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Awakenings

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Prologue

After Starkiller Base was, itself, killed, there was—for the next little while, anyway—nothing for Poe Dameron to do but cool his heels. Maybe even fly to Yavin 4 and visit his father and sisters. After all, it was what any good son and brother would do with the First Order stymied for the near future: take the unexpected and rather unlikely respite to catch up on family matters. Especially when that brother and son hadn’t been home in nearly five years.

 

Poe’s younger sisters, Ph’naira and Leel had settled down and married in the years since he had gone. Married men he hadn’t had a chance to meet in person and intimidate, and they’d had children who wouldn’t be able to pick their Uncle Poe out of a line-up or a series of wanted posters.

 

And Poe’s father, though still young when his wife had died, had never seemed inclined to even date, let alone remarry. After twenty-three years of widowerhood, no woman had, nor ever could compare to even the memory of Shara Bey. . . .

 

Poe dearly missed them all. He even missed Yavin 4, despite the strong hankering, in his early adulthood, to be anywhere but there. Especially if anywhere meant joining the Resistance and the New Republic, and doing the only thing for which he’d ever been any good, and for the cause that’d been a hallmark of his family line on the Bey and Dameron sides.

 

Poe missed the sun rising behind the ancient Great Temple, and wandering the vast, secretive darkness within. He missed the lonely, haunted environs of Skygazer Hill—how it was always quiet on the great, bald spot where nothing ever seemed to grow and where no one ever seemed to go but Poe, when he was in a brooding mood—and flying low in the atmo to buzz the Massassi trees in the early evening . . . startling whisper birds into taking flight, like a wave of rose-gold flying towards the setting sun. He missed seeing woolamanders and their young, scurrying here and there, wary of humans and other fauna. Poe even missed the damned sintarils.

 

(Though, not much.)

 

Poe missed all these things, and more. And he couldn’t wait to get back to them. Take a well-deserved, well-earned sabbatical to reacquaint himself with a planet that wasn’t D’Qar, or Jakku. There was nothing more nor less on his mind—well, besides a certain ridiculously gorgeous ex-Stormtrooper who looked better in Poe’s jacket than Poe did—other than leaving the New Republic behind for as long as he could get away with it. To relax, and remind himself of just what he was fighting for. . . .

 

He’d had every intention of following through, of actually taking time off from, oh, life. For a little while, anyway . . . until Starkiller was destroyed, and he returned to the base on D’Qar and found—amongst the reserved celebrations—that life wasn’t about to give him the option of leaving it behind.

 

Day 1

“So, uh . . . what do I do?” Poe Dameron asked Nurse Yan-Abima, who was busy bustling around Finn’s sick-bed while Poe hovered nervously in the doorway.

 

He didn’t like infirmaries and hospitals. Not that, he supposed, anyone did. Especially if they had to be there. But Poe could barely restrain his fight-flight-or-freeze instinct. And he had to pointedly not think of his mother, and the long nightmare that’d been her illness, and eventual demise.

 

Despite the fact that they looked nothing alike, gazing at Finn, who was grey under the delicious dark-chocolate of his complexion, was exactly like gazing at his mother in those final days, when she was basically a vegetable.

 

“Do?” Nurse Yan-Abima finally asked quizzically, glancing over her shoulder as she fiddled with some IV device, then turned to look at Poe. “What do you mean do?”

 

“Well . . . I mean . . . do I hold his hand and—I dunno. Talk to him?”

 

“That’s a fine idea, Mr. Dameron.”

 

Poe shuffled his feet and shoved his hands in the pockets of his wrinkled trousers. Holding her hand and talking to her had been all Poe could do when his mother lay dying. At least at the end of her long struggle. When she’d been awake and relatively cogent, she’d do the talking, telling him tales of flying for the Rebellion, and of her many missions. And she’d speak with fond exasperation and no small amount of awe, about Luke Skywalker.

 

Poe was certain he had as many stories about his time in the Resistance as his mother had had about her time in the Rebellion, only . . . he had never been much of a storyteller. And his stories simply weren’t that exciting or heroic. Not like the legendary Shara Bey.

 

He hunched his shoulders. “I . . . I’m not sure I’d know what to say to him. ‘Hey, how’s it going? Nice coma you’re having’?”

 

Nurse Yan-Abima raised her purple eyebrows and pursed her lips, as if she was stopping herself from saying something snappish.

 

“You can do that, if you like,” she finally said, her blue lips curving up in her most professional smile. Then she put her hands on her wide hips and gave Poe a measuring look that didn’t spare him at all. “It certainly wouldn’t hurt to hear a friendly and familiar voice. And it might help.”

 

Poe snorted bitterly, hesitantly entering the small private room and edging closer to Finn, who didn’t stir and, if the Resistance doctors were right—and they usually were—might never stir again. “What? It’s not like he can hear me, or can tell anyone’s here. He’s in a coma.”

 

“Yes, he’s in a coma. But that doesn’t mean that he can’t hear and feel and sense what’s going on around him. He may not be able to respond, but it’s quite possible that he’s aware. He may be experiencing all of this as one experiences a dream-state.” Nurse Yan-Abima sighed off of Poe’s doubtful look. “If nothing else, the relatives and friends of patients find it comforting to keep their sleeping loved ones up to speed on the lives waiting for them when they wake up.”

 

If they wake up,” Poe corrected, reaching out and brushing his fingers down Finn’s bare bicep. His skin was soft, cool, and sparsely-haired—unlike Poe’s hairy frame. The contrast between their skin types, colors, and textures had been something Poe had spent hours fantasizing about in his bunk, before everything went so right and so wrong all at once. “If.”

 

“He’s strong, your young man.” The stout Ja’aloaquin nurse insisted, rather reprovingly. “With the help of persistence, care, and love he will pull through.”

 

Poe blinked, then shook his head. “He’s not my young man. And I don’t. . . .” was all he could think to say in reply, and blushed because he was unable to finish the sentence. He’d never been a good liar.

 

This time, Nurse Yan-Abima was the one to cast a doubtful look on Poe, who glanced away. At the lone seat near Finn’s bedside. Reluctantly he sat and took Finn’s cool, slack hand. “Hey, buddy,” he said awkwardly, smiling even though Finn couldn’t see it.

 

“Yes,” Nurse Yan-Abima approved, skirting the bed to lay her hand briefly on Poe’s shoulder. Her furry, blue palm tickled even through the cotton of his shirt. “Let him know that he isn’t alone. That we’re waiting eagerly for him to wake up.”

 

Sighing, Poe squeezed Finn’s hand, his heart sinking when Finn didn’t squeeze back, consciously or reflexively. “How do I do that? What do I say?”

 

When he’d received no answer for several seconds, he looked up. Nurse Yan-Abima was gone in that silent, spooky-quiet way of all Ja’aloaquins.

 

Sighing again, Poe turned back to Finn and contemplated the still, grey-brown face turned toward him. Because of the wound inflicted by Kylo Ren, Finn was lying on his stomach, his back one mass of bandages and sensors. It’d be weeks before the wounds closed sufficiently to remove them, let alone to turn Finn over onto his back.

 

It was unlikely, the doctors had told Poe and General Organa, that Finn would wake up. And even if he beat those astronomical odds, he’d have a long road of healing ahead of him. His spine had been nearly severed by Kylo Ren, and if Finn woke up, he’d have to relearn how to sit up, to walk—even how to wiggle his toes.

 

It’d been sheer luck that the blow had been clean enough that reconnecting tissue, nerves, vertebrae, and muscles had been relatively straightforward. Sheer luck that Chewbacca had found Finn and Rey and brought them back to Base in time. Sheer luck that—

 

“So,” Poe said out loud, more in an attempt to banish the turn of his thoughts than anything else. “What’s a cute guy like you doing in a Resistance Base like this, huh?”

 

No answer.

 

Of course.

 

Poe smiled ruefully. “The cold shoulder, eh? Well, I’m used to that. And you should know this about me: I don’t give up easily. Not when . . . not when there’s so much at stake.” Poe swallowed and scanned Finn’s face: the smooth, dark brow, the fan of thick lashes resting on Finn’s high cheekbones, and the full mouth that somehow didn’t look quite right without a smile. . . .

 

With his free hand, Poe reached out and caressed Finn’s cheek.

 

“You’ve gotta fight your way out of there, Finn,” Poe whispered fervently, leaning closer. “You’ve gotta wake up. We already lost Han, we can’t lose another person who’s done so much for the Resistance. . . for the New Republic . . . for me.”

 

Blinking away sudden tears, Poe sat back in the uncomfortable chair.

 

“Anyway, here’s a story that I think you’ll find interesting,” he said, swiping at his eyes with his free hand. “Told, as it is, from the Rebellion side. It’s about a pilot and a Jedi knight who saved the Galaxy. It’s called . . . uh . . . Shara Bey . . . and the Shattered Empire. . . .”

 

Day 3

 

"'You going to tell me why I'm dressed up as an ISB officer?’ Shara Bey said to the Jedi knight, tugging at and smoothing the unfamiliar and uncomfortable uniform. Luke Skywalker grinned his usual grin, which was equal parts endearing and annoying."


Sitting back in the uncomfortable infirmary chair—but not letting go of Finn’s hand—Poe felt his own grin beginning. He’d had the worst crush on Luke Skywalker even before meeting the man. More, he’d had a crush on all things Jedi. He’d even hoped, once upon a time, to be Chosen. But then his mother had gotten sick and, after a long, terrible fight against whatever unknown illness had befallen her, had died. And Poe’s interest in flying—which had been more fancy than fact—had become an obsession. By the time he was fifteen, he’d gone far beyond racing the ancient crop-dusters and barn-stormers his mother had let him fly since he was six. He’d moved on to fixing up old transports and even building his own, and flying them to the very edges of the Yavin system.

 

Still, the Resistance hadn’t let him sign up, so to speak, till he was nineteen. A year younger than his mother had been when she’d signed on with the Rebellion. . . .

 

Shaking his head, Poe broke out of his reverie and took up his tale again.

 

"’You're actually dressed up as a specific ISB officer,’” he went on in his best Luke Skywalker impersonation, which was mostly cadged from his mother’s old stories. Just like everything else Poe had said to Finn over the past few days. He’d only met Skywalker the once, and had found him to be mostly unremarkable, though quite friendly and fun. And still cute enough to have a wee crush on. “’A woman, named Commander Alecia Beck. You're going to get us into the base on Vetine. . . .’"

 

Day 17

Poe stood under the hot water, eyes closed, and let it sluice the soap from his body.

 

He braced his hands against the shower wall and debated stroking off before the first of his twice-daily visits to Finn’s bedside. The Force knew it wouldn’t take long. He hadn’t been pressing the flesh much lately—not enough time or opportunities. And he hadn’t felt the touch of another since Sawl Cantrel got transferred to Hosnian Prime, where he’d likely died with everyone else when it was destroyed a year later. . . .

 

It hadn’t been love, with Commander Cantrel, but it’d been . . . nice. Nice to lay down with another body and wake up next to that same body. To know someone else’s body as well as his own and vice versa. To feel Sawl’s lean, muscular body, slick with sweat, push against him, rock into him, wrap around him. . . .

 

Taking himself in hand almost angrily, Poe banished his thoughts of Sawl and tried to focus on nothing but the sensation of touching himself the way he liked to be touched—needed to be touched. He refused to imagine it was Finn touching him, though he desperately wanted to. But the man was in a coma. Imagining him on his knees—his full lips stretched around Poe’s cock, one hand braced on Poe’s calf, the other pushing two insistent fingers into Poe’s body—would be—

 

Be—

 

It took Poe nearly ten minutes to regain both his breath and his bearing. And even so, his legs still shook and his knees were weak as he got out of the shower, the walls of which still reverberated with a desperate and despairing: “Finn!”

 

Day 33

 

“. . . and so . . . I drank it,” Poe finished his story with a sheepish grin, blushing and embarrassed. Finn, as usual, neither laughed, nor even acknowledged Poe’s presence. At this late date, that no longer bothered Poe . . . not precisely.

 

He didn’t necessarily believe Finn could hear him—if he had believed that, he’d have never told that particular story—but he was starting to hope Finn could.

 

“I mean, what else could I do? She double-dog dared me to, so I had to drink it. Though after I did, Shalano Rix wouldn’t kiss me for, like a month afterward. And at sixteen, a month without kissing is like a year without breathing. You know how it is. . . .

 

“Or . . . maybe you don’t? I don’t know. Do they even allow Stormtroopers to kiss?” Poe mused absently. He’d been doing that quite a bit, lately . . . speculating aloud to Finn on what his life in the service of the First Order might have been like.

 

Poe babbled about meaningless suppositions, told stories from his childhood, and confided the Base gossip in equal measure to an unconscious Finn. In fact, he spoke more to Finn than he ever had to another living soul, even his late mother. And Poe wasn’t exactly close-mouthed. He was known to be gregarious when the situation called for it. But it’d always felt like a mask he was wearing.

 

With Finn, even though Finn was asleep—maybe because Finn was asleep—it felt natural and real. . . .

 

“Why is that, huh?” he wondered at Finn, who did not answer, as usual. “Why is it that I barely know you, but find you easier to talk to than anyone since my mother died? Why is it that I tell you all the stupid, embarrassing stuff I did as a kid and as an adult, and only wish you were awake to hear it and call me an asshole? Hmm? Why?”

 

Finn’s silence, continued though it was, was damning.

 

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Poe said with a sigh and a smile. He brushed his fingers down Finn’s cheek, not the first time and probably not the last, and kissed the cool, lax hand he had been holding for a month. “That’s what I thought.”

 

And Poe sat like that for long minutes, till he realized he sensed and had been sensing someone standing behind him for some time. He caught a whiff familiar perfume and sat up straighter automatically. “General Organa.”

 

“Commander Dameron,” she replied, her hand settling gently on his shoulder. “Poe . . . I see they’ve moved him onto his back . . . has there been any other change? Any other improvement?”

 

Poe squeezed Finn’s hand. “The doctors say his spine’s healed, now. As healed as it’ll get with him in a coma. All that’s needed is for him to wake up and start physical therapy.”

 

The general sighed. “Well, hopefully he will. And soon.”

 

Nodding, Poe tore his eyes away from their most steadfast obsession, and to his leader. Since her ex-husband’s death, General Organa seemed to have aged ten years. Though she was still lovely, that loveliness was both harder and softer than he’d ever seen it. Even as the rest of the Resistance had relaxed and found a new hope for the future, the general had become more tense and grim.

 

“I presume there’s a mission,” Poe sighed, and General Organa smiled her sad, weary smile.

 

“Isn’t there always?”

 

Returning that weary smile with one of his own, Poe glanced back at Finn, squeezed his hand, then let go. But he even after he’d stood up, he couldn’t turn away from Finn. It was getting harder and harder to do that each time he had to do it.

 

“I promise, I’ll come back to you,” he whispered, leaning down to kiss Finn’s forehead. “I still have so many more embarrassing stories to tell you.”

 

Finn didn’t reply.

 

Of course.

 

Backs of his eyes stinging, Poe finally turned away, to face his general, his mind already on the mission ahead, but his heart on the person he’d be leaving behind.

 

Night 67

 

Six Stormtroopers walked into the bar, blasters at the ready, and Poe swore under his breath.

 

Across from him, his contact, Jahn Kinaata, followed his gaze then quickly looked away. Around them, the busy bar pulsed and throbbed, music swelled and no one seemed to take notice of either the Stormtroopers at the front of the bar, or Poe and his contact at the right corner in the back.

 

“Is there another way out of here?” Poe asked quietly. Jahn Kinaata shook his head once, his pale eyes flashing.

 

“Not that I know of.”

 

“Then why, may I ask, did you choose this place for our meeting?” Poe hissed, slowly standing, hand already going for his own blaster. Just as it closed on the grip and automatically flicked the safety off, Jahn Kinaata jumped up, his own blaster drawn and pointed at Poe, whose eyes narrowed in understanding.

 

Jahn Kinaata smirked, tossing his shoulder-length red hair out of his face. “Sorry, Dameron. It’s nothing personal,” he promised. From the corner of his eye, Poe could see the Stormtroopers heading their way unhurriedly, shoving the people in their path, but in a bored, lazy fashion.

 

They hadn’t spotted Poe and the traitor Jahn Kinaata yet, but they would in seconds, when they reached the back of the bar.


“Now, drop your blaster, Poe, and let’s don’t do this the hard wa—”

 

Both men raised their blasters slightly, fingers squeezing the triggers, but it was a split second too late for Jahn Kinaata.

 

Poe shot first.

 

Day 101

 

As soon as his X-wing touched down on D’Qar, Poe Dameron levered himself out of his fighter and—without pausing to see if BB-8, who was also worse for wear, made it out without too much bother—stagger-limped across the busy tarmac to the Base.

 

He made his aching, painstaking way down the bustling halls of the Base, toward the infirmary. The people who saw him coming got out of his way and stayed there.

 

For Poe Dameron—haggard, dirty, bruised, and scarred—looked like a man who was best not fucked with. So no one tried to fuck with him. Or even tried to say hello.

 

And certainly no one had the stones to remind him that General Organa would want to debrief him immediately since he was back from his mission nearly forty days late. That he’d been presumed dead for at least half that time.

 

When he turned off the main hall of the infirmary, to the dead-end corridor that lead to Finn’s small room, he paused at the entryway to smooth his grown-out hair and scrub his hand over the salt-and-pepper beard that he’d had neither the time nor opportunity to shave.

 

Taking a deep breath that he then held, he stepped into Finn’s room to see—

 

Finn.

 

Still comatose.

 

Not a thing had changed since the last time Poe had seen the man, except that he was now propped up on a pile of pillows. But still the same grimly expressionless face, still the soft, even breathing that was barely visible to Poe’s hopeful eyes.

 

Still. . . .

 

Tears welling up in his eyes, Poe limped his way into the room and sat in the same uncomfortable chair, taking Finn’s hand and leaning on the bed. He pulled Finn’s warm hand to his face and kissed it, closing his eyes and trying to hold back tears of relief—for Finn was still alive—and disappointment—for Finn was still asleep.

 

“Each time,” Poe whispered roughly, his voice harsh and husking from disuse. “Each time I faced death out there, my only regrets were not seeing you smile once more. Not having had the chance to talk with you more, and maybe even kiss you. Force knows I’ve wanted to since you first took off that stupid Stormtrooper helmet on the Finalizer. . . .

 

“I regretted ever leaving your side in the first place, for nothing was made so clear to me as the fact that that’s where I belong. Wherever you are. And Force and General Organa willing, I’ll spend as little time as possible away from you for as long we live. I love you, Finn. I know I don’t know what your favorite color is, or what your favorite food is, but . . . I know you risked your life to do what was right. You risked your life to save mine, to save Rey’s . . . to save the galaxy. And I not only admire you for that . . . I love you. You hear me, Finn? I. Love you. And I always will,” Poe finished, tears running down his face, for he knew that Finn could not hear him.

 

Poe rested his forehead on their hands for a few moments, letting tears fall as he admitted to himself that what he’d said was true. That he did love Finn. And always would. And Finn—

 

Poe opened his eyes to look into the sleeping, but beloved—always beloved—face, only to cry out in absolute bestartlement.

 

Finn was watching him, smiling bemusedly, and yawning.

 

“Hullo, Poe,” he said in his low voice, which was, Poe noticed, not rough with disuse.

 

“Finn?” he asked, his brain trying its level best to play catch-up. But he hadn’t slept in three days, and in the weeks before that, had barely slept at all. “You’re . . . awake?”

 

“No sneaking anything by you, is there?” Finn grinned tiredly and yawned again. “The general and I knew you weren’t dead, no matter what they said. Just . . . delayed a bit.”

 

“What? What?” Poe asked, utterly confused and not entirely certain he wasn’t hallucinating from lack of sleep. “You’ve been talking to the general. . . ? You’ve been talking?”

 

“Of course. Can’t shut me up, to hear Nurse Yan-Abima tell it.” Finn laughed and squeezed Poe’s hand, his dark eyes shining.

 

Poe shook his head, his own laugh bubbling up out of him as pure joy suffused him, so big and bright, he felt as if he would have a meltdown if it got any bigger and brighter. He bowed his head over their held hands and let tears fall from his eyes.

 

“Are you . . . crying?” Finn asked, sounding concerned. Poe sniffed and looked up, grinning through his tears at the trebled version of his friend.

 

“Nah, just got something in my eyes,” he lied, and Finn rolled his eyes and laughed, reaching out to brush tears from Poe’s face. His touch was gentle, almost tender, and he caught each tear that fell, till they fell no more.

 

“I can’t believe you’re awake,” Poe finally said, sniffing.

 

You can’t believe it. Huh. I heard everything the doctors said about my condition while I was under. I’m still just glad to be able to move and talk again.” Off Poe’s confused look, Finn’s eyebrows shot up. "It’s not fun being trapped inside a body that can barely breathe on its own, while everyone talks around you and not to you. Well, everyone except for one stubborn pilot.”

 

Poe gaped. “You could hear me talking?”

 

Finn nodded, his eyes dancing and playful. “Yep, and I just have one question for you: Did you really drink doyek piss on a double-dog dare when you were sixteen?”

 

Blushing, Poe blinked. “You . . . you heard that?”

 

Finn blushed, too, somewhere under his dark-chocolate complexion, but held Poe’s gaze. “I heard everything.”

 

“Oh.” Poe didn’t know what to say—couldn’t remember the half of the things he’d babbled to a supposedly unconscious Finn. His face went up in flames of chagrin. But he tried to brazen it out. “Well. Yeah. But, you know, I’ve brushed my teeth a lot since then.”

 

“Is that so?” Finn’s gaze darted to Poe’s mouth.

 

“It is. It’s the most so thing for parsecs in any direction.” Poe’s own gaze went to Finn’s mouth and he leaned closer by just a tad.

 

“And I . . . I heard the stuff you said just now, t-too.” Finn said murmured, looking away.

 

Poe’s eyes widened and he sat back in the uncomfortable chair. “You heard that?”

 

Finn nodded, his nervous smile aimed at their hands. “Yeah. Every word. Did you . . . did you mean it?”

 

“I—I—” Poe stammered and stood up, ready to backtrack his way out of the conversation and the room. Except that while he was backing up, he hit a smaller body that nonetheless put strong hands on his back and pushed him forward toward the bed.

 

“Of course, he meant it, Finn. Now, the both of you cut the bullshit, quit dancing around each other, and kiss him,” General Organa said irritably, poking Poe in the center of his back with her pointy index finger.

 

“Ow!” he protested, looking around. The general seemed annoyed and relieved at the same time, her eyes sparkling with unshed tears.

 

What must she have thought when Poe didn’t come back? And kept not coming back? She had lost so much over the years—so much recently—that it must have hurt her greatly to even hold onto hope that he would make it back to her.

 

“General, I—”

 

“Don’t worry, Commander Dameron, the debriefing can wait an hour or two—it can, can’t it?” she asked worriedly. Poe nodded, surprised. Usually General Organa couldn’t get her debriefings done fast enough. Especially when the mission had failed—miserably—and one of her operatives was back as late as Poe. “Good. I’ll want to know everything, and in triplicate. For now . . . love waits for no one.”

 

“But—”

 

“Poe.” The general looked up into his eyes somberly, then leaned around him a bit to look at Finn. “Finn. You two nearly lost each other. But you both got second chances. At life and at love. And the Force knows that fate doesn’t hand out either of those very often. So I suggest that you, Poe, go back over there and kiss Finn like there’s no tomorrow. And you, Finn, need to be honest with Poe about how you feel for him.”

 

Poe looked back at Finn, surprised. “You . . . feel something for me?”

 

Finn looked away. “Well . . . I mean . . . yes, there may be . . . feelings. . . .”

 

“You’re all he’s talked about since the night he woke up,” the general said, turning an unresisting Poe all the way around and shoving him toward the bed and Finn. Hard. Poe hit the side of the bed with his bad leg and nearly doubled over completely from the pain. Pain that was instantly forgotten as Finn sat up at the same time, wincing, arms braced on the bed and corded with effort, and said: “I . . . love you back, Poe.”

 

And for long moments, there they stood and sat, respectively. Both braced on the bed with arms that trembled from exhaustion and effort, both in considerable pain that they barely noticed.

 

They gazed into each other’s eyes until long after General Organa threw up her hands and left the room, muttering to herself about stubborn fly-boys and brain-dead Stormtroopers.

 

Finally, Poe sat on the edge of the bed, wincing himself, and reached out to brush his fingers along Finn’s cheek. Finn closed his eyes for a few moments, leaning into the touch.

 

“I used to think that it was Rey, you know?” Finn said softly. “Because she was so pretty and because I risked my life for her.”

 

Something in Poe’s chest tightened like a fist around his heart. But before he could pull away, Finn went on. “But it was you, all along. You were the one who stayed. You were the one I not only risked my life for, but would give that life for, if called. It was you, all along.”

 

That something in his chest released his heart and Poe Dameron let out a breath.

 

“I would very much like to kiss you, Finn,” he said formally, and with a gruffness that couldn’t quite cover his anxiety. Finn smiled and leaned back in the pillows with obvious relief. Then he opened his arms wide, his smile turning a bit nervous.

 

“Be gentle,” he said, clearly only half-joking. “It’s my first time.”

 

Poe hesitated at the thought of being Finn’s first kiss, then couldn’t deny the thrill that shot through him at the same thought.

 

“I promise, I’ll make it good,” he said, leaning in, his eyes closing as Finn’s widened. For a moment, anyway. Then they, too, were shutting, and for an all-too-brief eternity, the entire universe ceased to exist.

 

Night 101

 

Poe woke up in a darkened room, in bed with . . . someone.

 

For a few seconds he was totally discombobulated, until he remembered: The mission, though failed, was over. He was at the Base on D’Qar. In the infirmary. In Finn’s bed.

 

With Finn . . . who was awake.

 

Or—had it all been a dream?

 

Poe tried to shift so he could look up at Finn—in whose arms he’d fallen asleep after they’d spent Force knew how long kissing and petting like teenagers—and see if the other man was awake. But between the dimness of the room and the angle at which he lay, he couldn’t tell if Finn’s eyes were open or closed, let alone if the other man was . . . comatose.

 

Finn’s breathing was so even, it was tough to tell whether he was merely sleeping or--

 

Poe reached up and brushed his fingers down Finn’s cheek. There was a light speckling of stubble.

 

“Finn? Are you—” awake? Poe didn’t finish, for he realized just how silly such a question was. So he laid back down, fretting silently for a few moments, until Finn’s chest rose noticeably: a deeper, more lingering breath.

 

“No, I’m not,” Finn mumbled sleepily, grouchily, holding Poe closer under his arm and carding his hair with a heavy, barely conscious hand. “Neither should you be. Go back to sleep.”

 

“Roger that.” Poe yawned then grinned. “Love you.”

 

“Love you, too,” Finn replied, still obviously not fully awake. But that was okay. Half-awake was awake enough for Republic work. Awake enough for Poe Dameron.

 

Still grinning, Poe closed his eyes.

 

END