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Can You Love Me Most?

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The events of the last twenty-four hours slam into Finn, nearly bringing him to his knees.

Legs suddenly weak, he sinks to the floor and throws his arms over his knees; fingers curling and uncurling with each shaky exhale. Various beeps bordering on alarm pull Finn from his hazy thoughts until he looks up and sees BB-8 swirling from side to side erratically. Lips curling upward without consent, Finn reaches out and palms BB-8’s head in hopes of calming the small droid.

“I’m okay BB-8, just tired.”

BB-8 cocks its head and then beeps something Finn vaguely recognizes as ‘wait here,’ and watches the orange and white ball rocket across the ship until it bumps into Rey.

It beeps too fast for Finn to comprehend what’s being said, but soon Rey is curled next to him on the floor and her head finds purchase on his aching shoulder. BB-8 rolls by now on a new mission, but it makes sure to flash its signature ‘thumbs up’ before vanishing in the crowd of legs.

“I feel like I haven’t slept in a week,” Finn finally confesses closing his eyes and letting his head lean back into the metal slab.

Rey snorts, “You were just in a coma.”

It’s not funny by any stretch of the imagination, but a laugh bursts from Finn’s mouth before he realizes his shoulders are shaking – the pain in his back increasing with each tremor – and heads turn in concern to watch the pair of them deconstruct into desperate gasps of breath.

Tears burn his eyes and Rey hides her hiccups in his shoulder until the adrenaline vanishes as quickly as it appeared and exhaustion settles into their bones. Cheeks wet and eyes red, Finn sniffles until he can breathe again and notices the slow rise and fall of Rey’s chest. Something grips his gut and squeezes in time with the increasing heat pulsing in his sluggish heart and when he lets his eyes slide shut the last thing he notices are a pair of boots stopping in front of them.

Warmth settles over him and before he finally surrenders, Finn clutches the blanket in his bloodied hands and sighs.

“Poe.”

“Goodnight Finn.”

Poe’s voice follows him into sleep’s lair until darkness melts into Technicolor dreams where up is down and down is somewhere he’s never been. The gloves won’t come off his hands and they’re speckled with a stranger’s blood. Beneath him are bodies burned beyond recognition and some are so small he knows they are children.

Terror grips him tight, but still he marches across the battlefield and past the muffled screams of the wounded tossed carelessly into ditches his squad dug days ago. White figures march in his periphery but fade into shadows when he turns his head – ghosts of a future he had escaped not one month prior.  His knuckles bleed beneath the pressure and no matter how hard he tries he cannot release his hold on the blaster seemingly glued to his hands.

Phasma’s suit gleams in the fire’s bright heat; voice cold and calculating in his head with each order she gives.

“FN-2187 fire on my command.”

He opens his mouth to ask where the target it when troopers come forward and throw a gaggle of people at his feet. They have no faces; just brown bags over their struggling shoulders and he aims until all expect one lay prone at his feet. The stench of burning flesh makes his eyes sting and he hesitates long enough for the last enemy to wiggle out of their bag.

“Execute.”

Finn’s screams follow him into consciousness as Poe slumps over dead with brown eyes unseeing. He jolts forward and expels what meager rations he’d forced down after they had left Crait. He can feel their eyes on him as he shakes and fights to catch his breath, but Finn cannot leave his nightmare behind and the sounds of blaster fire threaten to deafen him.

A strong hand grips his shoulder and the other rubs circles on his back until he has nothing left in his stomach. Bile eats away at his tongue and he snags the water skin General Organa offers once he’s able to sit back.

He doesn’t drink – years of training drilled into his mind caution him. He’ll only throw it back up so he uses the water to cleanse his mouth and cool his fevered face.

Shivers wrack his body and threaten to disturb the grip Poe has on him. Words are being said, but Finn focuses on controlling his breathing and tries to tune the noise out. It feels like it’s been hours before he finally begins to make sense of his surroundings.

BB-8 doesn’t try to hide its worry and beeps consistently in spite of Rey and Poe telling the droid to hush. Rey takes point on Finn’s left, positioning her body so those in the front of the Falcon cannot see Finn’s crouched form. She’s talking to General Organa about possible systems and planets to regroup on as Leia pivots her body; adding an extra wall of security against those who can’t help but look over at the commotion.

Poe makes himself a wall along Finn’s exposed side; moving into his field of vision until all he can see is full lips slowly forming words that start to make sense after the ringing in his ears subside.

“Deep breaths buddy; it’s okay. You’re safe here Finn.”

Finn mimics the way Poe breathes until the panic leaks out of his spine and he slumps forward, face buried in Poe’s chest as hands wrap around and ground him in the moment.

“I won’t let them hurt you again.”

Finn wants to protest – wants to tell Poe he’s the one in danger. The First Order will come for them all and get their claws into his brain until her forgets his name. The lifeless bodies of his friends flash behind his eyelids and nausea bubbles in his stomach.

“I don’t want to be a number,” Finn mumbles into the worn fabric of Poe’s shirt.

Fingers spasm against his back and Finn can hear Poe’s teeth grinding the words he wants to spit out, but ultimately tenderness prevails and Poe pulls him closer than Finn had ever been held before.

“You’ll never be a number again. You are Finn – they can’t take that from you.”

He finds the strength to embrace Poe back and it’s not until a large shadow falls over them that Finn realizes they’ve been crouched in the position for a while. Chewie growls at anyone who gets too close and BB-8 pulls out its taser a few times.

If possible, Finn feels more tired than ever when Poe reluctantly lets him go and they settle on the grated floor.

“Where are we? How long was I out?”

It’s Rey who answers, “The edge of Wild Space. It’s too risky to head towards any familiar systems – they may be crippled, but the First Order will expect us to retreat to what we know.”

“But our allies,” Finn argues only to fall silent when General Organa turns to face him.

“They left our call unanswered. We’re on our own for now.”

The atmosphere in the Falcon is bleak and it weighs heavily on Finn’s weary mind. Head bowed he takes a moment to collect his fears when he feels a gentle hand cup his skull.

“We’re down, but not out Finn. I’ve seen Rebellions survive on less.”

Finn sees lifetimes in Leia’s gaze and nods slowly as she straightens her back and turns to face those who’ve gathered.

“Now more than ever are we needed in this galaxy: We will restore hope to those who have lost it. The First Order will never see us coming.”

Her voice is warm steel that sets fire in Finn’s belly and he’s cheering with the others before he realizes it. Poe helps him stand and they grasp forearms and grin until their cheeks hurt. Rey heads back to the cockpit after grasping Finn’s shoulder tight and Chewie practically knocks Finn down after cuffing the back of his head affectionately. He nearly trips over BB-8, making Finn tip into C3PO who admonishes the little droid for his carelessness while waving away Finn’s apology.

The Falcon doesn’t feel as big as it once did when it was just him and Rey on the run, but the remaining Resistance finds ways to make the space feel like a home. People litter the floors as they try to catch some sleep and the handfuls of food stored in the various compartments are rationed carefully. Finn was used to being hungry – the First Order not big on offering seconds – but the first time General Organa caught him trying to foster his rations onto a young pilot whose face had been lightly burned she dressed him down in private.

“You’ll be of no use if you collapse due to malnourishment.”

He looked away and nodded quickly; body tensing as if he expected her to lash out.

“Finn,” she sighs and her eyes aren’t as sad as Poe’s get when Finn shows sign of his upbringing, but there’s a tenderness he is unfamiliar with swimming in her gaze, “you’ve got a good heart. Don’t let this war take that from you.”

Between heart-to-hearts with Leia and checking up on Rose, Finn keeps himself busy. The Falcon doesn’t have an unlimited supply of fuel and everyone tiptoes around mentioning the fact they’re going to need to stop soon. Rey and Chewie work their own magic to keep the Falcon going; squeezing every drop of viable fuel out of the old ship.

“We need to land, and soon.” Rey says roughly three days after Crait and Falcon is silent.

“Where do you suggest? We’re not exactly in friendly territory now,” someone calls from the back and they duck down so Finn can’t see their face. He can’t blame their reluctance, but now is not the time.

“True, but I highly doubt the First Order is welcome out here either. Maybe we can find some support,” Poe suggests.

Chewie rumbles something and Rey nods slowly in time with Leia: They lock eyes and Rey rushes off to plot a course.

“Chewie says there’s a planet not far called Thune. Some of his people made their homes there and there’s a city with traders and possible allies.”

“General Organa if I might interject –” C3PO begins, but Leia waves his concern away.

“It’s the only hope we’ve got for fuel and supplies.”

Murmurs rise in the crowd and eyes dart from person to person, apprehensively hoping someone else will speak up, but no one does. Finn slides from his perch next to Rose and clears his throat, “You’ll need a guard ma’am if you plan to set foot in that city.”

“Yes I will,” Leia agrees not quite smiling at the straight set of Finn’s shoulders. Both in agreement, Finn heads to the back of the Falcon where the weapons are stored and steadies himself as he cleans and reassembles a blaster without thought. By the time he’s run through his drills the planet Thune is visible in the cockpit and Poe is waiting with Leia.

“Ready to cause a scene?” he smirks and Finn wants to roll his eyes, but he doesn’t have a helmet to hide behind so he takes a deep breath and nods.

“Let’s go.”

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

“How was I supposed to know there was a bounty on my head all the way out here?” Poe shouts amidst the chaos of blaster fire.

The second they’d set down on the landing pad surrounded by water Finn knew something was up. His eyes took in every glance; his ears every whisper as they walked down the large bridge and into the city. Every race from Biths to Wookiess walked the cobbled streets. Hoods were pulled up as they passed and Finn made himself Leia’s new shadow and glared at every passerby who lingered.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Finn mumbles to himself as Rey follows Poe into a withered building. His foot hits the threshold and time stops long enough for Finn to pick up the sound of harsh curses. The next thing he knows, Finn’s pulling Leia out of the bar and into the crowded streets; enemy fire following them.

“What makes you think the bounty is on your head? It’s probably on the General’s!”

Rey dives behind a stand, narrowly avoiding a bolt to the neck. The marketplace is in shambles; carts overturned and innocent vendors running for their lives as the Rodian’s mow down anyone in the way of their bounty.

“There is a time and a place for this conversation and here is not one of them!” Finn yells, left arm out in hopes of keeping Leia behind him. “Stay down ma’am!”

Backing into an alley, Finn manages to turn and shot the Rodian hoping to flank them from behind.

“Nice shot Finn!” Poe crows from his spot in the doorway a few feet head; Rey dashes to his side and he pulls her into the building to avoid another blast.

“I’ve had it with these guys,” she growls and with a burst of speed Finn could never hope to replicate, she dashes out of the doorway and shoves the closet bounty hunter to his feet and knocks him unconscious with her staff. Poe manages to shot the last one as it stares in shock at the sudden attack and the dust falls on the dead as they run back to the Falcon.

“What do you mean it could’ve been the General? Guy took one look at me and pulled out his blaster,” Poe argues as they hurry up the ramp with their newly acquired supplies.

“They only started shooting when she followed you into the building!”

“Well operating on that logic, they could’ve been after you!”

Rey huffs in disbelief and motions for BB-8 to return to the ship; it had rolled down the ramp the second it heard their voices.

Chewie works on fueling the Falcon as Poe and Rey trade quips with every sack they hand up the line. Finn doesn’t hide his exasperation at the whole thing and when Leia chuckles softly to herself, he ducks down to hide his grin.

“Do you want to tell them or should I?” she asks.

Finn shrugs and it’s not until they start trading war stories that he decides someone should say something.

“Guys, you’re both wrong!”

They pivot on their heels and look at Finn as if he’d grown another head. He reaches out to grab the last satchel of goods and as he tosses it over his shoulder he settles the issue once and for all.

“They were after me.”

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Finn was not the first to defect.

Before the First Order existed there had been whispers that survived the evolution of evil about a pilot named Rook who took up with the Rebel Alliance after the creation of the Death Star.

After that Finn heard tales of a former Captain who fled in the dead of night with their lover – a trooper by the designation of CY-4614. He had been seven at the time and a hunt began. Infractions were no longer based on levels; they were all considered severe enough for reconditioning and in some cases of multiple offenders – termination. Stormtroopers took it upon themselves to punish each other before Captain Phasma could find out.

You cry at night? Someone would come and smother you with a pillow. You fall behind on runs? Someone would twist your arm behind your back until you caught up. You made the mistake of wanting more?

The higher ups wouldn’t bat a lash at an empty bunk or the notification of a window breech.

Finn never did subscribe to the ruthless termination of a fellow trooper; he’d do what he could without inflicting pain, but his methods worked just the same so maybe that’s why he was never spaced. Slip would’ve never allowed it even though he hated Finn almost as much as Finn hated himself.

“What do you mean they were after you?” Poe asks once the hatch is closed and Thune is a speck in the distance.

“Are you saying I’m not good enough to have a bounty on my head?” Finn teases and nearly laughs at the way Poe’s eyes widen and he waves his hand frantically as if to take back his words.

“Not at all buddy, you’re a force to reckon with to be sure, but –”

“Relax Poe, I get it.”

Finn settles down on the floor beneath Rose who continues to sleep peacefully. They tell him she’ll be fine – more so now that they’d gotten supplies – but Finn never was a patient man. Even as a trooper he had to bite down his reflex to be constantly moving. Once they gave him some specialized supplements during his late phase he calmed a little, but now Finn fells like he’s going to run out of his skin if he isn’t careful.

“How did you know?”

Poe slides down next to him and BB-8 is not far behind.

All the attention makes Finn’s skin itch, but he takes a deep breath and lets his mind go someplace else for a moment before shrugging.

“We learned a lot of languages in the First Order: Rodian was one of them. Knowing Huttese and Aqualish made it easier too.”

The series of impressed beeps that follow make Finn puff out his chest a little in pride; every second he gets to prove his usefulness is a second he gets to stay with the Resistance. Poe’s eyes seem to shine in the low light and Finn lets himself get lost in them just long enough to forget for a split second everything that’s happened since the Starkiller base.

The spell breaks when someone comes to check on Rose’s vitals and Finn bites his lip, harsh and unforgiving, when he feels the flush across his cheeks and the wild thumping in his chest. He should be used to the sensation by now, but inches from Rose it feels frantic and uncomfortable beneath his ribs.

He mumbles some excuse about going to see Rey up front and he doesn’t flinch when Poe’s face falls, but it’s a near thing.

Poe turns to leave, BB-8 beeping hesitantly turning its head between them when Finn caves and reaches out. “They’ll never let me go Poe. I know it seems silly; one trooper in a sea of thousands, but I stand for everything they hate – individuality and choice. They’ll make a message out of me no matter what it takes.”

Poe’s eyes blaze so brightly Finn takes a step back and Poe grabs his outstretched hand and his grip could bruise.

“You’re a symbol of hope Finn; for all of those too afraid to speak, they know you’re out here free and alive. I told you once I won’t let them get you. I meant it.”

“I think you think too highly of me,” Finn dismisses the words casually.

“And I think you underestimate how important you are.”

With that Poe lets his hand go and storms to the back of the Falcon, BB-8 following reluctantly, but not before beeping aggressively at Finn.

‘Friend-Finn good!’ was all he understood, but it’s enough to make him smile all the way to Rey and Chewie.

“You have a good talk with Poe?” Rey asks when she sees the soft smile plastered on his face. It falters a little and Finn cocks his head in confusion.

“What makes you say that?”

Rey’s exasperated exhale is lost in Chewie’s loud growl and Finn doesn’t understand a word of it, but he knows enough to know when someone’s talking about him.

“Tell me about it,” Rey commiserates and they let the conversation die long enough for something in the floor panels to explode and suddenly everyone is falling in all sorts of directions as Rey rushes to put out the fire with Finn hot on her heels.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Crisis adverted, the Falcon flew semi-straight along the edge of Wild Space for a couple cycles before Leia brought up the question of when to go back into charted space.

“We’ve licked our wounds enough; we need to settle down and rebuild. I don’t think we can do that out here.”

This sparks an eight-hour discussion from everyone on board; some feel asleep mid-sentence and others took stims to keep going. By the time Leia called rest everyone was walking on shells and going slightly mad at being stuck on the Falcon.

“We need to stretch. We’re no good to anyone if we keep nipping at each other’s throats.” Finn speaks up, putting himself between a pilot and a soldier who are two seconds away from killing each other.

“Can you find us a planet to rest on? Just for a few hours – get everyone some fresh air and some kriffing space.”

His voice stops the hushed arguments in their tracks and Poe’s heading to the controls with Rey before he’s even finished his sentence.

Forty minutes later the Falcon touches down on vibrant moss and the cool air brings relief to all. The ramp drops and groups of five and six make a dash for the tall tress and foliage.

“R2 and BB-8 didn’t see anything on the scans so if everyone stay close I think we’ll be okay,” Poe updates Finn who stands on the edge of the ramp, waiting until everyone else has had a moment off the ship.

His eyes slide close of their own volition and when he isn’t immediately filled with dread he tilts his head and lets the sounds of wild birds fill his mind until his pulse slows. Rey’s standing on the other side of him when he opens his eyes and hers are alight with curiosity. Before he can ask her what’s wrong, Leia beats him too it.

“What do you sense?”

She too is looking at Finn and he startles under their scrutiny. Turning to Poe for help, he accepts defeat when the look in Poe’s eyes matches Rey’s.

“It’s quiet. I mean, it doesn’t feel like Thune at all. I can –” Finn freezes mid-sentence and then flips around racing back into the Falcon. Rey and Poe are right behind him and stop, nearly crashing into each other when they see what called to Finn so urgently.

“Rose,” Finn whispers and he doesn’t notice when Poe bites his bottom lip until it’s white or when he waves away Rey’s concerned approach, but he feels something tug at his heart and when Finn finally turn around he’s alone and something inside of his heart shatters.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Ten hours spent on the planet Pion brightened everyone’s spirits.

Finn spent most of that time filling Rose in on what had happened since her crash. She tells him at one point to take a breath and slow down as he describes what happened on Thune, but her laugh makes him grin in relief. Poe and Rey drop by which makes Rose stutter and flush and wave away their concern and when Finn tries to get them to stay Poe doesn’t meet his eyes when he says the General wants him up front with her.

Finn tries to ignore the ache in his chest as Poe walks away and his face must be doing something equally as painful because Rose and Rey exchange looks and suddenly they’re both yawning loudly and shooing Finn to another part of the Falcon.

“Are you sure? You did just sleep for like seven days straight.”

Unimpressed, Rose continues to gesture for him to vacate the area. “Yes and you of all people should know how tiring an extended sleep can be.”

“She’s got a point,” Rey agrees before settling on the floor where Finn often slept. “Go help Poe with navigation or something. I’m sure Chewie would like a break.”

Unconvinced, but eager to speak with Poe, Finn agrees and tries not to look back when he hears them strike up a conversation; not sounding a bit tired like they were before.

He passes Leia on the way to the cockpit and her hand on his arms stops him in his tracks.

“A word Finn, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not General – anything.”

He means it too and Leia must sense this because she pats his arm affectionately and gestures to the game table where those who had gathered around it suddenly vanished as if they remembered they had something to do.

“I told you to call me Leia,” she admonishes and Finn flushes beneath her focused stare.

“Yes,” he hesitates for a moment as Phasma yells in the back of his mind, “Leia.”

“Good, because I’m not coming to you as a General Finn, I’m coming to you as a friend.”

 The whole concept flies over Finn’s head and when his eyes widen in surprise and fear Leia cannot withhold her dry chuckle. “I know things are done differently where you’re from, but if you’re willing to put up with our odd ways I know you’ll find them more agreeable.”

“No arguments here,” Finn assures allowing himself to relax and leave the First Order behind long enough to let Leia’s calming presence extinguish their blackening flames.

“That’s another thing I want to talk about, but we can table that for a later date,” Leia waves her hand vaguely in Finn’s direction.

He doesn’t play dumb and nods solemnly.

Leia takes a moment to gather her thoughts, something Finn thinks is a talent she picked up recently in her life. He tries to picture the Princess of a planet long since destroyed and when he lets go of the seconds ticking slowly by Finn remembers with stunning clarity the way she moved through space and debris like a being long forgotten in texts too degraded to hold together.

“When I was your age,” she begins wryly, “I’d lost my planet and found a brother in a young boy far from home. I also, somehow, found time to fall in love in the middle of a war zone.”

Her voice captivates and holds Finn exactly where she wants him, not that there was anywhere else he wanted to be. His eyes dart to the doorway leading to where Poe is slumped dejectedly in the co-pilot seat and maybe Leia was waiting for that connection because she reaches out and lays her hand on Finn’s.

A lifetime ago a different man sat across the table and he had flipped his hand up to tangle their fingers together before lifting them to his lips.

The memory pains her less than it would’ve an hour ago and perhaps that’s what healing is; hurting less and less as time moves forward without permission. Finn does not lace their fingers, but instead places his free hand over hers and they’re both picturing the same roguish smile and kind eyes.

“I’ve experienced all kinds of love in my life Finn and while not all of them were perfect or painless, each one saved my life in some shape or form. Whoever said the only important love is the romantic kind can fall into a sand pit and rot.”

“I don’t understand,” Finn confesses and it’s not something he would’ve said serving the First Order, but he’s learned it’s okay to not have the answer. His lack of knowledge did not make him expendable or useless: A foreign concept, but one he readily embraced.

“To be honest, not a lot of people do. I’m by no means an expert and love is something you have to play by ear. Experience is a hell of a teacher, but you learn: Stars blessed, do you learn. My point is that what you’ve been feeling – from day one I’d imagine – is perfectly normal.”

Finn almost wants to argue. There’s no way the gnawing, gaping, hole in his chest when he looks at Poe is normal. He thought he was sick for the longest time when all he wanted to do was hold Rey’s hand and keep her safe. Rose drove him up a wall, but her smile made him smile without hesitation; her laugh made him laugh. Even now, holding Leia’s hand, made Finn’s heart pound a mile a minute and the urge to lean across the table and embrace her was playing havoc with his brain.

Finn’s breath stutters in his chest and it feels like taking his helmet off that night after Jakku.

It’s like flying and falling and crashing all in one and he can’t stop himself from jumping out of his seat. Leia smirks when he moves to find Poe, but she freezes when Finn quickly turns and kisses her forehead gently. It’s his second kiss and her eyes are wet when she waves him away, Finn grinning like a fool.

“Thank you Leia.”

Chewie takes one look at Finn and leaves before he gets ‘caught in the birth of another whirlwind romance,’ his exact words Rey will tell them later, and Poe stares at Finn, confusion painted on his face.

“Finn?” he asks slowly slipping out of the co-pilot seat, but his question is lost when Finn smothers it with his lips. There’s no doubt left in Finn’s body when Poe melts and wraps a hand to cradle Finn’s neck. They part for air and pant against swollen lips then Poe takes initiative and speaks love into Finn’s mouth until they’re dizzy from it.

Eventually Poe pulls back and tries to put his words together to make a sentence that makes sense.

“Finn! Buddy – h-hold on. What about Rey? What about Rose? I don’t… I don’t understand.”

It take a moment for Finn to realize what’s being asked and he’d feel bad about staring at Poe dumbly if he didn’t feel so good. His body, flushed with adrenaline and elation, moves against Poe until their eyes slide shut in ecstasy.

“I didn’t get it either. The First Order branded into our heads that love meant disloyalty and termination. I didn’t understand why I felt the way I did when you’d look at me and Poe, Poe Dameron you were driving me crazy.”

“And then Rey, it was different. I wanted to keep her safe you know? Not that I want anything to happen to you, but it feels different? Kriff, I’m saying this wrong aren’t I?”

Finn looks at Poe, eyes wide and lips wet, and Poe kind of wants to fall to his knees and wrap his arms around him and never let go, but he refrains long enough to reach out and cup Finn’s face with both hands.

“No you’re not Finn, keep going.”

Finn swallows the lump in his throat that threatens to choke him as Poe’s eyes dig into his soul.

“Leia said there was more than romantic love out there and that the other kinds matter just as much. This – this right here, what I’m doing with you, I don’t want to do with anyone else. I love Rey and Rose, Leia and even BB-8, but not like I love you Poe Dameron.”

Relief slams into Poe, nearly bringing him to his knees.

Legs suddenly weak, he rests his forehead against Finn’s and lets his eyes slide close so he cannot see the tears gathering. Finn’s back aches with each nob and button he’s pushed into, but he doesn’t protest because that’d mean he’d have to stop holding Poe and he kind of never wants to let go.

They don’t know that BB-8 is guarding the hallway to the cockpit, taser ready, or that Chewie and Leia are close by as well. Rose blushes when she remembers her last conscious act born of desperation and peace for a life saved. Thinking of the scorching sun and sand, Rey flexes her left hand and reaches out to take Rose’s and they listen to the hum of the Falcon.

Later that night when Poe tosses his blankets next to Finn’s they bear the light teasing of their friends and don’t bother hiding their brilliant smiles. Rey perches next to Rose along the opposite wall as Chewie and Leia take the Falcon back into the Outer Rim. Finn falls asleep to Poe’s soft confessions and wakes to Leia saying there were some people who wanted to speak with him.

Coming off the Falcon to a dozen or so faces all standing in strict military pose woke Finn up faster than anything ever before.

Their leader, a young woman with pitch black hair and sun-kissed skin, steps forward and looks him dead in the eyes.

“We were told FN-2187 was a traitor. We want to be traitors too.”

One of them looks as young as twelve and Finn remembers being that young and desperate to please the higher ups. Four of them have facial scars and burns, and one is missing their left arm. Two troopers stand close, not quite holding hands, but they might as well be. They all look to Finn as if he has the answer to the question they’d been asking themselves since they were old enough to want more.

Awed, Finn takes their faces in slowly so as never to forget them and when Poe reaches forward to grasp his hand tightly, he knows exactly what to say.

“Welcome home, Rebel Scum.”