this was a mistake, poe thinks, with rey’s long legs thrown across his lap. he’s following the line of her calves with his palms and she’s got her head half out the window, the wind playing with loose strands of her hair. (her skin is warm, prickly where she hasn’t shaved her legs in a few weeks, and even with the seatbelt digging into his chest poe is afraid his heart is going to crack his ribs open.)
she wrinkles her nose and says something in the direction of the driver’s seat; probably something about finn’s driving, which—poe just taught him brakes from gas (we couldn’t run away if we didn’t know how to run, finn had explained with a shrug) and he tends to drive like he’s someone’s 80 year old grandmother.
but finn only laughs, the sun glinting off his shades, his teeth. he has his arm draped out the window, and poe can see the way his muscles shift in his shoulders every time he moves. he says something too, which would probably be funny if poe could hear either of them over the radio, the blood pounding in his ears. (this was a mistake.)
the sun is hot, but they have all the windows open and the wind is cool. poe lets his head fall back against the seat and shuts his eyes. under his hand, the muscles of rey’s calf twitch, and then lay still.
some free advice: when your young, extremely attractive coworkers who only have eyes for one another (in blissful ignorance of the fact that you may be in love with them, whatever) invite you on a cross-country road trip to their surrogate father’s funeral—
“hey,” finn says. they’re sitting at the rest stop’s only picnic table, trying not to touch the unfortunately sticky patches. poe keeps accidentally kicking the heavy chain that keeps it anchored to the ground.
“yeah?” poe says absently.
“thanks for coming, man,” finn says, and he’s doing that thing again, the sincere thing, where his eyes are wide and shining, and he’s so serious and earnest. people keep saying finn must have learned it from poe, but poe can’t remember the last time he was like that about anything. (eighteen, maybe, when he found out the community college had a library, and spent the summer devouring every book in their measly political philosophy section.
not many airmen could quote rawls, but given where it’d taken him, that was probably for the best.)
“don’t mention it,” poe says. “I’m here for you. and rey,” he adds, when she appears from the rest stop, and crosses the sad patch of browning grass to sit beside finn at the table.
she makes a face when she plants her elbow in a sticky patch, and it’s funny, it is—poe has seen her happily covered in motor oil and grass, sweat, but she wrinkles her nose, huffs. “what about me?” she asks, scraping at her elbow with a fingernail.
finn raises his eyebrows at poe, and he feels himself go hot. “no, I was just—telling finn that. well, I’m here for you. both of you.”
her expression softens into something almost tender, and poe lamely offers his half-empty water bottle to wash off her elbow.
somehow, this ends up with rey straddling the bench beside him, close enough that he would breathe in her breath, if he could remember how to breathe just now. he gets water on his jeans, and her shirt, and he doesn’t miss the corner of her mouth, twitching at how clumsy he’s suddenly become. “there,” he says, using his thumb to wipe the last of it from the flat of her elbow. “all good.”
“thanks,” rey says, and this close he can see the old scar at her jaw where she wasn’t quick enough to dodge whatever plutt hurled at her head. (he thinks; she’s always oblique when it comes to her past, prickly and waiting to take offense at the first sign of pity.) it’s silvery-faint, but poe can’t look away.
poe walks back to the car two steps behind her. finn’s shoulder brushes his, and they’re both smiling, for no reason.
“move over,” finn mutters, and poe’s still mostly asleep—he grunts when finn elbows into the tacky motel bed beside him, pressing himself flush against poe’s back. he’s warm, it feels nice.
“rey keeps kicking me,” finn says. his breath on the nape of poe’s neck. he’s nosing at the collar of poe’s shirt, and poe goes practically boneless against him (is there a reason he shouldn’t? he can’t remember.)
“’k,” poe mumbles. “g’ sleep n’w.”
“okay,” finn says.
poe wakes up in the morning cold, finn having stolen every blanket on the bed and wrapped them around his waist. but he’s got a hand fisted into the back of poe’s shirt, and poe lays there for a while, feeling the ridge of finn’s knuckles against his back.
they’re eating at some tacky hole-in-the-wall bar google maps recommended when rey says, “han would have loved this place.”
finn freezes with a fry halfway to his mouth, and it’s up to poe to say, casually, “oh, yeah?”
rey is pushing the remains of whatever she had—something with potatoes, poe wasn’t paying attention—around her plate, frowning. “yeah,” she says. “he knew every crappy bar and diner for a hundred miles in every direction. probably knew their owners too. he had this—” she laughs a little, though there isn’t much humor in the sound. “her name was maz, I always thought she was his aunt, when actually she bought weed from him back before it was legalized. but that was han, he was always—everyone was family.”
finn puts down the fry and wipes his fingers on his shirt. lays his hand, palm up, on the plastic surface of the table. rey threads their fingers together, so tightly that poe can see her knuckles go white.
poe escapes, mumbling something about the jukebox, about needing the bathroom, another drink. (it doesn’t actually matter, he just has to put some space between him and this, or he’ll belong to it, he’ll be part of it, and he’s not. he has to remember he’s not. this is rey and finn and rey&finn and their grief and their lives, he doesn’t have a right to any of it.
he can’t believe he’s thinking about kissing them right now.)
it costs him a dollar twenty five to get shania twain on the jukebox, but it’s worth it to hear rey humming along when he gets back to the table. they’re still holding hands, but finn doesn’t move over when poe slides back into the booth. his shoulder is warm, and pressed all along poe’s side, and poe reminds himself to breathe, just breathe.
the next time finn crawls into bed with poe, he doesn’t offer any explanation. (neither does rey, when she joins them.)
honestly. just—say no. when they ask, for your own sanity, say no.