“You feel ready for the mission?” Veronica asked Logan, handing him his helmet as he zipped up his flight suit.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled. “Blow up the big, evil, planet destroyer. It’s like that’s all we ever do.”
“You weren’t even alive the last time it happened,” Veronica replied, rolling her eyes.
“It’s still all the stories I heard growing up, my parents complaining about the Rebels and their repetitive techniques.”
“Hey,” Veronica said softly, reaching up to cradle his cheek in her hand, recognizing his grouchiness for what it was. “Your mom’s not on that base, I checked. She’s still on Coruscant and should be for at least the next few days.”
“My father is, though, isn’t he?”
Veronica bit her lip and gave him a sorry frown. “I’m pretty sure. Most high ranking First Order officers are. I can have you taken out of Poe’s strike team.”
To say Logan wasn’t close to his father would have been an understatement. Still, it wasn’t easy to know you would have a hand in killing your father.
“No, it’s fine. We’re doing the good thing, aren’t we?”
“General Organa seems to think so, and I trust her.”
“Well, then, Commander Mars, I’ll see you when I get back. But I warn you: you’ll be dating a hero. Think you can handle that?” he asked with a cocky grin.
She shoved him towards his X-Wing with a laugh. “Go be a hero, Lieutenant Echolls. And if you die before the baby gets here, you better hope there’s no afterlife, because once I make it, you won’t hear the end of it.”
Logan walked back to her and kissed her tenderly, his hand on her stomach. “I’ll do my best.”
“Come back to me?” she asked, a routine.
And like every time, he answered, “Always.”
Inside the control room, watching all comings and goings, the blinking screens, but especially the tiny lights that turned off to represent a fallen ship each, was one of the most stressful experiences Veronica had ever had to go through. It didn’t help that her hormones were all over the place and that General Organa was more nervous about this operation than Veronica had ever seen her.
And yet, the General didn’t stop to think about herself or her feelings, putting them on the shelf – for now.
“I’ve been there,” she told Veronica, placing a consoling hand on the younger woman’s shoulder after Veronica had been hit with a wave of panic when two pilots from Logan’s squadron had been shot down at the same time and not instantly identified, her hand instantly going to her stomach, as if willing her child to communicate with her, to give another opinion.
She would feel it if Logan was suddenly gone, wouldn’t she?
Veronica weaved her way through the crowds, between the freshly landed X-Wings and the celebratory embraces full of warm effusion. She was grateful for every familiar face, but she was really only waiting for one idiot whose comm system had broken down over an hour ago. (She wouldn’t let herself consider the other alternatives, she couldn’t let the First Order take Logan like they’d taken Lilly.)
When she saw him, climbing down the side of his X-Wing and removing his helmet, clad in that offensively bright orange jumpsuit, she broke into a run, a large smile on her face. He didn’t see her immediately, busy with his ship, but he turned just in time to open his arms for Veronica to launch herself into them.
He twirled her around to regain his balance, kissing the top of her head.
When he put her down, she pulled back and hit his shoulder with a frown.
“Hey! What was that for?”
“What happened to your comms?” she asked, but it sounded like an accusation.
“I think they got knocked out because of the blast. I tried to get them back on, but I was kind of busy escaping the exploding planet.”
She harrumphed. “Fine. You’re excused, for this time.”
“You’re just mad you’re grounded for the next few months and I get to do all the fancy flying,” Logan grinned. “Or… were you worried about me?”
“You’re an idiot.”
He shrugged, passing a hand through his hair. “It has been said.”
“After General Solo didn’t make it, tensions were kind of high in the control room, you can imagine.”
“Yeah, I heard about that. How’d Leia take it?”
“Logan, I have told you time and time again, you do not have the rank to call the General ‘Leia’. But she kind of… collapsed, I guess. Felt it through the Force. It was pretty horrible to watch.”
“On that note… did you know there was a chick with a lightsaber on our side? Snap told me she was with Solo.”
“Yeah, the operation was partly a rescue mission for her, actually. Rey. Poe’s boyfriend and Han Solo led that part. I think the General mentioned something about her brother’s lightsaber. I don’t know, I was more focused on the incoming reports and your broken comm system.”
Logan ignored her last dig. “Hold up, rewind, Poe has a boyfriend? Poe Dameron?”
“I’m not sure? Kind of seemed like it. I didn’t ask,” she shrugged. “You can ask him yourself, you’ll probably be celebrating with the squadron tonight.”
“But when did Poe have time to even get a boyfriend?” Logan insisted. “That man’s working all the time.”
“Look, the guy – Finn – turned up with General Solo and BB-8, and Poe took him straight to General Organa. He’s the ex-Stormtrooper who was at the debrief. If you weren’t late as usual, you would have seen them together. They’re a couple,” Veronica assured.
“He turned up with BB-8? Okay, then I believe it. Poe’s crazy about his droid. He wouldn’t let just anyone have it.”
“And I’m pretty sure he was wearing Poe’s clothes, too.”
Logan let out a low whistle. “Damn, Poe…”
The funeral service for Han Solo was held soon after Rey left to find Luke Skywalker – Logan still marveled at wow, that’s what we’ve been working for all this time? Jedi? – and Logan and Veronica attended, making themselves scarce at the back, along with other members of Logan’s squadron.
“It was the first time they’d talked in years, before the mission. Solo and the General. They’d been estranged,” Veronica whispered. “It’s awful.”
Logan squeezed her hand and rested his head on top of hers, resting on his shoulder.
“Let’s just make sure we don’t ever do that, okay? Never let anything get so bad that we don’t talk anymore.”
Veronica knew they’d had several pretty intense fights over the years, and something similar happening to them wasn’t so far fetched, so she nodded.
“Is that what you’re scared about?” he asked softly.
Veronica shook her head. “I’m scared this war will make us forget what’s important.”
“You’re what’s important.”
Veronica snorted. “You don’t need to smooth-talk me, flyboy. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Whatever happens, we’ll find our way back to one another. If one of us gets kidnapped –”
“You might get kidnapped. There’s no way anyone’s catching me.”
“Fine, if I get kidnapped… Or someone shoots you for being an annoying know-it-all…”
“Or we end up on different sides of the galaxy… we’ll find our way back. You and me… we’re epic.”
Veronica’s lip curled in a disbelieving smile at his dramatic appraisal. “Epic, how?”
“Spanning years and star systems. Lives ruined, bloodshed.” He kissed her cheek. “Epic,” he finished, lips still against her skin.
“I hope you’re not referring to us with that last part. Bloodshed? I’d rather avoid that. You’ve got enough scars, hotshot.”
“I’m working on it. Oh, hey, I talked to Poe.”
“And? You talk to him every day.”
“He says Finn is not his boyfriend.”
“What? Did you tell him he’s full of shit?”
“I told him you’re the one who made that assumption. He said you were too snoopy and observant for your own good.”
“I’m not snoopy. I’m curious, and good at reading people.”
“10 credits someone has to nudge them together for them to make a move and stop pretending to be ‘just friends’.”
“20 credits it’s General Organa doing the nudging.”
Logan snorted. “I’m not betting against that. Not when she barely knew me and still came up to me and told me to cut the shit and ask you out.”
Veronica giggled at the memory, then covered her mouth, remembering where she was. “You were disturbing the meetings, always being there to observe even when pilots didn’t have to attend. She had to intervene, it was a matter of galactical safety.”
“It was disturbing you because you couldn’t look away.”
“Because you kept staring at me!”
Logan nodded. “Absolutely. I do not have any idea what any of those meetings were about.”
“God, has it really been four years?”
“Thank god I cut the shit, because it would be a heck of a lot more dangerous now if I still couldn’t pay attention to the meetings.”
“Want to get out of here? You don’t have to be paying attention right now.”
“Veronica, you can’t just proposition me at a funeral.” She raised an eyebrow, and he continued. “How bad do you think that makes me feel to say yes?”
Veronica smirked and grabbed his hand. “Come on,” she whispered in his ear. “We’re only young once. Is your X-Wing still in the hangar?”
“It’s cramped in there,” Logan complained, but he let himself be led away regardless.
He’d been led into worse situations. (By her, even. But that was a story for another time.)