It started with them tiptoeing around each other, shoulders shrugging to exude a sense of casualness that neither really felt. Conversations that started with 'wanna hang out?' and were answered with 'yeah, okay' and a whole lot left unsaid. Time that was spent with a dozen other people involved: at football games, in the library, at the bar. It was safe. Something that friends did. Nothing to be read into it.
They were at a bar again tonight. Teams that Poe didn't care about were parading out onto the field. He sat at the counter nursing beer which had gone warm, condensation turned into a watery ring on the dark surface. Ben stole occasional glances at him from a corner table, always turning away whenever he saw Poe looking at him. Poe was ... he wasn't sure what he felt. He felt bored watching the stupid game playing over the large screen hanging over the bar. He felt irritated at the shouts and jeers of the fans at the tables, too loud and already making his headache worse. He felt frustrated with himself, at why he couldn't just sort out his feelings like the bloody adult that his driving license told him he was. He felt angry at Ben for a laundry list of things that he hadn't managed to express in the three months they had been doing this.
A glance from the corner of his eye as he pretended to check the score told him that Ben was staring at him. Again. A part of him wanted to walk up to him and grab him by his t-shirt. To ask him what the hell was wrong with him. If he thought that Poe hadn't noticed that he had been eyeing him from his seat all night, never quite making eye contact. If he had any idea what Poe wanted to do to him at this point. Not that Poe had any idea regarding that either. He only knew that he was tired. Tired of circling Ben like he hadn't loved him for all the years that they had spent together. Tired of pretending that he was okay with this, whatever this was. Tired of, well, everything.
The other part of him, the part that didn't give in to impulse, that wasn't swayed by raw emotions and cheap alcohol, wanted to wait till the game was over. So Poe took another sip of the beer, cringing at the acrid taste, worse now that it was warm, and went back to acting like he was interested in the game. He wondered if he should ask the bartender for a couple of ice cubes or a new drink entirely. He was still musing over his options when Ben came and sat on the stool next to him.
"Vodka. Four shots. Neat." He said to the bartender who nodded and turned away.
Poe raised an eyebrow and turned to look at him. "You sure?"
"What's it to you?"
He frowned at the terse reply. "Ben? Is everything okay?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" Ben said, resolutely not looking at him.
The shots arrived and Poe shook his head. "Vodka neat will fuck you up."
"Big difference. Watch me." Ben said, licking salt off his palm and throwing back one shot.
Poe did, noticing the grimace he gave at the taste. Ben put the glass down with a loud thump before sprinkling more salt on his palm and downing the other three shots in quick succession. Salt, shot. Salt, shot. Salt, shot. Poe's eyebrows climbed higher with every slam of glass on the counter.
Ben closed his eyes after the last shot and sat there breathing heavily, fingers flat on the counter and he could see the slight tremor in them.
"Oh-kay." Poe said, when Ben made no sound.
"I'll have four more." Ben said finally, opening his eyes and looking at the bartender.
"No, you won't." Poe said, as he stood up and grabbed him by the arm.
"I'm not a kid, Poe! Let me go!" Ben aimed a glare at him.
"I can see that. Just, come with me."
"You're not the only adult here, okay!" Ben struggled and Poe uncurled his fingers from around his arm.
"Ben," Poe said, sighing at the horrible feeling of déjà vu in his stomach.
Bar, check. Drinks, check. Fight, about to begin. He would be damned before that happened. Again.
He looked at Ben. "Please. I don't want to fight you. Not again. Not here. Just come with me, okay? Please."
Ben looked like he was going to protest before he shrugged and stood up.
"Put the vodka and beer on my tab," Poe smiled at the bartender who gave him a nod in return.
"No, I can pay." Ben said, fishing for his wallet.
"Later, please. You can buy me drinks in return. Just come with me. Please."
He threw a tight smile at the bartender who shrugged and moved to the other side of the counter.
"Thanks, Stella." Poe called out after her.
He led Ben to the back of the bar and out into the alley.
"Really? Vodka, neat?" Poe said as he looked at him. "You've been drinking all night. Have you ever had that much alcohol before?"
"Thanks, Stella." Ben said in a singsong voice. "I don't want to fight, Ben, just come with me."
Poe rubbed at his forehead, pausing to focus his thoughts. "Sorry," he said.
"That's your favourite word, isn't it? Sorry?" Ben loomed over him and pushed him against the wall. "Sorry Ben, I don't like you any more. Sorry Ben, but we can't be friends anymore. Sorry Ben, I'm going away."
He punctuated every sentence with a push against his chest.
"Ben, please, stop." Poe said, grabbing at his wrists and holding tight, even as Ben struggled to pull away.
"Always sorry Ben. I hate 'sorry, Ben,' okay? DON'T SAY THAT. I hate it. Hate it."
"Okay, okay, I won't, I won't." Poe pulled him closer and wrapped his arms around him.
Ben struggled for a while before he bent down and nuzzled into his shoulder. Poe pulled him tighter.
"That why you needed the vodka? So you could say what you wanted to because you're still mad at me?" Poe asked, voice neutral.
Ben shook his head and clung to him, sniffling. Poe felt wetness seep into his t-shirt and he pulled back, alarmed.
"Ben, babe, oh no! Please don't cry."
Ben hiccupped and shook his head, tears streaming down his face. He tried to push his head into Poe's shoulder again. "You called me babe."
Poe felt his heart clench. "Yeah ... yeah. I guess I did." He reached out to place a hand on his shoulder but Ben caught his hand in both of his own and leaned his face against his palm.
"I still love you, you know." He said, looking at him with teary eyes, face red and puffy from crying. "Do you?"
Poe gave a sigh and looked away. Ben crowded him against the wall again.
Poe shrugged and looked at him. "I always have."
Ben stared at him for a while before he leaned in and kissed him. He tasted of coarse salt and vodka. Poe parted his lips around the kiss, suckling on his bottom lip and inclined his head. He snaked a hand into his hair and held him against him and tried to write forgiveness with his lips. Ben pulled back first.
"Wanted to do that for some time." He told him, swaying slightly on his feet. "Long time."
"Me too." Poe said, smiling properly for the first time that night, feeling the words undo a knot in his chest.
Ben smiled at him, still swaying, before he turned away only to double over and throw up. Poe rushed to grab him by the waist, making sure he didn't tip over and hurt himself. He spent the rest of the evening in the bar's bathroom, holding up Ben's hair, softer and longer than he remembered, and rubbing comforting circles into his back.
"Come, let's take you home." Poe said as Ben finally stood up straight, no longer throwing up.
"Not ... home." Ben looked at him with watery eyes. "Please."
"Won't your parents worry?"
Ben shook his head. "I told them I was going to be out with my friends."
"Those six jocks who've been giving me a headache all night?" Poe gestured towards the bar with his thumb. "They're your friends?"
"At least they want me around." Ben said, looking like he wanted to argue further before he doubled over the toilet again and retched.
Poe sighed and pulled his hair back, his other hand placed casually on his waist. Ben stood up again and jabbed at the button so the toilet would flush.
"I do want you around, Ben." Poe told him as he turned around.
Ben made a non-committal noise in the back of his throat. "I wanna leave this place. Please." He replied, voice hoarse from bringing up bile for the better part of the past hour.
"Okay," Poe said, opening the door to the stall and letting them out. "My dorm's two blocks from here. I can call us a cab." He paused to look at him. "Do you still get motion sickness from cars?"
Ben nodded as he bent over the sink, splashing his face with water.
"You think you can walk?"
"I could try." Ben said and gargled, before spitting the water out and standing up once again.
"Works for me." Poe walked him out of the bathroom and deposited him in an empty chair. "Gimme a minute."
He returned with a bottle of water and smiled at him. "Let's go."
Ben frowned at the water bottle and stood up with difficulty. He was still swaying and Poe looped an arm around his waist to keep him upright. Ben threw his own arm around his shoulders and they set off slowly. They paused a block away and Ben bent over the dumpster in the corner to throw up twice more.
"I hate alcohol." He said, wiping the back of his hand over his mouth and grimacing.
"It's okay, babe." Poe said and handed the water bottle to him.
Ben blushed as he took the bottle from him. "Thanks, Poe," He said and gargled with a mouthful of water before spitting it out.
Poe finally made it to the dorm almost half an hour later, Ben looking peaky but no longer in danger of immediately throwing up. They slowly climbed the stairs to the room Poe shared with Finn. It was only then that Poe realised he had no idea what his roommate would think of him coming home with a clearly ill Ben. Finn was the inadvertent witness to their reunion three months ago and although he only knew the bare bones of Poe's history with Ben, he knew enough. Poe let go of Ben to unlock the door to the room he shared with Finn and was glad to find it empty. He deposited him on his bed and knelt down to pull off his boots.
"Where will you sleep?" Ben looked at him, as he leaned back on his elbows.
Poe shrugged. "I hadn't really thought about it. I might sleep in Finn's bed for the time being. I dunno when he's gonna be back. Or I could take the floor."
Ben chewed on his lip. "You could ... with me ... I won't mind."
Ben nodded. "But only if you want to."
Poe smiled again. "It's been so long since we did that."
"Please," Ben looked up at him with eyes that Poe was unable to resist since they were children whose only cares were scraped knees and growling stomachs.
He toed off his own shoes and crawled into bed with him.
"Sorry, bed's not made for two people." Poe told him, arm around his waist and face pressed up against his neck.
"S'good," Ben hummed and pushed back against him, wriggling to get closer.
Poe didn't know the last time he slept so peacefully. Finn hadn't returned during the night and Poe was relieved. He wasn't sure where he and Ben stood as far as their relationship was concerned and he didn't want Finn to witness more of this, whatever this was. They hadn't slept in the same bed since they were teenagers and the intimacy was at odds with their fight the night before. He raised his eyebrows in question at Ben. He got a groan in return.
"I am dying," Ben told him as he massaged his temples and squinted at the morning light.
"It's just a hangover, babe. Nothing I haven't dealt with a hundred times before."
Ben flushed and looked away and Poe was confused until he realised he'd called him babe again. He cleared his throat.
"You need comfort food. I know just the place."
Poe dragged him to the corner diner and to get him some nice breakfast food and make sure he was being taken care of properly.
"So?" Ben took a bite off his second grilled cheese sandwich, looking much better than he did when he had woken up.
"So?" Poe asked.
Ben chewed thoughtfully before looking at him. "So, what are we gonna do now?"
Poe inhaled deeply. "I'm gonna drop you off to your morning classes and then go off to attend my own lectures."
Ben made a face and went back to his food. Poe smiled at the clear disappointment in his face before he nudged his foot.
"I was also planning on picking you up after the classes. That is, if you still wanted to spend time with me."
Ben beamed up at him. "I do."
"Then I'll see you later today." Poe grinned, stealing one of his fries.
"We're not going to another bar though?" Ben looked at him, suddenly worried.
Poe laughed. "No, babe. Not a bar."
After that day, Poe and Ben took every opportunity they had to spend time together. Only this time they did it properly without involving two dozen other people as buffers. They had three whole years of catching up to do after all. Ben practically moved into Poe's room, crashing there whenever he could, much to the consternation of his parents. Leia and Han didn't disapprove of their relationship, seeing that the two of them had grown up together. However, they didn't approve of Ben staying nights at Poe's either. Poe settled for dropping off Ben at his house before eleven every night. He got used to Ben's constant eyerolling at his parents micromanaging his life. He also got used to Han eyeballing him every time he dropped Ben off with occasional cameos from Ben's Uncle Chew who lumbered over his boyfriend and was a foot taller than Poe. It didn't bother him though. He had Ben.
That lasted until Han and Leia learned that Poe's roommate Finn was dating Rey who just so happened to be Ben's Uncle Luke's daughter. Poor Finn was promptly roped in as a cockblock to much foot stamping and yelling from Ben. Poe knew his friend was much too sweet to decline in any case so he didn't think much of it. Even if it made him wish Finn would give them some breathing room. As reluctant as he was in the beginning, Finn was also too much of a man of his word. This meant that aside from a bit of kissing ('No tongue,' Finn said, causing Ben to flush lobster red from embarrassment) and some cuddles ('You keep your hands above his waist, Dameron,' Finn told him, and Ben groaned and curled up into Poe), they remained chaste.
Ben still spent occasional nights with him, especially when he had assignments due the next morning, the library being much closer to Poe's dorm than Ben's house. Poe enjoyed his company, what precious little he could get. Ben was still the same shy and awkward kid Poe had grown up with and he didn't want to push him or make him feel pressured. He was fine with what they had, too happy to have the love of his life back to complain about not getting laid. They had already made far too many missteps along the way. He wanted to do right by Ben and if that meant he had to wait, Poe was more than happy to do so.
It was surprising therefore when Ben managed to rope Rey in so they could get Finn to leave them alone for a night.
"You sure, babe?" Poe asked as Ben all but pushed him down on the bed.
Ben nodded, still shy and not quite meeting his eyes.
Poe surged forward to kiss him, soft but insistent, hands soothing down along his sides. It took him a while but Ben started to respond, lips seeking out Poe's, chasing kisses with his teeth and hands clenching at his arms like he was afraid Poe would leave if he let go. Little by little, the kiss became heated and soon they were clawing at each others' clothes, trying to reach as much skin as was possible.
"Oh yes, give it to me!" Ben arched and moaned under him.
Poe stopped in the process of undoing his belt and snorted.
"What?" Ben asked, face red and confused, flushing from the roots of his hair to the sharp jut of his collarbones.
"Babe," Poe said, tears in his eyes from trying to stop himself from laughing, "really?"
Ben flushed deeper and turned his head, mumbling an 'I hate you,' and looking away.
"It's cute." Poe told him, draping himself over his body. He peppered the side of Ben's face with kisses until he turned to look at him.
"I still hate you." Ben said, the corners of his mouth tugged up in a smile.
"Mmhmm," Poe hummed against his lips. "So you don't want me to give it to you?"
"Poe!" Ben shouted, flushing again and looking away, making him laugh once more.
Ben moaned loudly at every touch, so responsive, so perfect, Poe wanted to never let go of him. He was already falling hard and it occurred to him it was only the natural progression of their relationship. He had fallen in love with Ben before he even knew what love was. This consummation was just part of a process that began almost two decades ago. Ben's moans grew exponentially in loudness when Poe got them both naked. He began trailing kisses all over Ben's body, rubbing soothing hands over his skin, trying to savour the moment before the impending possibility of completion drove all conscious thoughts from their mind.
Ben writhed and squirmed under the touches, alternately moving into and away from Poe's lips as if he couldn't decide what he wanted. Poe's mouth trailed lower and the moment he wrapped a hand around him, Ben screamed. Poe slapped a hand over his mouth.
"We're in a dorm, babe."
Ben flushed, eyes hazy, but he nodded. Poe jerked them both off, as Ben stuffed his palm in his mouth. But the little keening noises that slipped past his lips made Poe want to envelop him in his arms and stay with him forever. He was so much in love, it was crazy.
They lay in bed after Poe cleaned them up, Ben nuzzling against him like a pale, four limbed octopus. He was all droopy eyes and loose limbs and babbling mouth, not quite able to string full words yet. Poe murmured benedictions of his own into his skin, and kissed and stroked his hair until he fell asleep.
The first time Poe went down on him, Ben screamed to the high heavens. He was kissing a trail along his spine as Ben gave little moans of delight underneath him. Poe nuzzled against the swell of his ass before parting his cheeks.
"P-Poe!" Ben yelped as Poe licked a stripe over his entrance.
He stopped immediately. "You okay, babe?"
"W-what are you doing?"
"You don't like it?" Poe pulled up so he could look him in the eyes.
Ben shook his head. "Yes, er no. I mean ... I-I do?"
"Feels weird?" Poe said.
Ben nodded, still not quite looking at him.
"Want me to stop?"
Ben shook his head before looking up at him with soft, brown eyes.
Poe took a deep breath and placed a hand on the side of his face. Ben leaned into the touch and he smiled at that.
"We don't have to do anything you don't 100% feel like doing. At all. I promise, okay?"
Ben looked abashed.
"Okay, how about we call a rain check on that and do something else you like?"
Ben gave a weak smile and nodded and Poe surged forward to kiss him before pausing.
"You don't mind me kissing you, right?"
"Poe," Ben rolled his eyes, affectionate and smiling, and kissed him.
Poe nudged him to roll over onto his back and took him into his mouth. Whatever embarrassment Ben was feeling, melted away into moans, groans and yes, dirty talk.
"Oh yeah! Suck me down! Like that! FUCK!"
Poe smiled around his length, one hand around the base of his shaft, stroking him in sync with his mouth.
"Ah, fuck, yes ... Oh yeah! Gonna use your mouth and make you swallow down my come!"
Poe snorted as he pulled off, choking on laughter instead of his boyfriend's dick.
"Poe, you stopped!" Ben whined, arching his back in frustration.
Poe shook his head. "It's nothing, babe."
Ben kicked at him. "You're still making fun of me. I hate you so much." Ben said. "It's all your fault, you know?"
"My fault?" Poe raised his eyebrows.
Ben nodded. "You make me feel so good, Poe. I ... I can't help it."
Poe grinned. "So does that mean I should continue?"
Ben whined again. "Pleeeeease!"
Poe wrapped his lips around him once again and Ben moaned his approval. He did swallow down his come but Ben was too turned on by then to say anything more than his name. Poe was delighted.
It wasn't an oddity either, Poe found.
Ben, whenever he was aroused enough, had a tendency to babble. A lot. And most of what he babbled made Poe laugh in amusement and adoration at his awkward dork of a boyfriend. The same awkward dork who blushed whenever Poe introduced them as boyfriends or put an arm around his waist in public. He was also very loud, very impatient and very much in need of cuddles after. All in all, every time they had sex, Poe loved him more. It didn't stop Poe from laughing at the dirty talk.
The first time Poe fucked him, Ben was screaming before he even entered him. Every thrust of his fingers inside made Ben mutter a new obscenity.
"Give me your fingers, Poe. Oh yes! Make me wet for you. Want to be dripping wet for your cock. Fucking fuck!"
Poe continued to prep him, eyes twinkling with laughter before he withdrew. He slicked up his cock, giving it a few strokes. He lined himself up against his entrance and pressed forward. Ben's body gave around him with a sinful moan and he wrapped his legs around Poe's waist.
"Fuck!" He gasped. "Fuck yes ... just ... split me open and stuff me. Fuck!"
Poe hid his face in the crook of his neck, shoulders shaking. There was a pause and then he felt a smack to the back of his head.
"Ow!" Poe said. "What was that for?"
"For laughing at me, asshole." Ben said, frowning at him in what he no doubt thought was a suitably irritated manner. Poe couldn't help but find it endearing.
"Babe," Poe said shaking his head. "It's cute when you talk like that. I can't help it."
Ben frowned again, bottom lip pushed out further and Poe leaned in to suck it into his mouth.
"It's not! It's not s'posed to be cute." Ben said as they broke the kiss.
"It is and so are you. Please don't stop."
Ben grimaced and turned away. "Asshole."
Poe rocked a little harder into him, causing Ben to gasp. "Yours or mine?"
"Fuck you, Dameron!" Ben said, blinking at him and frowning.
"Likewise, Solo." Poe said as he began moving again, hitching Ben's legs higher and whatever his boyfriend had to say next was lost in a litany of moans and sighs. Poe couldn't say he wasn't disappointed but he'd settle for fucking the speech out of his boyfriend. That was its own kind of cute.
It was fun growing closer in their intimacy. Fun too to watch his lover blossom under the attention, not as shy as he used to be. Ben was certainly more vocal about what he wanted and Poe was more than happy to do as he said. He also initiated more often and that made Poe's heart skip even more. The only downside was that the awkward dirty talking winded down too. Poe kinda missed it. Okay. He missed it a lot.
Rey sneaked Finn away again that night, laughing about a new movie that they just had to watch. His friend looked at him in resignation. Finn was slowly getting used to the fact that he had failed as far as chaperoning Ben's virginity was concerned.
Rey looked at them with a wide smile. "Use protection, Ben!"
"Rey!" Ben and Finn spoke at the same time while Poe laughed.
"What? You'd rather not use protection?" Rey asked with eyes that glittered with mischief.
"Please keep it on the down low. I know I've failed." Finn said, voice low and pained as if he truly was worried.
Poe thumped him on the back. "It's okay, I understand. I can't resist Ben's eyes either. Must run in the family."
Ben blushed and looked away.
"Take care." Finn told him.
"See you tomorrow." Poe replied.
Rey hugged Ben and walked away. "Use protection," came the loud shout from the hallway as the door closed behind Rey.
"She's the worst." Ben grumbled.
"Just like her cousin."
Ben elbowed him in the ribs. "You're the worst."
"Mmhmm," Poe nodded, wrapping his arms around his waist and pulling him flush against him. "How bad am I?"
Ben narrowed his eyes and leaned down to kiss him, biting at his lips. "Very bad."
Poe licked over his lips and pushed Ben towards the bed, unbuttoning his shirt in the process.
"Just very bad?" He asked, as he threw away Ben's shirt and pushed him down.
Ben looked up at him with a confused stare."Poe?"
"What?" Poe asked him, tongue sticking out the corner of his mouth.
"W-what," Ben cleared his throat, "what are you doing?"
"Seducing you." Poe said, straddling his hips.
Ben raised his hands to Poe's waist and gave him a soft smile.
Poe leaned in to kiss the sweetness off his lips and moaned. "Unless you had other plans for tonight?"
“Nope,” Ben smiled at him before kissing him back and they fell on the bed in a mess of tangled limbs.
Poe moved down his body and pulled his clothes off, kissing every new inch of skin that was revealed. He set them aside and traced his path upwards, kissing along the inside of his leg as Ben groped at him, fingers clenching in his hair, at the back of his neck, on his shoulders.
"This is my favourite kind of trench run." Poe said, as he kissed up his thigh, running his fingers down his sides.
A giggle of laughter escaped Ben as Poe watched him clench his eyes shut, trying his hardest to turn over and bury his face in the pillow. It wasn't easy, not when Poe covered his body with his own.
"Trench run? Really?" Ben asked.
Poe nodded with a grin, kissing his chin.
"I think you've been playing that StarFighter game too much."
"So you don't want me to go proton torpedo your exhaust port?"
"Poe, eww!" Ben said.
Poe laughed again. "What?"
"You made fun of me for ... for the things I said and now you're doing the same thing." Ben finished with a pout.
"Babe," Poe said, pressing a sloppy kiss on his lips, "I love when you talk like that."
"You laugh at me."
"And you're laughing at me now. Because it's funny and cute and I love you, you dork."
Ben stared at him, still looking dubious before he licked his lips and swallowed. "Would you, er, mind if I, er, want to ... um, fuck you?" Ben asked, blushing redder than a traffic light.
"Set all thrusters to full, you mean?"