Finn turned, his eyes lighting up.
“Poe! You’re back!”
Poe looked bedraggled – his hair was sweaty and stuck up in weird ways and his eyes were ringed in shadow – but he grinned as he leant in for a hug.
“Mission went to shit about five minutes in but no casualties, thank the Force. How’s training?”
Finn pulled away, becoming aware of curious looks from the other soldiers around him. His fellow trainees were nice, for the most part, but they seemed equally wary and in awe of Finn. It made him uncomfortable.
“Strange. The General told me I’m doing well but it’s hard to tell.”
Poe slung an arm around Finn’s shoulders. “You’re a hero of the Resistance and a damn fine shot, I’m sure you’re doing more than just ‘well’. Come on, let’s go grab some drinks and celebrate.”
“Celebrate?” Finn was confused, but allowed Poe to start to lead him away. It wasn’t like an evening with the other trainees would be particularly exciting – they tended to just be stilted and awkward.
A laugh tore itself from Finn’s body and he shook his head.
“You and your ego.” It came out slightly more affectionate than he intended.
Poe grinned at him. “You love it.”
Finn tried to smile back, but the sudden emergence of butterflies in his stomach made it a bit of a grimace. That was a little uncomfortably close to the truth.
Since coming out of his coma, Finn had become aware of a lot.
He’d discovered that injured soldiers in the Resistance were healed instead of left to die. He’d discovered that food could have different tastes – spicy and sweet and delicious, rather than merely a ration to get you through the day. He’d discovered that camaraderie was encouraged rather than reprimanded, and praise was handed out more than punishment. He’d discovered the existence of free time and having fun for the sake of it. He’d found out how to live.
He’d also realised that Poe was the nicest guy in existence.
Poe was friends with everyone. Literally. He knew the names of all the pilots, the soldiers, the generals, the cleaners and the engineers. He brought cakes to the analysts when they forgot to have lunch and cleaned the astromechs himself after missions that involved sand or mud. Everyone loved Poe – and at least half of the base was in love with Poe.
Finn couldn’t understand why, given all of that, Poe chose to hang out with him.
Finn was an ex-stormtrooper. He was a good shot and knew how to follow orders, but that was about it. He couldn’t speak multiple languages, or fly, or build a gun in less than a minute with one hand behind his back. Almost everyone in the Resistance had something over him. Yet Poe seemed to like him anyway.
It was probably just that Poe felt sorry for him. Finn didn’t exactly have any other friends except Rey, and she was still off on the hunt for Luke Skywalker. Poe was a nice guy, and he probably realised that without his companionship, Finn wouldn’t really talk to anyone at all. But Finn liked to hope that there was at least a small part of Poe that genuinely liked him for himself, small as the chance of that was.
Still, given that Poe was the only person Finn really interacted with, it was no real surprise that Finn had fallen in love with him.
He knew that nothing would come of it. Poe had half the base in love with him – and he knew it. He was a flirt. He was openly, physically affectionate with most people on a regular basis. According to rumour, Poe was well on his way to sleeping with every pilot in the Resistance. But Finn had never really been in love before, so he liked to dream about what would happen if Poe liked him back.
Poe clinked his glass of Corellian brandy against Finn’s with a sloppy smile. His eyes were partially glazed over and he was swaying slightly in his seat. It was pretty obvious that he was drunk.
Finn grinned back, taking a sip and savouring the burn. He was feeling pretty loose himself, but he didn’t think he was as drunk as Poe. People kept coming over and buying Poe drinks – Finn had already resigned himself to carrying his friend home at the end of the night.
Finn turned, hoping he wasn’t blushing, and noticed Jess approaching with a glass of Ebla.
“We’re n-” Finn started, only to be cut off by Jess speaking over him.
“We’re having a friendly little card game. You two want in?”
Finn glanced at Poe. He didn’t really see the point in drinking games, and he didn’t understand most of them, but Poe seemed to enjoy the sociable side.
“Count us in!” Poe sounded excited.
Finn tried to hide the slump of disappointment.
If Finn had thought Poe was drunk before it was nothing on him now.
The card game Jess had set up was brutal. It had about 500 rules, none of which were intuitive, and the huge crowd of pilots playing made it impossible to keep up. Finn had bowed out early, confused, but Poe seemed to have taken it as a personal challenge.
He was slumped sideways in his chair, his face a little flushed and his limbs moving in jerky, uncoordinated bursts. His eyes kept drifting closed and his awareness of the game seemed to have faded to none. Considering several pilots were snoring gently, he was doing well, but Finn knew Poe was going to spend the entire next day feeling like he’d been hit by his own X-wing.
At that moment, Poe suddenly slumped forward and Finn decided it was time to drag him away.
“Poe.” He called across.
“Finn!” Poe’s voice was slurred and muffled against the table.
“I think it’s time to go mate.”
Cries of dissent shot across the table, but Finn was already moving to help Poe out of his seat.
“I’m fiiiiiine.” Poe drawled, trying to bat Finn’s hands away, but Finn had been combat trained his entire life. He was stronger, and he pulled Poe to his feet, moving one of Poe’s arms over his shoulder.
“Have fun boys.” One of the pilots – Snap, Finn thought – called out. Wolf-whistles echoed the sentiment.
Tuning them out, Finn focused on manoeuvring Poe out of the tavern. All the pilots were drunk – none of them were likely to remember in the morning.
“Finn.” Poe mumbled as Finn steered him outside. “Finn.”
“What, Poe?” Finn stopped in the doorway to move Poe’s arm more securely over his shoulders.
Finn almost stumbled in shock, but managed to maintain his balance. He kept moving Poe forward.
“I’m fiiiine. You’re drunk.” Poe protested.
Finn was pretty sure he had sobered up, but decided not to argue. Drunk people, he had discovered, didn’t like losing arguments – but they rarely remembered winning in the morning.
His brain kept replaying ‘you’re cute’ in his head. It probably didn’t mean anything – Poe was drunk and flirty enough when sober – but Finn was fixated on it. He wanted it to mean something so much.
Finally they reached the door of the pilot barracks.
“Poe? Do you have your key?”
Poe turned his face into Finn’s neck and muttered something. Finn shivered at the sensation of breath against his neck. Damn Poe and his drunken antics.
“Jess… took it.” Poe finally mumbled.
Finn sighed. Kriffing Jess.
“Fine. You can have my bed. But no vomiting!”
Poe muttered again, but Finn didn’t think he was listening. Internally sighing, he started to steer Poe towards his own barracks.
Finn felt his blood roaring inside his head and staggered to a halt.
“You heard.” Poe’s slurred voice sounded smug.
Finn counted to five before starting to walk again, pulling Poe along with him.
“You’re very drunk. You don’t know what you’re saying and you won’t remember this in the morning. You need to sleep it off.”
If Finn had dared to look at Poe, he expected he would have been pouting. Carefully, he tried to tune his friend out as he walked the remaining distance to his barrack door.
“Here.” Finn tried to lean Poe against the wall as he fished in his pockets for his key.
The sound of leather against brick indicated that Poe had slid down the wall, unable to even stand. Finn felt a hand against his ankle, but ignored it as he carefully unlocked the door and pushed it open.
“Alright. Into bed. And really, please don’t vomit, I can’t stand the smell.”
Poe grumbled, clinging to Finn as he pulled him up and over to the bed. He smiled when he seemed to realise where he was, before frowning as Finn dumped him there and extricated himself.
Finn grabbed a spare blanket and settled on the floor. Poe would forget all about this in the morning.
He ignored the small part of himself that hoped Poe wouldn’t.