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as long as my heart still beats

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There are few things that make Poe Dameron nervous. He spends his days—and often his nights—on high risk missions where the difference between life and death is a matter of a millisecond delay in reaction time. Sure, he worries, especially during downtime. Worries about his friends, about making the right choices, keeping his people safe. But he’s very rarely nervous.

He’s really, really nervous. 

“It’s my mom’s birthday today.” They are sitting at the top of the rocky hill above the Resistance base on Ajan Kloss, him and Finn. It’s a particularly clear and cloudless evening which is perfect for his purposes. Ajara is bright and full in the sky to their right, keeping everything lit just darker than twilight, and to their left the brightest stars are shining through. Though Ajara has a bluish tint unlike the red of Yavin, sitting here on a jungle moon with a gas giant large in the sky feels just shy of being home. Some nights, it makes his heart ache. Tonight, it’s a comfort.

He and Finn often come up here to stargaze and catch up after separate missions, or just to get away from the press of people for a few moments alone. Privacy is always difficult to come by on base, and their room is small and stuffy—the last place anyone wants to be after a long space flight. This particular rock was where they’d had their first kiss, on a night much like tonight. Poe is notoriously sentimental, as any one who has known him more than a day can tell you. 

“She would have been… fifty-eight? A bit older than the General. Pop’s turning sixty this year. They had less than fifteen years together.” He fingers the ring hanging around his neck, the curves and weight of it long since memorized, his hand shaking. It’s probably dark enough Finn won’t notice. Probably. He grips the ring in his fist.

“How’d they meet?”

Poe smiles, both from the memory of his parents telling him the story themselves, and from Finn asking exactly the question he knew he would, the exact question he needs him to. “Mom was a pilot for her father’s shipping company, Pop worked security for most of her runs. He was on a freighter with her when they ran into an Imperial blockade. ‘Troopers boarded them, roughed them up for fun. Killed a crew member, maybe by accident, who knows. Doesn’t matter. The next day they heard the news about Alderaan, and the Battle of Yavin. Decided to join the Alliance together, and, well. One thing led to another, I guess.”

“Wartime romance, huh? Sounds familiar,” Finn says, smirking.

Poe snorts a laugh. “Runs in the family, I guess.” He and Finn have themselves been together for close to a year now, though in wartime it seems much longer. They’d spent more hours together than apart even before they’d kindled a romance, since Leia often paired them up for missions. Poe wonders now if she didn’t know before they did. 

Finn’s forehead creases in thought. “Huh… guess I never put it together that you were born during the war.”

Perfect. “Yeah, it’s a good story actually. They’d been together about a year and things were really heating up in the war. They spent as much time together as they could, but her being a pilot and him being infantry they were sent on missions separately most of the time. So at one point, right before Mom was being sent out for at least a month, Pop snuck into the hangar and snagged a washer from her A-wing.” He pulled the necklace over his head and held the ring between them in his palm. Finn had seen it countless times of course, and seen it up close during intimate moments, but he only knew it had been Shara’s—Poe hadn’t told it’s story before.

“As Pop tells it, he took her out under the stars that night to spend some time together before she left. He said to her, ‘Shara. I know we’re in the middle of a war, and neither of us is guaranteed to see the other side of it. And I know that we may never get a chance to… formalize anything, but. In the meantime. For as long as we have. I want to give you this, as a symbol of my commitment to you. No matter what happens, no matter how long we’re apart—as long as my heart still beats, it beats for you.’”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. He’s not a man of many words, my father, so when he comes out with a speech you know it’s gonna be one to remember.”

“So, she said yes, I take it?”

“She did. And… nine months later I was born.”

Finn laughed. “I take it that wasn't the plan.”

“Oh no. But they figured it was the universe reminding them what they were fighting for. She kept flying up until she couldn’t fit in the cockpit anymore, then they stayed with my grandfather for the delivery and a few months of recovery before heading back out. My grandfather raised me til I was about three, when they retired a few months after Endor. They visited a few times a year, sent holos whenever they could. I don’t really remember it, but I know it was hard on them.”

“Did they ever get to have a wedding?”

“Not really—by that time they didn’t see the point. They had a house, a family. They celebrated their anniversary every year, the day he gave her this. It was enough.” 

Finn is quiet for a long moment. “I’d like that too, someday. After, you know, all this. A house,” his eyes flick over to Poe’s, then away again. “A family.”

Poe’s heart is beating violently in his chest, it’s a wonder Finn can’t hear it. “Yeah. Yeah, me too.” He clears his throat, rubs the ring between his fingers as he does dozens of times a day. If this goes well, if he doesn’t lose his nerve, this may be the last time he can do so so easily. “Finn?”

“Yeah?”

“I, um.” Gods don’t cry, don’t cry, not yet. “I know we’re in the middle of a war, and, um. And neither of us is guaranteed to see the other side of it.” He hears Finn suck in a breath, but forces himself to keep going. “And I know we may never get a chance to formalize anything, so I want to give you this, as a symbol of my commitment to you. No matter what happens, no matter how long we’re apart,” he takes a shaky breath, forces his eyes up to meet Finn’s, ”as long as my heart still beats, it beats for you.” 

Finn’s eyes are wide, his mouth open in surprise. Poe takes his hand and pools the ring and it’s chain into Finn’s palm, folding it gently shut. “I love you, more than anything. Will you marry me?”

There’s a beat where neither of them move or breathe before Finn’s face breaks into a grin, his eyes wet. “Ye-yes! Of course, yes!” They crash together in a kiss that is broken up by laughter and smiles. After a moment, Finn pulls back and opens his hand to look at the ring on it’s chain. “But Poe, are you sure you want to give this up? I know how important it is, now more than ever.”

Poe holds Finn’s face in his hands, tears on his face and a smile on his lips. “ You are important. And I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.” He takes the chain from Finn’s hand and slips it, carefully, reverently over Finn’s head. He lays his hand over the ring, over Finn’s heart, and Finn covers them both with his own before pulling Poe back in for another, deeper kiss. 

When they finally part, catching their breath with their foreheads pressed together, Finn says, a smile in his voice, “I don’t think I can give you a baby in nine months, though.”

Poe barks out a laugh and leans back, grinning. “I mean… doesn’t hurt to try, right?” 

And so they do. Several times.