The first warning he gets is his own pilots, who start snickering as Poe walks into the hangar. Blue Squadron is gathered around Jess Pava's bench and decidedly not using their repair time for X-Wing repairs, which doubles the amount of warning lights and bells going off in his head. "Black Leader on deck," he calls out, hoping the warning might snap a few of the sterner pilots out of it, but instead it receives a renewed wave of outright laughter.
"Red Squadron brought in the scan after their last run. You made the cover of FOAM, boss," Jess calls out. She's got a wide grin on her face, hips swinging with an extra bit of swagger as she pushes off her work table and turns toward him before tossing a holo-pad at him.
Poe grimaces. Pilots in the resistance called the propaganda pamphlets distributed to the Stormtroopers and other First Order faithful, ‘FOAM‘ (short for their other colorful name for it, First Order Assholes Monthly). He'd had his mugshot in a couple before, along with half a dozen other pilots who had taken out a strategic target, but that had always resulted in back slaps and rejoinders to keep 'giving 'em hell'. Snap is turning new, never before seen shades of red from trying to hold his laughter in, so whatever this is, it isn't the usual scare mongering about his piloting or shooting skills.
He clicks the holo-pad on, grimacing as an artist's (very creative) rendition of his face fills the screen. For crying out loud, he isn't that pretty and his hair definitely does not stick out all over the place like that, he thinks before the whole image registers with him. His face appears under a bold, menacing headline that reads, "Don't Let The Resistance Seduce You Away!"
He feels his jaw drop but can't seem to bring himself to care about the giggles that produces from his pilots as he scrolls down, seeing that the artist's rendition actually shows him in a flight jumpsuit that's open with a hint of bare chest peeking out from underneath. A smaller but equally striking font at his hip reads, "The Shocking Truth Behind FN-2187's Defection."
"The whole story is about how playboy Poe Dameron seduced the top of the class, the best of the best, into a horrific mutiny on his first mission. To be on guard, because if it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone," Jess says mischievously. "It's hilarious."
"It's horrible!" Poe protests. "I catch any of you giving Finn shit about this, you'll be on parts inventory for a month!" He turns his dark glare on the rest of the team, who promptly scatter to their own workstations. Poe's a pretty easy going guy, but when he gets cranky about something, his pilots know better than to push their luck. Parts inventory is about the worst he can threaten them with -- being grounded and stuck with mind numbing work for a month.
Jess is the only one who hasn't fled from his sudden temper flare. Her face has softened, looking a little too knowing. He ignores her and scrolls down to the article, which is just as purple and stomach turning as he had suspected it would be, painting him as the sexual lothario who had preyed on a trooper’s weakness and Finn as... no one. As just another trooper, one with higher scores and more promise than most, but likely used and ultimately discarded by the Resistance. As though Finn's choice means nothing. "They're turning me into another boogeyman of the Resistance and making Finn seem like nothing special."
"Poe, it's not like they could tell the truth," Jess reminds him. Poe waves her off, flipping through the article once more to confirm it's as bad as he thinks it is, then leaves the hangar.
The giggles in the corridor tell him that the pamphlet made it out of the hangar and to the general public faster than he would have thought, so he speeds up his steps heading for the training room where he knows he'll find Rey and Finn this time of day, sparring under the watchful eye of Luke Skywalker.
Upon his return, the Jedi master had heard stories about Finn wielding his light saber against Kylo Ren. He'd promptly dragged Finn away from his medical training for some tests and confirmed Finn was slightly force sensitive. He'd insisted on training Finn as well, even though Finn sensitivity was well below the usual levels of sensitivity Skywalker used to look for in students. Skywalker had never said anything to confirm it, but it made Poe wonder how gifted Kylo Ren had appeared to be at first. So far, Finn hadn't done any sort of Force acrobatics or tricks the way Rey did. He did seem to have a knack for the lightsaber though, which meant a few hours a day of physical training and meditation. Poe is just glad that the sideways looks the Jedi master occasionally gives him have gone nowhere. Being raised with a Force sensitive tree in his yard or having a dark Jedi dig around in his mind probably have given him some sort of false positive reading the older man picks up on.
The clash of static from smashing lightsabers greets his ears as he approaches the training room, so he shifts his approach to the side door, which opens onto the room on a small landing a few stairs above the ground, affording him a bit more safety. He can hear Rey laugh as Finn whoops triumphantly at what was probably a near hit. He hates the idea of raining on Finn's fun, but the news is better coming from him than the giggling soldiers in the corridors.
He pushes open the heavy side door, finding Skywalker at the top of the stairs and moves to join him there, knowing from past experience that wherever Skywalker is standing is the safest place to be in the training room.
Rey is whirling her double sided green lightsaber staff in a strange s pattern. It's her own work, and her preferred weapon these days, while Finn has stuck to the blue lightsaber that used to belong to Skywalker. Rey told him once that Finn hasn't figured out what he wants his own blade to look like. Poe sometimes tries to imagine what Finn will eventually craft, but his imagination isn't very good and always swings back to something sleek and streamlined like Skywalker's, but maybe darker, more purple than blue. Not having his own blade doesn't seem to slow him though. Finn whirls Skywalker's saber in a lazy, graceful circle around his hand, the pair obviously winding down and playing around now.
Rey spots him first, face lighting up in gleeful delight. "Poe!" she calls out, deactivating her staff. "Our rake! Our rogue!"
"Oh god," Poe sighs, realizing he hadn't outpaced the gossip after all.
"Is it really Poe Dameron?" Finn adds, voice breathless with suppressed laughter. "Rey, help, I may swoon," he continues, then actually stumbles up the stairs and pretends to swoon against Poe. Poe tries to hold his frown and keep his arms crossed, but he can't resist when Finn's overly warm skin presses and slips, slick with sweat, against his own. His arms come up and wrap around Finn's waist, hauling him upright. Finn turns into a limpet, both his arms clenching tightly around Poe’s waist so Poe can't even have the dignity of slinking away to hide.
"Tell us, Poe, how many Stormtroopers did you seduce today?" Rey honest to god flutters her eyelashes at him as she bounces up the stairs to joins them, and it brings an actual scowl to his face.
"Well, I see we are done for today, as we usually are when distraction arrives in the form of Poe Dameron," Luke Skywalker says, and Poe's jaw drops for the second time that afternoon. He's getting sassed by a Jedi Master. He's questioning a number of his life choices right now and suspects he probably should have started questioning them weeks ago. "Please don't deflower my pupils till I've left," the Jedi adds, clapping Poe’s shoulder before leaving Poe sputtering and unable to form any sort of answer.
"I didn’t know you could turn that shade of red," Rey remarks, raising an eyebrow at Poe. Poe lets himself slide down to sit on the stairs, dragging Finn with him, and putting his head into his hands. Finn backs off a little, and Poe can almost feel the other man and Rey communicating silently over Poe's head.
"Hey, come on, it's not that bad," Finn tries gently. "We'll stop teasing you, I promise."
"You're on your own with your pilots, but we'll stop if it's really bothering you that much," Rey agrees, dropping down to sit next to him with a huff. She's clearly not so keen on promising not to tease him, and part of him hates spoiling her fun.
"I don't care about that," Poe grumbles into his hands, voice coming out even more petulant thanks to his hands muffling it. He does care, a little, hating that there might be a perception about him and Finn that is only real in the enemy’s propaganda, and that his nose is about to get rubbed in it for weeks, until the next big piece of gossip comes along.
"Okay," Rey says slowly. "Wanna clue us in, Poe?"
"Finn's a hero," he mumbles, and Rey grabs the short hairs at the nape of his neck, tugging gently till he sits up straight. "It's a huge deal that Finn defected," Poe tries again. They both just look at him blankly. "It shouldn't get downplayed like you didn't do something amazing. You shouldn't get... that. Like you're still something mindless, now just being led around by the Resistance. And I know you were hoping for something that might inspire others to leave."
"Poe, come on," Finn says, smiling a little. "The First Order absolutely believes Stormtroopers are mindless. They program us from birth and brainwash us when we don’t conform. Skywalker thinks maybe I was more resistant to the brainwashing because I'm force sensitive. But it's not a bad thing that they painted me as being just like anyone else. Maybe it'll occur to another Stormtrooper that if I could do it, so could they."
"Hey, if I knew there could be a hot fighter pilot in it for me, I'd defect," Rey quips, then curses quietly when Finn loops an arm around Poe so he can flick Rey's ear. He leaves the arm around Poe, and Poe pretends he doesn't want to lean into the embrace.
"Is it because it makes it seem like you two are a couple?" Rey asks, her voice a little prickly. It sounds like a warning.
"No, god no," Poe blurts out.
Finn chuckles darkly. "Like Poe Dameron, best pilot in the galaxy, couldn't do better than an ex-Stormtrooper."
"What? No, I couldn't," Poe objects, then cringes at the face Rey makes. "I mean, I couldn't do better than you because you're the best." And whoa, he really needs to backpedal, because now they're way too close to Poe blurting out how horribly head over heels he is for Finn, who he's pretty sure is in love with Rey. "In case you missed it, that's why this is driving me nuts. You're a hero, this is insulting."
"Look, the people who matter know I was about to get reconditioned and had to leave before I ever spoke with you," Finn points out. "And while I still think you could do better, I'm glad you don't think so." He slides his hand across Poe's back then drops it down so he can lace his fingers through Poe's.
"Yeah?" Poe breathes slowly, then chances a glance over at Rey. She's beaming at them.
"You two on the same page?" she asks. "Cuz if you finally are, I'm clearing out."
Finn chuckles and nods, and Rey impishly leans in and kisses Poe on the cheek. "Hurt him, and I'll show you just how good I am with my staff," she mutters lowly.
"Goodbye, Rey," Finn says pointedly, tightening his fingers on Poe's when Poe starts to rise.
"I thought you and Rey," Poe starts, and Finn shakes his head.
"I love her, she's like my sister," Finn replies. "She doesn't make me want to do this." Carefully, telegraphing his moves, Finn leans in and presses his lips to Poe's. It's sweet, too short and hesitant, and Finn's looking at him expectantly.
"Oh," Poe manages, feeling like a prize idiot as he fumbles for words. "Maybe... try that again?"
Finn laughs softly, and Poe darts in, swallowing the sound in a kiss that Finn returns just as hungrily. Finn takes control back just as quickly, hands coming up and cupping Poe's face as he uses his tongue to slide Poe's mouth open. It's absolutely nothing like Poe ever imagined and it's perfect. "You don't kiss like a playboy," Finn jokes, and Poe scowls, but he knows it doesn't reach his eyes. He can handle whatever teasing anyone plans to dish out if he gets to keep this.
"Because I'm not," Poe grumbles. "I'm a one man guy."
"Good," Finn smirks at him before it goes soft and melts into something more like a smile. "I love that you want to defend my honor, Poe, but I think you can leave this one alone."
"Yeah, fine," Poe agrees, shrugging. "But for the record, my hair does not look like that."
"Wanna see if we can make it look that way?" Finn offers, eyes sparkling with mischief. Poe’s mind screeches to a halt, flooded with images of ways Finn could accomplish that.
"I do have a couple of ideas," Poe agrees breathlessly, pulling Finn up and scrambling up the steps. Finn just laughs and lets Poe pull him along.