Jess approaches Poe with a boxed dinner, her pilot jacket tied around her waist and what looks like an oil stain smeared across her face. They sit quietly for a couple of minutes, Poe squinting out to the sun on the horizon. Jess’ presence is almost always a comfort, and after their exhausting last couple of months and separation, he’s glad to have a friend quiet at his side.
“So,” she says, setting her dinner aside and resting her elbows on her knees. Poe glances her way, arching an eyebrow and smiling. “You and - Finn?”
He looks at her, keeping his expression steady. “What about?”
She laughs and turns to look at the sky, resting her palms on the rocks beneath them and sighing. “Just wondering,” she says before looking back at him. “I heard the story. About how you met.”
“Who from?” Poe says.
“Finn. He seems - quite happy about it.”
Poe shrugs. “I guess,” he says after a beat. “Yeah, it was a bit of a moment.”
Jess grins. “You like him, huh?”
“”Course I like him,” Poe scoffs, shaking his head. “Haven’t met many people who don’t like him. Yet.”
“Yeah, he’s charming. I think it’s...he doesn’t have the same boundaries we do, you know? He’ll ask the questions, you can’t hold it against him, he doesn’t know.” Jess pauses. “He’s not naive, per se, but…”
Poe hums, looking at his lap. “I like him,” he repeats. It should be that easy, he decides.
“Can barely remember the last time you had a boyfriend,” Jess muses, and Poe glares at his hands, wishing he’d brought something to fiddle with. “I mean, it’s a good fit, sounds like.”
“Are you playing matchmaker with me?”
“We all almost died,” she points out.
“Not an answer.”
“Well, he likes you too.”
“I don’t need you to tell me that,” Poe says, shaking his head. “He’s a friend.”
“A friend who you named.”
“You’re looking into that way too much. It was desperate times, I needed to call him somethin’, and it worked. Short notice, you know.” Jess is looking at him again, squinting in the sunlight but still smiling. He hates that smile.
“He could have changed his name, called himself anything,” she says, her voice soft - unusual for Jess. “He kept Finn. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said - ‘and what’s your last name?’ and his answer was ‘Dameron.’”
“Shut up,” Poe says, laughing. “He’s a friend. That’s all, and it’s fine that way.”
“You share a room,” Jess says.
“Lots of people share rooms.”
“He wears your jacket.”
“It suits him.”
“Do you hear yourself?”
Poe glowers at her.
It isn’t like the thought had never crossed Poe’s mind - Finn was friendly, Finn was fun to be around, and Finn was good-looking, as far as former-Stormtrooper go. Poe keeps thoughts like that in the back of his mind, doesn’t let them linger. Finn is, first and foremost, his friend. Poe has learned the hard way how friendships can fall apart - even if it’s just for a few months, or a year - when anything else is added. It’s a tricky business, and there’s too much at stake. Poe doesn’t want to lose the comfort of Finn’s friendship.
The point is, Poe’s happy.
He really is.
Finn claps him on the shoulder and Poe jumps, cursing and scowling. “Heads up, would ya?” he says, glancing at Finn and frowning. Then Finn smiles, kind of crooked, and says, “Sorry, bud,” and any annoyance that Poe experienced, however brief, melts away. “It’s fine,” he says, reaching up to brush Finn’s hand still resting on his shoulder. Finn drops his arm and takes a step back, creating an awkward space between them.
“Er,” Finn says, and then just smiles again. “Anyway, I wanted to ask you something - you know, I’ve been in physical therapy for a while now, startin’ to get back up on my feet...Do you think there’s anything I can do - you know, to help?”
Poe stares at Finn, if only to process his question. “You don’t - you don’t have to do anything, Finn,” Poe says, shakes his head. “You need to recover, that’s what’s most important.”
Finn drops his gaze and sighs. “Sure,” he says, “and I saved the universe, like everyone keeps saying to brush me off when I want to help.” Poe winces. “Never mind.”
“Finn,” Poe says as Finn starts to turn around. “C’mon, talk to me - what’s bothering you?”
Finn just frowns. “Just thought you’d actually...I don’t know. It feels like everyone wants to be real careful.”
“What do you mean?” Poe says slowly.
“Like...they don’t quite trust me.” Finn looks up, to the right, away from Poe as he licks his lips. “I understand. It’s just hard to get past that barrier.”
Poe, in turn, clasps Finn on the shoulder. “Come on. Let’s go get something to eat and talk about this.”
Poe watches Finn over his cup of water. They’ve been quiet for a few minutes after Poe had asked Finn about his dinner. Finn is poking at the meat on his plate with a fork and avoiding Poe’s gaze, which, Poe thinks - fair enough. And Poe’s starting to wonder who exactly is brushing Finn off, and whether they’re talking about him behind his back.
It wouldn’t exactly be a surprise, even though Poe himself hasn’t heard anything. People have those fears - Stormtroopers incorporate those fears. That’s what Finn was - that’s what he was born into. And he’s adjusting - sure - but there are moments when Poe sees it.
Like when he flinches away from someone. Or when he grabs someone too tight, just because he’s excited.
It doesn’t bother Poe, but he can see how some people might get nervous.
That doesn’t make it fair to Finn.
Finn, who doesn’t have a name or a family.
“You know, hey, we - we’re your family now.” Poe clears his throat as Finn looks at him. Finn rolls his eyes and sighs. “I mean it, you know. If it’s me, or the General, or Rey -”
“I miss Rey,” Finn says suddenly, and Poe’s stomach flips. “I hope that she’s…” He trails off and Poe looks at his plate. “I hope she’s safe, you know? Never really felt that way about anyone. It’s...it’s weird.”
“Oh,” Poe says. “Is that what’s bothering you?”
Finn fidgets - noticeably. Poe’s seen him twitch - bounce his leg while he’s sitting. He rolls over a lot when he’s trying to sleep; mutters in his sleep too, sometimes. Finn plays with pens, picks at his cuticles. Maybe other people don’t notice it; but Poe does.
“No,” Finn says after a moment. “I mean, it is - after worrying about her so much, waking up and her not being there was...But it’s not what’s bothering me. I just - I feel so useless.”
“You did get your ass beat. You’re allowed to rest.”
“Am I?” Finn cuts himself off, shaking his head. “Never knew what that meant, really. I’m not so fragile.”
“Weren’t you stabbed by a light saber?”
“Finn. Relax. No one thinks you’re useless - and if they do, screw ‘em. Not worth your time.” Poe twirls his noodles together and takes a bite. “Everyone likes you.”
“Wish I’d have known you were alive.”
Poe blinks at him. “Wish I’d have known you were alive too, buddy.”
Finn shrugs again, casting his eyes back down at his dinner. “You’re just the first person to ever...I dunno. The thought - I don’t know - it haunted me. Which is...it’s not something I’m used to.”
Poe sits and listens quietly, letting Finn work through whatever complicated emotions he has.
“It’s not the same feeling with Rey.” Finn frowns, glances at Poe and then away again. “Not that - obviously, I’m not as worried about her...her being dead, you know, but it’s like - loneliness, I guess? I didn’t know you long, but it was kind - it was devastating. I think that word fits.”
Poe bites his lip. “Yeah,” he agrees softly. “But it was really good to see you again.”
“To know you were alive.”
“Glad you kept that jacket.”
“Yeah, so am I.”
Poe lays in bed listening to Finn snoring, digging through their conversations.
Usually, they’re casual. Almost always casual. Something about getting food, about training, about Finn’s physical therapy. Sometimes they talk about Rey - usually Finn tells exaggerated stories about her bravery, and little pangs work their way into Poe’s stomach. He ignores them, swallows against the heaviness that gathers in his throat and threatens to expose him. He nods instead, expresses his admiration for Rey - and Finn, too, who he likes to remind has done plenty to save everyone’s skins.
So he lays in bed, with his hands folded over his stomach, and imagines what would happen if he said ‘hold my hand.’
Finn probably wouldn’t hesitate, but Poe is pretty much certain that’s because Finn doesn’t relate that kind of touch to anything like the intimacy that Poe does. Poe would be happy for just that physical contact, something that simple. Jess would tease him about it.
She’s already teasing him about it.
Whatever. He doesn’t want to worry about her...Not that he’s concerned. She’s been supportive.
Poe rolls onto his side.
He can see the outline of Finn, underneath his covers, on the other side of the room. He’s on his stomach, cheek on the pillow, still snoring quietly. Poe watches him.
It’s live with this, or say something.
Poe decides to make the choice in the morning.
Finn has a plate of eggs and is sitting in bed eating. Poe stretches for a moment, nodding and then staring.
So, that’s Finn. And Poe reminds himself - he was going to decide.
Finn looks at him while taking a bite. He chews, swallows, then says, “Yeah?”
“I like you.”
Finn grins. “Man, I like you too,” he says. “You’re in a good mood this morning.”
Poe kicks his legs out of bed and stands up, running his hands through his hair. His pants suddenly feel too loose, the loose shirt he wears to sleep too tight. He frowns at Finn, who now tilts his head and frowns as well.
“No, I don’t mean just - I mean, you know, I’m…” Poe shakes his head. Finn waits.
Finally, Poe kneels near Finn, giving him his best determined expression. Finn sets his plate on the pillow beside him, focusing his eyes back on Poe. It’s almost enough that Poe starts to flush, wants to stand back up, turn around, pretend like this isn’t happening.
Instead, he thinks about his parents, and he takes Finn’s hand and squeezes it.
Without so much as a second of hesitation, Finn turns his hand so his palm is facing upward, connected with Poe’s. He squeezes back. He adjusts their hands, and Poe turns to putty as Finn laces their fingers together.
They sit like that, breakfast forgotten.
“Good morning,” Finn says again. His voice is warm. So are his eyes. So is his smile.
Poe couldn’t describe it if he had a pen and an infinite vocabulary to make sense of it.
His stomach twists, knots, and then - almost as quickly as it had done this - relaxes and goes limp.
“This,” Finn says, “is nice.”
Poe breathes out hard through his nose. He didn’t realize he was holding it in his lungs so tightly.
Finn laughs. “Wasn’t sure,” he says. “Thought I was misreading you, maybe.”
“Misreading...me,” Poe breathes.
He blinks, hard.
“You thought you were misreading me?”
“Yep,” Finn says, rubbing his thumb over the knuckle of Poe’s index finger. “Haven’t seen a ton of couples in my life - I mean, here and there, and the General and Han, sure, but even...You know, even that, is…” He pauses. “Hard to learn.”
“Did you...Were you ever gonna say something?” Poe’s starting to blush, he can the blood gathering in his cheeks and ears and he can tell by the way Finn’s smile grows wider that it’s obvious.
“Guess you just gathered the courage first,” Finn says, and does something Poe isn’t expecting. With his spare hand, Finn cups the back of Poe’s neck and draws him up, and they meet halfway.
It’s not exactly a starstudded kiss. Poe’s got morning breath and Finn smells like eggs.
It’s still better than anything Poe ever imagined.