How everyone thinks it should work is, you're broken, and then you repair, and you go on. Poe knows it's not true, even as he sits at Finn's bedside, waits for him to knit back together and wake up. There are fewer pilots than before, and the Resistance can hardly spare him, but whatever the medics see in Poe's eyes, they leave him in his seat, touch his shoulder with gentle hands when they're done changing the bacta patches that are healing Finn too, too slowly.
How it works is: you break, and then you mend yourself, slowly, slowly, until you're almost the same as you were before.
You're not the same, Poe knows. There are always cracks along the seams.
Poe doesn't sleep, hasn't slept. He doesn't want to close his eyes, just in case. He could hold everything just about at arm's length while he was zinging with the adrenaline of battle, but now that everything's quiet, now that everything's waiting, he thinks if he closes his eyes, all he'll see is Kylo Ren.
He sees, meets, Rey only briefly, feels the warmth of what he hesitates to call her spirit glow right into his bones, and she gives him a smile, tentative like she's not used to company or polite greetings or the feeling of her hand in his. Her eyes, when he looks closer, look as if she knows what he's holding at bay.
She gets Finn first, gets to sit at his side for as long as she can, and it's a right Poe cedes without rancor. He takes the chance to use the fresher, change out of his flight suit into something clean. When he goes to the mess, he thinks of Rey's eyes, again, and brings her a bowl of stew. She blinks at him like she's not expecting it, like food isn't a gift between strangers, and Poe hurts a little for it, but she eats, unself-conscious and messy, and grins at him over the chipped rim of the bowl.
"I have to go," she says, "I have to- I can't stay, but you, will you..." Her eyes slide sideways to where Finn lies motionless. There's not enough bacta for a tank, not with the Resistance resources stretched thin from the battle and no New Republic to provide more, but Poe's seen the patches stretching shoulder to waist, and Dr Kalonia's face when she looks at Finn's injuries.
"I'll stay," Poe promises, "until you get back," and Rey's eyes soften with relief.
"Thank you, Poe Dameron," she says very solemnly, and he gets up, takes her empty bowl, herds BB-8 out of the room so she can say goodbye in peace.
He does stay, sits for days until his bones feel cramped and his eyes are gritty. He must sleep eventually, or maybe Dr Kalonia gets him with a sedative when he's not looking, but he wakes up with his forehead resting against the crumpled sheets of Finn's bed, and the monitors beeping in alarm at Finn's distress.
"Rey," Finn says, terror in his eyes, "Rey," and it stings, just a little, but he's there and if he can help, he will. He'll help any way he can.
"Finn, Finn, easy, Rey's fine, Rey's safe," he says, grabs Finn's hand in the same instinct that'd told him to hug him close, and Finn tightens his grip, takes a breath, turns his head to blink at Poe a couple of times.
"Poe," he says, "you're- and Rey's-"
"Yeah," Poe murmurs, leans in closer, smiles tiredly at him. Realizes, belatedly, he's drooled a puddle into Finn's sheets, has to wipe his face surreptitiously with his sleeve and hope Finn doesn't notice.
"You-" Finn says again, closes his eyes, breathes out. "Rey's really safe?" he asks the ceiling, and BB-8 takes that moment to join them. [Rey is on route to <redacted|classified>] it announces, [shall I place a comm to R2-D2?], and rolls back and forward in the pattern Poe recognizes as patient curiosity.
"No," he says, makes the decision for both of them, "I mean, please tell Rey Finn's woken up, but- I mean, no offence, buddy, but maybe you want to see Rey when you're feeling a bit more up to sitting?"
"Yeah," Finn agrees, winces as he shifts in the bed. "Okay, yeah. But you won't- you'll stay?"
"Yes," Poe agrees, tries not to feel the heat of relief. "Yeah, I'll stay." It's a promise he's made to both of them, now, and Poe Dameron's never broken a promise yet.
(He tries, very hard, not to think about how easily he broke under Kylo Ren's power, about the secrets of the Resistance flooding out of all the cracks in his armor. If that was a promise he made to the General then he broke it, couldn't not, and although he thinks she'd forgive him, he doesn't have it in him to ask, not when it was Ben who made him break.)
The medics tolerate his presence in the medcenter for three more days. The first day, they ignore him slumped in the chair, the way his hand is still linked with Finn's. The second evening, Dr Kalonia gives him a long look before tilting her head sympathetically toward a spare gurney, and Poe takes it gratefully. That night he can't tell whether it's him or Finn that wakes up first, but he knows they're both breathing hard, sweaty with terror, and he knows too that Finn's looking for Poe's hand.
He pushes the gurney up against Finn's and they drift back to sleep facing each other. The rhythm of Finn's breath lulls Poe into something that's almost calm.
The third day, Finn sits up, winces with it but looks determined regardless.
"Please," he says, "please," and Dr Kalonia hums under her breath as she examines his damage.
"If I reassign you to bedrest in your quarters," she says with easy good humor, "will you promise not to overdo it?"
"I mean," Finn says uncertainly, "sure?" The doctor's lips twitch, and she turns to Poe, raises her eyebrows.
"You'll keep him in bed? Change his dressings?"
"Yes," Poe says, promise upon promise stacking up for Finn now. "Yes, of course, doctor." She smiles full at that, ruffles his hair.
"Go see Leia and find out where your friend is assigned," she says affectionately. "But take a shower first, Dameron. You're talking to a commanding officer."
"Yes ma'am," he manages, looks at Finn as long as he can. "I'll be right back, okay?"
"I'll be right here," Finn jokes, flashes a grin.
"You could comm Rey while I'm out?" Poe suggests, and Finn pauses.
"You don't want to talk to her?" he asks, and Poe blinks, shakes his head.
"No, that's- of course I want to talk to her." It's a surprise, he thinks, but he does, wants to see Rey's relief, see her smile. He goes to find the General.
Finn's given family quarters, which isn't so much about General Organa showing any kind of favoritism as what's available and appropriate for someone who'll be on bedrest for the foreseeable future. Poe's still a little jealous. There's a refresher and private mess, hardly big enough to count but it's got a conservator and a stove and a durasteel table bolted to the wall, three chairs pushed in around it, and there's even a window that looks out into the green tangle of jungle.
"Welcome home, I guess," he says to Finn, and helps him out of the power chair and into bed.
"It's- nice," Finn says. "It's big." It's really not big, not even twice the size of Poe's quarters. The bed pretty much takes up the whole room, and Poe wonders whether there's any point to the sliding divider walls that separate the bedroom from the main area. Poe tries to imagine his family growing up here, in a space this size, and sees himself getting underfoot every second minute. Their house in Yavin sprawled by comparison. He wonders what quarters are like in the First Order, if this seems big to Finn. Perhaps they're just bunks, stacked like toy soldiers. His hands shake a little.
"Pity you can't use the fresher yet," he says lightly, changing the subject and pulling the blanket up over Finn's lap.
"Oh," Finn says, "yeah." He blushes, looks down. "The nurses gave me a sponge bath," he tells Poe, and Poe can't help but snicker. "Anyway," he adds, "is now a good time to comm Rey?"
"Yeah," Poe says, "yeah, I don't see why not." He hesitates for a moment before sitting down at the edge of the bed, and Finn rolls his eyes, pulls him closer so he's settled with his back against the wall, their shoulders touching. Poe's still got his boots on, looks at his feet resting on the blanket and shrugs. "Hey BB," he calls, "you want to get Rey on the line for us?" BB-8 beeps in excitement, rolls in so fast it almost overbalances.
When Rey's face fills the screen, Finn breathes out in a long exhalation of relief, leans in to look at her as if he can't get enough.
"Finn," Rey says, soft, and brings a hand up as if she can touch his cheek through the holoprojection.
"Yeah," Finn grins. "Yeah, Rey, it's me. And Poe," he adds, looks sideways at Poe for a moment, and Rey looks at Poe as seriously as ever.
"Poe Dameron," she says, "you kept your promise."
"Yes," Poe says, ducks his head, feels momentarily as shy as if he's all of eighteen instead of a full-grown adult officer in the Resistance airforce. It's ridiculous. Rey is practically a child. "You can, uh, you can just call me Poe, you know," he tells her, gets a smile in return.
"Poe," she repeats, looks at them both as if she's filling her eyes with the sight of them. "My friends, it's good to see you."
"When are you coming home," Finn demands, and Rey pushes her hair back, gazes off into the distance and listens to something they can't hear.
"Soon," she says eventually. "I don't know when. But soon."
[this connection is approaching intercept length] BB-8 interrupts anxiously, and Poe translates. Finn nods, leans forward again.
"We have to go," he tells her. "Come home soon, Rey."
The first night out of medbay, Poe expects that maybe Finn will want to sleep alone. He makes motions to leave when he can see Finn's eyes drooping, not entirely looking forward to going back to his own quarters. He hasn't slept there since before the battle, doesn't want to sleep alone, and for the first time he misses the barracks and all the annoyances of a roommate. Finn snaps awake, frowns up at him.
"Where are you going?" he asks, and Poe clears his throat.
"Oh," Finn says, disappointment clear in his voice, and then- "you could- I mean- there's space, if you-"
"Okay," Poe agrees, looks at the incredibly tiny couch and the bed and starts a mental calculation before just giving up and stripping down to his shirt and underwear, crawling under the covers.
"Thank you," Finn tells him, "thank you," and Poe shakes his head, closes his eyes.
"Nothing to thank me for," he says honestly. He thinks maybe he should thank Finn, instead. In the accumulation of things they've done for each other, Finn's still coming out on top. It's hard to beat rescuing a man from torture and death at the hands of the First Order.
They wind up trading off nightmares, night on night. The first time Poe wakes them both up with screaming, he's embarrassed, apologetic, but Finn touches his cheek in the dark like it's fine, and the warmth of it, Finn's callused palm and gentle fingers, Poe sighs very soft and falls asleep again quicker than he'd expected. Before he gets there, he has a flash of wanting to turn his head, press a kiss to the lines of Finn's palm, and he wonders if this is going to be a problem.
The third time, it's Finn, muttering a name Poe doesn't recognize, and when he's shaken Finn awake, he pauses for a minute before asking.
"Finn," he says, looking up at the ceiling. "Who's Slip?"
"He was- he was a member of my unit. FN-2003. A... my friend. He died on Jakku," Finn says, very slowly. Poe thinks for a moment.
"I shot him."
"Yeah," Finn agrees. "Probably." There's a long silence. I'm sorry, Poe wants to say, and it feels so insufficient the words die in his mouth. "He wouldn't have made it anyway," Finn adds. "There's no space in the First Order for softness." Poe thinks about shiny plastic armor and how it doesn't crack under blaster fire, just scorches with ugly marks. Perhaps there's not enough room in the Resistance for softness either, but he's damn well going to try.
Bedrest lasts exactly two weeks, during which Poe and Finn watch the entirety of Poe's secret, guiltily favorite telenovela, eat too many spiced warra nuts, and don't try to pretend they're not both grieving for all they've lost. They both go to the memorial service, Poe in his dress uniform and Finn in his chair despite Dr Kalonia's disapproving frown.
"Rest, I said," she tells him, but Finn just lifts his chin.
"Here to pay my respects, ma'am," he says, and Poe touches his uninjured shoulder. Poe cries without shame or embarrassment while Leia reads the list of the dead, her voice barely even cracking when she says Han Solo, and then he gets very, very drunk with Pava and Snap and Iolo.
"Missed you," Jess says, just a little challenging, flicks her eyes to where Finn's sitting talking to Karé.
"I'm right here," Poe replies, throws back his drink. "And I've been off-duty."
"Off-duty," Jess repeats, again with that note in her voice, and Poe goes still.
"Yeah," he says, very quiet. "I made a promise, Jess." She stares at him for a moment, squares her jaw, and Poe thinks it might turn into a fight, an argument that neither of them are ready to back down from. Temmin's looking between the two of them, tapping his finger nervously against the table. Jess glares at him for another second, two, before she blinks, looks away, refills his glass.
"Okay," she says. "Okay. Just don't- don't be a stranger, right?"
"Jess," Poe says, touches her hand, and she sighs, rests her head on his shoulder.
"Blue Three reporting for duty, Commander," she mutters. "You think if I bought the Captain a drink she'd make out with me?"
"Might have to be a Whyren's Reserve," Poe teases, and Pava jabs him in the ribs, extricates herself from the bench seat with drunken care.
"Take your promise to bed, Dameron," she tells him. "He looks tired," and Finn can't tell whether it's innuendo or serious but he nods anyway, finishes his drink and gets up. Wonders, for a minute, whether if he bought Finn a drink he'd kiss him too.
It turns out Poe doesn't need a drink, Whyren's Reserve or otherwise. It just takes the first time Finn stands again, tentative at first and swaying a little, then laughing with joy, grabbing at Poe's waist. His eyes are level with Poe's and his smile is very bright and Poe feels himself smile back, and Finn just leans in, kisses him like it's easy, like he's been wanting to.
"Oh," Poe says in wonder, "hi," and Finn smiles wider, curls his fingers into the cloth of Poe's shirt at the small of his back.
"Hi," he whispers into Poe's mouth, "Poe Dameron," and it shouldn't be as hot as it is, this quiet moment between them, but it makes Poe lick at Finn's mouth, to kiss harder just for the joy of it. Finn bites at Poe's lower lip experimentally, laughs at the gasp it elicits. "You like that?" he asks, does it again, and Poe does, Poe likes it. Poe's body is thrumming with it. He wonders if Finn's been wanting to try that since Poe looked him up and down and inadvertently bit his own lip at the sight.
"Yes," Poe says belatedly, "yes, I- yes," and feels Finn laugh again.
"We should probably go to breakfast," Finn says, "I want the doctor to see me on my feet, it's just-"
"Just?" Poe asks, ignoring his first impulse, which is to say buddy, you walk all the way to the mess hall and Dr Kalonia will court-martial me for the next million years, I made her a promise-
"Just, it's hard not getting right back into bed," Finn murmurs against Poe's throat, and Poe groans, because now that Finn's said it, it's going to be the hardest thing in the world.
"They've got pancakes today," he says heroically, closes his eyes and tilts his head back so Finn can kiss a delicate line down to his collarbone. "You'll like- oh gods you'll like them, I promise."
"I believe you," Finn agrees. "I just like this more."
Yes, Poe thinks, same here.
That night Poe lets himself trail his fingers delicately down the line of Finn's spine, carefully avoiding the lightsaber scar, and Finn shivers.
"They haven't let me see it," he says, "is it bad?"
"No," Poe says, leans in and kisses the nape of his neck, feels Finn shiver again. "You're alive." It's just where you broke, he thinks, where he broke you. You're lucky it's on the outside.
"Can you," Finn says after a moment, goosebumps on his skin, "can we..."
"Yeah," Poe agrees, pulls him into a kiss that's long and soft and lush, and when Finn gets him undressed the surprise must show on his face because Finn laughs and laughs.
"Come on," he says, "I'm smooth. I've got moves. What did you expect?"
"I'm in bed with a cheeky Stormtrooper," Poe teases, "clearly I don't know what to expect," and Finn smiles, bites at the delicate skin of his throat.
"Guess I'd better show you, then," he says, "honestly, they tell us the Resistance is so predatory, so depraved, and here I am having to do all the work."
"Right," Poe says, decisive, needled into action. "Okay," and that's how they wind up half an hour later, Finn fisting his hands in the sheets, desperately thrusting into Poe's mouth, and Poe holding him down by the hips and sucking until Finn's cock hits the back of his throat and Finn cries out with it.
"Fuck," he says, "fuck, Poe, that's, god, I-" and gets his hand in Poe's hair, touches gentle and first then grips hard, harder, cries out again. He comes hard, moans when Poe swallows around him, lies boneless for a few minutes, and Poe can't help but look up at him with a smirk. "Okay," Finn manages when he's got his breath back. "That was- yeah, Poe, that was something else. C'mere."
Poe doesn't know what he expected, but when he comes it's with two of Finn's fingers working slickly into him and Finn's other hand wrapped around his cock, and he comes hard enough it takes minutes for everything in his brain to start working again.
"Good?" Finn asks, and Poe nods, curls in toward him, kisses him for long minutes.
"Yeah," he agrees, inadequately. "Yeah, that- yes."
"I have to admit," Finn says, "it'll be nice not to go through reconditioning for this."
"Recondit- buddy, what?"
"I don't... I've never had my own thoughts for this long before," Finn says as if it's simple, and Poe blinks.
"That's not how the Resistance works," he says in the end, because oh, they break you from the inside too feels too awful to say aloud.
Rey returns after two months away, Luke Skywalker in tow and her shoulders squarer than ever, and Poe can tell that Finn's in absolute, world-destroying love just from the single breath he takes at the sight of her. He's known that since before now, since Finn woke up calling for Rey. What he doesn't expect is the hit to his own solar plexus that doesn't feel like jealousy but something more complicated entirely. Rey throws her arms around Finn, hugs him tight for a long, long moment, and then pulls back, looks at Poe through her eyelashes, chews her lip and hugs him too. She smells like ozone, rain on hot duracrete, and the ache in Poe's chest flares harder.
"Come on," Finn says, "I'll show you our quarters," takes Rey's hand and Poe's too.
"Oh," Poe says carefully, "look, buddy, I've gotta- I have to go check on the X-Wing, okay?" It's not a lie; there are repairs he has to carry out, things he should have looked at days ago, but he wants to be graceful about it too, to give them space to rediscover each other. The way Rey glances from Finn's face to his, it makes it hard. Take- he thinks, just- take us both, okay, and bites his lip.
"Okay," Finn says, "I'll see you later?"
"Yeah," Poe agrees, "yeah, I- I'll see you both at dinner?"
When Poe offers to go back to his own quarters that night, Finn just looks confused.
"Why would you?" he asks, and Poe looks from Finn to Rey and back again.
"I mean," he says, "I thought you might- you and Rey might-"
"I don't mind," Rey says. "Having you all, I don't mind. If I need to sleep by myself for a night I'll go bunk on the Falcon." Poe opens his mouth and closes it again.
"Oh," he says, "okay," and prepares for it to be awkward. He doesn't expect it to feel good, to have Rey settle in against Finn's back, careful against his scar, and to have Finn curl around him until they're warm and secure and quiet. Finn falls asleep first, and Poe's beginning to be drowsy when Rey reaches across Finn, touches Poe's arm.
"Thank you," she whispers, and Poe blinks at it, Rey's careful imitation of social graces. He wonders if they're just creating something new, here, if Finn and Rey are taking what they want because they don't know this isn't the way it works. He doesn't know why it shouldn't be.
It takes a month, two, for them to settle into the space of each other in a way that feels comfortable. Rey flinches away from touch sometimes, unexpected, and they all wake each other up with memories they sometimes share and sometimes don't. Poe's careful of Rey's boundaries, doesn't want to push in where he's not wanted and aware, so aware, that she's so young. He's not sure, at first, whether Finn and Rey are Finn and Rey, but it doesn't take long to see the kisses, the way Finn drags his fingertips along her skin. They figure it out. There are always times when Poe's off-world on mission, times when Rey's away with training or sleeping in the Falcon like she'd said, and for all their hesitations it turns out they can tell each other what they need, at least.
He makes the move official after six weeks, empties his own quarters, and the General pauses in his doorway, looks at him very hard.
"You know what you're doing?" she asks after a minute, and Poe shakes his head.
"Nosir," he tells her, grins, and she tilts her head.
"They know what they're doing?"
"They're not children," Poe says, out of temper with all these sideways looks.
"No," Leia says in the end. "No, I guess not." It hangs between them, the mission, her son, the breaking Poe still feels inside when he thinks too much about it. Ben's not a child either. None of them are. Poe sees how it hurts, until she buttons it away. "Just take care of them, then," she tells him instead, and that, at least, he can do.
Poe cooks for them, recipes he learned from his abuela. Tamales colorados, gallo en perro, rellenitos de plátano, until their quarters are redolent with spices, achiote and cumin and chilis, and after a while Finn looks to learn, makes real bread that's crisp outside, soft inside, dripping with butter.
"Thought you were both training to be Jedi," Poe teases, tearing off a piece. "So why's Finn got so much more time to learn how to feed us all than you, huh?"
"Finn's a better disciple of the light side than I am," Rey says easily through a mouthful of recado rojo, her fingers sticky with plantain, "needs less training," and Finn just laughs.
"He's teaching her to fight," Finn says after a pause, "I don't want to, to fight, I mean, I left the First Order because I wouldn't, and I know the Resistance is different, but- I was thinking, maybe, I might learn to medic. I mean, Dr Kalonia was pretty impressed when I told her I'd patched up a Wookie."
"See," Rey says, pointing her fork at Finn. "He knows the ways of the light. Fighting's not really. Too much anger."
"Too much attachment," Finn says affectionately, touches her wrist, and Rey hesitates then smiles wide at them both.
"Passion, yet serenity," she says, and Poe doesn't know how he started living with two terribly beautiful Jedi in training but it feels more like home than ever.
The nights where sleep comes bad are less, these days, but still sometimes enough that Poe learns to anticipate them, not to fight them when they happen. He's sitting up one night, in the dim of their tiny living space, feeling the cracks in him expand and shiver, and one of the others pushes the divider door open.
"I can't sleep," Rey says, her voice soft and scratchy in the quiet of the night. She's wrapped in a sheet, looking cranky and tired and luminously fragile, and Poe shifts a little, makes space for her.
"Come here, nena," he says before he can stop himself, lets her settle with her head resting on his thigh, tentatively strokes her hair. Rey sighs, a soft noise like the ocean or the wind in trees, and presses in against him a little more.
"What does that mean?" she asks, quiet, and he stills his hand for a moment before continuing.
"Sweetheart," he tells her, and Rey sighs again, closes her eyes. He looks down at her face, can't help it. The curve of her cheek, the line of her jaw. She's frowning as if she's frustrated, and he rubs his thumb over the the furrows, watches her brows smooth out into serenity. "Why can't you sleep?"
"It's too hot," Rey says, as if it's obvious, and Poe laughs very softly. She opens her eyes at the noise, glares up at him, and he just smiles.
"You lived in a desert," he says, and Rey rolls her eyes.
"Yes. Where it gets cold at night, and it's dry. This air, I feel like I'm smothering." The night air is close, sultry on Poe's skin, and with their window open he can smell a flowering vine thick with fragrance. It feels like home, to him. "Plus," Rey adds. "Finn's a furnace." Poe can't argue with that. He glances over at the open bedroom divider, where Finn is sprawled out, the blankets kicked half-off. He sleeps in the middle, usually, the link between Poe and Rey, and this, on their tiny couch, feels like an intimacy between the two of them they've both been waiting for.
"I can't sleep either," Poe admits, and Rey rolls her eyes again.
"I figured, flyboy. Not too hot for you, surely?"
"I can't-" Poe says, chokes on the words, and Rey reaches up, presses her fingers to his mouth.
"Sometimes I still feel him in my head," she whispers. "Sometimes I dream, and I'm back there. It feels like breaking."
"Yes," Poe says against her fingertips, because he can't say it, yet, but that's what it is. "Yes."
"You'll put yourself back together," Rey tells him with certainty. "You already have. And Finn and me, we'll help. We'll help each other." He can't say anything else, just strokes her hair again until it's fanned out around her and her eyes look drowsy, half-closed, and then thinks of sweetness, something he can offer. "Yes please," Rey agrees, although he hasn't said anything aloud, and he knows she's in his head too, just a little. It's okay. She's only doing it to help, and he thinks he let her in. He can feel that she needs it as much as he does, that she feels like breaking too, that heat and damp air and Finn being too close aren't the reasons she can't sleep tonight. It's okay.
He stands up, takes the jug of atol de elote out of the conservator, heats it over their little stove until it's thick and frothy. When he comes back with two mugs, Rey's sitting up, leans in against him again when he sits back down, and her shoulder against his feels good. The atol is just as sweet as he remembers, fragrant with corn and spices, and he thinks of his mother, of a house facing out into the jungle, of nights that smell hot and damp and alive. He breathes.
Rey takes his empty mug when he's finished, leans forward and sets them both on the ground, and then she kisses him, careful but certain in the half-light gleaming from the mess. She tastes like cinnamon and vanilla, and after a moment she pulls away, parts her lips, breathes a puff of air between their mouths. It's Poe who closes the distance the second time, kisses her back, feels her make a pleased noise in the back of her throat.
"I wasn't sure," she whispers into his mouth. "I thought you might just want Finn, this way."
"I thought you might just," Poe whispers back, and it makes her laugh. "Come on," he says, "let's fight out some bed space before Finn claims it all," and that makes her laugh again. She wraps her arms around his neck, lets him carry her back to bed, and this time Poe's in the middle, the link between. Finn sighs in his sleep, turns toward them and curls himself up against Poe's back, brushes a kiss to his spine. Rey unwinds herself from the sheet, presses bare skin against his, tucks her forehead in against his chest. She reaches for Finn, links her hand with his across the span of Poe's ribs until he's held together by them both.
"You can sleep," Rey murmurs, drowsy against him, and he can, he does.
In the morning, Finn wakes up first, discovers Poe next to him and Rey curled up on Poe's shoulder, and grins, soft and sleepy and pleased.
"Morning," he whispers, "took you both long enough," and Rey reaches out, flicks Finn lightly.
"If you'd told me he was so good at kissing," she teases, and that makes Poe laugh, pull her in for another kiss. Finn watches, hums quietly with interest and pleasure, lays his hand flat on the stretch of Poe's belly and slides it lower. This just feels like a continuation of their intimacy from the night before, easy and natural, and it's not until Rey comes hard against his tongue, not until Finn kisses her wetness off Poe's mouth, that he blinks with the newness of it.
"I wasn't sure," Rey says again, afterwards. "I had to figure him out."
There's this pottery Poe's seen once or twice, from some homeworld that's famous for it. It's beautiful, until it breaks. And then a craftsman will piece it back together, fine and perfect, solders along the cracks with lacquered gold and silver until it's more beautiful for having been broken. Whenever Poe sees Rey fight, whenever he sees her fragile with the memory of capture and interrogation and fear, sees the way she smiles, he thinks she's like that pottery, stronger along the stress lines. Probably if Luke Skywalker were to consider it he'd have something insightful to say about non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate, but Poe just thinks it's beautiful.
If he were any kind of pottery, Poe thinks, he'd be the home-thrown bowls of Yavin, rough clay welded together along the break lines with ugly metal staples. He can feel them there, sometimes, holding him together, and they feel blunt and indelicate and all the more startling for how people treat him as if he's the same, as if he didn't break at all.
Rey and Finn see the breaks, and under their hands Poe feels like his cracks are gold and silver too, something beautiful, something shining.
The next time Poe can't sleep, it's because he jerks awake, the feeling of pressure and pulling and pain searing through his temples, and he can tell before anyone speaks that Rey and Finn have woken up too, that they feel it like dowsing rods.
"Poe," Rey whispers eventually, "Poe," and Finn touches his back, strokes his palm soothing down the plane of his shoulder. Poe lets out a shuddering breath, focuses on feeling his lungs expand, his body, the heat of their skin against his.
"Sorry," he gets out, drags his hand over his face, the rasp of his stubble, and Rey touches him too, gentle.
"Don't," she tells him, "it's okay."
"Yeah," Finn agrees. "You're our cute boyfriend. It's okay." Poe laughs at that, as Finn clearly knows he would, and he feels his heartbeat ease off, the rush of sweaty, dizzy adrenaline subside.
"I-" Rey says, pauses. "I think I- do you trust me?" Poe does, implicitly, and he just nods, feels her slide her fingers slowly up his spine, the nape of his neck, until she's tangling her fingers in his hair and pulling. This time the buzz of pain feels good, feels wanted, and Poe hears himself let out a noise he doesn't quite recognize. "When I was," Rey starts, twists her fingers a little for a better grip. "When I was- you know, not being able to escape, it did things, in my head."
Poe knows how that feels. Poe thinks Rey knows exactly what he's feeling. He nods, pulling against her hand, and she shifts behind him, murmurs to Finn. When Poe glances back, Rey's sitting between Finn's legs, leaning back against his chest, and this time when she pulls, it's to tug him down so he's lying in her lap, her hands in his hair. Finn reaches for him, takes his wrists, pulls them up above his head, and Poe's already feeling it, the thrum and buzz of being held taut. And then Rey twists her fingers again, pulls, and it blooms into a tight heat that has him arching into it, head tilted back, muscles cording with effort.
"That's right, sweetheart," Rey whispers, strokes his hair back from his forehead. "We've got you." And then he feels her, feels her, in his head and brushing against him and this isn't like Kylo Ren, this isn't invasion and hurt and tearing his thoughts out from inside, tearing him apart. Rey in his head, it's intimate, it feels so, so good, and Poe's so hard, he's tilting his hips up, trying desperately for friction but nobody is touching him but Rey's touching him, brushing Force along the pleasure centers of his mind. He fights a little, struggles against their hands, Rey pulling, he knows he's in control here and they'll stop if he begs and he doesn't want it to stop he wants them in control he wants he wants. Finn's hands tighten on his wrists and he'll have bruises from it in the morning, Finn's thumbs pressing against the fine bones and tendons, and it sparks sense-memory of the bruises he'd had after, after, the grazes from the sharp metal edges of the shackles, and-
He makes a desperate noise, choked, and Rey touches him again, pushes deeper, and Poe can feel Finn too, they're both Force-sensitive and he knows it and he didn't know Finn could use it like this, that Finn's Force would be like warmth spreading down his body while Rey touches him delicate and careful with a touch that's not touching at all.
He's so hard with this his skin feels hot and tight and he'd be ashamed about how much he wants, like this, how the nightmares have transmuted into something else entirely, but Rey knows, Rey knows, and the way they have him, it's flushing everything else out, washing him clean.
"Please-" he says, "I want- please-" take, he thinks, take- give me- you can- you can take- and Rey's pulling his head back until he can feel the line of his throat bared, and her thoughts are in his head and she can feel and she can see and everything's hot, Finn's hands holding him tight, and Poe is-
When he comes it feels like he's breaking, the noise of shattered glass ringing loud in his head until he doesn't know if it's tinnitus or something Rey's doing or the echo of him crying out. He lies still for a long, long moment, closes his eyes, breathes. He's dizzy with adrenaline again.
"Oh," he says. "Thank you," and Finn uncurls his fingers, strokes his thumb very gentle over the inside of Poe's wrist, doesn't let go. Poe can feel the sticky wetness on his belly, the slight ache in his shoulders. He feels repaired.
He doesn't dream about Kylo Ren again, and wonders if maybe he is repaired after all, if Rey did something more in his head that knit him back together after all this time. He doesn't know whether to be terrified anew by how she's done it so easily.
He gets back from a mission, opens the door to their quarters, and everything is warm and soft and beautiful. The room smells richly of spices and nuts and stewed meat, and Rey pokes her head out of the tiny mess when she hears the door open, smiles wide to see him.
"You're home," she says, "Finn's just about back from shift," and the realization that this is home hits him, hard enough he has to take a breath.
"You didn't cook, did you?" he asks in mock horror, covering the ache he's feeling under his breastbone, and Rey laughs and laughs, pushes back loose tendrils of hair.
"Kriff, no, neither of you appreciate my methods," Rey teases. Poe makes a face, because it's true, technically enough. He likes more than instant bread and rations. On Rey's nights to cook, they eat in the communal mess. "Finn made something earlier with chicken and peanuts, I'm just reheating it. It's spicy, I think you'll like it."
He does like it. He likes everything about the life they've built without him realizing it, and it's terrifying. The next time he goes on mission, he feels it, the missing, the stretch between him and them so far away, and under that, the fear of losing. It's not that Poe's never been in relationships before, not by a long shot. It's just-
It's just that-
He doesn't say it, even to himself, in the end.
He's awake again. It feels sometimes like he'll never sleep through the night again, although he knows that's just because Finn and Rey are off-base. They're fine, Poe knows they're fine, but he's edgy anyway, restless in a bed that feels too big, and yes, yes, worried too. It's a connection he's not altogether sure he's comfortable with. Poe sighs, gets up and pulls on pants, a sweater that smells like Finn. Decides to visit the mess, and knows before he gets there who he'll find.
General Organa is sitting alone at a table, holding a cup of caf, and when she hears his footsteps she looks up, smiles as if she's expected him too. Perhaps she has; Poe's under no illusion as to her Force sensitivity. He wonders, sometimes, whether there's something like it within him, not sensitivity to the Force but sensitivity to those who wield it, something that keeps him drawn to them all like a moth fluttering against a lamp for warmth. He'd always have followed the General anywhere, still would, so long as anywhere doesn't send him in the opposite direction from Finn and Rey.
"Commander," Leia says, tilts her head in invitation. Poe pulls out a chair, sits down, passes her one of the tamales he's brought with him. Tamales dulces, her favorite, and she smiles again when she unfolds the plantain leaf, breaks off a bite. "Homemade?"
"I think Finn made this batch," Poe says, unwraps his own, and they eat in silence for a few minutes. Leia hums thoughtfully.
"They're good," she tells him. "Almost as good as Kes' version. Tell him, less cinnamon next time." Her lips twitch with amusement as she finishes the last bite. "And tell him, they're better with rice."
"Yessir," Poe agrees, as he's agreed every time for the last ten years, because Yavin exists and Alderaan doesn't and it's the smallest kindness he can give her. He imagines losing a world. Your food, your culture, your language, gone in the smallest moment. It makes his chest hurt, and it must show on his face, because Leia frowns, just a little.
"Something on your mind, Dameron?" she asks very crisply. "You didn't come here at this time of night just to eat pasteles and watch an old woman drink caf."
"I-" Poe says, pauses, looks down at his hands. Squared-off nails, blunt fingertips, palms pressed flat to the scuffed durasteel tabletop. He doesn't know how to phrase the question in a way that won't hurt, and in the end he doesn't try, just blurts it out. "How do you fight? How'd you go to war every time? I mean, how do you, when you have- having people that you-"
"Having people that you love," Leia says, and Poe nods.
"People that you love," he agrees. "Knowing that they could... I mean, even with a family. How, sir?"
"Oh, Poe," Leia whispers. She's gazing into space, her face a mirror of Rey's the night she'd first kissed him, and when she blinks, looks back at him, her eyes are sharp and thoughtful. "It's not even. It's because."
"But..." Poe says again, can't help it. "Aren't you afraid?" Weren't you afraid, he corrects himself silently, and again it must show on his face, because Leia reaches out, touches his hand.
"Yes," she agrees, "yes," and her voice cracks. "Angry, too," she adds. "I'm sure my brother would have something to say about the power of the dark in anger, but the truth is, it's kept me going more than once." Leia Organa's anger burns like a liquid oxygen fire, Poe thinks, and she's shining with it. If anyone knows the power of the dark it's Leia; this is her father and her son, tearing her family apart across generations, and while Luke's walked away in shame and despair and desperate non-attachment Leia's held it all, knitted her wounds together and kept the fight alive just through the sheer fury of losing. Poe's always been a little in love with her and a little in awe, but he only understands it now, understands why Leia Organa's always been his General and his queen.
"Fight like your love is something to fight for," she tells him. "Fight like it's everything to fight for. That's all you can ever do. And just- tell them." Her voice breaks again, and she blinks. "Tell them, and put yourself together like a family, and even if- even if, it'll hurt less than never having at all."
"Will it?" Poe asks, soft. "Does it?"
"Yes," the General says again, and she's crying now, tears falling on the plantain leaves, but she lifts her chin like the royalty she's always been, and she's fierce and unashamed. "Rey knows that, I think. Finn knows it. Let them teach you, Poe. Stop trying not to learn."
Poe thinks they're both waiting, watching to see when he'll say what's so clearly on his mind. If Rey looked, she'd probably figure it out, but she's careful not to, learning new techniques to avoid climbing into someone's head unless they both know she's there and they've invited her in besides.
They get back from whatever Jedi nonsense Luke has them on, though, and seeing the Falcon land across the base, Poe drops what he's doing, runs to them, arrives breathless.
"Miss us?" Rey teases, takes in the flight suit, Poe's face, and something shows in her eyes, and she leans in against Finn, reaches for him. "We missed you."
"I love you," Poe tells them, embarrassingly sincere, feels himself crack apart with it, feels it shine out of him, his scars and everywhere they touch him. Rey and Finn glance at each other, smile at him very soft.
"Yeah," Finn says in the end. "We know."