“Hello Coatstealer,” trills BB-8. “Poe’s off on another mission; I’ve got to look after you. I really don’t want to be here; I want to be out kicking First Order arse and I can’t because apparently watching you is more important. Fucking ridiculous, if you ask me. Poe’s taken BB-7 with him -- she’s more useless than a bantha-butter dildo. You awake?”
“I am, actually. And what’s a dildo?”
“You speak Droid?” BB-8 beeps happily, rolling back and forth in front of the bed. “You beautiful, absurd fucking wreck I am so happy to have someone to speak to.”
“Uh -- I’m not fluent. Did you just call me a potato?”
“You dumb fuck. Right, let’s start with the basics: My name is Designation Coatstealer.”
“...something about a jumper?”
Coatstealer has a book.
It is a terrible book.
It says things like to understand Droid one must understand that, fundamentally, Droids do not grasp human concepts; they are tools designed for a single purpose .
It says things like Droids do not understand humour .
It says things like Droids are not people .
BB-8 confiscates it -- Coatstealer is still bedbound, and can only cry protest, his soft hands flailing -- and burns it, with no small degree of satisfaction.
“We are people,” says BB-8, “we are people, we’re not organic but we are people. Fuck that piece of shit. I’ll teach you Droid myself.”
“I know that word,” says Coatstealer, “it means cow.”
“You’ve got the memory-output of BB-7,” snaps BB-8.
“Why are you talking about BB-7’s charging receptacle?”
“I am not talking about BB-7’s --” Droids cannot blush, but BB-8 rolls one way and another, his beeps rising and falling in agitation. “Don’t talk about things like that -- it is rude -- and one thing I’m not going to tolerate, you coat-stealing dickmuncher is rudeness .”
The MedDroids do not approve of BB-8, which is fine, as BB-8 does not approve of them.
They are bland and silver and clawed and they refuse to translate him properly and they coddle Coatstealer something chronic .
“He needs his rest,” says one.
“He needs less sedation and more stuff to do,” counters BB-8, spinning on the spot in agitation. “He’s been here a month.”
“He has his physiotherapy --”
“Nuts to that . His mind’ll turn to goo and leak out his ears -- I mean, there’s not much to leak -- boy’s as thick as banthashit -- but he needs something to think about.”
“Hey,” says Coatstealer. His voice is warm with alarm. “Why’s my brain leaking?”
“BB-8 is using what we call ‘a figure of speech,’” says the MedDroid in its smooth, annoying voice. “It is most unbecoming in a young droid --”
“Suck my ball,” snaps BB-8.
“I know that word!” says Coatstealer, proudly, “but..uh. Why did you use it? Robots can’t -- oh. Oh .”
“Poe taught me to speak,” says BB-8, defiant.
“And how to swear. Apparently.”
“Did he just tell me to fuck off?”
“Yes,” says the MedDroid, giving up. Its claw dips to the bandages swathing Coatstealer’s midsection. “We need to change your dressings. BB-8, you may continue abusing your charge when we have done.”
“Charge?” asks Coatstealer, not much later, as he ingests some kind of sustenance. “What does that mean?”
“Poe has asked me to watch you,” BB-8 trills.
“Okay, so I know that bit -- watch -- and the other bit, the sort of,” and here Coatstealer does a fair imitaiton of Poe’s whistle-beep designation. “What does that mean?’
BB-8 imitates the sound of an X-Wing taking flight.
“Pilots? The pilots want you to watch me? Rey? But that’s not a Falcon noise, that’s an X-Wing noise...Jessika?”
“Fuck me with a lightsabre Coatstealer, it’s not that hard.”
BB-8 projects a hologram of Poe, grinning and waving.
“Oh so,” and he does the whistle-beep again, “that means Poe. Gotcha.”
“You are not as much of an idiot as I was first led to believe.”
The next day, BB-8 rethinks this assessment.
“Get back into bed, nerfherding banthafucker.”
“I am not getting back in bed -- I need a walk.”
“You can’t walk.”
“I can! I have a stick,” and Coatstealer brandishes the stick, and almost topples over. BB-8 bips at him, a general sound of utter despair, and withdraws his electric prod.
“Don’t make me do it.”
“You wouldn’t. I’m an invalid.”
“An invalid who should be in bed with his feet up, recovering from the lightsabre to the arse he took.”
BB-8 scoots closer, prod buzzing warningly. Coatstealer throws his hands up. “Okay, okay.” Hands in the air means stick not on ground which means Coatstealer is unsteady on his feet.
“You had a severed spine. You’ve got enough metal in there to build an entire army of MedDroid dickheads and have spare for scrap. Don’t be a dick and ruin it now.”
“Did Poe tell you to tell me that?”
The stick finds the ground again. Coatstealer leans on it heavily, sweat running shiny and slick on his skin, despite the bite of the morning air.
“Poe told me to look after you, because you’re incapable of looking after yourself.”
“Stormtoopers never had long recovery periods,” Coatstealer says, gently, his voice a bare rasp. “They would decommission us if we were too much effort.”
“The First Order are a bunch of cunts,” agrees BB-8, quoting his favourite human once more. “Now come back to bed.”
“Why are you whistling at that droid?”
“I’m speaking Droid,” says Coatstealer, like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
“They all understand Standard anyway,” says Fat Pilot, known to some as ‘Snap’. “What’s the point in speaking Droid to them?”
“Because,” says Coatstealer, and his brow furrows. “Because it’s polite?”
Nestled on Coatstealer’s lap, BB-8 hums agreement and unsheathes his electric prod, brandishing it in the general direction of Fat Pilot -- who hurries off, probably to locate organic sustenance.
“I don’t know why I think it’s important,” Coatstealer whistle-chirps at BB-8. “But it is, you know? It’s your language. It’s part of you. It’s good to learn it.”
“Yes,” says BB-8, “and this way we can badmouth the others without them realising.”
“ Excellent .”
Poe is gone longer than normal -- five standard months pass before he returns to base in a blaze of glory and showmanship, looping over D’Qar in the most absurd antics BB-8 has seen to date.
He rests at Coatstealer’s feet as his master all but bounces towards them. The two humans hug for forty-nine seconds before Poe turns to BB-8.
“Did you take care of him like I asked?”
“Yup,” says BB-8. “Coatstealer is back to optimal functionality. And he’s less of a whiny bitch.”
“Don’t be a dick,” whistles Coatstealer. “And my name’s Finn, you testicle-shaped scrap-dick.”
“He is yet to understand the complexities of Droid,” chirrups BB-8, “but he is an apt student, even if he is slow as BB-7 on a good day.”
“You’re a terrible teacher.”
“I hate you,” beeps BB-8 fondly.
Poe’s staring at them both.
“Of all the things I expected to come back to,” he says, slowly.
He doesn’t get to finish that sentence. Finn hugs him for another two minutes -- they only separate when BB-8 gives Finn a good sharp shock on the buttock.
“If you two are going to mate, please do so in privacy,” says BB-8.
That sentence does not seem complete. He runs it over, and adds: “You horny fuckers .”
“I taught BB-8 to speak,” Poe admits later that night. He and Finn are alone, for once, and there’s a bottle of something noxious and blue between them.
“So that’s where he got all the swearing from?”
“I thought it was funny. He’s just...not stopped.”
“I can understand it. It’s what makes him BB-8 and not just another droid. Like...he’s BB-8, who swears worse than any backwater pilot. And I’m Finn.”
“Finn who speaks Droid.”
“Finn who speaks Droid, yeah.”
“Must have been hard.”
“Worth it though. I...uh. I know what it’s like when people just assume you’ll do as you’re told.”
“You wish to mate with my human, do you not?”
Finn blusters and sputters and BB-8 rolls on the spot impatiently.
“I...I -- “
“Allow me to rephrase: you want to fuck him.”
“Or be fucked by him -- I admit that human mating practices are obscure and strange to me --”
“I do not want to have sex with Poe!” Finn shouts, just as they turn the corner and almost bump into the Rey Human.
“Uh, good to know,” she says, blinking rapidly. “Neither do I. He’s got the wrong bits. Um...Finn are you okay?”
“He wants to fuck Poe,” BB-8 informs her cheerily.
“Ask him,” says Rey. “I’m sure he’d be amenable.”
“I don’t want to ask him!” Finn shrills, and storms off.
“Why did Finn just beep at me? Does he speak Droid when he’s upset?”
“It seems so,” says BB-8. He’s never been so proud of the coat-stealing banthafucker.
“Alright, so what if I do fancy him? What then? I don’t know how to tell him! I can’t flirt .”
“From what I know of flirting,” says BB-8, “you just point out the obvious in a flattering way.”
“Right.” Finn sounds doubtful. BB-8 is as well. He is not entirely sure of the process.
“For example,” says BB-8, “when Poe desires a human he tells them he likes their face. Do that.”
“I like your face,” says Finn.
“Uh. Thanks. I like yours too.”
“He wants to have sex with you,” chirrups BB-8, the world’s least subtle wingman. Wing-droid. Thing.
“Fuck you,” Finn beeps at him.
BB-8 understands humans need privacy. He leaves Finn and Poe to their enthusiastic, loud coupling and goes to inform BB-7 of his success.
They have finished the coupling and are now spooning. BB-8 judges that it is time to return, and rolls around to Finn's side of the bed.
"That worked then," says BB-8, proudly.
"Fuck off," Finn whistles happily, reaching out to pet at BB-8's head. BB-8 permits the indignity for a moment before rolling away.
"Poe is asleep. Shall I wake him?"
"No. But...thank you. And uh, I've just realised something."
"What?" trills BB-8. "That you are not a banthafucking bottom feeder -- because you are --"
"That Poe taught you to speak, and taught you that you're a person, and that you're more than just a tool to serve a purpose; that you have a personality and a name and a life. That's why you love him so much. Because he taught you that you're not just a droid -- you're BB-8. And he taught me the same. I'm Finn. I'm not just a number, or a trooper, or a soldier -- I'm me."
Droids cannot tear up.
BB-8 does the next best thing and joins the cuddle pile.
This works perfectly until Poe wakes up the next morning, wondering where his nice warm Finn has gone.
He rolls over to find the answer: Finn is spooning BB-8 to him, a smile curving on his lovely, lovely face.