Those Things Left Unsaid
As the door slid open, in came Poe Dameron with the strong scents of sweat and singed material and fuel. Not that Finn could smell much of anything at the moment. The former Stormtrooper barely lifted his head from his pillow. “What happened?” he asked, his voice rough and scratchy.
After taking off his helmet, Poe put on a reassuring smile. “Nothing to worry about. Got in a bit of trouble out there, but I got myself out.” He unlaced his boots and kicked them off toward the dark space beneath their bed. “Well… BB-8 helped get me out.” He wriggled out of his partly ripped, partly burnt flight suit. “Long day. Long story. Don’t want to talk about it.” Wearing just his boxers and t-shirt, Poe picked up the covers and snuggled beneath. “Want to talk about you. How’re you doing? Any better?”
Finn shrugged even as he was pulled into Poe’s arms. “Not really. Still feeling…” He sniffled a little.
“Stuffy and tired?”
“Yeah,” Finn murmured into Poe’s t-shirt.
“Hey, I’m here now. Get some sleep.”
But Finn shook his head. “You’re here now. I don’t want to sleep. Sniff! I’ve been sleeping all day. I want to hear about your flight.”
Poe’s stubble scratched Finn’s warm forehead in a strangely comforting nuzzle. “No you don’t. This fight is nasty. The spark… the flame… well, let’s just say the fire’s hot right now and maybe spreading faster than we’d intended. And being in this bed with you is the one place in all the galaxy where I don’t have to think about all that.”
Finn frowned. “So you use me to escape? I’m a… what’s it called? An avoidance technique?”
“Not what I meant.” Poe kissed his way across Finn’s forehead. “Being here with you makes me so happy, I want to enjoy that feeling for just a few moments with you before having to remember again that there are people in the Resistance out there fighting and dying. Let me have these happy moments?”
“Who am I to object?” Finn gave a few little sniffs and then snuggled closer, fitting his head right into the comfortable space between pillow, Poe’s neck, and Poe’s shoulder. He felt Poe’s hand tremble slightly as it began to rub his back. But as it continued, the strokes became smoother and stronger. Finn felt his eyes close. But the unanswered question kept him from feeling completely contented.
“Are you okay?” Finn asked, attaching himself to Poe’s side in order to help support the man’s weight. Grateful, Poe went from wincing with every step he took to relaxing slightly and hopping forward on the leg he favored while keeping the other one bent at the knee. “No, you’re obviously not okay.” Finn steered him to the nearest flat surface that could be used as a seat. It turned out to be some sort of equipment trunk that a droid came by and wanted access to, but Finn shooed it away while Poe caught his breath. “What happened?”
Poe shook his head and kept it down, not meeting Finn’s gaze. “Things didn’t go exactly as planned out there.”
“No kidding. How bad is your leg? Can you make it to the medics or should I get one of them to come here and look at you?”
Poe looked at him like he was insane. “I’m not that bad.”
“Poe, your leg—”
“Just give me a chance to catch my breath and I’ll be fine. Better yet… get me back to our room and I’ll be better than fine.”
Finn frowned at him. After thinking his options through, he helped Finn hobble and hop back to their room. He helped the pilot undress and then climb into bed. Then he sat up against the headboard, Poe’s head in his lap, stroking his hand through the dark waves of Poe’s hair until the man fell asleep.
“Poe?” Finn prodded lightly at first then a little louder. “Poe Dameron?” The man slept soundly, clearly exhausted. Finn gave it another minute or two, just to be sure. “Poe?” There wasn’t even a break in the long, slow breaths in and out. Satisfied, Finn leaned to the side slightly and used the room com to call the medics.
Finn lay naked in bed beside an equally naked Poe. He had Poe’s helmet on his chest and was looking it over carefully. There seemed to be no end to the marks on its smooth surface. There were fine scratches on one portion and short, darker scuff marks in another place. There were a hundred small imperfections acquired in a hundred adventures.
“What about this one?” Finn asked at an especially strange shaped chip. He might never have seen it there in the white portion. But he could certainly feel its presence as he ran the pad of his thumb over it repeatedly. “How’d you get this one?”
“Which?” Poe craned his neck, which seemed to take a definite effort, exhausted as he was after what they’d just done. “Oh that. I don’t want to—”
“Please?” Finn hoped to appeal to Poe in hopes that he might let something slip now during his slightly compromised state of post-sex euphoria.
“Mmmm,” Poe looked up at the celling of their small room. “That was from when I got attacked by a small band of tookas.”
“Right. They’re these awful urban creatures that are all points and claws. They’ve got these giant mouths with three rows of sharp teeth and a tail that—”
“Poe, I know what a tooka is. General Hux kept one as a pet.”
“Oh.” He was quiet.
“You weren’t really attacked by tookas, were you?”
“Um, no I wasn’t… but for a second I had you going, right? Imagining that they could band together and attack—”
Finn replied simply. “No.” There was silence between them as Finn turned the helmet over in his hands, looking at the inside as much as the outside. “You’re not going to tell me what made the dent, are you?”
“I’m not,” Poe confirmed. Then he reached over. With a hand on Finn’s cheek, he turned the man’s head so they were looking into each other’s eyes. He moved in for a lengthy kiss.
Though wonderful, the kiss did not drive the question from Finn’s mind, only from his lips.
Though Poe was known to brag to absolutely anyone—droids included—about his accomplishments, Poe never told Finn a thing about the missions that didn’t go so well. Finn learned to patch him up in what he hoped was reassuring silence. He learned to wipe tears away without knowing what—or maybe who—they were being shed for. He learned to hold Poe and hum softly when the pilot shook in his arms, eyes squeezed shut, hands balled in fists. He learned to not expect anything. Ever. He didn’t stop asking what had happened, though.
Because the answer wasn’t what was most important. The point was that Finn was giving Poe the chance to talk about it if he wanted to. And he was showing that he was there, ready and willing to listen to the worst of it. That seemed to be enough.
It didn’t matter that Poe had never explained about that scar on his collarbone or the faraway look in his eye when there was a fire nearby. It didn't matter that Finn never talked about what he'd had to do as a Stormtrooper. After all, there were other things they didn’t say to each other as well.
“Have a good mission,” Finn said, pulling the zipper all the way up the flight suit before putting Poe’s helmet on for him. “Good luck out there, and come back to me in one piece.”
“I will,” Poe promised with a nod and leaned in for a kiss. They angled their approaches to avoid the helmet, Finn letting his lips linger against Poe’s as long as he could before the pilot pulled back.
Finn backed up to the hanger’s wall, watching Poe climb easily into his X-wing, greet BB-8 who had been waiting for him, and start running through the pre-flight check sequence. Poe hadn’t even gone, and already Finn’s heart ached for him to return. It didn’t matter that they’d never said the word ‘love’ to each other. What they had together was stronger than any words.