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greyscale digital sketch - bird eye view of Poe, Luke and Din's hands holding each other over a coffee table filled with Poe's NASA badge, an open magazine reading "puffy head bird legs" and half eaten frog cookies. Poe holds his hand palm up, a wedding ring in the middle of his palm.

 

i.

"I'm going to be an astronaut," Luke says, his hand stretched out towards the field hospital’s ceiling. It's been barely forty-eight hours since he pulled Din out of the burning ruins of a chopper. This close cramped together in Din's hospital bed he can still see some of the soot stuck in his hair. Luke’s not technically allowed in here, Din knows. Pararescue, while deployed for critical evac, do not qualify as medical personnel. But he snuck in anyway before Din was even awake.

"Really now," Din responds with a small smirk that pulls at the bruises on his cheek. People like them, people who grew up in the desert and on the streets and at war, don't get to be astronauts. Or heroes. Luke huffs as if Din's tone has gravely offended him, but there is a grin on his lips too when he turns his face towards Din, eyes terribly blue even in the dim light of the room. 

Din knows nothing about this man, he realizes, yet he knows, intimately, more sure than he has ever been sure of anything in his life that he would follow him to the ends of the universe, in whatever way he'll allow.

So when Luke says, "Really," with pride and conviction, what else is Din supposed to do than kiss him and spend the next decade doing just that. 

 


 

Despite what some of the rumors around Johnson Space Center might say, it had not always been a given that Poe Dameron would follow in his mother's footsteps. No, quite the contrary, there had been a very persistent period in his youth where he was convinced he was going to be a veterinarian of some sort, smuggling everything from spiders to squirrels up into his room, much to his dad’s dismay.

But his mom takes him up high into the air in a little rusty Cessna when he’s seven and then to her first shuttle launch when he’s ten, and it’s really pretty settled from there. There is one very short moment, just after his sixteenth birthday — when he watches with held breath and his dad’s hands digging uncomfortably into his shoulders as the right side of his mom’s shuttle goes up in flames upon re-entry and even the engineers and flight controllers behind the windowpane of the visitor’s gallery seem hard-pressed for a solution — where he suddenly and violently understands his dad’s reluctance to let him pursue the same path, but even that knowledge does not deter him, in the end.

And so he takes his dad’s name, and his mom’s persistence and his own hard work and he lets it all drive him until he’s right where he knows he belongs — walking the halls of JSC as one of the most promising astronaut-candidates NASA has ever seen. 

 


 

“Mr. Djarin,” the Flight Director greets Din on the phone, voice bright and chipper, seemingly undeterred by the fact that Din picked up on the very last ring. “It is our great pleasure to inform you that you have been selected for assignment to Johnson Space Center. You will report to astronaut training next Monday at 0900 sharp, together with your fellow recruits. Congratulations.” 

“Thank you,” is all Din manages to get out — trying both very hard to not choke on the half-chewed piece of toast he’s swallowing down in one go, and to not let his voice convey the fact that he’s currently in nothing but his underwear — and then he adds a belated, “It’s an honor, Sir.” before Luke tackles him to the floor of their shabby little apartment to kiss him senseless and whisper we’re going to space over and over and over again against his lips.

 


 

Like most people, Poe does not start his career as an astronaut with the intention of falling in love with someone he’d been quietly idolizing since he was sixteen years old. He honestly doesn’t even expect to get anywhere near him, to begin with, because JSC is a big place and Poe just started out, and while hailed as a patient teacher and vital part of mission control Commander Luke Skywalker is first and foremost known as a bit of a recluse, even around his place of employment.

So it comes as quite a surprise to both of them when two weeks into his training Poe walks into the office of his assigned mentor to find himself face to face with a frowning Skywalker. "Dameron," he reads from the nametag on Poe’s shirt, frown deepening. "You're the Flight’s kid." The Flight, not Shara, the woman whose life he saved nearly fourteen years ago, costing him both his right hand and any chance to ever get back into orbit. What a strange choice, Poe thinks.  

“Yes, Sir,” Poe answers dutifully, resisting the sudden urge to salute, something primal in him pulled back to his early days in the Air Force. He watches Skywalker sigh, then shuffle some of the papers on his desk around in a thinly veiled attempt to avoid having to make eye contact. Poe waits patiently, trying his best to push down the memory of the singular time Skywalker had ever visited their house when Poe was seventeen and going through his rebellious phase, too cool to come downstairs and shake the hand of his childhood hero. He focuses on the black-rimmed glasses stuck in his slightly unruly hair instead, cut in a style that very definitely hasn’t been in season since the seventies, and on the grey creeping up at the temples and the red and blue marker stains smudged on the synthetic skin of his prosthetic, matching the messily scrawled flight trajectories on the whiteboard behind him.

When Skywalker finally looks back up at him he looks nearly resigned. “Fine,” he says, with a sort of exhausted finality. “I suppose I can give this mentor thing a try.” Poe gives him a bright grin, shakes his reluctantly outstretched hand, and learns in the coming weeks that ‘giving it a try’ seems to mean sighing deeply and grumbling under his breath every time Poe as much as appears in Skywalker’s field of vision. Poe decides very early on to remain undeterred by that, countering every frown with a bright smile, every slightly exasperated remark with a teasing comeback. Stubborn his teachers had called it. Headstrong his mom had corrected. Effective is what he would call it, personally.

"You used to bring strays home," his mom says during one of their Tuesday night dinners. "It was cute." She pauses, something very soft in her eyes, the way he remembers her looking at him whenever she told him they couldn't keep them. "But he's a grown man, you know?"

He wonders about that — on his way home that night, when the realization that he’s falling in love with a man that probably sees him as nothing more than a minor inconvenience slams into him so hard he has to pull his car over to catch is breath — if this is just hero worship and his incisive need to help anyone he's ever met. If this is nothing more than his desire to fix a broken man.

But that's the thing, he realizes too, when he walks into Skywalker’s office the next morning, palms sweaty and heart beating too fast in his chest — Luke Skywalker is a lot of things, but they’re all far from the ones people make him out to be. Not a hero, and certainly not broken. And the things Poe finds himself thinking about at night are the little ones, the way he brews his tea with scientific precision, and how he is able to convey an impossible range of emotions just by raising his eyebrows, his steadfast belief and fascination with space travel even after all it cost him. How he tries to hide his laughter whenever one of Poe’s replies catches him off guard. 

Not that any of that matters, of course. 

"I don't get it,” he complains to Finn and Rey one night, the two interns that have decided it is apparently okay for them to commandeer his couch as long as they bring pizza and beer. “He's so nice to you two. Why does he hate me? What did I do?"

They exchange a glance that somehow feels more like a full conversation. "Well," Rey says stretching the word out as long as the string of cheese stuck between her mouth and the slice of pizza in her hand.

Poe sighs. "Out with it."

"Did you know that one of the first things the interns learn is to memorize his schedule?"

Poe vaguely remembers that but he’s never officially been an intern, so he couldn’t say for sure. "No?"

"Well we do,” Finn says. “It's very important to know when he takes his tea breaks, or what his frown looks like when you are absolutely not supposed to disturb him. And to never touch him. Ever."

"Yes,” Rey confirms, the serious look on her face only undermined slightly by the grease dripping down her chin. “No one wants a repeat of the teacup incident."

"The what?"

"The teacup incident? You know, where he ‘accidentally’ dumped his tea over one of the intern’s dissertations because they dared to speak to him before his first cup of the day?"

Poe had in fact not heard of that one. "Okay hold up,” he says with a frown he worries might equal Skywalkers. “What does any of that have to do with me?"

"Well, uhh--” Finn gestures vaguely between them in search of the right words. “When he makes tea in the morning and you greet him, and I’m assuming here that you’re doing that full-body lean thing of yours, hands on his shoulders and all, what does he do?"

Poe continues frowning. "Sigh deeply and ask what I need, in that tone that sounds just as exasperated as he looks when there is no pastry left in the canteen?"

"Yes, see?" 

"No,” Poe says. “I do not."

He watches them exchange another long glance, this time accompanied by a sigh. "I’m just saying,” Finn finally offers up. “He might be nice to us but none of us would survive as much as shaking his hand,” 

“Plus he never looks at you like he hates you," Rey adds, almost sheepish. "And he looks at you an awful lot. When he thinks no one’s looking."

"If we didn't know better, we'd think he has a crush on you," Finn concludes and the look on his face says he very much believes they do. Poe rolls his eyes at them and tells them to mind their own business. 

Luke Skywalker having a crush on him? He’ll sooner fly his jet up to the ISS. When he makes that same joke the next day, Skywalker full-on walks away from him, closing his office door in Poe’s face.

 




"They're gone, Luke! Get the fuck back here, they're gone!" Din hears Leia scream through their shared coms, her voice cutting sharp through the limited shred of consciousness he's holding on to.

"Solo we need to decouple now," Shara follows right behind, only marginally calmer, and Din feels something like a warning sign flash at the very back of his mind, mixing with the alarms blaring around them. They need to seal the airlock to decouple the escape pod, he remembers. The airlock he’s currently blocking by bleeding out with his gear stuck in-- "Luke get back here dammit!" Leia’s voice again, nearly desperate now, disjointed, mixed with Han’s tense, “Copy.”

Someone grabs the front of his suit, yanks him away from the fire and the hole in their shuttles wall back towards the inside of the airlock. Din wrestles his eyes open to stare at Luke, unhooking his gear, the domes of their helmets nearly touching. His eyes are clear and determined, so very blue even through the many specks of red coating the inside of Din's visor.

"I got you," he says, steady and sure amidst the rattling of the disintegrating shuttle and Han’s rapid countdown. 10, 9, 8, and Din musters his last bit of strength to latch onto Luke's shoulder as Luke puts his feet against the walls inside the pod, 7, 6, 5, and Luke yanks one more time to catapult them inside, 4, 3, 2-- and the last thing Din remembers before he blacks out is Luke's scream as the airlock seals with his right hand still out in the open.

 


 

Poe forgets about it for a while after that — not about the unrequited love part, that is ever-present — but about the ever bringing it back up aspect of it. There are training sessions and sim runs and getting selected for the first mission to scope out a site for a permanent base on the moon, and suddenly his birthday rolls around, followed closely by the anniversary of what has been simply dubbed ’the incident’ in the Dameron-Bey household.

They deal with it as they deal with everything — head-on. And so his birthday and the anniversary of his mom not tragically dying in a horrid accident become a joint event very quickly, an overall celebration of life. There is cake and decorations and champagne and presents, and it’s pompous in a way that makes it nearly mundane, just another thing Poe has been doing once a year for over a decade of his life.

Skywalker though — Skywalker opens the door to Poe at four pm in the afternoon in a ratty grey t-shirt and a bathrobe, no pants, and only one slipper, his hair sticking up like he hasn't combed it in three days. "No," he says and starts shutting the door in Poe's face. "Not today."

Poe sticks his foot into the door, undeterred. "Yes, today. You're coming outside with me. Get dressed."

Through the crack in the door, Poe watches as Skywalker heaves a long sigh. "No," he repeats, surprisingly stern for how absolutely exhausted he looks. "It can't be today."

"Of course it can. It's a day like any other day. A great day even, blue skies, perfect to go for a--"

"Enough." There is something different in Skywalker's voice now, something resigned. Tired. The type that has nothing to do with lack of sleep. Poe shuts up. "I don't want it to be today." 

There is a beat of silence, then another one, heavy against the cloudless sky. "Why not today?" Poe asks finally.

"Because this can't be the day."

"What day?"

Another beat of silence, two, three, four, until something in Skywalker’s face shifts, the same sort of exhausted finality as the day they first shook hands, yet somehow something about it entirely different. 

“What day?” Poe asks again and Skywalker sighs.

"The day I finally give in and kiss you," he says. “That can’t be today.”

Poe looks at him for a second, wide-eyed, heart rate suddenly spiking above hundred, and then, because he's an astronaut and they train you to function in situations of extreme stress, he nods, once, then twice, and grins ear to ear. "Alright," he says." I'll pick you up tomorrow then."

Poe does pick him up the next day and Skywalker drags his feet only a little before he allows Poe to take him to the most romantic place he can think of — up into the air. He hasn't really flown a jet with anyone in a while but he takes Skywalker up towards the stars regardless, as high as they will go. He knows he'll get in trouble for it later, but he doesn't really care all that much, not when he can watch Skywalker reach out in front of him to press his palm flat up against the dome of the cockpit, as close to the stars as he can possibly get.

He especially doesn't care after, when Skywalker is exchanged for Luke on his lips, as Luke kisses him senseless at the far edges of the hanger, and then in Poe’s driveway and then in Poe’s bed.

 


 

“We both know this wasn’t your mistake, you weren’t in charge of--”

“And what do you want me to do? Tell them Cara, what-- slacked off? She’s dead, Luke,” Din snaps, too sharp. He can see Luke flinch ever so slightly at the mention of her name. Din takes a deep breath, wills his hands to steady enough so he can shove a pile of underwear into his duffle bag. He wills his voice to be softer, too. “I was back there with her. I could have caught it.” 

I should have caught it, he doesn’t say. Anyone else would have caught it.

“Stay,” Luke says. It’s not a demand. He’s never demanded anything from him, not once in the decade they've been married. Never in the short months before that, either. 

Din looks at him for a long time, at the way he can see the outlines of Luke's right arm through the worn-out fabric of one of Din’s old Bootcamp sweaters, where it's bandaged against his chest to keep him from moving it too much. He looks at his chapped lips and the dark circles under his eyes. There is something about him that feels small and fragile in the dim light of the afternoon rain, here in the quietness of their bedroom, even when Din knows so very well that he’s anything but.

He zips the duffle bag shut, slings it over his shoulders. He wonders what he looks like to Luke right now, if he sees the same thing Din sees when he looks in the mirror —  a walking reminder of disaster. “I’m sorry,” he says and the kiss he places against Luke’s forehead is nearly painful enough to make him consider staying. “I need to leave. I have to.”

Luke closes his eyes, inhales slowly through his nose, lets the air escape past his lips. Din knows the gesture well, from all the times he’s seen him trying to hold himself together. “Yeah, I know,” he says, voice steady in a way nothing about them feels right now. "Don't be a stranger," he adds, with just the hint of a smile, and that does sound like a demand, just a little bit.

"We could never be strangers," Din says and hopes that’s true.

 


 

Poe knows from the very get-go that there used to be someone else. He's heard the rumors around the base of how the Commander used to smile before the accident, a real smile, how he used to laugh easily, how no one ever thought twice about approaching him. There is never a person attached to those rumors, no one mentioned by name, just nebulous allusions to a man who used to walk their halls, yet seemed to be as elusive as the dark side of the moon.

He finds the wedding ring by pure accident when he's shuffling his clothes into one of Luke's unused drawers. It falls out of where it sat tucked away into the pocket of one of Luke's old combat fatigues, right into his hands. It's silver, heavy in his palm, well worn. There is an inscription on the inside in a language he's never seen. He stuffs it back where he found it and tries not to think of it again.

There are stubble hints around the house too, the size for one, the two stories more suited for a family rather than a singular reclusive ex-astronaut. There are books strewn around the shelves Poe could never imagine Luke reading, and there is the washed-out sweater with the US Navy insignia he knows very well not to touch, and the tin of coffee Poe has never once seen Luke drink. There is the distinct lack of pictures of any kind, no portraits in orange space-suits proudly displayed like they are in Poe’s childhood home, no snapshots of vacations or family or friends. 

He only ever finds a singular picture, washed out and creased and tucked away somewhere in the bookshelves, a private snapshot of two men laughing arm in arm. He remembers them — Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi — from the documentary his dad had shown him growing up, a story about tragedy and loss and the perils of space travel. I wish you could have known him, it says inscribed on the back.

He hears Luke speak his name only once, in the dead of the night. It's just a whisper on his lips, faint enough that Poe would have nearly missed it if it wasn't for the terror and desperation in Luke's eyes. "Din," he says, sitting ramrod straight in their bed, cold sweat staining the back of Poe's washed-out Metallica shirt. He doesn't say anything after that, just closes his eyes and inhales slowly through his nose, lets the air escape past his lips. When he leaves their bed Poe doesn't follow him.

Poe knows from the very get-go that there used to be someone else. Someone who made Luke feel safe and loved and happy. He knows he's not that someone. But they spend Thanksgiving with Luke's sister and Christmas at Poe's parent's house, and when someone catches them making out in Luke’s office it's only a little bit awkward. And he gets to see him smile now, when it's just the two of them, hears him laugh easily at their kitchen table as Poe tells him about the minor international incident Finn and Rey nearly caused, and he figures that has to be enough.

 

ii.

A year passes in a blur. He finishes training officially two weeks before his thirty-second birthday, blinks away the tears that well up at the proud look on his parents face, gets absolutely shit faced with Finn and Rey, and stumbles home to find Luke still awake on the couch, waiting to wrap Poe up in his arms with a soft smile and distant sadness behind his eyes. Poe spends most of that night, and the subsequent days after, trying to figure out a way to make this easier on Luke, the day of the incident that is now so closely entangled with all these other parts of their lives, Poe’s birthday and their anniversary, all these celebrations of life.

The decision is taken out of his hands when on the Sunday before his birthday a beat-up silver pick-up pulls into their driveway and a man in a leather jacket and washed-out jeans rushes up to their door through the rain, a toddler clutched protectively in his arms. 

Poe — as he moves to stand beside Luke who he is surprised didn’t rip the door off its hinges with how forcefully he rushed to open it — is hit immediately with the fact that he knows this man. He’s seen him before, in pictures and videos of his mom and her crew, Luke and Organa and Solo and Dune. He remembers his face — now partially hidden by unruly dark curls and a scruffy beard — always slightly at the back as if he was unsure if he was supposed to be there in the first place. Poe also remembers where they all ended up after the incident, his mom’s crew, and that he’s never heard her speak this man’s name, not even once.

This close Poe can see that he’s wearing a wedding ring, silver, well worn. Poe is sure that if he held it in his hands it would be heavy in his palm. And that he would find an inscription on the inside in a language he's never seen. He absentmindedly wonders if Luke used to wear his on his right hand too.

"Din," Luke says, barely a whisper on his lips. There is no terror in his eyes though, and no desperation. Just pure and unfiltered shock, as if he's just seen a ghost. 

"I'm sorry, I know you were very clear last time we-- but I--" the man, Din, Luke's husband, says, clutching the child closer to his chest. "I--I didn't know where else to go."

Luke doesn't say anything, doesn't even seem to be breathing. Poe watches water from the overflowing drain drip down on Din's head and gather at his neck to soak the back of his shirt. He shuffles the sleeping child around in his arms to keep him away from the rain. Something in Poe switches to autopilot. "You must be freezing," he says, his voice foreign to his own ears. "Come in, come in!"

Two pairs of eyes snap to him in unison and for a second Poe gets the weird feeling of being hit with whiplash as if he was accelerating his jet above the clouds too fast, just the way Luke keeps scolding him for. But then Din gives one curt nod and moves past Poe and Luke into the hallway and the feeling passes just like that.

Poe closes the door, fidgets with the lock for just a second as he listens to the wet sound of Din's boots drag across the floor and to how Luke lets out a very sharp breath as the lock clicks into place. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, his mom had told him the first time he sat down in one of the sims, focus on the next thing right in front of you, that's the only thing that counts. "Let me get you some towels," Poe says, somewhat desperately clinging onto that thought now. "You can have a hot shower in the guest bathroom, I'm sure we'll find some clean clothes for you too." He steps towards Din, whose eyes are firmly trained on the back of Luke's head. "And it's late, I'm sure the little one is tired? I'm afraid we don't have a crib but the guest bed should fit both of you just fine. Does that work?"

Din doesn’t move at first but then something seems to shift and he looks suddenly very very exhausted. "Yes," he says with a small nod, and then as if he had just remembered the words, "Thank you."

Poe smiles at him. It comes naturally somehow. “I’m Poe,” he says because it’s only polite to introduce himself. Something like recognition crosses Din’s face and Poe tries not to wonder if Din remembers him from when he was a kid. “And I’m going to get you that towel now,” he says instead, already halfway up the stairs. 

He hears them talking as he rummages through the bathroom drawer upstairs, urgent and hushed, too quiet for him to make out. He avoids the two creaky steps in the middle of the stairs when he makes his way downstairs again, to keep the kid from waking up, he tells himself. He catches the tail end of their conversation, spoken in a language he’s never heard, sees them lean their foreheads together in a gesture Luke’s never shared with him. 

In some surreal way, time seems to stand still for a moment, the only indication of it passing the rain rattling against the windows outside. He wasn't even aware until this moment, Poe thinks, until he watches it bleed out of Luke’s shoulders now, as he’s being held by someone else, that Luke had been holding tension since the second they met.

Poe clears his throat. “Towels are ready,” he says and watches with something akin to dread as the world starts moving again.

“There are towels in the guest bathroom downstairs,” Luke reminds him when he climbs into their bed at night and doesn’t say anything else when Poe pretends he didn’t know.

 


 

Poe finds Din at the kitchen table the next morning, feeding the kid toast that he seems to have cut into the vague shape of a frog. Luke is still asleep upstairs, his call time usually later than Poe's, the house eerily quiet for harboring three adults and a toddler.

"Good morning,” he says, as casually as humanly possible, and maybe a bit too loud. He bends down slightly to be halfway at the kid’s eye level. “We didn’t get introduced yesterday. I’m Poe. What’s your name?"

"Grogu," Din informs him patiently after the kid does nothing but stare up at him with big round eyes, half-eaten toast clutched in his little pudgy hands. “He doesn't talk.” Poe doesn't know enough about kids to tell if that's normal or not.

The kid is, well, kinda green. Poe can't tell either if it's his actual complexion or some sort of color trickery from the bright green overall he's wearing. He’s also very much definitely not Din’s — biologically — none of their features matching up, not even a little bit. But Din holds him with such ease, such certainty, and quiet adoration, that Poe figures he might as well be. 

Grogu smiles up at Poe now, stretching a piece of toast out towards him, and when Poe opens up his palm to accept the wet and entirely too slimy gift he feels his heart melt a little.

"I'm sorry we don't have much kid-friendly stuff in the house,” Poe says, truly apologetic. “What do you-- what does he like to eat? I'll try and get some of it on my way home."

"Frogs."

"Fr--ogs?"

Din just nods, once. Then something seems to occur to him and he frowns. "Frog shaped. Anything frog shaped."

"Ah," Poe says and dutifully stocks their fridge and cabinets with anything that resembles that.

 


 

Later that day at JSC, when they’re eating cold lasagna out of stained Tupperware in Luke’s office, Luke actually asks him if he’s okay with Din and Grogu staying at the house, just for a while, until Din finds his footing enough to care for a child.

Poe has learned a lot of things about Luke in the year they’ve been together — like how he spent a year after the incident secluded in a Buddhist monastery, how he still keeps up with the training regime of an active astronaut because he says it keeps him grounded, and how he takes his tea and that he dislikes even just the smell of coffee around the house. He knows what happened to his father, and how he met his sister only when they both got accepted into NASA by pure coincidence. He knows what it means to become someone important in his life, and how his scars feel under Poe’s palms in the quiet lazy moments spent around the house.

He knows what Luke looked like when Poe told him "I love you," six months in, on a quiet Sunday morning over a cup of tea shared in their bed. He knows what it felt like after, when they stayed in bed all day, tangled up into each other, happy and warm and content.

And so while Poe has a million questions — like what Luke means by a while, and if they’re still married, or what happened in the first place, where the kid came from, or why Din’s car seems to be practically riddled with bullet holes — all he can think of is how despite all the things he’s learned about him, he didn’t know Luke held such tension, and how he can see that same tension in Luke’s shoulders now, where there was none when Din held him last night. And really what else is he supposed to do than smile and say, “No, of course not. I don’t mind at all.”

 


 

A week in, Poe finds Din cleaning a gun at their kitchen table. He's no stranger to handling guns — he’s been in the Air Force after all — and he knows Luke keeps one around locked in a safe in his office, old habits dying hard, but it's still startling to see it here out in the open where he just had breakfast with a toddler a couple of hours ago.

His eyes linger on Din’s hands for a second, the roughness of them, a tapestry of small scars and fresh scrapes and bruises. He makes the executive decision not to address it. "Does your job not-- uh need you back?" he asks instead, immediately wondering if that was a worse route to take. 

Din looks up at him, frowns for a second. "No," he says and looks back down at the recoil spring he’s been inspecting.

"Ah," Poe says intelligently. He shuffles his feet for a second, then tries again. "So how long do you think you'll stay here? Not that you're not welcome, you're very welcome of course, just you know, out of curiosity, planning for uh-- things."

"Not sure," Din says, eyes fixed firmly on the task at hand. "These things can be tricky. You know how it is."

Poe does not, in fact, know how it is. He debates glossing over it for a second — like a freshman might try to hide their lack of worldly experience from a shiny cohort of seniors — but ultimately decides he's a grown man and if he has to ask for clarification he might as well do so with dignity. "Which things exactly?"

Din looks up and musters him as if assessing something about his character, then he shrugs. "Faking your own death."

Poe tilts his head at him, blinks for a second. Din looks back down at the disassembled gun. "Do you have gun oil at home?" he asks and it takes Poe at least half a minute to process that question and shake his head.

"Alright, I'll be right back," Din sighs as if that answer inconvenienced him greatly and gets up to grab his jacket from the hook at the door. "Text me if you need anything. Don’t let Grogu touch the gun!"

Poe doesn't move until he's startled out of his thoughts by Grogu smearing spit-soaked cookie crumbles onto the seam of his pants.

"Did you know he faked his own death?" Poe asks Luke as they slip into bed at night. Luke looks at him for a long moment, equally as assessing as Din looked at him that morning, and Poe feels something nervous and uncomfortable settle into his stomach.

"Yes," Luke says finally and pulls the blanket up to his chin. "He did it once before." A pause, then, "I didn't think he'd tell you."

Poe takes a second to process that. "Do we uh-- set some emergency protocol or something?" he asks because he isn't really sure what the appropriate reaction is for finding out your partner's maybe-ex-husband faked his death for what appears to be the second time in his life. "For if whatever he faked his death for comes knocking at our door?"

He watches a smile pass over Luke's lips, small and fond. "No, you don't have to worry about that," he says, the fondness seeping into his voice too. "There is really nothing I trust more than Din not putting the people he cares for in any sort of danger."

“Alright,” Poe says, turns off the lights, wraps his arms around Luke’s waist, and resists the urge to ask if Luke thinks that if push comes to shove that care will extend to Poe too.

 


 

Poe doesn’t set out to compare himself to Din in the following weeks — there really is no need to, in theory, no indication that anything changed between him and Luke, not when it’s Poe who sleeps beside him every night — but some of the contrasts between them are so stark that it’s nearly impossible not to pick up on them, some days.

Because where Poe talks with his whole face and his arms and his legs, Din listens so quietly Poe isn’t always sure he even heard him in the first place, and where Poe is quick to throw his hands up into the air over an engineering problem he can’t figure out, Din seems to have endless patience with Grogu throwing food around the kitchen.

Poe is tactile with his affection, his hands easily resting on Luke’s shoulders and around his waist, but Din keeps his heart close to his chest, his whole body seemingly aware of Luke’s presence around the house, as if on instinct, yet never touching.

Where Poe moves around the house with the carelessness of someone who’s just settled in, Din walks through each room like he’s expecting everything to be just an inch off-center, as if he’s unsure how much things have shifted around him since he left. 

Poe observes how Din takes his coffee, and how he smiles, small and fond when Luke pulls a face at the smell. He watches too, how they pass each other things without even asking or looking, a mug pulled from the shelf and held out to Luke before he even reaches the counter, a pen rolled over the table before Din reaches out for it.

He learns that Din might not openly voice his gratitude but that there are apparently a hundred different things around the house that Poe didn’t even know needed fixing, every available surface in their house a makeshift workbench now. And he finds Din dosing on the couch rather than the guest bedroom — positioned strategically between the door and other inhabitants of the house — often enough he ends up pulling additional blankets from the storage closet upstairs to leave them out in the living room.

He takes Grogu to the nearby park for the first time about two weeks in  — when they both seem to have reached an equal level of restlessness on a Saturday afternoon and Din seems to trust him enough to strap Grogu’s bumper seat into Poe’s car instead  — and finds himself surprised by the way his heart aches a little when someone mistakes them for father and son. He takes him again after that, and again and again until he can smile easily and tell them he’s just watching him for a friend.

He finds that his heart aches too, really just a tiny little bit, when Luke turns out to be somewhat hilariously helpless around kids and when he watches him talk to Grogu very seriously as if he were a very tiny adult, and when, regardless of all that, Luke doesn’t seem to mind spending hours with Grogu out on the back porch, sipping hot chocolate and pointing out constellations in the sky. The ache is particularly persistent, always, when he catches Din looking at them those nights, how these are the only moments his eyes are unguarded, heart out in the open for anyone to see.

But really, Poe doesn’t set out to compare any of the things he observes to anything at all — not to himself, or his relationship and certainly not the life he always imagined leading one day.

 


 

Luke has his first real nightmare in a long while pretty much exactly three months after Din comes knocking on their door. Poe has seen him have nightmares before, got woken up in the middle of the night by Luke tossing and turning beside him, helped him out of sweat-soaked shirts, and filled glasses with ice-cold water to help cool his feverish skin. 

He’s never heard him scream. Not like this.

Din is standing in their bedroom door before Poe can even fully register what’s going on, bare feet sliding on the hardwood floor, hair sticking up in odd directions, his shirt rumpled from sleep. Poe watches him hesitate at the doorstep, all his momentum coiled inward until Poe can see the scars on Din’s arms dance with the flex of his muscles.

He’s waiting for permission, Poe realizes with what feels like a kick to the chest. And he’s expecting to be denied. And it is an intrusion isn’t it, having someone else rush into your life like that, it should feel like that, but when he looks up to hold his gaze Din’s eyes are wide and terrified, just like Luke’s were the first time Poe heard him speak Din’s name, and all Poe can feel is his heart ache in a way that has nothing to do with himself. 

He scoots back on the bed, swings his feet out onto the floor, and gives Din a quick curt nod. Part of him thinks about staying for a second, a nearly primal instinct to not leave behind the person you love, but there is something in the way Din immediately rushes to Luke’s side that tells him Din knows how to hold Luke together in a way that he doesn’t. 

He pulls his hand off Luke’s back just before Din can touch it. Then he watches sort of helplessly as Din sinks down on the edge of the bed to wrap Luke up in his arms. Poe leaves quietly after that, carefully, and very aware of all the things he doesn’t know, like the meaning of the words Din whispers into the crook of Luke’s neck like a mantra.

Gar cuyir morut'yc, ni cuy' morut'yc, vi cuyir morut'yc.

When Poe goes to lie down on the couch downstairs it’s still warm, the smell of Din’s shampoo carrying him into a dreamless sleep. 

 


 

The next day — when Luke is outside on the porch with Grogu and Din is catching up on sleep on the couch — Poe fishes Luke’s wedding ring out of where it’s still hidden away in his old combat fatigues and tries not to examine why the feeling he gets when he holds it cold and heavy in his palm is achingly close to grief.

 


 

The thing is — Poe is preparing for a launch and his days are busy with flight prep and the million different things humans need to be trained for when they are about to go up into space, and so he doesn’t notice it at first, the fact that he’s becoming a stranger in his own house. It creeps up on him like winter creeps up on autumn, pushing the days where he's fine with just his blazer until suddenly the cold hits him out of nowhere and chills him to his core.  

Until he’s suddenly realizing that he is the one intruding in their lives and not Din because Poe might make Luke laugh, but Din is completely in sync with him, as if they were the same entity, orbiting around each other like twin suns. And once he sees it he can’t unsee it, because he doesn’t know who they used to be to each other but he can see them now, as if they picked up right where they left off. It’s suddenly suffocating then, that they are not the ones sharing a bed, that somehow, for all their synchronicity they walk around each other like they’re on eggshells. 

“You still love him, don’t you?” he asks Luke on a Saturday morning when they’re both nestled in on the couch, studying different parts of the same launch plan. He can hear Din puttering around in the kitchen behind them, preparing Grogu’s post-nap snack. He wonders absentmindedly if he can hear them. 

Luke doesn’t even startle at the question, doesn’t hesitate or frown at him. He puts down the tablet he’s been holding to reach out and take Poe’s hand. “Poe,” he says, and Poe knows. 

“Yeah, okay,” he says and squeezes Luke’s hand. It’s suddenly hard to breathe somehow. There is that ache again in his chest, that feels like it’s not even his. He’s not really sure what he’s supposed to say next because the way Luke looks at him, the way he holds onto his hand still, warm and sure, doesn’t feel like a breakup even when it probably should.

“It’s not like that, you know?” Luke says, his thumb stroking soothing patterns onto the back of Poe’s hand. “There are things between us, things we’ve-- I’ve done that I can never take back. And he can’t stay. He never stays.” There is something so quietly resigned in those words, and in the smile on Luke’s lips as he says it, and in the way there are no pictures anywhere around this damn house and Poe feels anger bubbling up beside the ache and confusion, another emotion distinctly not his.

There is a small crash from the kitchen, the sound of a knife clattering on the tile floor, and then a quiet fuck, and suddenly Poe is on his feet and in front of Din who’s kneeling on the floor amidst a mess of jam and peanut butter.

“Why can’t you stay?” Poe demands, hands on his hips, purple goo seeping into and staining the fabric of his socks. “Why don’t you ever stay with him?”

Din blinks up at him for a long second before he slowly raises to his feet, leaving knife and goo between them, untouched. “Because I remind him,” he says as if it's a fact, a part of his reality, that he's come to accept a long time ago. “Of all the things he’s lost because of me.”

And oh it comes to Poe then, right in this moment, crystal clear, the right thing to do and it fucking sucks. “Jesus fuck,” he says and grabs Din by the arm to drag him into the living room, right in front of Luke. "You two," he says, "are still in love with each other."

Luke’s face falls at that, something sad and exhausted settling in like you might look at a child who's hard-pressed to grasp the concept of death. "Poe," he starts again, but Poe cuts him off, one hand still firmly holding onto Din’s wrist, the other raised between them in the universal gesture of shut up.

"No, let me talk," he pushes out and immediately shuts up, the words so hard to get past his tongue so that the only thing that comes out next is a shaky, "Fucking hell." He takes a deep breath, lets go of Din’s wrist, paces for two steps, rubs his hands over his face before he forces himself to come to a halt, and tries again. "You two," he says, "are still in love with each other. And you each blame yourself for whatever the fuck happened. And you move around each other on fucking eggshells and it's not right."

He throws his hands out in front of him at that last part, anger dissipating with an audible rush of breath as he watches them stare at each other wide-eyed and frozen in place. Din finds his voice first. "Luke,” he says, hurt sharp in his voice. “Why on earth would you blame yourself?"

"Because you-- you didn't even want to go up. That was never what you wanted. You just followed me blindly and you lost your friend and nearly lost your life and you--"

"Not blindly,” Din says with such a sudden urgency that Poe has the urge to take a step back as Din takes one towards Luke. “Never blindly."

Something seems to pass between them, some sort of realization or understanding, and then Luke asks, much quieter, still wrapped up on the couch, looking much younger, much more lost than Poe has ever seen him, "Why didn't you say anything?" 

"I didn't think I had to,” Din confesses and sinks to his knees to take Luke’s hands into his, the edge of the coffee table digging uncomfortably into his side. Poe’s eyes catch on the wedding ring on Din’s finger, silver and well worn, never taken off. “I thought it would be clear. That I'd follow you anywhere. Gladly. That I never regretted any of it. Why didn't you say something?"

Luke huffs out a laugh with a shake of his head and pulls his left hand away to reach out and cradle Din’s face. "Because I thought the same. I thought you knew. That I would have always wanted you to stay. No matter what. And that I would have followed you too."

“I’m so sorry,” Din says, his face turned into Luke’s palm, one hand coming up to rest above the space where Luke’s prosthetic meets his wrist. “I’m here. I’m here now, cyar’ika,” he promises, and there is a smile on his face and a thousand more unspoken things behind his eyes and yeah, that’s Poe’s cue to leave. To run before his own world caving in destroys the one he just helped create. It’s only polite.

"Wait-- you don't have to leave," he hears Din say as he gathers up his jacket and keys, just as Luke says "Please stay, let me--" but at that point, Poe is already halfway out the door.

 


 

His parents mercifully do not ask why he shows up on their doorstep with nothing but his jacket, keys, and phone. “Pre-launch jitters?” is all his mom asks before she leads him into the kitchen to make him a cup of tea. They talk about everything and nothing, about her issues at work and the vastness of space and his dad’s new pumpkin patch that vehemently refuses to grow.

The peace lasts for all but forty-five minutes until his dad pulls the curtain back from the living room window and asks with a frown, “Are we expecting someone? In a silver pick-up?”

Poe chokes on his last bit of tea.

"Is that-- Din Djarin?” his mom exclaims with somewhat genuine shock as she walks up to the window, more intrigued by checking out the commotion in the driveway than her son ringing for air. 

“I thought he was dead," his dad says and then observes in pretty much the same breath, "Are those bullet holes in his truck? Do I need to get the baseball bat?"

“No. No, it's-- it's fine,” Poe says, trying to get his coughing under control while also maintaining enough authority to keep his dad from beating up his now-ex-partner’s maybe-ex-husband. “He's harmless. He's been uh-- staying with me and Luke."

"Hold on,” his mom says, voice laced with that very specific brand of fury only mothers ever wield. “Is that why you're here? Is Luke cheating on you with his dead husband?"

"What? No-- well. It's complicated."

“Did you sleep with Luke’s dead husband?”

“Oh my god,” Poe says because oh my fucking god.

Outside Din kills the engine and gets out of the car, dressed in the same jeans and thin t-shirt he wore at home even though it’s absolutely pouring outside. He instantly gets soaked by the rain. Poe rushes to put on his coat before Din can get the idea to knock on their door and be in earshot of his parents. "I'll sort this out," he calls. "Don't get the baseball bat!" and then he's out in the rain too.

“Sorry it took so long,” Din calls out without any sort of greeting as if they were engaging in a completely normal Saturday afternoon activity and not some parallel universe romance plot. “Luke didn’t want to give me your address, had to track your phone.”

“What?” is all Poe gets out because something crucial in his brain has very much gone offline the moment his parents started speculating about his sex life.

"Well Luke said to let you be and respect your choice to leave but Luke is too nice with these things, and with the people he loves."

Poe tilts his head at him, trying really very hard to process what’s going on. “No-- I mean, why are you here?”

"To take you home."

Poe stares for a second. Then he puts his face into his hands. "Jesus fucking-- why?" he asks in what is definitely not a whine and then throws his hands up into the air. "Why the fuck do you want me there?"

"Do you love him?" is all Din asks and Poe debates punching him. He also debates lying for just a split second but Din looks at him so open and earnest, his eyes so soft and understanding and he simply can’t. He sighs, long and heavy. 

“Yeah, of course I do."

Din takes a step closer. "Then come back home with me," he says and reaches out to take Poe’s hand, his wedding ring cold against Poe’s skin. Poe is suddenly and acutely aware that his parents are probably watching them from the window, nervousness settling into his stomach like butterflies.

“Do you?” he counters and hopes it doesn’t show in his voice, or on his face. “Love him?"

Din doesn’t hesitate. "Yes. Always."

"Then why are you trying to bring me back? Don't you-- want to be with him?” He feels that anger well up again, that need to see Luke happy. “Didn’t you just tell him that you’ll stay?"

"Of course I do," Din says and squeezes his hand. “Of course I’ll stay.”

Poe grinds his teeth, tries to understand. "Then why--"

"Because that's not how love works," Din says. “Loving someone is not an ultimatum.”

Poe opens his mouth. Closes it again. He feels the rain start to creep through his collar and down his back. He thinks about how he's going up into space in a month, and how he'll spend the next six after that orbiting the moon, and how all he really wants right now is to curl up beside Luke and take Grogu to the park and listen to Din fix things around their house he wasn't even aware were broken. 

“Come home with me,” Din says again, his hands warm and calloused and right around Poe’s and Poe finds he desperately wants to believe him. 

"Alright," he says because he must be losing his mind. "Let me get my things."

 

iii.

Something shifts after that — after Din drives them home in silence that is really not as unpleasant as it should be and Luke hugs him for what feels like an eternity, wet clothing and all, while placing kisses to his forehead and cheeks whispering, "I'm sorry, I should have come after you too. I didn't want you to feel like you're trapped here. I’m sorry. I'm so glad you're home."  — and yet for the first while nothing seems to change at all. Din still sleeps on the couch, Luke still sleeps in their bed, Poe still takes Grogu to the park, and very purposefully does not think about what’s happening at the house when he’s not there. 

He knows they should probably talk about this, he looked it up in fact, and yes, polyamory negotiations are a real thing, communication between partners vital for a happy and healthy relationship. The thing is — he doesn't really know how to even bring that up because while it might have taken him a couple of months to catch up it's not like their situation is exactly new.

"So we're both in love with Luke," Poe asks Din while they're doing the dishes one night about three days after what Poe has dubbed the romcom-incident in his head. If he concentrates he can hear Luke’s voice carrying over from the guest bedroom, attempting to bore Grogu to sleep by lecturing him about the Fermi paradox.

"Yes," Din confirms in what Poe appreciates is a very serious tone, only undermined a little by the fact that he's elbow deep in dishwater.

"And you're not jealous? At all?"

"No," Din shrugs easily. "You're good for him. In a way I can't be.” He pauses for a second and then asks as if the thought had just occurred to him, “Are you?"

Poe contemplates that for a bit while he finishes drying the pan in his hands. It's not that Luke hides his affection for Din, or that they are particularly secretive, but they're also not really overly affectionate in front of him either. And even if they were — Luke had made it very clear to him that very first night that nothing about his feelings for Poe had changed or wavered, and Poe doesn’t feel like he has a reason to doubt the words that came out of his mouth, or anything about what he did with that same mouth right after, on his knees, when he joined him in the shower. He’s not really sure anymore if he was the jealous type, to begin with. "No I don’t think I am," he says finally and finds he means it.

"Good," Din smiles, then stops scrubbing for a second to turn to him, eyes crinkling at the sides in that way that Poe used to think looked entirely too gentle on a man whose pick-up is riddled with bullet holes. “But we can talk about it. If you are. If there’s anything you feel uncomfortable with. At any point.” 

“Thanks,” Poe nods because it’s polite and because he doesn't know what to do with the way his heart decides to skip a beat right that second. “You too, of course. If there’s ever anything. Though next time preferably not out in the pouring rain in front of my parent’s house.”

“I’ll keep it in mind,” Din says with a small laugh. “I already gave Kes enough reasons to take a hit out on me the last time I tried his courgette soup,” he adds, then goes back to scrubbing without any further explanation. Poe decides it’s probably better for his sanity not to ask for one.

"What do you-- do? When I'm at the park with Grogu I mean,” he asks when they’re down to the last few pots. He’s not quite sure why this is the exact moment his brain decides to lift its self-inflicted embargo on that question, just that it’s out now and he can’t really take it back.

Din turns to him and raises an amused eyebrow. "Do you really want me to tell you?"

"Because he absolutely will," Luke warns as he steps up behind them, Grogu successfully wrestled to sleep for the day. 

“In great detail,” Din confirms and turns back halfway to lean his forehead against Luke’s, while Luke puts a hand on Poe's hip and gives it a gentle squeeze. Poe feels something in his stomach lurch slightly, not unpleasant.

It hasn't happened a lot in the past few days, that Luke blurs the lines between them, their roles usually very clean-cut, affections dealt out deliberately and precisely. But once in a while, like right now, they'll be close enough for Luke to wrap himself around them both, connecting them in a way that’s too warm, too casual, to feel out of place.

"No actually I'd rather you keep that mystery alive," Poe says a bit belatedly, leaning into Luke's touch as he takes the last dish from Din to dry and wonders if he means it. 

 


 

"Why did you never talk about him," Poe asks his mom when he’s hiding in her office three weeks before launch, absentmindedly chewing on one of the brightly colored pens she keeps around for visitors. "You've talked about the others. We visit Dune’s grave like once a year."

"Because he didn't want me to."

"Who, Luke?"

"No, Djarin. Even before he-- well, before we thought he was dead," she sighs. "He tried his absolute best to be forgotten, I think."

Poe contemplates that for a moment, long enough for her to go back to looking at her laptop. “Can you be in love with two people at the same time?” he asks then. He’s been wondering about that for a while, he realizes, since before whatever arrangement they’ve got going on now. Probably since he saw the way Luke looked at Din that night he showed up at their door.

His mom looks up from her laptop and raises an eyebrow at him. “Asking for a friend?” she offers diplomatically and Poe shrugs. He is, kind of, but he’s not sure that makes it any less complicated either way. They haven’t really talked about the romcom-incident — though he has no doubt his dad must be nagging her about it — and while Poe would prefer to keep it that way there also really isn’t anyone else he’d trust asking about this.

“Well,” she says after giving him a long contemplating look. “I’m not an expert but I remember this thing your Abuela always told me and I know it’s cheesy so bear with me, but it was something like-- love is the only thing that grows if you give it away.”

“That is incredibly cheesy, yeah,” Poe says and immediately finds himself thinking about the way Luke smiled at him this morning when he kissed him goodbye at the door and how Luke leaned into Din the night before, half asleep, when they shared a glass of wine on the couch. And he thinks too, about all the things he knew about Luke before Din showed up at their door, and about the way he gets to see Luke now, without any of that tension Poe hadn’t even known was there, moving freely between them, happy and content.

In front of him, his mom smiles, small and knowing, and Poe is suddenly a kid again, ten years old and asking why his heart beats faster when that girl next door takes his hand. “So why wouldn’t that work, loving more than one person,” she says. “Sounds like your friend has enough love to go around.”

“Huh,” Poe says and his mom laughs. 

 


 

He tries to pay better attention to it in the coming days, those little subtle changes around the house, tries to be as meticulous about it as he is with the last stages of launch prep he’s running through pretty much every waking hour of the day. 

It kinda makes sense then in retrospect that he dreams about it again for the first time in what must be a decade, the day of the incident, of how his dad’s hands shook on his shoulders as he pulled him against his chest and away from the fire raging on the flight controls screens. He sees it all so vividly as he dreams, the pattern of the carpet and the washed-out blue fabric of the chairs, feels the tension in the air as they waited with held breath to hear if the person they’d just watched being catapulted from the shuttle to disintegrate into the atmosphere was is mom. 

He remembers the relief too when they saw the escape pod touch down out at sea, how the room erupted into cheers when his mom was the first one to scramble out of the airlock to help the incoming pararescue drag two limp bodies out of the pod. He doesn’t get to that part this time, not in his dream, it shifts instead to the blood stuck on the metal right outside the airlock and to the red smudges of marker stains on Luke’s prosthetic and to the way he screamed right here in their bed.

He startles awake, breath stuck in his throat and sweat cooling on his neck, to Luke already propped up against the headboard, one hand stroking soothingly through his hair, his voice quiet and even as he assures him, “It’s okay. You’re alright. It was just a dream.”

When he looks up Din is right there too, in their doorway, bare feet sliding on the hardwood floor, eyes bright and alert, hesitating. Poe doesn’t have it in him to nod this time, too focused on getting his breathing back under control, but something about him pulling his legs up to his chest so he can rest his head on his knees must have been permission enough because a second later he feels Luke move to the side and then the bed dips to his left and an arm wraps around his shoulders.

“You’re alright,” Din assures him too, voice vibrating softly against his skin where his lips are pressed to the top of Poe’s head. Luke pulls closer again to wrap his arm around Poe’s hips from the other side and lean his head against Poe’s shoulder and something about that hurts because--

"The incident," he wrings out of himself, voice raspy and uncomfortable against the lack of air in his lungs. "I-- I was there. In the visitor’s room. When the shuttle caught fire and I-- I just--"

“It’s okay,” Din says, his other hand reaching out to take one of Poe’s.

"I nearly lost you," Poe says, voice shaky and eyes stinging with a sudden overwhelming sense of grief. "I didn't even have you, but I-- I still nearly lost you that day. I nearly lost you. I nearly--"

"We're here," Luke says and pulls Poe’s face up to kiss the tears first off his cheek and then his lips. "We’re here now."

"You won't lose us. We’re not going anywhere,” Din promises quietly, sincerely, his lips still firmly pressed to the top of Poe’s head, their legs tangling now as Poe stretches them out to lean into their embrace.

“You’ll be here when I get back?"

“Of course,” Luke says with a soft smile and presses a kiss to his forehead. “Of course we will. And I'll be in your ear too when you’re up there. You’ll get sick of me.”

Poe huffs out a laugh, blinks away the tears. “Never,” he says face very sincere and feels something ease in his chest when he hears them both laugh, the sound vibrating through his chest as if it was his own. 

It breaks away slowly, gradually, until he can draw a full breath again as they pull him closer so they're all crammed into the bed together, a tangle of limbs and Poe falls asleep nestled between them with his head tucked beneath Luke's chin and Din's thumb stocking soothing patterns into his skin where his arm rests curled around his chest.

 


 

“We could switch. From time to time,” Poe suggests the next morning when he’s cutting an apple slice into the shape of a frog while Din brews a cup of coffee. “I can take the couch, you can sleep in the bed. If you’d like.”

“Hm,” Din hums in that way Poe has come to learn means he’s thinking something Luke has taught him would be inappropriate to say. He watches the muscles of Din’s arms flex for a second as he grounds down the coffee beans with the ridiculously fancy mill he brought with him. 

“Or we could--” Poe has to swallow, mouth suddenly very dry. It’s not that strange, he tells himself. Not given literally everything else about this. He squares up. “We could all use the bed.”

“Hm,” Din says again then puts down the mill to look him up and down once. “We could,” he agrees and Poe focuses on not accidentally cutting parts of himself into the shape of a frog too. There’s a short pause, then, “Do you want that?”

“Sure,” Poe says, eyes firmly trained on the cutting board, hoping it comes out more casual than it feels. “I don’t mind.”

“Alright then,” Din says and goes back to making coffee. 

Din slips into bed with them at night and doesn't leave after that, and then the crib they bought for Grogu months ago makes it into Luke’s office next door which results in Luke’s office being moved downstairs in favor of painting the walls with planets and space shuttles and filling the room with more stuffed animals than strictly necessary. Poe doesn't have it in him to feel strange about any of it, not when he gets to wake up to the sight of Luke's content smile every morning and the feeling of Din's hand resting warm and safe on his hip, as if Poe too was someone he cared about.

 


 

“What the heck are you two doing?” Din asks in amusement when he finds both Poe and Grogu hanging upside down over their couch, two weeks before launch. Poe’s legs are folded over the backrest, his slightly too grown-out hair nearly touching the floor, while Grogu’s much shorter legs barely reach the back of the couch.

“I’m showing him what it’s gonna feel like once I’m up in space! Right buddy?” Poe grins and turns to Grogu to watch him clap his hands above his head in affirmation, visibly excited. 

“Ah, very serious business I see,” Din says, crossing his arms above his chest with a nod and a barely concealed smile. “May I join you?”

“Whatcha say Grogu? Is your dad cool enough to be an astronaut, like us?” Poe asks very seriously, which he’s aware is probably undermined by how red his face is right now. Grogu claps his hands together and makes a gurgling noise that could be a yes. 

“Puffy head bird legs?” Luke asks when he finds all of them upside down five minutes later.

“Puffy head bird legs,” Din and Poe confirm in unison and Luke shakes his head laughing before he joins them too.

 


 

Poe finds a green pick-up in their driveway and a bald man covered in scars leaning against their kitchen counter when he comes home from work the Tuesday night after that. 

"I'm Boba Fett," the man introduced himself. "Don't mind me, just officially reviving our buddy here."

Something about Fett feels alarming in a way that makes Poe consider backing out of the kitchen to get the gun from the safe in Luke's office, but Din is letting him hold Grogu like a football so Poe supposes he must be safe to be around. At last for them.

Luke seems to assess that situation very differently the second he comes through the door behind Poe. "Get the fuck out of my house Fett," he says, in a voice Poe’s only ever heard him use when someone is about to blow something up around the engineering lab.

"Aw,” Fett says, absolutely unimpressed, jiggling Grogu around in his arms. ”Worried your faithful husband will run off with me again?"

"Drop dead," Luke says, takes the time to flip him off with his prosthetic hand — a true feat of will and impeccable engineering — and walks back out the door.

"Is any of this legit?" Poe asks when he finds Luke out on the porch after he works out that they're apparently not only reinstating Din’s passport and social security number somehow, but also signing adoption papers for a child that was technically never in the system.

"No," Luke sighs as if he's dealt with this before. "But Fett is the best, unfortunately. It won't be an issue."

"Can we trust him?"

"Absolutely not. But he’d never do anything to hurt Din, so--” Luke shrugs then sighs again, rubbing a hand over his face. “To be honest I'm just glad he isn't trying to kill me anymore."

Poe opens his mouth but Luke just shakes his head and places a kiss on his temple and Poe remembers what Luke told him all those weeks ago, how Din would never put the people he cares for in harm's way either, and he believes that more than Fett’s bad reputation.

Before he leaves Poe bribes Fett into taking a picture of the four of them so he can frame it and put it up on the mantle.

 


 

Poe takes Grogu to the park one last time in the week before the launch. It’s harder than anticipated to see him chase the frogs around the pond and know he won’t get to do this for the next six months but there are a lot of things in his life now that he didn’t think would be hard to leave behind. 

“Did you steal a baby?” someone asks behind him and Poe nearly drops his phone into the pond. When he turns around he’s greeted by Finn and Rey grinning at him arm in arm.

“I did not steal a baby,” he clarifies loud enough for the old lady on the bench to hear and stop looking at him with suspicion. "He's a friend’s," he adds, like so many times before and something about that feels wrong, with a sudden sort of severity, because he painted Grogu’s bedroom a week ago and has about a million pictures of him on his phone and he's definitely the best of the three of them at cutting things into the shape of a frog. He scoops Grogu up before he can tumble into the pond and pulls him close to his chest.

"A friend,” Rey inquires, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “Like, say, the Commander's dead husband?"

"How the fuck--" Poe starts, then stops to lean closer and lower his voice when the old lady starts staring in their direction again. "How do you know about that?"

"Oh that rumor has been going around JSC for weeks," Finn laughs.

"Fucking hell," Poe swears and watches Grogu’s eyes light up in glee at the words. Nothing like imitating Din to get the kid excited.

"So it's true?” Rey leans closer too, holds her hand flat out to the side of her face, conspiratory. “The Commander's husband’s come back from the dead?"

"I--” Poe sighs. Oh, what the hell. “Something like that. Yeah."

"And how do you feel about that?"

He frowns at them. Grogu starts chewing on the collar of his jacket. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's supposed to mean how do you feel about your boyfriend's husband living in your house with you," Rey says as if it was something highly scandalous. Poe can’t help but think back to that night in the rain outside his parent’s house where he thought he might be losing his mind.

"Huh," he says and feels a strange sort of deja vu, something like a realization half-formed in his mind, just out of grasp. "Good. I feel good about that actually."

 


 

It happens the day before the launch because nothing in Poe’s life will apparently ever be easy or normal again. 

They’ve built up a sort of routine for themselves in the days since they started sharing a bed — wake up around the same time, pretend they didn’t so they can stay wrapped up into each other for five more minutes without having to acknowledge the intimacy of it all, until inevitably Grogu waddles into the room to plop himself across all of their heads because apparently, no crib in the world can hold him. And then it’s a mad scramble after that, to make up for lost time and to get some food into Grogu before he starts gnawing on any of their pillows.

It’s no different today — after Poe wakes up with his nose buried in Luke’s hair and Din’s hand resting on his hips, fingers slipped just past the hem of his shirt in a way that makes it incredibly hard to move until he hears the telltale pitter-patter of Grogu’s feet approaching their bed  — and now Poe is scrambling to swallow down half a toast and put his shoes on without falling flat on his face so he can still make is eight am medical exam.

“Love you,” he tells Luke and stops just long enough to press a goodbye kiss to his lips, then rushes to grab his keys and get out the door. If he cuts through that one alleyway right outside their suburb he might still be able too--

"Aren't you forgetting something?" Din calls after him and Poe looks back to find him waving his phone with an amused smile on his lips. Poe spins on his heels and marches back so Din can dutifully put the phone into his palm.

"Thank you, love you," Poe says, gives him a quick kiss, and is out the door for good.

It only hits him halfway to JSC but when it does it slams into him with such force he nearly runs the red light in front of him. “Fuck, shit, fuck,” he exclaims as he jumps on the breaks, loud enough for someone on the crosswalk to walk away from him faster. He knows, in the rational part of his brain, that part of the existential dread he feels right now is probably just pre-launch jitters, and it’s not that big of a deal really, they’re already sharing a bed, it’s fine, it’s fine but fuck, shit, fuck.

He has a medium-sized identity crisis all the rest of the way to JSC —  which mostly just consists of a lot of swearing in multiple languages — and then he is luckily, blessedly, swept up in all the craziness of the last stages of prep for long enough to forget all about it until he’s back in their driveway, knuckles white on the steering wheel and heart hammering so fast in his chest he wonders if he actually crashed his car this morning and this is all just a fever dream.

When he finally wrestles himself through the front door he’s greeted by Luke waving at him from the couch and Din walking out of the kitchen holding a bowl of chips, the scene so unbearably mundane it makes him feel a little crazy.

He has a decision to make here, he knows somewhere far at the back of his mind, just that he’s not even sure if it’s a decision, to begin with, or if it’s just something that’s been very clear for weeks to everyone but him and anyway--

"Where's Grogu?" Poe asks, way too out of breath for the short walk up their driveway.

"At Leia's," Din says with a frown. "We thought it would be better to have the house quiet when you have to get ready tomorrow morning, remember?"

"Oh thank god," Poe says, takes two long steps towards Din and grabs him by the neck so he can pull him into a kiss.

"Oh," Din says against his lips and then his hands are suddenly around Poe's hips and in his hair, pulling him closer, the bowl of chips miraculously dissolved into thin air. Poe loses himself in that kiss for a second — which honestly he thinks is very fair given how incredibly long it's been overdue — grabbing at any part of Din he can reach, fingers digging into his shoulders and his back, clawing at the hem of Din’s shirt and pulling at his hair, before finally a huff of laughter brings him somewhat back to himself.

"Want me to give you some privacy?" Luke grins at them from where he’s now leaned against the back of the couch before he pops a chip into his mouth from the bowl in his hands. “I can pretend to look for towels.”

“Di'ika,” Din says with a fond roll of his eyes and Poe doesn’t even care that he doesn’t know what that means because Luke laughs and there’s something impossibly soft in his eyes when he looks at them and something ravenous in the way Din’s lips are red and swollen from having Poe’s mouth on them and oh god--

“No more talking, ” he says and Luke laughs again before he puts the bowl down so Poe can pull him into a kiss too, while Din starts the very crucial work of getting his hands under Poe's shirt.

It should feel overwhelming maybe, Poe thinks, strange probably, to tip them over the edge like that, but it doesn't somehow, not when Din falls to his knees and slips Poe’s pants down to his ankles so he can suck him into his mouth before they're even up the stairs, and not when they finally do manage to make it up to their bed, a trail of clothing left in their wake like breadcrumbs.

He doesn't think he's ever felt this right, in fact, this loved and safe, as he feels now, held between them, chest to chest with Luke who places soothing kisses along his neck and cheeks and collarbone as Din pushes into him from behind, filling him up bit by bit until it feels like they’re all just blending into one.

It's agonizingly slow at first and then rough in a way he doesn’t anticipate but very very much appreciates for how it makes all the pre-launch jitters and the stress of the day just melt out of him until he’s left weak in the knees and shaking, hands scrambling for purchase in the sheets above Luke's head as Din picks up the pace.

“You’re doing so good,” Luke says against his temple, hands combing through his hair as Poe’s arms finally give out, forehead falling against the crook of Luke’s neck with a plea on his lips that’s barely anything coherent. 

“So good,” Din repeats above him, voice rough and breath cool against the sweat on Poe’s skin, and then he can feel Luke’s hand on his cock, the sensation so blissfully overwhelming he thinks he’s going to blackout for a second. Luke catches him, kisses him just before he comes, deep and sloppy, holds him steady as Poe shakes apart beneath Din's thrusts and Din's mouth trailing wet kisses along the back of his neck.

He definitely loses track after that, loses himself in the sensation of Din tensing up behind him and filling him up and in the heavy rhythm of Luke’s heartbeat where he’s held against his chest, coasting on the afterglow, his whole body boneless and content.

He’s glad he’s going to mostly be laying down in the shuttle tomorrow, and then he’ll be up in zero-g because-- "Fuck," Poe remembers sluggishly, something giddy bubbling up in his chest. "I'm going to space tomorrow."

Din kisses his shoulder with an amused huff as he pulls out slowly to flop down beside them. "Does that mean you wanna go again?"

"Because we might need a second here," Luke throws in, smile heavy in his voice, one hand trailing lazily up Poe’s leg, and Poe feels the giddiness bubble past his lips, free and right and happy, as he laughs and laughs and laughs.

 


 

After — when they’re back curled up in the bed together, their second round spend pressed against the tiles of the shower as to not mess up the fresh sheets — Poe watches Luke and Din exchange meaningful glances for what feels like a small eternity, before Luke finally asks, with barley held back laughter, “Are you really going to act embarrassed about this now?” 

“Embarrassed about what?” Poe raises a curious eyebrow at them. His limbs feel heavy in just the right way, head propped up against the headboard, one hand held lazily in Luke’s lap, his ankles tangled with Din’s at the end of the bed.

“Fine,” Din groans, fingers drumming on the edge of the nightstand for a second before he reaches down to pull something from one of the drawers. How strange, Poe realizes with something akin to wonder, he’s never seen him nervous.

“Give me your hand,” Din says and Poe dutifully holds out his palm, only slightly unnerved by the fact that he can feel Luke shaking beside him with how he is really trying very hard not to laugh. In retrospect Poe thinks he would really have been prepared for a lot of things — a post-coital chocolate bar, a commemorative pin from the NASA gift shop, a plastic spider, probably even a live one — but he’s not prepared for this, for a silver ring, heavy in his palm and brand new.

Poe blinks at it for a long second, then up at them, that giddy feeling bubbling back up in his chest. “Are you-- asking me to marry you?”

“Something like that,” Din confirms quietly, eyes still careful, guarded, but a smile breaking through on his lips. “If you want that.” 

“So you can be sure,” Luke says and Poe only sees it now, that he’s wearing his ring too, on the ring finger of his left hand. “That we’re here. Even when you’re up there.”

“What does it say?” Poe asks because he’s very sure that if he focuses on anything else than on what’s right in front of him he’ll cry. “The engraving?”

“It’s Mando’a,” Din explains. “My clan-- the people I grew up with, that’s what they spoke. Only family gets to know our language.”

“It’s part of our vows,” Luke says and pulls his own ring off his finger, the inscription already familiar from the times Poe held it in his hands. “Mhi solus tome. We are one when together.”

Din pulls off his ring too, holds it out so Poe can see. “Mhi solus dar'tome,” he reads. “We are one when parted.” Then he puts his hand under Poe’s to tilt his palm up slightly so the light can catch the engraving inside. “Mhi me'dinui an. We will share all.”

“We will share all,” Poe repeats, his voice just a bit too rough. He turns the ring over in his hand, sips it on. It fits just right. It feels right too. He swallows hard. “Where did you even get this from?”

“Boba brought it when he came to resurrect me,” Din says as if that explains anything and Luke laughs.

“He commissioned it weeks ago, right after he brought you back from your parent’s house. Incurable romantic,” Luke teases and Din shoves his shoulder behind Poe’s back, very deliberately not meeting their eyes.

“Will you come to the launch tomorrow?” Poe asks, the thought suddenly urgent in his mind. 

Din looks at him for a long moment, hesitating. “I-- want to,” he finally says, hands wrung together in his lap. “I just-- the last time I was there it-- it didn’t really end well. For anyone involved.”

“I read the incident report, you know,” Poe says because that suddenly feels urgent too. He feels Luke reach out behind him to put his hand against Din’s back. “Your gear got stuck in the airlock when the shuttle started to disintegrate. If Luke hadn’t disobeyed orders to come get you the escape pod would have never sealed. You’d all be dead.”

“Poe--” Din starts, and Poe knows that look from all the times he watched him pull away from Luke, too caught up in his own guilt to see what’s right in front of him. Poe reaches out, takes Din’s hand. 

“You’re the reason they’re alive. Both of you,” he says because he believes that more than anything else. “Will you come to the launch tomorrow?” he asks again, Din’s hands still warm and calloused and right around his. “I want you to be there.”

Din looks at him for a long time, looks at Luke past Poe’s shoulder, then at their hands held together in his lap, and then something breaks finally, his eyes soft and his voice just a bit uneven as he says, “Yes. Yes of course I will,” and pulls Poe into a kiss so he can say it again, against his lips. “Of course I will, cyar’ika.”

 


 

“How are we feeling out there?” Poe hears Luke’s voice come through the earpiece in his helmet, voice casual in a way that says ‘it’s my job to keep you from freaking out about the fact that we are about to light a rocket under your ass’. Poe knows that Luke would technically fit better into the role of Flight Dynamics Officer, one he took on many missions before, but the Flight had insisted that he act as Capcom this time around, their direct link to mission control.

“Peachy,” Paige Tico says to his right, and Poe can turn his face just enough to see that her expression has very much the same aura of boredness as the tone of her voice.

“Like recycling in a comfy beach chair,” Jessica Prava adds from his left, much more cheerful, kicking her legs back slightly,

“We’re doing just fine,” Poe huffs with a smile, eyes trained firmly on the pre-flight checklist in front of him. He checks the countdown, feels the adrenalin thrum through the current of his veins. T minus two minutes. 

"Capcom," Poe calls through the com, quiet even though he is well aware everyone down there will hear him anyway.

"Yes, Black Leader?" Luke's voice comes through, professional and calm.

Poe hesitates for just a second. "Is he here?"

A short pause, then, "Yeah," Luke says and there is a very clear smile in his voice now. "He's here. They're all here. Grogu too. Kes. And Finn and Rey. We’re all here."

Poe takes a deep breath, concentrates on the feeling of the ring wrapped on a string around his neck, resting right against his heart. Mhi me'dinui an. T minus one. "Okay, alright," he says. "Let's do this. Tell the Flight we're ready."

“Copy,” Luke tells him, and then his mom’s voice crackles through their coms, “Red Five you are cleared for liftoff. Initiating launch sequence now.” One last look at Paige, then at Jessica, mission control’s long sequence of checks washing over them as the engines begin to rumble and fire, and then they’re off, up and up and up.

He has prepared for this, all his life really, has asked his mom to tell him what it felt like to leave earth over and over and over again. It’s not the eight and a half minutes they spend pressed into their seats that get him in the end, not the shuttle shaking and rumbling around them like a beast ready to eat them alive, but it’s what comes after that takes him apart, when the fuel tanks detach with a muffled fump! fump!, the engines cut and gravity dispersed, everything around them suddenly quiet.

Poe feels his head grow puffy as his limbs flow up in his seat, held back only by the harness strapped against his chest, his legs weightless and thin like a birds and thinks about Grogu’s laughter as they all hang upside down on their couch, his little family, the people he can't wait to return to.

"Red Five, report," he hears his mom's voice crackle over the coms.

"Mom," he says, tears prickling in his eyes and a grin spreading over his lips. "I'm in fucking space."

 


 

“We miss you,” Din tells him on their weekly video call, the sentiment of the statement only slightly undermined by how Grogu seems very determined to shove a brightly colored frog-shaped cookie into his mouth whenever he opens it.

“It’s been two weeks,” Poe laughs, his whole body wobbling in place with the movement. “You haven’t seen each other for like ten years. I'm sure you can find something to do.” 

“No, absolutely impossible,” Luke says, mock-serious. “You should consider coming back right now.”

“Grogu demands it, really,” Din throws in, Grogu’s excited gurgling noises carrying through the speaker with his voice.

“You are both impossible,” Poe smiles, one hand wrapped around the ring sitting against his chest and hopes that conveys how much he misses them too.

“Stop flirting with your boyfriend’s dead husband!” Jessica calls from the front of the hull and Poe tries and fails to float a pen at her head.

 


 

Poe knows from the very get-go that there used to be someone else. He doesn’t mind much these days though, because that person sleeps in their bed now and eats breakfast at their kitchen table and fixes things around the house Poe didn’t know were broken. That person laughs with them and cares for them, and is a part of them like they’re a part of him, and Poe thinks that, really, at the end of the day, that's very much alright with him.