For all the cocky worldliness he exudes, Poe has only tried Spice two-ish times.
The cycle he spent running Spice was a regretful blip in Poe's past. Most of the poor kids who wound up working the underbelly of Kojimi did so because they had no other choice. Zorii came from a family who clawed their way out of slavery, only to find that being grounded on a capitalist planet without a credit to your name was just as confining as any collar. But Poe was almost too lucky. He was raised by literal rebels for Kriff's sake, and he was flying through the stars in his mother's lap since he could barely read Basic. He had known nothing but freedom his whole childhood, hardly even staying on Yavin 4 long enough to finish his adolescent schooling.
The first time he had ever been "spiced" was the same year his father died, when he was eighteen. But it wasn't until months later, on the anniversary of his mother's death, that he had actually gone on a bender down in the V'masho district. Logically he had no reason to be desperate; his inheritance was livable, he was an adult by most human standards, and everything was set up for him to enlist already as a prodigy pilot. But he had never felt so alone in his life, not even in the long stretches when his parents were on missions. So he had stumbled his way that night from bar to club to alleyway, until he found a woman shrouded in brilliant jewel-toned fabrics who said she could fill the emptiness inside him with something he had never felt before. And she was right.
It's a common joke to say that Spice is the Sith Lord of drugs because it seems to have more power over users with darkness in their hearts. People who are more at peace in their lives will describe getting spiced as a horrendously bad trip and never pick it up again. But the pathetic, the guilty and the desperate all can't get enough of it. Dying soldiers and invalids react to the substance like an angel of mercy embracing them. Needless to say, Poe had fit well into the target demographic at the time.
Next thing he knew, he was flying to Kojimi in hopes of working his way into another score. Unfortunately, he had been as reckless and impatient as ever, and skimmed off the top of one of his larger payloads. That was the second time he tried it, but he did not get much of a chance to enjoy the high before the buyer found out. He had gotten the shit kicked out of him so badly, he still feels a sharp pinch whenever he works out enough, where his ribs had punctured his lungs. The near-death experience scared him so bad that not only did he resolve to do whatever it took to get out of the trade, he has also never gone near the stuff since.
He enlisted in the New Republic as soon as he could, and very few people ever questioned what he did in his ‘gap year.’ His persona of roguish-ness masked his seedier quirks and he could chalk-up knowledge of urban undergrounds to having well-traveled parents. The only person who had ever figured it out on their own was Leia. He was terrified at first, when he found out she knew, but then it had just made it all the easier to tell her everything. Leaving to join her in the Resistance had been the easiest decision he had ever made, and she had assured him that it was his time in both professions that made him invaluable in the fight for the Light. She could have just as easily blackmailed him, but she promised it would not be her secret to tell, and thus no one else would ever suspect a thing.
That is, until Finn.
“Where did you learn to do that?”
“How does a pilot learn smuggler’s cant?”
“I know why I know Trooper codes for substance violation, but why do you know them?”
Finn had been too damned intuitive from the moment he picked him off the Finalizer. Even if Poe privately considered that the best rescue of his life. He was always going on about what people needed - Rose needs a friend right now, we need to calm down Chewie, Leia needs us to support her against the council urging retreat, the ship needs more med packs - that sort of thing.
So he should have seen it coming when Finn had looked at him that way when he hotwired those speeders.
“You need to teach me how to do that.”
Poe sighs. “Do I?”
“Listen, Poe - first of all, I don’t appreciate you hiding everything shady from me, but besides that, we’re on the run. We don’t have the Falcon or any Resistance resources. So if more than one of us knows how to grab a vehicle, might be useful, right?”
And that’s how he ends up giving the controls of Ochi’s ship over to Rey on their way out of Pasaana.
“...so you see, anything with an ignition just needs a complete circuit to start the engine,” Poe instructs, knee-deep in some antiquated machinery in the belly of Ochi’s podbay. “Now, most tech, regardless of purpose, is built to make things easier on the mechanics, so they will bundle the ignition wires with whatever kind of battery-”
He hears a loud clang and zap of electrical current from where Finn is supposed to be following along on a peculiar gas-fueled device with rotating blades and a vacuum pump underneath its carriage.
“You okay buddy?”
“No!” replies Finn indignantly. His brows are furrowed and his hands are impossibly full of wires. Poe tries not to think about how cute he looks.
“Then what the varp are you doing? I told you to follow my lead!”
“I’m trying to follow along, but this piece of junk is from another dimension!” Finn whines, kicking the machine for good measure. “Can’t I just watch you do it?”
“Like I said pal, it’s the kind of thing you have to get a feel for, or you’ll never get it done when it’s really time to get lines.”
Finn looks at his spark-spurting mess and back at Poe with all measure of misery on his face. Before Poe can think better of it, he waves a hand to call him over. “Come on, you big baby, we’ll do it together.”
Poe feels bad about this, but the more time he spends going on missions with Finn, the more he has tried to avoid getting too close to him. What started as feelings of gratitude and pride for the ex-Stormtrooper turned to embarrassing urges when they locked eyes after a fight or when he caught glances of skin as they changed into First Order disguises. And when Finn did something like rest a hand at the nape of his neck while thanking him for pulling them out of their latest scrap… the urges were the kind Poe hadn’t felt since he was a teenager.
In other words, Poe had tried to put some distance between them because the closer he gets, the more he can feel himself falling for Finn.
He groans internally at his choices as Finn makes his way over and plops down next to him. He has removed his bracers and pulled up his sleeves and - is that a smudge of grease on his face, seriously?
“Alright, so like I was saying, you’re gonna look for a bundle of wires that looks like this,” he continues, ignoring thoughts of wiping the black smudge off his cheek. “Then if you’re doing this right, you’ll have some wire strippers to expose the live ends. But hypothetically speaking we’re not doing this right, so in that case, we tear the shit out of them and that usually takes care of the casing well enough.”
Finn sits by quietly as he instructs, occasionally humming and leaning further into their pressed shoulders. That's when it starts: a buzzing feeling, that grows from his gut. When Finn looks directly at him, at his mouth moving on autopilot with something about controlled arcs, his heart rate picks up. This makes the feeling even worse, and he breathes faster though each gulp of air feels more and more like helium than oxygen.
He can tell Finn is really trying to focus, because mechanical work might not be his forte but damn if he doesn't care so much, just like he does with everything. However, he starts looking at Poe more than the inner workings of the old speeder. He's sure he's sweating now or something. His face feels hot.
"And then you'll want to connect both wires-"
Misunderstanding the instruction, Finn reaches for the same wires as Poe. Their hands overlap around the parts, skin on skin. That's when whatever's happening really hits.
Poe doesn't need to see his reflection to know that his pupils go wide as moons eclipsing his irises. The buzzing in his gut and chest explodes into a full-body vibration. He can feel all of the blood in his body - and all the places it is rushing to. He can't tell if he's falling or floating, like someone turned off the mag grav, even though he knows he's still sitting on the floor. Lights are brighter, colors more vivid, and even the sound of the ship's engine is melodic.
But more than any of that, the thought of Finn overwhelms him. The urge to take that hand and press the knuckles to his lips is so strong, it's like an out of body experience. And what's worse, he can feel himself starting to do it. His arm twitches, and moves an inch.
"Sorry pal, I gotta - gotta go." Poe mumbles hurriedly before bolting up and walking to the nearest door which he just hopes actually leads to another room and not a supply closet on this stupid old ship.
Turns out it's a refresher, thank the Light, and Poe grips the sink with white knuckles and tries to control his breathing.
As was established, Poe hasn't gone near Spice in over a decade. So then how ? Maybe during the festival in Pasaana, but if he's being honest, this is not the first time this has happened. It's the third or fourth time, in fact, depending on where he draws the line for intensity. The one through-line connecting them is that whatever, whoever, and however he's getting drugged, it gets triggered when he's around Finn.
Nothing else has ever made him feel that way. Maybe not even the first time he got spiced, though the memory is hazy.
He should probably be more concerned, but whatever, they've got a galaxy to save. Poe splashes water on his face and thinks of the mission.
What Poe doesn't see is that in the room he left behind, Finn is still sitting on the ground breathing just as hard. And the speeder engine has roared to life.