Tangerine sunbeams warmed the grains of sand beneath his bare feet. The sea gleamed in the light of the sinking sun and the palm trees were softly swaying in the summer breeze.
“This place truly is a paradise,” Kylo thought with a deep-drawn sigh. It had an unique beauty to it, one that only genuinely revealed itself with the knowledge that, less than half a century ago, it was almost wiped from the galaxy. One could only imagine the remains of the old galactic security complex at the base of the caldera that the Death Star had blown into the planet. The ocean had found its way into the crater and even more beautiful palms and bushes had risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the battle.
In a way, he figured, Scarif resembled him - from the outside no one could see the cruelty that had been in their past. Maybe this was one of the reasons he felt so comfortable here.
“What are you thinking about?” After all that time, her voice still made him quiver.
Kylo threw his wife a gentle smile. “Just how much I love this place.” He put his hand on her waist, pulling her closer to his side. “Well, actually,”he continued, halting his steps and turning towards Rey, “actually I was thinking about how much I love you.”
“You li…” Her answer was quickly terminated when Kylo leaned in to kiss her. He sunk into the kiss that felt just as passionate, just as ardent, loving and desirous as the first they shared so many years ago.
How far they’d come since that day – the First Order, the Resistance – it felt so far away, even though it had only been 10 years since Rey and he had ended the war and created a new empire. And foremost, since they had become a family.
The shoal water of the surf crashed against the shore as a little girl came running towards them, her long sable curls waving in the wind. Excitement was written all over her face.
“Mommy, Daddy, look what I found!” she summoned her parents with glee, disrupting their moment.
“What is it, Leia, my love?” Kylo crouched down with a gentle smile on his face offering his open palm to her. The girl put her new found treasure on his palm. It was a beautiful stone, slender like an animal’s tooth, smooth, cold and shimmering like porcelain.
“I found it over there, in the water”, she pointed elatedly.
“Well done, my love!”, Rey exclaimed her while Kylo closed his fist around the stone closing his eyes for a second.
As soon as he touched it, he saw something. It was just a blink of a moment, but it was solid, and clear. There was a girl, maybe a few years older than Leia, and an older man in an Imperial uniform, seemingly her father, placing a necklace with the stone around her neck.
“I love you, stardust.”
The soft words echoed through Kylo’s mind. And just like that, a second scene appeared. The same girl, grown up, but recognizable, kneeling on a beach, arm in arm with a man, both exhausted, and branded from combat. Behind them, the horizon was glowing as if it was melting. “Your father would have been proud of you, Jyn!”
And just in this moment, Kylo realised what he had just seen. He remembered the stories of these brave resistance heroes that his mother had told him. And he felt the force flowing through the crystal, through his hand and his whole body.
“This is a kyber crystal. It’s very valuable.”, Kylo explained to young Leia, “It belonged to Jyn Erso.”
“Who’s that, Daddy?”she interrupted, her voice filled with curiosity.
“She was a very brave girl,” her father continued, and then added,“Just like you.”
He opened his hand again. “Take it, Leia. It belongs to you now!” With a sparkle in her eyes, the small girl reached for the crystal. “Ah-ah, not like that!” Kylo had pulled away his palm with a whimsical smirk around his lips. “You see these letters on here?” he asked, pointing out the Aurebesh characters on the back of the crystal. “It means trust in the force ,”he explained.
A determined expression appeared on her face as Leia realized what her father was demanding.
“Close your eyes and concentrate,” he softly commanded.
“Reach out. Feel the force float through you”, Rey added. “You can do it!”
For a moment, they stood there in silence. Rey bit down a grin as she saw her daughter’s eyelids twitch in effort. But slowly, the crystal in Kylo’s hand started to vibrate until it floated over his palm and finally, after what must have felt like an eternity for the youngling, the stone found its way into Leia’s palm.
She beamed at her parents with pride, who applauded. “Well done!”Rey cheered while Kylo embraced his daughter with as much love and affection as his younger self would have denied he was capable of.
Kylo awoke with a start. The cold white neon lights that reflected on the shiny black metal walls of his chamber blinded him.
“Supreme Leader?” It took a while until his eyes had accommodated to the bright light and he could make out the chromed armor of Captain Primes in the door.
“What is it, Primes?” Kylo sounded a lot more frosty than necessary. He wasn’t sure what was worse – being caught by a subordinate falling asleep on the middle of the day while sitting on his desk and staring into the void or being woken from a dream that felt so real to him it almost physically ached to be snatched away from it so abruptly. For a moment, he concentrated all of his energy on staring on Primes with a glare that was worthy of a leader of the First Order.
“We tracked the miserable wretches of the Resistance. They’re hiding on an Outer Rim planet, Scarif. General Hux solicits your presence at the strategy meeting,” Primes reported in an unemotional tone, which resembled her predecessor, Captain Phasma.
“Tell them to wait for me at the bridge,” Kylo snarled.
As soon as Captain Primes had vanished from his chamber with a submissive nod, Kylo’s strong façade crumbled. For a moment he tried to cling to his dream, but it had gone, for good.
A single tear streamed down his scar, and in that moment he realized that for all his anger, his grandfather’s legacy, his cruelty and strength as Supreme Leader, nothing mattered anymore. This wasn’t what he wanted. None of this could obscure the fact that he was in love with Rey, that he had been for quite a while. And even though he had no idea how he would make this dream become reality, he knew in his heart that he had to try.