Glancing around again for good measure, making sure that he was not being watched, Poe settled into the X-Wing’s seat.
He palmed the transponder from his pocket for perhaps the fiftieth time that day, biting his lip pensively as he let his fingernail catch on the power switch, not-quite pulling.
(Just for emergencies, if anything - if anything ever happens. This should be good for the next decade, easy. I just… I gotta get outta here, Ben had said when he’d pushed it into his hands - what, four years ago? Almost five? The first time he took off, anyway.
Poe had almost handed the thing over to the General countless times out of sheer guilt, seeing what that absence had done to her.
But a confidence was a confidence, and if Ben needed a while to cool off from everything... well, Poe could give a guy that much.
Then he’d started rolling back through about a year later, very sporadically, mostly on what he termed ‘business’ - but often enough that Poe could keep in touch, that Leia could see him alive with her own eyes, and so it had eventually been relegated to a sidepouch in his utilikit.
He blasted out a sigh, plugged the transponder into his datapad, switched it on, and pulled up the comm channel. Better to get it over with before he had time to keep overthinking it.
But before he could tap to send a message, the uplink indicator blinked to ‘active’, and Poe barely had time to react.
“Yeah? Who is this?”
Still nothing but a blank screen, but Poe would have recognized that voice anywhere. He did his best to swallow his panic, gesturing helplessly as he answered.
“Uh. Hey, Benj. Didn’t think I’d actually catch you.”
The picture finally resolved - a small, flat hologram of Ben Solo, hair ruffled out of place, blanket wrapped around his shoulders, sleep-heavy grin lopsided on his mouth.
“You still have that thing, Dameron? Be still my beating heart.”
Poe rolled his eyes, laughing gently.
“Yeah, yeah, we can hammer out the wedding plans once you’ve had your caf, sweetheart. This a bad time?”
Ben sniffed, shaking his head.
“Got up to check the autopilot. So, what’s the trouble?”
“Well, it’s - uh. Not exactly an emergency. Which I know is what this is for, but I need a favor, and you know you can tell me to kriff off, but-”
“Kriff off,” Ben shot back immediately, grin never wavering. “You got ninety seconds and then I’m going back to bed.”
“Alright. Alright, so. I need to get out to Sertar, and you’re my best chance of getting there without being noticed, if you still make runs out that way.”
The delight in Ben’s face didn’t fade, but his eyebrows raised meaningfully before he finally answered.
“Are we finally eloping, or am I just covering your back by slapping a big old target on mine?”
There was no good answer to that. Ben was sympathetic to the cause, but at the end of the day, he’d made it clear that he had absolutely no interest in joining in any official capacity - it was one of their few long-running arguments, one which Poe didn’t particularly want to get into for the moment.
“All my hazard pay. Okay? You can have all of my hazard pay,” Poe said, words tumbling out in a rush.
Ben rubbed a hand over his face, the blanket slipping down one shoulder ever so slightly.
“Come on, man, I was only - where in Sertar, exactly?”
Poe glanced around again, barely speaking loudly enough for the mic to pick up his words.
“Kerev Doi. I’ve got a lead on something. Gotta be there in a week if I wanna keep it.”
Ben fixed the camera with a tetchy kind of expression, shaking his head.
“Did she -”
“No! No, and if this goes right, she never has to.”
The air of easy bravado slipped for just a second, Ben’s mouth opening for a moment, stopping as though he caught himself, stopped himself from saying something, settled on a loud sigh.
“How fast can you get to Bavva?”
Poe wouldn’t have kept the wide grin from his own mouth if he’d wanted to.
“Two standard, if you really don’t want anyone to know.”
An answering smile only reluctantly returned to Ben’s face, and he rolled his eyes.
“I really don’t. Buzz me again when you get to Anoat.”
And at that, the picture blinked out, leaving nothing but the cold darkness of the hangar - a silence so abrupt that it took too long of a pause for Poe to realize that this had hadn't all just been an exercise in futility.