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Region: Core Worlds
Planet: Classified
Mission: Classified

"If I never hear your cheese diatribe ever again, it will be too soon."

Finn had face-planted onto the hard mattress upon entering, ahead of Poe, the small musty closet they were currently renting -- billed as "enchantingly intimate" and "as yet not condemned" by the local housing council -- and his words came out muffled, but Poe could still translate.

"All part of the cover, buddy." Poe perched on the edge of the bed and unlaced his boots. "Thought we already decided I shouldn't talk about my other interests in public." For a variety of reasons. "Do you have opinions about whether or not an atypical configuration of mini-torpedoes could further speed up how quickly T-70 payloads are swapped out in battle?"

"Nooof," was what it sounded like Finn said. He turned his head to crook an eyebrow at Poe, and probably also to take a breath.

"Couldn't we be one of those married couples who go to the tent daily to buy whatever's fresh without stirring up debate over wet leaf rinds or goat versus bantha? The woman who sells black-market gapanga isn't a constituent you need to win over to the cause of fair wages for milkers, much less your complicated and frankly contradictory views regarding the sprinkling of sansanna on surface-ripened wheels."

"Newer than three weeks old, I'm pro-sansanna. But older than three weeks, the cheese changes so much, the spice starts to be too bitter-- What are you doing?"

"If I focus, I think I could bring down that awful sconce up there above your head. It wouldn't kill you necessarily, but it might shut you up."

Poe grinned, pushed his freed boots under the bed, and swung his feet up onto the mattress. He leaned back against the burnished metal wall and shivered from its cold seeping instantly through his shirt.

"We gotta go to the tent every day."

"Yeah, as spies. Not as cheese-addicted rabble-rousers." Finn was doing a bad job of hiding his own smile.

"Well, I'll try to tone it down in future. Keep to uncontroversial topics like what vegetables are in season and whether or not anyone was illegally detained and tortured by Order mercenaries overnight."

Poe had meant to sound blithe and failed rather spectacularly.

Finn scooched up onto his knees and ran a hand over his face before saying anything else. "You know the General implicitly gave us permission to do whatever we need to do--"

"And Skywalker says this outpost's a place to keep an eye on, and that's what we're doing for another three days, with as little carnage as possible." It was true they hadn't to date scrounged up much in the way of exciting intel. "In the meantime, there's plentiful sustenance and cheap lodgings, and everything's nice and low key."

"Sure. Haven't been shot at since Centaxday."

"Yep. So peaceful."

Finn gave a skeptical hum and crept closer on the mattress, though there was hardly space between them as it was. A week ago, when the mission seemed simple and safe and -- admit it -- like a way to pretend at something Poe wanted and couldn't have, the miniscule apartment had felt like a twisted sort of reward.

It felt more punishing now, with Finn inching ever forward, somehow graceful, until he was casually planting his knees on either side of Poe's hips and running his fingers into Poe's hair and dipping his mouth to the skin of Poe's throat just beneath Poe's left ear. Nowhere was Poe grounded; the kiss, a merest grazing, hit him like undiluted lightning. He made a noise and arched up into Finn, neither reaction something that could be helped, and sensed Finn smiling with satisfaction.

They weren't married. They were friends, maybe even best friends, maybe even partners, of a type. It didn't change that this, now, was as fleeting as an improvised conversation with the fishmonger who knew a woman who knew a woman who knew a Droot (maybe a Droot?) who could maybe get them a copy of a newly revised requisition directive to one of the Sonn-Blas blaster factories from the Order's regrouped navy...or not.

"Poe," Finn murmured, nosing his temple, "you know this isn't temporary, yeah?"

Poe, startled, flexed his hands on Finn's shoulders. The weight and warmth of Finn pressing him against the wall and onto the mattress suddenly seemed real in a way it hadn't a minute before, Finn rubbing a thumb over that hypersensitive spot beneath Poe's ear, good-humored tolerance -- and something sweeter, softer, something Poe couldn't bring himself to hope for -- in his eyes like a revelation.

"You mean," Poe said, frowning, wanting very much to understand, "this?" He exhaled a helpless little breath. "This?" he asked as Finn lowered his mouth to his.

Finn's kiss was brief if definitive. "We've been doing this for weeks." He pulled back long enough to see the acknowledgement in Poe's face, and sighed at his silence. "Here's the thing. I figured you out about three days after they brought me out of the coma."

Poe shifted enough to ensure the belt buckle Finn wore and his own weren't both biting into his navel. It let him avoid Finn's gaze for a moment. Finn had been coma-free for nearly a year and a half; they'd been sleeping together for fewer than two months. The math Poe worked in his head made his whole body feel like it was full of drunken bees.

Finn was clearly trying not to laugh. Poe loved him and somewhat wished for death in equal measure.

"I waited and I waited, and then finally we, you know," Finn said.

Poe did know. He'd recalled that particular evening on base about 900 times since, often at inopportune moments like daily briefings or when BB-8 was regaling him with droid gossip, and he'd felt skittish about it every single time, though it hadn't changed how most nights ended, he and Finn tangled together in his tiny bunk, naked and exhausted and exhilarated.

"Okay, thing is," Finn continued, "you've been thinking, 'Can't tie young Finn down, can't make any demands. There's a war on. Got his whole life ahead of him, he should get out there and see the galaxy. Why settle?'"

Poe's mouth dropped open a touch.

"And you know how I know that's what you've been thinking?" Finn asked.


"It's because you're terrible at concealing your thoughts. My training with Rey and Luke has covered about one minute's worth of study on reading other people's minds -- FYI, do not read other people's minds -- so I'm not bragging here at all: you are the opposite of subtle."

"Is this a career intervention?" Poe was almost delighted about being, apparently, unqualified for espionage.

"When it comes to me, I mean," Finn clarified. "You're really good at a lot of things. You are really bad at keeping your thoughts about me to yourself."

Poe shook his head in fascination, liking the way Finn was relaxing into his arms.

Finn kissed his eyebrow, the bridge of his nose, his cheek. "It was always when you went quiet. Or go quiet. That's your tell."

"Do I normally talk too much?"

"No. But you're friendly to everyone, and you pull people into conversations. You're a good listener; it was the way you watched me while you were listening. I could see your brain ticking away, and you'd go still, and your eyes..." Finn smiled. "You listened to me and watched me like you adored me." His expression grew tenderer. "And then sometimes like you already missed me, even when I was right there beside you."

"Finn," Poe started.

"Yes, it's a big galaxy, yes, I'm younger than you are, yes, there are no doubt an infinite number of wonderful people I could potentially be with instead. Yes, we are at war. Let me finish. Younger is not the same as young. I'm not perfect but I'm also not an idiot. There are things I have to do, things you have to do, and things we are absolutely going to do together. I'm here, with you, because I want to be; I will want to be here tomorrow too. Being with you isn't settling." Finn nodded a short determined nod.

Poe thought for a moment, listened to the two of them breathe. "What about the day after tomorrow?" he edged.

"Then too," Finn said, with a hint of exasperation to his tone.

He wasn't the only one who could make a kiss a declaration. Poe kissed him hard, kissed a gasp out of him while cupping his head, Finn's mouth perfect, hot, wet, and his. We are so good together, Poe thought, how did I get so lucky, and through lustful haziness he could feel Finn agreeing as they unbuttoned and unbuckled each other.

An hour later Poe roused from the dual hypnosis of Finn petting his hair and Finn's heartbeat under his ear when Finn said, with nothing but sly happiness in his voice, "I was right, wasn't I?"

Finn would be able to feel Poe smile against his chest, making a verbal confirmation unnecessary. Better for Poe to speak on a topic near and dear, since neither of them was going anywhere.

"Can I tell you why the cheeses wrapped in brandy-soaked leaves are superior? It's not really about the rind. Well, it is, but number one, those cheeses're aged longer, but number two, tannins from both the liquor and the leaves create--"

"Shh, shh." The golden sconce light in the room blinked, briefly.

"--a creamier texture--"

"Shhhh, I need to concentrate."