“I cannot deal with this. I refuse to deal with this. Why me, Rey?”
She peers at him thoughtfully from behind the water tank. It’s a gift from Admiral Ackbar, who heard her talking about plants growing by the nearby lake with one of the ground crew officers. He found her the tank and shared some of the plants from his quarters and she’s fascinated by it. It’s filled with water and serves no other purpose than be decorative, and there are plants in it.
He said that some people also kept fish in those.
Finn plops on her cot and sighs heavily, then once again for good measure. “Tell me, how is he even real.”
“We’re talking about Poe here?” Rey clarifies, though there is only one person on the base, nay, in the galaxy, who brings out this level of exasperation in Finn.
“Yes we’re talking about Poe.”
“What has he done this time?” she asks knowingly. This is becoming a regular occurrence, to be honest, something like this comes up every other day since she’s been back. She doesn’t mind at all, though she suspects Finn would be happy to break this particular routine.
Luke is away to ‘find an old friend’ on whom he hasn’t elaborated and all she has to do is keep up with her training and… no, that’s pretty much it. After years of work-filled days and sleepless, short Jakku nights, not having much to do is eerie. And no matter whom she asks, no one comes up with any tasks for her.
She sinks down to the cot next to Finn and he raises his arms to let her throw her legs over his knees. “Alright, tell me.”
“He’s cooking me dinner,” he says in a tone of voice of someone announcing the world is ending.
“That’s nice?” she tries and doesn’t laugh when he glares at her.
“We were getting breakfast, missed you by the way, and it was the brown thing again.”
“Oh, I like the brown thing,” she nods. It’s a meat stew with some sort of brown vegetables she’s never heard of before, crispy and filling. It’s not as good as the spicy flat cakes they make sometimes, but definitely in her top three.
“Yeah, that’s my favourite thing,” Finn agrees. “I mentioned that and apparently I have been appallingly depraved of good food for my whole life and Poe is making me dinner tonight and Rey, I cannot deal with this. You know he’s going to turn out to be amazing at this and I’ll have to spend the evening sitting across from him and his hair and the food is going to be great and what do I do then?”
“Bring me leftovers?” she laughs and then yelps when he tickles her foot in retaliation, then kicks his thigh. “I mean, if you don’t end up eating everything.”
“If I know Poe, there’s gonna be more food than anyone could eat in a week. You know how he gets.”
She does know how he gets, she has stacks of datapads with holovids of flight manoeuvres from the Rebel Alliance days that has been forced on her, stacks of blueprints ordered specifically for her, even a potted tree from Eiatu VI Poe presented her with after one of his away missions. BB-8 informed her Poe flew with the tree in his lap, so it wouldn’t get damaged in the cargo hold.
So she does have some sympathy for Finn’s predicament, yes, but not in the way he thinks. Because the regular complaints sessions paint Poe as a daring holovid hero with windswept hair and a perfect line for each occasion and while some of that holds true, he is a man who piloted an X-wing with a potted tree in his lap.
He’s also a man who flusters at Finn’s smile and who once literally sat on his hands and muttered ‘what the fuck’ at least seven times while watching Finn training some of the Resistance soldiers in the First Order tactics.
She’s not quite sure what to say, because Finn would never believe this.
“It’s not like you can cancel,” she says sympathetically and Finn closes his eyes, his head falling against the wall with a loud thump. “And bring something to drink? Jess said it’s what you do when you visit somebody,” she shrugs.
“Fuck me,” he says emphatically and Rey doesn’t say the most obvious thing. Maybe the patience training finally started to pay off.
Then he sits up again. “What do I bring? By drink you mean alcohol? Of course, yeah. Where do I get alcohol?”
She might need a couple more training sessions.
Poe must have done something to deserve this, he’s just not sure if it was something really good or really terrible. Finn shows up five minutes before their scheduled meeting, his hair damp from the shower, in a dark grey shirt that looks like it’s been freshly ironed, and holding a bottle of corellian whiskey scrounged up from somewhere.
He leans against the doorframe and Poe just about drops the dishtowel. He’s pretty damn sure he’s had dreams that started like this.
“Man, something smells good,” he says with a smile and Poe steps aside to let him in, wiping his suddenly sweaty palms with the dishtowel.
“Steak,” he blurts out, the dryness in his throat guaranteeing a fifty-fifty chance on his voice coming out either ridiculously hoarse or a good octave higher than usual. It comes out low, and rough like he hasn’t spoken in weeks.
“Man, never had those, that sounds great,” Finn says cheerfully, pushing the bottle into Poe’s hand. “I have it on a good authority that it’s one of your favourites?”
It is, and though it’s not exactly a secret, Finn must have asked one of his pilots and then actually procured a bottle, possibly in the time since breakfast. He’s not quite sure what to do with this thoughtfulness, except for busying himself with glasses and handing one to Finn.
He inspects the glass carefully then looks up at Poe, the corner of his mouth pulled up in a wry grin. “I’ve never actually had whiskey before.”
“Another first for tonight, then,” Poe says and oh, kill him now. The worst part is that Finn glances at him with a quick smile that looks a little shy, and he obviously has no idea, does he. How fucked Poe is right now, what effect he has. “Okay then,” he mutters on exhale. “Pull up a chair, it won’t be a minute.”
“Sure, no worries,” Finn says, smile audible in his voice even though Poe can’t see it, busying himself with finishing up on the meal. “Hey, did you get redecorate?”
“That’s a nice way of asking if I cleaned up, isn’t it? Had to make room for the stove.” His quarters on the new base were big enough to have a little kitchenette space, but he hasn’t bothered before to stock it - he had to borrow the portable appliance from the pilots’ rec room.
The whole day has been frantic, because in his excitement to show Finn some real food, not what passes for it in the mess (admittedly not the worst on-base food he had, but still on-base food) he’s invited him over for the evening of the same day, completely blanking out on the fact that he’d need to get supplies.
He’s cooked in the rec room before, but that wouldn’t do now - the vultures would descend immediately. Snap and Niv helped him carry the stove and he now owes more favours to the quartermaster than he’s comfortable with, but he’s managed.
“You really didn’t have to,” Finn tells him when Poe puts a plate in front of him, but digs in eagerly, licking his lips in anticipation and yeah, Poe really did. “Oh man,” he says after the first bite, closing his eyes and humming in appreciation, a blissed out expression on his face and Poe is pretty sure he’s staring, fork halfway to his mouth, but fuck.
“Good?” is all he can manage, reaching out for his glass and downing half of it, the smooth and smokey flavour of the whiskey hitting the back of his throat a little too fast.
“Are you kidding? It’s amazing. Absolutely the best thing I’ve ever had in my mouth, though as you’ve already gathered, that list isn’t long or interesting,” Finn grins before eating more, making appreciative noises about the food that go straight to Poe’s dick and this was a terrible idea, absolutely the worst.
He’s already wondering what he should cook for the next time, because he’s an idiot with no self-preservation and terrible decision making habits.
“You have no idea how good this is,” Finn tells him before chuckling at himself with a little shake of his head. “I mean, you probably do, since you made this. And I don’t care what I promised Rey, I love her, but she’s not getting leftovers, I’m gonna eat all of this.”
“Fuck, Rey,” Poe mutters, running his hand down his face. His cheeks are a little flushed, but he could explain that as an effect of cooking on the hot stove. If he was asked. “I should have invited her, I didn’t think… I could get her,” he adds, rising from his chair. Fin raises a hand to stop him.
“She went to the lake, said she had some meditation exercises to catch up on.”
“Oh. Well, I’m gonna make sure to invite her next time then,” he offers and makes his best attempt to mock-glare at Finn. “And we are leaving her some.”
“You should pack it up now before I get to it,” Finn says with a smile, but he helps Poe transfer some of the food into a container with a soft smile. It’s so incredibly inconvenient, to be honest.
He’s starting to plan the next meal menu already.
A large group of his pilots are in the rec room, huddled around a table. Pava’s voice rises above everyone else, asking for some air so she can work in peace.
He has a bad feeling about this.
“What’s going on?” he asks and is prompt ignored by everyone. Well, almost everyone. Finn, who has been obscured by the group before, raises his head from over a datapad.
“They’re making a poster.”
Poe has started to smile at him, the action instinctual and ingrained by now, but at the explanation it turns into a frown. “Oh no.”
“Hey, Dameron,” Jessika shouts out at him. “Show me that pretty face, I need to see if I got your nose right.”
“No,” he tells her emphatically. “Not again, Pava.”
“But the last one was such a success, we’ve had a seventeen percent increase in efficiency that week.”
“Correlation is not causation,” he mutters and catches Finn’s curious gaze before ducking his head, cheeks burning. He glances at the poster then, surveying Pava’s work.
In terms of artistic merit, it’s not bad, she has serious talent. In terms of content, well. Fuck him.
It’s still better than the last one, but that’s not saying much, because the last one had him in an open shirt and the line “I need YOU to fight for the Resistance” above his head. This time he’s actually in his uniform, front and centre of the poster, his hair all tousled (and that’s definitely more hair than he actually has, what the fuck, Pava). Behind him, half a squadron of X-wings flies in formation, making it seem like he has a halo or a crown. Block letters underneath tell the viewer to “do your part.”
“You’re not hanging that up,” he mutters, scratching at the back of his neck. He can feel Finn’s gaze and he cannot even begin to fathom what he thinks of all of this.
“Excuse me, are you in charge of base decorations?” Snap asks and he’s clearly laughing into his hand, Poe can see it clearly.
“I like it,” Finn says and Poe spins on his heel in time to see him shrug and offer a small smile. “It looks great, and a perfect likeness. You’re really good,” he tells Jessika earnestly and Poe cannot deal with this. Cannot start guessing at what does it exactly mean, is he just praising Jess’ skills or does he include Poe’s looks, and if he does, what does he mean by it.
Honestly, he hasn’t been this fucked since… he’s never been this fucked. Something about Finn’s earnestness, about his quick grins and his amazing resilience, something about Finn reduces him to this nervous, awkward mess, week knees and rapid pulse.
“Excuse me, Finn?” Captain Sholt asks, coming to stand next to them. All of the pilots straighten up a little in her presence - she’s recon, one of Madine’s old commandos, and one of the most frighteningly competent people on base. They all busy themselves with conversation while Poe steps a little closer to Finn. “I have a favour to ask. We have a young woman on base who helped us during our last assignment. She’s a First Order defector and seems to be really scared and confused right now. We thought you might consider talking to her about what she might want to do next?”
She gestures to a faraway table where the woman is sitting, talking quietly to one of Sholt’s men. She holds herself tightly, like a wound spring, like she might want to bolt any moment, her face carefully blank.
Finn nods quickly, biting his lip. “Sure. Yeah, of course.”
He makes his way towards the woman, Poe staying behind but incapable of looking away from the scene. His hands itch, small shiver in his fingers. The woman is guarded when Finn sits down, leaning in a little. Poe doesn’t hear what he says, but the woman’s voice carries, shock clearly audible as she calls Finn by the series of numbers he’s left behind.
Poe digs his fingernails into his palms, quite probably leaving crescent indents in them. Finn gives a small shake of his head, his smile gentle when he says something quiet, making the woman relax minutely, shoulders no longer as rigid.
Sholt nods at him and heads towards the table and Jessika moves to stand shoulder to shoulder with Poe. “I’m gonna do a second poster,” she says thoughtfully. He gives her a look and she smiles back, reaching out to pat his shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll make you a copy,” she tells him. Then she grins. “Yours is still going up. I might do a calendar.”
Finn has been absorbing new skills like a sponge for the past few weeks, practically ever since he woke up and could move around the base. He told Poe a little about his First Order training and his Sanitation rotation, and on one hand it’s quite clear that he has been wasted there, on the other Poe is pathetically grateful that Jakku was Finn’s very first battle experience.
Still, it’s their luck that the Order never quite realised Finn’s potential. He picks things up with astonishing speed - Poe could see that on their very first TIE flight, when Finn went from confused about the controls to excellent aim the moment he understood them.
He’s still looking for his place in the Resistance, even though he’s earned it a long time ago, and a part of it is training or working with every crew in turn. Last week it was hand to hand, even though both the med droids and Poe were wary about whether he wasn’t rushing into it. This week it’s X-wing repairs and maintenance and he’s asked Snap to show him.
Poe found out this morning, arriving to check up on his fighter and finding Finn working a couple of metres away, stripped down to his undershirt.
Snap might be holding a grudge against him, he’ll have to investigate that one.
When asked why he didn’t turn to Poe if he wanted X-wing experience, Finn told him he didn’t want to bother him, which is the most ridiculous thing Poe has heard, and he’s heard Pava’s jokes after she had a couple of drinks.
Finn’s laughter reaches him from Snap’s fighter and the wrench slips out of Poe’s hand and falls on his foot.
BB-8 extends it’s pinchers and picks it up delicately, waving it at Poe pointedly, asking if he’s alright.
“I’m fine, buddy,” he assures the droids and sighs, running his hand over his face, probably leaving smudges of sooth and oil. “Just losing it.”
“Let’s face it, you’ve lost it a long time ago, Dameron,” Kare tells him, leaning against the side of his fighter.
“Look what the mynock dragged in,” he laughs, jumping down the ladder and moving to hug her. Her squadron has been on a mission in the Outer Rim for the past month and he has been starting to worry. He doesn’t say that out loud, she would probably kick him. “Back for good?”
“That depends on General’s orders, but back for now. Need to give my guys a rest, spend some time on repairs and, most importantly, catch up on giving you hard time. I’ve heard you’ve been having all the fun and leaving nothing for the rest of us.”
“Oh, you know, just the usual. Found the map to Skywalker, got captured by the Order, tortured just that little bit, escaped, shot some TIEs and, what was it, oh right. Helped destroy a giant murder planet.”
“All the fun,” she repeats, giving him a one-armed hug. “Hey, how is my favourite droid?” she asks BB-8, who overdoes on honesty and proceeds to tell her that he’s a little worried about Poe, because his vitals keep fluctuating.
That droid is a menace.
Kare opens her mouth to say something, but is interrupted by Finn’s approach, as he’s shrugging into Poe’s jacket on his way. Kare’s eyes grow wide as she recognises the jacket and she gives Poe a shrewd look he doesn’t like in the slightest.
BB-8 produces the shrill beep that translates to “I told you so” and asks if Poe is sick. Finn glances up at him with some concern - he’s been learning binary too, and apparently it paid off. Poe would be proud if he wasn’t so mortified at the moment.
“Are you okay?” Finn asks with concern and Poe nods quickly, determined to change the subject.
“How did it go?” he asks, pointing to Snap’s fighter with his chin. Finn shrugs with a small, shy smile that has quickly become one of Poe’s favourites.
“Good, I think. Snap says I’m not entirely incompetent. Yeah, so I’m not quite sure.”
Poe sends Wexley a pointed glare, which he ignores, and shakes his head at Finn. “That’s one of the highest praises coming from him.”
“That’s true,” Kare supplies, nodding. “There was this one time, back when we were with the Republic… There’s this famous sim exercise everyone tries over and over again, the second Death Star run? Based on Antilles’ flight data, it’s crazy hard and you basically die if you miss his route by half a metre or a second. Then this guy,” she points her thumb at Poe with a shit-eating grin, “decides that he’s gonna go off book and shoot down every single TIE there, because that’s what he does.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen that,” Finn agrees, glancing at Poe with a widening grin. Poe literally cannot look at him right now, not when there’s something akin to awe in Finn’s eyes and not when his grin is this blinding. “He definitely does that.”
Poe looks down at his shoes, raising his hand to the back of his neck, scratching the sudden itch there.
He can hear the grin in Kare’s voice when she continues with the story. “Racked up the highest score on the sim, completely ruined it for the rest of us because no one has been able to beat him ever since. Anyway, he gets out of the simulator and Snap’s there, looking at the scores, and he shrugs at Poe and goes, ‘well, you didn’t fuck it up.’”
Poe can feel his cheeks burning. He glances up at Finn, who’s staring at him with this strange expression, not just awe but something softer, kinder, and he needs to get out of here immediately, needs to do something that’s not kissing Finn, needs to get himself under control and squared away.
Against his better judgement he reaches out and pats Finn’s shoulder. “Point is, if Wexley says you’re not entirely incompetent, he means that you might be the third person in the galaxy he’s gonna let do repairs on his ship. The other one, by the way, is his wife, and we’re pretty sure that half of the reason he married her are her repair skills.”
“Something like thirty percent,” Snap volunteers from where he’s meticulously sorting his tools according to whatever system he came up with this week. “Twenty percent is her skill with a blaster, because damn that woman can shoot, and the rest is for me to know.”
Poe rolls his eyes; they’ve all been treated to a number of spiels on all the reasons Snaps’ wife is the greatest person to ever live in the galaxy every time Wexley is drunk. Or every time they’ve been holed up on a recon mission and bored out of their minds. Or just whenever she happens to appear in his line of vision.
He glances at Finn and realises his hand is still on his shoulder. He takes it back, his fingers twitching a little. “So anyway, sound seal of approval. But if you ever feel like some practice, you’re welcome to help me with this,” he waves his hand at his X-wing and ignores Kare’s raised eyebrow. He knows what she’s thinking, but he’s not as bad as Snap, he’s perfectly fine with allowing the maintenance crew to do their job.
He does occasionally check in after they’re done to recalibrate and tweak a couple of things, but that’s just because he’s a little set in his ways and they always calibrate to standard settings. Which is fine, he deals with it.
“Sounds great, thanks,” Finn grins at him again and steps back, bumping into BB-8 slightly and placing his hand on the droid’s head in apology. BB-8 makes a pleased noise under his touch and Poe honestly shouldn’t be jealous, what the fuck. “We still for dinner?”
“Of course, let me know when Rey gets back and I’ll bring the food,” he nods and offers a small wave when Finn turns to leave, and then stands there like an idiot with his hand raised for a couple beats too long.
“Fuck, Dameron,” Kare says, finally laughing after she has probably strained something trying to restrain herself. Finn turns back briefly at the sound before continuing to walk towards the living quarters. “I love you,” she says, shaking her head and reaching out to ruffle his hair affectionately, “but you’re so fucked.”
“Remember the time I was your commanding officer and could write you up?”
“Great times,” he says wistfully and she rolls her eyes at him.
“Come on,” she mutters, pulling on his sleeve. “You need to tell me everything about him, and don’t lie to me, I can tell you really want to.”
This is gonna take a while.
“Okay,” Rey says, dropping down to Finn’s bed and kicking his thigh to get more comfortable. BB-8 rolls into the room after her, swaying by her side. “We’re gonna figure it out.”
“Great,” Finn tells her earnestly. “What are we figuring out?”
“You and Poe.”
Finn glances at BB-8 briefly, but the droid just dims one of its lights for a moment, and Finn isn’t quite sure how to take that. Is it winking? What does it even mean?
“Don’t want to take a crack at something else first? Peace in the galaxy? Instilling tact in Threepio?”
“If Luke didn’t manage, how can I, a mere apprentice,” she says lightly and pokes him in his side, and he yelps in response, because as they’ve unfortunately discovered, he is amazingly ticklish, it’s unfair. “You have been moping this past week and don’t lie to me, there’s no point in lying to me.”
“Is this the Force thing, or is it about that time I said I was in the Resistance?” he asks suspiciously.
BB-8 makes a noise that sounds suspiciously like laughter and doesn’t resemble any of the words he knows in binary. “Shush, you,” he tells it good-naturedly.
“It’s a ‘you’ve been moping for the past week and I’m done watching this’ thing,” she tells him and pats his knee. “We’ve decided you need help,” she says and BB-8 hums in agreement.
Great, so even the droid has had enough of watching him trail after Poe and be pathetic. “I cannot deal with this, Rey. Have you seen him?”
“We’ve met,” she nods, mouth pulled up in a smile she’s clearly trying to hold back. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any pillows within reach to toss at her. “He’s a great guy,” she offers consolingly and it startles a laugh out of Finn.
“Really? I mean, I could have missed that. This week he’s only cooked me the best dinner I’ve ever had, and then topped that with an even better one, had people on base make posters immortalising his greatness, and hang out with the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Present company excepted,” he adds and Rey rolls her eyes at him.
“The pilot with the legs and the hair?” she asks, nodding. “No, I’ve seen her, that was a pretty accurate assessment.”
“All I’m saying is, there’s no way I have a chance with him.”
BB-8 proceeds to beep rapidly at him and Finn’s not yet fluent enough to understand binary beyond a couple of words, and they don’t make a lot of sense. He glances at Rey pleadingly as she starts laughing. “What?”
“BB-8 says that while your report of this week’s events is factually accurate, you were not a witness to that time Poe dropped a wrench on his foot because you smiled.”
He stares at BB-8 for a long moment, uncomprehending. “Wait, what?”
BB-8’s head slides to the side, surveying him expectantly.
“No, but what?”
What the explanation amounts to, apparently, is that he has more than a chance. BB-8 offers to calculate the odds for him, and then instead of giving him the actual odds, it repeats the little thumbs-up gesture and beeps encouragingly.
Well, if there’s a chance, there’s no way in hell Finn is gonna be the idiot who throws it away.
Rey sends an apology message about missing dinner through BB-8. Poe worries briefly about whether something has happened, but he sees Skywalker talking with General Organa, and the Jedi Master nods at him pleasantly and doesn’t look like there’s a crisis brewing other than the usual.
It’s just him and Finn then, like those first days after the Starkiller base’s destruction, except then he was only beginning to suspect how head over heels he has truly fallen.
Now he’s looking forward to the dinner with a mix of excitement and trepidation, the nervousness brought up to the surface because he’s spent the past few hours being grilled by Kare about his feelings for Finn. That woman is relentless and he needs to make sure she spends as much time away from Pava as possible.
Kare’s advice was to “just tell him,” which is great and all, and his absolute normal go-to tactic except this is Finn. The man who has saved him on the worst day of his life, and the man who has heard all of his Rogue Squadron stories at least twice and still laughed at them. The man so unaware of the effect he has on people on base, and even more seemingly unaware of the effect he has on Poe.
“Hey,” Finn says, knuckles rapping on the half-open door as he pokes his head in. “It’s just me, Rey was needed somewhere.”
He waves at Finn to come in. “I know, she’s left a message with BB-8.”
“I see how it is,” Finn nods, sliding into his usual seat. “She didn’t trust me to tell you, I get it.”
“Well, either you or BB-8,” Poe tells him and chuckles at the absolutely offended sound from over where BB-8 has plugged in to the holonet. “Seems like it’s you?”
“That’s what I said,” Finn leans back in his chair, watching as Poe transfers the noodles onto plates. Poe can feel his gaze on the back of his neck and forces his hands to stay steady, tries not to fluster visibly. It’s mostly a losing battle and he kind of hates those.
There’s something different about Finn’s face when he looks at him, his gaze unflinching, searching. Poe sits down and fills their glasses and has to duck his head under the scrutiny. “What?” he asks when he trusts himself to look up again.
“We’ve been talking,” Finn starts, pausing like he’s looking for words.
“You and Rey?”
“And BB-8, mostly,” he nods towards the droid who makes a noncommittal acknowledging sound. Poe reaches for his water, downing half of the glass. This doesn’t bode well, nothing bodes well when BB-8 attempts nonchalance.
“About?” he asks, his voice resembling a croak more than anything else.
Finn shrugs, his eyes never leaving Poe’s. “You know I like you, right?”
Warmth explodes in Poe’s chest at the same time as his stomach turns, and he pushes down on both feelings, pushes down on the light and heady sensation bubbling up to the surface, something akin to hope. “I know, you too.”
Finn gives a slight shake of his head. “Not quite what I meant. Should I have followed it with, I really want to kiss you?”
Who says things like that? Who leaves themselves so open, so vulnerable, who can be so brave and reckless with their heart?
“Are you okay? You went a little red…” Finn starts and doesn’t finish, Poe’s chair screeching against the floor before tipping over, and Poe is standing up, moving, fingers itching before they tangle in Finn’s shirt, his lips dry before they touch Finn’s, his breathing stopped until they’re sharing it.
“Oh, good, I thought I was going to fuck it up,” Finn mutters against his lips and Poe would laugh but he’s too busy kissing him again.