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In his time with the Resistance so far, Finn has been debriefed, and debriefed, and debriefed, and pulled from debriefing for an impromptu intel consult in a series of meetings about something he was never given the details of, but which apparently benefited from a firsthand account of First Order ground combat doctrine, then debriefed some more. He has never talked so much in his entire life to date; he's chronically a little hoarse, but he's getting used to the sound of his own voice, and he thinks he could maybe also get used to this thing where when he talks, people listen like they're interested in more than just the facts, like they're interested in him , too.

Granted, it gets unsettling, the things that their faces will do when he mentions things that distress them – he's not really used to faces, and he's really not used to the lack of emotional control that some of them display. No First Order officer cadet would make Second Lieutenant without a better blank face than some of the top Resistance brass have. The first time he says something that really upsets Admiral Statura, it takes Finn a while to even recognize it, and at first he thinks Statura's sick or maybe injured, because it's just such an improbable reaction for an officer to be having, in a really pretty dry debriefing session about, of all things, basic cadet education.

But Finn wants to help, so Finn has talked and talked and kriffing talked, has answered the questions he's been asked as completely and in as much detail as he can manage.  He’s talked about tactical doctrine and physical readiness training and daily operational schedules on every base he was ever stationed at, and whatever else anybody wanted to know, and he will continue to do so for as long as the questions keep coming. He can do this – he's the only person they've got who can do this, and by that virtue he's better and more useful at it than he would be at any other thing they could possibly assign him to do. He's the expert , the best he can do is the best anyone could do, which would be more reassuring if he were sure that he’s doing it well , but kriff, he’s trying.

Nobody's thought to ask him about sex, though, other than Doctor Kalonia, who asked him a series of questions about it while she was doing a physical examination, fairly early on in his recovery. That was a weird conversation – his immunizations seemed comprehensive and up to date, but did he have any questions about sexual health or reproductive function? Would he like to speak to someone else about it, about relationships , about his emotions ? At the time, he had answered honestly – no questions, Ma'am, that won't be necessary, Ma'am – but now, in retrospect, he kind of wishes he'd taken her up on the 'talking to someone' thing, if only so that someone could have explained to him that Resistance rules about sex – he won't dignify them by even calling them regs – are an incomprehensible mess, and maybe given him some hints.

First Order regs were clear and simple – maintain good health and physical readiness through sexual activity as needed, within designated Recovery-shift hours, within prescribed parameters of personnel interaction. Easy, almost as easy as getting food at mess time. Whereas incredibly, as far as Finn can tell, there is no actual mandate for maintenance of sexual health in the Resistance's (lax! So lax!) physical readiness standard, and there is no set time or procedure for obtaining partners for non-solitary sexual practices. Which is not to say that nobody's doing it – far from it – but there is an obstructive and bewildering layer of unspoken rules and expectations standing between him and getting laid. Which is so frustrating , because Finn doesn’t have the first idea how to navigate that.

He's developed, in debriefings and out of them, a keen sense for which questions he can just ask and receive straightforward intel for – you need socks? See the quartermaster – and which he cannot just ask, because they will instead make people look at him and make faces and give him weirdly evasive, nonhelpful answers. Or, worse and more confusingly, an unexpected outpouring of sadness on his behalf, which is always excruciatingly awkward and sometimes makes people act weird around him for days afterward, and is to be avoided if at all possible. That sense tells him, in no uncertain terms, that questions about needing sex definitely fall into the second category, with a high risk of sad-faces and awkward reassurances and weirdness because almost anything about life in the Order is a high risk for that, and they're already weird about sex, he doesn't need to make it any weirder.

What's extra unhelpful and extra irritating, and the thing that pings that sense the hardest, is how, for weeks and weeks, people actively try to prevent him from gathering intel about how sex works here, unsubtly hushing each other when they notice him eavesdropping and changing the subject like they know he doesn't understand something or they think he doesn't know what they're talking about. This persists well past the point at which even the most suspicious of them have stopped bothering to police their language and their conversation of other subjects around him, like they've finally accepted that he's not going to run off and comm the First Order with all the thrilling details of the petty internecine feud between Supply and Ordnance, but he somehow still can’t be trusted with the great secret of who’s doing who this week, and where and when, and who’s unhappy about it and why. They eventually relax about that too, and it gets easier to listen in, but there's still a very clear sense that everybody thinks he knows even less than he does, and they're not filling him in on purpose.

In spite of this, he's gathered that some level of friendship or personal acquaintance is a usual prerequisite, though how much friendship varies wildly. That stands to reason, there's a lot more scope allowed for social attachments here, and people value them and prioritize them in ways that make it really, really obvious why the First Order had such strict parameters for them. Some people prioritize those attachments so strongly that they insist on picking just one other person to have sex with, which seems like it could have some upsides if you picked right, but mostly just strikes Finn as lonely and a little bit selfish. Some people seem to take a more practical approach – the pilots and their extended social circle, notably, seem to take care of their own pretty well, in a variety of combinations – but they also have extremely high unit cohesion, pathologically so by First Order standards, and Finn's not sure how they'd take to an outsider.

The day it dawns on him what all the circumspection is about, he could just about scream. They think 'troopers are celibate, he realizes. They think he's never had sex. They think he doesn't – or didn't, until just recently – know what sex is. He can forgive himself for taking so long to work it out, he decides almost immediately, because really? Really? Not that he's going to open that particular conversation anyway, for all the same reasons as before, but health concerns aside, he's honestly afraid to ask what they thought the Order was doing to keep a captive population of thousands upon thousands of healthy, sexually-mature humans from fucking each other, or why they'd even want to – surely, logistically, it would be much harder to prevent it? He sometimes gets the sense that he could tell these people anything about the Order, however implausibly, impractically awful, and they'd believe every word of it.

It's all deeply frustrating, and he was trying to figure it out on his own, really he was, but at this point he's ready to admit defeat.  He gives up, it’s just too bizarre, it's all a kriffing mystery and he's definitely going to ask Poe about it. If – when, probably when, but you never know, and Finn's trying not to think like that but it's hard – Poe comes back, of course. Poe is an especially egregious maker of faces, some of them extremely stricken and tragic-looking, but he doesn't let the face-making prevent him from also giving good, clear, complete answers to face-making questions, and he doesn't seem to mind being asked. Finn would ask Poe about pretty much everything, all the time, because he's all that and also funny , but Poe's also busy and in high demand socially, and is often off-base for days or weeks at a stretch.

“Finn?” Snap says one day over noon mess. Poe is still in the field, has been in the field for the better part of three standard weeks on an open-ended intel crawl through the Renthal system and environs, though he's supposedly expected back anytime now. Finn has been quiet, dividing his attention between keeping an ear out for the shrill of snubfighter engines and watching the people at his table – mostly pilots and a few mech techs, one or two analysts – and struggling as usual to divine the Great Secret of Sex in the Resistance from the interactions around him, and when he notices that Snap's saying his name, Snap sounds like he's been saying it for a while.

“Sorry, Snap. What is it?”

Snap's looking pretty serious, and Karé's sitting next to him ( right next to him – are they? Finn doesn't think so, he's pretty sure Snap has one or more – a small number of? – permanent partners, none of them even on this planet, what the hell ) and she's also looking fairly solemn.

“Poe's a good friend,” Snap says, and Finn nods, because, well, obviously , and waits for Snap to get to the point. Economy of speech is another thing that Resistance people apparently don't believe in when they're off-duty, and sometimes even when they're on-duty. It's mostly a good thing, all that informality makes talking fun – Finn will never, ever get sick of listening to Poe talk, especially when Poe's drunk – except for times like this, when it's intensely annoying. Also sometimes words mean entirely different things here, but that's mostly a separate issue.

“You like Poe – we all like Poe,” Snap goes on, “but we thought – ”

You thought, Snap,” Pava cuts in, mid sentence, from the midst of a completely different conversation with Nerro and Connix (Finn's pretty sure they're fucking, in one or more combinations, but possibly not this week). “Don't put words in my mouth.”

Karé and I thought that we should probably give you the, uh, the traditional warning. Because you seem like you might be sweet on Poe – ”

Sweet on , that's one of those possibly-sexual friendship terms. Finn sets his fork down and pays closer attention.

“Shut up, Snap, you're terrible at this,” Karé says, and leans closer across the table, not-accidentally shouldering Snap as she does so.

“It's totally normal to have a crush on Dameron,” she says bluntly. “And the good news is that you'll probably get your chance if you want it, but the bad news is that you'll have to share with, like, half the base. He, uh. He has a lot of friends, and he sleeps with a lot of people, but he doesn't really do romance. So if you're looking for someone to, you know, figure some stuff out with, give it a try, well. I thought someone ought to tell you before you got your hopes up.”

She says something else, about how Poe is a wonderful, devoted friend and a genuine sweetheart despite also being kind of an ass, but Finn doesn't really listen, because for one thing, of course he is, and for another, he has just been presented with the solution to his problems.

“Thanks, Karé,” Finn says, and smiles, grins, because seriously, she has just done him such a favor , and he didn't even have to ask. “That's good to know.”

“Do you, uh – you understand what Karé's telling you, right?” Snap says, looking worried and confused, and Finn can't help himself.

“What Karé's telling me is that I'm finally going to get laid,” Finn says, and then he has to laugh, because whatever it is, the look on Snap's face is amazing . Karé smiles too, a little uncertainly, but Pava's laughing with him. She turns around in her seat and reaches over to slap Finn on the shoulder.

“Attaboy, Finn!” she says. “Twenty credits, Snap.”

“I never took that bet,” Snap says, “because that would have been crass , Testor.” Their entire end of the table descends into bickering over whether the apparent crassness of betting on Finn's sex life outweighs the acceptability of betting on Poe's, and whether it's grounds for apology and if so, by whom. Finn ignores it all – it’s good intel on sexual norms and how to talk about them, probably, but he has a plan now – and finishes his meal and extracts himself, smiling and nodding his thanks at a mildly concerned-looking Karé as he goes.

***

Seventy-seven standard hours and three local solar days later, Poe is still not back, and Finn is ready to crawl out of his own skin. This is why routine sexual activity is a mandatory element of physical maintenance, he thinks; if they'd been this kriffing frustrated back in the barracks, half of them would've done reco for indiscipline.

He's frustrated enough to mention this in passing to Pava, who has been even more sociable than usual since dinner the other night. She's probably trawling for intel, angling to lay more bets, but he likes chatting with her – she's not much of a face-maker, usually, except in the line of wide grins and raised eyebrows, and he's heard more, and more detailed, gossip in the last five shifts than in the preceding month. It seems germane to the conversation, because she's griping about catching infantry trainees sneaking into the hangars to fuck, but when he says it, her eyebrows go way up and she doesn't grin at all.

“So you had, what, mandatory hookups?” she says, sounding somewhere between incredulous and impressed.

“It was a standard part of the Recovery shift,” Finn says, and shrugs. He hadn't really intended to say it, but he did, and at least she's taking it well. “There wasn't a mandatory weekly requirement or anything, but it was monitored, and you could get a reprimand if your conduct or physical readiness was deemed to be impacted.”

Pava – Jess, she told him to call her Jess – blinks at him.

“That's – wow. I would never have – I was assuming drugs. Just – a lot of drugs.”

Finn snorts.

“That's so impractical, though,” he says. “And counterproductive!”

“Counterproductive?” Jess's eyebrows are still up.

“Regular sexual contact is good for cohesion, and, uh, I guess you'd call it morale? Seriously, I have no idea how any of you deal with the whole – ” he gestures vaguely. “All the messing around, trying to figure out who, and how, and when, and whatever. I've been trying to work it out for months!”

Jess is making a really weird face now, but a net-positive one as far as Finn can tell.

“ ... Tell you what, Finn,” she says, slowly. “If you do me a favor and hold off on explaining this to anyone else until exactly the right time, I'll cut you in on all the bets I'm going to win. We are going to make so much money .” She grins, and Finn grins with her.

“You're on,” he says.

“No,” she tells him, very severe. “Don't just agree like that. You say you want sixty percent.”

“Sixty percent,” he says, humoring her, and she scowls.

“Forty,” she says, and winks at him.

“Fifty-fifty split, or no deal,” he tells her, catching on, and she grins.

“Much better.”

***

“So Poe has sex with a lot of people?” Finn asks Jess after late-shift mess the next day, ever so slightly against his better judgment. Poe's still not back, and apparently he hasn't missed any check-ins so nobody's officially worrying, but Finn can't seem to avoid thinking about it. Jess is also looking a little glum – if Poe were here, he'd be on this same shift and going off-duty with them now, and the table is quiet without him – but she smirks, and rises to the subject with a good will.

Oh yeah. I mean, a lot of the pilots kind of sleep around, with each other or with whoever, so that's pretty normal. A few of us were at the Fleet Academy together, and we're all pretty close, and it's a morale thing, you know? Risky business, don't want to waste time you don't have, might as well have fun. And it's kind of a cultural thing too, I guess, for combat pilots – young, pretty, talented, dangerous job – some people are into that, and hey, if they're offering, might as well, right?” Jess's flask gurgles a little as she takes a quick pull, chin tipped high. “You want?” she says, offering, and Finn shakes his head. He's not much of one for liquor in the first place, and Jess usually drinks some stuff from her homeworld that tastes like weird flowers and solvent and makes Finn's tongue itch.

“But anyway, Poe,” she says, tucking the flask away again. “To hear Kun and Arana tell it, he was already like that at the Academy, and the whole pilot thing only encouraged him. And it's a pretty small base here, not a lot of options compared to, say, Hos – uh, a developed world. Karé was maybe exaggerating some, about how many people want a piece of him, but it's not like I need to explain to you why people would.” She shrugs. “So, like, generally speaking everyone gets some who wants some. If you're looking for a fuck, or, I don't know, some pointers on how to cultivate a really robust network of fuckbuddies, you could do a lot worse than asking him.”

“That's kind of the plan,” Finn admits, and Jess grins and tilts her head in almost, almost the exact way that would mean 'see, I'm right' if she were a 'trooper, with a 'trooper's body language. It's a total coincidence, it's gotta be, but it's nice anyway, and Finn grins back, feeling warm and vindicated.  This is all good intel, this is the kind of straightforward explanation he’s been wishing someone would provide, and Jess isn’t acting any weirder than she ever does.  It’s great .

“And it's not like it's any kind of secret,” Jess goes on. “Not everyone has done him – some of us are in his actual chain of command, for one thing, and statistically, not everybody can even want to, right? But I swear, every person on this base has some kind of improbable anecdote about the time they claim to have caught Dameron at it. Statura swears – you have to get him really drunk first, he's professional like that – but he swears he spotted him leaving the General's quarters at, like, kriff-everything-hundred hours one time, possibly with no shirt on? He was vague on the shirt thing. I mentioned he was drunk.”

It's possible that Finn chokes on his tongue, just a little. Jess smirks at him.

“Solo was on-base at the time,” she adds, and wiggles her eyebrows. “But that's just the wild-ass rumor. In the hangars, under people's desks, in the fresher block – that's, well, probably also mostly rumor, but I dunno, some of it's pretty well-corroborated. He keeps it to off-hours, and also he's, you know, Poe Kriffing Dameron, snubfighter ace of the Resistance, so the brass doesn't really care. The ones who aren't supposedly fucking him, I mean,” she adds, and quirks a wicked little smirk. “How have you not heard about this?”

“Wait, don't tell me,” she adds, when Finn opens his mouth to complain, at length, about how everyone seems to think he's naïve and sexless. “Nobody told you, because they thought you wouldn't understand, because they think stormtroopers are celibate.” The corner of her mouth quirks, some complicated amused-disgusted-apologetic hybrid without a trace of pity in it. Finn likes Jess' faces, he’s decided.

“Joke's on them, right?” Finn says, but further conversation is forestalled by the proximity alert, which makes them both startle and jump to their feet. They face each other across the table for a long moment while they realize that they're both off-shift and neither of them needs – or is even allowed, barring a state of actual verifiable emergency – to do anything about it.

“Kriff,” Jess says, and sits down again, a little unsteadily. “I hate it when it's not my problem.”

Finn sits down opposite her again; around them, the mess settles deliberately back into its seats, or goes to get more caf, or starts making conversation again, determinedly casual. Moments later, the all-clear sounds, and everyone palpably relaxes as the comm clicks on over the speakers.

“Unscheduled hyperspace reentry, one craft, confirmed friendly,” Nerro's voice says, professionally calm but sounding pleased. “Positive ID, callsign Black Leader. Cleared to land, strip one.”  A quiet cheer goes up, and Jess pulls out her flask again. This time, Finn takes the sip she offers, and it's not her weird Dandoranian shit after all, it's just the moonshine that Twei makes in the maintenance hangar, which also burns like cleaning solvents but in an oddly satisfying way, and doesn’t taste of anything else.

When the engine noise gets loud, Finn and Jess walk out to Hangar One together. Jess only sticks around long enough to give Poe a hug and a slap on the back, and the grin she shoots Finn as she walks away is all teeth and dimples and innuendo (Finn is getting better at Jess' faces, he thinks, or maybe it’s just the liquor). Poe's in civilian clothes, not recently laundered, and he's grimy and tired-looking and smells like stale sweat and recirc'd air and, worryingly, like bacta, but he's on his feet and he looks like he's okay. His grin when he sees Finn lights up his whole face, and the hug he gives is rib-crackingly enthusiastic, if a little smelly. BB-8 collides gently with the backs of Finn's legs, warbling something that Finn still can't parse other than his own designation and a greeting.

“Good to have you back, buddy,” Finn says, and Poe releases him, steps back, still grinning bright as laserfire.

“Good to be back,” he says, and rakes both hands through his helmet-matted hair, expression caught somewhere between pleasure and disgust. “Gotta make my reports, but then I'm off-duty if you want to – ” His voice cracks around a yawn.

“If I want to what, watch you sleep?” Finn says, laughing a little. “Go debrief, go to medbay, go to the ‘ freshers , and sleep for ten hours. I'll see you at breakfast.”

Poe's smile dims a little, but he nods.

“Okay, okay, fine. Killjoy.”

BB-8 says something too, and nudges Poe in the shins; Poe scowls dramatically.

“Yes, fine, I know,” he says, mock-exasperated, and raises a hand in farewell as he heads away toward the command center.

Finn watches him go, walking stiff-legged from the cockpit and favoring his left side ever so slightly. BB-8 peeps at him.

“If you're telling me he'll probably try to skip medbay, I knew that,” Finn says. “You go recharge, I'm on it.”

Finn's not about to just loiter around Command while Poe does his top-secret, ears-only reports, but Finn does know that Poe will not, in fact, go to bed after that; he'll head to the mess, probably instead of medbay, so that's where Finn sets up his stakeout. He spends a pleasant couple of hours at the inevitable, perpetual sabacc game, mostly just watching and chatting, though he does let them deal him in for a round or two of no-ante between games. It's a longer wait than he expected, and when Poe finally does turn up, he's washed and changed (and, mercifully, shaved), and when he waves a greeting from the doorway, his shirt hem lifts just enough that Finn can spot the edge of a fresh bacta patch on his hip. There's the predictable buzz of greetings, but it's late now and the mess is even emptier than it was earlier, really just the sabacc players and a scattered handful of people sitting alone with their datapads, so it dies down pretty quickly.

Poe ambles over to the sabacc table and crowds in next to Finn, but when they offer to deal him in he waves it away.

“Just watching,” he says, and proceeds to do a pretty good impression of being merely relaxed while actually dozing off by inches where he sits, not quite slumping so much as just subtly leaning more and more into Finn's side.

“Okay, go to bed,” Finn tells him, when his jaw-flexing stealth yawns become so unsubtle that Finn cannot continue to ignore them. Finn stands up, and Poe actually does sway sideways a little where Finn was propping him up, and he turns a bleary-eyed look of betrayal on Finn.

“Up you get, Dameron,” Finn tells him, sternly as he can manage, and Poe scowls, but he lets Finn haul him to his feet and says his goodnights.

Poe seems to wake up a bit once he's on his feet, but he's clearly exhausted and the walk back to his quarters is quiet. When he stops in the doorway, his eyes are clear and alert, but when he says “Want to come in?” something, fatigue and some nameless grimness, crosses his face, and it's utterly, entirely clear that it's not a proposition. Which, good , Poe clearly needs to rest and possibly heal, but if he wants company Finn is happy to provide it.  If they hadn't been in the mess, Finn would have been perfectly happy to let Poe fall asleep on him.

“All right,” Finn says, and nods, and Poe smiles and steps back to let him in. Poe's quarters are dark – lights at maybe ten percent, plus BB-8 charging in a corner – and a little musty after being closed up in Poe's absence, and no bigger than they ever were, just big enough for a bunk and a shelving unit and a couple of standard stowage crates, one in use as intended, one doing duty as a table by the head of the bunk. Poe sits down on the bed, moving a little slowly, a little stiff, breath sighing out of him as the mattress takes his weight, and Finn perches on the stowage crate at the foot of the bed.

“I'm fine,” he tells Finn, unprompted, when he looks up and finds Finn looking at him. “It's mostly just a bruise.”

“Uh huh,” Finn says easily, not arguing, though he knows all about just how 'mostly just bruised' you have to get to limp like that, even with bacta. “How about you lie down and let that rest?”

Poe sits forward instead, elbows on knees, and rubs at his scalp.

“I'm not – I never sleep right, the first night back,” he says, slightly muffled by the posture. “I'm tired – kriff, am I tired – but I'm gonna be awake every ninety minutes anyway, so I'm not exactly in a hurry. It's fine,” he adds, anticipating Finn's reply before Finn has even finished deciding what to say. “I'll sleep terribly tonight and better tomorrow, and I'll be back to normal by the time my rest rota's up.” He sits up again, then kicks his boots off and lies down carefully on the bed, on top of the covers. “You can take off if you want to, I'm not going to be good company. Or – tell me anything. How's base been? Tell me all the gossip.”

“Nobody tells me the gossip,” Finn protests, though that's at least a partial lie these days. He knew he was missing a lot, but he hadn't realized how much of the scuttlebutt he still wasn't picking up on until Jess started telling him. He smiles and settles himself on his seat, slouching a little, getting comfortable – no comportment standards, what a concept. “But I'll tell you what I did hear...”

***

Finn steps out into the half-lit corridor an hour later, and leaves a hand on the jamb so that the door stops short and slides the last inch with a slow, soft hiss instead of a sharp snick. Poe's asleep, just, curled on his side, tense and restless and occasionally muttering to himself, reacting to noises but not actually awake, and Finn figured he'd better get to bed before Poe startled himself awake and found Finn sitting there watching him – that freaked Finn right out any number of times in medbay, blinking his way back to consciousness to find someone standing over him, and who even knows where Poe's been sleeping recently? When Finn looks up from the door, he sees one of the pilots, the one with the eyes – Arana, right – coming down the hallway. Finn gives him a friendly nod and gets a nod in return and an unreadable look, but it's late and the bunk-block corridor is no place for conversation at this hour, so Finn elects not to worry about it and goes to bed.

Poe's late to mess in the morning, which is not unusual, especially considering his recent mission and his late return. When he does turn up, he doesn't sit with Finn, which is also not unusual; everybody likes Poe, and Poe seems to like everybody in turn, so he shares himself out between them. In more ways than one, Finn thinks, a little smug with the satisfaction of knowing something useful, of having a plan. He has a rest day, there's plenty of time. He'll catch up with Poe later, he thinks, and goes to sit under his favorite tree with his datapad. Jess gave him a full set of some holodrama that she claimed to be done with; she didn't mention and he didn't point out that it's set on Hosnian 2, but it's pretty good, kind of a comedy-drama about a small town, and apparently it was actually made on Arvash, which helps in a weird way. Probably it helps more that Finn had never seen, let alone visited, or even ever really had cause to think of the Hosnian system prior to its destruction; it doesn't feel quite real, destroyed or not, and the show is funny anyway.

But Poe doesn't even say hello at midshift mess, and he doesn't turn up at evening mess at all. He's not in any of the public rec spaces, he's not in the hangars, he's not logged leaving base premises, he's not in his quarters or in the dusty little supply closet that's allegedly his office, and when Finn comms him, he doesn't answer. When Finn asks, BB-8 just gives a noncommittal wobble and a piping little whistle that clearly translates to 'eh, dunno.'

“You're no help,” Finn tells BB-8, who beeps cheekily at him and goes low-power on the charging pad in the hangar. “Beep beep yourself,” he adds, just to have the last word, and, at a loose end, goes back to the mess to see if he can scrounge anything, or at least find some company.

The kitchen is empty, except for a lone cook wiping down the last of the countertops, and also – predictably – Poe, who's perched alone in a back corner, hunched over a plate and a datapad. He startles badly when Finn comes up alongside him, head snapping up, eyes comically wide, hand slapping reflexively at the datapad on the counter as if to grab it and – what, run with it? Use it as a weapon?

“Sorry, sorry,” Finn says, hands raised placatingly. “Didn't mean to startle you. Sorry, I just – I'll go.”

“No, it's okay,” Poe says, and the smile he puts on even looks mostly real, so Finn leans against the counter, settling himself. Poe looks maybe a little less tired than he did, but there's still something weary in the lines of his face, the slope of his shoulders. He pushes away from the counter and stands, picking up his plate, and he scrapes what's left of it into the composter, slides the plate and utensil into the sterilizer.

“Take a walk with me?” Poe asks, hesitating by the door, and he doesn't seem unhappy about it, exactly, but something's clearly bothering him.

“Sure,” Finn says, and follows Poe out. Poe heads out of the building and away toward the hangars, saying nothing, not hurrying, just walking, quiet and oddly awkward.

“Six different people told me I oughta talk to you today,” Poe says, when they've rounded the far corner of the maintenance hangar. He doesn't say it like he's expecting a response, so Finn waits him out. “Well, five different people and also Testor, who just made faces at me,” Poe continues, “and Iolo won't – won't spend time with me, and neither will Davra. So what the hell happened?”

“I ran into Arana last night, leaving your quarters,” Finn says, and shrugs. “I guess he assumed something.” Poe groans.

“I told him – ” Poe starts, and then cuts himself off. “Never mind.” He's quiet for another six paces, a dozen, twenty.

“Also, Snap and Karé tried to warn me about your reputation a few days ago,” Finn volunteers, and Poe actually stops walking to stare at him.

“Kriff,” he says. “Finn, I, uh – ”

“Which was weird,” Finn continues, “but also helpful, because I haven't had sex since I got here, and I'm definitely interested if you are.”

Whatever Poe was expecting, it clearly wasn't that, because the face he makes is spectacular . Which is funny, but not necessarily a positive result.

“Um,” Finn says. “I'm sorry, that was probably rude of me? Talking about sex is usually rude, I guess, except when it's not, but nobody explains the rules for these things, so I have to guess.”

Poe blinks at him.

“I think you’d better explain from the beginning,” he says.

***

“So clearly,” Finn says, some time later, “everyone thinks I'm totally ignorant or inexperienced, and Snap and Karé were trying to save me from getting my feelings hurt, but to be honest, it just seems, I don't know, weirdly selfish and kind of impractical to only have sex with one other person. And right now I have a lot of friends and no sex at all, so if you'd be interested in being friends and also having sex, or if you could maybe suggest someone else I could have sex with, or explain the rules, or even just give me some pointers, or all of the above, I'd. Um. I'd appreciate the help.”

“You're sure?” Poe says, after a long pause, and Finn nods.

So sure,” he says, overeager even to his own ears, and Poe laughs.

“In that case,” Poe says, “I think we should go back to my quarters.”

“Yes please ,” Finn says, and this time they both laugh.

***

It's all off to a very good start, Finn thinks – he knew asking Poe was a good idea, he should've done it weeks ago – but once they're in Poe's quarters with the door closed, Poe's still surprisingly reticent.

“Really?” Poe says, not quite incredulous but still skeptical, when, after some sweet but frankly unsatisfying kissing, Finn puts a tentative hand on his lower back, just above his belt. “They really let you – ?” and hell, Finn was trying to start slow, feel this out, be polite , but if Poe's going to read it as incompetence, well. Now is not, is not the time for explanations which will inevitably delay having sex and probably make Poe upset, so Finn just shrugs and presses further into Poe's space, rests his hands gently on Poe's hips, careful of the alleged bruise under its bacta pack.

“Why is that so hard for people to believe? They didn't starve us, either,” he says, and whether it's the words that do the trick or the hand that Finn slides up under the hem of Poe's shirt, Poe drops the subject. He's still weirdly hesitant, though, like he's not sure that Finn is sure, like he's waiting to see what Finn will do, whether Finn really wants this. Which is a pain, because this is supposed to be collaborative , that's the point , and Finn is entirely out of patience for careful kisses and gentle, polite hands-above-the-waist touching.

Poe's eyes go wide when Finn presses him back onto the bunk and straddles him, and he makes a noise in his throat that's the first really satisfying reaction Finn's gotten out of him so far, so Finn presses the advantage, bearing down. Poe wants to kiss? Finn can work with that, kisses him hard and hot and thorough and finally, finally gives in to curiosity and rakes a hand through Poe's nonregulation mess of hair. Poe takes the hint and pushes back, gives as good as he's getting.

Poe likes to kiss, as Finn discovers almost immediately. From what he's gathered, it may or may not have some kind of emotional or symbolic significance, but Finn's not going to worry about that right now; purely on the basis of 'sensitive flesh plus sensitive flesh equals mutual stimulation' it's pretty great, and even if it weren't, he'd put up with a lot worse to be where he is now, which is half-sprawled on Poe's bunk with Poe under him, letting Poe kiss the breath out of him and mostly keeping up with him on that front while his hands wander under Poe's shirt.

It's odd to be starting from fully-clothed – still a little odd to be wearing so many different things in the first place – but it's a good odd. It feels inefficient in the best possible way, a luxurious waste of time. There's no designated timeframe for this; if they want to spend an hour just rolling around in bed feeling each other, nobody's going to stop them. The freedom of it is compelling, and it makes Finn more patient than he thought he'd be, right up until Poe gets a thigh between his and shifts, and okay, no, inefficiency is definitely overrated. The noise Finn makes must be funny, because Poe huffs a laugh that Finn feels more than hears, and he moves again. This time, Finn actually tries to roll away from him, because it's too soon, he's not ready yet; sure, he’s frustrated , it’s been forever , but he’s here now, it’s happening, and he’d like to enjoy it. Poe grabs his hip and rolls with him, onto him, and all Finn can do is lie there and gasp up at him.

“If you come now, can you go again?” Poe asks, and Finn nods, beyond words, because yes , definitely yes, he can do that, no problem, and then Poe's dragging teeth down the side of his neck and opening the placket of Finn's pants one-handed, wrong-handed, and when he finds Finn's cock, it's over almost immediately.

Kriff ,” Finn pants, when his vision clears. “That was – thanks. What can I do for you?” Poe laughs, low and smug.

“Catch your breath first,” he suggests, and Finn groans.

“At least take your shirt off,” he says. It’s already rucked up around Poe’s ribs, where Finn’s hands were and still are; Poe grins and squirms the rest of the way out of it, dragging one-handed at the hem until he can duck through the open collar and struggling to free his arms from the sleeves. Finn doesn’t bother helping him, just takes the opportunity to run his hands over more of Poe, who scowls at him.

“I see how this is,” he says. “No help at all, you just want to feel me up.”

“Like that's a real complaint,” Finn returns, and curls up just a little so he can drag his own shirt off and toss it after Poe's, then lets himself fall back onto the mattress and stretches a little, just to feel the echo of pleasure in his body. Poe watches him do it, and Finn watches the look of undisguised appreciation on Poe's face and grins even wider. This is fun ; he's getting the appeal, now, he thinks, of doing it slow and friendly and inefficient, with somebody you like specifically. Poe's got a hand on his own cock, not really doing much, just kind of idly pressing through his pants while he watches Finn and waits, and that's no good at all, Finn is slacking . Finn shoves at Poe's hip until he lets Finn up, then swings his legs off the edge of the bunk and kneels there, and reaches over to grab one of Poe's knees.

“You don't have to – ” Poe starts to say, and Finn rolls his eyes obviously enough that Poe actually shuts up.

“I want to,” Finn says anyway, just to drive the point home, just in case. “Unless you want something else.” The look on Poe's face is self-explanatory; he scoots over and sits himself on the edge of the bunk, feet on the floor, and Finn scrambles to get between his knees the moment he's kicked his way out of his trousers.

This , Finn knows how to do, as surely as he knows how to field-strip and reassemble an F-11D (blindfolded, under thirty seconds, though the analogy's admittedly not perfect). Finn is good at this and he wants Poe to know it, wants to wipe the look of slight trepidation right off of Poe's face, and also, kriff, Finn has missed this, missed sex – has missed, too, the satisfaction of knowing that he's good at what he's doing, he's prepared, he's got this. Not that cocks are standardized, exactly – Poe's, for one, looks a little different than he's used to, some extra skin – but they all work within a fairly predictable range of parameters, and it's really not that difficult to figure them out on the fly.

The noise Poe makes when Finn takes the head of his cock in his mouth isn't quite a surprise – it's loud, borderline out-of-reg, but then, there aren't even regs for that here, Finn checked – and it's gratifying to hear the reaction. Detailed feedback improves performance, Finn thinks, a little amused – it's a slogan from training – and puts his hands on Poe's ass, encouraging him closer to the edge of the bed. Poe works with him, goes one better, even, inches forward until he's propped right on the edge of the bedframe and drops back on his elbows, getting out of the way so Finn can get over him, giving him room to work.

It's also nice because Finn can glance up now and then to appreciate the shift and tremble of muscle in Poe's abdomen as he works, and also the sight of Poe's face, tense with sensation and openly appreciative. Poe's noisy, though it's mostly ragged breath and little cut-off nnh s and ah s, and the occasional yeah or kriff or Finn , and all right, the soundproofing is decent and the room is private and it's just the two of them, and yeah, Finn's starting to see the point of making some noise. He goes down further, hard and steady, curls two fingers under to stroke just behind Poe's balls, and Poe lets out an extraordinary hhhaaah noise and goes rigid , cock twitching in Finn's mouth, hips absolutely still, and out of the corner of his eye Finn sees Poe's fists tighten where he's gripping the bedclothes. Finn would look smug if he could; instead, he slows down, dragging it out now that he knows what's going to work.

“Actually,” Poe pants, hoarsely, “could you – hhh! ” Finn eases off a little more, lets him talk. “D'you mind – fingers? There's – stuff, box under the bunk.” And yes, definitely, Finn can do that, though he does have to take his mouth off Poe while he finds the supplies. Poe goes slack when he does, relaxing, letting the weight of his body hang from his braced arms, letting his knees fall farther apart as the tension goes out of his hips and thighs. He looks – good, Finn decides, after a moment's pause, in which all the words that his mind suggests are somehow negative: lax, lazy, slack. Lazy in a good way, maybe, like the kissing. An indulgence, an inefficiency, not just a necessity.

Finn drags his gaze away and turns his attention to sorting through the box. Various weird miscellany, an assortment of hygiene barriers, cleansing wipes. A whole array of lubricants, and Finn blinks.

“Which – ?” he starts, glancing up, and finds Poe grinning down at him.

“Blue bottle,” he says, and yeah, wow, that's – extremely slick, and it doesn't get any stickier when Finn rubs it experimentally between his fingers. The standard-issue stuff he's used to was formulated to break down and wipe away easily under the shipboard sonics; this feels like it'll probably take some kind of surfactant to get rid of, and probably scrubbing.

Finn goes slow to start, cautious, because this kind of thing can be detrimental to readiness if you're not careful, but Poe has other ideas about it, shifts his hips and bears down impatiently.

“Come on,” he gripes, when Finn backs off instead of cooperating, “c'mon, it's fine, hurry up,” and all right, fine, if Poe's going to insist – Finn eases two fingers into him, still slower than Poe would apparently prefer but enough to forestall any actual complaint, and when he crooks them experimentally and presses with his thumb, Poe swears loudly and his cock twitches in Finn’s other hand.

“Yeah?” Finn asks, a little nonsensically, and gets more or less nonsense in reply but generally approving nonsense, so he kneels up and gets his mouth back on Poe's cock, works hand and tongue together in counterpoint to the careful slide and press of his fingers, and Poe gasps and shakes and swears breathlessly.

Flatteringly soon, he's panting “Kriff, Finn, 'm gonna – ” Finn backs off, and Poe groans, says “No, c'mon, don't just – kriff, Finn, please, I just – ” and cuts off with a hiss when Finn gives him a careful stroke.

“Maybe I'm not done with you yet,” Finn says, and knows he's grinning insufferably, though Poe's head is back and his eyes aren't open to see it. He strokes again, twists his wrist a little, and Poe arches, groans. Brings his head up, with great apparent effort, and scowls at Finn.

“Maybe I'm having fun ,” Finn says, and it's true, he is, because maybe this is about readiness, a little, but it's certainly not about efficiency, and it's definitely about them specifically, Finn and Poe, and about how Finn's discovering that winding Poe up like this makes heat coil in his own belly too, well beyond the ordinary kick of shared arousal. Finn's hard again, just from seeing Poe like this, making Poe want like this. So yeah, fun, and Finn's not ready to stop, unless – unless Poe really wants him to, he doesn't want to do anything that Poe doesn't want.

“Five more minutes?” Finn suggests, and Poe groans from the pit of his belly and flops back onto the bunk.

“If you can drag this out another five minutes, you can have 'em, but I'm not promising anything,” he says, and shuts up abruptly, stifling himself, when Finn gets back to work.

Finn manages to make it three, almost four by the chrono beside the bed before Poe goes rigid and trembling, hips lifting off the bedframe despite Finn's arm across them, makes an incoherent noise of warning, and comes spectacularly, hips snapping, damned near spraining Finn's fingers in the process. Finn stays down, works him through it, gentling his fingers and his tongue but not letting up until Poe musters the wherewithal to reach out and shove weakly at his shoulder. Finn disengages as gently as he can and grabs a wipe from the box on his way up – it does a decent job on the lubricant, actually, so when he joins Poe on the bunk he has clean hands to stroke through Poe's sweat-damp hair. Poe turns his head into the touch, and he opens his eyes like it's difficult.

“Kriffing hell, Finn,” he rasps, and Finn, surveying the sweaty, boneless sprawl of Poe's body, kind of has to agree. Damn, he's good. Poe's blinking up at him slowly, heavy-lidded, openmouthed, dazed and a little glassy-eyed. “Kriff, Finn,” he says again, and swallows, wets his lips. “I gave you, like, the most lackadaisical handjob in Galactic history, and you – ” he gestures limply at himself. “Let me make it up to you.” Finn looks him over, raises an eyebrow.

“You sure you're up to it?” he asks, and he's joking, he's joking , but Poe frowns and shoves himself up to sitting.

“Yes,” he says, almost belligerently, and half-crawls, half-collapses onto Finn, kisses him hard and wet and filthy, yanks insistently at Finn's trousers until Finn takes the hint and shoves them off. It's better than it was before, warm slide of skin on skin from chest to ankles lighting up Finn's entire body, and he lets Poe roll them over until he's flat on his back with Poe half-lying on him, hands everywhere his mouth isn't. And if Poe was a little hesitant before, letting Finn lead, he isn't anymore, he's apparently dead-set on working Finn over by inches, and Finn – Finn lets him, lies back and enjoys it, tries to keep his eyes open so he can admire the sight of Poe on him, over him, the bunch and shift of muscle in his shoulders, the dark tangle of his hair, the wet sheen on his lips and the look of focus on his face when he comes up for air.

It's a little dizzying, being the subject of so much sustained attention, and it winds him tighter and tighter until he's gasping, little voiceless huffs of involuntary breath, and he can't help but let his hips work, rutting lazily against Poe's thigh. He doesn't mean anything by it, isn't trying to get off yet, he's just taking the edge off, but it makes Poe back off, pull away, and Finn can't quite contain a sigh of disappointment. Poe rolls off him and immediately plasters himself up against Finn's side, propping himself on one elbow to grin down at Finn as he wraps his other hand around Finn's cock.

“Now,” he says, audibly aiming for teasing but mostly just sounding gratifyingly breathless, “what can I do for you, huh?” Finn cants his hips, not really thrusting, just pressing up into Poe's grip, and opens his mouth to say 'anything, I'm easy, anything's good,' but apparently that was a rhetorical question, because Poe's still talking.  “I could return the favor, suck you off,” he says, “or – I'd love for you to fuck me, d'you wanna do that?” He squeezes a little as he says it, as if in illustration, and between that and the thought of it Finn's breath hitches.

“Yeah,” he breathes, all air and no voice. Swallows, tries again. “Yeah, I'd like that.” A thought occurs, though. “You don't have to – aren't you kind of sensitive, still?” Poe looks – pleased, almost smug, some smugness-adjacent thing.

“Well, yeah, but that's the point,” he says. “I mean, I'm probably not getting hard again soon whatever I do, but I can come again if you fuck me, no problem.” Finn has a vivid, full-body flash of Poe shaking apart under his mouth, the hand-cramping shudder and clench from before transposed to Finn's dick, and Finn can't help the way his hips jerk, the way his indrawn breath hisses in his teeth.

“You like that?” Poe says, and that's probably rhetorical too, but Finn drags his eyes open anyway and grins at him.

“Yeah, good plan, I like that plan,” he says, and Poe grins back at him, rolls over to fish around under the bed. He comes back up with the blue bottle and a barrier, which he hands off to Finn before shoving him out of the way so Poe can arrange himself on his knees, hands braced against the headrail of the bunk.

Even the barrier is nicer than he's used to, Finn notes as he rolls it on and slicks himself – thinner, more sensation – but honestly he's more than a little distracted, because Poe is waiting for him, knees planted, spine a lovely curve as he twists to look expectantly back over his shoulder.

“Yeah, all right, all right,” Finn tells him, shifting to kneel behind him and running his clean hand down Poe's flank, shoulder to hip, carefully skirting the edges of the bacta patch. Poe shifts under his touch, enjoying the contact, and Finn leaves it there, not quite gripping, just enjoying the solid warmth of Poe under his palm, the feeling of connection there. There are shallow twin divots in the small of Poe's back, flanking his spine, just above his tailbone; on impulse, Finn bends to press his lips between them as he presses two fingers carefully back inside him. He wants to put his mouth all over Poe, wants to suck wet kisses into the flesh over his ribs, wants to leave a trail of little bite marks down his spine. He hopes he'll be able to reach when he's in him, fucking him, but it's a distant concern right now, with Poe groaning and canting his hips and bearing down, pushing impatiently back onto Finn's hand.

“Easy,” Finn says, an objection and a reassurance. “I've got you.” Poe's impatience eases a bit once Finn works a third finger into him; he stops pushing for more and faster and just – sags, pillows his head on his forearms and breathes, relaxes into it as Finn carefully, carefully works him open.

“'S good,” he says muzzily, glances back at Finn with eyes barely open. “'M good, you can – whenever, I'm good,” and when Finn trails a hand down his spine, nape to tailbone, a fine tremor goes through him.

“Yeah, you're good,” Finn tells him, but he doesn't pull out, just keeps carefully pressing into him, slow and steady, barely moving, while his other hand traces broad, slow strokes across Poe's back.

He doesn't stop until Poe drags his head around again, slowly, like it weighs too much for his neck, and says “ Now , Finn, please, Force damn it,” thick-tongued and hoarse, and Finn twists his hand one last time, making sure, before he gives Poe what he wants.

There's a quick flare of nerves, as Finn lines himself up – he's done this, yeah, but not as much as he's done other things, and he wants to get it right, do it well , but Poe's already half-boneless against the bedframe, waiting for him, half-drunk with it already and so, so ready for him; there's nothing he can do to mess this up, not really, there's nothing to worry about.

Poe doesn't make a sound when Finn enters him, just lets out a long, shaky breath that Finn feels more than hears, the shudder of muscle referred as sensation over the blood-hot grip of him. Finn makes a sound, though, a soft-edged uhh that catches in his throat and falls out of him unexpected, and that gets Poe's attention.

“Stars, kriff, yeah,” Poe slurs, “Let me hear you, come on,” and it's easier than Finn would have thought to just – let the noises keep coming, little half-formed vowel sounds that fall out of him with his breath as he pushes into Poe in short, careful increments, until they're pressed close and there's nowhere left for Finn to go but to lean forward over him. He braces a hand, both hands, beside Poe's on the headrail, and bows his head to discover that he can – just – kiss Poe's back and shoulders from here.

Poe arches back into the press of Finn's body for a long, breathless moment, resettles his knees and firms his grip, aligning the bones of his arms and shoulders.

“Stars, yeah,” he says, “come on,” he says, and it's all Finn can do to keep his strokes slow and easy as he starts to move. Finn doesn't know how long he manages to hold out, how long he spends panting those small soft syllables into Poe's shoulders, pressing lips to the furrow of his spine, working his hips steady and smooth and careful until he aches with it, he burns, he can't, he has to –

“Poe,” he says, and Poe groans acknowledgment, wordless and wrecked. “Poe, what do you need, I can't – ” and Poe makes this noise that might be a laugh if it wasn't a moan.

“Go on, go for it, I'll get there,” he manages, and Finn tries to stay careful, he does, but it's so easy to kneel up a little and let his control slip, gather speed and power until he's groaning with it himself, syllables blurring into continuous noise.

The first time Poe keens, voice cracking around a high ah! , Finn stops himself, locks his arms against the momentum of his body and freezes. Poe does not, though, shoves himself back gracelessly at Finn and snaps “Don't stop, c'mon, more. ” It takes Finn a moment to recover and find the pace again, but when he does, Poe rewards him with a high, continuous ahh , punctuated with gasping breaths and the occasional half-identifiable word.

When Poe starts to shake under him, goes rigid and trembling and tight , Finn tries to ride it out, and he just about manages to hold on through Poe's orgasm but it's inevitable, he's already losing it, and when Poe goes pliant again, shoving away from the bedframe and collapsing into the mattress, Finn follows him down and gets in one, two more desperate snaps of his hips before his own orgasm sears through him.

He holds himself there for a long, trembling moment, still braced with shaking arms, and he lets himself down easy enough that he doesn't crush Poe, who's a slack and unresisting pile of limbs, face in the mattress, lying collapsed between his knees.  Finn gropes for a wipe and wads the barrier up inside it before he lies down, just in case he never gets up again, kriffing hell, and when he lays a clumsy hand on Poe's hip, Poe rolls over – flops, really – and uncurls slowly, one limb at a time, groaning faintly. Finn scoots forward a little , so they're chest-to-back, Finn's knees tucked neatly into the crook of Poe's, Finn's arm draped over Poe's waist. Finn's lips are in just the right place to press one more kiss to the nape of Poe's neck, so he does; Poe mumbles something indistinct and shifts a little, pressing back into Finn before relaxing again, a slack sprawl, more relaxed than he was last night, when he was actually asleep.

“You okay?” Finn asks, because it's a valid concern, exhaustion like that doesn't just happen out of nowhere, maybe medical missed something, but Poe shakes his head, just a little, curls scratching against the sheets.

“'M good. Great. Gonna sleep, though.” All the breath sighs out of him at once, and he melts a little more into the mattress. Finn's pretty thoroughly sleepy himself, and he knows he ought to get up, make himself presentable enough to walk to the fresher block without scandalizing anyone (so inefficient, doing this in private quarters, but then, private quarters are in themselves inefficient, and it turns out inefficiency is pretty great), but he really, really doesn't want to. Another five minutes, he tells himself, just to make sure Poe's asleep, same as yesterday, but then Poe rolls over and inches closer, so they're face-to-face, knees-to-knees, hands a tangle between them.

“You staying?” Poe mumbles, and, well, if that's an option –

“You don't mind?” Finn asks, and Poe answers by curling closer, and how can Finn argue with that when he doesn't even want to move? He rolls onto his back, flails a hand at the light controls, and drags the kicked-away blanket over them both, and lets the blissful exhaustion take him.

***

Finn doesn't sleep through the night, actually – it's bizarre, having another person in the bed, and he keeps waking up when Poe moves around, which Poe does a lot, probably because he didn't grow up sleeping in a bunk just wide enough to lie on. Finn spends a lot of time lying awake, like he used to do when he was a cadet and his mind wouldn't quiet enough to let him really rest. He'd lie still, then, flat on his back, just practicing combat breathing and listening to the breath of his cadre around him. This is much nicer, having Poe half-wrapped around him, face pressed to Finn's shoulder, breathing warm and steady across his skin. Finn thinks he might never get tired of just touching, skin on skin, and even if he snaps back out of his doze every time Poe snuffles and shifts against him, Finn would far rather be awake and a little cramped here than alone in his own too-wide bunk. So Finn lies on his back and breathes – in four, hold four, out four, hold four – and lets himself relax, and relishes the lingering glow of satisfaction and the warm weight of Poe against him, and lets all the thoughts bleed out of his mind until he's so perfectly at ease that it doesn't really matter whether he sleeps or not.

He does sleep, off and on and eventually for real, because he wakes up to the early-morning cycle on the room lights and the peeping of the forgotten alarm on his comm, and to Poe trying and failing to disentangle himself from the blankets and Finn's legs without waking him.

“Sorry,” Poe says, looking a little embarrassed. “Should have warned you I cuddle like a dianoga.” Finn, who encountered more than one dianoga in the course of ordinary waste-disposal maintenance details on Starkiller Base, doesn't quite suppress a grimace at the image.

“No, it's fine, you're a lot less slimy,” he says, before his brain can catch up to his mouth. “Also warmer.” He rolls over and out of the bunk and grabs for his comm, killing the alarm and forestalling any further stupid shit he might say.

“Bonier, too,” Poe says, seemingly unoffended, and when Finn comes up to sit on the bunk, comm in hand, he's smiling, bleary but genuine.  Finn stretches and yawns, twists back and forth a couple times to get his back moving.  He feels great , maybe a little lopsided from being slept on but mostly just really comprehensively satisfied.  On a physical level, yeah, definitely, and he’s pretty pleased with how well this has gone, but also he’s got this glow of happiness in his chest that’s unexpected, but welcome.  And really, what’s not to be happy about?  It’s a nice day by the weather feed on his comm, he’s off-duty this morning, he’s just had easily the best sex of his life and a pleasant night’s rest, and he’s here with Poe, who’s alive and well and trying to yank the blanket out from under Finn’s ass, and not dead or in distress somewhere between here and Renthal.

“Thanks,” Finn offers, because it seems like the right thing to say after sex when sex is something you do like a favor – no, like a gift – and not just because everybody's got to get off sometime.  He shifts his weight and lets Poe have the blanket.

Poe smiles wider. “I should be thanking you,” he says. “That was – I had a really good time. I hope you did too?”

Finn grins. “Definitely. Way better than – wait, kriff, hang on.” His comm is flashing, and when he checks, there's a series of increasingly vehement messages from Jess queued up, starting yesterday evening with wait so did you actually?? and ending, ten minutes ago, with no for real confirm or deny, bets to collect . “Message from Jess,” he says, to Poe's questioning noise. “There was betting, she's gonna cut me in.”

Poe laughs and rolls his eyes. “I'd say anyone who bet against me deserves to lose their money on principle, but – ” He shrugs. “I wouldn't have, if you hadn't asked,” he says, quieter. “I wasn't gonna be the one responsible for debauching you.  Not the first time.  You know, if it had been.”

“Why the hell not?” Finn demands, aiming for playful – something to leaven Poe's weirdly serious tone – but also maybe a little offended on behalf of his hypothetical undebauched self.

Poe cracks a grin. “Too much pressure,” he says, and it's not the real answer, Finn can tell, but the real reason's probably all wrapped up in weird Resistance sex stuff anyway. Maybe Finn can work it out later. “I mean, look at you,” Poe says, and gestures, probably trying to encompass all of Finn but mostly indicating Finn's crotch and thighs, which are closest to his waving hand. “You think I could do justice to that?”

Finn's first time with someone else was nothing special as far as he recalls, at least where the actual sex was concerned. He was young, and so keyed up just by the concept of it that it could've been objectively lousy and might well have actually been, and he'd have been thrilled right down to the ground anyway. To the extent that it was memorable at all, the thing that's stuck with him is the newness of it. He's entirely sure that Poe could've done it better – Poe just did in fact, just taught him, by demonstration, half a dozen wholly new and wonderful concepts about sex – but Finn’s not going to make it weird by saying that, not in as many words.

“Nah, you could've,” he says instead, and looks over and down at Poe where he's lying beside him, naked and messy, still half under the blanket. Finn looks him up and down, slowly and in detail, until Poe tilts his stubbly chin up and looks back at him, a little challenging. “Yeah, you absolutely could've,” Finn says again, though he's honestly not sure what Poe even means, specifically. Probably not what Finn's thinking of, but that's okay. “But you didn't have to, so no worries, pressure’s off.”

Poe laughs and shoves at Finn's hip. “I'm not so sure, but nice of you to say,” he says, and shoves himself up to sitting with a small oof of effort. “Come on, comm Jess back and let's get going. You have bets to win.”

***

“So seriously, do I just ask people, or what?” Finn asks, voice pitched to carry over the hum-whine of the sonic.  He still hasn’t gotten used to sanisteams; people here seem to prefer them to sonics, but the lingering dampness makes him feel sweaty.  The sonic seems to be working okay on the lingering traces of lubricant after all, though, so that’s all right.

“Pretty much,” Poe says, and pauses in drying himself off to shrug, towel in hand.  “I mean, there’s ways to be cute and clever about it or whatever, but really, if somebody seems like they’re interested, just cut to the chase.  I can give you some hints, introduce you to some folks, you’ll do fine.”

Finn cuts power and dusts himself down, brushing off as much as he can of what the sonic broke down and neutralized, then steps out and grabs a moistened cloth to wipe away the rest.

“Like who?” he asks.  “Because if anybody had seemed interested this would’ve been a lot easier.”

“Are you saying I’m not easy?” Poe says, in tones of mock offense, and Finn laughs, not just on cue but because for once, he knows the idiom and actually gets the joke.  “Depends what you’re into, though,” Poe goes on.  “I’m annoyed with Iolo right now, he doesn’t deserve you, but he’s good all-around, put him on your list.  Davra’s great if you like getting fucked, otherwise kind of eh but he’s a nice guy.  Dunno if you’re into Rylothians at all, but Zaram – the orange guy, from Ordnance – ask him if you are, he’d be into you.”  Poe tilts his head, considering.  “Testor could probably give you some good leads too, she’s some kind of gossip broker, she knows what’s what.”

“She gives solid advice,” Finn agrees.  “Guess who she suggested?”  He flicks Poe lightly with his damp cloth, which is something he hasn’t done since – stars, whatever year of training it was when discipline was still lax enough for rag fights in the freshers, he was really short at the time.  Poe sidesteps and hits back, and oh, right, towels have a lot more range.  Oops.

“Gosh, I wonder,” Poe says, very dry, and then entirely spoils the effect by laughing, and Finn can’t help but laugh too.

***

They didn't manage to be seen by anyone leaving Poe's quarters, or even in the freshers despite their best efforts, but arriving in the mess shoulder-to-shoulder and blatantly smug raises a respectable stir.

“Poe, you didn't,” Karé says, when they take seats opposite her and she gets a good look at the marks on Poe's throat and collarbones, which, oops – Finn's going to have to recalibrate his idea of what clothing will and won't cover to account for Resistance uniforms, not to mention Poe's habit of letting his shirt collars gap open when he's off-duty.

“He didn't,” Finn tells her, and grins, as obnoxiously self-satisfied as he can manage. “ I did. I said I was going to.”

“And I expected at least one of you to know better,” Karé says, with a pointed look at Poe, who rolls his eyes.

“Better than what?” Finn asks, and blinks innocently at her, and looks across the table and down a ways to where Jess is blatantly spectating, along with Connix and Nerro and Bastian and Zo. “Oh!” Finn says, like it’s just occurring to him, and smiles, shakes his head. “Did you think I didn't know what I was doing? Did you think there was stuff I needed to figure out ?” There was, there absolutely was, there still is, but Karé doesn't need to know that, now or possibly ever, and it's a good line.

Kare scowls, points a finger at him. Opens her mouth, and shuts it again.

“Did you really think,” Finn says, and glances around, makes sure to catch Jess' eye, and Snap's, and Poe's, before looking back to Karé. “Did any of you really think that Stormtroopers don't know how to fuck?”

He says it loudly, for maximum gossip, but he probably didn't need to, because Jess' end of the table erupts into chaos, not least because Jess punches the air with both fists and yells “You heard the man! Pay the hell up!” A shamefaced Snap does, in fact, hand over a fistful of credit chits while Jess crows at him, as do several others at the table; Karé just looks kind of bemused and shakes her head.

“I – did not see that coming,” Karé admits, and Poe reaches across the table and pats her arm.

“Aside from the crude and obvious pun, neither did I,” he says, and Karé just groans and shakes her head and drinks more caf, and Finn leans into Poe's side and feels warm solid flesh and the shudder of his laughter, and finally, for once, feels like maybe sex in the Resistance is a lot less complicated than it seems.