Actions

Work Header

Noli Me Tangere [Touch Me Not]

Chapter Text

Ever since her capture, Rey’s life has centred around little rituals.

Training is one. There is sparring with the Knights, each of them bigger and stronger than she is, with Kylo watching on impassively. She holds her own, but only barely, and he only intervenes if there is genuine risk to her life. After those sessions, she still cannot rest- next, there is the additional work that she does with Kylo one-on-one, their training sabres whirling as he barks out instructions and corrections. He is brutal and she ends every session aching and bruised, usually flat on the mat with the point of his sabre levelled at her neck. But as much as she hates it, she has to admit that she is improving fast. 

She thinks he might be prouder than she is when she first properly disarms him.

There is reading and study as well, from histories and strategies to the more arcane texts on secrets of the force. His taste is eclectic and her thirst for knowledge is vast. For a man who has a temper as fragile as glass, he is a remarkably patient tutor, willing to sit and answer her questions for hours when she does not understand a topic.

Then there is dinner.

Every night, at exactly the same hour, he arrives at her spartan quarters bearing a tray. He briskly unloads the food onto the small table that sits in the middle of her room. The meals are utilitarian, nutritionally balanced for gaining muscle, but to Rey it feels like feasting every night. They speak very little over the meal, though he easily answers her questions if she still isn't certain about something from her reading. One evening, she can’t help but moan when her dish has a side of fruit that is totally foreign to her— the sweetness of the juice exploding in her mouth a completely new and incredible sensation, the soft texture like something out of a dream.

She notes that after that experience, he brings a little dish that he carefully places next to her food when he lays out the table. It always carries something sweet and small, a dessert to follow her meal.

When dinner is over, she asks after her friends.

“The prisoners are the same,” he replies every time, calm and measured.

“I want to see them.”

With a few taps, he brings them up on his datapad, a somewhat grainy security image that nonetheless demonstrates that they are safe and unharmed. She tracks them desperately with her eyes— among the dozen or so people, she always looks for the mop of hair that is Poe, short and slight Rose, and Finn who is somehow always cocooned between them.

He only ever lets the feed stay on for about five minutes. Once it disconnects, he stands to leave.  

Even though she knows the answer, she still always asks. “When will they be released?”

He never fails to look irritated at this question, as if he can’t work out why she cares. “When the terms of the swap are agreed.”

After he leaves, she does her own ritual. With the sharp edge of a whittled fork, she scratches another line into the wall behind her bed.

And then she sleeps.

 


 

One day, out of the blue, the routine changes. She knows that something important has happened because he arrives hours before their meal; she even quickly checks the chrono to confirm that it's far too early for them to eat. 

“The prisoner exchange has been negotiated,” he says calmly, releasing the latches on his helmet and calmly setting it on the table. He looks slightly more tired than usual, the circles under his eyes a shade darker than she is used to seeing. “A neutral location has been decided for the trade. They will be released tomorrow.”

Rey can’t stop herself from smiling broadly as she stands, her face nearly straining at the now-unfamiliar motion. “All of them?”

“All but one.”

Her smile slides off her face. “What?”

Even before he speaks, she knows it’s bad news. The way that Kylo won’t meet her eyes— it’s a rare thing that makes him ashamed. “FN-2187 will be taken for public execution.”

An icy cold knot forms in her chest. “What?

“As a former stormtrooper—“

“That’s not what we agreed!”

“We agreed that the members of the Resistance would be returned. FN-2187 was a stormtrooper first.”

“No, we agreed that my friends would go free, and in exchange I would train with you!”

She can see his throat working. “I did try to secure a release for all of them. But it was not a point of flexibility. Either he remained or they all remained- I thought you would prefer this to a mass execution.”

Rey wants to scream at him for thinking that this would be adequate. The squadron that she exchanged her freedom for was barely a dozen people— she could not lose even one of them, and especially not Finn. “You can’t let them. You can’t. I—“ she stammers, mind racing. “I’ll leave. I'll escape.”

Kylo’s eyes narrow and he hisses through his teeth. “You won’t. I can always find you— and next time, I'll kill all of them, and not just your precious traitor.”

His words ring with a horrifying certainty, and she has no way to stop him. Skywalker wouldn’t help, he had made that clear when he turned her away on Ach-To. She was the Resistance’s only force user, but she didn’t know how to use her power and it somehow drew Kylo like a beacon. It would always draw him to her no matter where she ran- she understood that much now.

Her voice is hoarse when she speaks again. “I’ll kill you.”

This almost seems to amuse him. “You can try.”

They stand like this, facing off, for a long unbroken moment. Even if she attacks him now, she’s unlikely to defeat him. He no doubt has his sabre, and she does not. On the off-chance that she can overpower him, she still has to make it through an entire ship, and she has no idea where her friends are being held. Then they would somehow have to find a ship, steal it, and fly away without being shot out of the sky. “I— I’ll do anything,” Rey blurts, feeling desperation take over belligerence. “Don’t let him die.”

“There’s nothing you can offer,” Kylo says, face softening into something that looks almost like pity. Rey thinks she likes that even less than his anger.

Technically, he’s right. She’s already agreed to stay on this Destroyer, to be taught, to work under his tutelage. But this is Finn. Her first friend. The one who came back for her when no one else had.

And Rey has noticed the way that Kylo watches her sometimes, when he thinks that she doesn't see. The way that he blatantly won't look at her when she's recently out of the 'fresher, or the way that he scrambled to cover her with his cloak when her shirt was once torn during a training exercise. “That’s not true,” she says, hands starting to shake. She still has one final card to play.

His brow furrows. “What do you—“

Before she can lose her nerve, she grips the hem of her shirt and yanks it over her head in jerking movements. The breastband follows, her fumbling hands moving as quickly as she can. Defiant, she stands bared to the waist before him, the cool recycled air making goosebumps stand along her skin. This is madness, but these are mad times, and she looks him square in the eye. “Free him, and you can have me. All of me.”

His mouth falls slack, opening into a stupid gape. For the first time since the lightsabre responded to her hand instead of his, she thinks that she sees him truly stunned.

But when she steps to move towards him, he collects himself and clenches his fists with a hiss. “You would make yourself a whore?” If he was angry before, he’s furious now, muscles coiled and bunched, nearly spitting at her. “For him? What, you think yourself so tempting that you just have to get naked and I’ll—”

If he meant to insist that it had no effect on him, he’s betrayed by his own reaction when she finally reaches him and takes his hand, lifting it to her breast. His abruptly falls silent as he stares, both of them looking down at where the small mound is almost entirely engulfed by his palm. The leather feels cool and strange against her skin, and as she lets her fingers drift to his wrist, she feels a tentative squeeze against soft flesh.

Rey is almost surprised when she sighs, a little puff of air that slips out because it feels… Nice. Even with her adrenaline pumping, even though she’s essentially trading herself for a price like a skin girl, there’s a jolt of heat to her hips when his thumb grazes her nipple, gently repeating the motion until she feels the heat start to coil low in her belly. When it changes to a slow firm pinch, a kneading motion that tugs against her skin, she starts to squirm. It feels like there’s a tingling thread that drags from his fingers straight to between her legs, and as she puts her chin to her collarbone to watch his massaging fingers, she can’t help but rub her thighs together and whimper.

The sound hasn’t even finished leaving her mouth when he’s crushing her into a kiss.

It’s ravenous. And angry, somehow, but that shouldn’t be a surprise as almost everything about him is angry. She is taken aback by the way that it ignites a hunger of her own, the way that she wants to rip his clothes from his body and mark his pale skin, to bite and scratch and devour him whole. She’s been fighting this feeling for weeks, refusing to admit her interest whenever his layers came off as they trained, whenever the sweat outlined the slope of his muscles through the fabric. Refusing to notice the way that his lips are slick after he drinks, the way that his tongue flits out between them, pink and quick. 

She’s been aware of his desire. Perhaps she should have been more aware of her own.  

He breaks the kiss and moves to the curve of her neck, biting down with a viciousness that makes her keen into the silence. When his hands move to her hips, she realises that she’s been grinding against him shamelessly, trying to get some proper friction through her tights. Thumbs hook under her waistband and her heart feels like it’s going to burst from her chest, it’s frightening but she wants to know, wants to find out what it feels like—

But no, no, not yet. She has to make sure that he agrees. “You have to promise,” she insists, grabbing his wrists and talking breathily into the air over his shoulder. “First you have to promise that you’ll let Finn go.”

She shouldn’t have used that name. Even as the words leave her mouth, she knows it was a mistake.

Sure enough, Kylo jerks away from her, taking half-staggered step back like she slapped him. His breath is heaving as though they’ve been training for an hour, fists clenching and unclenching over and over. “Is he the one who taught you how to do this?” The colour is bright against his pale skin now, his cheek twitching. “Because I have no interest in the traitor’s leavings,” he spits out, that terrible dark fury back in force. Before she can stop him, he’s reached over and snatched his helmet from the table, shoving it back on his head. The distorted voice can’t mask his snarl. “He dies tomorrow. There will be a public execution and it will be streamed on the holonet. That is final.”  

She can’t let this happen. She can’t. Her breath feels strangled in her chest and she simultaneously wants to drag Kylo back into another kiss and scratch his eyes out. She hasn’t felt panic like this in a long time— because for most of her life, she didn’t have other people to worry over. She only ever had to focus on her own survival. This new situation somehow makes her feel more powerless, and the feeling grows as Kylo stomps towards the door of her quarters.

She has seconds to turn this around. What does he want? She knows he wants her, knows that his hunger is deep-seated and gnaws away at his bones. But that’s not all. It’s more than just wanting to have a piece of her soul. He wants everything.

It clicks into place with blinding clarity, so obvious that she doesn't know how she missed it. He’s not angry about Finn. He’s angry at the idea that he has to share.

Even as the door slides open, she desperately latches onto this idea. “I don’t— I’ve never— haven’t…” Balling her hands into fists, she crosses her arms over her bare chest. “I’ve never done this. I’ve only ever thought about it." In a last ditch effort, she even embellishes a little. "Thought about... About doing things with you.”

It works. He stops, pausing for a long moment before he finally steps back into the room, still refusing to look at her, the door hissing shut again in the silence. “With me?”

Highlighting her inexperience makes her pride sting the way bacta does over a fresh wound. But she thinks of Finn, determined, resourceful Finn, who deserves to go back with Poe and Rose and doesn’t deserve a humiliating execution in front of a screaming crowd. “You would be the first.”

He doesn’t say anything, his mask infuriatingly impassive, but she’s been in his company for long enough that she can read his body language regardless. The anger has retreated, clearly curling in on itself, replaced by that raw need that has been slithering beneath the surface since they first met. She can feel how much he is hypnotised by the idea of being where no one else has been— driven, no doubt, by some base need to claim, to leave an invisible imprint on her skin.

She digs her nails into her palms so tightly that she thinks they might bleed, breathing shallowly through her nose. “This is your only chance, Kylo Ren. If you kill him, you can force me to stay— you can train me, and teach me, but you will never, ever, have me.” She knows with certainty that she can deny him until she dies, and she knows he can feel her sincerity in the force. The floor feels cold beneath her feet and she looks away towards the wall, determined not to lose her nerve. “Release my friend, and you can.”

His booted footsteps are heavy as they move towards her. Gloved fingers touch her chin and force her head upwards, until she is looking directly into the face of his mask. Even though she can’t see his eyes, she can still imagine the instability there, the jumping manic energy that he only ever barely keeps in check. “If I agree to this…” He takes a deep breath and the static crackles. “It will not be once.”

She’s not so much a fool as to think that he would do anything halfway. “I know.”

“You will move into my quarters.”

“Yes.”

“You will answer only to me.”

“Yes.”

"I'm not a gentle man," he warns and she almost wants to laugh at the implication that she isn't thoroughly aware of this already. "If I ask for something, I expect to be obeyed." 

The thought sends a little frisson of excitement through her that she can't quite explain. "I know." 

“And," he adds with a tone of finality, "there will be no one else. There can never be anyone else.”

There it is again, that slightly unstable and feral need, the obsession that lurks just below the surface. “Yes.”

His grip tightens against her chin until it starts to slightly ache. “Say it.”

Rey thinks the words would feel like ash in her mouth, but strangely, the thought of it also makes that rolling, burning feeling between her hips intensify. “My friends go free first.”

For several heartbeats, she thinks that he is going to deny her. That she’s going to be left here not only with the knowledge that her friend is going to die, but also that this terrible need will have to go unsated. That she’ll have to resist it forever, disgusted by herself and by her desires, because she can’t go back on her word.

Instead, he turns on his heel and stalks towards the door again. Before he leaves, he punches the wall so hard that it leaves a little dent, the muscles of his back flexing. “The traitor will be returned to the Resistance,” Kylo snarls, moments before he leaves the room with rage-filled steps.

The door hisses shut behind him and it’s all Rey can do not to fall to her knees in relief.

Instead, she goes to her bed on wobbly legs. She finds a big shirt and tugs it on, trying to ignore the way that even the soft fabric makes her shiver when it brushes against her sensitive skin. Reaching for her makeshift knife, she scratches another notch in the wall before she crawls under the covers.

Her eyes are dry. She doesn’t believe in regret.

 


 

 

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,

Dreaming in the joys of night;

Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep

Little sorrows sit and weep.

 

- Excerpt from "Cradle Song", by William Blake

 

 

Chapter Text

It proves easy enough to disable the security video for one corridor, even in the prisoners' level. Kylo finds the traitor sitting on the floor of his cell, hunched over and staring at the wall.

He doesn’t look up. “I thought my execution was tomorrow.”

“Change of plans,” Kylo says, tossing a bag onto the floor.

After one long, flat look, the traitor pulls the bag over and opens it. He makes a noise of abject disgust. “I’m not wearing a stormtrooper uniform to be executed.”

Oh, it would be so easy to just kill him now, Kylo thinks. To go back to Rey and assure her that the exchange was made and still end this man who presumed to touch her. “You’re not going to an execution. Get into the uniform or I’ll knock you out and do it myself.”

Now thoroughly confused but still angry, the traitor stands with a sullen glower and jams the bits of armour on with practiced hands. Clearly that habit isn’t something that one forgets.

“Follow,” Kylo instructs, still standing in the doorway. “And act normally.”

They stride through the halls of the destroyer without interruption. No one would dare to stop him, after all, and FN-2187 just looks like another stormtrooper. It’s not until they are alone aboard Kylo's personal command shuttle that the traitor pulls his helmet off, curious expression painted over his face. “Are you… Defecting?”

Kylo sits in the cockpit and quickly flicks the controls into readiness to travel. “Hardly. Sit.”

The traitor sits nervously in the first passenger seat, still obviously confused. “So… Then… Are you doing this for your Mo—“

“The General,” Kylo grits out, “doesn’t come into this.”

There’s another pause until they lift away from the Destroyer, into the vastness of space, with Kylo deftly setting the coordinates for a nearby neutral planet. When the traitor speaks again, his voice is hard from having reached the obvious conclusion. “Rey. This is about Rey. About why you separated her from the rest of us.”

Kylo ignores him.

“Did she go back with the others?”

If he keeps this up, Kylo is going to truly start to regret the deal.

“She didn’t, did she?” The anger in the traitor’s voice makes Kylo flick a button so that a safety harness zips out over the traitor’s chest, locking him in place. He immediately starts to tug at it ineffectively. “She’s kept in a cell, isn’t she? Well turn around, I don’t want to go back without her.”

The loyalty might be admirable if it wasn’t so irritating. “She’s not in a cell,” Kylo finally answers, grinding it out through the modulator.

The traitor’s voice becomes more insistent. “Then where is she?”

The chance to gloat proves too tempting. “My quarters.”

“Your…” He does a doubletake. “Why is she there?”

“Why do you think?”

The traitor goes deathly pale and starts to struggle in earnest against the harness. “If you even touch her—”

For once, Kylo actually wishes that his mask was off. It would be perversely satisfying to let the traitor see his shit-eating grin. “Oh, I plan to do so much more than touch.”

The traitor roars in anger, now launching the whole weight of his body against his restraints. “You piece of Bantha shit, kriffing scum, she’s already lived through enough and if you hurt her—”

The traitor clearly has no concept of what Rey is to Kylo. The way that his waking days and dreaming nights revolve around thoughts of her, the way that he wants to worship and direct her in equal measure. This is probably for the best, Kylo considers, as it hardly paints him in a strong or powerful light. But it’s still frustrating, given that the traitor should have absolutely no say in what happens to Rey or how it happens to her. Keeping his view on the controls, Kylo retorts, “if I hurt her, it’ll only be because she likes it.”

There’s a split second of stunned and outraged silence. As the traitor clearly prepares to find the words for another stream of hurled abuse, Kylo decides that this game is boring. He waves a hand towards the traitor and the man slumps forward, knocked out by the compelling weight of a force sleep.

Kylo checks the coordinates. Not long now. And by the time he turns around and goes back to the Destroyer, Rey will no doubt be ready. 

He can’t wait.

 


 

The flight seems fast enough, but the walk back to his quarters feels like it takes an age. It's something about knowing that with each step he gets closer to her. It builds the anticipation but also his impatience, every step seeming to take longer. It feels like he's been waiting for this for far, far too long. 

When he finally goes through to the room where he sleeps, Rey is there. She’s staring out the viewport, arms crossed tightly over her chest. She lurches around and faces him when she hears him, pale and drawn. “Did you do it?”

“The traitor is free,” Kylo replies succinctly, taking his helmet off with a hiss. “I personally dropped him off not 100 paces away from a Resistance friendly civilisation.”

Her relief is galling. She tips her head back and lets out a long sigh, brows relaxing. “Good.” 

Irritated by this, he snaps his next words with more venom than he meant to. “Did the med-droid come by?”

“Yes.” She turns a little pink. “They gave me the… The contraceptive implant.”

Then they don’t need any more preamble. “Get undressed.”

She gives him less trouble for it than he expects. It’s hard to say whether that’s from resignation or anticipation, but he appreciates it nonetheless. Rey strips down methodically, and when she’s finished, she walks to his bed and silently lies down on her back.

It’s all he can do to stand and watch her. For a wild moment, he wishes that his face was covered again; he’s sure she can see the naked longing and lust on his face, the way that it’s suddenly hard to breathe. His Rey is still slim, but there’s much more muscle tone now, especially in her thighs and arms. She looks powerful, even stripped bare. He likes her better for it. 

“Well?” She interrupts his train of thought with a terse word even as she keeps her gaze on the ceiling. Apparently, she doesn’t like being stared at.

Too bad. She’s going to have to get used to it.

Silently, because he’s not sure about what his voice would betray if he spoke, he sits on the edge of the bed near her thighs. Hooking his hands under knees, Kylo draws her long legs apart, letting him better see the thatch of curls and peek at what lies beneath. The incredible triumph of reaching this point is almost making him dizzy. He twists his body a little, bracing one leg against the bed, as it better hides the aching evidence of his own arousal. It’s probably best that he does. No need to scare her unnecessarily.

She’s deeply nervous. He can tell by how tensely she’s holding herself and how she keeps staring determinedly at the ceiling. Every time he touches her even a little, her breath keeps catching.

This is not what he wants; Rey should be relaxed and compliant, willingly submitting to him. Kylo chews his lip, thinking of how to proceed. “Show me,” he decides, “what you do when you’re alone.” He looks up between her legs, to where she’s now looked down to frown at him. “You have done this alone, right?”

Her frown deepens and she nods, a few quick, small movements. He shuffles backwards a few inches on the mattress to give her a little bit more emotional space, though it’s still close enough that he can see everything. Tentatively, slowly, her hand creeps down between her thighs, until she hesitantly parts herself in a practiced motion, starting with gentle circles. “I wish you wouldn’t stare so much,” she mutters, her face now flushed red. “It’s embarrassing.”

Kylo doesn’t particularly care that she’s embarrassed. “I need to know what you like.”

He lets her continue until she’s panting, the tell-tale slickness beginning to show against her skin, and then he reaches up and firmly holds her wrist. She flexes her fingers with a confused and frustrated sound, huffing at him. Her confusion intensifies when he lets go of her wrist and gestures for her to start again, but she obeys, her hips now beginning to twitch upwards as she clearly starts to get close. Little noises are gurgling at the back of her throats and her hair is beginning to tangle on itself as it rolls against the pillow. All of Kylo’s skin feels like it’s too tight and hot for his body.

The next time when he stops her, her noise is one of blatant irritation. He ignores it again, this time replacing his hand with her own, imitating her motions.

If her reaction is any indication, he’s doing a good job. Her frown immediately eases as she holds herself perfectly still, breathing shallowly, her breasts rising and falling and she gulps in air.

It takes a lot of self-control to keep his voice even. “From now on, you won’t do this on your own,” he says, noting how her heel is starting to drag back and forth on the bed, in little jerking movements that accompany her curling toes. He intensifies the motion and leans down to press a kiss against her inner thigh. “Only with permission, and only with me.” Kylo can smell her arousal, heady and thick. 

Already twice denied, her stomach keeps twitching as she tenses, panting a steady soft sound of “ah, ah, ah”, into the air. It’s only when he stops his movements that she bucks her hips with a frantic little “yes!”.

He rewards her by moving again, but slower and harder than ever, becoming more and more imprecise from how slick and slippery his gloves now are. “Repeat it.”

“I won’t—“ she keeps squirming, trying to move her body so that his fingers are in the right place, wriggling underneath his hand. Her breasts jiggle when she does, and he can’t stop staring at the way they move. Next time, he’ll bite and tease and bruise them until she begs for relief- his cock throbs at the certainty of a next time. She gasps out the rest of it, whispering, “touch myself, ah, without permission—”

Now that he’s heard the words, he stops again, and she lets out a desperate little wail. Almost immediately, her hands fly down between her legs. He grabs her wrists before she can manage it and yanks them above her head, holding them steady and looming over her, ignoring the way his hair falls into his eyes. “What did I literally just say?”

She hisses at him furiously, trying to pull her arms free, but he keeps his grip firm. One day— one day soon— he has plans to bind her, but for now, he wants to introduce her to these things slowly. After a few moments of struggling, she goes slack and stares up at him with eyes that are starting to look teary. “Please, I need— I need—”

“I know, little one,” he murmurs, leaning down to press a kiss the tip of her nose. “But from now on, you listen to me. On your front, now.”

When he lets go, she obediently rolls over, her fingers curling tightly into the sheets next to her head as if she has to physically stop herself from reaching down.

Kylo’s pulse is so loud in his ears that it feels like it’s affecting his vision. He shucks his clothing off as efficiently and clinically as he can, starting with his gloves and ending with his underwear. When he grips her hips to pull her up onto her knees, she shudders, some of the original tension coming back to the curve of her spine.

As he parts her legs to kneel behind her, he can see that her thighs are sticky and shiny from arousal.

He palms his cock a few times, trying to take the edge off. When he takes a finger and gently works it into her, she lets out a little whine, first from shock and then from want. She’s so wet that it’s easy to add another, and he smooths his other palm down her spine as he works, watching her grow pliant and boneless under him. “You’ll get your reward soon,” he promises quietly, when he eventually adds a third finger and she wriggles against him. She’s started to rock backwards against his hand, panting loudly, and that looks like readiness to him. When he curves his fingers, she even kicks her legs a bit against the bed, little toes flexing.

His lovely girl. She’s even more beautiful than he thought like this, desperate and laid out beneath him. He can feel her eagerness and her nervousness mixing like a rich cocktail in the force; the latent strength of her power is, just for a moment, secondary to how much she fears and wants him. It’s a gift that no other woman in in the galaxy can give him.

Her thighs shake when he withdraws his fingers, kneeling properly between her spread legs. His cock twitches when he finally makes contact with her warmth, and his veins practically sing with triumph. The curve of Rey’s waist is soft and smooth when he puts his hands there, digging his fingers into pliant flesh.

The difference in their size seems exaggerated from this angle. His palms shouldn’t look so big against her back.

But oh, he likes that— almost as much as he likes how she feels, warm and wet.

He goes slow on the first thrust, groaning aloud, even though he wants to sink into her viciously. She feels perfect. Her noise is just the sound of someone sucking in air, her throat strangled as she goes completely still, clenching around him tightly. Kriff. When he pulls out, there’s the slightest tinge of blood on his cock. It makes his mouth go dry.

She’s still quivering. When he dips into the bond again, reaching out, he gets the strange sensation of experiencing her shock. He feels impossibly big to her, and if that doesn’t do things to his ego.

Reaching around, he begins to rub in those gentle circles again, rewarding her compliance. As soon as her shoulder blades relax, he pushes into her again, relishing the way that she twitches and groans. He has to work to slide in all the way to the base, her muscles slowly parting for him, hot and tight and slick as she whines.

He could run the universe with this woman at his side. He’s wanted it ever since he first laid eyes on her, since she fought back, since the strength of her power completely overwhelmed his years of training and discipline. The thought of her with anyone else makes him want to burn the world to the ground.

And now he has her.

It’s too intoxicating to be ignored, that thought. So intoxicating that he starts to speed up, even though she possibly isn’t ready; thankfully, she surprises him by rocking against him greedily, pressing herself backwards until the curve of her behind presses to his hip bones.

She’s whispering something over and over, throat raw, and he has to lean over her back to be able to hear it. When he gets close enough, he realises she’s just moaning “please, please, please, please oh please” as a steady refrain, and it gives him a thrill that he doesn't think he's ever experienced before. 

Later, there will be time to teach her the joys of waiting. The gift of being denied over and over, the bliss of discipline. But for now, he’s drunk on her willingness and feeling generous. So he tenses his muscles to hold off his own release and speeds up his hand, skimming their bond to ensure that he’s doing things right. She obediently comes with a strangled cry, her whole body going rigid. She almost seems shocked herself at how powerful it is, her surprised “oh!” melting into a wordless moan as she arches back so tightly that little dimples appear in her lower back.

It feels kriffing amazing for him but he sets his jaw, determined to keep going through it, drawing out more of those surprised sounds. The bond is far more open and vulnerable than she usually allows it to be, so he tries to project how perfect she feels, how clearly they’re meant to be together, how much he can offer if she simply accepts his vision for them both.

She’s closer to accepting it than she ever has been before.

The noises that she’s making sound like pain but he knows that it’s pleasure when he finally lets go, applying all of his considerable strength to fucking her into the mattress. She’s going to be sore tomorrow.

When he feels his orgasm draw up, he wraps a fist in her hair as he teeters on the precipice of mindless bliss. As his body shudders, he pulls her backwards into an uncomfortable arch, ignoring her small sound of distress so he can groan into her ear: “Mine.”

 

 


 

Teach me to sin—

Enslave me to your wanton charms,

Crush me in your velvet arms

And make me, make me love you.

Make me fire your blood with new desire,

And make me kiss you—lip and limb,

Till senses reel and pulses swim.

Aye! even if you hate me,

Teach me to sin.

 

 - Excerpt from “Enthralled”, by Alfred Bryan.

 

 

Chapter Text

Rey understands bartering. Scrap for portions, portions to survive, survival so she can hunt for more scrap.

In a place like Jakku— where there are only the dead, cruel gods, and children who are left to fend for themselves— agreements like that were sacred. Plutt had routinely gone back on his word anyway. In turn, Rey had long sworn that she would never do the same; her word is valuable. Sometimes it was the only valuable thing she had.

Rey also understands pain. The numbing, aching pain of hunger, the lancing pain of snagging her skin on exposed metal, the shocking pain of falling and landing badly and hearing bones click in ways that they aren’t meant to. It’s to be avoided at all costs.

Why, then, does she feel like she doesn’t understand what happened when Kylo climbed over her, angry and serene and red-hot like a controlled fire?  

The individual components are there. The bargain—  a good deal; nothing was too much to secure Finn’s safety. The pain— unexpected and burning, but relatively short-lived. The two came together and it should’ve been familiar enough.

But then…

From now on, you won’t do this on your own. Only with permission, and only with me.

It was like a thick fog had descended in her head, making it impossible to see anything clearly. It had perversely made her willing, desperate in a way that simply didn’t match her previous experiences or her expectations. It was a low whisper in the night, deviancy wrapped up like a silken promise.

Bargains should be upheld as a manner of honour, not because she wants to give. It should have been a dutiful thing provided for the sake of Finn, for the sake of his freedom and his safety.

Pain should simply be endured, as a necessity or noble sacrifice. It should not ignite a low twisting heat in her abdomen, filling her lungs until there is nothing else.

Displaying her vulnerable underbelly should be done with resignation, not eagerness.

And it definitely should not inspire a curious longing for more.

 


 

She can hear Kylo moving around in the room, small shuffling and scraping sounds accompanying the pad of bare feet against the floor. After he had released her hair and let her fall forwards onto the mattress, he had turned to flop onto his back beside her, panting at the ceiling. He had barely stayed that way for two minutes before he’d rolled back onto his feet, mattress lifting with the loss of his weight.

For her part, Rey stares at the flat planes of the wall, underneath a sheet that she’s tugged up to her armpits. For now, it’s just easier to stay curled there. She’s not ready to face him just yet.

The space between her legs still throbs. She can feel the sticky mess against her thighs, slowly drying on her skin.

The longer she lies there, the more paralysed she feels. Should she get up and get her datapad to do her reading? That would be her routine for afternoons if she were back in her old room. Should she go to the ‘fresher and clean up? Should she just go to sleep where she is, under the slightly scratchy sheet?

Her thoughts are interrupted by the hiss of the door opening and the whirr of a droid. The smell of food fills the air, aromatic and slightly spicy.

Shifting, she rolls far enough to look at the chrono propped up near the side of the bed. Time for when they would normally share a meal. As she rolls further, she watches Kylo methodically set the table as usual, even if it is now in his room instead of hers.

He stops too quickly, and she realises that it's because he has only set one place.

That doesn’t seem good. Suspicious, Rey makes a disgruntled noise. “Do I not get to eat?”

“Of course you do,” he says, pulling out his chair. Instead of tucking it back in once he is seated, he gestures to his knee, implication clear.

Oh. Oh no. Rey snorts. That is not happening. “No.” 

“You can skip the meal if you’d like.” He shrugs and starts to eat, chewing slowly and with relish, clearly intending to goad her.

She struggles into a sitting position, keeping the sheet wrapped around her chest, getting a bit tangled in the process. “I’m not sitting on your lap to eat!”

“It’s that or go hungry.”

The madman is completely serious. But, then, why is she surprised? Her attention diverts again when she looks to the floor and finds that her discarded clothes have been tidied away. “Where are my things?”

“Put away.”

“Put away where?”

Kylo vaguely points towards a door in the corner of the room, one that looks as though it leads to a closet. Fumbling a little, Rey knots the sheet around her chest and scoots to the edge of the bed so she can get to her feet on wobbly legs, only to reach the cupboard and find that the door won’t open. After a few grunting tries, she looks over her shoulder to glare at him. “Why—”

“It only opens for me,” he says, and she can hear his stupid grin. Stupid, scrap-brain, son of a Bantha. “You won’t need them, at least for now.”

She should walk over there and kick his stupid head in. His heavy helmet is perched on a shelf right nearby; she should chuck it at him and hope to break his nose. But just at that moment, Rey’s stomach growls loudly, reminding her that she’s now used to regular meals. A particularly thick wafting smell of cooked meat drifts over and her mouth fills with spit, the tempting promise of food as close to a siren song as she knows.

She could go hungry, of course. Prove a point.

And then no doubt have him make the same stupid request at the next meal, and the next, and the next. He has proved himself to be methodical and patient when he isn’t in a rage, so unless she provokes him– and then deals with the fallout only in a sheet and without her sabre…

Kriff.

In this moment, she hates him.

But the need to eat and the desire to survive ultimately trumps everything else. Carefully, slowly, Rey goes to him, like a hesitant animal threatening to bolt, trying not to trip over the sheet. He helps by not making eye contact or commenting on her behaviour. Instead, once she’s settled on his broad thigh, Kylo scoops up a spoonful of stew and wordlessly offers it to her.

They repeat this for a while as if it's the most normal thing in the world, and that eases her into it. The stew tastes rich and aromatic in her mouth. After a while, it somehow becomes easy to forget that he’s a monster when he's acting like this, oddly tender and caring. When one of his arms comes up to start lightly stroking her hair, she’s too complacent to complain, full and comfortable and warm. She can yell at him for this later, she figures, leaning a little bit closer in towards his neck, enjoying the feel of his hair brushing against her temple. She should lurch out of his lap and regain her dignity, but... It’s been so, so long since she’s had any affection like this, and if she closes her eyes, she can pretend for just a little while that it’s healthy and good.

When that hand skims down her shoulder and arm, she still doesn’t flinch. But before she knows it, it’s crept around to her front and is gently stroking the small curve of her breast, tracing the underside back and forth.

It feels harder to breathe, her heartbeat picking up in her chest. She should stop him. Stop him, and yell, and kick him where it hurts.

She’s seriously considering it when Kylo breaks the silence. “You can’t stop me, you know.” Before she can even stiffen indignantly, he's speaking again, voice growing deeper as he bends, lips brushing against her shoulder. “You’re here against your will, and there’s nothing you can do. No one could blame you if you enjoyed it. It’s all my fault, after all.”

Rey blinks as the words filter through her fogged mind. There’s a certain degree of sense in that. His hand slips between the edges of the sheet and calloused fingers stroke her bare skin, up and down as he traces the curve her waist, and it feels like he’s leaving sparks along their path. Why does that feel so nice?

“And besides,” he adds, “I know that deep down, you wanted this.”

Her eyes fly open, complacency evaporating in a moment. She immediately starts trying to wriggle away, thrashing in his arms. “Wha- I did not! I did not, you disgusting—"

The hand against her waist suddenly snaps to her breast and tightens into a fierce pinch; she flinches with a whimper, stilling in the face of the spike of pain. “You could’ve done anything,” Kylo snarls, his breath hot on her skin. “You could’ve offered more intelligence, to become a double agent, revealed bases or resource deposits in exchange for the traitor. Instead, you take your clothes off. You can’t lie to me- you want nothing more than someone to take you in hand.” His fingers tighten even further against the peak, cruelly harsh, and she gasps— but most of all, she can’t make sense of the way that it makes her heart beat faster in a way that-… Isn’t entirely unpleasant. “And it doesn’t matter, anyway, because you have no say. You might as well try and enjoy it,” he coaxes, again, and she can hear the sliver of desperation under the cajoling tone. He’s willing to do anything to make her comply, and the bond reveals the way that he truly believes that he is offering her a warped form of freedom to just feel.

He might not be wrong.

That swimming feeling is coming back, the one that makes her feel like she's floating. Like her whole body is tingling and everything is alight. It scares her a little, and stiffly, she shifts to look up at Kylo through her lashes, scrunching her nose in displeasure. “You don’t need to be horrible about it," she says, trying to ignore how breathy she sounds. "I already agreed.”

She pretends not to see his relief.

Immediately, his hands gentle, now caressing and kneading instead of pinching. It feels even better on her swollen skin, and she finds herself rubbing her thighs together restlessly, hoping that—

No. Hoping nothing. Nothing, nothing, Rey chants to herself, even as her heart skips when Kylo’s hand edges down to her thigh.

He clicks his tongue. “Bit of a mess down here.”

“Whose fault is that?”

The chuckle is warm against her skin. Again, she’s disarmed by how quickly he moves from anger to affection, his moods like shifting sands. “Fair enough.”

His hand moves away and she pretends to not be disappointed.

He pulls the last dish closer— her customary dessert, she now sees, this time some sort of wobbling soft pudding topped with whorls of cream. Each spoonful tastes like a little piece of heaven, chocolate dissolving on her tongue. When it’s finished, Kylo seems content to just have them both remain there, quiet again, with her perched on his knee and curled against his shoulder. Both of them are breathing peacefully in tandem. He occasionally reaches up to stroke her hair, gentle and soft in his touch.

Rey doesn’t think she’s ever felt the bond so serene. It’s lulling. In fact, it’s so lulling that it’s almost dangerous, like a sedative has been injected into her veins.

It almost feels like peace. 

In the silence, her mind wanders; eventually, she finds herself thinking of tomorrow and what this new arrangement means for her thus-far established routine. Shifting upwards, she tries to get his attention. “Kylo—”

“No,” he interrupts, tone flat though his eyes are closed and he still looks relaxed.

“What?”

“For weeks, now, you’ve been avoiding the right title. Everything was still new, so I didn’t press the issue. That ends now.”

“The right…?” It takes a moment for it to click. When she realises what he means, Rey wants to sag forward and groan. “Really?”

He grunts, apparently in confirmation.

But now that she has his attention, she figures that she doesn’t need to listen to that request anyway. “I still want to train.”

Kylo doesn’t answer.

Gritting her teeth, Rey slouches a little further, annoyed at his demand apparently being non-negotiable. She feels like basically everything has been since she made the first barter. But, then, hadn’t she known that it would be the case? Taking a deep breath through her nose, she forces the word out. “Master?”

Smugness radiates off him like a beacon. “Yes?”

“I still want to train.”

He doesn’t hesitate. “Of course. I would never deny you that.”

“And study.”

“Your days will be the same as before.” His hand slides to her thigh again, fingers tapping. “With… A few additions. And new rules.”

That sounds ominous. “Rules?”

“I think you’ve gone through enough change for today,” he says, eyes finally opening so he can look at her with as close to indulgence as she thinks he can manage. It would be sweet if it wasn’t so worrying. “All in good time.”

“But—”

He hushes her with a murmur, putting his fingers to her lips. “Go clean up. The ‘fresher is through that door. After that, I recommend you sleep. I still have some work to do, so don’t wait for me.” With quick hands, he lifts her by the waist, turning away and pulling his datapad closer on the table, lighting it up with a few quick taps.

It’s a clear dismissal.

She’s still hesitating, but in the end, Rey plods towards the ‘fresher as indicated. She needs time to think. Maybe being alone will sort her muddled thoughts, returning her priorities and sensibilities to what they once were; like someone flipping an hourglass so the sand flows back to where it's meant to be. To hatred and indignation and sacrifice. To the Light and everything that is good.

On the threshold, she looks back at him, at the broad shoulders and hair that she now knows to be as soft as it looks. His arm flexes as he leans his chin on his palm, and she really shouldn’t be transfixed by the way it moves. Even as Rey shakes her head and moves into the ‘fresher, there’s a sinking sensation in her stomach.

Because she really, really shouldn’t feel a little spark of curiosity at the thought of him using those arms to hold her down again.

 

 


 

 

Past cure I am, now reason is past care,

And frantic-mad with evermore unrest.

My thoughts and my discourse as madmen's are,

At random from the truth vainly expressed, 

       For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright,

       Who art as black as Hell, as dark as night.

 

- Excerpt from "Sonnet 147", William Shakespeare

 

 

Chapter Text

Kylo can feel her surprised delight when she realises that his ‘fresher is a water unit. A bit of a luxury, yes, but one that always seems worthwhile when he stands under the hot spray to soothe his aching muscles. The rightness of the decision is confirmed by the way she is clearly astonished and thrilled by so much water. She stays in there until her fingers and toes must be completely pruned.

Part of him wants to go in and check. Trace the ridges and laugh at the consequence of her lingering and kiss every finger and toe. But he holds himself back.

When she emerges, her damp hair sticks to her face in strands, her face flushed and red. She's also wrapped the sheet around herself again. It’s slightly see-through where it’s wet— somewhat negating the point, surely— but Kylo decides that it's a bad idea to point that out. 

They’ve made a lot of progress. She offered up the bargain barely 24 hours ago. He can feel the way that she’s sitting jumpily right on the edge of revolt, and he shouldn't push it.

So, he makes no comment as she crawls under his covers without a word of goodnight and curls into a ball. She falls asleep nearly immediately, little rasping snores drifting from his bed.

Even though her back is to him, he puts the datapad aside for a moment to watch her shoulders rise and fall in gentle movements. Rey sleeps like she’s trying to protect the parts of her that are most vulnerable, knees nearly to her chest and arms tucked in tightly against her sides. A quick skimming of her mind confirms that this is a deep-seated habit, born of a life of neglect and cruelty.

The fury that burns through him at this revelation is so powerful that she whimpers in her sleep, bound to his emotions even in her dreams. He wants to fly to Jakku and raze the entire settlement to the ground. Every single person who contributed to her pain, even simply by neglect, should die at his hand. In painful, humiliating, slow agony.

But he also wants her to sleep well. So Kylo forces himself to calm, tipping his head back and closing his eyes, breathing slowly through his nose. Determined to focus, he picks up his datapad again.

There are a series of alerts that flag up for his attention, high command-wide missives that are marked as being urgent. He opens them to discover that they’re all about the traitor’s absence. The alarm has been raised about the escape and a frantic search is underway.

Kylo continues to scroll, a smirk tugging up on his face. Nothing like an opportunity to embarrass Hux to make the galaxy seem like a brighter, warmer place.

He moves onto reports from his Knights and some preliminary translation that he’s been working on, diligently applying himself to his work. It takes a few hours before he feels like he’s done enough, but his tiredness eventually makes him ineffective. As he closes his projects, he glances over at the bed and sees that the sheet Rey had insisted on wearing all night is now mostly on the floor, replaced by his warmer blanket wrapped around her sleeping form.  

The behaviour with the sheet couldn’t be allowed to continue. But clearly, his leftover adolescent fantasies about having a beautiful naked woman wandering around in his quarters were… Optimistic. She could always continue to wear her First Order issue standard kit, of course. But for reasons that he can’t exactly articulate, it makes him uncomfortable to see her in that uniform.

He seems to remember there being teams that dealt with this sort of thing. People paid to care about appearances and assemble collections of clothing— his Mo… The general always had such a crew for events.

A quick check of their current coordinates and the Finalizer’s schedule confirms that the destroyer is relatively close to a sophisticated planetary civilisation and not intending to go anywhere in a hurry. Another search confirms that the planet has such services that cater to humanoid species. Kylo picks an officer’s name at random and places an order; no need to have them suspect who he really is.

Satisfied, he sets the datapad aside and strips, pulling on his more forgiving sleep pants.

He could shower. But he kind of likes the way that he smells like her.

When he crawls into bed, he tentatively reaches out and touches Rey’s shoulder, hoping that he can at least force a small bit of contact.

She flinches as soon as his fingertips brush her skin.

With a sigh, Kylo shifts onto his back. Folding his hands over his stomach, he closes his eyes and waits for sleep. 

 


 

The morning is less awkward than he expects it to be. Rey is already awake when he opens his eyes, but she is still curled up tightly, determinedly pretending to be asleep. It gives him time to collect her clothes from the closet and place them on the pillow next to her head. Then he heads to the ‘fresher for a shave.

When he emerges, she is fully dressed and sitting at the table, pecking at a protein muffin delivered by a droid.

They don’t talk. She won’t even look him, instead scrolling frenetically through her own datapad, eyes glued to the screen. Hers is a limited machine, with no communications software and heavy restrictions on her reading material, but she has apparently found enough to entertain herself.

Kylo accepts the silence. It’s better than outright hostility.

They walk to training together, his mask once again securely in place. Everything proceeds as normal there, with the Knights acting out in their usual ferocious violence. Afterwards, the two of them spar alone. They only speak when Kylo calls out corrections to her form or scolds her for making mistakes.

Then they leave the arena and part ways. Rey goes back to his— their— quarters, to resume her reading. As much as he would like to join her, he has briefings to attend and lectures from Hux to ignore.

There’s a vague nagging sense throughout the meetings that he’s forgotten about something, but he doesn’t dwell on it too much.

 


 

When the afternoon is finally over, Kylo walks back to his quarters with a spring in his step, his gait nearly extended to a swagger. He’s had something to look forward to in his evenings ever since he started eating his dinners with Rey, but this— this is clearly infinitely better.

He’s already taking his helmet off by the time he gets half a step in the door. Setting it aside, he opens his mouth to ask for a kiss before stopping dead.  

There’s a stranger in his room.

Or, at least, it seems that way until the figure turns enough that the light catches the right way and he realises that it’s Rey. But her hair is glossy and curled, and her eyes are accentuated with dark colours that make them seem impossibly round and big. Her lips are darkened into a deep red, parting a little as she notices his staring. Kylo’s thoughts are reduced to something as intelligent and coherent as buuuuuuh as he takes it in, from the bare shoulders and plunging neckline to the sweeping simple silhouette of the dress, wrapping her in sleek black fabric that clings in all the right places. It feels like time stands still as she turns to face him, her body swaying slightly, and for a horrifying moment it feels like she’s staring right into his soul.

You,” she says, slowly and with venom, lifting her arm to stab a painted fingernail towards him. “You— you have some nerve.”

Ah yes, that’s definitely his Rey. Blinking, attempting to keep pace, he tries not to look like a complete idiot. “What?”

“What? What?? I get back here for my reading and there’s a crowd of women smiling at me, and the next thing I know they’re— they’re measuring and poking and prodding and pulling and—” she draws herself to her full height, and Kylo notices that a pair of heels have been discarded next to the bed, the hem of her dress pooling on the ground for the loss of those few inches— “they ripped out my hair!

He squints at her head. “It all looks there to me?”

“Not that hair!” She’s turning pink and she throws her arms into the air. “Under my arms and on my legs and— and—,” she’s fully flushed now, and he would be more alarmed if it wasn’t a little bit cute. “And down there!

Without thinking about it, Kylo barks out in laughter.

With a cry of fury, Rey throws herself at him, fists flailing. She gets in a few good hits to his chest as he staggers backwards— she’s strong, after all, and she’s a fighter— but he grabs her wrists fairly easily, spinning her and pushing her against the wall. Pinning her there with his body, he holds firm as she hisses like Loth-cat, wildly kicking out with her bare feet.

He’s been aroused ever since caught sight of subtle little curve of cleavage showed off by the dress, but now that she’s wriggling against him, he's getting hard. He dips his head to kiss her neck, followed by her jawline and her cheek, before he murmurs a hopefully-consoling “you look beautiful.”

“Go to hell,” she hisses in return, but it’s oddly breathy, and her wiggling immediately becomes more purposeful. Her hips are rocking against him now, rather than most of the movement coming from her knees.

In retaliation, he leans back down to her neck and bites, sinking his teeth into her flesh. He aims to mark. 

Rey’s gasp of surprise seems like it couldn’t possibly get better until he soothes the bite with his tongue and it morphs into a needy little moan, something high pitched and soft that he never thought he would hear from her in a million years.

Lifting his head with a deep breath, he presses his forehead to hers. “Truly. Who knew this was hiding under all that dirt?”

Her eyes narrow and her chin lifts proudly. “If I’m beautiful now, I was beautiful before.”

“Fair enough,” he agrees easily, letting go of her wrists and stepping away as the door opens and the droid carrying their dinner arrives on schedule, beeping cheerfully. His first few steps are wary, just in case she lunges again, but she seems content to stand there and seethe as he sets out his place on the table. “If it was so horrible, why did you let them do it?”

There’s a long, embarrassed silence until Rey clears her throat. “I got too angry and made one of the girls cry. I felt so bad that I couldn’t complain after that, no matter what they did.”

He can’t help it. He laughs again, ignoring her furious stammering and blushing, delighted by her contradictions.

 


 

Once he apologises for not warning her about the primping and lets her dip into his thoughts to confirm that he had genuinely forgotten, she grudgingly perches on his knee to eat. They sit, as before, calmly and quietly, and his heart feels fuller than he remembers since childhood.

Of course, it can’t stay innocent forever. But when he works his fingers up her legs, he notices that she winces when he gently probes within her, clearly still sore. She doesn’t complain— she tips her head back and closes her eyes in something like resignation, her face scrunched a little in discomfort— but that’s not what he wants.

Instead, he kisses her, slowly and gently. He kisses her until the makeup is smeared all over his face and hers, until she’s gasping and clinging to his shoulders, until his blood is running hot and his self-control is on a string. He knows the right thing would probably be to stop and send her to bed, to let her recover some more, to continue with his plans for a slow and steady assault. But he’s so hard that it almost hurts, and she’s so achingly lovely and dishevelled, her pupils swollen and her hair rumpled, one of the straps of her dress sliding down her arm. 

So, he grips her waist and pulls her between his legs, motioning her down. He’s not sure whether she knows what to do from holovids or seeing his own perverted fantasies, but she understands quickly enough; in the event, she’s barely stretched her red-smeared lips around his cock before he’s coming with a groan, his hand fisted tightly in her hair.

When he's done, she looks up with wide eyes and swallows. He thinks he might be in heaven.

 


 

Apprentice. Awake. 

The standard day-cycle has long circled to the time for rest, but Kylo has barely been asleep for two hours when the brutal tug on his consciousness comes. Come to me, his Master commands, and Kylo groggily staggers out of bed to dress and go to the audience chamber.

As he walks along the deserted corridors, he finds himself wishing that his Master wouldn’t always choose the middle of the night for these conversations. The timing isn't entirely unreasonable. The planet where his Master resides is on a different day-cycle than the standard one that the Finalizer employs, so it’s technically mid-afternoon for him. All the same, Kylo suspects that it’s part of an intentional strategy to remind him of his place.

When he gets to the chamber, he goes down on one knee as the hologram flickers into being, projecting his Master as larger than life. “Apprentice,” it intones, voice echoing in the cavernous space. “I believe you have some news for me.”

His Master already knows, of course. But Kylo has to say it anyway, and he already knows it means admitting some degree of failure. “I agreed to release the Stormtrooper to the Resistance in exchange for the girl becoming my…” He hesitates on the title, not certain about what would be most apt. Apprentice? Lover? 

“Your whore,” his Master clarifies dryly. “I could have predicted this would happen. Tell me, how does this advance our cause?”

“I believe it will help her bend to the Dark,” Kylo insists. “She will see the wisdom of our ways.”

There’s a deeply uncomfortable long pause as his Master looks on inscrutably. Finally, he speaks again, tone almost bored. “She is at least not with the Jedi. How long do you think it will be before she is pregnant?”

Kylo’s heart feels like it skips a beat. “She’s not… It’s… She has the implant.”

“Why?”

“She’s too young,” he insists, quickly amending it with a deferential, “Master.”

His Master’s frown deepens. “Human females are well able to have children at her age, are they not? Force-sensitive children would be a significant asset.”

“Yes, but…” Kylo flounders. Rey would not agree to that. “She experienced prolonged starvation at a crucial point in development and there are complications…” He trails off, hoping that this will be enough. 

“Hm." Another uncomfortably long pause. "You will monitor her to assess when she is ready?”

Kylo’s mouth feels unbearably dry. “Of course.”

The hologram nods, slow and purposeful. “Very well. Then you may proceed, apprentice, but know that if she draws out any of your inclinations towards the Light, she will have to be sacrificed. Do not lose sight of this, and remember your true purpose.”

In a blink, the hologram disappears, just as abrupt as the summons. Heart still in his throat, Kylo gets to his feet and slowly leaves the room, walking as if in a daze.

This news shouldn’t be so terrifying. The thought of having children with her, of passing on the Force with her, is something that his daydreams are made of. But he knows that if he demands that, any potential for true affection on her part will be unquestionably dashed forever.

But if it takes too long, his Master could issue an ultimatum. 

When he returns to his quarters and gets back into bed, he gently places a hand on her waist. She’s warm and soft, and although he maintains his distance, he falls asleep dreaming of a night when he can lie wrapped around her smaller form.

 


 

  

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay: 

I’m martyr to a motion not my own;

What’s freedom for? To know eternity.

I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.  

But who would count eternity in days?

These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:  

(I measure time by how a body sways).

 

 - Excerpt from “I Knew a Woman”, Theodore Roethke

 

 

Chapter Text

When Rey wakes, she discovers that the bed is already empty. Bleary eyed, she lifts her head and squints around. The blur of dark on the other side of the room solidifies into Kylo, already full dressed and in the process of pulling on his mask.

It’s too early for training. “Where are you going?” 

He barely glances at her. “Something requires my attention.”

“What?”

“It’s not your concern.”

This is strange behaviour for him. Normally, he’s all too eager to respond when she displays even the slightest bit of interest in his activities. Frowning, she scoots out of the sheets, pulling the hem of his big shirt over her thighs and putting her bare feet to the floor. “Why am I staying here?”

He doesn’t even respond this time, merely pressing his palm against the force-activated compartment where he keeps their sabres, removing his own before shutting it again.

Irritated, she reaches out a bit with the force, trying to feel his emotion. He immediately snaps their connection shut, but not before she gets a lungful of self-loathing and frustration. It’s a potent mix that she’s felt in him before, but never this keenly. It’s as though something has brought it right up to the surface, dredged it with a vengeance from where it always simmers within him. 

He’s off to vent, she realises. No doubt to take his fury out on some innocents. 

Clenching her fists at her sides, she resists the urge to stomp her feet. “What happened?” Clearly, something had to have occurred in between her falling asleep and waking. He’d certainly been happy enough when he got into bed.

Kylo ignores her question. “The Knights will supervise your training,” he says, grinding the words out through his modulator before he turns and leaves without another word. 

 


 

She discovers that he’s left the closet open, giving her access to her clothes. Rey runs her fingers against the rows of fabric as she stands before the variety of dresses that the stylists had left her, face scrunched at the memory of being manhandled into beauty.

Although… The way that he had first looked at her…

Shaking the thought from her head, she shoves the piles of dresses aside and finds the sensible grey tunic and tights set aside near the back. It is a relief to be out of the First Order gear, even if she doesn’t want to thank him for a single thing.

Her training with the Knights is as same as ever. Daos Ren steps in to replace Kylo for her one-on-one sparring, and Rey gets to enjoy a smug sort of satisfaction when he proves to be significantly less of a challenge than she is used to.

All throughout the training, she gently nudges at the bond, trying to see if Kylo will communicate with her. If she can get some glimpse of what he’s up to. She feels surges of violence and anger, but nothing with enough detail to know what he’s doing, or why he’s so upset in the first place.

He hasn’t shut her out like this since she first arrived. It’s oddly irritating.

Back in Kylo’s quarters, Rey settles into a cross-legged pose to meditate. It’s centring and calming, which she finds she often needs after a brutal several hours of simulating killing another person.

She’s just about to slip into the stillness of the force when her datapad dings.

Frowning, she twists to look at it. Her datapad isn’t connected to any outside communication; Kylo had made plenty sure of that. There shouldn’t be anything that can give her an alert. Unless— unless, maybe someone from the Resistance has managed a remote hack or something—

Heart in her throat, she stands and scrambles to it, tapping quickly at the screen. Sure enough, it’s a message.

I won’t be back for dinner. Probably 1-2 hours after.

As soon as she makes sense of the words, Rey feels foolish for imagining that it could be anything else. Of course, Kylo would have left a way to communicate with her when he is— for whatever reason— refusing to let her in his head.

Wait for me in one of your new dresses, the message flashes up. Without underwear.

She has to resist the urge to snort at her datapad. Men. She should wear one of the needlessly elaborate ballgowns just to irritate him, something that takes a dozen ties and three zippers to get out of—

Do you understand? He’s apparently waiting for a response.

Rey doesn’t feel like giving him one. He’s not the only one who can determinedly ignore the other. Rolling her eyes, she sets the datapad aside and returns to her meditation.

 


 

She eats her supper alone, steadfastly ignoring the pang in her chest when she sets out the meal by herself. It’s not like she misses him.

The pang grows to something of an irritable itch as she sits in silence, the quiet seeming to swell the longer she is at the table. In the end, she stuffs her food into her mouth as fast as she can and flees to the bed, curling up with the datapad and pretending nothing is amiss.

She loses herself in her newest reading, an account of the Battle of Lorell that Kylo had given her, eagerly following the activity of raiders and their eventual defeat at the hand of the Jedi. Kylo might know a little more about why they managed to roam unchecked for so long, she thinks, chewing the inside of her cheek. Normally she would be able to ask all of her questions over supper. He always knows more than what’s in the books.

Almost as if she’s summoned him with the thought, she feels a flicker on the edge of her consciousness. Kylo’s force signature, getting closer. When she focuses, even though he’s still keeping the bond closed, she can narrow in enough that she’s fairly certain he’s back on the Finalizer. He can’t completely hide from her, no matter how hard he tries.

Her mood does not lift at the thought, she sternly tells herself. Because she isn’t excited to see him.

When the door finally slides open, she decides that she’s going to act normally and very casually, like nothing unusual had happened today. “Hey,” she starts, scooting towards the edge of the bed, holding out her datapad. “I had a question about—”

“You ignored my order.” He interrupts her flatly, voice strange and garbled through that stupid mask.

“Your…” Oh. That order. Ignoring it hadn’t seemed like a big deal at the time, but now that he’s in the room, Rey can feel the magnitude of the choice. 

The leather of his glove creaks a little in the silence as it curls into a fist, his head cocking slightly to the side. “You have two minutes to fix that.”

She half-laughs, wrinkling her nose at him. “Um, I don’t—”

“Pick something now.”

Her palms feel oddly sweaty when she smooths them down her thighs. “Look, I don’t really know what dresses they gave me, I wasn’t really paying attention—”

“Pick something,” he repeats, “or I will cut your clothes off you and you can go without.”

It seems so unlikely that the words take a moment to filter through Rey’s brain. When they finally do, she’s horrified that her immediate irritation is also met with a kind of deep ache in her hips, a sense of heat that ripples out through her and makes her heart beat faster.

Mostly to cover this, she lurches to her feet and huffs out an irritated fine before stomping her way to the cupboard.

Once inside, she realises that she’s shaking. From anger, she tells herself, purely and only anger, as she rifles through the piles of fabric. She grabs something that looks easy to get into, some sort of tiny pink slip that probably will barely reach her thighs. It might even be a bit sheer.

Just the kind of thing he ought to like, she thinks to herself with a derisive internal snort, shoving her boots, tunic, and tights off, letting her underwear follow. She pulls the slip over her head, and after a moment’s thought, tugs her hair out of her buns.

If she takes a moment to steady herself, it’s only because she’s so furious, and definitely not because of any misguided sense of anticipation.

When she steps back out into the room, Kylo has removed his helmet and cloak, his gloves sitting neatly on the table. He’s sitting in front of his own portion of food, reclined in his chair and staring flatly at her.

Wordlessly, he leans a little further back and spreads his legs wider.

Right. Sitting on his knee. Rey considers pointing out that she’s already eaten, but that somehow seems like a bad idea; instead, she lifts her chin and marches towards him, refusing to be cowed.

When she steps between his legs and tries to sit, though, he stops her with a firm grip to her upper arm. “That position is earned,” he snaps. “You’ve lost that privilege.”

She’s confused for a moment before he moves his hands to her shoulders, pressing downwards, intention clear.

Oh, she thinks numbly, her knees touching the cold of the floor as she lowers herself. She's pretty certain that she knows what he's implying, because she did it last night— and it had been strange, the taste a bit bitter— but not entirely unpleasant. She doesn't hate the idea as much as she should, even if she immediately tries to kick that realisation away. 

“Go on,” he says, and she starts fumbling with the confusing series of zips and buttons that hold his clothing together. He just watches, a hand coming up to ghost along the back of her head. It doesn’t feel affectionate; even though the gesture is soft, it somehow feels like a warning.

Eventually, she works everything open enough that his cock springs free, swollen and red and angry. Rising up on her knees a bit, she opens her mouth and wraps her lips around the tip of it, giving it an experimental suck—

“No,” he snaps, grabbing a handful of her hair. When she tries to peer up at him, confused, he pulls so tightly that her scalp starts to ache. “Show me how much you can take.”

She dimly thinks a few insults up at him, and she’s pretty sure that she sees a twitch of a smile at the corner of his lips.

Resolutely ignoring the sense that she’s not quite as horrified by this as she ought to be, she takes a deep breath through her nose and pushes herself forward, right until it becomes uncomfortable, her gag reflex twinging. Her mouth has to stretch wide open to accommodate him, lips pursing carefully to avoid letting her teeth get in the way. It's hot and curiously soft, the texture strange against her tongue. When she stops, it’s far from the whole thing, but it’s all she can manage, so she stills.

“Now,” he says, and she’s a bit pleased to note that his voice has gone a touch ragged. “Stay like that.”

Rey immediately tries to protest, but one hand holds her firmly in place. When she gurgles, he groans in pleasure; that’s hardly the effect she intended, so she freezes, trying to gauge what exactly is happening.

When she tries to move, though, to wiggle her head a little, the hand tugs on her hair again. “No sucking. Just stay until I say.”

There’s a scraping sound, something moving around over her head. With her jaw starting to ache and her mouth full of this strangely satisfying weight, it takes her a few seconds to process what’s happening.

He’s eating.

The kriffing bastard is eating.

Like this is just some sort of normal evening and she isn’t perched here on her knees, mouth full of his cock in this stupid little flimsy piece of fabric, her knees slowly beginning to ache and her hips stupidly on fire because her body has seemingly decided that it’s not going to listen to her sense of outrage any more.

Meanwhile, he’s just still proceeding with his evening, like she’s not even there. She sits there, bewildered and aroused and frustrated, the sensation building and building. How long does he plan to ignore her? Surely he can't just leave her like this forever? Her tongue twitches and he exhales slowly, still resolutely ignoring her. Oh, this is just- this is just, she shouldn't feel her fingers twitching towards her hips at the thought of being used like this, she shouldn't be able to feel her nipples hardening against the soft fabric- as she tries to process this, his hand begins stroking through her hair, his focus apparently back with her again. As the stroking motion repeats, soothing and soft, a strange feeling of contriteness washes over her; Rey finds herself wishing that she’d just listened to him in the first place, that she was up there curled against him instead of—

He apparently caught that thought. “Think about this next time,” he says, tracing the ridge of her brow. “Now— you can go ahead.”

In a twisted way a small part of her is thankful, because it’s at least more comfortable than what she’s been doing. This is more like what she did last night, and he had enjoyed that, she knew. Bobbing her head, she starts to move, sloppy and imprecise, flickering her tongue against the ridges and edges.

“Kriff,” he mutters, voice rasping. The longer she works, she can feel his hand start to twitch against her hair, until he begins to breathe deeply through his nose. “Touch yourself, but don’t come,” he manages, voice rasping, clearly trying and failing to sound masterful and in control.

Her hands move towards her thighs before she hesitates. Why should she just because he—

A quick jerk on her hair makes her capitulate without thinking, sliding her legs open just wide enough to frantically and sloppily swirl her fingers against her wet skin. A moan garbles its way in her throat and he gasps, his cock twitching in her mouth.

The bond is open again, she suddenly realises, not even having noticed its re-emergence because its existence is so much more normal now than its absence. Right now, it’s full of his cloying and overwhelming possessiveness, pride and victory all swirling together as he stares down at her, absolutely relishing every minute of her debasement.

Closing her eyes, Rey shuts all of that out and focuses on what is immediate, hollowing her cheeks with effort. There’s another ragged gasp and he’s abruptly crushing her face against his hips, her throat burning as a hot gush of liquid flows down her throat. Coughing and sputtering, she lurches away as he flops back down in his chair. Sucking cool air down her abused throat, she swipes the back of her hand across her mouth, feeling how her chin is slick with spit.

There’s no warning before hands are hooked under her armpits, lifting her roughly from the ground and laying her across the table on her back. Her surprised scrabbling for purchase sends Kylo’s mask off the table, falling to the ground with a loud and solid thump, along with the cutlery from his meal that crashes noisily alongside it.

Neither of them pay any attention to it. Her world narrows down to the way that Kylo shoves her legs open, smoothly pushing two fingers into her, pumping with such viciousness that it’s almost like he wants to hurt her.

Except that it doesn’t hurt. At all. There’s no soreness this time, just a desperate need that makes her buck her hips against his hand without shame, pleasure arcing through her body.  

The heat is building and building in her hips and she thrashes wildly, biting her knuckles and silently holding choked moans back in her throat, desperate to have it grow to fruition—

A sudden sharp pinch to her inner thigh makes her shriek, tears springing to her eyes. It’s so hard that it distracts her long enough to lose the promise of release, the pleasure ebbing—not enough to disappear, but just enough to put her at the bottom of that hill again.

When she looks down, frantic, Kylo is staring at her with a desperate wildness that ought to frighten her. “Think of tonight as an introduction to your rules,” he says, pressing the heel of his palm against her swollen flesh, ignoring her foot when it twitches involuntarily and kicks against his shoulder as she writhes. “You wait for me when you’re in this room. Outside, you are your own. But in here, you are mine: you don’t come without permission, you don’t dress without permission, and you are always available to me, in any way I like.”

Rey’s heart is pumping at a million miles per hour, so fast that she feels dizzy and helpless. Her whole body feels suspended, like she’s hanging just over a drop and she can’t fall over the edge. She should say something. She should argue with him, or insist on— insist on something

Instead, she just pulls her hands down her front and tries to rub between her legs, desperately wanting to take off the terrible edge. Kylo immediately yanks them back above her head, holding them so tightly that it sits on the edge of pain. “No, little one. You’re not listening.”

A high-pitched begging sound fills the room and it takes her a moment to realise that it’s coming from her, the sound so needy that it immediately fills her with shame. It’s a broken noise, almost animalistic, and she can’t believe that she could even produce it. For him, especially. The traitorous part of her brain reminds her that she’s done this once before, but she was so sure that she wouldn’t let it happen again—

He’s still talking, low and steady, and she couldn’t ignore the sound even if she wanted to. “Next time, when I ask for something, you obey. Do you understand?”

Oh, she hates him. Hates him. Hates him and wants him in equal measures, damn him, damn him-

He leans down and she can feel the hiss of breath against her neck and her ear as he repeats it again, this time his patience clearly on a knife’s edge. “Do you understand?

“Yes,” she grits out, “yes, so, please—”

“Yes, who?”

Kriff. Before she can snap at him or become too frustrated, one of his hands has slipped back between her legs once more- any of the clarity that her irritation had granted melts away and Rey can barely think as he strokes with featherlight touches, making her world spin. She’s only ever had spirits a few times, egged on by the other young people in the Resistance, and it felt a lot like this. Like she’s not entirely in control of what’s happening.

“Rey,” he coaxes. He’s trying to be calm, but she can hear the strain in his voice.

At this stage, she feels like she’s been turned inside out. She doesn’t know which way is up, and it becomes absolutely urgent that he stop denying her. Anything would be worth it to make that happen. Her voice comes out whispery and broken, but she manages. “I understand, Master.”

Kylo’s groan is quiet but it feels like it vibrates through her anyway. He abruptly scoops her up like she weighs nothing, sitting and settling her astride his knee. Hyper-sensitive, she nearly jumps at the contact with the coarse fabric. “There, little one,” he says, almost tenderly, “now you’ve earned the spot.”

Dimly, she can sense that this is related to his earlier discussion, but she’s not focused on that right now. “Please,” she says, dipping her head down to press against his shoulder, finally fully understanding that what she wants is not going to happen without his leave. “Please, Master, please, please—”

She feels the ripple of his shiver of pleasure across their bond. He’s very pleased about this- pleased enough that he’s evidently feeling generous. His hands come up to gently palm her breasts through the thin cloth of the shift, rolling in circles like he’s contentedly stroking a pet. “If you can manage it like this,” he says indulgently, “you can come. Although, I don’t have all night, so… ” His neck moves and she realises that he’s looking at the chrono. “You have three minutes.”

That’s not very much time. It registers as panic in Rey’s thoughts, the realisation that she will be completely denied if she doesn’t manage. Beyond indignity, she immediately begins to rock her hips against the coarse fabric of his trousers, scraping everything against the friction of it over and over and over, chasing it without reservation as she keeps her head on his shoulder, breathing in the intoxicating smell of his skin. 

She stops breathing when the orgasm finally, finally rips through her, equal in measures of relief and pleasure as it rolls through her hips. She can feel her thighs shake on either side of his leg, quivering, seizing through her whole body. Kylo just feels insufferably smug, one hand tracing up and down her spine, the other gently holding the back of her head, nearly soothing.

When she finally lifts her head, she realises that her face feels itchy with drying tear tracks. Raw and nerves sparking like exposed wires, she slowly rises up off him, gripping his arms tightly.

She’s worried that he’ll be looking at her face, but she needn’t have been. Kylo’s gaze is fixed against his thigh, and when she looks down, she sees why. She’s left a dark stain here, evidence of her enthusiasm.

The humiliation of it is intense. Rey tries to lurch away, but his hands grip her waist tightly, holding her in place. “Look at me, little one,” he croons, gently leaning forward to nudge at her face with the bridge of his nose.

She can’t stand to see his gloating. Or worse, what if he’s laughing at her? Or repulsed? What if he thinks she’s disgusting—

When he scrapes his teeth against the end of her nose, she jumps, looking up and catching his eye without thinking.

What she finds is arguably worse: he’s gazing at her with softness that she doesn’t know if she can stand, eyes dark with something that looks dangerously close to affection. Like she’s something rather precious to him, instead of a convenient bit of prey for him to toy with before he devours it whole. 

For the life of her, Rey cannot explain why the thought makes her melt. 

 


 

 

 

The night is darkening round me,

The wild winds coldly blow ;

But a tyrant spell has bound me,

And I cannot, cannot go.

 

 - Excerpt from “The Night is Darkening Around Me,” by Emily Bronte

 

 

Chapter Text

Ever since Rey’s arrival, Kylo has been keenly aware of how quickly she learns.

Lightsabre forms, arcane languages, the subtler nuances in manipulation of the Force— no matter what it is, she takes it in like a starving animal descending on food. It makes her a pleasure to teach, and Kylo has come to expect a certain standard from her.

Which is why it’s strange that she’s taking such a beating from his Knights in this training session. Even as she pivots and lunges with her weapon, she is leaving more gaps in her defence than he has ever seen before. It’s painful to watch.

The third time Daos Ren manages to hit her with a strike that will no doubt leave a purpling bruise against her leg, Kylo calls the fight off and dismisses the Knights. When the room is cleared, he approaches Rey, frowning down at her through his mask. “You’re distracted today.”

She doesn’t answer, and she won’t look at him. When she was like this over breakfast, he had assumed that it was lingering shame from the night before— but he had also assumed that she would eventually get over it as she went through her day.

Clearly, he assumed wrong.

They stand in silence as he tries to decide how to proceed. He can hardly apologise or back down because he embarrassed her— that sets a dangerous precedent. She has to get used to these things.

Finally, he tilts his head towards the door. “No more training for today. Go back to the room and do your reading.” She walks away and her stride is confident even as she keeps her eyes down— damn it all, if he’s not taken with the way that she bends but doesn’t break— and he calls after her. “Wait for me the same way as last night.”

She nods but doesn’t look back.

 


 

He dwells on this development all day, distracted and irritable.

Clearly, he’s going to have to adjust his approach. But she’d been so enthralled— and the way that she’d looked at him at the end of last night, straddled over his leg with the colour high in her cheeks and her lovely lips parted as she panted at him…

Nonetheless, he can’t have her refusing to meet his eyes.

Thinking about Rey is more interesting than the meeting that he’s attending- some planning session for a coordinated attack on a local settlement. Hux is going through trooper formations in painstaking detail, and Kylo would just give up and go if it didn't mean risking leaving things to the General’s incompetence. The Knights are involved, so he must be involved. But that doesn't mean that he can't let his mind wander. 

He can’t stop thinking about her kneeling between his legs. She’d been so kriffing wet when he finally reached for her. So willing and pliant. Just the memory has him shifting awkwardly in his chair, grateful that his lap is covered by the long table.

The shifting catches Hux’s attention. The general snaps in Kylo’s direction, his words clipped. “Do you have something to add, Ren?”

“No.” He chooses not to elaborate, instead tilting his head in what he hopes is a suitably disdainful gesture.

“Of course not. Tell me, were you ever going to inform me about the group of slavers you butchered on-world yesterday?”

Kylo hadn’t planned to. “I doubted that it was worth your time.”

“It wouldn’t be if the head of that syndicate hadn’t gone storming through the local militia, claiming that the First Order had reneged on the negotiated cease-fire.” Hux’s voice takes on a tinge of desperation. “Did you even have a reason?

My Master wants me to impregnate the only woman who has ever been my equal, but doing it will shatter any hope for her being mine, and ignoring him will eventually result in her execution at my hand. Not that the killing had particularly helped with his anger, to be fair; it had only driven his blood up even further, leaving him nearly vibrating with rage until he’d had Rey writhing in his lap. For whatever reason, that had calmed him down. “I don’t like slavers.”

Rubbing his temple like he’s trying to stave off a migraine, Hux turns back to Phasma. “This new class of ships we’re commissioning on-site, I need to know which teams are overseeing the design and build…”

Suddenly, Kylo is thankful that Hux dragged him back into the conversation, bringing him out of his brooding enough to become aware of the topic of discussion. The idea has so much potential that Kylo actually smiles as it hits him, sitting a little straighter in his chair. “Phasma, I’ll need that information as well.”

 


 

This time, when he returns to his quarters, Rey has obeyed his instructions. This dress is a bit longer, almost to her knees, and made of some kind of floaty white material. His breath catches in his throat when he first sees her in it— with her hair spilling down her shoulders and her arms bare, she looks like the Light incarnate, some sort of mythical archetype come to life.

The way that she’s sprawled on her front with her nose nearly touching the scroll that she’s dragged across his bed is a bit less erotic, but strangely, he likes that. He’d originally intended to add to her rules so that she would have to wait in some suitably deferent pose— kneeling, maybe, with her palms up on her thighs— but he immediately decides that he prefers the implied domesticity of how relaxed she is.

Once his mask, gloves, and cape are set aside, he sets out the one place at the table. Rey still isn’t looking at him, but he’s determined to play this out with a soft touch.

When it’s ready, he sits and gestures to her. “Come here.”

Rey sets the scroll aside and pads to him, and he can’t help but stare at the way that the dress flows around her form as she moves. When she reaches him, she hesitates for a moment, but he pats his knee to clearly indicate where she’s meant to be. If she’s relieved, she doesn’t show it.

The fabric of the dress is as soft as it looks when he wraps an arm around her waist and holds a bit of cooked veg to her lips. They eat quietly, calmly, and he’s relieved that this at least has not changed.

Once her dessert is nearly finished, Kylo starts speaking as casually as he can manage. “From tomorrow, you’ll be going to Flight Hanger B at 1400 hours.”

She shifts a little and he can feel the dart of confusion across her mind. “Why?”

“There’s a team meeting there to discuss the design— and then, eventually, oversee the build— of a new class of spacecraft. I told them they could use your expertise.”

The silence that follows this is so long that he starts to think this idea may not have been as brilliant as initially hoped. When Rey finally speaks, she almost sounds suspicious. “How does this advance my training with you?”

“It doesn’t,” he admits. “But you’re mechanically gifted, and I think you would be an asset to the project.”

Her fingers start to drum against her thigh. Kylo is suddenly vividly reminded of an animal carefully sniffing at an offering of food, trying to determine if they’ll be harmed if they get close enough to accept the gift. “Can I fly it when it’s done?”

“Yes.” He would go along, of course, but she could sit at the helm.

After another few tense moments, she seems to come to a decision, twisting and looking at him directly. He’s so taken aback by the first direct eye contact in a day that it takes him a second to realise that she’s beaming¸ the biggest smile that he’s ever seen from her in person. It’s happy and wide, her eyes crinkling up at the corners, even her posture going into it as her shoulders rise and it becomes a toothy grin.

His brain goes absolutely blank at the sight.

“What kind of ship is it going to be?” She props herself back far enough on his knee that she can search his face, as if the answers will be written there. “Is it a fighter? A freight? How much is designed? Will there be a prototype?”

“I…” He desperately wishes that he had the answers, if it would keep her smiling. “I’m not sure, but the engineers will tell you everything.” They hadn’t been particularly thrilled about welcoming an uneducated interloper, but some choice threats from Kylo had quickly fixed that.

“I’ve never built anything from new parts before,” she admits, her eyes moving to the middle distance, looking at something he can’t see. “Scavenged parts and then put them together, yes, but having purpose built components… Oh, I wonder if I’ll get to see some new versions of gravitic wave modulators, the ones I saw on the wrecks always looked like they were starting to strain even though they can’t have been used much, I bet they’ve been updated since then—”

Her excitement makes a strange lump grow in Kylo’s throat, for reasons that he’s not entirely sure that he understands. Unsettled by the sensation, he coughs and tries to change the subject, reorienting himself to look down at her legs. “Have the bruises from this morning formed?”

“— and I mean, even when I took them apart, they… Oh,” she says, blinking. “I think so?”

Without asking for permission, he takes the hem of the skirt and drags it up until it reveals the two injuries mid-way up her thigh. They’re already purpling, big and angry. When he gently touches his fingers to it, she winces. They’ll need tending to. “I have bacta,” he says, cupping his hand just below the biggest bruise. “No doubt they’ll heal within a day or two with the cream applied.”

“They’re not that bad.”

He glances back up at her face to frown at her, but she isn’t looking at him. Instead, she’s staring at the bruises. Or— no. He flicks his gaze back and forth a few times. She’s staring at his hand. Not with disgust; she’s holding herself tense, but without any trace of fear. From what he can see, it looks more like… Suspended anticipation.

Testing his theory, he lets his thumb slide down against her inner thigh, tracing the skin there in slow and soothing circles.

Ever so slightly, her legs spread open.

It abruptly becomes very hard for Kylo to breathe, and a lot of the blood in his brain starts to drain south. She apparently feels the shift in the air, because she lets out the smallest of little gasps, barely a puff of intake of breath.

This time, when he raises his eyes to his face, she’s looking directly at him. Rey looks as surprised as he does at her own reaction, but her gaze is unflinching, her face shockingly open and unguarded. It's enthralling, and he's gripped by the powerful urge to lift her and carry her to bed, to pin her down and bite and mark until she is his, his, all his and only his

But— no, no, no. He forces himself to think about the bruises. He doesn’t want to do anything when she’s hurt.

Now, of course, it would be a different matter entirely if he’d put those bruises there, under very different circumstances…

Shaking the thought away by physically bracing himself, he stands and lifts her off his lap with such suddenness that she makes a little surprised sound and stumbles as she balances on her feet. “I’ll get the bacta,” he mutters, walking to the ‘fresher and grabbing the little pot of salve. After two minutes of pressing his head against the door and willing his boner to behave, he finally goes back into the main room; she has moved back to sitting on the bed, the scroll now spread across her lap. “Here,” he says, tossing it to her. “Go and spread it on.”

Again, she looks surprised. No doubt she’d assumed that he would do it himself, given that it would be another chance to take her clothes off.

And he wants to. Desperately. But he doesn’t trust himself not to take it further if he does, so he stalks off to his small alcove to meditate until she goes to bed.

 


 

Eventually, when he feels the lull of her sleep across the bond, Kylo creeps out of his alcove. He had expected to feel more resentment about effectively being made to feel like an intruder in his own space, but instead, he feels a swell of uncomfortable emotion when he sees how she’s laid out in his bed. It might be his imagination, but it feels like the tight ball of her sleep has loosened ever so slightly, her form just an inch or two away from the very edge of the bed where she was before.

Rey has changed back into his shirt as well, if he should even think of it that way. It’s clearly been commandeered and is now her shirt. He knows that there are sleeping clothes in her new wardrobe, but she apparently prefers this arrangement.

Kylo certainly doesn’t mind. She can own anything of his that she wants.

Sitting at the table with a heavy sigh, he puts his face in his hands and thinks back to his Master’s request. A few altered medical assessments should keep him off the scent for a little while, but after that…

He doesn’t know about after that. His meditation didn't reveal anything. If Grandfather has any insights on the situation, he isn’t sharing them.

With heavy steps, he eventually stands and prepares for bed. When he crawls under the covers, the soft heat of Rey’s body tempts him to touch. He hesitates, but self-loathing anger bubbles up again, thick and potent. He is Kylo Ren, this girl is his, and if he wants to touch her, he can. And will

So, slowly, he reaches out and puts a hand against her, gently resting it on the curve of her waist.

She doesn’t move at all, still breathing peacefully.

Thoroughly pleased with himself, Kylo puts his head to the pillow and waits for the fitful quiet of sleep.

 

 


 

 

Love wakens love! I felt your hot wrist shiver 

  And suddenly the mad victory I planned

  Flashed real, in your burning bending head...

My conqueror’s blood was cool as a deep river 

  In shadow; and my heart beneath your hand 

Quieter than a dead man on a bed.

 

- Excerpt from “Libido”, by Rupert Brooke

 

 

Chapter Text

 

It takes three meetings for the techs to warm up to Rey.

The first time she shows up in the small room off the side of Hangar B, they regard her with outright hostility, a bristling sort of caution that only thaws after a few of her more helpful suggestion.

The second time, one or two of the younger underlings shoot her a shy smile. That helps to dissolve the tension in the room, as does her praise of the proposed fighter design. Her enthusiasm is genuine; as much as she’s conflicted about being involved in a project that will contribute to more death, she can’t help but be excited when she sees the technological developments in design since the Destroyers that she used to scavenge were first made.

The third time, she makes a joke about calcinators and the whole room laughs. They hesitantly offer her an invitation to join them all for caf in the Mess afterwards, and she happily accepts.

The techs are varied in age and from all over the galaxy, but as she jokes along with them about the incompetence of early modulator design, it becomes clear that they’ve accepted her as one of their own.

 


 

When the bruises on her thighs are healed, Kylo takes her back to bed. This time, she lies on her back, and it doesn’t hurt as much as her first experience. He’s strangely gentle, and half the time she ends up pressing her face to the junction of his shoulder so she can avoid looking at his face. It’s too expressive, and she doesn’t think she wants to see what’s there.

She always waits for him in a dress, now. There’s a nearly infinite variety in her closet, and after nearly two weeks, she starts to wonder if someone is making additions when she is out of the room.

She doesn’t push him by breaking his rules. There are no repeats of her punishment. He is almost friendly.

Rey’s life is still based around little rituals; only the details of them have changed. She wakes— usually now to find Kylo’s hand touching her in some way, maybe her waist or her hair— and she prepares for the day. They train with the Knights. She and Kylo train alone. She reads. She goes to Hangar B and the design progresses, from blueprints to small prototypes. She has caf with the techs. She returns to the room and etches a line into the wall behind a book case, where Kylo can’t see. He returns and he feeds her, slowly and indulgently, like he’s revelling in being able to care for something instead of destroying it. Then he takes her to bed.

Over the weeks, the sweet gentleness of that one time in bed proves to be an aberration. As oddly not-cruel as he is normally, he’s always bossy once she’s undressed— he positions her as he likes, makes her hold certain poses, touch herself certain ways. He makes her blush right to the roots of her hair and then teases her. She steadfastly ignores the way that the embarrassment heats her body more, how it heightens the pleasure even further every time.

His grip is brutal, and she’s always a bit sore afterwards, though it’s hard to deny that it’s a strangely satisfying soreness. She comes, and comes, and comes again.

In Jakku, the routine numbed her to the passage of time and helped her to remain placid. It does the same aboard the Finalizer.

But on Jakku, there were no fresh outside eyes to remind her of this.

 


 

“So.” Midda’s mouth is full of a muffin, little bits of crumbs spraying out of her mouth. She’s leaning on her elbow, crammed next to Rey on a bench, talking loudly to try and be heard over the noise of the Mess. Techs, lower officers, stormtroopers— they’re all milling about here, disarmingly human as they jostle for tables and try to select the least unappetising meal from the under the glaring heaters. “I’ve been wanting to ask for a while, but— what are you, exactly, to Kylo Ren?”

Rey freezes, her mug of caf halfway to her lips. The entire table falls uncomfortably silent as the other techs snap around to glare at Midda.

“I mean, we were all shocked when he came in and threatened punishment if we didn’t— Ow!” Midda jumps and shoots a resentful glare around the table. “What was that?”

Slowly setting her caf down, Rey stares into the brown liquid. For weeks, now, she’s had the vague sensation that the techs were trying to shepherd Midda away from her, making deliberate efforts to ensure that they didn’t sit together or get into an isolated conversation. She hadn’t been entirely sure why, given that Midda seemed to be a perfectly pleasant— if a little chatty and nosy—young woman, the youngest one by far in the group, even more so than Rey. Clearly, this had been what they were all trying to avoid.

Looking up, Rey tries to keep her face neutral. “I work with him, that’s all.”

“So, you’re a Knight? Are you— seriously, Kriff, ow, stop that, whoever you are!”

“It’s okay,” Rey says weakly, looking around the table. For all that the group had obviously been trying to spare her the embarrassment of this conversation, they’re now hanging on her every word. “I’m not a Knight, no. I just… Work with him,” she finishes, lamely.

“Is that why you don’t live in the tech quarters? And don’t have a uniform?”

Rey can feel a blush beginning to creep up her cheeks. “Um. Yes.”

Midda takes another bite of her muffin. “I hear he’s a real brute. I’m sorry that you have to work with him.”

Rey has a sudden flashback of leaning over the side of the bed the night before, Kylo’s long arms holding her by the wrists, his breath hot on her ear as she babbled nonsense into the air, the noise hitching with each of his thrusts. “It’s all right.”

There’s a long and awkward silence before Yax, older and with grey beginning to feather along his temple, leans forward. “If there’s anything we can do, to help… I have a medic buddy, you know.”

The attention on Rey becomes even more intent, and she realises that they’ve all talked about this without her around. What do they think she needs a medic for? “What?”

This time it’s Ponne, twisting her fingers together, who leans forward and speaks quickly in a muted tone, as if they’re discussing treason. With two children left back on her home planet as she earns enough money for their school, she seems to have a motherly effect in every conversation. “Rey, I’m sorry, I know that you probably were trying to hide it, but I saw the bruise on your neck. And your wrist, the other day. And we…” She clears her throat. “He’s obviously very powerful and we can’t do anything about that, but if you need any—”

It’s Midda who interrupts again. “Bruises? You had bruises? On your neck?”

Ponne closes her eyes, as if for patience. “Midda, hush–”

“But that’s horrible! Is he hitting you?” She rounds on her compatriots, furious. “You knew that he was hitting her and you didn’t say anything?”

Rey says, as quietly as she can, “he’s not hitting me.” She doesn’t want sympathy for a lie. It doesn’t sit right, even if it would be less humiliating than the alternative. She doesn’t want to talk about her force sensitivity if she can avoid it. It had made people deeply nervous in the Resistance, and she doesn’t want to lose this one semblance of normalcy that she has.

“But— but then— oh.” The penny drops and Midda falls silent, her mouth dropping open. The rest of the table looks pained, rather than shocked. Apparently, being older than Midda and wiser to the ways of the world, they had reached the obvious conclusion: when a strange young woman appears out of nowhere, is given a high degree of influence without any perceivable official status or role, never speaks of what she does the rest of her time, and dutifully troops towards the Officer’s quarters at the end of each day, the inference was easy enough to make. “Oh,” Midda says again softly, now turning red.

Ponne leans forward again. “It’s all right, Rey. Maker knows we all do what we have to, and you’re bright and helpful, we like having you here—”

“I have to go,” Rey blurts out, standing up and nearly knocking over her unfinished caf.

She can feel their concern prickling against her skin as she strides away as fast as she can, trying to flee the scene.

 


 

Back in her quarters— Kylo’s quarters, not hers, she shouldn’t forget— Rey paces.

How could she have let herself become this complacent?

She’s always been resilient and adaptable. She’s been proud of that. But should she be adapting to this?

Yes. She circles back to her original reasoning. She’d made a promise, an agreement, a trade. She respects trades. She’d signed up for this. She has to stay.

But she’s been so… Compliant. Hopping to his instructions. Putting on dresses for him, for kriff’s sake. Letting the grooming droid do her hair and nails. Lying back and mewling for him, exactly like he wants. How could she let it take an outside perspective for her to remind her of how wrong this all is? That it was meant to be something she endured for the sake of her friends, not enjoyed?

She tries not to think of how good it feels when he’s inside her. Or of how her whole body heats just at the memory, of the dampness it inspires between her legs. Of the shuddering and drunken haze of lust. Of the orgasms.

Kriff, so many orgasms.

She’s so lost in her thoughts that she loses track of time, only snapping back to the present when the door slides open. Kylo stops on the threshold of the room when he sees her still in her work clothes, hair up in its practical buns and her face contorted in a frown.

He tilts his helmeted head. “What’s wrong?”

Rey isn’t even sure where to start. Everything— everything is wrong. “Nothing.”

Kylo disengages his helmet and slowly sets it aside. He doesn’t look angry, despite the fact that she’s not ready for him. If anything, he looks concerned. “Something happened. What happened?”

“Nothing,” she insists, turning on her heel and stomping to the ‘fresher.

She prepares and picks a dress with even less grace than usual, refusing to relax in his lap no matter how many times he gently strokes her arm or back. He tries to send little tendrils across the bond to find out what’s wrong, but she shuts them out without preamble. By the time she sullenly eats her dessert— even if she’s mad, she’s not going to turn down a chocolatey pudding—Rey can feel genuine alarm radiating off him.

He scoops her into his arms, hand under her shoulder and knees, and walks her to the bed. When he lays her down, his touch is tender, even verging on comforting. “Tell me.”

Rey hardens her express and pulls him down for a kiss. Not because she wants to, she insists to herself, stomping down the niggling way that she can’t help but crave the softness of his lips. Because this has to happen and she wants to get it over with. Of course. That’s all.

It’s no surprise that he follows the motion, but he does it with that disarming gentleness again. When he pulls away, his face is open with worry, his hand carding softly in her hair. Lowering his head once more, he presses fluttering kisses down from the edge of her ear, along her jaw, past her pulse point, to her collarbone.

“No,” she snaps at him, heart suddenly heavy with the weight of emotion that she manifestly doesn’t want to feel, angry at the worming coil of unwelcome happiness dancing in her stomach. “Don’t.”

He freezes against her chest. “What?”

“Don’t be kind.”

What?” Kylo props back on his elbows to stare at her, confusion contorting into a snarl.

Lifting a hand, she slides it through his hair, curling her fist until she tugs so tightly on the strands that he hisses. “I don’t. Want. Your kindness. I’ll do this but I’m not your lover.”

There’s a darkness gathering around him, like he’s pulling the force to him in spidery tendrils, wrapping himself in them in a way that enhances his anger. “Little one,” he hisses, the endearment more like a warning, “tell me what happened.”

“No.”

“That wasn’t a request.”

No.

His fingers grip her jaw in a crushing hold and all of his focused energy is suddenly pressing against her mind, trying to dig through her memories. But she’s stronger now, much stronger than the first time that he tried to do this and unwittingly formed their bond. And she’s angry— angry enough that she blocks him, shutting him out with ease.

That enrages him, filling him with a prickling fury. Through the bond, she feels it take over, her heart accelerating at the force of it. 

The seams of her dress give way easily when he yanks at the collar of it, the shoulder straps of it digging against her skin and making her snarl in unexpected pain. She’s bare in moments, and his hand snaps to her neck, holding it tightly. It doesn’t crush her breathing— instead, all of his strength seems concentrated on the sides, and everything immediately starts to feel a little bit far away. She raises her eyes to the ceiling, determined not to look at him through this, to retain that little bit of independence.

“Fine,” he snarls, breath hot against her skin as he hooks his fingers under her knee, dragging it up to her chest. “Fine. You want a monster? You get a monster.”

Normally, he works her up to things. Instead, he pins her place with the force, the pressure on her neck still tight as he works his pants open. She’s still aroused when he pushes into her, the sound humiliating evidence of her physical readiness with almost no prompting.

Even if it stings for a moment, it still feels good. With the haze in her mind, it’s hard to think, and she gurgles around his choke hold when she feels him bottom out. The pace he sets is brutal and deep, and oh, Rey finds herself trying to rock towards him, because that feels much better than it should—

“No,” he snaps at her, “hold still. You don’t want kindness?” He punctuates his words with a particularly hard thrust and she sucks in a strangled breath, whole body tingling. “Then you get to lie there and take it. You get to listen to how wet you are.”

Rey doesn’t know if the blush rising in her cheeks is because of his words or the tightness around her neck, now. He’s right, of course. The slick slap of skin is proof enough. She’d wanted this because she wanted to feel less complicit, but her body is betraying her, ruining everything—

Kylo’s hands settle on her breasts and she can’t roll or tug away when he pinches tightly at the peaks, working them until they feel swollen and sensitive. She could swear that she’s floating, pure sensation rolling through her, every little promise of pain just pulling her deeper. She could lose herself in this. She feels her whole body relax against the hold, soft noises sneaking out of her as the pressure of it builds in her hips. There was something that she’d promised herself— something about holding out, but she can’t remember…

“And,” he adds, dipping low and speaking directly into her ear, voice a low rumble that makes the small hairs on the side of her neck stand up, “you don’t get to come.”

The words take a few seconds to drift through the haze, and when they do, part of her immediately starts to thrash in anger. I hate you, she shoves limply through the bond, but she refuses to beg, even as the pressure grows into a throbbing pulse. Oh, she wants it, but she won’t beg.  

“Fine,” he snaps again, answering her mental barb out loud. “You know it’s better for me this way anyway, right?”

She can barely hear his words. The haze of not being able to move, just feel, is intense.  

“You get so tight when you’re about to come,” he groans through heavy breathing. “So needy, so desperate. If you want cruelty, this is what you get— just being used for my enjoyment. Is that what you wanted? To just be for my pleasure, not your own?”

It’s nearly in reach. She could cry for the closeness of release. Just a little bit more—so close, so close, so kriffing close

With a guttural low sound, he snaps his hips particularly hard and his hold on her dissolves. She slumps back against the mattress as the blood rushes back into her head, blinking away the fog through his last few thrusts and the rush of wet warmth between her legs. She feels so hot all over, so used, a bit stunned at the quickness of it. The way that it was so perfunctory. And absolutely not, not, not responding to his words or the suggestion, getting more aroused by the thought of his control. She swears it to herself, though it feels a bit weak even in her own head. 

He’s still hovering over her. Rey rolls her neck to meet his eyes for the first time, staring into his blown pupils. “Happy?” He snarls, some sweat-slicked hair clinging to his brow. In a strange way, Rey feels like she’s hurt him, though she can’t figure out how this could possibly be so.

By way of response, she simply turns her head and looks away again. Ignoring the crawling need for completion still tingling in her body. The way that in some ways, deep down, she’s disappointed. She has to tamp down the sudden urge to comfort him, as if she needs to fix what she’s done wrong.

With a muted oath, he rolls off the bed and stomps away to the ‘fresher.

His frustration should feel like a victory. She’s proved that he can’t have everything he wants.

It should feel like a victory.

It doesn’t.

 

 


 

 

O Rose, thou art sick.

The invisible worm

That flies in the night

In the howling storm

Has found out thy bed

Of crimson joy,

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.

 

- The Sick Rose, by William Blake

 

 

Chapter Text

I'll do this, but I’m not your lover.

Hands tightly clasped together, Kylo watches the security screens through the visor of his helmet. Two techs are frantically hitting buttons, speeding through footage to try and catch sight of Rey.

“There,” he says tonelessly, when he sees one of her travelling down a hallway, clearly to her daily time with the engineers. She stands out; she’s almost the only person in civilian clothing, even her grey daily wear somehow seeming colourful against a sea of white and black.

The techs immediately slow the video. She looks normal here, her expression purposeful but not upset.

“Follow her progress,” Kylo instructs, “at a higher speed. Until I tell you to stop.”

They watch the tapes, the techs occasionally flipping over to a new camera or angle, as she zips along to Hangar B. The meeting there seems to progress normally. She smiles a lot with the techs, he notes with a bit of irritation. For him, those smiles are far and few between. 

After the meeting they all go to the Mess. Everything looks to be normal. And then, suddenly, Rey lurches to her feet and practically flees the room, leaving the group looking confused.

“Replay that,” Kylo snaps, impatient. “At normal speed. Do you have audio?”

“We should,” one of the techs says, fingers now flying across the keys. “Let me see if I can improve the quality, one moment.”

In the end, it’s scratchy and bits of it are too quiet to catch, but it’s enough. Kylo and the two techs watch as Rey is confronted about her exact relationship with Kylo Ren, as she stumbles for an answer and the group tries to comfort her. The small version of Rey stands to flee the Mess once more, and the security techs awkwardly pause the video. It leaves nothing but the sound of low electrical buzzing in the small and darkened room, with Kylo standing perfectly still, and the two techs staring at their screens nervously.

So that was it. The source of her humiliation.

I’m not your lover.

Kylo’s hands clench, the leather of his gloves creaking as he tries to control his breathing. How dare they presume. How dare those outsiders take something so precious, something destined by the force, and make it sound so cheap, so tawdry—

Snoke’s voice cuts across his mind. Your whore.

A tech’s anxious voice breaks the silence. “Uh, Lord Ren? Is that what you needed?”

For a wild moment he wants to pull out his sabre and destroy the consoles, making them take the brunt of his fury. But, no. The recording would still remain. “You will erase this footage,” he says, putting compulsion behind the words. “You will forget this interaction.”

“I will erase the footage,” both of the techs intone, glassy eyed. “I will forget this interaction.”

 


 

Kylo had fully intended to go back to his quarters, but somehow, he ends up waylaid in one of the nicer officer’s lounges. It’s empty, thankfully. The cabinet storing the expensive Corellian liquor is technically locked, but it’s child’s play to break it open.

Falling into one of the big, comfortable chairs, Kylo props his shoes up against the table next to his helmet and takes a long swig. The brandy burns on the way down. He takes another.

I’ll do this, but I’m not your lover.

To some degree, he had assumed that finding out the source of her upset would make him feel better. He was wrong. Just like he'd thought that giving her the roughness she asked for would leave him feeling vindicated. Instead, it had just left a bitter taste in the back of his throat. 

Part of him wants to go and track down the techs and rip them to shreds. But that would undoubtedly make things worse when Rey found out. And she would find out.

So instead, he drinks. It distantly occurs to Kylo that his behaviour is somewhat reminiscent of Han Solo and his Mo— the General after a fight, but he tries not to think about it. This is hardly a marital spat. And even if it is, it's not as though he plans to take Han Solo's route of disappearing off on some urgent smuggling gig that would see him gone for weeks at a time. 

Although, that would at least be a plan. He has no kriffing clue about what to do next.

Things had seemed to be going fairly well. He’s certainly been satisfied. And so had she— hadn’t she? It had felt that way when she had surprised him a few nights ago by rolling them over, sitting astride him with a glint in her eye. Her gorgeous breasts had moved in time with her bouncing, her thighs flexing as she took her own pleasure with a ferocity that he didn’t know she had. He’d indulged it, crooning at her for being so desperate and needy. Which had made her blush.

And damn, if that didn’t always push his buttons. That she could be naked and stuffed full of cock and still be embarrassed enough to blush.

Aaaand great. Now he’s hard and has no way to deal with it, given that he doesn’t even want to go back to his quarters just yet. And he’s hardly going to just open his pants in the officer’s lounge. With a groan, Kylo takes another long drag of the brandy.

He keeps circling back to the same thought: Rey’s physical compliance isn’t enough. He’d told himself that it was, but it isn’t any more. Not when the only way to keep the physical side of things is for Snoke to approve, and for Snoke to approve… Things would have to change. It's no surprise that he's had a taste and now he needs more. She'll simply have to accept it. 

Mulling this over, frustrated and having a bit of trouble focusing, Kylo’s chin falls to his chest. His eyelids feel rather heavy. He could’ve sworn that there was more in the bottle, but it’s almost empty. Strange. He seems to remember breaking the seal, that it was unopened when he got to it, shouldn’t that mean there’s more? His limbs feel a bit numb.

He should get back to his Rey…

 


 

Restlessly, in broken fragments, he dreams of children with wide, trusting eyes and dark hair.

 


 

When Kylo wakes with a dull throbbing headache, his neck a bit cramped from the strange position of his rest, it takes a few moments before he realises that something is very wrong. A panoply of emotion is radiating through the bond- anxiety, fear, confusion, so cloying and intense that it takes away his ability to breathe, to stop and try and determine what exactly is going on. So deep, in fact, that it takes a few seconds for him to remember that his emotions are not always his own now.

Rey.

Snatching up his helmet, ignoring the pain in his head, Kylo darts for the door and sprints down the hallway. He knocks over two stormtroopers and shoves at least one higher officer out of the way, but that’s all secondary to the panic that he’s racing toward. It’s so deep that he can’t even reach her to ask what’s happening, if she’s being attacked, if she’s safe.

He’s moving so fast that he nearly skids past his own door. The security panel takes too long— instead, he sends gears and locks crunching as he flings the door open with the force, shoving his way inside with his sabre lit and raised.

He’s met with silence. Other than the bond, which is still shrieking like the sawing high notes of a violin, there is nothing out of place.

Not trusting the calm, he advances towards the room where they sleep, finally stepping in defensively.

There is nothing there. Just Rey, curled up over his blankets into the tightest ball he has ever seen, shaking like a leaf.

“What…” Confused, Kylo extinguishes his sabre and steps forward, dropping his helmet as he goes. Once he’s at the side of the bed, he falls to his knees, reaching out to touch her face. “What…”

She makes a noise like a wounded animal, high and confused. When her head lifts, her eyes are wide and glassy, her breathing uneven. “You– you didn’t come back,” she chokes out, barely recognisable as the warrior of a woman that he’s become so used to.

It’s like a punch to the stomach. “But—”

“You were angry and you left and you didn’t come back,” she says again, breaths more ragged. “You just left and you didn’t say and then I woke up and I couldn’t feel you.” She sucks in air like it’s physically hurting her. “I was waiting.”

The alcohol, Kylo realises numbly. He’d barely been able to feel himself in the force, let alone have it travel normally through the bond.

“I should’ve—” she’s struggling to speak again, “I never— people don’t— they never come back— I should’ve known—”

Oh no. No, no, this is worse than the night before. He’s losing all the ground he’s gained, he can feel it. If it wasn’t gone before.

He has to do something.

Panicking, he waves a hand over her face, sending her into a deep force sleep. Her features relax as she slumps back down onto the mattress, her limbs loosening a little. She looks more like her normal self this way, and still kneeling beside her, Kylo wills his frantically thumping heart to slow down. He feels like he’s just come off an hour’s fight. This is a disaster.

Somewhere, somehow, he has completely miscalculated.

All this time, he’s been expecting her to simply accept the brunt of whatever happens. To be fair, she’s done precisely that— his desert girl has withstood the buffeting of her circumstances so well that he managed to forget that deep well of loneliness, that aching vulnerability that he had seen during the first foray into her mind.

The self-loathing claws at his throat. It’s oh-so-familiar, a well-trodden path of anger and weakness that he hates. Slowly, he rises to his feet. 

Then, in three quick strides, he goes to the wall and raises his arm, driving into it with his fist as hard as he can.

He punches it again, and again, and again, until he feels his knuckles split and blood starts the flow down his fingers, sticky and warm. The wall is dented, but it’s not satisfying enough— he grabs some of the hefty training gear that he stores in his room with the force and hurls it, roaring with fury as he does so. They crash against a book shelf on the opposite wall, crunching and breaking as they impact, bits of debris scattering against the floor.  

Through it all, Rey sleeps.

How could he have been so blind? He is the Master— he should know what she needs for herself, better than she does. He should be there to guide her. He failed. He failed. She tried to push him away, and he allowed it.

Failure. Failure. Failure.

He has to fix this or he’s going to lose her. Snoke will declare her a risk, and then Kylo will have to… He’ll have to….

He sends a table smashing against another wall. He thinks he might be sick.

Kicking through the wreckage, he goes to his alcove and sits in front of Grandfather’s helmet. As he manages his breathing, the frantic, kinetic energy of his mind finally becomes a controllable buzz. He’s never calm, not really, but he can manage this low-level static. 

The original terms of the deal are no longer enough. That much is clear. Things have changed, and he was a fool to not address it before. She must come to accept him and his vision for their future. Because he needs it. Because she needs it. She needs to understand that she is never, ever, going to be without him again. 

 


 

When he finally stands, an hour later, he has the beginnings of a plan. They’ll relocate for now. To somewhere without the weight of outside eyes, without the now-negative associations of this room and the techs. They’ll come back, obviously, but only once she understands. Only once she sees what the force clearly has destined for them both.

Pulling his gloves over his blood-smeared hands, Kylo puts on his helmet. There’s no need to wake her yet. He carefully lifts Rey’s sleeping form, tucking her head close to his chest. He’s carried her to and from a ship before, he can do it again.

As she breathes against him, he’s finally able to find a measure of calm. Yes. This is the right thing to do. He’s sure of it. She needs his guidance, his discipline and his direction, and he will provide it. 

He will show her—through any means necessary— that they are meant to be as one.

 


 

 

Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night. 

 

 - Excerpt from "Dover Beach", by Matthew Arnold

 

 

Chapter Text

Rey wakes to natural sunlight.

After so many months on a Destroyer, it’s disorienting to see light filtering through the curtains over the window. As she blinks and sits up, a blanket slips down her front with a shuffle; she’s been carefully tucked into a bed, propped up on pillows and wrapped in a comforter. She’s still wearing Kylo’s sleep shirt.

Where is this? With painted cream walls and a wooden floor, the room looks nicer almost any that she’s ever seen. It’s so pleasant that she almost wonders if she’s still dreaming. She doesn’t remember falling asleep. What she does remember is—

Oh.

With a sinking feeling in her stomach, Rey pulls her knees to her chest. She remembers lying in Kylo’s bed, telling herself that she didn’t care if he returned. She remembers sleeping, restlessly, and dreaming about a ship flying away while Unkar Plutt gripped her arm— she remembers waking, completely disoriented, and rolling over expecting to find Kylo. She remembers the sinking feeling of realising that she’s come to expect his warm presence, that she’s even taken some comfort in the sensation of another heavy person on the mattress, and how it was all completely overwhelmed by the shuddering fear that had ripped through her like lightening— he’s all I have now and he’s not coming back he’s not coming back he’s not coming back.

She remembers something being wrong with the bond, like heavy static on a radio. She remembers not being able to breathe. She remembers Kylo’s wide, stunned eyes.

And then… Nothing.

Some of that crawling panic comes back in her throat, but she shoves it down, determined not to address it. Or think about it. Hopefully that will mean she doesn’t have to feel it.

Kylo is nearby. She can tell— she can always tell, through their bond. It’s confirmed by the creak of door hinges as Kylo walks into the room, holding a bowl of something steaming. “Good. You’re awake.” Setting the bowl on the table, he sits and drags his chair into the customary position, beckoning to her. “Come here.”

The panic subsides a little as she pushes the blanket off her legs. Warily— this is a dramatic change, after all, and change makes her nervous– she stands and goes to him, hesitating before she perches on his knee. “What happened? Where are we? Why are we here?”

“Try this,” he answers, ignoring her and lifting the spoon. The bowl is full of some kind of creamy soup, she sees, with vegetables and meat.

“What is it?”

“It has fish in it. You’ll like it.”

Settling down, she takes a mouthful gingerly. It’s delicious, much richer and nicer than what they normally have, if a bit salty. She still doesn’t like thanking him for things, so instead, she licks her lips and asks again. “What happened?”

He acts as if he hasn’t heard her.

It makes her want to scream and shake him, but a nagging memory makes her slouch against his shoulder instead, annoyed but trying to cover it. Mumbling, she rushes it out in one exhale. “Master, what happened?”

“You were distressed,” he says immediately, not meeting her eyes.

“I know that. Then what?”

“It…” His throat works as he swallows. “Working here means your training can benefit from more dedicated attention.”

That wasn’t her question. Rey narrows her eyes at him. “Did you knock me out?

Kylo looks offended at the suggestion, corners of his mouth turning down. “It was just a force sleep.”

“You did!”

The lines at the corners deepen. “You were distressed!”

“And you didn’t think I would be distressed, waking up to somewhere I don’t recognise? Maker knows where, for all I know, left on some desolate hellhole—"

His offended righteousness becomes even more pronounced, his back straightening so he can glare down his nose at her. “It’s not some desolate hellhole, it’s a very nice planet called Ithor. Lots of tourism, though we’re in a quieter region at the moment.”

Wiping her mouth messily on the back of her hand, Rey pushes down her irritation and tries to take stock of the situation pragmatically. “Why are we here?”

She watches Kylo stir the soup slowly, staring at the bowl like it’s going to answer her instead of him. “Your combat training is progressing more than fast enough,” he finally starts. “Your experience fighting with your staff is holding you in good stead– your force training, however…” He trails off to lift the spoon to her lips again. “You are woefully behind. I thought some dedicated time to catch up was in order.”

For some reason, her stomach clenches at the thought of having disappointed him. “I didn’t think I was that bad.”

“You aren’t. But you could be much, much better.”

Now disgruntled and still mad that he dragged her here while she slept, Rey sits in silence until the soup is finished. It’s for the best, anyway— the more he speaks, the more irritated she becomes. Even if his behaviour was meant as a misguided kindness, she’s not exactly inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

When he finally does let her stand, she pads away to try and put some space between them. Reaching for the window, she tugs the curtain aside, wanting to get a feel for their surroundings.

What she sees makes her irritation evaporate in an instant.

Outside, there are rows and rows of trees that are nothing like anything she’s seen before. Flowering with yellow blossoms, so plentiful that they nearly obscure the branches, they reach towards the sky with gnarled twists and turns. A bright and deep sunset is unfolding behind them, filling the sky with oranges and pinks, interspersed with clouds so thin and delicate that she can see through them.

Kylo steps up beside her, arms clasped behind his back. “The locals call them lemonblossoms,” he says, and she can hear the smile in his voice.

Rey is transfixed. Petals flutter to the ground as she watches, nearly transparent when illuminated through by the setting sun. Fleetingly, it reminds her of the snow she saw falling on Starkiller Base.

Peeking out of the corner of her eye, she looks to the scar bisecting Kylo’s face. Well-healed but still there.

It feels as if that happened an age ago.

She finds her voice again. “Why did you pick here?”

He shrugs. “Come with me— there’s a bath,” he says instead, tilting his head towards the other side of the room.

As Rey follows him to the next room, she’s not sure why she simply knows that he picked Ithor because he thought she would like it.  

 


 

They’ve never washed together before. The ‘fresher in Kylo’s quarters, though lovely, is small enough that she suspects it’s a squeeze for him to fit in there alone. She's a bit embarrassed about undressing in front of him even though they’ve done this dozens of times before. It’s more prosaic and functional than usual.

It takes no time to settle into the hot water. Leaning with his arms propped back up on the edges of the tub, Kylo reclines his neck until he’s staring at the ceiling, wet hair sticking to his head and neck. The movement makes the muscles along his shoulders and arms stand out, and it takes effort for Rey to not openly stare. At least she can’t see anything else; he’d added some kind of soap that made delicious smelling bubbles form in the water, turning the water cloudy. 

She doesn’t think she’s ever seen so much hot water in one place in her life. Definitely not in this kind of a tub, deep and wide enough to comfortably fit two of them. They’re barely even touching, with both of them seated on opposite sides, the surface of the bath calm and still.

She should’ve known it wouldn’t stay that way. With a lazy roll of his neck, Kylo finally lifts his head and beckons to her.

It’s difficult to move without letting water slosh over the sides. She goes slowly, pushing her body along until he reaches out to grip her waist pull her the rest of the way, pressing her flush to him. Rey’s heartrate speeds a little when she realises that she can feel the press of his hard length against her hip. She doesn’t know what to think of the way that she responds to that instinctively now, body preparing for him to be inside her.

His hands feel soft and steady as he strokes her waist, reaching up to knead her breasts with soothing and circular strokes. It's hard not to acknowledge how welcome his soft kisses are, peppered along her neck and shoulder, reassuring and sweet. She might have even let out a happy hum when his fingers climbed to her hair and massaged at her scalp, pairing it with a gentle but insistent sucking at her pulse. Rey can feel her body relaxing and loosening, drifting in the water and the comfort of his embrace. They stay that way, effectively cuddling, until the water starts to cool. It’s a strange feeling, her body growing hotter and hotter and his touches becoming more heated as the water becomes cold around them.

Kylo leans forward to press their foreheads together, and his eyes are dark with arousal. “Get out and lean on the counter.”

Pulling her body out of the gravity of the water with some effort, Rey steps out carefully, trying not to slip. Her focus is on her feet, and it means that she doesn’t realise the full implication of holding the counter— and facing the mirror above it— until she’s watching Kylo through the reflection, emptying the tub and giving his hair a quick ruffle with a towel. “Um,” she starts, mouth going dry at the thought of being able to watch them together, “I want to go to the bed.”

“I want to be here,” Kylo retorts, tossing the towel aside and standing behind her, pressing a hand between her shoulder blades so she bends.

So she closes her eyes at the first blunt press of his cock into her, the way it stretches and burns and satisfies all at once. Their difference in height means that she has to push up on her tip toes and arch her back. Even so, he’s still compensating by bending his knees, each thrust rocking her forward as they grow deeper. It feels good. It feels shamefully good, her body eager and responsive after so much petting and stroking, itching for more contact. She keeps her eyes closed, relieved at the bit of privacy it allows, revelling in the way that it heightens the sensations.

Kylo’s hand inches around her front and presses firmly against her abdomen, and she gasps at the pressure, at how big it makes him feel. He's building pace and his strokes are hitting that tingling place inside her now, making her arms shake and her muscles clench in want. Her mind starts to feel cloudy, entirely focused on how good it feels and how much she wants more. 

“So tight,” Kylo whispers, and her body flushes with heat. “My lovely girl, so wet and tight. So perfect,” he practically croons, breath hot on her ear. “Do you know how special you’ve become to me?”

Confused, she tries to follow the thread of his words. “What…” She’s distracted by how much she wants his hand to move just a bit lower; she tries to wiggle upwards so that he’s touching where she wants him to, but he clicks his tongue.

“No,” he says, like he’s issuing some kind of correction for a mistake in training. “Not until you understand.”

What? “But,” she mumbles, lost in the sensation born of only feeling, “but I want to.” Her voice sounds higher and more desperate than she’d like, but it feels a bit out of control at the moment.

“I know, but no more being spoiled until you accept where you’re meant to be.”

“Where I—? I don’t know what—” The release feels so close, just out of reach. The rational part of her brain is prodding at her, telling her to sit up and pay attention and that this turn of events is important, but she’s too addled to listen to it. Why oh why does she get this way once he's inside her? 

“Look,” simply says, fingers on her chin and tugging her face upwards.

Oh, oh no. Rey shakes her head, eyes scrunched closed. She doesn’t want to see. That would be too much.

He won’t take no for an answer. “Look,” he insists, grip tightening until it nearly hurts.

She only intends to take a quick peek to appease him. But her little glimpse is so entrancing that she opens her eyes to look again, appalled and aroused. Everything is on display in the mirror; the way the colour is high in her cheeks and her gaze is lidded, eyelashes fluttering. The way her mouth hangs open a little, lips glistening, and her breasts move in time with each of his thrusts. She looks utterly debauched. And behind her, Kylo is staring at her with an intensity that makes her skin prickle, face strained with an emotion that she doesn’t want to recognise.

“Now you see,” Kylo speaks, voice harsh from exertion, breaking the silence of the room other than the slap of their skin. “So beautiful, as if you were made for this, just for me. You take it so well.”

The words steal the breath right from her lungs. She ought to turn around and slap him. Instead, she lets out a breathless keen, her body now so attuned to the familiar rush of pleasure that he can provide, every bit of her confused and straining now that he won’t let her have it. “Please—”

He bends to curve over her shoulder, and kriff, he’s so tall, she can still see the downward curve of his lashes and his face entirely as he closes his eyes and grits his teeth. “Not right now, little one. No.”

Rey’s whimper of distress makes his eyes flutter open, and their gazes meet in the mirror. It makes another bolt of heat arc through her, driving her to the edge of sanity, the feeling of his pleasure and satisfaction skittering along the bond and mixing so freely with her own, pushing them both higher. She’ll do anything in that moment, she thinks. “Please,” she croaks again, “Master, please—”

But it’s not to be. Something about the words have profound effect on Kylo; with a groan and a shudder, he presses her thighs so hard against the counter that her toes lift from the ground, ignoring her squeaking and hands scrabbling against the mirror as he spends himself within her.

It’s a long moment before she slips back to the ground as he pulls out with a satisfied sigh. Braced against the counter, her arms are shaking as Kylo swipes hair back from his forehead, looking the very picture of satisfaction. Warmth is trickling down her thighs when he pulls her in for a long kiss. “Perfection,” he murmurs, before flicking his wrist towards the door. “Go ahead, you can lie down. I’ll be right there.”  

Too fucked out to argue, she wobbles back into the other room and to the bed on coltish legs. But when she’s on the bed, lying on her back, the burning in her hips just feels hips all the more intent. She finds her fingers inching down her front, the temptation of it too much to bear. Everything exposed to the air feels hypersensitive, every movement enhancing the sensation.

Letting her legs open, she traces the crease of her thigh. Surely if she was quick, he wouldn’t notice? It doesn’t feel like it would take much. Just a few touches and it would ease the ache, finally let her think about something else. Her hands drift lower, brushing against the coarse bit of hair still left down there after that grooming team, and it feels like her core throbs in response.

She’s so lost in her thoughts that she misses his footsteps, but the chuckle is unmistakable. Rey freezes, looking up and discovering Kylo practically leering at her from the doorway. “What are you doing, little one?”

Snatching her hands away at lightening speed, she draws her knees up and rolls onto her side. “Nothing.”

There’s a dip of the mattress as he sits next to her. “It didn’t look like nothing.”

“Well, it was.”

Fingers with a light touch dance along her arm. “It looked like you were breaking rules.” The hands move to her hair, carding through the strands. When he motions for her to lift her neck a bit, she realises with a pleasant jolt that he’s braiding her wet hair, twining the strands into one solid rope.

It’s soothing. Soothing enough that she lets her guard down and unfurls a little.

Which means she’s utterly unprepared when he bodily lifts her, shifting her back down across his lap, half-tilted on her knees with her chest pressed to the bed. 

“What—” she starts, confused. It feels like she's been confused since she woke up, with it only getting worse with each passing minute. It doesn't help that every time he basically tosses her around, her whole body feels warm and everything becomes sort of soft and blurry around the edges. But before she can get any clarity, an open-handed slap lands against her behind, the loud sound echoing in the room almost as shocking as the lance of pain. “Hey!

“Breaking the rules has consequences,” he says simply, following it with another smack that makes her lurch forward and yelp.

She doesn’t even know where to start. Even when she tries to roll away or kick out, an arm holds her firm around her waist, making it impossible to do more than wiggle. She has never, in her life, been treated like this. Never mind that it makes that fuzzy, warm feeling grow in her belly. “How dare— what— I didn’t even do anything!”   

“But you would’ve. Be honest.” His warm hand moves to massage the inflamed skin, and Rey can’t believe how good it feels, that gentle swirling touch immediately soothing away any pain and turning it into a low-burning ache that makes her hips twitch. "You can't lie to me." 

It's true, she can't, and she can’t deny the accusation without lying. So instead, she hisses in shock when another swat somehow hits across her entire bum at once, followed by layered quick stings against the tops of her thighs. Kriff, she can feel that she’s getting wet again on top of her earlier arousal and his spend, what is wrong with her?

Kylo’s hand winds in her braid and yanks her back into an arch as she wriggles, and Rey’s face burns with shame when his hand slips down the cleft of her behind and parts her folds with a slick sound.

“What did I say?” He sounds unbelievably, insufferably smug. “A bit of discipline will do wonders.”

“This isn’t—” her words break off into a moan as his fingers swipe through her wetness again, totally distracted by wanting him to keep going.

Inexplicably, he goes from smug to tender in a moment, voice disarmingly raw. “Just let go,” he urges. “You’re holding it all so tight. Just let go.”

What happens if she gives in? Rey isn’t sure if she’s ready to find out; there are too many years of crossing scratches into the wall behind her, too many years of only forcing herself to only focus on the next day. Her muscles draw even tighter as one of his long fingers gently pushes into her, stroking in a way that is entirely too slow and gentle.

When she pushes against it, his hand disappears; she has barely a breath of warning before another slap lands against her behind, more stinging than painful. This pattern repeats, over and over, his hand against her skin and then inside her and against and inside until she feels like a tightly coiled spring, everything so tense that for a wild moment she worries she might break.

Rey warbles in the back of her throat when there’s the softest, feather-light contact of his fingertip with her clit, barely a brush of air. She wants it so badly, so badly, so badly so badly sobadlysobadly

And then it’s gone. In that moment, she crumbles; all of the fight goes out of her in one giant breath and she slumps across his knees, letting out a drawn-out sob from the bottom of her lungs.

A satisfied hum from above her accompanies Kylo reaching to roll her over and huddle her close to his chest with a shushing motion. “That’s right,” he whispers, “let it go. Let it all out.” She feels so small here, a bit like a child again, cocooned against his chest and with his hand against her hair. Once the first tear is out, it feels like they can’t be stemmed; they become a mess against her face and in the soft fabric of his shirt, leaving a darkened stain as she shakes and weeps. The stress of the humiliation with the techs, of his sudden disappearance, of her relocation and the denial of her release and the shame of her enjoyment— it all comes rushing out in one torrential outburst. With each shuddering heave of her shoulders, Kylo’s fingers stroke her shoulders, the base of her neck, the hair along her brow. Lowering his head to her ear, he leaves a soft kiss before murmuring, “you’ve been through so much.”

It feels like a knot is loosening as she sobs, each hitch of her breath making her body looser. Slowly but surely, she runs out of steam, trailing off into sniffles. When she can finally breathe again, she hiccups and resentfully mutters, “What I’ve been through is mostly because of you.”

His chuckle is low. When he speaks, it’s almost to himself. “The rage makes it better for me, but… There’s more than one way of letting go.”

Rey can’t follow his reasoning. She’s not sure that she wants to understand; either way, her head is heavy and waterlogged now, and her whole body feels strangely weighted. This whole day has been so strange. The bed is very warm, and with the window opened, the room smells like flowers and warm evening air. Her lower belly still feels like it’s on fire, with that terrible itch of unfulfilled lust crawling along her thighs.

Too ashamed to ask out loud, she wraps her fingers around his wrist— Maker, how are his hands so big— and gently tugs it between her legs. Rather than doing what she wants, though, he simply traces the inside of her thigh with his fingertips and gives her another kiss on her brow. “No, little one.” His tone makes her feel silly and childish, but she’s too worn out to fight it right now. “Don’t be greedy. You know the rules. Not yet— I need to know that you understand how important you are to me.” Leaning back, he reaches to cup her face and curves it upwards, pulling a bit of his shirt up to wipe her tears and runny nose. “And besides, we need to adjust to the daycycle of this planet. So, lie down. It's time to sleep.”

She should argue with him. She should kick and scream and slash his face open again. Then she should go to the ‘fresher and put her hands between her legs until she has a kriffing orgasm.

But… it wouldn’t feel anywhere near as good as if he did it.

So instead, they somehow end up rolling sideways almost exactly as they are, tangled together, on top of the blankets. Rey doesn’t intend to go straight to sleep, but the pillows are so comfortable and his weight so comforting that her eyelids start to feel heavy.

She drifts off lulled by the dips and crests of chirping crickets.

 

 


 

 

When beauty breaks and falls asunder

I feel no grief for it, but wonder.

When love, like a frail shell, lies broken,

I keep no chip of it for token.

I never had a man for friend

Who did not know that love must end.

I never had a girl for lover

Who could discern when love was over.

What the wise doubt, the fool believes

Who is it, then, that love deceives?

 

 -“Juan’s Song”, by Louise Bogan

 

 

Chapter Text

Morning light is streaking across the ceiling, peering through the cracks in the curtains. Kylo is staring at it, drifting and feeling more peaceful than he has in a long, long time, when Rey snuffles in her sleep and unexpectedly rolls to curve her body against his. 

This has never happened before. His heart stutters in his chest.

It’s probably just because she’s so pent up. But as far as he’s concerned, that just proves that he’s going about things the right way. Her tears had looked deeply cathartic. And afterwards, she had fallen into the deepest sleep that he has seen since she arrived.

He wants to roll her onto her back and push into that warmth again. Or have her on her knees. Or on her front. Or on her side, with her knees pressed to her chest. Or on top of him, or— well, he’s not particular about it, really.

But this morning, they actually have somewhere to be. So after enjoying her cuddling for a few minutes longer, he prods her shoulder until she makes a sleepy sound. Then he stands to make something for them both to eat.

 


 

Kylo had organised for a speeder to be dropped off near the cottage; the flat bench of the seat means it’s simplest for Rey to sit in front of him, pressed against his chest and between his legs. He reaches around her to tightly grip the handles, and they’re off.

Rey wants to drive. She’d lit up the moment she saw the speeder but now she’s closed off the bond between them, sulking about not being allowed to take the handles. In his defence, she doesn’t know the directions for where they’re going. Although… It wouldn’t have been that hard to explain.

He doesn’t particularly want to be a passenger. But begrudgingly, by the time they reach the hospital, he acknowledges that it might not be such an imposition- just a bit awkward, holding her waist even though she’s much smaller. As they climb off the bike, parked in front of the chrome and glass facade of the hospital, he clears his throat. “You can drive home.”

The way she immediately lights up makes it completely worth it.

They are greeted almost as soon as they are through the front doors, with promptness that can only be facilitated by an extremely generous private donation of credits. “Mr. Amidala,” the nurse says, greeting him with a smile and giving Rey a deferent nod. “We’ve been expecting you— my supervisor told me about your comm message. Please come with me.”

Rey ends up doing a half-trot beside him, trying to keep up with his long strides as they follow the brisk nurse. She prods him over their bond. Amidala?

The origin of the name can wait for another day. Can hardly introduce myself as Kylo Ren.

It shouldn’t be possible to snort across a force bond, but Rey does it anyway. And who am I?

Mrs. Amidala.

She’s so appalled that she stops short. Please tell me you’re joking.

I’m not, he responds, as the nurse finally notices Rey lagging behind and beckons her with a wave. “Almost there, now— this way, please.”

The room is clinical and spare. A child is hooked up to a machine that is beeping concomitantly, shrill and insistent. Someone has done their best to add some cheer- two stuffed animals sit on the bed, and a balloon floats near the ceiling- but it can’t distract from the sharp antiseptic smell.

“He hasn't woken up in almost three days," the nurse says softly. "I’ll fetch the parents,” she adds, disappearing from the room.

Rey walks to the side of the bed, looking down at the boy. He looks terribly small in the bed. “Why are we here?”

“To practice your healing.”

She glances up sharply. “On children?

“They heal faster. And these are desperate parents who have resigned themselves to death. I’m sure they’ll be happy for any possible intervention, no matter how foreign and strange.” People don’t always react positively to the Force, but Kylo is confident that it will be welcomed in this situation.

“I’m not…” It turns out that he’s misunderstood her concern. Rey shifts slightly on her feet. “I’ve never really— there weren’t a lot of children on Jakku.” Her face hardens. “Not many children that survived, anyway.”

“They’re just small humans.” He can’t imagine anyone— hell, anything— not loving her. “Don’t worry about that.”

Any response she might have made is delayed by the arrival of the parents, pale and drawn. The nurse has apparently said something about an experimental treatment— which, Kylo supposes, isn’t technically wrong.

With the parents in the corner, he draws Rey a chair beside the bed and puts his hands on her shoulders. He was always terrible at force healing, but he remembers the theory well enough. Kylo projects the memories through her mind, a soothing voice from his past speaking about connecting with the force. About peace, and wholeness, and letting it flow through you as you become a source of recovery. To feel the source of the problem, the tumours that were eating up this boy from within, and to gently force them to wither away.

He doesn’t know how long they stand there. Time feels like it passes differently when in a deep meditative state with the force, and it’s tremendously peaceful to be sharing that with Rey. Best of all, he can feel it working, vitality and strength returning to the boy. The sheer strength of her power impresses him, even now.

The trance of it is only broken when there is a strangled sob from within the room.

Kylo had effectively forgotten that anyone else was there, but when he turns, he sees that the Mother staring at her child with wide eyes. “Jey, are— are you—”

The boy blinks languidly, the colour in his cheeks now bright and healthy. “Mom?”

The Mother bursts into hysterical tears. The Father stands, trembling like a leaf. Rey barely manages to stand and step aside before the parents practically fall onto their child. They stroke his hair and touch his face, pressing kisses to his hair over and over as the boy squirms, protesting about the fuss while his parents confirm that he is whole again, alive, well. The rest of the room might as well be empty.

Rey tugs on his sleeve. “I would like to go back now,” she says, voice hushed.

It’s probably a good idea. She looks exhausted and worn out, and Kylo doesn’t want to drain her unnecessarily. “We’ll go, then.”

This time, he’s the one who has to speed up to keep pace with her. It seems like it shouldn’t be possible, but she is almost running in her effort to get away from the room. When he dips into their bond, he can feel the swirling mix of pride at her skill and a disorienting envy at the sight of such a happy family.

Kylo waits until they are nearly at the exit before lightly saying, “please don’t kill us both on the speeder.”

Some of her spark returns immediately. After a moment’s hesitation, she gives him a smug half-smile over her shoulder. “I’m the better pilot of both of us, and you know it.”  

 


 

He’ll never admit it, but she’s very good at the controls. When they arrive at the cottage, he takes her hand and leads her down a small path instead of going directly inside. She makes a grumping noise. “You’ve got to just stop taking me to things. Would it kill you to tell me what’s happening?”

“It would ruin the surprise,” he responds easily.

The path twists and curves under the lemon trees, the branches occasionally dipping so low that he has to duck to walk past them. They clear a small knoll before suddenly emerging in front of a wide, clear lake, the surface calm other than the occasional ripple of water. It’s ringed entirely by trees, deserted and silent save the whisper of the wind.

She takes it in with a wide, wondering look before she suddenly clamps her eyes shut.

It's a bit curious, how cute she looks with her face scrunched like that. Kylo cocks his head at her. “What—”

“Sh,” she interrupts. “I’m remembering this.”

He obediently stands quietly until his impatience gets the better of him, scuffing the dirt with his shoe and looking out over the water. “I thought I could show you how to swim.”

He almost thinks that she didn’t hear him. Rey’s eyes are still closed, her shoulders rising and falling as she takes deep, contemplative breaths. Finally, she smiles. “I would like that,” she says softly, like she’s still hesitating to voice any thanks aloud.

That will change, Kylo is sure. In time.

She doesn’t flinch when he takes her face in his hands, curving it towards him until she's looking into his eyes. “I will teach you everything,” he says, proud of how steady his voice is. “I will give you everything. You will never go hungry. You will never be lonely. I will lay whole universes at your feet— and you…” He leans in until their noses touch. “You will submit to me.”

He doesn’t need the intuitive connection of their force bond to see the jump in emotion on her face, hopeful and conflicted and afraid all at once. “But…”

“I don’t need an answer.” He closes the distance with a slow kiss. “It’s simply a fact.”

 


 

Much as he suspected, Rey had no need to be nervous about spending time with children. He doesn’t observe her time at the hospital after that first experience— he makes the parents nervous, and Rey is more than capable enough on her own, simply needing practice— but when he picks her up each day, she is full of smiles.

Their little cottage begins to fill up with small trinkets. On her second day at the hospital, she leaves with a little paper crown perched on her head, colourful and mismatched pieces held together by a string. On the third day, she is delicately cradling some flowers that have been clumsily pressed and dried, still faintly perfuming the air. By the end of the week, this has become a pattern. Rey collects and stores all of her gifts diligently, chattering to him about the children who made them.

Through it all, Kylo quietly hopes that she will become so attached to the idea of children that she will be open to the idea of having her own.

While she is at the hospital, Kylo monitors messages from the First Order and deals with anything that needs his immediate attention as well as he can from a distance. He meditates and hones his dreams for the future, reworking them so that Rey features prominently. He works on his translations.

At night, he gorges himself on Rey’s embrace. He’s addicted to the hope in her eyes every time they go to bed. That perhaps, tonight, it might be the night that he gives her the release she so desperately craves.

And he plans to. Eventually. For now, he can’t help but savour the way that the initial resigned willingness in her manner— turned to hesitant enjoyment— has become something so clinging and worshipful, her pleasure tilting on the axis of his whims, eager to please him and earn a reward.

It probably makes him a monster. He doesn’t particularly care.

 


 

Ten days into their time on Ithor– the Supreme Leader has not issued any summons as of yet, and Kylo plans to try and keep it that way for as long as possible– he is sitting alone, halfway through a report by Daos Ren, when Rey’s absolute rage rips through his head.

He’s most of the way to the speeder before he realises that there’s no need. Rey has clearly commandeered some transport, because he can feel her rocketing closer by the second. So instead, Kylo goes back into the cottage and paces, hands behind his back. He can’t trace the source of the anger, but it’s as potent as he’s ever felt. Possibly even more potent than he felt from her when his Fa— Han Solo died at his hand.

The roar of a motor pulls up outside the cottage and dies into silence. There’s barely a second’s warning before the door slams open, bouncing against the wall with force. As Kylo stares, Rey does something he has never seen from her before: she grabs for something that was sitting on a shelf, a decorative bowl of thick and marbled ceramic that had been in the cottage when they arrived— and hurls it against the ground.

It shatters like it’s spun glass. With a terrific noise, the shards scatter across the floor, skittering along the wood. He thinks she might have even left a dent on the floor.

The Force draws at her emotion, ebbing and flowing in dark currents. Her fury is such that it warps the air around her until the shards of glass start to vibrate against the floor, building to a soft and eerie rattle of sound. In the centre of it all, Rey hunches over, the centre of the cyclone, looking as if she is mere moments away from screaming until everything is set ablaze for miles.

Kylo doesn’t think he’s ever seen something so beautiful in his entire life.

All the same, he intervenes before it can go any further. Glad that his boots are on, he crunches over to her, putting his hands to her shoulders and sliding them down her arms. The vibrating glass stills when he easily wraps her slender wrists in his hands, holding them loosely. “What happened, little one?”

Rather than speaking, she shoves a series of images through their bond, like a flip-book without any context. A little girl, tucked in a hospital bed. Beeping machines. The girl’s skin is mottled and bruised, both of her eyes swollen shut behind purple and green flesh. A nurse looks on helplessly— “we don’t have any identification, she was left on our doorstep. Her brain was bruised from impact against the skull, it’s bleeding internally.” Rey settles on a stool and hovers her hands over the child, drawing on the Light in what is becoming a practiced motion. It flows through her, peaceful, centring. The girl’s skin becomes clear again, the gurgling rasp of her breath easing to a gentle sigh. It saps her, but even when finished, Rey places her hand gently to the girl’s forehead—she’s never done this before, never willingly invaded someone’s thoughts— she doesn’t know if she can do it gently, but she has to know. What if the girl has a family, somewhere? What if they are looking for her? What if she is waiting for them?

Back in the present, Kylo can feel the way that Rey’s emotions are becoming even more frantic and disordered, the memories flashing by faster and with less clarity. Especially so, now that he is experiencing the child’s memories through Rey’s mind, a strange sort of second-hand retelling. It’s only years of practice and experience that lets him pick through the images and piece them together in any sort of fashion. Yelling yelling Daddy yelling Mommy crying and the sour smell from that drink that she can’t have, Daddy yelling more and Mommy falling and she runs on little legs to help, but then there is a blow and pain and it hurts it hurts and more pain and Mommy is yelling now, about being in trouble and yelling yelling it hurts—

The emotions snap off and Kylo has to blink a few times before he can disengage from the intense closeness of it all, the claustrophobic stress ringing in his ears. When his vision focuses, he can see that Rey’s face is damp from tears, her teeth bared like she’s a feral animal. “They hurt her,” she rages, yanking her whole body against his grip, venting her rage by flinging herself back and forth. “They hurt her and then they left her! They left her! Dumped her like a piece of garbage!

The glass is starting to rattle again. She’s at risk of literally bringing the building down around them, as Kylo did once. Unthinkingly, he tucks Rey into the crook of his shoulder and begins to gently rock back and forth, stroking her back wordlessly. “You’re right to be angry. Let it flow through you— become a conduit for it. Let it happen.”

For whatever reason, that seems to work. He repeats it over and over, feeling the front of his shirt grow damp with her tears, until she has settled to the point of trembling. “They left her,” she whispers again. “How could they leave her?”

The echoing loneliness of her soul is so deep that Kylo thinks he could lose himself in it if he’s not careful. “I don’t know,” he answers honestly. “I don’t know.”

When she tugs away this time, it is gentle, and he lets her go without complaint. She disappears into the ‘fresher and he can hear the water running as he fetches a dustpan and sets about tidying the glass.  

They go about the rest of the day practically in silence. She’s still furious, though not so much that she doesn’t change into her dress and diligently settle into his lap to eat. They have a routine, after all.

When the meal is cleared away, Rey leans back on his knee and picks at the hem of her dress. “I want to meditate. Alone.”

She says it like she’s already prepared for him to deny her. But as much as anger can be harnessed and is powerful and useful, Kylo also appreciates that it needs time to settle— it must be honed for it to be of any value. So, he nods.

Her relief is palpable. She stands and slips some shoes on before disappearing into the twilight.

Through the window, he can see her dress fluttering in the breeze as she is swallowed up by the trees, no doubt intending to go sit by the edge of the lake. She likes being by water, he’s discovered. Perhaps it’s still something of a novelty.

For his part, after a long moment of watching the spot where she disappeared, Kylo finds his boots and his overcoat. Then he retrieves his saber from where it’s been locked away in a safe, hidden but always within reach. It’s weighted in his hand, reassuringly familiar and heavy, jagged and broken and dangerous. Powerful and reliably unpredictable.

Since they arrived on this planet, Kylo has been having something of a vacation. He’s just been a man, enjoying the intimate company of his apprentice in literally every way imaginable. It’s been pleasant to devote his energy to helping her understand his vision for their future, slowly but surely bending her to his will.

And with each passing day, he becomes more certain that it was the right decision. His Master’s way— to shatter and then rebuild the pieces, bit by bit— is certainly effective, but it does not have to be his way. He much prefers this method of gently guiding and moulding Rey into what she needs to become. He adores the way that she looks at him when he alternates corrective pressure with a gentle touch. Like he is the absolute centre of her universe.

Tonight, though. Tonight, he dons a familiar mantle once more. There is no gentleness needed for this task.

He is Master of the Knights of Ren.

Tonight, he hunts.

 

 


 

 

His Heart was darker than the starless night

For that there is a morn

But in this black Receptacle

Can be no Bode of Dawn

 

- “His Heart was Darker than a Starless Night,” by Emily Dickinson

 

 

Chapter Text

There is no anger, only peace.

On a wide flat rock that juts against the edge of the lake, Rey sits with her legs crossed. Everything is quiet and serene, and she tries to take that into herself.

But no matter how much she tries, her rage still burns deep. So much so, that calming it feels like it would be the same as extinguishing something in herself. Surely there is strength in her history, in the things that led her to where she is today, to who she is today.

Kylo wouldn’t deny you that.

The thought is seditious, but it keeps whispering at the edges of her mind anyway. It’s hard to banish, and every time she thinks she might succeed, it surges back. Worst of all, when it happens, it arrives with the promise of the basking glow of satisfaction she might feel in her righteous anger if she simply accepts it.

It feels like she does that more and more often lately.

Is that so wrong? It’s Kylo’s voice, though not through the bond. It’s one part memory and two parts instinct, and it’s unsettling to realise that she knows him well enough now to predict what he would say.

Rey opens her eyes to find that two of Ithor’s moons have risen in the sky, reflecting against the inky black surface of the lake. The lemonblossoms look translucent and white in their light, letting off a beautiful and nearly eerie glow.

It’s so peaceful here.

But where that normally brings her peace in turn, tonight it simply makes her even angrier. How dare such peace exist? How dare such beauty blithely and cruelly watch by while evil happens to innocents? How can she be calm when confronted by this?

But being in Kylo’s arms had calmed her. His soft words and stroking hand had made things feel better. How long has it been since someone has soothed her hurts so expertly?

Maybe her parents did. She doesn’t remember.

She sits there for an age, until she hears the crunch of familiar boots behind her. Without turning around, she speaks into the air. “I wanted to be left alone.”

“I brought you something.”

There’s a thump on the rock next to her, a bag hitting the surface with a wet sound.

Curious despite herself, Rey finally shifts and reaches to peel the fabric back a bit. What she sees is so bizarre that it takes a moment for her to recognise it.

It’s hands. Human hands. Two sets of them, to be exact- one female and one male.

When she twists towards to Kylo, stunned, she can see from the reflected light of the lake that his face is spattered with blood so dark it looks black. It makes him look feral. Wild. Inhuman.

His grin is almost a more baring of teeth. “Those hands won’t be hurting anyone from now on.”

Rey finds her voice. She can’t believe how… Fine she is with this. “And their owners?”

“Gone.”

She looks back at the lumps of grisly flesh. They’d inflicted such suffering on an innocent. With a quick movement, she covers them again. “You don’t care about the girl, do you?”

“I don’t.”

“Then why?”

He answers like it’s the simplest question in the world, with the slightest hint of scorn that she could be so dense as to not know. “Because you care.”

The words land like pebbles dropping smoothly into the pond behind her, silently sinking in her consciousness while the realisation ripples out in her mind. The buzzing of her fury settles for a just a moment in that stillness, and she’s glad that those cruel beasts are dead. Glad that Kylo killed them. Glad that he killed them because of her.

Has anyone ever been so devoted to her? It’s so very broken, but has anyone ever been so wholeheartedly hers?

On numbed legs, Rey gets to her feet, stepping off the rock on the edge of the lake. Kylo stands like a sentry as she goes to him, even until she pushes up on her toes and kisses him. Softly, sweetly, like he isn’t covered in blood. Like he didn’t just murder two people.

She expected him to be surprised. This is, after all, the first time that she’s willingly leaned into his arms without any prompting or expectation. Instead, he just takes it as if it’s his due, reaching up to cup her neck and stroke his thumb along her jawline as he kisses her back lazily.

It’s all wrong. She’s not meant to push up on her toes and have him happily accept. He’s meant to wrap his fist in her hair and take what he wants, isn’t that how this works?

Isn’t that what he’d told her? You know I can take whatever I want.

Isn’t that what he’d promised? You’re here against your will, and there’s nothing you can do. No one could blame you if you enjoyed it.

Pulling away slowly, Rey traces her fingers down the ribbing of his surcoat, still feeling a little dizzy. “How did you find them?”

Kylo’s reply is boastful. “I can hunt anything.”

This moment has been coming for weeks now. Months. Every time Rey told herself that she didn’t look forward to his company, it crept a little closer. Every time she dismissed that warmth in her chest when he stroked her hair. Every time she saw the pride in his eyes when she learned something new and denied its existence or its effect on her. It had surged forward when she woke alone and wept, but then she had simply walled it up again.

Now it settles, all at once, like shifting sands. Her path becomes clear. She’ll know she’s lying, deep in her heart, but she lied for years about her parents returning. This lie feels smaller. “Even me, I hope.”

“What?” His brow furrows— it’s almost adorable, she thinks, the way it wrinkles his face—as he blinks down at her.

Without another word, she slips out of his arms, turns on her heel, and runs into the forest.

 


 

The first time Kylo chased her in the woods, he was powerful and Rey was afraid.

The second time, he was bleeding and she was furious.

This time, she is both angry and afraid and neither all at once. She’s afraid of what she is becoming, but losing sight of why she’s been fighting it so hard. She’s angry, but it’s a resentful anger that is centred on not understanding why— why is this burden placed on her? Why is she meant to be the redemption of the entire galaxy, even to the detriment of what she might want?

Rey runs faster. Her shoes are thin, and she can feel tree roots and rocks beneath her feet as she sprints, using the Force to stop her from running into anything. Her lungs burn. It feels good.

She feels alive.

Because she needs to run. No matter how much she wants this, and no matter how much she craves it, she can’t ever just give into her baser needs the way he does. The arid expanse of the desert is the landscape of her soul, and the same deliberateness that carried her through that emptiness will carry her through this now.

In that moment, like a whisper in the back of her mind, she feels Kylo finally catch up with what is happening and break into a run. He’s excited by this, the monster— a shadow with teeth following her through the trees.

She only has a few seconds head start, but it doesn’t matter.

This time she wants to be caught.

 


 

Rey makes it almost a quarter of the way around the lake before he reaches her.

When he does, he doesn’t hesitate. She feels an iron grip around her waist and then her feet lift from the ground, her legs flailing around aimlessly as she writhes.

She could kick and fight him off if she wanted, to prolong the game. But really, she just wants to be kissed; so instead, she twists until she’s nearly facing Kylo, contorted in his arms. Her hands are braced against his biceps and R’iia she’ll never stop being annoyed that the universe gave these arms to the very man she’s supposed to despise. How was that fair?

The distraction passes as rough fingers twine in her hair, twisting her even further before Kylo practically smothers her in an aggressive kiss.

Perfect.

Her breathing is heavy when he finally pulls away. She’s still not back on the ground, and— oh kriff, if she wriggles her hips she can feel that he’s hard, and it feels so good to just admit that she wants that desperately, wants the feeling of him inside her—

“I told you,” he boasts, voice ragged. “I can hunt anything.”

Ugh. He can be so insufferably smug sometimes; in retaliation, she jerks forward and sinks her teeth into the web of flesh connecting his shoulder and neck, not hard enough to break skin but definitely hard enough to hurt. 

To his credit, he just snarls and practically flips her, barely allowing a moment’s notice before she’s falling to the ground, his body covering hers. The impact is somehow muffled by the way that he takes the brunt of the force on his knees before lowering her down, but the air is still knocked out of her lungs as her elbows hit the earth.

Yes, that monster chants in her head. The same one that is thrilled that those so-called parents are dead. That feels that she belongs here, wrapped in his arms and his fury. She thought the monster was him, but this is entirely her. Yes, yes, yes—

Her skirts are up over her waist in an instant. They were the only barrier, given that she’s still dressed for dinner, complete with no underthings. She hisses in shock when the cold metal of Kylo’s belt brushes against her behind, but he immediately soothes it with an incongruously gentle stroke of his hand, trying to warm her skin again.

There’s a flicker of irritation in the bond, following by the sound of gloves hitting the ground. She realises why when she closes her eyes and follows the source of it: he’s left blood smeared against her thigh.

Blood of his conquest. Or was she the conquest? Either thought makes her belly feel tight and hot, and it’s so wrong that she knows she should be disgusted.

But Rey is finally ready to admit that she’s not.

He’s been brutal before, so the sudden shock of him pulling her hips back and pressing into her in one steady stroke isn’t unfamiliar. What’s different is that now she feels how much she wants that roughness, for the bruises to colour her skin for days to come, for the ache between her legs to last well into tomorrow.

She doesn’t think she wants it like this every time. Accepting that she wants tenderness as well— that realisation is coming, but she might need a little more time for that. But right now, in this moment? She abandons herself to how much she needs the cruelty. 

“Harder,” she chokes out, pushing up on her hands so she can arch her back.

This turn of events has apparently silenced even her ever-talkative lover. Grunting, his big palms settle on her waist before he sets about giving her exactly what she wanted: his cock is suddenly so deep that Rey has to bite her lip to muffle her keen, her whole body feeling like it’s straining to accommodate him. Her hands scrabble against the ground frantically as he moves her like a rag-doll, each thrust rocking her with pleasure-pain as he thuds against something deep in her belly. Her thighs are sticky with her own arousal and the sound is so obscene that she would cover her ears if she wasn’t so desperately canting back against him instead.

Perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

It’s a sort of mind-emptying bliss, strands of her hair sticking to her face as she grows sweaty from moving as best she can, flexing her thighs and her arms to try and gain that leverage that makes her feel the most full.

You’re here against your will, and there’s nothing you can do. No one could blame you if you enjoyed it.

One of his hands comes up to palm at her breast, and after a few impatient scrapes, the fabric gives way with a loud tear. She shudders and writhes as the he kneads and tugs at the mound, massaging until it feels heavy and swollen, each pinch against her nipple making her whole body clench.

It’s so intense that she can’t stop the sounds. They leak out of her mouth, whimpers that climb to full moans, her panting breath desperately loud in the trees. It somehow feels appropriate that this animalistic coupling is happening where the sky can watch.

The brutal pace and the adrenaline of the violence and sex is apparently too much for Kylo; it’s with a shudder and a groan that he climaxes, pulling her back so hard that she almost could swear she feels it in her throat. The spurt of heat is never more welcome, and when he pulls out, she revels in the sticky, messy sensation of his come dripping down her legs.

As Kylo flops to the ground, she collapses beside him, shaking thighs finally giving out.

Against the forest floor, the raw skin of her knees and palms begin to throb. They’ll be terribly sore tomorrow, even though she’d barely noticed it just moments before. She’s about to idly inspect her hands when strong arms lift and shuffle her onto a blanket. No, not a blanket, she realises as she runs her fingers absently over it. His cloak.

It’s comfortable here. Kylo is near. She’s warm and sated and full.

She’s nearly fallen asleep when there’s a crackle of twigs as Kylo rolls onto his side. His face looms over her, blocking out the stars with his shadow as his hand settles against her cheek. “There is nowhere that you could go where I wouldn’t come for you,” he says solemnly, like it’s a wedding vow. “I will always find you.” She sees a brief flash through the bond of a memory, her own eyes overbright and panicked as she stared at him, clinging to his arm and crying out her loneliness. “Do you understand?”

Rey thinks back to the shame that led to that night. I’m not your lover. “I always need to be running,” she says softly. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be who I am.”

His eyes darken in a manner that can only be described as predatory, but a smile tugs at the corner of his mouth. “If you insist, little one.” His bare hand skates along her forehead, tugging the hair out of her face so that he can look into her eyes. It seems sweet until the hand moves down her front, down, down until it slips between her legs and begins to gently swirl in confident movements, coaxing her body closer to the edge. She doesn’t know if she can even stand to hope after all this time. “Tell me this, then. Will you let me catch you?”

And there it is. Laid out bare between them, naked and vulnerable in that it approaches the question in the only way that will let her answer honestly. It’s the edge of a precipice, the moment of truth, far more so than when she first made the bargain. This time it isn’t about anyone else. It’s about her and what she wants. The anger and the tension and excitement wrap so tight that it feels like they’re humming in the air, an electricity that she could touch.

Heart in her throat, Rey nods, unable to manage more. Oh, his touches feel so good. Her legs are twitching from how much she wants to start bucking her hips, but she doesn’t dare.

Kylo leans down and she thinks he’s going to kiss her, but instead he moves up and stops when his lips are a hair’s breadth away from her cheek. “I need to hear it.”

They’re so close that she feels her eyelashes brush against his skin when she closes her eyes and breathes out the word in a puff of air. “… Yes.”

“Yes…?” he prompts the rest with a tilt of his head, which she only feels in the subtle brush of his skin. But she knows him now, knows him enough to know his mannerisms and little movements along with what it is that he wants.

“Yes, M-master. I will…” Her body shudders, stomach almost cramping as she tries to keep holding perfectly, utterly still, worried that the slightest jolt will make him stop. Her voice breaks on the words. “I’ll let you catch me.”

His triumph would sicken her if it wasn’t for the way that she can barely think, she’s so flush with relief and lust and a strange tender warmth that sits right under her breastbone. It feels so good to accept being wanted, even if it’s a poisoned chalice.

Kylo whispers the next words with a sweet and low satisfaction, and it’s entirely wrong that she’s all the more aroused for it. “You have permission to come. As many times as you want.”

Her heart is pounding so loudly in her ears that she feels like she might pass out. It’s been so long— not since that moment when she first turned him down in his quarters, rebuffing his affections. Not since that she was driven by that first burning moment of terrible public shame. But here she is, accepting her situation even though nothing has changed.

It’s so desperately freeing to succumb.

She thinks she understands what he was asking all along. It’s that acceptance— warped, unhealthy and broken, but acceptance all the same— that makes him so generous tonight.

Which is why she’s confused when his hand pulls away, leaving her throbbing. But before she can protest, Kylo shushes her and slinks down her front, parting her legs. Still confused, Rey props up on her elbows and frowns at him as he presses kisses to her breastbone, the slope below her ribs, the little bulge of her stomach, the ridge of her hips, the curve of her legs, the inside of her thigh, and—

Oh.

Oh.

 


 

When it finally hits, her wail is so loud that it echoes above the trees.

 


 

 

Don’t tell me we’re not like plants,

sending out a shoot when we need to,

or spikes, poisonous oils, or flowers.

 

Come to me but only when I say,

that’s how plants announce

 

the rules of propagation.

 

 - Excerpt from “Erotic Energy,” by Chase Twichell

 

 

Chapter Text

Rey tastes like sweat and salt and soft between her legs, all mixed with bitter tang of his own essence. It’s strange and foreign, but her reaction makes it entirely worth it; Kylo wants to trap the shocked and delighted sound that she first makes and keep it in his heart forever.

He loves the shock. Loves that she was even vaguely confused about what he was intending to do. Loves that he is the first one here— and the last one here. He intends to make sure of it.  

All the same, licking in broad strokes as she makes surprised little meep-ing noises, Kylo is reminded of why he hasn’t done this before. There’s something very vulnerable about it, even though she is the one splayed open, wriggling underneath him. It's probably because he's essentially debasing himself for her pleasure, entirely focused on her needs. Odd, then, that it doesn't feel like debasement at all. Instead, it feels like he's being given something of a gift. 

He'll dwell on that later. 

The coarse hair brushes against his nose when Kylo finally moves up, rolling her clit against his tongue in circles. She evidently likes that a lot, because the noises intensify, breathy and verging on demanding. It normally takes a bit of coaxing to convince her to be as loud as he likes, but whether it’s the effect of their chase or her roiling emotions or the night sky, she doesn’t need any coaxing tonight. His spent cock twitches valiantly at the sound, but he’s going to need a bit more time still.

Good thing they have all the time in the world.

He doesn’t want to put his dirty hands on her again, so he hollows his cheeks to add pressure, moving his lips sloppily and as eagerly as he can. The smell of earth and grass is strong in his nose, perhaps partly because it so liberally stains her knees. The memory of her writhing back against him is so spectacular, kriff, and her dress is practically in tatters from his manhandling—  

Fingers kneading into the ground through his cloak, he’s so focused on craning his neck the right way and maintaining and even rhythm that her orgasm takes him totally by surprise. Especially when her legs snap shut around his ears, her hands tangling in his hair and yanking as she screams bloody murder into the air.

This may not have been an issue if it was anyone else, but his Rey is strong. By the time she flops down and he can breathe again, his ears are ringing from his head being crushed between her thighs. It feels like at least half of his hair has been ripped out.

All the same, his heart fills as he straggles to his feet and takes her in. The moon is filtering through the trees and casting light on the expanse of her skin, nearly making her glow. The dress pools around her waist, her nipples swollen and darkened to a near purple in the shadows, and she absently rubs her legs together as if still chasing the shocks of her long-denied release. With a hooded and heavy gaze, she looks as sated and pleased as he’s ever seen her. The humming satisfaction of the bond confirms it.

It’s so strangely primal that Kylo could laugh at himself. He hunted tonight— for her— and brought back a trophy, and now he has a satisfied woman at his feet. The more things change, indeed.

With a bit of coaxing, she sits up and he’s able to scoop her into his arms, all wrapped in his cloak. Once there, Rey makes a contented sound, snuggling closer to the warmth of his chest. He’s never carried her when she was awake before. He likes how responsive and sweet it is, the way that she tucks her head under his chin and swirls patterns against his chest with her fingertips. She’s almost dozing by the time he sees the dim lights of the cottage.

He takes Rey inside, puts her on her feet in the ‘fresher, and leaves her to wash.

Fifteen paces from the front door of their temporary home, there is a small shed that stands on the edge of the clearing. Kylo digs through the shelves there in the dim glow of a torch, setting aside grass cutting tools and bags of seed before he finds what he’s looking for: a worn, smooth looking coil of rope.

Rey thinks that they’re finished for the night. She’s wrong.

 


 

When Kylo finishes his own turn in the ‘fresher, he returns to the main room with a towel wrapped around his hips. He finds that Rey has curled up on her side under the sheets, still naked and hair wet against the pillow.

He’s almost tempted to ignore the rope sitting innocently on the shelf and simply let her sleep. She looks so young like this. No— she looks her age. He forgets, sometimes. Probably because of how much she’s been through and how much she has gained through sheer grit and experience.

But then she sleepily rolls and looks at him, mumbling something as the sheet slips, revealing pert breasts to the air.

All thoughts of sleep disappear.

The rope feels soft when he lifts it from the shelf, spooling in his hands. He’s hard already, just thinking about this, and everything feels a bit dreamlike— probably because he has, in fact, dreamed about this. Many times. 

Rey props up on her elbows, still blinking sleep out of her eyes. “What’s that?”

“On your back,” he says instead, snapping the rope taut in his hands. Warily, she complies, not resisting as he takes her hand. But when he wraps the rope around her wrist and begins to bind it to the other, she tries to yank her arms away, frowning. “What— why are you doing that?”

Kylo puts some strength into his arms and holds her still, continuing to work on the knot, careful to leave a finger’s worth of wriggle room so it doesn’t cut off circulation. “I want to taste you without you flailing so much that you suffocate me. Or rip out my remaining hair.”

She reddens. “That wasn’t on purpose,” she insists weakly, but stops fighting him all the same.

Next, he takes the sheet off her and works on tying each ankle to the bed posts, carefully checking the tensile strength so that nothing will go numb. Once that’s done, he settles between her legs on his stomach again, sliding his hands under her pert bottom to tilt her upwards.

Kylo spares her a glance before he starts. She’s gone bright pink right down to the tops of her breasts, but she isn’t protesting.

Adorable.

He lurches forward to smack a wet kiss on the little swell of softness below her navel, his heart jumping when she giggles. She almost seems surprised herself that she laughed. Rey never laughs with him.

Maybe it’s because he hasn’t been trying hard enough.

Putting the thought from his mind, he gets to work. This time, the first taste is mostly of smooth clean skin and the lingering scent of soap. It makes it easier to nudge a little deeper with his tongue, working her open as she softens and her body becomes more pliant. Here, with the soft sheet against his stomach and the ability to hold her to the right angle, he’s able to truly take his time, alternating between long, languid licks and tight flicks to find out what she likes. 

Rey is boneless under him, whimpering and shivering, when he works a finger into her slowly. But then he surprises her by withdrawing it, slick and wet, to slide it down the cleft of her backside. Immediately, she goes rigid as a board.

“Sh,” he murmurs against her skin, “just relax.”

She doesn’t. “That’s not where that goes,” she huffs instead, indignant.

Kylo lifts his head to frown at her, and he can feel the frisson of her excitement through the bond when she sees how sticky and wet his chin is from her arousal. “Surely you didn’t make it this far without seeing some dirty holovids where people did this.”

“I don't care if—” Every time he thinks he knows how much she can blush, she surprises him. She’s nearly as red as his sabre. “Those are holovids, that’s not real.”   

“Oh, it’s real.” He grins at her wickedly. “I promise. I’m going to make you love this.”

Even though she makes a doubtful noise in her throat, she's apparently appeased enough by her earlier pleasure that she's considering it. Rey lays back, still tense as he resumes licking against her, opening his mouth to let his hot breath ghost over her skin, so wide that it’s nearly as if he’s trying to eat her whole. Her limbs jerk spasmodically when he finally presses his finger in against the soft pucker, but she merely lets out a low moan when he starts to gently stroke, in and out, trying to ease her into it.

It works. She’s bucking against his face again, as much as she can with her limited movement, wiggling over the one hand he still has holding her up. It’s straining his arm a bit, keeping that pressure, but it’s worth it. Especially when her sounds start to build again, higher and higher, though quieter this time. When he works his tongue in swirls, keeping pace, determined to do this for as long as necessary, she comes nearly silently— shaking like a leaf, breath stuttering in her chest. 

That is, of course, until she realises that he’s not stopping.

“Hey,” she says, trying to roll ineffectively, the knots holding firm as she struggles. “Hey, I've already—”

Kylo stops long enough to push his finger in a little deeper than he has before, cutting her off when she gasps. “As many times as you like, I said. Aren’t you lucky?”

She yelps and bucks when he lowers his head and laps against her again, at least giving her the mercy of avoiding her clit. “But I can’t—"

Rather than stopping again, he just speaks through the bond, bathing in the wash of her frustration and undeniable arousal. It’s nearly as intense as it is after multiple denials, and it’s enough to make a shiver crawl up his spine. Of course you can.

“Bu— it— but—” her voice climbs again as she casts around for a way to make him listen, “Master, I swear, I can’t, I've already twice—"

He doesn’t know if he’ll ever get over how much he enjoys her calling him that. Relenting, Kylo raises his head, speaking as if he’s lecturing an unruly apprentice. Which, technically, he is. “Of course you can. Remember how much you begged for this? How many times you told me that you had to come? That you wanted it more than anything? That you would do anything? I mean, kriff, the things you did do, with your hands and your mouth and—”

Rey hurriedly blurts out, “that was different,” clearly trying to cut him off before he goes into lurid detail. But she’s thinking about those times all the same, and she tenses around his fingers with the shudder of lust that echoes through their bond.  

“I don’t see how,” he teases, feathering another few kisses to her inner thigh. “Or maybe you can’t be trusted to know what you want, hm?” He includes his teeth, worrying a bruise near her hip. “Maybe we need to go back to no orgasms for a while. Just to be safe.”

Rey immediately falls silent, shallow breathing filling the room before she flops back against the mattress and grits out, grumpily, “I hate you so much”.

He can’t help but laugh, because he can feel how she doesn’t entirely mean it as much as she wishes she did.  

 


 

I can hunt anything.

Even me, I hope.

From anyone else, he would have suspected a tawdry attempt at seduction, some kind of clumsy invitation to a game meant to play on his instincts— but with Rey, he could feel the way the words were laced with genuine hope and fear. There was no artifice there, just honest vulnerability and a life that had left her hardened against the subtleties of courtship.

His ropes and knots are holding firm, even as she shudders, climbs, keens and then slumps bonelessly against the mattress. She’s come at least four times now. Her mind is a disordered whirl of pleasure, and the muscles in her thighs keep twitching next to his head. The slick mess of her arousal is sticky against the sheets, her hair a disaster of snarls from where she's thrashed against the pillow, trying to gain any movement against the ropes. Just like he'd hoped, Kylo can feel the way that having something to fight against is satisfying for her, that every sensation has been made more intense by the helplessness of it. 

And they're not done yet. He’s aiming for one last orgasm before he lets up.

Kylo increases the pace of his hand, still flicking his tongue lightly as he massages and curves his fingers within her. He has two slick digits pressed into her now, widening the tight ring of muscle and letting her body grow more and more used to the intrusion. The crescendo of her release builds quickly at this point, perhaps because she’s so sensitive, and he groans against her skin as she shudders underneath him again. The planes of her stomach flex when she cries out— it’s starting to sound raw, like her throat is strained from the effort. It’s frighteningly satisfying to manipulate her body like this, to hold her down and wring out every last bit of pleasure that he can cause. He’s so drunk on it that he’s not even particularly bothered by his own aching erection straining against his thigh, satisfying himself with some half-hearted grinding against the sheets.

It helps that her force signature is practically pulsing, bright enough that it’s nearly blinding in his mind’s eye.

As her cries die off, Kylo lifts his head, struck by a powerful urge to see her face and her bliss first hand. She cranes her neck and looks back down at him, skin reddened and hair still wet and clinging to her brow. She is somehow still simultaneously defiant and supplicating as she meets his eyes, her lip quivering even as she juts out her chin. So powerful and vulnerable all at once.

His lovely girl. His Rey.

He apparently stares for too long, because Rey blows some of the hair out of her face with a puff of air and snaps out an impatient, “what?”. She even bares her teeth, his feisty, feral thing, narrowing her eyes while she tries to catch her breath and waits for his response.

There is a space between the rage and pride that is always rattling in his ribs, and as he looks at her, Kylo starts to realise that she has made a home in that little crevice, taking up the only bit of his heart that isn’t blackened and dead. He didn’t even know it was there.

She tugs ineffectively at her bonds, confusion replacing her irritation. “Kylo? What is it?”

The words won’t come. He doesn’t know how to explain that he thinks he might be in love.

 

 


 

 

 

You can tell by how he lists 

to let her 

kiss him, that the getting, as he gets it, 

is good. 

It’s good in the sweetly salty, 

deeply thirsty way that a sea-fogged 

rain is good after a summer-long bout 

of inland drought... 

  

the heart heeds helplessly— 

the hush 

of the very good.

 

- Excerpts from "The Hush of the Very Good," by Todd Boss

 

 

Chapter Text

Light touches on her neck, her shoulders, her back. Ticklish and soft, they swirl meaningless patterns on her skin. Tender. Gentle.

Rey groans, lifting her head as she comes out of a deep sleep, blinking into the morning light. The touches continue. Only now they’re moving lower, more deliberate and purposeful. “Good morning,” Kylo murmurs in her ear, the rumble of it making her shiver.

“What are you…” she mumbles back, trying to shake some hair out of her eyes and push up on her elbows. It’s a ridiculous question. She knows exactly what he’s doing. “I was sleeping.”

“Don’t worry.” A soft push and she’s back on her front, legs splayed awkwardly, her fingers reaching up to curl in the pillow. Kylo’s body hovers over hers. She can feel the heat emanating from it, all along her spine. “You don’t need to be awake.”

“But…”

He simply shushes her, fingers dragging up the sides of her thighs, tracing the seam of her panties. She can’t help but part her legs a little and wriggle at the arc of heat when his fingers graze— oh, there, and again, and she whines out his name when he tucks the thin strip of fabric aside—

She’s expecting fingers, really, which is why the whine breaks off in a high-pitched gasp when the whole weight of his cock pushes inside her. She’s not quite as ready as normal and she can’t decide if she should be embarrassed at how she doesn’t mind the twinge of stretch and pleasure-pain. Maybe the embarrassment should be about how she’s wet with so little prompting to begin with.

The pillow feel soft against her cheek when she twists her head to the side and presses into it. Out of the corner of her eye, she can almost see Kylo’s face as he starts to move. His thrusts are slow and steady, and the low tilt of her hips means that it’s not too deep. The pinch eases quickly into a smooth and pleasing stroke, nearly languid in its pace. 

A week ago, Rey would’ve spent considerable energy on reassuring herself that she didn’t want any of this. Today she can’t help but admit that she does. Not only that, but she actually wants more. Maybe if she wriggles or tilts, he’ll speed up.

So she tries, pushing up on her knees a little higher. Trying to get a better angle. 

That just makes Kylo chuckle. Moof-milker, she thinks resentfully. He’s got to know what she wants and he’s denying it just because he can.

She squirms again, the backs of her thighs brushing against his legs. Instead of speeding up, he feathers kisses through her sleep shirt along the top of her spine, hands still firmly planted on either side of her shoulders. She’s about to complain when his lips brush her neck and he murmurs, “You’re being so good. Such a good, good girl for me.”

Kriff. Every thought of complaint evaporates. Her whole body feels so hot all of the sudden. The pressure is unrelenting, and she rocks her hips again to no avail, whining in complaint as she does so.

“Do you want more? Is that why you keep humping the bed?”

Ugh. Ugh. He sounds so insufferably pleased with himself and she should— she should—

What she should or shouldn’t do becomes a moot point when Kylo's hand reaches under her shirt and gives her nipple such a hard pinch that it makes her eyes water. It sends an electric jolt of heat straight through her, toes kicking against the fabric as she clenches. That, at least, makes his voice grow a bit ragged. “Do you want me to go harder, little one?”

Unable to look him in the eye, she holds tense for a few more seconds before nods, frantically and wordlessly into the pillow.

Big hands grip her thighs and she’s yanked backwards onto her knees. The next thrust fills her so perfectly that she ends up biting down on the pillow to stop from screaming. His pace is quick now, hard and fast, and it’s better than finding a valuable piece of salvage, better than a soft bed at the end of the day, better even than chocolatey pudding—

His voice is ragged when he asks, “Would you like to come?”

She’s so used to begging now that she lifts her head and babbles her answer without hesitating. “Yes yesyesyespleeaa—”

Rather than reaching down himself, Kylo grabs her wrist and shoves it between her legs. “Go on, then.”

It doesn’t take long. Her own hand is practiced, and she knows exactly when to speed up and when to slow down. With the steady hard press of his cock inside her and the ache of last night still echoing, Rey keens and thrashes under him as she comes, flopping down happily when it subsides. It’s easy to lie there, twitching and sighing as he uses her boneless body, building in force until he finishes with one final thrust that knocks the air from her lungs.  

But as he pulls out of her and climbs off the bed, stretching his arms over his head with a yawn, part of her is almost... Disappointed. He gave in so easily when she asked to come, letting it happen with barely any build-up.  

It doesn’t feel quite as satisfying as when she has to work for it.

The door clicks and the ‘fresher starts to run in the next room. Rolling onto her side, Rey puts her face in her hands and groans. What is he doing to her?

 


 

The hospital's glass facade is as imposing as ever. Families are sitting on benches outside, faces tilted towards the sun, children playing in the grass as if they weren’t wearing hospital gowns or wrapped in bandages.

A nurse is waiting at the entrance. Rey expects to go to the palliative ward as always, but instead she’s led towards an area that she doesn't know.

“We’ve had a child come in,” the nurse starts hesitantly, talking in a low tone as they move down the sterile hallway. “But she becomes incredibly distressed and upset when we try to do any kind of medical treatment. Her problem is genetic, so she’s not necessarily in pain, but there are serious consequences to consider in the long run.” She shoots Rey a bit of a guilty look. “Normally we would sedate her and proceed with treatment, but, well… As you’re here, and as what you do seems to work, and doesn’t require needles or surgery…”

“I’m happy to try,” Rey offers easily. There’s no reason why this should be any different from working with a child who is lying in bed.

The nurse’s face relaxes. “Wonderful. She’s playing in a room that we have set aside, normally for siblings of our patients here. I can sit with you both.”

They come to a bright and cheerful looking playroom, complete with pictures on the wall and toys scattered around the floor. A little girl and an orderly are playing with some blocks on the carpet, stacking them carefully. The girl’s small hands delicately position the wobbling tower with as much precision as possible, her face scrunched in concentration.

“Hello, Daea,” the nurse says cheerfully, “this is Mrs. Amidala. She’s here to play with you, wouldn’t you like that?”

“Okay,” Daea agrees easily, without even looking up. She’s clearly led a life that didn’t teach her to be suspicious of strangers. Rey can’t help but feel a stab of envy at the thought.

Which is ridiculous, of course. Why be jealous of a child?

The nurse waves a dismissal at the orderly. Apparently satisfied that Rey can be trusted, she then sits in the corner and begins to tap away at a datapad, leaving the young girl staring up wide-eyed at Rey. “Who’re you?”

“I’m Rey.” Settling down cross-legged on the floor, Rey takes a closer look at the child. She looks drawn. Her skin is unusually pale, and the circles under her eyes are big and stained far too purple for someone so young.

Despite that, Daea’s gaze is still bright. “What would you like to play?”

Past experiences suggest that physical contact makes the process easier. Eyeing the girl’s long dark locks, Rey holds her hands out, palms up. “I could braid your hair if you’d like.”

The idea is immediately accepted. Daea sets the blocks aside long enough to grab a pad and some coloured pens. Then she gracelessly wiggles backwards until she is within Rey’s reach, tilting her head forward so that Rey can start while she draws. Rey feels something of a pang when she gathers the strands of hair into her hands. Her instinct nearly tells her to begin to tie three buns.

Instead, she starts weaving a braid as promised, closing her eyes and deepening her breaths. The force comes easily nowadays, simmering much closer to the surface. It enables her to confirm the nurse’s words— it’s subtle, but something isn’t quite right about Daea, her life force twisted and cramped at some unknown juncture. But as Rey works, twining the force as she twines the braid, she can feel it straighten out. Each inhale and exhale eases the weight and stress that the girl carries. 

By the time she finishes the braid, removing the one tie in her own hair to hold it in place, the lingering shade is nearly gone. Daea doesn’t seem to have noticed any physical difference. But she runs her fingers along the twists of her hair with satisfaction, before turning and grinning at Rey, revealing missing teeth. “You’re good at braiding hair.” Casually, she turns back to her scribbling pad before continuing, “You’ll be a good mom.”

Rey can’t explain why the comment makes her heart freeze. Perhaps it’s because of Daea’s dark hair and pale skin, and the way that she could be his child if she squinted a little, only that means she’s thinking about his child as hers and that’s just completely and utterly wrong—

A knock at the door interrupts her from her thoughts. “Yolaine,” the orderly says, poking her head into the room and addressing the nurse. “The parents of the child in room B7 are here, they insist that they have to speak to you. They won’t talk to anyone else.”

All three of them look to the nurse. Her brow is furrowed as she turns to Rey, apology written all over her face. “Mrs. Amidala, I know this isn’t what you’re here for, but—”

“I can watch Daea for a minute,” Rey supplies. It’s just one child. She can manage this much.

The nurse hurries away, following the orderly. The heavy door swings shut and Rey is about to pick up a marker to join Daea when she sees it out of the corner of her vision.

The data pad.

The nurse’s datapad, unlocked, sitting at the table.

Wide-eyed, Rey stares at it before she flicks her gaze to Daea, still happily scribbling. She hasn’t had access to an unsupervised datapad in… Months. It could be an eternity before she’s given one. Kylo is clearly not a big fan of allowing her privacy.

The temptation proves entirely too powerful. Slowly unfolding herself, Rey inches away from Daea and towards the table.

Her pulse feels like a drumbeat in her ears once the datapad in her hands. Should she use it? It suddenly occurs to her that she could just ask the nurse to borrow it on some pretext, but— no, no, the hospital is clearly in Kylo’s pocket, probably thanks to an unholy amount of credits. The staff can’t be relied on to keep her secrets. For all she knows, they’ve been told to report back about her behaviour. Either way, she definitely can’t risk taking any of them into her confidence. If only because it might put them at risk.

She only deliberates for a few more seconds. This is an opportunity that can’t be ignored.

A few quick swipes opens up the messaging system. The subject lines all seem to be about hospital administration. Rey briskly opens a new message and punches in the coordinates for Finn’s comm, praying that they haven’t changed. Do not respond to this, she writes, I am safe and well. She only hesitates for a moment before adding, I miss you. Tell everyone not to worry. A flicker in her consciousness warns her that the nurse is returning already— it’s the same little warning sign that she used to get for unstable surfaces or falling objects on Jakku, except that she now knows it to be more than instinct— so she signs off with Love, Peanut, her fingers flying across the datapad as she erases all evidence of the message.

She barely manages to put the datapad down and step away from the table, heart in her throat, before the nurse steps back in. “Thank you,” the other woman says cheerfully, walking back to her table and sitting down to her datapad. The stranglehold on Rey's heart eases a little when she picks up the datapad without noticing or commenting that it moved a few inches. “Also, the receptionist asked me to tell you that Mr. Amidala is here to collect you.”

When Rey gets to the door, Daea gives her a cheerful wave from the floor. “Bye, Rey!”

She waves back a little nervously. Daea’s returning smile is bright and wide, showing off the gaps in her teeth, and Rey feels an inexplicable tug at her heart. 

 


 

“You seem agitated,” Kylo says that night, his voice rumbly in his chest as she sits on his knee and rests her head against his shoulder. They’ve finished their evening meal and her dessert.  He’s been reading to her— a poetic account of another war, he likes those— one arm holding the datapad and the other idly stroking her hair.

It’s normally quite soothing. But tonight, no matter how hard she tries, Rey can’t seem to settle in and listen the way she normally does.

It’s strange. Sending that comm to Finn had felt less like a victory and more like a horrible reminder of how wrong this situation is. Especially how wrong it is that she’s coming to accept it. But she can hardly tell Kylo that, so she quickly buries the thought and casts around for an excuse. “I had a strange conversation with one of the children today.” She offers up the memory without resistance. You’ll be a good mom.

Rey thought that Kylo would maybe laugh, or tease. Instead, his gaze becomes inexplicably soft. “She’s right, you know.”

“What?”

“You’ll be a great mother.”

She squirms a little. “I’m too young for that.”

He doesn’t disagree. His gaze instead falls on the middle distance, like he’s watching something that she can’t see; there’s the slightest furrow in his brow, his jaw moving as he bites his lip thoughtfully.

It’s impossible to say why, but Rey suddenly has the feeling that she’s not the only one hiding something. “Kylo?”

Face clearing, he looks down at her and presses a kiss to her forehead. “All in good time,” he murmurs. For some reason, it sounds almost sinister.

 

 


 

 

Boulder, grain. Planet, dust:

What fills the stones fills us.

 

I remember, or I have a feeling,

I could be living somewhere with you,

weighted down the way we aren't now.

 

Often the greatest things,

those you'd think would be the heaviest,

are the very ones that float.

 

 - Excerpt from “No Less”, by Alice B. Fogel

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you won’t need any assistance?”

Kylo doesn’t even grace that with a response. He just shoots a scathing glance at the shopkeeper, who immediately nods and backs away out of the room. No doubt the man understands the need for privacy and discretion in this line of work. That, and shop certainly charges enough for its customers to have their whims obeyed. Kylo has even paid extra to ensure that he’ll have the space entirely to himself.

The room is dimly lit and octagonal, with each wall lined with a floor-to-ceiling shelf. There are a cluster of benches and a short dais in the centre of the room, presumably for couples who have come here together to try the objects on display. Kylo is here alone. He suspects that this sort of thing might be better off as a surprise.

Where to start?

Even from this distance, he can see that he’s not interested in the wares directly to the left of the door. Those objects look mean: whips and knives designed to draw blood, bras lined with tacks, folded piles of latex that he suspects to be full-body suits. It’s all a touch extreme for his taste.

To the right of the door, there are objects on the other far end of the spectrum. Feather dusters and velvet ropes, designed for the lightest of stimulation. Lots of things with lace that appear to only have decorative value. He also has no interest in those.

From the contrast of these two walls, he guesses that the shelves are designed to become increasingly more… deviant, in a clockwise direction. An interesting arrangement. Kylo walks along them, scanning up and down, until he comes to the first wall that actually catches his interest. A series of flat and solid crops are displayed at eye level. He takes one off the shelf and brings it down a few times against the palm of his hand. They make a satisfying sound and sting and without breaking the skin, which is what he was hoping for. There's some variation in length and size of the crops and he's about to try and select one when he’s distracted by the shelf just below it, this one lined with gags. They vary from the simplest one with a plain bit to a monstrous looking contraption that has prongs of metal designed to hold the jaw as wide as possible. Kylo picks up one that has a rubber ball at the centre, lightly compressing it with his fingers. He can easily imagine this in Rey’s mouth, slick spittle trailing down her chin while she looks up at him imploringly, little noises coming from the back of her throat—

With a small smile, he withdraws the list provided by the shopkeeper and ticks off the box next to the appropriate product number. When he steps back and experimentally looks even lower, he can see that the shelf below the gags is full rows of collars in varying colours and materials, some with accompanying locks. The mental image of that is so compelling that Kylo has to take a moment to meditate on Hux’s endless budgets and personnel meetings to stop himself from becoming overexcited.

Once he’s under control, he’s about to squat down and take a closer look at the collars before he remembers that he still needs to pick a crop.

He chuckles to himself in the silence. Rey is about to discover a whole new world of experiences. 

 


 

It takes a good hour of his time, but Kylo is ultimately satisfied with his chosen items. He leaves the room to find the shopkeeper and is escorted to a counter where his purchases are tallied. He is then offered a cup of caf while he waits and his choices are collected; the box is relatively small when the shopkeeper re-emerges. The objects must be tightly packed. It wasn’t a short list.

A swipe of his credit chip later, the transaction is finished. He tucks the chip back into his pocket and takes the box with some satisfaction, pleased with the heft of its weight and excited for the evening ahead. It’s nearly the hour for picking up Rey— he might as well go wait for her rather than needlessly going back to the cottage and turning around.

He leaves the shop and tightly secures the box to the back of the speeder. Stars, he can't wait to see her face when she sees all this. Although, on second thought, it's probably best if he introduces it bit by bit. Best not to scare her off unnecessarily. 

Deliberating on this, he grips the handles and takes off towards Ithor General Children’s Hospital.

 


 

Kylo is sitting in the waiting area, folded into one of the too-small chairs with his knees practically around his ears, when someone calls his name. His fake name. Looking toward the sound, he can see a short woman walking over and waving to get his attention.

He can only assume that it’s the head matron. They’ve never spoken in person. Only over holovid, when he organised the terms of Rey’s visits and made a substantial donation to ensure that she could act as she wished. But this woman looks very formally dressed, and his suspicions are confirmed once she’s a little closer and he can read the title printed across her name tag. “Mr. Amidala,” she says, “can I have a word?”

Something about her tone that implies that it’s urgent. So he stands and follows her into an office where she closes the door and sits at her desk.

“Mr. Amidala,” she says again politely, gesturing for him to sit. Once he’s as settled as he can be, she folds her hands. “I’m sorry to pull you away like this, but I believe it’s important. I recall you telling me in our first conversation about the… Security concerns that you had.”

Now she has his full attention. Kylo sits up a little straighter. “Yes?”

“I thought you would want to know that a young man came to our front desk this morning, asking for your wife.”

Alarms are beginning to go off in his head. “What young man?”

The matron pulls out a datapad and quickly swipes up what appears to be a grainy security video. The quality is very poor, but the visage of the Traitor is burned into Kylo’s mind enough that he can recognise even this blurry image. His hands immediately clench so tightly that the chair makes a crunching noise, and the Matron’s eyes widen in alarm. “Our receptionist was briefed, as you asked,” she says hurriedly. “She told this visitor that no such person has been to the hospital and tried to send him away. The young man grew belligerent and insisted that your wife had to be present, perhaps under a different name, and tried to show the receptionist a holo-image. The receptionist called security and he was escorted out.”

Kylo doesn’t remember jumping to his feet, but now he’s standing, looming over the desk. “You let him leave? When? When was this?”

“It- he - Earlier today. He hasn’t returned since.”

Kylo’s head is spinning. Rey. He has to get to Rey. He has to get to her now, and then they have to leave. “Where is my wife?” Even in these circumstances the word feels achingly natural and right, though he doesn’t have time to dwell on it. 

“She should be finishing her rounds as scheduled,” the Matron stammers. “We didn’t want to alarm her.” She now sounds thoroughly alarmed herself— and she’s right to be, Kylo thinks to himself grimly. “I could have her brought to reception now?”

“Do it,” Kylo snaps, standing and pulling the door open with such force that the hinges shudder dangerously.

Kriff. Kriff. Every individual looks like a potential threat as he marches back to Reception. They have to get out of here as quickly as possible. He stands at the end of the hallway where Rey should emerge with his hands clenched and his foot tapping, itching to get moving. Rey is nearby— he can feel her force signature, a soft glow against his mind. It dulls the panic in his chest, but his heart thumps wildly until she comes around the corner with a big smile, practically skipping to him.

“I had good news today,” she says, beaming up at him once she’s at his side.

Kylo’s barely listening. He’s skimming the environment with his eyes, trying to see whether anyone is concealing a blaster as they exit the hospital and he guides her towards their vehicle. “Yes?”  

“You remember the little girl? The one who… Well, you know.” Rey shudders as she climbs aboard the speeder in front of him, oblivious to his worry. “A relative saw the news and reached out to the hospital. The girl’s aunt, she already has some children. I peeked a little into her mind when she was visiting today. She seems genuinely kind. I think the girl will be happier there.”

“Mm,” he responds absently, before kicking the speeder into gear. No one has taken particular notice of them. If any Resistance members are here, they’re not making themselves known. They have to get back to the cottage and he can message for a transport pick-up.

It’s not really possible to speak while the speeder is moving, but Rey tries to get his attention through their bond, confused about his reticence. She’s gotten used to him being happy to listen to her. What’s wrong?

He shuts her out. He needs to keep his focus on ensuring that they aren’t being followed. He can feel her growing anger and annoyance as they weave through traffic, but he won’t let himself be distracted by it.

Once they’ve arrived back at the cottage, he hauls her off the speeder. “Pack anything you need urgently,” he says, practically dragging her through the door and going straight for his datapad. If he orders an emergency collection now, his shuttle should arrive within the hour. He’ll have to send it to one of the local fields. They can’t wait in the cottage— the location might be compromised. They probably shouldn’t even have come back here, but his datapad and sabre are here. Kriff, he’d let his guard down so much, how could he have been so foolish? If he were alone, he would simply face any of his would-be attackers. He would hunt them down without hesitation. But he has Rey now, and he can't risk something happening to her. Or alternately risk her doing something stupid. He needs to regroup. 

“What are you talking about?” Rey yanks her arm away, brow deeply furrowed. “Pack anything— why—”

“We’re leaving,” he says sharply, typing out the coordinates. They can ride the speeder to the pickup location.

“What?”

Kylo ignores her in favour of waiting for a response from the Finalizer. It comes almost immediately: your personal command shuttle is preparing for dispatch. Good. Now he just needs his sabre and they can go.

But Rey leans over and grabs his wrist, her grip tight as she demands his attention. “Why are we leaving? What’s happening? What’s going on? Kylo, I swear—”

He tries to stop the spinning of his brain long enough to look her in the eye. “We’ve been compromised,” he says through gritted teeth, doing his best not to yell or throw her arm off. “We’re not safe, and we need to leave.”

Rey’s face goes white and she lets go of him, taking a physical step back. “Compromised? But— who—”

“It might be a coincidence,” he says, striding to the wall safe to get his sabre. “But I highly doubt it. Either you were recognised in town, or we were betrayed by someone in the hospital.” That option seems more and more likely the more he thinks about it. It would only take one Resistance sympathising parent or staff member to recognise the Force at work. Or even just to infer that he’s some high ranking First Order officer. The thought makes anger curdle in his stomach. “Once you’re safe, I’ll go back to the hospital and find who it was. I’ll interrogate everyone there if I have to.” He withdraws his sabre, testing the reassuring weight in his hand, and slams the safe shut with more force than necessary. 

“What?”

Her voice is so soft and afraid that he turns to look at her. She’s shaking. The strength of his urge to comfort her is unnerving. He gentles his voice, trying to be soothing. “I’ll find who betrayed us, little one. I will find them and I will make them pay.”

“Was it…” She shrinks even farther from him. “Was it the Resistance? Did they come to the hospital?”

Kylo nods, bitterness strong in his throat. “But we’ll be leaving now. I’ll come back later to—“

“Don’t hurt anyone at the hospital,” she interrupts. Some of her usual strength is back in her tone. “They’ve been kind to me. You can’t.”

“One of them is Resistance,” Kylo snaps back, grimly clipping his sabre to his belt and reaching for his cloak, “who put you at risk. I’ll go through all of the staff to find them if I have to. Now come, we have to meet the shuttle.”

Rey isn’t moving. She’s still standing stock still, and when he turns to look at her, she is staring at her feet.

“Rey,” he says insistently, “come here. We have to go.” What is she doing? “We have to—”

“They didn’t do it,” she blurts out. “No one did.”

“How could you possibly—”

“Because it was me.” She takes a deep breath and finally straightens to look him square in the eye. “I sent the message to the Resistance.”

 

 


 

 

Nature's first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

 

 -“Nothing Gold Can Stay”, by Robert Frost

 

 

Chapter Text

He won’t even look at her.

The stars blur into lines outside the windows of his shuttle, and Rey can’t stare at them for too long without feeling dizzy. She ends up curled in her chair, knees to her chest, trying to figure out why this whole experience has made her feel so small.

She willingly gave up the memory of sending the message in the end, mostly to stop anyone in the hospital from suffering. Kylo had watched her type the words from behind her eyes: I am safe and well. That had almost mollified him— but then I miss you had ruined any chance of this simply blowing over. She could practically hear the coffin lid fall as he read Love, Peanut.

It was all silence after that. The bond is firmly closed and she doesn’t expect it to reopen any time soon. She can only see a little bit of him from behind his large command chair, but every inch of his clenched fists and hunched posture wordlessly screams out his fury.

Rey lets her head fall to her knees and closes her eyes, willing this trip and its horrible silence to end.

Eventually, she hears the shuttle drop of out hyperspace and the landing gear engages. Kylo speaks over the sound of whirring mechanics without turning around. “You’ll be escorted back to my quarters. From now on, you don’t leave there without my supervision.”

Biting back a thousand retorts, Rey unfolds herself to follow two waiting stormtroopers onto the bridge of the Finalizer.

 


 

The stormtroopers deposit her in their— no, Kylo’s rooms. Fingertips pressed against her closed eyelids, Rey begins to pace, as if moving will prompt inspiration.  

She’s not going back to this. She can’t. It was one thing to be held at a distance when she was distinctly a prisoner, but they’ve moved on to— to— something beyond that in the time since. If this is going to be her life, she refuses to live it from inside a literal cage. The taste of freedom and violence and lust is still heavy on her tongue from the night in the forest, and now that she’s had a taste, she can’t settle for anything else. She won’t. She wants to communicate with her friends, and she should be able to. 

It would be nice to try and distract her buzzing mind, but her datapad and training gear are still back on Ithor. In the end, she marches into the ‘fresher just for something to do. Under the spray of the water unit, she presses her forehead to the smooth wall and lets the scalding heat wash over her. 

What to do? What to do?  

None of Kylo’s reaction is actually about the Resistance, of course. Rey knows this without question. It’s the same thing that caused his furious outburst when she first offered herself in exchange for the freedom of her friends, in what feels like another lifetime— this is about Kylo’s obsessive possessiveness and jealousy. It’s about Finn, and the fact that he still perceives the other man as some sort of threat.

Soaping her hair, she runs through the events of the last few months with her clear-burning anger at the forefront of her mind. The capture, the training, the techs, the fight, the trip to Ithor, and the woods: there’s a common denominator in all of it. It’s that she didn’t control it. Ever since that bargain, she’s been reacting to things as they happen to her. Never initiating, always responding.

When she held that datapad in the hospital, she had been in control. The victory of that felt good. She won’t apologise for it.

Once her skin feels scrubbed raw and her fingers are starting to prune, she steps out and wraps herself into a fluffy towel, determination straightening her spine. The solution seems obvious enough. If his possessiveness is what got her into this mess, maybe she can leverage that to get out of it.

Dripping all over the floor, Rey walks to the comm panel in the next room and punches in the directions to summon a grooming droid. She’s about to return to the ‘fresher when a stack of boxes on the table catches her eye; opening them, she discovers that all of their things left behind on Ithor have been delivered. It’s mostly the odd gifts that the children made her and a bit of clothing and training gear, but at the bottom of the pile, she finds a smaller black box that she’s never seen before.

Her breath hitches in her throat when she opens it. That… Oh. She lifts a crop from its little holding place with wide eyes, casting her gaze over the dizzying array of other objects sitting in the box. She recognises some from holovids and some from snatches of Kylo’s filthier daydreams, but some of them are completely foreign. But she can guess what they’re meant for.

Putting the crop back down, she pulls out a collar, testing the soft feel of the black leather between her fingers. Her whole body feels so hot, her heartbeat unnaturally loud in her ears. There’s a familiar tingle of heat starting in her hips, and she closes her eyes. These promise an entirely new level of not thinking and just feeling. That floating drunkenness of spirit that she can’t help but crave.

So, so, so. He wants to incorporate some new things. She can work with this.

The whish of the door lets her know that the droid has arrived. It rolls to her and beeps a series of questions about her wishes, cheerfully asking if she needs something simple or elaborate.

Still holding the collar, Rey presses her lips into a thin line and peers at the droid. “Can you style hair? In big… Sort of…” she tries to remember the hairstyle that had made Kylo’s eyes go so wide, spinning her fingers in wide circles next to her chin. “In big loops. That hang past my shoulders.”

The droid beeps that yes, of course it can, almost sounding offended that she needed to ask.

“Good. I’ll pick a dress, and we can get started.”

Wandering to the closet, she slips the clasp of the collar open. It’s time to start using the advantages that she has.

 


 

Dinner comes and goes without any sign of Kylo. The amount of food delivered is only enough for one person, so Rey decides there’s no point in waiting. The meat is marinated in a drippy sauce; she has to take extra care not to let it fall onto her dress. She doubts that any stains would come out of the pristine white and she doesn’t want to pick a new one. Picking a new one would mean having to change the stockings that she painstakingly pulled up to her thighs, and that had already been difficult enough. Why isn’t it readily obvious where the heel is on the kriffing things?

After she eats, she squints at her reflection in the mirror and carefully daubs more of the red cream from the droid on her lips. Standing under the bright light of the ‘fresher as she confirms that nothing is out of place, it’s more difficult to not notice the sheerness of the dress.

The whole thing makes her want to blush, but she takes deep breaths. She can do this. Her first attempt at seduction had been artless and just consisted of taking her top off, and that had worked.

Now she has to decide how to greet him. Rey wanders around the room, considering her options with a frown. Maybe on the bed? No, that seems too obvious. Standing by the window? But that might get awkward, who knows how long he’ll be. Sitting at the table, perhaps— then she’d be mostly hidden and there would be a reveal of sorts when she stands. Self-consciously, she pulls her hair so that it drapes over her front, mostly concealing the thin leather collar that rests around her throat. Every now and then she’ll be reminded by its weight and she has to make an effort not to get so physically excited that she leaves a humiliating stain on her dress.

With her datapad in front of her, Rey sits and puts her elbows on the table, scrolling through something without really reading it. Now she just needs to wait. Like a predator, lying in wait for her prey.

 


 

 

She's almost starting to think that he won’t be returning at all for the night when the door slides open.

Kylo walks in with his eyes firmly straight ahead, already talking before he’s even over the threshold. “I’m not here to stay, just to make sure you don’t need anything before—… Oh.” Their eyes meet for a fraction of a second before his gaze flicks downwards, over her throat, and then to her chest, where she knows that a shadow of dusky colour is visible through the fabric. “Uh.”

She stands slowly, inwardly triumphant as he looks lower, jaw visibly clenching when he sees the stockings. Each step that she takes towards him is slow and hesitant, aware as she is that he might bolt at any moment, even keeping her tone hushed. “Are you sure you won’t stay?” Once she’s close enough, she puts her fingertips to his chest, craning her neck up to emphasise the difference in their height. “I would like you to stay.”

“Uh…” He swallows. “Uh. That is, I… Um.” He gives himself a little shake, and his gaze darkens. “Is this meant to manipulate me?”

Rey widens her eyes as innocently as she can, hoping that she isn’t overdoing it. “I thought you would like it.” She pulls away from him and turns, making sure to put a little wiggle in her walk as she takes a few deliberate steps away, hugging herself and dropping her head. With a wounded tone, she adds, “do you not like it?”

Stock still, she keeps her head tucked low as she feels him approach from behind, until the heat of his body is so close that it rolls along her spine. One of his hands slowly bunches the fabric against her thigh, and she’s about to wriggle backwards when he hooks a finger into the collar from behind, making it that little bit harder to breathe. “Where did you find this?”

“It was delivered,” she says breathily, with a nod towards the shelf where the box now sits, “with the rest of our things.”

Kylo’s head dips towards her shoulder and smells good smells like Rey smells so good filters across the bond through his faltering mental walls. “Did you see the other things?”

His hand is under the skirt now, the leather coarse against her skin as he traces circles on her skin. She nods, as much as she can when the collar is held so taut against her skin, closing her eyes. She lets him see the memory of her finding them, how it felt when she saw them— things that pinch and things that stretch, things that hold and things that she doesn’t even know the purpose of. The way that looking at them had made her heart beat faster. 

He sucks in a stuttered breath. “You liked the look of them, little one?”

“Some of them,” she whispers, shivering when he chuckles against her skin.

The collar loosens and there’s a sharp tug on her scalp as he pulls a handful of her hair backwards, until she’s bent at an unnatural angle and looking up at him. “You know, I owe you some discipline for sending that message.” Apparently he intends to stay. 

Now seems like as good a moment as any. Heart in her throat, Rey takes her calculated gamble. “I know. I was too flustered to say so on Ithor, but… Thank you for taking me away before the Resistance found me, Master.”

He’s so surprised that he lets go of her hair. “What?”

Rey twists around to face him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I miss them, but I don’t…” She lowers her lashes in the same way that she used to watch girls in the Resistance wheedle things from their sweethearts. “I wouldn’t want them to see me like this.”  

Kylo is distracted again, pulling strands of hair away from her face, eyes continually darting between her lined eyes and her darkened lips. “What? See you like what?”

“It would kill them to see me happy with you,” she murmurs.

There’s a moment’s pause while Kylo registers the words. “You…” The sudden hope in his eyes is heart-breaking. “You’re happy here?”  

“I am,” she says, giving him a little smile. God help her, it’s not even a lie, although it’s fraught and complicated in a way that doesn’t need to be brought up right now. “But they wouldn’t understand.”  

Rey can almost see the thought tick through in his head, the possessive, twisted part of his nature latching onto the idea. She doesn’t need the bond to be able to watch as he considers it, re-evaluating the situation with this new knowledge and the potential that it offers. The opportunity, effectively, to gloat

She makes as if to step away. “I do miss them,” she says, “but it’s for the best. I think you were right—”

“No, no,” he says, raising his hand to silence her, still staring at the middle distance over her head. “I may have… This is important to you,” he says, finally looking down to meet her eyes with an intense stare. “If it’s important to you, it’s important to me.”

She blinks up at him innocently. “What do you mean?”

“I think… Yes.” He’s nodding now, gathering her back into his arms, stroking her hair and probably ruining the curls in the process. “You need some closure. You haven’t seen them since you agreed to train with me. You should- they should know… That you’re happy here.” The bond betrays his less-than-noble intentions, tangled up with a potent desire to show victory and ownership.

But Rey isn’t worried about the why or the how— just that she gets to see her friends again, at least one more time. If only to properly say goodbye, and thank them for continuing to search for her against impossible odds.  “Really?”

“I would have to join you,” he warns.

Despite the triumph that is rattling her veins— it worked it worked it worked it worked— she carefully tamps that emotion down. “If you’re sure, Master.”

“I am,” he says confidently. “But first,” he says, tone dropping with lascivious intent that makes her heart jump, “little one, I believe there is some much-needed discipline in order.”

She barely has time to bite her lip and nod before he sweeps her up into his arms; it means she can conveniently burrow against his chest to hide her grin.

She is Rey of Jakku. She’s a survivor. She will adapt to new conditions, learn how to use her weapons, and thrive.

 

 


 

 

You will feel a hand upon your heart while I place your voice back

Into the heart from where it came from

And I will not cry also

Although you will expect me to

I was wiser too than you had expected

For I knew all along you were mine

 

 -“Poem to an Unnameable Man”, by Dorothea Lasky

 

 

Chapter Text

She’s pretty as a picture on his bed.

On her back, Rey looks up at him with wide eyes and a smile that can only be described as coy. The soft white dress is hitched around her thighs and the collar is a black slash of night against the pale skin of her neck. It looks like it belongs there.

It would kill them to see me happy with you.

All thoughts of avoiding her are gone. Why would he punish himself like that when he can spend time with his lovely girl instead? Especially when she’s spread out so beautifully, her heels slowly dragging up against the mattress until her legs part to reveal the lips of her peachy cunt. The message to the Resistance can be forgiven as a moment of weakness.

Of all the people in the galaxy, Kylo Ren understands moments of weakness.

“On your front,” he commands, savouring the flush of heat through his hips and low in his belly at the thought of her obedience. The delivered box of toys is sitting on the shelf; he stands and brings it back to the bottom of the bed in preparation. “Face down, ass in the air.”

There’s nothing quite as thrilling as the way that she flips over and pushes onto her knees without having to be asked again. He can see the enticing curve of her behind through the gossamer fabric, and he can’t decide whether he wants to savour it or eat her alive. 

Urgency wins out. Pulling the box open, Kylo finds the soft black cuffs and wraps them securely around her ankles; after that, it’s easy to use the attached hooks to affix them to the collapsible spreader bar. Clicking the latches along, he widens it until her legs are splayed but she shouldn’t be in any pain. He could cuff her wrists… But no, he likes watching her clutch the sheets and claw at the mattress instead.

She kicks her legs a little, huffing a bit nervously as she tests the restraints and registers the way that she’s hobbled. “Is that really necessary?”

“I like it. So, yes.”

Kylo goes back to rummaging in the box, taking out the crop and a smaller case. He flicks it open, confirming that it contains the row of plugs before he nods with satisfaction. From her prone position, Rey rolls her neck, trying to watch him. “What are you getting? Are you seriously going to leave me like this?”

“You’ll know in a minute.” He finds the lubricant next, stopped up in a little jar. It opens with a twist of his wrist and he dips two gloved fingers into the sticky substance, rubbing the leather back and forth and warming it before he traces it up the cleft of her backside. “Ease up on the attitude, little one, or you won’t like what I do about it.”

She lets out a soft little gasp when he pushes one finger in, and then two, knuckles sliding past each other as the black fabric disappears past the tight ring of muscle. His warning has had enough of an impact that she says nothing, merely tensing her body until her spine is bowed. The silence lasts until she slowly relaxes as he strokes in and out of her, steady and smooth, a low groan floating from her throat.

Once she feels appropriately ready, he withdraws his fingers and looks to the plugs, dismissing the first out of hand. Too small. Taking the slightly larger second one, he applies lubricant liberally, mindful of how new this is. “We have two additional rules,” he says gently, ignoring her hiccup of surprise when she feels the cold and hard surface against her skin.  “They—”

“Wait, wait, what is that?” Rey’s voice is pitched in panic, and he realises that he never took the time to explain what he’s doing.

That was foolish of him. She really needs to be relaxed for this. Kylo adopts a soothing tone, as if calming a startled Fathier. “It’s a plug, meant to sit there, just relax. It’s small. Don’t panic.” He waits until she rests her head back down to keep pushing in the plug, but it goes in too easily for his liking. It makes sense that the collection would start conservatively, but this thing is barely the size of his earlier two fingers. Then again, he probably has larger-than-average hands. “As I was saying. Rules. Would you like to hear them?”

She scoffs. “Of course.”

Kylo frowns at her petulance, now working the plug out with slow deliberation. “There’s that attitude again. What did we say about that?”

“I…” Her breath stutters in her throat. It gives him a great deal of pleasure to feel the shuddering ghost of arousal that ripples through her at his threat. “Yes, please, Master.”

Better. “The first one is that for the next little while, you only get to come if you have something in your ass.” He keeps talking over her indignant gasp as he sets the toy aside. “Finger, plug, cock— anything will do. The second rule,” he continues, talking even louder as she tries to interrupt him, “is if you beg for mercy, I will listen.”

“I would never—…” She trails off and he can almost see her wrinkle her nose in confusion. “Wait, what?”  

“No matter how much noise you make and no matter what you say, I won’t stop. No, don’t, you can’t— I intend to ignore all of it. But, if you beg for mercy, I will listen. Say that exact word. And everything is finished straightaway. Out loud or mentally, it doesn’t matter. Do you understand?”

“I can take anything you throw at me,” she announces with a toss of her head, and he could chuckle for the way he can imagine her narrowing her eyes at him. It’s going to take a lot of reminding to keep that attitude at bay.

Although— when did he become so good at guessing her expressions? He knows the shorthand of all of her body language now, all of the little tics and mannerisms that make up Rey. The widening of her eyes that is eager curiosity. The slightest downward twitch of her lips in irritation. The long arch of her neck in desperate pleasure.

More than ever, he wants to hide this knowledge from everyone else. After all, the magnitude of this entire night isn’t lost on him. She waited for him with a smile, dressed up so beautifully and designed to please him. So pliant and so lovely. And she’s still waiting, just like she ought to be, obedient and open to him and on her knees and only his. The thought races through him like a drumbeat in his pulse —

Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine—  

He moves to the third plug. It takes a little bit of work to go in, sawing it gently back and forth until her body swallows it up. The stretch is such that she whines high into the air, but it’s a sound of mixed pleasure-pain. Another thing that he now recognises in her and has all to himself.  

Kylo shifts and removes his glove, setting it aside for cleaning later, and it feels hard to breathe when he sees the telltale wetness between her legs. The third plug is as far as they’ll be going tonight, because he’s willing to go slowly on this. Time is the price of doing things right. His experiences with Rey have been reinforcing this lesson since day one. Trying to shift his aching cock through his pants, he leans forward to watch her face. Not that he can see much of it because it's is still firmly planted in a pillow. “How does it feel?”

“Full,” she mumbles, voice strangled, and his cock throbs. “But it…”

“Yes?”

Rey’s whisper is coloured with shame. “It feels good.”

Her words make a full-bodied shudder rock through him. There is nothing she can hide from him— he could pull out his aching cock and push into her right now, holding her arms behind her back and making her arch to keep her in place, he could ease the throbbing tightness of his balls and—

No. No. Patience, he must have patience. “Do you know what you’re being disciplined for?”

She clears her throat nervously. “For… For not telling you about the message I sent.”

That seems only about half right. He half considers reprimanding her, telling her that she shouldn’t have sent the message in the first place— but then again, they’ve made a lot of progress. Perhaps that’s enough for now. He takes up the crop, giving it a slow spin. “I think… Ten strokes.” Landing the flat end of the crop gently against her thigh, he lets her feel the texture and size of it. “What do you think?”

She doesn’t say anything, wriggling a little on the covers.

“Little one.”

Her voice is petulant. “Does it matter what I think?”

“It absolutely matters. You’ll have to suggest something else, though, if you don’t want ten.”

There’s a long moment of silence. “Ten is fine,” she finally mumbles, breathy in her indignant acquiesce.

“I’d appreciate a bit more enthusiasm.”

“Please…” She buries her face in the mattress and he can barely hear the rest. “Discipline me with ten strokes, Master.”

Without giving her a chance to tense or dread the stroke, he flicks his wrist and taps the underside of one cheek, watching the impact ripple out. Then he repeats the motion on the other side, enjoying the frantic squeaking noise that she makes and the way that her hands twitch as if she wants to reach down and cover herself. He layers them quick and fast, one, two, three more strokes, light and stinging, never in the same place twice. By the sixth, Rey is just panting wetly, fisting the sheets tightly over and over as her back arches higher and higher with each stroke.

It’s probably for the best that she can’t see him. He’s enjoying this far too much, and it’s only about to get better.

“Hm,” he says, enjoying the flush of red now covering her ass. Reaching out, he touches the inflamed skin with a gentle hand, stroking in slow circles and soothing the throbbing heat rising from her skin. “Was that five, or six? I don’t remember.”

Rey sounds half-drunk. She keeps wriggling towards his hand, sighing happily at the soft contact. “Huh? What?”

Can she guess his mannerisms as well? Can she see his shit-eating grin in her mind’s eye? “I’d better start over.”

That snaps her out of her lull. “What?!”

Kylo layers another three quick swats, this time against her thighs, adding a bit more pressure. “Now was that… Was that two or three…”

“Three!” Rey blurts, her head whipping up off the pillow. “Definitely three!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!”

“No attitude,” he reminds her sternly, before he takes the crop and drags it up her inner thigh. Achingly slowly, he pulls it up until he reaches the glimmer of slickness, dragging it through her drenched skin with some fascination. She's evidently really enjoying this. The body is so honest. “The problem is I’m easily distracted.”

“Then maybe you should pay attenti—”

She breaks off with a shocked cry when he whips the crop back and lands a square hit, the hardest yet. “Maybe you should count for me.”

"You- you- I-"

"Do it," he orders, "or I'll start over." 

“Four!” she yelps immediately, snapping the word out as soon as the crop connects with her skin again. “Fii-ive, six—” She has to force the last one out between whimpers, especially when he takes a break to yank her back and grind his hips against her, groaning at the contact. She’s so hot even through the fabric. There's just the thinnest boundary between them now, and it would be so easy to transition to the real thing- 

Rey evidently agrees, because she falls into the rhythm of it quickly, squirming under his palms. It’s better even than victory in battle when she whispers the sweetest, softest, little “please”, rocking as wantonly as she can while hobbled. Kylo almost thinks he might come in his trousers when she starts to chant her plea over and over, escalating into pretty tears as he plants his hands beside her and sucks sloppy kisses to the back of her neck, her voice catching on every third word. They’re not from pain, though a quick dip into the bond confirms that her skin is still aflame. They’re tears of desperation. Pure and simple.

He doesn't know how much longer he can last.

Scrambling off the side of the bed, he grabs for the crop and makes sure to escalate the pressure with each stroke until she practically wails “ten”, leaving her skin a pretty mess of stripes. Reaching to roll her and yank her forward so she’s sitting upright, he positions her with her legs hanging over the side of the bed, still spread from the bar, her hips tilted a little forward so as to not put pressure on the plug. The dress is still on but now it's a hindrance— in the moment, it feels like entirely too much work to fiddle with the buttons, so instead he yanks at the collar until it rips down the middle, exposing her pert breasts to the air.  “Please,” she’s still whispering. “Please, please—”

It’s a scramble to tug his pants down and pull his cock free, hissing at the cold air and the relief of finally escaping of the confines of scratchy fabric. Kylo gives himself a few hard strokes, tugging tightly at the base to hold off the orgasm. “Please what?”

“I want—” Rey’s gaze is tightly fixed on his cock, her cheeks wet with tears. “I want to come,” she finally manages, hiccupping through the words and looking up, damp lashes framing her beautiful eyes. "Please, I've wanted it since I got ready for you, please-"

When he strokes her cheek, reaching around to tangle his fingers in her hair, she already knows what to do. She’s such a fast learner, no matter the arena. Her hands come up to grip tightly at his thighs and he moves closer so she can bob her wet mouth against him. It takes a few tries for her to take him in without her hands. There’s a wholehearted earnestness in how she tackles this, as with everything else— sloppy and imprecise, she immediately chokes him down as deeply as she can, until he feels the velvety heat of the back of her throat. It’s all he can do to try and remain upright and guide her pace with his hand, arching his neck and staring unseeing at the ceiling as waves of pleasure rock through him.

A tortured groan makes him look down. The sight of Rey’s mouth stretched around his girth, her thighs twitching below, trying to press together and gain friction— it’s too much, and he feels the orgasm lick up the back of his spine with barely a moment’s warning.

She sputters in shock at the first spurt of his release, but he holds her there tightly, refusing to let her pull away. “Don’t swallow,” he warns, though it comes out as more of a garbled moan than he’d intended.

His spent, soft cock slips out of her mouth and poor Rey looks up at him with watering eyes and lightly bulging cheeks, her brow creased in want. Kneeling slowly— and trying not to just fall over, kriff, that was a powerful orgasm— Kylo steadies himself in front of her. “If you can hold that on your tongue,” he says softly, “you can come.” He keeps his gaze on her wide-eyed and flushed face as he puts his hand between her legs, pushing into her wet heat with two long fingers. She’s shockingly tight with the plug still in, and so incredibly wet— he almost feels disappointed that he didn’t take advantage of that this time around. Ah well. There will be next time.

She immediately tries to push his fingers deeper by edging her hips forward, the flat planes of her stomach flexing. Rey’s nose keeps twisting with distaste as she rocks, trying to keep her mouth clamped closed without gagging on the come pooled on her tongue.

But she obeys. If it were physically possible for him to be aroused again, he would be.  

“My poor little one,” he croons, unable to resist the temptation of taunting her. This is what Kylo has learned about himself— there was a time when his fantasies were crueller, harsher, revolving around brute force and mastery, but now he knows that it’s infinitely better to emphasise complicity. To remind Rey over and over that she’s a willing participant. “It’s a lot, isn’t it? But you begged so prettily, didn’t you?” He crooks his fingers and she jumps, responding to pressure against that very specific spot. “It’s all for you, Rey. Aren’t you lucky? You look so lovely like this, my collar around your throat and your mouth full of my come.”

She whines in the back of her throat, eyes scrunched shut. She’s so close. He can feel it in the way she keeps tightening around his fingers as his thumb kneads clumsily at her clit. “Go on,” he murmurs, reaching up with his other hand and working his thumb into her mouth. He presses down on her tongue and his come spills out over her lips and down her chin, her breathy sounds slipping out of her throat with a desperation bordering on panic. “Come for me.”

The sound Rey makes is nearly inhuman. With a shudder, she seizes up tightly and is perfectly still for a few long moments before she shatters, her whole body shaking, thighs spasming on either side of him and her fingers balled into tight fists. Kylo watches, enraptured, as drips of come land and slide along the curve of her quivering breasts— right until the moment when she slumps, falling back onto the mattress with a spent groan.

As a final measure, Kylo reaches up and presses his thumb to the divot below her chin, pushing her jaw shut. “Swallow,” he says softly, knowing that much of his come still remains on her tongue.

Her sleepy and satisfied gaze settles on his face. She obeys, throat working with a movement that makes him feel indescribably hot all over, and she looks nearly triumphant as she does it.

 


 

He won't let himself collapse until she's cleaned up. In a strange way, he almost enjoys this part as much as he does making her scream. She looks so beguilingly sweet when he returns with a soft wet cloth, blinking up at him through hazy eyes, even though she's been completely debauched.

It's oddly intimate for him to wipe in slow swipes over her breasts, slowly working down to the mess between her legs. She clings to his arms with her nose wrinkled as he urges her to relax, slowly working the plug out. They work together to help her out of the ruined dress, leaving it in a heap on the floor. When he rubs some salve into the more serious bruises on her behind— a few of those will probably leave a mark— she keeps her gaze craned over her shoulder so she can keep an eye on him.

But she doesn’t watch him as if she’s monitoring him, making sure that he doesn’t do anything wrong. There’s a crinkle at the corner of her eye. An almost-smile. As if she just enjoys looking at him.

Kylo can’t remember the last time that someone trusted him like this.

 


 

Rey’s breathing is even and deep as she sleeps. She no longer lies curled tightly in on herself, but rather in a loose ball in the centre of the mattress, her hair fanning out across the pillow. He even needs to nudge her over to make room so he can crawl into bed.

Kylo Ren is a hungry soul. For as long as he can remember, he has been a bleeding, gaping maw that consumes everything in its path. Power, knowledge, grief and love- he felt it all so deeply, and always wanted, needed, more. There was an emptiness that he could never seem to fill. So aching. So hollow.

But then there was Rey.

She makes it look effortless. Simply by existing, she is a balm. Wrapping himself tightly around her smaller body and dragging the blanket over them both, he vaguely reminds himself of a dragon sleeping on his hoard of treasure. No threats can be allowed to draw near. She must stay, and her spirit cannot be allowed to wither— he now understands that it would be a loss as sure as if she disappeared.

No matter how angry he was, he had known that he wouldn't be able to stay furious. He would end up drawing back like a moth to a flame. Desperately trying to maintain control while also earning her smile again. And sure enough, she had batted her eyelashes and wrapped her arms around him and his resistance had crumbled at her feet.

Because there is a stillness that he craves, and it only exists when her heart willingly beats against his. He's had a taste, now. He won't go back.

 

 


  

 

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way

 

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

 

- Exerpt from "XVII (I do not love you...)", by Pablo Neruda

 

 

Chapter Text

Parry to the right. Block. Duck. Feint right, lunge left. Dodge.

Daos Ren’s larger form should present more of a challenge, but Rey’s time on Ithor hasn’t blunted her abilities in combat— if anything, she finds that it’s almost easier to hold her own. Probably because the force is practically always vibrating at the end of her fingertips now. Even if her control isn’t perfect, the regular practice at the hospital had more of an impact than she expected. It’s as if the use of the force is controlled by a mental muscle, and repeated use has made it that much stronger. She can tell where the blows are going to come from. Even with her eyes closed, she would know where and how to move. She feels like a wisp of smoke on the wind, bending and ebbing with the currents with minimal effort. Her staff is an extension of her arm.

And she is absolutely demolishing Daos Ren. Nothing could be more satisfying.

“Break!” Kylo calls when Daos hits the floor for the third time, stopping Rey from delivering another brutal blow against his neck. The bigger man slowly gets to his feet and shambles off, and Rey straightens her spine to catch her breath. Kylo walks to her, satisfaction radiating off him in waves. “Well done.”

She remembers his words back when they arrived on Ithor, criticising her ability in the force. Cocking her head, she narrows her eyes at him. “Am I catching up to your standards with control of the force, now?”

The twitch of his mouth is enough for her to know he’s amused. “You’re certainly getting there. We’ll have to do some meditation and mental exercises to hone your precision, next.”

“You can’t just give a compliment,” she mumbles, pouting at the floor.

A gentle hand touches her cheek, coaxing her to look back up. “You are magnificent,” he says, solemn and serious, unblinking as he looks at her with characteristic unbridled intensity.

Somewhere, deep down, she can tell that he’s teasing her just a little bit. In retaliation, she leans into his hand, twisting her neck until she can dart out her tongue and flick it against the pad of his thumb. It’s rough and worn, not smooth like the… Other part of the body she’s thinking about, but he immediately gets the idea.

Kylo’s eyes darken as he makes a low noise in the back of his throat, moving his hand so his fingers brush her throat. Rey parts her lips easily as he presses his thumb into her mouth, his nostrils flaring when she looks up at him with wide eyes and experimentally sucks by hollowing her cheeks.

Pulling her closer, he mumbles into her ear in a gruff tone that makes heat pool in her hips. “If that’s how you want it to be, you can have it. Go back to our rooms and wait for me. I have a meeting I can’t avoid, but I’ll come to you directly after.”

She releases his thumb with a pop, frowning at him. “But… What about my work with the techs?”

Kylo snorts. “You’re still on probation after your little stunt.”

Biting her lip, she narrows her eyes in annoyance. “I don’t want to just sit, I was looking forward to seeing if they’d started on the prototype models yet.”

“Then go back and get extra pretty.” He smirks at her, lips unforgivably wide and soft looking as she wrestles with annoyance and arousal. “And maybe you can earn that privilege back. Worked well the first time, didn’t it?”

Rey feels her cheeks heat at the implication that he saw through her attempts at seduction a bit more than she had realised. So much for manipulation without him knowing.

“Training is over,” Kylo calls out, looking up and gesturing to the Knights. “Daos, Yane, with me. The rest of you follow your briefs.” He ends by pointing a stern finger at Rey’s nose and lowering his tone so only she can hear. “As for you, apprentice, march yourself back to our quarters, and wear something black this time. Something I can easily rip off you.”  

 


 

Still in a bit of a sulk, Rey gradually drags herself down long and sterile white corridors. She could go ahead and wander off, do some exploring and roam the halls before she goes back to the room… But given how her last stab at going rogue went, it’s probably a bad idea.

It’s not too far of a trip from the training arena. Just a few hallways and two floors down. She passes small groups of Stormtroopers while she walks; they mostly pay her no notice, though the occasional helmeted head will turn a little to watch her walk by. Maybe they know who she is. Maybe they don’t.

Watching them reminds her of Finn, which makes her heart squeeze. It’s hard to think of them as normal people when they move with such uniform precision, but she knows that there are individual men and women under those helmets. Do they chafe under the hold of the First Order? Do they wish for a different life? Surely, they must.

Rey is so lost in her thoughts that she strides around a corner without looking and walks directly into a buttoned coat. “Oh,” she starts, “sorry—”

And then freezes when she sees red hair.

If she’s shocked to see him, Hux looks dumbfounded. “You,” he says, and in a swift movement he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a blaster, aiming it between her eyes as his face twists into a snarl. “You.”

Without thinking, Rey whips her training staff around and cracks it against his wrist. Hux’s blaster clatters to the ground as he hisses in pain, but another eight blasters are swiftly pointed at her as the stormtrooper squad around him reacts to her aggression.

She probably could deflect or dodge all of those bolts if she had to, but she's not 100% confident about it. Crouching, she backs up slowly as Hux begins to rant, still holding his wrist. “You are supposed to be under supervision! I said it was madness to let you out of a cell— stand still, now!”

This is bad. Even if she takes them all on, there are more stormtroopers all around in the surrounding hallways, and she has a feeling that they won't be shooting to stun. Sometimes her comfort with Kylo is enough that she forgets that she’s deep in enemy territory; weighing her options, she freezes, eyes flickering back and forth between all of the blasters trained on her face.  

“Resistance witch,” Hux breathes, hand still twitching with the obvious impulse to pick up his blaster, but apparently not willing to bend down in front of her at the risk of losing his dignity. “You may be able to put Ren under some kind of spell by spreading your legs, but you are still a prisoner of the First Order and not permitted to roam the halls. You’re lucky that I don’t just blow a hole through your brain right now.”

Rey’s about to retort that she did no such thing to Kylo before she remembers that he is sort of, technically speaking, correct. Instead, she shifts her stance slightly. “I’d like to see you try.”

“YD-3290,” Hux snaps, eyelid twitching, “put her in cuffs.”

There’s no way that Rey is allowing that to happen. She snaps her staff up again and the trooper hesitates, looking back towards Hux. "Sir?" 

"Well, what are you waiting for? Do it, now!" 

The stormtrooper is still dithering. Rey is just beginning to consider doing something drastic when a familiar presence walks up behind her, and the balance of the standoff immediately shifts. “Hux,” Kylo says, voice clipped through the modulator. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Hux straightens to his full height and pins a scathing glance over Rey’s shoulder. “Escorting the prisoner in a manner appropriate for a prisoner.”

“She’s not a prisoner.”

“Oh, of course,” Hux sneers, “I forgot, she’s a whore now, and from the looks of her I’d guess that she’s a cheap whore at that. Though I suppose that's an advantage for some of the lower officers—”

An arm shoots out over Rey’s shoulder and Hux breaks off in choked silence. The stormtroopers gradually inch away as Hux claws at his throat, face turning redder and redder, eyes bulging as his feet leave the floor and he thrashes in the air.

Rey is willing to watch this all play out without interruption. She doesn’t even particularly cares if he dies.

At the last moment, though, Hux crumples to the ground, heaving in a shuddering gasp of air. As he coughs and sputters, Kylo grabs Rey’s arm, forcing her into movement with a sharp tug.  

Even as they stride away, Hux yells after them with a hysterical edge to his voice. “This will be reported to the Supreme Leader, Ren! I knew you couldn’t be trusted to manage her— you will be made to answer for this!”

 


 

Rey has to half-skip to keep up as Kylo drags her back towards his quarters. It’s alarming to watch the way that the hallways empty as he walks, every bystander scuttling away at top speed. She even sees two Stormtroopers round a corner, spot Kylo’s hulking form striding in their direction, and promptly turn around and disappear the way they came.

As soon as the door slides shut behind him, he yanks his helmet off and hisses at her wildly, teeth bared as he half-yells. “What were you thinking?”  

“What was I thinking?” Rey gapes at him indignantly. “I literally just walked into him, he was the one who lost his mind, and you were the one who choked him half to death—”

“You don’t understand!” Kylo shouts, interrupting her and raking his hand through his hair in choppy movements. It’s almost as though he’s talking more to himself than to her. “You have no concept of what this means—”

“Explain, then!”

“It’s not that simple!”

The man is so kriffing frustrating sometimes. “Then why don’t you at least try—”

Abruptly, something changes in the room. It’s as if the temperature has dropped ten degrees, and all of the hairs on the back of Rey’s neck stand up in response. It’s like the sensation of suddenly losing altitude, a displacement that makes her body lurch even though she’s standing still. It knocks her off-balance and confuses her away from her anger for a moment, trying to place the source of the ominous twist in her stomach.

It’s coming from the bond, she realises, looking at Kylo in a panic. Something swirls at the edge of his mind, an encroaching and foreign malevolent fog. It’s within him and external to him at once, and it causes such physical pain that Rey can feel it in the base of her skull even though she knows she’s only experiencing an echo of its true effect. She reaches out for Kylo, trying to understand what could be happening to him. “What is it? What is that? What’s going on?”

“I’m being summoned by the Supreme Leader. I have to go,” he says, and for the very first time since Finn’s threatened execution, Rey is afraid. Kylo doesn’t look angry as much as he looks terrified. His brows and jaw are twitching, and he’s looking at her but he’s not seeing her. She could swear that his teeth are about to start chattering. 

Clearly this was the implied threat in Hux's words. "Where is he?" 

"The Supremacy." Kylo rocks his head a little, as if trying to shake away something clinging to his brow. "Mega-Class Star Dreadnaught," he clarifies as an afterthought. 

“It's all right,” she starts, gently putting her hands on his arms. The urge to comfort him is overwhelming. “I’ll come with you—”

“No,” he bites out, abruptly brusque and brittle, grabbing her hands with bone-crunching force. “I have to go alone. Stay here. Wait.”

Some of his panic is bleeding into her and making it hard to think clearly. “I don't want to stay here.”

“This isn’t a negotiation,” he says, reaching up to cup her face, grip gentling. He meets her eyes and truly looks at her again, and the depth of emotion there makes her throat catch. “I… I can’t risk being separated from you in the long run. Everything is less important than that. Even if it makes you angry.”

The implications of that are potentially terrifying, but she can’t deal with it right now, especially when he lets go of her and moves away towards the door. Her anxiety makes the brutal truth trip out, even as she tries to claw the words back. “You said I wouldn't have to be alone.”

“I’ll come back for you, little one. I promise.” Before she can even choke out a response, he jams his helmet on. The vocoder distorts his fear but the bond betrays it anyway. “Wait here. I’ll return when I can.”

“How…” It’s awful, how weak and uncertain her voice sounds. “How long will you be?” 

“Once I know, you’ll know,” he promises, and then in three quick steps he is out the door and gone. The horrible pressure eases as soon as she is alone, but it’s replaced by a knot of potent dread in her stomach.

The silence in the empty room is nearly unbearable.

Stuffing her fist in her mouth, Rey bites her knuckles and shakes, desperately trying not to cry. She feels like such a fool. It’s so desperately typical that she could scream. Here she is, yet again, facing the consequences of relying on things beyond her control to deliver what she needs. As soon as he leaves, she can feel the empty indentation in her soul, a shape left by him. A terrible gap where instead he ought to be.

Jakku or the Finalizer— it turns out that it doesn’t much matter where she is.  

She doesn’t know how to stop waiting.  

 

 


 

 

Maybe it’s like that,

only all along it was

obscured by what — 

rush, distraction? Fog.

A pine. Querying

grosbeak. Something

shifts. You find

yourself in another

world you weren’t

looking for where

what you see is that

you have always been

the wolves

at the door.

 

 - Excerpt from “Stepping Out of the Light,” by Forrest Gander

 

 

Chapter Text

“When you killed Han Solo, you finally realised the true potential of the darkness within you. So many years of your work, made real at last.”

Kylo is kneeling, his head bowed before the ancient and bent form of his Master, his mask on the floor near his knee. The throne room is as imposing as ever, and although his Master’s words are technically a compliment, Kylo has no doubt that this is going to be a lecture. He is only ever summoned here for lectures. And unpleasant ones, at that. There’s further proof in the way that his Master’s voice has taken on the silky-smooth quality of when he is especially displeased. 

“When the girl bested you afterwards, I was willing to attribute it to your wounds. You threw yourself into the continued search for Skywalker, devoting yourself with new vigour to our cause. I had such high hopes for you.”

If it were anyone else, Kylo would be tempted to say something like ‘yes, I know, I was there,’ but that would end… Badly.

“But then,” and now his Master’s voice takes on a new tone of scorn, “a resistance ship was intercepted outside of Ryloth, and by pure sheer coincidence- or the force, call it what you will- it turned out the girl was on board. And you saw fit to argue for the release of these captives in exchange for her willingness to train with you. And then saw fit to free a former stormtrooper and traitor without the General’s knowledge or agreement because she offered to spread her legs for you.”

Kylo cringes inwardly but remains silent.

“Through all of that, I was patient. You had triumphed in your training, it was clear that you hold this girl in some strange regard, and lust is not necessarily forbidden. Skywalker had already rejected her and fled, so better for her to be under your wing than with the Resistance, and as I have already said…” His Master narrows his eyes. “You need a legacy.”

Ah, yes. Kylo was wondering when they would come around to that.

“And now I learn that not only have you delegated the search for Skywalker to the other knights, you have made no effort to have a child, and the girl—” Here, his Master takes in a strangled breath as if he can’t believe what he is about to say, “—is running freely around a First Order Destroyer, where she can attack anyone as she pleases.”

The pause after this is so long that Kylo chances a rebuttal. “It was only for a short time.”

“A pathetic excuse. I expected better of you. She is of no use to us unless you are in control.”

This seems patently unfair. When it comes to Rey, Kylo would argue that he is very in control in basically every aspect of her life. “I am,” he insists, before realising how sullen he sounds. Trying to school his tone, he says evenly, “I am in control.”

“Then tell me, why am I told she is still using a contraceptive implant?”

“She is not yet ready—”

“Lies. You think it would make her unhappy.” His Master sneers the word like it’s a disgusting slur. “Because you aren’t in control, and you fear losing her compliance. I did not agree to this arrangement so you could court a fallen former would-be Jedi, apprentice. If this is meant to be for your… Edification, you will meet my conditions.”

The sinking feeling in Kylo’s stomach is not a good sign. He had hoped for more time before he was going to have to press this issue. “Master, I don’t—”

“Enough.” Waving a withered hand, he cuts him off. “In light of your recent successes, I am going to give you one more chance. Confine her more securely. Do not let your other duties falter. And if you cannot conceive a child, then…” The falsely relaxed shrug is far more worrying than active anger. “I will have her removed and a droid can take care of the practicalities. If she is taken away than she cannot be a distraction.”

Kylo’s head snaps up, suddenly hyperaware of everything in the room, right down to the hum of the force in the air. Taken away? His Rey, taken away?

Perhaps his Master read his thoughts, or perhaps Kylo’s expression is enough to betray him, as always. “Oh yes. Never forget that this is something I allow you, and I can cease to allow it at any time.”

His pulse is beating loudly in his ears and the edges of his vision feel blurry. That wasn’t— that isn’t— Rey can’t be removed to somewhere. Rey belongs to him. His fists keep clenching in his gloves, the leather creaking, the pressure building at the base of his skull. To have Rey out of reach would be more than upsetting, it would be a fundamental betrayal of the force and everything it clearly has planned for them. 

His Master snorts. “If it truly bothers you that much, you can always find another whore.”

It’s the final straw. Kylo lurches to his feet, not able to think clearly beyond his blood red rage—

The lightening hits without warning, so powerful that it knocks him clear off his feet and onto his back. Even though this has to be the thousandth time that he has experienced this, the pain is still an incredible shock. “I brought you up from nothing!” His Master roars, standing with one arm holding his throne, all of his Praetorian guard now braced for a fight. There’s another brutal flash of lightning and Kylo writhes, his head cracking against the floor as the agony arcs through his body. “I will not allow you to be such a disappointment when we are so close to eradicating the Jedi forever!” His Master points one long finger at the door, lightning still crackling dangerously at his fingertip. “Go. Go and decide whether you want to live up to your place as Vader’s heir, to continue his line— or whether you are, as I am beginning to suspect, just a pathetic child hiding behind a mask.”

 


 

He leaves his mask as a pile of shards in the elevator. His pride is equally destroyed, lying somewhere in his Master’s throne room.

None of the troopers on Kylos' shuttle comment on his lack of a helmet, though he can sense their surprise. He’s too angry to feel self-conscious about it. Let them look. At his uneven features, at the scar that cuts across his face, at his surprising youth— let them look at all of it. The thought of his mask now leaves a sour taste in his mouth.

Hunched over in his command chair and stewing in his anger, he is almost halfway through the journey back to the Finalizer before he remembers that he had promised to let Rey know when he would return. It’s only been a few hours, but a promise is a promise. He reaches out to the bond and it springs to life almost immediately, taut with her unspoken anxiety. I’m on my way back, he conveys, deciding to leave the details of his encounter with Snoke to when they are in person.

Okay, she responds immediately, before quickly adding, not that I needed you to come right back.

Of course, he agrees, a muscle in his cheek twitching in an almost-smile. His prickly girl. He can’t explain why he finds that so charming.

The bond gradually goes slack once more; it’s not a dramatic end to a conversation, a slamming shut that leaves him blocked out. Almost the metaphysical equivalent of someone wandering to the other side of the room and sitting down, still present but not paying attention. It’s very comfortable. When did they become so comfortable?

Could he stand it if he lost that?

Because when push comes to shove, Kylo knows he is willing to do absolutely anything to keep her by his side, even if it makes her furious. But his worry is less about anger and more about what might make her wither. It’s that fear that makes it not as simple as insisting that she has to obey him. And it’s unlikely that she’ll agree outright.

But oh, if she agreed…

Settling a bit more deeply into his chair, Kylo lets his mind wander, imagining Rey with her stomach rounded, her breasts bigger and more sensitive under his hands. An extremely satisfying proof of his virility wandering around his quarters. He could ensure that she had everything she ever needed, every craving or desire at her fingertips. And when the child is born, he has no doubt that she’d be a deeply attentive and devoted mother. The kind that he had always wanted.

Leaning over, he jams down the comm button on the side of his chair. “Send a med-droid to my quarters. For removal of a contraceptive implant and a fertility shot for a human female.”

The voice on the other end is carefully toneless when it answers, “Yes, Commander.”

 


 

He finds Rey sitting at their table, dressed in something flimsy and black— it takes him a moment to remember that he had specifically requested that long before he left, and the satisfaction at her obedience is a heady thing.

She is happily chattering away with a med-droid, who is beeping back at her in cheerful tones. When she sees him, she smiles widely, beckoning him over. “Oh, here he is. I told you, he can clear this up. Kylo, this droid—” There is another series of beeps. “Sorry, MD-9E, thinks it's been sent here for a contraceptive removal. I told it that that isn’t possible, but it's insisting that it can’t leave until the directive is completed or dismissed. And I can’t dismiss it! Which is ridiculous.” The droid beeps some more, possibly in agreement or in offence. Kylo can’t tell. “But I said you could, so— go on, tell it that it can go back to its duties without being stuck here with me.”

He can’t say anything. Instead, he stands there, painfully watching as her smile slowly slips from her face.

“…Kylo?” She finally says, standing slowly. “It has been sent here by mistake, right?”

He should command her to sit down and accept the shot. Instead, he finds himself staring at the wall behind her head, slowly sucking the inside of his cheek between his teeth.   

“MD-9E,” Rey says softly, “can you power down for a bit, please?”

The droid swirls its head towards Kylo and he gives a curt nod; there is a whirring noise and it goes quiet, lights dimming as it goes into stasis.

He isn’t sure what he expected, but the steely and determined look in Rey’s eyes isn’t it. “Tell me what happened,” she says. It’s an order and not a request.

It immediately rubs him the wrong way. He is the one in charge here. “The droid is correct,” he says instead, dodging the question.

Her eyes narrow. “Kylo?” She reaches out to touch him and he can’t help but flinch, nerve endings still aflame from the lightning. It has an effect that burns for days afterwards, a sting that reminds him of the never-ending list of his failures. “What- you’re hurt,” Rey says, instantly distracted. She reaches up and her fingers brush his jawline. “You’re hurt and— kriff, what happened?

Taking her hand, he leads her to the bed, sitting on the edge and gesturing for her to sit beside him. “There are things that I want,” he starts, determined that this won't come out sounding like a desperate plea.

Rey interrupts him before he can keep talking. “Hold still for a second,” she commands, bracing her hands on either side of his face. She closes her eyes to focus, and he’s about to impatiently swat her away when he feels the first trickle of the force from her fingertips. It’s been a very long time since he’s experienced force healing, and he had forgotten how good it feels. And this definitely feels all the more incredible because it’s Rey. Her very essence is written into her unique way of approaching the force and he basks in it as it washes over him. Infinitely soothed, he relaxes under her hands, all of his guards dropping as if her healing could extend beyond his skin and into the fibres of his soul.

It means he is utterly unprepared when she suddenly digs into his memories. She’s unpracticed but talented, in this as in everything, and in moments she sees everything.

She sees the scene as it played out hours before in the throne room, with Snoke’s ultimatum and his humiliating reprimand. She sees Snoke’s first interaction with him regarding her, and how he pathetically, weakly tried to defend her. She sees his desperation when he thought she was at risk, the way that he panicked when she was upset with him. Worst of all, she sees the way that he is absolutely and hopelessly infatuated with her, willing to do nearly anything to win her affection and her companionship, that he has been since they first crossed sabres. That he is thrilled beyond words every time she submits to him. She sees that even though he thought it was beyond him, he is starting to believe that he might even be in love—

That particular thought is so humiliating that he finds the fury to mentally shove her out of his memories. “How—” he chokes out, shaking from head to toe, batting her hands away with limbs that feel like jelly, “how dare you—”

He didn't remove her as completely as he thought. In the next moment Rey waves her hand, and before he can do a single thing about it, the force sleep takes him under.

 

 


 

 

Beside a humble stone, a tree

Floats in the cemetery’s air,

Not planted in memoriam there,

But growing wild, uncultured, free.

 

A bird comes perching there to sing,

Winter and summer, proffering

Its faithful song—sad, bittersweet.

That tree, that bird are you and I.

 

 - Excerpt from “Last Hope” by Paul Verlaine, translated by Norman R. Shapiro

 

 

Chapter Text

There was a time when Rey thought that Unkar Plutt was the biggest bully in the galaxy. It wasn’t even that long ago; until she left the barren sands of Jakku, she hadn’t imagined that she would ever meet an individual who was more needlessly cruel or manipulative.

Strictly speaking, of course, she hasn’t met Snoke. But having seen Kylo’s memories feels like enough. It makes her stomach clench, reliving the ghost of Kylo’s anguish and pain. It was like facing a deep pit and teetering over the edge, knowing that there was nothing to hold her back from the endless void if she fell in.

Kylo is sleeping peacefully now. She isn’t entirely sure about how to lift a force sleep- given that she's only consciously experienced being put under, not brought back- but she thinks that she’s released the hold on him. As far as she can tell, this sleep is entirely natural and born of exhaustion. She knows that he doesn’t rest well on the best of days. 

Which gives her time to think. Or… To panic, if she’s honest.

He’s going to be even angrier when he wakes, but she had acted almost on instinct when she felt his fury about her transgression into his memories. It was so much to process all at once, and she couldn’t think it through or take the time to understand while also coping with him at the same time. What was it that he had said once? You were distressed.

She thinks she understands his actions now.

But she can’t regret seeing what she did. Because now she knows that he wouldn’t have told her the whole story, preferring to push the issue as a matter of his own selfishness above everything else. And more importantly, she now knows— knows in a way that she would never have believed if he had simply said the words aloud: he loves her. Even thinking it takes her breath away.  

He loves her.

It’s probably unhealthy. Or maybe it isn’t? Rey doesn’t have enough of a reference to know one way or another, only that she recognises the sort of fierce and instinctive emotion that permeated all of his thoughts about her. It’s the same fear that she felt when he was summoned to Snoke. The same overwhelming pull of relief when he said he was returning, that lifted her spirits enough that she could smile again, get into a dress, and have a cheerful conversation with MD-9E when it arrived.

Drumming her fingers against the table, Rey casts her eye to MD-9E’s mute form. There’s some satisfaction in knowing that she has the full picture where that’s concerned.

Absentmindedly, she lifts her fingers and touches the implant where it rests in her bicep. It’s not that she hasn’t thought about it. The thought was frightening and crazy, but— she’s currently technically a prisoner of a homicidal monster under the sway of a desiccated megalomaniacal dictator. At least three crazy things now happen to her every day before breakfast.

Kylo shifts and grunts on the bed, and when Rey turns to look at him, the slope of his mouth sort of reminds her of Daea’s easy smile in the hospital. Would their children be happy? Would they be loved? Without question, she knows that they would never be abandoned the way she was. Not if Kylo hovers over them with the same obsessive attention that he lavishes on her.

The thought is reassuring somehow. It makes a warm feeling grow under her breastbone. A strange sort of hope. It’s madness, but everything about her life is mad now.

At least she has love. She is loved. She’s not alone any more.

Rey’s eyes feel strangely watery at the thought.

No matter what she feels, though, she ends up circling back to the lingering question that arguably matters more: what is it that she should want?

Her contribution to the Resistance before she was captured was arguably... Feeble. Skywalker had tossed the sabre over his shoulder, dismissed her, and then promptly disappeared again. She had been entirely awkward at events trying to court benefactors and sponsors. She was useful on supply runs, yes, but not particularly more so than anyone else.

Here, though… She has categorically guaranteed the survival of a dozen of her most important friends. And with Kylo distracted, she’s probably indirectly contributed to the safety of more. And Kylo’s memories had suggested the potential for her to play an even greater role than that.

Rey replays the memories that she stole again, letting them roll behind her eyelids. The surge of Kylo’s rage at the idea that she could be easily replaced is so potent that it makes her shiver, even with the removal of distance and time. It opens the obvious and lingering possibility of Kylo turning on his Master, even if he’s not there yet. The potential is there but it needs time to grow. Threats against her won’t be enough.

Again, again, she combs the interaction, looking for details, for something that she might have missed. But in the end she comes to the same conclusion: she is the only thing he has ever wanted more than Snoke’s approval.

And if he were forced to choose between them…

Removing Snoke from the universe would surely be a contribution that she could justify to anyone, even herself. No matter the cost.

Rey stands and goes to the bed, sitting beside Kylo’s sleeping form and gently putting her hand to his cheek. He immediately leans toward her even in his sleep, as if chasing her touch. It makes her heart feel tight as she brushes her fingers against the moles on his face. Would their children have them? 

The belonging you seek is not behind you- it is ahead.  

And truly, did she ever think that this would go any other way? There is no leaving him behind. Kylo would follow her to the ends of the universe, he has made that abundantly clear. And since that moment under the moons of Ithor, Rey has known that she wants this to be true.

There is a flickering bit of light left in him. She’s not certain that it can ever grow to be more. He’s far too satisfied with what the dark has given him and what it has allowed him to accomplish. But the dark is selfish and possessive and domineering. It is single-minded in its pursuit of what it wants. And in that moment, Rey makes it her mission to direct it in a way that will rid the universe of an even greater evil. 

“MD-9E,” she says, waiting for the droid to flicker to life and beep attentively at her. “You can complete your directive now.” The droid beeps out a series of relieved noises before speeding towards her, extending a rather lethal looking needle that makes her hesitate. “Will it hurt?”

Once she has been reassured that there is a numbing agent and no, she won’t feel a thing, Rey holds out her arm.

 

 


 

 

It takes a few hours for Kylo to regain consciousness. Rey sits and reads, occasionally pacing quietly, unwilling to go too far and miss the moment that he wakes. 

When he finally stirs, she hurries to the side of the bed and goes down on her knees, keeping her hands in her lap. Kylo spits hair out of his mouth as he leans up on his elbows, blinking muzzily around at the room. When he sees her, Rey can almost watch as the last events before his sleep sharpen in his eyes. “You,” he hisses, and the force warps around him with dark intent before he lunges, arm shooting out, the air around her neck constricting and tightening with each passing second—

It takes all of her effort to not react, but she manages. His anger swamps her like a tidal wave, rattling through her bones and stifling her lungs. Just closing her eyes, Rey lets it happen, counting heartbeats behind her eyelids. One, two, three…

This has the intended effect of confusing him enough that the choke hold eases, still holding her in place but letting her breathe. “You will never,” he says raggedly, shaking his head like water is sloshing in his ears, “do that again. You will never—”

I have something to show you, she projects towards him, opening her eyes as widely and innocently as she can. Rey breaks his force hold with ease— just to show him that she could have done it earlier, she thinks to her self a bit smugly— and takes his hand, still outstretched, and presses it to her inner bicep.

He looks confused as his fingers press into her skin. “I don’t…” He clears his throat and eyes her suspiciously. “I don’t feel anything.”

“I know,” she says softly, “that’s where the implant goes.”

If his rage was oppressive, the sudden and raw joy at his understanding is overwhelming. It’s a nearly feral thing, fierce and triumphant as his spine stiffens in victory. Grabbing her by her armpits, Kylo hauls her onto the bed and rolls on top of her until their noses are inches apart. "Really, little one? Truly?"

"Really."

His grin is oddly unsettling. “Tell me what you want,” he says, pressing her into the mattress both with the weight of his body and his words, all of his previous anger apparently forgotten in the face of new developments. “Tell me.”

Rey cranes up and brushes her nose against his, delighting in his pleased shudder. His excitement is contagious, a thrill crawling up her spine at the thought of what she’s about to commit to. At the power that she holds over him. “You already know.”

He presses his mouth to hers in a sloppy kiss and that leaves her panting when he pulls away. “Say it,” he insists, easily lifting her legs to hitch them over his shoulders, leaving her practically bent in half under him. The flimsy black thing that she had put on for him is no barrier between them, given that she had skipped panties. “Say it,” he says again when she just stares down at his hips with a slightly open mouth, already imagining him inside her, trying to wriggle her thighs and get some friction.

Taking his hand when she realises that he’s not going to move until he gets his way, Rey gives his fingertips a delicate kiss, rolling her neck to the side so she’s facing his palm when she says the words. It seems a bit easier that way. “Give me a baby,” she whispers, feeling the blush crawl up her face right to the tips of her ears.

He yanks his hands back to more efficiently scrabble at his belt, pulling down his trousers and underwear in one sharp movement. “Again,” he says, voice strangled in his intensity as his cock bobs up against his stomach, already hard.

“Give me a—” She hiccups in surprise at the smooth press of his cock into her welcoming body, stretching in the best possible way. “Give me a baby.”

The way that she’s bent means that each thrust feels impossibly deep, the impact enough to make her whimper. She can feel the scrape of his surcoat against the backs of her thighs, given that he’s still almost fully dressed. Rey decides that she likes the way that he looks like a man possessed, hair hanging over his face, teeth gritted as he holds her hips and moves them both with ease. “Again.”

“Please,” she stutters out, “please, Master, give me a babyy—ee—”

With a sound of disbelief and joy, he begins to move in earnest, splitting her open and knocking the air from her lungs with each drive of his hips. She loses herself in the rhythm of it, letting everything else go blurry around the edges as she lets go of control and sinks into the haze of her desire. The deliberate drag of his cock is making her whole body feel desperately hot, and when Kylo hitches her legs a little higher, every stroke means that her clit grinds up against him and sends tingles shooting through her spine. It’s enough to make her breath stutter in her throat, warmth growing in waves in her hips—

But no, no, she can’t come, it’s against the rules. She hates how much she wants to avoid disappointing him in this context, but she tries to master herself all the same; gripping his arms, she cranes her neck back and clenches her teeth, whining in her throat in an attempt to fight back the rising waves of pleasure.

“What…” Kylo looks confused for a moment before he brushes against her thoughts, apparently having forgotten his own injunction. If Rey had thought that he couldn’t get more delighted and smug, she’s quickly proven wrong— the flame of his satisfaction burns even brighter and he easily bends down to layer sloppy kisses along her jaw. One of his thumbs is suddenly swirling against her clit, pushing her even higher, no matter how she tries to resist. “So good for me,” he mutters over and over, almost more to himself. “So good for me, so good, such a good girl, my love, my love—”

The slick press of his finger against her ass almost feels like a gift. It means that she can go rigid and writhe under him, wailing aloud as the shuddering waves of pleasure rock through her. Even with the relentless effort of his pounding and the way that he’s gradually shoving her in increments up the mattress, Rey feels sleepy and sated afterwards, clinging to him happily as he sucks pretty bruises onto her neck and snaps his hips to hers.

Kylo’s long and low groan is her warning before she feels a rush of warmth between her legs, sticky and satisfying. He collapses on top of her and even though she knows his weight will feel crushing in a few minutes, she rather likes the heat and being able to feel his wildly thumping heart.

“You’re still in trouble,” he mumbles against her shoulder, mouthing the words on her curve of her skin, and all Rey can do is laugh. Everything about how she got to this stage is more wrong than she could possibly describe, but it hardly feels like it matters. He loves her, and the universe is full of potential.

 

 


 

 

It takes just two people to bring the world

to ruin. So goes the history of love.

At the end of the day we tally the casualties

of war, victory for the one who gets wounded

 

the least. You say it’s time for a change

but I don’t know to what end, change being

just the skin of some incandescent creature

whose grotesque beauty is what we adore,

 

whom some people call love, whom we

venerate because it consumes us, slim pickings

for its huge soul. My people say, don’t look

or you’ll go blind. You say the end was always

 

just around the bend. I say all we have

is unconditional surrender to the future.

 

 - Excerpt from Factory of Souls, by Eric Gamalinda

 

 

Chapter Text

Kylo Ren's presence in the command centre is nothing new. He'll sometimes spend time brooding there, or striding back and forth and watching the proceedings, or bickering with Hux.

But something is off today.

Were he a very different sort of man, someone might have braved a comment about his particularly... Chipper mood. He’s nearly even smiling, mask-free and for the entire world to see. It’s just a twitch in his cheek, but it’s there. And it is utterly baffling for the officers who are at their stations, furtively flickering their eyes to him and then to each other, as if to confirm that what they are seeing is real.

Unusually, Kylo can’t work up the effort to be annoyed by it. Right at this moment, he's too happy to be bothered by anything. Give me a baby. It had snapped him out of his rage with an impossible burst of emotion, swallowed up instead by disbelief and joy. It still makes him shiver with satisfaction. The Supreme Leader is going to be pleased, and he will get everything he wants- what could be better? The universe is at his feet. It would take something truly infuriating to set him off today. 

As if summoned by that thought, the main doors slide open and Hux marches in with his hands clasped behind his back. He’s apparently back to his default setting of smug, and he greets Kylo with a sneer. “Did you have an instructive meeting with the Supreme Leader?”

Even this can’t dim Kylo's cheer. He just nods, otherwise ignoring Hux as he watches stars beyond the viewport.

Hux can’t help but prod. “I trust you have the Jedi scum sufficiently restrained?”

His choice of words nearly makes Kylo snort aloud— that’s certainly one way of putting it. Bizarrely, he’s barely had the thought before it’s followed by a vivid mental image of Rey rolling her eyes. It’s so specific that he almost thinks that it came through the bond, that Rey was listening to his exchange with Hux. But, no, a quick check confirms that his boundaries are still up. It’s just that he now can guess her reactions to things.

That takes his good mood and makes it even better. He often thought of her before, wondered what she might think of a situation, but he had always had to imagine. Now he knows. From experience and intimacy that he could only have dreamed about. 

Letting his chest swell with satisfaction, Kylo finally addresses Hux's question. “It’s not your concern. And if you see her again…” Kylo tilts his head enough to give the General a sidelong glance. “I highly advise that you don’t let her come to any harm. It would interfere with the Supreme Leader’s plans in a very serious way.”

And with that sufficiently enigmatic statement, Kylo decides that he’s been away from his wayward apprentice for long enough. A spring in his step, he starts the journey back to his quarters, leaving behind one annoyed general and a room full of very confused First Order personnel staff. 

 


 

Not surprisingly, Kylo finds her exactly how he left her.

His beautiful Rey, his lovely girl, face down on his bed. She’s bent in half, contorted with her knees underneath her and her arms drawn down between her legs, cuffed and latched to her ankles. The sound of the door makes her lurch upwards to look round, but she immediately puts her face back down. It’s no surprise that she would. There are tight clamps affixed to each nipple with a chain dragging between them— if she raises her chest, the weight would pull on them, making it more painful. Much easier to press into her arms and the mattress and dull that ache.

Pulling off his gloves and surcoat, he sits down to remove his boots. “Did you miss me?”

“Yes,” comes the immediate and muffled reply.

“Yes…?” He prompts, watching her shiver as she registers the sound of his undressing.

“Yes, Master,” she corrects herself, fidgeting and squirming.

He doesn’t even bother to properly fold or tidy away his clothes. It feels so pointless compared to what he could be doing. “Good girl,” Kylo says cheerfully, knowing that she can hear his bare feet against the floor as he pads towards her. That makes her shiver again.

Easing onto the mattress behind her, he grips her hips and lifts them slightly, smiling at the view. Her inner thighs are clearly sticky, though admittedly that could be from his come. He’s already had her first thing this morning, face to face with her legs wrapped around his waist, peppering her face with sloppy kisses that left her sputtering in fake indignation, giggling and breathless.

This time will be… Slightly different. He lifts his hand to hold the base of the plug buried firmly in her ass, giving it a quick tug that makes her jerk and whine. It took some time but they finally worked up to a larger size, one that would prepare her properly. Then he had dressed and left her there, cuffed and furiously cursing after him in Huttese, knowing that he’d be able to feel any true distress or problems through the bond and trusting time to do the rest of the work.

And so it had. She’s quiet and pliant now, relaxed around the intrusion. That is, until he pulls on the plug again, this time working it out past the tight ring of muscle. Rey still doesn’t raise her head— again, that will be the good influence of the clamps— but she does swear, with feeling, hands clenching tightly into fists.

“Behave,” he says, giving her thigh a lazy slap, “or I’ll get something to muffle you.”

Much to his delight, she obeys. Although- he does note her little frisson of arousal at the thought, filing it away for later exploration.

For now, the only sound left is her harsh breathing as he reaches for the lubricant and drizzles it against her ass. It’s joined by the slick noise of his hand pumping on his cock, smoothing more of the lube all over, leaving his palm tacky with the thick substance. His cock jumps in his hand at the touch, achingly prepared to be inside of her. 

“Ready?” He murmurs, pressing against the pucker, one hand spreading her open and leaving indents against her soft skin with his fingers. As a precaution, he skims against the bond, reminding her that there is an out. Mercy. He can think of lots of other creative punishments if he needs to.

But there isn’t any true fear, just nerves and uncertainty about the unknown. And… Excitement, he confirms with satisfaction, tightening his grip on her hip. He's treated to the memory of how Rey had thrashed against her bindings after he left, wriggling until the heaviness of the plug had settled into a pleasing burn, and she’s curious to know if his cock will feel the same. Grudgingly craving the degradation of it.   

“Rey,” he prompts anyway, “are you ready?” There’s something so satisfying about forcing her to acknowledge her complicity.

“Yes,” she finally says, mortification colouring her voice.

“I don’t know…” he muses, and it’s so blatantly and obviously untrue that Kylo could laugh. He doesn’t think he’s ever been harder in his life. But he plays at it anyway, kneading his fingers into her skin. "If you're not sure..." 

“Yes,” she says, firmer this time, more determined. “Please,” she adds more quietly, and it nearly makes his head swim. He’s the luckiest kriffing bastard in the galaxy.

It’s all the permission he needs. With a deep breath, he presses in, past the initial resistance until the head of his cock is inside of her; he stops, lets her get used to it, and takes a moment to revel in her sense of disbelief and shock when she realises that he’s barely even started. She’s so unbelievably tight as he pushes the rest of the way in slowly, and he can almost feel the lance of pain that rolls up her spine. It dulls quickly into something more of an ache, but it’s still not comfortable for her.

Which is good. That’s the point.

Slowly, agonisingly slowly, he draws back out and reaches for the bottle of lubricant, tipping it upside down and drizzling it over his cock. There can never be too much as far as he’s concerned, at least for the first time like this. Shifting his weight on his knees and pushing in again, he gradually works until his hipbones are flush against her behind, enjoying her breathless gulps of air and sounds of surprise.

By the time he finally gives into little thrusts, the kind that lurch her hips a little higher in the air, Rey has fallen into low and guttural groans that only spur him on. They settle into a rhythm; he’s gaining speed and he grips her waist to try and steady himself, pulling her backwards to meet him, and it’s not long before she’s moving with him. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the wrongness of it, the friction on his cock more aggressive for the violation, her shoulder blades flexing as she tries to stay relaxed underneath him, completely and utterly at his mercy. She's completely immobile, his little one, and she's enjoying that far more than she feels like she ought to. 

When he reaches under her to push his hand between her legs, he finds her unbelievably slick and wet. So much so that he groans out triumphantly, grinning when Rey wriggles in embarrassment. “You enjoying this, little one?”

“No,” she retorts, but it comes out as a long and unsteady moan that isn’t entirely convincing.

At last, he finds her clit and rolls his between his thumb and forefinger, kneading a little clumsily from the angle. “Are you sure?”

“I—” the rest is lost to a groan and another burst of swearing.

This time her cursing sounds a bit breathless and disbelieving rather than angry, so he decides he’ll let it pass. He feels a bit like swearing himself every time she twitches and clenches, gripping his cock even tighter. “Would you like to come?”

Yes,” she blurts, “yesyesyesyes, yes—”

“I don’t know that you should,” he retorts. “Your transgressions weren’t small this time, my love.”

“I— I’m sorry,” she breathes. Kylo intensifies the strength in his hand and she chokes on a sob, whispering the words in breathy gasps. “I’m sorry, Master, so please—”

“I’m sure you are now,” he says agreeably, enjoying her disappointed groan when he draws his hands away from her clit. Instead, he skims up her torso and the swell of her breasts until he reaches the unforgiving clamps and their connecting chain. Without breaking his rhythm, still fucking into her over and over, he gives the clamps a gentle tug. Her reaction is to wail into the mattress, thrashing, but it comes with a blinding rush of pleasure that rips through the bond. Her whole body tightens and it’s so much that Kylo’s movement stutters and he gasps, trying to control himself, trying to delay the inevitable—

But it's no use. The heat in his lower belly grows to a roar and he’s coming, long and hard, emptying into her as he sucks in air and gasps. He has to snap his hands back onto her waist, hanging on for dear life as he shudders, listening to her keening accompanying whine with a delirious sort of satisfaction. He's eventually able to drag his softening cock from her, watching in a morbid fascination as his come leaks out of her, her body slowly contracting into its former shape.

Kriff, that's a satisfying sight. The plug is still lying on the bed, and he immediately has the urge to work it back into her ass. To make her hold his come there— maybe make her walk around the Finalizer that way. Go to training that way. Do her tech work that way.

But her shoulders are shaking lightly, so perhaps not today. Another time.

Instead, Kylo closes his eyes and takes some deep breaths, waiting for the initial powerful instinct to flop over and fall asleep to pass. Once he has his bearings, he gently unhooks her wrists and ankles from the cuffs, helping her stretch out onto her front as she groans. He rubs her back, trying to ease any potential soreness and cramped muscles, and then carefully rolls her onto her back. She whimpers when he removes the clamps, leaving her nipples looking stretched and sore. No broken skin, though. Perhaps a little bruising. He'll have to remember to apply bacta. 

That done, he finally allows himself to fall onto his back beside her and close his eyes. Rey immediately curves around him, grabbing his hand and trying to drag it towards her legs. “I want to come,” she murmurs softly, so softly that he nearly doesn’t hear.

He opens an eye to try and peer down at her indulgently. “You don’t get a reward,” he chides, pulling his hand away. “This was a punishment.”

“But I was good,” she says, plaintively pressing her nose to his shoulder. He can feel the tears against his skin, sticky-salty from where they have partially dried on her face.

“And won’t it be so much better because you have to wait?” Rey practically shudders at his words. She knows that it’s true. They both know that it’s true. “Deep down, little one, don’t you want me to make you wait?” Reaching down, Kylo slips two fingers into her cunt, barely encountering any friction as he strokes lazily, shallowly, just enough to make her buck her hips against him desperately. “It makes you sloppy and wet just thinking about it, doesn’t it? I don’t know how long I’ll make you wait, yet— but doesn’t that just make it better?”

Rey frantically ruts against him until he withdraws his fingers- and then, all of the sudden, she drops back onto the mattress and goes limp. He shifts up onto his elbow to frown at her, to make sure everything is okay, but her eyes are hazy and clouded with lust. A small smile plays on her lips. “You’re right,” she says, almost a sigh.  

“Hm?” he asks, having already forgotten what he was talking about, eyes trailing down to her sore looking breasts. It makes his cock valiantly twitch again, even if that’s definitely not happening.

She lifts a hand slowly, softly, and lets it trail on the crook of his jaw. “It’s better if you make me wait,” she whispers, a blush faintly colouring her cheeks. As if she still has anything that she could possibly be embarrassed about.

Something deep in Kylo’s chest purrs in satisfaction, preening and pleased. And when he leans down to kiss her, fully and properly, sweetly and lovingly, he can feel her radiating an inverse satisfaction to match his own.

His lovely scavenger.

His angry spitfire.

His Rey.

 

 


 

 

 

We fix you in the mind as bright-sighted seminar, dipping from

the source all that you know, but how often did your eyes light

in flirtation or fight, working from his getting your dander up to

 

his oval mouth there, there, your teasing tut-tut in arousing

admonition at what he was after, knowing, as you prepared

to keep him, that you were young yet and gleaning, gleaning.

 

Excerpt from Gwendolyn as Lover, by CM Burroughs

 

 

Chapter Text

For three days, Rey has worn barely a stitch of clothing. There's simply no point. With the assistance of a few shots from a med-droid, Kylo has been seemingly inexhaustible; when he hasn't been bending her in half or out for the occasional meeting that he can’t avoid, he dotes on her nearly aggressively. Because of this, Rey is now the proud owner of an impressive collection of mechanical schematics detailing the technology of the clone wars, four separate potted plants, and a specialised tool set that she would have killed for in her scavenging days. In between rounds of breathless sex, she takes apart and repairs two separate broken-down droids as he watches, offering commentary on the history of their builds and their various function.

She enjoys his company during this activity more than she would like to admit.

On the fourth morning, Kylo stands and stretches with a groan, stepping around the scattered parts all over the floor and heading for the closet. “I’m going to have to be off-ship for a day or two.”

“You’re leaving?”

“I do have some responsibilities,” he says wryly, pulling his trousers up and reaching for his shirt. She can’t help but admire the slope of his shoulders even though she should be sick of him by now, watching the muscles shift in his back as he pulls the fabric over his head. “I’ve been away as long as I can manage.”  

“Then… I want to go work with the techs again,” Rey says, propping up on her elbows. “I don’t just want to sit here and wait.”

Kylo secures his cape without turning around. “No.”

“But…” Indignant, she shuffles forward and pulls the sheet up to her chest. “Why not?”

“They made you unhappy.”

“I’m not just going to sit around here and wait for you, that’s ridiculous.” Determined, Rey stands and goes to fetch her simpler working clothes, mirroring his actions. It’s almost domestic. “I won’t be bored here alone.”

Kylo snorts softly from behind her. “And if I say no?”

“I’ll break out if I have to.” Sensing him stiffen, she clarifies her meaning with a toss of her hair as she steps into underwear. “And then I’ll break back in. But I am going out. I’ll still be on the ship, for kriff’s sake. I want to be useful.”

“You are useful,” he murmurs, suddenly behind her, hunching over and pressing a kiss to the side of her neck. His gloves skim up her front until he’s kneading her breasts in circular, even movements, firm and confident. “You’re very useful to me.”

“Useful at other things,” she clarifies, breathless and a bit annoyed at herself for it.

“If they upset you, they’ll have to answer to me.”

Rey frowns over her shoulder. “I can look after myself.”

“I know you can,” Kylo agrees, pressing a kiss to her brow. “Believe me, I know better than most.”

 


 

The hallways are easy to retrace. Standing in front of the panel that controls the door to the tech offices barely an hour later, Rey suddenly hesitates. What if this was a terrible idea? What if they don’t want her around?

Knowing that her only alternative is waiting in an empty room helps to stiffen her spine.

The opening door attracts everyone’s attention, and all faces turn towards her for one anxiety-inducing moment. The stillness is broken when Midda sprints over and launches herself at Rey with a happy cry, pulling her into a crushing hug. The sudden touch is still overwhelming for Rey, but she leans into it anyway, grinning at everyone else.

They’re all smiling, and the relief rushes through her like a wave.  

“I’m so glad you’re back,” Midda is saying, “we missed your input, you always had the strangest ideas but they worked for some reason—”

Ponne, as motherly and gently authoritative as Rey remembers, waves everyone else back to work. Walking over, she pulls Midda away with a deceptively mild grip. “Give the girl room to breathe, Midda, you’d frighten anyone with that enthusiasm.” Her smile turns on Rey. “It’s good to have you back. We worried that… We’d gotten you in trouble,” she says, speaking hesitantly and clearly choosing her words with care.

“I was just on a holiday,” Rey says, squaring her shoulders a little. She’s made her choice. They all know, more or less, what that choice is. No more shame. “I’m back now, and I want to help.”

“Wonderful,” Ponne says, squeezing Midda’s arms a little tighter, as if a warning shot to cut off the younger woman’s inevitable flow of invasive questions. “Why don’t you go join Team C? We’re almost at the stage of putting the prototype together now, they’re working on finalising the adapted ion engine core.”

Midda interrupts with a stage whisper. “What about the present? She’s here now!”

Rey blinks. “Present?”

Ponne gives her permission with an eyeroll and a smile, so Midda scarpers off and returns with a pile of fabric. When she gives it a shake, it unfolds and reveals itself to be a set of tech coveralls. “You’re one of us,” she announces, beaming and holding it out.

Rey has to fight the sudden pricking at the backs of her eyes, the welling emotion rising as she accepts the uniform. It’s clearly used, but it looks to be about her size. “Thank you,” she manages around the lump in her throat, “that's really nice.”

 


 

Working is as cathartic as she hoped. The one thing that three days wholly at the centre of Kylo’s attention had not allowed her was time to think— and she needs that desperately in order to make sense of what she’s set in motion. Coveralls and visor on, Rey sets herself to the task of soldering wires together for the power cell container, and it’s familiar enough that it allows her mind to wander.

Snoke is the centre of the entire war complex that is the First Order. It’s no different from the workings of a machine, she tells herself, looking at the way that the wires on her current project all connect back to the central console. She would know how to dismantle a machine. Snoke is like this engine, the heart— no, she corrects herself. Snoke is the source, the power cell. It is Kylo and Hux that do most of the destructive work. They comprise the essential parts of the engine.

With one row of wires now connected, Rey moves her torch to the next. Continuing with the comparison, it now becomes essential that she is the fault in the engine, the unexpected failure that causes the entire machine— the First Order— to short out. She needs to cause the controls between Snoke and Kylo to fail irrevocably. For it to happen so explosively that Snoke is ruined, no longer a source of strength for Hux to draw on.

And the rest, well… Rey squints at her work, confirming that her lines are even. She can decide on the rest after she sees how the wreckage falls.

What could cause such a spectacular failure? Right now, Snoke and Kylo are both satisfied enough with each other and the situation. The wires blur in front of Rey’s eyes as she considers the possibilities. She’ll need to become such a threat to Snoke that he tries to separate her from Kylo. She also needs to ensure that Snoke is blind to how devoted Kylo is until the critical moment.

And she has to make that devotion grow. Rey’s hand mindlessly strays to her stomach, tracing the flatness there. At least that part is already well in hand.

She’s startled from her thinking when Yax claps a friendly hand on her shoulder. “Looks good! You look a million parsecs away, though, and it’s a little worrying.”

Rey shuts off the torch and raises her visor, wagging a gloved finger at him. “You should be careful about surprising me, I could’ve turned and fried you without thinking.”

“Ah, you don’t look too dangerous,” Yax teases, grizzled face splitting into a grin. It reminds her so fiercely of Han for a moment that Rey’s heart stutters, thinking of the sacrifice that he had been willing to make for his child.

Lowering her visor once more, Rey gives the older man a half-smile before she turns back to her work and her thoughts. “You’d be surprised.”

 


 

It’s deeply strange to be in bed without Kylo now. Rey eats dinner alone and accepts the fertility shot from the droid without complaint, but once the lights are out, he seems unbearably far away.

In the middle of the night, she wakes to the sound of the door opening. Instantly, Rey is on alert, sleepily pushing herself into a defensive position on the mattress and squinting into the dark.

“It’s just me,” Kylo’s voice says softly.

She relaxes. “You said you would be gone for a few days.”

“I know. I changed my mind.” The I missed you hangs unspoken in the air, but she doesn’t need to hear it aloud to know that it was what drove his decision.   

When he reaches her side, the kiss that he gives her was probably meant to be chaste. But she takes the initiative to make it otherwise, scraping his lower lip with her teeth. Groaning, he leans over her as she pulls him backwards towards the bed, wrapping her arms around his neck, eager to feel his touch, to breathe him in.

Kylo breaks the kiss to press his forehead against hers, amusement colouring his voice. “Miss me, little one?”

As if she would admit it so easily. “I don’t like being alone.”

His words are near-unbearably soft and tender, as if he is sharing some life-altering secret. “You’re not alone.”

“Neither are you,” she promises quietly. A spark of joy skitters across the bond at her words, light flashing to cast shadows in a void that has been dark for far, far too long.

Even though they’ve barely been apart, there is a reverence in his touch as he lifts her sleep shirt off of her head, a sweetness in his caress that makes it feel like a true long-lost reunion. Perhaps it is. Perhaps they have been looking for each other since the beginning of time. Rey’s sleep-addled mind doesn’t want to parse apart the right or wrong of it, the plans or the future; she just knows that she feels right in his arms, and she doesn’t want to be alone any more.

They strip off his clothing with practiced ease, her hands now well-versed in the buckles and clasps that hold everything together. When he pushes her thighs apart and presses his cock into her welcoming body, she can relax back against the pillow and sigh, the pleasing stretch as nice as it ever is. It’s gentler than normal and unhurried. Rey hooks her ankles behind his back, rolling her hips with his movements, arching up to meet him.

“I missed you,” she admits, the words easier to say when her face is pressed against his shoulder. It suddenly feels very important that she say it aloud. “It felt silly, but I did.”

“Really?” He stops for a moment, still buried inside her, and she wriggles with an impatient huff. “I thought you wouldn’t,” Kylo admits, and she can feel the rumble of sound against her chest as he begins to move again. She likes that, along with the way that she feels particularly cocooned and small like this, shielded from the world except for him. “I always miss you when I’m not with you— sometimes even when you’re just in the next room.”

It should scare her. It doesn’t. Not when he grabs a pillow and shifts it under her hips, changing the angle so that his cock rubs so sweetly within her, not when his fingers press down and start to rub in the small circles that she likes so much. “I—,” she stutters out, “I thought I wasn't allowed to come—”

He half-laughs as he gives a particularly forceful thrust that makes her whine into the air. “Consider it a gift for your honesty,” he says, “and for surprising me.”

“I wanted you here,” she blurts out, craning her neck downwards; in the dark, she can almost see where the outline of where their hips are meeting, can almost see the shadow of his cock. “It wasn't just that I didn't want to be alone, I missed you. I— I missed you at dinner and I missed your reading and I missed you in bed next to me, I missed you touching me—”

Release is building at the base of her spine and she tries to arch, tries to press it closer, as Kylo hunches over nearly unnaturally to mouth at her throat; “I love you,” he says, quietly, with a sense of near-desperation, like he can’t believe that he’s here and has abandoned his mission just to come back to her when she would’ve been here anyway in another day, that his life’s work has somehow faded in comparison to having her near— “I love you, Rey, Rey, I love you, I love you—”

Rey doesn’t say it back because she’s not sure that she can, because she’s not entirely sure what love is, but he doesn’t seem to mind. Her wordless cry as she comes is apparently enough, as are the kisses that she peppers across his neck and chest as he moves her hips, working ferociously over her until he shudders and follows.

They fall asleep with her draped over his chest, listening to the steady beat of his heart.

 


 

Rey wakes once more in the night, but this time it isn’t because of an opening door. Something is humming in the force, strange and foreign. It’s like the winking promise of a star far away or a closed and fresh bud on a tree, barely formed, just the suggestion of a wonder to come.

The realisation hits like a lightning bolt. She probably should wake Kylo. But in some ways she wants to savour this moment all to herself.

Because despite the obvious fear and nervousness, a part of her— the part that slept on a small pallet every night in her abandoned AT-AT, the part that etched her grief of loneliness into a barren wall for years, the part that still lives even though she has grown around it and over it and scaffolded her new life on top of her loss— is unspeakably thrilled. No matter how broken or strange, she’s going to have what she always wanted.

A family.  

 


 

  

How, when the chiding gale was still,

   When peace fell soft on fear,

You stayed one golden hour to fill

   My dream with singing, dear.

 

To-night the self-same songs are sung

   The first green forest heard;

My heart and the gray world grow young—

   To shelter you, my bird.

 

- Excerpt from To A Child, by Sophie Jewett

 

 

Chapter Text

Kylo blinks his eyes open minutes before his alarm is set to go off. He reaches out to pull Rey against him and enjoy her warmth for just a bit longer, only to find that her side of the bed is empty.

Brow creasing, he tries to feel her presence in the room. Nothing.

And just like that, he’s wide awake.

Gone, it echoes like a shudder down his spine, horror pooling in his stomach. Adrenaline pumps in his veins, giving him tunnel vision as he drags his body up to sit on the side of the bed. Gonegonegone— taken? It shouldn’t be possible for her to leave the room, the door is set to only open to his genetic code. No, no, nonono. He needs to harness his panic and use it to find her, needs to bend the force to his will, but he’s frozen and his throat is closing and—

The door to his room slides open with a hiss, and Rey walks in with a smile.

It’s like being knocked on the head. Hopelessly confused and winded, afraid and unwilling to admit it, Kylo staggers to his feet. “Where—”

She ignores his anger completely and sits at the table to pour a cup of water. “I wanted to get a blood test and confirm it for certain before I told you, and I couldn’t wait.”

His control is hanging by a thread. He needs to break something, to smash the table against the wall, to feel something cleave under his blade. To scream his rage. To assert control. His voice comes out harshly, grating, willing her to say the wrong thing and earn his wrath. “What?”

“I’m pregnant,” she says simply, smiling up at him.

It’s too much.

Kylo can’t do more than stare. His hands snap upwards to run through his hair, over and over, no doubt making it stand up in odd directions. Next, he rubs his eyes frantically with the heels of his palms, taking deep breaths and willing the pounding in his ears to slow. “What?” She always does this, she disorients him, takes everything and flips it upside down and leaves him reeling in the aftermath.

“Don’t you feel it?”

Once he looks for it, looks past all of his panic and focuses, he can. It’s just barely there, the last blurry colour of a rainbow, the hint of a grass in a dew-drenched morning. It overlaps neatly with Rey’s force signature, undefined but also undeniably distinct. A promise of a life. That they made.

After three attempts at trying to say something meaningful, Kylo gives up and instead lets out a stream of Huttese so filthy that even his fa- Han Solo would be proud.

Which makes Rey laugh.

And it’s so delightfully surprised and musical that he’s crossing the room to her in three strides, hooking his hands under her armpits and lifting her into the air before he knows it. He spins her, around and around, both desperately needing to move and somehow make her laugh that way again. She shrieks happily, clinging to the back of his shirt, and it’s enough to finally make him smile.

Setting her down on her feet, he presses his lips to the top of her head, confirming her realness and basking in this change in the force. This is incredible. Although— some of his anger is still curdling in the background, subdued but not gone. “How the kriff did you leave?”

“I hacked it using my toolkit.”

It should be hack-proof. The First Order paid a lot of credits to ensure that the locks onboard were hack-proof. “You can do that?”

Rey just leans back and raises her eyebrows at him, cocking her head innocently. As if to say— what, like it’s hard?

 


 

His Master already knows.

It’s a bit disappointing. Kneeling before the giant holo-image, Kylo tries not to show how much he had wanted to be the one to break the news. But then, he shouldn’t be surprised. The Supreme Leader’s power in the force is terrifying to behold, no part of the universe beyond his grasp. He would have felt something of this magnitude instantly.

“At last.” His Master at least looks satisfied, which is good news. “You dallied long enough, but you have made me proud yet again, my apprentice. An heir is a step that will ensure our future and our cause.”

The praise makes Kylo want to purr. “All is proceeding as you asked.”

“I trust this will continue. You must remember that this is all towards a greater end.”

“I understand.”

“Do you? The girl clearly means a great deal to you, and the sentiment of it is obvious." He says the words as if even the mere thought of them cause disgust. "Your child is going to as well— that is simply biology. But they must be secondary to our cause, Kylo Ren. You must remember that they cannot ever stand in the way of building our power, of eradicating the Jedi. The girl is not as docile as you think.”

On the floor, Kylo shifts a bit nervously. “She wants a family. I will give that to her, and her loyalty will be to me.”

“And will that be enough? Stand. Come closer.” Snoke reaches out to through the holograph, and Kylo could swear that he almost feels it as a bony finger traces under his eye. As if assessing the depth of the bags under his eyes, the exhaustion that is built into his skin by now. “There is nothing more important than the cause.”

“She will contribute,” Kylo says confidently, seeing no reason for these two goals to be at odds.

“Ensure it,” Snoke says, before the holograph cuts out without warning.

Standing in the empty chamber, Kylo has to fight a shiver that is trying to make its way down his spine. This is not a problem. He knows what he’s doing. He knows what’s important. He has dedicated his life to this cause, and Rey— and the baby— can only further his goals.

They will. They must.

 


 

There’s one more step that Kylo needs to take before he can relax, one that is technically long overdue. He needs to double check a map to know where he’s going— he’s never had any need to visit the personnel office of the First Order on the Finalizer before.

The room falls silent as he steps in, every face turning to him in shock. To her credit, the supervising officer recovers first, snapping her arm into a salute that is exactly on protocol. “What can I do for you, Commander Ren?”

“Do you have access to the Core registry system?”

The supervising officer nods briskly. “Heschan!” A thin and weedy looking young man jumps to attention across the room. “You can have Conference Room B. Take your datapad.”

Conference Room B turns out to be a small and airless room just off the side of the main office, and Officer Heschan’s hands are visibly shaking as he sits down at the bare table.

Rather than taking the other seat, Kylo chooses to stand. “I need a record made retroactively. To be placed in the central system, preferably originating from Chandrila’s registry office.”

“For… May I ask what for?” The officer is wide eyed. Whatever he was expecting, this clearly wasn’t it.

“A marriage license.”

“A marria— uh— I mean... For whom?”

“Myself,” Kylo says, “and a human woman named Rey. R-E-Y.”

“One moment. Er. One moment.” Visibly shocked but clearly trying to hide it, the officer swipes at his datapad in a flurry of jerky movements. “I can do that, but I’ll need some details to input into the form.”

With a crook of his gloved hand, Kylo gestures for the officer to hand over the datapad. As he scrolls, the document lists empty spaces for birthplaces, birth dates, full names, records of parents… Dredging all of this up for Rey would no doubt be needlessly painful. “I’ll give you temporary access to the official records you need for my section. For Rey’s section, put the birthplace as Jakku and either leave everything else blank or invent things as necessary. Age as…” He hesitates for a moment. “Twenty-one. Pick a birth date accordingly.”

Officer Heschan looks perilously close to having a stroke. “Invent, Commander Ren?”

“The details aren’t important. There will be no official record of her to compare it against.” He can’t imagine that Rey’s worthless drunkard parents made the effort to get a birth certificate.

“But I—” The officer immediately changes tack when he sees Kylo’s narrowed eyes. “I’ll arrange it.”

“And backdate it to three months ago.” There would be no question of legitimacy, not with his child. “Have your supervisor send me a comm once it’s done. And, of course… I expect discretion.”  

Officer Heschan nods and awkwardly jumps to his feet, raising his hand in a half-salute as Kylo opens the door to leave. The chatter in the main office immediately dies as he walks through it, and the topic at hand is no great mystery. There will inevitably be gossip, but that’s nothing new. He’s always attracted a certain amount of attention.

As he gets to the main corridor, Kylo’s personal comm beeps quietly from his pocket to remind him that he’s meant to be at another war conference. Hux is no doubt already seething at his lateness.

Setting off towards the other end of the Finalizer, Kylo lets his mind wander. What would it have been like to have an actual wedding? One with a ceremony, maybe, one where Rey wore a lovely dress and smiled up at him while they exchanged vows.

It’s hard for him to imagine, mostly because he can’t place himself in that scenario. It’s too… Pedestrian.

No, he probably would’ve dug into his archival knowledge, tried to emulate something meaningful from the dark force masters of old. Much like he did when making his sabre. He could have re-tread the steps of greater men, remade it in his own image.

It doesn’t hurt that most of the ceremonies that immediately spring to mind are lurid and obscene, involving ancient sith temples in darkness and altars and chains. He can see it in his mind’s eye: Rey in white, a paragon of something pure about to be defiled. Wide-eyed in her innocence, trusting and docile. Or even better— Rey, feral, wearing next to nothing, her mouth wet with his blood. Both of them wrestling each other to the ground, making promises about power and strength as he earns his place as her Master. A lustful consummation where he would do his level best to make her cry— first with pain, and then with pleasure.

Thinking about that too much is going to make the war meeting awkward. Discreetly ensuring that his surcoat is appropriately covering him, Kylo reorients his thoughts and tucks that particular fantasy away for later.

 


 

At the end of his day, Kylo returns to find Rey curled up on the bed, datapad held inches from her face. She’s scrolling at a rapid pace, brow furrowed in focus.

It takes two tries to get her to look up and join him for their meal. She brings the datapad with her, gesturing to it as she perches on his knee. “Apparently I’m going to get sick a lot.”

“What?”

“Being pregnant. It means I’m going to get sick a lot.”

This is something that Kylo is vaguely aware of. Being an only child meant he never witnessed pregnancy up close when he was growing up. It was hardly a relevant part of Jedi training or Snoke’s tutelage. “For the whole time?” He feels a pang of disappointment at the thought; partly because he doesn’t want her to be ill, of course, but he’s selfishly also hoping that it won’t mean nine months of going back to using his hand.

“Just the first three months, hopefully. A lot of throwing up.”

“I’m sure we can get some help for that,” Kylo says, spearing a forkful of meat and holding it up to her lips. “We have the most expensive medical team and equipment in the galaxy, they can handle a bit of nausea.”

Rey bites into the food enthusiastically and then talks with her mouth open, which is both disgusting and weirdly endearing. “I might want specific foods, too.”

“I’ll get you anything you need.”

“And my feet and back are going to be sore.”

Kylo is halfway to taking a bite himself when he realises she’s looking at him expectantly. “I will rub your feet,” he says solemnly, “and your back.”

Rey beams. “I’ll need to pee a lot.”

“I… Don’t know what to do with that information.” 

“And my breasts are going to get sore. And… Bigger.”

“Now that,” Kylo mumbles, abandoning the food for a moment to curve himself down and nuzzle into her collarbone, “I know what to do with."

Rey laughs, and he is content. 

 


 

  

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

  

-  Excerpt from She Walks in Beauty, by Lord Byron

 

 

Chapter Text

“Pass me the torque wrench“. Rey holds out her palm and waits for Midda to put it in her hand. She’d grab it herself but she’s half twisted into a side panel of the prototype ship, small light held between her teeth as she works on the wiring.

“Torque wrench!” Midda says cheerfully, passing it over. Rey knows that in between picking up tools, Midda is reading the celebrity gossip column on her holopad and daydreaming about another tech who works on Hangar D. He apparently has very nice legs.

Rey doesn’t mind the quiet. It’s nice to have this semi-solitude. In the weeks since her pregnancy was confirmed, Kylo has become more and more smothering. Missions that would normally take him away for three or four days mysteriously transform into a series of day trips. His meetings are now all done over comm instead of in person. Each day begins with a trip to the med-bay for a shot to mitigate the nausea, and he insists on accompanying her every time.  After begrudgingly accepting that she still needed to train, he has taken to hovering like a nesting Porg while she goes through her forms. It’s flattering in some ways, but Rey has spent almost all of her life alone. Just getting used to his presence in evenings and the occasional full day had been stressful enough. This is ridiculous.

At least he accepted her continuing her tech work. Even if she had to threaten to scar the other side of his face.

Setting the wrench aside, Rey beckons Midda again. “Macrofuser”. She’s wearing her gift coveralls and they’re baggy but comfortable, hiding the barely-discernible tautness of her stomach that is just starting to make itself known. Midda is humming some sort of tune in the background, something from a holovid series that she keeps trying to get Rey to watch. It’s all very reassuringly normal.

And normal is what she wants right now. She doesn’t want her hovering, cloying, oddly affectionate and strangely gentle— lover, Master, whatever he is— treating her as if she’s made of glass.

It’s almost time to wrap up and head to the Mess when Midda gets Rey’s attention with a not-so-discreet cough and nudge. “Who’s that, d’you think?”

Rey pokes her head over the top of the prototype to see. There’s a very sternly garbed officer, practically gleaming from his slicked back hair to the polish on his shoes, glaring around the room with sharp eyes. Keen not to catch his attention, Rey ducks down again. “No idea.”

“I wonder what he— oh, he’s found Yax, I forgot he’s acting supervisor right now— kriff, they’re coming over, quick, look busy!”

This isn’t a problem for Rey, who was busy. Midda ends up awkwardly holding a wrench to a section of panelling that doesn’t require a wrench for anything. Not that the officer notices; he only has eyes for Rey, who is still squatting with her visor on and holding her macrofuser.

“This is—?” the officer starts with a gesture towards Rey, and once Yax nods, he arranges his face into what he clearly thinks is a welcoming smile. “Lady Ren,” he says, “it was a pleasure and a surprise to discover that you have been working in my division!” Waving towards his own chest, his mouth stretches even wider until Rey can see almost all of his teeth. “I’m Officer Corrbus, head of technology, data and innovation.”

The silence is long and deeply uncomfortable.

“My name is Rey,” she finally says, lifting her visor and frowning. “Just Rey.”

“Oh I see.” He says it with a little bit too much understanding, which is strange because Rey can’t see what there is to understand. “Could I speak with you, please, Rey? Privately?” 

Cautiously, Rey stands and removes her visor. “I think anything that you have to say could be shared in front of everyone.”

Corrbus’s teeth are so white that they must be bleached. “Respectfully, Lady R- Rey, I disagree.”

She’s tempted to tell him where to get off, but the tense line of Yax’s shoulders hold her back. She doesn’t want to be the reason for anyone getting in trouble. So instead, Rey passes her tools to Midda and nods.

The walk with Corrbus out of the hangar is awkward. He keeps speeding up and slowing down, as if he’s used to striding in front of people before he remembers that he’s trying to stay in her good graces, hesitating and taking unnecessarily prim steps until they’re level again. She can only imagine how it must look to passing stormtroopers.

He leads her through a few corridors and then into a lavishly decorated office, gesturing for her to sit in the plush chair across from his desk. Still hesitant, Rey settles into it slowly, eyeing the holo-images of Officer Corrbus shaking hands with other men in uniform and having medals pinned to his chest.

“Now,” Corrbus says, briskly sitting at his desk and steepling his fingers. “Lady Ren—”

“Rey.”

Rey, right, of course,” he corrects, still saying it like they’re sharing some sort of secret. “I wanted to make sure that you’re having a good experience with our techs. And to learn more about you.”

She’s almost tempted to try and read his thoughts just to figure out where he’s going with this. “I’m fine.”

The silence stretches until he starts to fidget. “If you perhaps yourself or Lord Ren could tell me in the future when you are going to become involved in my department, I’d be very grateful. It was a shock enough to learn that Lord Ren had a wife—”

“What?” Wife?

“— And to then learn that she’s been moonlighting with my underlings— if something had gone wrong and Lord Ren had been displeased, the consequences would have been severe— I don’t mean to scold but surely it was courtesy to—”

Rey feels like she’s following about half of this conversation. “Officer Corrbus, I’m not married.”

He barely hesitates. “I’m not sure that I understand this need for secrecy, but as this is clearly something that matters to you, I’m happy to play along.”

“What? No, I’m not— I’m not married.”

The emphasis only makes Corrbus dig in even further, as if simultaneously concerned and offended that she isn’t willing to take him into her confidence. “Lady Ren, I promise you that your information is entirely safe with me, I only know myself as I’m responsible for data handling and any changes to high level personnel files are flagged. No one else has seen the file, and I can ensure that it remains this way. But we must be able to communicate, surely you can understand this.”

File. High level personnel. Sluggishly, this ticks over in Rey’s mind. There’s been a change to Kylo’s file. Surely this can’t have happened without his knowledge.

But then… What…

She wants to kick something when the obvious realisation crystallises right in front of her nose. Of course. That idiot. That kriffing, nerf-herding, bantha-brained, strangely traditional piece of—

“Lady Ren?”

With immense effort, Rey tries to make it look like she’s been considering his words rather than planning Kylo’s slow and painful death at her hands. “I can’t say anything about it.”

Officer Corrbus looks immensely relieved that this is now proceeding as he expected. “Of course. Of course— but the real reason for this meeting, of course, is for me to ask if there is anything I can do for you? A change in projects to something more high level? Befitting of your no doubt immeasurable talents? I can’t find a record of education anywhere but I’m sure—”

“I would be very interested in seeing the plans for the, uh, strategic use of the bomber I’ve been working on,” Rey finally says through gritted teeth, trying to sound as casual as she can manage. “It would be nice to have some context.”

“Of course,” Corrbus says instantly. He hits a few buttons on his desk and a holo-image of the finished bomber springs to life, transparent and slowly spinning, various schematics floating around it. “I would be happy to share that with you, and perhaps you could pass my name on to your husband for consideration the next time there is an opening in the admiralty—.” 

Rey tunes the rest of his prattle out, eyes glued on the schematics. She can get to the bottom of this marriage business later.

 


 

For once, she doesn’t dutifully change back into a dress.

She paces instead. Back and forth, back and forth, from wall to wall in their quarters, getting angrier with every step. Her righteous indignation is a roaring flame by the time Kylo returns. He stops in the doorway with a frown and she doesn’t waste a moment. “I hear that we’re married?”

Kylo’s mouth tightens in the slightest concession of guilt, but it disappears immediately. “Yes.”

“Were you going to tell me?”

“I assumed you wouldn’t mind. How did you find out?”

Even though she had essentially guessed, it’s still so infuriating that she’s at a loss for words. “You assumed…”

“Yes. How did you find out?”

“That’s not important!”

“Of course it’s important.” He says the words slowly. As if she’s too stupid to understand. “I was promised discretion.”

It was clearly too much to hope for contrition. “That isn’t the issue here!”

“I don’t see what else the issue could be.”

Something delicate in Rey wobbles and snaps. She feels so… Off, lately, like everything is just that little bit left of centre and that her body is not quite her own, and this has only made that feeling worse. Her words burst out. “You don’t get to make choices like that for me!”

Kylo’s eyes narrow. Not surprising, given that he’s never that far off from anger. Raising his hand slowly, he stabs his finger at her, speaking through gritted teeth. “This is a choice that was made when you offered your deal.”

It feels good to yell. “No! No, it wasn’t!”

His volume rises to match hers. “What did you think was going to happen?”

“Maybe I wanted to—” She’s casting around, barely considering her words as she waves her hands in front of her, “— never marry. Maybe I wanted to be there when it happened. Maybe I wanted marry someone else!”

It’s the wrong thing to say.

Kylo goes completely still. The force grows cold and weighted like a stone between them. He breathes out slowly through his nose, jaw working as he chews on the inside of his cheek. “Say that again.” 

And Rey— Rey inexplicably feels a surge of throbbing heat at the implied threat in his words. It’s enough to make her head spin.

He’s been so soft with her for months now, still arrogant and condescending but always physically gentle. She’s not sure why– he doesn’t need to be, everything she’s read about pregnancy has made it clear that it would be fine if he wasn’t— but she hasn’t found the words to explain that she misses his harsher treatment.

Fighting is the one thing that has always been familiar and comfortable between them.

Maybe it’s that feeling that pushes her. Or maybe it’s the driving anger, still boiling under the surface. Either way she grits her teeth and spits out the words, lobbing each one like a grenade. “Maybe I wanted to marry someone else. Maybe I wanted to marry someone nice and normal, someone who was a friend, someone who didn’t kidnap me when we first met—”

He roars, fury expanding to fill the room, and flings his arm out. A dresser lifts from its place on the far wall and speeds across the room behind them both until it smashes against a table, metal warping and creaking as it folds in on itself, compelled by the force until it’s a third of its original size. Rey half expects him to pull out his sabre and start slashing at lump of misshapen metal, but instead, he turns on his heel and storms out of the room.

Standing in the middle of the room, Rey closes her eyes to collect herself. It’s in that momentary stillness that she realises the force is tinged with hurt. With a sense of childish abandonment and fear. The sting of rejection.

As she replays the exchange, she realises with a strange and nagging sense of guilt and disbelief that she…

She hurt his feelings. 

 


 

The sense of fragility gets worse as the evening goes on. Rey eats her dinner alone, picking at her food. She can’t understand why she doesn’t want to eat.

She can’t settle to anything. Not meditation, not reading, not tinkering. Giving up, she changes into some sleep clothes much earlier than she normally would. She feels much more tired lately. No doubt that would be the pregnancy.

Lying on the bed, a lump grows in her throat. The absence of his warmth beside her is like a weight on her chest. She’s still mad, but… Rolling onto her side, Rey punches a pillow into shape and tucks it between her legs. She can feel two things at once, she decides grumpily. He should be here so she can be mad at him.  

 


 

Much later, Rey wakes from a fitful sleep to a lamp flickering on and a shuffling sound beside the bed. She rolls far enough to see that Kylo has returned, sweaty and dishevelled in his training gear. He’s undressing, shrugging off his layers until he’s just down to his pants.

He notices her staring and cocks an eyebrow.

Awake now, she pushes herself up to sit against the headboard and rubs at her sleep-crusted eyelids. “I thought you weren’t coming back.”

Kylo steps closer to the bed. “You don’t like spending the night alone.”

Rey hates that he’s right. And that, in his own way, he's trying to be considerate. “I’m still angry.”

His response is soft. It’s beguiling to her, the way that he can move from gentleness to such burning anger and then back again in a matter of seconds. “So am I. Should I go?”

“No,” she admits, a bit annoyed at how much she wants him to stay. The shirtlessness is very… Distracting. And appealing.

And she really doesn’t want to be alone.

When she reaches out to stroke his skin, he shies away. “I’m not in a very kind mood.” For a brief moment, the force snaps between them and she sees herself as he sees her: sleep-mussed, gazing up at him, neckline draping low and hem riding up to show her thighs. His control is better after three hours of demolishing training droids, but he still would like nothing more than to make her beg. And he's determined to wait until the feeling passes. 

He hasn't considered that she might not want him to wait. 

Rey looks up to meet his eyes and slowly sucks her lip between her teeth. “Maybe I don’t want you to be kind.” It’s really not that much of a transition, from anger to… This. Two sides of the same coin, for them.

“Rey.” It’s a warning. Soft and low.

She responds by pressing her fingers deliberately to Kylo’s chest and clawing her nails down his skin, leaving an angry trail of red scratch marks.

She barely makes it past his ribcage before he’s gripping her arms and pulling them firmly behind her back. There’s a wisp of sound and a pull in the force, dragging a piece of soft piece of rope that winds around her wrists. It holds them tightly without putting too much strain on her shoulders. He speaks against her hairline, enfolding her in his arms and he checks the binding. “Is this what you wanted?” His words are raw with the weeks and weeks of restraint, and Rey can feel his breath shuddering as he tries to rein himself in. 

Rey nods curtly into the crook of his shoulder. If she can’t slash his face open with her lightsabre, this will do.

He slowly gets to his feet and stares at her, eyes black as night in the dim light, considering her up and down. With deliberate movements, he grabs the neckline of her shirt and tears it down the front, arms flexing, exposing her breasts and stomach to the air.

She keeps her gaze level and expressionless, staring right back. Daring him.

Kylo makes a sound that's a half-huff, almost a laugh, an exhale of air, before reaching for another strip of soft cloth. Her chest tightens when he wraps this one around her eyes, blotting out the world. Skin prickles on the tops of her shoulders and the back of her neck as he steps away and the air around her cools. She’s forced to wait, holding herself up on her knees on the mattress, until something else solid and cool touches her cheek. She follows the stroke of it, firm and supple, until she can bite down against it. It has some give and a square shape. A loop of leather.

It leaves her mouth and taps the bottom of her chin lightly. She obediently lifts her face, as if she could look at him. He talks again, and the rumble of it feels more potent when she can’t see anything. It ripples through her body, making her shiver. “Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted from me?” The words might sound bitter if it wasn’t for the longing undercurrent, the strength of his want.

“I know it’s what you’ve always wanted—,” she retorts, cut off by the first crack of the crop against her hip. It’s a shock, even more when it connects to the top of her breast, first one and then the other, gentle but sharp enough to make her whole body clench.  

The crop snaps against her breast again and she writhes, head twisting back and forth, letting her arms thrash in the ropes. The blooming heat of it is divine. The sharp sting, immediately followed by a tingling sensation that feels like it somehow reaches deep underneath her skin. Like it's warming something near her bones. 

She doesn’t know if they’ll leave marks that will be visible tomorrow. She hopes they do.

The bond amplifies the feeling, violin strings of their fury sawing away in the background. This is how they do things. They burn hot, so, so hot, in bursts of emotion that are as intense as they are debilitating. She doesn’t know any other way. Wouldn’t know any other way.

Each sting of the crop makes her sink a little bit further into that haze, brain clouding over until she can’t think of anything but anticipating the next strike. Dimly, she can sense that they’re getting harder, losing count as it goes on. One strikes at her inner thigh and she wriggles backwards, whining in the back of her throat, practically bouncing on her knees to try and ease the impact.

“Still,” he says quietly, and she freezes like stone when she feels the drag of the crop between her legs. Each pulse of blood echoes in her head and she’s gulping in air like she’s drowning, the coolness of the leather so sharp against her heated and swollen flesh.

Then the buzzing starts.

It’s something else, rounded and a bit softer, but when it hits the apex of her sex she throws her head back and wails. This is new. This is new and the vibrations are powerful enough to make her thighs shake, and within seconds she’s on the edge of coming but she can’t, she can’t

It stops. The mattress dips as Kylo climbs onto it and Rey has to brace on her knees, panting, disoriented and losing her centre of gravity. He holds her by her arms before she can slump over entirely, climbing to kneel behind her.

“I thought you might like this,” he says, entirely too self-satisfied. “Been saving it for a special day.” The buzzing noise starts up and he presses it just above where she actually wants it, pushing into the skin until she could swear that she feels pleasure crawl up her spine from inside.

“That’s yes nice,” she manages, trying to come up with coherent sentences and failing spectacularly. “Want, again lower please?”

He reaches around her to loosely wrap one hand around the column of her throat, lips next to her ear. The heat coming off his body and ghosting across her skin from his breath are going to drive her mad, she’s sure of it. There’s a beat before the buzzing moves down and is applied to the swollen flesh again, and she swears that her eyes are rolling back into her head. There's too many competing sensations rocketing around her body. It's the best confusion she's ever felt. 

“Could anyone else do this to you?”

He’s being a smug bastard and she’s going to hold out. She can hold out. She can do it. Or she thinks she can until he moves to take the vibrations away and she immediately clamps her legs, trying to keep it there, trying to keep that pressure exactly where it is.

He obliges with a twist of his wrist, the pressure slowly returning, grinding in a way that makes her pulse beat red.

“No,” she bleats out, “no, please, please, they couldn’t so please please—”

“What do you need?”

“You you youyouyou—”

“Are you sure?” Distantly, she can sense the hurt underneath his words, the easily-spooked fear that he’s hiding under angry bravado. “Are you sure you don’t want a friend? Someone who hasn’t kidnapped you before?”

“You are— you—” Her head hangs forward and her face is wet, when did she start crying? “You’re a monster—”

“Yes,” he agrees, teeth briefly nipping at her shoulder, “I am, and you want me anyway.”

“I do,” she blurts out, “Kriff, I do. I want you so much.”  

With a satisfied sound, he grips her chin and twists her neck sideways so he can press his lips to hers. It tastes like coming home, and when did she become so reliant on him? All of that strange jittering in her skin is gone, and she feels right in her body again. This grounds her. It makes her fly.

She needs this cruelty.

With a whisper of silk, her arms are freed. There’s a pause while he rubs down from her shoulders, gently massaging the blood back into her wrists until the brief discomfort has passed. Rey is so limp, hiccoughing with breathy tears of want and confusion, and she doesn’t resist when he briskly arranges her onto her hands and knees.

“Which do you want more? To have me inside you, or to come?”

A brutal choice. Rey’s brain feels so fried at the edges that she’s not sure that she can even speak, let alone make a decision. But then she feels his blunt finger tracing the seam of her cunt and she clenches and it feels as if the decision has been immediately made for her. “Inside,” she manages, two syllables and still her biggest effort.

It feels like the right choice when he presses into her, and even better when he sets a quick and brutal pace. It almost feels like each thrust jolts through to her molars, and it’s exactly what she needed. She can melt into it, just being, just feeling. Nothing else matters in this moment. Nothing except for him, inside, the backs of her thighs connecting to his skin, the jolt and bump of him low in her belly, the drag of him against every part of her. Even the burning need to have an orgasm fades a little, the promise of it hanging in the air for another day. For now, this is what she needs.

The feeling lasts even after he groans and comes, pulling her into a tight hug against his chest, arms wrapped around front. He refuses to let go as they flop sideways onto the bed, legs tangled together. Even when she wriggles and protests about how he’s sweaty and sticky, he just holds her tighter. “I’m keeping you,” he mutters against her neck, lips ticklish as they move on her skin.

Remembering her earlier words, Rey deflates a little. Can she still be annoyed at his behaviour but be gentle with him? She doesn’t want to do anything else, so she shuffles to square her shoulders inside his embrace. “Excuse me, I’m keeping you.”

His force signature glows like a sun bursting out from behind a cloud.

 


 

Later— once he’s cleaned her up and put her back in some clothes, fussing about her being cold in the night— they’re lying in bed side by side. Just as she's drifting off, Kylo mumbles something so quietly that she nearly misses it. “Maybe should’ve told you.”

Has she ever had an apology from him before? Rey rolls her head dreamily to look at him. He is, for all appearances, asleep. “You can’t make big decisions without talking to me first. It leaves me… Us,” she corrects, gently lifting his hand and placing his hand against her stomach, “vulnerable.”

Eyes still closed, his brow furrows like it hadn’t occurred to him. “I would keep you safe.”

“I don’t need that. I need you to tell me things so that I’m not surprised. Being surprised makes me feel unsafe.” It was the right issue to focus on. This is such a powerful concern for him that Rey can practically feel him bending. “How can we be a family if I don’t feel safe?”

Kylo exhales slowly through his nose. She almost thinks he’s going to ignore her until he gives a curt nod, barely there, with something that almost looks like remorse. The benefit of their mingling minds couldn’t be clearer than in situations like this, when she can feel his genuine intention to do differently in the future.

So she rolls onto her side and presses a kiss to his shoulder with a hum, smiling against his skin.

 

 


 

 

A kiss on the forehead—erases misery.

I kiss your forehead. 

A kiss on the eyes—lifts sleeplessness.

I kiss your eyes. 

A kiss on the lips—is a drink of water.

I kiss your lips. 

A kiss on the forehead—erases memory.

 

- "A Kiss on the Forehead," by Marina Tsvetaeva, translated by Ilya Kaminsky and Jean Valentine

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Kylo first notices it when Rey stretches up on her toes to reach for something on a shelf in their quarters, arms high over her head. It would surely be simpler to just ask him- or even to use the force- but she seems to prefer to struggle. He’s not going to argue.  

The arch of her back means that he can see the slight roundness of her belly. The smallest of bumps, barely visible, but undeniably there on his athletic girl. Once she’s back on the flat of her feet, it almost disappears- but again, not quite. Now that he’s noticed it, it can’t be unseen.  

He wants to crow with glee. Maybe to point it out and watch her stamp her foot and deny it, just because she lives to be contrary where he’s concerned. Instead, he returns to his holopad and types out a few quick messages. Time to move forward with a daydream he’s been having for months.  

 


 

For all that the resistance claims to be in hiding, they prove fairly easy to contact. It helps that Kylo has a good idea of how his mo- the General thinks. He leaves some basic coded messages on a few seedy planets, makes it known that he wants to pass along some important information. They respond cautiously. Encrypted lines for communication, drop points that are clearly monitored so that they can immediately tuck and run if something smells off.  

It’s all very cowardly and predictable.  

The crux of his message, in the end, is simple. Rey wants to make contact. Send only the pilot and the traitor. Anyone else and the meeting is off.  

He doesn’t inform Snoke or Hux. Frankly, he can’t see how it’s any of their business.  

 


 

Rey is gradually getting noticeably heavier when she perches on his knee for dinner. Soon, he may have to relent and give up the practice entirely. Not because of her weight, which he would happily bear, but because she complains of stiffness in her back and being uncomfortable. Kylo wants to wrap her in a pile of soft blankets on the bed and have her rest for the next four months, but she snaps at him whenever he suggests that she might want to ease off on her training or tech work. At least the daily trip for her injection means that she doesn’t feel too nauseous or tired, as far as he’s aware.  

So, for now, he strokes up and down her back as she greedily gobbles down fruit. Some of it is dripping down her chin and it’s somehow simultaneously disgusting and erotic.  

“I’m taking you somewhere tomorrow,” he offers, portioning out her next bit of food. “It will be about an hour and a half’s trip there on my shuttle.”  

She noisily sucks on her fingers while maintaining direct eye contact. Oh, his girl is just asking to be taken to bed. The flimsy dresses strain across her breasts now, fabric draped over a noticeably round belly. It’s very distracting. “Why? Where are we going?”  

“Florrum. It’s in the Outer Rim.”  

She accepts another spoonful of food and talks with her mouth full. “What’s in Florrum?” 

“There is an incredibly seedy bar – if it can be called that, even – where you will get the chance you wanted to say goodbye to your former...” He can’t stop his lip from curling. “Comrades. Or, at least, to the traitor and the pilot.”  

Rey goes completely still, staring at his chest. Finally, she twists her neck up, stiff with disbelief. “Really?”  

“Really.”  

“But... Why?”  

His real reasons feel less than noble. “Because you wanted to.”  

She shows her gratitude by abandoning dinner for the time being- a remarkable thing, without question, that he’s not sure he has ever seen from her before – and kissing him, and kissing him, and kissing him. They barely make it to the bed before she’s climbed astride him, eyes bright and happy, and it feels like the best decision he’s ever made.  

 


 

The bar front door has Yanz's written over it in flickering and dying fluorescent lights. It’s barely bigger than his shuttle, which is now settled on a dusty and empty patch of land a ten-minute walk away. Kylo expects that the resistance will have been watching for it, as well as watching to see if he brings an army with him. He hasn’t. A few of the Knights are stationed at a respectful distance, ready to jump in on command, but he’s not too worried.  

The planet is covered in sand and drier than a bone, barely populated except for small outposts like the one they are currently walking through. He suspects this will feel rather familiar for Rey, but if it does, she doesn’t say anything about it.  

He’s never seen her so distracted. She practically vibrated for the entire ride. She was unable to settle to anything, reading on her holopad for two minutes before abandoning it, fiddling with the sash of her loose tunic and fraying the edges of it, drumming her fingers against the seat, returning to the holopad before giving up again. She keeps darting little glances at him, like she can’t believe this is happening. 

Kylo guides her into the bar with a hand on the small of her back. He has to duck his head to get through the door. 

The room is crowded and noisy, filled with characters both human and alien like, which had been one of his main requirements when selecting it. The clientele is obviously seedy, which will no doubt make the Resistance feel right at home. Terrible music blares in the background and the light is dim, no doubt to hide the amount of muck that no spring clean could ever reach. 

Most importantly, though, the bar has a set of private back rooms that are probably normally used for... Dubious commercial exchanges.  

Some glances linger on them as they make their way through the crowd. A quick force compulsion ensures that everyone forgets what they see. The bartender, for his part, gives Kylo a subtle nod. He negotiated the use of the rooms and a guarantee of privacy as soon as the location for the meeting was decided, with the help of a generous portion of credits.  

Once they’re in, Kylo closes the door, dulling the music a little. Anticipation is bubbling in his stomach. The room is a small space, with a table and a low sofa that has definitely seen better days.  

Rey, for her part, tosses off her cloak and peers around. She immediately notices the window in one of the walls, looking onto another room. “What’s that?”  

“One-way mirror.”  

“A what?”  

“From the other side, it looks like a mirror,” he explains as he removes his cape. “Completely reflective. But we can see into the room.”  

Fascinated, she presses her fingers to the glass before turning around to frown at him. “But why?”  

“I imagined you wouldn’t want me present when you see your friends.”  

“So you’re-” She drags herself to her full height in indignation, but it only draws his eyes to her rounded stomach. “-you’re going to listen in?”  

“You can’t have imagined that I would do anything else.”  

He takes advantage of her briefly outraged silence to step across the small room and draw her into a kiss.  

She stubbornly keeps her lips closed, at first, as if to deprive him out of sheer annoyance. But it only takes a few soft and insistent presses of his mouth for her to melt into his arms, curving against him, her little hands reaching up to tangle in his hair.  

“We have time,” he murmurs. “Before they arrive. You’ve been so tense. Let me help you relax.”  

“This isn’t relaxing,” she mumbles in between kisses, but relents nonetheless when he draws her down to the couch and presses her into the cushions. Carefully, gently, he pulls the zipper down the front of her tunic, nuzzling his nose into the valley between her breasts. Rey is still stroking his hair, contentment rolling off of her in waves.  

Then he works his hands up her legs and into the waistband of her leggings, and the contentment changes into something more urgent.  

“Please,” she breathes when he yanks the leggings off, curving his fingers under the thin gusset of her panties. She’s wet already, the smell of it heavy in the air, and it makes Kylo feel lightheaded when she squirms and pleads with him.  

It’s been a while since he’s let her come. At least a few weeks. All in anticipation of this moment.  

Less gently, more impatiently, he yanks her underwear off down her long legs. Spreading her wide with his thumbs, he ducks his head to lick a long stripe, suckling greedily at her clit to try and get her warmed up as quickly as possible. Not that she needed a lot of preparation, as it turns out. “So ready,” he says as he pushes his fingers into her wetness, twisting and curving, watching her buck her hips. Rey still has her bra on, but her tunic has been pulled down to her stomach, and she’s staring down at him with pink cheeks and an open mouth. “Have you been wanting, little one?”  

“How-” she chokes out, “how long do we have-”  

“Long enough,” he assures her, letting his thumb brush over her clit. Her face scrunches into a picture of delightful longing, chewing on her lips. “Long enough for you to come.”  

The colour rises on her face again. “Can- can I?”  

“You absolutely can.” But before it can happen right in this way, with one of his feet planted on the floor and with him fully dressed, Rey sprawled under him looking dishevelled and lovely, he wants to be inside her. He pulls his fingers away, ignoring her disappointed moan, and lifts her to straddle his lap. Her stomach isn't big enough yet to be a true obstacle.

"You promise?" He's almost offended that she asked. When has he ever lied?

"I promise," he affirms, pulling her close. Pressed against him, he reaches behind to unhook her bra, running a hand along the soft skin of her back. She smells good, the soft scent of her lovely and warm as he presses kisses to her neck. “Undo my pants,” he instructs, focusing on pulling a soft bit of skin under her ear between his teeth, worrying at it and soothing it with his tongue.  

Rey’s fingers are not as fast or sure as his, but she’s had plenty of practice. Her breath is heavy as he helps by lifting his hips, allowing her to push his pants and underwear down, his cock springing up against his the fabric of his tunic. Everything feels taut and hot and ready, straining to press into her. That takes some maneuvering - she has to stretch her legs apart further, leaning into him, shuffling while they try to catch the head of his cock against the cleft of her body. 

It’s heaven when seats himself in her warmth, her chest pressed to his. He gives her messy kisses and touches her everywhere, imprecise, demanding, as if to remind himself and her of his ownership. She kisses him back just as eagerly, until -  

There is a thump, and the sound of voices. The guests of honour have arrived in the next room.  

The traitor’s voice, soft and clear, cuts through the air. “Do you think she’s really going to be here?”  

The pilot answers like this is a conversation they’ve had a million times. “I don’t trust him for a minute.”  

Rey freezes in place on his lap, his cock still buried deep in her. Trembling, she tries to lift off of him by putting strength into her thighs, but he easily holds her in place. “No,” he murmurs, “I don’t think so. I think if I want you here, you stay here, little one.” Her soff whimper of distress shouldn’t be as arousing as it is. But even so, she obeys, panting lightly. He feels lightheaded as all of his planning finally, truly, comes together. “Do you want to see them now?”  

The panic is making her physically clamp down, tighter than ever, which feels incredible on his cock. “Ky- Master-”  

He lifts her off of him, ignoring her yelp of surprise as he twists her in his lap until she’s facing the window. Facing her friends, who have no idea that she’s there. Kylo can see their own reflection faintly in the window, showing them both the wanton mess of her hair, the round curve of her breasts and stomach. “Remember,” he murmurs, feeling her galloping pulse under his hand when he loosely wraps it around her throat, “they just see a mirror.” She gasps when he tucks her hips backward and spreads her knees wider, taking his cock in his other hand and pressing into her again. The angle is much deeper this way, her body angled forward to take him in. Heavenly. “But wouldn’t it be fun if they could see you?”  

A fresh blush stains her cheeks. Of course she’s taken with the thought, even if she’d never admit it, his wild girl.  

“If they could see just how happy you are, here with me, taking it like such-” he punctuates each of his words by lifting her a little and pushing her back down, forcing little gasps from her lips, “a good- girl- for me?”  

The traitor and the pilot are saying something, but at such a low murmur that Kylo can’t make it out. No surprise that the speaker system in this dump is sub-par. Rey, meanwhile, has her eyes glued to the next room, but her gaze is glassy and unseeing. She's even started to buck in his lap, rocking back and forth in twisting movements. It gets even more uncoordinated when he presses his fingers gently back around her clit, pinching and rubbing but never quite touching the way that she needs him to, focusing on the way that her shoulders are tensing and she keeps pulsing around his cock.  

“You can come, I said.” This is even better than he had imagined. “Don’t you want to?”  

She does. And she doesn’t. He can feel how much she longs for the rush of pleasure and fears the loss of control. The conflict of it is bound up deliciously tightly in her, shuddering against him. He gives her an aggressive thrust, eliciting a shuddering and choked sound, moving her in his lap with his arm wrapped around the upper curve of her waist, just below her breasts.   

“Well?” Kylo feels drunk with triumph. He needs to hear the words.  

A direct press to her clit, so needy and swollen, finally pushes it out of her. “Please,” she blurts out in a rush of desperate air, “please please please I want to come, please let me come, please-”  

Staring at her old life as if she can’t look away, mouth open and lips red, Rey twists and keens against him with the swell of her ass pressed to his stomach. It builds quickly, in the end, even though he’s sure it feels like a lifetime to her. She shakes and shudders wildly as she comes; her fingers grasp behind her, against his clothes as she goes taut as a bowstring, pleasure blaring through their shared bond in a way that makes him think he could go blind.  

It’s easy, so easy, to bounce her in his lap after she relaxes and slumps, enjoying the movement of her breasts and the blissful sated look of her reflection. As his own orgasm draws up, he watches the traitor and the pilot converse in murmured undertones with worried expressions, and the triumph of it is nearly as heady as the gorgeous woman in his lap, body swollen with his child. You could never have this, he thinks, and I do, I have her, forever, and it's enough to push him over the edge. 

Part of him wants to twist her to kiss her tightly as it happens, but in the end, he wants to let her see what she walked away from.

And how much better things are, here, with him instead. 

 


 

 

 

What is it men in women do require 

The lineaments of Gratified Desire 

What is it women do in men require 

The lineaments of Gratified Desire

 

- The Question Answered, by William Blake

 

 

Chapter Text

Rey’s legs feel wobbly when she stands, barely solid enough to support her weight. The slick of come is hot and slow as it slides down her inner thigh; she pulls on her leggings, but her panties have mysteriously gone missing. Thankfully the length of the tunic should mean that any wet stain is safely concealed.  

The smugness radiating off of Kylo should be more than any one person can produce.  

She feels half-inclined to argue with him about observing her reunion with Finn and Poe. But then there’s the fact that, in many ways, this gives her more privacy than having him observe through the bond. From inside her own head.  

And she needs that little bit of privacy.  

As she pulls her bra on, she carefully slides her nail under the band and removes the delicate little data chip that was concealed against the wire. Kylo, thankfully, is busy being completely blissed out against the sofa- after fumbling to do up his pants, he had flopped backwards to ride out the afterglow.  

Turning sharply on her heel, Rey opens the creaky door. Heading back into the main space of the bar is like walking into a wall of sound, but it only lasts a few seconds before she’s going into the next room over.  

Finn and Poe’s faces snap towards the door, both lighting up in smiles that are so full of joy and relief that it makes her chest hurt. “Rey!”  

She beams back at them and Finn rushes forward, swooping her up into a hug, because he’s always been so comfortable with contact. It’s familiar and reassuring for a heartbeat until he stiffens and pushes her away, holding her by the shoulders, to stare at her stomach. “What...” He seems lost for words, and he holds his hands out before hesitating, glancing up at her for permission.  

She gives it. From the next room, she can practically sense Kylo’s irritation at all this touching, but he can deal with it.   

Poe sucks in a breath through his teeth when Finn’s hands, soft and gentle, pull her tunic tight around her stomach. Her pregnant belly couldn’t be clearer.  

Finn looks like he might be sick. “It’s... Is it...”  

As if it could be anyone else’s baby. “It’s Kylo’s, yes.” 

In jerky movements, Finn stands and steps away, letting her tunic fall loosely again. His fists keep clenching and unclenching. “I’m going to kill him,” he grits out, and Rey feels an odd burst of affection. She's never had this before, not really, someone who worries for her wellbeing for completely unselfish reasons.   

Poe is still staring at her stomach, goggle eyed. “This isn’t...” He swallows, awkwardly, before blurting out the question that is clearly at the forefront of both their minds. “Did he force you?”  

As soon as the words are in the air, she feels as though she should have anticipated the question. In the next room, Kylo’s emotion spikes, and she can almost see him jumping to his feet in anger at the suggestion. At the implication that unrestrained violence is the only way that this could happen. “No,” Rey says hastily, “it’s not – No. No, that’s not what happened.” Kylo has many sins that need to be laid at his feet, but that is not one of them.  

In some ways, she can tell that this is not the answer that Poe was hoping for. It would be easier for him to square it in his head if she was another victim of the First Order and Kylo Ren’s crimes. “You... Agreed to this?”  

Finn interrupts. “It was for me, wasn’t it? You agreed because that’s what had to happen for him to let me go.” He looks anguished at the suggestion. “You should never have agreed.”  

Poe clearly finds this to be much more in line with what he was expecting. “That’s coercion, Rey. Even if you didn’t kick and scream, that’s still being forced.” 

She brings her hands together, rolling the data chip subtly between her fingers. “I know what coercion is, and I promise. This was my decision.” It sounds like weak justification, even to her ears, but Kylo’s rage simmers down into something like satisfied irritation. “And Finn, don’t be ridiculous. Anything would have been worth saving you from execution.”  

Finn starts to pace up and down the small room. “But I never would have wanted-”  

“Poe.” Rey rounds on the other man. “You understand, don’t you? You understand being strategic.” Taking a step to close the distance between them, she puts one hand against his shoulder and steadily maintains eye contact, counting on him to be a bit more detached from the situation. With her other hand, she grasps at his palm, twisting her fingers so she can press the data chip to his skin. “You understand that sometimes sacrifices have to be made.”  

His eyebrows raise minutely when he recognises what it is that she’s doing. And, to his credit, he doesn’t otherwise react. “I still don’t like it,” he says, stepping away from her and shoving his hands in his pockets, looking for all the world like he’s being stubborn and unreceptive to her reasoning.  

But she knows- and he knows- that the data chip is now safely hidden away.  

And once he is able return to the Resistance base and upload its information to one of their research stations, the chip will reveal the schematics, the intended uses, the potential weaknesses, the strategic values, the financial and resource costs, and the required manpower of the First Order’s newest bomber. Her months of work and involvement in design laid out in painstaking detail.  

Rey confident that if there is anyone in the Resistance who will know how to use this information to its utmost advantage, it’s Poe. It eases the ache of doubt that she has felt for months, the guilt of contributing any of her time or skills towards something that might be used to kill her friends.  

Finn doesn’t know that any of this has happened. He’s still pacing back and forth in the small space, furious and bereft, like everything will right itself if he takes big enough steps. “This isn’t- it’s not-” he breaks off into a murmur. “Listen, I’m sure he’s watching, but we could leave right now. Just go. We have a shuttle, if we make a break for it and fix this-” 

Fix it?”  

“Well we can... You know...” Finn gestures vaguely towards her stomach. “Fix... It.”  

“No, I don’t know what you mean.” It’s a lie but she squares her shoulders anyway, daring one of them to say it aloud.  

It’s Poe who breaks first. “People have been getting rid of unwanted babies for a millennium. There’s no shame in it.”  

“It isn’t unwanted!”  

“He’s a monster, Rey, he tortures people, he tortured me, how can you even think about bringing a baby into that-”  

Kylo’s temper is building again. She needs to divert this before he slams through the mirror or marches into the door. But before she can say anything, Finn interrupts first, glancing back and forth between them. “Poe, that’s... Look. Rey, if you're sure about this..." His tone clearly conveys that he can't understand how she could be sure about it, but even this much of a concession feels like a gift. 

Frustrated, Poe yanks a hand through his hair. “You've got to be joking. Both of you. Someone has to speak sense in here!”  

“Rey.” Finn collects himself, choosing his words carefully. “Will you get to see us again?”  

Of all the things he could have asked, that is the hardest. Because Rey knows the answer, and it’s like a little death to face it directly. Even if she has control over this goodbye, it still picks at a wound that never healed in her soul. “Probably... Not. Today is because I wanted to say goodbye, one last time.”  

Poe makes an indignant, wounded noise, but Finn just nods. The sadness on his face is achingly soft, and it hurts to look at. Probably because it’s such a clear reflection of her own.  

It feels like control over her emotions is slipping away faster than she can manage.  

“We love you, Rey. I hope you know that. Don’t let him do this to you. Please.” He opens his arms and folds her into another hug, this time holding her steady. Kylo's anger is rising again, but Rey wouldn't move for the world. “You can come back to us any time. We’ll help you. I promise.” It's a lovely sentiment but Finn’s words only emphasise the gap between hope and reality, and they all know it.  

Before she can cry, Rey nods and gives Finn one last tight squeeze. With a choked little wave to Poe, she flees out of the door, through the crowd and away from her past, grief and claustrophobia clawing at her throat.  

Kylo is at her shoulder before she even reaches the exit for the bar. As she hurries on, Rey feels a lurch of nausea that has nothing to do with the baby. There is something so final about all of this, as if each step takes her closer to her own execution. The die is cast. She has said goodbye to her friends. She has betrayed the First Order. It’s just her, now, and her wild plan, which is irrevocably in motion.

Without thinking, Rey reaches back and grabs for Kylo’s hand. Their fingers twine together in a worryingly familiar movement, as if they were always meant to be this way.  

It’s enough to make her yank her hand away again, cradling it to her chest, trying to cover the wound that feels like it’s still fresh and raw in her heart.  

 


 

They sit in silence for the ride back to the Destroyer. Blaming tiredness and the baby, Rey goes to lie down as soon as they return Kylo’s quarters; to her surprise, he follows her, shucking off his outer layers and crawling under the covers with her.  

He motions her over so that she can rest against his chest, gently carding his fingers through her hair. “Are you all right?”  

“I’m fine,” she mumbles. She will be. She always is.  

“They upset you,” he says, pressing a soft kiss to her hairline. It feels so warm and safe, even though she knows it shouldn’t. “I knew they would. But you’ve said your goodbyes, now. You saw how they reacted. They would take away everything that's important to you." One of his hands drifts over her belly. "They’re in your past.”  

That was the point, of course. She runs her fingers along the soft fabric of his shirt, tracing in mindless circles as he hums with satisfaction. She’s not blind to it. The point of this entire exercise– other than fulfilling some sort of voyeuristic desire on Kylo’s part– was to show her that she has no home to go back to. No one but him.  

She should feel angrier about it. Angrier that he’s trying to manipulate events and her emotions into a certain outcome that suits his wants and needs the best.  

But then, she thinks, stretching her toes and getting comfortable against his larger frame, it’s really just more proof that they are one and the same.  

 


 

It is little more than a week later when, during training, Rey feels the strangest sensation like bubbles popping low in her stomach. Like butterflies, dancing back and forth.  

She pauses mid-stretch and puts her hands on her abdomen with a frown. Kylo is by her side in an instant. “What’s wrong?”  

“It’s fine, it...” She cocks her head, as if that would somehow help her listen to something happening inside her own body. “I think the baby is moving?”  

His hands fly up and he slaps them to her stomach in such a hurry that she yelps in surprise. He stumbles over an apology, uncharacteristically flustered. “I can’t feel anything,” he says immediately, impatient as ever. “Why can’t I feel anything?”  

“Just wait,” she snaps, pausing and willing the sensation to happen again. They stand there, her staff awkwardly and loosely still in her hand, on the middle of the training mat. The other Knights are studiously ignoring them.  

A soft flutter again. She isn’t even sure that it will be possible to feel it from the outside, but Kylo evidently feels something, because his mouth drops open in shock. “Amazing,” he breathes, falling to his knees with an inelegant thump and pressing a kiss to her stomach. Marvelling at this miracle enjoyed by so many families, never any less potent or amazing for its replication. “This is amazing. You are amazing.”  

He looks up at her with genuine awe in his eyes, and in that moment, Rey knows that he would slay armies to keep her safe. End regimes. Burn worlds. It’s what she has earned in exchange for giving up everything.  

Standing on the training mat, swaying a little when Kylo presses his ear to her stomach like he’ll be able to hear anything but her own hunger, Rey starts to giggle- full of adrenaline, giddy with love.  

And above it all, victorious. Triumphant.  

 


 

 

(ii)   

Afterward, 

  

the small deceptions 

we allow ourselves: 

a sickness, unchecked. 

Like this: 

   

(iii)   

& first sunlight. 

Snow continues. 

I could never close my eyes to light. 

  

But there was no light 

& you looked like night. 

  

- Excerpt from “& then afterwards”, by Nate Pritt

 

 

Chapter Text

From the beginning, Ben Solo’s life was one dominated by grim disappointments. This is why Kylo doesn’t think about him. There’s nothing to be gained from dwelling on that pathetic, lost boy; not when he has attained so much more since he left it all behind.  

But parts of that dead life still stick in his mind, every now and again. Like a bad smell. It manifests in the tightness of his chest, an ache in his stomach, a sense that the universe is never going to provide him the things that he needs as long as he stays as he is. Useless. Weak.  

It’s quieted when Rey is in his arms. She crowds out everything else. In those moments, all is still, and it’s obvious that it was Kylo Ren who gained her- not Ben Solo. Never Ben Solo.  

This, he is sure, is for a reason.  

 


 

Come to me.  

It comes, as it often does, in the middle of the night. It draws him from sleep but not before taking over his dream, slithering against the depths of his consciousness until the grief of it is enough to choke him.  

Kylo sits up in bed, heart pounding as his mind slowly clears. Snoke’s voice is still in his head:  

Bring the girl.  

That’s not a good sign. Warily, he rocks Rey’s shoulder, coaxing her awake. She shakes him off, brow furrowing, kicking at him with an irritated huff. He rocks her again.  

Spitting out a bit of hair, she leans up onto an elbow, squinting through sleep-crusted eyes. “What? What is it?”  

“We have to go,” he says, words like ash in his mouth. “Get up and get dressed- we've been summoned by the Supreme Leader.”  

 


 

The elevator hums as they ascend towards the throne room, both of them staring towards the door in silence. She’s not in shackles but she might as well be, and it’s making him feel sick. Nothing about this is good.  

Rey hasn’t asked a single question about why she’s being summoned. The fact that she might have some idea is more terrifying than anything else.  

As they walk through the door and into the cavernous space, he instinctively puts his hand to the small of her back to guide her along. Part of him wants to hold her hand, cradle her to his chest, but that would show vulnerability. This makes him look as if he has some semblance of control.  

He feels anything but in control.  

The praetorian guards are as motionless as ever. Snoke is inscrutable, quiet as Kylo goes down on one knee before him. Part of him had hoped that Rey would follow his lead, but instead she just stands, staring straight ahead.  

It is Snoke who finally speaks first. “We have been betrayed. Our technology leaked by some person unknown, to our greatest enemy.”  

Kylo frowns at the floor. It can’t have been Rey. She has no way of sending anything. “I had no knowledge of this, Master.”  

“No surprise there.” Snoke turns his gaze to Rey. “But you know, don’t you, Jedi?”  

Kylo tries to protest. “That’s not possi-”  

Snoke cuts him off with a flick of his fingers. “I wasn’t speaking to you.”  

Rey says nothing. She keeps her chin raised high, completely expressionless.  

With a heavy sigh, Snoke leans back into his chair, shifting as if to try and find a comfortable position in his old bones. The tilt of his head throws the sunken parts of his skull into greater relief. “My generals were baffled about how the Resistance could have obtained such top-secret information. How they could have used it to so thoroughly and precisely decimate our forces when we engaged. But I— I asked for a list of those who had access to it in the first place, and as soon as it was placed in my hands, I realised there was no mystery at all.”  

Kylo feels the need to speak up again. “She has not had any exposure to—”  

Silence.” It’s like someone jams his jaw shut, forcibly shoving upwards under his chin. Snoke is still staring intently at Rey. “You must have thanked the stars when my absolute fool of an apprentice decided to place you on a project to design weaponry. Seen instantly what he could not. The opportunity of it. And for what? As some sort of pleasure project, I hear, to keep you entertained .” If it wasn’t for the barest rise and fall of her chest, Rey could be a statue. It’s incredibly strange that she hasn’t spoken up in her own defence, but when he looks closer, he can see that a muscle is working in her jaw- he's apparently not the only one whose mouth is being forcibly held closed. His Master always did like a captive audience.“I should have known this would happen. I should have known that you would compromise his judgement, no matter his insistence. Should have known he would be as weak and pathetic as he always is. It will not happen again.”  

Something about the way he says it makes Kylo’s stomach drop through the floor.  

“We will see the truth of the matter soon enough. And then we will separate you from the Force until the heir arrives.” Snoke’s hand is raising, the power in the room gathering to him with spine-chilling effect. “One of the lower cells, I think. A prisoner as you always have been, at least in name if not in practice. No need for any more of this charade that my disappointment of an apprentice insists on continuing. Now, yes... We shall see...” There is a coil of electricity and Rey’s knees hit the floor, her hands snapping forward as she tries to stop the fall. Kylo can even feel it as she tries to draw on the force, natural as breathing, but it is pointless while in the same room as Snoke. He would know.  

Seeing her fall makes him lurch into action. Kylo is on his feet before he can think about it, trying to get between Rey and his Master, trying to throw himself in the middle of things. But one look at Rey’s eyes, determined but resigned, and the stomach-dropping feeling increases by a hundredfold. It’s enough all by itself to show that his master is right. She knows what he is talking about. He’s going to find the betrayal that he is looking for. The betrayal against the First Order. The betrayal against him.  

The force swells to a tipping point and— 

“No,” he croaks. He is such a fool for not seeing this coming. For trusting her. For trusting anyone. The rage of it is enough that he’s able to break the force hold and speak, to get Snoke’s attention, to keep everything held on the razor’s edge— at least for a moment.  

Rey looks up at him with wide eyes.  

He turns to see Snoke raising one gnarled eyebrow at him, waiting for him to launch into his denial. To show more weakness by trying to defend her, to betray everything that he has worked for.  

But he won’t. “I’ll do it. I'll find the truth. I believe… I can do it without harming the infant.” This, at least, Snoke should care about.  

The tension nearly visibly crackles in the air, the force is so charged. “Very well. One more chance, my apprentice, to fix your own mistakes. But no more- and I want it done properly.”  

Properly. That means the interrogation cells. Tasting bile, Kylo leans down and wraps his fingers around Rey’s arm to haul her to her feet. Staring up at him, wide-eyed, she barely resists as he drags her out of the room, Snoke's oily satisfaction dragging in the back of his mind. 

The elevator ride down is worse than the ride up. She keeps trying to engage him by leaning into his space. “Kylo, you don’t have to do this.”  

“Be quiet.” This wasn’t supposed to happen. None of this was supposed to happen. He’s fracturing, bleeding at the cracks, and it hurts more than lightening.   

“I can help you-”  

“Be. Quiet.”  

They stand in silence. By the time the elevator arrives, the door opening on one of the lower levels reserved for prisoners, Rey’s alarm is receding to a dull and weary acceptance. Somehow, this is worse.  

He clears out the Stormtroopers on duty with a wave of his hand and locates an empty cell with an easy sweep of the force. It feels as though his mind has partly fractured, going through the motions as he struggles with disbelief that this is happening. Even once they’re inside, he can’t help but support her weight and assist her as she climbs into the chair; as if this is a chivalrous act of helping her climb onto their speeder back at Ithor, rather than delicately putting his own heart into a tool for torture.  

At least there’s no need to restrain her. Not like the first time- she'll do as she’s told. 

He's has been so focused on getting to this point that he’s barely looked at her. Now, he finally raises his eyes to her face, and it’s like getting punched in the stomach. Rey’s eyes are brimming with tears and disbelief, and his righteous indignation shrivels and dies at his feet.  

When she speaks, her voice is achingly soft. “I can’t believe you would choose him.”  

“Why would you make me choose?”  

“It could never be both, Kylo.” She breaks their gaze to stare at his hands, reaching out for her even now, unconsciously seeking her always. “I could never change that much.” Her tone is bitter. “You should know that."    

But he rewrote everything he was, for the dark. Why can’t she?  

He can’t think about it. The world hasn’t fallen apart this way since he woke to his Unc-  Skywalker  bathed in blue humming light. It’s as if he’s hearing screaming when it isn’t there, gravity flipped upside down.  

So instead, he holds her face and presses into her mind.  

His Rey is so much better at this now, so much stronger. He tries to follow the thread of her thoughts but she doesn’t fight him outright. Instead, every attempt to get under the surface ends up like a stone skipping across the water. She’s good at knowing the things that will distract him best; every time he feels as if he’s getting close to watching the scene with the Resistance from her eyes, she throws him by supplying something else— 

The very first time of him inside her, the thrill of being held down — 

The glittering light on the lake at  Ithor, running from him and wanting to be caught — 

He’s never going to get what he needs. He has to focus, but as soon as he’s able to catch the strand of a thought and follow it anywhere, it’s like getting sucked under and starting to drown.  

The easy joy of seeing him again after a long day — 

The hum of lust when he holds her tightly for a kiss — 

It’s cracking open his heart. He wants to weep. And perhaps drawn closer by that hot welter of emotion, he gets a glimpse at a thought that he’s positive that she did not mean to share.  

Watching him grumble in his sleep, realising that despite all of the loss she’s endured, that with him of all people, out of every soul in the universe, she might be able to feel love —  

No amount of dissembling could keep him from latching onto that emotion and digging at it. Abandoning everything else and immediately tossing his mission to the wind, he’s clawing the core of it in a blink, desperate and disbelieving all at once. And it’s true. It’s there, beautiful and hidden and perfect.  

It’s too much. He has to stop and breathe. It’s like breaking the surface of the water after being submerged for too long, and Kylo snaps his hands from her cheeks to the back of the chair, steadying himself, still reeling. “You—” One false start just comes out as a rasp. “You love me?” He doesn’t really need to ask. He’s seen it, pulsing in the corners of her heart, growing despite her every effort. Messy, whole-hearted, vulnerable and sweet. All he ever dreamed of, didn’t allow himself to hope for; the one thing he could never forcibly take. As if anything else, any information that she shared, could ever compare to the power of this. 

Rey’s eyes, fogged over in pain and grief, sharpen in focus. Her shoulders twist as she leans towards him, lobbing her answer with devastating precision: “I did.”  

It feels a little bit like falling. It feels a lot like dying.  

And breathing in the recycled air, pulse beating loudly in his ears, everything becomes very simple. The fog clears, and Kylo knows exactly what he needs to do.  

 

 


 

 

 

From childhood’s hour I have not been 

As others were—I have not seen 

As others saw—I could not bring 

My passions from a common spring— 

From the same source I have not taken 

My sorrow—I could not awaken 

My heart to joy at the same tone— 

And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—

 

- Excerpt from Edgar Allen Poe's "Alone" 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

For all that her best laid plans are unravelling— or perhaps unfolding exactly as she hoped, the situation seems to be changing from second to second and it’s difficult to keep on top of— Rey mostly feels exhausted. Right down to her bones.

They’re on their way back up in the elevator, again, and this time Kylo is so pale that he looks like he might faint. Rey can feel a pulse pounding in her head, her feet are swollen and sore, and her temples are throbbing from the effort of dealing with Kylo rifling through her memories. The baby must be contorted strangely, because it’s pressing in a way that makes her want to pee. More than anything, she wants to lie down. Maybe put her feet in some hot water. Have him stroke her hair and promise that everything will be okay.

It’s so mundane and nearly pathetic that she has to fight the wild urge to laugh. Maybe to cry.

Kylo breaks the silence and speaks without looking at her, staring intently at the elevator door. “He won’t be gentle with you.”

“Because you were?”

He closes his eyes. “Are you strong enough to cope?”

Again, the laughter bubbles in her throat. It’s an absurd question and he must know it.

In strange, jerky movements, he reaches for her wrists and grips them so hard that she winces. The elevator is arriving— and when he starts to move, it’s practically dragging her along, out the door and across the long room, each step a march towards execution— but all the while, it feels like someone is pouring a soothing hot drink down her throat and warming her belly. It pulls strength from depths that she’s never known before, clearing her mind and helping her to focus.

The sensation stops as soon as he lets go.

Snoke looks unimpressed, more than anything. He stares at Kylo with a flat irritation. “You failed. Evidently.”

“I did.” With another push, he deposits Rey right in front of the throne. Kylo slips around her to grovel beside Snoke, his head lowered in shame. “I need your guidance, Master.”

She could kick him. She wishes he were standing just a little bit closer, so she could reach out and nail him in the shin.

Snoke grunts and leans forward. “I will deal with you later. In the meantime...” A gnarled hand reaches towards Rey, and she doesn’t hold back her shudder. The force has already locked her in place, stopping her from even batting his fingers away. “Let us have the truth. At last.”

It’s brutal. If she had any doubts that Kylo was being as gentle as possible, they are banished in an instant. Or they would be, if she could think or do anything but fight for her sanity.

Where she could direct Kylo’s attention where she wanted, with Snoke, Rey’s only hope is to try and slow down the barrage of invasive power raking through her memories. She’s screaming, she thinks, and it burns in her throat, but she can’t hear anything beyond the shriek of Snoke’s power in her ears.

The level of her resistance must shock him, because she feels a flicker of hesitation and surprise; it’s a moment’s respite, barely enough to get her bearings and prepare for the worst to start again, this never-ending torrent of pain and invasion, and everything that she had hoped for is ruined, and her future is ruined, and she is ruined—

— And then it stops.

She can move again. Her fogged eyes drift to the bright red light sticking through Snoke’s chest, straight through the cavity where his heart should be. Snoke is staring down as well, eyes wide in shock, mouth twisted into his final grimace.

Everything seems suspended as the blade disappears and Snoke slumps forward, eyes frozen open but unseeing. Kylo stands behind him, twisting the lightsabre in his hand until the hilt is offered to Rey; she takes it reflexively, barely thinking, the unfamiliar heavy heft of it so much more unstable than her own.

And that is all the warning she has before the Praetorian guards spring into movement.

She would worry about him if she had the strength to do anything but swing his spitting blade up, igniting it and blocking a heavy blow from a knife. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Kylo shove one of the guards with his shoulder, knocking it off balance long enough to yank the long staff right from its metal gloves. Now suitably armed, he shoves it straight into another guards’ chest, kicking it away with brute force.

Rey tries to focus, spinning and twisting. It’s just as well that she’s been training so rigorously even throughout her pregnancy, knowing how to adjust for her changing centre of gravity. Just as well that she’s always been slim, and even though she’s showing, it’s not enough to significantly change her movement. Just as well that it’s been months and months of meditating and honing her use of the force, tuning into it with more precision than she ever could have managed before she joined him, enough that she could almost close her eyes and still feel the ebb and flow of the fight around her. With a yank of her arms and a shove, she pushes one of the guards off the edge of the dias, sending it careening off until it explodes with a crackle of armoured debris. She cleaves through another with the sabre, barely feeling the resistance against the blade.

Which leaves her wide open as yet another guard slices into her arm, grazing but enough to cause a white-hot flash of pain.

Kylo’s fury radiates through the room as she finds her footing, reengaging with a furious yell. She has not come this far just to fall now. Not when there is so much still to live for, so much anger still radiating out from her core. Each time she raises Kylo’s sabre, she can feel the helplessness of standing in front of Snoke, of feeling the certainty that she has been abandoned— again

It doesn’t make up for a lifetime of hurts when she pushes the sabre through the guard’s chest, but it does feel like the beginning of retribution. Breathing heavily, she looks to Kylo in time to see the final guard fall, mangled and lifeless, Kylo standing over it triumphant and furious.

Looking to her, he tosses the stolen blade aside.

Which gives her just enough of an opening to send a shove with the force, knocking him out of balance and onto his back. In three strides she’s on him, climbing over him to straddle his hips, blade still lit. He lifts his hands to hold her but freezes when she twists the blade over the top of her head and swings it down to hold it across his neck.

Instead of saying anything, he stares up at her, still breathing heavily. His pupils are blown, and as she shifts, Rey realises with disbelief that he’s hard under her; with his own blade held to his neck, inches from immediate death, he still craves her.

Leaning in, she presses the blade closer, until she can see the burn start to develop over the tender skin. It has to hurt. “You chose him over me.”

His tongue darts out over his lips before he answers, and she can’t help but track the movement with her eyes. “I know better than anyone how powerful you are. He only had to be distracted for a moment.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“And have him see it as soon as he looked? I’m not a fool.” He chooses that moment to buck his hips, just a fraction, and Rey’s veins sizzle in response. So much for sneering at him for his arousal— her own body is responding, she realises, roiling at the sight of him prone and helpless beneath her.

“Just a coward,” she retorts. “So afraid of him that you would hurt me for his bidding.” The burn on his skin is starting to look shiny and red, but he hasn’t even flinched. She can’t stop staring at it. She’s already marked him once, sliced his face open, a quick and brutal strike that made him hers forever; she remembers it now, the way he had stared at her while lying in the snow. With wide and open-eyed wonder.

Kylo doesn’t argue with the accusation. “Never again. I’ll never hesitate again.” One of his hands rises slowly, gently, to grip her hip. “You are...” The hand holding her squeezes, tightly, indenting into her skin. “Everything, to me. Everything else can burn.”

Rey’s hands are starting to shake, and she has to lift the blade a little, afraid that she might accidentally do something irrevocable. “You don’t deserve me.”

There’s that look, again. From the forest. “No one could. Look at where you’ve come. From nothing.”

She hisses and pushes the blade back right next to his skin. Kylo arches his neck, still staring at her intently through lowered lashes, and it’s hypnotising to watch the bob of his Adam’s apple.

The fight is over. Snoke is dead. The guards are dead. But Rey can’t stop vibrating, as if everything isn’t finished yet, like there is still more to come. The months of waiting for precisely this moment haven’t left her feeling any better prepared. The intensity in Kylo's eyes is frightening, and she wants to get up and run away, jump into an escape pod and never look back. To slice through his neck and leave the whole rotting tree of the force finished, forever. To leave this all behind by sprinting as fast as her legs will carry her.

He calls her attention back with a soft, “Rey.” Her eyes snap to his and he speaks softly, so softly, as if he can see her need to bolt, his voice nearly breaking on the word. “Please.”

But where would she go? Alone, again, in an empty universe.

Rey finally releases the hilt of the lightsabre, the humming sound extinguishing with a snap. She flings it aside, watching it skitter across the floor until Kylo grabs the back of her neck and drags her down for a bruising kiss.

She’s still furious. But for now, she works her fury out on his clothes, dragging the snaps and complicated latches of his trousers until the fabric tears apart with a force-assisted pull. Taking him inside is the easiest thing she’s ever done. The drag of him low in her belly feels right, edging on painful but easing with each passing second.

It’s not as coordinated as it would be normally. Her legs feel weak but she’s absolutely unwilling to give up her position on top, and Kylo seems equally determined not to shift. Some of the stunned reverence in his face has given way to a strained grimace, and his shaking hands keep fluttering from place to her place on her body. Her waist, her thighs, her hips, her belly; he touches but can’t seem to hold solidly, as if he’s convinced that she’ll slip away if he grips too tightly. It’s a desperate affirmation of still being alive, messy and slick, even as her knees start to burn from rocking against the hard ground.

Her lungs are burning. They burn until Kylo’s hand finally settles between her legs, rubbing in tentative circles, pressure growing quickly as she leans forward to rub up against him just right . When she finally shakes and wails, she can feel his relief vibrate in the air, his certainty that after everything, he can at least do this properly. Boneless, it’s all she can do to grip his shoulders and rock with him as he plants his feet and rocks up into her, building speed until he hisses and tenses with a euphoric groan.

She still wants that bath. And probably a foot rub.

Rolling her onto her back, Kylo gently fixes up their clothing as she stares at the ceiling. Her skin feels so hot that the pooling liquid between her legs is almost no different from the sweat dripping down the slope of her back.

She acquiesces enough to lean up when Kylo gets on one knee to gently lift her into his arms. There’s an echo of déjà vu in his movements as he walks them to the throne with stiff and uneven steps. A twitch of the force and Snoke’s body is shifting away to the floor, off the dais to slump pathetically on the ground. Insignificant and mundane in death.

Twisting on one leg, Kylo slowly sits on the throne, burying his face in her shoulder with a shaky exhale that she feels down to the centre of her soul. Possessively, he slides his arms up to wrap tightly around her torso, holding her so she ends up perched on his broad thighs.

Rey reaches with trembling arms to stroke his sweat-matted hair. The throne room is still burning. Gently, they end up rocking just an inch or two back and forth, breathing in sync with little shuddering bursts like they’ve just come up from drowning. The force is satisfied with their union, humming with a heady power that she will never fully understand.

The flickering embers remind her of the snow in the forest, the stars just as unforgiving from the viewport as they were from the ground.

It seems inevitable, now. She is with him to the bitter end.

 

 


 

 

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid

 

So it is better to speak

remembering

we were never meant to survive.

 

- Excerpt from “A Litany for Survival”, by Audre Lorde

 

Chapter Text

The Mirialan ambassador has been in full flow for at least an hour. Kylo is following along through an interpreter, doing his best to not fall asleep. The cultural adviser had been very clear that the best way to obtain the ore buried deep within Mirial was to ensure that the Mirialans felt honoured and respected; personally, he had been just as comfortable with the idea of going in and taking exactly what the First Order needed for its developing technology, but he had promised Rey that he would do his level best at diplomacy first.

“Supreme Leader,” says a quiet voice at his ear. He can see the grey uniform of an officer out of the corner of his eye. “You are needed in your quarters.”

Kylo gives his hand a little wave to clearly indicate: I am occupied.

“I apologise, Supreme Leader. I’m told that it’s urgent.”

The bond is calm, humming without any alarm or sense of danger, so Kylo can’t think of what could be urgent. But it’s also extremely unlike Rey to insist on his company during the day. She was, after all, the one who insisted that he had to be present for these sorts of things instead of delegating to Hux. They had fought about it until she had threatened to murder him in his sleep and take over the role herself rather than let Hux have free rein. He had decided it wasn’t worth finding out whether or not she was serious.

As he stands, the ambassador falls silent, clearly offended. Kylo attempts his best placating smile, which probably looks like a pained grimace. “I apologise. I am called away urgently and will return as soon as possible.” He may or may not actually do that, but the ambassador doesn’t need to know it.

Walking back to his quarters, he mulls over the possibilities. It has to be about Alya, but in what way? Rey had been content to wait until the end of the day for him to see the arrival of Alya’s first tooth, her first day of sitting without any support, and her first stomach-shuffle-sort-of-crawl. Could she be speaking already? Perhaps she's formed her first word in all of the infant babble? 

He quickens his steps to their rooms.

The guards snap to attention as he rounds the corner. He nearly bumps into Rey as he goes through the door; she is clearly waiting for him, and she immediately brings a finger to her lips with a quiet sshhhh. He cocks his head at her as she grips his arm, propelling both of them into the main room, where he can hear Alya babbling happily.

“She’s just up from her nap. Look,” Rey whispers, pointing towards the crib. They inch closer, and Kylo finally sees the source of all of this excitement.

Two blocks are floating around Alya’s head. The force hums around her, untapped but potent, holding the toys aloft. She reaches for one clumsily, burbling as she plucks it from the air and sticks a corner in her mouth to gum at it, clearly without any sense of how momentous or incredible her actions are. It is only when she feels like she’s had a proper chew at her toy that that she notices both of them watching her. The block slowly rises in the air again and her dark eyes fix on Kylo's, full of determination.

His throat feels tight. Unbearably tight. He welcomes the feeling of Rey’s fingers tangling with his, and he coughs and hopes that his voice won’t wobble when he speaks. “She’s... Strong in the force.” Just like her mother.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised,” Rey agrees. They stand and watch their little miracle until Rey breaks the silence lightly. “I’ve been thinking— I’d like to invite some other force sensitive children here, in time. To train with her.”

That gets his attention. “Absolutely not.”

“I wasn’t asking for your permission.”

He finally stops staring at Alya, now trying to eat her own toes, and frowns at Rey. She’s glaring straight ahead with a determined set to her jaw that he both recognises and doesn’t like. “You need it anyway, and I won’t give it.”

“She needs peers. It’s fine now, but what about when she’s two? Ten? Fifteen? You can’t keep us both locked on this ship forever.”

Kylo does not want to think about his daughter as a teenager. Nor does he want to think about the two of them being anywhere but on this ship, close to hand whenever he wants to see them. Rey had argued for a temporary residence on a green planet somewhere, perhaps with she and Alya spending stretches there alone, but he had absolutely ruled out that possibility. Perhaps sensing his hard line on this, Rey had backed off and never raised it again. Which is for the best, because he would do anything for her— except let her leave. “There have been two attempts on my life in the past week alone. I won’t open either of you up to that, we’ve discussed this.”

“I think the fact that we’re the best kept secret in the galaxy is not going to change if we invite some other children here to play with her.”

“You can’t know that.”

Her glare shifts to him and it immediately makes his hackles rise. “Kylo, you have four guards standing outside those doors at every hour of the day. You have spies who watch those guards. You have spies who watch those spies. You can’t let Alya be lonely for the rest of her life because something might happen.”

“I can. And if you’re that worried about her being lonely...” He takes his thumb and runs it along Rey’s jawline, letting his voice drop to a suggestive tone. “She could always have a sibling.”

She swats his hand away but there’s a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. “Is that your solution for everything?”

“I think it’s a good solution.”

Just as quickly, Rey’s smile fades. “You can’t put your own child in a cage, Kylo.”

He can’t begin to explain how much he fears returning to his quarters one day to find both of them lifeless, glassy eyes open but unseeing. Or missing, taken for ransom somewhere by unscrupulous people hoping to exploit his greatest weakness. “I can if it keeps both of you safe.”

“I can keep myself safe.”

She’s easily the most powerful person he knows, but it’s not enough to stop the worry. “And our eight-month-old, is she meant to protect herself as well?”

“Learning how to do that would be rather the point.” Alya must be picking up on the tension, because she starts to fuss, kicking out her legs and scrunching her face. Rey swoops in to cradle her, still glaring at him. “I did not spend thirty hours giving birth to a ridiculously big infant— her size is entirely your fault, by the way— so that she could grow up without a single person around her other than her parents.”

He remembers the awful process all too well, right down to when he lost his temper and was forcibly evicted by medical staff who decided they were more afraid of Rey than they were of him. “I’m sure we can find some children of officers—”

“Oh, good,” Rey scoffs, “children who will be told by their parents to never do anything she doesn’t like. That won't affect her behaviour. She needs peers, not little servants.”

Maybe dealing with the ambassador was simpler than this. “Have you been thinking about this for while?”

Rey runs a hand along Alya’s head, stroking the downy black hair still slowly coming in. “I wanted to see if she had the force, first. But... Yes, I have.”

“Why?”

“I know what it means to be alone.” The words come with an emotion so powerful that it radiates across the bond, a grief so deep that it would destroy anyone less resilient and stubborn than his Rey. "I wouldn't wish it on anyone." 

“I—” It sucks the breath from his lungs. Something in Kylo’s own heart answers to that loneliness and he sees through her eyes, the years of waiting, the isolation, scrounging around the hulking skeletons of star-destroyers—

He can’t deny her.

So he panics instead. “I should get back to my meeting. I’ve already been away too long.”

Spinning on his heel, the head of the most fearsome military organisation in the galaxy leaves the room and flees.

 


 

It takes the entire walk back to the reception rooms for Kylo to calm down; as expected, he returns to the meeting to find that ambassador is still in full-swing. Settling into his chair, Kylo can feel the irritation growing into a headache in the base of his skull as the translator turns to him and murmurs, “as you have been absent, the ambassador is offering to reiterate what was said when you were gone.”

Kylo resists the urge to visibly rub his temples. “Can you summarise?”

“The sum we are offering is too low and an insult considering the risks it entails to the integrity of their planetary surface. They have suggested a counteroffer that is nearly double the amount. Based on my knowledge of their culture, I suggest we open negotiations by starting with a 15% increase and gradually work from there—”

He definitely should have left this to Hux. The reminder of why he didn’t, as well as the sense of impotence and frustration at not being able to just hit the problem, pitches his anger even higher.

The interpreter is still talking. “The ambassador is suggesting that, as a new Supreme Leader, you may see value in examining previously negotiated deals as a reference.”

The reminder of his newness to the position and the implied lack of knowledge sends his temper, always simmering close to the surface, to bursting.

“Enough.” He snaps it loudly enough that the ambassador stops and everyone, including his own officers, look to him in surprise. “You will agree to the offered amount, or we invade. Tomorrow.” The interpreter looks uncomfortable as he relays this to the ambassador, reciting the words by rote without any of Kylo’s venom.

The silence is stunned. The ambassador splutters, finally, making a series of noises that the interpreter awkwardly translates as, “um, this is an affront, this is— bluffing has no place in negotiation—”

Kylo’s anger mounts another step. “You can decide if it’s a bluff when the First Order’s warships are at your doorstep. Or you can take the credits we are offering. Your choice.”

The ambassador says something and the interpreter mutters, “she requests a day to consider your terms.”

“She can have it.” Kylo beckons over another one of his officers. “I know we’re running behind schedule, what is next?” It’s another meeting— of course— this time something about budget reallocations from research to training. No wonder why Snoke tended to delegate and focus on expanding his power in the force. Who knew that leading an empire could be so tedious.

The ambassador and her retinue are sweeping out of the room, muttering angrily. He can feel the edge of capitulation in the force; they will likely agree to his terms. Not that he cares if they don’t. It would feel good to watch something burn. Intergalactic politics feel so much simpler than trying to negotiate with his wife.

 


 

Kylo slinks back into their rooms many hours later, nervous about a repeat of the earlier discussion. He finds Rey sitting with a sleepy Alya in her lap, the rocking chair swinging back and forth at a lazy and sedate pace. To his immense relief, she just gives him a tired smile.

He inches closer and crouches down to look at Alya’s contented face, the spray of lashes against her round cheeks. “She do all right today? Other than clearly demonstrating that she’ll be the strongest force user who ever lived, of course.”

“We tried melon,” Rey murmurs. “I think she liked it. Had a bit of trouble with... I think it was maybe gas? Either way, there was a bit of screaming, but she was excellent in the sling when some of the techs came by— we talked about how we might incorporate the Mirialan pyronium into the new propulsor lift design. Did they agree to let it be mined, by the way?”

“They will.” No need for her to know the details of how that was negotiated.

Stopping the chair, Rey gets to her feet, hefting Alya’s weight. “Bed time for this one.” They had moved her to her own room barely over six weeks ago, which had significantly expanded the scope for some of Kylo’s preferred night-time activities. All of the walls were soundproofed, but a comm system designed to pick up any of Alya’s cries had worked to everyone’s satisfaction so far. “Your dinner is still on the table. Save some dessert for me.”

He eats mindlessly, trying to get through some of the mountains of correspondence sitting on his comm. Requisition requests, planetary policy changes, priority setting documents...

Small fingers touch his cheek. While he was working, Rey changed into one of his favourites, a little white slip that is snug around her breasts and barely hits the tops of her thighs. He can’t count the number of times she’s arranged to have it replaced, the originals torn in his enthusiasm. All thoughts of his duties are immediately forgotten, and he hums his appreciation as she moves to stand between his legs, sweeping his hair out of his eyes.

“You’re making it difficult to read,” he mutters, leaning forward to nuzzle the valley between her breasts. The new and exciting pregnancy-growth has mostly disappeared since she weaned Alya, leaving only silvery stretch marks behind. But on the flipside, he’s relieved that he can touch them again without her wincing in pain.

“I’ll get out of the way, then,” she purrs, and sinks down to her knees.

She’s an expert at getting him out of his clothing by now. He sucks a breath in through his teeth when his cock is finally free, savouring the first pass of her lips, the wet heat of her mouth.

Trying to maintain control of himself, he picks his datapad back up swipes through it without reading, steadying his hand to take a sip of his caf. It’s worth it when he glances down and spots the way that she sees it, the humiliation colouring her cheeks and making her squirm. The way that it makes her redouble her efforts. The little choking noises are like a drug; in minutes, the comm falls to the table with a thunk when he gives up on the pretence, stretching out his body to try and adjust to the liquid pleasure obliterating his thoughts.

It whites out his mind when his cock hits the back of her throat and then keeps going, tight as a vice, working around him as she valiantly deepthroats him—

“Enough,” Kylo croaks out, fisting his hand in her hair and pulling her away. It’s the most self-control he’s ever displayed in his life, but he knows where he’d rather come. “If you’re so desperate for cock, I’ll give it to you.”

“Please,” she says as he grabs her under her arms, hoisting her onto the table. “Please, Master?” His comm is knocked to the ground with a crack but he doesn’t hesitate as he pulls her legs apart and tugs the dress up past her belly button. Nothing underneath, of course. The height of the table is well placed for him to sit back down on his chair, lean forward, and press his lips to the soft wet place between her legs. “Oh,” she whispers, and then again, louder, growing in intensity as he licks and licks, focusing in tight swirls or long sweeping strokes. Especially when he presses two fingers in, until her sounds are less distinct and just one long continuous stream of moaning. He finally stops when her thighs are sticky with arousal, her cunt tightly squeezing around his fingers. 

The dress is in the way. It joins its predecessors when Kylo stands and pulls on the collar until the soft fabric gives way, rending it right down the middle until it’s barely hanging off her shoulders. Reaching for the dessert, he swipes at some of the pudding with his thumb and smears it across her breasts, ignoring her indignant squirming. “That was for me,” Rey starts, breaking off to moan when he leans down to lick it off her skin. It does things to him, seeing her spit-slickened skin, nipples pulled into tight peaks. Her arousal is still on his chin— it’s all so messy, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Especially when he lifts her hips a bit higher, reaching down to grip himself and notch his cock inside her, enjoying her long, low moan as he slides forward, tight walls parting until he bottoms out. It still takes self-control and a few deep breaths to not lose his mind immediately; it doesn’t help that she’s straining towards him, arms wrapped around his neck, hands tangling in his hair, pressing little kisses to his chin, his neck, his collarbone.

“Rey,” he mutters, trying to set any rhythm around her squirming, “hold still or I will tie you down.”

“Maybe I want you to,” she breathes back, grinning up at him.

He gives her thigh a slap for that bit of insubordination, which breaks off her giggle into another moan. Ignoring her disappointed sound when he slips out of her, he turns her onto her front, pressing her cheek to the table. The remains of the slip become the bindings for loosely wrapping her wrists together, quickly checking that it’s loose enough for her to slip out of if she needs to. He fucks back into her with enough speed that she jerks on the table and squeaks. “There,” he says, planting one hand and curling the other into her hair, tugging her hair back so he can speak directly in her ear. “That enough for you, greedy girl?” He can see her ass jiggle with each thrust and it’s mesmerising, the way that she swallows him in, his cock glistening and wet each time he withdraws. “You’re grateful, aren’t you?”

“Yes, thank you, thank you, Master, tha—”

He wants to reward that sort of enthusiasm. So he drags her a little further back and pulls her hips up again, high enough that her toes barely hit the ground, reaching around and under to swirl his fingers at her clit. He’s not sure that he’ll ever get over the heady feeling of being able to feel the point where he slips in, where she’s split around his cock; never mind the tightness and wet heat of her, leaving every in of him feeling hot and taut. It’s pure will that lets him ride out the minutes until she tightens and wails, babbling out incoherent and thanks and crying, her fingers clenched so tightly in her bindings that the knuckles are white.

Kylo almost thinks he might be able to coax another one out of her until she twists her head and he sees the tear tracks down her cheeks, the bitten and swollen lips. “Please come in me,” she whispers, and that is it. He gasps and slams his fist into the table so hard that probably bruises his knuckles, coming for what feels like eons, all of that pleasure concentrated in one hot welter.

It takes him a few seconds of learning over her, panting and twitching, before he collects himself enough to tug her wrists free. Hooking an arm under her knee and her shoulders, he gently scoops her into his arms to carry her to the bed. Rather than set her down, he just flops and ends up half on top of her as she yelps in surprise. “Hey,” she protests, squirming and poking his shoulder with a stern stab that slips into a laugh, “you’re crushing me.”

“Gimme... minute,” he mumbles, purposefully becoming a dead weight as she laughs harder, trying to shove him off. Eventually he relents, rolling onto his side, propped up so he can stare his fill. Her hair is a bird’s nest and she has the dreamy, content look that she gets after a particularly good orgasm. Perfect.

Stretching, she relaxes into the mattress and rolls onto her stomach. “What?”

“Nothing. Do you want me to get your sleep shirt?”

“Mmph,” she mutters, shaking her head into the pillow and wriggling under the sheets. “It’s fine.”

She takes up so much of the bed. He’d even arranged for a delivery of a bigger bed, just so she has the room to spread out as much as she’d like and still leave room for him. She tends to wriggle away from him if he gets too close, complaining that he runs too hot and makes her sweaty, but she likes it when he leaves his palm splayed across the small of her back or curved over her hip. Tonight, she wraps her fingers around his wrist and brings his palm to her lips, planting a delicate kiss there before guiding it to the slope of her neck, resting just under her ear.

And then she smiles. And Kylo’s heart hiccups at the sight of it, the easy grace of it. The way that he gets to have that, all for himself, forever.

She curls her fingers over his. “We’re going to talk more about finding some company for Alya, right?”

“Absolutely not.” But the resigned way that he says it must give him away, because Rey’s smile just broadens.

“Mhm,” she hums, sounding like she doesn’t believe him for a moment.

He is so doomed. He always has been. “I’m serious, Rey. No.”

Her eyes are closed now, clearly ready to drift to sleep, but the smile still lingers. She mumbles her answer in an irritatingly sweet sing-song tone that should annoy him but somehow doesn’t. “I know you are.”

It is only much later that evening, on the very edge of sleep— in that fragile moment right before waking consciousness slips away— that Kylo can admit to himself that Rey will possibly, maybe, probably end up getting her way.

 


 

 

And graven with diamonds in letters plain

There is written, her fair neck round about:

Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,

And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

 

 - Excerpt from "Whoso List to Hunt", by Sir Thomas Wyatt