“You’re a very attractive young man, Bodhi,” Chirrut says, as if he were discussing how warm the season has been, or that the soup at the cantina was particularly good today. Bodhi sputters into his tea, spilling half of it onto the leg of his jumpsuit. Across the table, Baze makes a soft noise under his breath that Bodhi decides is amusement. Mostly because it isn’t followed by a weapon in his face.
Bodhi opens and closes his mouth a few times, blotting at his leg with a napkin. “Um. I'm flattered, Chirrut, it’s just that I really consider you and Baze to be somewhat like uncles to me. I mean, obviously you’re still very fit, but I’m really looking for someone more...” Bodhi’s gaze lifts, catching a familiar head of blond hair making it’s way through the cafeteria line, completely oblivious to all of the eyes following. He continues, “Someone more my age, I suppose.”
“You can say Luke, it’s okay, Bodhi.” Jyn smirks and bites into the piece of fruit from her tray. Bodhi scowls. He never manages to get there in time for fruit. Of course, Jyn has her own admirers on base. Apparently, they have connections with the kitchen staff.
“No one said anything about Luke.” Bodhi fixes her with a stern glance. “And they aren’t going to.”
“As I was saying, before I was interrupted. You’re an attractive young man. Pleasant company as well, I think we can all agree. There’s no reason for you to be lonely.”
Bodhi hates the look of pity on Chirrut’s face. He isn’t lonely, he has friends and work, not to mention the war against the Empire that keeps them busy from time to time. He doesn’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. “Who said I was lonely?”
“The Force moves -”
“He may be blind, but the rest of us aren’t,” Baze cuts in. “If you like Luke, you should talk to him.”
Bodhi rolls his shoulders forward, a habit toward making himself smaller that his mother always scolded him for. Chirrut elbows him in the ribs. “You’re not an armodragon, sit up straight.”
Wide eyed, Bodhi looks at Baze questioningly. Baze shrugs. “He’s obnoxious, isn’t he.”
Bodhi just shakes his head. “It’s not as simple as all that. Luke is…” (The savior of the Rebellion, the one that took down the death star, a Jedi.) “Too busy to spend time talking to a mechanic that hasn’t even been cleared to fly an x-wing yet. Besides, he has plenty of admirers already.”
Chirrut just smiles, but he drops the topic, which Bodhi is grateful for.
He really should have known better.
Three days later, Bodhi is thirty minutes into a meditation session with Chirrut when Luke walks in.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I must have gotten my scheduling confused, I thought I was supposed to be here at 14:00.” Bodhi startles, unbalanced by the sudden lurch back into reality.
Across from him, Chirrut smiles calmly. “No need to worry, young Jedi. I’m sure Bodhi here will be able to help you with your meditation. He is an adept student.”
Luke’s face somehow both pales and turns pink at once, and he scrubs a hand across the back of his neck. “Oh, Master Imwe, I thought that you would be leading the session. Not that Mr. Rook is unqualified, of course. It’s just…”
“Of course he's qualified, I trained him myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just recalled at the last moment that I am supposed to be meeting with one of the Senators about locating some ... misplaced Jedhans. I’m sure you understand. You’re in very good hands, I assure you.” And with that, he leaves.
Bodhi feels his back start to curve, tensing his muscles to keep his spine straight. He looks up at Luke and offers a commiserating smile. “I understand if you want to leave, don’t feel obligated to me.”
Luke lets out a sigh. “No, it’s just. I’m not very good at this yet. I hope I don’t disappoint you.”
Bodhi could laugh if Luke didn’t look so despondent about the whole situation. “I’m sure you’ll be fine. I promise not to laugh.” Bodhi lifts his hand and crosses his heart, and old custom that he can’t remember the meaning behind. “It will help if you sit.”
Luke blushes even more deeply and scrambles down onto the floor, crossing his legs at the ankles and tucking his feet beneath his thighs. He flounders a little, leaning back on his hands, then folding them in his lap, bottom lip caught between his teeth.
A smile tugs at Bodhi's mouth. “Luke.”
He freezes, eyes open wide. “Yeah?”
Luke grins, his smile brighter than two suns in the small room. His shoulders drop though, arms settling loosely on top of his legs. “Right. Yeah, I can do that.”
There's a thought, wandering through Bodhi's brain, that Luke could do anything if he put his mind to it. It's probably a little too close to hero worship to be healthy, so Bodhi pushes the thought down into the category of ‘things we're not dealing with today’. Instead, he smiles in return, and settles himself back into position.
“Okay, to start we're just going to breathe. Focus on the feeling of pulling air into your body, and then pushing it back out. Let everything else fade into the background.”
Bodhi closes his eyes. He'll talk to Chirrut about this later.
Kitchen duty is one of the rotation of tasks that Bodhi looks forward to the most. There’s a sort of serenity that comes with prepping potatoes, almost a different kind of meditation. He’s halfway through a crate, a pile of peelings gathering in the bin between his feet, when Luke walks in.
“Hey, Bodhi,” he says, with a smile evident in his voice. “You got stuck on kitchen duty too?”
Glancing up, careful of the knife in his fingers, Bodhi shrugs. “Looks like. Not your favorite job, I take it?”
Luke walks over to the sink and sets to washing his hands, rolling the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbows beforehand. “It’s fine. I don’t really know most of the food they cook here though. It’s a lot different from back home.”
Bodhi nods, stretching to place the peeled potato into the pot he has set on the counter and bending down to pull another from the crate. “I know what you mean, sort of. At least they cook real food here, instead of the ‘nutritional’ rations that you get on an Imperial base.”
Luke freezes for a second, an almost unnoticeable hitch.
“You forget that I was one of them before?” Bodhi asks, gnawing on his lip. He’s gotten used to people remembering that at some inopportune time, conveniently forgetting his part in getting the Death Star plans to the Rebellion. They sound an awful lot like the demons in his own head, one for every crate of kyber crystal he transported off Jedha.
Lost in his own thoughts, Bodhi doesn't notice Luke crossing the room until his hand’s at Bodhi's elbow, a worried furrow set between his eyebrows. “Wedge defected too, you know. And Biggs, he was a friend mine from back home, he left Tatooine to join the Academy.”
Bodhi closes his eyes, focusing on the knife gripped in his hand, Luke's warm palm on his arm. “It isn't the same. Not really. You don't know -”
“It doesn't matter.” Luke closes his hand around Bodhi's clenched fist, carefully tugging the knife free and setting it on the counter. He takes Bodhi's hand, his own palm soft and slightly damp from washing, cradling Bodhi’s knuckles. “Think about how many reasons there are, why we might not be here right now. Every decision spreads out in a wave, affecting the next and the next. What matters is that we’re here, both you and I. All those choices are what brought us to this moment.”
Bodhi stares down at their hands, Luke's pale skin against the brown of his own. It feels significant, but at the same time, like something he's not ready to face. He looks up, and smiles, pulling away from Luke's hold.
“We - we should get back to work I think. Lots of people to feed.”
Luke nods, graciously letting the matter drop. They settle into the rhythm of work, peeling and chopping, a quiet companionship that feels more natural than it has any right to.
Bodhi rounds the corner into the training room just in time to catch Baze pinning Luke to the mat. Luke grunts, face flushed, and pushes him away. “You’re three times my size. Yeah, I’m distracted.”
Baze’s low chuckle is familiar, comforting almost. It reminds Bodhi of his father, who somehow could find something to laugh about, no matter what was going on around them. Baze is here though, and his father is just another piece of Jedha floating among the stars.
Luke climbs to his feet, aided by Baze’s outstretched hand. He picks up the staff he’d dropped before, spinning it lightly before settling into his fighting stance. Knees bent, weight centered, sweat turning the hair at his temple from blonde to brown. Bodhi folds the datapad in his hands against his chest, his reason for coming to the training room, and leans one shoulder against the wall to watch.
Luke lunges forward, striking out at Baze. For a moment he seems confident, forcing Baze back defensively. Then, in the space of a breath, he’s on his back again, pinned at the knee and the chest. Bodhi’s not actually sure how Luke wound up there, but he knows he wouldn’t want to face Baze without a blaster.
Baze looks up at him and grins. “You next, Bodhi?” Luke, who was apparently oblivious to Bodhi’s arrival, startles.
Bodhi steps forward, holding the datapad out in front of him. “I’ll definitely pass on getting my ass handed to me today, thanks. Chirrut asked me to bring this down to you. He’s stuck in some meeting.” Baze mops at his face with a towel and reaches for the ‘pad, the tech seeming comically small in his hands, though Bodhi knows he’s as adept with it as anyone else on base. Mouth quirking up into a small, secretive smile, Baze reads the message.
“Looks like you’re off the hook, Skywalker. Spar with Bodhi a bit. Can’t use size as an excuse then, at least.”
Still on the floor, Luke sputters at the same time as Bodhi opens his mouth to protest. Baze raises his eyebrows, and two sets of mouths snap closed. Baze leaves with a smirk.
Still on the floor, Luke says, “Think he’ll know if we just leave instead?”
Bodhi looks toward the door, already untucking his shirt to strip down to the tank top beneath. “Oh, he’ll definitely know. I don’t know how, but he will.”
Luke groans. “Fine. Help me up?”
Bodhi tosses his shirt into the corner, walking over with his hand held out. Luke, the bastard, uses it as leverage to flip Bodhi down onto the mat, straddling his chest and pushing his hands down against the floor.
Some traitorous part of him wants to go pliant under Luke’s hands, thoughts of far less innocent acts running through his mind. Bodhi mentally lists every component in his shuttle’s landing gear and wills his body back under control. Luckily, Luke is too busy grinning about having tricked Bodhi to notice when he gets his feet under him, pushing up and twisting until Luke is face down on the mat with Bodhi’s knee holding his thighs down.
“I thought Jedi were supposed to be honorable?”
Luke, face pushed into the mat, mumbles, “Not a Jedi yet. ‘Sides, the people I’ll be fighting aren’t big on honor.”
Bodhi eases his weight off and climbs to his feet, nudging Luke in the thigh. “That may be true. Doesn’t mean you can’t be better than them.”
Luke rolls onto his back, arms laid out across the floor. “Maybe you should be the Jedi.”
Bodhi ignores that comment, waiting for Luke to get off the floor. They spend another half hour trying to pin each other to the mat, to varying degrees of success. It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, to think that he can, to some extent, hold his own against someone like Luke. When they’re done, Bodhi feels lighter than he has in weeks, breathing heavily, but free. Like he can exist just in this moment, here with Luke.
Bodhi wishes that he could keep this feeling in his chest, but it, like so many things, seems to disappear as quickly as it comes.
Bodhi stretches out from beneath the chassis of the x-wing he's servicing, half listening to Artoo’s complaining tones.
“I know, I wish he wouldn't be so reckless either.” Under his breath, Bodhi adds, “Jedi or not, no one's invincible.”
Bodhi stretches a little further, patting the floor as he tries to find the hydrospanner that’s somehow not where he just put it down. Bodhi's fingers brush across something decidedly warmer than a hydrospanner.
“Are you trying to turn Artoo against me, Rook?” Luke's familiar voice washes over him, and Bodhi is suddenly glad for the durasteel blocking the view of his face, because he's certain that he's flushed a deep red.
“You should have heard the things he was saying about you, actually,” Bodhi teases, trying to cover up how awkward he feels. “I thought Kay was bad, but at least he doesn't curse every four words.”
Luke laughs, and Bodhi realizes that he's still holding on to what must be Luke's hand, because suddenly there are fingers pressed against his palm. It feels much nicer than it ought to, and is a too stark reminder of how long it's been since he held hands with anyone.
Bodhi pulls his hand away. “Could you pass me the hydrospanner? I'm almost finished under here.”
“Sure. Um, I usually do the maintenance myself, you know. Not that I mind the hand, just… why are you working on my x-wing?”
Bodhi tightens the final bolt, double checking to make sure he hasn't left any loose wiring hanging out. He scoots to the side, deliberately shifting away from Luke, and climbs to his feet.
“Was on my datapad, repairs on Red 5, check landing gear and wiring harness. You had some carbon scoring too, but it doesn't seem to be enough to affect hull integrity.” Bodhi wipes his hands down the front of his coveralls, grimacing at the streaks of engine grease he leaves behind. When he looks up, Luke is standing in front of him, a soft smirk pulling at his lips.
“What?” Bodhi asks, frowning slightly.
Luke shakes his head. “Oh, nothing. I just have a sneaking suspicion that someone is trying to push us together.”
Bodhi takes a step back, Luke’s grinning proximity sending off warning flares in his head. “Yeah, that's probably Chirrut. I've asked him to stop, but he's very …”
“We'll go with that, it's nicer than what I was going to say.”
Luke laughs. “I don't mind, really. I like getting a chance to spend time with you.”
Bodhi shoves his hands in his pockets. He can’t quite get his head around the idea of that. The Rebellion is full of people far more interesting than him.
“Why?” The word slips out of him, meant for his own head, but now hanging between them. His every insecurity laid out for Luke to see.
Luke scoffs a little. “I don't know if you realize this, but you're a nice guy, Bodhi.”
It's only then that he looks up, and sees that Bodhi is serious. He sighs, reaching out to brush his fingers over Bodhi's arm, his next words halting. “You're - you're kind. Braver than people give you credit for.”
Luke takes a step closer, hand sliding up Bodhi's arm. “You don’t treat Artoo like just some datapad on wheels. You care about - about everyone here. About the Rebellion. ”
Bodhi looks away, heart racing, trying to form a response to the insanity Luke is spouting. His ears are burning, heart pounding in his chest. He can't seem to look up, though, stuck staring at his own boots instead of facing Luke's words.
Another set of boots lines up with his own, then there's a gentle hand cupping his jaw, tilting his face up. Luke smiles at him, eyes bright. “You're smart, and - and talented and, Force, you must know you're gorgeous. Is that enough?”
Bodhi shakes his head, voice choked by the hope in his gut waging war against his own self-doubt. “I'm not, kriff - Luke, I'm not even half of those things. I'm sure there's someone more worth your time -”
Luke cuts him off, hair swinging into his eyes as he shakes his own head in disagreement. “Don't - you are, Bodhi. Don't put me on a pedestal. I'm just a person, same as you. A person that really wants to kiss you, if that's alright.”
He barely has the chance to nod before Luke's mouth is pressed against his own, warm and generous. They're matched in height, so it's easy to lean together, tilt further into the kiss and the soft give and take of Luke's mouth. Bodhi twists his hands into the back of Luke's shirt, pulling him closer. Breaking away with a laugh, Luke tucks his face against Bodhi's neck. “Chirrut’s going to be unbearable after this, isn't he?”
Bodhi settles, and breathes, and holds on tight. “Probably, but I'm pretty glad he was right this time.”