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you burn with me

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The mark had always been there, burned into her skin like a brand.

Rey had never given much thought to her soulmate, to the one whose mark would match hers. She had no reason to, for Jakku was not a place for romance, for far-flung tales of star-crossed lovers, and hidden as it was beneath her arm wraps, she often didn’t even see the mark to think about it.

At times, however, when R’iia’s breath prevented her from scavenging, from eking out her meager existence, and her blood sugar fell to its lowest point without anything to eat, she would remove her wrap from her left arm, trying desperately to stay conscious, and touch the mark. It reminded her that she was real, she was alive, and there was someone out there for her.

Someone with whom she could belong, and she would never be alone again.

In all those years of hunger and solitude, the mark never responded to her own touch.

After her frantic flight from Jakku, BB-8 and Finn in tow, Rey briefly wondered if perhaps Finn could be her soulmate. She caught a glimpse of the mark on his wrist, however, and it was nothing like hers at all--it was a beautifully detailed waning crescent moon. His soulmate would be very lucky to have him, Rey thought.

She did not think about the mark again until it started burning in the forest on Takodana.

Kylo Ren had frozen her in place with the Force. She should have been terrified. She didn’t know how he had done it. But the mark on her upper arm in a shape remarkably similar to his lightsaber felt as if it were giving off heat, and Rey would not allow herself to consider what that possibly meant. Rather than giving into fear, she focused on the strange sensation produced by her mark.

His face was altogether too soft, too open for a man who proclaimed himself evil and hid behind a mask. She was surprised at her own depth of feeling as they fought for control while in the midst of the other’s mind.

Perhaps in another life, Rey could have loved Ben Solo. She could have had a proper life with her soulmate.

It was so easy to hate him, to tap into the darkness swirling around them as they fought on Starkiller Base.

It was all too easy, and Rey knew that the emotions she felt were not entirely her own.

The connection that opened between them was more powerful than either of them could have possibly imagined.

He was in her mind, in her dreams. When they started seeing each other on Ahch-To, Rey wondered if all Force-sensitive soulmates had this problem.

When she asked him to put on a cowl, she was less concerned about her own powerful, physical reaction to his broad, clean chest, but more to the mark on his arm, exactly the match to her own.

She wondered if he knew, if he cared. He had certainly never seen her mark. But surely, he had to know, for how else could their destinies have been so intertwined?

When they fought together, side by side, back to back, breathing, thinking, feeling as one, it was the most complete Rey had ever felt. His darkness, the shadows at the back of his mind, evaporated just like Snoke’s lies at his death.

And then Rey’s soulmate disappeared once more.

“You’re nothing. But not to me,” would haunt her to the end of her days.

Closing the Millennium Falcon’s entrance ramp to her soulmate, kneeling before her, looking up at her as if she were the only thing anchoring him to this world was the hardest thing she had ever done.

She would find her own belonging, with or without him.

He would come to her, she knew within her deepest self.

No one was ever really gone.