Strange , she thought to herself, furrowing her brows.
She hadn't walked through a forest since the Starkiller Base.
Something isn't right.
She reached to her hip and touched her lightsaber for comfort. With a sigh of relief she slowly paced herself, weaving in and out of the trees through the thicket ahead. Although she didn't have the slightest clue of where she was, it was familiar in a way she couldn't understand.
As she hiked on, a low buzzing started, turning quickly into a hum and then a vibration. It felt as if there were cold whispers biting at her ears, but the words were misplaced as they reverberated through her chest and into her stomach. As soon as the jumbled noise reached its peak, it promptly ended. There was nothing. She felt and heard nothing…
Not even the heaving of her breath.
This was the type of silence that shook someone. It was dark and all consuming. It had a life of its own. Rey gasped for air before forcing out the start of a whimper, when she felt a hand tightly grasp her shoulder.
“I've found you.”
Rey jumped out of her sleep, drenched in sweat. Startled, her first thought was to get to her son as quickly as possible.
She stood in the doorway to his room and carefully studied him. Her boy was peaceful in a deep slumber. His thin, lanky body lay across his bed, and his pale face was surrounded by wavy, messy locks of dark hair.
She would never love anybody more. He was her main priority now.
She took a careful look around his room; dirty clothes, socks, and makeshift masks lay scattered about. A half-eaten meal and scribbled drawings were on the old desk that sat in the corner of his room. No one else was there… Or so it seemed.
"It can't be," she muttered to herself. She couldn’t accept that they might have been discovered.
She quietly walked outside to gather herself – the cool, moist air of Ahch-To softly sweeping across her face. As she closed her eyes to focus, she tried her best to gather the strength to admit to herself that it had not been a nightmare. The voice was one that could not be denied. And although it hadn’t sounded menacing, she took the words as a warning.
Rey had not been connected to the Force since the last time she’d spoken with Kylo – when she’d made the choice to sever the Bond – for her safety and for the Resistance... But part of her had also wanted the pain to stop. She couldn't be Bonded to someone who would continually break her heart. She’d failed him, just as he’d failed her.
Rey was trying to do what Kylo Ren had told her to do; let the past die. And even though it had been years and years since, it still stung like a fresh wound. Realizing her mind was wandering, Rey collected her thoughts and blocked out the memories to focus on the issue at hand. Her lungs burned at the notion of what was coming.
The understanding of what was happening froze her where she stood; there was nothing she could do.
I've seen this before.
Without hesitation, he trudged through the thick trees towards an unknown force that called to him. This feeling was of equal parts fear and reassurance, and he wasn't sure how that was possible. What was pulling him? Was this even a question that he wanted answered? At this point, he was invested whether he wanted to be or not – almost involuntarily.
As he followed what seemed to be a predestined path, warmth bloomed inside him. It was comfortable and felt like a breath of fresh air. He could not remember the last time he’d felt relief like this.
As he proceeded forward, he heard a voice… Or rather, he felt it. The sensation was a murmur that he couldn't quite make out – not yet. It echoed through to his core, and devoid of reason, he knew he had to find it.
It felt as if he was a predator stalking his prey, and though his sixth sense tingled with awareness, his eyes had yet to catch up. As he approached, the vague noise finally became clear. They were the most tragically beautiful words he’d ever heard.
Don't do this, Ben.
But as soon as he’d heard her, she was gone. Her absence weighed heavier on his shoulders than it ever had before. Loneliness penetrated the little bit of soul that he had left.
Why… What is this?!
It felt like his world was spinning in circles, and he lost track of where he was. When the rotation stopped, he found himself behind someone, with nothing else in sight. This was the source of warmth he’d felt. He raised his hand slowly, silently.
I've found you.
Kylo awoke calmly, swiping the sweat and damp hair away from his forehead. Sitting up, he pondered what had just taken place.
Was it real? he asked himself, almost unable to fully process what had happened.
Real or not, he had a direction to go; he was finally in possession of what he’d sought for so long: a location. It had been 15 years since he’d started this manhunt. After years of searching for any hint of where Rey had fled to, the answer had come to him unexpectedly, in what could only be described as a Force dream. The coordinates were branded inside of his mind. Still unsure of why the Force had connected them again after so many years, he didn't care to question it. Kylo Ren had what he wanted. He felt a calm that was almost foreign to him – something he hadn’t felt since the last time Rey’s mind had connected with his.
He quickly looked around the command shuttle that he now considered his home.
Opening the door to his ship, he tramped onto the hot sands of Jakku. Unlike his dream, this was not a pleasant heat... And during his time on this planet, he often wondered how Rey had handled it for so long.
Kylo had journeyed between Jakku and the now-refurbished Supremacy for many years in hopes of finding any trace of the young girl he’d once known. He knew that the memory he had of her would one day be replaced by the woman she undoubtedly had now become – one he wouldn’t recognize.
He centered himself – away from his thoughts of her. A decision had to be made...
Should he tell the Supreme Leader of his discovery?
Kylo Ren had stepped down from his throne; it had never felt right. It hadn’t been what he wanted, and after the battle of Crait he’d been in no shape to command an army. Kylo’s spirit had been broken and, without informing anyone, he’d gone into hiding after his failure. Hux had taken advantage of Kylo's disappearance and gained control of the First Order during that time – so much so that he had crowned himself Supreme Leader.
When Kylo had first returned after months of absence, he’d informed Hux that he had been searching for the girl, but had come up empty handed.
Hux had his suspicions about what had happened to Kylo during his disappearance, but that was not his main concern. He had hoped that Kylo’s leave would be indefinite and had been disappointed when it hadn’t been. Aspiring to permanently be rid of him, Hux had concocted the plan to give Kylo the directive to continue his search for Rey; he’d wanted nothing more than to keep Kylo away from the First Order and the throne. This would bide Hux time until he could formulate a more permanent solution. And if Rey happened to be found during that time, it would be an added bonus. Hux aimed to figure out a way to eliminate them both simultaneously.
So that had been the only order Hux ever gave to Kylo Ren: to find Rey and bring her back to be charged for assassinating Supreme Leader Snoke. Hux figured this task would keep Kylo busy, and his attention elsewhere in the meantime.
Assumingly unbeknownst to Hux, Kylo had his own motives for finding Rey... And though they were not completely in line with Hux’s, he followed his given orders for his own selfish needs.
In Kylo's mind, she had lied to him, and she had yet to answer for it. Rey had broken the Bond that she and Kylo shared in more ways than one. She’d promised him a hand to hold in his loneliest times; she’d promised to help mend him in the ways he had been torn apart. She ripped away the only light he had ever felt, and he craved her for it. Rey had left without a word, and the darkness in him had reached a new peak without her.
Kylo decided that there would be no transmission to Hux; he knew what he had to do and he intended to carry it out.