Bodhi’s never been suited to combat.
He’s best in the pilot’s seat, to be sure, but never when he’s also supposed to have his finger on the trigger. Probably why he never made it to TIE fighter training in the Academy. But that’s always been just fine; flying cargo shuttles didn’t mean a whole lot of action, usually, though he tries not to think too hard about the times that it did. And for the Rebellion—well, he knows they need pilots, has seen as well as anyone the losses at Scarif and Yavin. But in simulations, he keeps flying into battles too shaky to ever actually hit anything, his hands slippery with sweat and clenched so hard around the control stick that he’ll find the imprint of its contours on his palms.
(Even in the simulation of the Battle of Scarif, he can’t take out the TIEs that swarm the cruisers and pin down his team. His friends.
He’d stumbled out of the simulator after that one, choking back the horror of what-might-have-been. Cassian and Jyn were there, in the corridor outside the training room, and he’d really almost thrown up, then.
“I can’t,” he managed, finally, sitting down on the floor with his back to the wall, rubbing his face with a hand. “I can’t kill anybody.” He’d looked up, and the understanding in Cassian’s eyes was almost worse than the disappointment in Jyn’s.)
Flying—dodging Star Destroyer fire, spiralling fast through tight canyons, those are things he can do. Just—if the Rebellion wants him to fight, he’ll need a gunner, and there’s hardly any of them to spare.
So it’s U-wings and other transport ships for Bodhi, mostly, running troops back and forth across the Fleet with a rotating series of co-pilots he likes but can’t always name. Sometimes the generals ask him for intelligence on this or that Imperial maneuver, and it’s still a complete wonder that the Rebellion takes him at all seriously, treating him as if shuttling their people across the galaxy is as important as anything. Maybe it is; he gets to see some High Command staff from time to time, and once, has the distinct honor of flying Mon Mothma herself.
He crosses paths with the newly-formed Rogue Squadron on occasion, and shares a couple of drinks with Wedge Antilles, who’s funny, and kind, and puts him in mind of a happier and wiser Misurno, the flight instructor who'd called Bodhi his best friend. But he never gets to see the man who had destroyed the Death Star, the moisture farmer who came out of nowhere to put Rogue One’s stolen plans to their ultimate use.
Bodhi wonders what Luke’s like. If growing up on Tatooine was anything like growing up on Jedha, endless sand and howling frigid winds, holding onto life by the edges and praying. The sense-memory of Jedha rises up in his throat, the taste of his mother’s cooking on his tongue, and he has to remember to breathe, thinking of his home obliterated, buried under tons of unyielding stone.
Thinking about Alderaan is, in a way, much, much harder.
( They’d limped after the Tantive IV and its pursuant Star Destroyer, only to lose them, and after a day searching the closest hyperspace lanes, had scrambled back to Yavin to prepare for the worst. Chirrut had known first, somehow, even before the reports started streaming in; he’d been standing off to the side in the command center, just listening like usual, and then, abruptly, collapsed. Baze, the ever-vigilant, had barely caught him in time.
Then they’d heard, and despite everything Jyn and Cassian and Bodhi himself had known, had seen, of the power of the Death Star—the destruction of Alderaan is a thousand times worse for lack of watching it happen.
“I failed you,” Bodhi had whispered, staring at nothing, sick.
But then Princess Leia had returned, with a farm boy and a smuggler and a Wookiee, and they’d all barely made it out alive—but they were alive—)
—A farm boy and a smuggler and a Wookiee who don’t look like everything they touch turns to ashes.
Bodhi’s wary of Han Solo; the streets of Jedha City had nearly run red with his type underfoot. Of course, in the end, that hadn’t mattered, but old habits, like being excessively careful about landing next to the Falcon, start to creep back into his behavior. Plus, he keeps hearing that there’s still a bounty on Solo’s head that far outstrips the one on his.
(Wedge said, “You’re a bigger target than me, Bodhi. I just flew away, but you—you stole more than yourself.”
He’d almost have gone home with Wedge, that night, if he hadn’t caught the glimmer of hero-worship in the X-wing pilot’s eyes. It wasn’t right—he’d cost the Rebellion so much, just because he’d thought he could stop it.)
So. The farm boy.
Rumors in the mess, in the busy dark corridors of the base, and even in High Command are that he’s Anakin Skywalker’s son, the chance for a new Jedi Order. Chirrut won’t reveal anything when Bodhi tries to pry into what the Guardian knows or might have learned through the Force, only taps his staff against Bodhi’s chest. “What have you learned about putting your faith in one man?”
Bodhi shivers at that, has to push away a fragmented, blurry memory of shouting and pain and a sky of falling stone. “Okay,” he says. “I get it.”
Chirrut turns his face to the sky. “Have hope, Bodhi. Trust in the Force that surrounds us all.”
Baze leans down from where he’s sitting on a plasteel container. Knowing him, it’s probably full of explosives. “It’s all right if you don’t,” he tells Bodhi. “He says things like this all the time.”
“I don’t know if I do,” Bodhi says, in response. “I mean—we survived—but what about all the people who didn’t?”
(Galen’s body on a platform on Eadu, surrounded by flames and the engineers he’d tried to save.)
Chirrut says, “All is as the Force wills it,” and that, apparently, is supposed to be enough.
And then, the last day they’re based on Yavin IV, Bodhi walks out of the U-wing, finally satisfied with the results of his diagnostic, at the same moment Luke Skywalker jumps down from of his X-wing, knocking them both to the ground.