The first time Poe every heard of non-binary identities they were only seven years old. They didn't know much about the world. Their mother had a friend over. Shey was tall and round, with bright pink cheeks and a sunny smile that made Poe want to laugh. They were a beautiful woman and Poe told Shey as much. Shey laughed and said in their bright, sunny way, "I'm not a woman, but thank you darling."
That night Shara sat Poe down and explained what she could about what non-binary was. She explained that Shey was agender and wanted to be called 'they' instead of 'she'. Poe felt bad and promised to make it up to them when they came around next time. Shara smiled and stroked their cheek lovingly.
"Don't feel bad, sweetie. You're young yet. You still have so much to learn. And you're so curious, I have no doubt you'll learn much about the world, and yourself."
Poe sat up late that night, gazing at the stars outside their window and replaying the tenderness in their mother's eyes.
Looking back, they wondered if she knew all along.
Poe's body went slack and slammed back against the metal table. Their wrists were aching from the chains and their head felt ready to explode. They felt so vulnerable, so violated, as Kylo Ren let his hand fall slowly. Poe gasped for air as Ren straightened up.
"That wasn't so hard," Ren deadpanned. Poe rolled their eyes, though they were sure the motion looked half-crazed.
"Looks a little different from where I'm standing," they spat out. Ren called a guard in.
"Keep an eye on the prisoner." Ren turned back to stare at Poe. "Make sure he keeps his mouth shut."
Poe glowered at his back. Ren had been in Poe's head, Ren knew.
"They", Poe muttered under their breath, earning a sharp jab in the stomach from the blunt end of a blaster.
"...reckless, self-destructive behavior almost cost lives-" The commander had been rambling on for some time, just the same handful of words in a different order, and Poe had grown more than tired of it.
"With all due respect, Commander, it was my reckless, self-destructive behavior that saved the mission. What would we have if I hadn't gone in alone? Absolutely nothing."
"It was a peaceful mission, and now I have-"
"I can't help that they fired at us. Should I have let them blow my ship up? Perhaps I should have sacrificed someone from my team trying to peacefully flee?"
They stared each other down until the Commander let out a sigh and threw his arms in the air.
"We did get what we needed, and everyone made it out safely. I'll give you that much, Dameron." He turned his eyes to General Organa. "I'll see what this hard-drive has on it. Until our next meeting, see if you can talk some self-preservation into this boy. He's too young to see how valuable his life is."
Poe bristled as the Commander walked away from them.
The word was uttered by two voices in unison, too quiet for anyone else to hear. Poe whipped their head around to stare with shock at the General. She gave them a soft smile and reached out to squeeze their hand gently. Her knowing eyes saw right through them, as usual, and Poe felt dizzy in an almost good way.
Poe ran across the hanger and pulled the man into their arms, hugging him tight. Snap held onto Poe longer than he normally would. Poe sighed as they pulled away, taking in Snap's disheveled appearance, the cut on his left cheek, the deep bags under their eyes. Jessika joined them only a few seconds later and pulled them into a group hug. Poe let out a relieved laugh as they split apart.
"That was a crazy-ass maneuver you pulled, Dameron," Jess laughed and punched Poe on the shoulder lightly.
"Not as crazy as this guy," they pointed at Snap. The man grinned proudly and grabbed Poe's hand, something he did whenever they got back from a rough mission. Poe relished the feeling of Snap's rough hand in their own, the warm comfort and proof that they did it once again. They defied the odds and came out in one piece, as a team. Jess took Poe's other hand and the lingering fear of the mission fell away at once.
"I don't know what I'd do without my boys."
Poe tensed at once even as Snap laughed and pulled Jess into a bear hug. I can do this,they thought. I can tell them. They'll understand. They'll accept it.
Yet, the words never made it past Poe's lips. Snap and Jessika threw their arms around Poe and slowly made their way to the General, and Poe wasn't upset. Poe would tell them when they felt ready. Now just wasn't the right time.
Poe couldn't anticipate the rush they felt as the word, so long locked behind their lips, slipped out without a second thought. It was late; Poe lost track of the time hours ago. Two warm bodies pressed up against theirs, bare skin heating Poe like a furnace. Rey's head lay on Poe's chest, Finn on their other side, draped over Poe. Finn's arm was stretched out, fingers drawing shapes over Rey's back.
Poe's birthday was next week, and Finn had been alluding to some surprise they were cooking up. Rey swatted him in the arm and said, "Stop talking about him like he isn't here."
The correction slipped out before Poe had a chance to consider it.
"What?" Rey cocked an eyebrow in Poe's direction.
"Not he. They." Poe pointed to themself as if that would clear the confusion up, then sighed. "I'm not a man."
"You're not a-? Okay. Okay. What are you?" Finn asks. His tone was soft and accepting. He ran a finger over Poe's chest.
"I don't have a gender. I know it might seem stupid, but it would mean a lot to me if you could not use 'he' anymore." Poe's heart was racing, and yet they felt like a weight had fallen off. Poe had been holding back those words for far too long.
"It's not stupid," Rey said gently. She pressed a palm to Poe's cheek and pulled herself up so she could kiss them. Poe melted into the kiss. They felt Finn's perfect lips kissing up their neck as Rey pulled back to smile at them. "We'll do our best. Only 'they' from now on."
Poe thought back to every time in their life that they had avoided correcting someone, either because they were afraid or just not ready, and they didn't have any regrets. This felt right. This felt like the moment Poe had been waiting for.