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Just a Touch

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Everyone knows about forcemarks. Even in the First Order, forcemarks are unavoidable. Touch happens, it’s unavoidable, and sometimes the merest brush of a finger causes color to streak indelibly across skin. Nines and Zeroes have had forcemarks since before they were formed into a squad, green and yellow hand prints separate cheeks. Captain Phasma has left a white-blue handprint branded onto their shoulders.

FN-2187 has one more forcemark, a handprint folded inside of his own, Slip’s handprint, a deep burgundy that he can hide and hold close. He doesn’t even know if Slip has noticed his own mark. He never asks.

--

Rey keeps her forcemarks alive for years through hope. The stripe across the back of her neck, the kiss mark left on her cheek, but hope can only work for so long and one day (she’s 9) she wakes up and screams to find the green band around her wrist gone. She screams and screams and cries for days.

She never gains more forcemarks. As a child, touch is unavoidable, as an adult, she does her best to keep everyone at the end of her staff.

She’s going to wait. Wait for them to come back. Wait for the green and the orange and blue to return so she can be striped all over once more.

She isn’t going to let anyone else touch her until then.

--

The forcemark fades with Slip’s death. It wasn’t bright to begin with, it was more of a secret than FN-2187 had ever hoped to have, but the touch of bloodied fingers to his mask erased any remnant of Slip from the universe. He checks in a mirror and finds that the trooper helmet blocked any hope of another mark.

“FN-2187.” Captain Phasma’s voice had him fumbling, his gut turned to ice. “Who gave you permission to remove your helmet?”

He barely has the strength to slow his breathing. “Sorry, Captain.” He says before he slips the helmet back on.

His weapon is going to be inspected. They’re going to find nothing wrong with it. Then they’re going to know that it’s him. Him, that’s what’s wrong. Then it’ll either be the psytechs or incineration.

He’d prefer death to the pain the psytechs could inflict.

He isn’t sure what inspires it. (The Force, maybe.) But he knows, suddenly, that there is another option. Another way. A way to not only escape with his life but to escape… to escape TO a life. To somewhere he won’t be forced to shoot civilians. To somewhere he can BREATHE.

The pilot.

The prisoner.

It might work. It might not. He’ll never know until he tries.

--

Finn sees it when he strips off his gear. Color splashed across his palm, orange as… as orange can be, he supposed.

He wonders what color he left on Poe Dameron’s shoulder.

He screams when the TIE fighter sinks into the desert, curls his hand against his chest and hopes that the orange doesn’t fade.

--

The coat thief grabs her hand. Grabs her hand and pulls her through the market. She ducks hangings and dodges stalls at the end of his tether.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

His grip is stronger than she would have expected. Although maybe she should expect a strong grip out of a Resistance fighter. She can’t get free of it without hurting him and she finds she doesn’t want to. It’s not every day she meets a Resistance fighter, not every day she meets someone who flew a TIE fighter and came back to Jakku to rescue a droid.

Blasters obliterate the market around them and the resistance fighter slash coat thief pulls her onwards.

“Let go of me!”

She needs to be able to run, to fight, without the hindrance that is her hand being held. She jerks at his grip once again and is frustrated when he has yet to let go.

“We gotta move!” He says.

“I know how to run without you holding my hand.” She finally wrenches herself free.

Bright pink splotches run around her wrist, like she’s got a bad rash or sunburn, her hand looks like she put it too close to a cooking fire except there are no blisters to be seen.

She’s marked.

--

“If I never see a desert planet again,” Poe complains to Jess, “it will be too soon.” He strips tiredly, achingly, for the waiting Doctor Kalonia. Sand still lies in circles around him, he had tracked it into the medical bay in a way that made the doctor wince and the medical droids peep in displeasure.

Jess rolls her eyes at him. She had followed him in from the landing pad, surprised that the man could still walk, unsurprised that he wasn’t as dead as he had been reported. “You love desert planets. All those wide open skies, the sandstorms, the… what’s that?”

Poe frowns and turns to look at his shoulder. He couldn’t being injured there, though the First Order had worked him over pretty well.

A bright pink handprint stands out starkly against his skin. His eyes widen in surprise.

“Looks like a forcemark to me.” Kalonia says, unimpressed, unsurprised. “Pava, if you wouldn’t mind.”

Poe touches the handprint with trembling fingers.

He hopes Finn is still alive.

--

Rey grabs the person closest to her, elated, ecstatic, uncaring who they are. The man she has grabbed hugs her back, equally tight, and once their awkward clinch has been separated she looks into kind brown eyes.

“Hi,” the pilot mumbles, he might even be blushing, “I’m Poe.”

Rey is, herself, likely blushing. She isn’t good with awkward situations. “I recognize the name.”

He has kind brown eyes, and a face that looks like it would be good to… well, a good face, she decides. “So you’re the X-wing pilot.” She smiles at him, a little tight, still a little unsure. “I’m Rey.”

He smiles back. “I know. It’s nice to meet you.” Something catches his attention and his gaze falls to her arms.

She turns, slightly surprised to see orange on the unwrapped portion of her arms. The hug, she thinks, she wonders if she has his handprints on her back. “Oh.”

Poe’s smile is teasing. “You look good in orange.”

She frowns at him, just a little bit, and raises her eyebrows. She thinks of Finn’s hands (one blue one orange, colors he curls close to his chest to protect) and does her best not to think of the dark red (angry) marks left by Kylo Ren. “As good as Finn?”

His flush tells her everything she needs to know.