All he could do was look at her. It had been months since they’d actually seen each other, maybe even a year. Sure, he’d seen her plenty of times as of late through the bond, but that was nothing compared to the real thing.
As he climbed down from the TIE, staring down her unreadable expression in the fading light of the desert sunset, Ben found her strikingly beautiful. He’d noticed it before when they’d first met, when he’d held her suspended in the force, but he hadn’t really, properly appreciated it until now.
His feet touched the ground, a small cloud of dust rising as he straightened up, and took a few cautious steps toward her. “Rey.”
“Ben,” she breathed, his name a sigh of relief on her lips. Had they always been that pink? Or had he just never noticed? Damn , she’d definitely caught him staring.
“I…” He took another step forward, standing in front of the wing of his ship as she watched him move. “I’m not sure about this.”
“You made the right choice, Ben,” she promised him, walking toward him until she was nearly in his space before stopping to lean against the ship. “You didn’t belong there, and you know that.”
Waves of regret washed over him as he looked down at the sand, and awkwardly kicked at it. “I don’t belong with the Resistance either... I-I don’t know where to go.”
Rey paused, falling quiet for a moment before she reached up a cautious hand, and placed it on his arm. The warmth of her skin hit him like the rays of the sun, and her hand shone pink in the hue of the fading light. Beautiful , he thought again. “I know, and I’m not here to bring you back with me.”
“Why are you here then?” His eyes drifted up cautiously to meet hers, finding the sunlight reflecting a fire in the hazel of her irises. “You—“
She reached up her other hand suddenly, and he felt a small finger brush against his lips as she shushed him. The contact sent a full body shudder through him, and he was shivering in its aftermath in spite of the desert heat.
His thoughts were going wild. All he could think about was the feeling of her on his lips, making him wonder what it would be like to actually kiss her, or if she even wanted him to. Would she let him if he asked?
“Ben, you need what no one’s ever given you,” she told him, only briefly bringing his thoughts into focus as the wind blew past them, and she looked up at him with misty eyes. “The chance to figure out who you are, and what you want to be, and I know I’d regret it forever if I tried to force you to come back to the Resistance with me, so let’s go somewhere else together.”
He almost laughed. “You think I could ever regret going anywhere with you?” There was the barest hint of a smile on his face, then he wrapped his hand around her wrist, and pulled hers gently away from his mouth. “Rey, I don’t know what I want, but I’ll follow you wherever you plan on taking me.”
She blinked a single tear from her eye, and turned her hand around in his grip to lace her fingers through his. “Just not to the Resistance?” she asked weakly.
“Yeah, just not there. Not the First Order. Not anywhere there’s a war. Just… Just you. Until I figure out where I want to go.”
Giving him one last, hopeful look, Rey slowly nodded her approval, then he watched her tongue dart out to wet her lip, and his eyes lingered there long after it had vanished.
A part of him registered her saying his name, but his hand had hypnotically started to come up to caress her chin. She watched him as if she was enchanted, lost as he was by the sheer magic of the touch as his thumb came up to swipe gently along the line of her lower lip.
Both of them were breathing heavily as a sense of knowing filled them. They knew what this meant, where it was leading. They’d just pledged to all but run away together, and the whole time both had become mesmerized by the light of the sun and the warmth of their touches.
They were two comets whose orbits had led them directly into one another’s path. He could only hope that the ensuing, violent collision wouldn’t be one he found himself feeling remorse for.
But in the end, Ben Solo had a plethora of regrets. He regretted his actions at Luke’s temple, he regretted killing his father, yet as the wind blew past them in the desert, he didn’t regret how those actions led to this.
Rey’s eyes were curious and tear filled as he leaned in closer, his hands changing positions to gently caress her cheeks as she leaned against the wing of his TIE. He took in a deep breath as he felt himself approach the point of no return. “Can I kiss you?”
She gave him a nod. “Yes.” Then Ben gently pressed his lips to hers, wiping away the tear on her cheek; and he felt contentment rush through him, along with the certainty that no… he would never, ever be able to regret this.
The kiss by the silencer was gentle and sweet, and Rey hummed softly into it as her fingers weaved themselves in his hair. A smile blossomed on his lips as he held her close, and kissed her softly.
This, he thought, this made it all worth it. He would to the darkest point and back if it meant he got to feel this again, if he got to kiss her like this every day for the rest of his life.
Once, he’d been hesitant to think he could ever redeem himself for his sins, but as Rey deepened their kiss, he thought maybe, just maybe, he might’ve had a chance.
For what could’ve been seconds or hours, he let himself stay there in the open desert kissing Rey gently against the wing of his ship. By the time he pulled away for air, he was rendered speechless.
As they rested their foreheads against one another in the aftermath, it became clear to him she felt the same, and a rush of excitement flooded his veins at the realization. She’d found him, she’d given him the chance at a new life, and they’d somehow, in the middle of it all, found this.
Once upon a time, Ben had fears about what lay on the horizon, but as the sun set on his past, he found he could no longer fear the future. She was there now, the First Order was no longer a ghost that could haunt him, and he was never going to be alone again.