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Chiaroscuro (A Star Wars Story)

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 22.

  

Surreptitious  [ sur-uh p-tish-uh s ]  Kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of

 

 

"I got a few on my tail!" Poe excitedly announced as he jettisoned through space while trying to head off the the couple of TIE fighters that had been trailing him and his small fleet for some time now.

"I can cut 'em off at the pass," Jess announced in his ear monitor from her X-Wing.

"We need to split up, take a few of them off towards..." Snap began.

"Stick to the plan, it will work. Snap, take your crew off to the mission, the rest of us, lets show them what we got. Don't let any of them go. Keep 'em busy. They might be a small group, but they will be easy to distract and out maneuver."

"Copy that, Blackleader." Snap answered.

It was a successful plan, and pretty impressive what they could pull off with just a few X Wings. Poe had an antagonizing nack for getting the TIE fighters to give him chase while the rest of his squad could lead the enemy out to a false rendezvous point where they would be able to take them out. 

Poe chuckled to himself.

They seemed to always be gunning for him for some reason...huh.

Slowing up and jetting off while the rest had been preoccupied, Snap, Karé and Jess were able to move out and continue on to complete their mission for the General, the mission to find other Resistance members that had been lucky enough to have not been on Hosnian Prime, all while keeping tabs the best they could on the whereabouts of the Supremacy and any other First Order blockades. Having to go about it in person was a big issue, but in this quadrant they had little choice since it was occupied...and they couldn't risk communications being intercepted. 

That was the last time he had heard from them.

 

Poe took a deep breath as he came out of his reprieve to survey the information in front of him, raking a hand through his dark hair. The rest of Black Squadron had returned after that last successful mission...except Snap, Jess and Karé.

He looked at the communication Kaydel had been able to decipher, a new message they had received. He knew to look at this with interest when it had come in, since it had been wrote with an older code, it had to be them.

The stakes where high but there had been little doubt that they were still alive. The enemy must have been there to intercept at planet fall or had already been there awaiting them.

The First Order had spread quickly across the galaxy, their military finding Resistance and their allies and killing or arresting them. For worlds that they had an interest in, they would over throw the local government and put their own people in control. You either acquiesced to them or you were quickly replaced. There wasn't a lot of argument to be found...and the planet they were trying to get access to, was to get some of their allies out. 

BB-8 swiveled his head back to look up at Poe with a sympathetic beep.

He had a plan to find them and get them out but convincing the General to risk her better judgment on his plan, had become a challenge. He knew the other pilots were here waiting to hear his strategy and what they could do to help.

It was his turn to talk.

"Let's do this, buddy." He answered the droid.

BB-8 happily rolled over to the side as Poe took a deep breath, standing up, to meet the the Resistance gathered before him. 

"You know," he started, a finger nervously tapping against the counsel table he had walked over to, as those in attendance gave him their immediate attention.

"I've been thinking about all of this. Thinking about the fight. I don't think it's about heroes," he looked up to meet some of his team's eyes, "good and evil isn’t just fought by heroes and villains, but by ordinary people. I used to think it was the Jedi or the best pilots winning against impossible odds..." he took a deep breath to continue, "nope. It's not even about saving the galaxy. It's about saving your galaxy...the one within reach. You choose right over wrong," he pointed, "when it's dark, you try to bring some light. You end your journey knowing you made things brighter. If everyone made that choice, and I think everyone can, just think of what we can achieve. Maybe others out there just need to see how to," he held his hands out, "I think that's the fight. We've lost a lot, but we still have it in us to pick ourselves up and just do what needs to be done. We can still win. We even have a history of victories. Of course there are some losses, but also a lot of great achievement...we just have to be that spark...the spark of hope. So can we all do this?"

The faces around him looked at him in wonder, some even moved by his words...words this rag tag group of rebels needed to hear. Finn let out a "woop" that started the sporadic applause that broke out.

As those assembled were taking in Poe's words of encouragement, General Leia met his eyes from across the room, a big smile on her face. 

Listening and witnessing his growth as a leader, she could now see why he reminded her of Luke, he was passionate, an outstanding pilot and dedicated to doing what was right, it was why she had offered him the opportunity to join the Resistance in the first place. Sure he had stumbled some along the way, who doesn't, and now was the time for her to witness him being the leader she always knew that he could become. 

Never to take away from Poe, but deep down she would of preferred to be witnessing the growth of her own son...

She remembered her talk with Poe just a few days ago. 

"The Resistance...there are so few of us left," she had told him, "we caused some damage, but the First Order...they have an immense military. I have to be sure every decision we make is perfect, everything is at stake."

She had turned down his first request to rescue his pilots stranded on Ikkruk...he hadn't obtained enough solid evidence that they had even made it.

But now? What was she to do? She was a leader and she was in this fight for life. She couldn't exactly go hide and run from responsibility, like Luke had done, this was so much bigger then her. These people where counting on her, she was their inspiration of hope...and she had never lost her own hope...not entirely anyway...

"I would rather be a monster that believes in something, that would sacrifice everything to make the galaxy better, than be someone who sits on the sidelines and watches as if it has no consequences to them."

She remembered her own words and knew that failure was an option, one she had hoped to avoid, but sitting around doing nothing would get them no where fast. Poe had finally presented the evidence and had said the words she needed to hear...the words they all had needed to hear.

"Your right, Poe," she said, as she walked slowly towards him from the back of the room, "this is something we need to be doing right now. We can save these Resistance members but we can also publicly show the galaxy what we are willing to do, despite the threat from the First Order. The Starkiller is gone, and I know a lot of our allies are hiding and are afraid to join the fight, but now we can get our message across, and show that we are still out here, the rebellion is still very much alive, something that they so desperately need to hear at this moment."

His eyes on hers, she smiled standing in front of him now. "Poe, your plan is rash but we could use some rash these days. Foolishness and passion are often confused, and passion is something we desperately need."

BB-8 beeped in encouragement.

Not too sure if that was a compliment or not, Poe looked at the general with a surprised look.

"Yes, really," she answered him with a smirk and slight shake of her head, "so get moving, every passing moment only straightens their hold on the galaxy."

"Thank you, thank you, General," he said excitedly as he practically leaped up over the counter to meet with his pilots to share the plan Leia was in reference to.

Smiling, she left the room to go meet up with Luke. He was in her private room for a few briefings. He didn't want to walk in like some hero to save the day...in fact the less people that knew where to find him, the better, or so he thought. 

He had arrived some time ago, but they had been able to keep it quiet, for the most part.

 

"I am not some damn hero or these people's savior," he had said to her after she got done delivering a few painful punches to his arm.

"That's fine," she had warned him, "we need whatever help we can get and would like some assistance...when you are ready to grow up."

"Not too sure what I can do." He shrugged, resigned.

Leia gave him a incredulous look. 

"Just stop. Stop with all the bull. You know exactly why we need you here right now...your guidance in the Force."

He looked down sheepishly. He was being a bit of an ass to her, he supposed. Really, he owed her and he knew it. They had had a long discussion over some wine. "Sorry," he had said shaking his head, "I will do what I can... for all of you, but I don't want to deliver some false hope, either." He had admitted.

"Well now is certainly not the time for those people," she jabbed a thumb towards the Resistance pilot's meeting room, "to hear any negativity. It really doesn't matter what we think it looks like, without hope, we have nothing. I can't believe for a minute that you could settle for that."

Luke met her eyes, shaking his head up and down slowly in agreement. It was words that he knew he had to hear...and really it wasn't so much that...it was his guilt, that he had failed with Ben. These people needed someone they could count on to not fail. Leia didn't know the extent of his failure with her son. It was something he figured he would always carry with him...

 

Finn built up his nerve, he needed to know about Rey and no one else was telling him anything, or they just didn't know either. He took a deep breath and walked in to the room. 

Leia caught his eye.

"General Organa, Master Skywalker." He greeted them both respectfully.

Luke gave him a quick nod. 

Leia knew what the young man was going to ask...he cared for his friends and had a right to at least know Rey was safe. Still, his question was going to be difficult to answer.

“Can I ask where Rey is?” He couldn’t keep an ominous feeling from falling over him.

You can ask whatever you want...but getting an answer? She smiled.

“Of course, she is fine,” Leia answered, reassuringly, "carrying out something personal that she had wanted to do."

Finn looked doubtful. To him, the general's answer was just vague and unconvincing, but before he could open his mouth again, Poe walked in.

Once again to save the day.

Leia had filled him in earlier so that he might help some with explanations. She knew the news would come better from a close friend.

“She is on a mission and knows exactly what she is doing, Finn.” Poe said, walking up to him. “She is smart and strong,” he grinned, “you know our girl can more then take care of herself.”

Finn considered his words still not liking any of this.

"Does she have anyone with her? A way to contact us?"

A few other Resistance leaders that could be there, entered the room to take a seat for a briefing. Poe looked behind him giving them a head shake and a smile of welcome.

“She surrendered.” Luke informed Finn.

Leia rolled her eyes at her brother's response. He just shrugged.

“She what? Why? To who?" He caught a flinch in Leia's eye. "No, no, no, not...how do you know he won't hurt her! The First Order is not a safe place for her! He..." Finn stopped short before he could say something he may regret.

"I mean, what guarantee do we have..." he asked, lowering his voice.

Leia answered him with a smile, “Yes, Finn, she does know exactly what she is doing. It was her idea, she felt she could help from the inside, she has an "in" and had her mind made up. We made sure that she has everything she needs...including a way to contact us. You need to just trust her."

Finn had so many more questions, but the look Leia shot him told him that now was neither the time nor the place. This discussion was over. He leaned a shoulder against the wall, a bit resigned but knew that he wasn’t going to get anything else answered at the moment.

"Rey is where she needs to be."

Maz’s words again replaying in his head...just what that was supposed to mean, he had no idea. He only hoped that she was safe, that he didn’t hurt her. He knew she could take care of herself, that she had been working with Luke, and they sure didn't seem very concerned. But still, he would kill him if he found out that he hurt her...then he stopped that train of thought. This was Leia’s son he was talking about. That sure made this whole situation more than awkward.

“Come on, Finn.” Poe smacked his shoulder, “let’s go, buddy. I have some intel to update you on...we need you for this."

“Right,” Finn agreed.

As Poe strode by, he gave a secret look to a smiling Admiral Holdo.

Finn noticed the secret exchange. 

As soon as they had left the room and was out of ear shot, Finn asked, "Hey, something going on?" 

"Hopefully...soon." Poe smirked back at his friend, "For now I just need to bring the rest of my squad home before anything else," he said suddenly very serious. 

"I just don't understand what Rey thinks she is doing."

"It's not for us to know at this time, really," Poe explained, "it's about whatever she, Leia and Luke have going on and Rey trusts them, I trust Leia. I know it's not easy and doesn't make a lot sense to us now, but maybe we can find out more along the way."

Finn sighed. Poe stopped them as they faced each other.

"You know we aren't going to just abandon her. And its normal to be concerned for our friend, but Luke has taught her plenty and you knew she was already able to throw down from the get go."

Finn chuckled in agreement, looking down a moment, remembering how they first met: her flattening him with her quarter staff when she thought he was a thief.

"Your right, okay," Finn agreed with a sigh, "for now."

They continued on their walk.

"But, General Organa said it was personal?"

"Yeah, well," Poe looked ahead for a moment. He really had no clue himself, but from what Leia had sort of alluded towards, it had something to do with her son. "It's her business," he shrugged. "Could be some Jedi thing. I am sure we will hear from her soon." He finished, reassuringly. 

 

Finn and Poe had left and the others who were meeting with them were getting seated. He could feel her eyes on him.

"What," Luke shrugged, "look, he came to his own conclusion of where she is and he needs to know or the few people privy will just keep asking...they need to know that we respect her decision, that she is working on something for the Resistance." 

"Right, but maybe use a bit more tact." Leia smiled at him. 

Actually, this was something else that they needed right now...Rey had hope...

Hope in her son to once again see the light.

 

 

As he slowly removed his mask, the familiar cool air of the dark, cavernous room hit his face.

When he had returned to the Finalizer with his "prize" the Supreme Leader had wanted an immediate update.

His gloved hand touched the transmitting device. Within seconds a visage of the Supreme Leader appeared in front of him.

"My apprentice," it spoke, "I trust all is going according to our plan."

"Yes, my master," Kylo answered, his own deep voice echoing in the large, dark room as he knelt before the larger than life image of the Supreme Leader upon his darkened throne.

"Good, good. I will send for you to join me on the Supremacy within time, for now, begin training the girl, break her of bad habits and find out what she knows...but take caution."  

"Caution...my master?" He reluctantly questioned as he gazed down in his reverence.

"Yes. You don't know her true intentions, so be decisive, especially with further inquiry of your...unique bond."

At this, Kylo's head involuntary shot back up.

"What? Did you think I did not know of this?" Snoke asked in feigned innocence as a smile stretched across his grotesque face. 

Kylo already knew that Snoke had knowledge of their bond, he had even interfered with it to somehow make it stronger. He was however, momentarily caught off guard by his master's sudden candor regarding the connection. 

"You cannot hide anything from me." He reiterated with an air of disdain. 

Kylo's jaw clamped tight as he thought of what to say.

"It wasn't hidden..."

"No, my apprentice?"

Kylo stared at him, trying to hide his rapidly beating heart as a feeling of dread had bloomed and slowly slid coldly through him. With it was doubt in his own ability to free himself of such a hold, in finding a way to gain enough strength to even challenge Snoke.

But he was Vader's one true heir. The galaxy was rightfully his. He would have to find his strength...this was his test...

The holo sighed.

"She is your weakness," he spat, "you have an egregious human desire for her flesh clouding your every judgment."

Kylo cleared his throat. "No, I know what I have to do."

"DO YOU?" The huge unnerving face of the hologram boomed around the room as it moved closer to him.

"I have seen the mighty Kylo Ren...the Jedi Killer, assassin, powerful destroyer of worlds," his hand gestured, "my worthy apprentice...but I have also seen his spirit split to the bone,"  his fist slammed down on his chair arm, "which...are...you?"

Kylo could not do much as he listened, his eyes diverted down as he was taught to do in his master's presence.

"Your father was a fool, not destined for greatness, he, like the rest of your family, never understood, they would have abused your power, held you back."

Kylo could feel a far away part of himself, something foreign as he fought a prick in his eyes, the reason he was here, stuck in some trap.

"Who was there for you, young Solo? Who is the only one who understands you, who has always understood you?"

Snoke smiled with his simple reminder that Ben Solo's family, through their abandonment and betrayal, had turned their back on him...not to mention an uncle who had tried to murder him. It all made flipping that switch within him that much easier.

As with any Skywalker, that option had been purposely placed since the beginning.  

Kylo forced his face to become stone as he looked up at the hologram in continued reverence, the memories of his own family being a threat to him, giving him no choice but to turn to Snoke, presently dragged to the forefront of his mind.

He quickly addressed the slight quake in his voice as he answered, "you have been there, my master, you have put me on the path to ultimate power, and showed me my own destiny."

"Yes, my boy," he slightly shook his alien misshaped head in agreement, "only you have the potential to be the next Vader, to fulfill your birthright and obtain what is truly yours."

"It is through your teachings that I gain my strength."

"There is much more to learn. For now, you need to break the girl down and build her back up, you are her master,"  he explained, showing an edge of mania, "she came from nothing...Skywalker has had time in her head with his manipulations, you need to show her the truth in her own potential, as I have for you, and make her into something." 

Snoke tapped his hand on the arm of this throne in some thought, the clicking noise of the backside of his obsidian ring that adorned his thin, bony finger  heard momentarily over the holo.

"She must submit and become what we want her to be, to face her only true destiny...and limit your bond, she cannot have too much access to your intentions."

Then he delivered, with a certain amount of glee, the stake that would keep his apprentice on task.

"The bond and her power...she still has little control or understanding of...if she were to obtain too much knowledge in any of this...," his voice trailed off in a question... "she is powerful and will only become more so, but left unconstrained and not properly mastered, if you should fail I fear then her demise would be...inevitable." The last part he shook his head in feigned regret.

He contemplated Solo. He was very strong at one time, never beaten or tempted by his light side until the Force had awakened. The galaxy had been theirs and they had the master thread, Skywalker, once again under control and doing their bidding. He knew it was only a matter of time, as it always was with the Force and its natural search for balance, before someone rose up as the champion of the light. Regardless of Solo's weakness, with the girl, the light's champion, it would be snuffed out and they would reign once again.

Ben bowed his head as his master's visage faded, clenching his gloved fists at his sides. He finally looked up in his seemingly dazed state, not wanting to truly believe all he was being told, but his master had not lied to him, not entirely, and he did need his guidance to make Rey see the truth. But he could not give her the reigns to the bond. If she discovered too much...as was alluded to...he had been alone most of his life, alone to trust only Snoke. If she were to learn too much...or if he should fail as a master himself, right now she wouldn't understand that she was his destiny...but without her, he would truly be alone. He could not loose her again.

She would learn the ways of the darkside and stand by his side as he had foreseen. 

He pushed away his weakness. Replacing the mask on his head, he felt a renewed composure as he was able to once again hide his fears.

He would not be his grandfather...always second to the Emperor, no. He would become the Supreme Leader. He was second to no one...and this thought he had kept successfully hidden. He would complete what grandfather had set out to do.

He turned, readying himself for meditation in his rooms. His legs moved rapidly in determination as he stalked out of the room, nearly running over Hux on the other side of the door. Lost in his own thoughts, he didn't feel the glare that followed behind him as the General narrowed his eyes in hatred.

 

 

What was that sound? A siren…she was ready for combat...but is this really her?

...part of it feels as if...she looks down, her boots where heavy, the armor on her was heavy, picking her head back up she realized that she was looking through the lens of a mask…she held an opposing weapon, a lightsaber, yellow light streaking out of it…

the power...

A tall, formidable phantom is next to her in similar black robes with gold tone armor...and a battle mask, a terrifying long muzzled mask. It slowly turns toward her from under a hood and she can only figure that he (she knows this is a man) can see her through the small cut slit across it. There was something truly unnerving about staring into a faceless mask, it made the wearer more intimidating and seem more powerful, as was the point of it. The disturbing design of it rivaled…

 

"It should not have surprised anyone that he turned Sith. He knew you cannot fight the darkside without first understanding it…”

“It is more than just a space station, in ways it is like a living creature…it hungers, feeding off of the darkside in all of us.”

“That thread…a thousand generations live in you, it is why the darkside calls to you, you hunger to taste it.”

 

That siren…a call to arms…

"I wouldn't want to change anything, if it hadn't happened, I might never of found you."

She awoke when the chrono went off.

No, no siren, it’s just a chrono. Throwing a hand out, she acknowledged it with a rough slap, rolling back over in the comfortable bed with a moan…more sleep.

Wait, a comfortable bed?

Her eyes popped open...and closed.

For a split second, she had forgotten where she was. Opening her eyes again, squinting, she saw the grey walls, and the sunless dark port, dark with outer space...she remembered the events of the day before.

 

She had been paraded off of the shuttle, hands bound in unnecessary cuffs.

They were just for looks, the cuffs, she was pretty sure..

Kylo had prepared her on their travel, told her of what to expect as stormtroopers came over to escort her to the medical bay. He would get tended too as well, but in the officers’ level of the ship. For now, she had a part to play, for more reasons than anyone knew.

She couldn't help but feel a little guilty regarding her true motivations and that she had made this decision with Luke and Leia...however, after what she had learned, combined with her feelings for him, she couldn't see any other way to do this.

...and absolutely no one knew they were secretly lovers.

However, the minute the doors had opened on his shuttle, opening to the massive destroyer hangar, he had instantly changed...changed into Kylo Ren...mask in place. He walked out in front of her, she behind, with a trooper. He felt different, his aura, as if, as if they were back in the forest again and he was formidable and frightening. This was a side of him...that was not Ben.

A quick flash of fear had instantly run through her, this environment, the way he had to be here...his show of power. Would being here make her hopes more difficult to achieve than she had originally thought or would his feelings for her be enough for him to rise above? 

"I don't know if I can be what you want me to be, but I can't go back now that I've found you again..."

She didn't look at him as she was handed off to a trooper, Kylo being immediately surrounded by officers trying to keep up with him, reporting updates as they trailed behind him, his cape billowing, long legs briskly walking with some other purpose, straight into another world...the one apart from her.

She refused to show any sign of defeat or weakness, she held her head up as she walked. No one paid her any mind, hauling prisoners through the expansive ship was probably quite a normal sight and she was already in issue clothing. She was going to keep strong if she was to make this charade believable. She was here with a purpose...but it still didn't ease all of her fears.

The ship was enormous inside and there were so many people. She noted that it seemed twice the size of the Empire’s old destroyers recognizing some of the layout from having scavenged through a downed Star Destroyer in the grave yards of Jakku, however, some of the schematics had changed. She remembered the rumors of a new class of destroyer that had been built in secret shipyards somewhere within the Unknown Regions. The Finalizer was not a solitary vessel, but the flagship of a massive fleet of similar capital ships...spread all across the galaxy.

"What rebel scum it this?" The corridor guardsman asked as they checked her in.

"She is in Lord Ren's custody," the modulated woman's voice answered from within the stoomtrooper helmet, "with orders to be treated as such."

"Hmm, okay," he murmured with little care, his eyes raking over her body head to toe, making her feel really uncomfortable.

Rey could feel the anxiety that shot through the other troopers in attendance at the mere mention of Kylo Ren.  

"Do you have a problem?" Rey lurched out suddenly, the trooper keeping her back. She couldn't stay silent as Kylo had advised, this man was disrespectful, he had immediately annoyed her and for some reason she could feel her anger just below the surface.

The guardsman had flinched back in surprise. "No, no," he sneered, "no problem..."

He shot her another uncomfortable glace, but she refused to let him belittle her. She narrowed her eyes, kept her head up and never once looked away.

The trooper holding her arm tightened her grip in warning before Rey said anything else.

"Don't look like too much of a mess, a bit rabid, however," he continued, hands moving over a keyboard, "but we have to be sure your clean so...ahhh," he said looking at his monitor. He looked at the trooper, talking low in some code.

Happy to be finally moving away from whatever that was, she was escorted forward through a set of large doors.

The med bay beyond was typical, she supposed, having never seen one…it was cold, white and sterile. Her cuffs were removed, and the trooper left her.

She was treated well, but given little privacy, well it was just medical droids, to remove her clothes and stand naked in a decontamination stall. Once able to put on a gown, the tech scanned her body with a device, and then another med droid came over to clean and dress her head wound with the appropriate bacta. They found the rest of her injuries where just scratches.

It all felt so surreal as she was then escorted to an inner room and given a black tunic, pants and black slipper like shoes for her feet. She pulled her hair back in a tie.

A doctor came to speak with her and asked questions about her monthly cycle...something she had not experienced before. Rey was caught totally off guard with the questions. She was offered a way to eliminate a cycle completely with an injection to prevent pregnancy. The doctor was a woman, but Rey couldn’t help but feel somewhat on the spot with her questions, she felt some embarrassment, but yes, she agreed. She was sure there was no way anyone could know it was Ben...she had never thought of such a thing. Having very little knowledge growing up on Jakku, she knew this was true, but it just hadn’t occurred to her for some reason that she could actually become pregnant by having sex.

Ben's child.

Wincing, as the needle went in her arm, she thought about how the First Order did take care of their people...but they could afford to. They had an unfair, forced advantage. She tried to not think of all the evil they were doing or where they got their funding from.

She was starting to feel small in a huge world she knew very little about. Going through the motions and returning to the stupid cuffs, she was escorted out to a lift. She had no idea how many levels they rose, her mind kept drifting, but upon exiting the lift, she found that she was not headed for a detention block. Instead she was handed off to a young woman with curly brunette hair tied neatly back and in some kind of deep navy uniform. It appeared troopers were not allowed past a certain point here.

The hall was dark and quiet, it had more of a residential feel. She was escorted to a room at the end of whatever hall they were on. She was ordered to step into the room, as the agent removed her cuffs, shutting the door behind them.

“This is a private sector,” the women said, collaborating Rey's initial thought.

Clipping the cuffs she removed to her belt, the woman continued, “no one else should be down here except with permission from Lord Ren.” She glanced down at a communicator on her wrist for a moment at some update that had come in, hitting a few buttons in response, then she looked back up at Rey with a much softer look on her face. 

She pointed at her rank badge, Agent Kaerhi, it read on her uniform. “Lord Ren will be in contact but if you should need anything in the interim, you can contact me via the chrono in the sleeping area,” she then held out a hand to Rey with a quick slight smile. Rey looked at her hand a moment and then back up at her pleasant face as she took the agent's offered hand. They shook with a couple brisk pumps, “welcome aboard," the woman said.

“Thank you,” Rey said awkwardly as the agent turned to leave.

The door was shut behind her, locked, leaving her alone. She was still a prisoner after all. However, it would take her no time to learn how the doors maneuvered and then she could use the Force for escape. Kylo must have figured this and...also knew that she wouldn’t try it, at least not now.

She looked around the room as she rubbed her wrists. Everything was as dark grey and black as she had expected, however parts of the floor had dark, soft, rug like areas in the small sitting space she currently stood in and in the bed area that she could see over by the far wall. As she slowly walked through the sitting room, passed the small couches facing each other, she noticed how soft these areas where on her feet. A small table had a few packages of food on it. She wasn’t sure what it all was, but there were some things that looked like bread and in a box some strange looking fruit. She grabbed a bright looking round fruit that she could hold in her hand, without hesitation, and began to eat. She was hungry and this tasted so good and sweet.

And it wasn't from the sea. 

Continuing her investigation, she found there was a small refresher behind a sliding door. The shower stall and fluffy towels caught her eye. As she slowly continued to eat the fruit, she walked up one step to the bed platform. The bed was a decent size, surely bigger then she needed. As she sat on it, she noticed a container of sorts that had liquid inside of it sitting on a side shelf. She tentatively touched the black covers on the bed to find they were some of the softest material she thinks she has ever felt. It made her think of his soft, thick, dark hair. She finished her food and ran a hand over the material again. The bed itself was plush, surely not a cot in some faraway hidden base. She couldn't help but smile slightly as she got in under the soft, warm covers.

 

She came back to her current surroundings. There was a message on the computer screen. She was to meet Lord Ren in some dining room. She sighed, so it begins. 

She got out of the bed slowly, sitting up and stretching then walked to the tall armoire, opening it's doors. Inside was comfortable dark colored clothing, all in her size. She looked up as she chose a tunic and pants…and the softest undergarments.

How long had he been preparing for her? It's like he just knew...for how long?...Something had always been there, since they were children. She had wanted to stay with Ben then...but who was he truly now? She knew who he thought he was...

As her bare feet stepped across the soft, thick carpet headed for the small refresher, she had to admit, as she turned on the water, that having privacy and a good amount of warmth to bathe in felt wonderful. The hot water falling across her sent pleasurable relief through her body and on her sore muscles. Her mind had started to wander, as it seemed to always do lately, to the feel of his big hands on her, gripping her tightly as he sank into her...

Stop!

She quickly finished her shower, fearing what time it would take if she let her thoughts run off too freely as she lathered and washed her smooth skin. She was able to dry her hair, binding the front of it back, the rest hanging free. She dressed and checked the computer for directions to where she was to go. With one last look around the room, she felt empty handed…her utility belt, her saber, her staff…nothing was here.

The door just opened at her approach, she was apparently free to be on her own, at least in a couple of sectors that didn't require some sort of clearance.

It wasn't too far, just down a level. The computer informed her she was indeed in a partial residential level for some officers, but she saw no one on her way to her meeting place.

Soon she walked in a room full of wondrous smells that made her stomach growl. It was a small little dining area, appeared private; no one was there except a couple service droids bringing out food. She took a seat at the lone table that already had juice and service settings.

No sooner had she gotten comfortable, did he walk in. It was hard for her to drag her eyes off of him. He was formidable and simply demanded attention, even just walking into a room. She was remembering how good he looked on the beach, how he took over making love to her by the warmth of the fire.

His eyes found her immediately with a slight pull up on one side of his mouth, that little half smile that he tried to hide. Barely noticing the droids, he came over to the table and took a seat.

She felt excitement rise in her and couldn't help the warmth growing in her cheeks. 

This was Ben.

“I trust you slept well?” He asked, trying to clear certain thoughts from the dirt of his mind, memories of their time together, how warm and soft she felt sliding against him, climbing him...how inviting she was as she took all of him in, her legs spread for him...

"You look beautiful, Rey."

A very clear thought, in his voice, but in her head.

"Thank you. I…I did...sleep well." She silently answered back, captivated by his eyes, a bit caught off guard at how easily he was able to connect with her mind, it must be their close proximity. Their eyes locked a moment more.

"That will be all," Kylo waved a hand nonchalantly at the droids for them to leave, "and take the caf," he added, annoyed. 

He could drink it at times, but didn't want the extra sitting there where he could smell it too much. There were certain varieties of it that only brought back old memories of a seemingly caf-obsessed kitchen droid from childhood...

She could feel his instant turmoil from some thought, it all but suddenly filled the Force around them with his typically intensity. Anyone would be affected, as even those not Force sensitive were still part of life and part of that Force.

As his eyes came back to her, however, she sensed that now familiar calm spread from her to him.

On a more mundane level, this was very awkward, dining with her lover that she had to not lead on to in public...not that anyone else was here at the moment, but dining with…Kylo Ren…Jedi Killer, murderer…

No! He is Ben Solo...A Skywalker...

“The room was better than I had expected.” She had to say something and quickly didn't like what she had said.

“Rey, I want you here with me. You're not some detainee of the First Order," he said with a sniff, choosing his next words, elbows leaning on the table, engaging her, "I know you have been told and promised things, lied to...(he didn't say Luke's name)…but I will keep my word with you.”

She looked back into his eyes. His words should of brought her comfort, and they did, there was just an underlying feeling of being trapped just under the surface, something not quite right. She could feel his intent, he did want only the very best for her, and he was not about to abandon her...but wasn't there any other way to do this? She hated feeling even slightly vulnerable...especially since she had to keep her true intentions hidden.

"I know," she said, acknowledging his truth, "you have kept your word...I think, it's an adjustment, I mean, I'm not used to any of this," she gestured at the room. 

"Of course not," he smiled, "but you deserve only the best, Rey. You have been through a lot, but now," he sighed in relief, "you're here with me, where you should be."

She knew his intent was valid, but...she was here for so much more.

"However, always stay aware, there are eyes, as I am sure you assumed, everywhere in most of the more...public...places here."

"That's not surprising," she answered aloud, with a bit of snark, which he simply seemed to ignore, looking down, taking a bite of his food.

How does someone find that a comfortable way to live? 

"So...training?" It was time to get to one of the parts of why she was here before she started an unnecessary argument...at least for now.

He took a drink of his caf.

"I have time allotted and the use of a private training room that will suit our needs." 

She took a bite of her own food and looked back up to meet those suddenly sultry eyes.

"There is a certain...approach... to all of this, a starting point. I can bring you to your full potential, Rey," he smirked, "but we have to start at the beginning."

"Something tells me I am not going to like where this is going," she said, narrowing her eyes, "so what is this approach?"

"Rey, you need to let me be your teacher," he sat up straighter, leaning even closer to her across the small table, "in every sense of the word," he intoned.

She was instantly captivated, she knew what he meant with no explanation. Regardless of their current "relationship" she would have to limit her own independence to him. She obviously knew that they couldn't freely wander around the Finalizer as a visual "couple", he was Kylo Ren and his personal business had to remain his own, for many reasons, including the most obvious one, she was the "enemy"...she knew this...but there was more...so much more intent behind his words than something so simple.

The hardened intensity in his eyes caught her, that mix of dangerous, dark excited anticipation began to pique in her stomach. How could he command her body like this, with just a look, that tone in his deep voice?

Her back was against a wall, her top down exposing her breasts, his tall form between her legs, pumping into her as her legs held tightly around his waist, her hands in his damp hair holding his head, his erratic hot breath as he worked, her moans of pure pleasure...

She swallowed her food, breaking their eye contact, looking down to take a big swig of the fruit juice in front of her. 

"It begins now with your sense of control," his head leaned to the side slightly as he studied his effects on her with a slight smile of arrogance. 

"I can do that, I am just fine." She said, almost hotly, instantly not enjoying his teasing.

His voice in her head: "Rey, I know the affect I have on you, the control I have over your body...I can feel it."

She felt the hot blush rise in her face as she fidgeted with her food. Did he really just say that? Suddenly, her embarrassment triggered her anger to began to rise.

A memory, a thought? 

That voice in her head: Kill him!

"I have beat you in battle", she began sternly, even more bothered by that voice than by anything Kylo was saying.

"Can't wait to fight...so violent," he purred, "don't let one victory make you insolent. It can be used against you as a weakness. Your untamed, angry, used to having to constantly defend yourself both physically and mentally. You will have to let that all go. You have to let it go to learn that control, only then can you let the Force guide your intent to learn."

A thought: It would be so easy to just give in, and really, would it matter what side she was on to just have him? 

What? 

It was true he was more proficient with the Force, more polished, having had more formal training, still, it was hard for her to listen to someone point out her faults. It was ingrained in her to be on the defensive, growing up in such a harsh environment and then having someone who could be as pretentious as Kylo Ren pointing out why she needs to change to fit in to his conceived notion of normal society and how to properly wield the Force...to let herself go and trust another person, that was the hard part for someone who pretty much only had herself to depend on for almost 20 years. 

That voice: Embrace your darkness as it was meant to be, fulfill your destiny.

A flash of herself in that dark clothing with her red saber...pure intoxication running through her veins, that rush of power. 

It can all be yours...

"You don't trust easily," Kylo was saying.

"I trust you," she said in a defensive tone.

"Not entirely, not when you think only your way is the right way."

"I told you..." she began as he cut her off shaking his head. 

In her head he said: "You are going to have to get over that and yield, forget what you think you know, I am your master now."

Those heated intense eyes bore into hers.

Some thought: The galaxy was already theirs to rule, together.

"You wanted me to teach you, this is how it begins," he continued in her head, "you won't learn anything until you accept this fact. This is how it is done."

Voice, or was it a memory? Embrace your darkness as it was meant to be, come to me and fulfill your destiny.

She didn't have a problem yielding to him in certain other situations, when he was pleasing her...she did already trust him more than she knew.

Looking down as she tried to mentally shake that voice, unsure of where it had come from...it seemed to somehow sense her anger...the voice that had told her to kill him at one time...

Yes, let your anger rise, my child. 

"This is what you agreed to." Kylo reminded her.

Their time together in the secluded hut was definitely over. 

A memory: You cannot fight the darkside without first understanding it...

"So, are you ready to learn?" 

"When do we start?"