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become a blooming place

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this was a mistake, poe thinks, with rey’s long legs thrown across his lap. he’s following the line of her calves with his palms and she’s got her head half out the window, the wind playing with loose strands of her hair. (her skin is warm, prickly where she hasn’t shaved her legs in a few weeks, and even with the seatbelt digging into his chest poe is afraid his heart is going to crack his ribs open.)

she wrinkles her nose and says something in the direction of the driver’s seat; probably something about finn’s driving, which—poe just taught him brakes from gas (we couldn’t run away if we didn’t know how to run, finn had explained with a shrug) and he tends to drive like he’s someone’s 80 year old grandmother.

but finn only laughs, the sun glinting off his shades, his teeth. he has his arm draped out the window, and poe can see the way his muscles shift in his shoulders every time he moves. he says something too, which would probably be funny if poe could hear either of them over the radio, the blood pounding in his ears. (this was a mistake.)

the sun is hot, but they have all the windows open and the wind is cool. poe lets his head fall back against the seat and shuts his eyes. under his hand, the muscles of rey’s calf twitch, and then lay still.

 

//

 

some free advice: when your young, extremely attractive coworkers who only have eyes for one another (in blissful ignorance of the fact that you may be in love with them, whatever) invite you on a cross-country road trip to their surrogate father’s funeral—

say no.

 

//

 

“hey,” finn says. they’re sitting at the rest stop’s only picnic table, trying not to touch the unfortunately sticky patches. poe keeps accidentally kicking the heavy chain that keeps it anchored to the ground.

“yeah?” poe says absently. 

“thanks for coming, man,” finn says, and he’s doing that thing again, the sincere thing, where his eyes are wide and shining, and he’s so serious and earnest. people keep saying finn must have learned it from poe, but poe can’t remember the last time he was like that about anything. (eighteen, maybe, when he found out the community college had a library, and spent the summer devouring every book in their measly political philosophy section.

not many airmen could quote rawls, but given where it’d taken him, that was probably for the best.)

“don’t mention it,” poe says. “I’m here for you. and rey,” he adds, when she appears from the rest stop, and crosses the sad patch of browning grass to sit beside finn at the table.

she makes a face when she plants her elbow in a sticky patch, and it’s funny, it is—poe has seen her happily covered in motor oil and grass, sweat, but she wrinkles her nose, huffs. “what about me?” she asks, scraping at her elbow with a fingernail.

finn raises his eyebrows at poe, and he feels himself go hot. “no, I was just—telling finn that. well, I’m here for you. both of you.”

her expression softens into something almost tender, and poe lamely offers his half-empty water bottle to wash off her elbow. 

somehow, this ends up with rey straddling the bench beside him, close enough that he would breathe in her breath, if he could remember how to breathe just now. he gets water on his jeans, and her shirt, and he doesn’t miss the corner of her mouth, twitching at how clumsy he’s suddenly become. “there,” he says, using his thumb to wipe the last of it from the flat of her elbow. “all good.”

“thanks,” rey says, and this close he can see the old scar at her jaw where she wasn’t quick enough to dodge whatever plutt hurled at her head. (he thinks; she’s always oblique when it comes to her past, prickly and waiting to take offense at the first sign of pity.) it’s silvery-faint, but poe can’t look away.

poe walks back to the car two steps behind her. finn’s shoulder brushes his, and they’re both smiling, for no reason.

 

//

 

“move over,” finn mutters, and poe’s still mostly asleep—he grunts when finn elbows into the tacky motel bed beside him, pressing himself flush against poe’s back. he’s warm, it feels nice.

“rey keeps kicking me,” finn says. his breath on the nape of poe’s neck. he’s nosing at the collar of poe’s shirt, and poe goes practically boneless against him (is there a reason he shouldn’t? he can’t remember.)

“’k,” poe mumbles. “g’ sleep n’w.”

“okay,” finn says.

poe wakes up in the morning cold, finn having stolen every blanket on the bed and wrapped them around his waist. but he’s got a hand fisted into the back of poe’s shirt, and poe lays there for a while, feeling the ridge of finn’s knuckles against his back.

 

//

 

they’re eating at some tacky hole-in-the-wall bar google maps recommended when rey says, “han would have loved this place.”

finn freezes with a fry halfway to his mouth, and it’s up to poe to say, casually, “oh, yeah?”

rey is pushing the remains of whatever she had—something with potatoes, poe wasn’t paying attention—around her plate, frowning. “yeah,” she says. “he knew every crappy bar and diner for a hundred miles in every direction. probably knew their owners too. he had this—” she laughs a little, though there isn’t much humor in the sound. “her name was maz, I always thought she was his aunt, when actually she bought weed from him back before it was legalized. but that was han, he was always—everyone was family.”

finn puts down the fry and wipes his fingers on his shirt. lays his hand, palm up, on the plastic surface of the table. rey threads their fingers together, so tightly that poe can see her knuckles go white.

poe escapes, mumbling something about the jukebox, about needing the bathroom, another drink. (it doesn’t actually matter, he just has to put some space between him and this, or he’ll belong to it, he’ll be part of it, and he’s not. he has to remember he’s not. this is rey and finn and rey&finn and their grief and their lives, he doesn’t have a right to any of it.

he can’t believe he’s thinking about kissing them right now.)

it costs him a dollar twenty five to get shania twain on the jukebox, but it’s worth it to hear rey humming along when he gets back to the table. they’re still holding hands, but finn doesn’t move over when poe slides back into the booth. his shoulder is warm, and pressed all along poe’s side, and poe reminds himself to breathe, just breathe.

 

//

 

the next time finn crawls into bed with poe, he doesn’t offer any explanation. (neither does rey, when she joins them.)

 

//

 

honestly. just—say no. when they ask, for your own sanity, say no.

 

//

 

poe makes an extremely undignified noise when senator leia organa, retired four star general and decorated hero of the battle of endor, is standing outside the funeral home. “what,” he says, grabbing hold of finn’s arm and practically shaking him til his fillings rattle.

“han was her husband. ex-husband? I don’t know if they ever actually got divorced,” rey explains, frowning. “she’s making all the arrangements for the funeral.”

what,” poe repeats, even as finn patiently unclips poe’s seatbelt for him and all but pushes him out of the car. poe stumbles inelegantly to his feet, and holy shit leia organa is looking at him.

“this is our friend,” rey says, after she and senator leia organa exchange a long, wordless embrace. (finn just smiles, blinking hard when organa rests a hand on his shoulder.) “his name is poe.”

“dameron,” poe says dazedly, reaching out and shaking senator leia organa’s hand by instinct.

“ah,” the senator says. “the hotshot ex-pilot himself. I’ve heard so much about you.”

poe nods and says something gracious, probably, and pretends like he doesn’t want to turn to finn and demand to know what they’ve been telling senator leia organa about him.

the meeting with the funeral director is solemn, gentle; poe mostly busies himself making sure everyone always has enough coffee in their cup, a couple cookies within reach. the senator is very cool and sure and calm, dry-eyed, even if she does hold rey’s hand so tightly that rey has to switch as they start talking about caskets.

(”closed casket,” the senator says, very firmly. “I don’t—I don’t want anyone to remember him like this.”)

finn spends the whole meeting silent, his lips pressed together in a thin line, hands fisted on his knees to keep them from shaking. “hey,” poe says, nudging him with his shoulder. “c’mon, let’s go for a walk.”

finn looks a little surprised—his eyes cut to rey, who doesn’t look away from the funeral director’s face, but she does nod, just slightly. so they go, and wander around the edge of the parking lot, admire the sad stand of trees and the worn out sign. poe makes a comment about how crappy rey’s beat up ford falcon looks beside senator organa’s gleaming state car—

“it was his,” finn says, very quietly, and poe’s voice dies in his throat. “he loved that stupid car, and her. and he used to—he used to call me ‘big deal’, because the first time we met I was trying to impress rey, and made out like I was such a big deal.”

finn isn’t looking at the cars, he isn’t looking at anything; just staring sightlessly into the air, and trembling.

poe doesn’t think, just steps forward and catches him before he hits the ground.

they’re still there, kneeling in the damp grass, when the senator and rey emerge from the funeral home. finn’s mostly stopped crying (he’s shuddering, gulping at the air and clinging to poe like he’s the only solid thing left in the world) but poe’s still cradling him against his chest, rubbing his back and murmuring nonsense, soothing things.

poe should be embarrassed, he realizes too late. about his closeness and his presumption and—the fact he isn’t embarrassed. but no one else seems to be, and when rey bends down and presses a kiss to poe’s head it feels good, it feels right.

“dinner, I think,” the senator says, and poe, finn, and rey all pile back into the falcon silently. they follow her car out of the parking lot, and down the road, and away.

 

//

 

poe doesn’t remember much of the wake, except that rey cried, and poe cried because he loved her and he was sorry, and finn got spectacularly drunk and cried too, holding onto poe’s arm and saying, “thank you for coming. thank you. you came, I’m so glad.”

they fall asleep in a pile on the sofa, poe knows, because that’s where he woke up, rey’s knee digging into his gut and finn heavy on his knees. it takes careful maneuvering and a good few minutes to extract himself, and even then he has to limp to the bathroom—he’s not sure how both of his feet fell asleep, but they did.

he’s just wiping his hands on his pants when he realizes there’s a light on in the kitchen.

“senator?” he asks, stepping into the space. leia organa is sitting at the table with a fork sticking out of what looks like a pan of kugel. it’s one of the dozen baking dishes spread across the table, all neatly covered in foil or saran wrap. “I didn’t think anyone else was awake.”

“I lost my mother and father when I was nineteen,” she says, and his breath catches. “my unit was in imperial-held territory at the time and I didn’t—I couldn’t attend their funeral, didn’t even have time to mourn them. I’m trying to decide if the food makes it better.”

poe is silent, watching her pick at the noodles. “I can’t eat chuchitos anymore. when mama—” he chokes on the word, even so many years later, “everyone brought chuchitos, because they knew they were my favorite. I had chuchitos every meal for weeks, I got sick off them. so I can’t eat them anymore. even the smell…”

she looks up at him, and smiles, and—poe wonders suddenly if she has any children of her own; not that rey and finn don’t count, but that is a mother’s smile, and he feels steadied, having seen it. 

“get some sleep, dameron,” she says, and he leaves her there, in the lighted kitchen, all alone.

 

//

 

they bury han solo on a cool saturday morning, finn gritting his teeth against a hangover and rey ashen, dry-eyed. poe feels like he’s hovering too much, but at some point rey grabs his arm and buries her face in his suit jacket, and finn has his arm wrapped around rey’s waist so that poe can feel finn’s watch digging into his side, and it’s like equilibrium, suddenly. balance.

“are you coming?” finn asks after, and the senator shakes her head.

“no, it’s all right,” she says, and her eyes are wet. “I’m going to stay, have one last argument with him. curse the bastard out for dying—it wouldn’t be right, otherwise.”

they pick their way back over the grass, occasionally stopping to read headstones, without remark. (rey is holding his hand, and finn’s, and poe can’t believe how warm he feels, is.) when they make it back to where they parked, there’s an absurdly tall man with long hair, leaning against the senator’s car. “you’ll get her home?” rey asks, and the man says something that sounds affirmative, though poe can’t interpret what through the haze of accent. rey just looks relieved. “thank you.”

rey kicks off her shoes in the backseat of the falcon and curls into finn’s side, animal-like. he murmurs something, and she laughs, or whatever passes for it—it’s like watching a movie with no sound. poe can’t help glancing at them in the rearview the whole ride back to the senator’s house, but they don’t say anything else, just cling to one another.

the house feels emptier, when they get back.

“I’m going to—take a nap,” poe says, because he can’t think of anything else to do right now that isn’t drinking or smoking, and this really isn’t the time.

“okay,” rey says, and she and finn trail poe upstairs. finn drapes his suit jacket on the chair beside poe’s bed, and rey shimmies out of her pantyhose and before poe can really figure out what’s happening, he’s in bed with both of them, rey curling into his back and finn’s shoulder against his chest.

poe is still desperately trying to make sense of this when finn pokes his thigh. “breathe,” finn says, already sounding sleepy and warm, and fuck that earnest thing, poe doesn’t trust that one bit, it’s clearly a trap to lull him into a false sense of security and affection. 

“it’s okay, you can relax,” finn adds after a long minute. “we’re not going anywhere.”

“oh,” poe says, because what else is he supposed to say. “okay then.” 

at some point, lying stiff as a board between two warm and sleeping bodies, both tucked against your own, is exhausting. poe sleeps.

 

//

 

when he wakes up, the sun is lower, slanting through the windows and painting the room a haze of gold. it takes him a minute to realize that rey is propped up on one elbow, tracing the curve of his brow with a fingertip.

she looks like she’s been crying.

“hey,” poe whispers. “good morning.”

“not really,” she says, but she’s smiling now. “but maybe tomorrow. we’ll see.”