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minimum waste and maximum joy

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Finn swayed a little.

Poe'd never seen someone go through it before, but he'd heard of it happening. Finn had lived his entire life, up until very recently, in artificial gravity, with only short details planetside. The thing about artificial gravity was that it was standardized, absolutely identical on every ship. Real planets didn't work like that, and the gravity on D'Qar felt a little heavy anyway. And so, every now and again Finn would get this weird look on his face, and he would sway side to side for a moment.

It was pretty funny, but Poe wasn't going to tell him that. Instead, Poe was distracting him, letting him help with some basic X-wing maintenance. This mostly consisted of Finn handing him the wrong things, but Finn was slowly getting the hang of it.

"So, Rey, huh?" Poe said, wiping his hands on a rag, mostly to keep Finn from concentrating on the swaying.

"Rey?" Finn replied, looking a little panicked. "What about Rey?" He looked away, scratching the back of his neck and making a poor attempt to seem like he only casually interested in the answer. "Did she ask about me while I was out?"

"Only every time she left your side," Poe assured him. "I think she's sweet on you."

Finn gave him a puzzled look. "She's what?"

"You know," Poe said, nudging him. "She likes you."

"She does?" Finn said, his voice breaking. He coughed. "I mean, of course she does." His eyes grew wide. "What do I do?"

Poe looked at him strangely. "What?"

"I don't know what to do if somebody likes me," Finn said, clearly nervous. "I mean, people do stuff, right?"

"Just act natural," Poe said reassuringly. Finn gave him a frustrated look. "What?"

"I don't have a 'natural,'" Finn said, in a low voice. "I was trained to be a stormtrooper from the time I could walk. With other stormtroopers. Not ordinary people."

"You didn't fraternize?" Poe asked, though he wasn't sure that was a thing he wanted to know about stormtrooper life.

"Even if I had, this is not the same thing," Finn told him.

"I guess you're right," Poe allowed. "You'll figure it out. You're adaptable."

"What if I don't figure it out?" Finn said, worried. He caught Poe by his shirt. "You gotta help me," he whispered. "She could come back any minute."

"I think we'll have a little more notice than that," Poe said, putting a hand on Finn's shoulder, and Finn reluctantly released him. "Okay. You like her, right?"

"Yes," Finn said quickly. "A lot."

"That's one hard part out of the way, then," Poe said. "So just start simple. Ask her if she wants to spend time together. If you have a good time, do it again. Then, when you're ready and the moment's right…"

There was a pause. "Then what?" Finn prompted.

"Then you do what comes-" Poe started.

"Don't say 'natural,'" Finn said. "I don't know how to do any of that."

"Nobody's born knowing it," Poe said. "Plenty of people too young to be doing it figure it out just fine."

"But I'm old enough to be doing it," Finn countered. "And so is Rey. Poe, I don't even know how to kiss anybody."

A lot of things could have happened at this moment.

Poe could have laughed him off. Poe could have told him, for the fifth time, that he'd understand when he got there. But Poe, for reasons even he would be fuzzy on in retrospect, said, "I can teach you."

Finn sighed, looking intensely relieved. "You have no idea how much I hoped you would say that."

Poe looked around at the hangar, which was mostly empty but not quite empty enough to make out in. "Maybe not here."

"Right, later," Finn said, taking a step back. "Do I need to bring anything?"

Poe laughed. "Thankfully all you need is yourself for this one."

"Great," Finn said. He squared his shoulders, looking resolute. "Okay. We can do this."

"Nothing to it," Poe said, patting him on the arm.


Sitting on his bed across from Finn, Poe realized that there might be more to it than expected.

Finn kept talking, saying a lot of words but not conveying a lot of substance. He was actually sweating, the poor guy, and Poe wondered if this was really the best idea. On the other hand, if Finn was going to get anywhere with anyone, somebody had to step in and save him from himself.

"- and so I said," Finn said, halfway through a story that Poe couldn't really follow, "'I don't know about that, man', and then he said, 'Well I do'- can you believe that guy? I can't believe that guy-"

"Hey," Poe said, catching the hand that Finn had been gesturing with while he rambled. "Let's calm down for a minute."

"Right," Finn said, sighing. "Calm."

"We don't have to do this if you don't want," Poe said. "It's all up to you."

"I need this," Finn said, though Poe thought he might be trying to convince himself instead of Poe. His face turned resolute. "So how do we start?"

"Just lean forward, shut your eyes, and kiss me," Poe told him. "That's all you have to do."

Finn nodded. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to Poe's.

When Finn leaned back again, he took one look at Poe and said, "Was it really that bad?"

"Less tongue," Poe said, trying not to laugh. "A lot less tongue."

"Really?" Finn said. "I thought people liked tongue."

"They do," Poe told him. "But light tongue." He held out his hand. "Think about it like picking up a berry."

Finn frowned. "What kind of berry?"

"Any kind of berry," Poe said.

"Do you mean a small, firm berry, or a big, soft berry, or-"

"Forget the berry," Poe said, waving a hand. "It's not helping. The point is that you've gotta be gentle, but not too gentle. Don't just shove your whole tongue in, and when you get it in there, just caress their tongue with yours. If you're not sure about your tongue, wait for them to tongue you and follow their lead."

"Got it," Finn said. "Should I try it again?"

"Practice makes perfect," Poe said. "Again from the top."


By the time Rey returned, escorting the legendary Luke Skywalker, Finn was getting pretty good at kissing. He'd had more practice than Poe originally intended on, and that was only mostly Poe's fault.

Poe stood watching as General Organa greeted Rey and Chewbacca, though the general seemed to lose track of everything else when Skywalker stepped out of the Falcon. He was watching, that is, before someone grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around.

"She's back," Finn said, looking a little terrified and trying to hide behind Poe.

"Go talk to her," Poe said. "Don't let it get all built up in your head and then wind up not being able to act."

"That would have been good advice three weeks ago," Finn said.

"You know she wants to see you," Poe told him. "Go see her."

"She's gonna snap my hand off if I try anything," Finn whispered.

"She won't snap your hand off," Poe said, but he instantly rethought that statement. "Unless you put it somewhere she doesn't want you to have it. Then she'll absolutely snap your hand off."

"I don't know if I can do this," Finn said. He put his hands on Poe's chest. "You go talk to her."

"What would I say to her?" Poe asked. "Just go."

Finn looked from Poe to Rey and back again. "What if she doesn't have any experience either?" he hissed.

"You're just worrying about this now?" Poe said, which hopefully covered for the fact that it hadn't occurred to him.

"Finn!" Rey yelled, and despite his repeated misgivings, Finn was gone in an instant. They ran towards each other, and when they met, Finn actually lifted her off the ground and spun her around, the two of them already chattering excitedly to one another.

Poe smiled to himself. They were gonna do just fine.


Here's how Poe thought this was going to go:

"Oh Finn, you're such a good kisser," Rey would say.

"You're not so bad yourself," Finn would reply, and they would kiss some more, and probably do some other stuff, and Finn would give Poe a silent thumbs up and a big grin the next time they saw each other, and that would be the full extent of Poe's involvement.


Here's what actually happened:

"I wonder if I could talk to you," Rey said, sitting down across from Poe as he sat by himself in the mess hall.

"What's on your mind?" Poe said, pushing his bread across the table to her.

"Would you teach me how to kiss?" Rey asked, nibbling on the bread, and it was a good thing Poe didn't have anything in his mouth. "Finn said you did it for him, so you must be a good teacher."

Poe put his hand over his face. "I'm going to strangle Finn if he told you you were a bad kisser."

"I haven't actually kissed him yet," Rey admitted.

"Stop me if I'm wrong," Poe said, holding up his hands. "The idea of you two kissing came up, and Finn said something about how easy it was now that I taught him, and you decided you needed a practice run."

"It's not practice so much as training," Rey hedged.

"And Finn's okay with this?" Poe asked.

"He recommended you highly," Rey told him. "Said he'd be lost without you." She took his hand, looking into his eyes, and Poe knew he was done for. "Please."

Poe sighed. "Well, guess I've gotta live up to my glowing reputation."


The first thing Rey did was straddle Poe's hips.

"I appreciate your enthusiasm," Poe said diplomatically, "but it's a little soon to be doing that."

"It seemed like the easiest way," Rey said, frowning, but she let Poe help her off his lap.

"Sometimes it is," Poe said, as she sat down next to him. "But we're just getting started. You have to ease into it." He put his hands over hers. "Go on. Give it a try."

To her credit, Rey didn't try to mount him again, but she was still largely in his lap by the time she finished kissing him.

"Well, you're better at it than Finn was," Poe said, after a moment.

"You have this look like that's not saying much," Rey said, tilting her head.

"It's not," Poe agreed. "Let's try that a lot softer, and without quite so much hair pulling."


And Finn and Rey got together, and everything was great, and Poe thought, this time, surely this time he was finished.


Poe was incorrect again.

And this time, it was both of them.

"Absolutely not," Poe said adamantly. "I am absolutely not teaching you how to do anything past kissing. This has gone on long enough."

"I don't think we need any instruction," Rey said, looking over to Finn.

"We're pretty good at it so far," Finn agreed. "We were just wondering."

"Wondering what?" Poe asked, eying them both suspiciously.

"You've been so helpful to us," Rey said, sliding her hand along Poe's shoulder.

"It seems kinda unfair for you to miss out on the results of your hard work," Finn said, with a shrug.



Poe grinned, opening his hands. "Anything for my brightest pupils."


"More hair pulling," he panted. "And a little more tongue."