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Climb Inside My Body (Captive in My Skin)

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Poe Dameron may not have seen his parents a whole lot, but, as he grew, he came to understand why. The Resistance stopped for no man, and his parents were too committed to give it up. However, they were not so committed that they did not raise their son, showing him the stars and telling him of the galaxy. They took special care to explain soulmate marks to him, pointing to the blaster rifle fire on his left arm and explaining that, as he grew, so would the mark. It would become a whole picture, growing and developing as his soulmate grew and developed. Poe, a romantic at heart, worshipped his mark, examining it every day for changes.

Poe grew up, and the shot on his arm gained a weapon - an E-11 blaster rifle, and he was an endless optimist, because he believed that even someone who must fight for the bad guys could be his soulmate. Sure enough, the mark became an entire Stormtrooper, a white figure in a helmet, holding and firing a blaster rifle. Around the Stormtrooper, the rest of his arm was filled in with a black-and-white hallway that seemed endless, his skin brimming with ivory and onyx, the single red blast in the middle of it all.

He wondered, sometimes, why it had to seem so stark and ominous. Jessika’s, he observed one night when they drank a little too much and she revealed her mark, was all bright and warm, a desert with stars. It seemed like a good future to have, and Poe knew Jessika knew that, just as he knew that she knew that he was a bit envious of the obvious promise her soulmark held. She took his hand and sat up with him that night.

When Poe got taken by the First Order, his arm started burning, and he could not find himself a chance to examine it. By the time Kylo Ren was through with him, he could only just barely stop himself from wishing himself dead - he had given up the information, he had betrayed his role in the Resistance, and he was certain his soulmark was gone. What the hell did he have left going for him, he wanted to wonder, but stopped himself. Endless optimist, he reminded himself, and shut his eyes.

His arm started up the burning again when the Stormtrooper broke him out, and only stopped burning when he gave the Stormtrooper a name, because no one deserved to have only a number assigned to them. A spot halfway up the soft skin of the inside of his forearm tingled, then the sensations there all stopped. He forgot all about the feeling in his rush to get himself and Finn to safety, and only remembered to check after he had crashed and lost his new partner.

His arm no longer had blacks, no longer had whites, no longer had a Stormtrooper with a blaster rifle in its deadly hands, and Poe wondered if there could possibly be any connection to Finn, the Stormtrooper who had saved his life. His bare arm seemed to have completely started from scratch, with a small stick at the inside of his arm. He sat in the sand and examined it for a long time. The sun beat down on his head, glaring into his eyes, and he briefly missed his jacket. He thought Finn might be dead. Ever the endless optimist, Poe hoped he was okay.

Poe had no idea what Finn’s soulmark was until after the entire ordeal was over - or, really, until the entire ordeal was just beginning, and Rey had left to find Luke Skywalker. Her arm had a night sky, vast and endless and filled with opportunity that Poe could feel pouring out of it in spades, an aura of hope. He leaned in the corner of Finn’s room in medbay as Rey kissed Finn’s forehead and left for classified parts unknown. Poe took it upon himself to keep an eye on Finn, in between missions given to him by the General.

He could only see the end of Finn’s soulmark, and he could see a rich obsidian blackness, sparkling with stars. His sleeves ended mid-forearm, allowing Poe only that sliver. He wanted to peek, but respected Finn’s privacy too much for that. He resolved to ask Finn about it when Finn woke up.

Of course, when Finn woke up, things only got increasingly more and more hectic. As if keeping up with the chaotic pace of his life, Poe’s new soulmark started to grow exponentially, much faster than the old one that he had had all his life. In only a few months, Poe had started bunking with Finn, the two of them becoming fast close friends - though Poe hesitated to call himself Finn’s best friend, because Finn glowed when he called Rey his best friend - and spending a great deal of time together. In those same few months, Poe’s new soulmark evolved from a single stick to an entire bonfire, the logs of the fire hickory-brown against the dewy, sparkling emerald grass, the flames and smoke licking up into a brilliant night sky. The whole thing reflected Poe’s endless optimism better than the Stormtrooper mark ever had.

Finally, Poe and Finn were sat up at night, sitting side-by-side on the bottom bunk - Finn’s bunk - in their shared quarters. Poe stretched out his legs, cracking his ankles before he relaxed against the wall behind their backs. Finn scratched absently at his arm, and Poe eyed the blackness that revealed itself when Finn pushed the sleeve back slightly. Poe had never tried to hide his soulmark before, and it was on display a lot of the time; he could not care less if others saw it, because he trusted himself to know who his soulmate was. Endless optimist, right?

Poe sat up and pointed at Finn’s wrist, and Finn tracked the direction of his finger before glancing up at his face.

“You’ve never showed me your soulmark,” Poe pointed out, because it was true; Finn wore long sleeves more often than not, and almost constantly wore Poe’s jacket. Poe appreciated that point on its own, but bemoaned the fact that this meant that he could never see Finn’s soulmark. Finn fingered the edge of the sleeve of his - Poe’s - their jacket.

“Yeah,” Finn agreed, clearly stalling for time. Poe reclined against the wall again.

“You don’t have to show me,” Poe assured him. “Just making an observation.” He whistled, and BB-8 spun by their feet, chirping up at them. Poe clicked his tongue at them, and BB-8 wheeled in circles before vanishing under the bunk. Poe heard the familiar humming noise of BB-8 turning down for the night to recharge in their docking station. Finn was still fiddling with the frayed end of the jacket over his wrist.

“I never showed anyone,” Finn confessed. “They learned early on in the First Order that they can’t get rid of the soulmark, so they just make us ignore them. They tell us they don’t mean anything because we’ll never have that life. We were meant to be Stormtroopers, not soulmates.” Finn swallowed, tugging at the sleeve. “You know, I was supposed to be one of the best in the new wave of us.”

“Of them,” Poe corrected, and Finn nodded.

“Of them,” Finn agreed. He looked down at the black edge of his soulmark. “I was supposed to think it didn’t mean anything. But I knew it did.”

“Of course it means something,” Poe assured him. “You’ve got a soulmate out there who’s gonna make you very happy someday, buddy. You can count on that.”

“You think so?” Finn asked, glancing up at him, and Poe smiled, pretending it did not hurt that Finn’s soulmark would not be for him. For Finn’s sake, it was best.

“Obviously, I do,” Poe answered. “Who wouldn’t love you?”

Finn nodded, looking back down at the mark. “You see,” he said, his voice a little too high and loud. Poe laughed at him as he cleared his throat. “You see,” he tried again, “I’m pretty sure I know who my soulmate is, because my soulmark is kinda specific, but I really don’t know what to do about that, because I’ve seen that person’s soulmark and it’s kinda very vague and I don’t think it’s supposed to be about me in return.”

“Oh, well, if it’s vague, you can’t know that for sure,” Poe reminded him. He scratched at his own soulmark, and thought of Rey’s, of the night sky that could mean anything. “I’m sure you’re right. You’re pretty smart when you wanna be.”

“Thanks, jerk,” Finn laughed. He nudged Poe with his shoulder. “If I show you my soulmark, do you promise not to freak out?”

“I can make no such promise,” Poe replied. “If your soulmark is as horrifyingly specific and terrifying as you seem to think it is, I might just run screaming from the room.”

“You know, everyone thinks you’re a riot,” Finn said dryly. Poe elbowed him, and Finn laughed. “Promise?”

“Promise,” Poe said, and Finn blew out a deep breath. He shrugged out of the jacket, letting it fall to his waist before he rolled up the sleeve of his undershirt, all the way to the shoulder. He held out his arm, and Poe’s fingers circled his wrist as he took the arm and pulled it closer to examine it. Like Rey’s, it had an endless night sky filled with shimmering stars, and Poe’s heart sank. However, in the middle of it all, there was an X-wing fighter, difficult to discern against the blackness of the sky.

Poe, the endless optimist, tugged Finn’s arm up closer to his eyes, bending over it to study the details of the X-wing. He laughed as he realized how familiar the details were, recognizing all the customizations that he had spent years on. The X-wing was unmistakably Black One, his own T-70 X-wing fighter, different from every other ship of its kind. The closer he looked, the more he saw, and he laughed again when he saw BB-8 in miniature in the mark. He felt delirious, high on the joy that touching the mark brought him.

“You promised not to freak out,” Finn reminded him, his tone filled with warning, and Poe shook his head.

“I’m not freaking out,” Poe assured him, before glancing up at him. “Well. I’m freaking out a little. But it’s good,” he hurried to promise, “it’s very good. A good kind of freaking out, buddy, I swear.” He bent his head back over Finn’s soulmark, examining it in as much detail as he could.

“I never knew what it meant,” Finn said. “And I still didn’t for a while. But I’ve been seeing you with your ship, working on your ship, and I've seen all your little details, and, well- You know. Well. Well-”

“It’s me.” Poe turned back up to Finn, beaming away. “It’s me.”

“It’s you,” Finn agreed. “It definitely is you. I can’t imagine anyone else making their ship look like that.”

“You can be such a jackass, pal, you know that?” Poe said, squinting at the details on his ship, smiling all the while.

“It was a gear, at first, when I was little,” Finn informed him, craning his neck to get a better look at Poe’s face. “It eventually grew into the whole ship, then the sky filled in after our crash.”

“You don’t say,” Poe murmured, stroking his fingertips over his ship, then tracing up to the stars. He drew constellations for a moment before he surrendered Finn’s arm.

“You know, it tingles when you touch it,” Finn informed him, going for casual and landing far from the mark. “It’s never felt like that before.”

Poe hesitated, then held out his own arm to Finn. After a moment of hesitation, Finn reached out and traced the bonfire on Poe’s arm, and Poe grinned.

“It tingles,” Poe said, and Finn smiled at him. “It used to be a Stormtrooper. It changed after you helped me escape, because you changed your fate. I’ve never heard of that happening before.”

“Well, you know, I’ve always been special,” Finn reminded him, and Poe shoved him over on the mattress. He lined their arms up, comparing the night skies in their soulmarks.

“You know, I think our skies match up,” Poe observed. Finn propped himself up on his other elbow, examining the soulmarks with Poe. “Yeah, see, the constellations are all the same, there’s the one that says, ‘Finn’s a loser and nobody-’”

“You’re not funny.” Finn sat up quickly, throwing off Poe’s balance and pinning him back against the mattress. Poe stared up at him, and Finn swallowed.

“So,” Poe said, and he bit at his bottom lip. Finn’s attention immediately shot down to his mouth, and Poe had to restrain himself from doing the same to Finn.

“So,” Finn echoed, when he forced himself to return his focus to Poe’s eyes. Poe lifted his head, just slightly, letting Finn make the final decision to close the distance between them. Finn made the decision in a split second, dropping his head down to kiss Poe and slamming their foreheads together in the process. Poe’s head snapped back and bounced against the mattress, and Finn sat up and pulled Poe up urgently.

“I am so sorry,” Finn apologized, and Poe waved him off as he rubbed at his forehead.

“I’ll live,” Poe assured him. He caught Finn still staring at his mouth, and dropped his hand. Finn scrambled into his lap, but he went more slowly this time as he pushed their lips together. He had absolutely no experience, moving totally on instinct, but he made up for it with enthusiasm, and Poe settled one hand at the back of Finn’s head and helped guide him into the right movements. He tilted his head, then helped Finn to tilt his, and Finn gasped into his mouth.

“Did you feel that?” Finn asked, barely pulling away to speak, lips brushing Poe’s as he spoke. In fact, Poe had felt that, a warmth that blossomed in his arm and spread through his entire body as they kissed. A sparkler was under his tongue, a firework in his heart, a fighter engine in his lungs, and he grinned.

“Yeah,” Poe said. “Yeah, buddy, I felt that.”

“No more buddy,” Finn insisted, shifting in Poe’s lap, shuffling them so he could press Poe’s back to the wall. He ran his hands down Poe’s arms, grabbing his wrists with his long fingers. He lifted Poe’s left arm, soulmark rich and ravishing against his skin, all the better for the meaning it now held. “More like soulmate.”

“You got it, soulmate,” Poe amended. Finn smiled at him, then started looking over Poe’s soulmark with obvious curiosity. Poe loved him for it.

“I don’t get it,” Finn finally said. “Mine is so obviously you. I don’t get how yours is mine.” Finn’s eyes shot up to Poe’s, and his face was abruptly filled with anxiety. “What if I’m not your soulmate? What if my soulmark is for you but your soulmark-”

Poe interrupted him with a kiss, and Finn accepted it without any fuss at all, moving like Poe had showed him, tipping his head to the side and sighing into Poe’s mouth. When Poe pulled back, Finn looked starry-eyed, dazed and happy.

“You’re my soulmate,” Poe assured him. He gestured to his arm, to the bonfire blazing on his skin. “This is what you are to me. Bright, beautiful. You rebuilt yourself. I love that about you.”

Finn’s whole face seemed to sparkle. “You’re my soulmate.”

“I’m your soulmate,” Poe agreed.

“And I’m your soulmate.”

“And you’re my soulmate,” Poe echoed, and Finn pushed their foreheads together, beaming at him before he kissed him again. Poe’s head banged into the wall with the force of it, and Finn pulled back to apologize, but he could barely inhale before Poe was kissing him again, warm hand reaching out to touch Finn’s soulmark, and Finn sighed, happy. That was more than enough for Poe, endless optimist and soulmate.