Bodhi Rook is alone in the lab, cursing his busted centrifuge when his phone buzzes and he realizes that yes, his life actually can get worse in this moment.
From: Stardust, Sent 11:02 GMT
don't freak out but you've got an old friend incoming
After doing the math in his head Bodhi realizes that Jyn's sent this at five in the morning her time, which means she probably hasn't slept yet, and yet she knows someone's looking for him. Swallowing around the newfound lump in his throat, Bodhi takes a look around the lab— centrifuge woes aside, he's only just gotten comfortable in this place—before tapping back.
To: Stardust, Sent 11:25 GMT
Do I need to shut things down?
From: Stardust, Sent 11:28 GMT
no you've got an actual old friend on the way
From: Stardust, Sent 11:28 GMT
your paranoia is charming, really
To: Stardust, Sent 11:30 GMT
You said not to freak out
From: Stardust, Sent 11:32 GMT
that's because you have a tendency to freak out too much
From: Stardust, Sent 11:33 GMT
that being said
From: Stardust, Sent 11:33 GMT
you've been warned
Nearly an hour later in the front office Bodhi's more than a little grateful for Jyn’s warning when Han-fucking-Solo of all people walks in the door. Bodhi stands up from his desk to remove him from the premises physically. "No, no, unless Lando's with you, get out. I love Chewie to death, but you need a point who keeps you under control."
Han leans back against the door giving him that wretched cocky smirk of his and raises his hands. "Hold up there, Rook, I'm just here for an introduction, but really, thanks for the vote of confidence."
"It's because I have no confidence in you," says Bodhi, grabbing at his hair with both hands, as a tiny woman wearing a well-tailored suit ducks into his shop. "Hello, welcome, is there any chance you can leave this trash out on the curb?"
"This is my chemist," says Han, glaring at Bodhi now that the young woman is not very politely failing to hide her laugh behind a dainty hand.
"I'm a chemist, I'm definitely not his chemist, Bodhi Rook, pleased to meet you," he says, wiping his hand off on his shirt before offering it to her.
"Leia Organa," she says and Bodhi can't help himself, feels his eyes widen as he looks down at her, her firm grip on his hand the only thing keeping him from darting back into the lab to box things up and run.
"Shit, you're one of Anakin's kids," he gasps, trying to turn his shocked face into a slightly less-spastic look as she frowns at him.
"I hardly know him," she says. "And I'm here because when I asked Han for a recommendation to an unaffiliated chemist he said that you'd long since broken ties with my birth father. May I?" she asks, withdrawing her hand and gesturing to the chairs by Bodhi's desk.
"Oh yes, please," says Bodhi, nodding causing his goggles, which he must have forgotten to leave in the lab, to fall onto his nose. With an irritated sigh he tosses them aside and shoos one of his cats out the door as he closes it, wishing he could do the same with Solo, who's taken the seat next to Leia. "I wish that Han had also told you, as I've informed him repeatedly over the last year, that I've gone legitimate." It's not exactly a lie, he's gone mostly legitimate, but he's definitely not entering into a criminal enterprise with Solo ever again, much less with a bloody Skywalker scion. "I provide somnacin solely for medical and recreational purposes."
Leia pulls a vial out of her purse, his handwritten seal on it still intact, "Han says he got this from Cassian Andor on a job in Costa Rica last week," she says, placing it on his desk. "Care to try again?"
Bodhi picks it up and looks down at it rather than have to face Han's grin or Leia's disturbingly intimidating stare. "Cassian's an exception," he says, his voice cracking a little.
"Cassian makes a habit of that, doesn't he," says Leia with a knowing smile, reaching down to pet the ginger tabby headbutting her knee. "I went under using one of its counterparts, and they're fine work," she adds.
"Most of my blends are based on Kenobi's formulations," says Bodhi, always willing to talk shop, except he should cut himself off because who knew which side Leia could have taken in that whole fiasco, with the pained look she's giving him now? Even Han looks uncomfortable.
Leia coughs and says, "I suppose we've been keeping the lid down on that news: Obi-Wan passed away last month."
"Oh. Shit. I'm sorry," says Bodhi, who hasn't seen Kenobi in years. His free hand moves of its own accord toward the desk drawer containing their handwritten correspondence, as he never can be too careful with information in their line of work.
"Thank you, my brother's actually the one who's suffering the most from that loss, they had a bit of a mentor relationship. But it does leave me in need an independent chemist of a certain skill level," says Leia, her face impassive. "I'm putting together a team for a rather... intricate job."
"I don't take part in inception jobs," says Bodhi reflexively.
"This isn't an inception," says Leia.
"I also don't go into the field," says Bodhi.
"Christ, Rook, do you still do anything anymore?" asks Han, apparently forgetting his starring role in the reason why Bodhi's tried his best to leave the more obviously criminal-elements of dreamshare behind.
"Clearly he does, or else I wouldn't be here," says Leia mildly and Bodhi half wants to kiss her. She places her hands together and leans onto the desk. "We're going to extract Tarkin's location out of his attorney so that miserable bastard can pay for what he did," she continues, and now Bodhi really does like her.
"In that case," he says, "my services are entirely at your disposal. How can I help?"
The job entails travel to New York. Bodhi's usual pessimism about working with new people is tempered when Leia stays behind long after Han has fucked off to his next disaster. She refuses to leave Bodhi's shop without detailed records to help provide him a lab away from home, understanding that men of South Asian heritage with shorter criminal records than Bodhi has would probably never make it through the border while transporting lab equipment and obscure chemicals. "I thought sports gambling was legal in the U.K.," says Leia, looking up from what he presumes must be an equally thorough dossier on his career.
"Not for illegal street racing, as it turns out," says Bodhi.
"I could probably use my connections to get the charges expunged," says Leia, jotting a note on the paper.
"My stint in the military was supposed to do that, but for whatever reason it still always comes up at U.S. Customs," says Bodhi, shaking his head. "The reason probably being that my book got busted shortly after taking about £30,000 off one of your senator's sons."
After he agrees to give her the name of the senator, Leia bumps his flight up to first class. Their initial meetings make Bodhi feel like he's plotting with a version of Jyn who's in the position to actually fund all of her favorite revenge schemes. Bodhi's damned close to actually being excited about working with her, despite her connection to Anakin Skywalker.
None of their planning, however, prepares Bodhi for meeting her twin brother.
He's stumbling out of the terminal at JFK with what few shreds of dignity he ever has left after his customs interview, wondering whether he should call up Baze to make sure the cats are being fed, when he sees a sign with his name being held by a younger, un-scarred version of Anakin. Bodhi can't help but stop and stare—he's eighteen and being introduced to the dream again, he's twenty-two and having his soul slashed to pieces again—
"Bodhi Rook? I'm Luke Skywalker and I'm here to pick you up," he says and Bodhi's back in the present, his pants feeling a little too tight. Again.
He drops one of the pieces of luggage he's been juggling to shake the hand Luke's offering. It's warm and soft, and Luke's face betrays none of Anakin's arrogance or bitterness. "I— I wasn't expecting you."
Luke smiles and it's just dazzling, pulling his hand away to run it through his hair. "Yeah, Shara's busy on an errand for Leia, so I volunteered." He dips down to grab Bodhi's stray luggage and adds, "She said you studied under Obi Wan."
"Sort of, yeah," says Bodhi, following Luke out of the building. "Only for a little while, before I started working with Galen Erso, but I'm sorry about your loss, really," says Bodhi, his mouth working in time and half ahead of his brain which he needs to stop before he drops, 'it was a weird time when I was in puppy-love with your dad before I found out just how insane he actually is,' on this kid.
When he looks up at Luke the smile has dimmed a little and Bodhi feels even more like a bastard, "Thank you, it's been a rough few weeks, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to work."
"I can imagine," says Bodhi. He wraps a hand around the back of his own neck. "Sorry, I'm really much better with lab equipment than I am with people."
Bodhi can feel Luke's gaze raking over him, there's something peculiar and powerful in his eyes, before he says, "I don't think you're being fair to yourself."
"You've only just met me," says Bodhi.
Luke shoots him a wink that's positively unfair as he stops by a well-restored late-sixties Mustang. "I've got a knack for reading people," says Luke, popping the boot open and leaning over to drop Bodhi's bag inside. Bodhi doesn't notice how good Luke's arse looks in skinny jeans, which would be beneath him, instead concentrating on not brushing up against Luke as he loads the rest of his luggage into the car.
As they settle into their seats, Bodhi lets out a sigh. "So you're our forger then," he says.
Luke's shoulders shift back and his lips quirk up. "Did Leia tell you?" he asks, turning the engine over with a highly satisfying roar.
"No," says Bodhi. "It's all in the eyes, if you must know. You lot always seem to be," and he pauses, gesturing at himself, "watching people like you're storing the memory for some future nefarious purpose."
Luke settles back into his seat as he finishes backing the car out. "Fair enough," he says, "But who's to say that I don't have more than one ulterior motive?" Bodhi blinks and rubs at his eyes, hoping that he's strong enough to resist the trademark Skywalker charm, now that he's older and supposedly wiser.
From: Stardust, Sent 02:30 EDT
so what are the twins like?
From: Stardust, Sent 02:30 EDT
are they as crazy as their father?
To: Stardust, Sent 02:34 EDT
Possibly more so
From: Stardust, Sent 02:35 EDT
not regretting taking the job are you
From: Stardust, Sent 02:35 EDT
cass says i can come rescue you
From: Stardust, Sent 02:36 EDT
just as soon as i find an id that can get back in the states
To: Stardust, Sent 02:38 EDT
It's not a bad insane per se
To: Stardust, Sent 02:39 EDT
They're really quite nice
From: Stardust, Sent 02:41 EDT
kay showed me a picture the boy's anakin 2.0
To: Stardust, Sent 02:42 EDT
He's not that tall and actually seems like a decent human being
From: Stardust, Sent 02:45 EDT
… you're on a big job with a 20 something anakin clone who's not treating you like shit yet
From: Stardust, Sent 02:45 EDT
the rescue offer stands
To: Stardust, Sent 02:48 EDT
Go to sleep, Jyn. I'm jet-lagged and a grown man
From: Stardust, Sent 02:49 EDT
The truth comes out
Leia's team works like a well-oiled machine for all that they've only been together for a few jobs and Bodhi's entirely new. Bodhi's still trying to get accustomed to being on the older side of the age gap, with the twins now taking the role of younger upstarts, but in this field physical age is a poor indicator of most everything and he accepts Leia's natural leadership and Luke's precociousness with ease. Shara Bey and Chewie appear to be sharing the point role and their quiet efficiency more than makes up for Han's antics and the occasional bickering session between the twins or more often Han and Leia. Bodhi takes what notes he needs to during planning sessions, but the fact that he doesn't use a PASIV tends to leave him alone in his lab much of the time. It's not uncomfortable except when he catches himself watching Luke sleep with a fond smile on his face and a familiar twist in his stomach. If anyone else notices, thankfully, none of them say anything.
Over the next several days, Bodhi realizes that all of the comparisons to his father aren't terribly fair to Luke, who, judging by what little scuttlebutt Bodhi trusts himself to dig up, is an accomplished forger and architect in his own right. Wedge Antilles swears that he owes the kid his life thanks to a save down in Argentina. Lando Calrissian concedes that Luke has a talent for picking up on subtle body language in his forgeries that rivals his own. Even Han seems willing to take direction from him when it comes to sneaking in paradoxic trap doors.
Bodhi blows a strand of hair out of his face while re-reading Wedge's reply, his eyes focusing on the repeated assurances that Luke's a 'real team player,' 'grounded,' and 'selfless,' otherwise known as 'everything Bodhi had always wished Anakin could be.'
"Whatcha working on?" asks Luke from a few feet behind him.
Bodhi consciously does not jump, but clicks away casually. "Just a bit of research," he says, turning to face Luke in the low light. "Did you need something?"
Luke blushes and rolls up his sleeve, revealing a rather lovely, muscled forearm with a tell-tale pink rash creeping up the vein. "Does this look infected to you?"
"Maybe," says Bodhi, rolling the chair forward to take Luke's hand. He applies gentle pressure a bit higher up the arm.
"Ouch," yelps Luke, pulling his arm away.
"Definitely infected," says Bodhi, shaking his head.
"Leia's going to kill me," says Luke, pulling his sleeve back down and wincing.
"As well she should," says Bodhi, standing up and plucking his jacket off the back of his chair. "Did you think my alcohol swabs are here just for show?"
Luke ducks his head down, "No, I just must have—"
"Gotten a little over-excited and forgot. It happens, but we'll have to take you to the clinic all the same. Let's go," he says.
Luke lingers back in Bodhi's makeshift lab. "Could you maybe not tell the others about this?" he asks.
Bodhi rolls his eyes. "Only if you promise to let me know if you develop a fever. I can adjust your mix to accommodate the antibiotics, and you can use your other arm in the interim." He waves a hand towards the door. "However, if we don't get you treated quickly, you will develop a fever, so come along."
"You just want to drive my car," says Luke.
"In Brooklyn? Really, her engine is wasted on this town," says Bodhi.
"True," says Luke, trailing behind him.
From the far side of the warehouse, Shara Bey calls out, "Where are you two headed?"
"Luke lost a bet, I get to drive his car," Bodhi shouts back.
"Don't wreck it and bring back Chinese food!" says Leia.
"Text me your orders," says Luke, tossing Bodhi his keys and maybe he does want to steal Luke's car a little, he's always had a weakness for American muscle cars, even on city streets. The spring air is a bit warm for the jacket, but Bodhi doesn't much mind, throwing on a pair of sunglasses as he gets behind the wheel.
Luke presses his head against the dash. "I don't mean to get jealous of you, sweetie," he says, caressing the car.
Bodhi feels his heart lunge up in his chest. "What on Earth do you mean by that?" he asks, turning the keys.
"You love my car but you can barely bring yourself to look me in the eye," says Luke.
Keeping an eye on traffic, Bodhi reaches a hand over to feel Luke's forehead. "You must be feverish already," he says though Luke doesn't actually feel any warmer than he should.
"Am not," says Luke, batting the hand away. "And you do seem to have a problem looking at me. Am I really that hideous?"
"No," says Bodhi, willing himself not to blush. "You're… a very handsome young man."
"Then why do you always seem to be doing your best not to look at me?"
"Please tell me you didn't give yourself an infection just to trap me into this conversation," says Bodhi.
"No," says Luke, almost recoiling in his seat. "I'm not that childish or sociopathic." He shakes his head and leans forward. "Now I want to know what I've done to make you think that was even a possibility."
Bodhi sighs. "It's not you, it's — just read me the directions to the clinic, we'll have plenty of time to talk in the waiting room, I'm sure." Luke sulks in his seat, his lips pursed as he reads off the directions, and Bodhi doesn't enjoy the drive at all.
After they've checked in with the receptionist, Luke and Bodhi sit in a relatively empty corner of the waiting room. Luke just frowns down at the clipboard, filling out his information as Bodhi tries to come up with words. "Is your relationship with your father any better than Leia's?" he finally asks.
"Dad— oh, you mean Anakin?" asks Luke with a scrunch of his nose and eyebrows that's entirely Anakin. "No, not really. Haven't seen him since I was eight and have no real interest in tracking him down. I consider Tarkin fair game, don't get me wrong, but I'm not vindictive enough to pursue that whole other mess," he says, gesturing broadly.
"But you kept his name."
"Leia changed hers because she's thinking of going into politics and would rather have a different sort of notoriety." Luke shrugs. "I don't have that kind of ambition, but I don't see what that has to do with anything."
"It's—" and there's no real good way to say this, is there? "I used to work with Anakin on a regular basis, when I was first getting started. You remind me of him, that's all."
Luke tilts his head, tapping his pen on his lips. "Wow, that's just… terrible. I mean, Obi Wan used to tell me stories, but I never realized how bad working with Anakin must have been."
All these years later, there's still a part of Bodhi that wants to make excuses. "He was— grieving for your mother, I think. Or at least that was part of it," he says while looking away.
Luke huffs out a bitter laugh. "Leia and I grieved for Mom, Anakin wreaked havoc on multiple continents out of some kind of misplaced guilt-and-or-god-complex. Still, I'm trying to figure out why that would make it hard to—unless..." and Luke's eyes go wide because maybe he is at good at reading people as he says he is. "How closely did you and he work together?"
Bodhi's life can't get any worse than this, can it? "It was—"
"Oh god," says Luke, covering his face with his hands. "You had a thing with him."
"It wasn't ever anything real," Bodhi says, not knowing what else to say.
Luke sets the clipboard aside, placing his head between his knees, "What does that even mean?" he moans.
"I mean the only time anything like what you're thinking actually happened, we were down in Limbo," Bodhi mutters, wanting to offer Luke some kind of comfort so he doesn't cause a scene, except Luke rears up at him, somehow looking even more horrified.
"Shit, is that why you never go under with us?" he asks.
"In part, yes," says Bodhi, looking down at his own hands. After a few moments he feels Luke's hand rubbing circles on his back.
"That's kind of fucked up," says Luke. "I'm sorry he managed to mess you up as badly as he did everything else."
"Thank you," says Bodhi, closing his eyes and concentrating on his breathing and Luke's soothing touch. He only pulls away a little when Luke plants a kiss on his cheek.
"Anakin was definitely an idiot, and I'm not him," says Luke. A nurse calls his name and he stands up, an earnest smile on his face. "Maybe if you gave me a chance and looked, you'd see me for me." Then he's whisked in back, leaving Bodhi in a waiting room where it's not socially acceptable to let out the primal scream he needs to vent. He heads outside to chainsmoke instead, wondering if maybe he should take Jyn up on her offer.
To: Stardust, Sent 14:48 EDT
I may have fucked up
From: Stardust, Sent 14:51 EDT
do i need to drop what i'm doing to dummy up a passport
From: Stardust, Sent 14:51 EDT
otherwise we are actually on a job down here
To: Stardust, Sent 14:53 EDT
From: Stardust, Sent 14:55 EDT
what did you do?
To: Stardust, Sent 14:57 EDT
Told him his dad fucked me in Limbo, god I hate my life
From: Stardust, Sent 17:00 EDT
have you been day drinking on the job
To: Stardust, Sent 17:01 EDT
From: Stardust, Sent 17:02 EDT
you should consider it
From: Stardust, Sent 17:02 EDT
what did he say?
To: Stardust, Sent 17:04 EDT
That his father was an idiot and a fuck up
To: Stardust, Sent 17:04 EDT
Then he kissed me before he left to get some antibiotics
From: Stardust, Sent 17:06 EDT
your love life more than makes up for the lack of decent internet bandwidth on this job
To: Stardust, Sent 17:07 EDT
I hate you
Time functions differently in the dream
By the time Luke's released from the clinic, dressing on his arm and bag of pills in hand, Bodhi's calmed down a bit. He gives Luke a sheepish look. "Guess we both have things we'd rather the others didn't know about," he says.
Luke nods, a slow smile creeping across his face. "Yeah, I think that's probably for the best. I already called in everyone's orders, hope you like kung pao chicken."
Bodhi blinks for a moment before remembering that they were supposedly on a dinner run. "Right, I do," he says. He slants a look at Luke as they make their way back to the car, "Your people reading skills are bordering on the eerie."
The corners of Luke's mouth quirk up as he bobs his head. "They come in handy." Bodhi makes his way to the other side, but when he sits down he nearly has a heart attack when Luke holds out a British passport in two fingers. "I may have picked this up while I was upset, earlier," he says, his face the image of guilt.
"Fucking forgers," says Bodhi, snatching his passport back.
"I've been working on my lifts with Han, actually," says Luke. "It's a necessary skill."
"Not against members of your own team," says Bodhi, shoving it back in his pocket then gripping the driver's wheel for all it's worth.
Silence hangs between them for several moments. "I'm sorry, I was just really curious about how old you were, seeing as, well, you know."
"Old enough to know better," mutters Bodhi.
"You're only six years older than me," says Luke.
Bodhi wipes a hand across his eyes. "Time functions differently in the dream," he says. "It's even worse in Limbo."
Luke nods, his lips pinched together. "I also… well, I know the history of dreamshare pretty well. Was— were you with him during that first inception job?"
Bodhi turns towards Luke, who's not looking at him in disgust, his blue eyes wide and entreating. "Yes, that's when it all went to hell," he says, before partially correcting himself. "Or when I realized how long I'd been following him through hell without bothering to speak up for myself."
Luke's hand darts out to cover his and Bodhi finds that he doesn't mind. "What happened?"
"By that time we were working with the worst of the evil empire," says Bodhi, a shudder wracking down his spine at the mere thought of that crew. "Tarkin, Fett, Krennic, Palpatine providing all the cash with empty promises that he could get Anakin's charges dropped if he could just manage the impossible. I think Galen was probably the only other member of the team who understood what inception meant, the power that it had, except for Anakin, who simply didn't care at that point. Tarkin didn't warn us— I should have known that someone like Saw Guerrera would have a militarized subconscious, but I just wasn't thinking straight." He wipes at his eyes with his free hand. "I brought us down sedated, we needed it for the depth Anakin was talking about, and then I got myself shot on the first level, dropped into Limbo within an hour."
"What's Limbo like?" asks Luke, and Bodhi has to close his eyes and take a deep breath.
"It's…" Bodhi struggles against his urge to ward Luke's curiosity. It's nothing you'll ever have to worry about if I'm doing my job right, dammit. Instead he says, "Well, if no one sharing the dream has ever been there before, I suppose it could be anything. But the one I got trapped in, it was actually the remnant of Anakin's. A city of shining, ruined domes and spires, surrounded by an endless dune sea. While I was there alone, it was cold and haunted."
"Haunted?" asks Luke in a tentative whisper.
Bodhi opens his eyes and gives Luke a sad smile. "The wraith of your mother. The ghost of his memory, I mean, I never met her in life. But if there was any truth to that shade, it was her beauty, her brilliance." He shakes his head, deciding not to mention that Luke had been there as well, along with Leia, as young children he could never quite catch proper glimpses of. "I'm still not sure how they managed the job without me, but in Limbo it felt like… many years, before Anakin found me," he says, not able to look at Luke as the false memories of decades in the dream wash over him. "He had to convince me to come back to reality, somehow, and I suppose my feelings must have been a bit transparent after four years of loping after him. For all of his other faults, Anakin did what needed to be done to bring me home."
Bodhi feels the tears pricking out of his eyes, lets them fall. "It was only once we were out that I remembered to be angry. Galen helped me, contracted Han to smuggle me out of there. Rumor has it that's why Tarkin killed him, though with Krennic dead as well, I don't know, they might have been tying up loose ends of anyone who might talk, or maybe Krennic was just an arsehole one time too many, God knows he was always an arsehole." He scrubs his face with his hands, wiping the tears away. "It was all so fucked up. I wound up hiding in Hong Kong with Galen's daughter and her team for six months during the fallout, just trying to get my head back on straight."
Luke's hand has moved to Bodhi's neck, kneading the tension out of the tendons, relieving the headache that's just starting to develop. "It's okay, you're back," he says. "Head on straighter than most of the people that I've worked with who haven't been to Limbo," adds Luke and Bodhi has to laugh at that. "If I admired you before, well, let's just say you've got to be one of the bravest, strongest people I've ever met, to survive all that and still sign on for this job."
Bodhi relaxes under Luke's ministrations, not realizing until this moment how much he's needed someone to say those words. "Thank you," he says. "And that's the very private history of the first inception job, from someone who was there."
Luke's hand slows to a still. "And hey, if you— if you want me to back off, I will. I still— well, I get it if it's too weird for you."
Bodhi turns slowly to look at Luke. "Too weird for me?"
A hint of a blush appears on Luke's cheeks. "Well, yeah: I mean, you're still closer to my age and kind of obscenely good-looking, in case you haven't noticed."
"I hadn't," says Bodhi, finally turning the car on because there really is no reasoning with a Skywalker and their food must be done by now.
"So is it too weird for you?" asks Luke a few blocks later, his hand creeping back towards Bodhi's on the gear shift.
Bodhi holds back a laugh. "No, it's not too weird for me," he says. "But don't forget, we're on the job." Still, he lets himself trap a couple of Luke's fingers with own for the rest of the drive.
From: Stardust, Sent 21:17 EDT
how the hell did you get from telling him about fucking his dad in limbo to having your got laid face on in the space of an evening?
To: Stardust, Sent 21:20 EDT
What are you talking about?
To: Stardust, Sent 21:22 EDT
Wait, did you finally just give me the excuse I've always needed to kill Solo?
From: Stardust, Sent 21:24 EDT
From: Stardust, Sent 21:24 EDT
still, i need details
To: Stardust, Sent 21:26 EDT
I didn't get laid, dammit
To: Stardust, Sent 21:26 EDT
But things got better.
From: Stardust, Sent 21:29 EDT
you give me hope for this sorry world
From: Stardust, Sent 21:30 EDT
just what I needed before we finally finish this hell job tomorrow
To: Stardust, Sent 21:32 EDT
To: Stardust, Sent 21:32 EDT
I'm still going to kill Solo
From: Stardust, Sent 21:33 EDT
not until after the job you won't
From: Stardust, Sent 21:34 EDT
remember: you're a professional
To: Stardust, Sent 21:36 EDT
I suppose. Be safe down there
From: Stardust, Sent 21:37 EDT
Bodhi tries out the whole "feeling okay" thing
The next morning Bodhi awakens to the realization that he hadn't been lying to Jyn: with everything finally off of his chest, he truly does feel better. He even chokes back the hotel coffee with a smile on his face. He bothers to take a little extra time with his beard trimmer once he's out of the shower, and pulls his favorite Zegna suit out of the closet. It's a few years old now and it's maybe a little loose around his shoulders where he's lost some muscle since his days on the lam with Anakin, but it's almost like slipping back into an old skin. It hasn't been that many years since he was a guerilla-chemist extraordinaire, at least not outside the dream. Bodhi slides his poker chip-totem off the table and nods at his reflection: the waking world is his only reality now, and he's a fool to waste time not living in it.
Shara's the only one who's beaten him the warehouse and she whistles at him when he walks in, sliding a coffee across the desk to him. "Was Han not as full of shit as usual?" she asks.
"Utterly full of shit," says Bodhi after a mouthful of dark roast. "So full of shit that he reminded me how much this crew could use a little extra professionalism, no offense."
Shara grins and raises her hands, one finger pointing at her scarves as a few bangles fall down her arms. "None taken, though I have to admit I got a little curious when you and Luke disappeared for half the afternoon," she says, pushing a bag of bagels in Bodhi's direction and he'd forgotten how much he missed doing jobs in New York..
"The only thing that’s seduced me is that car of his," says Bodhi, not exactly lying. "And then he found out how long I've been in the business and wanted to hear war stories."
Shara shakes her head with a look in her eye like she might have some war stories of her own. "Kids these days, so damned respectful of their elders, why can't they all be upstart little shits like we used to be?" she muses, and Bodhi's happy to avoid the topic with her.
"I blame the lack of military training," says Bodhi, loading his sesame bagel with as much cream cheese as he can. "They never spent weeks where the only thing keeping them going was the possibility of headshotting their sadistic arsehole commanding officer out of the next dream."
Shara laughs and raises her cup, "Did we have the same training CO?" Bodhi shrugs and takes a bite of the bagel. "Really, remind me not to piss you off. Does Han realize the thin ice he's skating on?"
"What's he done now?" asks Leia as she enters the office ahead of Luke. For all that she looks the picture of elegance first thing in the morning, she has a flare to her nostrils betraying the fraying ends of her patience.
Bodhi sympathizes with the feeling, but sometimes team cohesion has to come first. "Nothing out of the ordinary, sad to say," he tells her.
"I swear, if he wasn't so damned good at this," Leia says, rolling her eyes as she joins them at the desk to take the coffee that Shara's proffering. Leia gives Bodhi a once over before saying, "It's nice to see someone else upholding professional standards around here."
Shara shoots Bodhi a glance that makes him nearly spit out his bagel, and he pulls at his collar with his other hand as he does his best to recover. Leia simply shakes her head and beckons to Shara with one finger. "I don't know why I'm even drinking this, I need you to rehearse the second level with me straight away," she says.
"Right away, boss," says Shara, giving Bodhi yet another look that almost cracks him up as she follows Leia over to the PASIV setup in the far corner.
Bodhi watches them with an indulgent smile as he sips at his coffee, so it takes him a moment to realize that Luke's still standing a few feet inside the door, staring at him with a look of naked lust. Taking in a quick breath to cool down the flare of heat he feels in the pit of his stomach, Bodhi says, "Good morning," before taking another bite of bagel, enjoying the spectacle of Luke trying to recover his composure.
"Morning," says Luke after regaining use of his words and his legs.
He reaches for one of the remaining coffees but Bodhi drags them away with a tut of his tongue. "Not until after I've done your blood work," he says as Luke tries pouting at him. "Follow me," he says, cramming the last of his bagel into his mouth.
Bodhi heads into the lab and takes off his jacket, draping it over the back of his chair, and grabbing his phone. When he turns Luke is staring again and he has to shake his head to try to keep himself from blushing. "Really, it's not that much nicer than what I was wearing before," he says, grabbing a thermometer and a pair of gloves off the counter while leaving the phone behind.
"So much nicer than what you've worn before," says Luke, eyes wide as he sits and takes off his own ridiculous yellow leather jacket.
Bodhi sticks the thermometer in his mouth to stop him from embarrassing them both further. "Quiet, you'll just give Han more ideas and then your sister and I will have to kill him, at which point this job will be properly fucked." He rolls up Luke's sleeves, peeking under the dressing on his right arm to see that the swelling has gone down, then wraps a tourniquet around the left.
The thermometer beeps and Luke pulls it out of his mouth, looking at the readout with a confused quirk of his lips. "Thirty-seven point six? That can't be right."
"The thermometer, like me, works in Celsius," says Bodhi as he snaps his gloves on. "Translates to a slight fever, not dangerous yet but we'll have to keep an eye on it." He swabs Luke's arm and concentrates on finding a vein.
Luke winces and his lips purse into a frown as Bodhi inserts the needle. "I'm torn. I really think the vest works on you, but you're kind of mean when you're all dapper," he says.
Bodhi snaps the first vacutainer on. "I'm not trying to be mean, I'm simply being professional." He tilts his head up and gives Luke a pointed look. "It's my job to make sure you're all dreaming safely. Can't lose you to a fever dream, can I?" he says, looking back down to swap out vacutainers.
When he looks back up Luke's face has softened and for once, he's the one blushing. "Well, if you put it that way," says Luke.
Bodhi's glad they're alone so no one else can see the smile he feels playing at the corners of his lips as he finishes the blood draw, indulges himself in giving the soft skin of Luke's inner arm a caress while placing the bandage. "It's not such a bad thing, keeping you safe," he says. Luke's biting on his lower lip, which is more than a little distracting. "What?"
"Nothing," says Luke with a shrug. "It's just… kind of nice, getting to see you be all hyper-competent and dashing in here."
"Dashing?" Bodhi repeats in disbelief. "Your flirting's going too far with that one," he says, standing so that he can get to work processing the sample.
"But you are," says Luke with a vehemence that's a little startling. "And I'm…"
"In desperate need of coffee and bagels in order to come to your senses?" supplies Bodhi.
"Well, yes, that." Luke takes a step towards him, a nervous hand running through his hair. "But I just wish that you could see what I bring to the team, sometime."
"Luke, I don't— I know you're special without going down into the dream," he says, shoulders slumping.
"Do you?" asks Luke and Bodhi's heart sinks.
"Yes, really," he says, tucking his fingers under Luke's chin— oh hell, may as well— and gives him a quick peck on the forehead. Luke beams at him and he gives him a playful push to the shoulder. "Now go eat and caffeinate yourself so you start making sense again. I'll let you know once I have your cocktail worked up."
Luke grins at him briefly before giving him a thoughtful look. "Sure there's nothing else bothering you?" he asks.
"Why do you ask?"
"It's just you keep glancing at your phone, like you waiting for something," says Luke and Bodhi realizes that not only is Luke right, but he hadn't even noticed himself doing it.
"I've got another friend doing a job today," he says. "It's silly, really: she and her whole team are just the tops, but I probably won't settle down properly until I get the all-clear."
Luke nods. "You really do like taking care of people, don't you?"
Bodhi shrugs, "Like I said, it's my job."
Luke pauses, as though he's about to say something, before turning around and leaving for the promise of proper nutrition. Bodhi tries to control his tendency to hover over the phone, grateful that Han and Chewie seem to be out scouting external sites as his level of agitation rises over the course of the day. His phone remains silent.
To: Stardust, Sent 10:02 EDT
You go straight to celebrating?
To: Stardust, Sent 10:32 EDT
Are you in transit?
To: Stardust, Sent 11:30 EDT
Even if you're totally slagged, I'm getting worried.
From: The Fixer, Sent 03:08 EDT
Little sister's in trouble.
From: The Fixer, Sent 03:09 EDT
We're on our way to the airport.
From: The Fixer, Sent 03:09 EDT
We'll call once we know more.
From: The Fixer, Sent 03:10 EDT
For now, keep your head down.
It's like being caught between two different lives
Bodhi's still staring at his phone—how long has it been, it feels like hours— when he's startled by a heavy knock at the door. He drops the phone and takes aim with his Browning — shit, how long have I been holding onto this thing? — before lowering it when he hears Han bellow, "Let me in, kid, and you'd better be dressed."
He thumbs the safety back on and leaves the gun on the end table before going to unlock the door. "Do you have any news?" he asks as Han brushes past him.
"Nothing on Jyn, Cassian, or Kay yet, no," says Han, wrapping both his arms behind his head as he starts to pace a few times. "But it's starting to sound like we may be blown. Baze called Leia, I guess he'd gone to tell your landlady to feed your cats and discovered your shop had been busted up."
"Shit," says Bodhi feeling suddenly light-headed and oddly grateful when Han comes over to steady him by the elbows. "Shit."
"Hey there, stick with me, kid. Her Worship wants you safe, so we're gonna pack this all up and take you to her folks' place in the Hamptons, all right?" says Han, slowly nodding his head at Bodhi until Bodhi imitates him. "That's right, there you are." Han turns Bodhi around until he's propped up against the wall, then starts unzipping Bodhi's suitcases to lay them out on the bed.
"Why— why didn't Baze call me?" Bodhi asks as he works on regaining the ability to support himself on his own two feet.
Han just raises an eyebrow at him. "Secure lines, Bodhi, shit: you're the one who's always harping on about protocols. Also, he might have had a clue that once you heard you'd do all," and Han gestures at Bodhi, "all of whatever this is."
"Right, right," says Bodhi, wobbling one foot ahead of the other until he's in front of the closet and can start pulling his clothes out haphazardly, his hands shaking the whole time. "Were the cats okay?"
Han gives him a comforting smile while accepting an armful of trousers. "I think so, yeah. Were there any files to actually be found there?"
"No, put all my sensitive information in a safe deposit box before I left the country, everything else is on that," says Bodhi, pointing at his laptop.
Han ducks his head. "There's my favorite stickler, though in this case you probably did save our asses with it this time."
Bodhi nods blankly, resting his head for a moment on the cool wood of the closet. One hand automatically spiders up into the pocket of his waistcoat but his fingers come up empty. "Fuck, Han, I can't find my— " Bodhi starts to pat his other pockets, still not finding his totem and Han turns on him, looking a bit pale himself.
"Shit, man: just tell me what it looks like these days."
"Poker chip," says Bodhi, hearing his own voice sound like it's coming from a mile away.
Han gets on all fours to search the floor, then pulls the suitcases off the bed so he can toss through the covers while Bodhi slowly sinks to the ground under the weight of his own existential dread — if they've already put me under there's no way they'll ever let me wake up —
Han's shaking his shoulders, using his foot of all things to point at the black and white piece of plastic that's dropped on the grey pile of the carpet. "Come on, Rook, you're in the real world, just give it a test, would ya?" Bodhi lurches forward to grab it, his fingers finding the pattern of grooves on the edge as he turns it clockwise—one, three, three, three, four, four, three; I'm awake, I'm alive—
Once Bodhi's fingers have circumnavigated the sequence four times he feels like he can breathe again. Han's kneeling in front of him, half a smirk on his face. "You're gonna have plenty of time to iron all these out once you get to the Organa estate," he says, tapping a hand on the suitcase. "Nice to know where all my hard-earn cash has gone over the years, you damn clothes horse."
Bodhi huffs out a laugh. "I won it all fair and square," he says, accepting Han's hand up to his feet.
Han points at the nightstand. "Can I trust you to only use that on the enemy now?"
Bodhi nods at him, looking around the room as he picks up the gun. "Shit, did you already pack my holster?"
Han rolls his eyes at Bodhi. "Just stick it in your belt like a man."
"If I bust my tailbone, it's all on you," says Bodhi, pulling his shirt out so he can blouse it over the pistol he has pressing into his arse, grabs his jacket off the back of the door and picks up his phone and laptop case while Han has gathered up his other bags. Han leads the way down the back stairwell as they clear out with what Bodhi feels is an appropriate level of paranoia, emerging into the chill pre-dawn light.
Bodhi feels his eyes bulge out when he sees Han's ride for the night. "Where's the Falcon?" he asks, ducking into the passenger seat of the grey panel van.
"Chewie's got it down at the warehouse with Shara," says Han as he puts the van in gear. He braces an arm against Bodhi's head. "Keep down until I clear the parking lot, would you?"
Bodhi ducks down, tucking his laptop case between his legs though it would be the smarter thing to use it to shield his head. Better for no one to have his data, but at the same time it's his life's work, dammit. "I take it that anyone who might try to bust in there has a very unpleasant surprise coming for them?"
Han's smirk returns. "I'm just glad Shara's the one listening to Chewie's rant about never being allowed to use as much C4 as he likes to in the States, not me." After that they're quiet as they drive into the sunrise, without a sign of a tail or their lives being currently endangered which allows Bodhi to resume freaking out over Jyn again—little sister's in trouble—
He's startled from his thoughts as the van jolts to a stop on a gravel driveway. The Organa estate looks like a set from The Great Gatsby, manicured lawn an almost electric green in the dawn light. Luke's silhouette looks equally cinematic, standing out against a low slash of orange sky nestled between storm clouds and stormy seas, the wind whipping at his sleep pants as he runs up to the car. "You're safe," he says when he pulls the door open.
"Both of us are, and you're welcome," says Han behind them. Bodhi nods weakly, letting Luke take his hand to pull him out of the van.
"Has there been any news?" he asks, a stupid question because Baze and Chirrut would still be in the middle of a transatlantic flight, and Luke is shaking his head.
"Leia hasn't been off the phone for hours, I think she's calling in every favor she has," he says as they walk into the house, through a marbled foyer into a screened-in garden porch furnished in white wicker. "Meanwhile, I've been kind of useless."
Han shakes his head. "You're not useless, Luke, you're just not a real criminal," he says with a waggle of his eyebrows. "Unlike some of us," he adds as Bodhi sits and retrieves the Browning from out of his belt. Luke gapes at it and Bodhi has to hold back a laugh that might sink Luke's spirits further.
"Do you know how to use one of these outside the dream?" he asks.
"No, Obi Wan didn't exactly approve of them," says Luke, a hint of fear in his eyes as he watches Bodhi clear the chamber and eject the magazine before starting to strip it down. "Hey, where are you going?" he asks Han.
"I'm taking first watch on the perimeter," says Han, tossing a black radio the Bodhi doesn't need to look up to catch. "As entertaining as watching Rook teach you gun safety topside might be, I'm not as trusting of your parents' security as your sister is, not to mention I really think you should get him to sleep first."
Bodhi droops, setting bullets and gun down before he lets his head fall between his knees. "I'm so fucking sorry," he says.
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Obi Wan, Anakin, hell, even your mother, none of them wanted this life for you," says Bodhi. "Han's right, I shouldn't be having to teach you how to fire a gun in the real world. I wouldn't even be thinking about it if— if my old life wasn't probably coming back for me with a vengeance."
Luke's kneeling in front of Bodhi. "Hey, stop that," he says, taking Bodhi's head between his hands, lifting it up to force Bodhi to face him, hair falling into his face. Luke's thumbs stroke his jaw in soothing motions as he shushes Bodhi. "And it's pretty fucking rich, I gotta say, you trying to excuse Anakin from his role in bringing me into this part of the dreamshare world, when it's actually his old life that you've been trying to escape. As if Leia and I hadn't come up with this plot to get back at Tarkin together, as if we weren't the ones who went and dragged you back in."
He kisses Bodhi on his brow and it feels like a benediction from an angel — neither of which Bodhi deserves— "You belong in places like this," whispers Bodhi.
Luke smiles at him, the light dancing in his eyes. "What, you mean on my knees in front of you?" His hands drop to Bodhi's shoulders and he places another kiss on Bodhi's cheek. "Finally, something we can agree about."
Bodhi huffs out a laugh, lets his head fall again, this time to rest on Luke's shoulder. "Can't ever win an argument with a fucking Skywalker, can I?" he mutters into the bare skin above Luke's collarbone.
"Nope," says Luke, his arms wrapping around him. Bodhi returns the embrace with his left arm, his right hand sneaking into his pocket to check his totem again because this right here, being pressed against Luke, his skin soft and warm under Bodhi's lips, feels entirely too fucking good to be real. But it is, even the sweet smell of sweat, grass and linen too rich and heady to be a dream. "Why don't we find you a bed," says Luke.
Bodhi goes stiff. "What?"
Luke pulls away, shaking his head. "To sleep in, Bodhi." He brushes Bodhi's hair back with his fingers. "From time to time Han actually has been known to speak sense."
"Very rarely," says Bodhi, rising to his feet with only a little wobble to his knees. He reloads the gun and picks up the radio as Luke takes his laptop bag. "Really, if I could just distill his survival instincts and get rid of the rest…"
"He wouldn't be nearly as much fun at parties," says Luke, motioning for Bodhi to follow him. They pick up the rest of his luggage in the foyer. Luke leads him upstairs as Bodhi tries not to gape at the understated opulence, furnishings all crafted to be handed down generation to generation, to the point where someone like Luke could take them for granted while Bodhi feels like he's walking through some kind of museum where someone might shout at him for touching things out of turn. This is Luke's heritage through both the Organas and the Amidalas and Bodhi wonders if Anakin had felt similarly out of place, if that had been why he'd gone to such lengths to make sure he and Bodhi dressed to blend in with these kind of places and people even as his world had spun entirely out of control.
Bodhi doesn't know if he's disappointed or not when the room Luke leads him to is so clearly a guest room. On the one hand, there's propriety and appearances; on the other hand there's this sense of intimacy and need they'd shared on the porch that Bodhi's too tired to deny how much he wants to have again. Luke pushes him to sit on the bed, then kneels in front of him again, unlacing Bodhi's shoes. "Not exactly the way I imagined getting you out of that suit this morning," he says. "But it'll have to do for now."
Bodhi huffs out a laugh, looking down at the limp and spoiled lines of it as he pulls off the jacket. "I have more of them," he says.
Luke's smile turns wolfish as he bares Bodhi's toes with a flourish. "Really?" he asks, unclasping Bodhi's watch.
Bodhi tilts his chin towards the pile of luggage. "All in there getting more horrifically wrinkled by the moment," he says, he can actually hear Anakin tutting his tongue at him when he closes his eyes.
He opens his eyes to find himself lying back on the bed left in nothing but his briefs as Luke levers his legs up onto the bed. "My totem," he says, his tongue feeling thick and clumsy in his mouth.
"Where is it?"
"Waistcoat— err, vest, you called it a vest," says Bodhi. Luke retrieves the garment and holds it up so that Bodhi can fish the chip out of the pocket, rolling it obsessively between his fingers a few times before putting it on the bedside table next to his phone and the radio. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," says Luke. Bodhi lets his face flop onto the pillow, watching Luke hang his things and put them away rather than just stare into space or at his still silent phone. "Hey, you're supposed to be getting some sleep," says Luke once he's finished.
"I think you're a liar and a lousy one at that, come on, under the covers." With a little assistance from Luke, Bodhi manages to get himself between the silky cool sheets. "And Han claims you're a card sharp," says Luke running a fond hand from his shoulder down his arm.
Bodhi grabs the hand. "I'm a fantastic card player," he says before turning his head up to look at Luke, turning Luke's hand over so he can trace a circle in his palm with his thumb. "And I think I might be able to sleep if you stay."
If Bodhi's very, very lucky he'll be able to remember the look that Luke gives him in that moment after he wakes up. "Okay, I can do that," he says in a husky whisper, toeing off his shoes and climbing over Bodhi to spoon him over the covers, never breaking the contact of their hands. His breath warm and lips soft against the shell of Bodhi's ear, Luke murmurs, "Go to sleep, Mr. Rook."
Seemingly at his command, Bodhi does.
Bodhi indulges in several bad habits
Sleep lasts only a couple of hours, but as Bodhi blinks his eyes open he decides they'll have to be enough, no matter the siren song of Luke's light snoring on his shoulder. His best intentions are thwarted, however, when his attempts to dislodge Luke's arms cause Luke to hold tighter and roll them both over in his sleep, pinning Bodhi underneath him. "Better," says Luke in a low rumble that initially makes Bodhi question whether or not Luke's actually asleep until he notices the distinct press of morning wood against his arse. Luke's not quite unselfconscious enough to be that brazen, or if he were, he's too brash to not be pressing the question even further after a few moments like this. Seriously, what has my life even turned into? thinks Bodhi as he tries to quell the response in his own groin. He sighs and makes a blind grab for his totem and his mobile.
The totem tells him he's indeed awake; the phone tells him absolutely nothing but the time and he has to control the urge to throw it across the room. Instead he phones his bank to make certain there've been no attempts to steal his data there; satisfied on that front, he calls his landlady to find out about the cats and get a report on the damage. After thanking her for dealing with the insurance people he has to beg for his leave abruptly when Luke starts getting a little handsy in his sleep, which Bodhi's body seems all too eager to respond to.
"So rude," grumbles Luke, grabbing at the phone.
"We're in the middle of a crisis," says Bodhi, pulling it away to place it back on the nightstand.
"We're in the middle of some of the best unassisted sleep I've had in my life," says Luke, who must notice what he's pressing into Bodhi because Bodhi feels his hips lift up momentarily before his second prediction proves true and Luke wiggles against him to nestle his erection even more snugly in the cleft of Bodhi's arse. "I thought it'd take me a lot more time and effort to get you in this position," he says, lips pulling into a smile against Bodhi's neck.
Bodhi sighs. "Really, we need to get up."
"I know," says Luke. "We're in the middle of a crisis," he adds, tracing feather light kisses along Bodhi's shoulders and spine. "But you're being remarkably chill about this, for you, which makes me think maybe you'd be okay with being in this position again soon, once we're out of crisis mode." With that he rolls off of Bodhi, an entirely too satisfied smirk on his face. "And that's really the best motivation I could ask for."
"You're a terrible person, you know that," says Bodhi as he rolls off the bed because he has no other real retort when Luke's ability to read him is utterly fucking terrifying. He looks over his shoulder and Luke is waggling his arse at him as he strolls into the en suite. Bodhi shakes his head and walks over to the bin where he finds the cigarettes and matches Luke had tossed earlier. He pulls on a pair of trousers and an undershirt, then steps out onto the room's balcony, which has a rather lovely ocean view, despite the lingering drizzle. Bodhi doesn't mind: the first smoke of the day is the most necessary and un-forsakeable smoke of them all, next to the post-coital one, which he hasn't had in what until recent events hadn't felt like ages.
"You know those things take years off your life, don't you?" asks Luke, leaning up against the threshold with his arms crossed.
Bodhi rolls his eyes. "Well, I'll just tally those against the nearly fifty bonus years I've lived in the dream and kindly invite you to not ruin my morning routine, brat."
Luke sticks his tongue out at Bodhi demonstrating that he actually is that much of a brat before saying, "Guess I'll go let Leia know we're awake and see if she's actually managed to learn something new." Bodhi's glad that Luke's decided to make this his sweeping exit line, because it means that Luke doesn't catch the face he makes as he realizes that he dragged Luke into bed with him while sleeping under his boss' own roof as a guest. Luke who also happened to be his boss' twin brother and a member of their team, which ranks this as one of the least professional things Bodhi's ever done, and of course it involves another fucking Skywalker.
Jyn damn well better be alive so that she can laugh over his humiliation properly.
Once he's washed up and dressed, Bodhi finds the twins in the garden porch, a full breakfast laid out in chafing dishes on the sideboard there. "Good morning, Bodhi," says Leia who must be more professional than him because he doesn't detect a hint of judgement in her voice as he collects a coffee and a muffin from the selection. "Please, sit."
"Thank you, for all of this," says Bodhi, sitting on the lounge across from her and far from the seat where Luke is tucking into a rather more substantial meal.
"It's not a problem," says Leia, as ever full of grace even with dark circles from sleep deprivation under her eyes. "I was sorry to hear about your shop. Meanwhile I've received word that Piett has flown to Athens on urgent business, and without a return ticket, so it seems all of our work here may have been for nothing."
"Palpatine's backyard," says Luke.
"Did Shara and Chewie catch anyone at the warehouse?" asks Bodhi.
"Not yet, though they're going to keep it on lockdown for the next day at least. All three of these… unfortunate events taking place in the matter of twenty-four hours, they can't be a coincidence, so for your own safety I'd like to request that you stay here until we get a better idea of what's going on," says Leia.
Bodhi lets out a long breath. "I suppose there are worse prisons. Do we have any idea who might have leaked our plans?"
"None," says Leia with a flash of cold anger in her voice. "The only people who knew about my plans are the team, and I still don't know what job Andor was on down in Costa Rica. Do you?"
Bodhi shakes his head, taking a sip of coffee. "Just that it was supposed to be a simple extraction and that there'd been a couple of complications topside that had been causing Jyn some headaches, but nothing specific. We never share details, it's safer that way."
Leia inclines her head, "Of course. Still, the laws regarding dreamshare there are rather more aggressive than the ones up here. It's a dangerous place to run a job at all."
Bodhi shrugs. "Danger's never been something that's deterred Jyn or Cassian, if they felt the job was worth it. They'd take the necessary precautions, mind you, but they're not usually the types to get caught." He rubs his eyes with one hand. "The funny thing is that normally I'd be calling Jyn to get to the bottom of all of this."
Leia leans across the table and lays a comforting hand over his. "I spoke to Baze and you should know that if they're still alive he has my full support to retrieve them safely."
"Thank you,' says Bodhi. "That— it helps," he stammers, trying his best to staunch the swell of emotions because he hasn't had so many people be so kind and generous to him since he met Jyn and Baze and the rest of them, even when he's being an unprofessional, ungracious guest.
Leia pats his hand gently. "Now I'm going to get myself some sleep. Luke, please wake me if you hear anything," she says as she rises, and Bodhi reflexively gets to his feet at the same time, feeling a faint blush rise to his cheeks as he does. Leia bestows another entirely too kind smile on him. "And they say chivalry is dead," she says as she leaves the room.
"She likes your manners," says the still seated Luke, a wry grin on his face.
"My manners are absolutely wretched and I have you to blame."
"You were the one who asked me to stay."
"And I wouldn't have asked if you weren't so, well, you," says Bodhi, reaching down to pick up his coffee and finish it all in one swallow.
Luke's grin has expanded to full-on beaming at Bodhi. "Well, if it means that you're admitting I'm irresistible, I guess I'll have to take the blame."
Bodhi tries his best not to smile back as he picks up the radio he'd brought with him. "Han, you ready for a little relief?"
"I thought you'd never ask. Meet me in the carriage house— yeah, these guys have a damn carriage house," says Han.
Bodhi's eyes bug out as he gives Luke a mortified look. Luke shrugs as he gets up to clear the plates. "What? We do have a carriage house."
"I'm on my way," says Bodhi lamely into the radio.
Luke's pulling on that damned yellow leather jacket of his that Bodhi's certain no one else could ever quite pull off as well. "Come on, I'll show you the way," he says, opening the dark stained door for Bodhi. He leads Bodhi along a well tended gravel path through a near maze of topiaries to the large carriage house by the main gate. They relieve Han with mercifully little additional repartee from the visibly exhausted Han. Luke even provides a place for Bodhi to charge his phone. As Bodhi settles into Han's makeshift sniper's nest, Luke stands by looking oddly unsure of himself with his hands in his pockets. "What's on your mind?" Bodhi asks, fully understanding what a dangerous question it is.
"I was… you just seem calmer than I expected."
Bodhi shrugs. "Finally, a facade I can keep up for you. I suppose I'm just accustomed to a hurry-up-and-wait mentality when I'm half a continent away. The military," he says as an explanation.
Luke nods and takes a step closer. "Yeah, about that. I was also wondering if maybe you could give me that firearms lesson Han was talking about last— why are you smiling?"
"Nothing," says Bodhi, pulling the Browning out of his shoulder holster. "Just the idea of a Brit teaching an American about guns, that's all." He clears the round from the chamber, catching the round as it pops up and notices that Luke has paused mid-step, his mouth slightly ajar. "Do you want to learn or not?" he asks.
Luke recovers giving Bodhi a look that sparks a hint of lust deep in his belly. "Yes, absolutely," says Luke.
"Good," says Bodhi. He makes Luke strip the pistol down and reassemble it several times, naming each of the parts and explaining that in the real world guns actually jam. Then he begrudgingly points out how Han has constructed a proper sniper's nest with actual cover, "Because in the real world bullets like to keep going, despite every film you've ever seen pretending that a car door stops them every time."
Luke's an eager and capable student, and Bodhi's not quite comfortable with how quickly and enjoyable the afternoon passes by. They are technically off the job, now, he supposes, so it's not quite so unprofessional of him to be indulging in a few traded kisses when Luke, proud of getting his assembly time under a minute, leaps up in triumph and kisses him right on the lips. He likes learning what Luke tastes like, the noises that he makes when Bodhi caves to his own desires and swipes his tongue past Luke's lips and teeth, and the feel of Luke's hair between his fingers.
Really, there's plenty to enjoy about the afternoon if it weren't for the fact that Bodhi's phone still hasn't so much as chirped.
Sometimes patience requires a distraction
Finally, after the rain stops and the sun is long set, Bodhi's mobile chimes. It is, to say the least, underwhelming.
From: The Fixer, Sent 20:04 EDT
We're on the ground.
To: The Fixer, Sent 20:04 EDT
From: The Fixer, Sent 20:08 EDT
We'll let you know.
From: The Fixer, Sent 20:10 EDT
His Serenity is counseling patience.
From: The Fixer, Sent 20:11 EDT
As am I.
From: The Fixer, Sent 20:12 EDT
And keep your head DOWN.
"Bodhi, glaring at your phone isn't going to change anything," says Luke, fiddling with something in the corner, the light too dim for Bodhi to quite make it out. "Also, I think you might actually manage to set it on fire."
Bodhi turns his glare on Luke because they have been cooped up in here all goddamn day and the only goddamn thing anyone will tell him is to be fucking patient, except for Luke who's counseling a lack of patience for all the wrong fucking things. Even worse, his glare only earns Bodhi a rather adoring smile in return. "I know for a fact you don't actually mean that," says Luke, who stands up and starts walking up to Bodhi. "Here, hold out your hand."
"Because I asked you to," says Luke, still fucking smiling. He ducks his head and adds, "Please."
Bodhi holds back a curse and obediently holds out his hand. Luke deposits a tiny, perfect, paper T-Rex in it. "Because everyone should know to fear you," he says, as though this is a perfectly legitimate explanation for what's just happened.
The dinosaur has rows of tiny, college-ruled teeth and a distinct air of menace to the creased suggestion of its eyes, until Bodhi uses his other hand to wiggle one of its arms which somehow makes its tail wag. "I— how did you...?" he breathes out, not knowing exactly how he intended to end that sentence, feeling his anger and frustration flutter away as a sort of light sense of wonder settles in his chest.
Luke pulls up a small tool chest so that he can sit all too close next to Bodhi. "Well," he says, his blue eyes twinkling, "Obi Wan said it was important to have hobbies and origami's a great way of training my mind to build hidden folds and creases into my dream levels, not to mention that I needed to have some way to show you my talents outside of the dream."
Bodhi's mouth feels slightly too dry and he spares a glance out the window, ostensibly what he's out here for in the first place but the flurry of motion in the dark was merely the Organa landscaping again. He sighs and ponders whether or not he should let their paid gate guard know exactly how poorly hidden he is, except he knows in his heart that it's not the obvious security that's making him feel nervous. "You're definitely talented," he says.
"See, that is something you actually meant," says Luke, toying with a tendril of Bodhi's hair. "I've got other talents I'd like to show you," he adds, cupping his other hand around the back of Bodhi's neck, his definitely talented fingers kneading the tense tendons it finds there.
Bodhi lets his eyelids drift shut. "We're not out of the crisis," he says, still hating almost everything about the world.
Luke's voice rumbles from right behind his ear. "I know, but we do seem to remain half a continent away from it," he says. "Meanwhile, you're right here."
"Patience," Bodhi breathes out, which is all so unfair because he can feel the tension being pulled out of his body. He hates the way that Luke showed up in his life as if he'd been reading Bodhi's manual since birth, knows exactly what to do and say and has no shame about it, any of it, it should be illegal, people like Luke shouldn't be allowed to exist.
"Distractions can help with that," counters Luke because of course he fucking would, he has Bodhi absolutely cornered in his own logic and in every other way. The hand that had been playing with his hair moves to tilt Bodhi's chin toward him and Bodhi lets him, he just fucking lets him because he's tired and scared and can only remember ever wanting one other person this much and Anakin had never fucking wanted him back, not really, but Luke does. Luke's never once pretended he didn't and dammit, Bodhi must have earned this somehow.
He lets the dinosaur fall to the floor as he groans and fists Luke's hair in his hand, smashes Luke's damned stupid mouth against his. He positively delights in Luke's quiet yelp as Bodhi pulls Luke's leg up and over him, dragging him onto his lap and taking the opportunity to thrust his tongue down Luke's throat, if only to make him shut the hell up. Luke moans into Bodhi's mouth, pushing down and squirming in his lap, hard as Bodhi is and still utterly fucking shameless.
"Distraction's gonna fucking kill me," pants Bodhi before biting down on Luke's neck, pushing his hands up underneath Luke's terrible polyester-blend shirt, how can someone with this much money wear something so fucking dreadful on every level? It's like he's out of some miserable suburb from the seventies with his fucking clothes and car and matinee idol looks. On the other hand, the muscles beneath and noises Luke's making as Bodhi pulls down on his hips and grinds up against him are out of some dreadful seventies porno, and that is something that Bodhi's very nearly comfortable with. He does it again, letting Luke know just how hard he is, kissing him so that he can swallow Luke's responsive little whimpers. Luke's hands are practically vibrating on his shoulders, not quite grabbing but sort of tapping against him in his excitement, like he's been so focused on gaining Bodhi's attention that he has no real clue what he plans on doing now that he has it.
Luke cries out again as Bodhi wraps his arms around him and stands up, lets his fingers sink into the firm muscles of Luke's arse as he lifts him up, the only protest coming from Bodhi's own muscles, Luke's legs wrapping around his waist like they were made for it. The ache in his shoulders getting to him all too quickly, Bodhi slams Luke up against the nearest wall. "Sure you really wanted all of my attention, boy?" Bodhi asks, nibbling his way down Luke's jaw and neck.
Luke's neck practically spasms as he nods, finally fucking wordless as his Bodhi coaxes him to release his the grip of legs, rewards him for supporting his own weight with another thrust of his hips—fuck, Luke looks like he just might come in his pants and Bodhi simply isn't having that, not after this whole day, this whole week, this whole fucking life. He slides to a crouch, his hands fumbling with Luke's belt and fly but it's not that difficult, it hasn't really been that long, and Luke's talented hands are all too helpful even as the soft skin of his thigh breaks out into goosebumps under Bodhi's tongue once he's pulled Luke's jeans and boxers down hard, Luke's cock smacking up against his own belly once freed.
Bodhi doesn't hesitate, his grip around the shaft maybe a little too rough as he pulls the head of it to his lips, but if Luke's grip on his hair is any gauge he doesn't seem to mind. Luke starts babbling wordlessly when Bodhi dips his tongue around the slit, reaches up to cradle his balls as he applies none too gentle suction. Knowing that it wouldn't be long, not caring, actually feeling a bit triumphant, Bodhi flattens his tongue and pushes his head forward to take Luke down to the hilt.
Luke gasps and Bodhi feels the bitter tang of his come against the back of his throat as he hums, milks a positively gibbering Luke through his orgasm. Bodhi takes it all, lets Luke's cock fall limp from his lips before rising to his feet. He pops the buttons of his fly open, undoes the belt buckle and pulls his own dick out so that he can grind it into into the damp, sweaty crease of Luke's thigh. Luke's hand leaves his hair, he licks his fucking palm and then his grip around Bodhi's cock is a little loose but the motion is just right, Bodhi bites into his new favorite spot at the join of Luke's neck as his hips grind to a halt, come splattering over Luke's hand and smearing against their stomachs.
"Fuck," whispers Bodhi, leaning heavily into Luke because he has no feeling left in his legs, no tension left in his body, so grateful for Luke's complete lack of subtlety in grabbing his arse because it's the only thing holding him up.
"Not quite, but it'll do," says Luke with a lazy smile before he kisses Bodhi, tongue probing Bodhi's mouth after a fucking blow job because he's fucking made of goddamn sin wrapped in fucking sunshine. Bodhi breaks the kiss and steps back so he can sit down. "Hope you didn't like that shirt too much," says Luke, looking down at the mess of them.
"Not as much as I hate yours, Christ, we need to clean ourselves up," says Bodhi. Luke retrieves something that Bodhi prays isn't an actual grease rag for Bodhi to wipe away the most obvious evidence before pulling his trousers back on and tucking his shirt in as best he can to hide the rest Luke might need a scarf or a fucking turtleneck, but judging by the way he seems to be actively not whistling as he cleans himself up, Bodhi's certain that he doesn't care. "That was—"
"Shorter than you'd hoped?" says Luke his voice betraying a hint of actual insecurity for the first time. Bodhi… doesn't like it.
"Good, actually, I was going to say it was pretty… nice," says Bodhi.
The smile on Luke's face outshines any he's given Bodhi before, though there's something even more sinful about his face when his pupils remain a bit blown with lust in the low light. "I was caught a little off-guard," he says, ducking down to pick up the discarded dinosaur which he lays on the windowsill. "You surprised me," he adds and it feels like the biggest compliment Bodhi's ever received, this feeling in his chest simply won't do.
"Get your pants back on boys, I'm coming your way," says Han over the radio and Bodhi leaps to his feet, fuck, he can feel his fucking toes blushing.
"You go ahead," he whispers to Luke, "And cover your fucking neck!" Luke tosses Bodhi a box of mints as he heads down the stairs which is a bloody good thing because Han is on his way out and Bodhi has actual fucking cock breath, what in the world could have possessed him to think that he could get away with that? He chews a couple of them then sucks on the rest, busying himself with tidying away the crumbs from lunch.
Fortunately an afternoon spent having his advances rejected by Leia has Han in a wonderfully self-involved sulk and Bodhi may just have to buy her flowers for that, because he makes his way downstairs with nary a single innuendo. Bodhi tarries along the garden path, enjoying his post-coital cigarette the way that God intended, while his other hand spins his totem against his palm in his pocket, the little paper T-Rex biting into the back of his hand. He may not feel comfortable ever gambling again, because tonight he has had the best possible run of luck, he can only hope that it's running over into Jyn down in Central America.
Once inside the main house, Bodhi ducks into the washroom to tidy himself up a little better and wash out his mouth. He finds Luke in the kitchen, eating another sandwich because he's a growing boy and Bodhi's… sort of okay with it all. Still conscious of the stained and crumpled state of his clothing, he tells him after a quick kiss that he needs to change upstairs and that he'll be back down for food in a minute, but he has to clean himself up some more if there's a chance Leia might catch them down here. Bodhi climbs the stairs to his room levitated by that fucking feeling Luke's unfiltered adoration fills him with, this light and airy feeling that's so utterly unfamiliar and dangerous and true.
If Bodhi hadn't been feeling so good, perhaps he would have sensed the danger opening the door. He might have known, he should have known that he never gets to have anything so purely right and good in his life. He wouldn't have been able to shut the door and get two steps inside before noticing the man with cold, steely blue eyes leaning up against the balcony door.
“Hello, Bodhi,” says Anakin Skywalker.
Bodhi's world is reduced to just himself and Anakin. Again.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Bodhi's eyes couldn't get any wider if he tried. "Anakin— what are you…?" Bodhi reaches for his totem instinctively: it keeps coming up real, fucking christ: how much has he seen—
"It's nice to see you too, Bodhi," says Anakin, his hands steepled below his chin. "You're looking well. Can't say I'm terribly fond of what you've done with your hair." Anakin uncrosses his legs and stands; Bodhi numbly notes that it looks like he's wearing a cape over his double-breasted suit. "You've been busy, since you left me."
Bodhi swallows around the lump in his throat. "What are you doing here, Anakin?" Anakin whose scars tracing up his neck warning of the far-too reckless life he leads still haven't managed to make him look any less attractive, only more dangerous. Anakin whose charges should have stopped him at the border before he got to the porous Organa security; how the hell is he even here—
"Looking in on my wayward children," says Anakin, taking a step forward and Bodhi can't help himself, he looks down and shuffles his feet. "Trying to clean up your messes."
Bodhi shakes his head, closing his eyes. "I'm not your child."
"Luke is," says Anakin his eyes cold; Bodhi flinches, his heart pounding out a staccato rhythm in his chest that Anakin can probably hear. "I— I tried to handle your little crush as best I could over the years, but this has gone a step too far, Bodhi."
Bodhi manages to unstick his tongue from the roof of his mouth, looking up at Anakin— fuck, Bodhi'd forgotten how tall he is— but keeping his voice low. As much as he might want Leia calling security on her father, they've done nothing to deserve being involved in this, regardless of what Anakin says. He shakes his head slowly, "That has nothing to do with you—"
"He's my son, Bodhi, you are cavorting with my only son while going after one of my team, and you're telling me this has nothing to with me?" says Anakin, raising his hand in a fist and it takes all of Bodhi's courage not to flinch away.
"Luke pursued me, Anakin, not the other way around," hisses Bodhi. " He's the one who's been after me and yes, I caved, because he's rather a stubborn little shit. Meanwhile, Leia, your other child, is the one who sought me out and hired me, not because I used to work for you — she claims to barely know you, and I know for a fact that's probably true— but because I am very, very good at my job," says Bodhi, pulling at his shirt and praying that the evidence of his unprofessionalism— he hadn't kept his guard up, no wonder Anakin managed to sneak through— isn't visible. "It's not my fault that you kept working with those arseholes who were only ever using you in the first place."
Anakin's eyes widen, but the sneer on his face doesn't shift. "They weren't assholes when they were your team."
"Yes they were," says Bodhi, not quite able to control the stamping of his foot and grateful for the carpet muting the noise. "They were always arseholes, and my 'little crush' stopped me from being able to realize that you're the biggest one of the lot. If I'd stayed, I'd be dead right now and you know that."
"That's not true," says Anakin, his face falling. He breathes out a sigh, reaching out to clasp Bodhi by the shoulder, and Bodhi shouldn't lean into the touch but he does, the gesture as calming and placating as ever. "I've always protected you, Bodhi; I've never stopped." His hand slides up to Bodhi's neck. "It's why I'm here now."
Bodhi takes a step back and almost trips over his own luggage, which is disturbingly heavy. "What? Why are my bags packed?"
Anakin lets his hand fall to his side. "Because it's time for us to go, Bodhi."
Bodhi gets to his feet, managing to put the bag between him and Anakin because clearly contact is dangerous, it stops him from thinking straight. "Where— where's my laptop?"
"Still in its bag, right by the chair. I can get it seeing as you've got those, don't worry—"
"Don't worry?" Bodhi's voice has probably gotten a little too loud on the laugh that squeaks out along with the words, he needs to watch that because really, the last thing this situation needs is an additional Skywalker. "I hate it when other people touch my things, you know that!" he says, trying to keep his voice down as he brushes past Anakin without thinking because he'll be damned if Anakin gets another opportunity to try and crack his security, noticing for the first time the open balcony doors and the ropes Anakin must have used to climb in, and likely intends to climb out on as he grabs his laptop bag and hugs it to his chest. "And what on Earth makes you think I'm going anywhere with you?"
Anakin puts a hand on his hip, that damned cape shrugging with him to make him a GQ-study in 'put-out.' "For starters because it's the right thing to do for everyone's safety, and by 'everyone's safety' I include young Ms. Erso."
For a moment the world goes completely still, Bodhi can feel his stomach and heart rising in his throat as his old survival instincts kick in, reminding him that Anakin has always known exactly which of his buttons to press, that Anakin makes promises he doesn't keep, that— "What do you mean?"
Anakin sighs and looks at his watch. "The local authorities have her in custody as we speak, very little evidence, she is quite the competent young thing and besides they're rather busy chasing her compatriots who've thus far escaped." He gives Bodhi a broad smile, but Bodhi can see the sneer twitching at the corner of his mouth. "Now, Sheev has been very generous in keeping her dossier offline and out-of-sight, and might even be persuaded to have a word with the relatively minor corporate V.P. of his whom Erso had been, and here I'm assuming, extracting from, get him to drop the charges and give all your friends the chance to run for the border while the running's still good. Or," and Anakin raises a hand, "He can provide his dossiers on not only Erso and Andor, but also your Chinese friends who recently landed, and this whole affair can get very messy. It's your choice. I know what I'd prefer."
Bodhi nearly drops the laptop, almost stumbles back to fall into the chair. He wants to do all of those things, wants to let himself start hyperventilating, wants to throw his goddamn totem out the door and off the balcony because this can't fucking be real. "Why are you doing this to me?" he asks instead.
Anakin shakes his head, taking a step closer. "I'm just the messenger, Bodhi. You're the one who decided to start meddling in the past. There are consequences for treachery, ones that I've done my best to shield you from up until now, and that includes keeping this kinder option open. You know that Palpatine has the power to ruin your life and the lives of everyone you care about, what possessed you to try and make this run at him in the first place?" he asks, actually managing to sound sincere, like he cares about Bodhi, and maybe in his own twisted way he thinks he truly does.
"I told you: Leia found me, she offered me this job, there's no more Kenobi, just me—" Anakin's furrowed gaze betrays a hint of regret. "Wait, did you have something to do with Kenobi, as well?" Bodhi sees the confession in the way Anakin's face twitches away for just a moment, his fists clenching at his side, and that's just— "Oh yes, just cleaning up your children's messes, I see. He was Luke's mentor, but apparently your son's not allowed to have any father-figures, much less an actual father."
"He has Bail and that should be enough!" shouts Anakin. "The old man was twisting them against me and Palpatine, and now they've brought you in to carry on that old feud which should have been dead a decade ago, and once again it's all on me to put a stop to it." Anakin takes another step forward, looming over Bodhi, crowding out Bodhi's entire field of vision—like he always does. "You're coming to Corfu with me for a few weeks, Bodhi, where you'll be safe, while I finish stamping down this little homemade revolt, and then we can all get on with our lives."
Bodhi can feel himself starting to duck his head, because it doesn't matter what a complete arsehole Anakin's being, Anakin's holding all of the cards right now and knows it. All this snarking is going to accomplish is possibly getting Anakin caught by the authorities and then Bodhi doesn't imagine Palpatine's reprieve for Jyn lasting terribly long. He should have known better than to think life could get better but with all of Anakin's shouting and posturing, once again Bodhi's world has shrunk down to just the two of them.
Which explains why Bodhi actually jumps in the air when Luke's voice calls out from just inside the door, "Bodhi isn't going anywhere with you, Father."
Sorry about the delay while I re-plotted out a few things and for the relatively short chapter after the wait; things should be picking up now.