A few of the pilots were deep into a game of sabacc in the after-hours canteen when some human walked in, a fuzzy in a newly pressed uniform, looked about sixteen. She waved a hand in front of her face and squinted through the cloud of cigar smoke, none of it regulation and all of it rank.
"Yeah?" Wexley said around a smile, and blew a smoke ring at the ceiling just to be obnoxious. Pava rolled her eyes and smacked him in the shoulder, but it only made him smile bigger. "Need something?"
"I'm looking for"--she frowned at her datapad--"I mean, General Organa requested that someone--"
"I'll do it!" Dameron was on his feet so fast his chair fell over.
Pava rolled her eyes again. Everyone knew Dameron was half in love with Leia Organa, and who wasn't, but Dameron maybe went a little far. Dameron was pretty deep in the red.
"What?" The kid was alarmed. "I was looking for the intern. She just-- the general asked for some caf and the droid isn't-- you don't need to-- I mean. You're…" She gestured. Not the intern, she meant, or Commander Poe Fucking Dameron.
"Busy?" Commander Poe Fucking Dameron tossed his cards on the table. They were bad.
"Losing," Wexley muttered.
But Dameron just beamed at everyone and said, "I know how the general takes her caf." He sounded delighted, which is exactly how he would have sounded if Organa had been looking for someone to scrub the fresher or shovel some banta shit. I know how clean the general likes her fresher, he'd've said, like it was some big accomplishment. "Let her know I'll be right up. She just wants caf, not like a sandwich or something?"
"Uh," the kid said, bewildered. "Yeah. Just the caf."
But it wasn't perfect. Dameron stood at the dispenser for way too long, trying to decide whether to take up one mug of caf or a whole pitcher. The general never drank just one cup, so she'd appreciate the pitcher, but if he took the pitcher, she wouldn't send him for refills.
It was a real dilemma.
While his internal debate raged, Organa was having an internal debate of her own. She'd been holed up for six hours straight with a bunch of politicians and a headache. They were arguing with each other about which planets to target next for recruitment, and she was arguing with herself about what she'd do with her time after she murdered everyone in the room and retired to the Outer Rim. Top spot at the moment was something fun and easy, like running a nexu pet adoption agency.
"General, I really don't see the problem here." The Cerean Minister for Intergalactic Affairs had just as big a headache as anyone -- probably bigger given the size of his head. "It's three days."
"Threepio, would you please reiterate to Minister Eyvar what would be expected if I were to attend--"
"No need," Eyvar said, exasperated. "We've already determined you would not need an entourage. Just--"
"Just a slave," she said, enough ice in her tone to freeze the controls of every X-wing in the hanger three buildings over.
But Eyvar either didn't notice or didn't care, just kept talking. "Surely you can find one young man to volunteer--"
And that's when Dameron walked in. He would have been there sooner, but the first time he'd come, he'd taken one look at Organa's face through the viewport and kept on walking. Times like this, how the general liked her caf was with a splash of jet juice, so he'd run off to find some. Then he'd swiped a tray from a server droid, but not before an argument that didn't end till he promised to upgrade the RS unit's poison detection system.
Now he had a pitcher, two mugs, a spoon, a bowl of sugar, some water, and a creamer full of booze. If he'd seen a flower on his way to the conference room, that would've ended up on the tray, too.
"Ma'am," he said, looking for somewhere to put the tray. No joy. The only flat surface in the room was a holotable. One side had a map up, and the other was projecting the flickering image of some irritated, half-asleep senator with her chin propped on her fist, tentacles slung over her shoulder.
So Dameron squared his shoulders and tried to act like a droid. Back and to the right of the general, tray at waist height, no problem. His clearance was high enough for him to be in the room.
"Thank you," Organa murmured, perfunctory, like she was buying his droid act -- or like she didn't notice either way, only cared about getting caffeine into her bloodstream as fast as humanly possible.
"Um," Dameron said.
Too late. The unexpected jet juice kicked her in the back of the throat and she almost spit it all over the Hapes cluster. She saved it, barely, breaking into a coughing fit instead of hosing the room down with spiked caf.
Dameron handed her a glass of water.
"Thank you," she choked out. Still didn't look at him, but that was okay. No problem. Gave him a chance to work on his droid impression.
Next time she brought the caf to her mouth, she sniffed at it first. Not enough booze, but she knew what was really in the creamer and so she poured a few glugs into her cup. She was mostly thinking the kick would be fine if she expected it, so she didn't really notice how loud the splash was.
And then she did, and that's when she and Dameron both realized everyone was eyeing them -- and not with concern about her esophagus.
"What about him?" Eyvar asked.
Dameron shifted the tray so he could point at his chest. "Me?" he mouthed, looking at the general.
She had her eyes closed, but everyone else in the room was staring at him with looks that ranged from mild appraisal to wild speculation. Another few minutes, he might start getting worried.
Organa finally opened her eyes and looked at him. "Commander," she said, "would you please--"
"Absolutely," he said. His smile was beatific.
"Oh dear," said C-3PO.
Give us a minute had been the end of her sentence, but Organa threw up her hands and threw back her drink. She could tell Dameron to light himself on fire and he'd say absolutely, General, happy to help!
Of course she tried not to, but if he kept insisting on volunteering for missions without bothering to find out the parameters first, well. Maybe he deserved what he got.
The first thing he got was a shopping trip to Coruscant.
He'd reported to the general's quarters with his formal attire, as ordered, but C-3PO had said "oh dear" again, and that was that.
Now they were in some huge, blindingly white room in the richest sector of the planet while Dameron stood on a raised platform in his underwear. An eight-limbed tailor and her army of droids swarmed around him, taking measurements and holding up swatches of fabric.
It was a real learning experience. Dameron hadn't realized there were more shades of blue than stars in the galaxy, or that the fate of the Resistance rested on the discovery of which shade looked best with his skin tone.
The only piece of furniture in the room was a chaise, and Organa was on it. For once she was more princess than general, lounging regally and sipping smooth Ithorian wine. She seemed more interested in her comm unit than in Dameron, but her eyes flicked up every now and again and her fingers went one way or the other, yes or no.
Everyone did a pretty good job of ignoring Dameron's raging hard-on for a while, but then the tailor asked Organa, "Is that going to be there all weekend?"
She raised an eyebrow.
"We'll work around it," the tailor said, and that was the last time anyone mentioned his erection, which Dameron appreciated. He wasn't exactly embarrassed, but he didn't think they needed to all stand around discussing it like it was the rain on Jabiim, either, ever-present and annoying.
They got a lot of clothes. Almost none of the clothes were shirts.
C-3PO had explained everything in exhaustive detail, but even if the details had been less exhausting, no one would have paid much attention. Organa already knew and Dameron didn't really care. Maybe he didn't see why he needed so many tiny outfits for a couple parties, but he didn't see much point in arguing, either. Not when he needed to save his arguments for another round of Are You Sure?
In the days between shopping and the opening reception, there'd been at least ten variations of the same conversation: The general asked if he was all right with this. He said yes. She said, are you sure?
He said 'yes, General' and he said 'yes, ma'am,' and once he even said 'yes, Your Highness,' which didn't turn out well for him. But it wasn't until he snapped, 'seriously, Leia, I'm fine,' that she believed him. She stopped asking after that.
Sure, usually he went for more dangerous missions. Since he was a kid, he'd dreamed of following Leia Organa into battle and going down in a blaze of glory, saving the galaxy while he was at it. In his wildest fantasies, he got to see her before he died, and her eyes were bright with unshed tears. Maybe she wiped some blood off his face, or played with his hair a little.
It was a lot more likely that he'd disappear into the black and she'd be the only one who knew about it. And really, he was okay with that.
But before it happened, being half-naked and at her beck and call wasn't too far down his list of fantasies, if he was being honest. Which he was, because he'd been poured into his pants and the tailor hadn't left him any room for dishonesty. It didn't mean anything, but not even C-3PO had said he couldn't enjoy himself.
"Allow me," he said, swiping the general's drink from the server droid heading in her direction. It bleated in protest.
Organa nearly did the same. She wanted that drink. They'd made it through the receiving line without issue, and the introductions, the first round of speeches. But now, ten whole minutes into the reception, and she was stuck talking to a Sullustan diplomat who was trying to get a rise out of her.
It wasn't working, but she was a little dismayed as Dameron sniffed at her drink and decided it wasn't good enough. Next to her, the Sullustan stopped talking, started admiring the smooth lines of Dameron's back as he disappeared into the crowd.
A few minutes later he showed up again with both drinks, acceptable and not. That one he thought he'd put away himself, assuming the general told him it was okay. He didn't get the chance to ask, though, because the Sullustan looked him up and down real slow. "Oh," she said, "is this your son?"
Good thing for everyone that Dameron's costume included a veil. His list of skills was pretty long, but it didn't include making subtle insults. The look on his face was as unsubtle as they come, and even a fake slave delivering an open insult would have been embarrassing. Dameron would rather throw himself out an airlock than do anything to humiliate Leia Organa.
So he did the only thing he could, which was give the Sullustan the unacceptable drink. Organa, obviously, got the acceptable one.
It was Lothalite jogan wine: nice. Very nice, opened her lungs like a deep breath in autumn. She took that first sip, let the pleasure and relief of it wash through her, let them watch it happen, and then she smiled at the Sullustan. The winds of Hoth blew through the room. "No."
It staggered the Sullustan back a few paces. It probably would have knocked Dameron over, except he was already on his knees. There was a nice cushion down there, just for him, and he mostly tried not to fall any more than he already had.
He watched as the Sullustan finally realized she was out of her depth and wandered away with her drink. A couple Bothans took her place, casual, like they hadn't been standing around waiting for this chance. They were all right, just looking for an audience with the princess, maybe a little information they could trade, and Organa nursed her drink and gave it to them.
Twenty minutes later, and there was a commotion a ways away, someone shoving a slave and shouting about an Ewok apocalypse before trying to scale one of the crystalline palms soaring over the open atrium. That didn't go too well: a few shimmies and an uncomfortable slide. Everyone winced. The drunk was surrounded by security droids and hustled off the premises.
It was the Sullustan.
Satisfaction rolled off Organa in waves. She aimed her speculation down at Dameron, who was grinning behind the veil. "What was in that drink?"
He shrugged. "Hanavan wine, ma'am," he said. He'd tasted it. "It was fine." Sweet and warm, almost cloying, and that right there was the problem: Organa liked her wine cool and crisp, at least to start. "Maybe she can't hold her liquor."
After that, the next few days passed without incident.
Dameron threw himself wholeheartedly into his role, and Organa only rolled her eyes a few times. She hadn't pampered herself too much over the years, so if he wanted to do it for a while, all right. Plus he was good at it, and he liked doing things he was good at. Things he liked included flying, and fucking, and looking out for Leia Organa.
He brought her the right drink at the right time without her having to ask for it. He swapped their rooms so she'd have a nicer view, knowing she'd rather look at the multicolored storm of ocean mists in the morning, not the hazy city spires, nice as they were. He rearranged her spa schedule so she could sleep in a little. He looked good in the barely-there pants. He triaged her messages and vetted her visitors and handled her appointments and kept the riff-raff away. He got her a new complimentary robe because the one in the room was way too big -- 'she's a Huttslayer,' he said, 'not a Hutt' -- and anyway, it made his hands a little itchy when he was laying it out. And he was navigating the etiquette impeccably, like maybe he'd been listening to C-3PO more than he let on.
There wasn't much she had to worry about with him around, so she focused on her job. Politicking and schmoozing, the usual sob story about credits and danger to raise money and sympathy for the Resistance. It went pretty well, actually got her enough for a squadron of old T-65s and some promises besides. Most of the X-wings needed repairs and someone was going to have to spend some time running down spare parts, but it was a whole lot better than nothing.
And then there was the T-70, far from bleeding edge but newer than the rest. Not to mention there'd been some nice after-market upgrades.
"Real finicky fighter," the dealer said. "But worth it, if you think you got a pilot can handle her."
Behind her, Dameron was trying to be cool. It was probably the thing he was worst at. She almost said 'down, boy,' but flicking her eyes in his direction did the trick.
"I think I know someone," she said. "What do you want?"
Not that it mattered, because Organa won the damn thing off him in a high-stakes sabacc game that night.
Dameron had never been more turned on in his life. Any privacy he got and he was jerking off, on his knees and gasping, thinking about the general's cool gaze on his body, her disinterested voice ordering him around. How to move, what to touch, when to come. Anything else I can do for you, ma'am, he wondered, he hoped, he wanted. He was always catching his breath.
They both ignored it.
Three days of this and they weren't in much hurry to get back to the war, so when Dameron slid them into hyperspace, Organa pulled up the low-priority messages.
First up was a news holo about the weekend, a report about how smoothly everything had gone -- except for an odd series of accidents. The Sullustan from the first night was out of the bacta tank but still sucking down remdi leaf tea to get rid of the rest of the poison.
"Poison?" Dameron's eyes slid sideways. Organa cranked up the volume.
There was a spa employee in bacta, too. She'd somehow been covered in poisonous itching powder that left her disfigured. Dameron recognized her, though: She was the woman who'd taken the general's robe from him when he'd complained about it. Too big, he'd said. Makes my fingers itch. Now he looked, and saw they were a little off-color.
He cranked the volume a little more. Next accident was another woman, human, a guest damn near suffocated by some Torgian vapor creatures in the steam room.
Dameron recognized her, too. She'd switched appointments with him when he'd been rearranging the general's schedule.
"Poe." There was no expression on her face. No readable one, anyway.
"Was someone trying to kill me?"
"Um," he said.
Next report: gas leak in one of the suites. Dioxis. Good money said it was the rooms he'd swapped them out of.
"Looks that way, ma'am."
It was hard to say if it was more irritating that they'd spent three days so oblivious, or that the assassins had been so incompetent.
"Torgian vapor creatures in the steam room," she said. "That's a new one. I guess it's a good thing you're so..." She trailed off, tried to find the word for what he was. "Devoted."
He nodded. "I am, ma'am." He swallowed. "I am."
She rocked back in her chair, looked him up and down, watched that stubbled throat as he swallowed. He tightened his hands on the stick for no reason, and let her look.
"Devoted," she said again. "And satisfied?"
"By our arrangement," she said, but he wasn't really getting it. "You know, the one where I'm your commanding officer and you have an active imagination."
"Oh! Oh. That arrangement. Yeah." Maybe he hadn't thought about it like that before, but it seemed to be working out pretty well. "Yes, ma'am. If you are."
She flicked to the next message on her comm unit with a cursory nod, and that was that.
They never talked about it again, but Dameron was pretty weird about his X-wing for years, and even weirder about the general's bathrobes.