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Finn is bored. Utterly bored. He has never been more bored in his life, and that’s saying something considering he used to work in sanitation. At least when he was a Stormtrooper, he had things to do. Now he is just… kind of here, trapped in the med bay, doing nothing. He’s even wondering if he might not end up dying there if it keeps going that way. He can almost picture it. “Finn the-ex-stormtrooper-but-not-quite-a-resistant-member-yet: died of boredom.”

He sighs, shifts slightly in his bed, trying to get more comfortable. It’s been two months since Kylo Ren had tried to make a fried chicken out of him – not that he has anything against fried chicken, mind you (he had discovered its existence two weeks ago and it was the best day of his life) but Finn is quite glad he’s successfully failed – yet it seems as though an entire year has gone by. The wound wasn’t – isn’t, he’s not going to lie – pretty. He’d woken up in an unfamiliar room, after an entire month passed in a coma, completely disoriented, with a machine annoyingly beeping at his side and a Poe Dameron fast asleep in a chair next to it. He still remembers it perfectly, even though he wasn’t in his best state of awareness at the time.

“Poe… Poe Dameron?” he’d croaked out, his voice raspy from lack of use.

The pilot had started awake; his face illuminating when he’d met his gaze.

“Buddy! You’ve woken up!” he’d shouted, making Finn wince slightly. Poe’s expression had immediately turned into one of panic, but Finn had interrupted the apology he knew was coming by taking Poe’s hand in his. He hadn’t thought twice about it. Weirdly enough, it’d worked. Poe’s mouth had shut abruptly, as he stared dumbly at their now linked hands.

“Looks like it,” Finn had answered, before two nurses and a doctor had rushed to him, informed of his waking by the machine, and Poe had been forced to leave his side for the rest of the night, promising he’d be back in the morning.

“He’s been there with you almost every day,” a nurse had said, a twinkle in her eyes, after Poe had disappeared through the door, throwing one last glance in his direction, and Finn had found himself blushing.

After that, Poe was there pretty much every day, watching over him, keeping an eye on his progresses. He kept him entertained with stories from his past, incredible missions that had ended with a narrow escape or ridiculous ones, like that one time when he’d found himself on a nudist beach on Hapes, trying to run away from an angry group of smugglers. He had immediately reassured him about Rey – it had been the first thing he’d asked him the next morning when he’d seen him, “where is Rey? what happened to her?” – and hadn’t even tried to tease him about their relationship. He’d helped him deal with being rendered useless, powerless, and it had almost been okay for a while.

But now? Now Finn is tired of lying down. Mostly, he is tired of this room, tired of those white walls, and tired of being of no use to the Resistance. He doesn’t understand why they insist on keeping him here. In his opinion, he is more than ready to get out of there and start doing something. And it’s not as if he can’t move at all, too! He has been in re-education for the past week, and is now able to stand up and walk around the room for a few hours without any trouble. They’ve let him explore the med bay from one end to the other, observe everything, even study some of the medical tools, since apparently Rey has told them he is gifted with a first-aid kit. Yet they won’t let him out. They keep telling him he needs to stay under observation for a little longer, just to make sure he is adjusting to his new spine – there isn’t much left of the old one, he’s been told.

Finn feels dejected. He has escaped the First Order, has freed himself from their chains, from their mind control, out of sheer will, and all of that only to end up stuck in the most boring place of the universe for weeks on end. He feels as if the universe is openly laughing at him, telling him with a wicked smile that he can’t have too much luck all at once, it’s unfair to the others.

Granted, they are doing that for his safety. His doctoress is an incredibly sweet and professional person, and the physiotherapist is probably one of the funniest guys he’s met in his life, while remaining extremely serious about his job. They only mean well. The problem is that Finn doesn’t really care about that. He is grateful, off course, immensely so, but those four walls and this small bed are driving him insane. Isn’t life also about taking some risks, after all? If he’s learned something from those few days as an ex-stortrooper, that’s it. Life is about taking chances, and experiencing it in its fullest. There is no time for second guessing in the life they are living. Because the truth is, he knows it now, you have no idea when it might end, and no time to stop to think about the “what ifs” and the “buts”.

Finn can’t just lie there and do nothing when other people are putting their life at risk for what they believe in. He can’t remain motionless while Rey is out there training to defeat Kylo Ren and avenge their friend, while Poe is somewhere in the sky, on a dangerous mission for the Resistance.

Finn needs to stand, he decides. To show them he can move and act and be useful. To show them he isn’t just a liability, one more weight on their shoulders, but an asset they can use. He has to, or rather he needs to, prove himself to them. If he has to be honest, he is terrified they’ll come to perceive him as more bothersome than helpful because of his endless immobilization. He is terrified he’ll wake up one day and General Organa will be standing at his bedside, Poe next to her, and tell him: “we don’t want you here anymore”.

So he waits until he is certain all the nurses are busy and slips out of the med bay, swift as a cat. He goes unnoticed. I’m getting quite good at this, he thinks smugly.

**

Fifteen minutes later, and Finn finds himself wandering down the North corridors, which look completely unfamiliar to him. At first, once he’d been sure he was far enough from the med bay, he’d been a bit panicky, realizing he had no idea where he was. Then he’d tried to rationalize with his own brain and taken the nearest turn, walking straight until he’d end up into an immense room he’d recognize to be the hall that led to the command room, where he’d given General Organa all the information he’d had on the Starkiller base. Based on the little information he had, he’d determined he was coming from the East wing and had decided to take left.

There’s nobody in this hallway, which he finds weird. For a moment he worries something happened, his stomach tiding into knots, then remembers the reason it was so easy to leave the med bay was because it’s lunch break. Surely most of them are in the mess hall right now, eating anything but those horrendous mixtures they give him so he’ll “recover” faster. He wonders what it’s like to eat with so many people at the same time here. Are they allowed to talk? To dislike the food and say so? To have a choice in what they’re eating? Can they just get up and leave if they want? Or eat somewhere else, alone? He wonders how different it is from the First Order. If it’s as chaotic, as free and uncontrolled, as everything else he’s seen so far. He wonders if he’ll have time to experience it, if they’ll let him, or if they’ll just grow tired of him and ask him to leave.

The thought makes his heart beat painfully in his chest, so he chases it away, replacing it with more pleasant ones.

He thinks about Poe. He wonders where he is right now, if he’s safe. He lifts his head towards the sky. He can’t see him, but he knows it’s here, behind that grey ceiling. He knows Poe is here too, somewhere in the deep universe, making his way back to the base. Making his way back to him.

He’s so focused on looking up he doesn’t see what’s coming his way. Then something collides with his leg, and he hears a “thud” as it falls to the floor.

He blinks, a little bit confused, and looks down. A child is staring at him, mouth agape, his big, green eyes open wide as if he’s in front of a movie star. It makes Finn shift uncomfortably.

“Sorry, didn’t see you there. Are you alr…”

“Hero!” the child shouts enthusiastically.

Finn stares at him stupidly. “Excuse me?”

“Hero!” the boy shouts again, getting up and taking both of Finn’s hands in his. He doesn’t react, dumbfounded. “You! Finn the hero!” he adds excitedly, jumping up and down, Finn’s arms following the movement listlessly. The child cannot be more than three, a front tooth sticking out from his upper gum.

“Victor! Victor!” someone is calling, panic rising with each call, and Finn is pulled out of his stupor once more.

“Isn’t that you?” he asks, raising an incriminating eyebrow.

The little boy – Victor, he tells himself – smiles broadly at him, not looking guilty for a second. “Yup! And you’re Finn!”

“I think that’s been established” he laughs. “Come on, let’s take you back to your mom.”

He holds out his hand, so that Victor will take it.

“Vic… oh.”

Finn raises his head, his eyes meeting dark chocolate ones. A woman with skin as white as the planet on which Starkiller base had been is standing before him, looking dishevelled as if she’s just run ten miles. He smiles warmly at her and points at Victor with his chin. “That little devil’s yours?” he asks, a sparkle of amusement in his eyes.

She stares at him, dumbstruck, before shaking her head. She runs a hand through her hair, only succeeding in making it look even messier. “No… Not exactly. Philip, the caretaker, is sick, so he’s asked me to watch over the children at the day-care centre for him for today. Eileen was feeling unwell, so I took her to the med bay, and by the time I got back, he…” she looks pointedly at Victor then, and the boy has the decency of looking slightly ashamed, “… had disappeared” she finishes, a menacing tinge in her tone.

Finn kneels next to Victor, so they’ll be at eye-level.

“Is that true? Did you run away?”

Victor squirms uncomfortably, not meeting his eyes.

“It’s okay. I ran away too” he whispers in a soft voice, grinning at him.

Victor’s face lights up at his words. “You did?”

“Yup, I did. Now come on, let’s bring your back to your friends at the centre.” He stands up, holding out his hand once again. Victor looks hesitant for a second.

“You go with Mara and me?” he asks eventually, looking up hopefully at Finn.

The young man bits his lips and turns his head towards Mara. “Is that alright with you?”

She blushes. “I… I…Off course, but Victor, I’m sure Mr Finn has much more important things to do, we wouldn’t want to bother him!”

Finn makes a face at the ‘Mr’. It’s so weird, he’s not sure he likes it. “I don’t have anything better to do. I can accompany you and my boy here” he nudges at Victor, winks at him, “to the centre, it’s no problem, really” he reassures her.

She smiles, relieved. “Then I guess… Mr Finn can accompany us back to day-care, Victor.”

“Yay! Finn come with us!” he shouts, beaming with joy. Finn laughs and warmth fills his heart as the little boy takes his hand, pulling him forward. He follows, ready for a new adventure with his new friend.

**

The day-care centre is comprised of three rooms, a playroom, a dormitory, and a bathroom. It’s not very big, Mara tells him, barely enough for the two-dozens of children they have here, but they do with what they’ve got. Most Resistant members don’t have children anyway, or if they do, they’ve made the hard choice to leave them to extended family or people they can trust, on planets remote enough there’re chances the First Order won’t endanger them. Nobody is safe, off course, but in a way they’d rather have their children being raised by someone else than living in the heart of the war itself. Finn listens with a mix of stupefaction and horror, hurting for all those men and women having to abandon their children, hurting for those little boys and girls and others who might never know their parents. It makes him angry in a way he’s never experienced before, makes him want to find Kylo Ren and Hux and all their accomplices to put an end to their reign of terror.

“And you’re in charge of them, then?”

Mara snorts, shaking her head. “Oh no, certainly not. I’m a mechanic, actually, I deal with everything that’s more or less earth-bound” she answers. “It’s my cousin, Philip, who runs the day-care. But he caught a bad cold, so he asked me to take over for a few days.” She sighs. “I have to say, it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mean, the children are adorable, don’t get me wrong, but it’s exhausting. I’m much more comfortable with machines.”

She winces, and a new laugh escapes Finn’s mouth. Next to him, Victor pulls on his hand, and Finn playfully shuffles his hair.

“Did you leave the others alone to find Victor?” he asks. It sounds a bit dangerous, he thinks.

“Gods, no! I got a droid to watch them for me. Thankfully we weren’t gone for too long.”

She’s right. It’s been less than five minutes since they met, and as she says so, they stop in front of a door. Behind it, he can hear the sounds of shouting and giggling.

“Well, here we are, thank you so mu…”

“Mara! Mara is back!”

A chorus of voices is heard, all yelling enthusiastically her name, and the door bangs open. At least five children scramble out of it, a distraught-looking droid running – or more like rolling – after them, and they all jump at her, trying to catch a part of her body to hug, anything.

“Wow, wow, calm down here, not all at once, everyone will get their hug!” Mara manages to get out as she almost stumbles over under the wave of small bodies. A loud snort escapes Finn’s lips. One of the children – a small girl with blue skin, blue air, blue eyes – turns her head towards him, eyeing him curiously. Her eyes widen in surprise.

“Mara brought hero Finn! Mara and Victor brought hero Finn!”

The young mechanic’s gaze goes back and forth between them, her expression one of pure panic again.

“Tsunde, wait, it’s not… You can’t just shout things like that, it’s…”

But the deed is done.

“Hero Finn! Hero Finn!” the children are chanting, neglecting Mara to go to him. Finn stares at them, a bit overwhelmed.

Victor protectively clutches his arm in his small hands. “I saw him first! My hero Finn!”

“No!”

“He’s everyone!”

“Mine!”

“Nooooooooo!”

“Finn, Finn, will you come play with us? Please, please, please, come play with us!”

It's Tsunde who says that, successfully putting an end to the conflict. Finn blinks again, not answering. Between her and the others almost at each other’s throats, he’s completely lost.

All the children start jumping around, cheerful as if it were Christmas.

“Yes! Please come play with us!”

Mara bits her bottom lip. “Guys, I’m not sure it’s…”

Her look of worry is enough for Finn to pull himself together. He shakes his head, smiles at her, then at all the children. He kneels, taking Victor in his arms. “It’s okay, Mara.” He winks at Tsunde. She leaps excitedly. “Off course I’ll play with you guys! I love playing games! Who here loves playing games?”

“Me!”

“Me too!”

“Can we play with the dolls?”

“No, let’s play with the cars!”

“But Tsunde, we’re always playing with cars!” one of the other girls, probably around six, whines.

“Cars are cool!” Tsunde pouts.

Finn grins, pinching Victor’s nose. He laughs happily.

“What if we played with both?” he suggests.

They all cheer, and soon, Finn finds himself sitting down next to Mara, Victor in his laps, surrounded by dozens of children. He’s got a red spaceship in one hand, a red-haired doll in the other. He’s smiling so hard it’s almost hurting.

He’s never had so much fun in his life.

**

Poe is on the verge of going insane with distress. The anxiety he feels right now is so overwhelming he wouldn’t be surprised if he could pull it out of his body and hold it in his hands, as palpable as an organ. Never in all his years – and he’s been fighting a war for ages, for Christ’s sake – has he ever experienced such a level of panic and anguish.

Well. He might be slightly exaggerating here. But barely.

He simply cannot cope with the idea of losing him again.

“Finn? Finn!” he is calling as he roams the hallways of the entire base, a little bit louder each time he turns a corner. He is getting quizzical looks from people he comes across but he seriously can’t bring himself to care right now. Finn is missing. His Finn is missing. He leaves for two freacking days on a stupid supplying mission and Finn just goes missing. After all he’s been through, after saving them all, surviving a wound that would have probably killed anyone else and spending weeks in an hospital bed, after betraying all he’s ever known for a new life, he just disappears. That cannot be happening; Poe refuses to let it be happening. He’s somewhere, he must be somewhere. Gods, if something, anything, happened to him…

“Finn!” he yells this time, as a new corridor opens up before him and he’s still nowhere to be found.

“Shh” someone says, loudly enough he knows it’s directed at him. He stops right in his track, only to see Jessika staring fondly through a door window. “Your boyfriend is fine.”

For a moment, Poe is too shocked (fondness? On Jess’ face? What?) to react. Then he frowns, offended.

“He is not my boy…”

She shushes him again, her gaze never living the inside of that room, and beckons him over. Poe comes closer; curious as to what has her looking as if she’s bathed in a puddle of rainbows, and looks inside of the room.

What he sees makes his heart start beating so fast in his chest he’s afraid he might be having a heart attack.

Finn is here. Beautiful, gentle Finn is here, inside of this room. As the information registers with Poe’s mind, and a wave of relief washes over him, a second realization hits him and takes his breath away.

Finn is sleeping, surrounded by the children who live on the base, one of them half resting on his torso, as if the young man fell asleep holding him. He has glitter all over his face, what looks like a pink start sticker on his cheek, and, honestly, he shouldn’t even look good like that but he does, and it’s so sickeningly cute Poe wants to puke. He can see his chest rise slowly with the rhythm of his breathing, and as much as he’s seen him asleep before, waiting for him to wake up, he’s never seen him this peaceful. It makes something stir in his chest, a mix of sadness and tenderness. His heart keeps pouncing as if it's doing a rock number. He’s starting to worry it might get out of his body. His palms are sweaty and all he can think about is how he wants to brush those handsome cheeks with his fingers.

And that’s a dangerous path he cannot follow right now. Or ever.

“He’s okay” he mutters instead, trying to chase the thought from his mind. “He’s okay.”

Jessika smiles, punches him lightly in the ribs. “’Course he is. Told you he would be, dumbhead.”

“Oy, you’re speaking to your superior, remember?” he whispers, for fear of waking them up. He does not want to wake them up. He never wants Finn to wake up. Meaning, he does, off course, but he never wants this picture to leave his brain. He wants to engrave it into it. Incidentally, he wants to wake up to this view every morning.

Aww, shit. He’s so screwed it’s embarrassing.

Jessika’s smile turns into a diabolical grin.

“Not my fault my superior is a sickeningly-in-love idiot” she whispers back.

He narrows his eyes. “Pava, you little…”

He is interrupted by the creak of a door opening. They both turn their head towards the noise, only to be met with a blushing woman. She goes out of the room, and carefully closes the door behind her.

“I…” she mutters, obviously incredibly uncomfortable, “noticed you were standing behind the door, and I was wondering if you, huh… needed anything? Mr Dameron? Miss Pava?” she squeaks.

Poe’s face turns tomato red. Jessika’s face breaks into a smile. He can feel her about to be the Devil impersonated next to him, and he is pretty sure he is not going to like it.

“Oh, it’s so nice of you to ask! My friend, here” she points at him, winking at the girl – always the flirt, that one – which makes her blush even harder, “was desperately looking for the love of his life. But we just found him, so everything is back in order.”

The girl casts a glance behind her, her gaze stopping on Finn for a moment, before resting on Poe. Something seems to click in her mind, and she smiles gently. Poe wants to dig up a hole and hide forever.

“Oh, I see. Well, Mr Finn is sleeping right now, but I can wake him up if you want…”

“No no no, don’t bother! Let him sleep, it’s okay, I mean, I’m not even, I’m just, we’re, hum, he doesn’t, well, and I… Anyway, now I know he’s okay, I guess, huh.”

Poe wants to cut off his tongue and never speak again. He blushes even harder, which he didn’t think was possible, but well, you learn new things every day. Next to him, Jess is silently laughing, her face reddening by the second. He glares at her, communicating all the hatred he feels for her. It only succeeds in making her laugh harder. She is now giggling openly, and it is so irritating.

The girl looks back and forth between them, clearly confused. “I… see.”

“Has he been here for long? Did he bother you in any way?” Poe asks, trying to forget those last seconds. He figures Finn won’t have been an issue, but he doesn’t know what else to say.

The girl’s face lights up. “Oh, no, not at all. He’s been amazing. He played with the children for two hours straight, never complaining, even when they were being noisy and whinny, or fighting for a toy or even a part of his body to hold. He’s wonderful with children, it’s incredible. And it did them so much good, too. They don’t get to see their parents much, and getting to spend time with their new hero… it definitely helps.” She self-consciously scratched the back of her head. “I mean, I’m not that good with children, so… it was nice to have him.”

Jess tilts her head. “Why are you the care-taker if you’re no good with children?”

The girl blushes under Jessika’s scrutinizing gaze. “I’m just helping out. Normally I work in mechanics.” She turns her head, looking at the children through the window.

Poe takes advantage of it, discretely elbowing Jess in the side. “Stop being scary” he whispers.

"I’m not” she whispers right back. “She’s cute.”

Poe grins mockingly. “What about Rey?” he says, his voice oozing with sarcasm. Jess turns red, and ignores him. Instead, she smiles as if nothing had happened when the girl turns back towards them. He snickers.

“Mechanics, really? How come I never saw you there…”

“Mara. Sorry. I’m Mara.”

Jess winks. “Well, Mara, it’s really nice to meet you. I -”

Poe clears his throat, interrupting her: “- am going to go take a shower and let you do your job? Is that what you were going to say, Jess?”

This time Jessika downright blushes. She shoots a dirty glance at him. He feigns innocence.

“That is… what I was going to say, indeed. But only because I stink half as bad as you do.”

Poe glares at her. Mara lets out a smile laugh. “I’ll leave you to it, then. Don’t hesitate to come back later, Mr Dameron, I’m sure Finn won’t be too long to wake up now.”

“Will do” he responds. His heart leaps happily in his chest. “And please, do call me Poe.”

“And you can call me Jessika as well” Jess chips in.

Poe rolls his eyes. This girl, I swear.

**

Jessika was right. He stinks. He hadn’t noticed at first, it’s gross to say but you somewhat get used to it at some point, but by the time he got back to his quarters, his nose is back to smelling regular scents again and his body odours are making his head spin. He’s barely inside that a series of beeps greet him loudly.

“BB-8!” he cheers, kneeling next to the zestful droid, who’s rolled across the room in a matter of seconds and is now bumping his leg. There’s another series of loud noises, and Poe’s face breaks into a smile. “I missed you too, buddy.”

He pats it on its head. “I’m sorry I didn’t come to get you, but Finn had disappeared and I was worried.”

A pause. Another beep. “Yes, yes, he’s in the day-care cen… wait, how did you know?”

Five beeps.

“You could have told me! I went crazy looking for him!”

Seven more beeps.

“Yeah, you’re right, my bad.” He gets back up. “I’m going to take a shower, and then we’ll go see if he’s awake, okay?”

BB-8 beeps in excitement. Poe chuckles. “You got it, buddy.”

He enters the shower, whistling. He scrubs thoroughly, takes the time to shampoo his hair to remove any lingering dirt. About half-an-hour later, he gets out. He stands in the middle of his room, in nothing but a towel, debating whether or not going to see if Finn’s awake right now would be pushing it.

He shrugs. “You know what, BB-8?” The droid beeps perplexedly. “To hell with it.”

He’s already fallen so hard it’s not as if there’s anything he can do to pretend otherwise anyway. He’s pretty sure the whole base knows. Hell, he’s pretty sure they’re all betting on how long it will take him to confess to Finn.

He sighs and gets dressed quickly. BB-8 is out of the door as soon as he opens it, and without delay, he follows suits, making his way to the North wing. He’s barely around the corner of the day-care’s corridor that he can already hear shouts and noises of little feet running. As he reaches the door, he hears a boy yell “hero Finn! Throw me in the air!” and an obviously alarmed-sounding Mara going: “no, Victor! Not happening! And Leia, do not put that in your mouth!” Poe chortles and shakes his head. It’s so lively in here, it warms his heart.

He enters the room softly, going unnoticed by everyone but Mara. She grins brightly at him, and he nods at her. He leans against the wall, and silently observes Finn for a while. He is still surrounded by his little fan club, his face so bright it’s making weird things to Poe’s stomach. He’s currently sitting in a circle with all of the children, trying to teach them the alphabet.

Finn is going to be an amazing father someday, Poe thinks, and then has to stop himself from banging his forehead on the wall because no, he cannot start picturing himself coming home to Finn cooing over a cradle and singing a lullaby to their child. He cannot. He's a grown-ass man. He is beyond those sickeningly cute fantasies.

Well, at least that's what he tries to tell himself. It’s not really working.

"Aren't you supposed to be in bed?" he says, instead of blurting out something stupid such as ‘will you have my babies?’

(He knows Finn cannot biologically have his babies. But that's not the point.)

The younger man looks up and for a moment he seems startled, but then he recognises Poe and smiles sheepishly, as if he were worried Poe might get angry at him for leaving without permission. It makes him want to go and kill everyone in the First Order, seeing the younger man react as if he expects to be punished. Instead he smiles back, trying to show him that it’s okay, he doesn’t mind, as long as he is safe, he doesn’t care. And then Finn beams, relieved; as if seeing him is the best thing that has ever happened to him (Poe ignores what it does to his stomach. Wrong time, wrong place). The children look up too from where they were playing, some frowning, others intently staring at Poe, as if he were the enemy – the adult in the room, probably. A few of them, pilot’s children mostly, smile brightly.

“Uncle Poe!” one of them yaps, and rushes to him. He crouches, taking her in his arm.

“Hello Diana!” He stands up, spinning her around the room. She laughs loudly. “How’s my favourite princess today?”

She pouts. “I’m not a princess anymore.”

He stops spinning, tilts his head. “You’re not?”

“Nope” she answers, matter-of-factly. “I’m a mechanics now, just like Mara!” she adds proudly.

Poe looks over to where Mara is sitting, a baby in her arms. He smiles at her, and she smiles back. He puts Diana down, letting her take his hand in hers, and steers his attention back on Finn. The other children are looking at him, seeming sad.

"Finn sick?" one of the youngest, a Blarina who's so small she could almost fit in Finn's hand, asks, crawling towards him. His eyes leave Poe's face (has he been staring at him all this time?) to rest on her and he smiles sweetly at her, patting her head softly.

"I am well sweetheart. I came too close to a lightsaber but I'm all better now."

"A lightsaber?!" one of the youngling exclaims, astonishment perceptible in his tone, and Finn laughs.

"Yes. An enormous lightsaber, all red, with mini-fire on its side!" he says. "And it went woosh and boom and slash and shoosh!"

They all fall silent, staring at him in amazement as Finn mimics the noises and gestures of an imaginary fighter. Poe can't help but smile fondly. His gaze meets Finn's and for a second it seems there's nothing else in the room. They’re paralysing, those deep, brown eyes, and suddenly he can’t remember what he was thinking a second ago. His breath catches in his throat, and he can see – or he thinks he can see, he is not sure, does not want to be sure, does not want to hope – Finn mirroring his actions. The other man averts his eyes first, and Poe can swear he is blushing. It makes his heart go wild into his chest.

Finn clears his throat. “Well, guys… I think it’s time I go back to my bed.”

His assertion is met with a chorus of resounding no’s. The small boy who hasn’t left his side, the one who was sleeping on him, tugs at his sleeve. “Please hero Finn, don’t go!”

Finn smiles fondly and takes his small head in his hands, staring at him right in the eyes. “I promise I will come back. And in return, you have to promise me that you’ll be very brave. That you’ll help Mara with the younger children and won’t run away again. Okay Victor?”

The young boy bits his lips, hesitant. Finn bends his head on the side, searching for acquiescence, and then goes in for a hug. “Okay” Victor mutters eventually. He raises his hand, holding out his little finger, although Finn can’t see him. “Pinkie promise!”

Finn’s expression falters for a second, as if he is reconsidering even letting go of Victor, but instead he lets go of him, and holds out his little finger as well. “Pinkie promise.”

He stands up, walks to Mara, and thanks her. She beams at him, and, still holding the baby in one arm, hugs him with the other. She whispers something to him which has Finn looking baffled, sparkling Poe’s curiosity. He watches him say goodbye to the children, never meeting his gaze. He wonders what Mara has told him. He says goodbye as well when Finn is finally done, and ultimately they leave the day-care centre. For a while they walk in silence, Poe not daring to speak.

“I –”

“How –”

They both stop abruptly and blush, their gazes meeting before they avert them.

“You talk first” Poe says, embarrassed.

“No, go ahead.”

Poe bits his bottom lip, running a hand through his hair. “How are you feeling?”

Finn shrugs. “Quite well, actually. I know I shouldn’t have left the med bay though, I’m sorry. Am I in trouble?”

Poe’s eyes widen. “What? Off course not! I mean, not with me anyway” he laughs. “Can’t speak for Dr Carter though, you know how she is.”

Finn winces. “Yeah, I do.”

Poe takes his hand in his and squeezes reassuringly. “It’s going to be alright. I’m here.”

**

It’s three days later and Poe is sitting in the mess hall with Jess and Karé after diner when he sees Finn coming in. His face lights up, uncontrollably, and he waves at him gleefully. Jess snickers. Karé roll her eyes, muttering something sounding strongly like “sweet Jesus” under her breath. Poe pointedly ignores them. They’re both idiots anyway.

“You’re out!” he shouts instead when Finn reaches their table. He has that goofy smile Poe’s noticed he wears every time he feels insanely happy or excited. He likes to think it’s the smile he had when they were making their escape.

“Is he?” he hears Jessika snort. Karé shushes her, but he can hear the laugh in her voice. Poe chokes on the piece of bread he was chewing. I will kill them and make a carpet out of their hair, he thinks.

Finn looks at them quizzically. Poe throws them a deadly glare. They try acting innocent – which is everything but credible, especially since Jess’ face is turning red from refraining herself from laughing.

Finn just shrugs it off, eventually, sitting in front of Poe and smiles blindingly – or at least that’s the effect it has on Poe – to them. “Technically, I’ve been out for three days.”

It’s true. After the day-care ‘accident’, Mara came by the ward to tell him the children were all asking for him to come and see them. Together, they’d manage to come to a compromise with his doctor: he’d go spend some time with the children, under the supervision of a nurse, and then they’d see how it went.

“But is it official now? Are they letting you out of the ward for good?” Poe asks almost restlessly.

Finn’s smile widen, which Poe didn’t think was possible. Gods does he want to know what it feels like to kiss him while he’s smiling like that.

“Yeah. I mean, I still have physical therapy every days but I’m done sleeping in the ward.” He sounds almost proud. Poe beams. He knows how much that means to him. Finn hasn’t quite said it out loud, but he knows the younger man has been feeling really down about being unable to move and to help, as if he were trapped again.

“That’s amazing, Finn!” Karé congratulates him. She went with Poe to visit him a few days after he’d woken up, and they’d hit it off immediately. She’s been spending as much time as she could with him while Poe was away, which he is grateful for.

“Thanks, Karé”. He sounds so thankful, just from those few words of support. It makes Poe feel incredibly happy and immensely sad at the same time. But Finn’s eyes are twinkling, there’s this infectious smile on his lips, and Poe decides that’s what’s important.

“This calls for a celebration” Jess states. She gets up, and the three of them watch her as she disappears behind the kitchen door. She reappears a few minutes later, mischief in her eyes.

“Congratulatiooooooooon” she yells, taking out a bottle of wine from behind her back.

Poe facepalms, and Karé laughs. Finn stares at her, uncertainty in his eyes. Jess’ eyes widen.

“You’ve never tasted wine before, have you?”

Finn shakes his head negatively, looking despondent. Jess smiles at him brightly. “Well, it just gives us one more reason to celebrate, then!”

She sits down and takes out four plastic glasses from one of her pockets. Poe raises an eyebrow. He knows their flight suits’ pockets are large, but seriously?

She pops the bottle open, and serves them generously. She raises her glass, and the other three do as well.

“To our intergalactic hero; and his amazing ass!” she shouts, taking a big sip.

Finn laughs, a bit flustered, before tasting the drink. He winces slightly at the unusual taste. Karé shakes her head, and then drinks as well.

“Jess!” Poe shouts indignantly.

“What? Don’t pretend it’s not true!” she winks. The older pilot blushes, but doesn’t answer. She smiles knowingly, before turning her gaze towards Finn.

“So? Verdict?”

The young man stares at the pink liquid in his glass. “It’s… strange. But it tastes good, in a way.”

Jess grins. “Off course it does! Let’s have another one!”

“Wait.” Poe stops her from filling up Finn’s glass again. “Not too much, okay? I don’t want him to get drunk.”

“Off course you don’t.”

No, he doesn’t. And that’s why, two hours and a second bottle later, he discretely puts Finn’s glass away while the other man is busy intently listening to Jess’ monologue about “gift-from-the-gods Rey and her perfect everything” (and he quotes). Next to him, Karé is dozing off, her chin in her hand. As for him, he is trying to not stare too much at Finn (especially his mouth). He might be a bit lightheaded, but not enough he isn’t aware – yet – of what he is doing. Doesn't mean he is not miserably failing, though.

“… and honestly have you seen her smile? I mean, off course you have. You’ve known her longer. But gods. I can’t wait for her to be done with her training and come back so I can, you know, work my magic.”

She tries to wiggle her eyebrows suggestively, but fails, due to lack of coordination.

Finn bursts out laughing. “You should totally get her to be your roommate when she’s back!”

Jess grinned at him knowingly, as the words tear Karé out of her sleepiness.

“No way, that’s not happening. I am not letting Jess bring her crush into our room - I sleep there, for crying out loud -, let alone having her live with us. She’ll get her own room and you’ll take your business there" she says, narrowing her eyes at Jess. The other girl shrugs, before frowning.

“Talking about roommates, where are you sleeping now that you’re a free man?”

The question is so unexpected Finn just stares at her silently for a while. Then he shrugs, clearly embarrassed. “I haven’t… really thought about it."

He turns his gaze away, and it makes Poe’s heart ache. Jess seems pretty unfazed, though. She smirks, as her eyes meet Poe’s. A feeling of dread fills him.

“Is that so? How about bunking with Poe then? I’m sure he would love it.”

Here we go. Poe knew it. He just knew it.

“I will kill you in your sleep” he mouths. She winks at him, gloating, and not even trying to hide it.

“What do you think, Finn? Poe doesn’t have a roommate and his room is more than big enough for the both of you” Karé adds gleefully. He facepalms.

Finn beams. “That would be so cool! What do you think, Poe? Or would it be too much of a bother?”

Poe stares at him blankly. Karé nudges him in the side, and he smiles, blushing.

“What? Off course not! Come on, I’ll show you your bed for tonight, and we’ll regulate everything with the main office tomorrow.”

He gets up, and Finn follows, looking both happy and relieved. They bid goodnight to the girls, who both wink at Poe as they leave.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” Jess yells as Finn disappears behind the entry door. Poe gives her the finger, not even looking at her, and ignores her loud laugh in his back. What he can’t ignore, however, is Finn staring at him as if trying to dig a hole in his brain.

“What?” Do I have something on my face? Did I forget to wash the tip of my ears gain? Oh my God, what if I have salad stuck in my teeth?!

“Nothing” he smiles. “I’m feeling… very light.”

Poe holds back a breath of relief. He is fine, apparently. “That’s the alcohol. Come on, you need a goodnight’s sleep.”

**

The next morning, when Finn wakes up, curled up in Poe’s bed – who insisted he slept in it, while he took the mattress on the ground – he’s all alone. Something twists in his stomach and he’s about to get up and start looking for Poe when he notices a piece of paper folded next to him, on the nightstand. It has “Finn” written on it, in a messy but somewhat cute handwriting, and Finn takes it, unfolding it hastily.

“Finn,

I hope you slept well. I didn’t dare wake you up, since you need sleep to recover from that nasty wound. I had to go make my report to general Organa, and then me and the squadron need to take care of a few errands. Won’t be long, I’ll be back for lunch. Then we can go meet with the main office so that we can get you a proper bed. You can borrow my clothes if you want. We’ll take care of that too, cause I don’t think they’ll fit quite well.

Have a nice matinee,

Poe

PS: please do not go wandering in the forest alone. And if your head hurts, drink water”

The young man pulls a face as he reads the last line – he might not have a wide experience of the world, but he can take care of himself – before shaking his head and laughing softly. He feels a heat in his chest, something telling him that the universe is beautiful today, and every day that Poe Dameron is here with him.

He gets up frankly, tries not to fall down again when he almost trips on his own feet, and goes into the bathroom to fill a glass of water – it’s not that his head hurts, exactly, but there’s a thud in the back of his brain he prefers not to ignore. Then he undresses and grabs the first clean clothes he can find – he really does hope it doesn’t bother Poe too much, and makes a note of finding something to offer him as a thank later. He is about to leave the room, whistling happily, when he stops, hesitant. He bits his lip, wondering what to do while waiting for his friend. Both him and BB-8 are gone, and the room is eerily silent, reminding him of less happier times. But he cannot let it got to his head, he decides, and he shakes it to get ride off the bad thoughts. Then he smiles, because off course, and why didn’t think of that right away.

Humming to himself, he walks the now familiar path leading to the day-care centre. He is barely through the door that there are at least three pairs of hands already gripping at his – Poe’s – sleeves and four different shrieks vibrating through the rooms. He laughs wholeheartedly, a smiles the size of the sun blooming on his face. He’s crouching to greet them when he notices a new face grinning at him. He stops in his tracks and blushes, greeting them sheepishly.

“I -”

“Let me guess. You must be the infamous Finn I’ve heard so much about. You know you’ve become so popular here you’ve stolen my show.”

“I… I’m sorry?” he says, almost questioningly. Around him, the children are begging for his attention. He distractedly pats them on the head, takes Diana’s hand in his.

The other young man – because it is a man, with bright, blue eyes, dark, soft-looking hair, caramel-coloured skin and an air of mischief to him – throws his head back and lets out a loud laugh, grabbing his sides.

“Don’t worry man, I’m just kidding. I’m Philip. From what I’ve heard I ought to thank you, you’ve been quite helpful around here.”

His grin is softer, now, although Finn can still see that twinkle of mischief in his eyes. His face lights up.

“Philip! It’s so nice to finally meet you!” he exclaims, taking a step towards him. He almost falls, having forgotten the two new-added weights on his legs. Philip laughs again, the same loud, heartfelt bark, and crosses the room in a heartbeat. He holds out his hand, which Finn takes and shakes diligently, his gaze never leaving the other man’s face, intrigued.

“It’s nice to meet you indeed, hero Finn” he smirks.

The young man opens his mouth, about to retort, but then Victor bursts through the bathroom’s door and he gets too busy with the kids.

**

The first thing Poe does when he’s out of his X-wing is racing to his room to take a shower. Finn is not there, he notices, although he suspected it – it would have been quite unlike him, he thinks, to stay here the whole day – so he washes as quickly as possible, restless to find him and hug him. Which is… pathetic, really. He’s so far down the rabbit hole he’s more or less given up on any chance of going back.

He gets dress in no time, and is out of the room less than fifteen minutes after he entered it, BB-8 noisily following in his footsteps. His stomach is rumbling, but he ignores it – his priority right now is to find Finn. He ponders where he could be, and decide to do a quick tour in the med-bay just to make sure. He’s not there, they tell him, and he remembers the last time he was searching for him, remembers what Finn has been doing for those past few days – and strides to the day-care. He’s not even there yet that he knows he was right. His lips stretch into a smile he can’t control, and his heart’s pace quickens. He can hear laughs and excited voices again, but more importantly, he can hear Finn giggling, shouting ‘no, Philip, don’t you dare throw paint at me!’

When he reached the door of the day-care, though, his smile fades. Finn is here, yes, but he is not… alone. There’s another man in here with him, holding a brush full of red pain in his hand. There’s a huge fresh stroke on Finn’s cheek, and he is laughing madly now, trying to push the other – cute, Poe thinks, bitterly – man away. Something sour settles in the pit of his stomach, something nasty. It’s so foreign to associate it with Finn that he outright rejects it – it’s not right, he decides, unfair to Finn. He deserves to meet new people. And just because this guy is obviously… trying for something there, doesn’t mean Poe can intervene and ruin this, whatever it is, for Finn. It’s not his place, nor his decision. And the younger man deserves to… meet more people. Plus, he didn’t even feel this way about Mara, so it’s not fair of him, really. He should know better. He knows better.

He’s about to turn around and leave when his eyes meet deep, chocolate ones, and warmth spread through his chest, blending with the unpleasant taste of what he knows to be jealousy. His heart stops in his chest; and suddenly he is hopeless, unable to do anything but stare at those beautiful, hearty eyes.

“Poe!” Finn shouts. He stops wrestling, and immediately crosses the room to open the door to greet him. His hands are covered in blue paint, as if he's dipped them into a paint bucket, and there's also some magenta on his - my, his brain unnecessarily supplies - shirt. He beams, and Poe’s gaze leave his face to glance at the other guy – he’s looking at the both of them heavily, an inquiring air in his eyes.

“Hey buddy” the pilot says, softly. “Are you busy? Should I come back later?”

Finn shakes his head. “No, no, off course no! Come on in, I want you to meet someone!”

Poe’s heart twists in his chest, but he follows him inside.

“Poe, this is Philip, the care-taker and Mara’s cousin. Philip, this is…”

“Poe Dameron, the best pilot in the Resistance. Off course.” Their gazes meet, and there’s a knowing look in his eyes.

Poe tries to smile, but it feels more like a grimace. “Nice to meet you, Philip. Glad to see you’re back on your feet.”

He means it, too. Kind of. It’s not that he dislikes the guy. But he doesn’t like that charmingly impish air of him. Or the way he looks at Finn as if he were an appetizing piece of cake he’d like to take a bite of. There are children around, for crying out loud.

“Thank you. So, are you guys heading out now?”

Finn stops smiling, taken aback. Around him, Victor, Diana, Tsunde, and all the other, start pouting or whining for him not to go. He looks over at Poe, pleading for help.

“Well… We have to take care of some administrative stuff before lunch, but we can come back later?” he offers, unsure. He doesn’t feel like seeing Finn and that Philip together very much.

The care-taker seems to guess it, throwing him a last look before turning his gaze towards Finn and grinning at him. Poe wants to hurl the pack of red paint on the floor to his face.

“So… see you later then?”

“Yeah!” Finn responds, as warm and open as ever. Always the perfect, beautiful, polite bundle of gentleness. Seriously, what did the universe do to deserve him?

“Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinn, no, pleaaaaase don’t go please please please please!”

Victor is shouting, now, clearly upset. It breaks Poe’s heart, to see how much he has grown attach to the younger man, in so little time. He knows Finn is more than likeable, yet he can’t help but see the craving for a tenderness they lack in their life here. Children should not have to know war.

Finn crouches in front of him and takes him in a bone-crushing hug. “I promise I’ll be back, Victor. You won’t even notice I’m gone. And Philip is here! And Martin, and Tsunde, and Ven, and all your friends!”

It takes a few more minutes to convince him, but eventually they leave the room. They walk silently for a while, Poe deep in his thoughts. He’s so focused he doesn’t even notice Finn staring acutely at him.

“Are you alright?” the other man asks, surprising him.

“Yeah, off course, why?”

Finn shrugs. “I don’t know. You seem a bit dispirited.” He smiles gently at him. “Whatever it is, you can tell me, alright?”

As he says this, he takes Poe’s hand in his and squeezes it. Poe stops walking, a jolt of electricity shooting up his spine and freezing him on the spot. Finn is about to let go, but stops walking too, instead, and tips his head to the side, gazing at him thoughtfully. Poe laces their fingers together, not wanting to let him go. They stay there, in the middle of the desert corridor, for what feels like a life-time. Poe’s eyes are open wide, as if he is terrified of what he has done, and he swallows with difficulty.

“Do you like this guy? Philip?” he blurts out without thinking.

He feels the tip of his ears redden, and stares at an imaginary dot over Finn's head, not daring to look directly at him. Wow. That was real smooth, Dameron. Pava would be proud of you, he thinks bitterly. He should write a book, really. He already has the perfect title: How to be real subtle in front of the guy you might want to adopt children with, a guide for pilots who have no idea how to deal with handsome ex-stormtroopers turned super-heroes.

Finn doesn’t respond. Instead, he stares at their linked hands, a slight grin playing on his lips. Then he looks up to Poe’s face, as if trying to decipher something. The older man fidgets, uncomfortable. Dammit, he feels like a sixteen years old again. This is stupid. He wants to take his x-wing and fly into a meteor.

“What?” he blurts out. He knows what. They both know what. But he is good with playing the idiot if it can keep him from falling into that bottomless pit right in front of him, even if it's just for a few seconds more.

“You know what Mara told me just before we left? That first day in the day-care centre?” Finn asks instead of answering, his gaze drifting to Poe’s lips. The atmosphere seems to change, and suddenly Poe can’t breathe quite right. That’s when he notices that they’ve moved slightly, and that he is now almost backed against the corridor’s wall. A cold thrill runs down his spine, and he gulps, his eyes locked on Finn’s face. His heart is pounding in his chest, so loud he thinks it might explode - he is really starting to worry about it's condition. His mouth is dry, and he feels dizzy.

“What… what did she say?” he breathes out. Finn’s eyes haven’t left his lips. He shifts closer, his body so close now he can feel the heat radiating from it.

Finn looks up, and all Poe can see is the longing desire in his dark orbs.

“She told me I should definitely go for it before someone tried to take you away from me. Or the other way around.”

Poe gulps. “Did… did she.”

“Yeah.” His eyes drift to Poe’s lips again. “And I’m starting to think she’s right.”

“You… You do?”

Finn grins devilishly – and so, so handsomely, gods, he is so handsome – biting his lips.

“You were jealous, weren't you? Because of Philip.”

“I… no?”

Finn’s chest is pressed against his now, his breath hot on his face.

“Liar,” he smirks.

Then he kisses him.

And if, later, Poe finds blue paint in his hair, well... it was totally worth it.