts scoring in his wake. “No, Finn!” Bodhi clenched his hands into fists.
Finn lived, thank the Force. He arrived too late, just in time to watch the shuttle take off. He screamed after it, and Bodhi had no doubt that if Finn could fly, he would have thrown himself into the air then and there, continuing the chase.
As Finn stood, chest heaving as he looked heartbroken after the shuttle, Bodhi sheepishly drifted into his peripheral vision.
Finn spun around to look at Bodhi. “You’re still here,” he said in disbelief. “I thought you had left me.”
“No. No Finn. I—I thought you had left the planet without me and I got so terrified, I’m so sorry, I—”
“No, I’m sorry, I should have let you know—”
“I can see why you didn’t think about—”
“You were screaming. It was so bad. It would have been better if you had known—”
“I don’t think anything could have made that better, but that doesn’t mean I’m blaming—”
“I know you must think that I’m a coward for not fighting—”
“No, I get it, I do, it’s terrifying and—”
Bodhi finally figured out what he was really trying to say, and interrupted himself first, holding up his hand to halt their stammering enthusiastic conversation. “Hey, Finn.”
“I’m really glad you didn’t leave the planet without me.”
Finn sighed in relief. “I’m real glad you didn’t return to the Force, or whatever it is ghosts do when they die. Again.”
“I...I wanted to. For a minute. But I don’t plan on leaving you alone, Finn.”
“I messed up. I hurt you.”
Bodhi reminded himself that Finn hadn’t had a childhood, a family. He was learning for the first time how to have an argument, rather than be given orders. Bodhi held his hands open, palms up. “Yes. You did. And then I hurt you right back. We get to choose what to do now, and I’m choosing to stick with you, and try to do better in the future.”
Nodding, Finn said, “Alright. Okay. I choose to do that too. Together.” He paused, eyes flicking to the sky before going back to Bodhi. “They took Rey.”
“Yeah. Let’s get her back.”
Finn’s shoulders set in determination as he answered, “Yes.”
Bodhi looked at Finn, all full of terrified strength, and was overwhelmed with care. “You know. I had a sister growing up.”
Finn was confused at the change of topic, but made an interested face, willing to follow Bodhi’s train of thought.
“She and I would fight. Often. Much to my mother’s chagrin. Loved her more than anything, though.” Bodhi smiled over at Finn, affectionate, “Now I feel like I know what it’s like to have a brother, too.”
Bodhi had given a lot of gifts in his life. Trinkets in childhood, tentative romantic gestures, tokens of gratitude. Some had been received poorly, most had warranted polite appreciation, maybe a bit of excitement.
None of them had ever lead to the expression lighting up Finn’s face right now. Despite everything, despite Rey being taken and Starkiller being operational, despite the stink of battle all around them, hope and joy all mixed together still unfurled across Finn’s features like a victory standard.
“Brother. Yeah. Okay. I like that.”
Chapter 5: Strength
As the Falcon set down D’Quar, Bodhi was forcibly reminded of the only other time he had seen a Rebellion base. Despite being called the Resistance now...not a lot had changed. The bustle of the landing pads didn’t change, the feeling of too-many people in too-small a space. They were even on another kriffin’ jungle planet, vines growing through the walls.
There was still that desperate energy that came from having information and hoping that someone, anyone, would know what to do with it.
There was still too much weapon and too little plan.
(Bodhi was amused to note that, back on Takodana, there had even been another charged reunion between two emotionally repressed people occuring at the base of a freighter. At least nobody was dragging a pack of soldiers along as a bizarre courting present this time…Of course, that’s probably because in this case the tiny woman already had a pack of soldiers. Several packs of soldiers, if the way everyone called her “General” was any indication.)
They were going to take down the shields around Starkiller base. Finn was going to go take down the shields. Sweet, brave Finn who had yesterday been willing to flee to the outer edges of the galaxy rather than face the First order was voluntarily marching back into First Order Territory.
Bodhi remembered, thirty years and barely a moment ago, throwing his lot in with Jyn’s passion, not certain what he could do, but knowing he had to do all he could. He wondered if it was the same for Finn.
It didn’t really matter whether or not it was the same. Finn was doing it. Bodhi didn’t have words for how proud he was. It took an unbelievable amount of strength to face your monsters.
Of course, strength of will worked better when it was backed by the strength of logistics.
As Finn was loading explosives at the base of the Falcon, Bodhi drifted over next to him. “Do you actually have a plan?”
“Get Rey back,” Finn muttered quietly.
“I was hoping for a bit more of a plan than that.”
“I’m working on it.” Finn gave his little nod of ‘trust me, I know what I’m doing.’
It would have been more compelling if Bodhi didn’t know Finn. “You have no idea what you’re doing.”
“Hey, no, come on. You’re supposed to back me up. Brothers stick together and all that.”
“Brothers also call each other on their shit. And brother, you have no idea what you’re doing and a lot of people are counting on you. I’ve been there.”
Finn wavered, looking down to the explosives then back up to Bodhi, “Okay, fine, you're right, I have no idea what I'm doing. But I know that base better than anyone else here. And I definitely know I can't leave Rey there. I’ll figure something out.”
“Okay. That’s not a bad starting point. You know the base. You’re smart.”
“I’m walking back into the First Order. Don't feel very smart right now.”
Bodhi wished he could give Finn a hug. “Finn. Listen. You are incredibly brave, and incredibly strong, and you are going to kick the First Order’s asses. You just need a better plan, and we can work on that. I trust you.”
Finn gave a tiny smile. “Okay, okay.”
“Alright. Tell me what you know about the shielding system. We've got explosives. We can do a lot with explosives.”
“I don’t trust Han,” Bodhi decided, eyes on the tangled net of starlight flying by in hyperdrive. “He hasn’t actually told us how we’re getting through the Starkiller shield.”
Finn gave Bodhi a considering look, then turned to Han. “How are we getting in?”
Han fiddled with some buttons. “Their shields have a fractional refresh rate. Keeps anything traveling slower than lightspeed from getting through.”
“No. Nonono! Bad pilot!” Bodhi threw his hands up and stared at Han.
Finn looked confused for half a second, then dread filled his face as he caught on. “We're gonna make our landing approach at lightspeed?!”
“Good news, Finn, it doesn't matter that you have no idea what to do with the shields, we are all going to die anyway! I just want it known,” Bodhi pointed emphatically, “that when I had to get a small plucky band of rebels through an impenetrable planet-wide shield, I had a much better plan!”
They lived, and wasn't that a miracle.
Staggering out of the freighter and picking their way across the snowy landscape, they were hiding in the shelter of a bunker when Han finally thought to ask, “What was your job when you were based here?”
After a beat, Finn replied, “Sanitation.”
Bodhi appreciated Han’s growing horror as grabbed Finn, glaring as he said, “Sanitation? Then how do you know how to disable the shields?”
“I don't. I'm just here to get Rey.” Finn looked imploringly over at Han.
“It's not so fun, is it,” Bodhi said conversationally to Han, “when you trust someone with your life just to find out that their plan is a bloody reckless lack of plan. I have a suspicion this is a powerful moment of growth for you, Mr. We-Will-Crash-Into-A-Planet-From-Hyperspace.”
Finn flicked his eyes over to Bodhi.
“Okay, fine, we didn't crash,” Bodhi huffed.
In a tone that danced between the edges of growling and pleading, Han said, “People are counting on us. The galaxy is counting on us.”
“If you got a plan, now would be a good time to let him know.”
Finn stepped forward, looking utterly confidant and unconcerned. “Solo, we'll figure it out.” His voice went quiet, like he had a secret. “We'll use the Force.”
Bodhi couldn’t help the laugh that snuck out of him.
Han seemed less amused. “That's not how the Force works!”
“Oh, mate, so you’re an expert now.” Bodhi said to a Han that was happily ignoring him in favor of sniping at Chewbacca. “You know how the Force works. That must be nice. Would you mind letting me know how? Because I died thirty years ago but I’m still here! NOBODY KNOWS HOW THE FORCE WORKS!” Bodhi finished, yelling at Han’s turned back.
He huffed in and out, glaring at the man.
Finn caught his eye and mouthed, ‘You okay?’
Bodhi nodded, settling. “Yeah, just needed to get that out.” He took a deep breath and sighed it out. “Alright, let’s problem solve this shield thing. Did you clean any important Put-The-Shield-Down buttons?”
Finn gave a considering look.
As they moved through the base, Bodhi kept rambling whatever ideas came to mind. “I pretended to be someone who they would put the shield down for. Anyone like that?”
After another hill, Bodhi mentioned, “You know, my shuttle had a transponder thing? Maybe something like that?”
They moved through the tunnels, and Bodhi said, “I suppose I could just try using the Force on the shields. I mean. I’m a spirit made of Force Goo. That’s has to count for something.”
Two minutes of intense concentration later Bodhi gave up. “Nope.”
They moved on through, finding the base proper, Han and Chewie disabling a stormtrooper that stumbled in on them. Finn was giving them a considering look when Bodhi said, “The shields have to be connected to a computer system. Can we access the computer system?”
“We can’t,” Finn said softly, but the negative sounded hopeful as he watched Chewie.
Han rounded on him, “The longer we're here, less luck we're going to have. The shields?”
Finn got a tiny smile on his face. “I have an idea about that.”
The small smile normally wouldn’t have been convincing, but Bodhi had been around Finn long enough to know him. “Oh, that's a good smile. Alright. Let’s do this!”
Chapter 6: Hope
Infiltrating Starkiller Base had some really beautiful moments.
“FN-2187,” said the chrome-plated figure that had threatened Finn earlier.
“Not anymore. The name's Finn—”
“Yes it is!” Bodhi clapped his hands together once.
“And I'm in charge. I'm in charge now, Phasma. I'm in charge.”
“Yes you are!” Bodhi punched the air.
Han looked over at Finn, and said, not unkindly, “Bring it down.”
“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Bodhi said.
As they escorted Phasma to the shielding room, he confessed, “Honestly, this is really cathartic for me. I’d have loved to give some of my pissy commanding officers a piece of my mind. Krennic. That guy was terrible.”
After the shield was disabled and the villainous grandstanding was cut off, Finn asked, “What do we do with her?”
Bodhi was still thinking of an answer when Han replied, “Is there a garbage chute? Trash compactor?”
The same slow smile spread across both Bodhi and Finn’s faces.
As they watched Chewie throw her in, Bodhi shook his head, “I’m jealous, really. I would have loved to watch Chewie throw Krennic in a garbage chute.”
But even the beauty of watching the First Order’s best and brightest (literally, what with the chrome reflection and all) get thrown in the garbage chute paled in comparison to what came next.
“Why are you doing this.” Finn glared at Han and made a jerking gesture with his chin. He looked horribly put-upon. “I’m trying to come up with a plan.”
“Finn, you nerf herder, turn around.” Bodhi said, huge smile on his face.
Star-seeking desert girl. Bodhi should have guessed she’d wind up saving herself.
As she threw her arms around Finn, Bodhi laughed at the sheer contentment on his face. “Aw. You two are adorable.”
Rey looked up, darting a confused look over at Bodhi’s face.
Bodhi’s eyes widened, and he quickly put a finger to his lips. Rey furrowed her brow, but apparently decided he looked harmless enough, and that it was more important to go back to hugging Finn.
Someone other than Finn could see him. That was...strange. She couldn’t before, he was nearly certain of that. Something had changed for her. In her?
It didn’t matter. Bodhi was happy to have some more company.
It had other, not so beautiful moments.
“Oh no, you dumbass.” Bodhi said, very very quietly.
The room was lit in flickering red by the jagged lightsaber blade protruding out of Han’s back.
“No. No!” Rey screamed.
“Solo,” Finn said, sounding broken.
The body tumbled and fell, and Bodhi nearly wept for Finn and Rey, watching one of the only adults that had ever looked after either one leave them again.
Rey looked around wildly, her eyes landing on Bodhi. “Could he come back too?” she demanded, full of pain.
“I...I don’t know how this works. I’m so sorry.”
Rey looked back over the railing, shaking as she stared down at the dark figure. The figure saw them, started moving toward them. From another direction, stormtroopers started firing.
“We should go,” Bodhi said, backing up.
Rey just pushed forward, firing her baster. Finn and Bodhi exchanged a frustrated look. Bodhi gestured emphatically, “I can’t do anything about it!”
Finn grabbed Rey, pulling her out of danger.
And then they were running through the woods.
And the figure stalked after them.
And then they couldn’t run.
And the figure caught them.
Rey stood, defiant, blaster in hand, trying to fire at the man. She never pulled the trigger. With a flick of his hand, Rey went flying, up and backward, slamming against a tree and dropping hard to the ground.
“Rey!” Finn screamed.
“No!” Both Bodhi and Finn scrambled over to where Rey lay prone. Finn rambled, frantic in his whispers, “Rey! Rey...Oh no. Come on.”
Bodhi watched behind, as Kylo’s figure drew nearer.
“Traitor!” Kylo raged, and Finn froze, anger and fear warring on his face.
“You don’t have to do this,” Bodhi said, shaky breath as he looked at the figure.
Finn picked up the lightsaber. “I do.”
Bodhi sighed, “I figured.”
Finn slowly turned and ignited the blade. It was satisfying, to see the look of surprise on Kylo’s face. “That lightsaber, it belongs to me.”
Bodhi swallowed against the fear rising in his chest at the anger in the man’s face and the ragged hatred in his voice. Bodhi grabbed for what determination he had and in a steady voice said, “Finn? He killed Han. He hurt Rey. Fuck him up.”
“Come and get it,” Finn snarled, and charged.
Not certain what else to do, Bodhi went over to Rey, crouching down next to her. “Rey. Rey, I know you have no idea who I am and I am a ghost who you suddenly can see, but I’m on your side, and I really need you to wake up now. Come on. Rey. You can do it. Finn needs you.”
A reluctant scream was dragged from Finn and it echoed through the trees. Bodhi said, more urgently, “Please, come on, Finn needs you. You can do this.”
Rey opened her eyes.
Finn fell in the distance.
She gave a shaky breath, looking over at Bodhi.
“You can do this,” Bodhi said, aching for these kids and for the young man who went to Scarif thirty years ago. Too young. They were all too young for this damn war.
That didn’t mean they wouldn’t fight it. “I’ve seen you with your quarterstaff. I was with Finn even then. You’re brilliant. You’ve trained for this, whether or not you knew it. And you can see me now. That’s got to mean something.”
Rey swallowed, stood up, and reached out.
As if it had been waiting for her, the lightsaber leapt to her hand. Bodhi gave a shout of joy.
Rey stepped forward, shaky but certain and Bodhi flew over to where Finn fell.
It was ugly, raw red wound down his back, but he was still breathing, still holding on to life. Bodhi crouched next to him, watched one breath flow into another, and whispered, “You did it, Finn, you gave her enough time, she’s up, she’s fighting.”
Bodhi watched, heart in his mouth, as Rey and Kylo danced back and forth through the forest. The ground started to shake, started to give way underneath them, and Bodhi knew what it meant. “Starkiller’s going to be destroyed, Finn, listen to me, it’s breaking apart. It won’t exist anymore thanks to you. You did it. It was enough.”
They might die, but Bodhi had been here before. It felt almost familiar. “I promise.” Bodhi swallowed. “If this is the end...it doesn’t hurt that much.”
And then there was a certainty that shivered through him, peace settling in the force. A discordant background note Bodhi had scarcely been aware of was suddenly silenced, and a beautiful harmony settled in the forest, centered around Rey.
Rey’s eyes snapped open and she struck.
Kylo went stumbling back.
Rey stalked forward, full of predator grace, the Force humming through her, so bright and resonant that Bodhi’s soul sang the symphony around her.
In the blue and red flickering lights of the forest, Bodhi felt hope dance on his tongue.
Chapter 7: Epilogue
Bodhi sat in the chair next to the medical bay, staring at Finn’s unconscious form. He held back a sigh. Finn was still holding on to life. He was actually getting medical care now. He...would probably be okay. Probably. Bodhi curled up next to the bed, relieved when it felt solid enough to rest his head on.
He didn’t really get tired anymore, but there was something comforting about the position.
There was a hiss of an opening door and Bodhi stood up. The first time Poe had come in, Bodhi hadn’t quite been quick enough; the sensation of someone sitting through him was not one Bodhi was keen to repeat.
It was Rey this time, though, and she gave Bodhi a nod before coming over to the bedside and settling down in the chair he had just vacated. “How’s he doing?”
“No change.” Bodhi ran his fingers along Finn’s hair, watching the strands pass through and wishing for just a little more corporeality. “Physically or spiritually.”
Rey gave a little nod, picking up Finn’s hand and holding it. She looked over at Bodhi. “I have to leave.”
“Is this goodbye?”
“Just for now. I hope. I’m going to find Luke Skywalker. I’m going to bring him back to the Rebellion.”
“The Jedi, right? That’ll be interesting. Maybe he can figure out what’s going on with me.”
Rey gave him a flat look. “And he might be able to restore the Jedi to push back the First Order’s ruthless advance.” Her tone was dry and she raised one eyebrow.
Bodhi waved a hand, “Oh, sure, that too.”
Rey gave a rough chuckle. She looked up at Bodhi, looking a little vulnerable. “I was wondering, do you want to come with me?”
Bodhi gave a sad smile. “I don’t think I can. But even if I could...I think I’m supposed to be here.”
“I thought as much.” Rey put on a confident face. It was totally false, as Bodhi knew from long experience making the same face. “It’s fine, I have Chewie with me, it’s not like I’ll be alone.”
Bodhi reached forward, putting his flickering hand over Rey and Finn’s, hoping the gesture would translate even if the sensation didn’t. “You are talented and brilliant and brave. Wherever this journey takes you, I have so much faith in you.”
Rey’s facade cracked, and she gave a little sniff. “Thank you. For the forest. I was terrified…”
“I was too. That guy is fucking scary. What’s with the flickering lightsaber, anyway? Just for dramatic effect?”
Rey’s chuckle was reluctant this time, dragged out of her despite her better judgement. “Look after him for me?”
“No.” He smiled to soften the word. “I’m looking after him for myself. But he will be looked after.”
“That’s even better.” Rey sat there for a little longer, before reaching up and brushing a kiss against Finn’s forehead. “We’ll see each other again. I believe that. Thank you, my friend.”
She stood up, and she and Bodhi shared a long look. “I’d hug you right now if…” Rey trailed off.
Bodhi smiled, moving around the bed and placing two ghostly hands on either side of Rey’s face. He placed an insubstantial kiss against her forehead. “May the Force be with you.”
Rey smiled back at him. “And also with you.”
There was a frantic ebb and flow around the base, but Bodhi wasn’t worried about it. He knew where he was supposed to be, and it was here, with Finn.
The door hissed open, and Bodhi stood on reflex, moving out of the way of any wandering bodies.
“Please, Mr. Rook, don’t stand on my behalf.”
Bodhi jumped, looking over at the door. General Organa stood there, looking more uncertain than Bodhi had ever seen her. She cleared her throat. “I am right, aren’t I? You’re Bodhi Rook?”
“That’s me.” Bodhi and the general looked at each other for a long time, before Bodhi gestured down at the chair. “Please, sit, I don’t actually get tired anymore. It’s just comforting. Feels right. I’m rambling, sorry, not used to too many people being able to see me. Starting to feel popular, for a ghost. Um. Sorry. Did we meet?” Bodhi finished lamely.
The general gave him an affectionate smile, moving to sit by the bedside. “No. We didn’t have the pleasure. But in a way, we did. I’m Leia Organa. When the Death Star plans were beamed out, they beamed to my ship.”
“Oh.” Bodhi’s face twitched. “I’m glad you received them. I…”
Pulling the lever to transmit the data. Innocuous black ball, bouncing into the shuttle. Flash, heat, and then…
“I think I was dead by then.”
It was good to know that death hadn’t made him any less awkward.
Leia’s looked serious, eyes fixed on Finn but still speaking with Bodhi. “Possibly. There...there were no survivors of your mission. The Death Star was fired on Scarif.”
Bodhi closed his eyes. “I didn’t know.” He opened them again. “Can’t say I’m terribly surprised, though. I think we were all aware it was a possibility. Surprised anyone even remembers us.”
Leia looked up at him, then, her eyes oddly searching as she took in his face, “Your sacrifice allowed us to destroy the Death Star. You are remembered very well, Bodhi Rook.”
Bodhi swallowed hard, gripping the head of Finn’s medical cot in a futile attempt to steady himself. It was kind enough to feel solid, this time. “I sort of figured if anyone knew my name, they’d hate me.” His voice was barely more than a whisper. “After all, I flew the kyber...and then Jedha was…”
“And Alderaan was too,” Leia finished. “I suppose it’s worth mentioning that at one time my title was Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.”
Bodhi gave her a stricken look. “I’m so sor—”
Leia held up a finger and continued speaking without a pause. “So, if anyone gets to say this it’s me. Your choices lead to the Death Star’s destruction. The losses are not yours to bear, but the victory certainly is.”
Bodhi looked down at his hands. “That means...quite a bit.” He looked up, not quite able to help his bitter expression. “Not going to lie, it’d mean a little more if I hadn’t been brought back just to find out there’s an even bigger planet killer out there.”
“Not anymore.” There was a hint of reprimand in Leia’s voice.
“And how long do we have until the next one?” Bodhi snapped in return, that old feeling of uselessness back even stronger.
Leia’s eyes shuttered. “Ah. I…I can’t imagine what you must think of us.”
“That we let it get this bad again.”
“It’s pretty damn hard to stop evil,” Bodhi said. “I would know. Gave my life for it and all that jazz. Just...turned out it didn’t make much of a difference. Just had to do it all over again.”
“No.” Leia said, something flashing in her eyes as she leaned forward. “It was better. For a long time it was better. We had peace, Bodhi. There were still little squabbles and brushfires, and it was a great deal of work, but overall? For years and years we had peace. You helped give us that.”
“Wish I could have seen it. It sounds...nice.” Bodhi looked down at Finn, shook his head a little. “How old do you think Finn is?”
Leia looked considering. “I...don’t know. Twenty or so? Is this important?”
“And the Empire died thirty years ago. And Finn has been raised since an infant to fight for the First Order. Somebody may have gotten peace, but Finn sure didn’t.”
Leia’s eyes grew distant. “Yes. There was a cancer growing and we missed it. And now…” Leia sighed, and for a moment she wasn’t a powerful general, she wasn’t someone who commanded armies. She was just tired. “I’m so sorry we didn’t do better with the peace you tried to give us.”
“How do you do it?” Bodhi asked, struck by the weariness that echoed his own, his dismay of finding out that they were going to have to deal with this shit all over again. “When you watch it all shatter again, how do you keep going?”
Leia looked at him. “I couldn’t imagine not fighting. Of course I wish that peace had reached everyone. I wish it had lasted forever. However, the fact that it wasn’t permanent does not negate its value. We gave a better life to trillions of souls, Bodhi. And I intend to do it again. Maybe this time the future isn’t for me, but…”
Leia looked down at Finn, and so did Bodhi. Bodhi finished her sentence, “...that doesn’t mean it’s not worth fighting for.”
Leia nodded. “Yes. Thank you, Bodhi Rook, for all you’ve done. And all you continue to do.”
“Thank you. For keeping the fight going. And for the encouragement. I threw everything I had into the last fight, and it’s been more than a little depressing to think that it counted for nothing.”
Leia stood, looking over at Bodhi. “No, Bodhi, it...was everything.” Leia smiled. “For a time, it was everything.” Leia looked around. “There’s quite a bit left to do, now. The First Order knows where we are, and with the Republic gone...I need to get back to work.”
“Come back anytime,” Bodhi said, little shrug to his shoulders. “I’ll be here.”
“Good. I’m glad.” Leia gave a soft bow to Bodhi, and left the room.
Bodhi lost track of time, staring at Finn’s form. It was peaceful, in a way nothing had been for Bodhi since...well, since he had become a ghost. And before he became a ghost…
It was more peaceful than Bodhi had been in a long time.
“Why am I blue?”
Bodhi’s reverie was interrupted by a voice suddenly coming from behind him. Nobody had come through the door. Unless he had fallen asleep. Could ghosts fall asleep? Either way, Bodhi turned around slowly, trying to see what was behind him.
A blue figure, flickering just slightly out of sync with Bodhi, stood there, staring at his hands in horror. Bodhi scrambled out of the chair. “FINN!?”
Finn looked up, eyes wide, “Bodhi, why am I blue!?”
“I don’t know!”
“Am I dead? You’d tell me if I was dead, wouldn’t you? Right? Ghost buddy?”
“I...don’t think you’re dead. You’re still breathing.”
Bodhi gestured back at Finn’s sleeping figure.
“I...huh. This can’t be good.” Finn looked back down at his body. “I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be in there.”
“Yeah, body and spirit are usually a package deal,” Bodhi said, well aware of the irony.
Finn looked up at Bodhi. He reached out and poked him.
Finn felt solid. Bodhi grabbed at Finn’s hand, and it wavered slightly, still not quite in sync with Bodhi’s spirit. But it had weight, and a bit of heat, and it felt real. Bodhi looked over at Finn, feeling complicated.
Finn’s expression was far less complicated. He looked delighted. “Bodhi!”
And then Bodhi suddenly had arms thrown around him, and Finn was hugging him for all he was worth. It took Bodhi about two seconds to get with the program and start hugging back.
“This is a pretty big perk to dying,” Finn said, muffled against Bodhi’s shoulder.
“I still don’t think you’re dead.” Bodhi hugged a little tighter. “Just visiting.”
Finn finally let go, pulling back to look down at his body. “Yeah?”
Bodhi nodded. “Don’t worry, we’ll figure out how to put you back in there.”
Finn poked at his other self and his finger passed through his shoulder. “I do want to go back. Is that selfish?”
Bodhi shook his head. “Not at all.” Bodhi reached over and threw his arm around Finn’s shoulders for the sheer joy of being able to do so. “There are people out there that need you, and I suspect you’ve got a lot of living left to do.”
“Yeah, I mean, I’m free now. One of us has gotta stay alive, or defection’s gonna get a bad reputation.”
Bodhi chuckled. “Yeah, redeem my legacy. Prove you can fight the planet-killer and live.”
Finn grinned. “Hey.” He nudged Bodhi.
“Thanks. For making sure I wasn’t alone. For staying with me through...everything. It meant a lot.”
Finn pulled back and stared at Bodhi. “More than a little problem. You had to deal with the fact that all the stuff you did forever ago—”
“Not that long—”
“Forever ago. All that stuff you did didn’t mean the problem went away.”
“Well, yeah, that was a bit of a thing…”
“And there was the part where you collapsed screaming because you felt a whole systems worth of people die.”
“Yeah, not great, but—”
“And you had to get dragged back into a fight when you were all peaceful being dead and—”
“Finn!” Bodhi shoved at Finn’s shoulder. “Yeah there are still problems but now there’s...people like you. And Rey, and Poe, and I’m so glad I got to see it.”
“Yeah, Finn. Start to finish, it was worth it.” Bodhi looked over at Finn. “You were worth it.”
A smile stretched across Finn’s face, so bright and wide Bodhi had to smile in return. For the first time in a long time, Bodhi realized he was looking forward to what came next.