“Please.” Kylo whispered softly, almost inaudible. His searching, begging eyes bore into Rey’s, willing her to accept his proposal. He felt the Force engulfing the both of them as his resolve fixed on her. She had to have felt the radiant pull that magnetized him to her. Watching Rey fight the Praetorian Guards alongside him, feeling her swift and deft movement through the Force reminded Kylo of the night on Starkiller base. The pure energy surging between them even before the Force bond was formally established, surrounded by snow and shrouded in a blue-red light from clashing sabers. I can show you the ways of the Force. He realized that his offer then was useless; she didn’t need him or anyone. She was fiercely liberated and, even now, as he reached his hand out, offering her everything, his resolve faltered. He steadied himself, preparing for disappointment and the eventual backlash.
Rey, tears streaming down her face, was finding it hard to breathe. Her eye flicked back and forth between Kylo’s anticipatory gaze and his hand, outstretched in a way that did not invite nor demand. There was no way this was happening. She had seen his future. She had seen light, real and tangible light, emitting from him when they had touched hands in the hut. He was supposed to turn… Everything that had happened up to this point was quite literally a blur. The pod onto Snoke’s ship, the unreadable face of the man she had believed to have understood hovering over her, the conversation with him in the elevator, battling the guards. She had just assumed that after murdering Snoke, time would continue to move as planned. This was the plan, right? How foolish, she thought. She cursed to herself for letting herself believe that the Force bond was real, that Kylo could be turned, that he was redeemable. You’ll turn, I’ll help you. Her eyes stung with disillusionment. But, mixed along with the regret, disappointment, and pain… was hope. This moment felt like it was standing still, as if Snoke’s throne room was exempt to the confines of time.
Rey took a shuddering breath and locked eyes with Kylo. His eyes melted into hers. She felt pulled toward him, like the twinkle in his eyes was the spark of the light that she had seen on Ach-To. The chains around her heart softened. This was Ben Organa Solo, not the murderous beast that Snoke had manipulated and tortured him into. Her mind raced back and forth between his speech and her obligation to the rebels. She ached to have Leia here, Finn even. She wanted to Luke to see the same eyes she was seeing, the eyes of a broken, yet changing, man. Behind her she knew that the rebel fleet was being annihilated, one by one. She was indebted to these people, she believed in them. Maybe… this decision could lead the rebels down a path of salvation. She could save them, she could save him… Time was of the essence, she knew, even though she felt it standing still. Her sense of urgency peaked as she lifted her hand to make a decision. You’re still holding on, let go, Ben had said. She swallowed and gave into the hope.
Rey placed her hand lightly into Ben’s extended hand. Kylo felt the Force surge and pulsate around them, trying to contain the power that emanated from their link. She must feel it too, he decided as he watched goose bumps rise on her pale arms and up to the curve in her neck. Their breath trembled in unison. Kylo’s face remained unchanging as he lowered their connected hands and brought Rey forward to him ever so slightly.
“It’s time to let old things die.” Rey finally spoke, repeating the words Ben had just recited. A twitch played on the corner of Kylo’s lips and he released a breath he must have been holding.
He opened his mouth to speak when the elevator door slammed open on the opposite side of the throne room. General Hux stumbled forward on the bridge, mouth gaping, not at Kylo and Rey, but at their fallen Supreme Leader. “Ren, I-”, he blubbered. Approaching Snoke’s halved body, Hux’s eyes widened and he grappled for words. Kylo gave Rey an impenetrable gaze and turned around to face Hux, disconnecting their hands. The Force pull wavered and fell, leaving Rey to twist and wring her hands for a distraction.
“What. Happened.” Hux stammered out pointedly to Kylo, eyes wild.
“Supreme Leader Snoke is dead.” Kylo’s former intensity had been restored, all softness freezing over. He held himself tall looking down menacingly on the sniveling General as Hux gave a disgusted grimace toward Rey, who was tucked behind Kylo. “What-what is SHE doing alive, Snoke had plans to-“
“There was a brawl between the guards and the girl. Snoke was collateral damage. I did my best to stop her but…” His voice trailed off as he turned his head to look over his shoulder for a split second. Rey could have sworn he winked. He whipped his head back to Hux and began to march toward him. She must have been imagining things. “She is being taken into my custody. I will deal with her.” Rey felt frozen in place. Deal with her? What had she done? It was all an act. He was going to murder her anyway. After the entire spectacle, it was all for show. He didn’t want her to join her. He wanted her to himself.
“Call off the attack on the rebel carriers. I want to get down to that base now and finish this.” Rey couldn’t believe it. What a duplicitous snake. Tears sprang to her eye again but she willed herself to straighten herself out, to be strong. Kylo turned back to Rey, not meeting her eyes. He strode purposefully to her and clasped his gloved hand upon her stiff shoulder, pushing her towards to bridge. Rey blanched at the thought of what was going to happen to the rebels because of her lapse in judgment, her emotional tendency. She hung her head down, staring at her feet, averting the eyes of the blubbering Hux.
Hux began to throw himself into hysterics after Kylo and Rey. “Who do you think you are talking to, you presume to command my army, taking prisoners for yourself! Our Supreme Leader is dead, WE HAVE NO RULER-“ Rey felt a strong squeeze on her shoulder and – strangely – in the back of her head as she heard Hux’s voice go mute. Her head rose to see Kylo’s opposite hand outstretched in Hux’s direction. A choked expression was painted on Hux’s face and he brought his desperate hands to his throat.
“The Supreme Leader,” Kylo gritted deliberately, “is dead.” Rey flinched backwards, lightheaded at the fullness she felt at the base of her skull. Rage and guilt and disdain boiled through her brain. She instinctively brought her hand to meet Kylo’s at her shoulder and dug her nails into flesh, unable to think straight through the curtain of hate that had stifled every logical thought.
“Kylo.” She groaned. How was this happening, Snoke was dead, the Force bond was his dark fantasy. It should be gone. Why was she feeling this? She understood the Force, she knew that she could sense other’s feelings, but them becoming her own was not something Luke had instructed her on.
He spun, still holding onto Hux while meeting Rey’s eyes. Anger and apathy poured out of his reddened eyes and into hers. At the look of Rey’s discomfort and silent pleading, Kylo lowered his hand and steadied himself, wiggling his jaw back into a neutral position and his fingers into a fist.
Hux fell to the ground, the Force choke subsiding, coughing and gasping dramatically. Kylo returned back to his intimidating and stoic self as he led Rey into the elevator. As they entered and the door began to fall, she could faintly hear Hux sputter out, “Long live, Supreme Leader.”