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and it seemed as if they grew

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Beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers 

Plucked in the garden, all the summer through 

And winter, and it seemed as if they grew 

In this close room, nor missed the sun and showers, 

So, in the like name of that love of ours, 

Take back these thoughts which here unfolded too...  

- Elizabeth Barrett Browning   



“I wanted to be sure,” Rose says, twisting the plastic bag nervously in her hands. “So I bought a two-pack...”

“There’s three tests in each of these,” Rey says, suppressing a laugh, because she can ruin the anticipation her friend so clearly feels. “Just hand it over...”

Rose has been feeling nauseous for only a few days now. And it's more from nerves and anticipation, because she's only a few days late.  

Six positive tests later, Rose is elated, and Rey is sworn to secrecy.

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell Finn ever, I just...”

“It’s okay,” Rey says, giving her friend a reassuring hug. “I’ll be ready to formally congratulate you when you say the word.”

That’s the last Rey thinks of the tests.

Funny thing about the cheap tests—the little plus sign eventually fades. If Rose had bought those... Fun fact about the nice, early-result, fancy-shmancy ones? The little digital screen stays “Pregnant!!!” forever.

Something about giving it as a commemoration of the happy news. There had been a coupon which had fluttered out of the box: Send away to the company and add five bucks for a lovely faux-velvet satin-lined pouch in which to present your pee-stick. Rey had put it in the trash, too, along with the five positive ones. One, Rose had taken with her. Teary-eyed, they'd hugged in Rey's bathroom, rocking side to side as Rose had breathlessly careened from elation to worry and back around to weepy joy. 

"I don't want to tell anyone, not yet," she'd said. And Rey had understood. She'd needed some time to wrap her head around the idea of being pregnant. Rey was content to hold the secret. 

There are times, rare times, when she herself thinks about the possibility of motherhood. But it's always in a far-off abstract. And besides, Rose and Finn are married, have been for a little over a year, and while Rey has found someone she thinks is pretty damn amazing, they're just dating. 

Well. Not just dating. 

It feels like they've been together forever, but they're not married. And Rey's surprised herself by how much of a traditionalist she is. First comes love, etc etc. 

A baby, though. Babies are terrifying, squalling little creatures. But a baby with Ben Solo? 

Rey could definitely be convinced. 

Not now, yet. Not for a while. But... it's not an impossible thought. Just a far-off one. 

She allows herself to dream, just a little. 

John Wick mourns.

Ben Solo stealth-googles “can girl pregnate with condom?”

“Do you like the movie?” Rey asks him.

“Yeah,” he says.

Rey smiles, a pregnant sort of smile, and eats her food.

Ben taps out a follow-up: “how many weeks pargonant craving chicken tikka masala”

The food is really good, from their favorite place, but Ben can hardly taste it. He’s never even considered being a... a father. He’s not a prize; he’s difficult, struggles with anger, has so much trauma left over from his own family. How can he hold a new life in his hands? Is he truly ready for that level of responsibility? And will they want to live in his apartment or hers. His has more space, but it's up on the seventeenth floor. Babies fall off of balconies all the time. Rey's place is smaller but it's cozy, and he'll need to buy a crib and diapers. So many diapers. Unless she wants to cloth diaper? That's what his mom did...

John Wick slides his car dramatically down the slick city street. A hail of gunfire rains down.

Ben Solo continues to paternally disassociate. 

Heart in his throat, hands shaking, he googles: “woman pregonate how take best care of her”

The evening had begun like any of their other date nights: He had come over right from work; she'd picked up takeout; they'd decided on a film to watch, and she'd settled on the couch with her pillows and blankets. Ben had gone to the bathroom to make sure nothing about John Wick would be interrupted. 

And then, he'd seen it. 

The little plastic stick with the bubblegum-pink cover had confused him, at first. But he'd worked on an off at his uncle, Luke's, little corner store for years, starting back in High School; he'd gotten immune to holding and restocking the boxes of condoms, tampons, pads, and pregnancy tests. 

It's a pregnancy test. 

Ben had carefully nudged at it with the toe of his boot, looking down at the screen. 


Oh shit. 

Oh shit shit shit shit...

Rey is pregnant. 

Rey, the sweetest and best part of his life, the woman he had known he'd wanted to marry from the first moment he'd set his eyes on her. The person who knows his deepest fears and insecurities. 


With his child...

He's going to be a father. 

Ben had come out of the bathroom, walking slowly, as if he'd been recently run over by a train. He'd sat down beside her, taken a few bites of food, and tried to focus on the film, but he can't focus on anything but the idea that Rey is pregnant, right now, beside him, his girlfriend, his pregnant girlfriend, his girlfriend who is now great with child, holy shit. 

What is he supposed to do? How is he supposed to proceed? 

As always, the emotions spill out of him, uncontrolled. 

“What’s wrong?” Rey asks—making him hastily hide his phone. “Ben, you’re crying...”

"It's fine," he says wiping the evidence away from his face. "It's just..."

Rey makes a sympathetic noise, and curls in closer to him. "You love dogs, I know. I hate that part too. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have suggested this one."

While it's true, that isn't why he's crying.

His arm comes around to hold her, and... is it just his imagination, or does she feel warmer, softer in his hands? Ben has no idea how pregnancy even works; is that a thing that can happen?

How big is their... their... He almost can't even think the words. Her baby. Their baby.

They haven't talked about having kids, other than in a 'oh, I'm an only child' / 'yeah I'm an orphan' / 'wow that sucks' / 'yes it does thank you' part of the getting-to-know-you phase. But now, he's panicking on high alert, thinking about Rey getting all big and glowing...


He should not be getting turned on by that. Not now. Not when things are serious. 

He's going to be a father, so he might as well start acting like it. 

How, exactly, are fathers supposed to act? Ben suspects that now isn't the time to start taking after his own father and try and get arrested for money laundering. He doesn't exactly have a good set of examples for typical fatherly behavior...

That thought just makes him want to cry even more. Fuck.  

It isn't something he's ever wanted, but now that it's real, the idea of having something between them, something that's just theirs, makes him feel breathless and hopeful and anguished and—

"I need to go to the bathroom," he says, standing up abruptly, making Rey tilt over.

Ben leaves. Rey pauses the movie. The space where he'd been sitting is still warm, and though she hears the bathroom door shut, there's no sound from inside. No water, no... flushing.

And her senses are on alert. That strange way they have, feeling how the other one feels.

Something is wrong. Something deeper than what she can reasonably attribute to John Wick's dog. Rey chews on her thumbnail, worry settling like a lead weight in her gut. Maybe she's wrong. Maybe she doesn't know him as well as she thinks he does. Maybe this is something else.

He's crying, and fear and worry makes her cry, too.

Was it something she'd said?

Usually he talks about it, if work is stressful. He's not an open sort of person, but she thought that he could be, with her. He was starting to get better. She welcomed it. But now...

After a few minutes, he comes back out of the bathroom.

His hands are damp when he reaches for her, drawing her into an embrace that's much more solid and comforting than any of the terrible scenarios Rey's imagined he must be feeling.

"Sorry," he mutters into her neck.

"It's okay," she reassures him on a sigh, melting into his arms like nothing's gone wrong. "I was worried about you."

At this, he pulls back, face serious, his hands still on her hips as he looks down at her. "Don't worry about me. It's my job to worry about you, now."

"Okay," Rey says, puzzled but not put out. She lifts up on her toes to kiss him, catching his warm cheek, then his jaw, then his beautiful mouth.

Worry about her? She has a few ideas about how, precisely, he can worry about her that both of them could thoroughly enjoy.

The movie forgotten, Rey rubs one of her hands down the broad, strong line of his back, over his hip, hooking in the belt loop there and pulling him close. With her other hand, she feels his taut abs, then further down, to the bulge growing in his jeans.

"Hey hey hey hey," Ben says, taking a half-step back from her, smiling down despite the angling of his hips just out of reach of her searching hand. "We don't have to..."

Rey lets out a little sigh of playful annoyance. "I'm not on my period, Ben. We can—"

"I know," he says.

"And it's not like it's stopped you before," she laughs.

It hasn't. Oh boy how it really hasn't. Ben Solo is the kind of man who invests in dark towels and firmly believes that a period only stops a sentence. 

He presses a chaste kiss to her mouth; when she tries to deepen it, he pulls back again, nuzzling against her cheek with a low, contented noise.

Rey is... lost. He's giving her every sign that he's interested, but then he's hesitating.

She tries again to pull him close, to urge him on.

With a groan, he gives into her kiss. This is how it's been for them, between them, right from the start. Each kiss feels like the first one; he kisses her like it might be the last one, and she fucking loves it. Being wanted, body and soul, is unbelievable and perfect. Now would be the time when he'd pick her up, or press her against the wall, or bring her back down to the couch. But instead, he breaks the kiss off again, and this time, the growl isn't sexy. (Well, it is, okay, it is.) It's frustrated.

"You're making this so hard," he says.

Rey laughs. "I thought that was the point."

He huffs out a laugh against her neck, rubbing up and down her back with his huge, lovely hands. "Don't tease me."

"I'm not," she says. "I'm not trying to tease you."

"I know," he says softly. "I know, I'm sorry."

Rey frowns.

“Ben, what is going on?” Rey reaches up and holds his face gently in her hands. “Talk to me. I feel like... I don’t know what you need right now.”

He sighs, holds her close; she can feel his interest, sizable and unmistakable, but he makes no move to initiate anything.

“It’s not about what I need,” he says, “it’s about you—how different things will be for us.”

“Things don’t have to change,” Rey begins, but he kisses her softly, sweetly.

A goodbye sort of kiss, the fearful part of Rey’s brain thinks. Everyone leaves, after all. 

Families leave. Lovers, too. Something inside of her, something that never quite outgrew the 'abandoned child' phase of her identity, wants to scream and cling to him. Is this goodbye? Is he breaking up with her? She can think of no other reason, no rational one, for his mixed signals. He wants her body but doesn't want her. Maybe this has all meant something different to him the whole time. 

She can't bear it, if that's true. 

But the dark part of her psyche whispers at her, taunts her, drags her down. 

"I've been thinking a lot about it, and I—well, obviously, I didn't want to do it like this, but maybe this is the best time," Ben practically stammers out, as Rey's hands fall from his face. "Maybe we shouldn't wait any more. Maybe the things we don't plan for can be—"

"What are you saying?" Rey's hands hang at her sides, but he's still holding her, and his eyes are warm but his words... she doesn't want to believe that this is the end.

"But you and I, we're changed now, we're different than we were before." Ben smiles when he says it. "Rey—"

He gets down on one knee.

Rey's eyes go wide.

"Wait—" Rey says. "Wait, no, this isn't..."

"I don't—I didn't get a ring first," Ben says, partially to himself, his brows furrowing. "I should've..."

"What are you doing?"

He looks up at her; he looks like he's never been more sure of anything in his entire life. "I want to marry you. I want to raise this baby together, you and me."

Rey can't say anything.

Not for several long, impossible moments.

Her brain slowly works through his proposal, and his declaration, like an extremely old hard drive. It spins, and grinds, and searches, and comes up with: "What baby?"

Ben looks up at her in confusion. Carefully adjusts so that he's kneeling on both knees, not just one, because he's on hardwood and honestly he thought he'd be standing up before now.

"The... I saw the test in the garbage," he admits. "I did't mean to pry. It was just right there. I know you were probably waiting to tell me, and I'm sorry if I ruined the surprise... But it's okay, I'm prepared to do what's—"

Her expression shifts rapidly from confusion to understanding. "And you want to... to marry me, because you think I'm pregnant?"

Ben swallows thickly. "I want to marry you because you're you."

Her mouth falls open, a round 'oh' of surprise.

Tears well in her eyes.

She smiles.

The picture they must make: Ben, on his knees before her, face illuminated by the vivid blue light coming from the paused movie. Both of them teary-eyed, thankfully for the same reason. She understands him now. 

Gently, she puts her hand on his cheek.

"Ben, I'm not pregnant."

They find themselves back on the couch together, movie still paused, as she explains the mistake. He’s happy for their friends, of course, and a little relieved, but underneath it all...

“Are you disappointed?”

He shakes his head. “No.”

He is relieved; he is, it's just... there had been a future there, for a brief moment. A terrifying one, but solid and clear in his mind. Something he'd never before been forced to admit he wanted. 

He does. And not just the part with the baby. All of it before then, too. 

Maybe even especially that part. 

“But?” Rey says, urging him on.

“After seeing the test,” he continues, “I liked thinking about you like... like that.”

“All huge and pregnant?” Rey wrinkles her nose and laughs lightly—then, seeing the way his cheeks color and his pupils widen, she understands that he’s not joking.


He's all honesty, her Ben; always has been, even when it's painful. He's impulsive, but he has such a good heart. His first instinct, after all, was to propose to her, not run away. Not what many men might've done. That means something to her, something profound. 

And he's honest about this, too. The thought of her carrying their baby had made him romantic, but it had also made him...

"Does it turn you on?" Rey asks him. "The thought of me, pregnant? You getting me pregnant?"

He nods. 

“You like the thought of me getting big,” Rey says, taking his hand and placing it on her lower belly—flat, now, but—

“Yes,” comes his slightly hoarse reply.

“You wanted to marry me, so we could be a family. But there's more to it, isn't there?”

His hand presses on her through her thin shirt. His eyes are molten.


Oh boy. 

This is... not a kink that Rey ever thought she'd have. 

But she does now. And she does with him.

"Well," Rey says, as the moment grows heated between them, "I'm not pregnant. And I don't think I'm ready for that, not quite yet... but... some day, maybe."

"With me?" Ben says. There's that edge of devotion in his voice, one that makes her feel so adored.

"No, with Dameron." Her response is wry. 

Ben growls softly; his eyes harden, but Rey knows he can tell she's teasing him. His hand on her belly feels right and good and weirdly is turning her on... he always turns her on, but this is different and new.

"Of course with you," she says. "There's no one else for me."

He kisses her at this, and the conversation degrades completely for several long, languid minutes. He always kisses her like he's so hungry for her, like he wants to be pressed down by her slight weight and subsumed completely into his form. Big man that he is, he always attenuates his strength when he's with her, so as not to hurt her. In fact, there are times when Rey's convinced he wants her to leave a mark on him. Anyone would look at him and say, oh, well, a man like that? Dominant, for sure. Those moods, that hulking body? 

And he can be.

But he's also so soft. 

Soft, and tender, and sweet. 

And he contains so much more inside than she's ever suspected. So much more that Rey desperately wants to discover. 

"You like thinking about getting me pregnant, Ben," she says, when his eager kisses have trailed down her throat, when he's between her legs and they're horizontal on the couch. "You want that, don't you?"

"Yes," he groans into her skin. His hips give a little roll, and she echoes the movement, grinding against his growing hardness. "I want that—but not like—"

"No, it's okay, it's okay," she says, brushing her fingers through his hair as he looks up at her, wide-eyed and careful, yet. "Do you want me to call you daddy?"

He laughs softly, and shakes his head. Presses a kiss to her belly, where her shirt has pushed up. "No. It's more... being inside of you, like that. Putting myself inside of you. As deep as I can be."

Rey groans. "I want that, I want you inside of me. Will you please put yourself inside of me, Ben?"

They aren't going to make it to a bed. Somehow, the strangeness of this—the raw vulnerability—it feels like they've unlocked something deep and sacred, a game to play that no one else gets to know about. 

Rey is on birth control; they've used condoms every time they've had sex, just because. But tonight, she's going to blow his fucking mind. 

Ben's whole body is a jumble of intensity, more so than usual. Need and urgency and relief that he won't have to start googling how to change a diaper are mingled with a fervent lust to have what he wants, to claim her, in the most primal way possible. 

He'd never do it—never hurt her, never force her, never even dream of it—but that doesn't mean he isn't willing to play. Something in his animal hind brain wants to see her big with his children; he'd be so good to her, if she'd let him do that. She wouldn't have to lift a finger, just lay there and glow and look beautiful, maybe (if he's very good) let him fuck her and kiss her. Take good care of her. Give her everything before she can even ask. 

If that's what she wants, she can have it. 

She can have all of him. Every last drop. 

"You want to fuck me until I'm full of you," Rey gasps, grinding against his trapped cock with more urgency now. "I want you to put a baby in me, can you do that?"

"Yes." Something about tonight has rendered him barely capable of more than a one-word answer, but it's fine, because he lets his body, his actions, do the talking, when his words won't form. 

He tugs down on her leggings, arranges her how he wants her, urged on by her encouraging words and her sweet, filthy begging. What the hell has he unleashed? 

Now isn't the time to be critical. 

Now, he knows, is the time to be grateful.

And he is. Oh, how he fucking is. 

The way he wants her is riding him; Ben gets his own jeans and underwear down to his knees and sits down on the couch, urging her to straddle him. He likes her facing him; he likes to see it, loves it, when he can see her every expression. 

This time, when she lowers herself onto his cock, she shivers, and he knows what it is she feels. 

It's play; it's fantasy. 

It's her—and he shivers, too.

Rey opens her eyes and exhales as she slides down him. It's always a perfect, too-tight fit for him when she rides him. With her legs splayed like this he can see everything he wants to see, except her little, perfect breasts. 

"Take this off," he growls, tugging at her shirt. 

She obeys. 

As soon as the shirt is off and flung to the side, he's cupping her breasts in his hands, dwarfing them, lightly pinching and rolling the nipples between thumb and forefinger. 

"Tell me," Rey says, starting to ride him slowly. "Tell me everything, don't hold back."

"I love your little tits," he answers, already half-mindless with pleasure inside of her. "I love how good you feel—"

"They'll get so swollen when I'm pregnant," Rey says, "So sensitive."

"Oh fuck," Ben groans, hands shifting down from her tits to the dip of her waist as his hips thrust up more forcefully into her. 

"I'll be so big, you won't even be able to fuck me like this," she continues—sweet torture, her thighs straining as she rides him, meeting him with each roll of his hips. "You'll have to—oh god—take me from behind."

"You'd like that," he says, panting as they find their rhythm. "You want that. Tell me you want that."

"I do want it," Rey answers. She tugs one of his hands to her belly, and the other follows; fingers splayed out to her hipbones, thumbs down, into the thatch of her short, crisp hairs, just above where he's splitting her wide on his cock, he holds her belly and feels her abs work to take him. Sometimes she swears she can feel his dick rearrange her guts when he moves, he fucks her so deep and so perfectly. He's not a small man, perfectly proportional to his height. Rey leans into him as they move. 

Riding him feels like riding a storm, some kind of primal force; she's almost there, but he's closer, and the thought of it is driving her insane. 

So the words keep coming: "Ben, I want that, please fuck me, please put a baby in me, put your baby in me."

He can't even manage words anymore, but he has her voice to guide him. 

"But you have to give me your come," she moans, utterly wanton, getting off almost as much on the expression on his face as she is from his cock. "Please, I want it all."

"Then fucking take it,"  he grits out, shoving himself into her, making her scream softly in pleasure as she feels him swell and pulse and throb his completion inside of her. This is the first time he's come before so her like this—normally he's so attentive, so careful to make sure she comes at least twice before he gets his—but seeing his face utterly wrecked and lost to pleasure makes her body feel alive in a way she can't explain. To be trusted with something like this, to have him trust her and let her say and do these things...

He gasps and shudders as he comes; it's vulnerable, not exactly beautiful, but powerful and profound. Rey loves it, and resolves to undo him—or do him, whatever—as soon as possible. As he shakes apart, he moves a hand down to her belly. 

"Do you think it took?" she asks him softly, brushing his hair back from his sweaty forehead as he gapes up at her in awe. "I might need to put my feet up..."

"Holy shit," Ben says. He looks like he's been backhanded with a diaper genie. "You're... unbelievable."

Rey smiles at him, content and fuck-drunk. It occurs to him that she hasn't come yet. This is inexcusable. 

Ben vows to remedy this immediately. 

He drags his body to the side, slipping out of her in an awkward, sweat-slick movement; his spent cock trails along the inside of her thigh, still hard, as he positions Rey on the couch. She giggles as he moves her, props one of her legs up on the back of the couch and lets him pull the other one to the side so he can open her up for him. Now isn't the time to be self-conscious. Especially not after all the shit she's said. He gives her one hungry look and then dives in—a little awkwardly, due to the fact that he's kneeling on the floor and practically perpendicular to her body, but the enthusiasm more than carries them through it. And it's probably not really helpful given the whole role-play, 'put your come inside of me and get me pregnant' thing, for him to be licking it out of her, but look, Rey isn't going to complain. 

He makes her come in about forty-five seconds, crooking two of his huge fingers inside of the mess he's made and making Rey arch off the couch and scream as she comes. 

In conclusion: Not pregnant. 

New kink? New kink. 

Good boyfriend? The very best. 

Future father of her children? Well, it ain't gonna be Dameron.