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Fragile Things

Chapter Text

 

 

***

 

“Try not to touch the water and absolutely do NOT touch the flowers.”

Rey didn’t remember Finn’s warning until she was watching Kylo lose his footing on the crumbling ledge they were fighting on. One second he was twirling towards her, his saber crackling menacingly, the next there was a small rumble and he was tossed into free fall as the stones gave way beneath his feet. She instinctively reached out, trying to grab hold of him with the Force, but he fell too fast, plummeting straight down into the wide pool that had once been the temple floor, now sunken in and filled with murky water. Atop the water’s surface lay giant red blooms, resting on the water like lily pads.

They were blood-red, fragrant and dangerous.

Kylo had just fully submerged in the very spot where the damned things had been steeping for almost a century undisturbed.

Rey thumbed off her saber-staff, extinguishing the twin blades as she bent to pick up Kylo’s own discarded hilt that had been ripped from his grip. She flew down the crumbling spiral steps, racing back to the pond where the problems were only beginning.

 

***

 

“What are they?” she asked, staring at the mesmerizing petals as they fanned across the water as if they were sentient, like some ancient aquarian creature. Finn swiped across the datapad, scrolling through images of them from every angle.  

“They're called Maiden’s Blood, a primordial flora native only to Naboo." He recited.

"They are the predecessor to the millaflowers that are more renown of the planet and grow mainly in the forests and shallow lakes, thriving in still water. The roots that grow beneath the surface have medicinal properties, and the petals produce a rich dye…" he paused then, scanning the rest of the entry before his face turned crimson. He cleared his throat, unable to look her in the eye.

"The pollen is used for slightly more… sinister purposes."

“Such as?”  

Rey gasped as he came to the next group of images. Her cheeks flushed immediately as image after image flashed by of bodies crushed together intimately. Finn’s fingers swept rapidly across the screen as he rushed through them.

"In small quantities, the pollen is crushed into a powder and mixed with other plants to make a high-potency aphrodisiac. In larger doses, the pollen itself is left pure and acts like a slow-burning poison that destroys the body from the inside out.”

Rey shivered. How could something so cruel stem from a planet so bright? she thought, thinking back to her brief respite with the General at Varykino. She had never wanted to leave that beautiful lake manor with sprawling terraces and open spaces, nestled on that crystal lake. There was a sadness there yes, but also tranquility and peace she had not felt elsewhere in the galaxy.

She shook her head, bringing her attention back to Finn.

“Is there an antidote for the poison?”

Before he could reply, they were interrupted by Poe, who came bearing food. He set the tray down onto Rey's small work table where Finn was perched.

"What are we talking about?” He plopped down heavily onto Rey's bed, hands thrown behind his head.

“Mission briefing, kind of,” Finn said, pulling a bowl of some sort of stew towards himself. He tossed the datapad over to Poe. Rey sat on the edge of her desk next to Finn, absently tinkering with one of the small puzzles she kept there.

“Finn’s giving me more intel on where I'm going. Apparently, some giant flowers can either heal or kill me.”

Poe scrolled through the pad, tongue clicking loudly against his teeth.

“That sounds delightful. Make sure to send postcards, dear.”

Rey laughed. “I should be fine, as long as I don't touch anything. Though, you haven't told me the antidote yet.” She nodded pointedly towards Finn. "How do I fix myself if something happens?” 

Finn choked a little on his stew. His face flushed deep red as he swallowed the chunk of meat that had lodged itself in his throat.  Rey didn’t fail to notice how he still refused to look her in the eye.

“Oh boy, this is unreal. I really hope you don't need to do this.” Poe chimed in, reading the screen.

“You’re making it sound like I have to commit murder.”

“Murder might be a better option, to be honest.”

Rey huffed, uncrossing her arms and snatched the pad out of Poe’s hands, scanning the page quickly.

“What-...”

There was a long silence as she continued reading, swiping the pages until she reached the end of the unit. The words were there before her. She had read them but they were still sinking into her brain like syrup.

“How the hell is this even possible?!”

 

***

 

He came up sputtering. Rey had just reached the top of the stone steps that led down into the pool as he was resurfacing, arms flailing wildly and coughing heavily. Her small hope that he had managed to fall without swallowing anything was dashed to pieces as he spat out a mouthful of the red-tinged water.

Without thinking she stepped into the water until his body was in reach. She grabbed him with more than a little help from the Force, her arms slipping beneath his to wrap around his chest and hauled him out of the pool and back onto the temple proper, dragging him as far from the water as she could. She passed the first set of pillars that ringed the sunken center of the temple and stopped, leaning him against one. Rey could feel the rapid-fire pattern of his heartbeat against her palm as she let go.

Kylo promptly slid down until he was sitting; looking quite wretched in his waterlogged clothes, long hair matted to his face. He was breathing too hard, unable to catch a decent amount of air and hardly noticed her at all. His gloved hands went to his chest, fingers clutching at his heart which felt like it was going to burst.

As the poison slowly made itself apparent, Kylo knew something was horribly, inherently wrong.

It was a desperate itch beneath his skin, something volatile and acidic, like a million needles pricking and dragging against his flesh. His skin felt too tight, his blood was much too hot. He became almost hyper-aware of everything touching him; every fiber and hair, every small pressure made him flinch and groan as if someone were dragging sandpaper against him. It was past the point of oversensitive and onto a feeling of rawness that overwhelmed. He felt as if someone had dragged a razor to every possible nerve ending on his body, exposing them.

Everything hurt. Even his eyes were too bright, pupils blown wide from the reaction. 

His eyes snapped open to Rey who was standing far enough out of reach but still close enough for her to hear him clearly.

“What’s happening to me, scavenger? What did you do?” His deep voice was a shade of itself, the poison making it a dusty rasp against his lips.

Rey stood there, and never had he felt her more panicked. While she maintained that outward calm in her form, he could see it in her bright eyes and twisting hands -could sense it in the bond that was beginning to strum with the force of both their rampant emotions.

The walls they had both created out of necessity were crumbling.

“It’s the flowers. The ones in the pond. The pollen is poisonous.” Her voice held quiet tremors.

Kylo looked over to the far side of the vast hall where he could see some of the red of the blooms reflected in the water against the light on the walls.

Poison. A poison he had exposed himself to with the help of no one else.

He couldn’t stop the bitter laugh that escaped him; a low warbled sound that echoed back to them eerily in the cavernous room. Leave it to the Supreme Leader to poison himself accidentally.

Is this what his reign would culminate in? Is this what the would-be-Emperor be remembered for?

His eyes flitted to Rey’s. A flicker passed between them. He immediately looked down again, cutting the thought before it could even take shape. The time for those thoughts was long past.

“Looks like things may have worked in your favor today.” Kylo leaned his head back against the column, staring into the shattered ceiling and the parts of the sky he could see. Thin wisps of clouds and the edges of treetops danced on a canvas of pale blue.

“You won’t have to kill me yourself. Lucky you.” he mused, still sensing her in front of him as his eyes slid closed when the light became too painful for his over-sensitive vision.

Rey swallowed the biting remark she was about to unleash on him. His words echoed with a hint of weary acceptance, a minuscule yet lingering taste of defeat.

One she found she didn’t like at all.

Her eyes roamed over his face, taking in how his lips were parted in shallow breaths. Full, dark lashes fluttered against the tops of flushed cheeks. With his eyes closed, she could see how much softer he seemed. How tired he looked with the shadows hollowed out beneath his eyes.

Something flickered in her chest, a feeling that she had all but smothered. That's what she told herself at least, ignoring the part of her subconscious that had been fascinated with him since Starkiller, the very place where their misbegotten bond had taken root, tethering them together.

It was a fascination that cultivated itself more on those windswept shores of Ach-To; tempered by the events leading up to their fateful meeting on the Supremacy.

And then it had all gone so wrong.

By the time the Falcon’s ramp had closed on the tumultuous chaos of Crait, all that was left were two broken hearts that mirrored the broken saber pieces in her hands.  

That was two years ago. 

It felt like a lifetime.

They had both done what they could to stifle the bond since that last painful glance on Crait, tamping down the Force that bound them until it was nothing more than a trickle, a hum that could be ignored in the peripheral of their minds. No more intimate visions of each other, no more wayward, forced connections. Only the occasional glancing thought that slipped by once in a while, and only a glimmer of emotions that faded as fast as they had come.

Like flower petals pressed flat between old parchment.

She could hear Leia’s gentle voice, felt the warmth of her hands and a mother’s love when Rey had broken down and told the older woman everything that had happened with her son. How she had sobbed and begged forgiveness for the man she could not bring home to her. Leia had picked her up and held her and cried before showing Rey how to lessen the pain by quieting the bond.

It was a thing they could not sever but had learned to go on without. Regardless of what went on behind their shields, it went unspoken, Kylo stayed on his side and she on hers.

For two years they had successfully stopped the strange way it sometimes brought them together; only meeting in battle since then as the Last Jedi and the Supreme Leader.

But now, seeing him again without the immediate need to clash sabers... the resolve she fought so hard to keep up faltered as his barriers deteriorated with the effects of the poison leaching through his veins.

“There’s a way to stop it.” Rey blurted before she could stop herself.

What the hell was she doing, saving her enemy from a fate possibly worse than death?

If Finn or Poe were here...well if they were here she probably wouldn’t be in this wretched situation in the first place.

But then Rose’s face popped into her head. Sweet, fierce Rose who believed in the goodness of everybody. Who believed in second chances. She would back her in this. She would know Rey was trying to do the right thing.

Rey cursed her innate goodness as well as the small, encouraging voice in her mind and went on to explain.

“It’s called the Maiden’s Blood. It’s a poison that works as an aphrodisiac of epic proportions. It works your body into a frenzy, mimicking extreme sensitivity and it increases the blood flow to quicken the rate of the poison. That’s why you probably feel like you can’t breathe.”

Kylo looked up at her, eyes bright and hard.

“Are you telling me this kriffing thing is killing me by making my libido jump?” He sounded equally astonished and enraged.

“Let me guess, it stops with a release.” he sneered.

Rey’s silence said enough. She pushed on. “You’re half right. Maiden’s Blood is a bit more complex than that. It takes a release to shock the body to a more normal state, yes, or so that’s the idea, but it requires help.”

“What do you mean by help?”

Kylo was growing more frustrated as the poison spiked again, this time enough to make his head whirl for a moment. He clawed at the high collar of the thick vest that now felt like it was choking him, ripping at the closures and threw it from his body. He was left in nothing but the thick pants he wore, his arm guards and the leather straps that held them in place.

His chest was bare, a smooth expanse of skin atop tightly packed, hard muscle. Long faded scars scattered like constellations around the faded sunburst the bowcaster bolt had left. 

The water on his skin was already beginning to evaporate, fueled by the fever that was beginning to heighten to a frenzy. Kylo doubled over as a sharpness clenched at his abdomen, the sensation rippling across his entire frame as he was wracked with shivers. He took slow, deep breaths through the contractions, but it took a long minute for them to subside. When they finally did he was on the floor, curled into himself and breathing hard, his vision marred by black spots winking back at him. 

Rey crouched down beside him. She had decidedly made up her mind, watching him convulse on the floor. While she didn't quite want to examine her pervasive feelings that were resurfacing for the man before her, it wasn't in her to simply stand back and let him die when she knew she could help him. 

She reached out her hand, placing it softly but firmly on his back. She almost pulled it away again at how hot his skin was but refrained and instead began to rub small circles on his shoulder blade.

“It won't let you reach it by yourself. You have to -to keep... going until it burns itself up.” 

She left her voice low, as unobtrusive and soothing as she could make it, regardless of how awkward the words felt on her tongue. Her hands remained slow and steady but widened until she was stroking his entire back. 

Kylo’s breathing had started to slow to a normal pace as she continued her ministrations, though she knew the calm was an illusion. She could feel the tension within him rippling under her fingertips. He peeked at her through a mess of dark curls, watching her with pupils that had almost eclipsed the thin sliver of brown in his eyes. 

“What are you doing?” He rasped. 

She tilted her head gently, leaning closer to him. 

“Let me help you.” She pleaded, steady and soft.

He didn't move but she could feel his body tense beneath her hand. With their bond beginning to open up again, she caught the sliver of thought and held it before it could dart away again.

He was thinking of the last time her voice had sounded so soft for him, whispering the same words in a quiet lift.

I’ll help you.  

It made her throat catch hard, a small, choked sound escaping.

 

***

 

Kylo was straining harder to control himself. The moment her skin had made contact with his own, his system had gone into a frenzy. Everything was heightened to a chaotic state and went right through him and he was made painfully aware of the erection straining against his pants. He flinched away from her then, using an uncontrolled burst of Force from his palm to send her back. He pushed himself to hands and knees, crawling away from her. 

“Leave me. I won't be held responsible for what I might do.” He whispered.

He was beyond shaken from the thoughts that were beginning to surface in his mind from some unknown depraved depth. So desperate was his body becoming it had been screaming at him to reach out and take and it was making Kylo sick because he was not that kind of monster.

His Force had been weak and Rey had been all but shoved onto her back from it. She didn’t move towards him again, just watched as he dragged himself up against one of the far pillars near the water’s edge. She had to admit, his trajectory was smart. She was hesitant to go close to the water.  

Leave me. Go.  

It repeated through her mind over and over again, a whispered plea humming in the back of her head. It took a second more to realize it was his voice, projecting into her mind without meaning to. 

The bond was past tumultuous and into chaos. That which used to be a trickle now a full-blown roar. 

They came in flashes. Images projecting like old holos behind her eyes. 

Flickering in rapid succession, scenes of intimacy that brought a different kind of heat to her skin and her breathing inadvertently quickened as she saw his unchained thoughts. 

It was always of her, of them...in more ways than she could ever imagine. Pale skin tangled against sun-kissed limbs, long fingers trailing a softly arched spine, nails digging into muscled flesh, her own simple name, made holy by plush lips parted in gasped prayers to dying gods.

Rey.  

She saw them all and couldn't help the breathless tremor that shook her as she sat there on the cold floor. Her hands were flat in front of her, palms pressed to the old stones that hummed with whatever secrets the temple chose to keep. 

The cold grounded her. Allowed her thoughts some coherency. 

A hard clarity rose in her as she looked at the man so far across from her. 

The Supreme Leader. The would-be Emperor. A man who had challenged her over and over again, who fought her, hunted her and her allies relentlessly and without mercy. Kylo Ren was her enemy. Her eternal headache and walking human disaster of a mess that was tethered to her with no logical rhyme or reason.

And yet he was something more than just her enemy. 

She remembered the softness in his gaze, the shaking tenor of his voice as he had whispered “please” on trembling lips.  

He was someone who knew her. Mind and heart, no matter how they tried to ignore and forget. 

There would always be another side of the mirror. He was someone she held a strange-but-strong affinity to. Someone she considered deep down as hers in some twisted way.  

Hers. And he was dying.  

Rey took a breath, long and slow, exhaling every shred of doubt that was creeping into her before her resolve failed. She would do this. She would help him. A life for a life. He saved her from Snoke. She would save him from this. And then they could go their separate ways once more, go back to being the last Jedi and the Supreme Leader. 

Lying, it seemed, had also grown easier over time. Even if it was to herself.

Rey pushed herself up to sit back on her calves, fingertips trailing the cool stones once more until they rested atop her knees. The slight sentience she felt from the stones went quiet beneath her and she understood. 

The temple had one more secret to keep.

***

 

Chapter Text

 

***

 

Rey unclipped his saber from her belt, setting it down beside her. The sound of metal clicking on the stone was soothing, something small to focus herself. She placed her own hilt beside his. Next, her belt, wound tightly in on itself followed by her grey vest, folded in half and laid out across the discarded weapons.

Her movements were slow. Measured. A false calm that bellied the slight tremble in her fingers and the hitch in her breath.

It was a bravado that kept her from thinking too hard about what she was about to do.

She stood, kicking off her boots before she was left in nothing but her soft, grey pants and the thin linen shirt that served to provide an extra layer beneath her vest.

The air was still a humid, smothering thing clinging to her skin but her toes curled pleasantly against the cold of the temple floor. She squared her shoulders, a deep shrug and an even deeper exhale calming her. She padded on bare feet across to where Kylo still lay curled in on himself on knees and elbows, his head pressed to the floor. His hands were curled over his head in mock protectiveness, leather-clad fingers tangled roughly into dark locks. His breathing was harsh and over-loud, echoing across the water beside him.

Rey’s steps were blessedly silent as she stopped before him and kneeled. Now or never.

“Ben?” her voice was a whisper as she reached out to untangle his fingers from the vicious grip they had on his hair.

 

***

 

Kylo physically flinched as he felt her soft fingers against his own and heard her aching voice.

There it was again. That softness that was even now cutting through the poison’s rage. He had dreamed about it on the hardest nights when the pain of missing her was enough to rival the burn that had carved a scar into his side.

He knew how the plea of a dead name could sound like a prayer. He let it fill the hollows residing deep within his chest, the place where the temple’s poison was beginning to really dig its claws into. For a brief moment, he almost believed he would make it through this.

The clarity her touch offered was fleeting.

His body was very much aware of how she was suddenly too close to him and he could feel the fire flare to life in his veins once more. Her skin on his did nothing to subdue the white-hot currents screaming through every nerve-ending like lightning, scraping him raw. With her this close he could smell her - dust and sweat, sun and the faintest hint of jasmine sticking to her skin.

Hidden beneath was that was the shimmering scent of warm, female desire that had started to permeate his haze like honey dripping from fingertips. He could see it in hazel eyes that were dilated a bit too wide, feel it in the tremble of her breath. He knew she was trying to dampen it, trying to go unnoticed, but everything was heightened for him.

The bond that had been slammed shut was faltering, spilling though like a flurry in a storm. The number of secrets was beginning to lessen between them with each poisoned pulse going through his veins, something neither could control.

Rey bent to press soft lips against the back of his head. Her hair, longer than he’d seen it last, fell around them like a curtain and he was smothered in her for a brief second.

She smelled so fucking delectable.

It was intoxicating. It was cloying. It had him weak and dizzy and leaning into her without meaning to, forehead now pressed to the tops of her thighs instead of the hard ground. His gloved fingers flexed into tight fists where they rested on either side of her bent legs.

Kylo wanted nothing more than to grab her legs and tip her backward, spread her thighs wide as he pressed his face against the hot center between them were her scent was strongest. He could already imagine her lips parted in a shocked little yelp, see her bright eyes widening as he moved to tug her pants down…

The whine that left his lips was something he knew was utterly pathetic but couldn't bring himself to care.

 

***

 

She must've taken that as a sign to go on because then she was carding fingers through his hair, trying to soothe him with sweet, hushed words pressed into his dark locks and the back of his over-sensitive neck.

“It’s okay Ben, I'm here. We’ll get through this.”  she whispered.

Every breathless syllable was a rush of blood to his throbbing cock.

Her hands trailed across his shoulder blades, tracing the thick straps holding his arm guards in place as they strained across his back and chest. She followed it to where they met the clasps at his shoulders and undid them with deft fingers. Then Rey's hands pressed up against his chest, forcing him to raise to a kneel, mirroring her so she could properly remove what was left of his armor.

With the slightest tug, she dragged them down, first the left one, over the curve of his shoulder, down the thick bump of his bicep her fingers went, sliding the tight sleeve off. The tips of her fingers were scalding to him, leaving a trail of unseen scorch marks in his flesh that tingled and burned. Then came the same treatment with his right arm. He was positive he was about to combust at any second.

Her eyes were following her own hands, but his eyes were on her. Now that his head was level with hers it was easier to see the catch in her throat, the slight hitch in her breath through parted pink lips as she slowly traced featherlight touches across his twitching muscles.

The flare of her desire is quick and piercing, making his eyes widen before she caught herself and tucked it away again.

Kylo silently admired the heated flush that rose to her cheeks and down her throat, trailing down to the low opening of her shirt. He wants to follow it down, with lips and tongue and grazing fingertips to see how far it goes.

Rey shivered as if she heard him.

Finally, he was free of his heavy armor. How he managed the ordeal he didn't know.

She tossed them away, flinging them behind her. All that was left on his upper body were the leather gloves wrapped around his hands and she quickly bent over them, shimmying them off finger by finger.

Something in his chest tightened, watching her. He was flooded with images of the last time he removed a glove for her...and the last time he had offered his hand to her.

Please.

He shoved the thoughts down violently before he could choke on them. He already knew she had seen them too.

“I'm not leaving you,” she whispered. It was a pained, quiet thing, each syllable ending on a hard little note that made her voice shake.

His hands were bare now and she was holding them in her own, her thumbs brushing maddening strokes on the inside of his over-sensitive wrists. He gasped, lips parted as she worked, little whimpers sneaking out between breaths.

Kylo tried to tug them away, escape her tender touches, but Rey held fast, like always, eternally stronger than him in every way that mattered.

“Now you want to stay?” he gritted out.

It was cruel, he knew. The words faded on a shattered laugh. He had calculated it in the dying embers of his sanity. It was what he thought would rile her enough to leave him.

It seems he also forgot how nothing would deter her when her mind was set.

Rey was silent, gripping his wrists a little harder until that weak noise escaped him again. She rose up on her knees, crowding too far into his personal space, just like she always did when they were in proximity. His skin tightened. He hadn't let anyone close enough to touch him let alone breathe his air as she was doing now.

Not since the last time they had parted in that broken throne room. Her gold-green eyes were blazing, brighter than a kyber crystal. The energy crackled around them. He had riled her efficiently.

“Why is it so hard for you to let me in when I'm just trying to help you?!” she spat, her own temper rising.

Her hands were no longer gentle and lingering. They were hard, the strength of her pulsing with all of her pent-up anger, nails digging painfully into his forearms and wrists. Her teeth were bared again.

There was that look again, the one he remembered so well, the one he favored.

You have that look in your eyes. The one from the forest. You called me a monster.

He was never a match for her softness, her light. But her darkness, her rage was something he could handle. Something he could take and use. He felt it building, felt the darkness like a wave through the bond.

Two years of pain and fear and words left unspoken, smothered before they could even take shape.

She was livid. So was he.

The poison fed.

 

***

 

 

“Do you really want to die, Ben?” she snarled.

Her eyes flashed, and he saw her, his avenging angel. This is the woman who had put her faith in a vision, not realizing that Kylo Ren had lived for far longer than Ben Solo.

He did what Darksiders did best. He took her rage and made it his own. Tucked it around the poison now staining his blood. He wanted nothing more in that moment than to bring her righteousness crumbling down.

“Yes.”

The syllable rang on his tongue like the tolling of a bell.

It echoed around them in the ancient, empty air. A stale, foul sound that dug into her chest with bloody talons and squeezed. Rey couldn't breathe through the force of it. As quickly as it had come, her anger fled in the face of his declaration. The fight left her as she was left floundering in his self-derision.

“Ben, I -" she tried again, not knowing what else she could say. Any further words she thought died on her tongue, ashy and hollow.

She watched a sudden shudder roll through him, shaking his entire body. His eyes widened in startled pain. A shock like a lightning bolt shot through him, a hard punch to the gut. He doubled over, gasping.

The pollen was hitting him in full now. It was the only way to explain the glaze the world took on - glassy and shifting, the overwrought pounding in his ears, how the poison’s low burn had turned sinister...something thick and acidic seeping through him. Volatile.

Whatever mercy it had granted him up to this point was long over.

“You need to go.” His voice was unrecognizable, thin and reedy, dripping with a desire that didn't belong to him. He tugged himself roughly away from her, trying to escape her warmth. He wasn’t able to get far before the pollen dug into him, teeth first, lighting his blood on fire.

They were out of time.

 

***

 

“I'm not going anywhere,” she whispered. Her voice was back to that blessed calm thing, a melodic croon meant to sing his demons to sleep. If this were any other moment, that voice would be his salvation. But he was a man condemned to hell and instead of soothing it was a grating agony against every damned nerve.

Kylo - no... the poison, he told himself - wanted her undone.

He didn’t want her voice as some soft, trembling thing. He wanted her hoarse and breathless and screaming for him. He wanted her to beg for his lips and hands and cock. He wanted her on her back beneath him, thighs spread wide, her perfect cunt split open for him as he watched himself slide in and out of her dripping heat. He wanted her kyber bright eyes on his, wanted her clenching around him, begging him to come inside her as she fell apart. He wanted to fill her up with himself until there was nothing of them left. More than anything, Kylo wanted to leave his mark on her. He wanted to paint bruises and bites across her skin like a map of stars only he could read. With lips and teeth and fingertips pressing too hard, he needed people to know where she'd been, who she'd been with, what she'd done with the would-be-king.

He needed people to know she belonged to him.

He wanted to ruin her. Devour her whole.

An aching shudder ripped through him, rising high with that final depraved thought. He moaned, low and hot, head falling heavily against her shoulder. Another ripple of agony spread through him, his eyes snapping shut as he fought another sharp twinge in his abdomen, teeth clenched as the muscles there contracted and released sporadically. It was enough pain for him to cry out, even as her cool hands came up, pressing into his hair and cupping his face as he tried to press into the side of her neck, breathing hot, wet breaths against her collarbone.

Rey kissed his forehead and then his temple. Her lips were warm and soft and maddening.   

His arousal soared yet another impossible notch higher and he couldn’t stop himself from darting his tongue against that softness between her neck and shoulder, relishing in the startled squeak she made. He wrapped an arm around her, snaking it up her spine until his fingers were tangled in her loose hair.

He tugged her head to the side a bit too roughly and smirked at the pained moan she made as he finally latched his generous lips into the hollow of her throat. Kylo gave an experimental little suck, and neither were prepared for her soft keen.

With his control falling to pieces, he needed something, anything to relieve some of the pressure, too far gone to the poison’s wrath.

Without stopping his assault on Rey’s neck, he fumbled clumsily with his belt and the button on his pants for a long minute before sliding a hand inside his briefs and curling it around his cock.

He was harder than he'd ever been in his life, already dripping precome. He gave a few hard strokes, groaning against her skin, not quite caring anymore how humiliating it was.

He knew she could feel what he was doing, even with his hand still fisted in her hair as he devoured her throat. Her lovely, flushed face tipped back to the rafters of the broken ceiling where a blue sky and pale clouds mocked the darkness rampaging within the temple.

Her hands had moved from his face to grip tightly at his shoulders, nails biting into his skin. It was a delicious sharpness keeping him grounded to this moment. He stroked harder, wrist pumping faster in the familiar rhythm he had perfected in his lifetime of celibacy. His cock was thick and red, throbbing in his fist, head swollen and leaking. The obscene sound of flesh sliding against flesh was far too loud.

He needed more.

Kylo dug his fingers into her hair a little harder, releasing his mouth from her tender neck with a sordid pop. Rey moaned, high and breathy. Her small hands were grazing anywhere they could reach.

Across his packed chest, over broad shoulders, down the ladder of his ribs they went, tracing every scar, finding every imperfection. The uncanny sensation of heat and shivers against his skin was driving him to his last vestiges of sanity. She dipped lower, grasping at his lean hips before skimming her fingers below the loosened waistline of his pants. He groaned as fingertips brushed the top of his ass, digging in for a scant second before sliding back around to his muscled thighs. She pushed his pants lower down his hips, giving him more room to maneuver.

Whatever heavy, unspoken thing had held them before was locked away. They could decide to examine those demons when Kylo was not on the verge of a messy death.

Now they were unmade again, back to the base of human touch. There didn't have to be any twisted up emotions here, only a very desperate desire.

Her clever hands finally reached for his cock. He grabbed her in one smooth motion before she could reach her destination. His free hand held both of her smaller ones with ease, long fingers wrapped tightly around slim wrists. He brought her hands back to his chest, pressing her palms flat against the muscle in a warning she understood.

“Look. At. Me.” he bit out, tugging her head level with his. He held her there, watching her lust-bright eyes. Her glassy gaze settled on his lips for an agonizingly slow moment. He thought she would kiss him. His hand tensed in her hair.

The movement jarred her, and instead of leaning in for a kiss, her eyes slid further down to where he was roughly fisting his aching flesh. Kyber green eyes widened, a sweet little gasp escaping her parted lips. He moaned, feeling himself twitch against his palm as she stared wide-eyed.  

He let her watch, straining even harder as unguarded thoughts washed over him. Fierce need and curiosity mingled with the slightest undercurrent of daunting trepidation at his size. He couldn't stop the smirk tainting his lips. The dark thing inside him preened.

It crossed his mind briefly then, of just how experienced his darling girl was, but clearly, there was some carnal knowledge there if she were offering herself to him. Kylo stifled the sudden green flash of jealousy, tempering it with the fact that no matter what, she was here with him now.

“Eyes on me, stardust.” He purred softly, forcing her gaze back to his. The high riding his blood made him bolder, more demanding. Brave. He could take this much from her.

Rey whimpered at both the fist in her hair and the soft endearment he hadn't even realized he had spoken aloud. She leaned forward, set on his lips, but he turned at the last second, just a fraction and her mouth smashed against his chin. She growled in frustration, the sound buzzing against his skin. He smiled but made no effort to move for her so she reached what she could, trailing feather soft kisses against his jawline and neck. He could feel her tongue, quick and hot, darting against his skin as she gently sucked and nibbled. He groaned, his hand massaging her scalp as he pressed her closer to him.

The poison dug its claws deeper, pulling apart weathered bones and threadbare edges to where he kept every little thing of her tucked away. He knew what she wanted. He wanted the same. Wanted nothing more than to feel her lips pressed against his more than anything, with the passion of twisting tongues and biting teeth and the gentleness of soft licks and feathery pecks.

It was also the one thing he would not allow himself.

Not like this.

He pumped his hand faster. The edge of pleasure coiled hot and low in his belly as he chased an end that was just out of reach.

Kylo needed release. That was the only way he would survive. And for all his self-loathing, he knew in his heart she would not leave him. Not this time when his life was in her hands alone.

He wanted to be wrong. He was hoping beyond reason that touching her like this while he touched himself would be enough. That he could be done, alive and send her on her way before this escalated. The part still clawing at any shred of control prayed.

He needed this to work, needed this to be the furthest step of depravity.

Ben.” It was a soft, pleading whine between plump red lips she had been biting too hard, sucked into the very corner of his wide mouth. An almost kiss.

It was all he needed.

His entire body went rigid as his orgasm hit like a freighter. A hoarse yell ripped from his lips, the sound reverberating back against water and stone as he gave his erection a last few hard tugs. His eyes were fixed on her as he finally spilled, hot and messy, over fingers still gripped tightly around hard flesh. Thick ropes of it shot onto her clothed abdomen before dripping down to the stone floor. He watches her, covered in his spend and the fire gives a satisfied flare as it finally dies down to a simmer.

They're both heaving, he notices first, chests rising and falling too fast to catch their breath. His forehead was pressed to hers and she was trailing soothing hands across his chest and abdomen.

“Better?” She whispered, voice low and rough.

“Mmm.” it's graceless, more of a grunt. But it's all he can muster. He can't bring himself to care about the mess he's made of them. He should be mortified. Humiliated. He should be trying to gather himself and run. Stay far away from the beautiful sun-kissed girl who held and touched him through this entire treacherous ordeal.

Instead he lowers himself to lay flat on his back against the cool stone floor as the endorphins begin to melt away. He's tired, body worn from the pollen, but as he closed his eyes he was finally calm. His clarity returned to the forefront of his mind and he gave a great big sigh of relief.

Nevermind that he was still half-hard, exposed to the cool air, and that come still stained his fingers. Or that he could already feel the poison simmering at a low boil somewhere deep in his blood waiting to resurface.

Soft rustling came from beside him, but he didn't have the energy to open his eyes to see what she was doing. All he wanted to do was sleep for a day. Or for however long the poison would allow him.

For now, he would take the quiet.

He could breathe again.

 

***

 


Chapter Text

 

 

***

 

Kylo felt the soft touch of a damp cloth against his abdomen, cleaning up the sticky mess that was already beginning to dry into an uncomfortable crust as he slipped into near-unconsciousness. His eyelids were heavy, providing that welcome darkness from light that was too bright and amber-green eyes that burned. They remained closed as he felt Rey take his arm with gentle hands, running the cloth in between his fingers.

“Are you alright?” she asked, voice quiet and deceptively steady.

“For now.” he breathed, taking slow breaths as the poison in his blood settled down. His voice was a rasp, just as tender and aching as the rest of him. He didn't know how long the quiet would last, didn't know how many moments he would need to fight for before the poison took him until it was sated.

“I can feel it. It's floating there like grease on water.” He whispered.

Voicing his harried thoughts aloud gave him little comfort but he was too tired to keep it all in.

“It’s sleeping. I don’t know how long it will last.”

Rey continued her ministrations, wiping him clean of sweat and spend. Her movements were again measured, clinical...another distraction as she fought down the heat already simmering low in her belly as she actively fought to replay the last ten minutes in her mind. Heat rose in her cheeks and she immediately stifled those lurid thoughts. 

She was breathing hard, harder than she realized, her heart beating an impossible rhythm against her chest. Her neck was still wet and tender from his relentless kisses and lashing tongue and Force, it had felt so good. More than good. It felt like nothing she knew how to describe. And even though she kept telling herself this was for him...it was just another lie to hide the desire rising in her own blood. It was telling herself the wetness between her legs was simple biology.

This wasn’t about her.

She was nothing more than a priestess attending to a fallen god. That image alone quirked her lips.

“It's going to get worse before it gets better. With the amount you swallowed… it’s not going to be easy, Ben.”  

She paused for a long moment before dragging the cloth across his brow, smoothing back dark curls matted down with sweat. He tipped his head back against the hard ground as she drew the cloth lower, dipping into the hollows of his neck and chest.

“This would have probably killed anyone else.” She muttered before she could stop herself.

He couldn't stop the smallest twitch of a smile from briefly lifting his mouth.

“Oh sweetheart, I almost felt the hope there for a moment.” he quipped before he could stop himself. "As I said before, it would have been lucky for you." 

Rey huffed out a breath somewhere above him, muttering something along the lines of “overdramatic fool, just like his uncle”, though Kylo was sure he heard a laugh hidden there somewhere.

He smiled a little wider. Gods, maybe he was already dead and dreaming all of this, dreaming of her.

Their interactions had been many things but never so charming.

The quiet buzzing feeling in his head kept on. He felt the cloth pull away before suddenly her voice was much too close to him. He could feel her eyes on him through his closed lids, smell the jasmine in her hair that was tickling the sides of his neck and chest. Her breath was warm and so very close to his own lips.

He cracked his eyes open slowly to see her right above him, bright hazel searching his face for some unseen thing. Her long hair once again created that cloistering curtain drowning him in her scent and making his pulse jump.

“Like what you see?” he teased, his voice a low, syrupy croon that made her breath hitch. He could see her eyes shifting, pupils dilating with want, quite enjoying her struggle to leash her desire far too much. He reached up, trailing warm fingers across her plump lips.

Rey immediately drew up, putting some distance between them as she shook her head, trying to clear it. She glared at him without any malice before rolling her eyes.

“Careful Supreme Leader, your Solo is showing.”  

Kylo made a sound akin to choking but she moved on before he could retaliate.

“Seems like someone is delirious and probably dehydrated. Sit up, you. I know the great Kylo Ren can survive more than an earth-shattering orgasm.”

“You wound me.”

“If only.” She breathed airily, curling an arm around the back of his shoulders to hoist him up. Her skin on his gave him shivers that he couldn't seem to hide. They both tensed even as her grip on him tightened.

“Ben..?”

“It’s fine", he bit out on a shaking breath,  “everything's just… over-sensitive right now.”

He suppressed the moan that had gathered in his throat and pushed himself up, resting on his elbows, blinking the wetness away that had begun blurring his vision in time to see her calling a heavy canteen to her outstretched hand. It flew through the air from her pile of discarded things he could see in the distance of the temple.

Rey lifted the spout to his lips and he drank until he was gulping great mouthfuls. He hadn't realized how drained his body had been left until even the warm, slightly metallic taste of the water soothed him. But then she quickly snatched the canteen away as he started coughing, his mouthful going towards lungs instead of stomach.

“You would choke on water.”

He settled as hard a glare on her as he could with moisture blurring his vision again, coughing until his lungs were clear.

“Switch off, brat." Kylo wiped tears from the corner of his eyes, still trying to clear his throat. Rey swam into focus before him, her smile and rich laughter warming him like the sun never could. 

He blinked. Blinked again.

Now that he was more aware and able to focus with the poison now on the back burner of his mind, he was not prepared at all for the unexpected sight of her looking like that.

She was an absolute vision. He was more than certain he was absolutely dead.

There was no other way to explain why else the woman in front of him was dressed in nothing but a slip of a shirt if it could even be called that at all. It was nothing more than paper-thin cotton, a faded cream cloth pulled tight around her torso, suspended by the two most useless wisps of straps hanging from her slim shoulders. It was impossibly thin and light, clinging to patches of sweat-dampened skin and curving around the soft swell of her breasts.

His mouth went dry as damn Jakku as he spied the outline of pert nipples pressing through the thin barrier that hid absolutely nothing.

His eyes drifted lower, and he noticed her legs were bare now, and, even bent, they were an endless expanse of tanned skin across smooth muscle. He wanted to run his hands along them, follow every curve and dip with his lips and tongue. He reached out before he could stop himself, brushing against a darkened freckle on the inside curve of her knee.

Rey froze, almost dropping the canteen she was trying to put the cap back onto.

Her eyes gazed down onto the pale fingers that rested on her leg. She didn't try to move them, in fact, her wayward thought slipped into his head, made easier with the physical contact.

She thought about how massive his hand looked against her thigh, how pleasing it felt. Thought about his hands running the length of them up and around to cup the curves of her hips and-

He snatched his hand away as if he'd been burned.

Rey gasped, realizing what he had glimpsed and slammed whatever small barrier she could down between their minds, her face turning a bright crimson.

It was weak, more of a partition drawn between them, one just as thin as the wisp of cloth that covered her. While it didn't quite block them from each other, it did offer enough separation for each to recede back to their own mental realms for a moment.

But her thoughts lingered in his mind. He couldn't let go of the thread of desire she had tucked away so fiercely, couldn't stop the gentle press against the crepe thin barrier that held back all of her need. Without the haze of his own lust choking him, he saw and he understood.

She wanted him, just as badly as he wanted her.

He had held himself back, even under the poisonous influence, he didn't want to push her into something she would regret later, didn't want to see the look of utter shame in her eyes after helping him.

But now...

The poison was still there, but it was asleep and what he denied himself while caught in it's wrath was now a clear decision.

 

***

 

 

Kylo reached out to her, his hands wrapping around her upper arms as he tugged her gently into him. She faltered onto hands and knees, her face hovering over his once more with eyes widened in surprise and soft pink lips parted on a gasp.

He pressed a hand to her face, cupping it. His fingertips tangled through her loose hair once more, so much gentler this time. His thumb brushed against those parted lips, dipping inside for a heartbeat. He felt her tongue dart against the pad of his thumb, quick and then slow as she gave him an experimental suck. Kylo groaned, pressing deeper into her mouth as she licked and suckled. He pulled her closer, reveling in the overheated flush of her cheeks and the gasps escaping her mouth around his finger. He was pressing down on her tongue, tricking her mouth open and she let him.

It was lewd and needy and wrong but stars, she looked good like that.

That thread of calm they had been holding fast to snapped with the revelation.

“Tell me what you want.” He growled, his free hand wrapping around her waist, tugging her firmly on top of him now. His naked erection pressed hard against her center, nothing but the thin barrier of her underwear separating them.  She ground her hips against him and moaned, loudly, unrestrained voice echoing. Kylo was quick to grasp both her hips and hold her there, rocking up against her shamelessly.

The poison in him flared with new heat.

Rey whimpered, pressing down onto his delicious friction as her fingers grappled at his shoulders. There was no longer denying the absolute want pooling between her legs, telling him exactly how she felt.

Kylo moaned, low and long as he felt her slickened folds through her soaked underwear.

"What do you want Rey? Say it."

Her eyes were green slivers as she whimpered against him. She stared down at him for a long moment, and he saw it even before she moved but this time he wasn't fast enough to escape her. This time he didn't want to.

She bent her head to kiss him, catching his bottom lip between small, neat teeth and biting down. Kylo stilled, his pulse jumping beneath her hands. He met her kiss head on, his hand cupping her face tenderly, guiding their kiss to deepen. Rey let out a pleased moan, and now he was the one gasping as he felt her hot little tongue trace the seam if his lips. He opened his mouth, plush lips moving against hers as her tongue was suddenly set on devouring him. He was more than happy to let her.

She spoke into their kiss, lips whispering against his, raw and unabashed.

"I want you to live."

The playfulness, the utter sweetness that had been there just moments before was fading, overtaken by the flames residing in him that were slowly licking their way across the bond to her. Something dim and a little bitter flared through him at her words.

They were beyond safe territory now. He was spiraling, they  were spiraling down into unknown depths. The darksider in him wanted to throw her words back in her face. How dare she demand that of him?

His life or death was not hers to command.

But the other, more tired part of him wanted nothing more than to fall into her arms and her warmth that was as damning as it was cleansing. He settled for an in between like only he could, twisting amongst the shades of grey that bound them, an endless pull of darkness and light.

Thus was the nature of Ben and Rey.

There were no gentle words between them, just silent promises, long looks in the dark and a bond that could transcend stars. It was all too much and never enough. An elegant kind of madness that offered them both sanity and sanctuary.

Kylo would take the saving grace her body offered, but she would get a taste of his darkness in return and maybe when this was done, they could still live with what they had done.

 

***

 

His fingers dug into the skin of her lower back, nails scratching into the sensitive flesh. Rey winced, but didn’t pull away. He kissed her harder, his arms snaked around her possessively, holding her to him as he devoured her mouth, licking into every crevice, sucking until both their lips were tender and wet. He didn’t let her up until they were both heaving for air, and even then he didn’t let her far, still keeping her head locked to his, mouths hovering mere inches apart.

He traced his fingers against her red lips and she nipped at them softly. That tiny seed of inky darkness that resided in him hummed, heating his blood to a boil. He fought it down, eyes sliding shut as he slowed his breath, willing the poison to calm. He couldn’t lose control again...not yet. He needed to know he was acting on his own terms and not because of the bloody pollen coursing through his system.

He pulled her to himself once more, wrapping his arms around her slim waist. Rey yelped in surprise as Kylo effortlessly rolled them in one smooth motion until she was staring up at him with wide eyes and heaving breaths. He smirked down at her.

“Then take me, little scavenger, and keep me alive.” he growled, eyes darkening from amber to midnight.

With that Kylo pressed himself to her with lips and teeth and tongue, unforgiving and relentless. Rey reciprocated with her own fervor, giving as good as she got. They fell upon each other as if they were made for nothing else.

Perhaps at this moment, they weren’t.

Her eyes fluttered shut as he sucked on a particularly sensitive spot behind her ear, not even attempting to hide the mewl that tore from her lips. It echoed around the cavernous room, coming back to them and made her already red face even more heated.

“Let me hear you, sweetheart.” he purred, his tongue softly traced the curve of her ear, making her shiver. “Show me what ruin sounds like.”

His hands were everywhere, setting every part he touched into flames. Rey was a writhing, messy thing, uncaring of the sounds she made or every plea that begged from her lips. She was all but consumed in the fire that was Kylo Ren and Force, she would let him burn her until she was nothing but ash. 

His long fingers had tangled in the thin straps of her top, dragging them down her shoulders until her arms were trapped low by her sides and her breasts were on full display of his mercy. She whimpered as he drew his lips away from her to stare at what treasure he had uncovered.

"Please... ” she whined, a little delirious and needy and all he could do was gaze in wonder at her breasts, small but high and tight and topped with dusky rose nipples that had hardened into peaks in the cool air of the temple. The blush that was so becoming on her cheeks trailed down to her chest, turning her sun-kissed skin deliciously pink.

Rey was breathing hard, trying and failing to catch her breath. Her eyes were half-closed, but she couldn’t help but preen at the look he was giving her. The look of utter awe and want radiating through the bond from him was something she could thrive on.

“So needy, stardust.” He whispered reverently before dipping his head to catch a rosy nipple between his lips. He sucked and licked like a man possessed. Rey keened. Every pass of his tongue was like a direct nerve ending at her sopping core that she was shamelessly rubbing against him, only the thin layer of soaked cotton still separating them. He brought a hand up to her other breast, a calloused thumb dragging against an oversensitive peak before he pinched down hard.

“Kylo!” she half-choked, half screamed, arching her back into him as they both felt the hot gush between her thighs.

He ground against her harder, something rising in him as he heard the name she screamed. It took teeth-clenching effort, but he managed to drag his hand away from her perfect tits. He trailed his fingers down her taut stomach, blunt nails leaving tantalizing scratches that made her squirm.

She definitely wasn’t shy, his little savage Jedi, he mused as she slowly spread her legs the lower his hand went. It made his cock twitch and strain, knowing just how wanton he made her.

“Eager, aren’t we?” he teased.

“Says the one whose life depends on this,” she growled, finally freeing her arms from their makeshift restraints by snapping the straps from her top. Kylo laughed as her arms twined around him roughly and she pulled him down to claim his mouth once more.

Her tongue was hot and wet and every other perfect deprived thing he could think of. She was bent on eating him alive with this kiss, lips bruising and teeth sharp against his bottom lip. He slipped his fingers beneath the band of her underwear, grazing the damp curls there before tracing a finger through her dripping slit, swallowing her gasp with his kiss.

His fingers were madness thrust upon her, twirling deftly around her clit, making her shiver. Rey was a panting mess beneath him. She didn’t remember how, but at some point, her underwear was tugged down her legs and tossed away and she was spread wide open now, keening and arching into his fingers. Her nails were biting into his skin, creating little crescents across his shoulders and arms.

Kylo couldn’t tear his eyes away from the fallen goddess writhing under his touch. Her mouth was red and swollen, neat little teeth biting into her bottom lip in a failed attempt to stifle the wrecked noises escaping with every breath. Her skin was glistening with sweat, stray curls sticking to her neck and forehead. She arched into him with every touch, pressing her breasts into his chest, head thrown back in carnal bliss. He rubbed along her slit, making her moan loud before sinking a thick finger into her hot center.

“Fuck, Rey!” he cursed, groaning at how tight she was. 

Rey was begging now, to Ben, to Kylo, to whoever the hell was listening for more

And then everything shattered as only things could with Rey and Ben...and this time not in a good way.

 

***

 

 

Her arms were wrapped around his neck and his tongue twined with hers as he was stroking her wet heat with his fingers.

He was only as deep as his first knuckle when he felt it... that telltale resistance that signified something he really had not considered until right that moment.

He pulled away abruptly, moving fast enough that he was pushing himself off of her until they were no longer touching.

His eyes had gone wide and his breathing was on the verge of hyperventilating. He stared at her with disbelief. The smallest hint of revulsion at himself began to trickle into his mind, choking him. The flip his mentality was going through had him reeling. 

You almost defiled her... She doesn't deserve you. She deserves better than anything you could ever give her. You don't have the right to her.

Rey pushed herself up on her elbows, confused and disoriented at the loss of him.

"Ben..what's wrong?" She asked, voice cracked and raw. He was staring at her like she had a second head and it brought a sudden uncertainty like a douse of cold water. She sat up, immediately crossing her legs and her arms, curling up until her most intimate places were shielded from him. She wrapped her arms around herself, suddenly colder than she'd ever been. 

"What's wrong?" She asked again, voice weaker... somehow feeling a hundred times more vulnerable than she had been spread out beneath him. "Why did you stop?"

"You're untouched...I - I can't..."

It was a broken whisper she caught more from his mind than from his lips. Her green eyes widened and she could feel her face heating to an alarming rate. Deep bitterness and sudden rejection infused her blood, smothering her.

"Yes. I am. I didn't realize that would be such an issue." She bit out, anger and hurt flaring through their damned bond.

Kylo shook his head, pressing his palms tightly against his eyes,  trying to stave off the headache and the guilt that was rising higher.

"You don't deserve this Rey...not for your first time...not like this." he choked.

"You're acting like I didn't just make the decision to be with you," she said, voice rising. "This was my decision and I don't need you taking that from me!"

Passion gave way to rage. Rey glared at him with those kyber bright eyes as sharp as cut glass. His guilt faltered an inch.

"You're the one acting like there is a choice in this Ben! But there was never a choice! From the moment you fell into that fucking water, there was never a choice of what I would do! I don’t -" she suddenly sobbed, biting back the wetness creeping at edge of her vision.

“You’re not allowed to die!” she screamed at him, eyes sliding shut against the tears that were beginning to choke her.

Her voice was a hoarse, brittle cry.

"You can't leave me."

 

 ***

 

 

Chapter Text

  

***

 

Ben gazed helplessly, silent and shocked, at the woman faltering before him. He felt as if his very breath had been snatched from his chest, choking him. It didn’t help that he could feel the poison’s burn rising to the surface, outraged at what he had denied it in the warm body that had just been in reach.  

He didn’t know what to do or where to look as Rey hugged herself, kneeling before him with tears in her eyes. He wanted to reach out, hold her, erase the last minute and go back to that blazing warmth they had been caught in. 

Now, everything was frigid, as if they had been doused in ice water.

The minuscule yet foolish integrity he was clinging to would not allow him near her. 

Rey, of course, could see and feel every thought rampaging through his mind. She could feel his self-loathing, could taste the bitterness of his regret on her own tongue. She had no graceful way to respond to him as his emotions warred with her own, bringing all the negativity to the forefront for both of them. They were spiraling fast, down and down until it was just a whirlpool of regret and uncertainty and pain tugging them back and forth.

I’m not worthy of her.

He doesn’t want me. 

On and on they spun, until every word was mixed up and messy and Rey was sobbing and Ben was beginning to lose his grip on the thin cord that leashed his temper. 

The pollen felt sentient as it rose in him like a dark cloud, sending lightning through every nerve-ending and narrowing his vision to the woman before him. It called to the darkness in him, fed on every bleak thought, thrived on the rage that was rapidly surfacing. 

It needed him to lose control... something he couldn’t afford to do. Not now.

He turned from her without a word, stalking deeper into the bowels of the temple ruins, fighting every thread of his soul trying to drag him back to her. 

Rey watched him walk away, smashing Force-laden blows onto stone walls and pillars as he passed, anger radiating like a lightning storm around him. 

The Force was a raging swirl between them, a maelstrom that grew with each step he took away from her. She gasped, a sob caught in her throat as she clutched her chest tightly, feeling a tightness there that threatened to suffocate her.

Like blood beading up through a pinprick, slow and then all at once, thoughts that should have remained his own crashed upon her through the bond that was now wide open, along with a wave of lust so fierce even Rey’s light dimmed at its fury. 

She gasped as his feelings consumed her, felt his frustration and wrath all fused into the unrelenting and torrid desire that the pollen fueled. She also realized that this was worse for him than it would’ve been for anyone else. He was in-tuned to the Force at an unimaginable level. There was no way he could not be affected by it ten times over. 

Her tired gaze drifted to the flowers floating on still water. A deadly gift, offered in a beautiful, unassuming wrapper. 

Who knew a place of such tranquility could hold something so cruel.

The temple was old, and she briefly remembered the edge of sentience playing beneath her skin for a fleeting second through the stones. A shiver snaked down her spine, setting every fine hair on end across her skin.

It knows what it keeps and something in the ancient ruin was feeding. 

The poison was merely a catalyst to bite down on the wretched, inky thing residing in the dark of both their souls.

It would consume them if they let it. 

 

 

***

 

 

Kylo half growled half yelled into his fist as he came for the second time in the last hour since he had pulled himself away from Rey. He slumped against the hard stone at his back, chest heaving as he loosely fisted his erection that was still half-hard in his palm. His hand and abdomen were sticky with his cum, and his eyes fluttered shut in disgust at the feeling of it drying against his skin. This was beyond humiliating now and well into absolutely degrading. 

“Rey…” 

It was a pathetic moan that came out more a whimper echoing around the tiny, outer courtyard he had somehow ended up in as he had tried to place as much distance as possible between himself and the object of his carnal need. He knew she was still there inside the temple proper, could sense her like a beacon calling him home. She was his salvation and his damnation all wrapped up in one perfect, tight little body.

His teeth clenched as his body reacted to this train of thought, cock hardening immediately at the very memory of her. 

This time he did scream up to the gray sky in agony and frustration.

He took up that familiar motion once again, hand jerking lazily at hard flesh. He was beyond spent and exhausted but even with a steady pace, the touch of his own hand did absolutely nothing to stave off the ache that was beginning to turn into pain. It was exactly as she said and as he feared. He needed the hot slide of another's skin against his own, needed to bury himself so completely in someone else's warm body until he was swallowed whole. 

Try as he might, no matter what self-righteousness he clung too, against all odds, he needed her.  

Ben howled, cursing the Force and whatever other powers were listening, into oblivion.

The sky darkened above him with the promise of an oncoming storm. 

 

 

***

 

 

Inside, a different kind of storm was brewing.

Rey had an idea. A horrid, terrible, risky idea. One that could possibly kill her if she was wrong.  

It was beyond dumb, and dangerous and completely unnecessary... except that it would put Ben-insufferable-Solo into a position where he could no longer be the sulking ass of a man he was currently portraying. 

If Ben was set on his impossible and archaic sense of honor, then she could be just as ridiculous.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, it seemed.

She pushed herself upright from the pillar she had been curled against, arms to her sides as she squared her shoulders and shook out the crick in her neck. She made sure she kept her thoughts as muted as possible lest she tip him off to her plan.

Silently, she padded towards the spiral steps that led back to that crumbling ledge that had first set them on this wretched path. She stopped at the bottom step, eyes drifting up to follow the curving stones then down to the murky pool below with crimson clouds floating on its surface.

She would save him here if it was the last thing she did. To hell with his faded sense of integrity. 

Rey took a steadying breath before beginning her slow ascent. With each step, she felt her resolve grow and solidify until it was a burning, rage-filled thing.

 

 

***

 

 

She was almost at the halfway point of the twisting steps when Ben finally emerged from wherever dark corner he was sulking in and appeared just beyond the first ring of crumbling pillars that rimmed the sunken pool. 

“Rey!” his voice cracked like thunder, and she startled, stumbling. Her arm grasped the mossy wall that ran around one side of the steps, leaning away from the open side that would plunge her into the waters below. 

“What are you doing?!” he yelled up at her, voice echoing throughout the chamber in fury.

“Oh, I’m sorry, has his highness decided to speak to the lowly virgin again?” she yelled back, venom dripping in her tone as she resumed her ascent, moving faster. She peeked down, meeting his rageful stare head-on before rolling her eyes and continuing up.

“You’re being ridiculous, you know that!?” he snarled, moving towards the bottom of the steps. 

But as he got closer, Rey picked up the pace and soon she was only a quarter ways from the top just as he reached the bottom. 

“Don’t you dare! I’m not the one deciding death is a better option than sleeping with me, you insufferable prick!” she tossed back over her shoulder, finally coming up on the crumbling ledge where they had been earlier. 

“Don’t come any closer!” 

She looked down, across the spiraling steps to where he had stopped dead across from her a few levels down. 

He looked up at her, eyes flashing. He took in her naked form, bare skin flushed and glowing in her rage as she stood like a vengeful goddess above him, her dark hair coiling around her like a wraith. She was glorious and perfect.

Ben had to stop her.

“You wouldn’t.” he called, his voice a storm in the quiet, “It would kill you faster than it’s killing me.”

"Better than taking the easy way out!" She spat.

"You. Won't." He bit out each hardened syllable, putting as much Force into the command as possible. 

Rey just scoffed, almost offended. It had been a long time since he was able to get that to work. Ever since their bond, they had always been on equal footing. 

“Clearly you don’t know me at all.”

His eyes darkened and she could tell her words had hit something within him. He was seething now. 

“I’m the only one who knows you.” 

“But you still don’t want me,” she deadpanned… watching every pained emotion that crossed his face. It was her own insecurity, taken and forged into a blunt knife. She was trying to goad him. 

He yelled, short and angry, running hands through his messy hair before gesturing up at her with wide arms. 

“Of course I want you! Do you not remember the last few hours?!” 

“Then why are you fighting this?! Ben, you’re dying!”

“BECAUSE YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS!” 

His words again rang like the tolling of a bell. 

“You deserve so much more than this, Rey. You deserve everything I can't give you here. I don’t - I can’t hurt you. If it happens like this, you will regret it and I don’t want to do that to you. I won't do that to you." 

Tears welled again, unbidden and unwanted as she listened. 

“That’s not your decision to make, Ben. It’s mine...please...” she called, voice desperate as she walked closer to the ledge. 

His eyes slid shut at her plea as if he couldn’t bear to see her. She stepped up to the edge, toes curling around the shattered stones there. The pool loomed below her, large red petals of the Maiden’s Blood unfurled almost as if welcoming her into its depths. 

“Rey, don’t do this." He begged. "You won’t make it.” 

His eyes slid to hers, before trailing down to the pool, calculating and pleading.

“I’ll catch you before you hit the water. I’ll tie you up and leave this place.” he threatened, but his voice was weak.

Rey laughed, mirthless and tired. 

“You, Ben Solo, are the most ridiculous man I have ever met and that’s considering the fact that I have met both your father and your uncle!"

She smiled mockingly.

"Let's make a bet... because I know you can't catch me. Not the way you are now."

Ben growled. “Rey-”

She didn't think about it. 

Didn't think about the feeling of falling, didn't listen to his hoarse cry as she felt his weakened attempt at a Force pull that she already knew he wouldn't be able to execute in his state. 

She was doing this. For him. 

She jumped.

The distance was much higher than when she had fallen into that dark hole on Ach'To and just as she predicted, she fell fast and hit the water hard. She was prepared for the impact, but it still didn't dull the burn as the water entered her nose and mouth and the bloody petals curled around her like some sentient creature trying to drag her under.

 


*** 

 

 

Rey kicked her feet, pushing sluggishly towards the surface before she felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her middle, propelling her upward. They broke the surface and she immediately started coughing up the reddened water. 

Ben hoisted her up into his arms as he trod towards the shallow edge of the pool. 

"You're a terror! Do you know that?! You're insane!" He shouted as he stumbled out of the pool. 

Rey would have laughed if she didn't feel as if she were being consumed by an inferno. 

She clutched herself to him, fingers grappling against water-slicked skin as she fought for purchase against his shoulders and back. This movement brought her face flush to the side of his neck and she whimpered, pressing closer to him. 

"I did it for you, you idiot. "

Her voice was reminiscent of its usual clear lilt, all breathy and cracked and wanting. A pained moan escaped as something akin to liquid fire burned through her veins with a vigor she had not expected. It hit every nerve ending as if she were skinned down to the muscle and she was acutely aware of every minuscule point of contact. 

She felt it all - the cold water sticking and sliding across her skin... and the heat and pressure of Ben's hands gripping her tightly under her knees and around her ribs. It felt like all the times she had accidentally crossed live wires were happening to her at once. She wanted to scream.

"Why does this feel like it's ten times worse than what you felt?" She gasped, nails digging into his back where her hands had clasped around his neck tightly. Every step pushed her bare chest against his own, and she knew he could feel the hard points of her nipples rubbing maddeningly. Ben was breathing hard, and she knew he was fighting the poison down as he struggled to control himself with her at his mercy. 

"Think Rey. It's called Maiden's Blood." He growled, sarcasm dripping from every pore as he attempted to somehow angle her away from him without dropping her. "It's probably going to be worse for you because you're a maiden." 

"I hate you!" she snarled, though it came out as more of a choked gasp. 

"Not as much as I hate myself." He mumbled darkly. Rey dug her nails into his shoulder blades, making him hiss in pain. 

Ben dropped her unceremoniously onto the floor and she fell against the pillar at her back, grateful for the support as she suddenly felt the room spin. 

This was… so much worse than she thought it would be. 

She was beyond dumb. She was also beyond pain and into a strange realm of feeling too much and not enough. It was bad, very bad. Her breath came in rapid shudders as she worked hard to regulate it as much as she possibly could. She felt like an open wound, exposed and completely inflamed. 

Rey sobbed, her hands coming up to clutch her shoulders. Suddenly, she dragged her fingers down hard, blunt nails raked into oversensitive flesh, uselessly trying to quell the buzzing itch right below her skin. A surprised cry echoed and she realized it was her own as the flare of pain overwhelmed her tumultuous desire for a brief moment. 

Ben was upon her in a second, grasping her wrists and hands, pulling them apart, out of reach of her arms that were beginning to show thin streaks of red from her nails.

"Shh, sweetheart, you're okay." He soothed. His deep voice was a balm on her frayed nerves. Every little endearment he let slip warmed her from the inside out and dulled the poison’s wrath. She stared up at him with glassy eyes, fighting to see him through the tears gathered there.

“It hurts.” she sobbed, voice cracking. Stars, she was the biggest idiot in the galaxy. 

“I know, stardust, believe me, I know. But you’re stronger than this, you’re stronger than me.” 

He bent his head and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’ll take care of you. We’ll take care of each other.” he murmured against her skin.

Ben let go of her after making sure she would not harm herself again. She reached out for him as he moved away, this time her own pathetic whimper echoing back at them.

"Wait!-" her fingers brushed his leg, digging into the smooth leather of his pants. She clung to him then, sitting on her knees and pressing her forehead to his thigh, arms wrapping around his leg. 

"Don't leave..." She begged hoarsely. 

He sighed and placed a large hand gently atop her head, stroking wet hair away from her face as she looked at him with kyber-bright eyes. There was panic swimming in those depths and it made his chest tight. He kneeled, and wrapped his arms around her, holding her to him. She pressed tightly into his broad chest, breathing him in. Her own arms curled around his middle in a hug and she whimpered at the contact. 

All she wanted was to crawl into his chest and stay there.

"I'm not leaving, just breathe…" he commanded gently and Rey sucked in a deep breath, realizing she had been holding it in for a long moment, trying to keep his scent with her. It calmed her. 

She watched his arm extend, felt the slight shift in the energy around them as he called something with the Force. Their discarded cloaks flew to his outstretched palm. 

Without moving her, Ben maneuvered the capes into a makeshift pile, layering them together to form a sort-of-nest. He then directed her to it, gently guiding her down. 

Rey groaned and let him move her like a ragged doll, resting her limbs easily as long as he didn't stop touching her. The little palette of cloaks was nothing more than a thin barrier against the hard stones, but she stretched out upon them, moaning when she realized his scent was directly beneath her and she was suddenly wrapped up in him. She curled into his cloak, practically purring as she inhaled deeply. 

Ben laid down next to her on his side, propping himself up on an elbow. With his free hand, he continued to smooth the hair gently away from her face as she fought to catch her breath. He marveled at the deep blush on her tanned skin, highlighting every freckle he wanted to kiss. Her eyes fluttered closed and her lashes were wispy and wet across the tops of her cheeks, her rosy mouth parted in a small “o”. 

He knew it was wrong, knew it was the poison’s fire licking at her skin. But he couldn’t help but compare her to a fallen star, a goddess made mortal for one brief moment. 

He wanted nothing more than to devour her. Mind, body, and soul.

After a long moment, her chest stopped heaving and she stared up at him with glass green eyes. He leaned down on a whim, his lips pressing against her temple. She shivered sweetly, turning into him.  

"I'm sorry." She whispered, voice hoarse. Her own hand came up to gently caress the side of his face. There were a thousand emotions flickering within his dark eyes, but the one that prevailed was worry.

"Why did you do that? You shouldn't have endangered yourself, especially not for me." He whispered into her hair, sighing.

If she thought too hard about what she said next, she would blame delirium. Instead, she gently traced the scar she had gifted him with all those years ago, fingers gliding along the thin line that never failed to make a deep sense of possession arise in her. 

Mine. The quiet, dark thing within her purred.

On a whim that she might have blamed on the pollen, she tilted her head just so, catching the scar where it dipped into his neck and pressed her lips there. Ben shivered, moaning.

"A friend told me that you only win not by fighting what you hate…but saving what you love." 

Her voice was a whisper, aching and so impossibly soft that he almost had to strain to hear her. 

But he did and he was quiet for a long moment after. 

Rey's eyes never left his, willing him to see every unsaid word she never dared say aloud. 

I did this for you. Only you.

I wouldn't have done this for anyone else but you. You know why. 

You are the part of myself that I could never let go. 

He broke her gaze first.

"That's silly." He whispered. But the weight of his quiet smile held galaxies within it. 

He understood.

Rey reached up, twining her fingers together behind his neck.

"Kiss me."

He did as she commanded, capturing her lips with his.

The fire in her blood she had managed to quell roared back to life and suddenly she was the one devouring him. She felt the simmering heat low in her belly again, but this time it was triple the feeling, making her squirmy and uncomfortable and so very wet. She moaned into his mouth, her own hands feeling every inch of hard muscle and smooth flesh she could reach. 

 


***

 

 

Chapter Text

 

***

 

Rey was burning. 

That was the only way to describe every single never-ending pulse of fire through her veins. He was right. Whatever the hell that flower was, it was worse for her. Tenfold.

She clutched at Ben with desperate fingers, blunt nails digging into sensitive flesh.

"I'm going to die." She whimpered pathetically, groaning into his mouth as his hands found what was left of her top still clinging wetly to her chest before shredding it apart. 

"Now who's being dramatic?"

He smirked, giving her lips a final lick before trailing down to her neck, leaving wet kisses all the way down until he sucked a rosy nipple into his mouth. Rey moaned, absurdly needy, and arched her back, pushing her breasts further into him.

“Ben!” she groaned, mostly growled, her panicked irritation flaring through the bond.  

Her fingers tangled into his hair, tugging and pushing along with each stroke of his tongue. She was a babbling mess by the time he trailed his lips down her stomach, kissing at the tremors he felt radiating through her abdomen before dipping lower to thighs that were already shaking with want. Rey tightened her fingers in his hair, practically dragging him to the heat between her legs, already spread wide for him. If Ben had been closer to reason, he would’ve taken a moment to admire how wanton and absolutely wrecked she was...but since he was only a few steps behind her level of need, he went willingly, letting her press his face against her throbbing cunt.  

He delved into her with reckless abandon and little preamble, parting her wet folds with his tongue, licking long maddening stripes up and down her labia before his plush lips honed in on her clit and sucked hard. A primal growl hummed through him as she wailed and shattered, back bowed and head tossed back, her orgasm a mess of hot slick dripping down his chin that he readily lapped up. 

Rey's fingers were a tangled vice in his hair as she quivered beneath him, finally loosening her grip when her thighs stopped shaking. He pushed up from between her legs after a final kiss to her tender, swollen folds a smirk gracing his plump red lips as he looked down at the mess he had made of her. 

She was breathing hard but still, her body was a soft, blissed-out vessel as the fire momentarily subsided from her blood. Her bright eyes were hooded and watched him with a tenderness he felt in his bones. 

"Thank you," she breathed, voice rough. 

Ben reached down and pushed sweat-damp locks away from her forehead and neck, his hands a soothing trail across overwrought flesh. 

"It gives us a little time," he said, voice quiet and full of an emotion he couldn't quite name. "Time to do this right."

He bent to kiss her lips, beseeching, and she moaned as his tongue delved into her mouth and she tasted herself. 

He pulled away, holding his weight above her. "Is that okay?"

Rey nodded, staring up at him with a tightness in her chest that had nothing to do with the poison and everything to do with the man hovering above her looking as if she were the very sun fallen into his arms. She reached for him, rising to meet him as his mouth descended upon her. 

"On our own terms."

***

 

They had been kissing for what felt like hours. That's all Rey thought as they devoured one another with lips and teeth and tongues. In reality, it had been less than an hour but she had still been reduced to a warm, pliant puddle in his hands, marveling at his attentions. Ben was like a man possessed, hovering over her, caging her body with his massive form. He felt as if he were trying to worship her one moment with soft words and even softer kisses and then possess her the next with biting teeth and a mouth that tried to steal all the air from her lungs until she was gasping. It made her head spin in a delicious sort of way. 

She could stay like this, she thought. In this heady in-between place where it was just her and Ben and nothing else mattered except for his skin against hers. It felt like they were suspended in time, lost in these ancient ruins where they would stay. It was a fleeting and dangerous notion.

In a moment of impulse, she decided to take advantage of how distracted Kylo was with leaving every possible inch of her neck bruised purple and red by his lips and teeth. Rey struck like a viper, snaking her legs high around his hips before rolling his massive form with more than a little help from the Force until she had successfully flipped them. She straddled him, pinning his arms down beside his head, hands around his wrists like chains. 

She couldn't help but smile down at his startled expression, taking too much pleasure in the fact that she now had the mighty Kylo Ren pinned beneath her and going by the feelings writhing through their bond, he was more than content to be there. 

His eyes were still bright with lust, but thankfully Rey could sense it was still his own and not the poison. Not yet, at least.

She let him see her smile as she stared down at him, marveling at the sight of him breathing hard, pale skin flushed a delicious red that went all the way down to his muscled chest. His eyes gazed into hers with such awe that she felt something in her chest flutter with that unnamed ache that dwelled there.

"I rather like you on your back." She mused, thinking back to their first battle, where she had overpowered him in the snow. There was the slightest dark edge to her tone, a possessiveness made even stronger by the pollen’s burn.

There was a hint of a smile playing on his lips as he pinched the outside of her taut thigh where his hand rested, making her squirm pleasantly atop him, a breathless laugh escaping her. 

"I'm enjoying the view." He smirked, leaning up to take a rosy nipple between his teeth. He laved at the tender bud, rolling the hardened peak between lips and teeth. His other hand worked the breast not filling his mouth, kneading and rubbing, using every little burst of pleasure that he could feel from her through the bond until she was a quivering mess. 

"Ben…" she groaned, breathless. He nipped at the soft, giving flesh above her nipple, watched as the spot beneath his teeth mottled to a deep purple against her skin. It was yet another mark added to the myriad collection he had already given her and would continue to give her until he had claimed every inch of her. 

Dark satisfaction rippled across the bond, and he knew she could feel his possession. Knew it called to her own, heightening the pleasure she felt at being in control of him.

They would always be two sides of the same coin.

Rey bent her head, surprising him by pressing her lips to his softly. She kissed him with a gentleness that belied the chaos within them, tongue tangling with his in languid strokes. Kylo moaned, wrapping his arms around her back, fingers trailing her shoulders and tangling into her hair. She smiled gently against him, quieting their kiss once more until she pushed him down gently to lay back. 

He looked up at her, adoration clear in his eyes and mind as he stroked her face with a large hand. She nuzzled into him, kissing the inside of his palm. 

The Force hummed warmly around them.

Kylo's hands were a comforting weight against her hips, warm and solid. His thumbs gently stroked the sensitive curves where her hips met her thighs, anchoring her as she cataloged every inch of his skin against hers. Her fingers spanned his abdomen, up to his chest and shoulders and brushed gently across his throat. He tipped his head back, a deep sigh left his lips as she traced every dip and curve, every mole, every scar, memorizing him. 

Memorizing this moment.

There was nothing between them now, nothing to hold them back. No Resistance. No First Order. No Jedi legacy to uphold, no Supreme Leader mantle to hide behind. No past. No future. No broken, unsaid words left to choke on.

She smiled, humming along with the Force around them in content.

Kylo gazed at the woman above him, his mind still so unbelieving of this moment, nothing but a fantasy he had hidden deep in his wounded heart.

And yet here she was, warm flesh and blood beneath his hands, trembling softly at every touch he pressed against her skin.

He forgot she could hear him now, no secrets left to keep between them and she bent her head to him, once again shadowing them in the curtain of her dark hair.

Her lips were warm against his, plush and kiss-bitten and perfect.

It was a kiss that was so utterly soft after the chaos they had wrought on each other up to this moment. 

Rey pressed her forehead against his, smoothing his sweat-coated hair back from his face tenderly. Her voice filtered through his mind like a breeze.

It's just us now. 

He remembered another time those words were spoken, recalling back to snow, and blood and pain and anger. 

He tilted his head up to hers, capturing her lips again, not trusting himself to speak.

Rey traced one trembling hand across his face, her fingers a whisper across the scar that had defined the start of them all those years ago. Kylo turned his head at her touch, pressing into her hand. She felt his full lips against her palm as he pressed a kiss there just as she had done to him.  His voice flowed into her mind as if he had spoken aloud.

It has always been us. It always will be.

There was a promise in his voice. 

One just as strong as her promise to save him. Her mind had already been set from that first vicious tremor that had wracked through him. 

Something within them knew this would change them. Irrevocably and completely.

How could it not culminate in any other way? 

Fate had seemed to entwine them so deeply that even being on opposite sides of the Force could not tear them apart.

Her path would always lead to him. And his to her. 

***

 

Ben fought down a gasp as his eyes slid shut as he was suddenly wracked with that searing flare in his blood. Rey’s breath hitched as the poison in her answered.

She could feel them straining, fighting against the burn of the acid running through both their veins. He was hanging by a bare thread, fighting for their small reprieve, only a minuscule moment of clarity to do this all on their own terms before both of them succumbed to the poison once more. The tingle in her bones had lost the warmth of pleasure and was beginning to shoot pinpricks of pain through her system.

She turned his face to her and leaned down, pressing her lips to his as she deliberately slid a little lower on his hips, rubbing her wet heat against his throbbing length. Ben couldn’t stop the groan that escaped him at feeling her atop him like this. It was already exquisite, too much and still not enough. 

He wanted to drown in this woman and never resurface. 

Rey smiled as his thoughts poured into her, heat and tension curling deliciously in her belly, fighting off the pain. She pulled away from his lips, a small laugh escaping her as he tried sitting up and following her mouth with a needy whine. She trailed her fingers across his neck, caressing down until she pressed against the packed muscles of his chest. 

He obediently laid back down, watching with awed fascination as she lifted up on her knees to position him at her entrance, both holding their breath as she slid him within herself. 

Her descent paused as they both felt the resistance of her maidenhead between them. 

Their eyes met as Rey sank down, impaling herself on his hard length to the hilt in one swift motion. The sensation was something equally terrifying and incredible, both of them crying out in a chorus of broken gasps that had both heads thrown back and hands clawing for purchase. 

Little red crescents bloomed on her hips from his fingers digging into them, while thin, red streaks appeared on his shoulders and chest from where her nails had raked across the packed muscles there. 

Rey moaned as she shifted, breathing hard through her mouth as she adjusted to the fullness within her. She blinked away the tears pooling at the corners of her eyes as much as she could, but one escaped to trail down her cheek before landing on his chest. She felt one of his hands gently cupping her face to thumb the tears away. 

"Breathe, sweetheart." He murmured gently, holding her hips still. 

She let out a shaky laugh. She didn't have to tell him why she was crying. He was already there with her, already knew anything she could possibly say even before she would say it. There was nothing she could say that he didn’t already know.

It wasn't the pain...that swift flare of discomfort was already ebbing, leaving nothing but the intense fullness of him inside her, hot and hard and throbbing, her own body clutching at him, making heat pool in her belly at the whispers of pleasure she was beginning to feel again.

It was the overwhelming sense of connection and rightness that shook her. It was the feeling of when they first touched hands amplified tenfold. 

The bond that tethered them was a vibrant shining thing now, wrapped around them like woven chords of shimmersilk, singing its bone-deep satisfaction. 

Ben carefully pushed himself into as much of a sitting position as he could without jostling her atop him. He used one arm to support himself as he gently tangled the other hand into her hair, pushing their foreheads together tenderly.

"Cyar’ika.” He breathed against her temple, pressed into her skin with a kiss, his voice- a sweet and reverent caress. 

Rey had never heard that word in her life, but she felt it in her bones, and in how his heart beat faster when he said it. Of all the dear things he had called her, this by far was the dearest. 

She knew it as she knew the Force.

Beloved. 

She also knew that, at that moment, he meant it. 

Rey sobbed, falling into him, crying as he held her to him, as she held him within her. Never had she felt more connected or cherished than she did now. 

“Ben...please…” she whimpered. Her arms curled around his shoulders, crushing him to her, not quite knowing what she was asking for. Her mind, heart, and soul were overwhelmed.

“Shhh, I’ve got you.”

He arched into the cradle of her hips, breath shaking as he held himself still within her as they both adjusted to new sensations. Rey keened, her head thrown back as he slid deeper.

His fingers dug into the skin of her lower back, nails scratching into the sensitive flesh. She winced but didn’t pull away. It seemed both their resolve was beginning to wane.

He kissed her harder, one of his arms snaking up her back to tangle fingers into her hair, holding her head to his as he devoured her mouth, licking into every crevice, sucking until both their lips were red and wet. He didn’t let her up until they were both heaving for air, and even then he didn’t let her far, still keeping her head locked to his, mouths hovering mere inches apart. 

“May I?” he breathed, dark eyes begging. Desperate. 

She bit her lip and nodded, hands coming down to rest on his chest as they both moved into a tentative thrust.

Rey’s gasped cry echoed around them. He grits his teeth, unable to hold his own choked moan as he slid through her tight heat. The poison flared in satisfaction before ebbing away again, a constant push and pull of fire within them.

"Okay?" He managed to breathe out, a hand coming up to cup her face tenderly. 

Rey nodded at him, leaning down to kiss the blush creeping from his cheeks to his neck and chest. 

Ben's lips pressed to hers once more as he began thrusting at a more steady pace, swallowing every gasp and delicious keen she made. She arched her back into him, her thighs trembled around his hips as they found their rhythm. 

He kept his pace steady, though he wanted nothing more than to pull her down and fuck into her wet heat until she was a trembling mess in his arms. She was already halfway there, her thighs building small tremors against his hips. Both were so oversensitive from, even he was struggling to bypass his own overwrought nerves. The poison was rising again, demanding it's due from both of them. 

He ground his teeth, taking deep breaths before he moved his hands to the swell of her hips, slowly dragging her back up his length before pulling her down into a deep thrust. Rey moaned, her head tipping forward as her hands gripped at his abdomen and chest, blindly searching for anything to hold onto. Her eyes had slid shut, her lips were wet and pink parted just enough for small puffs of air to escape. 

“Rey, look at me.” 

His tone sent a shiver racing through her that they both felt. She groaned something nonsensical and his smile was possessive when her eyes slid open and he could see nothing but the lust and pleasure her body was consumed in. 

His lovely girl was wrecked. 

Rey could already feel her orgasm racing to meet her again, her body a strange paradox of heat and chills. She met him with each thrust, thighs shaking and wet from their mixed arousal and the poisonous desire coursing through her.

Ben pushed himself up on his elbows and bent his knees up behind her, effectively tipping her forward to meet his lips. She moaned into his mouth, barely able to keep the steady rhythm he had going, allowing him to guide her hips, fucking into her as she hovered over him on her knees. He took her hands and laced their fingers together, letting her pin his arms down with her weight. 

“Ben, please-” 

Her voice was a breathy whine, high and perfect, like a cry to god. Fuck, she was going to be the death of him if the pollen didn't get to him first... But what a way to go. 

He licked into her open mouth, demanding her release in the softest of murmurs. 

“I know what you need. Come for me, sweetheart,” he whispered, watching as his goddess of a woman rode him to her pleasure, bathed in moonlight and gripping his hands and his cock until he was sure there would be bruises on both. 

Her hips became more erratic and he pried his left hand out of her vice grip, sliding his thumb into his mouth before pressing it against her clit with a ghost touch, barely applying pressure. 

It was enough. Rey’s scream echoed once more through the temple with nothing but the stars and himself to hear them. Her cunt gripping him tight enough to be almost painful coupled with her blissful scream was enough to drag him into his own raging orgasm. He spilled into her with one more hard thrust, nails digging into her hips hard enough to break skin as he held himself in her. His hoarse shout echoed hers. 

He fell back against their little nest beneath them, chest heaving. His hooded gaze was fixed on his seed beading down her thighs as she slid off him. There was enough that some of it dripped messily onto his stomach as she moved, but he didn't care enough to wipe it away.

What he did care about, was watching Rey casually bend her head to lick it away with a single swipe of her tongue, bright eyes boring into him the entire time. He trembled beneath her, groaning as he hauled her up to smash his mouth against hers, tasting their shared release. Rey pulled away gently and stretched, grinning like a loth-cat. She fell against him, her head tucked easily under his chin, arm thrown across his chest. 

They were still trying to catch their breath, sweat sticking to each other uncomfortably but there they remained, holding one another in the quiet ruins, watching the gray clouds float by across a sky that was already dark with the evening stars.

He was drifting towards sleep when her quiet words woke him.

“I'm glad this happened with you,” she whispered sleepily.

Ben smiled, a little relieved that she couldn't see what was probably no doubt the sappiest expression on his face. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head where it lay against his chest, smoothing disheveled curls off her face. Her breathing slowed as she fell deeper towards sleep, though when he spoke he knew she heard him when her arms tightened around him. 

"Me too, Rey...me too."

He drifted off, hugging her warm body closer and lulled by her even breaths tickling his neck as she curled into him, trying to ward against the evening chill that was beginning to seep into the temple.


***