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Bound to a Monster

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Kylo will not stop pursuing her. He is a predator beyond anything she can imagine.

The woman is intoxicating.

The wild, insolent, and fearless woman named Rey defies him again and again.

The scavenger. 

It enrages and excites him that she is his equal in the force. 

A true adversary. 

An adversary he never wanted.

He can feel her heart pound as she uses their force link to call him away from the resistance base. The empty, abandoned resistance base.

She evacuated everyone the moment she felt him coming. 

Kylo shudders.

The force-slam on the falcon was a noble try. 

It certainly got her message across.

But their link emerged stronger than either of them could control.

Rey knows it is her he truly seeks. She shows him her location, a white speck in the middle of the desert. 

He hesitates - it would be easier to track the rebel scum. Burn it all to the ground. 

She knows how tempting she is to him.

His hands sweat in his black gloves as he curls them into fists. 

“You won’t escape this time,” he warns her. 

“I'd like to see you try.” 

Her challenge sets him on fire.

The TIE approaches as she sprints across the sand. He’s not firing, but he’s not slowing down either. The force flares with Kylo’s fury when she jumps and clears his ship. He underestimates her.

Again.

It would be easier if she weren’t so young, so pretty, so unafraid of him...if she weren’t so full of fucking empathy for him.

He remembers how pliant she felt in his arms on the turbolift. The taste of her mouth, her lips.

These feelings are nothing more than a weakness that need to be overcome. 

The TIE skids to a messy stop and Kylo emerges with his cape billowing in the wind.

“Still a dirty scavenger hiding in the desert,” he spits at her. 

Rey circles him.

“You didn’t mind kissing a dirty scavenger on the Supremacy. Or begging a nobody to join you.” 

The goading works and he rushes at her. 

She is light and swift as she hurdles...towards him? No, over him.

She clears his height as she leaps into the TIE.

Kylo’s jaw works and he and spins his lightsaber before he bounds over to the craft. He finds her nearly ready take off as his saber melts through the wall. 

He ducks through the gaping hole, the look in his eyes dark and dangerous. Rey swallows as he walks her backwards, his grip vice like around her jaw.

There is nothing gentle in the way his lips press against hers.

“No,” she jerks under his grasp, “you don’t get to do that again.”

Kylo gazes into her brazen hazel eyes.

“I will take what I want.”

You won’t,” she says with conviction.

“Won’t I?” Kylo grits his teeth.

Using his strength in conjecture with the force Kylo pins her against the wall. 

“You think you’re so strong,” his breath is hot in her ear, “but you’re still lost as ever. Come on Rey. Come back with me.” Kylo’s whisper brushes against her nose and he trails his lips to the crook of her neck. She arches back impossibly in an attempt to push him away.

“Don’t!” 

Under her tough exterior he hears the ripple of fear in her voice. He wants her to be intimidated, but for the right reasons. She is not supposed to recoil from his touch - she is supposed to reciprocate the way she did in the turbolift. 

Kylo caresses her cheek and smoothes his strong fingers through her dusty hair. He knows he’s never been good with words but he feels compelled to calm her down.

“I won’t force you into that. ” His voice turns soft.

Kylo can’t bring himself to hurt her. He never will.

“How reassuring,” she has the guts to sound sarcastic. Rey uses the force to launch Kylo against the TIE’s main viewpoint and turns to run.

Rey and her indomitable spirit. 

Kylo moves rapidly and she hits the ground with a hard slam as his body covers hers. They roll in a tumble of limbs and land stomach to stomach as they grapple with one another. She is an expert at squirming and slips out of his grasp.

Kylo curses and lunges after her. 

Their faces are close together and she gasps for breath as Kylo holds her arms at her sides. 

Finally.

He just wants to…

Kiss her. 

He wants to push her mouth open and kiss her savagely.

Remind her that the force binds her to a monster. 

He doesn’t. 

Kylo’s voice isn't soft this time as he uses one arm to turn her onto her stomach and twists her arms behind her back. His other arm moves to tighten around her waist below her rib cage. 

“You are being apprehended by the Supreme Leader of the galaxy and you will surrender to the First Order.”

He wishes he didn’t need to force her, wishes he didn’t have to be so rough.

Rey senses his conflict - always conflicted - and uses his moment of hesitation to flip him onto his back. She uses everything she has to hold him down. Her chest heaves and her lips part as she pants from the effort. 

“No. You...” she doubles down on her hold with the force, “...you are coming back with me to the resistance. You are being apprehended Kylo Ren.”

Kylo allows her this moment of dominance before it comes crashing down. 

He knows she spots them when she pauses to reach for her saber.

The Knights of Ren. Far off in the distance, but not for long.

Kylo watches as her throat constricts.

“Nervous?” He easily pushes her off and stands to his full height. He can’t help but smirk - he’s got her now. 

A faraway look overshadows her eyes and he wonders if she is accepting her defeat. Rey lowers her head and stares at the ground. 

She glances up.

And runs.

In the opposite direction a small ship flies low, the hatch open, and he senses life forms coming to rescue her. 

“You’re not the only one who came with reinforcements.”

She flies faster than before and executes another spectacular jump onto the passing craft.

Kylo stands and watches for a long time after she disappears.

A plan formulates in his mind and he mulls over how to execute it. 

Her luck is about to run out.

He will make sure of it. 

Chapter Text

A year almost passes before he sets eyes on her again.

Kylo planned it this way because it has to be believable.

For however pure he perceives her to be, she is no fool.

Inside the low ceiled tavern they are concealed by long hooded robes that cast shadows across their faces. 

She is wiser and less trusting of him - he has had to play this out slowly.

Deep down Kylo knows what he is doing is cruel.

He tries not to care. 

The loud boisterous chatter that fills the room serves as a sharp contrast as Rey speaks.

“Tell me again - how it happened. How you killed Hux.”

Kylo clenches his hands together. His voice is flat and toneless.

“I learned of his numerous insubordinations through lesser officers. He instigated a riot among the storm troopers with the intent of mutiny. It was a simple tactical decision.” 

“And…” Rey prompts. 

The air between them is thick.

“The First Order was not...pleased. Only my Knights remain loyal.”

Every word out of his mouth is a lie with the exception of Hux’s demise and the loyalty of his Knights.

Rey’s expression is hard and skeptical. 

“I was hoping,” the word is hard for him to get out, “that you can find it within yourself to help me.” 

To utter the word help is even more difficult. 

Now is the moment he will find out if funneling his conflicted emotions towards Rey over the last year have been a waste. If she is too hardened by now, too burned by him. 

In the end it goes against her core nature to ignore someone in pain. 

A weakness.

Kylo’s breath catches when her eyes soften and she bites her bottom lip.

Then she arches both eyebrows.

“You haven’t changed at all have you?”

Kylo is jolted from his assumed victory and a ferocious expression darkens his features. 

“I have changed. I’ve changed more than you know, Rey.”

“Right.”

“Drop the sarcasm and listen,” his tone is low, almost urgent. “You need to know something.”

“Oh?” Rey replies, tired sounding, “and what is that?”

“I’m sorry.” The two words come out strained as if the mere act of speaking them have taken a physical toll.

“For?” 

“Everything.”

Rey regards him carefully and pulls back her hood.

“Then come back to the resistance base with me. Tonight. I can borrow a ship.”

Kylo lets out an irritated snort that he reserves for people who are especially dense.

“Not before we discuss the terms of my surrender. At your dwelling, where-ever that might be.”

Rey stands suddenly and his hand closes on her wrist. 

"You don't have to be afraid," Kylo’s whisper is rushed, “I am not going to hurt you.”

The pulse in her wrist slows to a normal pace. An unwanted knot forms in the pit of Kylo’s stomach and he feels Rey’s compassion towards him grow. 

He is a monster.

The single tear that rolls down her face almost breaks him because he can’t comprehend how...easy this is. 

He chooses to ignore that this is easy because he is taking advantage of her kindness, of her feelings for him, of the insecure, vulnerable part of herself.

“You mean it?” Rey’s voice is wobbly and she stares at Kylo with soft wet eyes as her eyebrows lift slightly.

“You have my word.” Kylo stands and opens his mind completely. Not a shred of deception is detected.

Lifting her hood Rey motions for him to follow. 

***

Silence surrounds them as twigs and leaves snap beneath their feet. The wet forest is the opposite of their last desert encounter.

Rey’s home - he supposes that’s what it passes for - is through a door carved into a massive tree. Sturdy but uneven steps lead them into her sanctuary. After lighting too many candles Kylo surveys the books covering the walls and a small pile of blankets on the floor that act as a bed.

The circular room feels even smaller than it had been before with both of them inside. In such a tight space it is hard for Rey to be subtle with her movements.

She is nervous and full of doubt. 

“Sit down,” she points at the floor. They sit cross legged across from each other and she places her hand in his. “Show me. Show me everything that has happened with Hux, the First Order - all of it.”

A strange twist of emotion crosses Kylo’s usually-expressionless face before he delves into his rehearsed memory bank. At his touch Rey braces but he makes no further attempts to touch her the way he has in the past. He plays for her a year of angst, turmoil, war, battles, Hux, his disillusionment with the First Order, and his yearning for her.

That part does not need to be faked.

By the end she is crying freely, her expression honest and raw.

“Ben?” 

He nods and tenses when she throws her arms around his neck.

He could. He could do it right now. Call in the Knights, The First Order, have her bound and gagged faster than she will register his betrayal.

Kylo isn’t...ready for that yet.

He fails to control himself and his arms encircle Rey’s small, fragile, trembling body. His heart rate increases as he grabs her face and crashes their lips together. 

Kylo claims every inch of her mouth and it takes Rey a moment to respond with equal vigor. Neither of them pause: they devour each other and heavy breathing fills the room.

Kylo feels like an animal unleashed as he tears at her clothes, trying desperately to set her free. She's pulling his hair and moaning into his mouth and pressing her hips against his - and fuck, he just wants to fuck her. To feel her. 

And she would let him.

His so-called redemption opens her to him unreservedly.

It is his turn to be shocked at what she says next.

“Ben,” her voice is low and breathy, “I don’t have the implant, don’t - just don’t come inside okay?”

Fuck.

Just, fuck, because she is talking about them and him coming inside of her and - fuck. 

He continues to bare down on her, kissing her, messing up her hair. 

What she asks of him is going to be...nearly impossible. He has never been with a woman this way and he is not innocent to the fact that his body might respond quicker than he wants.

Still.

“Okay,” he mutters into her neck, “I won’t.” 

Kylo is about to get everything he wants. 

He is thinking Snoke was wrong - he can overcome his greatest weakness - when his hand falters as he strokes her cheek. Rey meets his eyes. 

And he - he can’t. 

She registers that something has changed and she curls her clothes around her chest. 

Supreme Leader, confirming pick up of the prisoner at the prior discussed location.

A message from his Knight shoots through the force.

Kylo takes in Rey: small and nearly naked, face wet, eager to trust him again. 

“What’s wrong?” her brows furrow.

Kylo swallows. 

He wants to scream that she accepts and forgives him too easily.

He knows he has to make a choice.

Chapter Text

Kylo makes the selfish decision to claim her under false pretenses. 

He tells himself it is OK because his feelings for her are real. Even if he is not who she thinks: he is not Ben Solo, he is not surrendering, and his motivation is to seize and abduct her. She must see the First Order can become something truly great with her by his side. She will soon realize Kylo Ren and Ben Solo are one and the same.

They are too well matched for him to beat her in combat - he needs to catch her off guard and exposed.

It’s wrong, so wrong. 

Kylo shuts up his conscience as he soothes Rey, cupping her face and assuring her everything is fine. He thumbs her bottom lip before he dips down and captures her mouth in another kiss. 

She is still reeling from his return to Ben Solo and he uses that to take control of their first sexual encounter. 

But not rough - never rough. 

She is precious and he wants her to enjoy this. 

Kylo gently pushes her back onto her elbows while his body settles next to her. 

He acts on instinct and kisses her everywhere while his hands run up and down her waist, hips, thighs, her inner thighs, her pink heat… he knows she needs to be wet, and they reach the point of no return as he slips a finger inside her. 

He marvels at how soft and tight she feels and watches her expression contort as he moves his fingers, feeling her shape and pushing into her further. Rey’s eyes are wide and her mouth parts as her fingers clutch at him. 

She is still too tight. 

Kylo is leaking and he tries to ignore his growing need. 

He lowers his head between her legs and hears Rey hiss as his tongue rhythmically proceeds with slow and steady laps. She melts into him and he slides two fingers inside of her, stretching her gently. 

“Oh…” she involuntarily bucks her hips, wanting to feel more .

“Ben…” Rey rasps as his tongue swirls around her most sensitive point. His own breathing is labored as she twists beneath him. 

Rey’s fingers dig into him, clawing at the taunt muscles in his back and he can’t take it. She is swollen and slick as he uses a free hand to stroke himself; coating his erection with his own fluids. 

It’s probably okay. 

The chance of something happening is miniscule.

Kylo decides it doesn’t matter.

If she ends up pregnant he will protect her all the more fiercely. 

But she won’t - he is going to do is best to respect her request.

Kylo’s hand holds the curve of her waist as he pushes into her.

Slowly. Deliberately.

She is so tight and slick. The whimper that escapes from her mouth causes him to pause. 

“Are you okay?” he asks, the glimmer in his eyes sincere.

Rey nods and he eases in gradually, pushing past the slight resistance inside her. He braces himself over her and sucks in a breath, the muscles in his massive arms straining from the effort. Kylo feels her tightness clench around him and he forces himself to slow down.

They both gasp at the feeling of their connection, eyes widening.

Kylo feels the wave of pleasure rippling through his body and is not ready when she moves her hips against him, causing another wave. He pulls away slightly, then immediately pushes in again, causing them both to moan in unison. They kiss as he rocks into her, over and over, her hand reaching up to caress his face. Kylo begins to lose himself in the force of their energy; pushing into her harder and faster, causing her moans to become a pitch higher. 

He’s not going to last much longer. 

She kisses him with an energy to match his as her hand claws at his neck. He thrusts ruthlessly into her, the pressure building inside him. Kylo feels her tense up all around him and watches her eyes widen and shut as her mouth parts and she moans his name.

Fuck. 

He needs to pull out now. 

Her orgasm pushes him over the edge and causes everything inside of him to let go.

Kylo buries himself deep inside of her, the shockwaves of his climax coursing through him.

He does pull back before he finishes - he thinks.

Mostly. 

He stops himself from collapsing on top of her and falls at her side. It is as if the entire galaxy around them disappears and only she remains with him.

And it is exactly this - her soft body curling up against his, molding to fit against his hard muscles, her delicate pretty face so close, and the way she looks at him - it is the worst kind of torture. 

The gravity of what Kylo is doing hits him hard.

He pictures the First Order’s flagship arriving soon, his Knights awaiting his precise coordinates. 

He pictures Rey’s face as they place her in binders and he declares his final victory over her.

He starts to hate himself more than he already does.

Kylo realizes he must be staring because Rey swallows thickly under his penetrating gaze. 

“Ben? Are you all right?”

God.

Just the way she says his name with that accent  - he clears his throat.

“Yes. I...Rey...I won’t let anyone hurt you,” he gently touches her cheek, “You don’t need to fear being alone anymore. I...” Kylo hears her soft breathing in response. 

She is asleep. 

After an evening like this he can’t blame her. 

Kylo dresses quietly and steps outside into the forest. He contacts his flagship when an unnatural wind picks up and he hears a humming noise. 

Squinting through the trees Kylo spots a clearing and what appears to be a medium sized craft. 

The rebel scum insignia is impossible to miss. 

His blood runs cold when it dawns on him that as effortlessly as his plan is proceeding, Rey still manages to keep one step ahead of him.

What he can’t manage to figure out is how. 

How she always bests him.

She thinks she is helping him surrender.

There is no time to waste and he slams the door as he re-enters her home. The noise jars her awake. 

“Your friends are here,” his words come out like shards of ice. “You might have warned me.”

Rey’s expression is confused.

“I thought…” she wraps the blanket around her body and moves to stand.

“You thought what? ” He helps her to her feet a little too roughly and Rey recoils. 

“Why are you being like this? I contacted Rose to pick us up.” 

She is shaking slightly at his change in demeanor. 

Kylo is disgusted with himself at the way he treats her. 

“I’m sorry,” he says quietly and draws her to him. “I was caught off guard…”

Rey finishes pulling on her clothes. Her anxious expression is replaced by one of understanding.

“I know. I can’t imagine what this is like for you Ben but - I’m here. It’s going to be OK.” She says it so earnestly.

He truly is a shit person.

“Rey!” A shrill cry sounds from outside, “Rey! The First Order is here! Hurry!”

Rey secures her lightsaber.

“You heard her. We have to go. They’ll kill both of us, Ben.” 

Kylo’s mouth settles into a thin line as his hand bears down heavily on her shoulder.

“No. I don’t think they will, Rey.”

Chapter Text

Rey is processing the meaning of his sentence when Rose comes bounding through the front door. 

“Let’s go,” she pulls at Rey and Kylo’s hand slides off her shoulder. 

“Is he really coming to the base?” 

Rey stares hard at Kylo and there is a silent question behind her gaze. 

“Yes. Yes, he is,” she turns to Rose, “he is defecting from the Order. I’ve confirmed it.” 

Kylo knows Rose does not believe it. 

She glares at him like he is absolute filth. 

Rey strides across the room and begins shoving a bookshelf to the side. A small escape door appears and leads to a narrow tunnel.

“We won’t make it past the flagship and TIE fighters,” Rey slings a bag over her shoulder. “If we move fast I can get us to the falcon. I've outrun the Order before. Ben?” 

She expects him to follow. 

Rose snorts and starts down the tunnel. 

“Right behind you.” His voice is deep and steady as he watches Rey disappear after Rose. 

He wills his body to fucking move.

He simply stands and waits.

Kylo hears the march of stormtroopers as they clamber through the forest. A message from his Knight informs him they are ready to apprehend the scavenger.

Where are you Ben? 

He hears her query through their link. 

Are you okay?

Her rising panic.

Do you need help?

She worries that he has been captured.

Kylo walks listlessly down the stairs and through the trees as stormtroopers fan out around him. 

He walks onto a ship not unlike the one he first carried her onto. 

Ben. Please...why aren't you following? Where are you?

Kylo waits until the ship rises into the air and he signals for it to dock at the flagship. 

Then he responds. 

Flagship. The throne room.  

Dread - her dread - fills the force between them. 

I’m coming. I won’t leave you.

Adrenaline pumps through his veins and he feels a little too hot under his layers of clothing. Surely she comes for him knowing she walks into a death trap? 

It is so like her to be sacrificial. 

Kylo rolls his shoulders and reality sets in.

She is coming willingly and he hasn’t had to lay a hand on her. 

Well.

He did, and it was more than a hand.

Images of her beneath him flash through his mind. 

The mess he left between her thighs.

The way she entrusted her body and heart to him.

He is vile.

The minutes feel like hours as he tries to wait patiently.

***

“Supreme Leader,” a silk voice greets Kylo and a single Knight falls into step with him in the dark shining corridor. 

“I have received news that the scavenger has been detained. She is under the impression that you are in need of… saving.” The Knight fails to hide the incredulous tilt in his tone. 

Kylo feels him hesitate. He isn’t finished.

“It was a challenge to follow your orders and restrain her without causing injury. Zain is dead.”

Kylo halts his pace. 

She has killed a Knight in her attempt to rescue him.

He is impressed. 

“Bring her to me. Unharmed and unbound. Leave the saber.”

Kylo continues down the hall alone and enters the throne room. The only announcement of his arrival is the descent of absolute silence amongst his guards. He sits draped across the grand chair he rules from, frozen from anticipation that she will be here soon.

Kylo feels relief that his moment of weakness in the forest  - when he thought of letting her go - does not sabotage his hard work. 

A faint scuffle travels through the walls and the doors open. 

His remaining Knights drag her forward and the wide doors close with an echo. 

Rey stands still in the center of the room as the Knights flank around Kylo’s throne. 

Low chuckles reverberate throughout the chamber.

They come from the throats of his Knights. 

Cold, humiliating laughter.  

She is quite the sight, drenched in sweat, her hair an absolute mess, her eyes completely focused on him.

“Ben!”

Rey rushes across the room but stops halfway as her mind grapples with her surroundings.

“Ben…” she starts again, her eyes frantic as they dart from the Knights to him and back again. 

“What - what is all this?” Her lower lip quivers as words slowly make their way out of her mouth. 

“Who...what...is there a Supreme Leader?” 

Kylo remains sitting. His smirk is triumphant.

“This is the throne room of the Supreme Leader. It’s over, Rey. You don’t have to run. We don’t have to fight anymore. We don’t have to struggle against our connection,” he can’t keep the insistent edge from his voice.

Her mouth opens and closes. 

“You…you gave me your word," she finally says. Rey staggers backwards and he feels her mind swirling, her breaths shallow.

More laughter.

Kylo raises his hand and it stops. 

Guilt that he has no right to feel rises in him. 

As if in a trance Rey’s hand reaches for her lightsaber. She tries to respond as she normally does in this kind of situation. Blindly she gropes at her waist but comes up empty handed. In her shock she can’t seem to remember that her lightsaber rests on her other hip. 

Kylo doesn’t like watching her break down like this.

He looks down at her and his eyes narrow in contemplation. After a moment, he rises slowly from the chair and moves with purpose across the room. His eyes never leave hers, and by the time he stops in front of her, her head is tipped back in order to gaze up at his face. 

“You’re not surrendering,” her features buckle slightly before she speaks.

“I am not,” he confirms.

“You…” she struggles to get the words out, “...you lied to me. About everything.”

Her voice is small and she wraps her arms around her body. 

Nausea swirls unrestrained in Kylo’s stomach as he senses her grief and regret.

She is not supposed to feel regret. 

“Not everything,” he responds through gritted teeth.

Rey stays silent, staring at him, her wide eyes becoming glossy with tears. 

“I’m...so stupid,” she chokes out.  

Kylo feels unease radiating from his Knights.

The raw intimacy they witness between the two force users is foreign - it makes them uncomfortable.

“You’re not stupid,” Kylo knows it’s a mistake when he braces his hands around her waist.

No,” she convulses violently and jumps back. A bit of fire returns to her voice when she speaks.

“Don’t fucking touch me.” She is seething and hot tears run down her cheeks.

She continues.

“Did you get what you wanted out of this? Were you laughing the whole time? Was it just an amusement for you to fuck me?” 

No, no, no.

Kylo blinks back the unwanted stinging sensation in his eyes.

He knew she would be upset but he never wanted to break her heart. 

But he can see it in her eyes. 

The damage he has caused - Kylo can’t tolerate the anguish written across her face.

“Bind her and take her to my personal chambers,” he bellows loudly to hide the tremor in his throat. 

The Knights close in and Rey spits directly in Kylo’s face. 

The Knights are harsh as they push her to her knees and snap binders around her wrists.

One of them hands Kylo her lightsaber.

Kylo does not tell her that he won’t hurt her - she will not believe him.

He won’t force himself on her. He wants her enthusiastic like before. He wants her to look at him with the same soft stare, wants to hear her needy breathless voice whimpering his name.

Kylo needs her to understand she is his now.

 

Chapter Text

***

Kylo thinks it is a good idea to give her space and time to cool down. He mulls over her rage and hurt. She is used to outsmarting him and now he has out maneuvered her.

Finally.

It is about damn time. He has ten years on her and far more experience in combat training and the force. He is owed this victory. Her submission to him in the forest is only the first taste of his reward.

Kylo believes she would not have let him claim her if she did not care for him.

If she did not love him.

He needs to cool down as well - he needs to calm himself and make sure he is control before he faces her again.

Kylo seeks out a private fresher and closes his eyes as hot water hits his chest and steam rises. He can’t help but imagine her cunt in front of him, tight and wet. He grips the length of his shaft and moves up and down slowly as his girth swells. In his mind she is on all fours as he pumps in and out of her and his arm braces against the shower wall. 

He thinks she is wrong to worry about the implant, or rather, the lack of one. He should come inside, should plant his seed deep inside of her. 

A baby will placate her, slow her down. She will have to consider someone else before acting out.

The notion of her growing round and everyone knowing it is because of him - the thought makes him come hard.

He’s sick - he’s so sick to debase her in this way but he can’t help it. 

Kylo finishes washing and catches his reflection in the mirror. Dark thoughts of family invade his mind. 

This is one area he will surpass his grandfather and father in. He will not repeat their failures. 

Kylo will be a good father. His heirs will be better and stronger for it. He has big plans for the two of them but he needs her to want it as badly as he does. Kylo vows not to force her into anything until she is ready.

She will be ready eventually. She has to accept her fate.

The fresher door opens and he steps into the hall. 

Before he goes to Rey - it is still surreal that she is here - he contacts the resistance. He informs them that their most powerful force user is in captivity. There will be no negotiations, no trades. There is nothing they can offer him that comes close to what she is worth. 

When he recognizes FN-2187 in the background he adds that she is staying in his private quarters.

Unceremoniously he disconnects the communication link.

Kylo is unable to stay away from her for long. He enters the bedroom and surveys the Knight’s handiwork. 

They have done a fine job binding this perfect, beautiful creature.

Coils of thick rope loop around her body from her chest down to her legs as she sits propped up in the middle of his bed.

Though, if he is honest, he does not care for the gag wound tightly around her mouth. 

It is too much.

It occurs to him that she killed Zain and the Knights likely resent her for it. He wishes he had seen Rey take down the Knight - it must have been a spectacular sight. 

Rey’s fear spikes and she unsuccessfully tries to shift away from him. She manages a small scoot sideways.

The bed dips under Kylo’s weight as he sits down next to her. 

He lightly removes the gag tied around her head.

“Are you in pain?” 

“You play games like a coward.” She states and stares resolutely ahead. 

Kylo begins unknotting the ropes.

“If you behave I will remove all restraints.” 

She stiffens as his fingers brush her skin and the ropes fall away. At such close proximity Kylo notices the bruise above her eyebrow, the blood on her knuckles, streaks of dirt on her face. Their connection hides nothing and Kylo feels her fight-or-flight response building.

He needs to settle her down. 

“I had to lie, Rey. It was the only way. I am sorry.”

“You’re delusional,” Rey bares her teeth. 

“I took no pleasure in hurting you.” Kylo’s mouth tightens when she refuses to even look at him.

“You have been pining for Ben Solo, but that name means nothing. I have always been Kylo Ren. Why can’t you accept that?” 

Fresh tears cascade down her cheeks.

He wants her to stop crying.

“Is it what happened in the forest? Don’t feel ashamed,” he adds, because she does. He senses her belief that he used her body and the violation runs deep. 

Kylo presses closer to her. 

“I was gentle wasn’t I? Respectful. You were so eager. The sounds that came out of you, Rey. I want to hear them again.”

“Stop it!” Rey screams and whips around. 

Her fists slam into his face and blood pools around Kylo’s mouth. 

She does not relent. 

Pain erupts from the point of impact as she swiftly grasps his head between her hands and brings a knee up to his nose. Crimson leaks from both his nostrils and she lands at punch at his jaw. When she stumbles Kylo seizes her by the forearms tightly. She has always been a wild, scrappy thing. 

Rey’s eyes narrow in determination as he looms over her.

“You can’t hold me here forever. And when I escape you’ll pay.”

Kylo decides to use her previous words from their desert encounter against her.

“I’d like to see you try.” 

He lifts an arm to wipe the blood from his face. 

He is glad she still has some fight in her. 

Kylo escorts her to his personal fresher and pushes her inside. 

“After you clean yourself food will be brought to you. You will then spend the night with me.”

Kylo doesn’t mean it in the way she thinks he does, but that’s her punishment for coming at him. His face is impassive as he leaves.

Breaking her will take longer than he originally thought.

Chapter Text

***

Rey stands completely clothed for a long time in the fresher. 

She waits to see if he will come back when he thinks she is naked. 

She does not want to see herself naked. She does not want to see the light streaks of blood on her underwear - tangible evidence that he was inside her. She does not want to think about the stickiness he left to dry between her legs.

It is humiliating proof that he exposed her desperate ache for Ben Solo. The Ben who kept her company on Ahch-To, who was tender in the elevator, who knows her deepest fears and dreams. The Ben who was always painfully honest with her.

He obliterates all of that by playing her for a fool.

He deceived her so successfully - in his arms he made her feel special and safe. Now she knows she is not special to him. She is a plaything, a tool, a source of entertainment. 

Rey can't believe she was naive enough to never consider that it was all a ploy.

She feels like an idiot

When the banging on the outside door subsides- food she assumes - Rey turns on the shower. Her muscles are sore and she stands despondent under the spray until her skin is pink. Her hands rest on her stomach as she concentrates. It is a small comfort that she feels no new life inside of her - she can not take that on top of his betrayal. It scares her to think his body is a weapon he can use against her in more ways than one.

Afterwards she aggressively rings out her clothing and watches dirt and grime swirl down the drain. 

Rey does not care that her clothes are damp, she puts them on anyway. 

She is not going to give him the satisfaction of wearing his clothing and smelling more like him than she already does. 

The cool wet clothing feels good against her skin and Rey finds herself a bit unbalanced. Fatigue sets in and she wants to sleep - she wants to disappear and dream of nothing.

But she is afraid. 

She is afraid of waking to find him standing over her, of waking to find him pinning her down into the mattress.

Fighting sleep proves impossible. Rest is necessary if she is going to muster the energy to escape. 

She sinks onto the end of the bed, her eyes heavy as they shut.

***  

“She refuses to respond sir. Forty-three minutes and counting.”

One of Kylo Ren’s senior officers appears annoyed that she is tasked with bringing sustenance to the scavenger.

A chore far below her station.

Kylo sighs. He needs Rey to eat, to stay nourished and healthy. To stay strong. 

It is obvious that the resistance provides for her more efficiently than she did for herself on Jakku. The way her body has filled out is proof of that. His hands recall how supple and tight she felt under his touch - her tiny waist followed by the curve of her hips that gave way to her bottom. When she is ready he will claim her there too. Every inch of her belongs to him. 

This lust will be his undoing.

Kylo suddenly feels relief that Rey did not interact with the officer because, well, the officer is a woman. 

He gave specific instructions for Rey to not be left alone with other females - human or otherwise. Why his orders are not heeded is unacceptable and someone will pay. 

It does not matter how loyal his officers are. Women become too clever when left alone with each other. They gain each other’s sympathies too easily. 

Even ones within his own ranks. He will not risk it.

It’s wrong, he knows - these attitudes towards them. 

But they are dangerous creatures. Like Rey.

Too intelligent, too pretty, and too powerful. 

It is not that he thinks women are useful only for a few things - they just need to be handled with caution and vigilance.

Kylo enters his bedroom with the intention of dragging Rey out from wherever she hides. 

Even as he thinks this he knows he won’t. Not if he finds her still regarding him like an enemy, a brute. The room is silent and he finds her curled up on his bed fast asleep. 

She seems so young, so small.

He knows she still broods over their union. She is hung up on it, really. Pained that Ben Solo did not make love to her - that it was Kylo Ren who fucked her and she loved it. 

Kylo remembers how hard she came.

He removes his cloak and tunic and considers scooting her closer to the middle of the mattress. He decides against it. The safer option is to leave her be, to let her sleep. The flagship is taking her far across the galaxy, out of orbit, and away from her friends. Stormtroopers gathered belongings from her home: clothing, books, and other personal items. If they pass inspection they will be brought to her.

Kylo wants Rey to know he cares about the details in her life. 

Unfortunately the ransacking did not reveal any clues about resistance base locations and the other one called Rose managed to escape. 

Kylo shakes his head. 

Women. Too clever. Not to be trusted.

Rey stirs and he waits with bated breath for her reaction. Her eyes bulge as she wakes and remembers where she is. 

She spots Kylo and bolts to the furthest corner of the room opposite him.

“Rey,” Kylo sighs, exasperated. His steps are heavy as he moves towards her. “Where do you think you can run to?” 

How can he make her understand? Make her feel better.

 “Listen. Listen to me. I did this all for you. I can feel your self loathing - you need to stop. You’re not stupid. You’re not a fool. You are superior to me in every way. Sleeping with you...” her cheeks burn when he brings it up and he stops short. 

He needs to tread carefully here.

“Sleeping with you was never a game to me. Never an amusement. You feel dirty and you shouldn’t. How often do I need to remind you that Ben and Kylo are the same person?”

Rey chokes out a harsh laugh.

“If you have to ask you will never understand. You’re incapable of it,” she sounds sad and defeated. 

An entitled primal urge manifests in Kylo. The need to prove her wrong. 

“Let me kiss you.” 

Rey wordlessly backs up and shakes her head.

“Come on Rey. Let me remind you that you do feel for me.”

It is not that he wants to pressure or intimidate her but he tires of these back and forth games.

Kylo cuts off her path by darting forward and corners her. His hand drifts to her hip and settles there before he pulls her closer. 

Rey inhales sharply.

“Please don’t,” she whispers. “Please...please... don’t,” she shakes badly and Kylo steadies her. 

It’s not like Rey to beg.

Kylo does not like it. It does not become her.

His lips brush against hers soft and tentative -  lingering long enough so that he inhales her breath and feels the warmth of her skin. 

“You taste so sweet Rey,” he murmurs before kissing her ear lobe. He then works his way down her neck to her collar bone before coming right back up for her lips. 

“Just let me take care of you. Please.”

Rey bites down on his bottom lip and draws blood.

No.”

Kylo strains to stop himself from rebuking her. She is not reciprocating his administrations - not even close - and it is beyond frustrating.

She stares at him like he is a stranger, a monster. He does not continue to push her out of fear that he might extinguish her fiery spirit more than he already has.

“Very well,” he releases her and now he...he isn’t sure what to do

It took a year of meticulous plotting to get her here and she still finds a way to gain the upper hand. He cannot bring himself to fucking force her to submit.

Kylo’s hands constrict into fists. He bends over and picks up a strand of stray rope from the floor. Without meeting her eyes he circles the rope around her wrists and ties the opposite end to the bed frame.

“I don’t like having to do this,” he admits, “but you leave me no choice. You’re welcome to join me at any point. In the bed.” He says this as if it is not obvious. Kylo lowers the lights and crawls into bed as silence envelops the room. He thinks she might be asleep when he hears her softly crying. 

This angst, her sorrow, it cannot go on for much longer. 

It just can’t

“Rey.” Kylo hoists himself from the bed and sits down next to her. He uses a thumb to brush the tears from her face. She tries to twist away from him.

“Tomorrow will be better,” he insists, “You will like where I’m taking you. I promise. I won’t kiss or touch you again unless you want me to.”

“I don’t believe you.” 

Kylo sees nothing short of disgust on her face, almost hatred, as she reddens in defiance. He withdraws and leaves her on the floor. It is time to contemplate his next steps.

He intends to find a way to get her out of those rags she wears - they are simply not appropriate. Kylo thinks for this purpose he may need to relax his stance on Rey being around other women. For a short while, until they clean and dress her up. Comfort her in the way only women can.

He also intends to hold a private meeting with his Knights first thing in the morning. They need to be debriefed on how the scavenger will be treated, the authority she will come to hold within the First Order. Noncompliance will not be an option.

The flagship makes its way to the outer rim at lightspeed. There are a few planets he intends to subdue and Kylo wants her to watch the First Order in action with him at the helm as Supreme Leader. 

Above all else Kylo must maintain control over himself and he must not underestimate her. 

She is dejected and hurting, but she is a survivor. If he gives her any room to move - anything- he knows she will escape. 

Kylo will not let this happen.

   ***

Chapter Text

It is always the conquest, the hunt that Kylo craves the most. 

He wants to laugh when he finds Rey asleep underneath the bed in the morning. As he looks closer Kylo notices she has freed herself from the rope.

Of course she did. A small act of defiance.

He thinks she pretends to be asleep and he leaves her to her childish antics. From the corner of his eye he dresses and watches for any signs of rustling. 

Nothing.

“Rey,” his stands above the bed, voice distorted by the mask. “You are going to be retrieved by four of my top officers. You will join the Knights of Ren - and myself -  in a few hours.”

Last night Kylo decided against relaxing his stance on Rey and women. Making an exception is something a weaker Kylo Ren would do. She will be surrounded by the harshest and most senior of his officers.

Kylo strides down the corridor with a renewed sense of purpose. The First Order arrives at the outer rim and he gets first pick of the woefully insignificant planets below. He practically feels their panic through the force.

On the bridge he circles a holomap and examines the topography of each planet. He reads the files that contain basic information. One planet consists of enough precious metals that will save scores of time gathering it from other systems. Even better is the plentiful population. Kylo will send the troopers down to remove all children under the age of two from their caretakers. He thinks they are young enough to program into soldiers for the First Order. 

The rest of them will go into slavery or be shot. He maintains this ruthlessness to demonstrate that the First Order is exceptional under his leadership. 

Kylo is distracted from his imminent plans when the Knights enter. He motions for them to follow him into the enclosed space used for debriefings and meetings. They are unable to hide anything from him and to do so warrants a death sentence.

The purpose of the meeting is to gage how they regard the scavenger. Kylo senses revenge, hate, lust, and jealousy.

All feelings he expected. 

Hours go by as he informs them of her history, fighting style, the depth of her powers. Her future as his equal. Kylo does not realize how much time passes as he talks about her until the door slides open.

“Supreme Leader,” a husky voice causes Kylo’s head to turn. It is one of the officers he assigned to Rey. “The scavenger is waiting for you on the bridge. She has been fed and remains unarmed. She...” the officer chews on his words, “...she was oppositional and we could not complete the health inspection. If I may speak candidly sir, she is a bit...unrefined.”

Kylo barely hears the man. He removes his mask and immediately leaves the Knights before the officer finishes speaking. 

What he sees satisfies him. Rey is clean and dons the clothing made for her: silk black fabric in a similar design to her usual garb but more sophisticated. Less functional, harder to move in, and easier on the eyes.

The tracking device is a tight gold necklace around her neck. Thin as twine but incredibly strong, Kylo finds it much more aesthetically pleasing than the typical bulky tracking device. She appears distracted by the holomap and oblivious of the impact her presence has on the bridge.

The stares, darting eyes, the curious glances from people who want a glimpse of the scavenger who evaded Kylo Ren for years.

Until she ran directly into the trap he set. 

Kylo drifts over and places a hand on her shoulder.

“You look beautiful,” Kylo says. He means it.

“What is all this?” She asks and nods at the planets on the holomap. Kylo is glad she is curious.

“You’re looking at our newest source for metals and other assets. These planets are rich in resources for the First Order.”

“What happens to the people?” Concern clearly marks her tone.

“They will become stormtroopers.”

“And the rest?”

People look up as her voice rises a note higher. Kylo takes Rey by the wrist and leads her to the office. He dismisses the Knights. 

She can’t make a scene on his bridge in front of his insubordinates. They will expect him to reprimand her appropriately and he knows he cannot bring himself to do that. Alone in the room he locks his eyes onto hers.

“The rest will become slaves or die.”

Rey closes her eyes and swallows.

“And the ones you take - they are children, babies?”

“Yes.” 

It hits her hard.

“No,” she shakes her head, “there has to be another way.”

Kylo sets his jaw.

“There isn’t, Rey. You know this. I want you to see the power of the First Order.” 

Rey steps away and peers through a small window. She is thinking of the children about to be torn from their parents arms. When she shifts back to Kylo her resolve is calm.

“Would you...would you consider not taking the children if I go to bed with you?” 

Kylo scoffs.

“Don’t cheapen yourself by bartering sex, Rey.” His tone is flat but simmers with anger. Rey’s chest rises and she stands inches from him, gripping his cloak.

“I’m not. You say Kylo and Ben are the same? Then prove it. Show me you’re the same person. Show me it will feel like our time together in the forest.”

Kylo’s breath quickens. He wishes he had more experience in the world of women. More experience on how to handle them - how to respond to their advances.

“If you are serious then we will go to my private quarters now.”

He is trying to call her bluff. 

Instead Rey holds fast to her proposition.

“Okay then. Right now.” 

Kylo senses the Knights disapproval when he delays his orders to attack the planet. They do not understand he has more important business to attend to. He intends to find out if Rey is sincere in her request to be with him - if she finally accepts that the force binds them together.

***

In his bedroom Kylo sets the lights low and stands behind her. He feels her skin rise under his touch as he unzips her tunic and his lips graze the back of her neck.

“Get onto the bed.” His tone is barely audible, a whisper. Her skin is as tan and smooth as he remembers - not that it has been long. She is exposed and on his mattress. He tries to focus.

“On your stomach. No - your back.” He changes his mind. Kylo wants to be able to see her face, to see that she really feels for him. It is also the most natural position for her to be in when she is with him. Kylo steps out of his shoes and joins her on the bed.

Rey’s gaze moves to his face, her nose just gently turning up. Her eyes are large and wide as her eyelashes gracefully curve out, just the right amount to frame them. Kylo sees her lips, slightly pouted, and he hungers for their touch. He wants to kiss them until they are swollen. The carnal fire leaps madly within him.

“Do you still want this?" He questions because she feels rigid under his chest.

“Yes,” she shifts nervously. 

Kylo unbuckles his belt with one hand while using the other to hold her still.

“Good,” he stops to remove his shirt and reveals an unforgiving wall of muscle.

“Can I come inside you?” He asks after a pause.

Rey remains silent for a moment.

“I’d rather you didn’t. “

Kylo is not happy with her answer. He is quiet as he deliberates his options.

“I am going to come inside you.”

“Why ask then?” Rey snaps. Kylo immediately regrets the formality of asking. He senses her hurt that he pretends to consider her feelings. But he does. It’s just that he needs her to want what he does. 

“I want you to know I’m not doing it out of disrespect.” Kylo tries to elaborate without scaring her. “I want you pregnant, Rey.”

Her breath hitches. 

“I’m not ready for that. I don’t want that.”  

“You’ll be fine,” Kylo assures her. “I’ll take care of you. Put your hands on my shoulders," he commands softly. Rey does as she is told. 

Kylo’s lips ghost above hers.

“Now tell me you love me," he says. He slowly spreads her legs apart and sees the tender pink between her thighs. His prize.

 “I need you to say it and mean it.”

Rey wets her dry lips and he can feel her heart pound through her chest.

“I..I...love you.”

“Say it again.”

“I love you.”

Rey turns away as he positions himself between her legs.

Look at me Rey,” he inclines her face so that he can meet her eyes. 

He pushes into her. Kylo glances down to watch as her heat swallows him and he gently thrusts back and forth. 

Fuck. 

His eyes close tightly for a second. He has gone from chasing her around the galaxy to having her legs splayed wide open for him on his flagship. 

If her resistance friends could see her now. 

He almost comes then and there at the thought.

“Rey. You’re still so tight. You’ll tell me if it hurts?” It is hard to get the words out between pants, hard to speak, but he needs her to come like she did the first time.

He needs her wet.  

Kylo withdraws from her body and drops down. 

“No - no - you don’t have to do that,” her words come out rushed. A mixture of concerned confusion crosses Kylo’s face.

She liked this before.

But he does not need the force to know she does not want his tongue between her legs. 

She just wants this to be over

Kylo’s hold on her loosens.

None of this is right. None of it. 

Sleeping with him is not supposed to make her a martyr. It should not be an unpleasant chore. He slams his fist onto the bed frame above her head. It causes Rey to jump and she desperately tries to cover herself. 

“You lie,” he hisses into her face, “you don’t love me and you don’t want this.”

I lie?” Her voice rises and she backs up against the headboard.

“Yes you lie,” he shouts back, “You think this is a game? That you can distract me with your body to save a pathetic planet?” Rage storms inside of him. Rage that she tries to manipulate him, tries to turn him into something truly reprehensible by letting him fuck her when she doesn’t want it. Rage that it almost worked.

It’s enough to make him boil over.

Kylo’s huge hands take hold of her by the waist and pull her back with rough urgency. Rey tries to roll out from under him and ends up hitting the floor hard. She gives a sharp cry as her wrist cracks to break the fall and her bottom lip splits from the impact. Blood pools out. 

Kylo winces seeing her naked and bleeding on the floor at his hands.

A deep shame suspends him from approaching her. With trembling hands Kylo activates his comlink. 

“Send medic to my private quarters immediately.” 

Behind him Rey cradles her wrist. She will not acknowledge him. They wait in silence and Kylo averts his eyes as she tries to dress. A knock on the door jolts him and Kylo crosses the room. His hand hovers over the knob as he turns to Rey.

“I’ve really ruined everything. Haven’t I?”

“You have.” 

Her answer stings his already wounded pride.

“And I don’t love you. Not anymore. You've done a thorough job of destroying it.”

Kylo remains stoic as medic escorts her away. 

When the door shuts he contacts General Krog and gives orders to bomb every city on the planet below. He wants every building turned to dust, it’s citizens turned to ash. 

Her attempt to pull a fast one highlights his ongoing failure of underestimating her. He does not expect Rey to play the part of seductress - she is too transparent. Too honest, too clean, too virtuous.

It is precisely why Kylo is shaken she got as far as she did. 

His next orders are to lock Rey in the highest maximum security cell. Three Knights are assigned to watch over her. She needs to be kept safe and away from him

At his desk Kylo pours over a map of the outer rim. His eyes land on a planet he has heard of: one that is strong with the force, one that is rumored to harbor a tool that can give him everything. 

Rey will not be clean or virtuous when he is through with her. He will ruin her more than he already has. He will make her love him again. 

If she admits it once existed, he can bring it back. 

He will.

Chapter Text

Rey thinks this ordeal will either pass as a terrible blip in the course of her life or it will be the final trauma that breaks her. 

She does not know where Kylo’s aggressive obsession comes from. She does not know where the obsession with impregnating her comes from. She surmises it is another way for him to subjugate her - to control her mind and body - but she feels his motivation runs deeper. 

In his mind he truly wants a family. Does he even know the meaning of the word? He wants to be a father. Rey thinks he views it as another domain to dominate. To create a legacy that will outlast his grandfathers.

She shuffles on the cot in the medic ward. It is only a matter of time before he snaps and forces himself on her -  the scene in the bedroom is a reminder of his volatile nature. Men like him never maintain a calm facade for long. 

The bedroom.

Rey cringes.

A plan doomed to fail from the start. His lust for her is overwhelming and she fails to harness it to use as a weapon against him. 

She simply lacks the experience.

“He has a temper, doesn’t he?” The medic angles her face from side to side to examine her lip. After the bacta tank it is merely a formality to check that her lip and wrist heal completely.

The initiation of conversation startles Rey and she does not answer.

She feels the presence of the officers and Knights outside the door that Kylo assigns to her.

“The Supreme Leader will be happy with how you have healed,” the medic declares. She tenses when the medic reaches for a syringe. The response does not go unnoticed.

“This will help your anxiety. Help you relax.” 

Rey does not know why she bothers to jerk back - there is nowhere to run.

“I don’t need it.” 

“You do,” the medic slams it into her shoulder. Her body’s response is immediate and Rey feels woozy. She hardly registers the officers guiding her to the dark cell. They inform her that she will stay here until the Supreme Leader comes for her. 

*

Time passes slowly. Days and weeks bleed from one to the next.

Rey stays hidden within the darkness of the cell, feeling every beat of her heart pounding on the cold stone she lies on. It is as quiet as it is dark, with only one sound to be heard; the sound of her own pulse throbbing in her ears. 

For the first time the silence breaks as the door slowly opens. A narrow stream of light meanders through the room. A shadow follows.  

She is scared. 

She holds her breath, daring not to make a sound. Each second seems to last an eternity as she lies perfectly still listening to the footsteps of the intruder - of him.

“Rey.” 

Her eyes widen, breaths ragged and harsh. Her hands tremble at her sides and she can’t stop herself - the impulse to flee is too strong. Without thinking Rey wields as much of the force as she can. 

She curses the injections that dull her reflexes. 

But in her fear and anger she wills Kylo to move, the force whisking him to the side as she rushes for the door. 

She does not think of how to get past the Knights - she only thinks of getting away from him and his greedy hands. 

It is a feeble attempt. 

Rey senses his exertion and he moves fast, full of purpose, in complete silence. 

She feels his hot breath on the back of her neck as he takes her down, using his strength and the bulk of his body to wrestle her to the ground.

“Still so feisty,” he pulls her up from the floor to face him. “So defiant. If you wanted back into my quarters you only had to say.”

“I’d rather stay here than be anywhere near you.”

A low growl in his throat.

“Don’t try to fight. I don’t want you injured again.”

Rey feels the tears welling in her eyes. She wishes her emotions did not rise so easily to the surface around him.

“Stop pretending you care about me.”

“I do care, Rey,” his hands cup her face the way he did in the forest. When she thought he was Ben.

The memory is painful.

“We will be taking smaller ship and embarking to the planet below.” Kylo turns her around and lightly pushes her against the cool prison wall. He snaps binders around her wrists. 

“Promise me you’ll be good.” He presses against her gently, his mouth close to her ear.

Rey steels her nerves.

“Promise me, Rey.”

She says what he wants to hear.

“I’ll be good.” 

***

Kylo is logic and cold detachment until he touches her skin. Something not only stirs in him, but takes over his thinking. The rest of the world becomes an unimportant blur that he pushes far into the recesses of his mind.

It is his hope that the stark and lonely prison cell makes her relieved to see him, to spend time with him again.

He moves in close enough for her to feel his body through her clothes as he secures the binders. 

All he senses is her fear and alarm.

Tonight she is going to spend the night in his bed whether she wants to or not. Kylo will not push her into anything. He just needs her close now.

But first, their planet excursion. 

They are in the Quelli sector of the outer rim descending onto Dathomir. The rumors of Dathomir being strong with the dark side are true. The pulse of the planet spreads through his body like icy liquid metal. He knows Rey feels it too. It coaxes the darkness present in both of them.

Kylo was raised hearing stories of the strange inhabitants on Dathomir. The Kwa, rancors, the Nightsisters. 

He knows it is the home planet of Darth Maul. 

Dathomir is a planet decimated by too many years of war and conflict. Kylo is not sure what remains but he intends to raid the ancient dwellings of the Nightsisters. The Witches. 

Kylo imagines this is how Hux felt about the Force. Hux considered the force nothing more than trickery and the ability to create illusions. Dark magic and the exact opposite of rational facts and reason. 

It is how Kylo feels about the Nightsisters and their so-called powers. It cannot be true witchcraft. All the same, he will confiscate the Shadow Book and find in it something to make Rey permanently his. He does not care if it is the force, magic, a drug - he will bend her to his will.

The hatch opens and the smell of decaying plant matter mingles with the cool and gentle breeze. His troopers feel uneasy and the Knights are intoxicated by the darkness. 

The forest they march through is ancient. The trees thick and old, roots twisted. It might once have been filled with bird-song and animals that roamed. But now it is ages past its former glory. 

Rey shoots him a worried look.

Kylo prefers it to the scowls she reserves for him.

The occasional streak of sunlight touches the forest floor through the thick canopy. They finally come upon a temple taken over by thick vines.

There is no mistaking it for anything other than the temple of the Nightsisters. 

She is going to spend days under him when he finishes with this planet. 

“Kylo,” the light tilt of Rey’s voice turns his head, “Do you feel it? Something isn’t right.”

She is right to worry. What little freedom he allows her ends here. 

“I need to be armed. Just in case. Please.”

She dares to ask for a weapon. She is...impossibly demanding.

The Knights and troopers observe their interaction carefully. 

“Come here, Rey.”

He does feel the strange energy she speaks of. Kylo breathes in sharply before he orders the Knight Blaze to give her one of his two lightsabers. He unlocks her binders.

He feels the unspoken protest of outrage roll through the force from his Knights. 

Rey’s lips part in shock when the saber is placed in her hand. 

“You know that saber comes with a price,” Kylo shows her images of what he has in mind. Rey’s eyes flicker from the saber to his face. 

He bridges the space between them, his hand on the back of her neck.

“Don’t be afraid. Think of the forest. Remember how you felt. It will be that way again.” He feels Rey quiver under the trace of his fingers on her face. She looks as if he asks her to recall a painful memory. Kylo glares down at her, eyes alight as he gestures for her to walk by his side. 

The saber, the grain of trust he gives her has to soften her regard towards him. She has no choice but to view it as a peace offering.

Kylo is desperate for her to stop grieving her future with him. 

He wants this excursion to Dathomir executed quickly. 

As they enter the temple Kylo hears an uproar among his troops. He activates his saber and steps in front of Rey to protect her from the onslaught of whatever darkness lurks here. 

Instead his eyes drift up to see a ship haul out of hyperspace and into orbit above them. 

A resistance ship. There is no reason for them to be here. None at all.

It is impossible.

There is a traitor in his midst. 

Kylo senses Rey’s equal shock and he barks orders to the stormtroopers.

He is reminded of how utterly foolish his judgement is around Rey. How stupid her pretty face makes him, how his feelings for her make him weak.

He is reminded of all of this as he turns to find her pointing the ignited lightsaber at his chest.

Chapter Text

“Going to kill me, Rey?”

Kylo can’t deny that seeing Rey ready for the heat of battle awakens something feral inside of him. She faces him fiercely and unafraid. 

“I will if I have to.” 

He admits it arouses him more than it should. 

She has been skittish and fragile in captivity and the burn of her righteous anger excites him. 

Even as she aims the lightsaber at his chest, Kylo does not consider Rey the challenge he once did. Not since he successfully seduced and enticed her with his trap. 

The bigger threat is the Knight standing directly behind Rey. The one who informed him of Zain’s demise at the hands of the scavenger. 

Kylo realizes how sloppy he has grown with the Knights. How his infatuation with Rey blinds him to their growing unease of his goal to obtain her. Blinds him to their thoughts that he is unfit to rule as Supreme Leader. 

This Knight intends to usurp him by stooping low enough to contact the resistance. Not as allies - never as allies - but with the objective that Kylo cannot fend off the traitors in his ranks and the rebels.

Rey braces for the strike of his saber when he smoothly dodges her and clashes with the Knight barreling down on both of them. 

Kylo’s blow is savage and brutal. He is a mammoth size compared to the Knight as he body slams the traitor to the ground, his saber impaling him through the chest. 

An example to all who try to undermine him.

He comes for Rey next. 

The dark side of Dathomir amplifies Kylo’s own sinister nature. He melts into the dark ominous energy that fuels him to dominate Rey. 

He lusts to have her at his mercy. 

Kylo’s obsidian eyes fixate on Rey as she plows a path through stormtroopers to reach the descending resistance crafts. 

Her retaliation with the lightsaber is a violation of his trust and she must pay. He will hasten her submission to him. After the resistance is blown from the sky, after he delivers swift justice to any remaining traitors, he will confine her to his bed. Kylo will stretch and ruin her tight pink heat so that she is fit only for him to fill her. 

He devolves into a creature driven by pure instinct and changes his course of pursuit. He runs a half circle through the gnarled trees and emerges in front of Rey, blocking her path. 

All he sees are her wide doe eyes as his saber sparks against hers. The strength of his swing sends her flying back into a defensive position. 

But he will not hurt her. He can never injure or maim Rey. Especially not as he senses it, the tiny light inside of her. He does not believe it at first. He then wonders how long she thinks she can hide it from him. His mind rakes through hers painfully, forcefully.

She roars in defense and tosses him from her mind.

He plunders in a second time because he can find no concept of it in her mind. No thread, no image of what is happening inside of her. 

Either she is an expert at cloaking her mind from him or she is in deep denial. 

The mind - Kylo knows it is a strong defensive fortress. 

He thinks of their night in the forest.

She was too wet. Too slick. The squelching sounds that came from her heat as he rocked into her wrecked him. 

Kylo wants to take credit for her extreme arousal. He can’t. 

He can only admit to himself he was - is - still too inexperienced. 

He unknowingly invaded her body when she was ready. 

He is perversely proud it took one time for her body to accept his seed. More evidence the force binds them together.

It hits Kylo that she spent her first weeks pregnant sleeping on the floor of a cold prison cell. When he slammed his fist above her head, when she fell from the bed: she was pregnant.

He is furious with himself. He needs to do better. He cannot treat the woman he loves this way. 

There is no way she does not know. 

He pursues after her as she slides down a ravine and tackles her from behind. Her saber flies forward and Kylo calls it to him, locking it into the hilt of his belt.

One strong arm wraps across her collarbone while the other tightens around her waist.

“You’re pregnant, Rey.”

His words hit her like he wants them to.

“I am not.”

There it is. Denial. 

“You are. You must feel it.”

She struggles against him with unexpected vigor.

“I am not. This...this sick planet is crawling with dark life forms. You sense them.” Her chest heaves with ragged pants, her lungs contracting avidly for air. 

Kylo can’t break through her denial with words. He exploits the force link to show her what he feels, what he senses inside her. His mouth brushes her cheek and her skin tastes salty and wet. These revelations make her all the more tempting. 

“You feel it now, don't you? And to think you were afraid of this, Rey. It’s already happened.”

He feels her shoulders shake with a quiet sob. 

A resistance ship flies low above them. 

Kylo is caught between getting them off the battlefield and comforting her. The delay costs him and Rey slips under his grasp with renewed energy.

The scene is eerily familiar to the one in the desert. It happens as if in slow motion, her stride staying one leap ahead of him, just out of his grasp.

Rey sprints and jumps into open hatch of the ship.

She makes it. 

Kylo’s all encompassing rage howls through the force.

Chapter Text

Rey does not believe she is out of his grasp until she feels Rose’s warm arms embrace her. 

“Glad you could join us Rey!” Poe’s chipper voice rings from the front of the ship. He works hard to keep them alive as he maneuvers the craft. His unrelenting optimism is admirable.

And of course, Rey thinks, Poe would be the one to excel at navigating through the trees so effortlessly. She watches the damned planet below fade as they ascend higher into space.

Rey has no time for lengthy reunions.

“Poe,” she bursts into the cockpit, “we need to escape at lightspeed. We need to get out of here now.

The ship lurches around the First Order’s flagship, firing at will as TIE fighters swoop around them. 

Rey cannot savor her rescue until she is far from his reach. Distance is all that matters. 

“Hang on Rey, first we gotta take out these….”

“No! Please, please, we have to get away from here!” Rey is about to lean over and take control of the ship herself.

Rose and Poe both pause at the hysterical urgency they hear in her voice. They exchange a glance. Rose shoots Poe a pressing look.

“Yeah sure, no problem Rey,” Poe activates his comlink and delegates orders to the other resistance ships. He informs them he is on a rescue mission and the survivor needs to be evacuated far from the First Order.

From Kylo Ren.

Rey.

His voice purrs through the force.

I’m coming for you.

She desperately tries to shut him out.

You can’t run from me. I will fight for you and win. 

Chills prickle down her spine. Rey can’t believe she ever felt safe with him. 

“Let’s do this BB-8!” The droid whirrs in agreement with Poe as they launch to lightspeed. “Alright, that’s a clean escape!” Poe hollers as they propel through space. 

Rey blindly reaches for a seat and collapses into it.

It is not a clean escape. Not for her. 

She calculates she did not feel it earlier because it was too soon, but she is certain of it now. The piece of him he left inside her takes hold and thrives. Kylo Ren gains one massive win over her: she is pregnant. Rey wrestles with wanting to crawl inside herself and dig it out. She wrestles with wanting to protect it from him

She feels neglectful for not having the implant. For not tracking her cycle more accurately. For trusting him as he whispered against her neck that he wouldn’t come inside. Worse, for not calling him out when he did because she was just happy to be with Ben.  

The list is long. 

Rey tries to tell herself it will be okay. That in the forest they made this new life out of love. It was when she loved him and he...Rey’s shoulders start to shake again with silent sobs.

He never loved her.

Nothing about his behavior has been loving.

She refuses to dwell on how viscerally Kylo shattered her heart from the moment she entered the throne room to find them all laughing at her. 

Ben Solo is lost and she spent too long in the hands of an unhinged mad-man who calls himself Kylo Ren.  

Rey is not sure how to explain any of this when Rose sits down next to her and holds her for a long time. As she pulls back Rose reaches for Rey’s neck and curiously pulls back the tunic.

“What is that?”

Rey’s hand flies to her neck and fingers the gold necklace. The tracking device. In a frenzy she pulls and scratches at her throat in an attempt to remove it.

“Help me get this off!”

Rose is on it. She needs no further encouragement.

“I’ve had it with Kylo fucking Ren,” Rose grunts as she uses sheers to cut the necklace in two. It takes a considerable amount of effort. 

“Want me to dump this and ask Poe to hit lightspeed again?”

“Yes,” Rey sighs, her relief palpable that Rose seems to know exactly what to do. Rey is beyond grateful for Rose. No judgement, no chastising her for believing Kylo was truly on the path to redemption. There is not a hint of I told you not to go after him in Rose’s eyes or her tone. 

As the craft enters another system Rey reclines onto the small bench that doubles as a bed. 

Rose stands by her side.

“You know being captured wasn’t your fault. Anything he did is not your fault,” she says softly. Rose squeezes Rey’s shoulder and leaves to respond to BB-8’s beeps. 

She is grateful all over again for her friend’s sensitivity.

Rose does not know how close Kylo Ren came to breaking her. How close he came to making her feel like he owned her.

Rey wipes her eyes. 

She concentrates, as she did in the fresher, on her body. 

Rey feels it - the little life pulsing inside. It does not feel dark or light - just pure, innocent, and unknowing of the legacies and familial ties he or she descends from. The baby does not know it’s mother is a scavenger from nowhere, that it’s father is one of the most abhorrent and powerful men in the galaxy. 

Rey knows the second she thinks of it as a baby that she is going to keep it.

She knows she does not have to. Kylo will pursue them ruthlessly. 

It dawns on her that it may be merciful to extinguish the life rather than place him or her in danger. She can't. 

She is going to keep the baby.

Rey also refuses to put a knife through her own heart and place her child in someone else’s care. 

She will not hide, will not let Kylo coerce or bully her. She will not cloister herself away or allow this pregnancy to shame her. Her friends are her family and they will protect her. They will help her. 

Kylo Ren can watch as his child is raised within the resistance - by good and kind people.

She will deprive Kylo of the role he desperately seeks: Father. 

He is not worthy.

Chapter Text

Kylo mutters to himself under his breath.

He is thinking.

He paces like a beast of prey in his private chambers covered in blood and carnage from the ongoing battle on Dathomir.

“Supreme Leader,” the disembodied voice of Captain Ingram crackles through his comlink, “we are taking heavy hits. Can you confirm reinforcements are on the way?” There is no ceremony in his question, no formality. 

Kylo hesitates. Reinforcements are not coming. He spins Rey’s stolen lightsaber in his hand before he ignites it and slices the comlink into a mangled mess of wires and smoke. 

The First Order is fracturing between those who remain loyal to Kylo Ren and those who choose to follow his fallen Knights.

The First Order is supposed to be well past infractions like this. Kylo’s stare is intense as he looks out of the flagship and across the vast expanse of space. 

He is not thinking about how long his army can take the heavy hits. He is not thinking about how to fix the oversights that have lead up to this. 

Kylo thinks about a year’s worth of hard work obliterated. All of the effort, the time, the resources he spent to capture Rey. Only to contain her for a little over a month.

A dismal failure.

Kylo methodically analyzes where he went wrong with Rey. He was calm, for the most part. Reserved. Gentle. Apologetic. He tried to talk to her about her fucking feelings and tolerated the endless crying.

Another deep breath.

He expected Rey to recover from his deception and finally give herself permission to love Kylo Ren. He tires of pathetically pleading with her to trust him, to love him. 

He is unable to fathom why a stupid detail like his old name, Ben Solo, has to get in the way.

Kylo watches X-wing fighters take out more TIEs than he thinks is possible. Their attack style reeks of Poe Dameron. An inferior male and one of the resistance's biggest idiots. He hopes FN-2187 is in the throes of battle on Dathomir. He hopes FN-2187 gets blown apart. Idiot Dameron deserves to feel pain.

Kylo needs to be out there in his TIE, he needs to be issuing orders to patch together the First Order before it unravels completely.

All he can do is try to connect with Rey. 

Rey, he calls out to her.

I’m coming for you. I will fight for you and win.

Terror rips through the force before she shuts him out. It almost makes him feel bad. Almost. Kylo knows he cannot direct the full brunt of his rage at her. He curbs the instinct to threaten her for a second time. 

Kylo pulls off his soiled gloves and lets them drop to the floor. He drafts a plan in his mind.

He hates that she puts him in this position - the position of having to hunt her down again in her current state.

Pregnant. She is fucking pregnant.

Kylo rolls his head from side to side and considers the possible consequences of his pursuit. What might happen if his quest causes her extreme distress. If she miscarries he will never forgive himself. If stress impacts the baby’s development he will never forgive himself.

It is already a miracle he managed to put a baby in her. The concept of starting all over is exhausting.

An unwanted fact comes to the surface in Kylo’s mind. His mother was active in the resistance while carrying him, his father gone for weeks at a time. Surely she felt immense stress during the pregnancy.

And he turned out fine. 

It is a dark joke Kylo makes to himself.

He knows he is a deficient human being on every level.

Just more examples of his parents inadequacies. They never could prioritize family.

This is why Kylo is convinced he chose the perfect woman to build his dynasty with, to have a family with.

Rey will be everything a good mother should be: loving, kind, forgiving, understanding. She will be dedicated, not distracted or absent. Rey will never send their child away, never reject them. She will not consider their child a monster. She will fight to the death for their child.

Kylo meant it when he told Rey she was superior to him in every way. 

He maps out his new plan with unhindered purpose.

Kylo will wait until she is in her last month to make a move. This is where her female orientation works against her. As she grows heavy and slow, he will work to make his body stronger and more unyielding than it already is.

He will pounce when she is round and unstable, hardly able to walk.

Rey’s days of evading him by running and jumping onto ships will come to an end. 

Kylo thinks he can manage to wait nine months. Or is it eight? He settles on eight months to be sure. Missing the birth is not an option and Kylo plans on being in the room during the birth of his child.

Let her have a peaceful and calm gestation. Let her feel safe.

He not-so-secretly hopes the resistance will ostracize Rey when they find out about her condition. When they find out who is responsible for it. He wants her to feel as lonely as he is. He wants her to regret she ever left him. The hormones will soften her attitude towards him. He realizes this contradicts his wish for her to have a peaceful gestation, but Kylo can't help it. 

He misses her. 

Kylo does not bother to check to see if the tracking device will inform him of her location. She is smart enough to remove it, and he did not order a secondary device to be embedded in her body. The embedded chips release fatal poison if the host wanders too far - odds he never wants to take with Rey. 

The force link is how he will keep tabs on her. Kylo mentally lowers the intensity of their connection to a dull throb, nearly undetectable. It will roar to life again before he comes for her.

In the end he can only hope Rey cooperates. It will kill him to have to lock her up again and take the baby. 

No, Kylo thinks as he stalks to the bridge, Rey will behave. She will be a good girl.

The bridge is in chaos and morale is low - Kylo can feel it. His lingering over Rey may cost him. 

“I want a status report,” he demands sharply. The officers avoid his line of sight more than usual.

“I asked for a status report,” he booms. The chaos quiets. Kylo's voice is now the only sound on the bridge.

General Krog approaches. The lines in the man’s face run deep, he looks about twenty years older.

“Supreme Leader, we have managed to push back the resistance but…”

“But what?” Kylo sneers. Krog swallows, his adam’s apple bobbing in his throat.

“We have sustained substantial losses. The remaining Knights retreated to our secondary base. The base, that, ah, chose not to assist us.”

Kylo digests this information. 

“Then we will go to the secondary base. That’s an order.”

General Krog looks at the Supreme Leader and his expression conveys his thoughts: the command is an insane suicide mission.

Kylo silently challenges him to disagree.

“Very good sir.” 

Kylo smirks. His hand rests on Rey’s lightsaber. He will execute the remaining Knights and he will stabilize the First Order.

And then, he can only wait until she is ripe and ready. 

Chapter Text

Rey opens her eyes and feels rested for the first time in weeks.

The tension she has been carrying slowly evaporates. She sits up and rubs her eyes before taking in her surroundings. She hears faint noises: muffled voices, clangs, droids, soldiers returning from Dathomir. The hatch to the ship is open, and she peers down the long ramp that leads outside. A pang hits her heart when she sees the surviving resistance soldiers arriving in multiple shuttles, whooping at their return, embracing each other and their friends. 

She hopes not too many lives were lost on Dathomir. Rey’s attention diverts when the fresher door opens. Rose offers a small side smile.  

“You okay?” Rose comes to her side. “Poe and I decided you could use the sleep.”

“I'm fine." Rey pauses. Her voice betrays her; she sounds hoarse and hurt. Not all right. Her heart beats frantic within her ribcage. Rose quirks a brow.

“You sure? Look...Poe isn’t around if that’s what you’re worried about. Tell me what’s going on.”

Rose talks like she knows. Rey wonders if she is that transparent. More likely, Rose can put two and two together. 

Everyone knows what happens to women caught in war. The weapons men use.

“Ah…there is something I need to tell you.” Rey wishes a script existed for this.

“Go ahead. I’m here for you. Take as long as you need.” Rose reaches for her hand in support.

Rey can't do this.

She can't. But she needs to. Waiting will make it worse.

“Rose, I’m pregnant. Kylo Ren is the...it's his. He's the reason I'm pregnant.”

There. Like a dead weight, Rey throws the information into the open. Rey worries Rose might vomit when she gags in shock.

“Oh my god... oh my god. Okay, okay,” Rose’s hand covers her mouth. In a few steps she reaches the control panel to her left and begins punching buttons. 

“I am so, so sorry Rey. I will contact medic right now. They can get you in right away, I’m sure of it. And there are groups too, you know? For women who have been through what you’ve...” her voice quakes angrily, “I can’t believe what that fucking monster did to you.”

It is not a surprise to Rey that Rose comes to the conclusion that Kylo raped her. That word - it is so vulgar, so graphic. She did not want to think Kylo could be capable of rape. 

Rey thinks about how he treated her when she offered to go to bed with him. How much it contrasts to their lovemaking in the forest. His smooth way of asking her if she is okay, of telling her he cares, all while actively disregarding her requests. Doing whatever he wants, taking whatever he wants. Using her body for his fantasies.

Rey thinks she escaped him just in time. 

And now she has to make a choice. It is easier to say the baby was forced on her, but Rey has never been a liar.

How to explain their past relationship?

No one alive knows about their force bond. No one knows she and Kylo have communicated throughout the entire war. Rey bites her lip - “communicate” may be a strong term. It is only in the last year he managed to gain her sympathy, her empathy. Until Rose came to rescue them, no one knew she agreed to meet him in secret. No one knows about the elevator kiss, about the heated tension that exists between them.

The former tension.

Rey will never forgive him.

She shifts back to the present.

“Rose, I...ah, I don’t need to go to medic,” Rey feels her face grow hot.

“What? Rey, why? Are you nervous? I’ll go with you.”

Rey finds it hard to swallow. She just needs to say it. 

“I want to keep it.”

She cannot stand the pity that fills Rose’s face.

“Rey,” Rose speaks passionately, “I know the Jedi code values life but you don’t need to do this to yourself. No one would think badly of you. You have nothing to prove. No one even needs to know.”

Rey did not give much thought as to what exactly she was going to say. Then again, she never expected to find herself in this position. She never expected to be 22 years old and pregnant in the middle of a galactic war with Kylo Ren’s baby.

She’s angry at him all over again.

“Kylo and I…” his name burns in her throat. She wants to say Ben. “Kylo and I were together by choice. That night in the forest I really did think he was leaving the Order. I thought he was Ben Solo.”

Rey glances around to ensure they are alone.  

“Kylo and I are able to communicate through the force. It grew stronger after I found Luke Skywalker. Neither of us can explain it. Sometimes, if we want, we can see each other - touch each other.”

Rose cringes and Rey knows why.

“Touch each other? So you’ve...slept with him before? This whole time? While he’s been bombing countless planets?” Rose looks stricken. 

Rey is horrified.

“No! God, no. I use it to distract him, to call him away from the resistance bases. We would chase each other...” Rey’s voice trails off. 

A terrible realization blooms in her mind. 

Her intentions to call Kylo away from whatever deadly plot he tries to carry out have always been genuine. His bloodlust, his violence, his domination are unacceptable. But Rey cannot deny the way they pursued each other from planet to planet felt like a game. A twisted, dark foreplay that they engaged in until he took it too far.

Rose does not read the realization in Rey’s eyes. She only stares, brows knitted together.

“I don’t understand, Rey.”

Rey twists her hands together.

“Ah, I think there’s - there’s been something between us for a while. Kind of - something more than a force bond. He's shown me kindness before, on Ahch-To. He kissed me on Snoke’s flagship…”

What?

“I never thought I would kiss him once, let alone twice. Rose, please hear me out. I do not condone or love Kylo Ren. He lied to me in the forest. I would have never slept with him otherwise.” 

Rey knows she is rambling. She’s repeating herself, she’s all over the place, all out of sequence. Is she calling him Kylo or Ben? Does she sound crazy? She knows when she speaks quickly her accent scrambles her words. She has never talked aloud about her and Kylo before. It shows.

Deep concern is etched into Rose’s face. 

“Are you sure this isn’t some kind of extreme defense mechanism? Did he use the force to, I don’t know, cast a spell over you? Can the force do that?”

Rey wishes she could say yes. Make this easier.

“No,” she frowns, “I grew to care for him on my own. But Rose, I don’t feel for him like that anymore. He is absolutely lost to the dark side.”

“You think?” Rose says, “He is the Supreme Leader Kylo Ren - ever heard of him? Biggest asshole in the galaxy? We’ve been fighting him the past few years in case you haven't noticed. It would have been nice to know you had an ‘in’ with him the entire time.”

“Right,” Rey whispers, blinking back tears.

“And you disapprove of him, but you’ve been talking to him in secret. You fight with him, but never with the intent to strike him down once and for all. You hate him, but you want to have his baby. You’re one of the resistance’s top leaders. People look up to you. What the hell, Rey?”

Rey’s inner turmoil churns. What the hell indeed. How did she think this was going to go? That the resistance was going to pop open a bottle of Bespin Fizz and congratulate her?

She sees that Rose is crying too.

“Hey! You two coming or what? Rey, everyone is eager to see you!” Poe calls to them from the end of the ship’s ramp. 

Rey is glad for the distance.

“We have to go. People will be glad you’re back,” Rose clears her throat. 

“Are you..?”

“I won’t say anything. And you shouldn’t either Rey - not until we figure out how to spin this. You can stay with me. And,” she adds severely, “do not tell Leia about Kylo being the father.”

Rey lets out a shaky breath. Not until we figure this out . Rose is hurt and angry, but she isn’t giving up on her.

Rey worries. She understands Rose's reaction - she does.

The cold reality of the situation hits her: if one of her closest friends reacts this way, what about the rest of the resistance?

 ***

A muscle twitches involuntarily at the corner of Kylo’s right eye, his mouth forming into a rigid grimace. His arms fold across his broad chest while staring out of the grimy window of his shuttlecraft. The clangor of the sabers and swords has died away, the shouting of the slaughter now silent. He stares outside at the red-stained ground.

The battle has been at a standstill for some time, but there is still much culling to do. The Knights are successful at turning part of his army against him, but Kylo besieges their stronghold mercilessly. 

He doesn’t play by the rules of war - if there ever truly were any.

General Krog carries out his orders. Krog does not have the same tenacity Hux did, but Kylo is willing to trade that trait for the lack of attitude and dissonance. 

Hux and his sneers, his jabs, the arrogant smirks he would give Kylo. He wants to crack Hux’s skull open all over again. Kylo reigns in his rage.

It doesn’t matter anymore. Hux is long dead. 

Only two Knights remain and they fled - back to the outer rim, Kylo surmises. He will come for them in time; right now he needs to rebuild his military. He needs to find more children young enough to become stormtroopers.

Something that Rey finds repugnant. 

Admittedly, Kylo never bothered to think about what the parents felt like when their children are taken. Why should he?

It is only when Rey flees from him with his child in her womb that he can appreciate what they go through.

Not that it changes anything.

Rey. 

Kylo sighs heavily. He tries not to think about how this is the first time in over a year they have gone without communicating; how much he relies on her company however distant she is. It is imperative the force connection remains dormant.

He reads General Krog’s report on Dathomir and realizes the resistance’s losses are not as devastating as he hoped. 

Kylo thinks of Rey in the hands of the resistance. She better not pull any reckless shit; he better not find her flying the Falcon. She would -  just to spite him - knowing he can’t blow her to pieces.

Kylo feels a familiar itch creeping in. The itch to control her, to manage her every move. What he needs is a trusted source to keep him informed.

“General Krog,” he speaks into the comlink, “send our files on all deep cover operatives and agents. Ones known to work within the resistance.”

It can’t be just anyone. It has to be someone Rey would like - someone who can pull off insufferable kindness and warmth. Someone not like him.

“Message received, file sent,” Krog responds. The file is sent over immediately. 

Kylo pours over the files and - he fucking grins .

He finds the perfect person for the job.

Now, he just needs to locate Rey without her suspecting.

Kylo tells himself he is being a good father, looking out for his child. He is not going to cause her distress. He refuses to. 

Kylo looks out at the bodies outside, at the way he butchered them. He wonders if he is capable of not destroying everything he touches. 

Chapter Text

Rey is unable to sit still as she and Rose toss ideas back and forth.

Each one seems worse than the last.

They spend weeks trying to weave together a believable story. Eight weeks to be exact, because Rey tracks her pregnancy meticulously. She must be around twelve weeks total by now, maybe thirteen - almost three months. They swap cover story ideas when they can: between briefings and when their unpredictable schedules allow them to meet. 

Living together is no guarantee that they will spend hours on end in conversation. They are, after all, in the middle of not only the on-going war with Kylo Ren, but now his Knights in the outer rim.

They find themselves caught in the First Order's civil war. 

Rey does not completely bury her head into the ground - she hears the rumors about her abduction swirl through the resistance. To her face everyone welcomes her back with tight hugs and sympathetic smiles. They tell her she is strong to survive Kylo Ren, that they never doubted her.

Rey learns not everyone is as genuine as they seem. 

She catches whispers and averted eyes as people question why Kylo held her for a month and kept her alive. How she escaped unharmed. They bring up how the Supreme Leader contacted the resistance to brag that she was staying in his private chambers. This is the first Rey hears of it, and it makes her skin crawl. 

Finn crushes a particularly nasty rumor that Kylo Ren reduced her his concubine out of revenge, just to humiliate her. 

Rey does not have the heart to tell him how close the rumor is to the truth.

It is human nature, this need to drag others down, Rey thinks as she scrolls through her tablet. She actively works to cloak her unborn child’s presence in the force and it is exhausting. 

Kylo Ren is not going to be the only one motivated to take her child, to want to use her child as a pawn.

If she thinks too much she freezes with fear at the thought of Kylo channeling his darkness into the baby. He could. He sensed the baby first, the baby in her own body. To her relief, Rey does not feel Kylo through their link. The connection is there, but it is as if a door closed firmly shut and neither of them opens it. 

The only place he appears are in her nightmares. His eyes, dark and glittering, lustful, staring at her. 

Rey does not know why she did not come to this realization sooner. Why she thought she could be open about who the father of her child is in the first place. 

Father - Rey wrinkles her nose - she needs to use a different word. She idly wonders if her mother, whoever she was, made equally bad choices when it came to men. 

“I’ve got it. I know what you can tell people, Rey,” Rose sits up quickly on the top bunk of her bed, almost hitting the ceiling.

“Mmm?” Rey does not look up from her tablet. The last idea was so ridiculous that they decided to take a break from brainstorming.

“Okay,” Rose sighs and jumps. She lands on her feet. “You’re not going to like it.”

Rey looks at her expectantly.

“Tell them you don’t know who the father is.”

Rey’s eyes narrow.

“That you were unconscious and he let his stormtroopers have you. Or his Knights.”

“That is so…” 

Unspeakably vile, Rey wants to say. Unspeakably insulting to those who have been subjected to such an ordeal. And to lie about it?

Rey shakes her head.

“I know.” Rose agrees, not needing the force to read her mind, “I know it’s awful. But you need to say something. Before people come up with their own theories. And promise me you’ll go to medic - if not for the baby, then for yourself.”

Rey knows she is right. The part of her that lives in a bubble where this pregnancy does not exist is coming to an end. She isn’t quite showing yet, but her symptoms of nausea and heartburn grow worse.

Rey is irked by this development - she thought the beginning was supposed to be the worst for symptoms. She wants one last distraction before she outs herself, outs her baby, and becomes the subject of vicious gossip...again. 

“Rose? Are you going on the humanitarian mission to Masix next week?”

Rose nods slowly - she knows Rey too well and can tell where this is leading.

“Good. I’m coming too.”

Rose swears under her breath.

“You know Masix is in the outer rim - where the Knights are. It will be dangerous Rey, even if our mission is to deliver aid.”

Rey does not tell Rose that safety during war is an illusion. Sitting at the resistance base and twiddling her thumbs will not protect her or the baby. 

She needs to be on the offensive, she needs to stay sharp. 

Rose can see the resolution on Rey’s face as she goes back to swiping the tablet. Her shoulders slump.

“Promise me you’ll go to medic first. They can tell you if it’s okay to...you know, travel and stuff.”

Rey drops the attitude, the annoyance she feels towards Rose. For caring so much - for caring when she does not have to. Rey’s eyes prickle.

Kriffing hormones.

“Okay,” she agrees, “I’ll go.” 

And she will. Rey will take advantage of the recent effort the resistance puts into women’s healthcare. She feels the tiny life flicker inside her again and  knows she needs to make sure he is healthy. 

He.

Rey finds herself stunned at the realization that the tiny life is male. Her son. 

Kylo Ren's son.

Nausea floods her system and she fights it down. It never occured to Rey her connection with the baby could be this intense - that as he grows she will get to know him intimately before he is born.

She fears more than ever that Kylo will come for him.

***

Kylo runs his hands over her clothes. The ones she left behind on his ship.

The rags she prefers to wear. 

He thinks dirty little scavengers shouldn’t be allowed to be so beautiful. So fuckable.

The galaxy plays a cruel trick by binding him to a nobody, a nobody who drives him to the brink of insanity.

She is insolent and rude to him, she always has been since he first interrogated her.

It was the first time he couldn’t help himself. 

The longer he looked at her, the more he liked what he saw. He knows he didn’t have to carry her onto the ship, but he wanted to. 

Strapped to the chair he told her it gave him no pleasure to tear through her mind. He did it anyway.

She terrified him when she broke into his mind. 

In his panic he ran to Snoke, a mistake. Snoke would use her as an example. He would slowly kill her to demonstrate Kylo’s failings as an apprentice. The grandson of Darth Vader should have been able to extract information from her.

Why wouldn’t Snoke shred her to pieces? No one cares about dusty little orphan scavengers.

Except Kylo - he cared, and he still does.

Just, fuck.

Kylo rubs his temples.

All he does is brood. He broods about Rey between the attacks, the invasions, the bombings. He is mildly surprised the rumor mill that runs between the First Order and the Resistance does not reek of her pregnancy yet. 

His insider tells him she keeps it a secret.

It is deeply disappointing.    

It took him weeks to unobtrusively peer into her mind, into her dreams, trying to distinguish which base she hides at. He was unsuccessful.

The key was Rose. 

Kylo knows how women are, he knows Rey would reach out to her. 

Rose Tico. 

She works in maintenance and is shuttled from base to base. When she is seen with Rey on Base Z-131, the main base, he knows within a matter of minutes. His informants are everywhere. 

It is the best outcome he could hope for.

The next part is a delicate sequence of events. With the right balance of bribes and threats Kylo has learned almost anything is possible.

And so he waits.

He waits for Rey to go to the fucking doctor.

He waits for Rey to go to the fucking women’s clinic on Z-131 that he worked so hard to infiltrate his agent into.  

Three months - it takes Rey three months to finally go. He starts to wonder if she even cares about the health of the baby. His confidence that she will keep the baby is slightly shaken until he receives a shrouded message from Z-131.

Kylo sits on his throne in the middle of the night waiting for the hologram of his agent, Raisa, to make contact. 

Another minute ticks by and her translucent figure appears.

Kylo’s features remain cold and firm as he listens. His knuckles turn white from clenching his fists, his gritted teeth sore from the effort to remain silent as he takes in Raisa’s report.

Rey is fourteen weeks. She is healthy, the baby is healthy. She declines most testing and the baby’s sex cannot be seen physically until she is twenty weeks. 

It is when Raisa tells him Rey’s fabrication of the baby’s paternity that his hunched form exudes an animosity like acid - burning, slicing, potent. Kylo’s face is red with suppressed rage by the time Raisa finishes.

The hologram disappears. 

No one knows he is the father.

They think he runs things like an uncivilized thug. They think he would let just anyone touch her.

He is furious that Rey will let society think his child is the result of a gang rape. That such a lie is preferable over admitting he is the father. It is like swallowing fire, having to face that she is so repulsed by him.

Kylo’s child is not going to be a fucking nobody. His child does not descend from nobodies. 

He needs a distraction before he blows through the force to rage at her. 

He does not want to oversee the First Order’s mission to abduct children. He does not want to see children right now.

Kylo resolves to entertain himself by disposing of the last of the Knights. By razzing and terrorizing the helpless planets on the outer rim.

He will start with Masix, a planet rich in rare minerals and sympathetic to the resistance.

Kylo realizes he is still gripping Rey’s clothes and he throws them to the floor.

Chapter Text

***

Kylo believes more than ever that it is his destiny to be with Rey.

Raisa informs him that Rey asks about travel - asks if she can accompany the mission to deliver aid to Masix.

It is more than a coincidence, he thinks, that he also intends to pay Masix a visit. He wonders if their connection runs deeper than either of them knows. He wonders if they subconsciously feel each other’s intentions and thoughts even as the force bond sleeps.

Kylo cannot will the bond to remain dormant for long. The itch, the tingle that electrifies his veins intensifies as his shuttle makes contact with Masix.

He did not expect Rey to be so brash, so reckless. She shouldn’t be here. She is botching his long term plan.

Her lies about the baby’s paternity and her rash behavior embolden Kylo to put Rey in her place.

Kylo takes in the planet’s capital city. It rests on a massive mesa overlooking the dry environment that stretches for miles.

The streets that once thronged with life are empty. 

Gone are the food vendors and the women in their bright clothes selling handmade goods from carts and baskets. Gone are the children who play amongst the crowds with their games and laughter. Gone are the stores with their windows of fine clothing or delicacies. All he finds are dusty streets with only the wind for company.

Kylo knows why. He drives the tip of his saber into the ground as he walks in long brisk strides; sensing that the resistance evacuated as many as they could before the Knights arrive. 

Their little humanitarian run turns into a full on evacuation.

This is the Knights territory now - they attempt to set up bases on distant outer rim planets. He orders the stormtroopers to search the buildings and he makes his way to the edge of the mesa. 

Kylo senses Rey before he spots her.

Surely she knows he is here? 

He peers down the ridge and watches Rey usher citizens into a resistance shuttle craft. 

He bites his tongue hard enough to draw blood. The way she endangers herself for others is foolish. 

The ground shakes and in the distance smoke billows into the sky. A bomb. He did not give orders to detonate any bombs; it means the Knights have arrived.

He knows he can make it to Rey before they finish boarding.

Kylo begins to slide down the ridge, determined not to let her escape. 

As he gains on her, moving closer, he is surprised by the unbroken hostile stare she gives him. She shouts for the evacuees to move faster, to hurry up, and the flicker of panic he feels through the force from her is faint.

She worries for them, not for herself. He frowns. She is supposed to be frightened of him.

Kylo is more than halfway when he raises his hand and wills the force to freeze Rey where she stands. 

No you don’t.

Rey’s message startles him as much as the jolt of energy that rallies through the force. Kylo staggers back as Rey stands with her arm outstretched, blocking his attack. 

The force cracks and flashes in agitation. Another bomb goes off, closer this time.

Let us go, Kylo Ren.

Kylo leans into the force, snarling.

You endanger the baby by coming here. By denying the baby it’s true parentage. 

A third bomb detonates and Kylo watches Rey use her free hand to produce a lightsaber.

You’re negligent and reckless, Rey. 

Rey bares her teeth from the effort of holding him off.

I’m not afraid to fight you.

Kylo does not hear what she says as he spots a dozen shuttle crafts descending. They do not have First Order or rebel scum insignias. He cannot hold Rey here and fight off the Knights.

Get out of here, Rey. 

He drops his hold on the force. He watches Rey slip through his fingers as she runs up the shuttle ramp. They are gone within seconds. He leaves her one last warning.

This is not over.

Kylo means it.

***

The First Order’s confrontation with the Knights is distracted and half hearted. Kylo retreats early, unable to stop himself from reworking his approach with Rey. Kylo mentally compiles an inventory of her weaknesses: compassion, hope, the obsession with keeping families together.

Oh yes, he can use that. 

The fear of abandonment. Of others, being abandoned. Trying to save everyone. 

Kylo knows her well. 

They are strongest when they are together, when he is connected with Rey. He remembers in the forest, their foreheads pressed together, her mouth moaning his name, her hips bucking into him for more. The force humming happily at their union.

She felt it too. She just needs to feel it again. A reminder. 

Rey.  

He is met with silence.

I am going to tell the resistance the child is mine. I am going to tell them about the force bond.

That draws her attention.

You wouldn't dare. You'll place the baby and me in danger.

He tries to reason.

You’re safest with me, Rey. No one here cares who the father is. You put yourself in harms way by deceiving the rebel scum. You know what they will do if they find out.

Kylo pauses. He feels the link fade. She is shutting him out.

I want you to go to bed with me. Willingly. Or I will contact the resistance right now.

Rey laughs, but there is no humor in it.

Not a chance. You’re still delusional as ever.

Don’t be like that Rey, he coaxes, Some part of you believes I’m not unredeemable. You believe in the good in everyone. Help me. Help me show you that we are strong together. I can sense how lonely you have been. Remember how it felt in the forest?

Kylo fears that she has finally learned to not trust him.

You’re a liar.

He winces. 

Then you leave me no choice. The resistance will take the baby away.

Rey’s dread and horror pollutes the force. Rey, who longs for a family, for belonging. Rey, who was thrown away like trash. She will do anything to keep the baby. He can taste her turmoil.

You have to promise to leave us alone.

You know I can’t promise that Rey, Kylo hopes the honesty hooks her in, But I can promise to leave you alone until the baby is born.

Kylo senses her hesitation and holds his breath. He offers a bonus.

I won’t abduct children anymore. To turn into stormtroopers. I’ll create clones.

You're abhorrent, you know that? To blackmail me this way.

I know I am Rey. 

Kylo feels her impenetrable wall cracking. Fear seeps in.

You'll need to prove it first. Return the children you’ve taken to their families.

His chest tightens. That would cost him 15,841 recently acquired children. He thinks of Rey and concludes it is a small price to pay. 

I’ll hold you to this, Rey. Change your mind and you know what I'll do.

Kylo shuts down their link before she responds.

Rey.

It is wrong of him to threaten an exhausted pregnant woman. Wrong of him to threaten the removal of her baby, knowing she will error on the side of caution. Will sacrifice her dignity, her self respect to keep their child safe. He knew she would be a good mother. 

Kylo hopes he can make her feel differently - that she will remember how she feels for him.

He tries not to get excited. Rey can be cunning. 

He needs to prepare for anything.

 

***

It takes Kylo a week to return his recent acquisitions - the children - to their respective planets. He does not concern himself with the details of finding the exact parents, but he has returned them. 

His generals, officers, and captains are not brave enough to say that it is an unwise move. That creating a clone army has not been attempted for…Kylo can’t bring himself to care.

He is getting Rey back tonight.

Kylo warns her before he manifests through the force. It does not matter that they have not touched for a long time through the force - it comes naturally. Kylo appears, his raven hair wild and loose, spilling around his face. His eyes are dark and fathomless when she appears in his chambers.

He knows, on her end, that he appears in her bedroom. 

He does not want to waste any time. 

Rey’s emotions are not easily hidden on her beautiful face. She has grown more beautiful, Kylo thinks, appreciating the new soft lines gracing her body. 

Her pain at seeing him is evident in the crease of her lovely brow, at the down-curve of her full lips.

Kylo can’t help but want to feel the baby.

“Let me see.” He tries to lift her shirt.

No. I want to get this over with.”

She wounds his pride so easily.

Kylo feels the vibration of her unsteady hormones - she is serious. 

Fuck. 

“You can’t really think I’d hurt you. That I’d hurt either of you.”

“You have hurt me.” 

He hoped the hormones would make her weak and emotional but she is...furious.

“I don’t want to see your face. I want to forget that it’s you.”

“Is that right?” Kylo’s eyes flash, “If that's the case then get on all fours.”

“Do not order me around,” her cheeks are flushed.

No, he thinks - she does not get to control this. Kylo looms above Rey so that she has to tilt her head up to meet his eyes.

“I told you to get on all fours," his voice rumbles and he senses how fast her heart beats. He hates the fear she tries to hide in her eyes. His gaze softens.

“Please, Rey.” 

Rey gives him a frosty glare. 

“Turn around,” she motions with a finger, “and I’ll tell you when you can look.” 

Kylo sees the sweat gather at her temple and the words sound forced coming from her mouth. He tells himself it is the hormones making her act this way, that he is not coercing her. 

Kylo faces the wall. He drops his cloak and unzips his thick tunic. He does not bother to unwrap the black fabric around his arms. His belt hits the floor with a thud. He hears the rustle of sheets and pictures Rey climbing onto the bed.

He thinks of the resolution he made on Dathomir - his resolution to force her to submit to him. Kylo tries to convince himself she deserves it. She owes it to him.

She would not offer her cunt if she did not want this.  

He waits a beat until she tells him to turn around.

Kylo is speechless at the sight in front of him. He hasn’t touched her yet and she is already wet between her thighs - glistening.

Fucking pregnancy hormones.

He thinks he should have gotten her pregnant a lot sooner.

He tells himself her arousal is because of him.

Kylo fights to keep his labored breathing even as he kneels behind her on the bed. His erection is already thick and heavy. He leans over her, his hand brushing her stomach.  

“It turns me on, Rey. You pregnant,” he murmurs into her ear, nipping at the bottom lobe. She jerks her head away.

“Don’t kiss me. And don’t do anything weird, or...” her voice trembles.

“Have I ever been rough with you during sex?” Kylo’s warm hands grip her hips. 

“Answer me, Rey.”

“No.”

“That’s right. Tell me you want this. You wouldn’t have agreed to it otherwise. Admit it.” His fingers press into her skin as he nudges her legs apart.

His pride, his ego - he needs her to admit she wants this.

“This is about survival,” she says.

Her honest answer makes him flinch.

“You’re saying that to hurt me. I can’t do this if you’re deceiving me again, Rey.” 

Her plot to use sex to control him is fresh in his mind.

Why can’t he do the same to her, he muses darkly.

She says nothing. Kylo is glad he cannot see her face because he senses her anxiety spike as he prepares to enter her.

He tries a different approach.

“Tell me if it’s too much, Rey. Tell me to stop if it doesn’t feel good.”

It's hollow reassurance, and Kylo feels Rey's dismay that she has no choice if she wants to protect her child.

He makes a vow to be better to her when this is over. First, he needs to have her.

Kylo’s body covers hers as he eases into her from behind. It is easy because she is ripe and open, wet and ready for him. It is better than he anticipates, taking her in this position. He pumps into her and he sees Rey knuckling the sheets. He likes this view; him above her, watching himself sliding in and out of her heat.

He runs a hand down the length of her spine.

“Say it.” he demands without breaking his tempo. 

What?” She rasps. Their damp bodies press tightly against each other as they move in rhythmic unison.

“That I’ve claimed you in a way no one else can.”

“You don’t own me," the words come out sounding like a whimper.

Kylo covers her completely and laces his fingers with hers. He keeps fucking her slow and deep, pacing himself.

“You've claimed me too, you know,” he says.

He does not expect her to do what he commands, not this time. But she does not have to work so hard at being quiet, does not have to try and mute the pleasure he feels building inside her.

Kylo works to expose that pleasure.

He increases his pace, hitting something deep inside her, over and over, knowing through their link that if her mind is not responding to this, that at least her body is.

“Slow down,” she squeezes his hand hard. 

Kylo knows she is trying to deny him the satisfaction of making her climax.

He does not slow down.

“Come on Rey. Let go. Come with me.”

She can’t stop the gush of liquid that floods between her thighs. 

Fuck, Rey,” Kylo groans in response and pushes in to the hilt. He continues lightly thrusting after he comes. 

Rey turns around and presses her legs together when he retreats. She covers herself with the blanket and he senses her embarrassment. Her shame and disgust.

Kylo frowns. What they share isn’t meant to be shameful, isn’t meant to make her feel disgusting.

He should kiss her, comfort her, hold her. 

But now, he is afraid to touch her.

He is afraid this went all wrong. 

“Rey,” he says, voice deep and choked sounding, “I don't know how to love very well.” 

Kylo gently angles her chin up, searching her eyes.

“You need to know that I love you. Everything I’ve done is because I love you. I need you by my side. Please. I’ve never been so desperate to have you be mine.”

He’s resorts to begging. He throws his pride out the window and he begs

Rey’s eyes are glassy and her hair frames her face as she shakes her head. 

“No, Kylo. This isn’t love. You’re not capable of love. If you think you are, then stick to your word for once. Help me keep the baby safe. People will use and hurt him if they know you’re the father. If they know about the force bond. You’ve gotten want you want from me. Leave us alone.”

Rey disconnects the force link. Just like that. 

She is gone.

Kylo finds himself alone in his chambers. 

His bed - his mattress - it is a fucking mess.

He is a fucking mess.

Nothing he does is good enough for Rey. She rebukes him if he is cruel, rebukes him if he is kind.

Fine, he resolves bitterly.

If that’s how she wants this to play out. She has to know he will never abandon their child.

His son

Kylo is numb from shock at Rey’s slip. All this time she hid the fact that he will have a son. An heir. 

Rey does not get to make the decision to cut him out of his son’s life.

Kylo will contact as many resistance bases as he can. He will inform them Rey the scavenger lies, that it is his child she carries. That she is bound to him through the force. The resistance will deliver her to him or he will launch an all out attack. 

Kylo is willing to bet they will trade one person for the lives of many. Especially when that person is a traitor. Let them search her and find his seed between her thighs - they will never trust her again. No one from the resistance will come to Rey's rescue this time.

He is sorry it has to be this way.

The only way to have her, to have both of them, is by brute force.

Kylo cocks his head to the side when he senses her presence.

You don’t think I can’t sense your betrayal? 

Rey’s voice comes through the force loud and clear. 

I am on my way to tell your mother everything. You will never have us. 

Kylo feels the connection shut down. It is not the firm close he has experienced before - it is resolute and empty. He can’t feel her at all.

Nothing.

Frenzied and unhinged, Kylo almost trips as he runs to contacts the resistance.

His mother is one person. Even if Rey gains her sympathy the rest of the resistance will not.

This is what he tells himself. 

Chapter Text

Rey’s brave front deteriorates the second she is alone. 

She is wrong to think she can face Kylo in bed the way she faces him in battle. The experience leaves her wounded in a way she does not know how to fix. 

She can still feel the phantom of his body above hers, pressing down on her back as he buries himself inside her.

The way his hands have a vice grip on hers to immobilize her as much as possible.

She regrets telling him she does not want to see his face. The vulnerable position he chooses makes her feel exposed to the onslaught of abuses he could inflict on her - she feels too submissive. 

His focus was singular when they faced each other: he wants to occupy her body, demonstrate how he can use her over and over again. Demonstrate how easily he can manipulate Rey into serving herself to him on a silver platter. 

She knows he is not oblivious to her fear and discomfort. Rey is not cut off from his inner dialogue, the one between his guilt and his darkness. The way he uses his guilt to justify his behavior. It makes his choice to ignore her pain worse. 

The forest seems far away now. She has a hard time recalling she once enjoyed sex.

The one time, her first time. With him.

Rey resolves to take up the Jedi vow of celibacy. In matters of personal relations the code is no longer rigid in its application, but she cannot bear the thought of a man touching her like that again.

Using the back of her hand she wipes the tears that cling to her lashes. She blames herself for all of it. For thinking he might honor his promise and protect the baby. That if he couldn’t do it for her, he could do it for his own flesh and blood. 

She is wrong.

Their coupling is so recent, so fresh, that she has a hard time closing the link. His anger, his self-loathing, his virile desire for her contaminates the force. Revenge follows not far behind.

Rey knows his patterns by now. 

You don’t think I can’t sense your betrayal?  I am on my way to tell your mother everything. You will never have us. 

Somehow her message to him comes out confident and unafraid. She sounds like her old self, the Rey she is having a hard time holding onto. 

If there is anyone he fears, it is his mother - more specifically, the compassion he feels for her. 

She senses him constructing a reply and Rey wills - no she pleads - with the force to lock him out of her mind. 

The silence that follows is blissful. 

Leia, General Organa, is the heart of the Resistance. 

Rey is not proud of the excuses she fabricates over the last few months - excuses to miss meetings with Leia. She misses her, deeply, and senses Leia feels the same. The chance that Leia would sense the familial bond with the baby was too great. Now, Rey realizes, she should have known from the beginning. She hopes Leia will forgive her, can find it within herself to help her through this. 

Leia's rejection is unfathomable to Rey. 

She needs to move fast. Kylo will try to reprimand her, and his punishments reflect his anger: over the top, violent, spiraling out of control. 

Rey does not pause to wash Kylo’s scent from her body, scrub his sweat off her skin.

She packs quickly. 

She shoves the bare minimum for herself into a bag. She does not need much to survive. But someone else will.

Rey pulls out a bin from under her bed and begins sifting through the baby items she discreetly collects. All she has are a few outfits: shirts, pants, hats, and jumpers she made herself. She picks up the rattle Rose created for her and folds the long soft fabric meant to be used as a wrap from Finn.

On other planets Rey glimpsed practical and ornate items meant for babies: prams, strollers, various contraptions used for soothing. Baby clothing made from high quality fabric - not the scraps of material she scavenges on various resistance bases. She wishes she could provide better for her baby, but what she has will have to do.

It hits Rey that if she needs to run from the Resistance and the First Order she will be doing this alone. A burst of grief floods her system that Kylo is too far gone to be the partner she is going to need. That he is too wicked and irredeemable. 

She hates to leave without seeing Rose. Rey makes a last minute decision to stop by Finn’s apartment. Both of them were assigned to the same mission weeks ago and she hopes the debriefing is finished. 

The turbolift feels like it takes hours instead of minutes to reach the first floor and Rey hastily exits, muttering sorry to the strangers she bumps into. 

She is seconds from knocking on Finn's door when she hears Rose speaking. She should feel relief that they are together, but the tone - the words she overhears causes her throat to constrict. Gently, she presses her ear against the door. 

“She needs help leaving him Finn. She’s still talking to him. I can tell. He’s got his claws into her deep.” 

Rey hears a low voice that must belong to Finn. She can’t make out his words but it sounds like they end in a question.

“No,” she hears Rose again, “She doesn’t love him. Gross. But he knows how to get to her.” 

Another response from Finn, followed by Rose.

“Yes it’s his baby, dummy. What? No. She says he didn’t. She thought he was Ben. You can’t tell anyone. I’m serious.”

Rey’s brain stutters for a moment. Rose has no right to share any of that.

She wants to barge into the room but she is not ready to face Finn. She is not ready to look into his eyes and tell him she slept with the man who split his spine open. Who coldly hunts down the resistance, who orders entire planets bombed on a whim.

No, she is not ready for that.

Rey runs as fast as her body allows her to.

She bolts down the hallway, quickening her pace to an all out sprint. She runs through the path of of resistance shuttles being repaired and people stare and shout, asking if she is okay. Rey does not hear them.

She needs to get to Leia. 

Gasping for air, Rey gives the doors to the building that house Leia’s department a hard yank. Her clothes and hair are slick with perspiration, clinging to her skin. She feels her heart throbbing inside her chest as she approaches Leia’s personal office. Rey simultaneously knocks on the office door and opens it.

And there are faces - so many faces - and hardly any she recognizes. All of them in various military uniforms, all of them donning the Resistance insignia. They sit around a long oval table.

“I...I am looking for General Organa.” She curses herself for not checking in with Leia’s secretary.

A man wearing a smooth blue uniform stands. He is older and Rey’s memory pegs him as General Holte from the Resistance base on Matanbu. He is known to be severe but effective.

His eyebrows arch when he speaks but he does not appear surprised.

“Rey. The General will be here soon. Come in,” he says briskly.

Rey thinks it sounds too much like an order. She does not budge. She is tired of men trying to control her. It does not occur to her that he calls her by name.

“I can come back another time. Sorry to interrupt,” she turns to leave when General Holte rounds the table and swiftly crosses the room.

The quiet malice in his eyes does not enter his voice when he lightly grasps her wrist.

“We are all here because we were contacted by Supreme Leader Ren. He shared some interesting information.”

General Holte quietly shuts the door and leads Rey inside. She spots binders hanging off of his belt.

“Now,” he continues, “Ren is a known liar, but we need to take precautions. Have a seat, Rey.”

She can’t stop staring at his binders. 

Holte pulls out a chair and leans into her ear as he guides her to into the chair. 

“Come here, wild cat. Take a seat. Kylo Ren says you are quite the feral creature,” he says in a soft voice. 

Rey stiffens. He is a cruel man. She tries to calm herself and closes her eyes, she feels the force vibrate through her. She will use it to protect herself, to protect the baby if she has to.

General Holte stands at the head of the long table.

“Thank you, everyone, for arriving on such short notice. The intel we have received is indeed distressing. Rey," he looks to her, "Is it true that you have been communicating with Kylo Ren for the duration of the war? Is it also true you are pregnant with his child? You may answer each question separately. Failure to comply will result in immediate detainment.”

The room is silent.

Rey meets him dead in the eye. 

“I will only speak with General Organa.” 

A quick malicious gleam crosses Holte’s face. 

“Very well,” he releases the binders from his belt and hands them to a guard. “Search and bind her.”

Rey reaches for her lightsaber when another voice enters the scene: not loud but cracking with authority and experience. With anger.

“General Holte, you will do no such thing. This is unseemingly and shameful. All of you, get the hell out of my office.”

Rey almost sobs with relief. She is sobbing with relief.

The voice belongs to General Organa.  

Chapter Text

 ***

“General Organa, this young woman has been conspiring with Kylo Ren.  Just look at the proof - what he has done to her,” General Holte’s canines flash through a smile that is not kind. He looks at Rey like he is hungry, like he has found the perfect prey. 

Leia is not shaken in the slightest. 

“I will handle the situation appropriately, Holte. I trust that you have not forgotten Rey’s vital role in the Resistance.”

Holte’s expression is grave.

“Indeed. I have not forgotten the role force users play. But there is a gross lie here, a great deception taking place under our noses.”

He takes a step towards Rey.

“She is so young, perhaps it is not her fault. Your son is considerably deranged, is he not? I would not blame the girl if he cast some spell over her.”

“That’s not how the force works,” Rey spits at him. He strides over to her, angry, when Leia blocks his path.

“That is enough Holte. Leave us.”

The door closes and the room falls silent.

“Thank you,” Rey says quietly. Leia turns and her smile - it is small and sad. 

“Holte is an unpleasant man and I am sorry he got as far as he did. Sit down, Rey.” Leia motions to the now empty chairs.

Rey sits, unsure of how to approach this. Leia has heard, surely, that her pregnancy is the result of the terrible lie she and Rose created. Rey glances down at her hands before meeting Leia’s eyes.

“The baby…”

“I know.”

“You know?” Rey’s mind goes blank with panic. 

“Rey - I know my son. I know of his interest in you. I know it's more than an interest. What I don’t understand is how this happened. I can’t help you unless you tell me.”

Leia wants to help her. Rey clings this fact desperately. 

“Is it true you’ve been talking with him for the past year?” 

Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t kriffing cry in front of Leia, Rey repeats internally. She swallows hard.

“Yes. Through the force. He...he contacted me shortly after he killed Hux. He said he wanted to leave the Order and asked me to help him.”

Rey burns with shame and continues.

“I met him at the old base in the Corporate system and I...we...in the past our relationship was complicated. I cared for him as Ben, and when I thought he was returning...well I must have cared for him a great deal more than I realized.” 

“I can see that,” Leia’s gaze rests on Rey’s belly. 

Rey feels the growing heat on her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers, “I made a terrible mistake. I never should have met up with him alone. I never should have kept our communications a secret.” She can tell Leia wants to ask her about the force, ask about how it is different from the way they sense each other. She mentally scrambles to find a way to explain it when Leia walks around the table and sits next to her.

It occurs to Rey that as his mother, Leia understands the pain and disappointment that Kylo is not coming home. She clasps Rey’s hands in her own, her tone warm.

“I am not angry with you Rey. I know what it is like to have a child during wartime - and it is not easy. Kylo contacted numerous top ranking officers in the Resistance. He demands we bring you to him or he will attack."

Rey tenses. Leia shakes her head.

“We do not negotiate with Kylo Ren. He would find a reason to attack us regardless, Rey. You cannot blame yourself for his behavior.”

Rey appreciates Leia’s sincerity but she does take responsibility for his threats. 

Leia draws in a long breath.

“Not everyone feels the way I do. You saw Holte. Rey, I want you to consider going into hiding. At least until the Order is finished.” The older woman touches Rey’s face tenderly, “I cannot allow harm to come to you or my grandchild, whether it is at the hand of my son or someone within the Resistance."

Her grandchild. The thought that Leia is family almost breaks Rey.

Rey cannot picture herself abandoning the resistance. Hiding, waiting it out, not helping. Leaving the place she considers home, only to be alone again.

Leia is right, though.

The Resistance needs to focus on the First Order and the Knights. Not on her.

“Okay,” she responds, “tell me what I need to do.”

Leia checks that her office door is locked and the two begin to plot Rey’s escape.

Rey wants to tell Leia that the baby is a boy, that he is strong with the force. She wants to ask Leia if she felt Ben's power in her womb. She wants to ask how to survive being pregnant during wartime.

Rey has an endless well of questions and she senses Leia does too. It is simply not possible right now.

There is no time to waste, no space for sentimentality.

They both understand this.

***

Kylo wishes Rey did not ruin his plans to leave her alone.

He contacts Resistance leaders one at a time.

He starts with those he knows to be corrupt, those he has bribed and exchanged intel with in the past. He ends with those who think the world of Rey, who refuse to believe what he says despite the crestfallen edge that enters their voice when he finishes speaking.

Rey’s good name is being dragged through the mud, her reputation falling apart. 

It is not personal, it is just business. She will see that she does not need the scum that is the resistance - all she needs is him. 

Kylo does not like how the force blinds him to Rey. 

He is unable to push past it, unable to pry their connection open.

He must have really hurt her. Kylo sighs. He is always hurting her.

It might have been helpful, he thinks, if he asked how she was feeling first. He has not considered how she is coping with the pregnancy, does not think to ask if there is anything he can do to help. He needs to remedy that.

The stricken expression on her face when he ordered her onto his bed is cemented in his mind. Her heart never stopped hammering in her chest, her adrenaline never left her system. Rey hates being dominated, hates being commanded. She is independent. 

Kylo wants to respect this, wants her to be his equal. Yet deep down he would rather she regard him as her - he can’t find the right word. Not teacher, not master, not owner. 

Kylo just needs Rey to accept that he is in charge when it comes to their intimate relationship. They will rule together, but it is his job to protect her, to take care of her. He decides what happens in the bedroom.

Still.

Kylo realizes he went about their last coupling all wrong.

Fucking her felt too good. He has to take what he can get. Who knows when he will have her again? She left his thighs and his sheets soaking wet. Kylo did not know women were capable of that - he has a lot to learn.

It is not his fault her body was made to be submissive to him. She is a woman. 

Rey’s petite frame left nothing to the imagination. The physical changes he saw and felt on her body make it real to him.

The concept of her pregnancy is no longer abstract. 

Kylo still cannot believe she chooses to carry his baby to term. 

His baby.

He wonders how in the hell she is going to last another five months. 

After the resistance delivers her to him - and they will-  he needs to demonstrate that he is ready to be a father. 

Kylo’s fingers drum the screen in front of him. He does not know much about babies. They are small and loud, demanding and fatiguing. 

A lot like Rey. 

It frightens him, a little, that Rey has the ability to carry and birth life. She is too powerful. 

Kylo thinks about her last visit to his flagship. He did not give her the warm welcome she deserved. He did try, but she ended up tied to his bed, thrown into a cold cell. 

Kylo is ashamed at the memory as he summons Captain Witt to his chambers.

He needs to make it up to Rey.

When Captain Witt arrives, he orders her to obtain the necessities needed for an infant. His child will have the absolute best and Rey will want for nothing. 

Captain Witt has been forgoing sleep trying to organize a Clone Army and the change in orders shocks her. 

Kylo is not finished. He has a few specifications that he makes with Rey in mind.

If he had it his way, droids would watch over the baby in a separate room. Any child of Ren will not be coddled, will not be weak. 

But he knows Rey.

He orders Witt to place whatever crib she finds next to the bed in his private chambers. He knows firsthand that Rey likes to fucking snuggle. That she is soft, that she will coddle their son. She will probably bring the baby into their bed. Kylo sighs again.

With reservations he will allow it - for a little while. 

He wants her to be happy. 

If she obeys him, she will be.

As much as he wants Rey to embrace the darkness within, it is her commitment to the light that turns him on - that draws him to her. It is the way she thinks everyone can be good, even someone as deplorable as him.

She needs to stay that way, she needs to keep him balanced. This is why he will tailor the room to her needs, to the baby's needs. His approach needs to be soft with her this time around. He needs to hold back from fucking her again until she is ready. 

Kylo is about to make another specification when his comlink flashes. Irritated, he smacks it.

What?”

“Supreme Leader,” the voice belongs to Krog, “General Holte requests to speak with you.”

“Patch him through.”

Kylo dismisses Captain Witt and hears static before Holte speaks. 

“Kylo Ren,” he forgoes Kylo’s formal title, “I want to inform you that the Knights have offered me a considerable sum of money in exchange for the scavenger. Unless you can surpass it, I regret to inform you that I must accept their bribe over yours. You should know there are numerous bounties being offered for the scavenger and your child.” 

Kylo blinks.

He will not play this game.

“Congratulations, General,” Kylo says, voice low and monotone, “You have just guaranteed your death at my hands.” 

Holte thinks because Kylo purchases weapons from him once that he can make demands like this?

A foolish decision, and it will be his last. 

Kylo realizes the bigger problem. The Knights want Rey. Others want to benefit from her situation as well. They want his child.

Kylo wets his dry lips. It will be fine, he tells himself. 

It is not fine.

He can't keep fucking up like this.

He assaults the force with panicked fervor but he does not sense her. Rey is effective at keeping him locked out. 

Kylo does not have time to wait for the resistance to surrender Rey to him. Not while others seek her out.

He activates his comlink and orders the flagship to enter hyperspace. 

He will pay Resistance base Z-131 a visit.

He will do whatever it takes to get his hands on Rey, and he confirms with Krog that they are loaded to the hilt with weapons.

 

***

 

Chapter Text

The attack begins in the dead of night. 

Rey feels the force crack apart, warping and twisting. She squeezes her eyes shut, wanting to will what she knows is coming away. It does not work and his masked face appears in her mind. 

Stay away from the ships and barracks, Rey. Don’t be reckless.

Rey is gathering her items. She is in Leia’s office where they spent the remainder of the day organizing her escape. They go through the motions of processing Rey for conspiring with Supreme Leader Ren. It is an unfortunate bureaucratic policy Leia has to follow. Rey understands, though.

She firmly believes her actions should not incriminate Leia. Holte and those who agree with him are building their own case against Rey, and she will not see Leia dragged down with her.

Rey speaks for hours into the recording device. The force bond, his deception, the forest, the throne room - all of it. It feels like a confession.

She does not know it will be sent to the archives where in decades to come others will listen to the story of Rey the scavenger and the mad Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.

When it is done Leia confiscates Rey’s lightsaber, but it is temporary, only a formality. Leia will not send her away completely defenseless. The Falcon will wait for Rey in the woods - along with her saber, with supplies, with enough fuel to get her the hell out of here. 

Leia urges Rey to rest for a while - to sleep, to eat, and she orders food for Rey with weary understanding. Halfway through her pregnancy and Rey is starting to feel it. The fatigue, the back pain, the restless nights. The baby’s force energy - growing stronger everyday - worries Rey. But she can’t waste energy worrying right now.

The homing beacon Leia gave her flashes on her wrist and she finishes packing. Rey slings her satchel over her back and runs outside.

She is met with unspeakable chaos.

There are enormous explosions where the evacuation ships are stationed. Windows shatter, smoke and fire rise into the air. Thousands of pieces of glass and steel, a deadly rainfall, shower down. Alarms - shrill and deafening- erupt throughout the base.

The First Order is here, swooping in and bombing the shit out of the Resistance. 

The Resistance has trained for this, has run through countless drills to prepare for this inevitable kind of attack.

Inevitable Rey thinks, but she blames herself. He takes out his wrath on innocent lives because he wants her. 

Rey pants through the smoke, fleeing past a block of apartment buildings when a whistle sounds through the air. 

A bomb drops and a huge bite is taken out of the building - she hears screams. The sounds stop her in her tracks, she needs to run inside and search for survivors.

But the flutter - the tiny kick she feels in her body - she can’t risk it.

You’re a coward to bomb people while they sleep.

Rey careens around a corner, feet hitting the last of the pavement as she enters the woods.

Those aren’t from us. 

She glances up through the tree branches, squinting to get a better look at the low flying ships.

The Knights?

Yes, she hears Kylo answer her through the force. Surrender yourself Rey. It is not safe.

Not safe? She balks as she runs through the trees. If he wanted her safe he would not bomb them, would not unknowingly bring the Knights here. He would leave her alone. Her heart hurts at the thought of not seeing Rose, Finn, or Poe as she cuts through low brush. The thought of them getting hurt or worse...it is unbearable.

The Falcon is in her line of sight and renewed hope kindles inside Rey. All thoughts are banished from her mind as she sprints towards it. 

Suddenly there is a familiar swooping sensation in her stomach, as if she misses a step on a flight of stairs. She grapples for something to steady herself but her feet continue to fall downward.

Rey feels something invisible wrap around her midsection and she stops in mid-air.

No. Please, no. 

Her eyes clamp shut, she feels herself being pulled up and set on her feet again. Without thinking, she wraps her arms around what pulls her up, as though hoping for support. It is solid and strong. Against her cheek she feels and hears a heartbeat pounding as quickly as hers. 

Kylo Ren.

 ***

Kylo tracks Rey from his TIE silencer. He pounds at the force, unrelenting until it splits and the connection beats between them once again.

It feels good. It feels like home.

The resistance tries to brace itself against a double assault - against the Order and the Knights. They trail Kylo here, he knows. He can sense their thirst for revenge.

Rey, however, is predictable. He knows her. He flies low, her life force calling to him.

It is the Falcon he sees first - hidden in a clearing. This can only be his mother's doing.

He leaves his TIE a mile away from the Falcon in the opposite direction - she cannot know he is this close.

He removes his mask and he waits. 

Kylo hears her moving through the woods, her breathing harsh and ragged. She is moving too fast, she does not sense him as she brushes right past him.

Her haste costs her and she trips, about to fly forward into a ditch.

Kylo lazily turns his hand, stopping her mid-air. She grasps for something to hold onto - and it is him.

She looks up and meets his face. She screams

“I told you not to be reckless, Rey. What would you do in the woods, pregnant, and with a broken ankle?”

She says nothing as he takes the satchel off her back, searching for weapons.  

He finds baby clothes - and turns them over curiously in his hands.

“You call this being prepared for a baby?” He throws the clothes on the ground, onto the dirt. “No child of mine will wear rags like these.”

Rey’s eyes shoot daggers at him.

“They aren’t rags. I made them.”

“I can tell. They are fit for dirty poor scavengers - for the lowest of society. Not for any child of mine.”

Rey tenses.

“I’m glad you’re finally being honest about how you really feel about me.” 

He decides to punish her for leaving him.

“What do you want me to say, Rey? That I enjoy being attracted to a girl who spent her days digging through trash to survive? Who is trash? That it is your pretty face and your power that saves you? That if you were a man, if you were not so beautiful, I would kill you? I would kill you for the power you possess.”

Kylo's words cut through Rey like knives. He knows instantly from the look in her eyes that they hit their mark. 

“Do you have any idea,” Kylo backs her up against a tree, “What the sound of just your voice does to me? What your tight little cunt does to me?” He roughly grips Rey by the forearms, his lips smashing against hers, his tongue pushing past her clenched teeth to the moist space within.

“Is this how you want me to talk to you?” Kylo breaks the kiss, out of breath. He tugs her closer to him. 

“Is this how you want me to treat you? Do you want me to treat you like the monster you think I am? Keep you locked away and out of sight -  take you out when I feel like playing with you? No one in the Resistance will help you now. They understand what you really are.” 

Discarded garbage. Dirty, discarded scavenger garbage. 

Kylo pauses when the pain he feels radiating from her is overwhelming. 

His violence is in his words. He knows everything about her, every perceived flaw, every vulnerability and he knows where to put the pressure. Kylo reminds Rey of her worst memories, of the times she felt most abandoned. 

Rey opens her mouth to speak but only manages to gulp out a sob. She tries to wrap her arms protectively around her belly, around the baby.

“I can Rey. I will, if that is what you want. If you do not obey me. Please, don’t make me treat you like that, don’t make me say such terrible things.”

Kylo lowers his hands from her forearms to rest on her hips. The tension leaves his face, his features soft when he speaks to her.

“You are a scavenger from nowhere, but I meant it when I said you’re not nothing to me. You’re everything to me. Please, Rey. Let me love you.”

Rey slowly mirrors his movements and her hands tentatively find his waist. 

Kylo’s pulse quickens. It has been a long time since she initiated anything. He does not understand it. Does she like it when he is nasty to her, when he is reprehensible? Can she sense his self-hatred in the way he treats her?

 Rey is not in a rush as her hands lightly caresses his back. 

“Kylo,” Rey lifts her chin up, her hazel eyes wide and wet, “I meant it. I meant it when I said you will never have us.” 

Rey’s small hand closes around the handle of his saber, yanking it from the hilt of his belt. Kylo falls back, barely dodging it as she swings it around and ignites the blade. 

Rey holds the tip of it just under his chin.

Kylo remains motionless and sneers.

“You won’t kill me. You can’t bring yourself to do it.” 

She could though, Kylo knows she is more than capable. He enjoys provoking her. Rey’s fury burns with dangerous intensity and he feels the heat from the saber on his neck. 

“I would rather see you suffer the consequences of your actions in a cell.” 

She forces him backwards, towards the Falcon, the saber never far from his body. She intends to bring him to the Resistance as a prisoner.

Kylo laughs cruelly.

“This is going to keep happening, Rey, if you don’t kill me. These games we play of chasing each other.”

Kylo’s eyes flicker towards a shadow of movement behind her. 

“Not this time,” she says, “the Order thinks you’re mad. The Resistance is stronger than ever. I might not kill you but I will wound you, Kylo Ren. I will stop you from trying to overpower me. Get onto the ship.”

Fuck.

Just Fuck.  

Who is she to speak to him this way? 

Rey hisses between her teeth.

“Tell me you will behave, Kylo Ren. Promise me.” She continues to prod him and he stumbles. The saber makes contact with the collar of his tunic - it sizzles.

Kylo knows he is catching a glimpse of the Rey who killed one of his knights. He does not appreciate hearing his words from her lips. 

“Stop, Rey. This is not who you are.”

Another flicker of movement, this time from up in the trees.

“Oh? Who am I, then?” 

There is a break in Kylo’s usually flawless tone when he speaks.

“Behind you, Rey.” 

She turns in time to see two former Knights of Ren silently drop to the ground from the trees. Kylo knows he can take both of them on but his chest tightens as soldiers appear behind his fallen Knights. He counts six soldiers - he can work with that -  but they keep coming. Their numbers count to fifteen, thirty...and he stops keeping track. They are all armed. 

Rey needs to escape.

“Give me the saber and get onto the ship,” he orders. 

Rey falters  - Kylo senses she does not know what is worse - to be captured by the Knights or by him. 

“Supreme Leader,” a mocking voice fills the air. A Knight with a double ended saber approaches. “You seem to be at a disadvantage. And you,” he turns to Rey, “are coming with us.”

Rey stands very, very still.

“Come now, scavenger. Before I decide to cut that abomination from your body.”

Kylo’s heartbeat strangles in his throat when he hears the threat spoken to his Rey, to his son.

He senses Rey’s defeat as she deactivates the saber.

Kylo is ready.

Without missing a beat, without a word, he sweeps out his arm and his lightsaber returns to his hand. 

It does not do him much good - all of the might the Knights bring with them, the guards and the soldiers - they are focused on Rey. Kylo does not like the amusement that enters the Knights voice when he speaks.

“Thank you, Kylo Ren, for alerting us to this resistance base,” he calls for a guard to tie Rey’s wrists together, "Though, we did have some help from your side of things," he addresses Rey.

Kylo knows he means Holte. 

“And thank you, Kylo Ren, for this lovely parting gift. I am looking forward to finding out why you are willing to destroy the galaxy for her. Why you enjoy her so much. I look forward to meeting your child. Don't think of moving, Supreme Leader - I will not hesitate to kill her if you do."

He is serious. Kylo watches helplessly as Rey is escorted onto their craft. The hatch closes.

He does not care that he is grossly outnumbered - he will fight for her. For his son.

The Knight's remaining soldiers close in on him. Kylo knows he is Rey’s only chance - he bolts into the Falcon and prepares to chase their ship.

Don’t.

He hears Rey’s light tilt again - that accent.

I would rather take my chances with them than be alone with you. 

Kylo ignores what her words do to his heart.

Rey can’t prefer those demons to him. He has not been that horrendous to her. That unforgivable.

Has he?

 

Chapter Text

“Her binders are on tight?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” 

Rey sits on a bench in the small shuttle, beads of sweat running down her face. She is not the only one. Next to her Holte sits gagged and bound. The style similar to the one the Knights used on her during her time on Kylo’s flagship.

“Do we still need him?” 

“No. He served his purpose.”

Rey senses Holte’s stinking terror that he is about to be disposed of. His eyes dart in their sockets, silently begging for Rey to help him, to save him. Sweat soaks his uniform and he can’t stop the muffled squeal in his throat.

Rey holds up her constrained wrists to him as if to say, Can’t you see? We’re both screwed.

A small hatch opens and Holte squirms in earnest now. 

She hates to be a witness to this. Hates to watch a person, even one as rotten as Holte, in pain. One of the Knights - the one that wields a double edged saber - saunters over and gruffly lifts Holte to his feet. The hatch widens and Rey sees only black sky outside. She can’t sit back and watch this happen - watch someone be murdered without doing something

“Don’t! Don’t kill him!”

Why is she begging for this man’s life - what can she possibly do? Rey stands, chest rising and falling heavily.

The Knight laughs and kicks Holte through the hatch. 

She closes her eyes.

“Sit down, Rey. We are about to enter hyperspace.”

“Ren wants to patch through,” the second Knight calls back from the cockpit. The fear in his tone does not go unnoticed by Rey. For all their taunting, the Knights are still afraid of Kylo Ren. She watches as the Knight in front of her removes his mask and tosses it to the ground. 

“Tell him we will return her to him, one piece at a time, if he follows us. Tell him,” the Knight walks over and tilts her chin up, “We will start with her pretty little nose.” 

Another laugh from the cockpit.

“No,” the owner of the laughing voice replies, “I’ll tell him you’re holding her head down between your legs. Tell him it's my turn next.”

Their cold laughter returns. 

The face of the Knight threatening her is young - younger than she expects - he must be close to her age. His face is angular and sharp, his hair so light it appears platinum. Based on the slender build of his neck she assumes the rest of him is lean. 

The ship lurches forward into hyperspace and the fair haired Knight paces in front of her.

“You will not contact Ren through the force. Or I really will be forced take you apart. Understand?”

Rey can’t stop herself from spitting at this sadistic creature. Dead in the eye. He wipes her spit and sneers.  

“Oh, you are feral. One of his favorite words he uses to describe you. During our daily briefings he talked about you for hours Rey. We had to listen to him drone on about you for years. You see Rey,” he opens his arms in front of her, "We are practically family.”

When he reaches to stroke her belly she gnashes her teeth, attempting to keep him at bay by any means possible. It does not work. He roughly seizes her face by her cheeks and squeezes.

“I can sense how strong with the force you are. It must take a substantial amount of effort to subdue you.” 

Rey’s breathing snarls in her throat.

“What do you want with me?”

The Knight drops to his haunches so that he is at eye level with her.

“We want you to kill Kylo Ren.”

Idiots, Rey thinks. 

“You could have easily killed him at the Resistance base.”

A small, fierce smile curls on the Knight’s lips.

“Where is the fun in that? It will be far more satisfying at your hand. For all of us.”

“You mean for both of you,” Rey says, reminding him that two Knights remain. The rest of the Knights are dead. 

At Kylo’s hand...and her own. 

“Admit it,” he ignores her comment, talking quietly, “A part of you hates him. Wants to kill him. We can help you, Rey. We want to help you take revenge.” 

Rey’s spine goes rigid and she looks ahead, straight through him. The Knight rises. 

“You must feel so used, Rey. Max and I, we understand. We understand what it is to be at the whim of a petulant child. The First Order was nothing more than a front for his obsession with you. And how does he treat you?” 

Rey’s furious breath comes out in short bursts. She will not give him the satisfaction. He looks her over appraisingly. 

“He defiles you, fills you with his spawn. You’re meant to become his prop, a beautiful fixture in his throne room. He is not interested in sharing power, Rey. Not truly. He never has been. Did he tell you he loved you? More lies.”

Rey wills herself to stay strong. 

She recognizes this kind of talk - the manipulation, the cruelty disguised as sympathy.

Rey thinks Kylo has trained his Knights well. They might despise him, but they model his abusive behavior impeccably. 

The Knight pulls her forward by her binders as they arrive at their destination: a large craft she assumes acts as their flagship.

“Welcome to the New Order, Rey. Max will escort you to your chambers - and again, do not think of running. Let’s keep that baby alive for now. Yes?” 

Rey grinds her teeth. The Knights are right about one thing - she is tired of being used - by everyone. 

She will take on these bastards herself. 

He turns her over to the Knight called Max. He leads her down the ramp and onto an old ship. Rey recognizes the atmosphere they enter - or rather - she senses it. They are back in the outer rim, orbiting Dathomir.  

“You feel it,” Max says, “Dathomir. It’s darkness makes us stronger.” 

Rey knows. She felt it the first time on the damned planet. Someone else feels it too - the baby rolls in reaction to the change in energy. 

Stay balanced, little one, she urges.

The ship is a hive of dark energy. Stormtroopers and life forms she has never seen stare at her arrival. A few of them nod in her direction, confusing Rey.

Max smirks.

"You arrive here as our ally. Our soldiers are excited to see you join us." 

It is downright eerie as a trooper salutes her.

They turn a corner and Max enters a code outside of a door. The room laid out before her is empty, save for a mattress and blankets. The fresher has no door, and it is filthy.  

“You will rest here until dinner. With us. We will discuss Ren’s assassination. You know what will happen if you do not cooperate.” 

The doors slide shut and Rey looks around the space. 

Rey.

His voice enters her mind.

Are you okay? Are you hurt?

She ignores him.

You cannot trust them.

She tries to shut him out.

I am sorry for everything I said. I will rescue you. 

He’s a fucking liar. Rey seethes. 

She succeeds in shutting him out. 

Scouring the room, she looks for a way out, but it is useless. Dining with Kylo Ren’s corrupt Knights - the concept is laughable. What game can they possibly be playing?

The homing beacon flashes on her wrist and Rey thinks it is strange they do not inspect her for weapons or valuables. 

It is only when Max returns and announces with a smile that she will be the entertainment at dinner that she understands. They were trained by Kylo Ren. They mean to humiliate her until she breaks, until she gives them what they want. They mean to goad her until she gives into her own darkness and becomes a monster like them.

Rey will not let this happen. 

Chapter Text

***

Navigating the Falcon allows Kylo to move through the Resistance base with ease.

He informs his Generals that he is the pilot and to focus on the Knight’s army. He wants every one of their ships driven into the ground, every one of their soldiers dead. 

He will take no prisoners.

The result is devastating for the Resistance. The base becomes the battleground for the war between the First Order and the Knight’s military. Multiple neighborhoods are wiped out. The medic ward, food supply warehouse, the education center for children. All annihilated. Never mind the Resistance's crafts - most of them bombed into oblivion. 

Once Kylo would have been thrilled with the results. This time he feels indifferent, if not a little apologetic.

Rey will not be happy. Her friends might be dead.

Kylo flies low, his turns sharp as he avoids open fire. The carnage, the casualties he glances below him - it is bad. 

He commands General Krog to hold back on detonating their most destructive bombs. Kylo wants to hit the Knight’s flagship with his most powerful weapons. He orders Krog to prep the dreadnoughts on all of his ships, to ready the fleet.

Kylo slants the Falcon upwards into the sky and hears the comlink beep. 

He leaves it, not wanting to hear any further provocations from the Knights.

Revenge festers inside him at their betrayal, their mutinous behavior. It gnaws at his soul - if he has one - unceasing until he settles the score between the Knights and himself. Former Knights.

Damien and Max. An unlikely duo. He always did have to watch the pair closely.

They never liked each other much. Their alliance must be out of desperation. Kylo’s eyes darken as he recalls the praise he would bestow on Damien for inventing the most delicious torture methods. Slow, agonizing, torture that would leave their victims not begging for mercy, but death. 

Max. He would have made for a solid Knight if he were not so gluttonous. Forever gorging himself on the slew of vices Kylo bans from the Order: whores, alcohol, pills - pills that would cause him to wander the halls of the flagship in a dazed trance. Sloppy. Weak.

Kylo knows under different circumstances Rey could take on the Knights. But not now. He’s seen to that - and this is not a realization Kylo is proud to admit. 

She is pregnant and not herself. Angry and clumsy - almost tripping in the forest. She lacks her usual sharp awareness when she fails to sense him near.

The baby clothes he tosses away. Her expression when he calls her trash. 

As usual, he goes too far with her - he always does. 

He only wants to test her. He only wants to make sure she still feels for him. 

The pain, the waves of grief that wash over and through her when he verbally tears her down prove to Kylo that she still cares. The day Rey reacts to his words with indifference will be the day he loses her, will be the day she truly stops harboring feelings for him. 

“And I don’t love you. Not anymore. You've done a thorough job of destroying it.” 

Her previous declaration still eats away at him. He had her love. He damn well had it.

Kylo tells himself she did not mean it. She was upset when she spoke. Reactive. Unbalanced. Rey loves him and always will. It is her curse, her cross to bear, and it is time he gets serious about making it more bearable for her.

Kylo broods over his inability to keep Rey and his unborn son safe. The way his unbridled rage rules him, dictates his poor choices. Kylo knows he is right not to redeem himself. To think he is capable of it. 

He is not. 

Kylo can fake being good for a while, but he eventually reverts back to his true nature. He wishes he could change this, especially for Rey, but it is a dead end.

The comlink will not stop flashing and he throws a punch at it. He braces for Krog or the Knight’s voice to come through the speakers. Instead a high pitched tone fills his ears.

“Rey? Rey? Can you hear me? Tell me you’re okay! Leia said you’re in the Falcon…” the voice cuts out and Kylo’s blood runs cold at the mention of his mother. The shaky voice continues, “We’re going to bunker 78 on the westside. I repeat 78 on the westside. I’m evacuating the infirmary…”, more static, “Finn…flying with Poe...meet us at 78 if you can, can you...confirm…you’re okay?”

Kylo keeps completely silent while he pings Rose’s location - the location of the infirmary she is evacuating.

When he obtains her location the Falcon lurches in the opposite direction of the flagship. The little she-devil, Rose, will make for excellent bait in the event that Rey resists him.

No, no. Kylo stops. He reminds himself he will make life bearable for Rey. 

He is proud of his ability to reel himself in. 

Rose will be a present for Rey, a peace offering. Not bait - he will not threaten Rose’s safety. She will be Rey’s only female companion. When Rose is not under lock and key, the two can bond under the steadfast observation of stormtroopers. 

The Falcon cautiously docks amongst rubble and smoke. Kylo disembarks and it is dark, the night still so deep - that Rose bolts forward onto the Falcon’s ramp. 

“Rey! Oh my god, you’re okay! Is the baby...” Rose runs right up against his chest. She glances up and her skin turns pale, horror gracing her features.

“Hello Rose.”

Before she has a chance to scream, a chance to reach for her blaster, he flicks his hand and she passes out. 

Kylo does not carry her the way he carried Rey. He drags Rose by the leg, unceremoniously, onto the ship. As the ramp closes he hears confused and scared cries outside.

Kylo’s laugh is low and throaty.

Once she is properly restrained he resumes his path to the First Order flagship and to rescue Rey.

She will be grateful and relieved to see him. The spite she spews - that she prefers the captivity of the Knights to him is a lie. Rey will embrace him, kiss him, she will shower him with enthusiastic affection in bed. 

After all, Kylo thinks, he deserves it for being her hero.

 

*******

Rey hardens herself as she follows Max to dinner. With his mask off he flashes her toothy smiles - smiles too wide, too unnatural to be comforting. They are to discuss Kylo’s assassination and she will be the entertainment - whatever that means. He asks her if she wants another baby after this one. Her skin crawls.

Rey tries to fight the feeling of emotional bankruptcy. That there is nothing left to feel, nothing left to say, nothing left but the void enveloping her mind in swirling blackness. 

She closes her eyes. She cannot let the dark atmosphere of Dathomir draw her into a depression, into hopelessness. Rey is stronger than these men - no - these perverted little boys. 

The doors open and Rey finds herself in a circular decaying chamber that must have been magnificent at some point. The room is packed with men sitting in chairs around the perimeter. Thick smoke fills her nostrils, choking her, and she hears glasses clinking, alcohol spilling. The floor is sticky and smells of urine. She walks forward, head held high. 

When the smoke parts she notices the women present. All nearly naked, they strut around the chamber delivering drinks. Some of them sit on the laps of men. Rey senses they are not here by choice. 

This Order is the opposite of Kylo Ren's clean, stark, obsessively polished flagship. Rey's nostrils flare in disgust.

The fair haired Knight sits on a throne. A ghost of a smile flickers across his face.

“Rey. Welcome. Come here,” he hooks a finger and wags it as though she were a dog. He scowls when she does not move.

“I said, come here, ” he calls on the force to move her to his throne. 

Rey is faster. If she can defeat Kylo in combat, then she can beat a lesser Knight. The Knight slams against his chair, the crack of his head echoing throughout the chamber. 

He rolls his neck.

“Oh my,” he says quietly, “you aren’t going to make this easy, are you? Rey, Rey, Rey,” he stands and circles her. 

“It is my hope that you will enjoy our little ...celebration. Our feast. I want you to enjoy what we have planned for you.”

Rey gathers her nerve.

“You’re despicable. This so-called New Order is a sham. I expected more from the Knights of Ren. You are nothing but a bunch of power hungry, pathetic little boys.”

The smile falls off the face of the Knight. 

“You see, gentlemen?” He sweeps his arm around with room with an air of arrogance,“This is the little desert savage Ren has been trying to tame. Maddening, is she not?” 

He turns back to Rey.

“I think we will begin with tonight’s entertainment.”

She senses Max, still behind her, vibrating with electric excitement.

“We want a demonstration of your powers, Rey. You will spar with Max. If you lose, he gets to bed you. Here, in front of everyone.”

"And if I win?"

"You won't." 

Cruel laughter and howls reverberate throughout the room. 

The fair Knight offers Rey his double-edged saber. His eyes sparkle at her, mockingly. 

It is a foolish, overconfident maneuver. 

Rey holds the hilt of the dark weapon in her hand and locks eyes with him. Without as much as a gasp, she ignites it and drives it through the laughing Knight’s chest.

She trembles from the kill as his flesh sizzles. His eyes are frozen, glazed over in shock as his last breath rattles out of his broken body. 

“Impressive.”

It is Max and his unnatural smile. “Now, how about you try me before I have you?” He activates two sabers and steps forward. 

Rey narrows her eyes and prepares to fight for her life.

******

Chapter Text

“You make it a habit of tying up and kidnapping women?” 

“It is in your best interest to remain silent.” Kylo responds in a low, steady tone. The one he uses to convey that there will be no further arguments. 

Awake, Rose snorts, rubbing against her constraints.

“Yeah. Right. I don’t take orders from monsters like you.”

Kylo keeps his back turned to Rose. He can tell it irks her. But she just won't shut up.

“I don’t take orders from genocidal maniacs. From rapists like you,” her words spit out rapidly and fiercely. Rose does not disguise her disdain, her hate. 

Kylo’s hand hovers over the controls of the Falcon as they enter the flagship’s hangar. He slowly turns to meet her face. Fires of fury smolder in his narrowed eyes as he weighs the pros and cons of making her pay for the vulgarity of her words. His instincts twist together as the temptation to hurt her poisons his bloodstream. 

He owes her no explanation. And yet.

“Rey came to my flagship willingly. She slept with me willingly. Does that bother you, Rose? That your friend - the one you rebel scum consider a saint - has more than a soft spot for me?” 

Kylo has never been able to master the ability to rise above taunting. He moves closer to his incapacitated prisoner, hoping to intimidate her by invading her personal space. Rose keeps spitting her ire at him. 

“She never would have gone back for you if she knew you were lying. She hates you, she feels sorry for you. You think I’m scum? It takes a special kind of scum to deceive someone to sleep with them. That’s rape, Kylo Ren.” 

It is the black gloves that keep Kylo’s nails from bloodying his palms as he fists his hands. Kylo is not comfortable with force-choking women, but Rose may be the first exception. 

The space between them is nonexistent as he takes her by the collar and lifts her off the floor. 

“You may want to rethink how you speak to me, Rose. You are going to be my guest for a very long time. You would be wise not to talk about your friend’s future husband in such a way.”

He tries not to show his surprise when she laughs - she fucking laughs in his face. It is not a funny laugh, not a cruel laugh. It is painful and comes out in a series of short breaths. 

“Rey is never going to marry you. Does ‘the force’ show you how often she cries at night when she thinks no one is listening? Because I hear it - I’m the one who holds her. You give her nightmares. She spends countless hours after work, exhausted, scrounging for things the baby will need. She stays up later than she should making everything for the baby. A baby you forced on her. I don't care what she says - that she loves it. You've made her life hell."

Something in Kylo’s chest tightens and threatens to break.

“She will never admit it, but she’s scared of you. You make her feel like shit. Are you proud of that, Kylo Ren? Is all of this - The First Order - worth more than her? I hope so. Because in the forest she was ready to give up everything to be with you.”

The ramp opens with a hiss and Kylo does not need to call upon the force to shove her forward. An officer unceremoniously catches Rose and nearly trips backwards. 

“Gag her. I want her unable to utter a word. I want two troopers assigned to watch over her. She is to be escorted onto my shuttle when we reach the Knight’s flagship. And do not,” his eyes bore into hers, “Give her any food or drink. No fresher privileges.” 

Monster!” Rose yells and the stormtroopers hurry to carry out his orders.

Kylo stalks across the hangar in search of General Krog. The man should be here to greet him. Hux would have been immaculate in his duties. Kylo quickly banishes the thought.

Hux is dead, and it is a good thing. 

Kylo’s thoughts land back on Rose. He reassess his choice to abduct her.

The rebel mechanic is more brazen, more insulting than Rey has ever been.

Sometimes, he really fucking hates women. They encompass the special ability to make him feel small, stupid, insignificant. 

Kylo's flash of anger towards Rose protects him against the painful truth of her words. He tells himself that women lie, they manipulate. She wants Rey to herself. Who else will tolerate such a mouthy life form? Who besides Rey has the ability to tolerate such nasty, contemptuous…

Kylo stops the train of thought.

“Krog,” he steadies himself next to the General, “I want a status report on the Knights and their location.” 

“Right away, Supreme Leader,” Krog wastes no time swiping the screen in front of them. Kylo reads the schematics as Krog’s arid voice begins to talk. He soon fades out into the background noise of the ship.

Kylo senses another presence, a familiar presence transmitting through the force.

Dathomir. We’re orbiting, Dathomir. The fair one is dead. 

Rey. Rey is reaching out to him. Kylo holds up a hand to stop Krog from speaking. Kylo cannot prevent the relief that surges through him, the shock that she is reaching out to him - and he fears what it means if she is so desperate to contact him.

Are you hurt? The baby? We are coming, Rey.

Guilt washes over Kylo in deep waves. 

I don’t have much time. I’m in their throne room. Max is the only one left. Please hurry.

The connection, their force link, slips through his fingers. 

“Dathomir,” he states, “We are going to Dathomir. I want the flagship and the rest of the fleet to enter hyperspace immediately.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader,” Krog acknowledges the command. He rushes to communicate Kylo’s orders.

Kylo walks briskly to his chamber to retrieve Rey’s lightsaber. She might need it to fight her way out. Even with his army descending on the Knight’s rogue Order, he cannot risk her being unarmed. Kylo locks it into his belt and his stride turns to a run as they enter the orbit of Dathomir. 

As ordered, Rose sits in binders, gagged, and tied from head to toe. 

Perfect.

Krog stands at attention and Kylo briskly addresses him.

“I want all artillery ready to fire when I give the word. My goal is to return with the scavenger before we destroy their flagship.”

Krog nods but Kylo hardly notices. His heart beats so fast he is sure the entire First Order can hear it. 

With the shields in place the shuttle approaches the old ship.

It seems unfair to Kylo that no matter how much he strives to be the man his conscience wants him to be, that it haunts him with his failures. No more. He knows he is broken, but he has to try for Rey’s sake - for the baby’s sake. 

The shuttle lands with no fan-fare and Kylo is suspicious. Max is not the brightest Knight, but he is devious. 

“Reminder to hold back on firing,” Kylo speaks into the comlink on his wrist. Lightsaber drawn, he aggressively disembarks, prepared for the slaughter he is sure will greet them. 

Instead he is met with uncanny silence. There is no one else in the hangar. 

Kylo silently motions for the dozen troopers that accompany him to follow. Rey’s distress signal through the force is strong, calling him like a beacon to her location. He stalks the empty halls until he reaches what he is sure is the throne room. 

Stand back, Rey. We are about to enter.

He does not want her in the thick of battle. She has already had to endure too much. 

The doors swing open and Kylo takes in the scene. Dozens of eyes stare at him.

“Supreme Leader Kylo Ren,” Max takes his time walking towards him. Kylo braces for an attack. It does not come. Max playfully swings his saber. “Looking for her? I’ll give you two a minute.” 

Rey manifests at Kylo’s side, as though she were hidden behind the propped door. 

“You came,” she breathes, running into him. The impact almost knocks Kylo over - it is not due to the strength of her embrace. 

Max’s smile resembles a gaping maw. Kylo ignores it. 

Kylo takes the opportunity of her embrace to grab her by the waist, pulling her close against his chest. She is close enough for him to breathe in her scent. Kylo’s hand runs through her hair, thinking how he missed the softness of it, how he loves watching it tumble as he releases it from the three buns.

"Rey. I'm sorry."

“Kylo,” her eyes are pleading, watery, and she strokes his cheek. 

He does not need any more encouragement as his mouth covers hers, lips gentle and warm. Kylo feels her hands slide up his chest and encircle his waist, his neck. The kiss begins to grow heavy and Kylo does not question it.

Spending time in captivity with the Knights - he knew she would regret it. He knew she would see reason, would realize her mistake. Would accept she loves him.

The sound of a throat clearing pulls Rey away from him and Kylo reaches for her. She is too far and his hand falls. She stands at Max’s side. Kylo realizes Rey not only holds her original lightsaber, but his as well. His mind frantically puts everything together. It is too late.

He falls for this. Again.

Time stops for a moment.

Max turns from Rey to Kylo. 

“A trade is a trade. Go, before I change my mind.” 

Kylo is speechless.

"I'm sorry," Rey whispers, pausing before she leaves, "I just...I don't trust you anymore. I can't risk you hurting me again."

She runs, but not before she returns his lightsaber to him.

Rey must pity him. Rose was right.

Kylo feels numb. He is too numb to tell her that her loves her, to beg her not to take his son away from him. 

“Supreme Leader,” Max keeps his saber pointed at him, “I’m sorry to say I could not convince her to kill you. And when she realized she was outnumbered…” Max motions to the Knight’s army behind him, “well, we struck a deal. I don’t give a shit about some pregnant scavenger. Or your spawn. We just want a chance to take you out ourselves. Rather, I want to take you out. And don’t think about it,” Max nods at the comlink on Kylo’s wrist. 

The picture is all too clear.

Rey trades her freedom for his. She knows he will not order the Knight's flagship to be bombed. Not yet, not while she is on it. Kylo does not want her or the baby dead. He can see it in his mind’s eye: Rey walking onto his shuttle. Freeing Rose. Taking off. The First Order none the wiser. 

For the first time Kylo’s rage does not come to his aid - he is frozen.

Kylo wonders if this is how Rey felt when he first betrayed her.

Chapter Text

Rey runs from the throne room, trying to ignore the flurry of noise and activity that follows her down the hall. Bile rises in her throat as she soars through the corridors, heart pounding when she sees the hangar enter her line of sight. She briefly touches the handle of her lightsaber - she had accepted she might never see it again. 

Her nausea intensifies from witnessing the Knight’s bizarre New Order, nausea from kissing Kylo Ren: her horror at how easy it is if she pretends he is Ben. Nausea at the way the force sings when they connect. 

She thinks about how it hurts her to deceive him, even when he deserves it. When he more than deserves it.

It never seems to hurt Kylo to betray or lie to her. They operate on completely different moral planes. 

Rey tries to fortify herself for the second part of her plan. If she fails to follow through she might as well march right back into Kylo Ren’s arms. She might as well become the obedient little pet he wants her to be. The future he wants from her is clear: keeping him warm and satisfied in bed, having his babies, her force abilities utilized only when he needs a boost in power. Dangling off his arm like a pretty, polished jewel. 

Kylo insults her for living as a scavenger, but she knows his mind. He gets off on their caste difference, on the power imbalance he perceives exists between them. In the eyes of the Resistance she is equal; with him she is expected to bow down.

He is never going to abandon his pursuit unless one or both of them is dead. 

She nearly vomits.

Rey skids into the hangar, gasping and gleaming with perspiration. Kylo’s shuttle is easy to spot and she flies up the ramp. She throws herself into performing a series of basic mechanical tasks: closing the hatch, flipping the controls, checking the fuel, preparing to take off. It is only when the engines roar to life that she registers Rose’s grunts and muffled screams.

“Rose!”

Rey hurries to remove the gag, the ropes, and binders as quickly as her nimble fingers allow. Her shaking hands slow her down. 

Finally, Rose is free.

“Are you hurt?” Rey hugs her tightly. She feels sick all over again at the way Kylo’s obsession turns her friends into targets. It serves as a reminder that what she is about to do is the right choice.

“I’m good,” Rose says, “Let’s get the hell out of here.” 

Rey nods. 

“Can you help me fly this thing?” 

“You bet.”

Almost everyone in the resistance has experience flying at this point. A wide range of skills is paramount to surviving the mess of war.

Rey feels the baby stir in her belly as the shuttle propels out of the hangar. Yes, she would sacrifice the galaxy for her son - she would sacrifice anything. She takes a deep breath and squares her tired shoulders. 

“What are you doing?” Rose asks as Rey pushes the comlink, “We needed to jump to lightspeed five minutes ago Rey!”

Rey brings a finger to her lips.

“Stay quiet for now. Please,” she mouths silently as the comlink lights up.

“General Krog speaking.”

Rey feels like she is outside of her body.

“This is Rey. Kylo Ren is on board and he is hurt. Badly. He wants me to convey his orders to fire on the Knight’s flagship immediately.” 

She hears Krog’s faint panting through the comlink’s speakers.

“Message received. I cannot carry out orders unless I hear them from Ren himself.”

Rose’s eyes are wide, terrified. 

Rey leans into the speaker so closely that her lips graze it. 

“You need to fire now! He is unconscious and bleeding. Do you understand? We need to get out of here before their guns fire on us!” The last part is real and filled with true panic.  She tries to influence the general by weaving the force into her words. He has to believe self preservation is her motivation. It damn well is her motivation. 

Rose looks like she might collapse. 

Rey is met with continued silence before Krog responds. His words are clipped and tight. 

“Understood. Initiating the dreadnought’s weapons. The hangar is ready for your arrival and medics await Ren.”

Rey slams the comlink off. She cannot watch the Knight’s flagship get blown apart. She is blinded by sudden scalding tears as she thinks about the women parading around the throne room, ignorant to what their fate is about to be. She cries for Kylo, even after everything he has done. That his miserable life ends here, that he leaves her with no other way to guarantee her safety. 

Her son’s safety. 

It is happening. Kylo's own Order will fire on him, will kill him. Rey inputs coordinates to the most distant planet she can think of and hits lightspeed. 

She needs to fill the stillness of the space, she needs a distraction. 

“You’re sure you are okay?” She asks Rose again.

“Yeah. His worst offense was to ban me from using the fresher.”

Rose tries to lighten the graveness of the situation with some humor. Rey appreciates it, but no amount of humor changes the fact that she kills her child’s father. Leia's son.

Force forgive me, she pleads internally. Rey swallows. 

“Kylo’s like that. He enjoys finding small ways to break you down, to control you.”

Rey senses that Rose cannot understand what she ever saw in him.

“Rey...are you all right? I know he’s bad but that - ordering Krog - that can’t have been easy.”

Rey does not tell Rose that she overheard her talking with Finn. That she thinks Rey is so enmeshed with Kylo that she cannot cut her way out. 

It’s not worth bringing up. 

“I’ll be fine.”

The shuttle leaves hyperspace and a vase expanse of dark water stretches before them. The ragged island peninsula cause Rey’s throat to catch. Ahch-To.

The planet holds sacred and painful memories for her. Here, Rey hopes to regroup, to find some space to meditate. To talk with Rose, to figure out what the best move is. To restore some peace, however temporary, into her life. Rey closes her eyes. 

She taps into the force, trying to find the pulse of him in it.

She tries to sense if Kylo is dead. 

 

*******

Max sneers.

“How does she manage to outsmart you every time Kylo?  Do you not beat her? She behaves as if she has forgotten her place as a woman. She fights like a wild animal. And you, you're weaker than a pint-sized pregnant scavenger.” He snorts with a laugh.

No one else laughs. The crowd did not forget how she killed Damien with no hesitation. 

Kylo’s gaze is deadly.

“Women are not for beating. There are softer ways to break them.”

Max never could comprehend that lesson. Kylo keeps talking.

 “You had to lower your standards and strike a deal with her. Damien could not hold her and you can't either. So much for your Order. She ended that quickly. A woman ended it, Max.”

Kylo senses Max’s delight at being the last Knight standing flounder. The Knight wavers as his failure to defeat Rey is exposed.

The men behind Max are armed and dangerous, but they are also drunk. Their lust has been interrupted. They are unsure if it is wise to maintain their mutinous stance now that they face their former Supreme Leader. 

Kylo knows to survive he has to play the scene carefully. He cannot allow himself the luxury of mourning Rey’s betrayal, he cannot ruminate on her kiss.

He does anyway.

The kiss. 

There was real passion there, even if her intention was to use it as a distraction. The kind of kiss that cannot be faked. It is tangible proof that she cares, that she is sexually attracted to him. She knows he owns her, that he claimed her. 

It must drive her mad. 

It provokes the primal beast within Kylo. 

She is going to pay for the deception, for her lies. The way she thwart’s him, challenges his authority. The way she fucking wins every time.

No more.

Kylo’s rage awakens and increases until he can think of nothing else. Something inside him severs and he freezes Max. With a low growl the saber flies from the Knight’s hand and spears the man behind him. Kylo calls the bloody saber to him while the force maintains its hold on the Knight.

Max’s hands grab at his throat, desperately tearing.

Kylo feels his stormtroopers behind him, the air tense and thick as they await his command to attack.

“Anyone else?” He bellows as Max’s windpipe cracks. 

Kylo knows firsthand that psychological warfare is an effective tool. A few drunks stagger forward with blasters and Kylo cuts them down, bored that this is the best his Knight’s have to offer. 

“I said,” he raises his voice, “Does anyone else want to challenge me?” 

No one speaks. Kylo resolves to have them all killed even if they return their loyalties to him. Traitors do not get second chances. 

Kylo presses his comlink.

“General Krog I want you to keep an eye out for any crafts leaving the hangar. Rey has escaped and she knows how to navigate ships.” 

“Supreme Leader?” Kylo hears the alarm in Krog’s voice, “We - we are are firing in sixty seconds. The scavenger relayed your orders. She informed us you were injured. We are in the process of dropping our class-A bombs. I can’t buy anymore time, Sir.”

Max hits the floor with a thud, dead. 

Kylo calls on the force to slam anyone near him against the wall. He leaps into furious action.

Kylo bolts to the hangar to find his shuttle gone. He jumps into a small escape pod, barely able to stuff in his powerful body.

Rey is behind this - she means to kill him. 

It is not like her to be so calculating, so dark. Kylo’s pod hurls into space and he tells himself Rose is behind this devious plot. Rose poisons Rey’s mind. 

It is dumb luck that he escapes.

Or, Kylo muses, it is the will of the force.

The pod lands violently in the First Order’s hangar and Kylo pounces out. General Krog crosses the hangar, heavy lines drawn around his frowning mouth.

“Supreme Leader…”

“General Krog,” Kylo's lightsaber crackles at his side, “You made a mistake.”

Krog’s forehead lifts.

“Yes, Supreme Leader, please accept my deepest…”

"You fell for a trick. From the scavenger. You are supposed to be experienced."

Krog licks his lips. 

"Supreme Leader if I may..."

Kylo does not want to hear it. He rams the saber through Krog’s chest, twisting it. Kylo’s nose upturns at the smell of burning flesh.

“Never fire without my direct command,” Kylo finishes quietly, staring at the body.

“You,” he points his saber at Captain Witt. She closes her eyes, sure that she is about to meet the same fate as Krog. The entire hangar is nervous. She scurries over.

“Supreme Leader Ren.”

“Witt, you are promoted to General. Meet me in my private chamber in an hour.” Kylo turns away from her as he watches the Knight’s flagship explode. Shrapnel spreads throughout space.

It goes against Kylo's personal philosophy, but a female General might have insights into Rey that only a woman can uncover. He needs help understanding women. He thought he understood everything about Rey until now. 

At least, he soothes himself, Rey and Rose help him destroy his traitors. The Knights are no more. He can rebuild the First Order. 

Kylo keeps his fuse under control when he enters his private quarters. He walks the length of the room, willing himself to remain calm for this. 

Rey. 

He knows she can hear him. 

Rey. Answer me. I know you meant to kill me. I’m alive. Unharmed.   

Oh yes...a sweet mixture of shock, horror, fear, guilt, and terror permeate the force link. Kylo latches onto her guilt.

That’s enough rebelling Rey. Don’t worry, I forgive you. I know Rose made you do it. 

He is doing well. He is calm. He conceals the rage from his tone.

Rey. You’re going to be a mother. It’s time to stop fighting and let me take care of you. Rose told me you cry at night. I am sorry I hurt you. I want to be the one to hold you, to comfort you. You do not need to raise the baby alone.

There. How can she reject such a sincere apology?

Nothing.

Kylo’s anger simmers. She thinks she can get away with ignoring him? 

His anger quells when he remembers she flies his shuttle. Frantic, he swipes his datapad, searching for the ship’s tracker. 

Oh, Rey. 

She is so intelligent, usually so fastidious in her planning. She is also pregnant and ever-so-slightly-forgetful. 

Kylo knows exactly where she is. Rey's little rebellion is over. With General Witt's help, he is going to pick up his little scavenger. 

No - Kylo replaces the dirty word.

He is going to pick up the mother of his child. The woman who will be his wife. 

Chapter Text

***

The walls of Kylo’s private quarters are stifling. 

He is anxious for General Witt to arrive, he is restless when not actively pursuing Rey. It is hard for him not to blow through the force and meet her face to face. He needs to read it in her eyes if she truly meant to kill him. 

Kylo has an idea of how he will punish her when she is back in his bed. He does not think of it as a punishment, really. 

He wants to chip away at Rey’s innocence. Everything they have done together is traditional and natural. Rey will never be a whore. He will kill anyone who suggests otherwise. 

In private he wants her to be a whore, just a little bit, and only for him. Kylo wants to try something a little less natural and more primal. He has thought about it before, and now he has a good reason to do it. 

He does not want it to come as a total shock - he does not want to be that word  Rose calls him. 

He will never hurt Rey, will never make her bleed. 

She will know what is coming when he starts preparing her from behind. He is not averse to tasting her there - he will have scrubbed her clean in the fresher. 

Kylo knows Rey will try to get away, try to squirm out from under him. He won’t let her - he will hold her in place and reassure her that everything will be okay. More than okay. That it will feel incredible. 

He might have to tie her to the bed frame to be safe.

Inch by inch, he will push into her tight, round ass until he is fully sheathed inside.

He will ask her what she is and she will answer scavenger. He will ask her who she answers to and she will moan his name.

He will establish and exert his dominance over her. 

Kylo wrestles with getting his lust under control.

He is shrewd enough not to reveal to Rey that he knows her location. He senses Rey trying to dull their connection and he plays along. He forces himself to ponder where she might be - he comes to a false conclusion that she is at a Resistance base. Her relief through the force almost makes him smile. Max was wrong. Rey is crafty, but Kylo is capable of maintaining one step ahead every now and then.

Where are you, Rey? Which Resistance base?

Nothing. 

He hopes she buys it long enough for him to formulate a plan to capture her for good.

One of his biggest failings has been his transparency. He is too honest with Rey about his intentions - he gloats too much around her.

Kylo runs a hand through his hair and feels grime and blood in it. He does not know exactly how much time has passed since he was at the Resistance base. A shower is a good idea, but then there is a knock at his door. 

Captain - no - General Witt. He has questions for her.

Kylo flicks his wrist and the chamber doors open. He postures.

If he has known failure in his life, it does not show now. Everything from the way he holds himself, to the way he speaks, to that look of unassailable confidence in his gaze says he is not to be challenged. He is the Supreme Leader.

“You wanted to see me, Supreme Leader,” Witt states.

“Yes.” The doors slam shut and he gestures for her to sit on a dark leather ottoman.

“I have questions for you, General. I want you to answer as a…” Kylo pauses, “Do you have children, Witt?”

She nods. 

“Yes, four. All grown.”

Kylo feels oddly competitive that Witt has four children and he is expecting his first. No matter. Rey is young. He won’t miss taking advantage of her most fertile years. And she is fertile. Against all probability she conceives the first time she loses her virginity.

Kylo returns his attention to Witt. He can sense her fear that she will say the wrong thing. That she will end up like Krog.

It is not an unreasonable fear. 

“I want you to answer me as a woman and a mother. I want you to be honest.”

“Yes, Supreme Leader.”

Kylo paces in front of her.

“Rey is halfway through her pregnancy. I expected her to be cautious but she is reckless and partakes in dangerous activities. Why is she not docile like other pregnant women?”

Witt’s mouth opens and closes.

“Sir, every pregnancy is different…”

“I want a clear answer,” he snaps. 

Witt clears her throat.

“She is probably…”

Probably? ” Kylo wants to deal with absolutes, with facts.

“She is protective of the baby. She will do anything to keep it safe. She is going to put the baby first before anything else.”

“Hmm,” Kylo plods in front of Witt, her nerves fraying through the force. 

 “I want you to help me develop a different strategy, Witt. Everything I have tried never holds Rey for long. I know where she is, and I cannot lose her this time.” 

I can’t screw up again

“Sir, have you tried...showing her kindness?” 

“Yes.”

Kylo bristles. 

She thinks he does not know the meaning of the word. 

“I am kind, Witt. I do not beat her, I don’t rape her.” He tries not to think about their last sexual encounter. He tells himself he does not regret it. 

“I could,” he concedes, “be kinder with my words.”

“She is going to be very sensitive right now,” Witt agrees, “I do have an idea, sir.”

Kylo pauses in front of the General. He waits expectantly.

“You might soften her regard if you behave in a manner opposite to your….your natural instincts. Actions speak louder than words.”

“Continue,” he orders. Witt is a woman and he needs her insight.

“You have her location. Bring her supplies. Food, pillows, comforts. Have you been able to find out what she craves?”

“What?” 

Witt cowers at the edge in his voice.

“It is common for pregnant women to have specific food cravings and aversions.”

“Of course I know what she craves.”

He has no idea. He wishes he knew. 

“And after I bring her supplies? What then?” He is already thinking this idea is idiotic. 

“You leave.”

Kylo snorts. 

“Supreme Leader, please hear me out. You leave and return a few days later with more supplies. Take care of her. Provide for her. Show her you’re thinking of the baby. Bring the infant items I ordered. Get her to focus on the child, not the Resistance. Keep her on the island. Not all prisons have walls. Contain her there as long as possible while we annihilate the Resistance. By the time she remembers they exist they will all be dead. She will have no where else to go. Supreme Leader, this plan does not display weakness. It will prove your ability to apprehend her at any cost.”

"What's to stop Rey from fleeing the moment I step onto the island? The moment after I leave?"

"You. You have to sell it. You have to give her hope. Rey's file states that she is unbearably hopeful and impossibly optimistic. The pregnancy will make her emotional. She is likely scared of giving birth, of parenting alone. Lean into these fears."

Witt’s nefarious mind puts Krog to shame. Witt educates herself on Rey before meeting with him - Kylo is impressed. 

Kylo knows it is because of men that the galaxy is in a sorry state. The male ego, the territorial bloodlust, the instinct to dominate and destroy.

Listening to Witt’s plan Kylo realizes women can be equally toxic, equally cunning and destructive.

“General Witt, I want to implement your unique plan. Keep in mind your life depends on its success.”

 “Yes Sir.”

Kylo keeps his expression unreadable.

“Tell me exactly what needs to be done.”

General Witt is at her core, a devout member of the First Order. She is as cutthroat as the rest of them. 

*****

Rey lands the shuttle as the storm above threatens to break. She finds it hard to reveal to Rose that Kylo Ren is alive.

All the people she ordered to be killed, and for nothing. Kylo is not only alive, he escapes without injury. 

The force delivers his so-called apology to her. He says that he forgives her.

Right.

Rey knows Kylo well enough to hear the promise of retribution in his words. He tries to mask it, but she senses his true intentions. He manages to find the most intimate of ways to hurt her, and Rey knows this will be no exception. His anger fuels him, pushes him to keep plowing forward. 

This time, Rey worries his punishment will go beyond her. She fears he will hurt the baby. Her reasoning is that he shows no concern, no care for the child - what is to stop him from taking the person she cherishes most? 

The weight of everything seems to press down on her shoulders. The darkness inside her grows blacker; the pain sharper; and she begins to wonder if things will ever get better. Rey struggles to take a single step forward off the ship. It is too much. All of it. Trying to fend off Kylo Ren, trying to get through the pregnancy, trying to keep the baby healthy. Trying to stay alive.

Somehow she keeps moving, leading Rose away from the shuttle and up the narrow winding steps. She cannot race up them the way she did years ago - now she stops at every other step to catch her breath. Below her the sea rises in choppy waves. Anger in the form of water, turbulent and unforgiving.

“Can we go inside any of the huts?” Rose shouts above the wind.

Rey nods vigorously and they stumble inside one of the stone dwellings. The wind slams the door shut as thick sheets of rain fall. Rey takes in her surroundings and notes how entire sections of the stone wall do not match. The old grey blends into a recent white stone and it dawns on her why. 

This is the hut Luke destroyed with the force, the hut she and Kylo bonded in. The caretakers have restored it.

Rey falls forward, catching herself on the stone sink as she bows her head, shoulders shaking. A sense of deja vu sweeps over her, as the ghosts of her past parade around and within her. All reminders of the nights she spent here, nights talking with him. Here, neither of them had been reluctant to appear vulnerable. Rey would push aside her own fears to comfort him, to show Kylo that he was worthy of love. 

She let her love for him shine in her eyes for him to see. Love that he uses as a tool to use and abuse her. 

Rey struggles as her entire body sags with fatigue and numb agony.

“Hang on Rey, I’ve almost got it,” Rose says, lips set thin as she lights a fire. The warmth helps Rey recover from the dizzying nausea - a little. 

“Thanks Rose. Do you mind if I meditate?” Rey’s heartbeat is quick and furious. “I need to cut myself off from the force, temporarily, like Luke Skywalker did. I know it’s difficult but Ahch-To is the birth of the Jedi Order. I should be able to figure it out. I have to. If Kylo tracks me through our force link…’

Tracks her. A horrible, twisted knot tightens in Rey’s stomach.

“Did we turn off the shuttle’s tracking device?” 

Rose’s face is stark-white.

“No.”

“Oh force,” Rey says softly. She begrudgingly taps into the force and he is there, the unwanted presence forever in her mind. She needs to cut him off from any and all pathways he can use to reach her.

“Does Kylo know where we are?”

“If he doesn’t he will soon.”

Rose picks up her bag.

“I’m taking the shuttle. I’ll leave the tracking device on and lead him far away from you. Let him think he is clever. I’ll - I’ll lead him to a Resistance base.”

“No! It’s me he wants.” Rey cries out in dismay. “I’m a liability to the Resistance. Everything that happened at the base is because I rejected him.” She omits the part where she slept with Kylo in the hope that he would keep the baby’s paternity a secret. In the end his malevolence at her rebuff erupted into violence. 

Rose cuts her off.

“He’s a danger to us all, Rey. And you’re pregnant - I won’t forgive myself if I don’t do everything I can to help. I’ll come back to get you with the Resistance. Soon. Promise me you will not to sever yourself from the force. That's crazy talk. Don’t let him take that from you. Without the force he…

Without the force she stands little to no chance against Kylo.

“All right.” 

Rose is still pale but composed. Their hug is hurried, neither wants to say goodbye so soon after being reunited. Rey watches Rose leave as quickly as she can in the pounding rain. Her companion, her friend. Someone who loves her and is willing to sacrifice it all. 

Rey vows to make sure it is not in vain.

After the shuttle takes off, Rey continues to debate a force sever. Not an indefinite sever -  she knows Rose is right - it is a risky choice to disconnect.

When she first met Skywalker she did not understand his choice to withdraw and hide from the galaxy. His need to disappear. She does now, Rey thinks wearily. The events of the last few days combined with her pregnancy wear down her stamina. Rey wants to disappear. She wants to become invisible to Kylo Ren. 

Legs crossed, she mediates in the glow of the firelight.

Disconnecting from the force is excruciating. She can’t do it. She dulls it, turns the intensity of it down to a low hum. She fails at severing herself from the force, but she has fractured it. Rey hopes it is enough to keep Kylo from communicating with her, hopes it is enough to keep him from her nightmares.

 

****

Kylo arrives on Ahch-To.

The planet's energy is powerful like Dathomir, but not as unbalanced. Darkness and light live here. Even during a storm he can see it is a beautiful place. A peaceful place.

He loathes Luke Skywalker all over again. While his mother toiled through war Luke hid like a worm on this island. Not a care in the galaxy. Luke Skywalker was, and always will be a coward. General Organa might be on the wrong side, but at least she continues to fight. 

Kylo seeks out Rey.

Rey’s essence in the force is buried, almost undetectable. Kylo is unsure if he senses Rey or only the memory of her being here. He sees the native lifeforms that reside on Ahch-To and no shuttle. 

Kylo frowns.

He was sure she would stay for sentimental reasons.

He concentrates, one more time, and feels the tiny beat of someone familiar within the force. Someone he knows, but has yet to meet. His son. 

She is here.

Kylo wonders if she is as foolish as Skywalker and cuts herself off from the force. A bad move for her, a stroke of luck for him. There is no hesitation as he bounds up the steps three at a time. He reminds himself to slow down. This is not a grab and run. He will do as Witt advised. 

Kylo comes to a halt at the top of the staircase.

He is here to show that he cares. Kylo’s face hardens as he imagines Rey defenseless. It will be easy to carry out his punishment if she can’t fight back with the force.

He is conflicted.

Kylo follows his son’s life force to a hut that feels more than familiar. A place where they sought each other’s company. He kept their connection hidden away from Snoke. 

Kept her hidden away.

Kylo opens the door and finds her curled into a ball, asleep. The fire next to her consists of slowly burning embers. 

“Rey.” 

She continues sleeping.

Rey.”

Kylo sits near the fire when she wakes. The flames gild his face, casting gold shadows on his curling dark hair.

Their eyes meet.

“Are you...are you really here?”

“Yes. You tried to kill me, Rey. Did you think I'd let you get away with such an attempt?"

He can't help but to try and intimidate her. Old habits die hard. Witt would not approve. 

Rey rushes to get away from him. In a frenzy she runs past him, flying out the door. Kylo stands in the doorway and watches her climb up the grassy hill dotted with rocks. She does not activate her lightsaber. It stays on the floor, forgotten. How unhinged is she?

Kylo smirks. Scaring her has never been so easy. Where is her defiant streak now?

Rey's center of gravity is off. She tries to create a shortcut by clambering up a short cliff but her belly won’t allow it. Kylo takes his time as he closes the gap between them. 

“No...no...” Rey stands, facing him, closing her eyes, “Please, don’t hurt the baby. Don’t hurt him Kylo. Just get it over with, whatever you want to do to me. I won’t...I won’t fight you,” her voice breaks at the end and she dissolves into tears. 

Kylo shifts, uncomfortable. He does not expect to feel such intense shame.

He watches her desperately use her arm to dry her face, but she’s shaking, she’s crying too hard. Her gasps cause her to suck in too much air and she lets out a hiccup. 

Kylo decides to save his punishment for another time.

Witt told him to do the opposite of his impulses. 

Kylo tosses his lightsaber to the ground. He takes off his cloak and cautiously approaches Rey. He drapes the cloak gently around her shoulders. 

“I won’t hurt our baby. And I won’t hurt you, Rey.”

Rey parts her lips to respond but her reply gets stuck in her throat. She averts her eyes; her chest rising and falling with every deep intake of breath. 

Seeing her so overcome with fear and failing to stay calm makes Kylo feel powerful. 

He escorts her back to the hut, closing the door against the wind. A boom sounds from above and more rain falls. 

Rey seems resigned to whatever fate he has in store for her. Kylo does not need the force to know what she fears. He will prove her wrong. 

He guides her to the bed and carefully sets her on it. She braces, expecting him to crawl on top of her. Kylo does not care for the revulsion in her expression.

He ignores it - he has to.

Instead he drops to the floor and kneels in front of her. Rey’s eyes track every move he makes.

He slides the soaked boots off her feet, one at a time.

“Why are you dragging this out? I know what you want.”

She has no idea.

“Do you? I brought provisions. Food, clothing, blankets. I won’t let you hurt yourself on this island searching for food. And...I want to honor my promise to you.”

Rey does not stifle her disdain.

“What promise? You don't keep promises.”

Kylo takes hold of her hand.

“My promise to leave you alone until our son is born. You held up your end of the deal. I didn’t. I put both of you in danger because of it. I am sorry, Rey. I am sorry for failing you and our son. I want to keep you safe."

Her eyes are heavy with moisture. 

“You’re a liar. It must kill you to pretend to care.”

Kylo grapples to restrain himself as Rey’s anger overpowers her fear. He exhales.

“I am never going to be good Rey, but I’m trying. For you and the baby.”

“You’re not fit to be a father. You have no idea how to put someone else first.”

That stings. She touches on one of his deepest insecurities: fatherhood.

Kylo fights the urge to throw her over his shoulder and haul her off to the flagship.

“Snoke taught me that love is a weakness. That it is conditional. My love for you is unconditional, Rey. It always has been.”

“Don’t say you love me. Not here.” 

Rey’s voice quakes again, the tears start. Kylo is confused. He did not say anything cruel, he did not threaten her. This is not in the script Witt provided him with.

He hears the ache in her voice.

“I wish you didn’t love me. I wish you didn’t think you loved me. Because you don’t. You love humiliating and controlling me. You view me as an object to possess.”

Kylo does not have an answer for Rey because what she says is true. Mostly. The humiliation, no. The control, the dominance, yes. 

Is she an object? No - but she is his

Kylo stands.

“I do love you. And you loved Kylo Ren first - in this very hut - before you thought I could be Ben. Don’t forget that, Rey.”

Kylo is pleased when Rey glowers in response. She knows he is right.

“Here,” he bends to pull a bottle out of the supply bag, “Drink this. It will hydrate you faster than water. The baby needs the fluid.” He adds when she hesitates.

“Am I going to wake up on your flagship after I drink this?”

“No.”

“It's poisoned, isn't it? The Resistance is coming back to get me, you know. They know I am here," she says, suddenly fierce. She almost sounds convincing. 

“It is not poisoned, Rey." 

Kylo lies, but only partially. The liquid is not poison. It is infused with a serum that will knock her out. An innocuous concoction - he wants her to relax, and it will replenish the vitamins her body needs. It’s safe for the baby.

Kylo does not tell Rey that the First Order tracks the shuttle, tracks down Rose. 

He can tell she wants to drink. Even through their splintered force connection he senses her lack of nourishment. 

“Go on."

She never has been one to waste food or drink.

The effects begin rapidly. Rey blinks, unable to keep her eyes open.

“This is...this tastes nice...” Her tone is airy as she falls onto her side. Her eyes flutter. Rey succumbs to a deep sleep.

Kylo knows this is when he should leave. Leave, and return in a few days.

Witt told him that Rey needs to witness him exercise self control. He needs to demonstrate he is capable of walking away from the person he wants more than anything. 

Kylo thinks about the ropes and binders he brings along in case he changes his mind. He thinks about tying her up. 

He imagines Rey waking to find herself tied to his bed, feeling incredibly stupid at accepting a drink from him of all people. He imagines Rey crying the way she did outside in the rain, broken and crushed, falling apart and ready to accept defeat. 

Kylo’s throat works at the thought. He hated Snoke, and his inner demons whisper that he treats Rey in the same manner Snoke treated him. 

He banishes the thought.

Instead Kylo removes his tunic and climbs into the bed. Rey is none the wiser as he positions himself behind her, molding his body against hers. He finds her waist below her belly and curls an arm around her. Kylo stiffens when a faint movement brushes against his hand. For a moment he panics until he realizes what he feels. The baby. There is an actual person in there. Someone who is half Rey and half him.

He hopes the baby is more like Rey.

Kylo has every intention of leaving before she wakes. He will earn her trust before he captures her again.

Kylo nuzzles into her neck, inhaling her scent before he gives into sleep.

Chapter Text

Kylo wakes before Rey. He knows he has slept too long. 

Sunlight spills through the bottom crack of the door. The comlink on his wrist flashes. Witt is probably wondering if he abandoned their plan. 

Why shouldn’t he?

Kylo silently pulls his tunic over his head and stares at Rey. He has a hard time remembering why he is supposed to walk away right now. 

Her force abilities are fractured. He has more serum in his bag to drug her into an extended sleep. No one is here to stop him from transporting her to his flagship.

Again, he wonders: what is the point of leaving? His goal is to obtain her: here she is. 

Why risk her escaping, why risk the Resistance coming to rescue her?

The latter is unlikely. 

Kylo holds Rose prisoner and the Resistance chatter about Rey is not kind. He hears through various sources that Resistance leaders are divided on what to do with her. 

So much for her family. Rey should be grateful that he exposes how little the concept of family means. Families betray and hurt each other. 

Kylo supposes he needs to leave so that Rey can trust him. So that she will stop looking at him with contempt. So that she will stop fighting him tooth and nail.

Kylo hates how submissive this feels. 

He digs around in his bag and pulls out cameras. He installs them in discreet places, cursing himself for not doing this last night. For being distracted by her. He is about finished when he hears a rustle and turns to see Rey sitting up. She looks sick at the sight of him. 

Shit.

“Rey…”

She shakes her head and holds a hand out in his direction. That does not stop Kylo. He is one stride away from her. He ignores her waving him away as he hovers over her. 

With a heave she vomits all over the floor. 

All over his boots. 

Her eyes are glassy when she looks up at him. 

“It happens every morning. All day, actually.” 

This is not how Kylo thought the morning was going to go. 

Even through their fragmented force link he senses her nausea. He immediately retreats from their connection, not caring for the way the nausea makes him groggy. He does not know how Rey lives with it. 

He does not move away fast enough and she vomits for a second time. The rancid smell of bile permeates the space. 

Kylo turns to the sink and wets a cool rag for her, he fills a cup with water. 

It is what a good person would do. 

“Why are you here? You promised to leave me alone,” Rey glares as he hands the cup to her, “And don’t look so smug. You don’t get an award for basic human decency.”

“It is hard for me to leave you.”

“Right. I learned a while ago you do the exact opposite of what you say, Kylo.” She stands and walks to the sink. 

He lets her words roll off his back. 

“Have you been this ill the entire time? You need medicine, Rey. You need to be able to keep food down.”

She shoots him a dark stare over her shoulder as she retches into the sink. It goes on like this for five minutes until he cannot take it anymore. 

Kylo locates the medical kit the First Order provides him with. Vitamins, serums, medicine - all things a pregnant woman might need. Kylo carefully removes a needle from the case, shifting it away from Rey so she cannot see him prep it.

“My doctor said I’m fine. Nausea is normal,” Rey answers when the symptoms subside. Kylo waits until she is preoccupied with washing her mouth, and scrubbing her face clean before he approaches her from behind.

“I can’t tolerate watching you suffer," Kylo mutters into her ear as one hand passes low around her arms, holding them flat against her waist. 

“Get off,” Rey stomps down hard on his boot, causing Kylo to flinch. He hates to use the force to restrain her, but he does. He holds the vial in his free hand, the needle visible.

“I knew it!” Her voice is strained as she  bucks against him. “You’re drugging me, you mean to force yourself on me!” She scuffles, trying to head butt him, trying to bite at him -  anything to get away.

“I am not,” Kylo fastens his grip. “Damnit Rey, stop fighting,” he pushes her forward against the sink as his thumb hooks the side of her trousers down, “This will stop the vomiting. It’s safe for the baby.”

“I don’t want drugs in my body! I want a drug free pregnancy! Stop it!” She squirms desperately against his chest.

“I said hold still,” with a steady hand Kylo jams the needle into her upper thigh. He waits until the vial is empty and quickly pulls her trousers up. He spins her around to face him.

Tears well up in her eyes.

“You’re unbelievable,” she says through clenched teeth. She shakes with outrage. “My body does not belong to you! Do you have any idea how much it scares me when you act like that?” 

For a second Kylo is conflicted. His jaw works, the muscles pulled tight. He opens his mouth to speak but no more than a syllable comes out. Finally, he manages to string together a sentence.

“I’m sorry. But I would rather take action than engage in an endless debate. It is the most effective way to handle you. You’re too stubborn. Once the medicine kicks in you will thank me. Your health isn’t a joke, Rey.”

Handle me? You just didn’t like your boots getting soiled.”

She has the gall to shove his shoulder - hard -  as she stalks past him. The drink last night not only replenishes her vitamins but her bold attitude as well.

She thinks she can rough him up? Can push him around, and in her current condition?

Her drive to be independent, to be dominant - it angers and turns him on. Kylo consciously buckles down on his self control.

His comlink flashes. He needs to leave. 

“Where did you hide my lightsaber?”

“I did not hide it. It’s up there,” Kylo points at the highest shelf in the kitchen space. He placed it there knowing she cannot reach it. He wants to see if Rey’s force abilities are so diminished that she cannot call it to her. A simple task. 

Rey stands on her tiptoes, reaching for her lightsaber. She huffs, not able to acquire it.  

She refuses to look at Kylo and slams a stool in front of her. Even with the added height she cannot grasp it. The saber rests against the stone wall. Kylo hears Rey talk under her breath about being huge and useless, about her growing belly getting in the way.

“It looks like you could use help,” Kylo states placidly.

He should be ashamed of these microaggressions, the methods he uses to toy with her in the smallest of ways. How he uses her for his amusement. 

“Once I reconnect with the force it won’t be a problem,” she spits as he calls the lightsaber down. She aggressively pulls the floating saber from the air. 

“You’re not useless. You’re beautiful, Rey. Pregnancy becomes you,” Kylo begins unpacking the goods he brought. A task he should have completed last night. He looks at the fullness of her belly and muses. 

“It’s hard to imagine you’ll only get bigger.”

Kylo realizes his blunder as the words leave his mouth. Rey’s face flushes bright red. 

“I can’t believe Han and Leia raised you. The way you speak to me, Kylo….” she shakes her head.

“I wouldn’t say they raised me,” he responds dryly, “Their favored child was the Resistance. I only meant…” Kylo can’t think of a way to salvage his comment. He only means he cannot believe how incredible it is that her body is able to change to accommodate their son. He thinks it is extraordinary. Kylo flips the focus back to her health.

“Rey, tell me you plan on giving birth in a hospital.”

She does not have a choice - Kylo will watch his son be born in the medic ward on the First Order Flagship. If she is anti-medicine this will be considerably more challenging than it needs to be. 

He resumes unpacking and awaits her answer.

The silence is uncomfortably long and he finally looks at her face. Her expression is dark and furious. She storms over and pokes him hard in the chest. 

“You have absolutely no say in how I give birth. I won’t be in a hospital unless there is a problem. I want my midwife at my side - who is a doctor, by the way.”

Kylo almost drops the food he unpacks. Raisa. His undercover First Order agent. Rey’s doctor and midwife. Even now Rey assumes she will be returning to the Resistance base.

Kylo keeps a cool expression. Rey has no idea how deep his control runs.

He follows Witt’s advice. 

“Fine. But I’m entitled to ask. It’s my baby too. I’m the reason…” Kylo wants to say he is the reason she is pregnant. Bringing up sex, especially sex with him, upsets her and his sentence ends there.

The fight brewing in Rey’s face diminishes - a little. 

Kylo makes a show of displaying the food. He ordered Witt to gather items that might appeal to a pregnant woman, along with gourmet foods he is sure Rey has never heard of. 

“I’ll never be able to eat all of this,” she says, distracted by the bottles and jars that vary in height and color; the piles of bread, fruits, and vegetables. Meat and fish packed between chunks of ice, desserts that make her mouth water. 

“Why are you doing this again?” Her hungry gaze lingers on the jar of sparkbee honey. A delicacy and near impossible to find.

“I told you,” Kylo twists the jar lid off, “I am trying to better. I am trying to take care of you.”

Kylo unwraps a loaf of bread and tears off a chunk. He is about to dip it into the honey for her when Rey plunges two fingers into the jar. 

He watches, entranced as she licks the sweet liquid off her fingers. This action is innocent and too much for him to endure.

“You couldn’t wait?” Kylo can’t keep the irritation out of his voice. Irritation that something as innocuous as her simply eating sets his insides on fire. 

Rey shrugs.

“I’m a dirty scavenger. This is how I eat.”

Kylo sets the jar down. She enrages him.

“Don’t talk about yourself like that.”

She dips her fingers in for a second time.

“Why not? You do. All the time.”

Kylo catches her wrist before she dives in for a third time.

His eyes flick up to hers, and he is positive she is going to try and wiggle from his grip.

She doesn’t.  

It feels natural to step forward and place a hand in the small of her back, to draw her closer. To use the other to trace the line of her jaw. 

To lean down and catch her soft lips in a kiss that's warm and slow and sweet. It is not because of the honey - Rey always tastes sweet. He’s told her as much.

His hands travel from her waist to her backside. He slips his hands under the waistband of her pants, past her undergarments. Her ass is tight, supple. Kylo kisses her harder, walking her back to the bed. She isn’t fighting this.

Kylo pulls back to catch his breath. 

The tears swelling in her eyes are not what he hoped to see. Disappointment crushes him.

Her eyes are downcast.

“I knew in the end you would want this.”

 He removes his hands from her body.

“And you don’t.”

The expression on her face is one of unreadable torment. Rey’s eyes veer back up to meet his. “I’ve endured all the lies and hurt you’ve spewed at me for...for longer than I care to think about. I’ve endured your abuse and nastiness to try and survive. To try and find some peace. Can’t you let me have some of that peace? I can’t bear it, Kylo. I can’t bear being pushed into sleeping with you again. I am so tired.”

Kylo retreats. He stops crowding her. 

Rey will not always reject him, deny him.

“I understand,” his voice is soothing, sympathetic. His dark eyes seem to fill his face. 

Rey protectively covers her abdomen. 

“I won’t push you into going to bed with me. I am trying to give you peace. By keeping you safe on this island and bringing you goods. Please don’t think of going back to the Resistance. It’s dangerous Rey - you will end up in the crossfire of battle.”

“It wouldn’t be dangerous if you stopped bombing us. If you stopped assaulting the Resistance. You have your title and your army Kylo. Why can’t you retreat to the outer rim and rule there? Leave us alone.” 

Kylo is prepared for this argument. He rolls up his sleeve to reveal his comlink.

“The Resistance is no friend of yours, Rey. Watch.” He pushes a button and a miniature hologram manifests. 

A man Rey saw briefly in Leia’s office appears. He speaks in front of a crowd of Resistance leaders.

I have been informed Rey fled the attack with Kylo Ren. Shortly after she helped him destroy the Knight’s flagship. It is a low blow, that one of our most trusted Resistance members betrays us in this manner. For now we must treat her as an adversary. Unfortunately, it is not surprising since she carries his child. Her change in allegiance wounds us all, deeply.

Rey gasps loudly in shock. 

“That - that’s not what happened!” She cries, “Tell them Kylo, you have to tell them the truth! The Resistance has to know I would never cross them! Oh force! What am I going to do?” She rubs her temple.

Kylo thinks it is cute the way she uses force as a curse. She is capable of formidable anger, but pregnant and helpless, he finds her dismay adorable...alluring even.

He turns off the comlink and looks at her with what he hopes passes for a sad expression. 

“The Resistance does not trust anything I say. I am sorry Rey. Please, stay here - just for a little while longer.”

A little while longer until she is near her time, until she loses herself in the comfort of items he will deliver. Until she grows so lonely that she aches for his companionship.

“Here,” he hands her a sack of fragrant soaps, shampoos, scrubs, and oils. “Bathe yourself. Eat. Get some rest. Think of the baby, Rey. We can at least be united in that.”

Kylo leaves her in privacy to digest his words. He steps outside. The fresh sea air startles his senses. 

At least he managed to get some medicine in her body. At least, he managed to get away with a kiss. 

A paltry payment for his efforts.

He calls his discarded saber to his hand and makes for his shuttle.

Kylo will not let himself fall into a false sense of security. He flips a few switches in the shuttle and Rey appears on the screen in front of him. The surveillance cameras are a good idea. 

She begins to undress and Kylo grows hot at the thought of watching her bathe, of watching her touch herself. 

A familiar sensation spreads in his groin until Rey exits the confines of the hut. 

He surmises she has gone to bathe outside.

Kylo sighs. He can’t get his way every time.

******

A shocked feeling rumbles around Rey’s brain as she submerges herself into a small pool of water. 

When she comes up she floats on her back, tracing the dark line that spreads from her belly button to her pubic area. 

“What am I going to do? What are we going to do?” 

She has taken to talking to the baby. She feels a light kick but Rey knows he is not answering her question. This child of hers - he moves non-stop in her womb. 

Rey is grateful that however broken her force abilities are, her bond with her son remains intact and strong. She senses him, his energy healthy and bright.

An unexpected feeling of serenity floods her as rays of sunlight dance delicately across the water. She cannot indulge herself in this tranquility for too long. Rey’s fingertips caress the spot on her thigh where Kylo stuck her with a needle.

Allowing him to act out his performance takes a toll on her. That’s all it is. Rey will not allow herself to be fooled into thinking his change in demeanor is genuine.

The Resistance would never think her a traitor if Rose made it back safely to them. 

Kylo holds her in a cell, Rey is certain of it. 

She cannot let on that she knows - she needs to combat him with a plan of her own.

Rey is not sure how she can play along until he notices her behavior is out of character. She is not submissive and never will be.

Immersing herself in the water once more, she constructs a plot to rescue Rose - and herself.  

 

Chapter Text

The caretakers are different this time with Rey. Their annoyance at her presence evaporates.

Albeit the spirited, clumsy women who first came here is gone. Rey is cautious. She spends the last few nights unable to sleep, every new noise setting her on edge. She worries Kylo will manifest with his volatile temper and unpredictable behavior.

Rey peers up into the sky. The First Order flagship is suspended in space somewhere above her. What she would not give for a radio, an old comink - any piece of technology would do. The Lanai are simple creatures - not stupid, but simple - and mechanical parts are hard to come by. They have lived here for hundreds, if not thousands of generations. They have found a way of life that works and there is no reason to complicate it.

Rey watches them perform the laborious task of hauling laundry in wheelbarrows up and down the island hills, hour after hour. Her own clothes grow tight and Rey knows it is not long before she outgrows them completely. 

The caretakers are wise, they read her precarious situation easily. One morning an ancient female shows up with a basket of soft fabric, sewing materials, and dyes. A little bit of the weight resting on Rey’s shoulders lifts. She almost forgets what real joy feels like.

She runs inside, hoping to repay them with some of the extravagant food from Kylo Ren, but they will not take it. Taking food from a pregnant woman in their culture is a taboo.   

They regard her with care and tenderness. Rey appreciates it. 

Kylo’s counterfeit sympathy is anything but consoling.

She spends as much time outdoors as she can. She needs to assume that Kylo finds a way to observe her from his throne. There is no way he can relinquish control and give her true privacy.

Rey’s third day on Ahch-To, the day she sets out to complete her clothes, a heatwave settles over the island. She is caught off guard. Blustery winds, chilly rain, and a general dampness are what she expects - what she experienced the first night with Rose. But this muggy, sweltering heat reminds her of how short her time with Luke Skywalker was. She was not here even for the span of one season.

Luke. His presence here must be felt by Kylo. She wonders if it wounds him.

Rey files the thought away and smoothes out her dress.

Holding up the airy, billowing dress she cocks at eyebrow. It will do. It is not constructed for battle or to show off her shape; it is pure comfort. 

And force help her, she has seen the clothes he left for her in the hut.

Quickly checking all directions - including above her - Rey puts on her latest creation. It hits at the knees and fans out around her belly. Satisfied, she decides to take a break from her personal clothing and focus on the baby.

If Kylo tries to discard the clothes she sews, she will throw him into the sea. This time she will not idly stand by while he insults her.

Oh force, what am I going to do.

She ponders this question all day until it feels oppressive.

The other questions that flood her mind are not helpful. She worries for her son, what his life will be if she escapes. No - when she escapes.

Rey frets that he will be targeted. She naturally worries that he will be preyed upon by powerful agents. She can see society ostracizing him for having Kylo Ren as a father.

His peers teasing and bullying him.

What if he is pushed to the dark side? What if she fails to keep her son balanced? 

Rey will not ban him from exploring the darkness that resides in all of them; but what is to prevent him from falling from grace the way his father and great-grandfather did?

Please, please let him be more like Han. Like Leia. Like Padme. These extraordinary people race through her mind, but she decides the baby’s name cannot be tied to his infamous legacy. She wants him to be free and independent. He deserves to be his own person.

A pang hits Rey deep in her heart. She wishes Leia were here. Without a doubt Leia had these same fears about the boy she named Ben Solo. It is terrifying to admit that in the end, she cannot control who her son turns out to be.

Even if she could, Rey does not want to conceal her son’s paternity from him. Not anymore. Lies and deception open doors to toxic people and paths. A shiver travels down her spine, even in the scorching heat, at the thought that she almost killed Kylo. That she would need to explain to her son that she murdered his father. What would that do to him?

Force...Rey shakes her head. Unless it is in self defense, she promises to her child not to kill Kylo. The violent cycle in the Solo and Skywalker family has to end with her. It has to end with her son. Her son might be born into a broken family, but she cannot harbor hate or revenge. She cannot pass that onto him. It is a challenge.

If not death, then what cage is formidable enough to hold Kylo Ren?

If she had known during those lonely years on Jakku that she would catch the Supreme Leader’s eye - would she still have left with Finn?  

“Ouch,” Rey accidentally pricks the tip of her finger with a needle. She sucks on it, stopping the blood. These fears barrel down on her faster than she can control. She drops the project in her lap, sighing. Rey absently rests a hand on her round midsection.

“I’m so sorry for all this, baby. Your father...I think he loves you, in his own way. But he’s sick…very sick, in his mind. The dark side twists people until they are unrecognizable.” 

Deep breath. Rey exhales. She tries to relax. 

Nothing is going to be solved by wallowing in self pity. 

Set on finishing her projects, Rey threads another needle when tension creeps up her neck. A smooth, velvet voice startles her from behind.

That is what you plan on telling our son? That I am mentally unfit? Shameful, Rey.”

Kylo stands directly behind her.

Rey does not react.

She watches as his boots leave imprints in the dirt as he steps around to look at her.

Rey brandishes the needle like a weapon. Pathetic, but it is all she has. Her lightsaber is in the hut. Idiot, she chastises herself. She thought she would not be out long.

Heat crawls across her cheeks.

“I...yes. That is what I will tell him. You are ill, Kylo.”

Kylo stares down at her, his posture authoritative.

“And I do love him. The baby.” The words come out tight, controlled.

“Sure.”

Like he knows what love is.

Rey cups her hand to shade her eyes, looking up at him. His stormy gaze collides with hers. 

“You’re sewing again,” he observes.

Rey prepares for him to swoop in and discard her hard work. Frantically she gathers her materials.

“I am. I need something to do. And I won’t have you toss them away. I have every right to make clothing for the baby,” she snaps defensively.

“And dolls.”

“What?” Rey squints.

“Those,” Kylo nods, “You’re not only making clothes. You’re making dolls. Is that... FN 2187?” He sounds incredulous as he sits down to examine the toys.

Rey has been making soft dolls for herself since she was ten years old. She uses the scraps along with various materials to create dolls in the likeness of the people she misses most. She made Finn first: using plants and berries from the island to dye his clothing, finesse the defining details. The jacket he adopts from Poe. She creates these heroes for her son. 

An adult woman sewing dolls while talking to herself: Rey knows how it makes her look.

She braces for Kylo’s cruel, demoralizing comments. 

He handles a second creation with a dawning realization.

“Is this my fath..Han Solo?” He sounds horrified.

“The baby’s grandfather? Yes,” Rey says as he turns it over.

Kylo drops the doll like a poisonous snake. He looks haunted.

“Well,” Rey finishes shoving everything into two sacks, “I’m waiting,” she stands and slings them over her shoulders.

“Waiting for what? You shouldn't carry those bags while pregnant."

“I'm fine. I'm waiting for your commentary about the dolls. My clothing. My rags. I know you disapprove.” 

His jaw sets.

“Why don’t you wear the clothes I brought? You look overheated, Rey,” he follows her back to the hut. The sun has moved from its high position in the sky and sits low, hovering above the calm sea. 

Rey notices the door to the hut is ajar. Another example of how he disregards her privacy.

“Have you already been inside?” She crosses the threshold and rests her bags on a stone bench.

“Yes,” Kylo answers, “I brought you more food. More honey.”

“I don’t need any more food. It’s only been a few days, Kylo. I could use technical items to make the time go by faster. I like to tinker.”

Rey does not like the way he closes the door, the way his critical eyes meet hers. Rey is all too aware that the glistening water covering her skin is sweat, that she empties her canteen of water in a few gulps.

“Nice try, Rey. I know you are a talented mechanic. You won’t be getting your hands on any machinery or computers. I’m not stupid.”

Kylo does not look happy with her appearance.

“You are overheated. Put this on,” Kylo produces a floor-length white dress from a bag. It is sheer and low cut with delicate shoulder straps. It is obvious to Rey that this is not something to be worn in public - this is an intimate item of clothing. 

Rey is anxious about saying no. She is anxious he will try to handle her again - will grab at her and force it on her himself. 

Rey hates the appeasing words that come out of her mouth. 

“Fine. But you don’t get to watch me dress. You don’t get to see me in it,” she snatches it from his hand. She feels ridiculous holding a garment that probably costs more than three months rations on Jakku. 

“I am not leaving until you put it on. I won't have you sick from the heat.”

There is a note of distrust in Kylo’s voice. He faces the door and folds his arms, “You have your privacy. Get dressed. Now.”

The way he commands her. Rey aggressively strips out of her homemade dress, hot with frustration. She has no underwear on, no bands to cover her chest. For a minute she searches for them until...

“Hurry up, Rey. Before I turn around,” Kylo’s statement is pompous and uttered with such seriousness that Rey fumes.  

“Don’t rush me. You try moving quickly while…” she does not want to bring up her body or her belly to him.

He gets the gist of her scolding.

“Sorry.” 

Kylo turns just as she slips the last strap over her shoulder. She feels exposed, practically naked standing in front of him. The fabric is so thin she may as well be naked. 

“I said you don't get to see me in this. You can go now,” She waves her arms, exasperated. 

Her words have no effect on him. Kylo stares, slowly drinking her in. His eyes lock onto her as if in a trance.

“My god, Rey,” Kylo's voice is strangled. He continues staring in awe, in bewilderment. His mouth drops, hanging open as he searches for more words. 

“You are such a beauty, Rey. If you could see yourself the way I see you. You’re flawless...you always have been.”

Rey crosses her arms around her chest, acutely aware of the way her nipples harden against the lace of the gown.

Kylo kicks off his boots, his cloak falls to the ground. He takes a step forward, hand outstretched. “Rey...can I have you? I’ll go slow. I’ll be gentle. Please...let me have you.”

With him it always comes down to this. Every interaction ends in his lust, his need to consume and bury himself inside her. 

Rey nervously licks her lips. She bunches the bottom of the dress, pulling it up, trying to block the most vulnerable part of herself from his view.

Her dignity will not allow her to say yes. She needs to out maneuver Kylo, but she cannot bring herself to use sex as a diversion - as  a tool, a power play. Maybe if she thought of herself as a sexual being she could do it. But she is someone who once flustered at seeing him shirtless.

Maybe if sex wasn’t just an act to her, if it didn’t mean so much, she could go through with it.

“No. No, Kylo. You can't have me. I've taken a vow of celibacy."

“Why?” With one hand Kylo lifts his shirt over his head. His muscular strength shows in the breadth of his chest as he moves.

“Celibacy? That's Jedi nonsense. What are you afraid of?” He stands in front of her now. 

Rey breaks into a fresh sweat. He peels his gloves off one finger at a time. 

His casual, languid approach frightens her more than his violent outbursts. He is fully cognizant of the choices he makes, of the things he says. 

Kylo’s hands settle on either side of her waist, near her belly. His thumbs gently stroke her.

“I want to be inside you, Rey. You have to admit it feels right when we are together. What better place than here?” His lips are close to hers, she can feel his warm breath. 

Rey wishes she knew what it felt like to have a man respect her. She wishes she knew what it felt like to have a lover honor and cherish her. The thought lodges in her throat.

“Come on now, don't be like this,” Kylo whispers, voice husky against her neck.

What is she afraid of? All Rey can think of is their last encounter. The way he blackmailed her into his bed, her shame afterwards.

“You’re upset,” Kylo dips his head down, trying to make eye contact with her, “You’re trembling, Rey.”

Is she?

Rey is trying to be indifferent, trying to be strong. It doesn't do to let someone with an ego like his know how much power he has. 

It’s not working. He won't back down. 

She might shake apart and shatter into a million pieces from trembling. Dimly in the very back of her mind Rey is aware of the tears running down her cheeks. She wants to wipe them away but she can’t manage it just now.

Her chest jumps as she tries to get some air - even a little breath would be an accomplishment.

Fear, sharper than any blade, stabs at her heart. 

Kylo’s smoldering features turn somber.

“I’m pushing too hard, aren’t I? You’re afraid to let me touch you.” 

“Yes,” Rey whispers.

Kylo’s arms drop to his side but his proximity does not change. Desperation clouds around him. 

“Everything that is wrong between us...can it ever be mended, Rey?”

“No.” 

No hesitation, no second thought. She shuts him down.

“I see. You meant it, when you said I destroyed your love for me.”

His eyes are deep and dark, pools of spinning thoughts and silent apologies.

“I did.”

Rey watches her confirmation damage something inside him. She wonders how someone so cruel, so barbaric, has anything left inside to break.

Her lightsaber rests on the table to her left. Rey draws her body upright, ready to lunge for it. Kylo does not accept rejection. She expects to pay dearly for the raw hurt on his face. Moisture pools in his eyes.

“I regret that,” a lone tear traces down his cheek.

“You regret what?” 

She needs to hear him say it.

“That I’ve hurt you. Deeply. That there is no way I can earn your heart back.”

Rey will not let him back in. Not after the trauma he has caused her - that he continues to cause.

Not now that she has a baby to protect.

“You could still commit a selfless act - for once in your life, Kylo. If you love me as much as you claim to. You could let us go. You’re no good for me or the baby. You only hurt us," she speaks earnestly, eyes wide.

A debate seems to dance in his eyes; his internal dialogue constantly at war. Kylo's hands open and close, rhythmically clenching as if there could be some violent solution to his pain.

Light is entombed somewhere in him. Rey knows this. There always will be. But she is finished trying to coax it out, trying to change him into the man she wants him to be.

His transformation needs to come from within.

“Let you go? But what would I do without you?” Tears choke his voice, “I can’t let you go. I’m sorry. I can’t. I will not entertain abandoning you or my son.” 

Kylo reaches into his pocket. Rey panics, worried at what possible weapon he will wield. 

She bolts for her lightsaber.

Kylo easily bars her with his arm and catches her by the waist. He seizes her wrist and holds it still as his free hand slips a heavy gold ring onto her finger. It pinches into her skin and Rey winces. Kylo’s tone is vehement as he twists it on.

“You won’t be leaving - you are not going anywhere. You will be my wife Rey. You are the mother of my child and the woman I love. There will be a wedding and it will be broadcast for the entire galaxy to witness. Do you understand?”

She stares in horror at the jewelry adorning her hand.

“The pain from the ring won’t last long. It is embedded into your skin. Don’t get any ideas about removing it - only a doctor can do that.” 

“It’s a tracking device,” Rey says.

“Yes. I learned my lesson last time with the necklace.” 

Bile rises in Rey’s throat despite the injection he forced on her.

"Let go of me," she hisses.

“This is not how I wanted to propose, but your lack of faith leaves me no choice. I will prove to you that I can be a good husband. A good father.”

Kylo's hold on her wrist is about to leave a bruise. He releases her and presses a faint kiss on the tender area.

“Tomorrow you will return with me to the flagship. For a short time. I want you fitted for a wedding gown. I want you to visit the medic. You’re overdue for a prenatal assessment and I will accompany you.”

Rey stands frozen in place. All his begging for forgiveness and the entire time he hides a ring with a tracking device.

She is right not to trust him.

Kylo brushes a stray hair from her face before crossing the room. He stands in the doorframe, turning slightly to face her. The tears in his eyes are gone. His gaze is narrowed, rigid, cold.

“There are a few things I wish I approached differently. I wish I married you before getting you pregnant. I am going to set things right. You'll get the wedding you deserve. And Rey?" He adds softly, "You would be wise not to refuse me on our wedding night. It will be my right to have you. I want you to submit willingly.”

The door closes with a click. 

Iron-clad determination hardens in Rey. Her hands ball into small fists. She takes the first thing she looks at - the jar of honey - and smashes it against the door.  

Rey rips off the gown and tosses it into the fire pit. She lights a match and watches it burn.

Wearing her homemade dress, she crosses her legs and concentrates. She wills the force to strengthen and flow through her once more.

Kylo Ren is delusional if he thinks he can make her his wife.

Chapter Text

The thrill, the rush that Kylo feels after threatening Rey never lasts long.

He used the same terror tactics at his uncle’s Jedi school after he had experienced enough of Skywalker’s antics.

Luke Skywalker, trotting his nephew out like a prize fathier in front of his pupils. Boasting about the balance of the force, the energy between all things. Ben Solo, a lost boy churning with light and darkness. And Skywalker, the teacher who would pass on all he knew to Ben Solo.

Skywalker's personal pet project to prove that the Jedi would rise again and continue to restore peace to the galaxy.

How wrong Skywalker had been. How arrogant

Kylo rebelled in small ways at first. He would find covert opportunities to antagonize his peers. A lightsaber gone missing, students dangerously misstepping during practice. Kylo seized opportunities to lean into his darkness, to humiliate Skywalker. Especially when he expected him to perform. 

He’d made them pay - all of them. Screams, dreadful screams curling upwards into the air as he slaughtered those who refused allegiance to Kylo and the Knights of Ren.

The path he chose led to this, Kylo thinks, as the flagship looms above him. To becoming Supreme Leader of the galaxy. He is no longer lost.

The shuttle lands in the flagship’s hangar.

Rey is not one of Skywalker’s slack jawed, awestruck pupils. She is a tenacious survivor strong with the force. Kylo is sure she gave the old man hell. The ancient Jedi was probably envious of her raw power, probably wanted her for himself.

It is a disgusting thought. 

Kylo roughly palms his eyes. Visiting Ahch-To fucks with him. The aura of Luke, the bad memories of his past. It all comes hurling back, unwanted into his mind. 

He struggles to organize his thoughts.

The way he had to force the ring on her finger - it was crude, there was nothing chivalrous about it.

But Rey thinks nothing can be fixed between them? That hurt. He had to inflict a little of his pain on her, had to turn it around and show her what it felt like.

As he waits for the shuttle’s ramp to lower Kylo tries to recall the last time Rey spoke a kind word to him. He remembers.

I’m coming. I won’t leave you.

Rey’s last frantic message when she thought he needed to be rescued. 

Her unwavering loyalty to him, the hunger at which she returned his touch - the way she was ready to die saving him. 

How does that kind of love just vanish?

It doesn’t. She is being stubborn to spite him. She withholds her love and body to punish him. 

General Witt stands at attention as he steps into the hangar. A complacent expression graces her face, her hands delicately folded in front. 

“Supreme Leader Ren…”

“My quarters. Now.”

Kylo surveys his flagship as Witt scurries to keep up with him. He makes every one of his soldiers toe the mark - right down to the last centimeter. 

He expects blind, unquestioning obedience; demands the strictest conformity to the rules. He will not tolerate the slightest deviation from his orders.

Fuck. He sounds like Hux.

In his private quarters Kylo unhooks his cloak and tosses it on the floor. He ignites his lightsaber and spins it in his hand. A tiny yelp sounds from behind and the crackling laser disappears. 

Kylo turns to see Witt’s ashen face.

“My apologies. Come in, Witt. We have quite the agenda to discuss.”

“Indeed,” she responds. Kylo calls on the force to slam the chamber doors shut. 

“Supreme Leader, I have gathered items I believe you will need for the infant. Would you like to inspect them before bringing them to Rey?”

Baby items. His son. Kylo can still feel the movement of the baby under his hand. In a few months, his son will be here -  in Rey’s arms, in his arms. He is going to be a father. He is going to have to put someone else first - his son will come before him, before Rey. 

Kylo breaks out into a cold sweat. 

“Rey will view the items on the flagship. I will bring her aboard tomorrow. Right now there are more pressing matters. Did you manage to locate Raisa from the Resistance base?” 

“Yes sir. Her time in the bacta tank should be completed in a few more hours.”

“Good.”

Kylo considered using the First Order’s most qualified and accomplished doctor to track Rey’s health. An older man who makes no time for niceties or smalltalk. Cold, precise, efficient - there is something reptilian about the man. 

Reviving Raisa as Rey’s doctor will reveal how deep Kylo’s manipulation goes, will make her all the more defiant. Yet, Kylo reminds himself, Rey was adamant that Raisa attend the birth. 

Surely that indicates a bond formed between the women. If Rey developed a sincere relationship with her doctor, is that not a good sign? Most importantly, Raisa cared for Rey since the beginning of the pregnancy - she knows Rey intimately. She knows the history of her health. 

Rey is a person who needs warm and nourishing relationships. If Raisa can provide some of that warmth then perhaps it will restore some of Rey’s faith in him. Perhaps the two will grow close enough for him to dispose of Rose. 

He does not risk torturing or killing Rose off - not yet. 

“...Is there anything else Sir?” 

Kylo is still distracted, off balance. He needs to stop losing himself in his thoughts. 

“Yes. Your plan. It’s not working.”

“If I may sir, a week has not even gone by…” 

“And already your plan is a dismal failure,” Kylo talks over her, bored, “The scavenger is more adverse to me than ever. I took care of her. I administered an injection to stop her nausea. I brought her food. Clothing. I offered my affections but I did not force myself on her.”

“Do I have permission to speak candidly, sir?” General Witt asks. 

“By all means,” he can’t keep the sarcasm from his tone, “Please do .”

“Did Rey initiate affection towards you?”

“No. The scavenger did not.”

“Supreme Leader, we agreed not to call her scavenger.”

Kylo wonders if General Witt has a death wish. 

“My recommendation is to slow it down. Slow down your pace ten-fold. She needs to feel safe. Approach her as you would a child.”

Kylo is close to losing control. 

He cannot abide two women admonishing him in one day. 

“Supreme Leader, this plan will not work unless you play a more...accommodating role. Rey needs…”

“She needs to know her place when it comes to me,” Kylo says, terse. “You don’t know her like I do. You haven’t seen her in battle. Rey is compassionate and kind, but she is ruthless. Or have you forgotten what she did to the Knight’s flagship? Have you forgotten who gave me this scar?”

His hand clenches.

“Supreme Leader, if you maintain your current behavior this will be a lost mission.”

Kylo's muscles flex as if readying for a fight. He does not care for her insinuations about his impulse control. 

“I apologize if what I say displeases you, Supreme Leader. I take my role as General seriously. I want the First Order to succeed. I know you are capable of setting aside your lust for her company.”

Does she?

A man who goes to war must wear a savage mask that is to be removed in the presence of women. Kylo has been at war with himself for so long that he can no longer separate the mask from the man.

He waves her words away. 

“Enough, Witt. Have the infant items brought in.” 

Some of the lines in Witt’s face relax as she speaks orders into her comlink. 

Minutes later officers appear parading a number of contraptions into his chambers. Droids that perform infant specific care, cribs, chairs with wheels. Kylo’s attention is held hostage by these strange items. 

“Is this to your taste, Supreme Leader?” Witt’s hands rest on the top bar of a crib. The paint is black and lacquered, the bars sturdy.

“My preference does not matter. Send the droids away.” 

Wheels turn and beeps fade as the droids are dismissed. Witt smiles. Kylo bristles. He does not need her approval. 

“This one will do. Place it next to my bed. Remove the side.”

A natural wood crib is pushed flush against the side of his mattress. The side-bar is removed, allowing for easy access to the baby. 

Kylo selects a bassinet, a few tiny infant loungers, and a stroller. He thinks he is done when more carts are wheeled in, loaded to the hilt with clothes, blankets, wraps, bottles, and a pump that appears to be made specifically for Rey’s breasts. 

It is a foreign, overwhelming world.

Witt nods encouragingly when he picks items that favor Rey’s taste. He hates feeling like a child, hates her patronizing manner.

He does not need her validation. She is not his goddamn mother.  

Kylo swallows the lump in his throat. He excuses himself - he needs a break from all of this - from his ever impending new reality. 

He logs onto his datapad and turns the screen away from any potential leering eyes. Rey appears. 

She tosses and turns in bed, one pillow resting under her belly. For support, he guesses. 

Kylo spares a glance at his bed to see if there are enough pillows for her. There aren't. He orders more. Kylo notices she is back in her home-sewn clothing. He notices - 

Kylo stops. He did not acknowledge the change in the force earlier because it felt natural. 

Rey reunites with the force, with him. 

Kylo's gaze returns to his bed. Rey belongs there. He wants to hold her again. Kylo can make out the ring on her finger as her hand hangs off of the mattress. Would it be such a bad idea to turn around and take her now?

“Tomorrow. You can go to her tomorrow. Right now she needs to rest,” Witt says slowly, under her breath. She stands at his side, silently staring at the screen. 

Kylo reminds himself not to underestimate the General. Not to underestimate women. 

“Yes. Tomorrow. You will accompany me Witt, when I fetch Rey and bring her aboard.”

“When you invite her to view the baby items.”

Kylo frowns.

“Right. When I invite her.”

He watches the final touches as his room transforms into a space he does not recognize. They are going to have a baby, and that baby will have everything he needs, from both of his parents. Kylo will get his way for once, he will have his happy ending. 

He sifts through a basket of toys and thinks of the dolls Rey crafted. He sensed how the likeness of her friends brought comfort to her. How she preferred an inanimate object to him.

Witt would tell him to let Rey keep the dolls. He orders one of his officers to purchase fabric and sewing implements. Only the finest quality, nothing like the raw material from the primitive island creatures.

 Kylo senses a question in the recesses of Witt’s mind. 

“What is it, General?”

“Did you propose to her, Sir?” 

“Yes.”

“And?” General Witt prompts.

“She accepted.”

Kylo's focus remains locked on Rey. An idea comes to him.

He banishes the remaining officers from his quarters. 

Kylo patches himself through to the Resistance. He announces his engagement to their fallen hero and informs them that the wedding will take place in two weeks time.

They are cordially invited to view the event via holonet. No gifts are necessary.

Tomorrow, Kylo repeats internally, tomorrow will be better. With Witt by his side he will coax Rey back into his arms. Gradually, slowly. 

She can even pay Rose a visit in her cell. That will lift her spirits. 

Kylo does not sleep that night. Face basking in the glow of his datapad, he watches Rey until morning.

Chapter Text

Ahch-To. Skywalker's island. 

The shuttle docks. Kylo disembarks, leaving Witt to scurry behind him. 

“You stay here,” he growls, “I don’t want her overwhelmed.” 

Kylo does not need a reason to enter the hut alone. Rey is not weak, the presence of a First Order General will not rattle her nerves. But he wants General Witt outside. He wants to be alone with Rey. He wants some privacy. 

It is dark out with sunrise fast approaching and he has not had a lick of sleep.

Rey is his last loose end - all others holding him back have been done away with. Anyone who deemed themselves above him is dead. 

Rey is the only one left. The only one as powerful as he is - the only person who knows what it feels like to possess such strength. The only one who understands what it is to feel crushing loneliness.

She is in theory, his opposite in the force. But Kylo thinks the veil between them is thin - Rey can be just as hot headed. When she stunted her force abilities he enjoyed the upper hand it afforded him over her. For a while. Until it grew boring -  knowing he could win against her every time. He wants a woman with some fight in her.

There is one thing preventing Rey from unleashing on him completely. 

The baby.

Kylo reminds himself that Rey will not engage in direct combat because she worries for the baby's life. Kylo scoffs - as if he could raise a hand to her. She thinks of the baby as hers, not theirs. He is a threat, an enemy. She tries not to think of him as the father.

An interesting psychological defense. Rey is skilled at coming up with those. And yet, she speaks to the baby about him.

Kylo checks to confirm that General Witt remains at an appropriate distance. She does.

The door creaks as he opens it.

Rey is currently cuddling a pillow, asleep. Her soft lashes tickling her cheeks, a strand of hair caressing her face. 

Kylo feels the return of the static again, that crackling in the air that happens when the distance between them closes. It is enough to make the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. 

The Force. 

He tries to tame his obsessive nature. It is nearly impossible.

The force wills it - he has to have her. Rey has to be his. The desire is beyond a want, it is a need. The need to touch Rey, feel her warm breath on his neck, her soft lips pressing against his. To look in her eyes and see the lust burn in there. To feel her body pressed next to his, skin to skin, heat to heat. To be tangled within her arms and legs, touch, kissing, caressing her. Hear her moans and sighs, whispers and whimpers, make her scream in utter ecstasy. To make Rey need him, only him, always him.

Kylo almost feels shame for his insanity, but he can't. The want, the desire, the need is too strong.

Even as Rey sleeps Kylo can sift through her emotions. He realizes how blind to her he became when she severed the force. Painful, unnatural. She had to feel it too.

“Rey,” he places a hand on her shoulder. Her eyes open and she blinks furiously.

You,” she calls on the force to throw his hand off her body. Her foot kicks at him as she shuffles to the other end of the bed. It makes little difference.

Kylo senses the anger welling up in her -  she wants to hurl things at him, scream, and run.

“Keep your hands to yourself,” Rey’s lightsaber flies across the room and into her hand. She stares at Kylo.

The energy between them is disorienting. Kylo feels her emotions, he views himself through her eyes. 

“You feel it, don’t you?” He asks, “The force. The link between us only grows stronger. I couldn’t sleep all night, I only thought of you, Rey. I am sorry about this, about how I went about it,” he lifts her hand and examines the ring on her finger. 

"The Resistance knows now. About our engagement," he kisses her hand.

“Get off.”

Anger. It courses through her veins and Kylo feels it. Overflowing anger. Her anger at how she could have possibly fallen for him in the first place. 

Kylo feels her maddening, blistering, pain directed at him.

He does not want Rey to go mad. He wants her to join him, but he does not want her to be like him. 

Rey’s anger culminates in hot tears streaming down her face - rivers of sadness. She looks away from him and hugs her legs against her chest. She rests a cheek against one of her knees.

 “Rey,”  Kylo whispers, his expression utterly serious, “I wish you would at least look at me.” 

He walks around the bed to sit so he can face her. Rey automatically turns her head and rests her cheek on her opposite knee.

Frustration creeps into Kylo’s bones.

“I know you didn't mean what you said before. That I am no good for you and the baby. That I am unable to fix my mistakes. That I’ve ruined everything good between us.”

That elicits a reaction. 

Good?  Between us? When were things ever good Kylo?”

“Isn’t it obvious Rey?” Kylo’s big hands press gently on her belly. A light flickers in his dark eyes when the baby kicks under his touch. Rey’s heart beats faster and warmth spreads through her.

Kylo feels it. His brows press together, his eyes narrowing in amazement.

“You like that,” intrigue fills his voice, “you like it when I bond with the baby. When you sense that I care about him. That I love him. I overheard you say as much when you spoke to him earlier,” Kylo says thickly, remembering.

Kylo’s hands trace the contours of her pregnant belly and trail down to her thighs. “And I love his mother too. You're so strong, so damn beautiful…but I hate seeing you in this state, Rey. Constantly crying and in pain. Why do you inflict this on yourself? You have to be exhausted.”

”I brought this on myself?”

There is a metallic taste in his mouth as her hand comes into contact with his face. He stands and wipes blood from  his chin. 

“You have to stop hitting me, Rey,” he says quietly. “I don’t want our son growing up in an abusive household.”

“Oh, that’s rich coming from you! And I only feel relief that you don’t want to hurt my baby.”

“Our baby, Rey.”

“Right,” she stands, clenching her saber, “Our baby. Conceived through lies and deception. I know you only fucked me out of hatred, to punish me. I know you did it so you could have a laugh with your Knights at how stupid and gullible I am - how gullible I was. And this ring is not a symbol of love, you forced it on me. What a great foundation for our child. You can never be a part of his life, Kylo Ren. I will make sure of it.”

"Is that so?" He cannot believe how bold she is, the things she says. The hurtful words that sting. 

The force returns a bit of her spark. 

With one swift stride Kylo covers the distance between them, squeezing her upper arms. Rey bites the inside of her mouth as the pressure increases, thrashing against his grip, fingers trying to ignite her saber.

They both call on the force - Kylo to control and still her, Rey to escape.

“I do love you. You sense it. Do not lie to yourself,” Kylo's voice is a low rumble. His massive body towers over hers, engulfing it, “There is no need to be so dramatic. I will let you go if you promise to stop spouting such ugly lies. Promise me.”

Force, Kylo! They aren’t lies, I’m telling the truth!”

In response Kylo yanks her harder against him, a bit rougher than he intends. For a split second she flinches, bracing for either his lust or his fist. Shaking from the realization, he releases her. He looks down at his hands, at how easily he lost control with her. 

Rey backs up, panting. She ignites her lightsaber and points it at him. “See? You can’t help but react with violence when I speak the truth.”

They watch each other warily. Kylo thinks of General Witt standing at attention outside. He thinks of their plan. 

Slowly, Kylo places his lightsaber on the ground. He keeps his hands in the air as he moves away from Rey. 

“You’re right,” he breathes, “I lost control. I am…”

“You’re sorry. I know,” she grinds her teeth, “I am tired of your hollow apologies.”

"They are never hollow. I mean every word, Rey." 

He feels her stress. Her instinct to flee, to fight.

Kylo tries to distract her. He tilts his head sideways.

“Rey. The cave, here on Ahch-To. The one you faced yourself in. Where is it?”

The one she emerged dripping wet from. Her white tunic clinging to her body. 

“What? Why?”

Kylo opens the door. He orders Witt to come inside. 

“It is strong with the dark side of the force. I intend to investigate it.” 

“You might not like what you see,” Rey says, suspicious. “And I won’t come with you.”

“No,” Kylo motions to Witt, “You will stay here with General Witt. I can find the cave on my own.” 

Kylo picks up his saber and glances between the women. His gaze rests on Rey. 

“Don’t try anything. I’ll know if you do.” 

He abruptly stalks outside. Let her cool down with General Witt. The General has a way with people - Kylo is mostly sure Rey will not slay her. 

He descends down the rocky island to face whatever waits for him inside the cave. 

Kylo knows it will be illuminating.

 

*****

Rey sinks to the floor.

Her knuckles return to their usual color as she sets down her saber. 

The sun shines bright in the sky now. All Rey can feel is the fatigue behind her eyes. Kept awake all night by a kicking baby only to be jerked out of sleep by Kylo Ren. She runs a hand through her hair - this was not how she wanted to start the day.

“Can I make you some tea, Rey?” General Witt busies herself in the kitchen space. 

Rey does not answer. 

“I remember how hard the second half of pregnancy is.”

Rey thinks Kylo’s choice of General is very odd. Krog must be dead. It is the only explanation.

“Here,” Witt places tea in front of Rey, “This will settle you.”

Rey does not trust the matronly act that Witt puts on - except she is not sure how much of an act it is. To become a General in the First Order you must be ruthless, without morals. What game is this?

She sniffs the tea. It smells safe enough to drink. 

Witt sighs.

“Did the Supreme Leader harm you?”

“It depends on your definition of harm. I don’t need medical attention,” Rey clarifies. She delves a little deeper into Witt’s psyche. What she finds alarms her.

“It’s wrong, the way he treats you,” Witt carries over a plate with bread smothered in honey. 

“Everything about the way he rules is disordered, chaotic. I don’t expect you to join the First Order, Rey, but perhaps we can reach a mutually beneficial agreement. I can help you escape if you assist me in implementing a new Supreme Leader. Let’s see how the First Order operates with a woman at the helm.”

Rey nearly chokes on her food. 

This is treason of the highest form. Witt takes a huge risk propositioning her. If Rey refuses, it means certain death for the General. And why should she want the First Order to continue? How has Kylo not sensed her intentions?

She remembers that he did not foresee his Knight’s mutiny. He was preoccupied with her. 

Witt’s wide smile is tactfully maternal. 

“I don't mean to cause you stress, Rey. This might be our only opportunity to be alone - for a while. Just think about it. You wouldn't have to worry about that man taking your baby away. You know he will.”

Rey conceals any expression on her face as she eats.

It is not enough that Kylo Ren wants to use her - now another ambitious First Order member thinks she can be manipulated.

Force.

Chapter Text

Dozens of possibilities race through Rey’s mind. 

Her bread suddenly tastes too dry, the honey too sweet. She stares into her empty mug and considers her options. 

She could easily kill General Witt. Run to the shuttle, send the Resistance her coordinates. Hope that she can persuade them she is not a traitor - surely Leia does not believe it. 

Navigate the shuttle to the flagship and rescue Rose. Jump into hyperspace as the Resistance descends upon the First Order. 

Rescuing Rose - that is the tricky bit. 

No, Rey shakes her head, they would both be caught before the Resistance arrives. The plan is too hasty, too short sighted. 

Leaving without Rose is out of the question. 

Rey could tell Kylo right now, through the force, that he better prepare for another mutiny. General Witt is no ally of his. 

But why? So he can murder Witt and clamp down on his control over her?

Rey wants to carry out a plan that will devastate the First Order, not just Kylo Ren. She lifts herself to her feet and opens a window for fresh air. Hot wind gusts inside.  

Another thought hits Rey. 

Declining Witt’s offer will have a fallout. She bets it includes not letting her remain alive, let alone escape. Rey turns to the General. 

“How long have you thought about this? Replacing Kylo Ren, I mean. It is dangerous. He must sense your disloyalty.”

Witt chuckles softly. 

“First Order members are loyal to the Order. To each other?” She shrugs, “It’s merely a formality. Relationships, if you can call them that, are forged out of necessity. As for how long? Krog and I talked about it but he never had the guts to execute it.” 

“It is impossible to sustain an organization without loyalty,” Rey speaks with conviction,“There must be some form of trust among you.”

Witt pours herself a cup of tea.

“You tell me, Rey. You were there when Kylo Ren bisected Snoke. He destroyed the Supreme Leader for you. Snoke and Kylo were supposed to share the deepest of bonds: Master and apprentice. Trust disappears when opportunity presents itself.” 

“Which is what this is  - what I am. An opportunity for you to overthrow Kylo Ren,” Rey responds. 

“Exactly. You are in a unique position to kill him Rey. I honestly don’t know why you haven’t already.”

It’s a loaded statement. Rey does not take the bait. Witt tries again. 

“My proposition is a win-win. You help me and I release you, unharmed.”

“And the First Order continues its assault on free life forms everywhere. Including the Resistance - which I am a part of.”

“Yes,” Witt says, “You would need to leave the Resistance. Hide yourself and the child in the outer rim. I’ll avoid the planet you live on - out of goodwill. As one mother to another.”

Rey tries to suppress a near-hysterical laugh. She finds it ironic how Witt waxes on about disloyalty yet expects Rey to believe she will keep her promise.

It is a wonder to her that the First Order exists at all. 

Rey brushes inside Witt’s head. She senses the woman’s determination, her strong will. Rey will not be able to influence her actions through the force. The General is not weak minded. 

Force

“I will help you. But I need your word that my friend Rose Tico will escape with me unharmed. I know Kylo captured her, even if he hasn’t told me.”

Witt nods. 

“Yes. He holds her. He keeps her as a gift for you.”

Rey rubs her eyes and groans. It is too much. All of it.

But she can do this -  with Rose’s help she can pull off the plan forming in her mind. She can escape Kylo Ren and deliver a blow heavy enough to disable, if not destroy, the First Order.

Witt means to use her, and Rey will use her right back. 

General Witt is just another person to dismiss her as a frightened pregnant woman willing to do anything to survive. Rey might be frightened, but she isn't broken, and she is a survivor.

The baby kicks and she reassuringly pats her belly.

“It’s okay little one,” she whispers, “I’ll keep you safe.”

***

 

Kylo does not fear the cave.

He has been inside a cave like this before, with Snoke. He faced his fears once and he can do it again. Kylo already knows what he fears, he is no fool: loss of power, loss of control. 

He dares the cave to enlighten him, to expose fears lying dormant in his mind. Kylo will face and eviscerate them. 

And, as he did on Dagobah, he will destroy the cave if he dislikes what he sees. 

Kylo stares into the circular mouth of impenetrable darkness. It beckons to him. 

He kicks off his boots and removes his shirt, not wanting to be weighed down in the water. 

In one fluid movement he dives headfirst into the gaping pit. 

To enter the cave is to become submersed in chilling blackness. The absence of light means the absence of warmth and the freezing water shocks Kylo’s lungs. He emerges with a shout, his senses set ablaze by the frigid temperature. 

Kylo shakes his wet hair from his face and treads water. How did Rey, his desert scavenger, survive this?

He makes for the slick stone shore and easily lifts himself out of the deep pool. Water outlines the planes of his body and his hand drifts to his lightsaber. Kylo saw the bones lodged between the subterranean boulders - the massive skeletal jaws belonging to a ferocious creature. One might lurk in the murky depths, hungry and waiting.  

Kylo’s ears strain and he only hears the drip of water echo off the dense walls. 

Ahead of him he spots the mirror that Rey described through their force connection three years ago. Kylo’s shadow dissolves into the surrounding darkness as he approaches the glass facade. Strangely, he feels a sense of relief as he reaches his destination for one reason: the mirror conveys a promise of knowledge. 

Kylo’s heart hammers in his chest from anticipation. He plants his feet firmly and looks into the reflective glass.

A blurred shadow of a figure approaches. He wonders what person left in the galaxy can instill fear in him. 

Kylo inhales sharply as the apparition gives way to the appearance of a young man. He strides closer to Kylo with leonine power, with purpose, with authority. With a stance that demands respect. 

The young man’s expression is electrifying and charismatic. He is tall, his height greater than Kylo’s. His broad shoulders and corded muscles send a warning to all he meets: this is a warrior.

Light brown hair, almost blonde, falls in waves around his shoulders. Hazel eyes bore into Kylo’s obsidian ones.   

Out of shock Kylo’s vision obscures, a red haze temporarily blinding his view.

He knows this man. 

He has seen him in the archive records, he has watched footage from the era of the Clone Wars. 

“Grandfather,” Kylo exhales reverently. He bows and falls to his knees, “I do not fear you. But Grandfather, I do not understand...why does the force send your likeness to me?” Kylo glances up, his eyes pleading.

For years he begs Darth Vader to speak to him, to make contact. And now the force brings forth Anakin Skywalker?

Something is wrong.

The eyes - the eyes that belong to the man are not yellow, as they should be. As Darth Vader’s eyes should be. Neither are they blue, as Anakin Skywalker’s once were.

They are hazel.

Kylo examines the man’s face, the differences becoming more noticeable.

This is not his Grandfather.

Kylo feels a sickening hum vibrate throughout his body.

There is condemnation in the man’s expression, when Kylo looks harder. The wry smile reveals dimples, and Kylo would recognize that smile anywhere. He has caught it fleetingly on another face: Rey. 

“No…” Kylo mutters, quaking as he stands, “No...this cannot be right.”

In a trance he watches as a second figure appears. He swallows, throat bobbing. 

Rey. 

She is older. Not ancient and weathered, but mature and approaching middle age. Fine lines begin to form around her eyes, the grey in her hair more prominent. Her features are relaxed, serene. She still has the exuberance of youth in her body, her face. She stares, eyes filled to the brim with adoration and love for the man next to her. 

She gives no acknowledgement or attention to Kylo; she seems completely unaware of his presence.

The man, however, frees his lightsaber from his belt and ignities it. The glow from its blue crystal casts a glow on his face.  

“No…” is all Kylo can manage when he recognizes the laser sword as Skywalker’s saber. The one that now belongs to Rey.

Fueled by confusion and panic Kylo bellows, “This is a trick, an illusion! I do not fear you! Why are you here?” His fist pounds on the glass.

The man is resolute, his regard of Kylo unwavering.

The only sounds to be heard are the soft noises of water gently licking at the Kylo’s ankles and his breathing, labored and heavy. He looks down at the water lapping at his feet. The tide is rising.

The light haired man opens his jacket to show Kylo a patch sewn on the inside. In fact, he sees dozens of patches - all of them with variations of the Resistance insignia. All of them are high ranking military badges. He is a decorated hero. 

The man locks eyes with Kylo.

“You’re alone, father. You always will be. She kept me safe from you. She doesn’t want me to hate you, but I do. I feel what she feels. I feel the pain and heartache you inflict on her. Now it is my turn to protect her. You will never have us. I am my mother’s legacy. Rey’s legacy. You will have no legacy, father.”

The flesh on Kylo’s neck rises. 

The man speaks with a silk voice similar to his own. He speaks with certainty and conviction, like Rey. 

The apparitions fade and another haze clouds Kylo’s vision.

You will never have us.

Those are Rey’s words. 

Red.  Everything goes red. A flame curls in the pit of his stomach. 

Kylo’s saber thrashes at the mirror in crude, violent strokes. His face turns a mottled crimson color as he screams in rage. But unlike the tree on Dagobah, the mirror remains intact, mocking his rampage.

The metallic tang of blood returns to his mouth. It coats his tongue, choking him. 

Kylo reaches out to steady himself on the wall, dizzy with confusion. His breath catches in his throat. 

There is no oracle here, no magic - the mirror cannot predict the future. That is not the purpose of this place. 

“The future is not set in stone!” Kylo yells to no one, whipping around the cave in a fury.

He has not seen the future. He does not fear his son, a being yet to be born.

His son does not hate him. His son is his legacy, his heir.

Kylo is not alone. He has Rey, he will have a family. 

Luke Skywalker meddled in this place, Kylo decides. He cast a Jedi mind trick, manipulated it so that Kylo would never be able to confront his fears.

“Lies,” he snarls, “All lies. Skywalker’s island is tainted by them.”

Deactivating his lightsaber he dives into the swelling tide. 

*

Kylo squints as he returns to the hut, the contrast of the heat against his cool skin turning sticky and humid. 

Rey sits outside the dwelling, her hands around a cup as she sips. Tendrils of hair blow around her face, her sweet pink lips chapped from the warm wind.

Her belly, more prominent than ever, rests under the homemade dress. When she spots him her eyes widen and she stands, cup dropping to the ground. 

She must sense his urgency.

“The baby, Rey,” Kylo barks, “Let me feel him.” 

“Kylo…”

Before she can do anything Kylo has his hands on her. He shuts his eyes and all he can sense is light. Light, innocence, love. Love for Rey. 

Kylo removes his hands. 

His son feels nothing like him.

“What did you see in the cave?” Rey asks.

Kylo’s head snaps back up. He looks at her.

“Nothing of importance. I’ve wasted enough time here. There are more pressing matters to attend to on the flagship. Follow me.” Kylo grabs her by the wrist. 

“I’m going to move up our wedding date, Rey. I want you as my wife in three days time.”

Chapter Text

Kylo is never able to master the cold, quiet detachment Snoke and Hux embodied.

He can exude arrogance, he can manage aloofness, but he can never disengage completely. Kylo is aware he that he is an emotional person. He admits, begrudgingly, that he is sensitive. 

Rey is similar to him in this way - she feels deeply, as he does. Yet she has a resilience that he lacks, that he envies.

She is not tainted by the dark side, she was never seduced by a dark master. She survives abandonment, loneliness, war, and manages to preserve her compassion and trust in humanity and all life forms. Even droids.

He can never admit this to her. 

Kylo is a maelstrom inside. He feels defeated. 

Inside the cave he did not conquer his fears, let alone face them.

Kylo sneaks a glance over his shoulder at Rey. She hugs herself tightly, staring straight ahead. She is free to roam about the shuttle. It’s bigger than the last one he used to navigate. An upgrade once he became Supreme Leader. Kylo snorts. A lot of good becoming the Supreme Leader has done him.

The thought is banished as soon as it enters his mind.

He goes against his better judgement and does not lock binders around her wrists. Though, he is not a complete idiot - he does confiscate her lightsaber.

Kylo does not want to keep Rey’s wrists in binders. He tires of trying to control her. The permanent ache she instills in him wears him down.

The strange cave vision combined with the infant items delivered to his chambers rattles him. He eyes Rey’s belly suspiciously.

Who is in there? Who will they become? Not they, Kylo thinks - but him.  

His son.

It hits Kylo all over again: fatherhood is rapidly descending. He turns his mask over in his hand. He debates disappearing behind it. 

“Supreme Leader,” Witt shakes him out of his reverie. “I would like to consult with you in private.”

“Can it wait?” Kylo asks flatly. He goes back to staring at Rey, trying to understand her despondent expression.

“Did something happen while I was away?” There is a rough edge to his voice.

“No,” Witt responds quickly, “She was not hurt. But there is something urgent I need to share with you. Sir.”

“Fine.”

It comes out as a grumble, and he orders his troops to observe Rey closely. He steps into a private space with Witt. It is tight, very tight, and he can smell her breath on his face.

“If I may speak candidly, Supreme Leader."

"You may."

"While you were gone, I had a chance to talk with Rey.”

“Did you now?”

“Yes,” Witt says sincerely, “There is a natural camaraderie between women. It becomes easier for us to open up when men are not around.”

Kylo’s blank stare reveals nothing.

He does not need a lecture from Witt about women, about what they are capable of. He already knows. 

“Continue.”

“She cares for you, sir. Yes, she is hurting, and angry. But she still loves you.”

Kylo’s body goes tense.

"Did she say those exact words?"

Witt licks her lips.

"Not verbatim. But it is obvious, sir..."

Kylo waves her away. He doesn't want to hear any of this. Not right now.

“Lies,” despite his best effort Kylo’s heartbeat quickens, “Most likely a Jedi trick. Don’t let her fool you. She’s more than capable of controlling you with her mind. Of influencing what you think.” Kylo turns to leave and Witt dares to pull at his cuff.

“Sir, please listen. If anything, wouldn’t she try to hide her true feelings? She is hormonal - she is lonely. She told me,"  Witt's breath brushes against his ear, “that she still has hope that fatherhood will change you.”

Kylo shakes Witt’s hand off his sleeve.

“Why would she confess this to you?”

He can’t bring himself to believe such a ridiculous notion. Not when all he senses from Rey is disappointment and hurt. And above all else, righteous anger. 

“Isn’t it obvious?” Witt says, “Rey’s pride might not allow her to admit that you belong together, but deep down she wants a family. She wants her child to have a father. I believe if you handle her with tenderness that her oppositional facade will crack.” 

Kylo’s heart feels like an iron grip is squeezing it.

Witt does not know what happened inside the hut. She does not know how he shook Rey. How instead of using the force, his fist curled in response to her rejection. How he almost lost control and reached a new low point. The absolute lowest, he thinks, as he sneaks another glance at the beautiful woman carrying his child.

The vision of his grown son, strong and powerful, telling him he will protect Rey floods Kylo’s mind. He is the one who is supposed to protect Rey.

Kylo feels nauseous. Unhinged. Unbalanced. He turns to the General. 

“She’s playing you. She is using you Witt. She tells you these lies knowing you will come tattling to me. She’s only wants me to lower my guard.”

Witt’s next sentence has a motherly tone to it. 

“Surely sir, you do not think you are unlovable. Just look at her. How long did it take her to trust you the night you conceived the baby? One evening? Years of regarding each other as enemies and she throws herself at you the first chance she gets? She might not openly admit it, but she loves you.”

How does she know about the forest? Is it possible Rey opened up to her?   

Kylo does not want Witt to see the moisture gathering in his eyes. 

Instead he looks at Rey. She appears as miserable and defeated as he feels. Her love has never been more remote, more beyond his grasp. 

Kylo wonders why he thought leaving two women alone was a good idea. 

He storms over to Rey. One hand grips the back of the chair she sits on. He leans in so close to her that their foreheads nearly touch. His eyes lock onto hers, burning ferociously.

“Stop it.”

The quiet words laced with venom take her by surprise.

“Stop what?” Rey asks, breathless, confused.

“Stop trying to take control.”

“I’m not –”

His other arm braces against the wall, effectively blocking any escape. 

“You’d be wise not to toy with my feelings, Rey. Not to give me false hope.”

Rey seems to be trying to muster something within herself. Courage, Kylo thinks.

She uses the force to bat his hands away from her.

You saw something in the cave that scared you,” she accuses, "don't take it out on me." Her face contorts into the familiar combative expression he knows so well.

Kylo takes Rey by the forearm and pulls her to stand with him.

“We will discuss it in my private chambers. In our private chambers.”

A thrill runs through him. His bedroom is hers now, his bed is their bed. 

General Witt clears her throat. 

During their exchange neither of them notices the shuttle land in the hangar, the hiss of the ramp lowering.

“We have much to discuss, Rey. Follow me.”

Kylo intends to find out if what Witt tells him has any shred of truth to it.

 

*****

 

Rey massages her forearm where Kylo gripped it as she walks beside him. She is back on this cursed flagship.

The floors gleam shades of black and grey. There are no noises save for officers talking in low voices, droids occasionally beeping and the hum of electricity. It is impossible to miss the advanced weaponry and the massive holo-map in the center of the room. As it circles Rey notices the various planetary systems. The systems Kylo controls. 

Kylo’s anxiety rubs off on her, it sets her on edge. She is not sure what Witt whispered to him but it can’t be good.

Witt shared, step by step, how she planned to overthrow Kylo Ren. Rey assumes those same steps are being put into motion now. She knows the part Witt expects her to play, but Rey isn’t sure of too much right now.  

When the chamber doors slide open, Rey gasps. She takes in the crib, the rocking chair, the changing table. There are blankets, toys, and bags of diapers. Grief rises like a tidal wave inside of her. 

To Rey, the room represents a grotesque mockery of everything she’s ever wanted. The nursery for her baby is aboard a ship run by a fascist organization. The baby's father is a violent tyrant. It hurts, to see everything gone so wrong. So twisted. 

Tears stream down her cheeks. She'll be damned if any child of hers sleeps in a crib on the flagship of the First Order.

When she looks at Kylo she can read how nervous he is, how he desperately wants her to approve of the changes he made.

She tries to pass off her tears as happy ones.

“Do you like it?” Kylo moves towards her, a quiver in his voice, “this is all for you. For the baby. You can change anything you want, of course. I told you that I love you Rey...both of you.”

“I…” Rey searches for words. She strides over to the crib, running her hands across the top bar, “I like this. I like the items you chose.”

At least, she thinks, he will sense the truth in her words. 

Relief appears on his face, but not for long.

Kylo sits on his massive bed and it creaks under his weight.

“Rey,” his eyes divert to the floor, then back up to her. “Do you communicate with him? With the baby? Through the force.”

The question surprises her. Rey answers honestly but carefully. 

“I sense him. I like knowing that he is healthy. But I don’t actively seek him out. I don’t want to create any preconceived notions about him. I don’t want to place expectations on who he might become.” 

“That’s good,” Kylo nods, “That’s good. Letting him be an individual - letting him define himself.”

A rare moment when Kylo says something rational, Rey thinks.

“Do you see visions of him in your dreams?”

Rey swallows. 

“I see flashes, but not the whole picture.”

“Tell me what you’ve seen,” Kylo sounds urgent. Rey blows out a puff of air.

“Ah...just that he’s strong with the force. And I...I think he will favor your mother’s side. I keep dreaming of hazel eyes. Just the eyes. They’re kind.” She smiles at the memory.

Kylo’s anxiety spikes. He runs a hand through his dark hair. He rises from the bed, taking his time walking towards her. When Kylo reaches her, he takes hold of her hands. He kisses each fingertip delicately. Then his jaw works, his eyes flutter down for a moment before he speaks. 

“Rey. Do you still...do you still harbor feelings for me?”

Rey straightens, her spine rigid. If the discussion about the baby was uneasy for her, this is downright frightening.

She knows the part Witt wants her to play. The part anyone would expect her to play in a situation like this. A part she fails at time and time again. A part that at this point is too predictable.

Seductress.

She hates it.

Kylo strokes the engagement ring on her finger with his thumb.

“I could,” Rey’s throat is dry, “it’s not impossible.”

She pleads with the universe to sound believable. To sound convincing. She chooses words that in theory might be true, if he attempted the impossible.

Impossible being the key word.

She thinks her best shot at pulling this off is his desperation. He must be desperate enough to believe her.

A part of her feels pity for him.

Rey watches as Kylo fails to conceal the intense swirl of emotions building inside him. His throat works.

“But how? How could you love me again?" His question is less than a whisper, “After the way I’ve treated you?”

Rey picks up one of the infant toys. It is soft and she glances at it with what she hopes is a gaze full of longing.

“Because we’re going to have a baby. And the baby will need his family. On the island I've had time to contemplate. I want our baby to have the childhood I never had. I want him to have parents." Her eyes flit back up to look at him. 

Kylo looks as if he might die from shock at her declaration. She feels it through the force. He blinks and tears cling to his dark lashes.

He lifts his hands to cup Rey’s face. 

“I love you," he says softly, “And I won’t force myself on you."

Rey does not trust him. She has heard these same lines from him before.

"Will you go to bed with me, Rey? Will you let me make love to you? We're balanced when we are one. Please."

Rey's heart skips a beat.

She thinks of the poison Witt has yet to give her. She hopes it will kick in before he has a chance to bed her. She can't deny him forever after her confession. He cannot know she lies.

“Not tonight. I’m tired, Kylo.” She stares into his shadowed face, his dark eyes. 

“I understand. We have a big day tomorrow. Prenatal appointments. Wedding preparations. And I have a special gift for you.”

“Oh?” Rey can’t let on that she knows her so-called gift is Rose. She filters what he can sense through their force connection.

Force help her, she needs to see Rose. She needs to untangle herself from these messy lies, from Witt and Kylo. 

She needs to set her own plan into action before she slips up, before she makes a mistake. 

“At least let me kiss you,” Kylo says. He searches her face, taking her lack of protest as a yes.

Kylo kisses her slow, his hand on the back of her head, angling her mouth to deepen the kiss. He brushes a lock of loose hair behind her ear, running the soft tresses through his fingers. He breaks the kiss and looks at her. She sees his unbridled hunger, his raw need for her.

“I can’t wait to have all of you, Rey."

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Rey permeates his every thought. He has trouble sleeping again, with her in his bed. 

Each time Kylo looks at her he feels the rush of warmth, the spark of hope that her love for him is returning. 

He is glad the wedding date was moved forward. When their wedding is projected over holonet he wants the Resistance to witness the real love Rey has for him reflected in her eyes. He wants them to see that his pursuit for her was never in vain or driven by madness. 

Kylo is not returning Rey to Ahch-To. She is perfect right where she is.

With him.

He wants every morning to be as peaceful as this one.

Kylo shifts a little to look at Rey while she sleeps. He cranes his neck to get a better view of her face without disturbing her. She is curled against his bare chest, snoring softly. Her hair is loose and messy with strands falling around her face. Her hands curl under her chin, knees drawn up to her chest. She sighs, rubbing her cheek into the pillow. 

Kylo finds her desperately cute.

He pulls back the blankets and his gaze travels downwards. She is dressed in a nightgown she made. It is conservative but not completely asexual in design - and he thinks he might still be dreaming because she is wearing it in his bed. 

Kylo’s eyes follow the curves of Rey’s body from her waist and hips and down to her ass. He can’t help himself - he presses a soft kiss onto her shoulder blade.

Her lips curve upward in a smile, and another sigh escapes her. Kylo tightens his arm around her, breathing her in.

“You're mine," his whisper brushes against the back of her neck.

Rey’s eyes fly open and he feels her stiffen for half a heartbeat. The smile vanishes and she wiggles against him.

“You have that look in your eyes, Rey,” Kylo says lazily as he turns her by the shoulder to face him. She braces her hands on his chest.

“What look?” 

It stings that she says this defensively and tries to create space between them.

 “The one that says you still don’t completely trust me."

Does she not realize she spent the entire night in his bed and he didn’t touch her?

Well. 

He didn’t touch her like that. He did, however, hold her.

“You don’t have to be so possessive Kylo,” says Rey. 

Kylo runs a hand down her thigh. He likes how flushed her face is in the morning, how dishevelled her hair is. 

“Yes I do. You’re hard to tame.” 

“I wasn’t aware you wanted me tamed.” 

“Only outside of the bedroom, Rey.”

“Just because...because I care for you doesn’t mean you own me.” 

Kylo blinks hard and tries to focus. Her admission that she cares for him throws him off kilter. He isn’t sure how to respond.

Oh, he has fantasized how he would respond. But now he finds himself frozen. 

Rey still behaves like herself - opinionated, defiant, stubborn. She has no problem letting him know when she disapproves of his behavior.

Kylo finds it a relief. 

It is this normalcy, this consistency in her personality that leads Kylo to believe she loves him. If Rey suddenly let him get away with his antics, if she turned into a submissive pet, he would be suspicious.

But she isn’t fighting them anymore.

It feels incredible, but fuck.

How is he supposed to treat her now? Intimidation, blackmail, deceit -  they all come naturally to him. He strokes her cheek. 

“I’m sorry.”

 Kylo leans in and captures her mouth with his, trying to convey everything he does not know how to say with a gentle kiss. They are both a little sleepy and the kiss is slow, wet, and sloppy. Kylo can’t get enough because she is reciprocating.

Rey breaks the kiss, out of breath.

A jittery, nervous excitement pulses through Kylo’s body. He can’t stop noticing how lovely she is as she looks at him through long dark lashes.

“Kylo.”

“Yes?” He struggles to contain his thrill that she is here.

“I need to tell you what I want.”

“Okay,” he breathes. 

“I’m serious.”

Kylo barely manages a nod. 

“I need to know you love me for more than my body. For more than what I look like. Not that I’m any great prize,” she mumbles. Kylo has to stop himself from protesting. 

Rey is without a doubt the most beautiful creature he has ever seen.

“I want a man who treats me like a person - not an object. If we never had sex again, would you still want me?”

He does not know how to communicate that becoming one with her completes him. Sex is an effective way to remind her that she belongs to him, but there is more to it than that. Kylo wants to make her feel good, to demonstrate with his body that he loves her. Instead, he gives her the answer she wants.

“Yes,” he says with a desperate fervor, “I want to be with you, Rey. Forever. I regret that I ever made you feel used.” 

Kylo will agree to anything. Especially if it means she will stop saying he is no good for her or the baby. If it means she accepts that her place is with him. 

Rey rests her hand on top of his and squeezes it.

“I know. And I don’t want the baby born to parents who resent each other. I want to put an end to the tragic cycle that follows your family. The Skywalkers, the Solos.”

Kylo hardly registers that she speaks his natural surname aloud. 

He forces himself to ask the question he dreads. 

“Are you forgiving me, Rey?” His heart clenches and he tries to hide the tremor in his voice, but that somehow makes it more noticable.

“I can’t condone or forget everything you have done, but ...yes. I am. I forgive you.” 

Kylo has known so little forgiveness in his life, he has forgotten what unconditional love feels like. Again, he is faced with not knowing how to respond.

Monsters are not worthy of forgiveness or love. 

 Rey truly is the Light. 

She is and will always be superior to him. 

“Rey,” Kylo says as tears begin to bead down his face, “You deserve better.”

“Look at me,” she tells him gently. Her hands roam everywhere, smoothing against his chest, running through his mussed hair.

Kylo has yearned for this, to feel touch her again without their burdens standing between them. 

“I don't want better," Rey whispers, "I want you.” 

Kylo looks away for a moment, jaw clenching with unsaid words.

“Do you mean that? Don’t say it if you don’t mean it, Rey. I would rather you openly disdain me if that’s how you felt. You know I’ll never be good in the way you want. But I can’t....if you don’t mean this...I’m not resilient in the same ways that you are.”

“I mean it, Kylo.”

Rey, he realizes, is more powerful than he thought. He is in awe that she still has the power to forgive.

“This is all I want Rey. To stand united, with you. With our family.”

Kylo brings his hand to the side of her face and pulls Rey into a kiss. The kiss becomes frantic as he releases all of his pent up longing. He deepens it, his teeth nipping at her bottom lip, tugging and running his tongue along it.

His hands grip her tightly, pulling her body flush against his. Kylo lets out a moan and gently runs his fingers through her scalp before taking a fistful of her hair and tugging. His free hand fiddles with the band of her underwear, trying to pull it down. 

 “Rey,” Kylo pants, “please.”

He doesn’t care that he’s begging, that he is the needy sounding one this time. 

Rey pulls back, her lips swollen and pink from his onslaught. 

“I need to take this slow, Kylo. Can we just...kiss?”

“Ah,” Kylo watches, entranced, as her small soft hands run over his torso, tracing his battle scars.

He can’t just kiss - he is ready to explode.  

But she’s not fighting him anymore.

Kylo brushes inside her mind and finds no falsehood in her intentions. He is still on a high from her forgiveness, from her admission that she wants him, even if he is broken and imperfect.

In his current state, Kylo might agree to anything she asks of him.

It is dangerous, this love he has for her. Kylo sighs. 

“Taking it slow,” he repeats, “I understand. I suppose we should eat, it's getting late. Then we will meet with the doctor. Unless, you want your gift first?”

A new alertness crosses her face.

“I am curious about the gift. I can sense that the baby is fine, the appointment can wait. Can I see the gift?”

“Yes.”

His reward is a relieved - no, a relaxed -  smile from Rey. 

Kylo reluctantly takes his hands off her body and enters the fresher.

Ice cold water blasts his chest and Kylo tries to abstain from touching himself. It does not matter that Rey is already pregnant - he doesn't want a drop to go to waste. He wants to save everything he has and spill it inside her, claiming her as his again.

Kylo groans at the thought, unable to follow through. His arm braces on the wall, as he’s done so many times. He squeezes his eyes shut and strokes himself. 

Rey is too far along to lay on her back now, and she was very angry with him after he fucked her from behind. 

This time, Kylo imagines her straddling him as she pins his wrists above his head using the force. She trails wet kisses down his chest, stopping to take him in her mouth. He imagines her mouth sliding up and down his length before crawling on top of him. He imagines her riding him slow at first, then rotating her hips until neither of them can take it.

Kylo never thought he would want her in such a dominant position, but he does. He thinks the view will be incredible. Her breasts bouncing above him, her belly in his face. Kylo will like seeing what he’s done to her.

He recalls her words that she wants him.

He comes hard. 

 

*****

The fresher door slams shut and Rey closes her eyes. She tries to center herself. 

Rey feels like she is holding a starving beast at bay, one ready to devour her. Rolling around in his bed, kissing him, putting on airs for him - it is exhausting.

She is putting on the performance of her life, and it feels all too real. 

When Witt told her to distract Kylo by seducing him, Rey assumed she meant sex. 

She never thought that emotional seduction would be the key to undoing Kylo Ren. That more than her body, he craves emotional intimacy. Human connection.

He uses lust as a weapon so often that she didn’t even consider it.

Kylo is ignorant to this - to his blindspot. And Rey? She does not like watching his eyes light up, full of hope when she says she wants him. When she knows she does not mean it.

If compassion is considered a strength, a virtue, then why does she feel like in this situation it is her weakness? 

“Get it together,” Rey whispers to herself. 

She felt the mess of emotions warring inside him: his confusion at her cooperation, his shy embarrassment at crying in front of her, the way she coaxed out his vulnerability. Rey tries to sound convincing by inserting small grains of truth in her words. 

His desperation, thankfully, fills in the rest. Just as she hoped it would.

If he finds out her plan, if he finds out this is all a lie...force help her, it might be the final blow. Kylo might kill her. He might decide that if he can’t have her, then no one will. That she shouldn’t exist in the same space as him. That she shouldn’t exist at all. 

On top of everything she still has to deal with Witt.

Rey hates this. She prefers to face her opponent head on, she prefers honest fights. But there is nothing normal about this situation. Her opponent is the father of her child.

And Kylo doesn’t prefer honest fights -  she reminds herself that his betrayal started all of this. 

She dresses quickly as he showers. Rey’s cheeks burn at the thought that he is probably doing more than washing. In fact, her entire body seems to be turning bright red.

“Oh no no no…” Rey examines her arms, her chest. The rash spreads rapidly. She has not responded to stress like this in years. 

“Rey?” Kylo appears with a towel wrapped around his waist. His dark hair, usually wild and unruly is wet against his head. He rushes to her side and runs a hand over her arm.

“What is this?”

“It’s...it happens when I….” Rey’s stomach lurches and Kylo’s body becomes a hulking blurry outline. She feels his arm around her waist, guiding her to the bed. She hears his fist slam on something next to her. The desk? No, the comlink. Static adds to the roaring buzz in her ears.

“Send a medic to my chambers immediately. And bring Rose Tico. Keep her in binders.”

“Rose?” 

Lying down, the world looks a little more clear.

“Yes. She’s my gift to you.”

“Oh Kylo,” Rey groans, “People aren’t gifts. Is she hurt?” 

Kylo frowns.

“No. I made sure her cell was comfortable. As insufferable as she is, I thought you might like her as your female companion. Someone from your old life. She might bring you comfort when you don’t feel well.”

“I see.”

The chamber doors open and a weathered old man strides inside, a medical droid rolling at his side. His skin is pale, almost grey, his body skeletal in appearance.

“Doctor Furlong,” Kylo motions towards Rey, “what is wrong with her?”

Doctor Furlong, Rey thinks, has an even haughtier expression than the late Armitage Hux. His nostrils flair and his lip curls. 

“Hives. A common reaction in young brides-to-be. Nothing more than wedding jitters.”

The droid takes her vitals while he diagnoses her, something Rey is grateful for. She does not want the ghoulish doctor touching her.

The droid produces a tiny needle and pokes her arm. 

“The medicine will stop the itching and lessen the redness. The baby should be fine, though I do recommend her personal doctor perform a thorough examination.” 

Kylo does not need to be told twice. He is already speaking into the comlink when someone else appears in the doorway flanked by four stormtroopers.

Rey sits up as the droid finishes placing a bandage where the needle stuck her.  

“Rose!” 

She bursts into tears.

“Hormones, sir,” Furlong says. Distaste is evident in his tone.

The stormtroopers thrust her forward and Rose almost trips. Her hands are bound in binders, her ankles in shackles. She must have been in binders the entire time because Rey spots the bruises underneath them. 

With a flick of her wrist Rey sends the stormtroopers flying backwards. She may be under deep cover, but not at the expense of her friend being abused.

“You said she wasn’t hurt!” She shouts at Kylo. He turns to the troopers.

“Remove her constraints,” he says quietly.

Rose glares at the stormtroopers as they free her. 

“Bastards,” she mutters. 

Rey watches Rose take in the scene in front of her: Kylo still in his towel, Rey on his bed. 

“Kylo?” Rey stands and crosses the room. She wishes Rose did not have to witness this, but it is the only way he might leave them alone. Rey widens her gaze, she licks her lips, she plays with the top of his towel.

She feels so stupid acting like this.

Rey senses his shock and pleasure that she is flirting with him in front of Rose.

Good, Rey thinks. It makes her performance all the more convincing. 

“Can Rose and I talk alone? Just for a few minutes. There are some things - female things - that I prefer to talk about in private.”

“You know I can’t…”

Rey stops him short with a kiss. She tries not to let the gagging noise from Rose distract her from her goal, “Please, Kylo? You know I’m not going anywhere. She’s not comfortable around you.”

She senses that he wants to shut her down, but he also wants to please her. Rey bites her bottom lip. Kylo relents.

“No more than five minutes. I will be outside the door the entire time.”

Force, yes!

Kylo dresses inside the fresher and pauses in front of Rose before he leaves. 

“Don’t think to try anything, rebel scum. She is mine now, and you can’t change that.” 

The doors slam shut.

Rey runs to Rose, her belly preventing her from full-on body slamming her friend in a hug. Rose tentatively wraps her arms around around Rey.

“What the hell was that?”

“Rose, I am so sorry you had to see that. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. But seriously Rey - what is going on with you and Kylo Ren?”

 “I’m…” Rey chokes on a sob. Even if it's an act, she's ashamed. “Nothing is going on. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.”

Rose lets out a huge gasp of air. She draws Rey back into a hug.

“You’re faking it? Fuck. You had me fooled, Rey.”

“I am so so sorry…”

Rose holds up a hand.

“No apologies - I get it. And you heard him, we have five minutes. What’s the plan? Do you have one?”

Five minutes. Not nearly enough time for a proper reunion, to explain everything that has happened. Rey swallows.

“I do. I am going to need your expertise on flagship mechanics. The entire fleet is going to be here for our wedding,” Rey cringes at the word, “And I...I want to disable them all.”

“You mean blow them up?”

“Ah...that would be a bonus, but yes.”

Rose rubs her face.

“That’s...kind of crazy. Like, really crazy. I like it. Has he hurt you?”

Rey does not want Rose to know the extent of her deception.

“No. He’s been calm.”

“For now. He is calm because he is getting his way. You remember the cycle, don’t you Rey?”

“I know the cycle,” Rey snaps. She was there when the Resistance shrink presented a seminar on healthy and unhealthy relationships. Another one of the Resistance’s attempts to improve healthcare. 

“He doesn’t have a hold over me,” Rey can’t help but repeat the words she overheard Rose speaking to Finn. “I haven’t forgotten what he is capable of.”

Rose nods solemnly.

“I know, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

There is more to it. Rey can sense that deep down, Rose worries that she still hopes Kylo will redeem himself. Rey wants to scream that it is not true, but the last thing her friend deserves is defensive tirade.

“You’re a good friend, Rose. The best, actually.” She’s crying again.

Rose holds her face, her expression soft. She looks straight into Rey’s eyes.

“And you can do this. We can do this. Now, back to your plan: it involves disabling and blowing up Starships?”

“Yes.”

“Does it include breaking Kylo Ren’s heart? Does he still have one left to break?”

Rey winces. 

“Yes. And I know the steps we need to take.”

Rose smiles.

“Brutal. He deserves it. Let’s do this.”

"Yes," Rey echoes, "let's do this."

Chapter Text

Kylo stands outside his bedroom chamber wondering if it is too late to dispose of Tico.

As usual, Rey was right. 

People do not make good gifts. Especially when that gift is a Resistance brat. 

It was a mistake to keep Tico alive. He should have executed her the moment she mouthed off to him after he repossessed the shuttle. Rey’s other scum friends - the Idiot Pilot and FN-2187 -  had the smarts to appear afraid in his presence. They at least showed some respect. 

He can sense Tico’s hate and disgust for him. She makes no effort to hide her firm belief that he is evil. Her attitude towards him cannot sit well Rey anymore. Can it?

The uncivilized rebel will try to turn Rey against him. He felt it through the force. Tico entered his quarters brimming with anticipation that she and Rey would hatch an escape plan.

Kylo smirks. 

Tico is a fool. 

The dynamic between the two women will change now that Rey admits she loves Kylo Ren - that she always did love Kylo Ren instead of Ben Solo.

Did she say love? She communicated forgiveness, desire, and that she cares for him. The word love has yet to leave her lips.

All in good time. 

He wishes he could witness Tico’s face morph into shock and horror when she realizes that Rey enjoys the warmth of his bed. 

Kylo touches the hilt of his lightsaber.

He is in a tough position. He can’t kill Tico now. Rey was too excited to see her, too overjoyed at seeing a familiar face. Kylo briefly toys with the idea of orchestrating an accident that would permanently disable Tico. He trashes the idea. Rey would figure out he was behind it.

What to do with her?

“Supreme Leader.”

Kylo turns to see Witt approaching. 

“Doctor Veduta is ready to examine Rey. Would you rather she come to your private quarters?”

“No. I will escort her to medbay. I am assigning you to personally watch over Tico. I have no doubt she wants to flee and take Rey with her. Keep her as complacent as you can. It is no easy task. She has a demanding mouth on her. Try to refrain from smacking her.”

“Very good sir.”

Kylo enters the room and finds Rey composed. Her rash is almost gone but she looks tired, pale. Some of the fight seems to have left Tico’s face and she regards Kylo silently. With a gesture Kylo signals for Witt to come in. The General deserves a bonus, Kylo thinks, at her willingness to tolerate Tico. It is her job to do as he bids, but still.

“General Witt will shadow you, Rose. ” He speaks her first name.

It is a delicate, feminine name for such an ill-mannered woman. She would make a terrible spouse. No one wants to bed an uncouth creature, no one wants a disobedient wife. Rey is strong willed, but she is beginning to accept that he controls their relationship. He is in charge, he is the head of the household they are building.  

“Witt will act as your guide and security. She will meet any needs you have and protect you from harm.” 

There is a chance that someone in the First Order will not like seeing rebel scum dirtying the flagship. Kylo wistfully hopes one of his troops will find a clever way to make her disappear.

Rose huffs under her breath.

“Any need, huh? Does that include my freedom? You might have her brainwashed, but not me, Kylo-Ren.”

Brainwashed. That accusation can only mean one thing: Rey is coming clean about them.

For years Kylo was not sure there would be a them.   

“Take her Witt,” He orders, his tone level and calm. General Witt briskly crosses the room and leaves with Tico.  

 “Rey?”

It takes Kylo two steps to reach her and he rests his hands on her waist. His grip is not whisked away by the force, she does not throw him off. A breath he did not know he was holding leaves his chest. Kylo takes it a step further, wanting to test how far she will let him go.

This compliance is still so new to him.

His arms move up her back and his hands close tenderly on her neck, stroking her hair. The feeling of skin on skin is always too much for him, it is overwhelming in the most delicious way.

Kylo does not wear the black leather gloves. Not anymore. He wants as few barriers between them as possible. 

He kisses her gently, relieved when her lips brush against his, when she allows his tongue to slip into her mouth. She pulls him closer and Kylo’s heart skips a beat. Her scent overwhelms his senses.

He can’t fight against the thoughts going through him and he doesn’t want to. 

They pull apart and take shaky, shallow breaths. Rey’s forehead rests against his and for a moment they close their eyes to steady themselves. 

“Rey,” Kylo whispers, voice barely audible “Thank you.”

"For what?"

"For being you. For giving me a second chance." His voice wavers, exhilarated from the tension between them. He softly kisses up and down her neck.

“More like the third or fourth chance…”

Kylo looks into her eyes as her sentence trails off; one hand resting below her ear, his thumb caressing her cheek. 

“Rey. I love you. Please trust me,” his voice sounds foreign to him, he hears how heartbreakingly sincere he sounds.

“I’m trying to,” Rey replies. 

Kylo nods. It is the best, honest answer he could hope for right now.

“Food will be waiting for us in my private dining room. Afterwards we will go to your doctor. And Rey?”

“Yes?”

Shame paralyzes Kylo.

“Your doctor...she is the same one you had at the Resistance base.”

“Oh Kylo. Not more kidnapping…”

“No. I had her planted. So that I would know you and the baby were healthy. I thought of replacing her so you wouldn’t find out, but she knows your health history.”

Rey shakes her head, her shoulders slouching. 

“Is she even a real doctor? Are there any more lies I should know about?”

“She is a real doctor,” Kylo insists, “you think I would be careless with your health? With the baby’s health?” 

He tries to recall other ways he has deceived Rey. There are so many. 

Rey makes an exasperated sound. 

“I don’t know how you can ask me to trust you and then tell me you planted a spy to keep tabs on me.” 

“But you know now, don’t you?" Kylo says, "And you like her. You told me you wanted her present at the birth.”

The reminder doesn’t seem to help.

“I’m sorry Rey," Kylo says, when the lines around her eyes tighten. "Let's not fight. Please."

She nods stiffly, accepting the truce. 

“There is one more thing,” Kylo says, “I hate your friend. Rose. I can’t pretend to like her, Rey. I regret bringing her on board.”

“That,” Rey responds, “is no secret. I need your word that you won’t harm her, Kylo. She has good reason to dislike you.”

“You have my word.”

With shaking fingers, he reaches for Rey and takes her by the hand. Kylo isn’t sure how to handle her physically if they aren’t kissing or embracing in his bed. 

Hand holding should feel juvenile. He knows he should have done this years ago when young people experiment with such things. 

But old man Skywalker, ever the hypocrite, discouraged expressing romantic feelings. There was no outright ban, but it was clear the old Jedi disapproved.

None of that matters now.

When their hands join, an electric spark runs up his arm and he closes his eyes in reaction to the sensation.

Together, they walk down the corridor.

*

The examination room is cold and Kylo watches Rey shiver. 

The thin, paper-like gown she wears crinkles every time she shifts. Kylo is surprised at how uncomfortable he is when the nurse asks Rey to pee in a cup, asks her about her last cycle (isn’t it obvious?) and other probing questions. It is intimate in a way that has nothing to do with him. 

“Have you thought of a name?" He asks, desperate to cut the tension.

Rey shakes her head. Her feet swing off the end of the medical bed. 

“I want him to have a name that is entirely his own. I don’t want your family’s legacy to influence his identity. Or give him the idea that he needs to live up to something.”

“I agree,” Kylo says, because he does. There is a reason he chose his own name and renounced Ben Solo.

Another example demonstrating that Rey will be the perfect mother. 

Besides, his son will carry on the legacy of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren.

The door opens and a stout woman in a lab coat steps inside.

Dr. Veduta.

“Supreme Leader,” she inclines her head, “and Rey. I am glad we have the chance to meet again. How have you been feeling?” 

The doctor has the posture of a soldier. The friendly persona she put on to gain Rey’s friendship is no longer needed. Every action she takes is now precise and purposeful. She smiles in the cold and distant way professionals do.

Rey’s jaw is resolute, her knuckles turn white from gripping the underside of the cot. Kylo doesn’t need the force to know that she wants to scream from frustration. Another day, another betrayal. But Rey pushes the anger aside. The health of someone else matters more than the deception. Right now, all that matters is their son.

Her fists relax, she works her jaw.

“I’m tired. I have trouble sleeping.”

A droid rolls to Rey’s side, taking her vitals for a second time. Dr Veduta types on the datapad attached to the machine.

“Gestational insomnia is typical at this stage,” she says as she brings up Rey’s chart, “do you still experience heartburn?”

“Yes,” Rey leans forward, “it is the worst.

Kylo's features darken. 

“Why haven't you given her something to help with the pain? I was able to cure her nausea.”

Dr. Veduta stares at the screen as she responds. Her tone is professional.

“The First Order does not stock a diverse array of medication that is safe during pregnancy.” 

Rey shoots him a glance.

“The Resistance does.” There is something smug about the way she says it. 

Kylo raises an eyebrow and looks away.

“Do you at least have the implant or contraceptive shot?” Rey asks, “After the baby is born I want to get whichever one you have available.”

“No,” Kylo's tone is final, “You are not getting the implant or shot.”

Both Rey and Doctor Veduta turn to him. Kylo decides to elaborate. This has been on his mind for a while. He covers Rey's hand with his.

“I want to expand our family as soon as possible. You’re good at this, Rey. Getting pregnant, I mean. When is it safe for her to conceive again after birth?”

Rey protests and Doctor Veduta offers what he swears is an apologetic glance.

“It varies from woman to woman, but I would estimate between eighteen months to two years.”  

Rey recoils her hand.

“This isn’t up to you, Kylo. I will get the implant. This is what I mean - about you being possessive. I won't tolerate it.”

Not wanting to upset the fragile peace between them, Kylo shrugs. Let her think she's won this round. 

“Alright.”

It is not alright. Kylo will not allow her access to birth control. He wants her safe on his flagship while he commands the galaxy. The more her pregnancy shows, the less he wants her ruling at his side. Kylo thinks her future role with him is obvious: wife and mother to his children.

To allow her to fight in battle, to participate in conflict is too great a risk. She might die. She might leave their family motherless. 

“Now,” Dr. Veduta places a sheet of paper over Rey and lifts up the gown. A gel substance is squirted onto Rey’s belly and Veduta rolls a wand over her stomach.

“Let’s see what the baby is up to.”

Curiosity grips Kylo, and he turns to monitor screen in an effort to see what what might appear. 

“Just a moment,” Dr. Veduta says, noticing his impatience. Finally, she turns the monitor around.  An image of a baby fills the screen. His baby. 

Kylo exhales slowly.

“Hear that? That's the heartbeat,” Veduta says, and Kylo does hear it. A fast paced, rhythmic thump. A myriad of emotions cross his face: wonder, pride, and amazement. 

He looks to Rey and finds her staring at the screen. Love radiates out of her.  

Kylo places his hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly. This time she doesn’t recoil.

Something inside of Kylo spreads like a warm glow. Pure, raw emotion fills him as he watches the tiny being kicking and moving inside of Rey.

"Do you feel that?" He asks. 

"I do. All the time."

His son does not seem so foreboding, so frightening anymore. His son is no longer an idea buried inside Rey's body. He is real, he exists. 

Kylo feels a different kind of appreciation for Rey. No matter how vehemently he disagrees with her light-side philosophy and her alliances, he will always remember that she carried and created something beautiful for him. Something perfect.

"I love you," he speaks softly, meeting her eyes.

Rey smiles in response. A real, genuine smile that comes from deep inside her.

“I know."

Veduta squints as she reads Rey’s test results. She is all business. 

“Okay Rey. Baby’s movement looks great. Heart rate is good. Your blood pressure is on the higher side. Not unusual during pregnancy, but I want you to take this twice a day after eating. I don’t want to have to induce you early due to hypertension. Do you understand my instructions?”

“I do,” Rey accepts the vial, “I understand your instructions.” 

“See,” Kylo says as if to prove a point, “The First Order has prenatal medicine.” He notices how tightly Rey holds onto the vial, how she is suddenly sweating. She gives him a nervous smile. He chalks it up to the adrenaline of seeing their son, of their upcoming wedding. 

The only sound that fills the room is their son’s heartbeat. 

 

***

 

Rey clutches the vial to her chest as she follows Kylo back to his chambers. The look in his eyes during the appointment unnerved her. There was no malice, no lust. Just bewilderment and love. For her, for the baby.

A love she can’t return. Not when it is tainted by darkness, by obsession. 

Whatever the future holds for them, she is grateful for the moment they bonded over the baby. Rey at least will be able to tell her son that there was one rare instance in which his father expressed the deepest love for him. A moment when his father displayed a shred of humanity. 

That is all she will allow her son to know of his father. She does not want to breed hatred in her son. Unlike Witt, Rey would rather take Kylo back to the Resistance to answer and pay for his crimes. She does not know if it's possible. If he will allow himself to be captured alive.

Kylo is still dangerous, still unpredictable. He desperately wants to control her. It takes everything inside of Rey to cloak her thoughts, to tolerate his behavior. 

It still hurts. Like the baby items, the appointment was an example of what could have been between them. Does he even realize it? Probably not, Rey thinks. Because he is living his fantasy right now. He thinks he's won.  

Rey knew General Witt would get the poison to her through an informant, but she did not anticipate that informant being her doctor. It makes sense. Doctors, surrounded by medicine. Medicine that can heal - or kill. Witt is clever. 

And it is warped on so many levels. 

The realization that her doctor was undercover in the first place. The realization that General Witt involves Dr. Veduta in her assassination plot.

How Kylo manages to stay alive is a mystery. Can he not sense their corruption? Is he so used to it, so corrupt himself, that he finds it normal?

The thought gives Rey chills. The image of her son becoming another Vader, another Kylo Ren, terrifies her. It makes her heart ache. She has to protect him. 

“Kylo?”

“Yes?”

Rey holds up her engaged hand.

“Can you have the ring removed? If we’re going to trust each other, we have to start somewhere.”

“I…no. I will not have it removed. I trust you, but it’s just...not a good idea. The Resistance could capture you. I need to be able to locate you, Rey."

“I see.”

Rey tries not to let her anger show. 

She places the vial safely away in a nightstand drawer and thinks of Rose. She checks the time and waits for the next phase of her plan to fall into place. 

Keeping track of two parallel plots - Witt’s and her own - is mentally exhausting. 

“Do you need to rest?” Kylo asks. He looks worried. 

Rey nods, crawling onto the bed. She sinks into the mattress, not moving. For once the baby is not kicking his feet into her ribs or pelvic area. As she drifts off, she catches a glimpse of Kylo's frame standing beside her.

She tries to gage his intent when she feels a soft blanket cover her body.  

She surrenders to sleep.