Hod Ma'alatcha @astriferoussprite
Chapter 5

The morning of the coronation unfolded slowly.

Finn woke up at around 0600, too full of restless energy to fall back asleep. Instead, he found himself in the large en-suite bathtub alongside Poe, surrounded by sweet-fragranced water and hot steam. For half an hour, all they did was lay there, soaking up each other’s presence.

Breakfast was a short affair; everyone was still in their sleep clothes and on at least their third cup of caf, taking modest bites of flatbread in preparation for the feast later that day. Naami kept nudging his foot under the table with a grin, and Tikva genuinely looked like she was about to cry.

From there, it was a mad rush to get everything prepared. Floors were scrubbed, windows shined, and statues polished in preparation for the public event about to take place at the palace in several hours; security was briefed on their positions; everyone struggled with getting into their ensembles as early as possible while still being able to grab another chocolate roll or bunch of grapes without ruining their jackets. At 0850, ten minutes before they had to depart, Poe still had his jacket open while carefully guiding a kibbeh to his mouth, hand underneath it to avoid loose crumbs from soiling his undershirt. Finn had only just begun to put on his clothes, too nervous to soil the delicately embroidered purple jacket.

Finally, all preparations were finished, and they were off at 9 sharp to the ancient temple on the other side of Ir Drisha—the royal family in one sleek shuttle, and the Republic attachés in another. And, while he understood the security (and symbolic) reasons for doing so, Finn couldn’t help but feel nervous without Poe at his side.

Especially with the way he had acted at the dance lesson. He had just gone along with being the lead, hardly meeting Finn’s gaze—and when he did, it had always seemed like there was something forced behind that smile. Almost like he had made up his mind about their relationship once the ceremony was over; no doubt that as soon as the festivities would end, Poe would leave him and continue to the Republic, unwilling to be chained down to any form of local politics. And really, he understood that.

It broke his heart, but he understood.

There were few spectators as they arrived half an hour early to the ceremony. Finn was stationed deep in the back of the temple, hidden from view—a chance to catch his breath before the floodgates were open for good.

Naami lay a hand on his shoulder. “You good?” she asked.

“Yeah,” he said, twisting the ring on his left hand—the one Poe had given him a year ago, the one that had belonged to his mother. “Just—nervous, I guess? First time I’m really gonna show up in front of everyone as a prince.”

“I know the feeling.” She lay a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, everything’ll go fine. They love you so much, Finn, I swear.”

“Good to know.”

The curtains parted. Out peeked the head of a well-groomed attendant. “They’re ready, Your Highnesses.”

Naami stood up, smoothing down her skirt. “Last chance to back out, you know,” she said with a grin, extending her hand.

“Nah,” he said, taking her hand and standing up. “I think I’m ready.”

Finn, blessedly enough, was not alone during the ceremony.

Naturally, there was the Holy Man leading the affair, along with a crowned Naami at his right for the Exchange of the Crown, and the rest of his family, stationed near the back of the arched entrance (Tikva’s vibrant blue gown and Aria’s cool forest green complemented the purple of his jacket very nicely); to their right were Rose and Poe, representing the Republic in their (comparatively dull) olive uniforms; and to the left was Rey, who had forgone her usual bare-shouldered ensemble and had the sense to wear a tunic with real sleeves. Not to mention, of course, the crowds; aside from the locals and a few familiar faces, Finn could make out several members of nobility and other heads of government in the front sections—many, likely, from planets parsecs away from Verakhat.

All to see their prince return.

The coronation started off with a short, tearful speech by his parents about waiting so many years for their son, and praising the Force for guiding him back to his home planet (it took some effort not to cry—this was being broadcasted, damn it, he could not make a fool of himself today). Next, came the first leg of the ceremony, or the Relief of Duty; while it was usually reserved for heirs and monarchs who had tarnished the holy name of their planet or committed unforgivable felonies, today it was merely a lifting of the burden sitting on Naami’s head for so long—as the Holy Man didn’t fail to remind his audience. “For twenty-three years, she has stepped in for a role she never expected,” he said, gesturing to his cool-faced sister, “and pledged her life to her role as our future queen. Now, however, with the thankful return of the rightful heir, she shall step down, allow her brother to take up his mantle.”

Not an ounce of bitterness was present on her face—not when he was first introduced, and not even at this moment, when her life’s purpose was being taken away from her. Although, perhaps she merely saw it more as a burden being lifted from her shoulders; no longer would she have to pretend to care about a position she had never wanted.

“Blessed is the Force,” he concluded, moving to stand next to her, “as Princess Naami Sera Altion is relieved of her duty as crown princess.”

“With honor,” said Naami, “I willingly step down from my position.” At those words, she neatly removed the crown from her head (there would always remain the act of choice in these ceremonies) and handed it to him. It was a simple one, consisting of two angled silver bands meeting in the front and secured by a crest with the telltale six-sided-star engraved onto it.

Finn had always liked simplicity.

Now, the Holy Man walked up to Finn, crown in his hands.

“The story of this man is one that shall be told for generations to come,” he said, with reverence in his voice. “Kidnapped by a treacherous organization as an infant, he was forced to serve in their militaries with no chance of escape. And yet, despite all odds, he broke free, and has spent these past three years fighting against the very machine that stripped him of his humanity.” Finn tilted his head upwards, delicately biting the inside of his lip; he was never used to such praise on a high scale, and certainly not in front of over four billion people. “And today, he returns to claim his birthright as the royalty he was born as.”

He extended the crown in his arms. “Blessed is the Force, as Prince Finn Ishai Altion is crowned as his mother’s heir.”

Finn fought to keep his voice steady. “With honor,” he said, echoing the words he had repeated dozens of times that morning, “I willingly accept this position.”

And with several expectant eyes on him, Finn took the crown from his arms and coronated himself, binding himself to his homeland once more.

 

With the coronation complete, the major events of today were over.

Now, all that was left was for the family to parade through the city in ornate carriages, waving at their citizens for the next hour as they cheered nonstop. And while Naami might have grumbled about it (“I can’t wave for an hour straight, it kriffing hurts”), Finn found that he rather enjoyed this part.

Because for all the strain that waving and smiling constantly put on his body, there was something healing about seeing the endless crowds of people cheering him on, chanting his name, crying tears of joy—all because of him. The First Order left no room for individual recognition, and even his countless hours in the Resistance command center were largely unrecognized by the general public. Here, he was practically being worshipped every street he passed, celebrated as the hero they saw him as.

This had been his past; this would be his future.

Neither prince nor public lost any energy by the time the carriages neared the palace. Finn was still warmly waving (he had opted to switch hands, though), while the crowds leading up to the palace kept up their adoring act; they waved, they threw flowers, they threw confetti, they—

Something prickled at the back of Finn’s neck.

He had hardly any time to react before grabbing Naami and Isaac’s shoulders and hissing at them to “Duck!” before the blaster shot whizzed over their heads.

Instantly, the scene soured. The cheers of adoration had been replaced with screams as everyone scrambled away. Slowly looking up, Finn found that the guards had apprehended a red-haired man, still gripping a smoking blaster.

The man tried to aim it again, before having his arm bound to his side and his blaster forcibly confiscated. “It wasn’t me!” he yelled helplessly, the people around him rushing away. “I had orders! The president made me do it, it wasn’t me! It wasn’t me! 

“I don’t like this,” Finn whispered, before leaning out and looking one of the free guards straight in the yes. “Evacuate the premises now. Get every civilian out of the streets as soon as possible, do you understand? I don’t want anyone needlessly in danger!”

The woman nodded, before relaying orders and waving her hands, getting everyone out of the way. Soon, the streets were completely empty, except for the occupied carriages still stalled in the road.

“And get everyone else out of here, too,” he said, turning to look around at his frightened parents, his wide-eyed siblings, his trembling friends. “Leave no one here but security and the president.”

 Finn, ” gasped his mother, while Poe shook his head.

“Buddy, you can’t—”

“I have to,” he said. “It’s me they’re after, I can’t risk putting you in harm’s way.”

Tikva clasped a tight hand onto his shoulder. “I’ve lost you for twenty-four years,” she said, voice quivering. “I can’t bear to lose you again.”

“Neither can I.”

She looked at him painfully for a few last moments, before peeling away and following the guards in their evacuation routes.

“I don’t know what you’re doing,” said Naami, climbing over the edge of the carriage, “but it’s stupid, you know that?”

“I know,” he said, looking to where Lyra was standing still. “But I’ve done my fair share of stupid things and come out alive.”

“Well, don’t be a complete idiot.” Right before running off, Naami pressed a quick kiss to his cheek—and a lightsaber into his hand.

Lyra was still motionless as Finn approached her, making sure Naami’s lightsaber was well concealed. “So, was he right?” he asked.

Lyra stared unblinkingly ahead. “Was who right?”

“The assassin,” he said. “Did he really act under your orders?”

The president said nothing.

“Answer me,” he said, barely concealing the anger in his voice. “ Was he right? 

Lyra sighed. “I supposed you’d find out one way or another.”

 What? 

“He was right,” she said flatly. Finn gasped, struggling to keep his expression neutral. “You were never meant to return to this planet, FN-2187.”

A violent chill went through his body. “You were there.”

“I was there,” she said, shrugging. “You were such a good child—the others always cried and cried, but you were so well-behaved.” She took a step toward him. “You could have been the model trooper—a true leader among the ranks. But alas, you had to betray us.”

Finn quirked his eyebrow, hand sliding down to where the saber was hidden. “That’s not the first time someone’s called me a traitor,” he said.

“No,” she said, “but it will be the last time you hear it.”

In one fluid motion, she pulled out and ignited a flaming red lightsaber. Instantly, the guards began to shoot at her, only to have their blaster bolts neatly deflected by her and sent cascading at him.

“Stop!” he shouted, ducking the barrage of bolts flying at him. The shooting halted. “I have to handle this.”

With that, he pulled out his sister’s lightsaber and turned it on.

Naami’s saber felt different—the Force signature was off by only a few shades. Yet at the same time, it still fit comfortably in his hands, similar enough to his own that it didn’t weigh him down as he swung at the president.

Lyra had evidently not carried over any of her homeland’s training into her fighting style; it was rough and choppy, full of erratic swings and brute strength. Finn did his best to strike against her with speed and fluidity, leaping to the side and disengaging her blade.

“The Jedi have taught you well,” she mused, raising her saber down again.

He raised his arms, holding the jagged blade back as she pressed down harder. “I am no Jedi,” he hissed.

With a determined yell, he swung her off, leaving her staggering on her feet as he readjusted himself, swinging around his blade.

Lyra kept staggering back with every parry, eventually doubling back with the force of their crossed blades; there was a chance here to stop her, but he had to act quickly.

A foolish chance, but he had to take it.

Slowly lifting his left hand off of the hilt, Finn carefully extended it, relishing in her stunned expression as she flew backwards a few feet, lightsaber turning off. He knew there was only a window of a few seconds before she’d recollect herself and reignite it; this would be it.

Extending his arm again, he tugged at the Force with all his might, willing the dark saber to come flying into his hand. It shot right out of her hand, neatly falling into place.

With an angry yell, Lyra came racing towards him—until two guards finally got their chance and pinned her in place.

Finn exhaled. “Take her away,” he said, surprised at how steady his voice was after the ordeal. “And take this somewhere safe,” he continued, handing Lyra’s corrupted lightsaber hilt to another officer.

A hand gently lay itself on his shoulder. Finn turned around to see a guard, her face neutral yet reassuring. “Come on, Your Highness,” she said. “Let’s get you home.”

 

“No signs of severe external damage,” said the medical droid in a collected voice as it finished its scanning of Finn.

Finn, for his part, was lying down in the palace’s infirmary, elegant jacket temporarily substituted for a medical gown, faint blue and loose around his fatigued body. A few bacta patches delicately marked his face and left bicep from where Lyra had landed her few blows (no doubt Ruti was busy patching up his jacket sleeve with a fair amount of grumbling), while the droid continued its check, running scanners along his arms and head.

“No fractures or dislocations.” The whirring continued. “No signs of traumatic brain injury. There are signs of moderate mental exhaustion and minor muscle fatigue, however.” Finn exhaled. “Patient Finn must be allowed to rest considerably before resuming any activity.”

“We’ll just move the ball ahead by two hours, then,” said Tikva, walking into the room with her hands clasped in front of her. “Start it at 1800 instead of 1600.”

“No worries, I always did prefer dinner banquets,” said her wife drily as she approached Finn with a brief glance at the droid. “May I?”

“Yes, he is stable.”

Aria crossed her arms as she sat down next to her son. “That was quite foolish of you,” she said, stern words softened somewhat by the worried crease of her brows.

“I know,” he said, staring up at the brightly lit ceiling. “Sorry.”

She lifted her hand. “Foolish, but extraordinarily brave.” She gently lay it on Finn’s own hand, still cramped from his exertions earlier. “I expected you to be a fighter, yes, but not one with such initiative—or compassion.”

Finn closed his eyes. “I’m not sure it was compassion, Ima. I just didn’t want anyone else caught in the crosshairs.”

“Very few leaders think the way you do,” she said, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. “This galaxy could use a fair amount more of compassion.”

“And cleverness,” added Tikva, taking a seat beside her wife. “You managed to discover in four days what we could not in nearly three decades of knowing Madam Deyarin.” No longer President—she’d been immediately suspended from office following her arrest. “That’s more than just intelligence or sensitivity—that’s pure brilliance.” She smiled softly, though Finn could still see the sparkle of tears in her eyes. “There is no doubt you will be a fantastic leader, distant may that day be.”

“Thank you,” he whispered.

The infirmary door hissed open.

And in ran Poe, nervously running a hand through his curls. “Is Finn—”

The droid held up its hand. “No more than two visitors at a time.”

Aria stood up, relinquishing Finn’s hand. “I suppose we should give you some privacy,” she said, kissing his forehead before leaving the room with her wife.

Finn sat up as Poe walked over to his bed. “Hey.”

“Hi,” said Poe, smiling faintly as he laced their fingers together. “Not exactly how we planned this day to go, huh?”

“Gotta be prepared for anything,” said Finn, gently rubbing his thumb across his palm.

“Heard you tore up another jacket.”

“Well, I’ve got a record to break.” He shrugged. “At least this time it’ll be fixed by a real tailor, and not just some lovestruck idiot with a stapler.”

“Excuse you, that was a solid repair job.”

Finn smiled, reaching out with his other hand to cup Poe’s cheek, who immediately leaned into the touch. “I know. Next time, though, I’ll try to stay away from lightsabers.”

Poe huffed.

“What?”

“I just,” he said, “Finn, I just can’t believe you sometimes.”

Finn lowered his brow. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, you nearly get killed, and all you can think of is getting everyone else to safety?” He sighed, shaking his head. “You really love your people, huh?”

 Our people,” he gently corrected, stroking Poe’s cheek.

Poe hummed, closing his eyes. “Our people.”

 

Finn took a deep breath, gingerly adjusting the collar of his jacket.

In the time it took for him to rest before the ball, Ruti had managed to patch up the sleeve—and very neatly. The place where Lyra’s lightsaber had slashed through it was only really visible from up close, and from the right angle; he really would have to commend her sometime for her skills.

But not now. Now, he would have to focus all of his attention on being presentable in front of the many distinguished guests surrounding him in the elegant ballroom, alternating between taking sips of sweet wine and shaking his hand excitedly, babbling on about how fantastic he was.

It would be nice, except for the fact that he had no idea which was honest praise, and which was just flattery.

“Prince Finn!”

Sighing, Finn turned on his heels to face an overjoyed Twi’lek woman in a flowing powder-blue dress. “My name is Gida-Aziela Bondara,” she said, bowing deeply. “It is such an honor to meet you.”

“Pleasure to meet you, too.”

“I’ve heard so much about you!” Aziela’s eyes shone as she kept talking at a rapid-fire pace. “Is it true you really single-handedly fought Kylo Ren with a lightsaber? Twice? 

“To be fair, I lost the first time,” he said, smiling as his fingers fluttered at his side—if he was going to be nervous, it would have to be discreetly, damn it.

“But you did defeat him, right?”

“That’s true.”

She squealed.

“Your Highness!” called out a pale, stern-faced woman in an opulent layered gown, taking long strides towards him and practically shoving Aziela out of the way. “Archduchess Ressia Coari of Seaneraan. A pleasure to meet another powerful commander.” She extended her hand in a crisp motion.

“The pleasure is all mine,” he said, trying not to wince as the archduchess nearly crushed his hand.

“Do send my warmest regards to the chancellor,” she continued without an ounce of warmth in her voice. “I hold nothing but respect for that woman—and, of course, anyone in cooperation with her.”

The wave of royalty kept crashing over Finn. One young prince barely Isaac’s age introduced himself as Brisel Vorneas of Viora, and was simply delighted to meet “such a powerful Jedi!” Another woman was unmistakably Queen Ayako herself of Naboo. “I hope on behalf of the Republic that Verakhat will prosper under your leadership,” she said as she shook his hand.

They were all so excited to meet him. And, frankly, it was getting a little overwhelming.

“Iyala,” said Naami as Finn stuffed another hors d’oeuvre in his mouth.

“Wha?

“I’d dance with Iyala if I were you, she’s lovely.”

“Who?”

“Aziela’s sister, the one in the orange.”

Finn swallowed. “You sure you’re not just projecting?”

“Absolutely not,” she said, taking a sip of champagne. “It’s just that Iyala’s been eyeing you up this entire time, I’d dance with her tonight.”

Finn frowned. “Naami, everyone’s been—”

“Or if that’s not your thing, the Duke of Shahar’s good looking,” she said, almost too loudly. “Name’s Amir or something.”

“No, I—”

“You what?” Naami cocked her head. “You know, it’s customary for the prince to dance with someone on the eve of his coronation—”

“Stop yelling,” he whispered, wincing.

She frowned. “I’m not yelling ,” she said loudly, as the orchestra began to warm up. “And frankly, you should make up your mind soon, the first dance is in fifteen minutes…”

Finn was hardly processing what his sister was telling him. Every word caused his eardrums to throb, and the cacophony of the strings wasn’t helping, and neither was the fact that the lights were just so damn bright, and frankly—

“…so really, you just look better with a consort on your arm—Finn, are you even listening to anything I’m saying?”

“I, um…” His hands started to shake. “I, I—I need to go.”

And then he ran out of the ballroom.

Naami tried to call after him, but Finn wasn’t paying attention to her as he wove through the thick crowds of admirers and— “Sorry,” he mumbled as he accidentally into Aziela.

She cocked her head. “Your Highness, are you alright?” she asked, blessedly softly.

“What? Oh, yes.” He straightened himself, brushing off invisible dust. “Yes, I just… need some fresh air.”

“I understand.” She smiled. “Take care, alright?”

He nodded, giving her a weak grin before continuing to make his way to the hallway.

As soon as the double doors closed behind him, he let himself collapse onto the floor and breathe heavily, head leaned back against the stone wall.

Naami’s words echoed in his mind. “ It’s customary for the prince to dance with someone… you just look better with a consort on your arm… ” Shit.

Of course, they were all out to try and charm their way onto the throne, what else? It was probably just another part of being a prince, after all—constantly having obsessive admirers doting over him and determined to win him over. Even back in the Resistance, he had already won over the hearts of many soldiers—and all his accomplishments against the First Order weren’t even half as attractive as that crown that sat on top of his head. And sure, his mother had been able to ignore the pressure, but would he be able to last?

The doors opened.

Finn screwed his eyes shut as he heard the telltale click of several shutters, before they abruptly stopped as someone yelled at them. “Alright, get back, get back inside,” she said. “His Highness needs some privacy. Yes, I’ll explain later, just get back in. 

Finn gasped, opening his eyes as Rose shooed the flood of journalists and photographers back into the ballroom and closed the doors on them. “No respect,” she whispered to herself, before turning around to face him with a concerned expression. “Finn, you ok?”

“Kind of,” he breathed. “It’s just—there’s so many people in there after me, you know?” Rose’s hand flew to her side. “No, not like that—I mean in the romantic way.”

Her hand stilled. “Oh.” Her head flew to the door. “I’m, uh, sorry to hear—hey, is there anything I can do?”

“I don’t—” He paused, thinking for a moment, before nodding. “Get Poe,” he said in a stronger voice.

“Now?”

“Now.”

With a quick nod, Rose walked back inside. A few seconds later, the doors opened again to reveal Poe running out. “Finn, buddy, what’s happening?”

Finn raised his hands. “Nothing serious, just… I mean, you know how everyone in there is dying to get my hand in marriage, right?”

Poe paused, breathing hard. Something seemed to shift in his eyes. “Of course,” he said, far too calmly for Finn’s liking. “Yeah, that makes sense.”

“Poe—”

“They want you,” he said, walking around. “Of course, who doesn’t want you? You’re fucking amazing, Finn.”

Finn lowered his brows. “Poe, what the hell are you talking about?”

Poe turned back around to him—and oh , that was sorrow in his eyes. “Well, I won’t get in the way,” he said. “I totally understand if you can’t be seen with a common man like me.”

Oh.

Finn’s heart jolted. All this time, he thought Poe wanted to leave him for his own sake—but it was never for himself, was it? He always had to be stupidly selfless.

He shook his head. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I don’t know?” said Poe, voice rising ever so slightly. “Of course. Finn, you’re a prince—”

“I know .”

“—and I’m not—I’m nothing —so there’s no way we can—”

 Poe. 

He paused, quivering finger in the air. “ What? ” he said in a shaky voice.

“I’m serious, you have no idea what you’re going on about.”

“Prove me wrong, then.”

Finn stood up. “You know what kind of woman my mother married?”

“Some high-class duchess from across the planet?”

“A fishmonger’s daughter.”

Poe gasped, eyes widening.

“Yeah.” Finn nodded. “She really was a nobody—but that didn’t stop them. And you know what? No one stopped them. The royal line is only half the equation,” he continued, resting a hand on Poe’s tense shoulder, “because who’s to say that only the elites get to decide the fate of their home?”

Poe shook his head. “So you’re saying—”

“I’m saying I couldn’t care less about seducing anyone in there,” he said. “They were never there by my side when I fought against the Order, they never went on any wild missions with me—they never gave me their jacket and stapled it together when it was ruined.”

He could feel his heart speed up as Poe paused, jaw hanging open.

“Poe, I love you,” he whispered, leaning their foreheads together. “You’re a part of my life, I can’t leave you behind to chase after someone who only superficially wants me.”

“Buddy, you don’t have to do this.”

“I want to,” he said. “If it’s ok with you, I’d like you to be there by my side, regardless of what happens.”

Poe let out a weak chuckle. “You sure?”

“Of course.” Eyes bright, Finn held onto both his shoulders. “Poe, marry me.”

Poe’s smile dropped.

His chest tightened. That was… that had sort of come out without thought, had it been the wrong thing to say? “Poe?”

“Holy shit,” he whispered. “You’re really serious…”

“You’re scaring me here, man.”

“Yes,” he said, eyes wide and shining with tears. “Finn, yes, holy shit, do you know how long I’ve waited for—”

With a watery laugh, Finn pulled him in for a tight hug, letting him rest his head on his elegant shoulder.

It was always about balance, he thought as he embraced Poe. It was never about staying in his past life or fully immersing himself in his future; he had to carry both over with him. And really, what was a better example of balance than ruling your new kingdom with your longtime boyfriend?

“Ok,” said Poe, pulling away from the hug, “we should probably go back inside sometime soon.”

Finn studied his face—tear-streaked, yet full of determination. “We’re doing this?”

“Think you know the answer to that one,” said Poe, sliding an arm around his shoulder as they walked back in.

 

Naami was starting to freak out.

It had already been ten minutes since Finn just bolted out of there, and she hadn’t seen him since. Sure, Rey’s girlfriend had come on declaring that he was asking for Poe, but that was it—and besides, it was almost time for the first dance, he couldn’t just sit it out, when the hell was he gonna—

The doors opened.

“Sorry for the delay,” said Finn, walking in side by side with Poe. “There were just a few matters I had to clear up at the last minute, but everything should be fine now.”

The hubbub intensified. He raised a single hand; everyone became silent almost immediately. “That said, there is an announcement I have to make.”

He gently lay a hand on Poe’s shoulder.

Oh.

“For three years,” he said, “Admiral Poe Dameron has been a good ally in battle, and one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. It was no surprise, then, that he has won over my heart.” He smiled fondly at the man beside him. “And now tonight, I intend to take his hand as my lifelong companion.”

The people’s gasps echoed around the ballroom. Naami swore she heard the unmistakable thump of someone’s head hit the floor. Probably the archduchess’s.

Finn looked around. “Yeah, that’s… it.”

Immediately, the room burst into applause and cheers. Someone nearby whistled as the couple shared a quick kiss, still in each other’s arms.

Next to her, Isaac snorted.

“Excuse me?” she asked, turning to him with a frown.

“No, it’s just—” He smiled, head in his hand. “Finn’s gonna fit here perfectly, I think.”

“Yeah,” she said, as the orchestra began to play its first few notes.

Isaac ran off in the direction of Aziela (still excited to get to dance with any royalty, really) as Finn neatly bowed and extended a hand to his new fiancé, who graciously accepted it.

“It’s nice how everything worked out.” Naami turned her head to see Hava beside her, dressed in a neat tux rather than the drab Republic fatigues. “Kind of a miracle, I guess.”

“Perhaps,” said Naami with a smile as the waltz played on. “Well, may I have this dance?”

“Oh, certainly.”

 

The aftermath could only be described as an exhilarating chaos.

First, of course, there was the matter of what to do with former president Deyarin; the charges brought against her of concealing foreign interests, abducting children, and attempted murder more than netted her a lifetime sentence. And since, unfortunately, a good portion of her cabinet were either in on the conspiracy or really didn’t want to assume office, the task fell onto the Secretary of State. Not that Finn minded—he always felt that he trusted Zora a lot more than the president she had served under.

Then, there was the whole affair they had originally landed here for—the matter of joining the Republic. Thankfully, the motion was put up for a vote under the senate, and passed with a comfortable majority. With Zora and Tikva’s signatures, it became official; Verakhat would now be a voting member of the New Republic, neutral no longer.

And finally, as trivial as it seemed, the prince was in a bit of a hurry to tie the knot—leading to possibly the most lavish last-minute wedding in quite some time. Within a week, Finn and Poe found themselves travelling the same parade route, this time as newly wedded husbands.

Finally, as the hubbub died down, it was time to leave.

“Say hi to all the kids from me,” said Finn as he embraced Rose in front of their shuttle. “And do try to hurry up and get married already.”

“Just because you had a seven-day engagement doesn’t mean we all have to,” she said, giving him one last fond squeeze before pulling away. “Try to visit sometime, alright? Don’t be a stranger”

“Yeah, Finn,” said Naami, crossing her arms. “Something tells me this Order might drive me nuts.”

“I’ll try,” he said, giving her a quick salute. “Rey, try not to drive my sister crazy.”

“No promises,” said Rey. He just chuckled, rolling his eyes as Poe shook Naami’s hand.

“Do I have your blessing?”

“Sure,” she said, raising an eyebrow. “But seriously, Finn, if this guy does anything stupid—”

“I’ll do my best not to, then,” he said, with that charming smile of his.

Naami looked behind her. “Well, think we got to leave soon,” she said. “Oy, Senator, you got our things secured?”

“Got it,” called out Hava from the shuttle. “Alright, let’s go.”

With a final wave, Naami turned around with her companions to board the ship. Finn and Poe watched them leave.

“You ready?” asked Finn once the roar of the ship had died down.

Poe turned his head. “For what?”

A bounty of thoughts surfaced to his mind. He decided to sum them all up. “For the rest of our lives,” he said, turning around and heading back through the halls of the spaceport. “For all this.”

Poe smiled softly, leaning his head against his husband’s shoulder as they made their way down towards the bustling heart of the city—towards their future. “As ready as I’ll ever be.”

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