There’s still so much that Poe needs to do. He can’t stop thinking about it enough to where he can’t sleep. Mumbling that he needs to go to sleep, Poe tosses and turns in his sheets. It always amazed him how he managed to get a room by himself since the base is supposed to be packed. No one is rooming with him though. Not because they didn’t like him-- they made it very clear that they loved him-- it was just because it would be weird having the same sleeping quarters as your commander which Poe agrees with. He’s not one to complain about having his own room. But this night is different; he actually wants someone with him. Sick of twisting and turning, he decides to turn on the fan. The soft hum of it could lull him to sleep most rough nights so he thought it would help. Poe crawls back into bed and curls real close to himself like he did when his mother allowed him to sleep with her and his dad. Mom… Nope, he can’t think about that. Not now. Sleep, Poe, sleep. Squeezing his eyes shut, hugging himself, he tries to force himself to sleep but that doesn’t seem to do the trick. Every other night was easy even on the darkest, hardest days. This night is no worse than that and he’s still having trouble. Eventually, the droning of the back and forth of his thoughts did the trick.
Dreams did not come easily to Poe but when they did, they didn’t come lightly. The nightmares had started early when he joined the Resistance, around his first battle. The first episode of nightmares wasn’t anything remarkable; he dreamt that he had been hit down and his ship was crumbling second by second into space. As time went on, they became more detailed and graphic. Poe had confided in Leia after a few sleepless nights. She tried to help in any way that she could by recommending therapy droids, meditation, sleeping aids, even medicine but none of it seemed to work. They would usually fade away after a few days and no one would be the wiser. This night is the beginning of another wave of nightmares.
Poe lands on Jakku to see San Tekka. The dusty planet has never been his favorite and will never be but this time, it’s better. Meeting the San Tekka and finally being able to acquire the last part of the map that they need is thrilling but once Poe hears the light hum of ships his heart drops. Go… San Tekka tells him, through his aged eyes. Poe, in a flurry, runs out of the hut and sprints through the market. He can already hear the screams and lasers being triggered but he keeps running. He has to. In what feels an instant, right as he approaches his ship, he feels a sharp, sizzling pain in his chest. It’s too late, a stormtrooper had been right in front of him, almost as if waiting for this moment. Now lying on the ground, he sobs. He has lost before but this is it; he’s done for. It’s not like him to give up like this but at the moment, he has no strength to drag himself. He just can’t. Looking up to the sky, the stars are blurred through his tears. Oh, the beautiful stars he would never see again. BB-8 hovers over him, beeping anxiously as he cries. He sputters a few incoherent apologies before something drags it away. The next thing he sees is enormous black eyes staring at him, a trooper helmet covered with dusty sand and three streaks of blood. It’s patting him, shaking him. It yells at him through the mask but Poe can’t hear what it’s saying through his sobs and screams. Taking off its helmet, the trooper’s eyes search Poe as it screams. As he screams. I’m saving you! His dark skin sparkling with sweat, illuminated by the surrounding fires. I’m going to save you!
Poe shot straight up, drenched in sweat. He’s breathing hard, a dry taste in his mouth, and a pain in his chest, just like what he felt in the nightmare. Through his sweat, he’s still shivering. He hadn’t had an episode quite like that before. The whole situation was too surreal. He had felt the breath of the trooper on his face, he felt the shot in his chest. And why was Finn there? Moving around, his sheets stick to his skin. I have to get out. Poe thinks he should move around again to shake off the nightmare. He says encouraging things to himself like Get this together and You’re okay under his breath to calm himself. After a while of pacing around his room, he settles and sits on his bed again. The nightmare still flashes through his mind but not as vivid. It seems to be fading the more he focuses on his fingers.
As Poe clutches the sides of his bed, he whispers, “Finn?” in disbelief. He repeats it a second time but louder. Saying it just keeps raising more questions than answers at this point. Finally, after a few seconds of his name bouncing around in his head, he shakes his head to clear the thought. Poe curls under his sheets again, they don’t stick onto his skin anymore. He stares at BB-8 in its corner and traces its lines with his eyes. Almost as if it could feel his eyes, it wakes and spins around to look at Poe in the eyes --which he thought wasn’t possible. Beeping, BB-8 rolls towards him. It sounds sad because it knew just why Poe was staring. He slings an arm off the side of the bed, shaking his hand, and it glides right under his hand. Petting it, Poe mumbles sweet compliments to his droid. BB-8 has been with him since what felt like the dawn of time but they only met when he joined the Resistance. His mother had always told him that droids never really feel anything other than what they’re programmed to feel but BB-8, his BB-8, was different. It speaks to him with great admiration and… love. And Poe loves BB-8. It asks him what’s wrong and how it can help but there’s nothing that it can really do.
“Ah, BB, there’s not much you can do. It’s alright,” he says. Poe continues to pet his droid, closing his eyes. BB beeps inquisitively and stares up at him when he doesn't say anymore. Deciding on its own, it decides to sing a lullaby that Poe had shown it some time ago. How could he forget? It was his mother’s favorite lullaby to sing to him. Smiling, Poe silently thanks the droid for the song. It isn’t long before Poe is fast asleep in his covers but that doesn’t allow BB-8 to leave. It feels a duty to stay for Poe.
When Poe wakes up, it’s morning. He had slept through the whole night without disturbance. Sitting up he looks around and notices that BB-8 had left him, he understands. Chuckling to himself, he climbs out of bed and dresses up. Another day.
Another day over. Poe sits on his bed. He feels like the day has flown by that he barely remembers what he had done. As he looks around, Poe gets a dash of deja vu like he has done this exact thing before. Whatever is happening, it exhausts him to his core. He hadn’t felt this tired since back in his early training days. Poe looks at the clock; it’s only the early evening but he considers sleeping. That might reenergize him more for the day to come, he thinks. He hasn’t taken off his flight gear yet so he decides that changing would be an effective first step. Slowly, Poe takes off his suit and lets his hands trace his rough skin, analyzing his body, checking for scratches or bruises. He would assume he would have some blemishes because his work calls for it. Today is a special day, Poe can’t feel a single cut, scratch, bruise, anything at all. He huffs a little, smiling at himself. It’s considered an accomplishment to Poe whenever he doesn’t get hurt. Why wouldn’t it be? He’s a Resistance pilot, for god’s sake. Good day! Poe says to himself in a funny voice just like his father had done. That’s one of the things that keep him sane on this base. He loves fighting for such a good cause but it gets draining seeing the destruction that the First Order inflicts on so many planets. Poe eventually clothes himself in his sleepwear and sits on his bed again. BB-8 is absent because it still has duties to do tonight. He’s not exactly sure what but all he knows is that Jessica needed help from it for a bit. He’s fine with it for the most part. He’s a little worried he might not be able to sleep again tonight without it there. Poe glances at the clock and sees that it’s late. Where had the time gone? He decides that he should sleep now and craws into his bed once again. The sheets are cool on his skin but he warms up in an instant. He still shivers under the blankets. Something has got to him, he knows but he tries to just ignore it. Go to sleep, now, Poe. He closes his eyes and easily drifts off.
The battle of Takodana was a success for Poe. He felt more alive up in the sky than he ever did. There was a certain energy, not just from him but from everyone fighting. Working together with such swiftness and power. That battle was different for him. He was so proud. Happy. He remembers flying up there. He had just shot down nine TIEs. Nine! It was amazing. Yeah! Woo! Poe yells through his helmet. He hears some of his squadron yelling through the coms about his hits. Caught up in all the excitement, when he finally comes back to reality, he’s staring dead straight into the front of another TIE fighter. This time he doesn’t shoot it down. It shot him down. One second, he’s jittering with joy, the next he’s tumbling towards the ground at a faster speed than he thought he could ever go. Before he can even react to the approaching land, he hits it with full force and everything goes black.
Poe’s sight is the first to return. He’s looking up into the clear sky polluted with streaks of clouds. He shouldn’t be able to see this. The top of Black One had been completely ripped off, he realizes a second later. Flakes from fire land on his face, he can see it but he can’t feel it. He blinks rapidly, everything is still a little bit blurry. Quickly recovering, he can see clearly but he can’t move to see anything else other than the sky above and the racing ships passing by. Poe couldn’t believe what had just happened. Did he really get shot down by a TIE? How was he not looking? How was he not paying attention? It was not like him to get carried away with his feelings especially in the air. Sure, he loves seeking out risky situations but he sure doesn’t love it when he fails. Aside from the intense beating in his chest, it fills with an odd heaviness. Poe had believed that it was almost impossible for him to be shot down but here he is. Half-unconscious in the wreck of his special ship with no one to help and the battle still raging on around him, he lies there, incapacitated. He gathers enough strength to lift his arm and rub his eyes a little bit but is quickly drained by the simple action. Soon after, his hearing returns but not without a loud ringing in his ears first. He can’t hear anything until it clears. Gradually the screams of pirates, Resistance fighters, the TIE fighters all muddle together in Poe’s ears. The screeches of blasters, the impacts of the shots, sizzling in rock, dirt, skin. Poe! Poe! Can you hear me? This isn’t how it happened, Poe thinks. This wasn’t what had happened at the battle of Takodana. He knows because he’d already lived through it. The Resistance only had a few casualties and less injured. He knew because he had seen it himself while he was alive and untouched. He knows this was not how it went. As the seconds flash by, he grows more and more worried that maybe he hadn’t. No, please… For kriff’s sake. Someone save me. Like someone had actually heard his plea, a hand grabs Poe’s shoulder. Struggling to look to his left, he can only see the top of their head. A man leans into his view over the side of the ship. He keeps yelling Poe’s name over and over until he can’t even stand the sound of it. Poe is squinting from the bright light and from all the loud sounds, especially the man’s screaming. Poe! Say something! The man climbs on top of him, almost straddling his body, shaking him lightly. Poe opens his eyes as much as he can to signal to the man that he’s alive and he’s surprised to see who it is. It’s the stormtrooper who had saved him a few days earlier. Finn. His name is Finn. Poe’s chest deflates, he can breathe now. He’s safe and he knows it. He tries to smile as best he can to let Finn know he’s happy to see him but it’s barely a twitch. Finn can sense it though, he knows. He smiles and chuckles a little. You’re alive, he says, You’re alive, for a second time but it’s more meant for him than it is for Poe. You’re going to be okay. I’ve got you. He squeezes Poe’s shoulders.
Throwing himself up in his bed, Poe gasps. This has got to be a joke. Someone or something is playing a sick trick. Sweat runs down his back and makes his clothes stick to him. He has to get out of the room. Poe stumbles out of bed, knees weak, and heads for the door. BB-8 had returned to its charging station already, sound asleep by the looks of it. He doesn’t bother waking it up. The door opens smoothly and quietly, the sound of the pressure releasing doesn’t seem to bother anything around. Poe figures that barely anyone would be walking around at this time of night so he’s not worried about being caught by a roaming officer in his nightclothes. Wandering around, Poe still stumbles over his feet as he looks through the dimmed windows and doors he passes. After finally regaining his balance, he sees a glow coming from a conference room. Oh, General Organa. He heads for the room as soon as he realizes. Something is pulling him there, whether it be just the thought of sitting with Leia or getting answers for these nightmares, he went. Poe stood in the doorway for a second to see Leia sitting there, her back to him, staring at a map that stretched across the room. She looks on intently as if looking at it harder would suddenly fix her problem. Poe tries to approach with silent steps. He thought he did but before he can step into her gaze she says his name. Stopping, he whispers a few apologies then quickly tries to leave but she insists that he stays.
“What is keeping you up this late, Poe?” She says, not looking at him.
“Oh, well...” He wants to talk about his dreams and how they make him feel but stops himself. Would it be appropriate? To share such personal information with the general? He doesn’t know, “Bad dream.” He decides to go with that. Leia looks at him now, brows furrowed. She invites him to share more with just that look. Fiddling with his fingers and avoiding eye contact now, Poe says, “Well, I mean, I’ve had them since I started. I knew that they would be a side effect but… these ones recently are different.” His eyes flick up to see her reaction and when she doesn’t say anything, he continues, “Usually they’re just small and so detached but now they’re so real. I could feel his hands on my shoulders,” Poe’s murmur turns into a frantic talk. “My dream was the battle on Takodana but it was so different. I had actually crashed and was dying but then Finn… he came and, well, sort of saved me. He grabbed me and when I woke, I could feel him. I could still smell the smoke and feel the ringing in my ears.” His hands tremble in his lap. “And- and they all seem to have Finn in them now. I don’t know why- stars!- I barely know him but I dream about him? That’s just insane.” After Poe and Finn met back up on D’Qar, they became really close. It was mostly just Finn following Poe around in amazement at his whole Resistance show and Poe loving the attention. But he also loved getting to know Finn. He couldn’t stop comparing the First Order’s Starkiller and the Resistance base. It’s actually pretty dirty here, Poe. When I was on janitor duty, they had hundreds of cleaning chemicals. It looks like you guys only have regular soap! Finn would always add little facts about himself unconsciously, It went on for months, whenever Finn had the time to trail Poe, he would. But ever since Finn was injured after his fight with Kylo Ren, they’ve both been distant. Finn’s not trailing anymore and Poe makes no effort to show him around. Poe misses it.
“I think you know him a little more than you like to think,” Leia says. Poe stays silent, though. He shouldn’t argue with her because they both know she’s right. It’s like she can read his mind. That’s not implausible, he thinks.
After a long pause, Leia continues, “Your nightmares might be trying to tell you something, Poe. These don’t sound like typical nightmares.” She looks at him with soft eyes. Without her having to say it, Poe knows that she has been through this before. Probably with Luke. Maybe Finn’s and my bond is strong like their sibling bond. Leia nods as she looks away, “I would have them all the time with Han… He always seemed to be in trouble, emotional or physical, whenever I had them.”
Poe looks at Leia again. She returns to the map in front of her, though she’s not exactly trying to learn anything from it. He mirrors her unknowingly. They sit there in silence. It’s not an odd silence, Poe and Leia never seem to have those moments. Leia is the first to speak, saying that she might have something that will help with the nightmares at the least.
“It might help with the nightmares but not that gut feeling if you understand me.” Leia looks at him with earnest eyes. She’s actually worried about him. Standing up, she takes something out of her dress pocket and hands it to Poe. It’s a small bracelet of an animal he’s never seen before. It’s beautiful. The animal was carved out of rich wood. It looks like a dugar dugar from the looks of it. Tall lanky legs, short tail, fathier-like face but longer and mesmerizing eyes. The animal has a mesmerizing look on its face. Poe looks back up at Leia to see her fiddling with her hands. He hasn’t seen her like that before. Poe has never seen her show signs of hesitance or anxiety this outwardly. “Let’s get back to bed, shall we,” says Leia and she gestures towards the door. With hesitation, Poe stands up, juggling the bracelet in his hand, and heads out first. Poe slows his pace for her; shoulder to shoulder, they walk together in silence for a few minutes. This is odd for Poe. He’s never had a moment like this with Leia before. She’s always calm, even in the worst of times, but this time he can feel in his breath. The only other time he had felt this tranquilness was when he was with his mother when she sang him lullabies. When they arrive at Poe’s door, Leia takes his hand and holds it tightly. He’s shocked.
“You’re strong, son. I believe you can work this out and, most of all, I believe in you,” Leia says.
“Thank you, Mo- Gen-” Leia gives him a “you know” look, “Leia. Thank you. For believing in me,” Poe says. He gives her hand a small squeeze and she pats him on the elbow. Before Poe knows it, he’s standing in the middle of his room again, alone and confused.
I should get some sleep. He shakes his head and rubs his forehead. For a second he forgets that BB-8 is in the room and almost wakes it up. Tiptoeing the rest of the way to his bed, he climbs into his sheets once again. He grips the bracelet in his hand. What did Leia mean when she started talking about Han? Why would she mention it? It’s not like him and Finn have any connection like Leia and Han do. Do they? Does Leia sense something that he can’t? Why Finn? In his dreams, with Leia, how is that possible? Does he li-
Another day. As he gets ready to go out, Poe feels an unresolved question bouncing around in his mind. Too fuzzy to know exactly what it is but too clear to be forgotten. He only shrugs it off and heads out for the day, smiling for the first time in a long one.
Stepping inside his room and dropping his helmet on the floor, Poe sighs. The days just keep buzzing by so quickly. He doesn’t know where they go. It’s been a long time since he’d gone out and flew his ship and today felt like the perfect day for an afternoon flight. He’s done with it now and feels better than ever. Smiling to himself for the first time in some time, he takes his clothes off. He notices how soft his skin had gotten. When he’s hopping from planet to planet, his skin gets so rough, almost gritty. At first, he was bothered because his body was one of the only things he had total control over but as time went on, he got used to it. Now that it’s finally healthy again, he smiles even more. For a second, he just stands there tracing his arms with his own hands, slowly and intimately. He sighs a deep sigh and starts to put on his nightclothes. This night is different, he can sense it. Although there’s a slight pit in his stomach, he ignores it. He doesn’t want anything to spoil such a rare night. Before settling into bed, Poe grabs the bracelet Leia had gifted him and wraps it around his wrist. For good luck, though I probably won’t need it. His sheets were as warm as…
Jakku. It’s warm. No, not warm. Hot. Way too hot for his liking but Lor San Tekka is here so here he is. The exchange between them isn’t long at all before the First Order finally arrives. You must go, says San Tekka, Go. Running as fast as he can with BB-8 at his side, he hurls for his starfighter only to see it be blown into pieces, rendered unusable, by the stormtroopers. Damn it, damn it! There has to be a way out of this. Poe swivels around and around, looking for places to run but each crook and cranny is filled with troopers. He crouches down to BB and gives it the last piece of the map. Poe trusts that it won’t be caught. He just knows. It isn’t long before he’s captured by the troopers and is facing Kylo Ren. Trying to come off as unbothered and confident, Poe makes a remark which doesn’t phase Kylo at all. He can see through Poe’s facade in an instant. This hasn’t been the first time he’s been dragged around by stormtroopers and he has a feeling that this won’t be the last time. But it is the first time he’s seen inside their ship. Alright, alright! Poe says through clenched teeth, struggling with the troopers dragging him. He stops once he gets a glimpse at the floor. The thing is huge and terrifyingly sleek. Thousands of troopers run around the main floor, left and right. Several ships are docking all at once then stormtroopers spill out of the things like it’s a game. It’s nothing like he’s ever seen before. And he’s seen a lot. Huh, it’s a bit darker than I expected... He doesn't have much time to gawk at the sight because soon he’s pushed into a small hall that branches off to more identical halls. He can't understand how the stormtroopers know their way around. Twisting and turning until Poe’s sure that they’re all lost, they near a hexagonal door that opens on the sight of them. It’s a fairly small room with a single slab in the middle. He knew what was coming. Soon enough, he’s being strapped to the slab by his hands and feet, the metal restraints give no mercy. At least they’re not too tight but they’re not too loose either. You know you guys don’t have to do this, right? What’s gonna happen if you… Y’know, “lose me?” No one will be the wiser, Poe says, feigning a chuckle. The two troopers stare at him blankly, exchange a glance, then one starts to approach him. A flutter of hope trills in his chest. Did that actually work? If it was that easy, how come he hadn’t done it before? The trooper lifts it’s blaster before Poe can even realize what’s going on and knocks him cold.
He wakes up dizzy. Eyes fluttering and blurry, the light stings his eyes. Where is he? Opening his eyes wider, he can see a figure in front of him. He can’t recognize it yet but his heartbeat quickens. Whatever it is, it’s dangerous; he knows. He winces and blinks a few more times before his sight clears up. Oh god, why didn’t I see this coming, he thought. There he is, the man of the hour, actually, of the First Order, Kylo Ren. Poe can’t see his face but he knows that there’s a frown on it. They knew each other briefly when they were younger but he soon left for his Jedi training before they could actually develop a relationship. Kylo stares at him with intent and Poe knows what it is. He’s not going to tell him, though. Not in a million years. Poe says, I know who you are. Stop being a coward and show me your face, Ben. Apparently, it’s a very bad idea to call him a coward… or Ben. In under a second, he’s ripping off his mask and grabbing Poe’s throat. Not choking but definitely threatening to. You don’t know a thing about me, Dameron, he says and then pushes him back, letting go. Kylo goes on to talk about how he knows that Poe has a droid that has the last piece of the map with it and that he needs that piece. You say that like I’m just gonna spit it out. Kylo threatens him again with a Force choke this time. He’s not allowed to do that, Poe thinks, that has to be against the rules. It isn’t. The back and forth goes on for some time; Kylo making threats and Poe adding snarky remarks. You’re just damaged goods with daddy issu- Poe starts to say but stops due to an insurmountable amount of pain in his head. Barely being able to open his eyes, he gets just enough strength to see that Kylo is doing something to him. Holding out his hand towards Poe and gradually starts to turn it. We’ll see what you have then, Dameron. As the pain continues, memories flash through his head without Poe’s permission. Leia assigning him the Jakku mission, assembling the Black Squadron, seeing BB-8 for the first time, joining the Resistance, meeting his friends, his birth home, his father, his mother dying, flying with his mother- Oh… I see. The great Poe Dameron is still sad about this mother. What is he doing? How is he doing that? Poe pushes words out of his mouth, telling him to stop. The pain is immense and only grows the more Kylo peers into his mind. Stop! I said STOP! You can’t do that! Get out of my head, you metalhead! He sees the moment he and his dad had gotten the letter from Leia. It was a condolence letter for her death, his mother’s death. He sees his dad crying at the table, letter crumpled in his hand. Poe starts to scream; he can’t take the pain anymore. It’s worse than any physical pain. But it doesn’t stop. His screams getting louder, more agonized. His throat starts to hurt, almost tingling. Then there’s a banging on the door. Again. Then again. Until, finally, it breaks open from a fried lock. Poe’s pain immediately ceases when he sees, through weak eyes, Kylo dropping his hand and looking at the door. Instantly, he’s shot with a blaster before he even has a chance to pull out his lightsaber. Sadly, the shot was only in the arm, but it definitely knocked him out. Heh, weak after all, Poe thinks. He can’t see the person but he thanks God for them, whoever they are. They just saved his life. Breathing heavily, they approach him with quick feet. It’s a stormtrooper. Oh god, please no. Poe wriggles with his remaining strength like it will do something to the restraints. The trooper waves their hands to sign him to stop but Poe continues. He doesn’t know their motives and, frankly, he doesn’t want to know. The stormtrooper takes off their helmet and stares at him with worried eyes. I’m here to get you out. Are you okay? Poe blinks a few times. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Opening his mouth then closing it, then opening it, Poe doesn’t know what to say. The trooper decides that it’s unimportant for now and goes to unlock the restraints. Poe basically falls out of the machine but is caught before he can hit the ground. Holding Poe awkwardly, the trooper looks him in the eyes, saying nothing. Poe recognizes him but his eyes slowly start to close. No, no, no. The trooper says as he pats Poe’s face, trying to wake him.
“Wake up, Poe.”
Poe’s eyes shoot open, gasping for air. All he can see is Finn in his face. He immediately pushes back and tries to cover himself with his blanket, “Wh- What are you doing?” Poe huffs. Finn lets go.
“You were screaming… I-I tried to wake you but you kept screaming and thrashing so I sort of held you so you’d stop and then when you calmed down, I wanted to wake you from the nightmare,” Finn says. He sits on the floor next to Poe’s bed. He looks embarrassed; Poe knows that he was only trying to help but, god, was it scary.
Still dazed from everything, Poe takes a moment to respond. “How- How did you know? How could you hear me? Aren’t you on the other side of the base?”
Finn looks down, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” He looks back at Poe to see his reaction.
Poe searches Finn’s face. What did that mean? After a moment, Poe says, “Believe me, I’ve heard weirder. Hit me.” It’s true. After all these nights of nightmares and visions, he wouldn’t be surprised with anything.
“I was just sleeping when I just heard you. You were saying rude things to someone, I don’t know who or why but I could hear that under them, you were so scared. Then you started to scream awful things. I realized that it wasn’t a dream because when I opened my eyes, I could still hear you. I ran here as fast as I could. I just sensed something was off and I thought that you were in danger. That’s when I came in to find you just screaming…” Finn didn’t make eye contact with Poe the entire time he spoke. But Poe kept his eyes on him. Finn is a terrible liar; there’s something else he’s not saying.
You’re telling me that Finn heard exactly what I was saying in his not-dream? What did he hear? Oh god, did he see what was in my memories? No… that’s virtually impossible. Come on. But he could still hear me... How is that possible? Poe thinks.
“I don’t know, Poe…” Finn shakes his head, still looking at his hands in his lap.
“You heard that too?!” Poe pushes back into the wall more. Now, it’s starting to freak him out. It just isn’t possible. It can’t be because if it is real then that means… No. He can’t have that.
“Yeah, didn’t you say it out loud?” Finn looks back up at him. Poe shakes his head, eyes wide. “Oh well…”
Both are speechless at this point. The moments of silence were unbearable to both of them. Stirring a bit where he sits, Poe focuses on the telepathy concern even though he doesn’t want to at the moment. What is so special about them? Why them? Why Finn? Why him? He swears that it’s nothing like what Leia said. Of course, he cares about Finn but certainly not like how Leia loves Han. They’ve only just met. Dumbass, it’s been years. Oh, that’s right, actually. It has been years. Even then, it didn’t matter. He knows what love feels like and he doesn’t feel it with Finn. At least, he’s pretty sure; after all, how could he know every single emotion he’s had about Finn in the last how many years he’s known him. You’d know, Poe.
Poe is sucked out of his thought bubble when Finn changes his sitting position, his legs now folded under him. Hesitating, Poe knows what he’s going to say but he doesn’t want to make it sound weird. It’s not like he likes the thought of Finn sleeping only a few feet away from him but he figures that both of them need just someone. He’s surprised at how long Finn’s willing to stay. Does he really want to stay? From Poe’s screaming nightmares to Finn’s hesitation to leave, he decides at last.
“Do you want to stay here for tonight? That bed is empty,” says Poe. He points at the bed across from his, “Always has been so you don’t have to worry about sheets.” Smiling slightly, Poe watches Finn examine the bed like it needs to be. “It’s safe, Finn.”
Finn looks at him and chuckles a little, “Sorry, I’m just not used to that.” He gets in and sits there; he knows Poe is going to say something.
“What do you mean?” Poe asks the desired question.
“Well, I don’t know, no one has ever invited me to a sleepover before,” says Finn. His face is dead serious but he can’t hold it for long. He bursts out in soft laughter; it’s cheery and soft but you can tell he really enjoyed it because of how big his smile gets and how his eyes crinkle at the sides. Poe gives a pleased but tired chuckle. Finn says, “I’m sorry, Rose just taught me that word a few days ago and I’ve been dying to use it. I didn’t know when but I knew someday I would.” He shrugs off more laughter. As Poe watches, there’s a flutter in his stomach. It isn’t unpleasant but it’s definitely not something normal for him although it feels oddly familiar.
A few seconds of comfortable silence passes between them and then Poe says, “Well, I’m gonna try to go back to sleep considering that it’s, what, maybe really early morning?”
“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea,” Finn says. They lock eyes for a second, both men have a small smile lingering on their faces.
A couple of afternoons later, Poe returns to his quarters to find a considerable amount of Finn’s stuff on the other bed. He doesn’t mind at all. Frankly, it’s nice to have the company. Even though it’s only been a few nights, Poe can feel his mood change about Finn. He has always liked him, it’s only a shift to a different kind of positive feeling. He feels his chest fill with warmth when he sees the pile of random paraphernalia on Finn’s bed. Clothes, trinkets, bits and bolts from droids, anything Finn could get his hands on. Setting his stuff down on his bed, Poe stays standing for a minute. He feels like there’s something he should do but can’t put a finger on it. I think you know him a little more than you like to think, Leia’s voice bounces around in his head. Oh right, he planned on talking to Leia again.
At this time of day, Poe isn’t exactly sure where she would be. Her schedule is flimsy nowadays; she has a lot of free time and doesn’t like to tell people where she’ll be. He checks the meeting room, although he would have known if there is a meeting. As he wanders around a bit, he asks anyone he passes. No one seems to know. It’s almost like she’s disappeared completely. Poe stops in the middle of the flight deck and puts his hands over his ears. Think, Poe, think. If I were Leia, where would I go in my free time?
Of course. He realizes and immediately feels dumb. Not minding the walk across the base and the time to think, Poe heads there slowly. Watching people pass by casually or in a rush. Droids beep and boop past him, some saying hello, others simply moving along. He had never noticed the constant hum of the base until now; it’s calming. Even though he should be calm right now, his heart is going maniac as if it could burst through all those emotional bandages and fly off into space.
Before he knows it, Poe is at the library, stopped in front of the door as if it would open for him. The library is one, if not the only, room that doesn’t have automatic doors most likely to keep the outside chaos out and then silence in. Poe has only ever been in the library once or twice, both times were because he was forced to learn something for once by Leia; Poe doesn’t even remember what he learned here but it was something, he’s sure. Rearing the left corner, he finds Leia immediately. She’s sitting in one of the small chairs facing the entrance, skimming through a lengthy book. She takes a second to finish the section she’s reading then looks up to meet Poe’s eyes. Leia knew he would come eventually and Poe knew just by her look; she looks like she was expecting him. Patting the seat next to her, Leia invites him to sit and talk. Poe has major deja vu in that second but it doesn’t surprise him; every other time he’s sat with Leia, it’s happened. Poe sits, ready to talk but he can’t utter a single word. He can’t formulate any thoughts even though he knows exactly what he wants to ask. He stares at the floor as he thinks, leg bouncing wildly. Why can I hear Finn’s thoughts? Why can he hear me? Why Finn? Who lets this happen? There are so many questions and seemingly not enough time.
“Finn… and I can,” says Poe, but he stops for a second. He doesn’t know how to phrase the situation without making it weird, “Connected? I can hear him sometimes in my head, it’s like I can hear his thoughts and things he says sometimes and he can hear my thoughts and things that I say as well. I don’t know what it is but we just found out a few nights ago and it’s unsettling to me, Leia… I don’t know what to do.” He looks at her for an answer he knows she wouldn’t exactly know.
“Poe, when my brother was in danger, the first time he faced our father, I could just feel, just know, that something was wrong. And another time on the forest moon of Endor, I could feel something was wrong too. Do you see where I’m going?” Leia raises her eyebrows as if Poe understands. He doesn’t. At all. He opens his mouth to talk but struggles, not knowing whether to agree and act like he knows or to admit that he’s a little dumb for not knowing. Understanding that he doesn’t, Leia continues, “Rey also has experienced this happening. She hasn’t specified who but I hope you get the gist now, Poe? You are sensitive to the Force and apparently so is Finn.” She smiles at his blank face. Excuse me? There has to be a mistake. She can’t be right… But Poe knows that’s not true, Leia is correct basically a hundred percent of the time. After what seems like a few seconds, Leia interrupts Poe’s thoughts and tells him that he should talk to Finn about their situation and figure it out together. If they absolutely need help they can go to her or Rey. He nods absently; he heard her but needs some time to comprehend everything she told him.
Poe is not fond of the Force. Ever since his encounter with Kylo Ren and his torture with the Force, he wants nothing to do with it. Even after all that his mother had taught him about it. Even after having a Force tree right in his front yard. He still hates the Force. How can he admire someone who can bend the very beings around them to their will? He honestly is scared shitless.
I’m Force-sensitive? Why hasn’t anything happened until now? And still, why Finn? Out of all the people. The Force chose Finn to be Poe’s other part? As Leia puts her hand on his shoulder, he snaps back to reality. Immediately getting up, he shakes it all off. He thanks her and heads out without looking back.
Poe rushes through the base, heading to his quarters. He’s not exactly sure how to connect with Finn but he tells him out loud to meet him at his quarters immediately. No response. Stopping where he is, he mumbles to himself, “How the fuck am I supposed to know how to talk to him?” Tensing up his whole body, Poe attempts to reach out, trying to feel Finn’s presence. He finally finds him after a few seconds and then repeats it aloud. Not even a second after, Finn responds with an okay. How could he do it so fast? How’d he know how to do it? Poe shakes his head again. It doesn’t matter at the moment. He doesn’t know exactly why he’s so intent on talking to Finn right then and now but he still rushes to his quarters. Running through the flight deck then the quarter halls then, finally, he’s in his room, panting and sitting on his bed.
As he sits on his bed, Poe’s head is blank. He feels as if his head is spinning with ideas, questions, everything that Leia has said but nothing clear enough can cross through his head. He’s staring at a single point on the floor, eyes fuzzy. The door hisses and opens for Finn. Poe starts to talk to him right when he enters, eyes still locked on that point. As Poe moves his head to look at Finn standing in front of the door, his eyes lock with Finn’s as he faces him. He tells him that they need to talk about their connection and discuss how they want to deal with it from now on. Poe hates how formal he’s being with Finn but it’s the only way he feels he can get through it without letting something slip. And he doesn’t even know what could slip, he just knows something might.
“It’s only some time before something weird or unexpected happens because of this and I’d rather spare both of us from that embarrassment and make some rules or an agreement,” Poe explains. Finn sat on the opposite bed as Poe’s talking, unknowingly mirroring his hunched over position.
He nods his head in agreement and says that it’s understandable, “Yeah, I’m glad you brought it up because I didn’t think of that.”
Poe starts off discussing if they’re both comfortable with the connection in the first place and if they want to use it at all. They both agree that they’re okay with it and that it can be useful at points when they’re on missions, places where they can’t talk, or when they need to share important information privately or from far distances. Both assume that it can be useful from anywhere and anytime. While talking, Poe starts to feel better and better. He realizes that he hasn’t talked to Finn today until now. Maybe the stress of figuring their connection out and realizing that they’re both Force-sensitive was taking a toll on him during the day and now that they’re finally figuring it out, all the weight is being lifted off his shoulders. They talk some more about less important things like silly jokes they can make and how it will be easier to gossip about people now that they don’t have to see each other in person to talk.
“Wait, wait, can we try to figure out how to do it though? I don’t want you to hear everything I say though…” Finn furrows his brow and tips his head. Poe stumbles to cover, “B- Because I-I figure you wouldn’t necessarily like that,” Poe says. Finn agrees, though Poe’s pretty sure Finn’s already familiar with connecting with Poe.
Again, Poe tries to reach out to Finn. It’s harder though, his heart is beating a parsec a minute and he’s unable to focus. Finn tells him to take a deep breath and to close his eyes, and so Poe does. Letting all the distractions drain from his senses, he only focuses on Finn’s essence. It’s calming and… almost a perfect feeling to him.
A warmth fills his whole body and he thinks, Well, that’s nice.
Finn chuckles. Still in his head, Poe asks if Finn heard what he said to which he replies, Yes.
Poe can only hear Finn’s voice in his head. Not going to lie, Finn, this is really cool now. Finn chuckles and agrees. Even though Poe’s eyes are closed, he can just see that certain smile that lights up Finn’s face when he’s heard a funny joke. He knows that Finn has different smiles for different things, he has a joke smile, a happy smile, a grateful smile, and a stressed smile. Poe can feel himself grin as he just thinks about it.
What do you mean? Finn says.
Oh, I don’t know? What did I say? Poe honestly doesn’t know because he didn’t think he was even saying anything in his head, only picturing things.
You said, “That’s my favorite.” What does that mean? Finn tells him.
Oh, nothing, I was just thinking of something… A moment of silence follows and Poe realizes he needs to save himself again, But! I don’t wanna make that mistake again so teach me how to unlink? Poe opens his eyes but can still hear Finn. He instructs Poe to reverse everything he’d done to link together. Open his eyes and release the essence gently. Well, Poe has already finished one of those things so he lets go. Poe can’t quite explain how it feels just that he’s letting go of Finn. Poe is staring at him when Finn opens his eyes and it takes him by surprise.
Finn’s eyes widen and then he gets a cheeky grin, “Oh, am I just that talented? That you’re in awe of it?” Poe waves his hand to signal he’s paying no attention to Finn but fails to not blush.
Trying to divert Finn’s attention from his face, Poe asks, “How do you know how to do this so quickly?”
Finn shrugs and looks at his shuffling feet, “I don’t exactly know? I just sort of did it when you reached out to me, the first time tonight and when I realized that it worked, I showed you.” He looks back up into Poe’s eyes. He’s full of admiration at that moment. Finn acts like it isn’t a feat that he has successfully learned how to talk through the Force in only under two minutes; he acts like it’s nothing that he’s Force-sensitive. Poe’s still trying to grapple with the fact and Finn has already accepted it. It amazes him. He notices that he must have been staring a little bit too long once he sees Finn’s expression. Poe apologizes and blames it on his tiredness even though he’s far from tired.
Going with the white lie, “I think I’m just going to go to sleep. You’re welcome to stay anytime, Finn,” Poe says with fondness in his voice. Finn replies with a soft smile as to say thank you. Poe is quickly under his sheets and drifting away.
After the agreements, everything goes smoothly. Many times on missions do they use their connection and it has saved them a couple of times as well. In meetings, they would make jokes about dire situations or just how people are reacting to it. A couple of times they couldn’t contain their laughter and snorted in the middle of a thinking period. The looks were not kind, especially from Leia, but it was probably the most fun they’ve had in meetings. Of course, they were talking about catastrophic and terrible events but after a while, it starts to wear down on you. They need jokes. It wasn’t long before they had made numerous inside jokes that never failed to crack both of them up. Many times, either one would have bad days, like anyone. Their guard would be so down that the other could feel their stress, sadness, or fear. When this happened, it wouldn't be longer than thirty minutes before they were together, talking about it. More and more was Poe familiar with Finn. He knew almost all of his perks and interests and learned more about what he did with the First Order. It was devastating to hear but both men are glad that he’s out of it now. It’s one of the only things that keep both of them going.
A few weeks pass and people gradually start to notice something between them and it’s quite noticeable by how they’re joined at the hip with everything they do. Leia is the first to notice which isn’t a surprise. Only six days pass and she approaches Poe with questions. He cracks quickly under the pressure and tells her everything. As the days keep coming, more people ask Poe and Finn questions. Finn is approached by Rey and she was very interested in their connection rather than their actual relationship. Karé, Snap, then Jess, go to Poe with congratulations and just smiles. They all joked about how Finn is basically Poe’s boyfriend. He just laughed along at the jokes but as they grew more frequent Poe tried to deny everything his friends suggested but the more they did, the more he started to question what their relationship actually was. They were friends, Poe thought, just really good friends. It’s expected since they share such an intimate connection. As he sits, eating the cafeteria, he recounts all the instances with his friends. Is that why I get that feeling in my stomach? Is it because of the Force or our friendship or something else? Obviously, people think that we have something going on… Poe stops, Do I love Finn? That’s a bit too extreme. Of course, Poe’s very fond of him but that doesn't mean anything romantic is happening. The two things that set him off are that his friends are just assuming they’re together and more importantly, the frequent sensation that he gets whenever he hears, sees, or thinks of Finn. It was subtle at first, a small pit in his stomach that he could barely feel but he’s now drenched in the feeling whenever Finn is brought up. This can’t be happening. I can't really be thinking about this, right? Poe drops his fork and it clatters on his tray. At that moment, he realizes everything is true. He hasn’t felt the feeling in so long that he forgot what it felt like. It is love. It’s a lot of love too. Poe had only ever felt this strongly once. That’s probably why he didn’t recognize it. It’s like a rock had hit him after meeting Finn and now that it’s lifted, he can finally breathe again. He can finally take a deep breath now. Accepting the fact is gratifying as ever. He lives in the moment for only a few seconds until he thinks about what he’s going to do with his newfound information. Should he actually tell Finn? If so, when and how? If not, how will he deal with it? It would be pretty devastating to stay with a man but couldn’t tell that you love him. Poe doesn’t want to live like that but he might have to. He can’t tell Finn because if he told him, he believes that it would ruin their whole friendship. Poe would have almost no one anymore. Obviously, he has Karé and Snap, and Jess, but he wouldn’t have Finn. He couldn’t deal with that even if he tried.
Trembling a little, Poe looks around because he can feel eyes on him. There are people staring at him now, eyes flicking from his face to his fallen fork. Coughing a light cough, Poe picks his fork back up and continues his meal.
The next day, Poe decides that Black One needs some fixing. Ever since the last big battle, she hasn’t been working like she used to. She’s still got the same speed and spunk but she’s looking more like the Millennium Falcon than his beloved ship. It’s a hot day on D’Qar, many people are bustling around left and right to their starfighter and ships like always. He thinks it’s a great day to work on her because this week has been a slow one, not a lot of action, so he might as well work on her as quickly as possible for when the action picks up. He has a feeling it’ll start up again. Leaving his quarters side by side with Finn and BB-8 trailing along, they both head to the flight deck. Finn is going to read nearby as he waits for Poe. He says that he also needs to get some fresh air with him, even though it’s almost required to go outside at least for a few minutes to get from one place to anywhere else in the base. They joke along the way, talking about the latest news which eventually turns into gossip. Poe didn’t know how into gossip Finn was but apparently he lives for it. Gossip was the only thing that entertained Finn when he was in the First Order; although there wasn’t a lot, when there was something to talk about, it was the most exciting thing there. Finn somehow manages to maintain that eagerness. And apparently the nosiness too.
Poe gets started on fixing Black One in the early morning when it’s cooler. As time on, the more Poe is steadily being drenched in sweat. Layer by layer, he takes off his outfit. No one minds because it’s customary for pilots or engineers to strip down to their last shirt while working. Jess does it all the time, even when she doesn’t necessarily have to. Poe shakes his head and laughs at the thought. In the afternoon, Finn is almost halfway done with his book. He’s been reading nonstop, save for the frequent glancing at Poe just to see his progress on his starfighter. Finn reads his book with ease up until his mind starts to wander once his stomach growls. Unconsciously looking up as he thinks, Finn absently stares at Poe. He’s deciding on whether he should interrupt Poe or wait until he takes a small break to ask him if he wants lunch or at least some kind of food. He decides that he’ll wait for a moment, just to enjoy the sky, the air, and, frankly, the view. His eyes finally focus on what he’s been staring at and he thinks it’s a sight to see. Poe is standing on his tip-toes screwing in a piece onto the starfighter’s wing. He unzips his uniform down to his waist and ties the sleeves together, his white undershirt being the only thing left on his torso. Finn notices Poe’s muscles are very defined in that shirt. Finn has a moment. He’s not exactly sure what it is but he goes into a subtle shock. His eyes freeze and so does the whole galaxy. Feeling a tingling in his fingers and butterflies in his stomach, a small “wow… handsome” slips from his mouth. Finn blinks and immediately he’s back to reality; everything starts to move again. Poe finishes his screwing and returns to his natural stance. He stares at the tool in his hand for a moment, shakes his head, then goes to sit on a nearby box. Poe runs his eyes over his ship. Finn decides that now is the best time to ask for food.
Not even a few days later, Poe and Finn are in a meeting, talking strategy with the other commanders. Poe sits off to the side with a perfect shot of Finn at the table. He’s not really involved at this point, Finn is lecturing the others about the rules of the First Order and a few hidden spots that they could utilize while infiltrating. He’s terrific at it. Talking to people and making them understand what he means. Everyone can get him in a second. He should be a commander himself but for some reason, Leia hasn’t said anything yet. But it will come soon enough Poe thinks. He stares at him from across the room, admiring from afar. Starting to fidget with his hands and shake his leg, Poe daydreams about Finn. Imagining scenarios in his head, like if he told Finn right after the meeting. How would that go? Or what if instead of telling him straightforward, he hinted at it subtly, or the opposite, he just kissed him straight out? Poe shudders at the thought, Why in kriff would I think of that? A ton of questions float around in his head all the while he’s still focused on Finn’s every move. Finn points to a paper on the table then to the map projecting in the air. For a former trooper, he is way smarter than I expected. No… that’s rude. But true. Look at him, man… All beautiful like that… Poe feels a knot in his chest. Toying with his necklace now, he keeps thinking, admiring and complimenting Finn. They’re short and sweet. It fills Poe with pleasant sorrow. He knows that he could never say anything that would allow Finn to know but just looking at him fills him with euphoria. Poe repeats the motion of putting the ring on his necklace on and off his finger. It was his mother’s wedding ring. Butterflies tremble in his stomach then an “I love you” slips through his lips in a whisper. Realizing what he just said and to whom he said it to, Poe gets rigid. He looks up at Finn just in time to see that he stops talking. Smirking at the table, he shakes his head as if to clear his thoughts, then continues talking. Poe looks back down at his hands in his lap, eyes wide. What? What was that? What did he just do? Did he hear me? He only glances at Finn for a second but when he does, Finn has his eyes on him. He definitely heard. Deciding that all of it is enough, Poe springs from his seat which makes a screeching sound as it moves. Everyone turns to him, eyes searching him up and down. Muttering an apology and waving his hand dismissively, Poe races out the door. Once he’s finally out, he stops right in front of the door to catch his breath. In and out, in and out. The breath goes in and out… in and out. Let me just sleep. Even though it’s still pretty early, he determines it’s the best thing to do. Still, as he lies in his bed, his heart stills pounds in his chest like it’s trying to escape. This is supposed to be his safe space. It takes forty-six minutes for Poe to calm down and finally fall asleep.
Jerking awake, Poe gasps. It’s as if his chest was trying to shrink into himself. Then all of yesterday’s embarrassment floods over him. The disgusting filth still soaks him and the sour taste in his mouth lingers. He knows he really needs to do something about this feeling. Once he gets out of his bed and stands, he learns that the grime he feels is not a mental illusion but is sweat. Poe changes his clothes and sets out to find some solution. Poe understands that at this point, Leia is probably the answer to all of his problems. He says it like she never is.
The sun has barely risen over the horizon as Poe crosses the flight deck. Not many people are out yet considering it is still pretty early for work. Most are either still sleeping, eating breakfast in the canteen, or working inside. The air is cool and crisp against his skin which helps lighten his mood and allows him to be quicker. As he gets to the library, he realizes that Leia wouldn’t be in there this early in the morning. Poe asks Lieutenant Connix, who happens to be walking by, where Leia is only for his question to be unanswered. She shrugs and moves along down the corridor before he can ask anything else. The whole morning he spends looking for her. Where could she be? Poe wanders around the base some more, hoping that maybe they will cross paths. He doesn’t find her before lunch. Settling in the canteen to rest, Poe slumps in his chair. Finn instantly feels Poe’s irritation and comes to check on him.
“Hey, Poe,” Finn says as he walks up to him. Poe doesn’t look happy to see him though. Finn is the last thing he needs at the moment. Trying to lighten his spirits, Finn says, “Hey, did you hear what happened yesterday? With that secret mission that everyone was talking about?”
“Uh no, I haven’t,” Poe says as he twists in an uncomfortable way to face Finn. He’s tense in his voice and movements. Finn stares at him, worried. Poe doesn’t even know what he said, he just doesn’t want to be there at the moment. Attempting to drive Finn’s focus off his face, he coughs. But that just makes Finn more concerned.
Finn slides into a seat at the table Poe’s at, “Poe, are you okay? You seem tense today. I can feel it.” Finn thinks that if he holds Poe’s hand that it might stable him but it has the opposite effect.
Poe sucks in a strained breath and rips his hand away from Finn, “Uhh, you know? I’m just- I’m just not having it today.” He gets up from his seat and starts to walk away.
“Hey, hey, Poe,” Finn says. He’s standing but not following Poe.
Poe looks back at him, walking backward, “It’s just I’m not really in a mood to talk to you right now?” He stops moving. Did he just really say that? He looks at Finn’s face to be met with such sad eyes. Finn’s posture slumps a little bit after what he said. “No, no,” Poe shakes his head nervously, “That’s not what I meant. I… I’m so sorry, Finn but I, uh I gotta go…” Hiking a finger over his shoulder, Poe continues walking backward. He doesn’t break eye contact with Finn because he thinks that he can tell him that he genuinely didn’t mean what he said just through his eyes. Hitting the wall behind, Poe turns around the corner and makes a break for it.
Finn is left there standing there at the table, alone and hurt. He doesn’t quite understand why Poe is all of a sudden being so distant. A few days ago, Poe was sharing all of his secrets with Finn but now he can’t even stand to see him. Finn knows that Poe’s not in a good mood but it still hurts. Feeling all of his anger and frustration is draining Finn. He only wishes to help ease Poe’s pain but he can’t get close enough to him to actually help. He doesn’t even know what he did wrong.
Poe feels like a dumbass as he’s walking away. You really just said that to your best friend? In that tone? He doesn’t know what came over him. It’s not like he can’t talk to Finn, he actually wants to but he so desperately hates the feeling he gets around Finn. The tight chest, the flutters in his stomach, and, god, the sweat. The sweat is the worst. Knowing the reason why he feels that way is even worse. It scares him. Love scares him. It’s not normal to love your best friend who probably doesn’t like you in that way. If he could, he would’ve stopped himself from ever developing the feelings. Everything would’ve been so much easier if he hadn’t let himself become so vulnerable. Stop it, you’re just working yourself up at this point, his voice of reason tells him. He shakes his head to and returns to searching for Leia. Poe finds Rey and asks if she’s seen Leia anywhere. She gives him a weird look, an inquisitive one; Poe’s heard all about it from Finn but never saw it himself until today. She can coax any kind of thought with just that look but Poe is not having any of it today.
“Rey, I just need to know where she is. I can’t explain it to you but it’s very important to me and can’t deal with distractions.” Poe’s hands move in strained, chunky gestures.
Glancing down at his hands and then back up into his eyes, Rey notices the tiredness in them and lets off. “I saw her walking around the library.”
Poe scurries past Rey; first without a word then he halts and turns around, “Rey,” he says in a low voice, “Thank you.” She smiles at him, understanding. Landing a hand on her shoulder to enforce his gratefulness, Poe starts to tear up. He turns away quickly so that she can’t see him but he’s pretty sure that she already knew he’s crying. He rubs his eyes violently as he, at a calmer pace, walks through the corridors once more. Poe holds in his tears for the time being. It’s embarrassing, especially for a commander, to burst out in tears in the middle of the base for everyone to see. He doesn’t know why all of this is getting to him. After drying up the escaped tears, Poe quickens his pace and stands taller than he usually does. He can’t feel weaker at this point. Before he knows it, he’s in front of the library doors again. All his motions are blurred by his tears and by the fuzziness in his mind. Poe creeps in, making sure he’s not interrupting others in the room. Luckily, there isn’t anyone else other than the woman he’s been looking for.
“Leia,” he breathes out. “I need you…” And at that moment he couldn’t hold it in anymore. Eyes pouring, he reaches out to her and she does the same. He falls to the floor as they embrace and holds onto her like it’s for dear life. Leia squeezes him periodically to comfort him and it works. Poe cries and cries and cries in her lap. He can’t even remember the last time he cried like this. It’s probably been years; when the episodes and nightmares started, he broke down for a long time. Crying is as terrible as all the horrors in the world but, god, isn’t it relieving? After a few minutes, Poe stops crying but still lies draped over Leia’s lap. His breathing isn’t as even as it should be so he stays. Leia pets his head in the meantime. Mind racing, Poe desperately tries to formulate an idea, just some kind of comprehensive idea, but he can’t. How can he have it fixed if he can’t tell her what the problem is? How long will this go on? How long will he feel like this? Does she even have an answer? All these doubts and fears shiver in his head, eventually forcing his head up to look at Leia.
The words come out naturally, with almost no effort. “Leia, I’m so scared. I want it to stop… I want all of it to stop.” He continues because he knows that she won’t understand what he means, “A few days ago I finally came to the realization that… that I’m in love with Finn. I don’t know how it happened or why but it did. I don’t know what to do. How do I deal with this? You know that I- I’ve dealt with love before but I don’t think I can risk going through that again. I don’t wanna risk everything we have based on just some weird feeling. Leia, I don’t want to ruin my chances with him.” Poe looks into her eyes. Waiting for an answer, he tightens his grip on her hands. Leia lets out a big sigh. It’s a lot to think about, Poe knows, but can’t she give some advice?
“Poe… Love is very hard. It’s one of the most difficult things in the world. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this. All you have to do is listen to yourself and evidently your gut is telling you that you indeed do love Finn. I know it’s frightening, for you specifically, but you can’t let past events dictate your future, especially when it comes to things you can control. We’re not so different, you know,” She smiles lovingly, “Back when I first met Han I thought he was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. Of course, I never said anything because, goodness, he was one hell of a laser-brain and if I told him, I wouldn’t hear the end of it. I also thought that I had to keep a facade of being this cold-hearted, stubborn leader. Yet, although, yes, I am actually stubborn, I’m not cold-hearted. I loved him but I was so reluctant to accept the fact. It wasn’t until he kept on persisting that I finally gave in and let him kiss me. Do not waste your time playing games like Han and I did because, frankly, I was lucky that he kept on going after me. It’s not the same for everyone; some people will quit at the first sign of hesitance and I have a feeling that Finn is that kind of person considering his background…” She looks at him in the eye, “If you love him, Poe, tell him as quickly as you can. He clearly loves you as well. Don’t run from that. Give yourself a chance to be happy again. You do deserve it, even if you don’t think so.” Leia cups Poe’s face into her hands. The warmth of her touch calms him down at last. “You are strong. And you’re capable of love. Poe, I believe in you with all my heart. Don’t take it for granted.” She presses a kiss to his forehead. Poe hasn’t been shown this kind of affection since he was a child. It’s comforting knowing that Leia is by his side. Poe keeps eye contact with her and finally smiles with hope. He can feel the knot in his chest undoing itself at last. Guided by the feeling, Poe squeezes her hands and kisses them as a thank you. He then feels as if he’s being carried out of the room and out the door. As soon as he’s a few feet away, Poe returns to reality. Startled by the sudden weight of everything, he stops and collects himself. He figures it’s time to explain his recent actions and to Finn everything.
This time he decides that he shouldn’t rush anything. Walking slower than he has in the past few days, Poe heads to his room. He takes a deep breath and searches for Finn. Once he finally locks onto him, Poe says, full voice, “I need to talk to you.” At this point, he doesn’t care if anyone hears him or thinks he’s crazy. Finn’s voice pops into his head a few seconds later, Yeah, as do I. Well, that isn’t exactly what Poe expected but nonetheless he keeps going. As Poe walks on, his mind starts to ramble. What does Finn want to talk about? It doesn’t seem like he was angry or anything of the sort. Poe is astonished at how oblivious he is. Finn is mad at him for blowing him off so hard and understandably so. He started off feeling good about seeing Finn but now he’s nervous. What if everything goes to shit? What if I told him I love him and he doesn’t feel it back and it’s all a misunderstanding? I-I can’t do that… I love him too much. Even if he doesn’t love me back, what about our relationship? He’s probably not gonna want to be friends with me now because of how rude I was. But didn’t Finn call him handsome that one day? God, now he’s just confusing himself. Poe hasn’t felt like himself the past couple of days and he notices because he finds it not like himself to be so worried about risky things like this. He lives for risks. It’s different now, he guesses, it’s love he’s dealing with. And frankly, Poe sucks at it.
Poe is surprised at the fact that he still got there quicker than usual. Getting ready to enter, he can feel that Finn is in there. Poe knows that Finn can feel him outside the door too but he needs a moment. He doesn’t know exactly what is stopping him from going in. There are plenty of things that could but they’ve flaked off. He takes a breath and walks in. Finding Finn sitting on the extra bed - which is basically his own now - shouldn’t have been a surprise but he looks different. He looks sad, almost helpless. Finn doesn’t look up at first when Poe enters because he’s rubbing his eyes.
Before he gets a signal from Finn to start talking, Poe jumps into the first word, “I know that I’ve been an asshole recently and I’m so sorry. I don’t want it to be the breaking point of our friendship. I want to be your friend and I want to keep being your friend but…” Poe counts the times he’s avoided Finn. He’s surprised by it because he doesn’t want to be so distant.
Finn looks up at him when Poe stops, Finn’s face is smothered with guilt. Poe starts again, figuring he knows why Finn’s here, “Oh… You heard what I said didn’t you. The meeting, right? I - I didn’t really mean what I said you know that right? I was thinking about… my mother. Not you, definitely not you.” Poe knows that he’s doing the exact opposite of what he’s supposed to do but he doesn’t know if he’s ready to confess. He was earlier but now? There are too many maybes for anything to be definite. He’s retreating and he knows Leia would be disappointed. Nonetheless, Poe goes on and on, saying the same things over and over again like Finn hasn’t already gotten the gist. As he goes on, Poe doesn’t even notice that Finn had gotten up until he is centimeters away from his face. Finn gently grabs Poe’s swinging arms to steady him for the moment. Poe’s breath hitches when he realizes Finn is touching him but as he looks in his eyes, he doesn’t think that Finn has anything nice to say. Thinking, Finn bores into Poe’s eyes, squinting. At this point, Poe is trembling and eyes wide open. Finn staring at him, saying nothing, is the most terrifying moment in Poe’s life. Not even near-death experiences come this close. He notices that Finn’s intently looking around his face in confusion. First in his eyes, then his nose, then his mouth and he keeps it there. What is he doing?
In an instant, Poe feels his lips part then a warmness. It isn’t in his chest or stomach like usual but in his mouth now. Finn is kissing him. He’s kissing Poe. Finn made the first move. Why? Wait, nevermind Poe doesn’t care right now or at least he doesn’t want to care right now. Poe wants to stay like this forever, in the tight grip of Finn’s strong arms but Poe pushes off of him, looking in his eyes.
Before Poe can even ask, Finn responds, “Poe, I don’t know if you meant for me to hear or not but I heard everything you were thinking on your way here. I probably shouldn’t have been listening but I was.” He gives an embarrassed smile, “I had been dealing with my own conflicts with… love like you had. Ever since I met you, I thought you were cute and… handsome. But I never knew what liking someone felt like before. I mean, I wasn’t allowed back then. I’d never been allowed.” Finn’s eyes search for something in his mind, “The battle of Takodana. I remember that day so clearly because that’s the day I realized that I was into you. Well, sort of. I just had this nagging piece in my mind that would go off every time I saw you. Seeing you flying around, nailing all those First Order troopers, was the most incredible thing I’d ever seen. That day, it was like a trigger went off. I got all these butterflies and a tingling feeling. As soon as I could, I went to Rey about it. I finally learned what being in love was and she told me to just go with my gut because I’ve obviously never done this before. You have no idea how many hours I spent, tossing and turning in bed just thinking about it. Like, when was the right time to tell you? Was there a certain way you normally do it? It was all a mystery. It was still hard to accept but once I heard that you felt the same way… I just decided. I decided that I would go with my gut and that’s what my gut told me. To kiss you. And so I did?” Finn had dropped his grip on Poe’s arms while he talked. Now, he plays with his fingers, eagerly awaiting Poe’s response.
What the fuck? What the actual fuck?
“Poe? You can’t just say nothing after I confess my love for you, buddy…” Finn chuckles nervously. He’s taken a step back to give Poe some room. But Poe couldn’t say anything at the moment. It’s almost as if he is in actual shock from it. He looks off to the side of Finn’s shoulder.
So you’re telling me that the man that I love, the man that I was stressing about for the past few weeks feels the same way? Is this actually happening or am I just having another nightmare? Finn can’t be serious. After all this time?
“Are you serious?” Poe finally can look Finn in the eyes.
“Would I really just spill all my feelings out to you about overcoming my stormtrooper brainwashing, finding my sense of love within me, my struggles and agony with that newfound sense of love if I wasn’t serious?”
“True, I guess…” Poe says, then he remembers what Finn had said a few days ago, “So it was for me huh?” He smirks a little bit, “The handsome that I heard was for me…”
Finn looks confused for a second then his face lights up in realization. Starting to laugh, he agrees, “Yes, it was when you were fixing Black One, right? Yeah, you just looked so stunning in only that undershirt.” He bites his lip playfully. “I guess I slip up sometimes too, huh?”
They both stand a few inches away from each other awkwardly. Neither of them knows what to do now. Does this mean they’re dating? What are the next steps in their relationship?
“Uh,” Finn says, feet shuffling, “So… What exactly happens now? You know, since I’m not really an expert on this yet.”
Poe hasn’t thought about what he would do if Finn actually likes him back. “I guess we’re dating,” he says. Finn looks delighted as he repeats the sentence. Again, Poe stands there with nothing to say but he notices that Finn’s still shuffling his feet, looking like he wants to say something. “Is there something you wanna say? Shoot for it, Finn,” he says.
“Oh uh,” Finn blushes a bit and looks down, “Well, I was just gonna ask…. Can I kiss you again?” He meets Poe’s eyes when he finishes. Poe laughs and waves him closer, telling him it’s his turn to kiss him.