Poe doesn’t notice that anything’s changed until well after he’s back on D’Qar, after he’s told the General that he failed in his mission, after he’s taken half an hour to sit in a corner of his bunk and weep for BB-8 and for Finn and for the stupid waste of life at Lor San Tekka’s village.
Then he goes to take a shower, and it’s when he takes his shirt off that he sees it, on his left forearm: a small, clear imprint of his lost jacket, every detail perfect and crisp.
He stands there staring at his own arm for a long time. His jacket? What…who…his jacket is gone, gone with the TIE fighter and Finn and BB-8, how can it be his Mark?
He can’t think about this right now, not and keep his sanity intact, so he wraps a spare bit of cloth around his arm and ties it off so he can’t see the Mark anymore, and goes on about his life as normally as he can. He’s still Black Leader, he’s still the best pilot in the Resistance, he’s got things to do, he can’t think about who might share his Mark, who might think his jacket is the symbol of their bond.
He actually manages to put it so thoroughly out of his mind that it’s not until he looks up from his reunion with BB-8 (miracle that it is, he’s never been happier to see the little droid in his life) to see Finn – Finn! Alive! – coming across the tarmac, not until after he’s hugged the stuffing out of Finn and thanked him for completing his mission, that he leans back and notices what Finn is wearing.
“You’re wearing my jacket,” he says stupidly, and then, when Finn starts taking it off, “No, no, no! Keep it – it suits you.” My jacket, his mind is clamoring. He’s wearing my jacket. He’s wearing MY JACKET. He’s mine. Oh, Force bless me, he’s MINE.
Of course, just because Finn is wearing his jacket, is almost certainly the reason for the Mark on Poe’s arm, doesn’t mean that Poe is Finn’s Marked bondmate. Sometimes that happens – sometimes Marks don’t match. There’s a family back on Yavin 4 where Jo is Marked for Kay is Marked for Su-Li is Marked for Jo. They make it work. And in any case, Finn is worried about this girl Rey – the girl who BB-8 tells Poe is more than half of the reason that BB-8 is here right now and not being taken apart on a First Order ship – and so Poe knows Finn has other things to think about than the minor matter of whether they are soulmates. Poe figures he’ll bring it up once they’ve finished some of the little chores – rescuing Rey, destroying Starkiller, you know, the small things.
Poe holds that thought like a talisman until Chewbacca comes off of the Millennium Falcon with Finn’s limp form in his arms. No, his mind screams, no, no, he’s mine, he can’t be dead, I only just found him – but there are medics coming, a gurney truck, so Finn isn’t dead, just…just injured. Badly.
Poe follows the medics, because a debrief is suddenly far less important than learning, as quickly as possible, how badly injured his Marked soulmate is.
The medics are unwilling to tell Poe anything – patient confidentiality, they insist – until Poe hauls up his sleeve and shows them the Mark; then they let him in, to stand beside the bed where Finn lies still as death, still wearing Poe’s jacket. The medics are saying all sorts of things that Poe doesn’t understand, but what sticks out is: prognosis good. Recovery probable.
Poe steps back so the medics can do their work and stands with his hands clenched in the fabric of his flight suit so he won’t be tempted to touch, to get in the way, and stays there, staring at his soulmate’s still face, until he hears BB-8 beeping enthusiastically behind him.
He turns, and BB-8 is scooting in circles around a young woman – Rey, Poe realizes – as if herding her towards Poe and Finn. Poe steps out of the med bay, closing the door behind him gently, and pats his droid on the head when it whirrs up to him.
“You must be Rey,” he says quietly, holding out a hand. “I’m Poe. They say he’s probably going to be alright.”
“Oh, thank the Force,” Rey replies, just as quietly, taking his hand briefly. “BB-8 says you’re the best pilot in the Resistance,” she adds, looking over Poe’s shoulder at Finn. “You took out Starkiller, didn’t you?”
“Only after you’d gotten me an opening,” Poe says instantly. “Thanks.”
“Thank you,” Rey says, then looks at him properly and quirks a smile. “Think they’ll let me in to see him?”
“I had to show my Mark to get in,” Poe confesses. “You might need to ask the General to pull rank.”
Rey blinks at him. “Mark?”
“Er,” Poe says, and pulls his sleeve up again. “He’s my soulmate.”
Rey reaches out to touch the Mark with gentle, curious fingers. “Is that what those mean,” she says softly. “I saw a few, on Jakku; always wondered what that was about. So the Mark means you’re…meant to be together?”
“Sort of,” Poe says, slightly astonished that he’s having this conversation in a corridor outside the med bay, still in his flight suit from what’s probably going to go on record as the most amazing mission of his career. His life, ladies and gentlemen: what the hell. “If he’s got a matching one, then yeah, pretty much. But I don’t know if he does, so…” he shrugs. “We’ll see when he wakes up, I guess.”
“Huh,” Rey says, and then the General comes around the corner and they are both distracted by debriefing and the General intimidating the med droids into letting Rey in to see Finn and then going and getting hot showers (eyes closed, leaning against the shower wall) and food (protein bar, because all of Poe’s energy is gone) and sleep, in whatever order feels best to them – or at least that’s what Poe does, and he assumes Rey is also taking the opportunity to crash.
He wakes up to someone knocking insistently on his door, and rolls groggily out of bed to open it, blinking blearily at whoever is interrupting his blissful slumber. “Rey?”
“What does it mean if you’ve got two?” she demands.
Poe blinks at her. He is honestly not at his best when he’s just woken up, and being asked weird questions by terrifying baby Jedi is not helping. “Two…what?”
“Two Marks,” Rey says, exasperated.
“Uh,” says Poe intelligently. He lets go of the doorframe to scrub both hands over his face, and sighs. “C’mon in. I need to wake up a bit before we have this conversation, I expect.”
Rey comes in, looking around with undisguised curiosity, and Poe ducks into the tiny refresher which is one of the perks of being an officer to splash cold water on his face and try and put his hair in some sort of order. When he comes out, Rey has leaned over to examine the little X-Wing figurine he has on his dresser, nose inches away from it, hands clasped behind her back as though to keep herself from touching. It’s oddly endearing.
“So,” Poe says, and she straightens up and pushes her sleeves back to reveal two pale forearms, each with a Mark upon it. Poe blinks. On one arm is a lightsaber, its blade shining blue; on the other, unmistakably, is BB-8.
Then her eyes flick down to his own bare arms, and his follow them, and he has to sit down, because on his right arm, clear and neatly delineated, is his droid. It matches the one on Rey’s arm precisely. “What the hell,” he breathes, and Rey makes a curious noise.
“We match,” she says. “And I don’t know about you, but I suspect both my ‘saber and your jacket are meant for Finn.”
“That would make a lot of sense,” Poe agrees, head reeling. He’s gotten this old without any soulmates, and now he apparently has two, two gorgeous brave talented people with their Marks on his arms. “Wow.”
Rey chuckles. It’s a nice sound, though it’s almost rusty, like she doesn’t do it a lot. “Yeah,” she agrees. “I have no idea what this means.”
“I suspect it means that at the very least we’re going to be good friends,” Poe tells her, and she gives him an astonishingly sweet smile. “Let me get a shirt on and we can go find breakfast,” he offers, “and get to know each other a little. And then after breakfast we can go bully the med droids into letting us see Finn.”
“I like the way you think,” Rey says.
Over breakfast, Poe gets the slightly upsetting pleasure of introducing Rey to food that actually tastes good. She seems astonished by everything – juice, muffins, fresh fruit – and eager to try it all. Poe picks out some favorites and hands her the butter and watches in astonished bafflement as she goes into very quiet raptures about sliced sweetmelon and dewberry muffins and sun-apple juice. On the one hand, Poe is glad to have given her such a nice experience – on the other hand, wow, growing up on Jakku must have been kriffing awful.
“I bet Finn would like this,” Rey says, and Poe realizes that when Finn wakes up, in all probability they’re going to do this again, because the First Order probably doesn’t bother to feed their Stormtroopers anything nice.
“I bet you’re right,” is what Poe says, but Rey looks up and meets his eyes and he’s pretty sure she’s thinking just about the same thing he is. She finishes her juice in three long gulps and stands.
“C’mon,” she says. “I want to see how he’s doing.”
The med droids are deeply dubious, but they let both of them in on the strength of the Marks on their bare arms. Finn is still lying limp on the bed, but he’s covered by a sheet now, and the jacket – with an enormous gash down its back, kriffing hell – is draped over a chair.
Rey goes over to Finn at once, and then pauses next to him awkwardly, as though not quite sure what to do. Poe pulls a couple of chairs over to either side of the bed and pushes her gently into one, taking the one with the jacket on it for himself. They sit quietly for a few minutes, watching Finn’s chest rise and fall, breathing in time with his slow breaths.
“Do you think he has our Marks?” Rey asks finally, very quietly.
Poe is practically eaten up with curiosity, in fact. And also he really kind of wants to hold Finn’s hand, to feel him warm and alive and there. He tugs the sheet up, gently, tucking it against Finn’s side but leaving his hand and arm exposed, and on her side Rey does the same. And then they stare down, eyes wide, at their soulmate’s forearms.
On Poe’s side, the jacket is Marked clear and perfect and gorgeous. Poe leans forward a little, glancing across the bed, and Rey has put her own arm up next to Finn’s, the matching lightsabers almost gleaming beside each other.
“He’s ours,” Poe says, quietly, and Rey looks up from Finn’s arm and stretches her other arm across Finn’s body, BB-8 orange and white against her pale skin, and Poe takes Finn’s hand in his left and Rey’s hand in his right and feels the snap of the universe settling into place around them. Yes. This – this is where he is meant to be.
Rey has to leave, of course: she’s the only proper person to go find Luke Skywalker. “Take care of our Finn,” she tells Poe solemnly before she leaves. “And take care of yourself, Poe Dameron. I just found you. I want you to be here when I get back.”
“I will be,” Poe promises her. “And don’t you get lost out there – we need you.”
“I’ll come back,” Rey says, clasping his arm. Feeling greatly daring, Poe leans in and brushes his lips against hers. She blinks at him a moment, startled, and then smiles. “Apparently you’ve got a lot to teach me,” she murmurs.
“We’ll learn together,” Poe says, and watches her leave.
Poe tries to visit Finn every day. Some days he’s out on missions – some weeks he’s out on missions, and that never makes him happy, that he has to be so far from Finn for so long – but he tries to make it daily, to come to sit beside Finn’s bed and talk to him about what’s been happening at the base, about the missions Poe has flown, about anything that comes into his mind. The med droids say that sometimes people in comas can hear what the people around them are talking about, so Poe figures it’s worth a try. He talks about Rey, about her heartbreaking joy in food and her adorable expression while examining Poe’s X-Wing figurine and her courage and tenacity; he talks about his childhood, about growing up beneath a Force-sensitive tree and learning to be a pilot and enormous family gatherings; he talks about Finn, about what the med droids have learned about the suppressants and conditioning drugs in his bloodstream, about how brave and funny and frankly adorable Finn is, about how grateful Poe is that his Marked soulmates are such wonderful, amazing people.
“When you wake up,” he tells Finn, “we’re going to have such fun.”
But Finn does not wake up.
Rey comes back with Luke Skywalker, who is surprisingly intimidating for a shortish old man. She introduces Poe to him as “one of my soulmates,” and Skywalker looks Poe up and down with a peculiarly penetrating gaze and then nods, approvingly.
“He’ll do,” he tells Rey, and then is swept away by the General and a handful of other officers, leaving Rey and Poe to stare at each other a little awkwardly.
“Finn’s still not awake,” Poe tells her. “The med droids still say he’s going to be fine, but it’s been months.”
“I’ll ask Master Luke if he knows anything he can do to help,” Rey says, and there’s a look in her eyes that says that Skywalker had better have a trick up his sleeve if he knows what’s good for him. Poe grins helplessly.
“Want to get dinner while the officers have raptures over your Jedi Master?” Poe asks after a moment.
“Sure,” Rey says, and falls into step beside him. Poe notices that her hair is still in its three little buns, but now there’s a tiny braid worked into the first one. Poe grins: so, Padawan but not exactly a pushover, then. Not that he expects Rey to be a pushover. He’s not sure he’s met many stronger people in his life. The General; maybe Finn.
“Where was he?” Poe asks curiously. “Where do Jedi Masters go to ground?”
“This tiny little island in the middle of an ocean,” Rey says, a dreamy look on her face. “I had to ask him what to call the water – somehow the word ‘ocean’ just didn’t come up much on Jakku. It was very cold, but he made me go swimming every morning.”
“You can swim?” Poe asks in surprise. She slants him a grin.
“I can now. I couldn’t to start with. Chewbacca had to teach me.”
Poe considers that. “Doesn’t his fur get…?”
“Wet Wookiees smell awful,” Rey confirms. “I learned as fast as I could.” Poe snorts laughter and covers his mouth in belated embarrassment. Rey’s grin gets bigger.
“What else does Jedi training involve?” Poe asks. He’s honestly curious: no one on base seems to know much about it, except maybe the General, and she isn’t talking.
“A lot of meditation,” Rey sighs. “It’s so boring. I could be learning to use the lightsaber properly, but no, I have to sit cross-legged and ‘feel my connection with the Force.’ I can feel it! It’s there! I know where it is! When do I get to do something with it?”
Poe pats her shoulder carefully. “It sounds…less than fun,” he admits. “Let me make it up to you – want to learn to fly an X-Wing?”
That gets him a grin so big it lights up the whole corridor. “Yes!” Rey says. “When?”
“Tomorrow?” Poe asks, mentally running through his schedule. No missions, nothing but routine training and maintenance; he can fit in a flight with Rey, no problem.
Rey squeezes his shoulder with one startlingly strong hand. “Thanks,” she says, grin still firmly on her face. “That will be great.”
Poe can’t help grinning back. “Yeah, it is,” he agrees.
After dinner they go to check on Finn. He’s still unconscious. Rey runs a hand over his hair, glances at Poe, and leans down and kisses Finn’s forehead gently. Poe shares a rueful grin with her: he’s never actually been bold enough to do that, but Force knows he’s wanted to.
Rey glances over at the chair which is, by now, pretty firmly Poe’s chair, and raises an eyebrow at the jacket. “You fixed it,” she observes.
“Of course,” Poe says, and gets a lopsided smile for that. And then Rey pulls a lightsaber hilt out of her beltpouch and tucks it gently under Finn’s pillow.
“The safety’s on,” she tells Poe. “I thought…it’s our Mark. Maybe if they’re both here…”
“Yeah,” Poe says, hoarsely. “Yeah, I…I thought kind of the same thing.”
“I’ll talk to Master Luke tomorrow,” Rey says firmly. “In the meantime – speaking of Marks – where’s BB-8?”
“Bothering R2-D2,” Poe laughs. “C’mon, let’s go find him. He’s been missing you.” He opens the door for her, and before he can think about it too long, he adds, “So have I.”
Rey glances at him, and then reaches out and takes his forearm, where her Mark rests, for just a moment. Poe, who has started to figure out that Rey simply does not touch people very often, is deeply moved.
BB-8 is comically glad to see Rey, who crouches down on the floor and pets the little droid as it whirls in circles. “Have you been good for Poe?” she asks it, and laughs aloud at its beeping rendition of the nice things it has done for Poe these past months. Droids have…interesting ideas of ‘nice things,’ so Poe leans against a wall and tries not to laugh, and watches his second soulmate contentedly. He’s always liked making people happy, seeing people happy, and Rey is so clearly delighted by BB-8’s company that Poe feels like he has a sun nestled in his chest, warming him all the way through.
Skywalker looks Finn over assessingly, and then turns to Rey. “He is lost in his own mind,” he says. “Sometimes great pain or fear can send one into the Force, and there it is entirely possible to lose one’s way. He wishes to return – he is drawn back – but cannot find the path.”
“Master,” Rey says, and Poe blinks a little at the respect in her tone – okay then, Skywalker must be something special, to get that respect from Rey – “Master, can I call him back?”
“I rather think you can. But you will need an anchor of your own, to keep you from joining him in the far reaches of the Force forever.”
Rey reaches out and takes Poe’s hand. “I have an anchor,” she says, and Poe’s breath catches in his throat. He twines his fingers through hers and holds on tightly.
Rey reaches out and takes Finn’s left hand, the one with the lightsaber on the wrist, and closes her eyes. Poe reaches out to take Finn’s other hand, thinking it might help – last time they formed this circuit, he certainly felt something – and hangs on like grim death. He can feel something happening, something Rey is doing, like feeling someone else moving around in a dark room: hints of warmth and air pressure, but no clear picture of what’s going on. He keeps his eyes on Finn and his hands tight on his soulmates’ hands and tries hard to stay calm, centered, like an anchor in the storm.
“Come back,” Rey says quietly, and Poe shivers at the power in her voice. Oh, okay, this would be why she’s training to be a Jedi, why she was apparently perfectly capable of beating the rancor shit out of Kylo fucking Ren. She sounds a little like the General, honestly, that same surety, that same air of perfect competence and utter determination. “Come back to us, Finn. We’ve been waiting for you.”
Finn’s eyes open. “Rey,” he breathes. “Poe.” And then they slip closed again, and he takes a deep breath, deeper than he’s been breathing for months, and slides into what is clearly perfectly normal sleep.
Rey opens her eyes and grins. “It worked!” she says. “Master, did you see, it worked!”
“Well done, padawan,” Skywalker says, pride and amusement in his voice.
Poe realizes that he is staring at Rey in amazement and delight when she turns to look at him and raises her eyebrows. “You doubted me?” she asks him, and there’s a tease in her tone but also something sharper. Poe shakes his head vigorously.
“Never,” he tells her. “I will never place a bet against you so long as I live.”
“Oh,” she says, surprised and deeply pleased, and then she squeezes his hand and lets go. “We should…we should ask the med droids when he’ll wake up properly.”
“We should,” Poe agrees, and puts Finn’s hand tenderly back on the bed. “Hey, buddy,” he adds softly, leaning over his soulmate’s sleeping form. “When you wake up, we’re waiting for you.”
“As Master Luke says, ‘Patience, padawan,’” Rey intones, in quite a good imitation of Skywalker’s voice, and Poe dissolves into helpless laughter, as much at the sudden relief of knowing that Finn’s really going to be alright as at the indignant look on Skywalker’s face.
Rey and Poe take shifts for the next few hours, one of them always at Finn’s bedside. When he wakes again, they want him to know they’re there for him. Rey has to go and do Jedi things (“More meditation,” she mutters to Poe as she leaves the room) and when she gets back, Poe has to go and see to his squadrons and his X-Wing and make sure BB-8 hasn’t managed to get stuck anywhere. He brings dinner back for both himself and Rey, and they set up at a flimsy little folding table beside Finn’s bed, and eat in companionable silence, watching Finn breathe.
“Master Luke says he can’t explain soulmates,” Rey says after a while. “Can you?”
“Ask the easy questions, why don’t you,” Poe teases gently. “I mean, I can’t explain why they happen, or anything like that. But my parents are soulmated, and so are a lot of the people I grew up around, so I can tell you what it looks like from the outside, at least, if that’s what you want.”
“Yeah,” Rey says. “Not too many soulmates on Jakku. Tell me.”
Poe thinks about it for a while. “It doesn’t mean you’ll never fight,” he says at last. “Doesn’t even necessarily mean you’ll love each other. It just means you…fit. Like pieces of a puzzle. Your soulmate’s got something you need to be complete, and you’ve got something they need.” He thinks about Jo and Kay and Su-Li back on Yavin 4, about the way they’ve built a family despite not matching at all, just by refusing to give up.
Rey considers this. “Finn is my hope,” she says at last. “I’d given up hoping, on Jakku. I was waiting, but I’d given up thinking they’d come back for me. And then he came back for me, on Starkiller. So.”
“Yes,” Poe agrees. “Hope. That there’s light, even where you’d never look for it. That even when you think you’ve failed, you can still succeed.” He can’t quite look at Rey. “I’d never failed so badly as on Jakku,” he tells Finn’s sleeping form, Rey’s listening silence. “I didn’t know how to…how to fail and get up again. Still don’t, I think. But he completed my mission.” He shrugs, echoes Rey. “So.”
Rey is quiet for a while, but she leans over, rests her shoulder against Poe’s, and she’s warm and there and somehow immensely comforting.
“You’re our anchor,” she tells him, very quietly, after a long silence. “We don’t know how to be in the real world, Finn and I. We hardly know how to be people. But then there’s you, and you’re…you make it feel alright for me to not know what sun-apple juice is, or how laundry gets done around here, or what to do when the General walks in.”
Poe feels that sun warm in his chest again. He reaches over to take her hand, carefully, and she turns her palm up and twines her fingers with his. “You’re a beacon,” he tells her, though he’s still looking at Finn. It’s easier to say things like this in the quiet, dim med bay, not quite looking at each other, the only real things in the world her hand in his and her shoulder warm against his own. “You’re victory. The first new Jedi, the light in the darkness that we’ve been waiting for. You’re going to lead us, someday, and Finn and me, we’ll follow you to the ends of the universe, you know.”
Rey hums thoughtfully. “The best pilot in the Resistance, the man brave enough to defect from the First Order, and me. Kylo Ren won’t know what hit him.”
“You know, I kind of hope he does know what hit him, because I want him to cry like a baby because you’ve whipped his ass again,” Poe says, and is rewarded by Rey dissolving into helpless, stifled laughter.
And Finn rolls over and opens his eyes to look at them and smiles so wide it seems his cheeks will crack, and says, “Hey.”
“Finn,” says Poe, voice shaking, and, “Finn!” says Rey, elated, and somehow they are all hugging, all holding on for dear life, and Poe takes a moment to be thankful that the med droids have assured them that Finn’s body is healed, if weak from long disuse, because it would be very hard to not hug Finn as hard as humanly possible right now.
“So, what did I miss?” Finn asks, when they’ve pulled apart and helped Finn sit up with his back supported by a mound of pillows and seated themselves on either side of the bed, each holding one of Finn’s hands and grinning broadly.
“Well, we blew up Starkiller,” Poe says, which is one of the more important things. “And then Rey went off and found the last living Jedi and brought him back.”
Rey nods. “That…sums up the really big news,” she agrees. “Except – Finn? What did the First Order say about soulmates?”
Finn blinks in surprise. “Soulmates?”
Poe winces. “Did Stormtroopers ever get…marks, on their arms?” he asks. “Inexplicable pictures?”
“Oh,” Finn says, and frowns. “Yeah, sometimes. Blasters, usually; sometimes a helmet. I think someone had a TIE fighter, and someone had a bar of soap.”
“And…what did the First Order say about those?”
“Inexplicable manifestation of unknown origin,” Finn says promptly. “Report and ignore.”
“Ah,” says Poe awkwardly. “That’s…”
Rey holds out her arms for Finn to see. He blinks down at the Marks, at BB-8 and an unmistakable blue lightsaber, and then looks up at her in confusion.
“They’re apparently called soul Marks,” she tells Finn gently. “They show up when you meet your soulmate and they show something significant to your relationship. That’s what Master Luke says, anyway. And Poe says they mean you complete each other.”
“You’ve got two,” Finn says, clearly still confused.
“I’ve got yours and his. He’s got yours and mine. And, Finn…you’ve got ours.”
Finn looks down at his own arms, at the lightsaber and the jacket clear and beautiful against his skin, and just stares for a while. “Those weren’t there before,” he says at last, and then, “let me see yours, Poe?”
Poe shoves his sleeves up, holds out his arms. Finn reaches out to trace wonderingly over the jacket limned on Poe’s left arm, the lightsaber on Rey’s right. “So when you say soulmate…” Finn says slowly. “Does that mean I get to keep both of you?”
“Yes,” says Poe instantly, before he can even think about it, and Rey’s inarticulate nod is just as quick and sure.
“Oh,” says Finn, and smiles, broad and sweet and beautiful. “Good.”
Then the med droids come in to tend to their patient, and Poe and Rey find themselves chased out into the hallway, blinking at each other in the brighter light.
“My bunk’s closer,” Poe says at last. “And I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.”
“Yes,” Rey agrees, and not ten minutes later they’re collapsing together into Poe’s bed, Rey in an overlarge shirt from Poe’s wardrobe that’s nearly a dress on her, Poe in his sleep pants and nothing else, and there’s nothing sexual about it, not tonight, only relief and bone-deep weariness, and they sleep the sleep of the justly worn-out until BB-8 wakes them late the next morning with the warning that the mess hall will close in half an hour.
Finn’s walking around the room when they make it to the med bay in the morning. He’s got one hand on BB-8’s head – so that’s why the little guy ran off after waking us, Poe thinks – and is clearly having to put some effort into placing one foot ahead of the other, but he’s walking, which is…pretty marvelous.
“We brought you breakfast, buddy,” Poe announces, and Finn turns and smiles at both of them, wide and joyful. Poe makes an instant resolution to see how often he can make Finn smile like that.
They get Finn sat back down in his bed – the back actually props up, which Poe had not realized last night, oops – and Rey perches on the edge of the bed and hands him bits of food with an eager look, waiting to see his reaction. Poe settles into his chair with a mug of caf and hides his smiles behind it. Finn is seemingly delighted by everything – his expression when he tastes a bit of sweetmelon is a picture – but the clear winner is the mug of hot chocolate Rey insisted on bringing. She’s apparently become addicted to the stuff in the – what is it, four full days? – she’s spent at D’Qar base, and though Poe is more a caf kind of guy – he needs it to wake up, okay? – he is purely delighted by the pleasure she takes in it. And now he can be delighted by the pleasure Finn takes in it, too. Wow, moaning like that in public is probably illegal. I wonder if I can make him make that noise again, Poe thinks.
The med droids chase Poe and Rey out after an hour or so, and Poe runs a hand through his hair a little awkwardly and says, “So we never did get to the X-Wings yesterday. D’you want to try today?”
“Yes!” says Rey, grinning, and Poe leads the way towards the hangar.
The training X-Wing – the only two-seater on base – is thankfully free, and Poe finds Rey a spare pilot’s suit (a size too large, because even Jessika is larger than Rey, though Poe is not about to underestimate his soulmate’s strength) and runs the basic checks on the training plane. Rey is right beside him as he does so, following his hands with her eyes, and when he closes up the hatch she leans back and nods to him, a little respectful, a little approving.
“You know your way around an engine,” she says.
“I do,” Poe replies. “Though I heard you jury-rigged the Falcon, so…I bow to your superior expertise.”
Rey laughs; it’s a beautiful sound. “Damn straight you do,” she tells him merrily. “C’mon: I want to see how she flies.”
Poe lets Rey figure out the controls for herself – she’s both a very good pilot already and quite clever, and every pilot has their own little tricks for getting everything just so. After a few minutes, she leans back in her seat, buckles the safety harness on, and gives Poe a broad grin. “Ready?”
“Ready aye, Captain,” he tells her, with a grin that almost hurts, it’s so wide, and she takes them up with such easy grace that Poe cannot help whistling in admiration. ”Don’t know how much I can teach you,” he says after a minute or two, while she dances the X-Wing through the sky, swooping and recovering as gracefully as any bird.
“She’s so responsive!” Rey says, turning her head briefly to grin at Poe. “Look!” And she flips the plane into a barrel-roll and out again before Poe can catch his breath. Poe is suddenly glad for the rule about always having your safety harness on.
“Awesome,” he tells Rey, quite sincerely, and sits back and just lets her fly.
They come down again hours later, when the X-Wing’s fuel gauge is starting to look a little closer to empty than Poe really likes, and are greeted by a whole crowd of pilots, both of Poe’s squadrons and half a dozen people from the other cohorts. Jessika holds up a datapad as Poe hops out of the cockpit and gives Rey a hand down.
“We’ve been watching you on the scans, Dameron,” she informs him. “That was some sweet flying!”
“Wasn’t me,” Poe tells her, grinning fit to burst. “Meet Rey, my new competition.”
“Rey!” Jessika cries, and then Rey is surrounded by happy, inquisitive pilots, each demanding to know where she learned to fly like that, where’s she from, is she really a Jedi, is Master Skywalker here to stay? Rey looks more than a little overwhelmed by the sudden enthusiasm, and Poe realizes that she probably does not have much experience in crowds. But she’s holding her own well enough, answering questions briefly but politely, and so Poe just stands behind her trying to look supportive.
Rey reaches back and takes his hand, and when Poe clasps her fingers, she relaxes a little, and even smiles.
They tell Finn about it that evening, over dinner in the med bay. Finn whoops when Rey describes the acrobatics she’d performed, gleeful as a child; and Poe watches his soulmates in their joy and there’s that sun again, warm in his chest like the Light itself.
“I never did say thank you,” Rey says, turning to Poe. “That was…really wonderful.”
“We kind of got distracted by every other pilot on base,” Poe says easily. “And you’re welcome.”
“Is there…is there something I could do for you?” she asks, looking nervous, like she’s not sure if that’s even the right thing to say. Poe’s heart hurts a little.
“Think you could bring me up in the Falcon sometime?” he asks. “That would be…man, I’ve wanted to see the inside of that thing for decades.”
“Of course,” she says, delighted. “Anytime you like.”
Finn shakes his head at both of them. “What’s wrong with keeping your feet on the ground?” he asks, grinning.
“Boring,” Rey and Poe chorus, and then share a grin.
They stay up far too late talking to Finn – Rey wants to tell him everything she learned from Skywalker, and Poe listens as eagerly as Finn does, because what kid growing up with stories of the Rebellion didn’t want to be a Jedi? If Poe can’t be one himself, he can be excited about his soulmate being one; that’s nearly as good. Better, maybe, because if Poe was a Jedi he’d have to stop flying.
So Rey tells them about learning to swim in cold ocean water and balancing on one hand while Skywalker shied rocks at her and fighting staff-against-staff in preparation for the day when she makes her own lightsaber and spending endless hours in mediation. Finn has questions – what’s an ocean like? Who wins the staff fights? What’s meditation anyhow? – and Poe just sits back and basks in the sound of their voices, strong and happy, and in the feel of their hands in his.
When the med droids finally kick Poe and Rey out again, Rey follows Poe back to his room without asking, and he hands her the shirt that – after one night – he’s already thinking of as hers and collapses. Staying up this late is asking for trouble, but he doesn’t want to give up one precious second of the time he has with his soulmates.
The next morning the General gives him an apologetic look and a mission.
Poe comes back to base a week later, exhausted and filthy; he can feel himself swaying a bit during the debrief, and though the mission was a complete success, his normal pride is overlaid with a sort of fizzing cloud of weariness. The General claps him gently on the shoulder and tells him to go lie down before he falls down, and frankly that sounds like a really good idea.
When he gets back to his room, Finn and Rey are in his bed. Poe stands there blinking at the heap of blankets and soulmates for a long moment, and then strips down to his pants and half-collapses onto the remaining sliver of bed. He will deal with this later, when he has brain to do it with.
He half-wakes in the middle of the night to soft murmuring, is tugged gently further onto the bed, and goes grumblingly along with the pulling hands without opening his eyes. He is asleep again as soon as the tugging stops.
When he wakes up, he’s managed to roll himself into a sort of blanket cocoon, which is going to take some ingenuity to get out of, and Finn is sitting on the edge of the bed with Rey sitting on the floor between his knees, and Finn is brushing Rey’s hair.
Poe blinks at this for a while. It’s possibly the most endearing thing he’s seen in months.
“Three buns and a little braid?” Finn murmurs.
“Yeah,” Rey says, just as quiet, and Poe realizes they’re trying not to wake him, the sweethearts. He stays quiet, watching patiently, while Finn’s clever fingers put Rey’s hair in order. This is not the first time they’ve done this, he thinks; in the week he’s been gone, they’ve found rituals, habits to share with each other. He’d be jealous, but it’s too adorable.
Finn turns to look at Poe once Rey’s hair is done, and beams. “Hey, you’re awake!”
“So I am,” Poe says, and fights his way out of the blanket cocoon. “Hope I didn’t steal all the blankets from you.”
“No, you only rolled yourself up after we got out of bed,” Rey assures him, standing and beginning a series of really breathtakingly appealing stretches in the middle of the room. Poe tries not to stare, because soulmate or not, that’s not polite.
Finn reaches out and tugs gently on a stray wisp of Poe’s hair. “Can I brush your hair?” he asks.
Poe’s heart squeezes in his chest. How did he get this lucky? “Yeah, buddy, of course,” he says. “But I don’t think it’s long enough to braid.”
Rey giggles. Poe files the sound away as something he wants to elicit often, and ducks into the refresher for a moment. When he comes out, he settles himself at Finn’s feet.
Finn’s hands are gentle and sure, and the steady sweep of the brush through Poe’s hair is soothing, and it was a long mission; Poe is half-asleep again in minutes, dozily watching Rey move through her exercises and basking in the feeling of Finn’s hands, the warmth of Finn’s legs against his back. He doesn’t move until Rey finally finishes the last of her stretches, turns to look at them, and giggles again. “I think his hair is brushed, Finn,” she says, and Poe realizes he’s been sitting quietly being groomed for the better part of half an hour.
“Breakfast?” he says, hopefully, because now that he’s awake properly his stomach is reminding him he’s been eating field rations and protein shakes for the last week. Rey and Finn smile down at him and agree.
Over an enormous mug of hot caf and a plate loaded with fried ham and fried tubers and some sort of egg-and-vegetable thing and sweetmelon and a truly absurdly large muffin, Poe asks his soulmates how they’ve spent the week. “And when did you get out of med bay, anyway?” he asks Finn. “I thought they were gonna keep you there for weeks.”
“Three days ago,” Finn says, grinning. “I told them I had people who’d look after me.”
“…And you decided to set up in my rooms?” Poe asks. He’s not annoyed – far from it – but he’s slightly confused.
“Your bed is bigger than mine, and you’ve got your own refresher,” Rey says matter-of-factly. “And we wanted to be there when you got home.”
“Oh,” says Poe, and feels the sun of their regard warm in his chest. “That’s alright then.” He glances around, notes the big calendar-clock on the wall. “Oh, hey, it’s a rest day. No wonder you guys slept in with me.”
Finn grins at him. “Yeah; Rey had to tell me what rest days were, this morning. What do you like to do?”
Poe considers. Usually his answer to that is ‘tinker with BB-8 or his X-Wing, sleep a lot, get drunk’ but today he’d like something a bit different.
“You guys want to come to my favorite lake?” he asks. Rey and Finn glance at each other, grin, and nod enthusiastically. Poe beams. This is gonna be fun.
Poe’s favorite lake is small and shallow, and gets sunlight all year long, so the water is usually warm. There are minnows in the lake, and some larger fish to eat them, but nothing large enough to bother a person, and there is a rocky bottom which is nicer to walk on than silt and weeds. The grassy bank is nearly flat and wide enough to land a small transport on with plenty of room left over, which is exactly what Poe does. He sweet-talked one of the kitchen workers into giving him a picnic basket, and he’s got a spare blanket and a stack of towels, and he plans to stay here as long as his soulmates please.
Rey is instantly delighted by the grass, and flings herself down to lie on the bank, sprawling out and grinning up at her soulmates. “It’s soft,” she says encouragingly, and Finn sits down next to her, runs his hands over the blades of grass and laughs at the tickling against his palms. Poe puts the blanket and towels and food down under a tree and kicks off his shoes. The grass is very pleasant against his feet.
Rey glances over at him and sees his bare feet, and toes off her own boots; Finn follows suit moments later. Poe grins at them both. “You going to do everything I do?”
“Maybe,” Rey says, and oh, that’s a challenge, and Poe doesn’t back down from challenges even when it would be smart to do so. He pulls his shirt off without a second thought – he was going swimming anyhow.
Neither of his soulmates has what Poe thinks of as a reasonable level of body modesty. Oh, they wear clothes, but they have no particular problem being naked around other people. Poe and Rey spent hours at a time sitting at Finn’s bedside while Finn was wearing nothing at all, and he never even fidgeted; Rey has stripped down in front of Poe at least twice without even thinking about it. So he should not be surprised when they pull their own shirts off, too; but he is. There is…skin. Lots of beautiful skin. Rey is wearing a wrap around her breasts, but other than that, Poe’s soulmates are bare from their lovely waists up, and Poe’s mouth goes dry as he looks at them. How in the universe did he get so lucky as to have these two phenomenally beautiful people as his Marked mates?
And they are both looking at him like he’s a mug of hot chocolate and a whole sliced sweetmelon and buttered bread all at once. It’s mildly intimidating, and very appealing.
They are all still for a few seconds, and then Poe clears his throat and says, “Swimming, anyone?” and the moment is – not broken, but postponed. Today is for swimming and picnicking and talking, for just basking in each other’s company; later, they will have time to think about other things. When Poe kicks his pants off, leaving him in boxers and nothing more, his soulmates grin at him, but do not ogle; and when they also kick off their pants, he admires the view but does not linger.
Poe is the first into the water, taking three long strides out from shore and then diving, shallow and easy, and surfacing a fair ways into the lake, turning onto his back and grinning up at the clear sky for a moment before flipping over to scull back towards shore and his soulmates. Rey is waist-deep and just standing up from having ducked under, her hair dark and coming loose from its ties to straggle down onto her shoulders and neck; Finn is a few paces behind her, looking equal parts dubious and delighted. Poe stands up next to Rey, grinning down at her, and raises an eyebrow at Finn.
“I know Rey can swim, thanks to Chewbacca and Skywalker,” he says. “Can you?”
“I can cross a standard-length pool in full armor,” Finn says.
“Ah,” says Poe. “This is a little different.”
“Yeah, I can see that,” Finn says, grinning.
“C’mere,” Poe says. “We’ll teach you how to float.”
They get out when their fingers have gone all pruny – which is apparently a new experience for both of Poe’s soulmates, and they spend several minutes poking at each other’s fingers and laughing, which is adorable. Poe shakes his head at them and spreads the blanket out in the sun and sprawls out on it; in mere seconds he has a warm body on either side of him, a heavy arm across his waist and slender fingers playing with his hair. Poe closes his eyes and smiles up at the sky. He could stay right here for a very long time.
“We’re going to regret it if we take a nap out in the sun,” Rey points out after a while. Poe sighs and nods, and they get up long enough to move the blanket into the shade, and then, since they’re up already, to open the basket and find out what Poe managed to coax out of the kitchen workers. Finn and Rey make delighted noises at the bread and cheese and fruit – simple things, suited to a picnic – and then discover the carafe of hot chocolate and turn identical, adoring stares on Poe, who can feel his ears going red as he blushes.
Once they’ve distributed the food and arranged themselves comfortably – which apparently means Rey leaning against Finn leaning against Poe leaning against a tree, look at him not complaining – Finn says, “Tell us something about the universe – something we don’t know.”
“Um,” says Poe, and eats a handful of berries while he thinks. “Alright. Did either of you have much music – songs, or instrumental?”
“No,” Rey says promptly. “Sometimes they had celebrations at the outpost, but I never went. Too dangerous.”
“There was the marching music,” Finn says. “One of my squad was in the Finalizer branch of the Imperial Orchestra, too.”
“Hm. But no popular songs, or anything like that?” Poe checks.
“Nope,” Rey says, and Finn shakes his head.
Poe considers this for a moment, and then picks a song he knows by heart, one they always sing at the parties back home, about love and life and coming home safely. It’s got a simple tune, anyone can sing it, and the words aren’t hard to learn. He closes his eyes and leans back against the tree, Finn warm against his shoulder, and sings.
When he opens his eyes again, his soulmates are both staring at him with wide, wondering eyes. Rey has berry juice dripping down her fingers, as though she has forgotten she is holding something fragile. Finn’s mouth is hanging open.
“Wow,” Rey says finally, very quietly. “That was beautiful.”
Poe blushes. He knows he’s got a good voice – hell, he has a guitar back on base, he’s been known to sing and play at the pilots’ occasional celebrations – but somehow this is different. This is his soulmates looking at him with admiring eyes. “D’you want to learn?” he asks, and when they nod, he spends the next few hours teaching them every song he can think of, and grinning as he listens to their untrained voices, enthusiastic and cheerful, belting out everything from sappy love songs to Resistance battle hymns.
It’s a good way to spend the day.
Poe learns a lot about his soulmates in the weeks that follow.
They’re both touch-starved, to begin with, but they deal with it in very different ways: Finn leans in to any touch, always wants to be sitting so that he can press his shoulder against Poe or Rey, always likes to take their hands while walking. At night, in their tangled heap of blankets, Finn likes to be in the middle, likes to have weight on him so that when he wakes up in the middle of the night he knows where he is, knows that he is not back in the First Order Barracks. Rey, on the other hand, reacts badly to unexpected touches; she likes to be in control of who touches her, and where, and when. She’ll take their hands, sometimes, and at night she does not object to snuggling up to them, but she steadfastly refuses to ever be in the middle; she likes the outside edge of the bed, where she can get up easily any time she likes. But if she chooses, she’ll sometimes drape herself over Poe or Finn, head on one of their thighs, and let them stroke her hair while she half-dozes in drowsy contentment. Poe is deeply honored by her trust.
Finn is willing to try any new food he comes across, no matter how unusual, and seems equally delighted whether he loves or hates it; he seems to cherish the experience more than the actual food, sometimes, though he does have definite favorites that he gravitates towards. Rey, on the other hand, likes to know exactly what’s on her plate, and has a steady regimen of trying exactly one new food or drink every meal, clearly keeping a detailed mental list of what she does and does not like. She also apparently has mental lists of her soulmates’ preferences, and it becomes relatively usual for Poe to look up from his datapad or the wiring of his X-Wing to find her standing beside him, holding out a bit of herbed flatbread with soft cheese or a ripe blumfruit for him. Her smile when he eats whatever she’s brought him is always sweetly delighted.
They both like to steal his clothes. It starts with the jacket, which Finn never takes off except for sleep, and the oversized shirt which is now Rey’s sleeping attire; but neither of them has what might be called a wardrobe to begin with, and both of them seem to like wearing Poe’s clothing, so he gets used to seeing them in his shirts, his sweaters, his scarves; to seeing Rey with his pants belted tight around her waist and cuffed up four times at the hems. It’s endearing and incredibly hot in about equal measure, and honestly he’d mind more except that they’ve also taken over doing his laundry. Apparently it’s something Finn was trained for, and he likes knowing what he’s doing, here in this entirely new environment; and Rey is fascinated by using water to wash clothing, and will sit watching the spin cycle and meditating for hours if no one interrupts her.
They are incredibly driven people, but then, Poe is, too. He’s sometimes gone for days, once in a while for a week or more, because the Resistance needs him, and even being with his soulmates is less important than that. Neither of them ever gives him any crap for it, which is actually a nice change from some of his previous relationships. Rey spends nearly all her waking hours with Skywalker, learning to be a Jedi – she was already strong, but Poe is rather impressed by how much muscle she has put on in just the last few months, from swinging her staff around all the time and also, he suspects, from actually getting enough to eat. Finn splits his time between dogged physiotherapy and requalifying with his blaster, and sitting for long hours with the General and her command staff, telling them everything he knows about the First Order and how they work. It’s not uncommon for all three of them to see each other only briefly, once when they wake up in their tangled pile, once at night when they all fall into bed and try to navigate around elbows and cold feet.
On other days, though, they eat at least one meal together, sometimes just the three of them, sometimes with the pilots or the analysts or – nerve-wrackingly – the General and Skywalker and Chewbacca. They sometimes find time to watch holos together, though that’s rare, and there’s usually something better to do – and neither Finn nor Rey likes holos much. They’d rather hear Poe’s stories, which is immensely flattering and a little intimidating. Finn and Poe try to find the time to go and watch Rey’s practice sessions with Skywalker: she’s beautiful in a fight, fluid and deadly and graceful, and Poe could watch her forever. Poe sometimes comes down from a training flight to find Finn and Rey waiting for him, a datapad between them where they’ve been watching his X-Wing on the scans. They claim they can always tell which one is his. Poe and Rey make time now and again to go watch Finn on the blaster range, and Poe can’t help but admire the steady hands and smooth motions of his first soulmate; from the way her eyes follow Finn like lodestones drawn to iron, he suspects Rey feels the same.
It’s good, this slow burning comfort between them, this gradual progress. Poe wakes up every morning that he’s in his own bunk warm and happy, goes to bed each night between his soulmates with a sigh of gratitude. For right now, it’s enough.
Finn’s physiotherapy takes a while – three months unconscious will do that to a man – and he comes back to their bunk one night (all of them have stopped bothering with the pretense that Finn and Rey sleep anywhere but in Poe’s room) limping, with an expression of extraordinary discomfort on his face. Poe looks up from his datapad and then shoots to his feet, the pad clattering to the floor. “Shit, Finn, are you alright?”
“Leg cramps,” says Finn miserably, sinking down onto the bed with a wince. “Might have overdone the exercises today.”
“No shit, buddy,” Poe mutters, but he goes to his knees in front of Finn and pulls the other man’s shoes off, tugs one of Finn’s feet into his lap. “Leg massage okay with you?”
“…A what?” Finn asks, and Poe curses the First Order vehemently, biting his tongue so he won’t do it out loud.
“Therapeutic technique,” he says at last. “Might make you feel better.”
“Oh,” Finn says. “Alright then – please.”
Poe goes to work, fingers gentle and firm on the tense muscles of Finn’s calf, and after a few moments Finn’s stiff back bends a little, the lines around his eyes start to fade. “Wow,” he says faintly. “That’s…really nice.”
“Show me how,” Rey says, sitting down next to Poe and taking Finn’s other foot into her lap. Poe slows down his movements, exaggerates them a little, and in very little time Finn is making soft noises which are pleasure instead of pain. Poe can feel the tension going out of Finn’s legs, and eventually Finn gives up completely and just flops down on his back on the bed, leaving his legs dangling over the side, trapped by Poe and Rey’s hands. Rey laughs.
“Better?” Poe asks.
“So much,” Finn says fervently. “Thank you.”
“Anytime,” Poe tells him.
A few days later, Rey comes back from her training with a peculiarly pinched look to her face. “Landed wrong,” she says when Finn asks if she’s alright, and then, very slowly, “Poe? Is there…back massage? Like the leg one you did for Finn?”
“There is,” Poe says. “Would you like one?”
She thinks about it. Poe waits as patiently as he can: Rey’s been getting much better about touching them, casual brushes of shoulders and brief grasps of hands and curling around Finn or Poe at night, but she still shies away a little when they touch her. If she doesn’t want a back massage, Poe will leave her be, though he hates to think of her in pain.
But finally she nods, and pulls off her shirt, and collapses face-down on the bed, head pillowed in her arms. Poe kneels on the bed next to her, puts his hands very gently on her shoulders, and is rewarded by a deep sigh and the sudden relaxation of her tense muscles. Well, that’s a good start.
He keeps his hands as gentle as he can while still actually doing anything, and little by little Rey turns into a puddle on the bed, limp and pliable and making delightful little happy moaning noises. Poe would possibly like to revisit those noises at some point in the future, when his soulmates are ready for more naked adventures than skinny-dipping.
But that time is not right now, so Poe sits back on his heels and asks, “Good?”
“Mmmmr,” says Rey. Finn chuckles.
“I think that means yes,” he says. “You’ve got really nice hands, Poe.”
Poe blushes. Oops. “Thanks,” he says faintly. “Glad to help.”
They bring Rey a tray from the mess hall that night, because as far as they can tell, she doesn’t mean to move until the morning.
Poe’s getting showered the next morning, singing quietly to himself because, well, he woke up between his two Marked soulmates and that’s the best way to wake up he’s ever found, and his eye catches on the Marks on his arms. His jacket – Finn’s jacket now – and BB-8 are still as clear as the days he first noticed them, beautifully drawn and utterly perfect. Poe thinks about it for a while, and then he chooses the shirt with the shortest sleeves he owns and goes out to find himself some breakfast. Let anyone who likes wonder about his Marks. Poe’s got the best soulmates in the whole universe, and they’re all his, and he’s all theirs.