Everyone was celebrating at the Resistance base. Victory was theirs – the First Order and their starkiller fleet were history, as was Palpatine.
Rey had told Finn and Poe all about how encountering Keylo Ren and how he turned again to the light side of the Force, becoming Ben Solo again after all. How they both fought Palpatine. And about the ghosts of the Jedi that she heard when she had feared all was lost after all. Finn couldn‘t quite grasp all of it, Rey's words a contant flow while she was gesturing wildly about. Poe listened to her with wide eyes, too. Finn thought about the loss of General Leia Organa and so many more. She would be greatly missed and the other ones who had fallen.
"I have to return to Tatooine. I‘ll go tommorrow", Rey suddenly said. "There is something I have to do. Poe … can BB-8 accompany me, would you mind?"
Finn felt some kind of strange envy. That she didn‘t ask him to join him in that travel. They were friends. And he wanted to find out more about the Force and what it meant to him. Because he felt something inside of him, something he couldn‘t quite unterstand. A feeling. Like something pulling him, deep within.
"Rey ...", he started.
Poe interupted him. "Go and ask BB-8", he said with a smirk. "You know, I am not the droid‘s dad or something."
Rey smiled. "Yes. You‘re right. I‘ll ask BB-8 right away. See you later."
And with that she was gone before Finn could talk to her. Damn, it was like when he got trapped in the drift sand and couldn‘t tell her …
"Hey, buddy, you‘re up for a party?", Poe asked, padding Finn‘s shoulder lightly.
"Yeah, sure. I mean, I feel quite battered and torn, but everyone is celebrating tonight, right?"
"I bet they are. Let‘s go."
And so they went outside again. There were lots of hugs. People kissing each other. Someone had lit a fireplace outside, as it was getting dark. Crickets were chirring. Bottles of booze and other beverages were past on and people were gathering around the fireplace, telling their stories. How they had fought. How they had survived. How the Dark Force used by Palpatine had almost destroyed the instruments on board of some X-wings and other spacecrafts.
Lando Calrissian was the man of the hour, recalling how he and some other people had rallied for allies, to support the Resistance.
Poe sat next to Finn, while listening to Lando, a hand casually on Finn‘s shoulder. It felt so good to have the man close-by. The one who had given him his name. The one he had saved when he had deserted from the First Order. He looked at Poe. Just a glance. Poe was smiling at Lando but his hand didn‘t leave Finn‘s shoulder. Finn felt a sudden warmth glowing in his chest and it wasn‘t coming from the camp fire.
Sometime later, they got up and seperated because Poe wanted to talk to some friend and Rose came over to Finn, beaming at him.
He hugged her. She didn‘t try to kiss him, not like back when she had told him about they were fighting for what they loved. "I am so glad about everything", she said. "I only wish my sister was here." A sad expression fell over her face like a shadow.
He nodded. "She would be proud of you. I am sure about that ... I am proud of you, you know."
"You‘re a good friend", Rose said.
He got destracted for a moment, because he saw Poe talking to Zorii who was still wearing her helmet and suit. Poe winked at her, obviously flirting. Zorii shook her head. Poe shrugged a little bit but seemed dissapointed. Damn.
"But your heart is with someone else, isn‘t it?", Rose suddenly said, nodding slightly in the direction of Poe.
"I ..." Was is that obvious?
"I‘ve watched the two of you, I couldn‘t help it. Does he know about the feelings you have for him?"
"I. Oh, gosh, Rose, I don‘t know what to say. I‘m not good with all of this. I didn‘t exactly get raised with lessons about romantic stuff and love."
She shrugged. "Me neither. We were all busy to survive. And we did. We‘ve won." Her voice was insistently now and she looked him right in the eye. "Speak with him. Now is the time. Not only to celebrate, but to live. I want you to be happy. And if Poe is the one who makes you happy, then go for it."
"Thank you, Rose. You are a good friend, too." He hugged her again and she smiled, wiping a tear from her eye.
He looked at the spot where Poe had stood but he was gone.
Poe had flirted a bit with Zorii. He hadn‘t set his hopes up high on it and she instantly rejected him, as he expected. It was just for nostalgic reasons, or so he told himself. Their time together back in the day when he had been a spice runner was long over. They had never been a couple. There had been a few nights of casual sex. No obligations. Zorii wasn‘t the romantic type and most definitely not the marrying kind. And neither had he been, or so he thought. Still, it somehow dissapointed him that she wasn‘t the least bit interested in him. He turned away from the crowd as he needed a bit of time on his own. Just a few minutes, then he would return to the party and the camp fire.
He rested his back again the wall at one of the buildings of the settlement. He heard people laughing and chattering. And some of the droids with their bleeping sounds. C-3PO was talking in the distance but Poe couldn‘t understand what the droid was saying.
In the twilight, he could see a familiar figure coming towards him. Finn. He looked worried. What had happened?
"Hey, buddy, something wrong?"
"It‘s … erm. I saw you flirt with Zorii and she shook her head. And I … I … " Finn broke off, staring at the distant crowd and then looking directly at Poe. There was anger in his face. Or was it something else? He seemed completely lost for words.
Poe felt a sudden jolt in his heart. A rush of adrenaline flooding his veins. Suddenly he understood. It had been there from day one on, the first day they met. When he had been saved by that Stormtrooper called FN-2187 and had given him a proper name. Not that there was anything wrong with numbers in a name. Droids had those too. But "Finn" … it just had seemed more suitable for the guy. And ever since then, he couldn‘t keep his hands to himself, whenever he had been around Finn. There was something about that man. And now, finally, Poe understood his own feelings. An unexpected tenderness, like the warm glow of that camp fire shining in the growing dark. Maybe this was a bit like the light side of the Force, repelling all darkness.
Poe looked at his friend, into those confused eyes. He caressed Finn‘s face with one hand, placing the other in his neck and kissed him. Finn seemed startled at first, moving away a bit. But then he leaned in on the kiss, answering it. Poe‘s feelings whirled around like a spaceship on an unsteady course. After all they had gone through, all the fighting and hurt. The fear and the rage of war. The wounds and the healing. He had been through a lot and it had been one hell of a ride. There was a storm in his heart and he felt like he would burst, so he didn‘t stop kissing Finn, a warm and soothing sensation. Until he had no more air in his lungs. Regretfully, he let go and searched for a response in those dark eyes.
Finn didn‘t say anything. Instead, he leaned forward and kissed Poe again. This kiss was softer, not as surging as the first one. Poe ran his fingers over Finn head, his neck and shoulders.
When they seperated their heads again, Poe cleared his throat. "I should have done so months ago. I just … I couldn‘t see it. I was a fool. I‘m sorry."
"Don‘t be. If you were a fool, I was too. Man, nobody ever told me about love, except for Rose, when she … well, you know. I told you about that."
"Oh, yeah. I remember. I felt so jealous."
He took Finn‘s hand. "Of course I did. I just couldn‘t accept my jealousy. I ruled it out. Buddy, I was so blind. All this time."
"Rose knows about us."
Poe was puzzled. "Huh? What do you mean?"
"She suspected that I had feelings for you. That we both have for each other. She said, she wants me to be happy and if you would make me happy, then ..."
Poe smiled. "Rose is a really clever woman. I‘ll tell her that."
Finn blushed. "Don‘t do it. Poe, I‘m confused. Because of Zorii. Were you … ?"
"Oh, we were never a couple if you wondered about that. And she made very clear that she has absolutely no interest in me in that respect. Have to admit, I‘m into women, too. Which doesn‘t mean I would miss a woman in my life, if we were together." He hesitated. "I mean, if that is what you want."
Finn looked even more worried. "Oh. Poe … all of this, it‘s so new to me. I feel, I don‘t know. Embarrassed?"
Poe shook his head. "Hey, listen. You don‘t have to be. Not with me, not with anybody, alright?"
But even as he said these words, he remembered when he had been in love for the first time. All the confusion. The embarrassment. And the heartache. Finn was in a similar place now. Poe decided to make it as easy as possible for him. And he would definitely spare him any heartache if he could.
"Look at is this way", he said. "We have come a long way. We‘ve been through so much, together. You, me, Rey, BB-8, Chewie, Rose, C-3PO and all the others. We are not in space battles anymore and let‘s hope there won‘t be any new soon." He pressed Finn‘s hand assuringly. "We are friends, Finn. And no matter what happens between us from now on, I will always be your friend. Are you with me in this?"
Finn looked at him. For a few seconds, Poe was afraid to hear a "No" or a "I don‘t know". Then, the frowning left Finn‘s face and instead, he smiled. "I am."
Poe pulled his friend into a long hug. Suddenly, the future seemed even brighter. His heart was filled with a new hope.
"Oh, there you are", he heard a familiar voice, while still embracing Finn. His first thought was to let go of the hug. Then he thought, "Why should I?"
Rey was standing there. BB-8 was with her, bleeping excitedly.
"You are going with her to Tatooine?", Poe asked. At first, he felt suddenly jealous of the young Jedi. The droid and he had been through a lot together, too.
Poe was still holding Finn at the arms, not feeling embarrassed about it.
BB-8 squeaked a bit, his headpiece turning inquiringly at Finn.
Poe burst into a bright smile. "Yes, BB-8. Finn and I are together now."
BB-8 burst into a crescendo of even more excited sounds, rolling towards them, stopping directly before Poe.
Poe bent down to the droid, padding the rounded white and orange metal. "You will aways be my buddy, BB-8. Nothing will change that."
Finn looked at Rey who came over to them, beaming. Poe raised himself again, looking at her.
"Rey, I need to tell you something", Finn started.
Her smile didn‘t fade. "Tell me in a moment. I am so happy for the two of you", she said and hugged both of them. "May the Force be with you - always", Rey added quietly.
Finn let go of both of them. "About that ... can I talk to you for a moment, Rey. Like, privately?", he asked.
Moments later, Poe watched them from a distance, wondering what they were talking about. But then, the two of them were friends and he would have entrusted his life to both of them. There was no jealousy in him regarding their friendship. BB-8 circuited Rey and Finn, bleeping again.
Rey hugged Finn for a moment and a huge smile was her answer. Then, Finn came over to Poe again, while Rey bent down to BB-8, talking to the droid.
"When she returns from Tatooine, she is going to train me to become a Jedi."
Poe made a gasping sound. Wow. That was good news. He slapped his friend on the back. "That's awesome, Finn. I didn't know you had it in you."
"I wasn't sure myself. But I had this feeling inside of me for a long time. Like an intuition. And more. Man, it's really hard to explain."
"Wow. I don't know what to say. A boyfriend who is a Jedi?"
Finn shrugged. "I am not there yet."
"If anyone had told me so a few years ago, I would have laughed at them. And now look how far we have come."
He looked up at the first stars that could be seen in the darkening sky and lay one hand over Finn's shoulder. One day, he wanted to fly again. With Finn at his side. But not tonight. Tonight, it was time for something else. A warm sensation flooded through his chest. He remembered the day he had met his friend for the first time, on that damn star destroyer. How they had escaped together. His memory vivid, like it had been yesterday. He smiled at Finn. "So glad we met, my friend. So glad."