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We’re always in this twilight (it’s only darkest before the dawn)

Chapter Text

 

 

 

"Now here I go again I see a crystal vision

I keep my visions to myself

It's only me who wants to wrap around your dreams

Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?

Dreams of loneliness

Like a heartbeat drives you mad

In the stillness of remembering what you had

And what you lost"

(Bastille - Dreams)

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming of her is torture and pleasure at the same time. 

With the bond kept closed by herself, the Rey in his dreams is the only one he can see now. 

He cherishes the last memory of her, even if it’s painful to see her face like that, fierce even in grief, her tear-streaked cheeks and her hazel eyes filled with disappointment as she closed her mind and heart to him for good. 

Pain and passion had always mingled in Kylo’s life. He’s not new to the contradictions of the heart. 

But if he was torn before, now his soul feels like it’s shredded to pieces. Only a thread of simmering rage, red and blazing like the cracks on his helmet, keeps him together.

Betrayal, rejection, defiance: Rey is all those things and so much more. 

He should despise her, hate her as he used to before Snoke connected their minds, but deep down Kylo knows better. 

It’s not his thirst for revenge that guides his desperate quest for the Jedi girl, not anymore. 

He swore to Luke he would destroy her, but each time he repeats that oath to Hux and the rest of the First Order, it leaves a bitter taste on his tongue and a hollow echo between his ribs.

But he will find her, nonetheless. He will turn the Galaxy upside down, searching in every faraway corner, every dirty pothole, each forgotten asteroid. 

His lonely scavenger. His dearest enemy.

In the meantime, Kylo remembers her. And dreams of her, each and every night.

Even if it pains him more, even if he shouldn’t.

But in the hazy patch of time just before the deeper kind of sleep claims him, there’s only so much a mind can do to control its dreams, even highly trained Force-sensitive minds.

He shouldn’t wallow in his own weaknesses.

And he really shouldn’t dream of Rey as he is in this moment, almost naked and splayed on his black sheets with her hand between her legs.

But in the middle of the night, his conscience can do nothing to stop a dream so vivid and beautiful. So he dreams on.

Rey is sighing softly, teeth tormenting her bottom lip in the vain attempt to stifle a moan, as her fingers work under the waistband of her loose pants. 

Her eyes are closed, a little scrunched in concentration, and there’s no trace of hate or disappointment in her features as she works herself towards pleasure like a woman on a mission.

Kylo has no idea how he managed to conjure such an image of her in his mind, but he’s mesmerized, willingly trapped in this universe made of flushed skin and freckles and soft groans. 

So beautiful , he thinks, like a poisonous wildflower.  

Perhaps Kylo — or the version of himself that’s living the dream — had said it out loud, because Rey’s eyes open and fix on him, slightly unfocused.

Let me see you , he thinks, or says, or both. He doesn’t know how dreams work.

Let me see all of you.

Dream-Rey doesn’t hesitate. She retrieves her hand from her pants with a hiss and shimmies out of them in a hurry. 

If only she were as eager to follow his direction in real life…

Her sex is familiar and strange at the same time, probably a warbled version of something he had seen in the forbidden holovids of his youth. 

Her rosy lips are swollen and glistening, under a sparse veil of dark curls. They part under her fingers as she swirls them over the swollen bud at the apex of her sex.

He shouldn’t touch her, he really shouldn’t, but it’s a dream— his dream. And there’s no way Kylo would give up the chance to feel the warmth of her skin once again under his fingers, even if it's the result of his own imagination.

He grazes the hem of her nightshirt, lifting it slowly, revealing strips of freckled skin: her belly, her navel, the underside of her breast. 

Her nipples are dark and tight, and Kylo nearly loses himself in the sight for a moment.

When he finally touches her, it’s nothing like the first time they connected through the Force bond. 

The contact between their fingers pales in front of the electric shudder that rattles her whole body when he covers one of her breasts with his palm and squeezes gently.

Yesss, she hisses, her breath stuttering while the rhythm of her fingers never falters.

He ducks his head and lets his tongue swipe over the other dusky nipple, rolling it between his lips tentatively. It tastes of warmth and sunshine and something that is Rey, just Rey .

Ben, she sighs and leans into his mouth and hand, arching off the bed. Kylo feels his head swim, nearly drunk with the taste of her and the soft gasps that escape from her lips, and he can't find the strength to stop.

Ben, she repeats, and his name echoes in the hollow part of his ribcage, vibrates through him and straight to his cock. 

His moan turns into a hum while he’s suckling at her nipple, the sound eliciting another violent shudder from her lithe body.

Her voice is strained and needy. Please, Ben.

He knows what she wants. He should deny it to her. The fact that it’s her turn to plead, to beg him , should feel like triumph and payback. 

But it’s only a dream, and he wants her in the same desperate way.

So Kylo drags his palm down her body, from the swell of her chest to the toned plane of her belly, bumping briefly into the hand still working her clit before plunging lower, then lower still.

She is so wet, exactly as he had always imagined she would be as he parts her folds with the pads of his fingers. Nudging inside her is easy as breathing and necessary as air.

Rey is so small and tight, her greedy cunt gripping his fingers with the same strength she brings to the battlefield.

Her head lolls back with a groan, exposing the fragile column of her neck. Kylo's tongue leaves her nipple to trail along her collarbone, tasting the sweat pooling in the dimple at the base of her throat like it's the last drop of water in the desert of Jakku. 

His fingers curl inside her, and he feels the strangled moan bubble and vibrate through her throat before he hears it.

When Rey comes, it's with her fingers buried in his hair, pulling at the roots to the point of pain.

But Kylo doesn't care, too lost in his own pleasure, burning white and hot through his veins and behind his eyelids, while he mumbles her name over and over against her skin.

As his orgasm ebbs, he can feel the dream slip through his fingers as Rey's warmth dissolves from between his hands. 

Kylo keeps his eyes shut, willing the peaceful and content sensation to last a little bit more.

He vaguely knows he will wake up soon with his briefs uncomfortably wet and clinging to his groin, but he can't find in him the strength to care.

Before succumbing to a deep, dreamless sleep he wonders why she insists on calling him Ben even in his dreams.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Who's the man behind the mask?

You wore it well you had me fooled

till the last laugh.

[...] Now I can't breathe because you took my air away.

You slashed me like a glass against the walls that we had made.

[...] Holding on not letting go,

how can I feel alive again?

In this darkness on my own,

I wish I knew how to pretend.

(Behind the mask - Ivy & Gold)


It's not safe to talk here, the walls are listening

the line is so clear

almost feel your skin touching my skin

[...] So push your fingers in

come on touch my frightened heart

bring your quiet mouth closer, come apart

[...] Please don't stop

be mine in a carpet made of stars

I close my eyes and dive in

Please don't stop because I'm scared too

(Please don’t stop - Carina round)



 

She's a pervert. It’s the only explanation. Some days she can't even look Leia in the eye.

 

If Luke could see her now, he would probably die again of shame, berating her for such a display of… of… impure thoughts. 

 

Because, sure as hell, no Jedi has ever dreamt of their enemy in such a disgraceful way. 

 

Touching herself under the dark gaze of Kylo Ren, imagining his voice, his touch, his tongue in the throes of passion… 

 

No, not Kylo Ren. Ben

 

In her dreams, even the filthiest ones, he is always Ben. 

 

Because she is delusional like that. And a pervert who has wet dreams about the enemy then wakes up in the middle of the night to masturbate to them.

 

Shame burns in her throat as Rey tosses and turns in her cot after another day of training.

 

She tried to wear herself down to the point of exhaustion, wishing for a dreamless night, for once. Hoping to wake up in the morning without feeling slick heat between her legs, her skin still burning from embarrassment and imaginary touches.

 

She should be stronger. After all, she had successfully blocked the Force bond for months now.

 

But this is a much more difficult battle, one against herself.

 

And it's no use. As soon as sleep claims her body and mind and drags her toward the brink of unconsciousness, she sees the tall and imposing shape of him beside her.

 

He is the one naked this time, a huge hand already palming his dick.

 

She had touched those fingers on Ach-to. The same fingers that had been buried deep inside her in her last dream.

 

Rey shudders as Dream-Ben turns his head slightly until his eyes meet hers.

 

“Rey…” he whispers, and the temperature is suddenly ten degrees hotter than before.

 

His voice does things to her. Like making her want to wrap herself around his impossibly big body and listen to the deep humming of his chest while he murmurs sweet nothings into her ear.  

 

 

She can't suppress a shiver - her skin actually ripples - at the thought.

 

“Take those off,” she asks, trying not to sound as desperate as she feels, as she points to the loose pants still blocking her view.

 

Letting out a puff of air between his clenched teeth, Ben lowers his briefs, freeing his cock from the slightly damp fabric.

 

Rey can't help but stare at that particular part of his anatomy, shamelessly licking her lips. After all, it's her dream.

 

Ben is… proportional. Or at least she imagines he would be. 

 

Tall as a tree, with long limbs and equally large fingers  — Stars , those fingers — it's only logical for him to be… big down there, too.

 

His thumb swipes over the head of his cock, spreading the precum pooling there, and Rey's eyes dart towards his face.

 

Ben is watching her, brown eyes soft and eyelids heavy with longing and desire. 

 

She can feel it too, so much it frightens her sometimes.

 

Her hand reaches for him, her palm spreading on his wide chest as if to brace herself. 

 

His skin is so warm it seems real, dotted with moles, beauty marks, and scars — old and new. The one she gave him, slicing across his cheek and collarbone. The harsh gash at his side, courtesy of Chewie. The burn mark on his other shoulder.

 

Rey finds out she doesn't mind. He's beautiful like that, damaged and tainted by life as she is. And she's always been drawn to ruined things to scavenge and cherish, her eyes and mind trained in finding value in every broken piece, even the hopeless and forgotten ones. 

 

She traces each of his marks with her fingers before heading south, nails scraping a nipple, index tracing his distracting abs, to end up tangled in the dark hairs of his groin.

 

When she finally touches his cock, Ben stops breathing altogether.

 

She doesn’t really know what to do, but as she circles him with trembling fingers, his big hand envelopes hers, guiding it on his shaft.

 

It’s hard and soft at the same time, this part of him. Skin taut and a little red at the head with a vein running along the side, like a live wire ready to burst. 

 

She traces it with her thumb before swiping it on the head, as he did before. His hips jolt at the touch, thrusting into their combined fists in earnest.

 

Gods, like that…”

 

The Ben in her dreams can’t stop talking, and Rey hates and loves him for that.

 

Words tumble out of his plush lips in whispers and gasps, her name punctuating every stroke of her hand on him.  

 

Rey— almost a sigh. His fingers tremble over hers. My little scavenger…

 

Rey, more pronounced, desperate. His abs contract and he swallows a moan as she squeezes tentatively. My desert flower...

 

Those innocent endearments caress her body languidly and pool between her legs, pulsing in time with the sound of his deep voice in her mind. 

 

Rey can’t help but grind herself against his thigh and doesn’t care if he can feel her dampness through her sleeping pants. 

 

“You’re so good to me, Rey… Perfect.

 

She scoffs, not daring to tear her eyes away from their joined hands on his shaft — the feeling of him under her fingers somehow distracting — but their rhythm falters a bit as she mutters "I'm nothing, remember?" 

 

You told me so.

 

She can feel his pleasure as it seeps through her mind like a distant echo. It stutters a bit at her words, tainted with something regretful and ashamed. A memory of softer words brushes her mind like a caress

 

Not to me. Never to me.

 

His hand, the one not wrapped around hers and his cock, drifts to her face, thumb tracing her mouth absentmindedly. 

 

"You're everything …" he confesses out loud. "Everything I've ever wanted."

 

It's almost painful, the sense of belonging that washes over her, even if it's not real.

 

Rey parts her lips and graces his digit with a flick of her tongue just to see his eyes roll back in his skull as he struggles for air.

 

She's excited by her own power over this man, reduced to a groaning mess with a flick of her wrist and the bare squeeze of her fingers over his flesh. A dangerous power, she reckons, heady and murky as it is.

 

“You’re— Fuck, Rey,” he swears with a broken groan as she sets a rhythm that has him gasping for breath. Words escape him for once, and her name — whispered, breathed, moaned —  fills the night and the void inside of her. Rey, Reyreyreyrey…

 

Watching him fall apart is exhilarating. Blood roars in her ears, heart thrumming so fast that she fears it could burst her ribcage open. 

 

It’s like the battle in the throne room all over again. The bloodthirst, the triumph, the quintessential certainty of having him beside her, solid and Ben under her fingertips. 

 

Rey shoves her other hand down under the waistband of her sleeping pants, rocking on her fingers and his leg, feeling dirty and dizzy as she chases her pleasure alongside him. 

 

He's so beautiful, this Ben — her Ben — with hooded eyes and hair disheveled, skin glistening with sweat as he pants and unravel at the seams for her— just for her.

 

Something possessive and greedy curls in her belly. It reminds Rey of her scavenging days, when she'd so much snarl at anyone getting too close to her things, her rations, her AT-AT.  

 

This man is mine, I found him and he's mine, mine to keep and protect and shield from the world. Mine, mine, mine.

 

Her orgasm sneaks up on her at the same time he’s coming hard, white spurts streaking his stomach and the wide plane of his chest. 

 

They’re both still panting when Rey bends down to lick a stripe of spend off his skin. 

 

She can feel his cock twitch between her fingers as she tastes him, and his whole body trembles while her tongue continues up to his collarbone, along the tendons on his throat, to end its travel in the shell of his ear.

 

Ben’s hand tangles in her hair to keep her there, and he’s so close now she could kiss him if she wanted. His full lips are there, inches from her own like they were in that elevator. If she had kissed him there, things would have gone differently?

 

Before she can try or even answer her own question, darkness creeps in at the edge of her sight, and the dream blurs with Ben in it as sleep finally claims her.

 

With the taste of him in her mouth, sated and full like after a big meal, Rey lets the world fade into nothingness. 

 

The last thing she hears, rumbling and distant like the echo of a storm, is his deep voice repeating like a prayer You're everything to me.

 

She had never slept so peacefully.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

I said things I can't take back

And I don't know how to live with that

There's a darkness that I've known

And it's shaken me to stone

It kills me you might not know, after all

'Cause I know I don't let you see

But you mean the world to me

(Freya Ridings - You mean the world to me)


My love was as cruel as the cities I lived in

Everyone looked worse in the light

There are so many lines that I've crossed unforgiven

I'll tell you the truth, but never goodbye

I don't wanna look at anything else now that I saw you

I don't wanna think of anything else now that I thought of you

I've been sleeping so long in a 20-year dark night

And now I see daylight, I only see daylight

(Taylor Swift - Daylight)



 

Some dreams are frantic and hazy, others are almost sweet. 

Like the one where he kissed and licked every single freckle on Rey's chest, tracing constellations on her skin with his tongue until they were both desperate and squirming. The dream had slipped away with him murmuring sweet nothings above her sternum, along her prominent ribs, down to her protruding hip bone. 

I will find you, he had sworn to her , I will find you and feed you and keep you warm and safe, even from me.

Other dreams are a mix of both.

It makes sense, given the duality of his feelings for her. Betrayal and desire, anger and longing. Passion and tenderness. 

A breathed I miss you in his ear, while she squeezes his dick mercilessly, making him hiss on the verge of pain and pleasure.

The phantom touch of her fingertips on his chest, on his scars, delicate and unsure, in stark contrast with the possessive way she declares mine . Just before her teeth close on his earlobe, frying a great part of his nerves in the process. 

I've always been yours , he thought, but then Rey had suckled on his neck and every coherent thought was permanently lost.

This dream is one of those. 

She's all soft words and rough, barely restrained caresses. Straddling his hips, grinding and rubbing her whole body on his in a selfish quest for pleasure, while her mouth whispers his name — Ben , not Kylo. Always Ben —, how much she wants him, and her voice almost breaks as she adds "I wish you were really here".

Kylo is too caught up in the whirlwind of sensations, too drunk on pleasure to point out they could have been together — for real — had her choice been different. 

The words are there, in the back of his throat, poised to strike, but then there's only skin and Rey's unique taste under his tongue as his mouth closes on the juncture between her neck and shoulder in sweet retaliation, sucking and biting hard.

So hard that if she was real, if she was really there with him, it would leave a mark. The image is thrilling because he wants to mark her in the same way she had marked him with her weapon. Wants something to remind himself she has been his, just for a moment; his to listen to, to comfort and be comforted by in front of a fire, his to protect from Snoke...

But then she had left. And she’s not truly his, in the end.

Except for these dreams, these beautiful dreams where he can pretend that she’s truly squirming and moaning above him, where she grasps his hand and keeps him close, closer, until there’s no space between their bodies, not even a sliver of air.

Rey's breath stutters and her hips roll against his erection with even more force than before. He can feel the wetness seeping through her loose pants, and her whole body shudders against his.

As she pants and descends from the high of her orgasm, Kylo can't help but jerk into her, seeking once again that delicious friction, wishing their clothes would disappear. 

As if reading his mind, Dream-Rey slides down his body, pulling his own pants with her until he's bare and painfully hard in front of her face. He's about to tug her against him once again, when Rey meets his gaze, and he freezes. 

There's something in her eyes Kylo can't name. It's hungry, ravenous even, but open and curious at the same time. 

Positively sinful.

Her mouth —so close to his cock he can feel her ragged breath bounce on its taut skin — tilts in a mischievous grin, full of possibilities, just before her tongue darts out to leave a wet trail on the underside of his shaft. 

Kylo nearly chokes on his breath. 

She is... her tongue is... Oh .

The feeling of her lips as they close around the weeping head is almost sacred in its own decadent way.  He could create a religion out of it, and he would be its debauched priest.

An image of her dressed in black by his side, his empress — no, his goddess —  flashes through his mind in the exact moment she tries to sink further down, mouth full of his cock.

Darkness and debauchery suit her in a way he finds alluring.

But as she meets his gaze, her eyes shine like a galaxy full of stars, too bright to belong to the darkness, too sinful to be part of the light. He swallows a groan and she pounces, exploiting his moment of weakness.

She's exactly as he imagines her to be. Inexperienced but eager.  

She never backs down from a challenge, his Rey. His little Jedi, almost choking on his dick. Determined to ruin him, to make him crumble between her lips. 

And she is ruining him, to the point Kylo can't think straight anymore.

The Supreme Leader of the galaxy reduced to a mumbling mess, only able to moan her name and how good she is, how well she takes him in her throat, how beautiful with her mouth full of him and her eyes glassy and dazed.

How equally ruined she looks.

And he's a little too eager at the prospect of ruining her even more.

Kylo briefly wonders what it would feel like to be buried in her cunt, wonders if it will be tight and warm as he imagines it. He nearly comes at the prospect but discards it quickly.

Another time, maybe. Another dream.

Now there's only Rey and her mouth and her tongue that swirls over his head, tasting his precum with a satisfied hum.

"Fuck , Rey!" he gasps between ragged breaths, "I'm— So close... Will you…”

 Will you have me? Will you take everything I give you? Swallow me whole?

She takes a deep breath and takes him even deeper until Kylo can feel the soft back of her throat, and suddenly there's nowhere to hide, no shelter from the pleasure that tumbles on him like an asteroid storm, blinding like a thousand suns.

She swallows his pleasure greedily, not wasting a single drop like the scavenger she is. Kylo briefly wonders if the real Rey knows, even a galaxy away, how much she affects him, if she can grasp the magnitude of his desire for her, the way it roars in his ears and fills every void in his mind like a devastating tide.

It's almost as powerful as the Force itself. Sometimes it terrifies him.

But not now, now that she licks her lips like a sated tiger, now that he manages to pull her up against him once again, their bodies flush with each other, pretending that she's there, even if she’s a whole galaxy away.

I want you so much it hurts.

The words echo in his mind. If they’re his or hers, Kylo couldn't say, but it doesn't make it less true.

They're panting and staring at each other, and her mouth is so close it would take nothing to finally kiss it.

But the dream drifts away just as he closes the distance between them, and the only thing left in the darkness is his name — the one he swore to forget — still tingling with her breath on his lips. 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you

It's strange what desire will make foolish people do

I'd never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you

And I'd never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you

No, I don't want to fall in love with you

[...] What a wicked game you played to make me feel this way

What a wicked thing to do to let me dream of you

(Ursine Vulpine - Wicked game)

 

I met a foreign man in the West

I felt a strange fire in my chest

[...] I ran from him in the forest

He had no fear of depth or darkness

Like a lion on the open plains he pursued

I never saw him coming

He put an arrow through my heart

And I don’t mind it at all

(LEVV - Arrow)





There are moments, when Rey dreams, where her brain struggles to catch up, and she tries to make sense of what's happening even if dreams usually have no sense at all.

Moments where her rational part tries to recall how she ended up there, still clothed in her bed, with Ben between her legs, his big hands on her, everywhere and nowhere at once. 

Just a minute before, she was dreaming of training with her staff, sweating and cursing through the burning of her protesting muscles. 

Maybe it's because training is all that she can do these days; working out desperately until there's nothing left in her but numbness and calm, until Leia screams at her to stop this nonsense and rest. Until Rey can't do much more but crawl back to her room and crumple on the sheets without even undressing. 

Until she has no energy to think about a man with two names, his long fingers, and his soft brown eyes, dark with desire and loneliness.

But even if she exhausts herself, the dreams come anyway, and Ben is always there, emerging from the darkest corners of her mind to taunt her, making her writhe and surrender. 

It doesn't take much for Rey to realize she's already addicted to this particular brand of pleasure, equal parts guilt and hunger for more.

This night too, he's already over her, fumbling with the fastenings of her training shirt, hands shaking as if there is only so much he can do not to rip the fabric off her. 

His mouth trails behind, tongue tracing and tasting every patch of skin his fingers had revealed, sucking and licking her neck, then her collarbone, nipping at the swell of her right breast with an eager hum.

"I'm all sweaty..." Rey tries to protest, helping him peel the damp shirt from her torso all the same. 

Ben just gasps, dark eyes turning black at the sight of her half-naked body. She revels in his unrestrained desire for her, this passion that threatens to burn him - to burn them both to ashes. 

"I like you dirty," he whispers, nosing at her sternum, inhaling deeply, oblivious of her contrasting embarrassment and eagerness. 

"I love it when you're all riled up, still panting from battle, hair wild and skin flushed with sweat. And that look in your eyes, the one from the forest. Feral..."

His mouth is still open on the last vowel, when his tongue darts out, broad and flat, for a long swipe over her entire breast, from the underside to the quivering nipple. Rey doesn't recognize the throaty moan — almost a growl, really — that rips through her chest. 

"You taste so good..."

It's the heat, the scorching heat pulsing between her legs and in her temples, singing through her bones, as Ben tugs the pants down her legs, baring her to him in one swift move. 

A pause, his scorching gaze riveted between her legs, and Rey stops breathing altogether with his next words.

"Let me taste you here, too..."

The thing is Rey is no stranger to pleasure. Still thirsty and hungry on Jakku, desperate and lonely, she had discovered the potential of her body for something other that fatigue and pain. She had claimed those morsels of pleasure, the giddy numbness and contentedness of it, with greedy hands, starved for affection, even her own. 

But the practiced and soothing rubbing between her legs was nothing like this. Never like this.

There simply isn't anything, no sensation stored and catalogued in her brain, to compare to the feeling of Ben's mouth on her, his tongue parting her folds slowly, delving briefly in her hole, before swiping back up, pressing insistently on the bundle of nerves at the apex of her sex.

He moans — the vibration of his voice cuts through her like an earthquake, equally devastating — and Rey wonders briefly is this what an exploding star feels like? 

Her nerves crackle like millions of tiny supernovas. It goes on and on and I don’t want this to stop. 

His voice answers her like an echo. Me neither .

She's still drunk and disoriented from her orgasm when she feels Ben — this dream version of him that needs her in a tender and desperate way, making her heart break and her blood boil at the same time — moving between her legs.

When the tip of his erection slides between her drenched folds, catching a little on her still sensitive clit, Rey nearly jumps.

"Please.." Ben groans, grinding his hips to hers with eyes closed while coating himself in her wetness. "Please , let me... Rey, I need—"

"I know," she pants, grabbing the hair at the base of his nape and closing her legs around him. "I need you too..."

With a broken moan, he tumbles forward, sinking into her. 

There's a strain, some kind of burning where he stretches her open, but Rey doesn't have the time to fully grasp the sensation because Ben pulls away a little, just to sink back in with a throaty groan.

Rey feels her mouth open in a silent gasp and everything melts, head lolling back and forth with his thrusts. The slow drag of his cock inside her is maddening. 

The pleasure is everywhere, thrashing and building like a sand storm, abrasive and delicious, and so much that Rey can feel it in her teeth .

She realizes she had closed her eyes at some point, when Ben's fingers graze her cheek, something wet clinging to them.

Her eyelids flutter open just in time to see him like never before, jaw slack and lips parted in ecstasy, so relaxed and blissed out he seems younger and untouched.

Then his gaze darkens, and she shudders under the force of his next thrust.

"Look at me when you come."

His finger trails down her body, pausing in their voyage to tweak at her nipple before diving between her legs.

Rey shakes her head, too dizzy for words.

"I can't..."

"Yes, you can."

For a moment he's more Kylo than Ben, darkness creeping around them like a cocoon. It passes like a fleeting shadow, and his voice is soft again, quivering and adoring.

"I know you can, just for me. Eh, Rey? Will you come one more time, for me?"

His thumb press down on her clit, and Rey's whole body spasms, boneless and tense at the same time.

"Gods, you are so beautiful like this. Sated and desperate for it all at once,” he rasps out. “If you were mine, I'd keep you like this for days, weeks even... The things I would do to you, Rey..."

Ben won't stop talking, his voice deeper than the night, as he murmurs sweet encouragements and filthy endearments into her ear.

“Let go, sweetheart. I’ve got you, let go.”

The pleasure is just so ruinous. Inescapable.

It breaks in and floods her mind like the Force, thrashing everything until there's nothing left but Ben

Ben's hands bruising her hips, Ben's broken voice as he comes, Ben's cock pulsing deep inside her, Ben's skin under her nails, Ben’s solid body crushing her, sheltering her. 

Ben, just Ben. Her Ben.

It takes a long time for the dream to fade, and when the warmth of the body pressed to hers morphs into the comfort of her sheets, pleasure is still oozing through her.

Rey can still feel its phantom tail, licking at the base of her spine and pulsing subtly between her legs when she wakes up, the next morning.

Her naked body - Rey figures she found the strength to undress last night, after all - shivers under the covers, skin clammy with dried sweat. 

There’s wetness between her legs, she can feel it, and a hand drifts south of its own accord, anticipation making it tremble slightly over her belly. But Rey stops it out of pure will power, just before her fingers can reach their destination. 

Her head is still fuzzy, thrumming with the remnants of her dream and a lingering feeling that swells within her, warm and liquid.

I’ve got you. Let go. 

His words had sounded so real, his voice so tender and serious just like months ago in that hutt on Ach-To. When he had told her she wasn't alone.

And she isn’t alone now - on the outer Rim with Leia, Finn, and the Resistance. But she certainly feels like that. Utterly and completely alone, yearning for a different kind of connection, one that sparks from the faintest brush of fingertips, a galaxy away.  

A sense of connection that defies logic and propriety, but makes her heart bleed and her body flame all the same. 

A solitary tear rolls down her cheek, but Rey ignores it. She takes a deep, trembling breath, then another, centering herself. 

It’s all wrong. Every dream, every heated caress, every whispered word. A mistake, even if it’s not real. 

Acceptance, belonging, trust. Those are not feelings she can or will have for Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader of the First order, murderer of Han Solo.

She would not succumb to it - to him - again, even if surrender feels so good. Every. Damn. Time.

Grimacing, she gets up, dressing for a new day of training and preparations.

She's sore everywhere, but she figures it’s the natural consequence of her incessant training. 

Still drowsy and fumbling in the dim light of her bunk, Rey doesn't notice the faded mark at the base of her neck, nor the fresh bruises dotting her hips.

If you were mine…

Ben's words reach her at the door, a distant echo, that has her shivering despite herself. 

But the memory of Ben's body inside and all around her turns into the shadow of a man standing in front of her, eyes pleading and a hand outstretched with an offer she can't accept.

She's not his; she never was. She's nothing. 

But not to me.

Rey shakes herself out of the last remnants of her dream and closes the door behind her.

After all, it was nothing but that. Just a dream.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we'll see

No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

(Bootstraps - Stand by me)

 

Meet me on the Equinox

Meet me halfway

[...] Let me give my love to you

Let me take your hand

And as we walk in the dimming light

Oh darling understand

That everything, everything ends

( Death cab for cuties - Meet me on the equinox)



He turns in his sleep, and there she is. A vision, meant to be seen only in dreams, the perfect sum of beauty and strength. She’s resting on her side, her back to him, her short tunic a little rumpled and displaced, doing very little to cover the top of her toned legs.

Kylo reaches out and tugs her body closer, burrowing into her and nuzzling her nape, diving his nose in the loose hair there. 

She stirs in his grip, hums leisurely as he kisses the shell of her ear. Her mouth curves upwards as she turns a little, eyes still closed.

“It’s you.”

Kylo kisses her eyelids with a tenderness he didn’t know he possessed.

All his dreams had taken place in the darkness of his own bunk, but this is different. There’s a light that glows in the distance, and everything is quiet and lazy, like the slow awakening of an early morning, the only sound their regular breaths and the rustling of the sheets.

He doesn’t remember the last time he had felt such quietness.

He allows himself to bask in the moment for a little, then Kylo sneaks a hand under her tunic to palm at her small breasts, gently pinching a nipple.

Rey reaches behind her with an arm, her fingers sinking in the hair at his nape, and Kylo draws closer still, mouth mapping her neck until goosebumps bloom under his lips. 

His other hand dips lower, between her legs, where she’s wet and quivering, already waiting for him. 

Rey rolls her hips against his fingers, the soft curve of her ass grinding on his already hard cock, but Kylo feels no urgency this time, only a delicious languor, steady and building within himself.

“Yes. Just me,” he murmurs, voice still hoarse with sleep and muffled against her hair, but he feels her shiver nonetheless. 

Rey’s eyes are still closed, and she’s mumbling incoherent fragments of words as he lets two fingers sink in her. Her movements become more urgent, her breathing uneven, as her pleasure builds on and on, one moan after another.

When she’s a quivering mess, the hand in his hair tugging at the roots almost painfully, he presses on her clit with his thumb. Her whole body jumps for a sweet moment under his touch.   

He’s addicted to her pleasure, can’t get enough of it. Of the adorable way she scrunches her eyes in concentration, chasing her peak, of the smell of her skin getting more musky and sweet, of the tight heat of her cunt all around his fingers, of the sight of her muscles, tensing and trembling with every blissful wave.

“Say my name, Rey… Say it,” he orders, fingers speeding up and curling inside her, while he suckles her neck. He finds a spot below her ear that has her stutter three times before getting it right.

"Ben..."

Well, almost right. But in a strange way it doesn't bother Kylo anymore to hear his old name. It almost sounds right on her lips after hearing it whispered and moaned in so many dreams.

There, in the realm of slumber and his own imagination, holding Rey between his arms, he can actually be Ben Solo.

He can almost feel it. The sun filtering through orange leaves, a calm breeze through his hair, and the cool touch of humid grass under his body. A secluded meadow, warmth on his skin, and her smell everywhere. In the last days of a dying summer, she blooms under him, opens like a flower, flourishes between his wandering hands, between tender kisses and murmured words. 

It feels like a distant memory, someone else’s dream. It feels...

“You feel like home…”

The words tumble from his lips, right and unrestrained, while she comes with a silent sigh. 

She turns in his arms and her eyes finally open, and it’s like staring into the two suns of Tatooine, while the whole room brightens.

For a fleeting moment, Kylo wonders how he could ever think of turning her to the dark side, this woman that brings light where there should be no spark left. This woman that makes him want for things he can’t even name.

Rey tugs at his shirt, and he does the same with her tunic until they're almost naked, staring into each other's eyes. 

Kylo tucks a lock of hair behind her ear, letting his big hand trail along the side of her body. There’s a fading mark at the base of her neck, and purple bruises on her hip that bear the shapes of his fingers… He feels thrilled and miserable all at once at the sight.

“I hurt you,” he mumbles, sounding somewhat regretful, but Rey just giggles, her own hand wandering on his chest, tracing the end of his scar and some half-moon scratches he hadn’t noticed before.

“We always hurt each other," she whispers almost fondly. "But this is just a dream. It’s not real.”

Real or not, Kylo realizes he has never kissed her. And that’s a shame because her lips look soft and inviting, slightly curved in a sweet smile and close, so close

“I wish it was real… My dream,” Kylo whispers, dipping his head forward to finally capture her mouth. But before he can do that Rey pulls back, brows furrowed.

“What—  But it’s... it's my dream.”


*

 

It all comes back at once, trashing and overwhelming like an avalanche. His thoughts, her thoughts, a whirlwind of emotions that tumble on one another in rapid succession and flood their minds.

Surprise, confusion, terror, shame, rage, desire. 

Rey can’t tell which ones are hers, all echoing in her mind and heart as the Force bond roars to life like the sea on Ahch-To.  But the realization is her only anchor, even if terrifying.

He’s here. He’s really here.

As he has been all those other times too.

Memories slide into place, and it’s like being in the middle of a sensory overload. That’s the feeling of his hands on her thighs. This tingling sensation: it’s his tongue tracing the veins on her neck. The steely velvet under her fingers is his sex coming to life under her caresses. The bittersweet taste of his spend in her mouth; the not-quite-pain of her body stretching to accommodate him; the explosive wave raging through them...This, this is pleasure, madness, longing, bouncing from her to him and vice versa, building with each exchange, magnified until it’s too much and not enough. 

And in the midst of it all, his voice.

Please.

Rey tries to get a hold onto herself, to contain the onslaught of memories and images flooding through them as they try to discern dreams from reality - you came to me at night, no it was you who hunted all my dreams. 

Words and thoughts are flooding through the cracks of her walls, defenses crumble like sand, and at the beginning, they both try to resist. But she can feel Kylo - Ben - slipping, letting go. Letting everything pour through them, unrestrained.

I’ve got you. Let go, he said once to her.

She does. Rey lets go of the last shrapnel of sanity she has left, watches those dreams that weren’t dreams replay between them like a forbidden holo. What have they done?

Kylo - Ben, her Ben - watches her with eyes full of something she doesn’t dare to call hope, too fragile and foreign on him to be real.

So beautiful...

He remembers, she remembers. It was all real, the Force bond connecting them at impossible times, exploiting their exhaustion and lowered defenses to strike. 

As they stare at each other with wide eyes, Rey feels herself blush, dread leaving a bitter taste on her tongue. She reaches for her tunic, trying to cover herself and Kylo’s eyes darken, rage cutting through her mind like a blade.

We always hurt each other. 

“Don’t look at me like that,” he spat, sounding more hurt than angry. Tears prickle behind her eyelids, but they are not her own. “Like it was all my wicked plan to… to do what, exactly? Woo you to the Dark Side with my charm?” 

No , she wants to answer, but words are stuck in her throat with fear because this is not possible. They can't be doing this.

If you were mine…

“This…” Rey whispers, lips parched and dry, and she tastes the venom of his words on her tongue like a bitter medicine. “This is wrong.”

The blunt force of his rejection and sorrow hits her like a punch in the gut, amplified through the Force. 

“You’re ashamed ," he seethes.

Ben’s eyes are almost black, hard and cruel like his mask once was, but there’s something underneath that cries like a restless child. She knows that kind of desperation.

"You resent yourself because you weren’t strong enough to stop… this. To stop yourself from stepping so low …” The disdain in his voice can’t quite cover the pain seeping through each and every syllable. Ben’s hands are shaking, still gripping her sheets - can he see the sparse void of her bunk? Can he feel its loneliness? - with bone white knuckles. 

Rey can’t move. His eyes burn through her like laser beams, as he spats out “Then why didn’t you end it once and for all?” 

There’s a true question in there, buried underneath self-loathing and rage: so much rage Rey feels like choking on it. 

“Why didn’t you kill me on the Supremacy, when you had the chance?”

A sob shakes her whole rib cage, and Rey promised she would never cry again in front of Kylo Ren. But Ben? She can’t lie to him either, not now, not after...

“I couldn’t…”

Her voice is weak and watery, and he digs deeper, twists the blade into her flesh, not realizing he’s hurting himself alongside her. 

“You left me there, alive,” his mouth says. You left me his mind screams. "Why?"

His voice trembles just slightly, but she can feel it, the heavy weight that threatens to crush his heart and hers with it. 

“Why? Say it.” 

You’re everything to me. 

“Because I’m not like you!”

Her voice rings in the small room for a moment, hanging between them like an omen. 

“I can’t let it die. What we had, what I saw when we touched hands, this bond between us... I-I can't lose it," I can't lose you , "even if your choice was different from what I expected!”

I wish you were really here.

Surprise makes him jerk back, like a physical blow. Rey holds his wary gaze, as his lips and jaw work to utter the perfect retort. And it could be, but his voice is thin and sways a little in the end, lacks the purpose to truly hurt. “You’re just a scavenger…” My scavenger. “You think you can fix everything, you see hope even where there is none left.”

There’s shift there, almost invisible, a question mark hovering and waiting on the edge of their perceptions. So Rey presses on, gentle but firm, like the weight of her hands on him in those dreams. 

“I believed in you.”

Something threatens to shatter within herself - is it her or is it him? - like a flame dying out. But no matter how hard the winds blow there’s a spark in the darkness that refuses to die.  

“I still do...”

You feel like home.

She expects mocking, derision, more sharp words. She doesn’t expect his head to drop like a laid down weapon. She doesn’t expect him to surrender like this, with a barely whispered confession. 

“I don’t.” 

“What?”

“I don’t want to let it die either. I can’t .” A lock of hair falls over his eyes and Rey can’t help but think about how soft it was under her fingers. “I already told you before, I feel it too.”

I need you too.

Everything stills inside their minds, the Force suddenly quiet and still like a feather suspended in the eye of the storm. 

Rey.

Ben.

She can see it clearly now, as more words from their shared dreams float in front of their eyes, gentle like a caress.

I want you so much it hurts.  

This is not how it was supposed to be, she thinks, even if she doesn’t know what it is yet. It’s broken, desperate and way too complicated. And Luke told her, didn’t he? This is not going to go the way you think. 

A single tear falls from her eyelids,  but Rey scrubs it away at the exact moment Ben reaches for her. His hand remains frozen in the air, and they're on the Supremacy all over again, doubt seeping and question hanging in the air. Rey can almost taste it on her tongue, the pull, the plea. 

Will you have me? All of me?

But this time there’s no galaxy to offer, there’s no promise of power creeping from the shadows, nor the life of her friends at stake. This time she can actually choose

So this time she takes his hand, his heart, his everything as their bodies tumble into one another on an unmade bed at the center of the universe. 

This time Rey doesn’t hesitate as she straddles his hips and cradles his face between her palms. His breath hitches. There’s a hint of five-o’clock-shadow on his cheeks, but his lips are soft under her thumb. 

The way he’s watching her - at once pained, hopeful and hungry… Rey knows she will never forget it, for as long as she lives.

“It was easier when it was just a dream,” she whispers, as his eyes flutter close. There’s a tiny drop trapped between his eyelashes, and Rey had learned early not to waste any water. So she tilts her head and kisses it away from the corner of his eye. 

Ben draws a sharp breath, and his voice is hoarse and wavering when he manages to speak. She can feel its vibration tingling the semi-open seam of her lips, as she leans in, closer still.

“Then just… Let’s dream. One last time.”

For a moment there’s only Ben in her mind, flooding her perception and conscience, shutting her brain up for good. Ben and his mouth made for kissing, his tongue tracing her lips, probing, tasting, caressing her own in a dance she can’t possibly know. 

It’s fumbling and messy and hungry. But it’s theirs , and it’s perfect.  

It occurs to her that they have never kissed during all those dreams. With all the perverse things they have done - with and without their mouths - nothing has ever felt this intimate. 

Rey has never felt so exposed, raw, unguarded. But for once, it doesn’t feel like weakness. It feels like letting go, knowing there’s someone ready to catch her as she falls. Content, welcomed. 

The nagging voice of her conscience tells her she should be embarrassed - knowing this is real and not one of her fantasies - but rational thoughts and every sense of properness have left her for good minutes ago, since Ben’s hands have started to span her whole body, over and over, as if he was trying to impress the shape of her into his memory as his mouth devours her. 

Ben must be equally wrecked by it because their bond is humming with her name and incoherent words: Rey and g ood and  perfect. His pleasure is electric, shooting through his and her spine as she grinds against him, intertwining with her own until she can’t tell them apart anymore.

Her tunic is already somewhere on the other side of the bed and Rey almost rips his pants off, stitches protesting under her clawing fingers. She’s naked over him but Ben can’t seem to find the strength to leave her mouth, going as far as her neck and collarbone before drifting back to nip and suckle at her lower lip.

His hands are on her breasts, squeezing and pinching her nipples slightly, drawing garbled and foreign sounds from her chest at once. Rey fumbles with the waistband of his briefs, tugging blindly at the fabric to free his cock without breaking the kiss. When she manages to wrap her fingers around it, Ben gasps and presses an open-mouthed moan into her cheek, shivering. 

You’re killing me , he whispers with his mind, as their foreheads touch. She’s still wet from the orgasm that woke her up, so Rey rises a bit and sinks down on him, closing her eyes. 

Everything slows down from there, every movement delayed and thick like honey, and time pauses as if taking a deep breath after a frantic run. 

They stay like that for a moment or an eternity, panting and trembling, holding onto each other with their faces smashed together, and his nose digging into the tender skin under her eye. 

This , Rey thinks. This is what she was searching for between the dunes of Jakku, in the darkness of the cave on Ach-To, on the Supremacy. To belong, to find a Rey-shaped place waiting for her broken pieces to click into, like she fits so well in Ben’s arms - and him in hers. 

This is where I’m supposed to be.

It’s a strange kind of epiphany, it’s like she always knew. But then Ben drags his hand along her spine, making Rey shift on his lap, and it’s like the world jump-starts again.

The urgency startles them, makes them tumble down towards pleasure like a ravine, with Ben’s hand gripping her hips and helping her move, while Rey buries her fingers in his hair and pulls, exposing his neck to her lips and teeth. It’s a delirious and frantic run, chests heaving and muscles burning, but Rey doesn’t want to reach the finish line just yet.

It feels a bit like dying - a delirious, good kind of death - when Ben’s fingers trail down her stomach and stroke the throbbing nub between her legs, nearly choking on his breath as Rey spasms and flutters all around him.  

It’s her time to chant his name, over and over. Ben on his temple, Ben over his eyelids, shut tightly while he comes, Ben in his mouth as it opens to let out a broken moan, Ben everywhere as he empties himself inside, overflowing her cunt, her mind, her heart, and she’s so full of Ben, her Ben , she can’t and won’t ever have enough.

 

*

 

Ben thought he knew peace. When Snoke’s voice had left him for good and he had been finally master of his own mind, he thought he had finally grasped the concept.

But the deep sense of fulfillment and calm flowing through his veins as he holds Rey in his arms is even better, albeit foreign and fleeting. He’s not sure he can let go - of her, of this - but he knows he will have to, eventually.

They’re still trying to catch their breath, when Ben feels the Force tremble around him. The bond is slowly unraveling, wearing thin by the minute, and he realizes he’s not ready yet, maybe never will be.

Rey’s skin is slick with sweat as he drags a hand along her spine, burying it in her hair and inhaling her scent, luxuriating in this feeling to make it last just a little longer. 

Words grow on his tongue, but he crushes them under his teeth. Come back , he forbids himself to say. Come back to me.

He can’t dare to hope, can’t bring himself to repeat the same request only to be struck down by her rejection once again. So Ben watches her in silence, like the last time on Crait. He looks into her eyes and waits, even if he already knows her answer. 

"I won't follow you into the darkness, Ben,” Rey whispers, as her fingers graze soothingly his chest and shoulder. 

“And I won't return to the light," it’s his answer.

Strangely, there’s no harshness in his voice, no regret seeping through the bond. Only a deep certainty that whispers this is where we meet, this is where we’ll always find each other, in the middle of it all.  

"What do you want, then?"

Ben watches her as she takes a deep breath, a contented hum slipping through them and it’s in those little details, those insignificant noises, and movements that he loses himself a little every time. Making the return to his dark ship and reality each time more painful.

"I want you," she confesses, with a whisper that feels like a cry.

And he wants to cry because what she asks for is impossible, once again.

"Ben Solo is dea-"

She interrupts him with a gaze so full of determination and hope it hurts.

"I don't care! I don't want Ben Solo, or Kylo Ren... I just- I want you for yourself."

Her fingers card through his hair one last time, swiping it away from his stunned eyes.

"Just you. Just Ben ."

Ben feels something break in his chest, a weight that settles and lifts at the same time, choking his next breath while his eyes blur behind a wall of water.

How many people had looked at him for who he was? How many had tried to know him for the sake of it, not for his legacy, his power, or his family? 

The answer was painstakingly simple: no one.

No one had ever bothered to see - truly see - the boy crushed under expectations, hiding underneath heavy layers, and masks.  

No one except this girl, this scavenger, this nobody who had dug her claws into his heart, baring him painfully raw, stripping him of every mask, and refusing to let go of what she found underneath all that.

A nobody with no legacy, no family, no home, no surname. 

Just Rey.

And maybe, maybe - his heart leaps at the faintest shadow of possibility, of hope - he could be just Ben for her, too.

Just Ben for just Rey .

Rey whose skin is glowing underneath his trembling fingers, her tanned complexion contrasting sharply against his pale skin. 

She's always surrounded by light but this is not blinding and bright. It’s golden, almost suffuse, a warm hue that doesn't hide her shadows and suits her better. 

Maybe it's dawn in her system, or perhaps it’s the sunset. He can’t tell but imagines it anyway: them, together in the middle of a faraway landscape, two suns setting the sky on fire.

He forces himself not to look away as Rey starts to dissolve in the twilight, eyes never leaving his.

Even if it’s painful, even if his heart soars and throbs under the weight of another goodbye.

"I know you're not ready yet. But I'll wait for you, here," she whispers, her voice trembling as the Force as it closes their bond. "I'm good at waiting."

Her watery smile is the last thing he sees before plunging back into his own reality. There's water on his cheeks too but Ben swipes it away in haste as he gets up and dresses for the new day.

The darkness of his quarters - of his life - feels cold and empty. But it's all he has left.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

“The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out

You left me in the dark

No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight

In the shadow of your heart [...]

Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too

So I stayed in the darkness with you”

(Florence + The Machine - Cosmic Love)

 

Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

And unpack your heart

[...] Oh, I'm on your side

So shed your shadow

And watch it rise

Into your darkness

I'll shine a light

(Phillip Phillips - Unpack your heart)

 

 



He is alone, always alone. 

And even if loneliness has never bothered him, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren can't help but notice he is more conscious of it now. Alone, he stalks the corridors of his starship, alone he dines in his quarters, alone he builds the new order of the galaxy. 

And alone he trains, especially when rage and frustration make his swings and hits more violent and unpredictable. Like now.

The crackling vibration of his lightsaber is a soothing hum that drowns out his loud thoughts, the screaming ache of his exhausted limbs a temporary distraction from his restlessness. 

Kylo changes his stance, and the cross-guarded lightsaber traces incandescent lines in the recycled air of the ship, shining among the shadows like a red scythe of Death.

It slices the silence he knows so well with its unstable flicker. The silence in his mind - so big and loud, now that Snoke is no more. The silence of a closed door across the galaxy, that echoes in the empty walls of his ribcage.

The Force bond is muted and shut, as it has been for the last few weeks.

He hasn’t seen her since that night - or was it morning in the system she is hiding in, now? - and Kylo knows he should feel relieved to be free of that… that disgraceful and shameful moment of weakness. 

But the truth is relief is a utopist notion, these days.

He can’t even sleep without fearing to see her there beside him, not able to tell the difference between his feverish dreams and the painful reality of her lazy smile. 

Slumber is dangerous, unconsciousness a threat to his sanity, when the sharp pull of her light unravels him at the seams. He feels like sleep is one step closer to losing himself.  

So Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader of the First Order, doesn’t sleep at all. 

And that’s why he is restless and angry, snapping more often and more violently than usual, if the way his own Knights and even Hux avoid him is any indication. 

So he trains, making his already grueling routine even more unforgiving and harsh until he is drenched in sweat and his body screams so loudly in pain that he can’t hear the roaring silence that drowns him every day.

He hides in the solitude of his training room, hoping to escape his own madness - even if with poor results. 

Suddenly, there’s a shift in the air, some sort of shudder that makes reality vibrate for a moment around him. His red lightsaber stills mid-strike, the cracked crystal humming in anticipation. 

The dark walls of his training room shift almost imperceptibly, and in a fleeting moment, the sturdy and polished durasteel is replaced by crumbled panels and rotting equipment. Shards of glass and tangled wires crunch under the soles of his boots, while the silence is filled with the distant roaring of waves. 

Kylo doesn’t have time to further examine his surroundings because he’s not alone. 

He turns sharply, his lightsaber ready to strike and pointed against a dark, cloaked shadow behind him.

“Who are you?” he asks, pushing and probing with his mind as well to find answers.

He can feel the shadow smirk, even if its face is covered.

“I’m nobody.”

He knows that voice. It’s sharper, somehow, rougher at the edges, but he would recognize it anywhere.

He would recognize her everywhere.

“Rey?”

A hand swipes back the hood above her head and there she is. Covered in black robes, with red lips set in a wicked smile. 

Her eyes are dark and brimming with determination and forbidden promises, luring him in and down with her inescapably.

Darkness suits her, Kylo can’t help but think, while she closes the distance with three measured and steady steps. He turns off his weapon as her hand lands on his chest, above his heart.

“Hello, Kylo.”

He’s momentarily taken aback by her choice of name, so used to the sound of his former name on her lips. The same lips that now cover his own in a feral kiss. 

He nearly stumbles back under her sweet violence, as she devours him. He can feel her sharp teeth sinking into his lower lip and the blunt edges of her painted nails digging into his sternum, underneath his sweat-drenched shirt.

Something stirs inside him, desire boiling in his veins like molten lava, fizzling on the edge of every nerve. Lust and longing intertwine in a knot at the base of his spine, singing, chanting, roaring: finally .

But another voice whispers inside him.

Amidst the hunger and perpetual desire for her, Kylo can't help but feel that something is off. Wrong on a deep, visceral level. 

And that’s why, even if his whole body screams at him to hold her tight and ravage her back, to claim and possess her as he had dreamt of so many times, Kylo tears himself away and pushes her back with trembling arms. 

They’re both panting, staring at each other, and the wicked way Rey licks her swollen and shiny lips is so obscene he nearly changes his mind. But something is amiss, and dread is forming a heavy lump in the pit of his stomach.

“Rey, what are you doing here? What happened?”

Her laughter is loud but empty, abrasive like fingernails down a blackboard. 

“I found a teacher.”

When she left him, right after he had offered her the whole galaxy, Kylo thought nothing would ever rival that heartbreaking pain. Apparently, he was wrong.   

Oblivious to his struggle - or maybe reveling in it - Rey smiles and shrugs his hands off her shoulders. 

“I’ve learned a lot. And now I’m ready to fulfill my destiny,” she adds taking a step back and igniting her lightsaber. 

But the one in her hand is not his grandfather’s weapon. Two blades paint the room in angry red before one of them swipes down and a mechanism clicks into place, turning the strange weapon into a saberstaff crowned by two deadly laser beams. 

With a smile that has lost any warmth, she adds: 

“But the real question is…”

Her eyes set on him, devastating like a Death Star.

“Are you ready for me, Kylo Ren?” 

She doesn’t wait for his answer, launching herself at him with deadly intent. Her attack is so violent and unexpected Kylo barely manages to ignite his weapon and block it, the two red kyber crystals crackling and sizzling at the contact of their blades. 

Rey’s a force of nature, she’s always been. He bears the marks of her prowess on his flesh, still. She bested him once —no, twice — and Kylo knows this third encounter would not be different. 

He nearly slips, trying to dodge the deadly swing of her weapon. It grazes his head, and for a moment he can feel the acrid smell of singed hair in the air.

“What’s wrong, Supreme Leader ?” she laughs, her tone mocking and bitter. “Afraid I could overthrow you, now that I’ve reached my full potential?”

Kylo parries and ducks, his blows a mere defense from her fury, but it’s her next words that make him feel trapped and doomed.

“This is what you wanted.”

Yes. No. Not like this.  

She’s implacable, unrelenting. Cold and unwavering as her voice when she continues: "You said I would be the one to turn."

His hand trembles, knuckles turning bone-white under his glove in the effort to stop and hold her back. This is wrong.

"And I did. You were right."

Kylo can’t utter a word, but inside he’s screaming: I was wrong.

Under the force of her blows, he takes a step back, then another, until his back meets the unforgiving wall. 

Kylo knows fear. It has been an unwanted companion of his whole life, a subtle shiver down his spine when his powers overtook his will, turning into a cold bite, chilling the blood in his veins whenever Snoke’s punishments turned cruel.

He knows fear, but this feeling, seizing his lungs and locking his jaw, is something else entirely. 

This is pure terror. And he’s not even afraid of her, but for her. 

“Rey, this is not you,” he rasps, using his lightsaber as a shield for her next blow. 

Her face is bathed in red, rage contorting her features in a snarl as she pushes and pushes until the laser nearly grazes his shoulder. 

“What do you possibly know of who I am?” she snarls. “You said I was nothing ! And look at me now…”

Their crossed lightsabers tremble between them, inching imperceptibly towards him as the seconds tick away. 

“I know,” he grits out through clenched teeth. “I know . But this is not who you’re supposed to be.”

“I’m tired of letting others tell me what to do and who to be,” she whispers, fury smoldering in her eyes like embers into the darkness, bringing some sort of life to them. “You don’t know me, nobody does.”

It’s the hint of hurt, the slight trembling of her voice on the last word, that does it for him.

He lets his lightsaber fall and grabs the hilt of her staff with both hands, before its blades could slice him up for good. Holding it above their heads he manages to reverse their position, until she’s the one pressed to the wall. 

Their faces are so close he can feel the ragged puffs of Rey’s breath bouncing on his heated face, on his parched lips. So close it would take literally nothing to…

He lets their foreheads touch, and swallows.

“But I do, Rey. I do .”

He does know her, the real Rey. Her stubbornness, that rivals his own; the way she seems so cheerful and friendly when deep down she’s an introvert who shies away from deeper connections; the crippling loneliness that coats her very being like an armor she can’t shed, even when she’s surrounded by people. Her desperate quest for belonging, for a new beginning far away from her painful past. 

He does know her because she’s so much like him. 

No, not exactly like him. A better, beautiful, not broken version of what Ben Solo could have been. And Kylo knows he is already lost and gone, but for how much it hurts him to see her as an enemy, on the other side of that absurd war, he doesn’t want to see her give in to the darkness.

He would not let her fall, too.

This girl, this woman, has broken him, shattered his soul into so many pieces he doesn’t know how to put himself together anymore.

Rey is watching him, straining against his grip, occasionally trying to free her weapon, but her face stays where it is, her eyes still dark but fixed on his.

“It’s not too late,” Ben whispers, and the irony of him throwing her own words back at her is not lost. 

But maybe words are not the answer. Maybe he has to show her.

Before she can retort or even breathe, he ducks down and lets their lips meet.

It’s different from their previous kisses. There’s no lust or challenge in the soft dance of their mouths, no uncertainty either.  

And maybe Ben loves this kind of silence, comforting and warm, punctuated by trembling breaths and wrapped around them like a shield against the world. 

For a moment, a fleeting moment, everything stops and mutes, as if even the Force is waiting with bated breath for what comes next. 

A sweet and far too short moment where he can feel her eyelashes flutter against his cheek and her lips slide on his own, a moment where the kiss tastes like tenderness and hope and right

It tastes like Rey .

But the moment ends too soon when she bites down on his lip and shoves him hard with the Force, making him stumble and fall on the durasteel floor.

It’s over , Kylo thinks, waiting for the burning of her saberstaff against his throat and the relief of death upon him. 

This Rey is not the same one that paused, towering over his defeated and bleeding form, among the snow of the Starkiller Base. 

This Rey has no mercy, and it’s okay: he doesn’t deserve it anyway.

But the burning pain never comes. Kylo opens his eyes and the aseptic darkness of his training room welcomes him. Gone is the roaring sea, the cracking of her saberstaff. 

Once again, around him there’s no sound but his ragged breath and the thrumming of his panicked heart.

He sits up, doing his best to ignore the maddening pulse of his temples and the aching soreness of his limbs. His lightsaber lies forgotten on the floor, beside him.

It was just a trick of his exhausted mind and body, he tells himself, getting up and retiring in his quarters to shower. 

Rey’s still herself. A Jedi, a beacon of light and hope for the galaxy and the Rebellion. An enemy of the First Order. 

“It was just a dream,” Kylo repeats aloud, filling the silence with doubts.

Something drips down the corner of his mouth, and his tongue darts out to collect it, recognizing the metallic taste of blood. He swallows it down, along with the knot forming in his throat.

It was just a dream. Right?