Poe’s first speech to the senate after Ben and Rey’s visit was one of his strongest in recent memory. Part of that had to do with how he could feel the Force flowing through him as he delivered it. Another part of it had to do with the topic he was covering- the preservation of ancient cultural sites throughout the galaxy.
It was a cause he felt strongly about having grown up around the temples of Yavin-4. Reminiscing about old times with Ben had made him think about it even more over the past few weeks. The presence of the old temples had made his childhood and adolescence so special, and yet he’d seen first hand how becoming a military base had impacted the sites.
Walls torn down to accommodate large gatherings, ancient stonework covered in modern materials to make the spaces more fit for industrial use- Few things about the Rebellion’s use of the temples had been kind to them. It was a necessary reality of war, but a reality peace-time could see remedied. He was determined to make sure monuments like those he loved were protected and preserved for future generations.
As his speech came to a close, it was met with thunderous applause. The galaxy clearly wanted to see places like the temples of Yavin-4 preserved as much as he did. Normally his attention would have been lost in the noise, but one delegate in particular caught his attention...
A delegate that wasn’t actually a delegate...
The Senate pod ceremoniously dedicated to Alderaan normally remained empty. However someone was in that very seat, and he knew right away who it was. The only person who had access to those seats was the sole surviving member of the Alderaanian royal family.
Does your wife know you’re on Coruscant, Master Solo? He teased through their bond.
I'd thought you'd spot me down here. Since you asked, she’s the one who sent me.
Why doesn’t that surprise me…
Ben could sense the satisfied smirk that knowledge gave Poe from across the senate chamber.
Would you have a moment to meet with me in your office, Senator? Ben teased back.
Why go there when we both have our own places?
You know, for old times sake.
That… was only a month ago.
A month feels a lot longer when it’s spent apart.
Poe sighed as his senate pod returned to it’s spot. Ben’s flair for drama was everything he loved about him.
You know…. if we’re going for the old times sake vibe…. Why don’t we meet on the Falcon?
Ben thought about it for a moment before responding.
Are you really sure you want to meet there?
Poe remembered the state the Falcon had been in the last time he’d seen it. Their teen years hadn’t been kind to it, and the galactic war it fought in hadn’t made things anymore plush.
Nah… forget I said it, let’s go for the office.
I’ll see you there in a few.
Outside the door to his office, Poe could already sense Ben’s presence inside. As thrilling as the feeling was, it was something he was still getting used to. The moment the door opened Ben pulled him close, covering him in a shower of kisses he’d held onto since the moment they parted.
“I am really going to enjoy getting used to this…” Poe sighed, relaxing into the feeling of Ben’s arms around him again.
“Have you told anyone… about your new powers yet?” Ben asked between kisses.
“Not… just yet…” The whirlwind of passion Ben had him caught up in made it hard to get the words out. “I like… keeping a few things our secret.”
Ben paused as his next question came to him. It was the reason he'd come to see Poe in person- one he couldn’t hold back from asking any longer.
“Can I be there when you tell Kes and Shara?”
“Of course!” He said right away. The idea was as nerve wracking as it was exciting. “Having you there might make things easier... Not gonna lie I'm pretty nervous it's gonna require being honest with them a few other things. I’m sure they’ll be curious about how it happened.”
Ben knew right away what needed to be said.
“From what you told them the day you left- nothing about us should come as a shock anymore.”
Poe lit up as the thought sank in.
“You are right about that...”
Their excitement over the idea of being honest about their relationship had them falling back into the frenzy of kisses they’d been sharing just moments before.
They’d waited their entire lives to be honest about what they felt for each other. As unconventional as their trio was, it wasn’t something they could hold back any longer.
Especially considering the miracle it had caused.
Together they stumbled over to the couch, pulling each other’s clothes off as they went. As Ben fell back onto the couch holding the man he loved, he could feel the many parts of his life he’d fought to keep separate for so long finally coming together. He may have thought about it more, had he not had every reason to be distracted.
He absolutely loved the sight of Poe’s senate robes shimmering as they fell to join the growing heap of clothing on the floor….
Yavin-4 was exactly as Ben had remembered it. It’s towering temples had a way of making the planet feel like it a trip back in time. The largest of them, the Great Temple, loomed above the jungles below as he and Rey piloted the Falcon towards the Dameron’s home nearby.
As familiar as it all felt, a lot had changed since the last time he’d been here. His parent’s absence was an ache he felt in his heart long before they touched down.
“It will be alright sweetheart.” Rey assured him as they prepared to exit the Falcon. “This is a good thing. You know I’m right here with you the whole time.”
“I know.” He smiled as he took her hand. Together they walked down the ramp and onto the landing pad.
“Ben!!!” Shara cried as she rushed forward with open arms to hug him. “By all the gods… you’re even taller than I remember!” Her eyes filled with tears as she looked at him. She could see both her friends staring back at her in his dark eyes- and the hurt in them from their loss was as clear as it was strong. As much as she missed her friends, she knew having their boy here was exactly how they’d have wanted it.
“I’m so, so glad you’re here.” She said hugging him again. She was determined to give him the welcome home Han and Leia never got the chance to give him.
“We all are.” Kes said as he and Poe joined them.
The four of them held each other tightly for a moment. The last time they’d all been in this place together felt like a lifetime ago. At the same time, being together again just felt right- like this was the way things had always been and always should be.
The love and belonging of his adoptive family surrounding him was everything Ben needed after all he’d been through. He could have easily been overwhelmed by it, but realized right away they were forgetting someone.
“There’s someone you guys need to meet. This is my wife, Rey.”
“Welcome to the family!” Shara said pulling her in to join them. “You’re one of us now, like it or not.”
Rey’s heart melted as she happily joined their hug. “I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”
Towards the end of dinner Ben sensed Poe’s thoughts were on how he’d break the news of his new powers to his parents. It was clear it was something he was struggling with.
Why don’t you show them? Poe heard Ben say through their bond.
Looking up he saw Ben and Rey were both smiling at him, knowing what he needed to do.
“Now what are you boys up to…” Shara asked, seeing them eye each other.
“There’s something Poe wanted to show you.” Ben replied, unable to hide his excitement.
Poe looked around for a moment. Right away he spotted his parents collection of pottery on a shelf above them on the wall. The shelf held several ancient bowls and vessels his mother and father had found while excavating the temples back in their days in the Rebellion.
He reached a hand up and focused on one of the smaller bowls. Channeling the Force he lifted it, floating it out over the table. After a few seconds he brought it down to rest in his hands in front of him.
He set the bowl down in the middle of the table and looked back up at his parents to see their reaction. It was clear they were surprised, though not in the way that he’d expected them to be.
The two turned to look at each other for a moment, doing their best to hold back knowing smiles. Shara had to know the truth of it, and knew however Poe answered her next question would explain everything.
“Does this by chance have to do with what you told us about you and Ben- the day you left for Kijimi?”
The trio looked at each other, stunned.
“I suppose… you could say that.” Rey answered hesitantly, sensing there was more to all this than the three of them knew.
That answer explained everything to Shara and Kes.
“Alright…” Poe had to get to the bottom of what was going on. “Bit of an awkward question but… how did you guys know that?”
His parents paused for a moment, trying to think of how best to answer that.
“There’s some old art we’ll need to show you in the great temple.” His father explained. “It’s too dark this evening, but tomorrow we’ll take the three of you there. Like what you just did a second ago- it’s something you’re going to have to see to believe.”
Sitting by the fire later that evening, Rey was thankful they hadn’t attempted a journey to the Great Temple just yet. After all that had happened over the past decade, the Solo and Dameron families had quite a bit of catching up to do.
Though they’d never heard specifics, Kes and Shara had known Han and Leia had given their lives to bring their son back. They’d have done the same without a second thought had they found themselves in their place.
The true horror of what Ben had been had been through and been made to do however, they never could have guessed. They found themselves in awe of the strength of the young man before them as he found the courage to share what had really happened.
Tears flowed and hugs were shared as the once close families reconnected. Through all the tragedy and loss they’d been through, deep down they knew what mattered most was they were back together again. Nothing could ever fill the emptiness left behind by those they’d lost, but their memories made them more determined than ever to make the most of the time they had left together.
The next day Ben, Rey, and Poe found themselves in awe of the ancient art and text Shara and Kes had revealed after removing some of the panels that covered the walls of the Great Temple. Poe had often wondered why the Rebellion had covered the stone walls in sheets of metal in the first place. The panels hadn’t seemed to provide a functional purpose, other than to hide the stone they were secured to.
As soon as they were removed, the reason for their installation was obvious. They hadn’t meant to cover the stone itself, but rather the art that adorned it.
“I take it this is why they covered the walls?” Poe asked, already knowing the answer.
“Yes…” Kes replied flatly. “The Massassi’s work wasn’t exactly conducive to a military work environment.”
“I can see that...” Poe said, eyebrows raised at how graphic it all was.
“This interior of this temple was originally lots of small rooms.” Shara explained. “Several walls were taken down to create larger gathering spaces when the Rebellion used it, but plenty of them still remain. All the walls in the smaller rooms are covered in art like this. We’ll leave you three to look over it yourselves....” She paused as she remembered she’d need to make one thing clear. “Don’t be afraid to get up and take a close look at these. They’re very detailed. They tell a story if you read each row in order-”
“I think we got it...” Poe said, ready to be left alone to get a closer look at things.
“We’ll see you guys in a bit.” Kes said as the two turned to leave.
Once Poe’s parents were gone, the three of them began pouring over the drawings in front of them. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
The art appeared to be ancient depictions of rituals the Massassi had practiced. Illustrated right in front of them were retellings of how the Massassi had not only understood, but religiously practiced the ability Ben and Rey had discovered with Poe on Coruscant- the ability for bonded pairs to share the Force with others by making love to them.
“So this temple was basically a giant brothel?” Poe asked, stunned by that realization
“Not a brothel...” Rey said, recognizing symbols of the Force form the ancient texts she’d studied. “The was a house of worship. The Massassi saw making love to each other as a way to honor the Force. Their ability to pass the Force to each other was part of that...”
“These lines of text look like an earlier version of Sith…” Ben said, igniting his purple saber and holding it up to illuminate them better.
“Please don’t tell me we’re gonna need 3PO and Babu for this…” Poe sighed.
“Gods no, we don’t need 3PO anywhere near this.” Ben scoffed. “Thankfully I can read them just fine.”
“You what?” Poe asked shocked.
“I can read Sith.”
Poe stared at him for a moment, the irony setting in. “So you’re telling me you can read something Rey and I once had to travel all across the galaxy to try and get translated?”
“Trust me, I had the same reaction.” Rey laughed. “Ben’s time on the dark side had a bit of a silver lining in that he learned a few valuable things about it. You’ll hear more about all that when we start teaching you about both sides of the Force.”
Poe did his best to shake himself from the shock of that realization. He knew they had more important things to focus on. “So then, what do they say?”
“Two there must be….” Ben started reading, following one of the first lines of text. “This part looks to be an earlier version of the rule of two.”
“The what?” Poe asked.
“A rule Sith used to follow about always studying the Force in twos… Although not at all like the Massassi did obviously.”
“That’s a twist I didn’t expect.” Rey said joining him, holding up her own yellow saber to get a closer look at the area next to the one was studying.
“Other than that… it just goes through what happened… Whenever a bonded pair makes love to someone without the Force, the power of their bond is shared with whoever the bonded pair loves. It can be three or four, thought doesn’t look like it ever happened with more than four. There must not be not enough power to go beyond two additional people.”
“So back when the Massassi were worshiping in these temples, dyads could become trios and quartets?” Poe knew the idea was as groundbreaking as the existence of dyads themselves.
“Looks like it.” Ben replied
“That’s kind of what we are now then- A bonded trio... or triad?
“I like the sound of triad...” As Rey though about it another thought struck her. “I wonder how many temples there are like this throughout the galaxy...”
“Funny you should say that…” Poe mind was already several steps ahead. “I gave a speech a few weeks ago on the protection of ancient sites- Ben might have told you about it. If there are temples like this all over the galaxy with insights on the Force no one’s heard about in thousands of years… It might be important for someone to check that out.” He paused as the significance of what they’ discovered set in. “You really got to admit, this all seems more than a little serendipitous...”
“The Force has a way of doing that.” Rey grinned.
“Putting people right where it needs us to be.”
Before heading to bed that evening, Shara puled her son aside so they could catch up together, just the two of them. Their patio outside was the perfect spot to do so- siting under the stars while listening to the waterfalls below.
“I take it you three learned a thing or two in the temple today?” She asked right away after getting comfortable.
“Yeah… Thanks for letting us look around on our own.” As awkward of a question as it was, he was used to his mother’s ability to get right to the point. It was a family trait he himself had inherited plenty of.
“We figured it might have been a little weird to look through all that with your parents right there…”
“An accurate assessment.” Poe laughed.
“There’s something I need to be honest with you about us. I think it might help you understand some things.”
He couldn’t begin to guess where this was going- nor did he want to.
“The reason we wanted you to see that- it wasn’t just so you understood how you received the Force from Ben and Rey.”
“You figured that out…” Poe suddenly found it hard to maintain eye contact. It was the first time anyone outside of the three of them had voiced that out loud- and hearing it from his own mother didn’t make it an easier.
“Trust me, it wasn’t very hard to figure out...” She did her best not to laugh. It was almost adorable how much her son didn’t think his parents saw right through him.
“What you should know…” Shara went on, “is that was the same with us, your father and I with Han and Leia.”
“Really...” Poe’s stomach dropped. That certainly wasn't what he'd been expecting.
“Don’t sound so surprised. I know everyone thinks of their parents as old and boring, but we were young too once. We weren’t that different from you at your age.”
“Fair enough.” Part of him couldn’t help but wonder if the experience of war had been the same. Had war torn them apart or brought them together?
“How did it happen- when the four of you fell in love?”
“The specifics aren’t really a story to pass to other generations… as I imagine yours with Ben and Rey isn’t.”
“That I understand.” It suddenly became hard to maintain eye contact again. It was a little unnerving how much sharper his mother was about all of this than he was…
“What I can tell you, without getting too specific, is these drawings you saw today had a part to play in it.”
“The temple was what made you-” He couldn’t believe he was asking that.
“Not right away.” She laughed. “Every member of the Rebellion that worked on the base at some point saw them or found out about them. Drawings of ancient beings making love to pass the Force to each other don’t stay quiet for long. No one ever talked about them other than as an amusing myth. That all changed when Leia found out she had the Force. She cut her training short when she had a vision about the dark side in Ben’s future-”
“Leia knew ?” It was another realization about his mentor he hadn’t expected.
“She had sensed something was coming, but she didn’t know what it was or how to stop it. The idea came to her of giving the Force to others, so that Ben had more people around him to protect him…” Her words trailed off as she knew it didn’t need to be explained.
“Oh you gotta be kidding me…” The more he heard, the more he realized this was one of the last conversations he’d ever wanted to have with his mother.
Shara didn’t need the Force to sense her son’s discomfort with the topic. She knew something needed to be explained before she went any further.
“You have to understand- a parent will do whatever it takes to protect her child. If you ever have children of your own you’ll realize how true that is. Leia hoped like any mother would that if she could give her powers to more of those around her, her son would be kept safe. Being a young woman, she was also as curious as anyone would have been seeing the ways things used to be. She knew it had never happened with her and Han alone, and naturally she wondered if it required more people to be involved. She shared all of this with me one evening when the four of us were enjoying a particularly strong batch of Corellian whisky… and the rest is history.”
Poe’s mind spun as the truth of it set in. As it began to make more sense, it somehow became a little easier to talk about.
“It didn’t work with just one though… did it?” He knew the answer to that before he even asked it.
“We figured that out pretty quickly. We pulled a few panels down to make sure, but it turns out it doesn’t work with individuals, only pairs “bonded by the Force” as the drawings depict.”
“That’s what it’s looking like.”
Another question hung in his mind- about how it had “been the same with them” as she’d described it. He had to know what she meant by that.
“You said the four of you loved each other- Were you really in love with each other, like Ben and Rey and I are?”
“We were. We may not have gained the Force from each other, but being together in that way we did learn a lot more about ourselves- specifically that our love for each other was more than just about friendship.”
“Huh...” It was a lot to take in, but it did explain a few things.
“I know it’s more than you want to know, after all that happened to Ben I realized keeping secrets wasn’t the best way of going about things.”
“That I totally get...”
“I hope it also helps you understand why Leia and Han sent Ben away- and why there wasn’t much we could say to you years ago when you brought that up.”
Suddenly a mountain of realizations about the past hit Poe.
“So Han and Leia sent him away because they felt like they weren’t powerful enough to protect him? That he needed to be with other Jedi like himself?”
“…and somehow Leia felt like she failed by not giving the Force to those she loved?”
“She never came out and said it, but I always knew that must have been the case. Self doubt is rarely logical, especially as a parent. If I’d been in her place I know I would have felt the same way.”
“Damn…” Poe’s heart felt heavy as he realized even more about the pain his mentor had carried. “All of this is… really complicated.”
“Life is rarely simple.”
“The older I get the more I’m realizing that.” He sighed.
“That’s what family is for- to help you make sense of all.”
Poe paused for a moment as he continued to process all he’d just heard. “Thank you for telling me that- Not the easiest stuff to hear but it definitely explains a lot... about, well, a lot of things.”
Shara couldn’t hold back from asking another question that had been on her mind since her son arrived home. “While we’re being honest with each other- where do you think Zorii is going to fit in all this?”
“Zorii?!” He hadn’t expected that.
“You, Ben, and Rey- I may not have the Force, but I can tell when my son’s heart and mind are in a lot of places at once.”
It began to dawn on him just how much his mother saw through him.
“Is it really that obvious?” He asked, somehow already knowing the answer.
“Oh, I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Rey seemed particularly interested when you brought her up over dinner.” She couldn’t help but grin as she said it. She remembered having that same curiosity at her age...
“Of course she did.” Poe sighed. The way Rey constantly asked about her was something he was still getting used to.
He thought to say something else but noticed his mother was looking at him like he hadn’t answered her question.
“Well- Where does she fit into all of this? Would she be ok with you loving others?”
A devlish smile spread across his face. He knew that answer to that right away.
“There's a reason I didn't tell you guys a lot about Kijimi.”
“Alright, I get the picture.”
His smile faded as he realized he might as well quit being a smartass and come out and say it.
“In the off chance that she ever wanted anything to do with me again, she would actually fit beautifully into all of this.”
“Oh?” That was encouraging to hear.
“Yeah. Her and Rey, well let’s just say they hit it off. No clue how Zorii and Ben would get along but he seems to love strong willed, stubborn women as much as I do. I’m sure that wouldn’t be an issue.”
“You both take after your fathers in that way.” Shara laughed.
“Apparently…” Suddenly another thought struck him. “Speaking of strong willed women- this is about you wanting grandchildren, isn’t it?”
“What ever would give you a thought like that?” She smiled, knowing she’d been called out.
“Trust me- if I could get Zorii back I would have by now. I’ve tried for two years and she hasn’t responded. I think that ship has sailed.”
“Have you gone to see her since Ben came back into your life?”
“Not in person, why?”
“Something you should know about women- We always know if someone's heart is caught up in a way they haven’t resolved. Usually that’s the first thing that makes us run.”
The thought was an unexpected one for Poe, yet a part of him had to admit- something about it did make sense.
“So you’re saying because I was still hurting over Ben all these years she picked up on that- and that’s why she didn’t want to get back together?”
“You tell me- what made you leave Kijimi and join the Resistance in the first place?”
Poe didn’t have to answer that out loud. They were both aware it had been his need to fight the regime that had torn Ben away.
“…and where was your head after Exegol?” Shara went on. “Ready to forget anyone else ever existed and start a life with Zorii?”
“Not exactly…” He hated to admit how much of a point she had. “At this point I don’t think that’s happening though.”
“What’s not happening?”
“Forgetting anyone else ever existed.”
“Exactly- The point is you realize that now.”
Shara reached up and tucked one of her son's dark curls behind his ear. He’d grown up so much from the young boy he’d once been- and yet he still had so much to figure out. She had a feeling this was something he’d need a woman to put into perspective for him.
“After Exegol, you were as confused as you were exhausted. You came here and slept for a week, barely saying a word to your father or I. The next thing we know you were off to Coruscant, right back in the middle of things. The first thing you did was give your ex girlfriend who you still cared for a job that kept her close by. You made sure to help her get settled right away after Kijimi was destroyed- so that you weren’t pulled apart again. Next, you gave your ex boyfriend and his wife, both of whom you care for, an apartment near you in the hopes that they came and visited once in a while. You seem to have tied one of those loose ends up- now you have to ask yourself- what’s stopping you from the other?”
It was getting to be a little hard to believe just how good his mother was with all of this…
As she explained it, another mountain of realizations began to dawn on him.
The reason things had worked out with Ben was that Ben had been the one to come see him. As all over the place as he’d been about it- he still had the courage to show up in Poe’s office and all but break down like the adorably confused person he was.
With the history they had, of course Ben had been the one to show up.
With Zorii on the other hand, Poe would have to be the one doing the fighting.
“I think I’m starting to understand what you’re saying...” He finally admitted.
“You’re a smart man. I knew you would.”