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The Unintended Consequences of Single-Seater Cockpit Designs

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If you’d told Rey six months ago that she’d be battling her way out of a kriffing Star Destroyer, she wouldn’t be surprised.

She’d be even less surprised if you told her she’d be battling out of said Star Destroyer due to some slight, erm, hiccups in a plan concocted by one Poe Dameron, since hiccups are par for the course with the new Vice-Admiral’s plans.

However, if you’d told Rey, fresh from the Battle of Crait and all that happened before, that she’d be battling out of said Star Destroyer due to hiccups in Poe Dameron’s plan to “extract” Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (who is definitely not Ben Solo and never will be again); the same Supreme Leader that has been secretly dismantling the First Order from the inside while in cahoots with the Resistance, Rey would’ve told you that you’re crazy. Absolutely mad. Or high as a kite on spice, because there is no way in Hell that she would ever, ever place her trust - or stick her neck out - for Kylo Ren again.

No. Kriffing. Way.

“Didn’t I warn you that we’d need to make a quick exit so to park your ship close?” And yet, here she is, taking blaster fire from another wave of Stormtroopers with Kylo Ren growling in her ear about some shit that was definitely not Rey’s fault, as this wasn’t her stupid plan and she doesn’t even want to be here in the first place.

“I’m terribly sorry, Supreme Leader, but I didn’t realize that a couple of Stormtroopers were too much for you!” she snaps back, before sticking her arm out to push one group of troopers back with the Force. She’s careful to keep her anger sequestered as she does, not daring to tap into that emotion with him so close. As a result, the Force shove takes a little more work than usual, creasing her brow as she juts her arm out. Still, the targeted flank of soldiers stumble backwards, falling over each other until they’re in a pile of white duriplastic.

Kylo takes the opportunity to tumble across the hallway’s metal grated floor, picking up a downed blaster as he somersaults by it. He springs up, pressing himself up against the opposite wall for cover.

Rey allows herself a quick exhale of relief, glad to no longer have Kylo’s looming presence right next to her.

“You still need a teacher,” he scoffs, and Rey internally grimaces, knowing he’d seen her struggle.

“Oh, not this again,” she retorts. “I’d rather -“ her insult is silenced by a blaster bolt whizzing towards her face, one that is (thankfully) deflected by a flick of Kylo’s wrist. Her heart leaps into her throat, blood running hot-cold with adrenaline as she takes cover, flattening her spine against the cold gray wall behind her.

“Rey!” Finn’s voice is in her head, slightly tinny thanks to the comm earpiece nestled in her ear canal. “Where are you guys? We’re taking heavy fire in the hangar, I don’t know how much longer we can wait!”

Shit. Finn and Rose’s covers have been blown, meaning their route back just got a lot more difficult.

“I know! We’re about,” Rey pauses, mentally remapping their route back to the stolen First Order transport docked in the Finalizer’s starboard hangar. “ We’re two hallways away, but we’re taking heavy fire. We’ll be there soon, I promise.”

“Rey,” Kylo (not Ben, not Ben, not Ben) calls her name, a rarity in itself. It’s startling enough to jerk her attention back to him. She expects him to gloat, but instead he looks slightly paler, as if her name on his lips weakens him.

There’s sweat starting to bead on his forehead, making his ebony curls stick to his forehead.

“Rey, use the Force to call one of the blasters on the ground towards you.” His voice is low, methodic, that same tone she once found menacing (and also mesmerizing, at a different time). It’s clear he doesn’t want the Troopers to know what he’s saying, and Rey can barely hear him over the din of blaster fire.

Still, she’s not going to go blindly following Kylo fucking Ren’s orders, even if he is (technically) an ally now.

“What? Why? I have a saber, you know!” she snaps back.

“Yes, because our lightsabers are clearly working.” He glowers, pulse point on his temple engorged, as if he’s physically restraining himself from screaming. “We’re going to have to shoot out of here.”

“What?!? You’ve got to be kriffing kidding me, Kylo! I mean, do you even know how to shoot a blaster?”

Great, she thinks to herself. Now she’s rescuing a mentally unstable Darksider and wannabe Sith Lord.

But really, is that any different from Kylo Ren’s normal operating status?

Kylo glares at Rey, somewhat murderously, apparently offended by her doubts. He then rolls his eyes, tosses his head back so his hair flicks out of his eyes, and very casually fires the blaster towards the once-again repositioned troopers. Rey can’t help but smirk, as there’s no kriffing way he could hit a damn thing with that form.

The tell-tale metallic scream of a Stormtrooper being shot rings out, and Rey’s smirk vanishes.

“No way,” she can’t help but whisper, peeking out just enough to see a Stormtrooper body lying prone, smoke rising out of the brand new blasterbolt hole decorating his chest.

“You were saying?” Karking Hell, she could hear the smugness in his voice.

She refuses to look at him, instead reaching out with the Force to quickly call the fallen soldier’s blaster into her hand, catching it in her palm as it flies towards her.

She takes a moment to check its capacity. 75% charged and 2,108 bolts remaining.

That should do.

“Ready?” Kylo asks, and there’s an inkling of concern in those dark eyes of his, mixed with something softer, something electric, a look she hasn’t seen since Ben Solo killed Snoke and glided the Skywalker lightsaber into her raised hand, in those shattering seconds between Snoke’s death and the beginning of their duel with the Praetorian Guards.

Rey’s breath sticks in her throat, along with her words, so she affirms with a curt nod.

Eyes locked, they mentally count to three. And maybe their Force Bond’s still strong enough to let them stay perfectly in sync, because they both hit three at the same time, stepping out from their cover in unison, blasters raised as they squeeze the triggers.

————————————————————

Damn every kriffing thing to Hell, Kylo was right. The blasters are actually far more effective against the Stormtroopers, especially since both Kylo and Rey are pretty handy with a blaster.

(Absently, Rey internally admits that Kylo’s blaster skills make perfect sense, given that he’s Han Solo’s son no matter how much he tries to deny it. However, Rey’s not going to bring that up now, not when she needs to get both their asses out of here alive.)

The pair have worked their way to the last hallway before the hangar, leaving a trail of armor-clad bodies behind them, like breadcrumbs marking their path. Rey spies Finn and Rose’s shuttle waiting for them, just as the last few troopers behind them start to retreat. Rey can’t help but let a victorious whoop escape from her lips as the Stormtroopers fall back, as if their withdrawal constitutes an admission that there’s no way to stop two Force users as powerful as she and Ben.

Kylo.

She’s so caught up in the thrill of their looming victory, she even lets herself grab his arm in excitement, tugging on his sleeve. “Kylo, let’s go, the ship’s right-“

She’s cut off by the hydraulic swoosh of air that bursts out as the blast doors in front of them slam shut, stopping her in her tracks.

“What?!?” She exclaims, bewildered, only to hear it again from behind her, signaling that the corridor behind them is also sealed and they’re absolutely, positively trapped.

Something like dread fills Rey’s chest.

“Kylo?”

His lips are tight, clenched between each other in a grimace, jaw working over itself. He raises his hands to try to blast through the thick metal doors with the Force, but nothing happens, the enforced durasteel apparently built to withstand Kylo’s power.

Her stomach drops.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” she murmurs, making Kylo’s head snap towards her, black hair catching and reflecting the light as he moves.

“Don’t say that,” he growls, warning, but she can see the panic in his eyes.

She almost tells him he’s not alone, but she catches herself, too proud to grant him such solace.

“Rey! Ren! What the Hell is going on?” It’s Rose in Rey’s ear now, filled with concern, and Kylo’s flinch indicates he’s got his earpiece in too.

There’s an odd hum in the ventilation shaft above, as if there’s something above.

“Captain Tico, take Chewbacca and FN- Commander Finn,” Kylo catches himself, his voice calm and steady, “and evacuate immediately. Rey and I will take my fighter and meet you at the rendezvous point.”

“What? Wait a second, you can’t possibly-“ Rey begins to protest, but stops herself as she hears an odd hissing noise in the pipes above.

“Tico, do it now- Chewie, get them on the ship and get them the fuck out of here! I’ll get Rey, I promise!” As if a switch was flipped, Kylo’s voice is anything but calm now, and there’s a mildly panicked warble to it as he barks Chewie’s name. It’s enough to make Rey stop listening to the vents and shoot her Bondmate a concerned look.

Chewie’s forlorn reply rings over the comm system.

“And also with you. Now GO!” Kylo barks, and there’s a softness to his voice despite the severity of his tone.

“Ben?” Rey can’t help but let his name slip out, because the person she just heard didn’t sound like Kylo.

Stars, why does he have to make her feel so damn mixed up over something as silly as a name?

A shimmer in the corner above catches her eye, and her head whips up to see white smoke starting to puff out of the air vent.

Her heart stutters for a second, refusing to accept what her eyes see.

“Toxic gas. Hux, you monster,” Kylo spits angrily, and one black gloved hand wraps around Rey’s upper arm. It’s protective, almost soothing, the way he pulls her close, as if he can keep her from breathing in the slowly approaching fumes.

No wonder they pulled the troopers out, Rey thinks. That was no surrender; it was a tactical retreat.

“Rey, we need to get low, stay close to the ground and try to use our sabers to cut our way out of here.”

His voice is back to that smooth, commanding calm, but his temple’s racing like a fathier and she can feel his fear seeping out, through their Bond.

Kylo knows the blast doors are too thick to cut through, she realizes, and for a second, the fear of dying here, so close to escape, to victory; the possibility of Ben dying here cuts through her spirit like a vibro-blade, freezing her limbs with panic.

Then the desert whispers a memory to her, like it sometimes does, the scars of a Scavenger’s life reaching for her from its grave. Normally, it brings her horrible memories, ones she tries to forget until they chase her into her dreams, her nightmares, making her wake up screaming.

But this time, the desert pushes its girl a reminder of nimble fingers and hidden panels, of the tunnels running behind Star Destroyer walls, service access doors and places to hide, escape.

Rey whirls around and begins running her fingers along the seam in the wall behind her, the steel cold against her fingertips as she searches. She rises up on her knees, keeping a mindful eye on the ominous white cloud above, growing denser and lower with each second.

“C’mon, c’mon,” she mutters, before her fingers catch on a small, distinct rivet in the metal. She presses on it while sending a silent prayer to the Force that it’s a tunnel and not a closet -

Half the panel swings open and Rey can’t believe her luck, finding a such a small trap door that only takes up the lower half of the wall. A droid access point, she realizes, meaning tunnels, and she resists pumping her fist up in victory.

“What are you-“

“Shut up, and just get in there. Now.” Rey snaps, gesturing towards the open panel. Kylo looks at her incredulously, as if she’s suddenly grown six heads.

“You can’t be-“

“Oh for kriff’s sake,” Rey groans, before grabbing his stupidly broad chest by the cowl and shoving the now-former Supreme Leader of the First Order headfirst into a dark access shaft. With a satisfied smirk, she climbs in behind him, and with a wave of her hand the access panel snaps back into place behind her, drowning all light out.

Fresh air hits her face like the sweetest breeze, and Rey releases a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“Where the Hell are we?” Kylo’s voice is a mixture of annoyance, trepidation and just a hint of gratitude.

“An access tunnel for droids. They run throughout the ship and interconnect with full access tunnels too. In fact,” Rey pauses as she flicks the small holoprojector on her wristwatch. A small projection of the Finalizer, plans Kylo had secretly sent to the Resistance weeks ago, appears in the air above her wrist. They’re illuminated in light blue, casting an eerie glow in the darkness around them. With a few taps, Rey’s zooming in on their location, eyes searching as she maps out their route to safety.

“My Silencer is there,” Kylo says softly, gloved hand pointing to a small hangar just off of his quarters. Rey almost jumps at the feeling of his breath on her cheek. He’s close to her, closer than she expected so he can lean in and inspect the hologram with her. The abrupt heat of his body makes her heart stammer, and Rey hopes he can’t see her cheeks redden in the dim light of the projection.

“If we follow this tunnel straight for a hundred yards or so, we should hit the emergency service access tunnel to the hangar. That will run straight to it, since technician tunnels always directly connect to hangars.” Sure enough, Rey spots the access point on the small map before her and she pokes at it with her index finger.

Kylo looks up at her, his irises looking almost black in the dim light. But they reflect a sort of pride about her quick thinking, her resourcefulness, a bit of awe almost. The sentiment makes Rey feel uncomfortably warm, so she tears her eyes away, down, towards the floor.

“I’ll follow your lead,” he finally says, and his voice is doing that velvet wrapped around titanium thing again, the one that makes her inside twist at its sincerity and-

‘Sinfulness?’ a wicked voice in her head suggests, one that Rey immediately disregards.

“Right,” she says instead, pushing all thoughts of Kylo’s voice out of her mind.

————————————————————

There are many things that Kylo Ren didn’t think through in his life, but having Rey squirm past him in a cramped, waist-high access tunnel so she could lead them to safety is definitely in his top five mistakes.

He’d tried to give her as much room as possible, pressing himself up against the tunnel wall to let her hopefully squeeze past with as little contact as possible. But of course, with his broad frame this was about as effective as trying to lift a Hutt, and so Rey had to first duck under his arm, and then slide along his torso to crawl ahead of him.

Which is why Kylo Ren currently has the last Jedi’s ass (which is rounder than he remembers and dammit, why is that such a turn on) pressing against his hips, dangerously close to something else which has, apparently, decided that a life-or-death situation is a great time to wake up and make its presence known.

Kylo determines that the best and safest course of action for keeping all parts of his body intact is to totally and completely freeze, while thinking of the least sexy things he could.

Definitely not of Rey.

Like, that one time their Bond connected them when she was fresh out of the hydro-fresher, water dripping down her long, tanned legs as a too-short beige towel barely covered her lithe torso from his keen eyes.

Or the time the Force decided to connect them by literally dropping her onto his lap, causing his heart to gallop while they both sat there paralyzed, staring at each other in shock for a good twenty parsecs. (Kylo’d bitten a hole into his cheek to keep himself from making a snarky comment, as at that time, they were still locked into their silent detente).

Or even earlier than that, when Rey was in handcuffs, heading to her doom in an elevator and all Kylo wanted to do was to hit the emergency stop button and gather her in his arms so he could ravage her pretty pink lips with his own.

Yup. Kylo Ren is definitely not thinking about any of those things right now.

Because if he did, he would definitely pop a boner and damn these tight leather pants, they hide absolutely nothing.

Suddenly, Rey’s weight shifts and she mutters a curse, right before she starts moving up and down, her curve of her bottom pressing down on the tip of Kylo’s cock.

She does it once, twice, and in desperation, Kylo’s gloved hand wraps around her slender hip, stilling her.

“What. Are. You. Doing?” Kylo manages to growl, miraculously keeping his voice steady as every instinct reprimands him for halting her movements.

For a second, Rey’s silent, and the tension’s so thick you could slice through it with a butter knife.

“Um, I think… I’m stuck. My pants, they’re caught on something.” Her voice trembles a bit as she says it, and embarrassment radiates through her end of the Bond.

‘Like she has anything to be embarrassed about here,’ Kylo thinks with a huff, and blocks the mental image of Rey’s rosy cheeks from his mind.

‘Not helping, brain.’

However, now that she’s said something, he senses the slightest pull on the right front side of his belt, tugging his pants slightly away from his skin (and giving some parts of him a little fresh air). Tentatively, his hand moves from Rey’s hip to his belt, trying very, very hard not to brush against her delightfully round ass.

What he finds are the spikes of his grappling hook snared in the thick waistband of Rey’s pants. Her attempts to free herself have not only caused the hook to tear deeper into the fabric, firmly entangling itself, but also to pull her pants slightly down.

Kylo recognizes this at about the same time his brain registers that he’s feeling the ridge of her pantyline through his gloves. He flinches, wrenching his hand away like he’s grabbed a blistering hot pot handle.

“Um, it’s my grappling hook. Your pants. They’re stuck on my grappling hook.” Kylo half-mutters, half-sighs. Of all the kriffing bad luck…

“What?” Rey yelps, and then: “Why in the Force do you have a kriffing grappling hook on your belt?!?”

“First of all, can you be a little more quiet? I would actually like to survive this day, thank you very much. Second, why wouldn’t I have a grappling hook on my belt? It can be incredibly useful in certain situations.”

“Name one kriffing time when you’ve actually used your grappling hook outside of a training exercise.” Rey huffs back, albeit quieter. She wriggles against him again, in another attempt to free herself, and this time, Kylo’s barely able to hold back a groan.

“Will you stop doing that?”

“Why? I can’t very well get us out of here if I’m stuck underneath you!”

There are a million ways Kylo could respond, and 999,999.99 of them will get him killed. So instead, he makes up the most innocent excuse possible.

“You’re pushing on my bladder. Just… stop. I’ll get you off.” He promises, and then freezes after realizing the multiple interpretations of his last sentence.

“Fine! Just hurry, we don’t have much time.” The annoyance in Rey’s voice helps re-focus Kylo, who really does intend on surviving today. So his fingers set to work on freeing her, digits deftly and very carefully maneuvering the torn fabric of Rey’s pants off the jagged edges of the grappling hook.

Kylo’s easily able to remove two of the three prongs, but the third presents a much larger challenge. Pulsing his jaw in concentration, Kylo absently uses his free hand to push Rey’s slender torso upwards to help untangle them. He’s so focused that he doesn’t notice her soft gasp as he does so, or the way she very slightly arches her back.

Without a sound, the last bunch of fabric slides off the hook, and Kylo exhales in relief. “You should be good now,” he tells her without a trace of smugness in his voice.

“Um. Thanks. But, um. Your hand.” Rey’s mumbling, her voice lower than Kylo’s used to, breathier, and he briefly worries that she might have inhaled some of the gas.

Then it registers that his convenient handhold that he’d used to move her body was actually her right breast, which is currently still completely covered by Kylo’s left hand.

He drops it immediately, face burning as he presses himself as far up against the tunnel wall that he can, distancing his body from hers as much as possible.

“Oh, Gods, Rey, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize, I would never just grab you there - any woman there - well, not without her permission, and I truly apologize-” he starts babbling nervously until Rey cuts him off.

“Be- Kylo,” she catches herself, “It’s fine. I know you didn’t mean to. And, um, thank you.” She almost whispers that last part, and her words feel heavy, like she’s thanking him for more than just helping her.

Kylo’s heart skips the slightest beat, his soul emboldened. Because Kylo Ren’s got Han Solo’s genes in his DNA, he can’t resist but to tip his lips towards her ear and say, “My pleasure.” His voice lowers into a near purr as he utters the words, and before Rey can even think about Force-choking him, he straightens back up, voice returning to normal.

“Now, let’s get the fuck out of here before the timers run out.”

————————————————————

The rest of the journey through the droid tunnel passes uneventfully, although Kylo’s knees are bruised from crawling on hard steel by the time they reach the emergency service corridor. He’s grateful that they’re able to stand again, cursing his aging joints as he stretches. The service corridor’s unsurprisingly empty, lit dimly by red tinged emergency lights, but it’s better than the pitch black of the droid tunnel. It is also blessedly devoid of security cameras, something which Kylo both thanks the stars for and kicks himself for allowing such a massive security exploit.

They quickly run to the the access panel for the private hangar holding Kylo’s TIE Silencer, which Kylo had previously made sure was prepped and ready for take-off. (After all, he’s learned to always have a Plan B when it came to escape routes.) They stop behind the door to prepare themselves for their next move, Rey reaching out with the Force to sense any lifeforces awaiting their arrival.

“Four, maybe five troopers?” Rey guesses after a minute, brow creasing with concentration. It’s too lucky to be true, Kylo thinks, so he reaches out on his own to confirm his suspicions.

“Mm, I think there might be more. Pull up those blueprints you have of the Finalizer,” Kylo orders, then reconsiders. “Please.”

Rey only shoots him the briefest of looks before tapping her holowatch, summoning the projection of the Finalizer to appear once again.

“Here’s the hangar,” Kylo notes, tapping on it so the map zoomed in, “My Silencer’s here,” he points to the side of the hangar closest to its open doors, where freedom awaits, “and we’re here,” he taps the wall parallel to where his fighter rests. “Here,” he continues, drawing a circle in the middle of the bay, “is a trapdoor for a platform to one of the garrison hangars. And I sense that something might be waiting for us there.”

“I knew five was too good to be true.” Rey sighs. “How much time do we have?”

Kylo pushes back the black fabric of his sleeve to reveal a thin band of onyx plastic wrapped around his wrist. In its center is a small display of rapidly shrinking numbers, illuminated in red.

“About nine minutes,” he frowns.

“Well then,” Rey straightens, pulling her (really his, but now’s not the time) repaired saber from its sheath on her hip. With a press of a button, she activates it, brilliant blue sparking to life. “Let’s do this.”

With a crackle, Kylo ignites his own blood red blade, its violent presence making itself known. The familiar call of bloodlust awakens his veins, beckoning him, as he nods back at his former enemy.

“Let’s.”

Rey opens the access panel door as quiet as a mouse, giving them the element of surprise and enough time to quickly disarm two of the three stormtroopers guarding Kylo’s Silencer. The other three instinctively cluster together at the sign of two powerful, lightsaber wielding Force users, falling back towards the trap door at the center of the hangar bay.

Kylo notices how they stop just before the yellow and black striped tape marking the edges of the trapdoor hatch, tactically positioning themselves so they don’t fall in when it opens.

Get ready, he tells her across their Force Bond, nodding towards the hidden door.

Rey nods before swinging her saber to block a blaster bolt, sending it back towards the soldiers. With a flick of the Force, Kylo redirects it slightly to the left, right into one of the trooper’s helmets.

The stormtrooper falls with a distorted, almost metallic shriek.

Almost as if on cue, the trapdoor opens; the sound of a hydraulic lift humming underneath.

Kylo responds by whipping out his blaster, firing two shots into the nearby controls and freezing the lift in place for the time being. Rey’s already moving, charging towards the two remaining stormtroopers with a fierce battle cry. Her eyes are narrowed, teeth bared, and she looks magnificent, ferocious, deadly.

Kylo really can’t blame the one trooper that promptly decides “fuck this” and leaps over the side of the open trap door, selfishly saving his own ass from the fearsome Jedi’s wrath.

The remaining stormtrooper manages to raise his blaster towards Rey, but she slices it in half before he can take his shot. With the grace of a murderous ballerina, Rey thrusts her blade into the hapless trooper’s chest.

It’s a deadly, bloody dance, and Gods, does Kylo loves to watch.

Rey’s close enough to the open trap door to spy over the edge, and whatever she sees makes her yelp before she dives away, somersaulting back towards Kylo. A volley of blaster bolts follow her, although the platform’s still too low to allow the troopers stuck on it to aim towards the duo’s position.

Someone below shouts to get the platform working again.

“Fuck, how are we going to get past that in time?” Rey frets, brushing her tunic off as she stands back up.

Kylo’s way ahead of her, eyes scanning the ceiling.

Rey follows his gaze with her own, groaning as he reveals his plan through the Bond.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Follow my lead,” Kylo commands, not really wanting to waste precious seconds debating his very smart (genius, really) plan with Rey. He doesn’t give her time to protest, taking off towards his ship - and the open trap door.

“Kriffing hell,” Rey curses before running after him. He slows enough for her to catch up. When she does, he hands her a small, metal sphere with three lights and a button on top.

Wait for my signal. He doesn’t dare speak aloud, not wanting to tip off the garrison below. Instead, he stops just a few feet from the edge of the open floor ahead, just out of their line of sight, and begins pulling his grappling hook from his belt.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, this is madness!” Rey hisses, and Kylo hisses a “shhh!” back.

Try to be discreet, Scavenger.

Rey snorts, rolling her eyes, but at least she doesn’t verbally respond.

You’re just looking for an excuse to use your kriffing grappling hook.

If you have a better idea, I’m all ears. He shoots back, unwinding a considerable length of black paracord from his belt.

Rey remains silent, and Kylo smirks victoriously. Grappling hook and paracord in hand, he takes a moment to line up his throw.

Now! Despite her protests, there’s no hesitation when he gives Rey her signal. She presses down on the flashbang’s activation button before chucking it into the exposed pit below, plugging her ears as soon as her hands are free.

The walls of the trapdoor muffle the loud bang of the bomb, and the small area below effectively traps the rapidly escaping smoke and bright flashes of light to the still hidden platform. Panicked cries of confusion rise above the clouds of smoke as the troopers stumble blindly, trying to escape the chaos.

With a swing of his strong arm, Kylo launches the grappling hook up towards the piping above. His aim is true, the grappling hook sailing over a durasteel pipe, catching itself on a bracket and sliding in place with a clank. Satisfied, he almost allows himself to grin as he gives the black paracord in his hand a good few yanks, making sure the hook’s secure.

“Come here!” he shouts, reaching his free arm out towards Rey. To his surprise (and secret delight), Rey immediately tucks herself into his side without protest, wrapping her tanned arms around his neck and shoulder to secure her hold on him. It’s a bit of a reach for her, and Kylo gently lifts her just slightly off the ground to give her better purchase as he circles his arm around her waist.

He looks down for a split second, and their eyes lock, warm brown and hazel dancing together. His heart stutters as his body revels in the warmth and feeling of Rey pressed up against him, the intimacy, the trust in her hold.

The desire to continue this without the threat of imminent death convinces Kylo to break his gaze away, and with a jump and a swing, they’re off, easily gliding over the growing plume of smoke and shouts from the still-stuck platform below. Rey takes the opportunity to fire a few strategic shots down, adding to the calamity and dulling the lifeforces of at least three of the soldiers beneath them.

If Kylo were a braver man, or perhaps a suicidal one, he might take the opportunity to lay a peck on Rey’s kiss or head, but even he’s not that much of a fool.

Not today, at least.

Even if the whole thing does feel ridiculously romantic.

(It takes Kylo a few days to recall the inspiration for his brilliant idea. Once he does, the thought of his mother pressed up against his uncle like Rey was to him doesn’t just kill the romance of his moment with Rey, but also makes Kylo’s mouth sour unpleasantly.

His mother and Skywalker really were the worst twins in the Galaxy.)

Then their flight ends, Kylo’s feet hitting solid ground as he releases the cord from his gloved grip. They plop down with a clunk on their toes, and waste no time in bolting for Kylo’s waiting Silencer.

Rey pauses, letting Kylo scramble up the cockpit ladder first so he can slide into his custom-made pilot’s chair. He immediately begins flicking the familiar switches and buttons, preparing his ship for take-off while Rey climbs up to join him.

She freezes when she get to the last rung, peering down into the cockpit with a curiously horrified look. Kylo’s got no time for such dramatics, knowing they’ve wasted at least five minutes so far and with an ear trained on the shouts coming from the platform, where someone’s about to get the lift working again.

“What, do you need an invitation?” he growls. “Get the fuck in!”

“Uh, Ben, it’s a single seater,” Rey stammers, looking at the former Supreme Leader nervously. Her tongue darts out, licking her lips nervously, and Kylo’s not sure whether to congratulate or curse his lack of foresight.

“Then I guess we’ll be getting cozy, sweetheart, now let’s get out of here!” he barks, feigning a level of swagger he didn’t know possible.

Behind them, the platform hums to life.

Rey still doesn’t move, her eyes darting around the cockpit like a trapped animal, looking for some other place to sit than Kylo’s lap. With a sudden surge of courage bursting through Kylo’s veins, self-preservation takes over and he reaches up, grasping the stunned Jedi by the upper arms to lift her up and drag her recalcitrant ass into the cockpit.

Rey lets out an indignant yelp, surprised by Kylo’s boldness, but remains shockingly pliant as he nestles her between the vee of his thighs, spreading them as far as comfortable to give her room. As soon as she’s down, he reaches up to press the “Close Cockpit Hatch” button, as well as the adjacent switch to activate his shields.

It’s not a moment too soon, as the second after he observes the telltale green shimmer of his shields, the remaining troopers rise into view and start firing immediately.

Feeling exceptionally smug, Kylo wraps his palms around his black yoke, fingers pressing on the thruster button perched atop. He feels his Silencer purr as she smoothly ascends off the hangar floor, gliding towards the open port.

With a scream, the Silencer bursts out of the hangar, accelerating at a breakneck speed that pushes Rey back into Kylo’s broad chest. She wraps her hands around something thick and warm that run past her legs, beyond the point of caring that she’s digging her nails into Kylo’s thighs.

“Hang on, I’m jumping to lightspeed!” Kylo instructs, punching in the rendezvous coordinates to his navicomputer.

“Now? Kylo, we’re still way too close, you’ve got to be kidding-” The noise of the engine shifting into hyperdrive interrupts Rey’s objection, pinpricks of starlights turning into brilliant streaks of white.

Seconds after the small black and red ship vanishes, the Finalizer erupts into a blazing ball of fire as explosions rip through the ship; all thanks to Kylo Ren’s well placed bombs finally counting down to zero.

-------------------------

HOUR ONE

-------------------------

Rey stops sulking long enough to punch the heavily-guarded codes for Resistance channels into Kylo’s comm system, before returning to her prior position of sitting stiffly upright with her arms crossed, lips twisted into a scowl.

It doesn’t help that Kylo’s oozing satisfied smugness through their Force Bond, and Rey’s glad she’s unable to turn around and see the smirk decorating his pale face. He transmits a brief message to the Resistance to let them know they’re headed to the meeting point, and then falls silent, as if waiting for Rey to erupt.

She’s perched as far away from his lap as possible, which requires constricting her core muscles so her rump rests on an uncomfortable ridge in the pilot’s seat. Her spine’s locked straight so she doesn’t accidentally relax into his chest; something she would absolutely not enjoy, she reminds herself.

She inhales deeply, trying to chase the memory of her body wrapped around his while they sailed through the air, his arm looped around her waist, pressing her closer and making her feel absolutely tiny as she breathed in the skin-tingling scent of pine and smoke.

Or the sensation of the warmth of his broad chest, firm against her back as the forces of acceleration pushed her against him as they made a desperate jump to lightspeed.

Or the way he purred in her ear in a pitch black tunnel, bodies locked together thanks to a troublesome grappling hook, summoning goosebumps with each sultry word. The way his entire hand engulfed her breast, making her traitorous nipples harden and her breath catch in her throat. The brush of his hand on her ass, as well as the brief sensation of something else, thick and long, something that Rey knew had to be his-

‘Nope!’ she halts her brain mid-thought, frantically trying to picture anything else. She shifts forward slightly, uncomfortably, her core tight and the damp fabric of her panties rubbing against her.

She fortifies her mental shields, unable to fathom the humiliation of Kylo Ren catching even a glimpse of his physical effect on her.

‘It’s just biology,’ she rationalizes internally. ‘He’s not an unattractive man, and being in life or death situations naturally tricks your body into being attracted to him.’

Deep down, Rey knows this isn’t true. She’s been in life or death situations with Finn, with Poe, Kaydel Ko Connix and Rose Tico. Never have they sparked a fire in her stomach or made her skin prickle with desire.

She’s nowhere near ready to touch that box, and it’s easy to herself to put it down and leave it for later.

Much later, such as after they’ve rendezvoused with the Resistance so Rey can disembark and let Kylo sail off into the sunset to Force-knows-where.

Not that she cares where he goes, of course. No, Rey’s just miffed that after all he’s done, all the destruction and heartbreak and chaos, Ben Solo’s still refusing to come home and help his own mother restore democracy to the galaxy. Instead, he’s running away, as always, under the guise of taking time to “heal himself.”

What a load of banthashit.

The trilling ring of Kylo’s comm system interrupts Rey’s stewing, the screen in front of them lighting up with details of the transmission.

[INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE RESISTANCE]
[CALLER: VICE-ADMIRAL POE DAMERON]
[TOP SECRET - CONFIDENTIAL]

Kylo releases a puff of hot breath in annoyance, which hits the back of Rey’s neck and makes her skin erupt with chillbumps. He uses the Force to flick the acceptance switch, and a hologram of Poe Dameron’s shocked face appears on the Silencer’s dash.

He’s not alone, either. Kaydel Ko Connix sits next to him, her brown eyes widening and mouth forming a surprised ‘o’ at the sight of Rey, the Last Jedi and Hero of the Resistance, apparently sitting on Kylo fucking Ren’s lap.

Behind Poe and Kaydel, General Organa raises a single bemused eyebrow, and Rey senses an uptick in Kylo’s anxiety levels.

Rey groans, covering her face with her hands. She’s never going to live this down.

“Well, uh, huh, that’s one way to fly a TIE fighter,” Poe chuckles, winking at the pair.

“Oh, shut it,” Rey snaps.

“It’s not what it looks like, Dameron,” Kylo grumbles in unison.

“Oh, so Rey isn’t sitting in your lap? ‘Cause that’s sure what it looks like to me,” the handsome pilot’s eyes glisten wickedly.

“I am not sitting in his lap!” Rey protests indignantly. “I’m sitting between his-” she falls silent, realizing that “sitting between his legs” really isn’t much better.

“You’re sitting between his what?” Poe chirps innocently.

“That’s enough, Vice-Admiral.” Leia cuts in dismissively, clearly not buying Poe’s feigned naiveté. With anyone else, Leia’s tone and air of authority would immediately end any further questioning, but Poe Dameron always has to have the last word.

“Aw, c’mon, General. After all, it’s hardly surprising given the security holo the First Order’s been airing on repeat.”

“What holo?” Both Rey and Kylo ask in unison, stomachs twisting in fear. They’re both racking their brains, reviewing every Force connection the Bond’s given them that could be twisted against them to turn innocent (or openly hostile) conversations into something incriminating.

Or worse, sordid.

It’s not like the Resistance doesn’t know about the Force Bond. Rey told Leia soon after the Battle of Crait, unable to keep her secret any longer. But still, the words said during those moments were private, the Bond itself was private, and Rey’s intestines knot at the thought of them being aired publicly.

“Oh, you know, just of your little trip to the Supremacy to visit Kylo Ren, Rey. Or should I say ‘Ben.’” Poe snickers, and Rey’s kind of sad that Kylo can’t Force choke the man from halfway across the galaxy.

Then realization hits as to just what Poe’s talking about, and all color vanishes from Rey’s face.

“Maybe I need to refresh your memories, since you two clearly haven’t seen it yet,” Poe looks far too proud of himself right now as he leans forward to push something on the dash in front of him.

The holofeed flickers over to an achingly familiar sight of a black and white paneled elevator, shooting up towards Snoke’s throne room on the Supremacy. Shiny white cuffs secure Rey’s wrists in front of her as the video records her step towards a troubled Kylo Ren, tilting her face towards his as she searches his face with imploring eyes.

“Ben,” past Rey whispers, barely audible on the holo, “You’ll turn. I saw it.” She steps closer, close enough to kiss the brooding prince whose dark eyes are now locked into hers. “I’ll help you.” she vows.

Present Rey closes her eyes, blinking away stinging moisture.

The holorecording cuts to another scene, this one in Snoke’s throne room. The grainy footage shows Rey floating on her knees, elevated just a foot above the floor and locked into place by Snoke. She hears his cackle from his throne as he instructs Kylo to kill her, sees Kylo tilting his saber up towards her.

Except this time Rey can see the Skywalker lightsaber slowly, stealthily rotating where it sits on Snoke’s armrest so that its still unignited blade faces him. As Snoke’s voice rises on the tape, the sound of a saber igniting suddenly stops him, a brilliant blue blade bursting through his torso before cutting through him. The holo captures the way the lightsaber then glides towards Rey’s raised hand.

The video’s edited to zoom in on the way Ben and Rey lock eyes as she stands in the throne room, his saber igniting as a silent vow passes between them before they spin away, prepared to fight to see another day.

There’s another cut in the recording, this time to embers raining down around the sweaty and exhausted Force users. The bodies of eight Praetorian guards dot the floor of the Supremacy’s throne room, as well as the top half of Snoke.

Perched between Kylo’s thighs, where his whole presence engulfs her in his cockpit, Rey squeezes her eyelids shut, refusing to watch as Kylo switches from confident, to angry, to pleading with her to join him. Her shoulders shake as she tries not to hear, tries to keep her tears from spilling as the wounds of betrayal, of loss re-open.

“That’s enough,” Leia’s voice cuts through, and Rey opens her eyes to see the holo’s been cut off, right before past Kylo whispered a begging “please” to past Rey.

In the present, the holofeed now depicts Poe staring at Rey analytically, noting the effect the recording had on the Resistance’s secretive Jedi. Next to Poe, Connix’s cheeks redden as she gapes at the Supreme Leader and his alleged enemy. Rey can’t help but notice the way the blonde Lieutenant coquettishly looks up towards Kylo through her lashes, obviously struck by the doctored romanticism implied on the tapes.

Speaking of Kylo, all Rey feels behind her is a storm of emotions. His presence swirls with a violence she hasn’t felt for months, since he became a Resistance spy, a turncoat, working to bring his own empire down.

“The recording’s clearly been manipulated by General Hux to make it look like Kylo Ren and Rey conspired to kill Snoke, when I know that’s not the case. Further, there’s no point in making an already tense trip home even more uncomfortable.” Leia explains cooly, as if that wasn’t a recording of her own son; as if it hadn’t revealed some more intimate moments that Rey might have glossed over in her prior recountings of the depicted events.

“Oh, come on, General. I agree the video’s clearly been manipulated, but that doesn’t change the fact that your son basically proposed to Rey on the Supremacy.”

“That was not a proposal!” Kylo and Rey protest, again in unison, like children caught red-handed.

“Uh-huh. Sure. What was it, then?”

“An offer of mutual partnership to rule the Galaxy,” Kylo says quickly, and a wall slides into place, dampening their connection through the Force.

It doesn’t help the festering hurt burning a hole in Rey’s heart.

“I don’t know, it seemed so… romantic,” if Rey didn’t know better, she’d think Kaydel just sighed her last word, and the petite woman blinks rapidly, almost flirtatiously, towards the dark prince behind Rey.

Something ugly and dark, possessive, rises in Rey’s stomach, a spark of anger igniting in her veins. She knows she has no claim on Kylo Ren, doesn’t want a claim on him, but the appreciative way Kaydel’s nutmeg irises rove over Kylo makes Rey’s blood boil.

“Was there a reason for this call, Dameron? Or is the Resistance so bored that you’re just comming people for fun?” Normally, Kylo’s arrogantly dismissive tone would only piss Rey off more, but now, it makes her smirk triumphantly, as if his words carry some indication of partnership.

“Yes, Poe, get on with it, please.” Leia pipes up, shooting daggers at Poe from her perch.

“Oh, right. We’re changing rendezvous points. Intel says Hux suspects we’re headed to the Dagobah system, so we’re re-routing to Naboo. Problem is, that means an extra ten hours for you guys, but I’m sure you’ll find some way to pass the -”

“Message received, Ren out,” Kylo snaps, before reaching past Rey and terminating the comm with a flick of his gloved finger. The holoviewer goes dark, Poe cut off mid-taunt, and both of the knights breathe a sigh of relief.

It doesn’t take long for the choking tension to rise in the silence between them, unspoken words swirling around them dangerously. Both have retreated to the safety of their mental shields, cutting the other off from their thoughts, their emotions.

Kylo cracks first.

“How have you not murdered that Dameron guy yet?” he asks so nonchalantly, that for a second, Rey second-guesses herself and thinks that she’s the only one affected by their unwanted trip down memory lane.

But then she hears his short, quick breaths behind her, notices how his fists still haven’t unfurled, and her self-doubt ceases.

“Oh trust me,” she says in an equally airy manner, “if you ever want me to fall to the Dark Side, all you need to do is lock me in a closet with Poe for an hour.” She tops it off with a forced laugh, as if they can pretend their hurt away.

“Noted,” he huffs, and then they fall silent again, falling back into themselves to lick their respective wounds.

-------------------------

HOUR THREE

-------------------------

“What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” Rey asks around a mouthful of a particularly bland rations bar, breaking their silent standoff. They haven’t spoken for the last two hours, outside of the occasional “excuse me” while attempting to find somewhat comfortable positions. As a result, her voice croaks from disuse, no longer familiar with long periods of not speaking.

As if she hadn’t grown up in silence. As if her body’s already forgetting her lonely past.

There’s the briefest spike of shock, or maybe it’s relief, from Kylo’s side of the Bond, and he remains quiet for a moment longer, taking the time to swallowing before answering.

“We’re eating the galaxy’s worst rations bar and you want to talk about food?” he scoffs, and Rey practically feels him rolling his eyes.

‘Fine, be that way. Jerk.’

“Oh, just kriffing forget it,” she snaps back. She takes a particularly savage bite out of her rations bar, wishing it was his larynx she was ripping out instead.

-------------------------

HOUR FOUR

-------------------------

“It was a stew,” now Kylo’s the one to breach the void between them, extending a verbal olive branch through his soft answer of her earlier question.

“Hm?” Rey asks with disguised interest, tawny eyes remaining locked on the black metal webbing of his cockpit hatch around them.

“The best thing I ever ate was an Alderaanian wedding stew. I think I was about eight,” he muses, voice sounding almost fond at the memory. “It was the only thing I think my mother ever cooked herself; probably the only thing she knew how to cook. She learned it from her adoptive mother, it’s traditionally cooked by a new bride for her groom to eat on the day following the wedding. She made it for my father and I, and it wasn’t particularly good, but-” Kylo stops, but Rey can see the memory itself, unfurling its petals like a flower across their Bond. She observes a younger Leia, hair intricately braided and chocolate eyes joyous as she laughs at a particularly corny joke told by her young son. Across the table, Han Solo chuckled, before reaching over to ruffle his son’s black curls; his touch warm, affectionate.

“Da-ad, my hair!” Little Ben pouted, and Han grinned lopsidedly at his child.

“Definitely your son, Princess,” Han nodded at Leia. Leia doesn’t take it as an insult, instead running her own hands over Ben’s head, smoothing his messy hair back down.

Rey sees through Ben’s eyes how there was no fighting that night; how he later caught his parents swaying to an invisible orchestra in the living room after dinner, his father dipping his mother back and the way she laughed for him; the way the smuggler looked at the future General like she’d hung the stars in the sky herself. The way both his parents tucked him in, his dad handing him his stuffed tooka-cat doll before telling him a bedtime story about the Battle of Endor.

“What about you, Rey? What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten?” The memory collapses into smoke, fading away into nothingness as Kylo withdraws behind his shields again.

Rey’s cheeks grow warm as the answer instantly jumps into her mind, and she finds her words sticking in her throat, refusing to be spoken. So instead she copies Kylo, pushing her memory towards him. It’s from back when they first started to talk again during their Force connections, long after the Battle of Crait. Kylo wanted to experiment with their connections, see if they could pass objects back and forth; if such objects would remain with the other after the connection closed. So, he’d passed her a muja fruit, pressing it’s fuzzy skin into her bare hands with his gloved ones to avoid any skin on skin contact. His experiment was a success, for soon after he’d vanished, Rey found herself still gripping the ripe fruit in her palm. She’d taken the opportunity then to finally taste it, raising the muja to her lips and sinking her teeth into its sweet flesh. She remembers how it coated her tongue with candied sweetness and a hint of spice, the way its juices ran down her chin. She recalls how she savored every bite, the overwhelming newness of its unique taste, the exhilaration of her belief that Kylo knew she’d never never tasted such a fruit before. How Rey didn’t share a single piece of the muja with anyone else, either, consuming it all herself; too selfish to surrender one bit of its tender pulp, keeping it her little secret, her indulgence.

“I’m glad you enjoyed it,” Kylo’s voice is deep, husky by her ear, and she realizes he’s leaned forward ever so slightly during his exploration of her memory. She can feel his honest pleasure at her enjoyment of his gift, and her body flushes hotly. It feels warmer now, the memory taking on an almost sexual light as she opens her mind more, letting him see how she moaned with pleasure at the taste, how she’d sucked every last bit of of juice off her fingers, not wanting it to end.

Silence again unfurls between them, although now Rey finds the previous chill replaced by an slowly building heat.

-------------------------

HOUR FIVE

-------------------------

The Silencer almost noiselessly drops out of hyperspace, its movements surprisingly hushed given its owner and designer. Still, the slowing of the hyperdrive lulls Rey out of her almost trance-like state, where she’d been idly drawing swirls in the fogged up red cockpit glass.

Apparently two people are too much for the defrosters to handle, as the ship’s designers never considered the possibility of multiple beings spending a significant time in the small fighter.

Rey knows they’re nowhere near their destination, as this is an intermediary jump intended to throw off anyone following or tracking the two Force users’ journey.

She’s also very aware that this means they’re officially fifteen hours out from Naboo, a thought that makes Rey almost groan.

She’s going to go mad before they make it back to the Resistance. Before she makes it back to the Resistance, she mentally corrects herself.

Kylo’s so deep in his meditation that he doesn’t notice the change in tempo, and for a second, Rey examines the dash again, wondering if she can make the next jump for them. Most TIEs have largely uniform navigation and piloting systems; however, most TIEs don’t have hyperdrives, and Rey’s not about to break the peace between them by fucking with Kylo’s beloved Silencer without permission.

So she turns slightly, shifting her body to one side so she can crane her head towards Kylo’s. In the cockpit’s cramped confines, their faces are almost kiss close, and she can feel the gentle, shallow puffs of Kylo’s hot breath against her lips.

He’s sleeping, she realizes. There’s a burning flash of envy as Rey notes that Kylo’s comfortable enough to slide into a catnap while she’s still perched uncomfortably on the edge of their seat. Her examination of the violet circles rimming his eyes softens her jealousy, as she recalls how Kylo’s been too scared to sleep for the last two months, knowing Hux was waiting to strike; for a moment of weakness, no matter how fleeting. That the only rest Kylo’s had was during the times she’s been able to stand guard, using their Force connections to serve as a sentinel and allow him an hour of sleep.

Rey could pluck how to program the coordinates into his navicomputer from Kylo’s mind, through their Bond, and she pauses to consider this.

Before she can make a decision as to whether such an invasion would be worth Kylo’s subsequent wrath, his eyes flutter open, revealing his deep brown eyes that are so fatal to her resolve. For a second, they flicker down to Rey’s lips, and she stops breathing, wondering if he’ll move towards her, if he’ll close the unsullied gap between them.

Then Kylo tears his eyes away, almost reluctantly, to look at the stars around them. “We need to make the next jump,” he says plainly, and Rey’s chest burns with annoyance at her own disappointment.

-------------------------

HOUR SEVEN

-------------------------

“Fuck,” Rey groans, dragging out the curse on her tongue as Kylo triumphantly draws an “x” on their tic-tac-toe board with his bare finger, ending the game in another tie. They’re using his moisture-fogged cockpit windows as their paper, each of them passing the time in a never-ending cycle of unsuccessfully attempting to one-up the other.

“This game is stupid,” Rey sulks, crossing her arms across her chest and curling inwards. Force, her back hurts, her spine protesting with every passing second that she refused to lean back. Her shoulders are equally unhappy with her rigid posture, and she could practically feel her muscles knotting into trigger points that will take days to work out. Her butt is far past the point of discomfort, the ridge of Kylo’s seat creating a permanent indent in the swell of her cheeks, her tailbone yearning for relief.

“You’re just mad that you can’t beat me,” Kylo snickers. Rey reaches down to pinch his thigh, earning her a yelp from the dark-haired man.

“Well, you’re not beating me either,” Rey retorts. Kylo says nothing, rubbing his thigh with his palm while muttering under his breath about bratty little Jedi who lack gratitude.

Her hunched over position isn’t helping the screaming of her spine, and Rey tries to roll out her shoulders as delicately as possible, not wanting to tip herself the wrong way and ruin the fragile camaraderie between them.

“Rey,” Kylo sighs, his voice softening. “You can lean back, you know.”

Rey stiffens, this time instinctively, caught off guard by his offer. She’s rewarded with a shooting pain in her shoulder blades, her body begging her to accept.

“Rey. I know your back is killing you. I can feel it through the Bond. Just relax. I won’t - I know we’re in close quarters, I won’t be … offended.” Rey can tell he’s choosing his words carefully, and she finds herself wishing she knew what he was actually thinking.

Suddenly, his arm’s snaked around her waist, tugging her back, away from that terrible bump riding into her ass and towards his crotch, where the seat’s softer, more giving. She’d recoil away, but the lack of pressure feels so good on her bottom that she almost sighs with relief. He utilizes her concession to lean her back, her shoulder blades coming to rest against his chest.

Rey allows her body to finally relax for the first time in hours. It feels like heaven to finally slouch, although Rey quickly realizes that she’s done more damage than she thought to her spinal structure. One of her paraspinal muscles is still spasming painfully, and she still feels like someone’s stabbing her trapezials with drillbits.

Briefly, Kylo hesitates behind her. Before she can ask what’s wrong, two large, warm hands wrap over her shoulders, thumbs pushing on the tense trigger points with a blissful amount of pressure. She always feels deliciously tiny in Ben’s hands, oddly feminine, almost, and it occurs to her that this shouldn’t be so pleasing.

Then his thumbs start to move, making tiny circles in her flesh while his index fingers knead into the curve of her neck, and Rey sighs as they begin to work the pain away. Her muscles pop as the tension begins to release, her joints audibly cracking. Her shoulders drop away from her ears thanks to Kylo’s continued ministrations.

Once satisfied with her neck and shoulders, his hands begin working their way down her spine, massaging her muscles overtop her tunic. She can feel things sliding back into place with each skilled press of his fingers, making her top half sway back and forth with each thrust of his palms. A moan rises in her throat as he begins to rub the area right above her breast band, although she can sense that the angle’s making it harder for him to apply the right amount of friction.

He solves this by wrapping one of his massive paws around her ribs, fingers resting right under the curve of her breast, trapping her in place. It allows him to push harder into her muscles, digging into a particularly large knot in a deliciously painful way.

It’s almost enough to distract her from how close his fingers are to her breast, the sensation summoning the all-too fresh memory of how good his hand felt on them earlier. His innocent contact makes the massage more intimate, almost seductive, and Rey can’t stop her head from tipping back, mouth opening so her ragged breaths can escape.

With one final pop, the last knot releases and it hurts so good Rey feels it in her teeth.

“Thank you,” she murmurs breathily, not wanting to open her eyes just yet. She doesn’t want this moment to end, doesn’t want him to stop holding her.

“Sleep, Rey,” Kylo implores, his voice rumbling in his chest and echoing into her back. “It’s my turn to keep watch.”

-------------------------

HOUR SEVEN POINT FIVE

-------------------------

Rey wants to do anything but sleep.

Kylo’s rubdown may have chased her pain away, but now that Rey’s ensconced in his arms (and his lap), her body’s fully awake, electricity humming in her veins. He hasn’t removed his hand from under her breast, nor has he let her move away from him, meaning her ass is dangerously (but comfortably) close to his crotch and all that lies there.

Idly, Rey wonders if he’s fully proportional, igniting the ire of the more rational and protective of parts of her brain. Briefly, she’s dragged into her internal conflict, lust and desire hammering away at common sense.

Losing herself in such a silly struggle is better (i.e., safer) than concentrating on why she feels this way; or worse, that after they meet up with the Resistance, she’ll probably never see Ben Solo again, a thought that spurs far more anguish than it should.

‘But have you ever asked him to stay, Rey?’ something inside her asks.

‘No, because I’m not an idiot,’ she shoots back. Her answer leaves the voice unsatisfied.

‘Maybe you should give him a reason.’

‘Now what the fuck does that mean?’ she asks herself, before realizing that she’s having a full blown dialogue with herself, always a fantastic indicator of one’s slipping sanity.

Great. She’s already losing her mind, and they still have seven and a half hours to go.

A wicked idea blossoms in Rey’s mind, its fingers beckoning to her burgeoning madness. One that would allow her to find out if she even could give Kylo a reason to stay; one much safer than doing something as foolish as using her words.

One that could even be a game, she thinks, although she doesn’t plan on telling Kylo that he’s playing.

After all, something as innocent as a game couldn’t hurt, could it? And at least this way she won’t spend the rest of her life wondering if her feelings were reciprocated, even if he does leave.

Besides, she’s used to people leaving.

She can protect herself, she vows internally.

It takes her a few minutes to devise a scoring system, and then she’s ready.

‘En garde,’ she thinks at her Bondmate behind the safety of her mental shields.

She starts with a stretch, an innocent movement as far as movements go. She reaches her arms out as far as they can go in the confined space, pressing her hips down with the slightest roll as she does, letting her ass press into the exposed inseam of Kylo’s leather pants.

He instantly stills, breath caught in his throat and Rey awards herself a point for his reaction.

Bringing her arms back down so her palms rest on his thighs, she scootches her hips back again, pressing up against his pelvis. “Sorry, just trying to get comfortable,” she chirps, saccharine sweet.

“Yeah, uhm, just make yourself at home,” There’s the slightest strain to Kylo’s voice and once Rey’s satisfied that she’s firmly nestled against him, she gives him a brief reprieve.

Once his breathing’s returned to normal, she forms a nice little crack in her mental wall, just enough so he can see her thinking about his hand on her breast earlier, how neatly it fit into his warm palms and how hard her nipples were thanks to his unintentional touch.

When that doesn’t get a reaction, she chips away a little more so he hears her desire for him to do it again, with his hand tantalizingly close, millimeters away.

His fingers flex, digging ever so gently into the thin skin over her ribs.

That’s two points for Rey.

She wriggles her hips again, grinding them against his pelvis a little more obviously, lips turning upwards in delight when she detects the presence of something thick and warm growing between them.

Five points. She internally high fives herself.

“Rey,” suddenly Kylo’s breath is tickling her ear, making her skin flush hot and sending sparks to her nipples. “What are you doing?”

‘Fuck,’ she thinks, subtracting two points due to his aroused suspicion.

She thinks fast.

“Sorry, my, um, bum’s a little sore from the way I was sitting earlier.” She bites back the suggestion that he try massaging that, not wanting to erase all her gains so early.

There’s a flash in her mind, of her bent over so her heads resting on the control system, buttocks bare as Kylo’s hand slaps down on her rosy cheeks, and she squeals in response.

‘Holy fuck, where did that come from?’ she asks, not realizing how many cracks now run along her mental shields - or that it wasn’t even her fantasy to begin with.

-------------------------

‘A game, eh?’ Kylo thinks darkly, desire stirring in the base of his spine while he resists the urge to bend Rey over and show her just how sore he could make that perfect little ass of hers.

Part of him wants to scowl, to sulk in the thought that of course she’d turn his attraction into a game, something for her to play with. But the other, baser part of Kylo Ren, the one that Rey awoke from dormancy with her pretty pink lips and hazel eyes, thinks that this is the opening its been waiting for.

After all, games are far more fun when everyone’s playing to win, aren’t they?

Kylo unwraps his hand from her still too delicate ribs, moving it up under the guise of pushing a curl of his black locks out of his face. As it returns, he deliberately, slowly skims the peak of her breast with the heel of his palm, before he drapes his arm across her waist, innocently clutching her to him.

Casually, he drops his free hand to his lap - or well, what would be his lap, if Rey wasn’t currently invading it. Thus, and oh, so devilishly, his hand falls to rest on the top of Rey’s thigh.

He can feel her shock reverberating over their Bond.

Kylo buries his lips in the back of her half-undone bun, hiding his wolf-like grin as he awards himself a point.

-------------------------

Rey gulps as she looks down at Kylo’s large hand perched atop her thigh, his long fingers resting against the seam of her gray pants, tantalizingly close to where she wants them. Her game’s been turned against her, and now she’s the one hoping he doesn’t feel the heat emanating from her folds, or the growing moisture in her panties.

His engagement in the game doesn’t mean Rey’s willing to surrender, no. Rey’s never backed down from a fight, and so she reaches up to free her hair from her buns, remembering how she’d picked up through their Bond that he liked it when she wore it down, another scavenged tidbit she’d hidden away for future reference. She shakes out her tresses, knowing that the movement makes her ass jiggle against him. He sucks in a breath and she feels him further stiffen against her, his cock growing with each teasing rub.

Rey pretends that she’s a seductress, swallowing her nervousness at the new sensation of a hardening man against her. Her adoption of this persona gives her a boost of bravery, and she seizes the moment by leaning back against him, snuggling up to his warmth. She then tilts her head to the side on the guise of resting it against Kylo’s chest, making sure her lips are in full view.

Slowly, enticingly, she sticks the tip of her tongue out, running it along her bottom lip with a slow lick.

“Fuck,” Kylo curses, almost inaudibly, his eyes following her every movement and earning her another tick mark on her invisible score chart. His fingers clench again, pulling her closer, before he retaliates by slipping them closer to where she wants (needs) them.

It’s a game of chicken now, Kylo’s index finger a flick away from her aching center, his cock nestled between her cheeks. It’s definitely awake now, a swollen rod that stretches far longer than Rey imagined, and she concludes that yes, he is abso-fucking-lutely proportional. Such a realization really shouldn’t excite her so, but the thought of his length inside her, stretching her, fills her mind and makes her core tighten with anticipation.

Something deep in him rumbles, like he heard her illicit fantasy and there’s the softest, lightest thrust of his pelvis against her.

‘Oh, that’s a fiver,’ she crows to herself.

Then his fingers slide over the inseam of her pants, pressing gently against her slick folds and Rey shudders, biting her lip to keep herself from begging for more. Her cheeks brighten into roses at the realization that there was no way Kylo didn’t feel how wet she was.

“Fuck, little Jedi, you’re playing with fire,” dear Gods, he’s growling into her ear in a way that makes her want to pant, electrifying her blood.

“You can’t burn me, Kylo,” her voice is husky, breathy, but the challenge shines in her eyes as she tips her face towards his.

There’s a moment of hesitation, brief as lightning on his face, and then it vanishes, replaced by hungry eyes and a predatory grin.

“All right, Rey, let’s see how long you can go before I make you scream.”

With that, his fingers are back against her covered folds, pressing against her, teasing as they slide up and down. His lips crash against her exposed neck, teeth scraping against her still prickled skin, and his other hand finally, blessedly moves up to cup her breast, her nipple caught between his index and middle fingers.

She is his captive in every way, ensnared in his well laid trap and completely at his mercy. And Rey fucking loves it.

She is not sure where his confidence comes from, although she certainly finds herself enjoying the perks of his bravery as he teases her mercilessly over her clothes, his mouth leaving a trail of purpling bruises along her sensitive neck. (For a second, her stomach drops as she guesses that he’s learned from another, although she refuses to admit why that makes her hot with jealousy.) But their physical proximity and his lips on her skin makes their connection stronger, so strong that Kylo easily picks the thought out of her mind and chuckles into her shoulder.

“No, my little Jedi, there’s been no one but you,” he promises, pinching her nipple as he speaks and making Rey’s teeth buzz with pleasure. “However, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this moment.”

The thought of Kylo - Ben - fantasizing about her, thinking about her in such a lascivious manner spurs another quiver of her skin, and a flush of hot boldness shoots through her extremities. With an evil grin, Rey’s hand slips behind her, between their bodies. Her fingers drift down so they can skim over the top of his leather-clad erection. The slight touch makes Kylo hiss, his hips jerking towards Rey, chasing her touch just as she chased his.

“Greedy girl,” he admonishes, voice deeper than Rey’s ever heard it. She’s always been affected by his voice, the powerful baritone that summons butterflies in her belly. She recalls lonely nights in her bunk, when she’d turned to her own touch to relieve some of the pressure between her legs and loneliness in her heart. How the memory of him purring “Ah, you do” always appears, unsummoned, to guide her over the brink as her fingers pressed against her clit.

Rey’s attraction to his voice takes Kylo off guard, as it’s always been one of the things he’s always disliked about himself (which says something, given how long that list is). Despite his insecurity, Kylo Ren’s not the type of man to ignore an obvious advantage, especially when his movements are already limited by the small cockpit.

“You like this, Rey? You like the way my voice sounds in your ear as I’m touching you?” Kylo asks, slipping his hand under the black fabric of Rey’s tunic, his deft fingers yanking her breast band down so he can feel the sweet softness of her breast before he begins playing with her puckered nipple.

She moans her affirmation, her own hand squeezing Kylo’s cock. She’s not sure how it continues getting harder, thicker, but it does, enthusiastically responding to her touch.

The hand that was stroking her clothed folds moves up, dipping under the waistband of her pants and bypassing her thin panties. She feels it hover just above her too wet cunt, making her squirm in anticipation.

“Answer me, little Jedi. I already know,” he nips the shell of her ear, the edge of her jaw, “but I want you to confess how you made yourself come to the thought of my voice.”

Kylo’s words, which Rey should find perverted, instead sends a thrill up her spine and makes her insides desperate for friction. Her mouth falls open, words caught in her throat before she summons the courage to reply, eyes squeezed shut in embarrassment.

“Stars, yes, Kylo,” she keens. “I- I-” her cheeks are crimson, hot enough to scald as she stammers, “I never meant to, but whenever I was alone, the way you talked to me, the sound of your voice, it would always be there, always.”

You were always there, her mind whispers.

His chest swells with masculine pride at her admission, at the way he melts his ice queen’s defenses. He rewards her by pressing his index finger down into her slick clit, dragging it up until it ghosts over the raised nub of her clitoris.

Rey cries out wantonly, his touch only tightening the coil inside her, making her desperate for more. It’s a sound he can’t get enough of, and he circles her sensitive button a few times. Then his finger trails back down to her dripping entrance, gathering up more moisture as he goes. Rey mewls, wriggling her hips as he circles her cunt lazily, taking his time. Then, with a surprising tenderness, he slowly works the tip of her finger in, testing her limits.

Her walls respond immediately, wet heat enveloping him, grabbing him urgently, begging him to fill her empty space. She’s ridiculously tight, so much that the thought of sliding his cock inside her makes him want to come right then and there; but also fills him with fear at the high likelihood of hurting her. Kylo knows he’ll have to prepare her carefully in order to make this experience as pleasurable for her as it is for him.

Briefly, he considers abstaining from fucking her, something which the rest of his body immediately vetoes. He knows this likely the only shot he’ll ever have with her, the only chance to enjoy her body in the ways he’s dreamed of. Perhaps even the only antidote to his haunting, insistent fantasies.

Force only knows what happens after they reach the rendezvous point.

Shoving that unpleasant thought out of his mind, Kylo begins slowly pumping his finger in and out of her cunt, thrusting a little deeper every time. Finally, he’s able to work his whole digit in, Rey bearing down upon it, demanding more and more friction.

Unfortunately, Kylo’s TIE Silencer was not designed to allow its pilot much in the way of movement, as fucking the Last Jedi in its cockpit had never been considered during its conception. (Kylo will readily acknowledge that he’s certainly thought about it; he just never actively believed it to be within the boundaries of possibility.) Such limitations mean that Kylo’s size limits him to his current position, creating significant obstacles to reaching his goal of making Rey come before he slides his very present erection inside her.

Kylo Ren’s not a quitter though, and he’s used to adapting on the fly. It’s what they both do well, especially when it comes to dealings with the other. If that means exploiting her newly-discovered kink for his voice, then insecurities be damned, he resolves, considering his next words carefully.

“Gods, Rey, your cunt’s so tight, so wet for me,” he purrs in her ear, feeling her walls flutter around him in response. “All I want to do is fill you up with my cock, take every inch of you and fuck you till you come all over me, screaming my name.”

Fucking Hell, his voice drips sin all over her and makes that need inside her burn, turning her nipples into blades as she rubs herself against him. He gently prods a second finger into her, spreading them so he’s stretching her carefully, opening her up for him.

“Good girl, taking my fingers so well,” he praises, and normally, Rey would be offended by such a remark from him but now it only brings her higher, closer to that edge she normally has to chase. He accentuates his compliment by taking his thumb and swirling it over her clit again, testing out varying degrees of pressure till he learns the best way to make her shudder around him.

“Kylo,” she rasps, pleading with him for something more, the urge building in her making her feel like she’s on fire, but not enough to make her climax. Her eyes fly open to see his face, watching her with rapt attention, his heated gaze heavy with dark intent.

“Do you want to come, Rey?” she almost laughs at the absurdity of the question, but she’s too far gone to surrender the necessary amount of oxygen to do so. His other hands still pluck at her nipples, dividing his assault, and he’s managed to push her breast band down so her small mounds are totally exposed, the sleeves of her tunic pushed over her shoulders.

“Please, yes, Kylo,” she gasps back.

“That’s my sweet girl,” he gives her a half-cocked smirk, just as he crooks his fingers up, dipping into her spongy walls, right above her public bone. He’s touching a place Rey’s never touched before, never tried, but the virgin territory sings like it’s been waiting for him all along.

“Come for me, Rey. I need to hear you scream my name, for me, all for me,” there’s a possessive darkness in his tone, one she’s heard before on her own tongue but Rey doesn’t care about the implications, doesn’t care that she shouldn’t like it so much on his satin-smooth voice, because the combination of his words filling her mind, his thumb on her clit and his fingers curled inside her makes her toes curl and her body tense so she’s light as a feather and stiff as a board as she comes for him, on his hand, convulsing and shouting as she tumbles over the edge.

She’s able to restrain herself from screaming his name, but just barely, the letters dancing on the tip of her tongue.

As her senses return, Rey realizes that her nimble fingers had already freed Kylo from the confines of his pants, although she’s not sure when she managed such a feat. Either way, she’s finally able to explore him, tracing the tips of her digits down his length. His skin’s deliciously soft, a direct contrast to the thick muscles beneath, furnace hot and straining towards her touch. She wraps her fingers around his rigid erection, her hand too small to fully ensconce him, and Kylo moans from behind her.

“Wicked girl,” he rasps, and his hand slides out of her still throbbing pussy with a wet pop. Before she can continue her vengeful teasing, Kylo grabs her ass so he can lift her enough to pull her pants down to her knees, where his feet take over and pull them to her ankles.

Rey mentally notes his impressive flexibility, filing that tidbit away for later.

That’s about all the time she has before he hoists her again, maneuvering her body so her sopping lips drip down onto his thick head. Keeping her raised with one hand, he uses the other to smear her slick over him, his breathing ragged as he does.

“Rey,” her name on his tongue, pleading and rough, is the most sinful sound she’s ever heard. “Rey, do you want me to fuck you now?”

It’s the only hesitation he’s shown thus far, but it doesn’t break the spell he’s cast on her. Instead, she turns her head to look at him, seeing his soul bared in her dark eyes as they search hers for consent.

“Please,” she whispers, an echo, a perverted reversal of their positions not too long ago.

Rey sucks her lip in between her teeth as the tip of his cock begins its invasion, filling the bottom of her aching core as he pushes inside. She knew it would hurt, had been mentally preparing herself for the pain of losing her virginity to such a large man since they started their games. She wasn’t prepared for the lasciviousness of it, the undercurrents of pleasure from her small opening stretching around him, accommodating his girth.

At first, he moves slower than when he prodded his finger inside her, his constraint evident by the way he trembles against her. But Rey’s never been the kind of girl that lets pain stop her, she’s never been the slow and steady type. Nor is that what she wants now, the tight need building inside her anew, her core demanding more.

She inhales, bracing herself, before jolting her hips out of his hands and back into her control so she can fully impale herself on his cock in one swift movement.

Stars swirl behind her eyes, pleasure-pain making her moan throatily as she adjusts to the sensation of him buried to the hilt, his pelvis pressed up against her, bodies joined together. Her teeth tingle with desire, much like when he massaged that last knot out of her back, except this time it’s far more satisfying.

She grinds against him, delighted to find he’s so big that he presses against that euphoric muscle at her front, gasping with pleasure as she moves.

Ben’s still frozen, clearly giving her time to adapt despite the consuming need to thrust wildly into the hot tightness of her walls, coated with her juices and already constricting around him. He breathes through his nostrils, careful, waiting.

“I thought you were going to make me scream your name?” Rey teases with a haughty glance over her shoulder, chestnut hair tousled and eyes sparkling dangerously.

Her taunt finds it mark, shattering Kylo’s precarious control. His fingers slide over her hipbones, still too prominent, finding purchase as he lifts her up, almost completely off him before slamming her back down.

Rey wails, head falling back onto his chest in rapture as he hammers into her. Each time he pulls back his length drags against her; every thrust fills her completely, hitting the front of her from top to bottom. There’s another hidden sensitive area at the top front of her cunt, between her walls and her cervix, and each time he pounds against it she cries out, her orgasm building as he whispers in her ear.

“Fuck, Rey, you feel so good, so tight around me, taking my cock so well. Such a good girl, my sweet girl.” he babbles, breathing against her skin and making her writhe down on him. “Mine, all mine,” he continues, “your cunt, your lips, your come.”

Rey gives as good as she gets, looping her arm up and around his shoulder so she can tug on his hair, eliciting another moan from his throat. “And you’re mine,” she hisses back with a ferocity that only someone who’s had nothing can possess, one that makes him buck into her passionately, burying his lips in her shoulder, the curve of her neck.

“I want the galaxy to know who’s making you come, Rey,” now he’s almost begging, although he’s using that damned tone that sounds somewhere between a request and an order, the one that always makes her externally bristle but internally swoon. “I want everyone to know that you’re coming on my cock, that I did this to you, you did this to me, that this was all for you-”

Rey knows he’s just talking about the sex, but the implication, the sincerity behind his words tosses her over the edge. She shatters around him, her voice screaming his name at the stars streaking past them as he feels her cunt go taut around him, pulsing and quivering as she comes.

There’s no hope of him holding back at the feeling of her coming on his cock, and Kylo pounds into her, chanting “Rey, Rey,” as he spills into her, his own vision whiting out from his intense orgasm.

As he comes down, he hears her secret plea, as crisp as a warning siren.

Don’t leave.

-------------------------

HOUR ELEVEN

-------------------------

Rey’s curled up against him, lips parted slightly as she slumbers on his lap, his seed still coating her thighs.

Don’t leave.

Kylo’s jacket is draped over her small torso, warming the parts of her his arms can’t cover, even though the cockpit’s still steamy hot, glass panes fogged to Hell.

Don’t leave.

He grips her like she’s his salvation, his last meal, as his mind replays her unspoken appeal over and over again. The wave of sadness, of fear behind it, her secret wishes dancing before his eyes.

Don’t leave.

If only she knew, he thinks with an almost bitter laugh, that the only reason he ever intended to leave was to spare her the burden of his presence; and himself the slow insanity of having her so close but still far out of his grasp.

Don’t leave.

“You’re just like your father,” his mother had sighed when he’d told her his plan. “Always running away, while looking for a reason to stay.” Brown eyes, the same as his, shifted up to him, maternal and soft. “But I can’t give you the reason you’re looking for.”

Don’t leave.

He finally understands what his mother was saying.

Don’t leave.

Kylo Ren slowly shifts forward, careful not to wake the sleeping Jedi in his lap. With a tap, he activates his comm system, typing out an encoded message on the glowing keypad.

Don’t leave.

Once he’s finished, he leans back in his seat, resolution flooding his veins and relaxing his muscles.

Don’t leave.

He falls asleep watching the rise and fall of Rey’s chest, tanned skin pressed against alabaster.

-------------------------

HOUR FIFTEEN

-------------------------

The shrieking noise of the hyperdrive alarm jerks the enemies-turned-lovers out of their slumber, alerting them to their return to normal speeds and arrival at the edge of Nabian airspace.

“Fuck,” Kylo groans, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and sensing a deep crick in his neck.

“Five more minutes,” Rey mumbles, trying to pull Kylo’s jacket over her head. The sound of her sleepy voice erases any trace of his prior annoyance, heart melting at the sight of her sex-tangled hair and pouting pink lips, the way her eyelashes flutter against her skin. How tiny she looks under his surcoat, violet-red bruises on her neck - imprints of his teeth - poking out from underneath.

He loathes waking her, wanting to preserve this moment forever.

The last seconds before he delivers her back to the Resistance, back to where she belongs.

But she’ll be furious if he doesn’t awaken her, letting her arrive still naked and thoroughly fucked, making their activities obvious to all of her precious friends.

She might actually kill him if he did that, orgasms be damned.

“Rey,” he shakes her gently, prodding her mind with the Force.

“S’warm,” she nuzzles against his bare chest.

“Sweetheart, we’re thirty minutes from the rendezvous point and you’re buck naked. I’m not much better. So unless you want the entire Resistance to know that we just fucked-”

Her eyes bolt open, and she lurches forward - too hard, too fast, smacking her forehead against the hilt of his cockpit hatch.

Kylo’s flying up after her, to the best he can, pulling her back so he can imagine the damage.

“Rey,” his voice is soft, too soft, this desert girl already breaking his heart. She moved so fast to get away from him, her shame apparent in her actions.

But then her lips swipe across his and she’s looking at him with those verdant and honey eyes, free of regret (albeit filled with sadness).

“Do you really want the whole Resistance to see me like this?” and before he can scowl a yes, that he absolutely wants every one of those bastards to know she’s his, she moves enough so he can see a sliver of her bare breasts.

“Not unless you want me to kill every person that looks at you,” he mutters.

She rewards him with an exaggerated sigh and a roll of her eyes, but he detects a hint of satisfaction at his jealous response.

-------------------------

They somehow manage to dress themselves and restore their persons to a somewhat presentable state. It’s an awkward ordeal, to say the least, with each of them contorting their bodies to reach their clothes. Dressing results in limbs smacking against various equipment and parts of the hatch itself, leaving handprints in the foggy glass and definitely not helping their attempts to hide how they passed the time.

As the distance wanes between the Silencer and Naboo, the former enemies’ apprehension grows, until they’ve both fallen silent, mentally retreating into themselves for what comes next.

Rey’s so caught up in her anguish, her failure at keeping herself unattached (curse her thinking with her vagina, it’s never worked out for her when it comes to Ben Solo), that she doesn’t revel in the rolling emerald hills of Naboo, her face rigid and eyes locked onto the black and red instrument panel of Kylo’s Silencer.

Memorizing it, as she’s already memorized him.

She can feel Kylo’s heart beating faster and faster, the faintest hint of his gloved hands trembling as he guides the ship to a landing pad nestled in the verdant hills surrounding his grandmother’s lake villa, Varykino.

He still manages to set his ship down effortlessly, a graceful dance oozing of confidence as she feels his spine go rigid.

Rey glances outside, through the crimson glass of his fighter’s hatch, taking in the small welcoming crowd awaiting her on the smooth white platform.

Poe Dameron in front, hands on his hips and hair blowing in the wind. Beside him, Kaydel Ko Connix, prim and proper as always. Rey can’t tell if its the tint of the glass that makes her lips look redder than usual, like the Commander’s wearing lipstick.

Something ugly stirs in her.

Rose and Finn wait slightly behind them, concern for their friend evident on their faces, although Finn’s trepidation might also have to do with his ugly memories of the ship in front of him.

Chewie towers over them all, arms crossed and crossbow casually strung across his back.

It’s loaded.

Well that’s just fantastic.

Rey’s eyes travel down Chewie’s side till they reach the diminutive figure of the Resistance general. Her greying hair’s gathered into braids that form a looping crown around her head, a simpler hairstyle than Rey’s used to. She knows each of Leia’s intricate updos carry intentional symbolism, but the meaning of this one’s lost on her.

Kylo tenses beneath her as his eyes fall on his mother’s figure, live and in the flesh before him for the first time in years.

She turns, wanting to offer comfort, but also unwilling to let the last embers of hope die within her. She opens her mouth to make her final plea, but he cuts her off before she can.

“Everyone’s waiting,” he says curtly, face impassive. His eyes are guarded now, cautious, and if Rey wasn’t so offended by his callous dismissal she’d actually give a shit.

Instead, hurt and indignation rises in her throat, his intention to cast her aside (‘just like you knew he would,’ her traitorous mind hisses) obvious to Rey.

“Fine,” she snarls, pressing her feet against the cockpit hatch so it would fully open. She bolts out of the cockpit, lurching away from him like he’s a live wire.

She’s so angry, fury and definitely not heartbreak pulsing through her veins, that she doesn’t realize she’s exposed through the Bond, doesn’t register his confusion turning to realization.

Nor does she hear the rather loud snicker from Poe Dameron.

Either way, she is not going to let Kylo Ren go without telling him to go fuck himself, she decides. She whirls back towards the cockpit, finger jabbing out as she prepares to curse out her enemy (not a lover, not a lover) one last time.

Except Kylo’s not in the cockpit, and Rey freezes.

“C’mon,” he says softly from where he’s standing right next to her, arm looping over her shoulders protectively.

Rey freezes, mind now swirling with anger, hurt, and a grown Hutt’s body weight in absolute, total confusion.

“Ben,” she hisses under her breath, “what are you doing?”

Kylo’s still kiss-bruised lips twist in his patented smirk, amusement twinkling in his eyes, as if he’s enjoying some private joke at her expense.

“What does it look like?”

“If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking you. Do not make me draw my saber.”

She can see the oaf’s wheels turning in his head, synapses firing to make the necessary neural connections.

His face softens as he registers how hurt she is, how she’s misinterpreted his actions.

“I’m staying, Rey.”

“What?” her voice comes out breathy and small, vulnerable, and she swears in this moment that if he’s lying to her, if he then laughs and tells her he’s just kidding, her heart will shatter into a thousand pieces, so fine that even she cannot repair it.

Kylo steps closer, placing an ungloved hand under her chin so he can tilt her tear-filled eyes up towards him.

He’s beautiful in the soft morning sun, golden rays kissing his space-bleached skin.

“Rey. The only reason I wasn’t staying was because I couldn’t bear to be so close to you, and yet, not able to have you, to touch you. To be the subject of your wrath and nothing else.” he gulps, his words eloquent, yet shaky. “But you gave me a reason to stay.”

Don’t leave, her mind calls out, unbidden and refusing to be silenced.

Never, his responds unwavering.

The fog of heartbreak lifts from Rey’s brain, and with a joyous shriek, she jumps forward to launch herself into his chest.

The sound of Leia Organa’s throat clearing halts her mid-step.

“Well, I see you two finally found a way to put aside your differences.” Thin lips twist into that same cocky grin Ben wears, the one that must be patented by the Solo family. Leia shakes her head, sighing wearily. “You didn’t tell her until now?”

Kylo Ren, former leader of the First Order and orchestrator of its downfall, the fearsome Jedi Killer and Heir of Vader, shrugs sheepishly at his mother.

“You knew?” Rey’s jaw hangs open, and she blinks rapidly as her brain spins.

“Hey, Ren!”

Three faces turn towards Poe Dameron, all with varying degrees of annoyance. Poe’s grinning like a Hutt running a Sabacc table, exquisitely pleased with whatever he’s planning on doing.

“You missed a button,” the best pilot in the Resistance crows, barely able to keep himself from cackling as he does. Rey blanches as she sees that yes, Kylo did miss a button on his surcoat, creating an awkward lump in the middle.

“Also, nice neck, Rey. Didn’t know Ren was also a vampire,” now Poe’s doubling over with laughter, shoulders shaking as both Force users redden considerably.

“Oh, shut up, Poe,” Leia snaps, while Finn and Rose look on with various degrees of amusement and horror, respectively.

Rey swears she spies Kaydel sulk for a moment.

Something mercurial and petty crows within Rey, and she slides her hand into Kylo’s. His fingers entwine with hers, and his eyes sparkle warmly at her open acceptance of him.

Together, they walk towards the elaborate estate before them, ignoring the still hysterical Vice-Admiral.

“Poe, I swear to the gods, I’m not stopping him from Force choking you,” Leia warns, although her tone says she’s strongly considering Force choking the impudent man herself.

Ben Solo just grins cheekily as he walks by, bringing Rey’s hand up to kiss the back of it while they stroll towards Finn and Rose, Rey calling out warm greetings as she approaches her stunned friends.

No one can hear their private conversation, communicated across their Force Bond.

So, you’re totally fine if I murder Dameron, right?

Only if I get to help.