Upon a picnic blanket, Rey and Kylo Ren sat watching the sun creep down. It was just past 6pm on a warm autumn evening. Brown leaves clung onto the trees, as if they did not want to admit their time was up. The starport in the distance blinked with ship lights.
The neutral planet they were on was the only place that both of them wouldn’t be hunted down, so it was where they liked to meet. All their romantic haunts were here. By now, they had visited many times since their first date, almost two years ago.
Today, they had been for a long hike across the hills. Kylo’s phone was full of landscape pictures and selfies with the wildlife. Rey’s legs were muddied up to her knees after accidentally falling into a river. They wouldn’t have been so messy if she had got out right away, but she had been laughing too hard to take Kylo’s hand. The last of their picnic was neatly folded away in Kylo’s bag. Their respective shuttles home would be picking them up in an hour, so they were making the most of their remaining time with small talk and cuddling. As usual, pop culture was a favourite topic. But Rey knew she needed to bring up something a bit more serious, in a gentle manner.
“So, Kylo…” Rey said, “did you see the new trailer?”
“Oh, for Ready Player One?” Kylo replied with enthusiasm. “It looks so great! I can’t get enough of those references!”
“No, Kylo, I’m not talking about that one.”
“Oh. You mean Thor: Rangarok? I actually already saw-”
“No, silly,” Rey giggled, “I’m talking about The Last Jedi. You know, our next movie?”
“WHAT?” Kylo said, “The new trailer is already out? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Rey laughed, “Oh, Kylo, I honestly thought you would have seen it before me! You’re the film buff!”
Kylo blushed a deep red, “Well, you’re not so bad yourself. It’s a shame I don’t have any data left this month, otherwise we could watch it now…”
Rey nodded, “I thought you just hadn’t mentioned it due to our agreement.”
“Oh. Yes. Our agreement…” Kylo said, a gloomy mood taking him suddenly. Rey could tell immediately that what she said had put him in one of his emotional sulks. She would need to be extremely careful with this.
“Listen, Kylo,” she said confidently, putting her hand upon his, “This is a good as time as any. We just need to know for sure before we take it any further as a couple.”
Kylo was searching for a way out of this. “Surely we’ve basically done it all by now. Romance, holidays, up to fourth base and beyond...”
“Oh, my sweet thing, there’s always more fun to be had,” Rey teased, “you still haven’t let me use my strap-"
“WELL-" Kylo interrupted, his blush back in full, “I was just waiting for the right, uh, mood…”
Rey fell back on the grass in one of her typical laughing fits. Kylo took a few moments to join in, but once he did it was infectious. Both of them laughed for what felt like minutes.
It was Rey who brought them back on topic. “Look, I am being serious. We have to take a break until the movie is out, and this whole ‘Who are my parents’ thing is cleared up.”
Kylo looked away. The sun was beginning to slither behind the hill.
“And you never know. Maybe it’ll work out, and it turns out I’m some sort of descendant of Obi Wan from his party years on Tatooine.”
“Oh, come now, Rey, we both know that’s a stretch…”
“…I know. I’m just trying to cheer you up. But, don’t you remember, that was one of the conditions of trying this relationship? We both knew we would break if off for a while, when the movie came out, and see where it goes. If it turns out we are not related, then we can get back together. If we are related, then, I guess we have to settle for being enemies.”
“Can’t you just, you know, call Luke and ask him?”
“No! You know I hate spoilers.”
Kylo scowled, “So you’d rather avoid spoilers than keep going out with me?”
“Well, I only saw the trailer because it was on before Justice League, otherwise I don’t watch them for fear of spoilers…”
“Okay, okay!” Kylo snapped, “I get it! Some ships are just not meant to be, as you always say…”
Rey nodded. “Exactly. We don’t want to be one of those gross, problematic ships, like Jonerys…”
“Yeah, but come on, that’s not so bad, they didn’t grow up together, like Jon and Sansa…”
“Are you kidding? Jonerys is more inbred than a Spanish Habsberg!”
“Ugh, I guess, I’m sure you’ve done the maths on that, like you always do…”
“Trust me, Kylo, it’s for the best… I don’t want them talking behind our back.”
“Oh, come on! No way you suddenly care about their opinion. Surely there’s something else…” Kylo’s lip trembled. “Is it… is it something I am doing? Should be doing? Because – “
Rey tenderly put her finger to his lips. “Hush… It’s okay. You know we’ll still be great friends, deep down. When we look back on this we’ll just laugh and cringe a bit. Like when Leia kissed Luke in Episode 5.”
Kylo forced her finger away, “That’s such a bad comparison. Complain to me again if they 69, or do a spitroast with Chewie, then they can stand up to what we’ve done together.”
Rey was the one who blushed now. “Okay, I get it. You’re not completely wrong. But for now, we don’t know the truth. Ignorance really has been bliss.”
They both smiled at that. By now the sun was almost fully set, its last few rays illuminating the canopy of the tree they sat under, accenting its golden autumn colours.
Kylo weighed up his options now. Whilst Rey was suggesting they no longer be lovers, he knew that they could still be best friends (and, of course, sworn enemies, when they were fighting for their respective sides – the Rebellion and the First Order). And, as always, he felt Rey was so easy to talk to – even when she was apparently dumping him.
“Well, then, I guess I can go back to one of my old ships for a while,” Kylo said as he laid back on the grass to watch the first stars begin to twinkle above him.
Rey was ready for some gossip. “Yeah, like who? Hux?”
“Oh, I guess that’s an option. To be honest I don’t really miss him much,” Kylo sighed. “With him, it’s all about who’s domming and subbing – it’s always 100% one or the other. I’d rather just be somewhere in the middle, you know?”
Rey sniggered, trying to imagine Kylo being dominant.
“What about you?” Kylo said, looking back at Rey’s eyes amongst the now starry sky. “You gonna give Finn another shot?”
“Oh, I’d hate to get between him and Poe. Especially because they’ve not been on good terms for a while,” she said. “I hope they didn’t get matching tattoos for nothing.”
Kylo laughed when he recalled the time they had got them out at that party. “Matching Rebellion logos on their shoulders! You good guys crack me up. I quite fancy them both, but sadly they never got over the whole bad guy thing, like you did.”
“Oh, it’s quite easy, actually,” Rey said, confidently, “I prefer to think of it as a bad boy thing. Somehow, that makes it much easier. You’re not threatening at all.” She ruffled his curly hair affectionately.
Silence grew between them again as they looked into one another’s eyes. Rey was hiding it well, but she too felt the emotional strain of the situation. She pulled her hand away and stood up slowly. “I think it’s time for me to go.”
Kylo stood up as fast as he could, but somehow Rey was already half way down the hill. “Wait! Rey!”
Rey stopped, but did not turn to face him quite yet.
“Promise me, Rey. Promise me that we can get back together, once things aren’t so…”
“…Problematic?” Rey said.
“Yes. That’s the word they use.”
Rey turned, her face streaming with tears. “I promise, Kylo.”
Kylo ran down the slope into her open arms. She lifted him with an intense cuddle. They kissed, equal parts passionate and tender. When the time felt right for both of them, they let each other go.
“Hold on,” Kylo stammered, as Rey turned again.
“Oh, you silly nerf herder!” Rey said, smiling, “You just don’t know how to be dumped elegantly, do you?”
“Don’t worry, I’m already writing the ‘just-got-dumped’ Facebook post in my head,” Kylo joked, “No, I just wanted to do it together, one last time.” He put his hand on his lightsaber hilt.
Rey nodded and drew hers. “One last time, as friends – in case the next time is when we’re enemies.”
Red and blue lit the darkened hillside, and the night became filled with the sounds of soaring sabers, clashing blades, and – louder still – joyous laughter.