Welcome to my dark side
It's gonna be a long night
Ben Solo sprinted through a Takodanan forest, heart pounding and adrenaline singing through his veins. The dim spill of moonlight through the treetops provided some illumination, but the footing was treacherous, and Ben knew he was risking injury by running so fast.
Then again, if he slowed down, the First Order’s goons would catch him, and then he’d really be fucked.
The leather bag strapped to his back bounced with every footfall, and he prayed he wasn’t damaging any of the artifacts inside. Ancient Jedi artifacts, he’d been told, the kind that commanded a high price on the black market. As both a Force sensitive and a smuggler, Ben had jumped at the opportunity to complete this job. He’d planned to study the artifacts himself before selling them to the Hutts.
The job should have been easy. Break in to a creepy old castle owned by a creepy old woman, grab the artifacts, get back to his ship. Unfortunately, his intel was a few days out of date, and he’d arrived to find a First Order garrison occupying the smoking wreckage of the castle. Some skirmish between the Resistance and the First Order had occurred there, and the stormtroopers crawling over the surrounding area meant the job had gotten a thousand times more dangerous.
Ben liked danger, though. He liked the way it made him feel, his normal broodiness washed away by a wave of excitement. Risking his life and then getting out unscathed provided a natural high that was far better than anything a chemical could provide.
So he’d infiltrated the castle anyway, using Force suggestion to redirect the attention of any guards he couldn’t evade. It had worked—until the moment it had stopped working. Until a figure cloaked in black and wearing a nightmarish mask had stepped into his path. When Force suggestion had failed, Ben had fired his blaster, but the figure had just lifted a leather-clad hand and frozen the bolts in midair, and Ben had realized with dawning horror exactly who he was facing.
That name was all anyone knew about the First Order’s darksider, other than that he was Snoke’s protégé and had a reputation for stone-cold brutality. Ben had always been curious about the legendary Ren, but he knew better than to linger, so he’d bolted out of the castle and into the forest, sprinting towards his ship.
Ben stumbled on a tangle of roots and slammed into a tree, but thankfully managed to stay upright. Behind him, he heard shouts as stormtroopers combed the woods for him. He wasn’t precisely sure where he was, but surely his ship wasn’t far...
A beam of red light sparked to life ahead of him, accompanied by a strange humming sound. He skidded to a stop, trying to process what he was seeing. The fiery light reflected off the chrome accents of a mask, and realization slammed into Ben with the force of a police baton to the gut. That was a lightsaber, which meant only one thing:
Ren had found him.
“Don’t move,” a garbled voice said, the pitch altered by the mask.
Ben ignored the command and turned on his heel, sprinting in the other direction. Abruptly, his arms and legs seized up, and he found himself standing stiff as a board, his body no longer under his control. He strained with all his might, pushing back against the Force power binding him, but Ren was too powerful, and Ben’s training had been haphazard, at best.
The humming, spitting blade appeared in his peripheral vision, and then the darksider slowly walked around him, studying him from head to toe. Ben was startled to realize that Ren was short, at least in comparison to his own hulking frame, and surprisingly slender. The gloved hand grasping the lightsaber was small and delicate.
“Who are you?” Ren asked in that creepy, garbled voice.
“No one important.” Ben’s body was frozen, but Ren had left his mouth free for speech.
“Unlikely. You used the Force.” The masked head tilted to the side. “What’s your name?”
“Lando.” Despite his fear, Ben smirked at the private joke. His father’s old buddy got up to plenty of criminal activity, but he didn’t fuck around when it came to fascist governments. He would not be pleased to have his name on the First Order’s radar.
Ben felt something press at his mind then, a stinging intrusion into his thoughts that both repelled and fascinated him. He pushed back, trying to block the presence out, but it was already retreating.
“Ben Solo,” Ren said with some relish. “Hardly no one, since your mother leads the Resistance.”
Apparently Ren could infiltrate minds, which was both infuriating and terrifying. “We had a falling out,” Ben said shortly. He had no desire to be caught up in his mother’s endless political games. “I take more after my father.”
“Ah, yes. Han Solo, smuggler and absentee husband, isn’t that right? I’m surprised he wasn’t an absentee father, as well.”
Ben gritted his teeth and tried to break out of the Force hold again, but he only succeeded in making his fingers twitch. “Not everyone enjoys being manipulated and maneuvered around by General Organa, it turns out.”
“Including you?” Ren rested the lightsaber blade at the side of Ben’s neck, close enough that he could feel the radiating heat against his exposed skin.
“Including me. Your issue is with the Resistance, and I have nothing to do with them.” He took a deep breath and summoned a facade of ballsy confidence. It wasn’t as genuine as Han Solo’s truly remarkable lack of giving a fuck, but Ben had learned to fake the Solo swagger long ago. “Now that we’ve cleared that up… It’s been a delight meeting you, Ren, but if you don’t mind, I have places to be.”
Ren actually laughed at that, and there was something odd about the sound, even warped through the vocal modulator. Something light and almost musical. Ben narrowed his eyes, trying to figure out exactly what about this nightmarish figure seemed… off.
“Nice try.” Ren disengaged his lightsaber and attached it to his belt, and then those gloved hands lifted to the mask. There was a hiss as the pieces slid apart, and Ren tugged the helmet off, and—
Ren wasn’t a man at all. Ren was a woman. An astonishingly beautiful woman with mussed brown hair, bright eyes, and a sexy smirk. An angel dressed like Ben’s darkest fantasy, now that he knew what was under that black leather. She was all sin and smoke and violence, and Ben’s dick was twitching with a mix of terror and lust he’d never felt before.
“Fuck,” he breathed.
Ren bit her lip and smiled, slow and wicked. “You’re mine now, Ben Solo.”
She lifted a hand, and the last thing Ben saw before blacking out was the twitch of two leather-clad fingers.
Well, this was supposed to be a smutty one-shot, and now I have no idea what it is.
Bruises on both my knees for you
Don't say thank you or please
I do what I want when I'm wanting to
My soul so cynical
Ben woke up all of a sudden. There was no sleep-fuzzed in-between phase, no gradual drift towards consciousness. One moment the world was black, and the next he was blinking up at a gray ceiling.
He sat up—or tried to, at least. The effort resulted in him slamming back onto the bed as the restraints on his wrists halted his movement.
A bed? Restraints?
His mind was spinning. Where was he? What had happened? He’d been in the woods with Ren—fucking beautiful Ren—and now he was here. Wherever here was.
He blinked and marshaled some composure. Right. He was Ben Solo, smuggler and all-around badass, and he could figure this out. Step one was to familiarize himself with his surroundings.
His arms and legs had been cuffed to the bedposts of a very large bed covered in soft black sheets. He tested his range of motion and found that he could lift slightly off the bed and wriggle from side to side, but the cuffs, while cushioned, were too strong to break. He still wore his brown leather pants and dark blue shirt, although his boots, socks, and backpack had been removed.
He turned his head to the left and saw durasteel walls and a large window that looked out on the expanse of space. All right, that was a little alarming, since the last he remembered, he’d been standing on solid ground, but he could adapt. A scan of the room showed him minimalist furniture in stark shades of red, black, and silver: a couch, a dresser, a desk and chair, and a small table that held a wine bottle and glasses. He kept scanning, noting an open closet full of black clothing and a door that probably led to the ‘fresher. Another door looked more substantial, and the blinking keypad next to it implied that it was the entrance to… wherever he was.
Someone’s quarters, apparently. More black clothes had been flung over the couch and on the floor, and he winced at the untidiness. Ben might be a smuggler with questionable morals, but at least he folded his clothes or stowed them in the laundry basket. He wasn’t a monster .
The main door hissed open, and Ben tensed. A familiar black-clad, masked figure entered. The door closed, and she tapped a code into the keypad, which promptly flickered red. With the door locked, she disengaged her helmet, tossing it onto the floor with a heavy thud that indicated it was heavier than it looked. Her gloves followed, and then she toed off her shoes and socks and removed her thigh-length tunic.
Ben swallowed nervously, feeling like he was attending a strip show he’d never volunteered to watch but now couldn’t tear his eyes away from. With the tunic gone, Ren was left in black leggings and a tight blank tank top. She stopped disrobing there, but the effect was still potent enough to make Ben’s dick twitch in interest. He’d always liked danger, after all, and the woman in front of him was certainly that.
Ren sauntered towards him, all lean muscle and smirking beauty. He could see now that her eyes were a startling greeny-hazel, and her cheeks and forehead were spattered with freckles. Her features gave an impression of sweet innocence, but there was a deadly spark in her eyes, and she crackled with barely-leashed energy.
She was a killer in the body of a saint.
She stopped at the edge of the bed and surveyed him, pausing when she reached his crotch. Ben shifted uncomfortably, realizing that his pants weren’t doing a great job of concealing the fact that he was half-hard. Kriff, he was a pervert, lusting after the galaxy’s most-feared darksider. She was probably one step away from castrating him.
“Ben Solo,” Ren said, returning her gaze to his face as if she hadn’t noticed anything amiss in his nether regions. “Why did you steal Jedi artifacts from my castle?”
Of course she had a gorgeous accent. Everything else about her turned him on—why not that, too? “It wasn’t your castle three days ago when I got the job.”
Her lips quirked. “Well, it’s mine now.”
“And if it had been yours three days ago, I wouldn’t have taken the job.” He bit his lip, wondering if that was actually true.
Apparently, Ren shared his doubts. She raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Oh, really? Are you that afraid of the First Order? Or are you just afraid of me?” She sat on the edge of the bed, and the mattress dipped slightly under her weight. Ben marveled again at how small she was—not short, but lean and delicate.
“I’m not afraid of you or the First Order,” he said, even though his heart rate had accelerated at her proximity. He honestly couldn’t tell if it was from fear or lust or some heady combination of the two. “But the First Order isn’t known for being merciful, and I have a well-developed sense of self-preservation.”
Ren laughed, and without the mask warping it, it was a gorgeous, melodic sound. “You’re a liar, Ben Solo.” Her voice caressed the syllables of his name in a way that make goosebumps erupt over his skin.
“Why do you say that?” The physical attraction he felt for her was unreal, amplified even more by the knowledge that this woman was deadly. She could easily have butchered him in the woods, but for some reason, she’d tied him up in her bed, instead.
The thought made his erection stiffen even more. Bed bed bed his horny animal brain chanted, and he shifted, trying to get some slack in his too-tight pants. Fuck, he was turned on.
Ren, of course, noticed the movement, and her eyes zeroed in on his dick. Her pink lips parted, and her breath hitched in a way that didn’t help the situation. Her fingers twitched, and for a heart-stopping moment, she reached towards him. Then she seemed to reconsider the movement, and her hand fell back into her lap. “If you had a sense of self-preservation,” Ren said, “you wouldn’t have tried to use Force powers on me. You wouldn’t have tried to shoot me. You wouldn’t have talked back to me.”
“What was I supposed to do? Lie down and surrender? Start crying and begging for mercy?”
She leaned over him, planting her hands on either side of his head. Her face was suddenly close to his; he could feel the hot puff of her breath against his lips. “Most people do when they see me,” she said, eyeing his mouth.
He stared openly at her lips in return, unsure what game this was but more than willing to play. “That sounds boring. You should have to work for it sometimes.”
“Mmmm.” She leaned in even closer, stopping with her lips a mere inch away from his. “So you’re willing to beg if I work for it?”
The tension between them was unbearable, and Ben had always been reckless and impulsive, so he stopped thinking and lurched up to seal his mouth over hers.
Ren made a surprised noise and stiffened—apparently she hadn’t actually expected him to kiss her—but then she settled into him with a sigh, her lips parting as she kissed him back. Her tongue slid into his mouth, and Ben’s head spun at the taste of her: mint and caf and something smoky. She nipped and sucked at his lips, devouring him with an intensity that verged on desperation.
“Fuck,” she said, pulling back just enough to look down at him with lust-hazed eyes. “R’iia, you have a pair of balls on you.”
“You’re more than welcome to find out for yourself,” he said, rocking his hips in an attempt to draw her attention to his straining dick.
Ren smirked, then stood up. Ben felt a sharp sense of loss, but then she clambered fully onto the bed, swinging a leg over his hips to straddle him. She settled onto his lap, planting her hands on his chest as she rocked over him. Ben’s head kicked back, and he moaned sharply at the pressure of her cunt against his clothed erection.
Ren exhaled shakily. “Kriff, what is it about you?” Another slow roll of her hips, and this time they gasped in unison. “You should be terrified of me.”
“You’re scary,” he said, “but that just turns me on more.”
“I like that.” She reached up to wrap one hand around his throat and squeezed lightly, just a hint of the choke he knew she was capable of delivering. “I like how hard you are for me. I like that you talk back.”
Whatever this game was, apparently neither of them were going to back down. They were escalating rapidly, spiraling up towards the point of no return. “Ren, I want—”
“Rey,” she interrupted.
Ben’s forehead furrowed in confusion. “What?”
She bit her lip again. “I want you to call me Rey.”
Was that her real name? He tried it out, liking the way it fell from his lips. “Rey.” She shivered, so he said it again. “Rey, I want to touch you. Untie me.”
She shook her head. “You’re my prisoner, Ben Solo. Mine to do whatever I want with.”
“Is that why you brought me here?” His hands clenched on nothing, and he tugged against the restraints, cursing the cuffs that kept him from touching her. “To keep me prisoner?”
Rey’s nipples were erect under the fabric of her tank top, and Ben could feel the heat of her pussy even through their clothes. “I wanted to know more about you,” she said, squeezing his throat tighter as her hips kept rocking. “Wanted to interrogate you. Learn about your mother. Your Force powers.”
“Why not keep me in a jail cell, then?” Ben had no idea how he was managing to string words together while Rey was rubbing her clit against his dick, but this whole situation was insane. “Why tie me up in your bed?”
“Because—” Rey closed her eyes tight and moaned again, her hips jerking as she pleasured herself on top of him. “Because no one here understands. The Force, any of it. They can’t. And he takes so much, demands so much. For once, I want something that’s mine ...”
Ben had no idea who he was—Snoke, maybe? The lost, desperate note in her voice was jarring. “Rey,” he said urgently. “Let me out of the cuffs. Let me touch you. Please.”
She ignored his request and kept grinding. Her head tipped back, and her mouth parted around a moan, and Ben stared in awe at the wanton display. She was moving so fast over him, the friction agonizing and amazing, and he hadn’t come from dry humping since he was a teenager, but he was dangerously close.
Rey gasped and jerked against him, and he could see and hear the orgasm wash over her. Her cheeks and upper chest flushed red, and she made the sweetest stuttering moans as she twitched over his dick.
He just needed a few more strokes of her cunt against his dick to make him go off... but Rey stilled after her orgasm. She stared down at him with pleasure-darkened eyes. “You have a nice cock, Ben Solo.”
Then she got off him and took a seat at the edge of the bed again.
Ben jerked in his restraints, thrusting his pelvis up. “You can’t just leave it like that.”
Rey quirked an eyebrow at him. “I can’t? As I recall, you’re my prisoner. That means I can do whatever I want to you. Take whatever I want.”
He groaned, even those words turning him on. “Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d take an orgasm and then leave me desperate.” He was doing to die if he didn’t come soon.
Her lips curled, and Maker, there wasn’t a single thing about her he didn’t find wildly attractive, even though she was currently tormenting him. “Your mother leads the Resistance,” Rey said. “In her mind, I’m the bad guy.” She cocked her head. “Do you think I’m the bad guy?”
It was very hard for Ben to think with all his blood pooled below the waist. “I mean… yes.” He tugged on the cuffs again. “But I steal things for a living, so who am I to pass judgment?”
Rey smiled, revealing absolutely adorable dimples. Fuck. Ben suddenly identified with all the hapless prey species in nature holos who were lured in by colorful predators. Rey looked precious and soft and beautiful, and Ben just wanted to run his lips over her neck and whisper sweet promises in her ear. But she also exuded danger and competence, which made him want to grapple with her until one of them emerged the victor, then fuck her brains out.
“The thing about being a villain,” she said, leaning in, “is that I can do whatever I want. Tonight, that meant getting off on your cock. Tomorrow, it’ll mean interrogating you.” She winked. “Think you can handle it, big boy?”
His dick jerked. Force , he wanted to pin her under him and show her what getting off could be like once he was an equal participant. “I can handle anything you throw at me, sweetheart.”
She grinned. “Good. Then we’ll talk again tomorrow.”
She left to visit the ‘fresher, and Ben heard the spray of the shower through the wall. When she came back out, he almost swallowed his tongue at the sight of her in a short black towel. She turned her back on him and dropped the towel, and he was left staring at potentially the best ass in the universe while she fished through her dresser drawers.
The sleepwear she chose was a filmy black dress that stopped at the crease between her ass and her thigh. When she turned around, Ben moaned at the realization that he could see the outline of her nipples and the shadow of her pubic hair through the thin fabric.
Rey flicked off the light, then climbed onto the massive bed. For a mad moment, Ben thought she might actually fuck him, but instead, she curled up on her side a mere foot away from him. It was just far enough away that he couldn’t touch her, considering the restraints.
“Goodnight, Ben,” she murmured. “I look forward to interrogating you in the morning.”
She dropped off to sleep quickly, her breathing growing heavy and slow. Ben lay wide awake, contemplating his erection, the gorgeous, scantily-clad woman at his side that he could not touch, and the fundamental unfairness of the universe.
Welcome to my cage, little lover
Attempt to rearrange with you, baby
Ben really, really had to pee.
He shifted uncomfortably in his bonds, wondering exactly how fucked—in a bad way—he’d be if he woke Rey/Ren up to let him go to the restroom. He had no idea how many hours had passed while he’d been fitfully napping and brooding about the way Rey had left him hard and wanting, but his internal clock was definitely telling him it was time to get up and relieve himself.
Rey, for her part, remained curled on her side in the fetal position, facing away from him. He studied her sleeping form, wondering if she always slept in a tight little ball like that or if it was because of his presence in her bed. She came across as a tough, sexually-assertive firecracker, but there was something vulnerable in the huddled pose. She hadn’t moved even once, as if she was used to sleeping in cramped circumstances.
Ben’s bladder was about to revolt, and he decided she would probably prefer being woken up to having him urinate all over her bed. “Rey,” he said softly. She shifted a little. “Rey,” he said, louder this time.
She jerked upright and scrambled into a crouched position, and in the next second, a knife was pressed to his throat. Holy shit, where had she even pulled a knife from? Her eyes were wide and panicked-looking, and her breaths came quickly.
“Sorry,” he said as soothingly as he could manage. “It’s just me.” And that was a fucking weird thing to say, considering the circumstances, so he clarified. “You know, your thoroughly restrained, totally harmless prisoner.”
Awareness returned to her eyes, and she eased the knife away from his throat. “Don’t startle me when I’m sleeping.”
“Yeah, I really didn’t want to, but I have a bit of a situation here.” Her gaze immediately shot to his crotch, which was… flattering? He’d go with flattering. “Um, I really need to use the restroom.”
“Oh.” She stretched and yawned, and Ben’s gaze was unerring drawn to her breasts, which were clearly visible beneath the sheer fabric of her nightgown—if the garment could even be called that. Her breasts were small, perfect handfuls, with tight nipples that protruded against the gauzy black fabric. “All right. I’ll get you set up.”
He hoped she would release him from the cuffs, but instead she fiddled with something behind the headboard, and suddenly he had more slack to move. He sat up, but when he moved his hands over his head and into his lap, he realized there was a chain between them that wouldn’t allow his arms to stretch fully out to the sides. A second chain was connected to that one like a leash.
He narrowed his eyes at Rey. “Seriously? You’re going to walk me to the bathroom like a dog?”
She shrugged. “Only if you behave. You do do tricks, don’t you?”
Force, he wanted to make her pay for that remark. Ben generally enjoyed being dominant, although he’d happily switched roles in the past, but Rey brought out something animalistic in him. He wanted to pin her down and show her who was in charge, ideally through a hard fucking and a truly astounding number of orgasms.
That wasn’t to say that he didn’t like her being in control. He liked that, too, but being restrained like this roused something primal in his belly: an urge to turn the tables and make Rey scream.
He would have challenged her, but his straining bladder desperately needed relief. “I’ll behave,” he promised. “Just let me use the restroom, and then when I come back we can talk about the other ways you want me to behave.”
Rey sucked in a breath, and he knew he’d gotten to her. Good.
She unchained his feet next, then stayed a healthy distance away as he got off the bed and shuffled towards the bathroom, although she held the other end of the chain connected to his wrist cuffs. He couldn’t shut the ‘fresher door with the chain in the way, so he left it cracked open and figured she could damn well listen if she wanted to.
When he emerged, she was waiting for him with a smirk on her face. She tugged at the chain, pulling him towards her.
“You don’t have to chain me up, you know.” He attempted to look earnest and harmless as he approached her. “I doubt I could escape you, anyway.”
“Maybe I like chaining you up,” Rey said. “Have you considered that?”
“Oh, I’ve considered it,” he confirmed. “But don’t you think we’d have more fun if I was free?”
She rolled her eyes, then froze him in place with the Force when he was a few feet away from her. “It never ceases to amaze me how confident men are, even when they aren’t in a position to contribute anything of value.”
He would have rebutted, but his jaw was frozen, too, and all he could do was stare.
“Good boy,” she praised in a way that raised his hackles. Considering her smirk, she knew exactly how much he hated it. “Now, I’m going to get dressed, and then we can start the interrogation.”
He expected her to chain him to the bed again, but instead she dragged him out of her bedroom and down a harshly-lit hallway to an interrogation chamber. They passed a few stormtroopers en route, and Rey used the Force to modify their memories. “You never saw me or this prisoner.” Her mask warped her words, and Ben wondered if anyone on this ship knew her true gender.
The responses were dull and robotic. “I never saw you or this prisoner.”
He briefly considered resisting when she unchained his wrists to strap him into the interrogation chair, but he doubted it would get him anywhere, and his mind was too busy churning over the puzzle of her to formulate a proper escape plan.
Ben knew he wasn’t entirely normal. He was reckless, addicted to the adrenaline of his criminal lifestyle, too eager to throw himself into danger. Fear, like lust and joy, was a spice to be savored in a world that too often encouraged people to seek ordinary, dull lives.
He’d inherited this adventurous streak from his father, Han Solo, much to his mother’s dismay. She’d never understood why the two of them always needed to be in constant motion or why they took stupid risks. It was hypocritical, since Leia Organa indulged in her own form of adrenaline-seeking by constantly standing up to tyranny, but Leia was addicted to having principles—or at least to the idea of having a great purpose. She justified her own reckless, rebellious actions as being for the greater good, while she saw Han and Ben as being relentlessly self-serving.
Maybe he was, but at least the only person Ben risked was himself.
For the moment, he was content to let Rey manhandle and threaten him. She scratched that itch, the need for danger, but she also provided his hungry mind with a mystery to solve.
She took her mask off, then leaned over him as she finished buckling his restraints, her brow furrowed in concentration. She was very young, he realized now that he was seeing her features this close. Her face lacked the fine lines that had already started blooming at the corners of Ben’s eyes and mouth.
“Why did you modify the troopers' memories?” he asked.
Rey shrugged. “I don’t like people knowing my business.”
But Ben knew that wasn’t entirely it. No underling on this ship would dream of snooping into the affairs of the feared darksider Ren. He remembered what she’d said last night, as she’d ground down on his cock: For once, I want something that’s mine… “So I’m your dirty little secret, hm?”
She ignored the question, seating herself next to the interrogation chair. “Where is the Resistance hiding?”
He barked out a laugh. “You seriously think I know? I haven’t talked to my mother in years.”
“Why not?” Her green-flecked eyes were unreadable.
“She thinks I’m a selfish, reckless criminal.”
“Ironic, since she herself leads a band of murderers, traitors, and thieves.”
“It’s different if it’s for a noble cause.” He shrugged. “Or at least, so I’ve been told.”
She cocked her head, and he caught the flicker of interest through her icy facade. “You don’t agree?”
“I don’t think it matters whether or not I agree, since I’m not a member of the Resistance.” Ben kept the words light, although this was a sore topic. His mother’s disdain had always rankled. She assumed Ben didn’t understand anything about noble causes and that his father didn’t, either—forgetting that Han Solo had, in fact, cared very much about her noble cause once upon a time. Just because neither he nor Ben particularly cared to be involved in politics didn’t mean that idealism had burned out, but Leia saw anything less than total devotion to the greater good as a failure. Was it any wonder her judgment had become a self-fulfilling prophecy, driving both husband and son away?
“Where was the Resistance located the last you heard?” Rey asked, leaning forward with her gloved hands laced between her thighs.
Ben named a moon base he knew had been abandoned for at least the last three years. It was technically the last place he knew for sure they’d been, even if he’d heard rumors since then.
“And where is Luke Skywalker?”
That got his attention. He twitched and looked over at her, his eyebrows soaring. “Luke? Why the fuck should I know?”
She leaned in, all pretense of cool indifference gone. Her eyes burned with something hot and furious. “Because he’s your uncle, and you trained with him.”
He scoffed. “I’m not sure my experiences with Luke count as training, to be honest. And anyway, I haven’t seen him for ten years.” Not since the old man had cast Ben out like trash for failing to live up to the standards of the ‘model Jedi.’
Luke and Leia really were twins.
“Where is he?” Rey repeated.
“I don’t know, and I don’t care. Why do you even want to know?”
“Because he’s a menace,” Rey snarled, pushing to her feet and starting to pace. Her long black tunic and draped cowl successfully hid her figure, and the thick belt added bulk to her narrow waist, but Ben still wondered how he or anyone else had ever mistaken her for a man. She moved like quicksilver, her motions impatient but elegant, and there was no hiding the delicacy of her wrists and hands, despite the gloves and ribbed sleeves.
Maybe no one ever really looked at Rey, though. Not the way Ben looked at her.
“Even if he’s a menace—which is debatable, in my opinion—no one in the galaxy has seen in ten years. Why does it matter where he is?”
Rey stalked over to him, planting her hands on either side of his head. “Because Luke Skywalker is a symbol, and symbols have power. He inspires the Resistance.”
She was only a few inches away, and Ben licked his lips, wishing he could taste her. All that live-wire energy would make for a hell of a lay. Her eyes darted down to his mouth, and he knew she was thinking the same thing. More reckless impulses rocketed through him, urging him to taunt her, test her, prove himself a match for her...
“Bullshit,” he said.
Rey gaped at him for a moment, and then her hand closed around his throat and started squeezing. “What did you just say?”
“I said bullshit.” He smirked at her, even as her grip tightened to the point of discomfort.
Her jaw clenched, and he heard her teeth grinding. “Clarify what you mean by that.”
“I mean,” he said, “that hunting Luke down because he’s a symbol is a feeble excuse. Plenty of people are symbols, and he hasn’t even engaged in any of the politics related to the First Order. He’s off doing Force-knows-what and has been for ten years—what does it matter to you, since he isn’t opposing you?”
Rey's jaw worked, and her hand flexed again, pressing against the sides of his throat in a way that made him lightheaded. Then she loosened her grip and sat back. “I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand.”
Ben immediately bristled. “What do you mean, someone like me?”
She waved a hand at him, as if the answer ought to be obvious. “A dumb criminal with no interest in galactic politics.”
Fury washed over him. It was exactly what his mother thought about him. “Watch who you call a dumb criminal, Ren.”
“Or what?” she asked, getting in his face. “You’ll dazzle me with your intellect? Astound me with your erudition?” Her lips curled with disdain. “I find it unlikely.”
“Just because I didn’t want to be a senator or my mother’s puppet or anything else doesn’t mean I’m not capable of rational thought.” He glared at her. “And if you think I’m just a dumb brute, what does that say about you?”
Her eyes narrowed. “What do you mean by that?”
“I’m just saying—you got off on my cock last night, and you’re obviously obsessed with me. Seems odd for the mighty darksider Ren to want a dumb criminal, but maybe you’re not as sophisticated as you think.”
Her hand on his throat trembled, and he expected her to squeeze tighter, or at least slap him. Instead, her face went utterly blank, and somehow that was far worse. “Fine,” she said with all the emotion of a droid. “If you won’t tell me what I want to know, I’ll take it.”
Her mental probe was sudden and agonizing. Ben writhed in his restraints, gritting his teeth as she plundered his mind for information about Luke Skywalker. She wouldn’t find any, but that hardly mattered. What mattered was that this was a violation, and he wasn’t going to let her get away with it.
He concentrated on the feel of her thoughts inside his—heavy, dark, sharp—and followed them to the source. He had never tried to read someone’s mind before, but he pushed back as hard as he could, willing himself to see inside her brain.
“So lonely,” he gasped, hardly aware he was even speaking. He caught flashes of memory—a burning desert, tally marks on a wall, a starving girl and the scarred, sinister being who had promised her everything she’d ever wanted if she would join him…
Rey stumbled away from him, gasping. She squeezed her eyes shut and clasped her head in her hands. “Get out,” she said. “Get out of my head!”
“Get out of mine,” he snapped back.
She pulled back the sharp tendrils that had been prodding his thoughts, but he could still feel the lingering stain of her, black and tempting. It made him nauseous. He tried to retreat from her head, too, but it was like an insect trying to extricate itself from tree sap. Something ripped, and when he finally returned to himself, a piece of his psyche had been left behind.
She stared at him with wide eyes, her chest heaving like she'd just run a marathon.
Then she grabbed her helmet and fled from the room.
Trouble coming in the dead of night
Trouble making everything alright
Ben grew more and more irritated the longer he stayed strapped down alone in the interrogation chamber. Who did Rey think she was?
Well, all right, he knew who she thought she was: one of the most powerful people in the galaxy. But still. Ben wasn’t so unimportant himself, at least in terms of birth, if not circumstances, and he knew something about power: it didn’t excuse anyone’s actions. That was the reason he and Han had both distanced themselves from Leia, after all.
Rey hadn’t had any right to steal inside his head like that. She didn’t have a right to keep him restrained like this. At least the police offered jail cells and bail money and court dates, if you weren’t clever enough to bribe or trick your way out of custody first. Rey’s form of justice apparently required no laws or rules save the ones she chose to apply.
By the time a stormtrooper appeared, Ben had worked himself up into quite a steam. He glared at the white-helmeted trooper, who was carrying a set of cuffs. Clearly Rey didn’t feel like dealing with Ben herself.
That was her mistake.
Spotty though his Force training with Luke had been, Ben was fairly sure he could manage Force compulsion. “You will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open,” he said, infusing his voice with power.
“I will remove these restraints and leave the cell with the door open.” The trooper did as commanded and turned to leave, and Ben realized he was letting a prime opportunity walk away.
“And you’ll drop your weapon,” he said, eyeing the blaster covetously.
“And I’ll drop my weapon.”
The trooper dropped the blaster and left, and Ben was free to grab the weapon and scramble towards the door.
Shit, he wasn’t going to make it far dressed like a prisoner. He skidded into the hallway and called to the retreating stormtrooper. “You’ll come back right now and trade outfits with me.”
“I’ll come back right now and trade outfits with you.”
The trooper returned to the cell, and Ben locked the door as the man started stripping, revealing a shock of blonde hair and dazed blue eyes. He wasn’t quite as tall as Ben, but Ben was reasonably confident he could squeeze into the costume.
Five minutes later, the stormtrooper was shackled nude to the interrogation chair, and Ben was on his way to the hangar bay.
Lone stormtroopers were rare onboard whichever ship this was—the Finalizer, maybe, if Ben recalled the name of Ren’s flagship correctly. Troopers tended to march in pairs or more. Thankfully, once Ben mastered the art of walking like he had a lightsaber hilt stuck up his ass, no one seemed to pay him any attention.
Finding the hangar bay proved to be a bit of a challenge. It wasn’t like the First Order posted convenient maps, and Ben had never broken into a Star Destroyer before (he might be a reckless criminal, but even he wasn’t that stupid). Ben tromped for what seemed like ages, looking for some indication of where the hell he was going. He definitely should have studied Star Destroyer schematics as part of his smuggler research, but in his defense, he’d never expected to be in this situation.
Thirty minutes into his exploration, he passed a small cluster of officers who stood with their heads together, conversing in low voices.
“That trooper is in for it, that’s for sure. Who was the prisoner, anyway?”
“One of Ren’s finds.” The officer made a face. “Probably some mystical nonsense Jedi thing.”
“Hsst,” another said, slapping the first officer’s arm. “Ren’s not a Jedi. Don’t let anyone hear you say that.”
“What is he, then?”
The officer’s mouth opened and closed. “I... have no idea.”
Ben wanted to keep listening, but he couldn’t linger without drawing attention. He walked onward, his heart hammering at the realization that Rey/Ren knew he had escaped. She would be looking for him.
Fortunately, he reached the hangar bay soon after that. Unfortunately, it was already bristling with troopers, the TIE fighters protected by armed guards. Ben lingered awkwardly at the edge of the room, assessing his options.
Option one: Try to sneak into a TIE fighter.
Option two: Blast his way into a TIE fighter.
Option three: Hide out somewhere until the immediate furor died down, then try to escape later.
Option two was the most exciting, but even if he managed to steal a TIE fighter, he would definitely be pursued, and Ben didn’t imagine that would work out well for him, no matter how good of a pilot he was. Option three was the sensible choice—he just needed to find somewhere safe to bunk down until he could escape.
A strange thrill shot through him at the thought of staying with Rey longer. Not with Rey, of course. Just... near Rey. On the same ship as Rey. Far away from Rey, if he had any sense.
But a familiar thrill was rising in his blood, urging him to action, and his heart was pounding, and he wasn’t scared—or at least not much—just excited. All right, maybe he was scared, but the fear just ratcheted his adrenaline higher. The sensation was intoxicating.
Ben told himself to be sensible. Lando didn’t fuck with fascists for a reason. A smart smuggler would stay well away from the First Order, and if he was caught up in their drama against his will, he would do whatever he could to get out of there as quickly as possible.
Ben could be sensible.
He was going to do the smart thing and find an air duct to hide in for the next day.
He absolutely wasn’t going to go back to Rey’s chambers in an effort to surprise her and turn the tables.
As it turned out, Ben didn’t need to go all the way to her chambers to find her. Something itched at the edge of his consciousness, a magnetic pull he couldn’t ignore. He followed it through the sterile corridors of the ship, wondering what was wrong with him. Who escaped imprisonment, then actively sought out the enemy who had captured them?
Something about Rey called to him, though. He’d been drawn to her even before their minds had mixed so intimately during the interrogation, and now his interest had bloomed into a full-blown compulsion.
Her mental signature felt like some night-blooming flower: dark, seductive, and heady. He followed it until it grew overpoweringly strong, then paused at an intersection, his senses on high alert.
“When were you going to report the capture of a prisoner?” a sneering male voice asked in an accent that was similar to Rey’s but far more elitist.
“When it became relevant to anyone else on this ship,” came the reply, warped and deepened by Rey’s mask.
“The Supreme Leader will be most displeased—”
“I’m sure the Supreme Leader is capable of expressing his displeasure without your help, Hux.” Her tone was caustic, but Ben thought he could sense her fear in that strange, dark place she now took up inside his head.
He peeked into the corridor and saw Rey standing in full darksider regalia next to a tall, red-headed man. Their postures were tense, the stances aggressive, as if they could hardly stand to be near each other. Rey was facing away from Ben, but she abruptly stiffened, then turned to look down the corridor towards him.
Ben jerked back and started marching away. He was sweating under his trooper costume, his heart thrumming in triple time. Had she sensed him the way he’d sensed her? If so, she would undoubtedly come after him. A thrill went through him at the thought.
He heard raised voices behind him, followed by the distinctive thud of heavy boots on metal. Ben started sprinting towards Rey’s rooms. He imagined building a wall in his mind to keep her out, laying it one brick at a time until he couldn’t sense the dark stain of her anymore. If he was going to confront her—and he planned to, reckless fool that he was—he wanted to take her by surprise.
The door to her chambers was unlocked, thank the Maker. Ben stumbled inside, then tore off his stormtrooper helmet and looked around for weapons. The chains lay coiled on the bed, but he wanted something properly deadly, just in case he ended up fighting for his life—although hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.
Something sparked and hummed at the edge of his awareness. At first, he thought he was sensing Rey again, but no—this energy was brighter, with a charge like heat lightning during a summer storm. His gaze zeroed in on the corner of the room, and he was delighted to see his backpack there, lying on a pile of other bags and garments.
He grabbed the bag, then stripped back down to his smuggler clothes and strapped the blaster to his thigh. Stormtrooper armor was durable, but he preferred flexibility when fighting. His senses were still prickling with that foreign energy, so he dug through the backpack until he found a cylindrical shape wrapped in oilcloth. It was one of the Jedi artifacts he’d stolen on Takodana, although he hadn’t bothered unwrapping it at the time, too focused on escaping.
He unraveled the cloth and gaped at the metal object inside. It was a lightsaber hilt.
Just then, the door to Rey’s quarters hissed open, and she stormed in. “You.” She leveled an accusatory finger at him.
“Me,” he agreed as she stalked towards him.
Rey flicked her wrist, and her crimson saber bloomed to fiery life. “Do you know what you cost me with that stunt you pulled?” she asked, tearing off her helmet and throwing it across the room. Her brown hair was tousled, her gaze furious.
“You’re the one who left me unattended,” he said, circling her warily. There wasn’t much space, which meant tough, dirty, close-quarter fighting if she decided to attack. She certainly seemed upset enough to chop him up into little pieces. Just to be safe, Ben pressed a button on the hilt of his own saber, and it hummed to life, blue-white and blinding.
Rey froze at the sight of it. “That’s mine,” she snarled.
“Is it?” Ben tried a few experimental swings. Luke had only given him rudimentary lessons, although Ben had trained in other types of hand-to-hand combat over the years. “As I recall, it belonged to the castle’s previous owner, and then I stole it, fair and square. That makes it mine.”
Rey made a ridiculously sexy snarling noise, then lunged at him, swinging her saber in a heavy chopping blow. Ben blocked instinctively, and their blades crashed together. He used his superior strength to heave her away, but she resumed the attack instantly. She was definitely upset with him.
Ben blocked more than he attacked, analyzing her fighting style for weaknesses. Her approach was odd—she ought to have adopted a style that made the most of her small size and greater agility, but instead she fought with great, chopping blows, like she’d been taught by someone who relied on brute strength to win battles. It made it easier than it should have been for Ben to keep up with her, although he was also preternaturally aware of her intentions, thanks to whatever strange bond had been forged between them earlier.
“Do you really want to kill me, Rey?” he asked as he lunged, forcing her to twist away. “Why don’t we just pause and discuss this like rational adults?” Han would have howled at the idea of Ben describing himself as a ‘rational adult,’ but apparently Ben had finally found a person in the universe more aggressive and impulsive than he was, and one of them needed to be at least marginally reasonable.
“Switch off,” Rey snapped, swinging for his head. He ducked easily, and he had the sense she hadn’t swung as hard or fast as she was capable of. “Why are you back here, anyway? I thought you’d be halfway to the nearest moon by now.”
“Too many troopers in the hangar bay,” he said. “Needed to lie low.”
She laughed. “So you decided to lie low in my bedroom. Very subtle.”
He grunted as he parried a hard strike. “Well, no. I just wanted…” He trailed off, realizing there was absolutely no explanation he could give that would make sense to either of them. “Never mind.”
“Oh, no, I’m fascinated,” Rey said, baring her teeth in something that definitely wasn’t a smile. “Tell me what you wanted, Ben Solo.”
The rational part of Ben’s brain was screaming at him to shut up shut up don’t say anything, but he’d never been great at listening to that part, so his mouth opened and the dumbest possible thing came out. “You, obviously.”
Their blades locked overhead. Her arms strained with effort as she stared at him with wide, disbelieving eyes. “You’re insane.”
“Probably,” he agreed. “But I bet you’re thinking about it, too.”
He knew she was, and it wasn’t just because her pupils were dilated and her cheeks were pink. Sexual curiosity bloomed in the air between them, as tangible as the crackling heat of the sabers. She was thinking about it, imagining it…
She shoved him away from her. “Get out of my head!”
“You first,” he said, aware that he sounded like a petulant child. Rey swung again, a low blow that passed far too close to his crotch. “Careful, sweetheart," he cautioned. "You’ll want that in working order.”
He’d apparently hit her limit for teasing, because Rey shrieked and extended one gloved hand, ripping the saber out of his hand with the Force. Then she leapt on him, tackling him to the ground before straddling him, her blade burning hot against his throat.
They stared at each other for long moments, both panting from exertion. “What did you do to me?” she demanded.
She was trembling, and Ben abruptly realized that the turmoil in her eyes wasn’t just need or fury.
She was afraid.
“I don’t know.” He stayed still, not wanting to provoke her into actually chopping his head off. “Whatever it is, I didn’t do it on purpose. Did you?”
She shook her head. “I don’t even know what this connection is. I just feel you in my head, and I don’t like it.”
“It’s definitely intense.” He bit the inside of his cheek. “I sensed you, you know. When I was trying to leave the ship. I knew where you were.”
“And instead of leaving, you came back to me.”
There was something about the soft way she said it that made Ben catch his breath. The yearning fascination he’d felt for her since they’d met intensified. “I did. Although since you’re a centimeter away from chopping my head off, maybe that was a bad idea.”
Rey blinked and looked down at her saber, as if she’d forgotten about it entirely. She scowled and switched it off, then curled her hand around his throat instead. “I could crush your windpipe with a thought.”
No one would ever accuse Rey of being good at small talk. “I’m sure you could,” he said. “Are you going to?”
Rey’s hand trembled. Then she leaned in and kissed him, and Ben abruptly didn’t care if she crushed his windpipe or chopped his head off, because she tasted perfect: like smoke and aggression, like mint and honey and need. He opened his mouth, letting her plunder him with her tongue before he slipped his tongue back in return. Rey shivered and pressed closer to his body, and when he bit her lip, she whimpered deliciously.
The little sound made Ben wonder about something. Her hand was still wrapped around his throat, but his hands were free to roam. He smoothed them over her back and down to her ass, then tugged her hard against him, grinding his erection between her legs.
Rey gasped and broke the kiss. Her face was the portrait of female satisfaction as he guided her rocking hips with his hands: closed eyes, furrowed brow, opened mouth. The smirking, threatening Ren was gone, and in her place was a woman who moaned when he squeezed her ass tighter.
Testing the theory further, Ben took a chance and flipped her onto her back, kissing her hard as he settled between her split thighs. She made a surprised noise against his lips, and the leather-gloved hand at his throat clenched briefly, but then she groaned loudly and dropped her hand to rest beside her head. “Ben.” His name was only one syllable, but her voice broke in the middle of it, and Ben felt a surge of triumph at having uncovered a secret.
The formidable Ren might have aspirations to control an entire galaxy, but in the bedroom, Rey liked having someone else in charge.
The theory required more testing, of course, which Ben was more than happy to do. Mirroring her previous action, he circled her throat with a hand, although he didn’t squeeze, just let her feel the potential in his curled fingers. In response, Rey bucked up against him, rubbing herself against his hard cock.
“Fuck,” he breathed against her mouth. “You’re so sexy, Rey.”
She kept grinding against him, and when she reached up to trail her hands over his shoulders, Ben grabbed her wrists and pinned them beside her head. He rolled his hips, cursing the clothing they both wore for keeping him away from her wet heat, but Rey responded as if he was actually fucking her. She made the sweetest stuttering sounds in her throat as she ground against him, and with their minds bridged, Ben could feel her utter bliss. She moaned and twisted beneath him, her mind afire with a need that sent prickles down his spine.
It was an outsized reaction for what he was doing—as confident as Ben was in his bedroom abilities, dry humping an adult woman shouldn’t have resulted in such an extreme response. It made him wonder if anyone had ever done this for her before, or if her past partners had been too afraid of her to seize control.
That was already too much thought for his raging erection, so Ben stopped thinking entirely. He rocked against her, keeping her arms pinned as he bit and sucked at her pretty pink lips until they were swollen and wet. “I’ve got you,” he murmured against her mouth. “You can let go, Rey.”
She shuddered beneath him, and a wave of relief emanated from her. She was so strong and so lonely; he felt the cold ache of that loneliness, recognized it in himself.
Abruptly, Rey stiffened and stopped moving against him. She tugged at her wrists and made a distressed sound that had Ben scrambling off her immediately. Rey rolled onto her side, holding her head in her hands and whimpering. Her eyes were squeezed shut in an expression of agony.
“Rey?” Ben knelt at her side, hands hovering over her, afraid to touch her in case he made whatever was wrong worse. His own head pounded with a sudden headache. “Are you all right?”
“He’s calling,” she mumbled, which made no sense. She rocked back and forth, squeezing her head between her hands.
Then, as abruptly as it had started, the crisis ended. Rey relaxed, then turned over on her back again. She held her arms out to him, but Ben was too unsettled to go to her.
“What the fuck was that?” His head didn’t hurt anymore, and he knew whatever he’d felt had been a pale reflection of what she’d just experienced.
Rey arched her back and let her knees fall open. “It doesn’t matter. Take me to bed, Ben.”
At those words, all the blood in Ben’s body rushed south. He hesitated, torn between pressing her for information and obeying her command. This was weird, but then again, everything he’d experienced with Rey so far had been weird.
Rey rocked her hips and made a needy sound, and just like that, the decision was made. He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed, shoving the chains aside before laying her down on the black sheets.
She knelt up, biting her lip in the way that made him crazy. “I want to be on top.”
Rey was sending a lot of mixed signals, but luckily, Ben was highly adaptable. He lay down and reached for her, a mirror of her posture on the floor a moment ago.
Rey grabbed his hands… and then he was pinned to the bed. The Force held him in place as she dragged the cuffs and chains over and shackled him again.
“No!” He strained against her Force hold, but she was too powerful. “Rey, what are you doing?”
She didn’t answer, and within moments, she had him secured. She stood up, looking down at him with a chillingly blank expression. She was Ren again, not Rey, and the transition had happened so fast Ben’s head was spinning. “I have to go somewhere. I’ll be back.”
She put on her helmet, adjusted her dark attire, and swept out of the room, leaving Ben cursing and straining against the chains behind her.
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
Ben wasn’t sure how many hours had passed. It felt like a lot, but time had a way of dilating when one was a prisoner.
He wanted to kick himself for sheer idiocy. He’d been free, but instead of hiding somewhere safe or escaping, he’d come right back to the woman who’d imprisoned him. And guess what? She’d chained him up again.
He sighed and tilted his head back against the pillow. At least this was a comfortable sort of imprisonment, but he wanted to be free. He wanted to stand up and grab Rey and…
This was the exact problem. He was so fucking obsessed with her that he’d ended up in bondage again.
But Force, the way she’d moved against him. She’d moaned and writhed so sweetly, and he’d been well on his way to giving her more pleasure than she could handle, but then everything had stopped. She’d had that mysterious headache—"he’s calling,” she’d said—and every bit of her seduction afterward had been designed to get him in bed so she could shackle him again.
Who had called her? Why had it hurt her?
He considered the idea that none of what they’d done together had been real, then discarded the thought. Even if he hadn’t felt her enthusiasm across their strange new bond, the passion she’d expressed had been too raw to be feigned. Rey had wanted him to touch her.
And then she’d left.
It was all a muddle, and since Ben was shackled to the bed, he had nothing to do but stew on it. His stomach rumbled, and he realized he hadn’t eaten anything in probably an entire day. He eyed the little table longingly, but the food that had been there when he’d woken had been cleared away.
What if Rey didn’t come back? What if something happened to her and she left him here?
She wasn’t on the ship anymore. He wasn’t sure how he knew that, but the tingle in his brain that lit up in her presence was quiet, and he couldn’t feel any thoughts or emotions coming from her. Maybe she was just blocking him out… but could she block him out that easily? He’d felt so much raw anger, fear, and lust coming from her earlier, but the bond had been brand-new then. Maybe it could be controlled.
He was tempted to start poking and prodding around the space she took up in his head, but then he remembered how agonized she’d looked when she’d said “he’s calling.” If this was someone Rey was afraid of, would Ben accidentally distract her in a moment when she needed her wits about her?
It was confusing and maddening, and Ben was too exhausted and hungry to make much sense of anything. Deciding to give himself a break, he closed his eyes and cleared his mind, and eventually he fell into a fitful sleep.
He woke when the bed shifted. The room was completely dark, the ship’s lighting system simulating the day/night cycle. The stars outside seemed brighter without the glare against the transparisteel, and it was just enough to illuminate Rey as she slipped into bed beside him, keeping her face averted from his.
“Hey,” he muttered groggily, but she ignored him. She curled up facing away from him, and there was something stiff in the way she moved that instantly set him on edge. When she finally settled, a tiny sound escaped her mouth: something like a whimper.
Rey was hurt and trying not to let him know.
She was shielding her mind, too, he realized. He couldn’t feel anything but a subdued background hum, just a hint of the electric crackle of her intense personality.
“Rey.” He shifted in his chains, rattling them a bit. “Rey, talk to me. What happened?” When she continued to ignore him, he rattled the chains as loudly as he could manage, bouncing up and down on the bed in the hope that he could irritate her into acknowledging him. “Rey. Rey. Rey. Rey.”
“What?” she snapped, sitting upright, and he saw her wince at the sudden movement. “Force, you’re like a child.”
“Let me see your face.”
She huffed, sounding annoyed. “Why?”
“Because I can tell you’re hurt. What happened to you?”
“Don’t pretend it matters,” she spat. “Or do you want to gloat, is that it?” She finally shifted her torso towards him, revealing her face. Ben gaped at the weeping red wound that curved from her forehead over her cheek and down into the collar of her black tunic. She hadn’t changed out of her Ren uniform, which told him she was probably injured elsewhere, too.
“What happened?” he demanded again. “Why haven’t you gotten that treated?”
She laughed humorlessly. “Don’t worry. Snoke will send med droids in the morning. He just likes me to live with the reminders of my failure for a while. Let the lesson sink in.”
“The Supreme Leader did this to you?” Ben knew little about the mysterious galactic overlord, except that he was a powerful Force user, and Ren was his protégée. This wasn’t what a mentor did to a student, though. This was abuse.
“Like I said, don’t pretend this matters to you.” She grimaced as she lay back down. “And don’t imagine this will put me at a disadvantage. I can still crush you with my mind.”
“Rey, it does matter. Look, I know that technically I’m your captive, and maybe you don’t like me very much, but there’s something between us. Don’t you feel it?”
She sighed. “Just… leave me alone, Ben.”
“No.” He surprised himself with his own vehemence. “Unchain me, Rey. Let me help you.”
“Why, so you can try to escape? Are you that eager to see Snoke give me a matching scar on the left side?”
He went cold. “He did that because of me?”
She scoffed. “Don’t be so vain. He did it because I went behind his back. Because I was selfish enough to keep you here with me, rather than sending you to the interrogation block.” She shifted, tilting her head over to look at him. The red wound was ugly and painful, seeping and slightly charred at the edges. “Because I captured the heir to the Skywalker legacy and thought to keep him for myself.”
Ben’s breath escaped him at that blunt statement. I thought to keep him for myself. Despite the situation—trussed up and starving, with his captor bleeding next to him—Ben felt a sweet ache in his chest and another one lower, below his belt.
He had a mad urge to say wild, unreasonable words. You can have me however you want. Please keep me. He’d never been good enough for anyone, really, except Han, whose brand of affection was rough and inconsistent. Luke had expelled him from Force training for being too reckless and impulsive, too intrigued by the dark, too questioning of Jedi traditions. Leia had been disappointed in Ben for failing to live up to his legacy as a politician’s son. No one had ever wanted him, not as he was.
Rey wanted him. And maybe it was in a strange, twisted way neither of them could quite articulate, but Ben was helpless against the lure of being wanted.
“Rey.” His voice came out in a whisper. “Let me out of the chains. I won’t run.” He opened himself to the Force, letting himself feel the energy of life onboard this ship, especially the life contained in the small body beside him. The act opened himself up to her, as well, and he brushed his mind against hers, trying to lure her into dropping her shields.
She blinked slowly at him, and then, as if she was helpless to resist, she reached out to touch his cheek, and the bond between them opened on a rush of emotion.
Anger. Hate. Pain. Arrogance. Need. Her mind was a fiery maelstrom, so bound up with the dark side of the Force that it was dizzying to brush against all that tumultuous power.
Underneath all that strength and fury was something else, though.
Lonely. Lonely. Lonely.
Ben realized no one had ever wanted Rey, either.
“I won’t run,” he repeated, hoping she felt his sincerity. “I’ll clean you up, help you change. We can eat something. Talk about this.”
Her breathing was unsteady, and her eyes held the glassy sheen of animal fear. But slowly, she raised her hand, twitched her fingers… and the chains fell away.
So what do we think, can Ben stay out of the chains this time?
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.
Honey, when you kill the lights and kiss my eyes
I feel like a person for a moment of my life
But you don't know what hell you put me through
To have someone kiss the skin that crawls from you
Ben sat up slowly, not wanting to spook her. The chains clinked as they tumbled to the mattress, and he cleared them to the edges of the bed before returning his attention to Rey.
She looked so small, lying on her back and staring up at him. She was still fully clothed in black pants, tunic, and belt, although she’d cast her cowl and gloves aside. The fabric was ripped in places, and more red wounds were visible beneath the torn fabric.
Ben placed a comforting hand on her stomach. She flinched, but it didn’t seem like it was from pain—more like discomfort or surprise at being touched. He kept his touch light and didn’t move his hand. “Do you have a medkit?”
She swallowed audibly. “Yes. In the ‘fresher.”
“I’ll be back.” Ben slipped off the bed and moved to the ‘fresher, aware of her gaze tracking him the whole time. There was a certain resigned distrust to her emotional signature: she was convinced he would leave because everyone always leaves me, I’m not worth staying with…
Her thought came through loud and clear across the bond, probably because she was hurting too much to shield herself, and Ben realized Rey’s loneliness went far deeper than even his own.
Logically, he should probably try to escape while she was hurt. He could wait until she fell asleep, then make a run for it. Rey was Ren, after all, the notorious darkside killer, and she’d taken him prisoner and interrogated him. He barely knew her, and what he’d seen of her behavior and character so far was volatile and violent.
And yet he had the strangest sensation that he did know her—that maybe he’d known her forever.
Ben Solo lived by his impulses. Right now, they were screaming at him to stay.
He retrieved the medkit from the fresher, along with a clean towel, then returned to sit beside her on the bed. “Do you mind if I get these clothes off of you?” he asked. “I need to see your injuries.” She cocked a skeptical eyebrow, and he huffed in frustration. “Look, obviously I’m attracted to you, but I’m not the kind of monster who takes advantage of an injured woman. I just want to patch you up.”
Rey nodded, giving him permission.
He unbuckled the wide belt and slid it out from under her. Rather than pull her tunic off over her head, he cut it up the middle with surgical shears. Rey tensed as the metal snicked through the fabric, then relaxed when he set the implement aside.
He spread the torn halves of her tunic and winced. “What did he do this with?” Several gashes marred her torso, most of which were charred at the edges, and her breast band was soaked with blood.
“His Praetorian guards did it,” she said in a deadened voice. She pointed to the long gash that ran diagonally down her stomach. “Vibro-vulge.” A crescent-shaped injury. “Bilari electro-chain whip.” The cut down her face. “A vibro-arbir blade.”
He grimaced. None of the cuts were especially deep, but they would need stitches. “Let me call a med droid.”
She gripped his wrist to stop him. “No. Snoke will find out.” He felt her fear surge. “Just… maybe clean them out? The droid should arrive in a few hours.”
Ben wanted to hunt Snoke down and punch him bloody for doing this to Rey. He didn’t know what the Supreme Leader looked like or where he was, but he could find out. His mother would undoubtedly be thrilled if Ben took out that sadist, although she probably wouldn’t like his reasons for doing it.
“Hold still,” he said, soaking a cloth with an antiseptic wash. He brushed it gently over the cut bisecting Rey’s face, and she flinched but held still. “Wait, let me get you something for the pain first.” He would have applied bacta cream, but he didn’t want to accelerate the healing if it would get Rey in further trouble with Snoke.
“There’s no need.” Rey closed her eyes. “Just keep going.”
Ben scowled down at her. “What do you mean, there’s no need? There’s no way that doesn’t hurt, and Snoke won’t know if you take painkillers.”
“But I’ll know,” Rey said nonsensically. She slitted her eyes open to glare at him. “Get on with it.”
“No.” Ben’s stubborn streak had been enough to infuriate the legendarily calm Luke Skywalker, provoke diplomatic Leia Organa into a public shouting match, and make Han Solo himself concede defeat and walk away from an argument; it was more than up to the task of forcing one cranky darksider to take pain medication. He grabbed analgesic cream out of the medkit and started slathering it on the wound crossing Rey’s belly.
“What are you—” She grabbed his wrist, trying to force his hand away. “Stop it. I said it’s fine.”
“Too fucking bad.”
They fought a brief but intense battle over the tube, which Ben ended up winning when Rey tried to sit up and ended up collapsing with an agonized cry.
“I told you,” Ben chided as she cradled her stomach, grimacing in pain. “If you keep fighting me, you’re just going to make it worse. So shut up, lie still, and let me put this fucking cream on you.”
Rey glared at him as he slathered a mix of antiseptic and analgesic creams on her wounds. For such a beautiful little thing, she was capable of some truly terrifying expressions. A lesser man—or a more sensible one—might have fled, but Ben was too busy feeling smug at having won their contest of wills.
“There,” he said when he was done, unable to resist provoking her again. “Was that so hard?”
She bared her teeth at him. “Eat bantha dung, Solo.” She turned her head to the side with a huff, and he saw the abortive movement when she tried to cross her arms before realizing her wounds would make that difficult. She was pouting like a child, and he found it amusing and oddly endearing.
Ben placed the medkit back in the ‘fresher, then relieved himself, took a shower, and brushed his teeth. He smiled at the splayed-out bristles of her toothbrush, unsurprised to learn that she brushed too hard.
He walked out of the ‘fresher with only a towel wrapped around his hips. “You need a new toothbrush,” he said, slicking his wet hair back with one hand.
Her head snapped back towards him. “You used my toothbrush?” Her look of outrage quickly morphed into wide-eyed fascination as she stared at his bare torso. Ben preened under her avid stare, feeling her interest across their odd mental bond. He knew he looked good—massive ears and weird face aside—but it was always nice to get confirmation.
“It was the only toothbrush in there. If you want me to stop using it, you’ll have to buy me a new one, too.”
Rey slowly pushed herself into a sitting position, and Ben hurried over to help, shoving pillows under her back to support her despite her half-hearted protests. She batted at his hands. “You’re extremely pushy, you know that?” But her gaze was glued to his chest, and Ben couldn’t help flexing a bit to make his pecs stand out even more.
He smirked. “Guilty as charged, sweetheart.”
She flinched at the word, and her eyes flicked back up to his. “Why do you keep calling me that?”
“Sweetheart?” He shrugged. “I like it. It suits you.”
She glowered at him. “It does not.”
“Sure it does. You’re a regular ball of sunshine, sweetheart.” He bit back a grin at her obvious outrage.
“You’re trying to irritate me, aren’t you?”
“Absolutely,” he confirmed. “You’re cute when you’re mad.”
She looked at him disbelievingly. “Solo, when I’m mad, people tend to get dismembered.”
“Well, I guess I’m just a lucky outlier, huh?” He winked, then crossed the room to retrieve his clothes from the ‘fresher. Rather than change with the door closed, he left it open. When he dropped the towel, he heard a feminine gasp from behind him.
“Must you be naked?” she asked in a prissy little voice. “Don’t you have clothes you can put on?”
He picked them up from the floor, then turned around, giving her a full-frontal show as he waved them in the air. “They’re right here, sweetheart. What do you think I’m doing?”
She gaped at his dick. When it twitched and started stiffening under her perusal, her cheeks flushed red, and she looked away. Ben grinned as he put the clothes on, feeling satisfied at having rattled her in just about every way possible. He hoped the flirting and arguing had distracted her from what Snoke had done to her.
He dimmed the lights, then crossed to the bed and sank down onto it beside her, taking up his old position nearest to the wall. “Want me to take those pillows out so you can lie down properly?” he asked.
She still looked flushed, even in the dimly lit room. “I’ll manage.” And she did, wriggling off them, although she made a pained noise that had Ben grabbing the pillows and rearranging them under her head. She glared at him. “Do you ever listen?”
“No,” he confirmed cheerfully.
Against all odds, Rey’s lips quirked in a genuine smile. She closed her eyes and breathed out deeply. “The med droid will be here in a few hours, and once I’m patched up, I’m going to kick your arse.”
“I look forward to it.”
They settled into a comfortable silence—or as comfortable as was possible when they were sort-of-captor and soft-of-captee sharing a bed—and Ben marveled at the strange twist of fate that had brought him here. If he’d stolen those artifacts a few days earlier, he never would have met Rey. And sure, he would have gotten the bounty, and he would have no doubt as to his captee status, but he was strangely glad it had turned out this way. Rey was… interesting. A beautiful, dark puzzle he couldn’t wait to figure out.
Once she was fully healed, he was going to commit all his attention to figuring out her story… and what she wanted from him.
“Are you going to be here in the morning?” Her whispered question broke the silence, and Ben felt the thrum of uncertainty across the bond.
“I will.” Fuck self-preservation, fuck logic. At this point, Rey would have to kick him out of her quarters. And besides, he wasn’t going to let her be punished for allowing him to escape again.
She sighed. “I guess we’ll find out.”
She slipped into sleep after that, her wounded body undoubtedly needing the rest, but Ben stayed up for a long time, wondering whether this was the best decision he’d ever made or the worst. His mother would no doubt be thrilled he’d infiltrated the First Order—she might even ascribe some clever or altruistic motivation to his actions—but he knew Han would just laugh and laugh if he ever found out. Women, the old man had said more than once, shaking his head. They look at you a certain way, and the next thing you know you’re risking your life in some harebrained scheme just to make them happy.
Ben didn’t know what, exactly, would make Rey happy. She wasn’t exactly the sort of woman who could be wooed with flowers and sweet compliments. But risky, harebrained schemes?
Ben was an expert at those.
Sorry for the delay! Other WIPs and life events have been distracting me. I hope you enjoy this chapter! I love writing cocky smuggler Ben and exploring what he'd be like if he hadn't been twisted by Snoke from a young age.