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walking abbey lane

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The small Italian restaurant is crowded when Finn arrives, and the server is busy trying to talk the tall, pale man who’d walked in before him into taking a seat at the only empty table the place has left, so Finn casts a slightly nervous eye around the room, trying to identify his date. He wishes he hadn’t come. Rey had been kind of cagey when she was setting this whole thing up, so Finn isn’t expecting much, but painful experience with blind dates has taught him that it can always be worse than you think, and it usually is.

But when Finn’s sweep of the room terminates on the man sitting two feet to his left, his mouth goes dry, his eyes go wide, and he realises that it can also always be so much better than you think to hope.

(“I told him to wear a purple shirt and his best jacket,” Rey had said, sounding anxious. “Just—“)

He doubts the pilot’s jacket would meet with her approval, but everything about this man meets with his, and she’d probably care more about that.

The man is staring back at Finn, which is nice, because it both confirms his identity and makes Finn feel less like a googly-eyed creeper.

“Hi,” Finn manages. “Are you—“

“Your date,” the man claims, standing up and reaching out a hand to claim Finn too, drawing him into the empty seat on the other side of the table just as the server throws her hands up in exasperation and hurries back over in Finn’s direction. “We’re good,” the man tells her. “Thank you.”

“We are so good,” Finn agrees fervently, not even caring when the man’s smile turns knowing. Finn’s never really been interested in concealing how much he likes a person, so it’s only right that the man should know, and if he keeps smiling like that the rest of the restaurant is going to know too, because Finn is going to lunge across the table and give everybody a demonstration.

“I’m Poe,” the man says.

“Poe Solo,” Finn repeats, wondering if he sounds as dreamy as he feels.

“Not anymore,” Poe says. “Now that you’re here.”

Finn melts, but he tries to shake himself out of it, because Poe can’t be as awesome as he seems. Rey wouldn’t have had any reason to be so worried about the outcome of this date if Poe was really this amazing, not to mention this amazingly, stupidly hot. There has to be something wrong with him, and Finn needs to figure out what it is before the lust haze passes and he wakes up to discover he’s lost four months of his life and is about to lose a shared cat when he dumps Poe and moves onto the greener climes of Rey’s scuzzy sofa.

Not that—

“—anything like that has ever happened to me before,” Finn finishes informing Poe brightly, if utterly falsely. “Still, it pays to be cautious.”

Poe blinks, but his smile doesn’t waver, which is impressive, since Finn has just provided him with the worst of his dating history before even telling him—

“Can I get your name before we deep dive into my personal failings?” Poe asks. “I need to know what to yell after you as you’re sprinting for the door.”

“Finn,” Finn says, and everything slows down a notch as he watches Poe’s eyes warm.

“It’s nice to meet you, Finn,” Poe says. His voice is low and smooth, and it makes Finn want to shiver, though it’s probably too early in the evening for that kind of thought. “For once in my life, I’m honestly glad I let myself get pushed into this.”

“You too?” Finn asks, leaning forward in eager amusement.

“Yeah,” Poe says wryly. “Though I shouldn’t be admitting it now. It probably isn’t a good look to tell you I didn’t want to be here when I changed my mind so quickly.”

Everything is a good look on Poe, of course, but the entrance of the tall, pale complainer’s date means Finn has to move his chair to let him pass, and the flurry of agitated griping about personal space and leg-room that results is just distracting enough to allow him hold that thought in.

“I’m not good at keeping things to myself,” Finn says sadly. “I think it’s a good thing, because you shouldn’t keep secrets from your partner, but people don’t always agree.”

“People are the worst,” Poe agrees cheerfully. “I don’t know why you’d tell them anything. You should just tell me things instead. That’ll work out for everybody.”

“What do you want to know?” Finn asks, grinning.

Talking about his masters in environmental studies takes them through ordering and waiting for their food, and through listening to the couple at the next table bicker about the superiority of gazpacho to zuppa. Finn doesn’t think he knows what either of those things are, but Poe is so distracting that Finn doesn’t remember he’s ordered chicken until it arrives.

“It would have the advantage of not scalding you when I threw it in your face, I suppose,” the tall, pale man informs the redhead acidly, and the server who had been approaching to try and finally take their order turns on a dime to check in with Finn and Poe again. Finn doesn’t think those guys are eating tonight.

“And what about you?” Finn asks when she leaves.

“Well, I’m a pilot, obviously,” Poe says.

(“You don’t need to know anything about him,” Rey had said rather desperately. “Figuring each other out is all part of the fun! And a bit of mystery is always—always welcome. Sometimes you don’t figure things out about people for ages.”

She’d sounded worryingly hopeful that he wouldn’t.

“I’m not an idiot,” Finn had replied, but Rey knew him too well to buy that, and had ignored him entirely.

“Wouldn’t that be fine,” she’d said wistfully. “Just ask for a reservation under Solo. Just—“)

“Okay,” Finn says, “First, that wasn’t obvious, and second, at some point you’re going to stop saying things that make you get magically more attractive, right?”

“I hope not,” Poe murmurs, and talking about Poe’s job takes them through dinner and validates Poe’s desire to become increasingly attractive by virtue of his conversation alone.

“We should go up for a spin on our next date,” Poe says eventually. “I bet you’d love it.”

“I bet,” Finn agrees. “Wow. Taking me up in a plane, listening me to me talk. You’re going to spoil me.”

“Listening to you talk?”

Finn knows it’s a bad idea to talk about his exes so much on a first date, but he’s already told Poe about abandoning poor Fuzzball, and it can’t go downhill from there, so he lets himself warm to his theme and continues, “And I mean, when I was telling you about my stuff, you didn’t once say ‘As a pilot,’ which already puts you way ahead of the last couple of people I’ve dated.”

“You should really raise—“ Poe starts, and then says, “Wait, as pilots? Do you only date pilots?”

“Lawyer and dog walker,” Finn tells him. “As a lawyer, and as a dog walker, both felt that my aspirations were unrealistic.”

He can feel his enthusiasm fade as he tells Poe that, but he forces himself not to drop Poe’s gaze, though he half expects to see Poe’s enthusiasm fade too.

“Doesn’t seem that way,” Poe says instead. “Seems like you’ve got an amazing future figured out for yourself.” Finn had given Poe rather a lot of detail about how he was going to parlay the job he has lined up next year into the one he really wants, but Poe hadn’t looked bored, so Finn hadn’t felt bad about it. “I can’t imagine any future of yours would be anything else.”

“Oh,” Finn says softly.

“Though it definitely seems like you should raise your standards when it comes to dating.”

Finn makes a small surprised sound, and they fall silent for a moment as they look at each other, too close and too warm for two people so recently strangers.

“Not that I’m complaining,” Poe says.

“—and the lighting is atrocious,” Tall Pale Dude complains.

“It does make you appear quite disagreeably sallow,” his date agrees. “And lilac washes you out.”

“I certainly don’t mind looking spectacular in comparison to those losers,” Poe continues. “Because I really want you to like me, and anything that helps—“

Tall Pale Dude interrupts Poe by throwing a breadstick at his date’s face, which would be the perfect reason for Finn to keep his mouth shut, but instead he waits until Poe turns back to him spluttering with laughter, and says, honestly, “You’d look spectacular in comparison to anyone.”

“Oh,” Poe says, barely more than a breath, though his face goes bright and pleased. “You too. You really too.”

“Thank you,” Redhead says aggressively, tearing into the bread with his teeth, “for providing me with sustenance, finally, since you’ve driven the waitstaff away entirely, though for whatever godforsaken reason you haven’t yet driven me off with them.”

“Thanks,” Finn says, feeling unaccountably shy despite the rising thrill of pleasure Poe’s words bring.

“Would you like anything else?” the server asks, and Poe leans into Finn’s space and breathes, “Yeah, I—“ before realising Finn hadn’t spoken and straightening quickly back up. “No, we’re good,” Poe tells her, smile turning embarrassed as they fumble through payment.

When his attention returns to Finn, the smile that had so attracted Finn does too, blazing brighter and surer than it had before, striking an answering blaze in Finn.

“We are, huh?” Finn asks, marvelling a little at his fortune even as he leans slowly towards Poe to seize it.

“We will be,” Poe assures him.

“Man,” Finn says, “Rey is going to be insufferable. I can’t believe a blind date with my best friend’s cousin turned into—“

The basket of breadsticks on the table beside them skids off as Tall Pale Dude lunges to his feet, and the breadsticks fly through the air, showering down on Finn and Poe like a more painful variety of confetti in an odd kind of endorsement.

“Luck,” Finn decides, but Poe has frozen.

“Cousin?” he asks blankly.

“I can’t believe my cousin thought I’d fallen so low!” Tall Pale Dude shouts. “It would not be possible either actually or existentially for me to be reduced to such dire straits that the likes of you would be an acceptable—“

Redhead lurches to his feet too, but he lurches all the way into Tall Pale Dude, knocking him into the table with his mouth and sending dishware, cutlery and glasses after the breadsticks.

Tall Pale Dude seems rather enthusiastic about the kissing for someone who’d been so reluctant even to take a seat at the table. Finn knows the feeling, and would like to get to that himself.

(“Just give him a chance,” Rey had said. “Just give it a chance.”)

“Rey’s your cousin, right?” he asks, leaning back in.

“No,” Poe says, stopping Finn in his tracks.

“You’re not Poe Solo?”

“I’m Poe Dameron.” He jerks his head to the side to indicate the couple writhing on the tabletop without taking his eyes off Finn. “I think my date has thrown me over for another man.”

“Oh,” Finn replies, amused realisation sinking quickly beneath the wave of desire that swells as he looks into Poe’s dark eyes, and happily, miraculously, he sees it crest in Poe too. “You mind so much?”

“Nah,” Poe says, “Since I’d have had to do the same to him.”

Nothing interrupts Finn when he leans in this time, except Poe doing the same, and when they finally kiss, Finn feels as if he’s been waiting for it forever, and is as hungry and satisfied as if that were true.

Their server allows them what feels like forever too, although that may just be because she’s busy turfing out her more troublesome kissers, and takes a while to notice she needs to part Finn and Poe at the lips as well.

“Seriously,” Finn says, as they wander down the street hand in hand, passing Complainy Cousin Solo and Redhead mashed together against the next building. “I cannot believe Rey thought I’d fallen so low!”

“Then it’s a good thing she won’t have to do any more thinking about that,” Poe says, nudging his nose against Finn’s cheek, nudging closer to Finn than seems possible.

Finn doesn’t believe in following bad examples, but he also doesn’t believe in denying himself good things, so he waits until they make it back to his apartment before he pushes Poe up against the building, kissing easily under the moonlight until things threaten to get both fizzy and freezing, even with the benefit of Poe’s borrowed jacket, and then he drags Poe into the warmth to meet his best friend.

(Rey is insufferably smug about it, times two. Finn can’t say that he minds.)