"I'll destroy her!"
Rey falls at his feet, her hands grasping at her throat. But Kylo doesn't stop. He keeps squeezing. The Force buzzes in his fingertips and his lips curl into a snarl. Her face goes pale and her eyes plead with him.
He doesn't care. He must crush the light. The duplicitous Jedi. He refuses to again wake up to a saber descending on him.
He doesn't even flinch as her movements stop.
Kylo gasps for air, then calls out, "Rey!"
He leaps from his bed, terror and adrenaline riding him hard. His hands rake through his hair and all he can see is her vacant eyes.
Dream, dream, it was only a dream. A nightmare. He wants to reach out to her, confirm that she’s safe, but he doesn’t know how to control when he sees her through the Force. Besides … he knows she wouldn’t want to see him. Not now. Not after ...
"I'll destroy her," rings in his ears and he's shocked by how shamed he is he ever said those words. He’d meant them, oh how he’d meant them. He’d been lost to his rage and he’d thought he could … he knows now that he could never hurt her.
Then he pulls himself to his full height. She rejected him. Met his offer with going for a weapon. Like she always does. She always, always strikes first. Shooting at him on Takodana, attempting to on Starkiller Base … she was even the one to ignite her blade in those snowy woods.
He scoffs into the empty room. Her words had been meaningless. Telling him he wasn’t alone, then throwing all he could give her back in his face. He wonders if she had succeeded in gaining control of Grandfather’s saber, would she have left him with another scar, bleeding on Snoke’s floor or if she would have just killed him?
Scrubing his face with his hands, Kylo goes and sits on the edge of his bed looking around his quarters. He supposes he should move to the rooms Snoke kept on all the Star Destroyers, the Finalizer included, but the thought of using the same space as his very dead master makes his skin crawl.
It’s so quiet in his head now. He hadn’t … he hadn’t understood how frequently Snoke whispered in his thoughts and he finds the emptiness … trying. He hasn’t even begun to untangle what it means that his mind wasn’t his own for as long as he can remember. He just knows everything is more difficult now. Shouldn’t it be easier? But instead he’s plagued with doubt in a way he never was before.
Snoke was always there to assure his conviction. He has to push away the temptation to attempt to unravel the skeins of his history. He would be here regardless. Wouldn’t he?
It certainly wasn’t Snoke who abandoned him to Luke Skywalker or tried to take his life while he was sleeping. No … Snoke’s influence just made it easier to bear. But it is unsettling to find he wavers more now.
While Snoke was alive, he realizes the whispers only truly stopped when he was with … dammit, he has to stop thinking about her. She’s nothing. She didn’t want him. He shouldn’t waste a moment on that scavenger.
Kylo goes to his viewport and looks out on the stars, his expression blank and his heart bleak.
He strides onto the bridge, attempting to shake the lack of sleep from his limbs. He should be used to it by now. The brief respite he’d found when he and Rey first … no, he won’t think about that.
There is brief satisfaction in watching Hux school his expression into something other than scorn. He might be shredded to pieces inside, but he takes a grim delight in putting the ginger irritant in his place. Frequently. He has years of frustration to excise—now that he can finally do what he’s always wanted. A day hasn’t gone by since Crait that he hasn’t found a reason to Force choke Hux.
“Supreme Leader,” Hux says in false deference. He wonders if Snoke was right, does Hux truly have his uses? He’s beginning to think that Grandfather had the right idea when it comes to generals.
“What is it, Hux?” he asks wearily. He finds most of what the supercilious lackey brings to his attention to be useless or simply annoying.
“There is the matter of selecting the commanding officer of the Tarkin, I left several promising candidates on your datapad.”
Kylo only just manages to keep from rolling his eyes. “Hux, I leave that to you.”
There is a gleam in Hux’s eyes as he says, “Yes, sir.”
Kylo notes the time and knows he should go to bed, but there’s a new lead on the Resistance that’s just come through. He scans the report … new allies … Outer Rim … Leia Organa. But … he saw her die, how …
Shakily, he sits and the datapad slips from his fingers, clattering onto the durasteel. His mo- Leia Organa is alive? He hadn’t wanted to reach for her, to truly know. He’d swiftly pulled away from that wound in the Force where he used to find her when he’d sensed her on the Resistance ship. He’s refused to think on it since. He’d locked it away in the same place he keeps Han Solo.
He’s pulled into an unwanted memory, the way that woman would always check on him through the Force when he was at school, before she’d sent him away. Every afternoon he would feel a warm brush of affection, like the sun on his face.
She was on Crait … He’d nearly … It doesn’t matter. Kill it if you have to.
He clenches his eyes briefly and breathes in deeply. Focus. This changes nothing. He pulls the datapad to him with the Force and begins to read again. He’ll end the Resistance once and for all. He doesn’t need anything as sentimental as these attachments that beckon so seductively.
He flinches as Rey’s hazel eyes flit through his mind.
His saber feels good in his hand as he twists and turns through his training regimen. He’s training hard tonight, hoping to exhaust himself enough to keep the dreams at bay. Kylo can’t decide which are worse, the ones where he hurts her or the ones where he most decidedly does not. They both leave him quaking and terrified.
He arcs his vibrant red blade through the air and nearly doesn’t stop in time when he finds Rey right in front of him. Swiftly, he switches off his saber. He hates how much it scared him to think of slicing through her. He should want to see her dead.
Rey takes a quick step back from him and looks him up and down. Then she averts her eyes and turns away from him. Her body is stiff.
His mind is blank and he just looks at her. Her hair has changed, having a glossy sheen and twisted in a complex style. His lip curls as he recognizes his mother’s handiwork.
He should ignore her, as she’s clearly planning to do with him, but he can never control himself around her. “Why are you here?” he murmurs.
Her shoulders shrug slightly.
Slowly, he approaches her. He’s ashamed to see his hand is shaking as he reaches for her. His fingertips just brush the fabric of her vest when she whirls.
“No!” Her face twists in anger.
He huffs out a laugh with no mirth. “Ah. I see, you are angry at me when it really should be the other way around.”
“What?” she spits indignantly. “You chose the dark side, after everything we shared, angry with you doesn’t even begin to cover it!”
He wishes she wasn’t so beautiful. “I offered you everything! Everything and you left me unconscious! I saved your life! I killed my master for you!” He takes a step towards her and she pulls herself back.
“No, you did that for yourself. You wanted to be free of him, I know you did. Luke told me how he twisted you, Leia said it was since you were a baby!”
“You know nothing about it,” he snarls, even as he knows she speaks some truth. Perhaps he would have killed Snoke one day. But he’d needed to save her in a primal, savage way that he still doesn’t understand. But he’s not about to explain himself to her. Not after what she did.
“Ben, I know this isn’t you, I know it!” she pleads.
“You know nothing about me. And clearly, I know nothing about you. You told me I wasn’t alone … that was obviously a lie.” He hates how wounded he sounds. But he’d thought … he’d believed … Stupid. Foolish. Everyone betrays him, he should know that by now.
Her face shifts from anger to anguish and he sees tears forming in her eyes. He despises the urge to comfort her.
“I … it wasn’t a lie.”
Kylo scoffs derisively.
“No … it wasn’t … can’t you see I can’t be by your side if this is what you choose. What you’ve chosen.” She looks at the floor and he sees sadness seeping from her.
His heart quickens at the thought of having her with him, truly with him. Together they could do so much for the galaxy … so much for each other. But he brutally pushes that thought away. He won’t make the same mistake. He won’t debase himself by begging. Again.
He regards her coldly. “Then we are at an impasse. Leave. Don’t come back.”
Rey looks at him in confusion. “I … I don’t know how. I don’t know what happens, why sometimes you’re there and sometimes you’re not.” Her voice is small and lost.
Damn. She’s right. He has no idea how to push her away. His jaw tightens as he bites back all his sense of betrayal and consuming devotion. He wishes she would go back to wherever she came from.
He can’t stand everything she stokes in him. How his fingertips burn with the memory of that fleeting touch. Nothing had ever felt like that and he’s embarrassed by how desperate he is to feel it again. He curls his hands into fists in an attempt to chase away the rising need to reach for her. Maker, why can’t he just hate her?
The silence stretches. Her hands flail and she looks around furtively. “What … what did Snoke do to us?”
Kylo shakes his head. This, this is safe. He can keep this clinical. “Nothing. If it was him, it would have died when he did. Besides … I felt … something before he knew of your Force sensitivity. I believe … I believe we did it ourselves. On Starkiller Base.”
Her questing expression morphs into fury. “You mean when you pushed into my mind?!”
Why is everything always his fault? “Or when you pushed into mine!” he yells.
“Oh no, you’re the one who kidnapped me and tried to break into my head!” She stabs her finger at him and oh it irritates him.
“I had to! You had the map-”
“Just stop.” Her shoulders fall and her hot anger bleeds out, leaving a perplexing sadness. “You’re so twisted,” she says forlornly and then she’s gone.
Kylo howls an inarticulate bellow of rage and pain. She doesn’t want him but he cannot be rid of her. She’ll always be there. Judging him. Pushing him. Questioning him. Tempting him.
Tonight will be hell.