There is a period of time after the destruction of the Starkiller where everything seems to be in motion, and the world is blurred.
Finn is stationary on a cot in the med-room, but everything around him is noise and chaos in the wake of their victory. Rey is gone after a brief and slightly awkward meeting in front of General Organa, and BB-8 makes endless circles of the hallway, regularly passing him by, as though to make sure Poe’s still there.
Poe hasn’t really been doing very much of anything: he’d be running on the last fumes of adrenaline since crashing in Jakku, and since he landed back at base, following the fiery destruction of a planet that had already caused the destruction of so many others, he feels kind of lost. Untethered. Really, he wants to be flying again, but he’s grounded until some semblance of order is rebuilt under the General’s watchful eye.
So he sits, and sometimes he reads the same flight manuals that he read back when he was always looking over his parents shoulders, fingers twitching from the need to do something. By now, he knows the inside of his T-70 as well as BB-8, and when he closes his eyes, he can see the triggers, and each individual piece that makes up the control system, and the opening and closing of the hatch, and the sound the engines make when he fires them up for take-off.
When he dreams, though, he’s back in the desert: there’s fire and soot, and his mouth tastes of grit, and there’s sand in his eyes. The blinding sun only serves to illuminate the sheer vastness of the emptiness. There’s no BB-8, no Finn, only insidious things in the back of his head, where his hair has turned tacky and is sticking to his scalp. Poe has never been a fan of drugs: he’s known around certain circles to check himself out of medical care and leap straight back into the action, but this time, he takes the time to ask for something to help him sleep. Although really, the only thing they’re good for is keeping him asleep instead of allowing him to lurch into wakefulness, sheets sweaty and twisted around him. On the good days, he can feel the phantom heat of Finn’s back pressed against his own in the tiny cockpit as they spiral through space. He wakes feeling drained but warm.
He pretends not to notice that BB-8 has chosen to spend its time equally between sitting at the end of his bed and Finn’s, and instead pretends that everything is fine.
It isn’t, at all really, but a man can dream.
Finn wakes and immediately asks where Rey is.
There’s a weird feeling in the pit of Poe’s stomach, and experience has taught him what it means, so he makes the executive decision to ignore it. Instead, he flicks Finn’s forehead with a smile, and hands him back his jacket. It smells less like the oil of his X-Wing now, and more like a combination of sharp circuits and dirt and cheap soap. Poe knows this because he’s been wearing the thing since the med-droid stripped Finn out of it for surgery. There was a big burn along the back of it, straight through the leather, deep enough to make him cringe, so he spent the first two days painstakingly fixing the hole, until the only remaining evidence was a thick line of slightly lighter material.
Poe carefully drapes it over Finn’s face, and hears a muffled laugh, before Finn seems to sink further into the bed, relaxing beneath the jacket’s familiar hold. He’s covered enough that only his eyes are visible, and through the haze of medication he seems to beam.
Poe is fucked.
They receive word from Rey almost a week later, when Finn is finally starting to move around on his own, and his skin is no longer too tender to wear the jacket. General Organa and Statura watch a message from an older, bearded man. Poe stands a respectful distance away, and when the General turns around, her eyes are red but her cheeks are dry.
Finn gets a call from Rey, and he goes to Poe’s bunk to answer it. Out of courtesy, Poe stays a respectful distance away: as in he is as far away as possible while still being on the base.
He ends up in the mess-hall near one of the workshops, and he’s absently doodling the inside of a ship onto the wrapper of his lunch when Jess slams a tray on the bench opposite him, and gingerly sits down. Poe jumps, and his pen skitters across the diagram and sinks into the soft crust of his roll, leaving a black stain. He sighs.
“Sorry,” Jess says, sounding very unapologetic. She throws her own roll at him, and he catches it with one hand, without looking up. “Your boy out of the hospital yet?”
“He’s not my boy,” Poe says automatically. “And yeah, he officially got out yesterday.”
Jess chews noisily for a moment, and when he looks up he sees she’s cocked an eyebrow. “And?”
“And what, Testor?”
She huffs at him, and he frowns at her. “I don’t understand.” Or at least, he doesn’t, until she throws an exaggerated wink.
“Is he still wearing your jacket? Cause I think he is, and you are pining.”
She throws a wrapped capsule of meat at him, and he bats it aside, so it clips the side of a passing pilot, who gives him a filthy look.
“You’re in denial.” Jess declares, when he starts to tear of chunks of his bread to make an abstract interpretation of the fall of the Empire on his tray.
“I’m not,” Poe says defensively, because he’s not. He’s just being realistic. If by some miracle Finn hasn’t caught on, he knows for a fact Rey has, even if they only spoke for a grand total of four or five minutes.
He doesn’t need Jedi mind powers to tell when someone‘s figured out what he’s feeling.
“Poe-“ Jess starts, but stops when Poe waves his hand.
“I’m figuring it out.”
“That’s not what I was going to say.” Jess interjects, a weird note in her voice. She jerks her head down towards his hands and, looking down, Poe sees that he’s dug his nails into the calloused flesh of his palms. There’s a small line of red on his left hand, which is weird, because when he wears his suit, he has to keep his nails short. But he hasn’t flown in weeks, so he guesses that’s just another thing he’s been forgetting to do. He brushes his hands against his pants, and stands. “Poe-“ Jess tries again.
“I’ll talk to you later,” Poe says firmly, shoving both hands into his pockets. “We’re going to be flying out soon to run reconnaissance in the remnants of the Hosnian System, right?”
Jess snorts, but she looks troubled. “Worried that your position as second best pilot in the Resistance might be usurped because you’re out of practise?”
“The best pilot in the Resistance, Pava.” He corrects.
“That depends. Have you seen the new girl fly?”
Poe has: briefly, as she and Chewbacca took the rustbucket of a Millennium Falcon out into the galaxy to look for Luke Skywalker. In that moment, all he could see was someone finally refusing to run, and find their own path. If only he was as good as dealing with other things as he was with flying.
He clears his throat. “Yeah, I’ve seen her.”
And then he walks away, because Poe’s not a coward, but he is exhausted, and has a night on the First Order starship to look forward too.
Rey keeps contact erratically, so they only find out she’s returning with Luke about three hours before they’re due to arrive. While Poe had once thrived in excitement, he finds himself having to remove himself to his bunk, and spends the better part of the day lying back, staring up at the ceiling. BB-8 remains on the floor beside his feet, despite his numerous attempts to make it go and join everyone else. He knows it’s as fond of Rey as Finn is, but it stays regardless, and he finds peace in its quiet whirring.
The noise is muffled past the door, so he lets his heartbeat slip into a thundering noise in his ears, breathing slowing, the world fading into the air going into his lungs, and the feeling of sheets against his back, and his toes curled in their socks, and the soft humming from the pipes. It’s an old trick he uses when he’s flying: it cuts out distractions, and removes any obstacles in between his brain and the controls. Usually, especially since he’d finally managed to get his reflexes to where he wants them, he’s taken to finding enjoyment in the act of a battle, not just the aftermath. It’s rare that he lets himself sink this far in outside of a dire situation: even with Starkiller, he was still awake. Poe isn’t precisely sure what’s wrong with him.
One thing he’s forgotten, though, is that it takes him a while to wake up from it, although unlike his medicated drugs, he feels refreshed when he pulls out again, less fraying at the edges.
[Friend-Poe,] BB-8 is chanting from the floor. [Friend-Poe Friend-Poe Friend-Poe.]
“Yeah,” he groans, words sticking in his throat. “I’m up, I’m up.”
BB-8 circles the room once, twice, three times as Poe stands, and struggles to find his equilibrium. His skin feels too tight and ill-fitting. He watches as BB-8 rolls out the door, then back inside again, to make sure he’s following.
[Friend-Poe,] it says, [Friend-Rey is back.]
He rubs a hand against his eyes. There are weird black spots in his vision. “I know, B.”
[Hurry please, Friend-Poe,] it idly rolls back and forth, patiently watching his staggering trip from the bed to the hallway. [Friend-Poe is well?]
He’s caught himself on the doorframe, and has to shake himself awake. He resolves to go via the refresher, and at least wash his face before facing the crowds.
“I’m fine,” Poe says, reassuringly, and nearly jumps out of his skin when he feels something round pressed up against his leg. BB-8 stares up at him, unblinking, before making a familiar set of beeps that Poe has come to call its “comfort noise:” the last time it used them, it had rolled furiously up to him after the aerial firefight at Maz Kanata’s palace. He bends down, and presses a hand against its domed head. “Really, I’m fine.”
BB-8 makes a disapproving noise, but follows him out of the room regardless, nudging him along as he pauses several times to get his bearings before herding him into the fresher.
“Will you stop, please?” He says finally, as BB-8 guards the door, “you’re worse than a mother hen.”
[I am neither technically animate, not junglefowl,] BB-8 corrects him patiently as Poe ducks his head under the faucet, [but I may resemble the physical shape of heavily pregnant poultry.]
“That’s not what I – never mind. How did you get more sarcastic after Jakku?”
BB-8 makes the closest sound that it can to a giggle, before the door swings open, and it makes a very pleased noise. Poe turns, his vision slightly blurred from holding his face under the water, and squints to see the slightly malformed shape of Rey stoop down to run gentle hands up and down its sides. BB-8 makes a soft noise, leaning back so it can gaze up at her face.
[Friend-Rey,] says BB-8 cheerfully.
Rey murmurs something, and it rolls back in response, before rolling forward again, and repositioning itself at the door. She stands, brushes down her grey pants, and then turns to face him.
So far, this has already lasted longer than the last (and first) time they’d spoken, only this time he probably looks half dead, and his fringe is wet and stuck to his forehead.
Not one of his greatest moments, honestly.
“Poe,” Rey says, her voice warm, reaching out to take his hand. He responds, using his other to push his hair out of his eyes, before reaching around and using a cloth to wipe his face.
“Sorry,” he says, genuinely apologetic, “this isn’t much of a welcome back.”
She laughs quietly, and when her eyes crinkle at the corners the room seems to crackle. It’s a weirdly pleasant sensation.
Stop it, Poe tells himself.
“I hear you’ve been looking after Finn while I’ve been gone,” she says, sounding amused.
He grins widely, rolling his shoulders back. “What can I say, stopping him from vibrating out of the bed from the sheer frustration of not being able to move is the least I could do. Tell me, in the time you’ve known him, has he always insisted on crawling to the fresher by himself?”
At this, she really laughs, and it’s a loud sound. When she looks back at him, her expression is far more open, and she looks almost… hungry?
“Finn says you’re the best pilot in the Resistance,” she says, seeming to look him over.
“Second best, so I’ve heard,” he corrects, keeping up the bravado. “I’ve heard you’re nothing to sneeze at.”
“I don’t know,” she says stepping in closer. Her fingers play with the bottom of her vest, a little fidget that makes Poe catch his own fingers doing almost the same thing. “The way Finn talks about you, I think you could’ve flown Starkiller all on your own.”
Poe ignores the pleased flush of heat in his stomach, and takes comfort in the shared familiarity of talking about flying, which is pretty much the next best thing after flying itself.
“He might be forgetting about the part where I crashed us in the middle of the desert.”
She seems to brush that off. “You survived,” she says, although her voice catches a little, and she swallows. The fidgeting seems to sudden increase. “I’m sure you were both fine.”
The moment seeming to be broken, he nods at her, puts the towel in the compactor, and walks around her, giving her privacy. BB-8 moves out of the way as he walks out the door, but he is surprised to find that it followed him. He stops in the hallway.
“You can stay with her, you know,” he tells it gently. “I know you were excited to see her.”
BB-8 looks up quizzically, rocking back and forth a little, before ultimately choosing to move forward.
[Later,] it says firmly, [mustn’t let Friend-Poe get lost.]
Poe just sighs and stands until BB-8 realises he isn’t following, and beeps at him. Giving it an affection tap on the antenna, he keeps walking to the hanger.
Living legend Luke Skywalker is both everything Poe expected, and yet nothing Poe expected, simultaneously.
For one, he can’t really see the family resemblance: General Organa doesn’t have a beard, but they are both relatively short in stature which Poe finds kind of weird. Darth Vader was apparently a menacing figure standing at more than six feet tall, while Skywalker would barely clear five foot seven. He knew that Skywalker was a Jedi, but it’s a very different thing to see in the flesh; he’s grown up around the General, but she is more a quiet power, of speeches, and politics, and the innate ability to unite people. The other Skywalker twin is all coiled power just beneath his skin, all of it screaming to get out. He wears much less black, and he’s much easier to understand, if much quieter, but there’s a weird resemblance to Kylo Ren that Poe can’t quite shake off, so he finds he has to avoid both Rey and Skywalker for the first few days that they’re on the base.
Which works out: Finn is more or less Rey’s shadow, though maybe less of a shadow and more of a constant spectator as he watches them use lightsabers, and manipulate the Force, and talk quietly in a group. The whole thing makes his skin crawl, and he finds himself leaning against his T-70, staring up at the sky.
Poe starts, nearly falling off the Starfighter, but rights himself by catching a hand on the wing. This angle makes sure that he stares directly down at Finn, who has his hands tucked into the pockets of the jacket, and is staring curiously up at him.
“Hey, buddy.” Poe hauls himself upright, before lowering himself down onto the ground.
BB-8 is next to Finn, and makes a disapproving noise.
[Friend-Poe is not supposed to be in his T-70 until the Hosnian mission,] it tells him.
“It’s not like I was flying it.” And he wasn’t, technically. He was just thinking about flying it.
Finn just looks at the two of them, slightly bemused. “I have gotta get me some robot lessons.”
“You’ll never find peace and quiet again,” Poe tells him, and BB-8 rolls over his foot.
When Finn has stopped laughing, and it both reminds him and doesn’t remind him of Rey in a way that makes Poe feel a bit ill, he says: “I haven’t seen you around lately.”
“I’ve been around.” Poe says. Around avoiding Finn and Rey and Skywalker, really. Apparently he hasn’t been quite as subtle as he thought he was.
“Not around me, you haven’t,” Finn says, and he rubs his hands together, abruptly looking excited. “Listen, I’ve been talking to Luke. Skywalker? Luke Skywalker. Anyway, Rey convinced him to give people basic lightsaber lessons. In case we run into Ren again, you know.”
Finn looks incredibly keen, but the nausea in Poe’s stomach only turns tumultuous at the mention of Kylo Ren. So, he’s going to have to be an asshole about this.
“Finn,” Poe says, abruptly feeling very tired. “I’m not interested.”
At this, Finn looks incredulous. “Are you for real? You don’t want to learn how to take down that guy?”
“I don’t want to learn how to use a lightsaber. I’ve seen what they can do to someone, and really that’s all the hands on instruction I could want.”
Finn just looks at him, brows creased, his expression confused. Then he looks sick.
“Did he… he didn’t –?”
“No.” Poe says, “but I saw… you were there. Lor San Tekka got almost cut in half because of that thing. Give me a blaster any day.”
Now Finn looks angry, but it doesn’t seem to be directed at Poe. He looks like he maybe wants to fight the First Order singlehandedly, and then wrap Poe in a blanket.
Okay, so that last part might be wish fulfilment. Sue him.
“He could hurt you… he could hurt any of us. We both know that a blaster isn’t exactly going to do much to stop him!”
“Then I’ll stay in the sky, and shoot him from a distance. That’s what I’m here for, Finn. You and Rey can learn how to be heroes and fight him. I’ll stick to what I’m good at.”
Finn gives a self-depreciating laugh. “Well, it’s not like I did so great against him last time. I was kind of useless.”
“I don’t know,” Poe said teasingly, trying to lighten the mood. “You’re not a bad shot.”
“Not a bad shot,” Finn says, suddenly reenergized. “Poe, you should’ve seen us – me and Rey – in the Millennium Falcon on Jakku. I mean, you were dead, and we had no idea what we were doing, and also we nearly died, but man… you should’ve been there. I was wasted in the First Order. I’ve finally found my calling.”
Poe gives BB-8 a look but the droid only chortles in agreement, somehow looking pleased.
He’s surprised that he only feels fondness when Finn launches into a rambling story about how they defeated a line of ties by doing a backflip with their ship and then flying in through a larger ship (???). He’ll have to ask Rey for clarification later.
Watching Finn and Rey is like watching two objects both in motion and standing perfectly still. The sight of lightsabres still leaves him feeling dizzy and a little sick, but he always finds time to watch Rey beat the kriff out of Finn with her staff, as they dance around the small room, cackling. Often, especially when Skywalker is out of the room and they seem determined to impress Poe, they tend to work the most hard at distracting each other rather than doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Sometimes Rey will knock Finn off his feet, and Poe will have to look away or unnecessarily inspect BB-8, who cheers alternatively for both of them from the sidelines.
Finn is coiled muscles built from following orders, and is now a tie cut loose, constantly flicking from one thing to another yet still steadfast in his determination. Rey is different; all sharp angles with kinetic energy beneath pale skin, eyes wide enough to take in the sky. A completely different kind of beauty from Finn, but beautiful all the same.
Oh no, thinks Poe, with a sinking realisation.
He wants to bury himself in the ground and never come out.
“Think fast!” Rey shouts at him, pegging a stick at his head. He catches it unflinchingly, before bringing it down to his lap, and watching as Finn stares at him in disbelief, before Rey uses his distraction to trip him onto the floor again. “Your turn, Dameron.”
It’s not lightsabres, but the hacking and stabbing motions that still get him, enough that when they’re both concentrating on forms and poses he has to kind of zone out a bit.
When Skywalker arrives, he has to leave altogether.
Finn looks hesitant. “Rey, if he doesn’t want to –”
“It’s fine,” Poe says, regretting it immediately. BB-8 makes a cheering beep noise as he stands, gripping the staff in his palms, sweat already pooling on his skin.
Someone has laid down hard mats in the centre of the room, only a slight improvement from the slabs of stone that make up the rest of the compound. Finn moves aside, while Rey falls into a position Poe has come to identify as the ‘I’m getting ready to kick your ass pose.’ He knows basic defence, but he’s never focused on this sort of style, so he just does his best to mirror Rey’s pose. Out of the corner of his eye, he watches Finn slowly back out of the circle, a big smile on his face.
It’s over almost before it begins.
Poe takes pride in that he lasts longer than Finn does some of the time, which is less a matter of innate talent and more an ingrained response to dodging sticks, a side effect of growing up on a military base.
Still, it’s over embarrassingly quickly: he’s flat on his back, one arm awkwardly twisted under his body, the other trapped against the floor, Rey’s staff against his throat.
Their faces are very close, enough so that when Poe breathes, loose strands of her hair flutter and sway. Poe swallows heavily, and Rey doesn’t blink, just stares down at him. Her hand against his wrist feels electric, and it’s getting a little hard to breathe.
But then he hears Finn’s sharp exhale from behind, and that kinda knocks him back into a reality a little, so he tugs at Rey’s grip until she releases him, and he can clamber up off the floor, using the staff as support.
Finn’s expression: shock? Poe feels very guilty in that moment, but tries to play it off as he walks past, slapping a hand down on Finn’s shoulder, handing him back the staff. He doesn’t look back as he leaves the room, BB-8 on his heels.
Kylo Ren is in his head, and he’s reliving every single moment of his life, only the frames are demented and warped as he chases a droid through his mind. He’d skipped the drugs, so he shakes awake several hours before dawn, and can’t get back to sleep.
In between all the frigid hands and teeth and masks in his brain, his panic about the fact that he seems to be a little in love with two people at once seems to have reared its ugly head, and for a moment he has to bury himself in his sweaty pillows and just breathe through it. And then he does what he’s been doing this entire time to deal with his problems: he locks it away and decides to ignore it.
That always works great until it doesn’t.
Poe rinses his mouth in the fresher and then, lost for what else to do, heads back to the practise room. He means to just walk past, but he finds his feet carrying him into the room. For a moment, he thinks its empty because the lights are off and the air is still. But then there’s a sigh, and a shadowy figure moves from the centre of the mats.
Luke Skywalker stares at him unflinchingly in the dark.
Poe’s positive he’s not using a Force trick, but he still finds himself unable to move. In the semi-darkness, Skywalker doesn’t look powerful, he just looks old, and about as tired as Poe feels. The sense of unease that he’s had ever since Skywalker arrived in the base seems to almost fade in this shared companionship of ‘I’m a little too damaged to sleep.’ Another moment passes, then:
“Will you join me?” Skywalker asks in a quiet, raspy voice.
Almost against his will, Poe is suddenly sitting, cross legged on the floor, trying not to breathe too hard, lest he disrupt the… flow of the universe? Or something.
“Can’t sleep?” He finally asks, not really expecting an answer.
“I am buoyed down by my mistakes,” Skywalker replies. He turns, and looks Poe up and down. “I believe you’ve been hurt by one of them, which is my fault again, I suppose.”
He sighs heavily, and somehow manages to look even more troubled.
“It’s not…” his voice is croaky from a lack of sleep, so Poe has to swallow several times before answering. “Last I checked, he could make his own decisions.”
“He hurt you,” Skywalker says, his voice brokering no room for argument. “And he hurt Rey, and he hurt my sister, and he killed my brother-in-law. If I give a dangerous man a blaster and put his finger on the trigger, does that not make me responsible when he fires a shot?”
Poe opens his mouth, then closes it again. “I suppose,” he says.
At this, Skywalker looks almost amused, seeming to smile for a moment, before his face slips back into shadow.
“When Rey first came to me, he had hurt her in a way she did not understand,” he continues, very quietly. “Ways that I now know you have been hurt. But she could defend herself from that kind of violation, in such a manner that you cannot.”
Poe can’t think of a response, so he just stays quiet.
“Finn told me that you didn’t wish to learn the art of a sabre because you didn’t enjoy close contact,” Skywalker says, and there’s a foreign tone in his voice, “though that doesn’t seem entirely true, based on your performance in this room yesterday.”
If it’s possible to die from embarrassment, Poe comes very close in that moment.
Instead, he just hides his eyes in one hand, and prays that the galaxy would go away.
“But I think I understand,” Skywalker says, sounding thoughtful. He moves his robes aside to show his right hand, which is revealed to not be flesh, but steel. Poe doesn’t stare: he’s seen worse. “My father used his lightsabre to take my hand from me, did you know that? Or maybe not my father, whatever dark being had eroded away his being. But after that… I had to build by own sabre, for one, but it took a long time to not flinch at heat. I nearly froze while I was in hiding because I couldn’t bring myself to sit too close to the furnace. Leia almost killed me for that. I just kept feeling my hand being separated from me. Indescribable pain.” He sighs again, and frowns. “And then I fell off a city, but that’s not important.”
For the first time, he makes eye contact. “It’s not the same thing,” Skywalker says, “and I do not wish to trivialise your pain with whatever I might have gone through, but I’m trying to explain… I understand that you would never want to see a lightsaber, or have anyone use you through the Force, ever. It is justified, and I’m not going to ask you to join Rey, Finn, and I because it would be counterproductive to your health. Instead,” he looks briefly hesitant, before continuing, “if you would permit me, I’d like to show you how to heal yourself, and ready yourself should this ever happen again. I pray it doesn’t, but these are dark times, you know.” And he smiles.
Poe is silent for two beats, then three, before managing to croak out: “yeah I’d… I’d like that.”
Around dawn, he staggers back to his room and passes out on the bed. Only, his sleep is not full of darkness but full of light, and rather than being chained down he is flying.
“Where were you yesterday?” Finn asks when he finds him in the mess-hall. Poe is very close to passing out in his oatmeal, so BB-8 bumps his leg periodically to snap him out of the oppressive doze.
“Yesterday. Where were you? Luke was missing as well, and I don’t need the Force to see that you are wiped right now.” Finn’s voice drops as he sits down next to him, gently pushing the tray away as Poe’s head dips dangerously low again. “He didn’t… make you do anything did he? I mean, he’s been gone for a while, and his idea of saying no might be a little –”
“I can’t believe you told him I was afraid of close contact,” Poe interrupts, not too tired to rib Finn a little. “That is the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard.”
Finn looks ruffled, but he smiles all the same. “I had to think on the fly, alright? I didn’t want to make you do anything you didn’t want to.”
“Why weren’t you at least semi-honest and say that a stick killed my sensei or something?”
Finn shoves him, and Poe just drops his head onto the table. The metal feels delicious against his skin. BB-8 hits his leg, but he ignores it. Finn’s warmth is spreading from where their legs and hips are pressed together, and his neck is cricking a little but honestly Poe has never been more comfortable. The only thing that could make it better is if –
“What did you do now, Finn?” A cheerful voice asks from his other side, and he feels BB-8 roll out of the way as Rey sits beside him. Now he’s warmed from both sides, and he’s very close to falling asleep.
“I didn’t do anything!” He hears Finn say indignantly, and from above his head he thinks maybe Rey swatted his arm.
“Secret Jedi training,” he mumbles into the table.
“What?” Finn asks, sounding curious.
Poe rolls his head until his left side is flat against the surface, leaving his mouth clear. He opens one eye, and peers up at Finn. “Secret Jedi training,” he repeats. “Very important. Neither of you are talented enough.” And then he rolls back over and falls asleep.
Because he’s asleep, he misses the ensuring argument about who, out of the two of them, should ask Luke about the secret Jedi training.
Update: Poe has no idea what he’s doing.
He knows that he climbed out of the X-Wing, and that he must have given a report to the General, and he changed out of his flight suit. He probably talked to Jess and Snap, but all he does know is that now he’s laying his bunk, staring up at the ceiling. He isn’t sure whether it’s a dream or not: BB-8 isn’t around, and when he grips the sheets they feel thin and fake. He remembers parts of the mission; an endless sea of space degree fractured by pirates and foragers who searched the wreckage for jewels of the New Republic. Or Old Republic, now.
It doesn’t feel like Poe is flying anymore. It just feels like he’s falling. It turns out open space is a very similar colour to black clothes and cloaks and a black ship and a black hand reaching into his head–
He jerks upright, flails briefly, then trips in the legs of his flight suit and does a sloppy backflip off his bed. After the ringing in his ears has faded from his head’s collision with the floor, he feels much more alert. Rey is staring at him, looking alarmed.
“Sorry,” she says, “I just sensed… your thoughts–”
The feeling of betrayal is almost crippling and he staggers backwards, getting as far away from her in the small room as he can. She’s blocking the way out.
“Are you?” He manages, his tongue still not quite up to speed with his brain, “Are you in my head?”
Rey jerks back waving her hands furiously. “No! No! I just… I can’t really control it yet, I’m still learning. I can just hear things sometimes… I would never…”
Maybe it shows that he’s slipping, that he trusts her word immediately, but regardless he sinks down into a sitting position on the floor, and rests his head on his knees.
“Poe?” He hears, her voice small. “I swear I would never.”
“I know,” he croaks. “Sorry, just give me a minute.”
A minute passes, then two, and BB-8 rolls over and nestles itself against his elbow, humming quietly to itself. That helps almost more than anything. Finally, he uncurls himself from the wall, manages to stand, and then sits on the edge of his bed, where Rey is staring at her hands.
“I’m sorry,” he says. Her head jerks up, abruptly.
“Seriously, it’s fine.” He sighs, then looks down at BB-8.
[Careful breathing,] says BB-8, and beeps out a low rhythm he can follow. It’s much easier to think when there’s oxygen in his brain.
“That’s what Luke’s been talking to me about,” he says, “about all…” he waves a hand around his face, “this.”
Rey just looks at him. “Did Kylo Ren do this to you?”
Her face is blank for a moment, and then she looks furious. He gets the same pleasant feeling in his stomach as when Finn offered to defend his honour.
“I swear,” Rey says, teeth clenched, “when I get my hands on him I am gonna–!”
[Friend-Finn is looking for Friend-Rey,] BB-8 informs him, [should I inform him Friend-Poe is under attack from Designation: Evil First Order Assholes?]
“Kylo Ren isn’t in the base, B.”
“He’d better be thankful that he’s not,” Rey says fiercely, and Poe’s heart hurts.
But he swallows it, and gives her a gentle shove. Even if they haven’t actually done anything, or addressed anything about whatever’s going on between them, it doesn’t make it any less obvious. “Go to Finn, Rey,” he says. “I’m good. Thanks for looking out for me.”
Rey looks confused. “But if you’re not alright, I can just stay.”
“He’s worried about you, and I don’t want to ruin anything.” He considers winking, but he’s too tired to coordinate his eyelids properly.
“Ruin…? You think…?” Rey, if possible, looks even more confused, before her eyes open, and she looks at him.
He frowns. “You’d better not be reading my mind.”
“No. I…” She stops, and smiles, before leaning forward and kissing him on the cheek.
He never blushes when he’s kissed on the cheek. This is pathetic.
Rey strides out of the room, but she stops in the doorway, leaving a long shadow in her wake. “Get some sleep, Poe.”
“That’s the plan.” He gives her a thumbs up, and BB-8 mimics him to great effect.
He’s unconscious before she’s out of the room.
He’s been sleeping so much lately it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise when Finn knocks on the door and asks: “Poe, you awake?”
“Sure am.” Poe closes the flight manual he’s been reading for the fiftieth time, and drops the flimsy he’s been doodling on under the pretext of taking notes. When he turns, Finn and Rey are standing in the doorway, looking suspiciously pleased with themselves. “Did… did I miss something?”
Finn looks triumphantly at Rey before turning back to Poe. He straightens his back and grins. “Yeah,” he says, voice dripping with confidence. Poe can’t tell how much of it is faked. “Yeah, I’d say you missed something.”
And then he walks forward, because as much as Finn would say otherwise, he still has a soldier’s march. And he grabs Poe’s arms, then his shoulders, and then his fingers slide up to Poe’s face, and cups his cheeks.
Poe has missed a lot of things, clearly.
“You,” Finn says clearly, “are not the most perceptive person.”
“Says the guy with the subtlety of an AT-AT Walker,” Poe says, faking indignation, before there’re very soft lips pressed against the side of his nose.
Poe has missed something the size of Starkiller.
“Finn?” He starts, trying to sound confident, and then has to stop, because Finn is kissing him.
If he wasn’t already sure that Finn and Rey were together, he never would have guessed: Finn is easily one of the worst kissers Poe has ever had the pleasure of locking lips with. The kiss breaks, and Poe finds himself flailing internally for a moment, before Rey is suddenly there and, no: Rey is one of the worst kissers Poe has ever kissed. But he also can’t fault her enthusiasm.
When she pulls away, he feels lightheaded in the way if he pulled a turn to fast, or did a number of unnecessary flips. Both of them are staring at him, eyes wide, looking flushed.
“Huh,” Finn says, sounding smug. “Nice work there, Dameron.”
In that moment, he sounds a lot like the Stormtrooper who broke Poe out of prison and whom Poe taught how to shoot canons, than the guy who faced down Ren and the First Order and backflipped a ship (???).
“You two are together,” Poe says, needing to state the obvious.
“And with you too,” Rey says, “if you want.”
Poe moves forward, and Rey’s thin hands catch his neck, his hair, and they’re kissing again. He’s determined to make it better this time, so it angles their mouths together, and shivers violently when she accidently bites down on the corner of his mouth. There’s a seamless move from her lips to Finn’s, whose are thicker, and who opens his mouth under Poe. He carefully moves them together, and then Finn is licking into his mouth, keeping him in place with a hand on his jaw, and another on his hip. This kiss is longer, and although his eyes are shut he feels small hands touching along his bare arms, and the seams of his shirt. Finn moans quietly, and pushes forward until Poe loses his balance and falls backwards, landing on his elbows. Finn pulls away and rests their foreheads together, and then Rey is beside them, rubbing up and down their arms.
“So,” she said, in a voice like Luke Skywalker’s that didn’t allow room for argument, “what next?”