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Insomnia

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Chapter 1.

 

Expensive mistakes.

 

Around six years ago.

"Get out of my apartment!" Kylo growled, throwing the glass of water he held in his hands to the wall. "Get the fuck out of here!"

"Kylo..." Rey whispered, tears falling down from her hazel eyes he loved so...

I don't love her! I don't love anyone!

Was it true though? Kylo didn't have the courtesy to linger on this thought. His decision had been made. He didn't need Rey in his life anymore.

"I am Professor Ren to you. And if you want to have a chance to pass your finals this year, I suggest you remember that, Miss Niima! Now, get! The fuck! Out! OF HERE!"

Rey's body was shaking, he could see, and Kylo suppressed the urge to rush to her and hold her.

He had to stay calm.

Suddenly, Rey turned to him.

"You are a monster," she hissed, and her words stung deeply. Rey had always been the one who insisted Kylo was a good man. Well, it seemed, she finally had to face the truth…

"Yes, I am," he hissed at her, and Rey flinched, tears rolling down her face.

Sobbing desperately, she gathered her things and rushed away from the apartment, slamming the door shut behind her back.

He tried to convince himself that this was the only right thing to do. Kylo had worked too hard to let this girl ruin his efforts. Why then did it seem like the sun stopped shining above him when she walked out of that door?...

The morning before.

"Kylo, my boy," Snoke smiled pleasantly at him. "Come on in, come on in!"

"Doctor Snoke," Kylo nodded, sitting on the chair across the table from the old man.

Snoke had been his mentor for more than a decade. Because of his old Master, Kylo's name was known across the world now. They had met each other at Mustafar University and were currently both working there. Well, part time, at least. Their research methods on stem cells was quoted in every popular magazine on both sides of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

Aside from his educational work, Snoke owned a company called "the First Order", the most significant player in the beauty industry in the country that headed to world domination. Kylo had been studying stem cells for years when Snoke noticed him, and the research of the younger man had caught the old Doctor's attention. Andrew Snoke had given Kylo a good position in his company in exchange for some of his ideas. The ideas that Snoke had helped to make famous. 

Yes, it probably hadn't been Kylo's initial goal to invent something for the beauty industry, but Snoke insisted that it would make more profit and it did. All superior beauty brands used Snoke's and Kylo's research. There were a lot of old and rich people who wanted to stay young and live forever. "The First Order" couldn't give them forever, but it was able to give them longer. And those people were ready to pay a lot of money for that.

Most of the breakthrough inventions were Kylo's, but he knew perfectly well that he would be no one without his Master.

"I have tremendous news for you, my boy," Snoke grinned at him. "What we were waiting for for so long is finally happening."

"Hux?" Kylo raised his brow.

"Indeed."

It was exciting news! They had been waiting for so long for that!

Hux was a government lobbyist who was very close to the Healthcare department. Kylo had spent the previous two years trying to reach him, and when he finally did, Armitage Hux had started playing hard to get. What Snoke wanted from that redhead bastard was access to the federal system of tenders for pharmacy contracts. Snoke aimed high. As it was said, his company worked for rich and old people, and there were far too many rich and old people in the Government. Finally, after the latest elections, when the new President, ancient and crazy, had suddenly won, the Government had become corrupted enough for Snoke to act, and that was the moment when Hux felt safe enough to seal the deal with Kylo's old Master. "The First Order" was going to own the beauty industry in the country. After all, the President was also old and very rich. And he also wished to stay young forever.

This news meant one more thing to Kylo. Snoke had promised to give him a significant share in his company with an opportunity to have 51% of the stock in the future. Snoke considered Kylo a son that he’d never had, and the old man had promised to grant this promotion to his apprentice when Kylo had proven he deserved it. And Kylo did his best to prove that he deserved it.

Kylo’s own family had never acknowledged him. The only man who trusted in him was Snoke, and Kylo was ready to do everything possible to prove himself worthy.

Snoke didn't have other sons. He had a daughter who was working for "the First Order’s" Australian branch, but Kylo realized that his Master didn't think the woman was worthy enough.

Snoke had always wanted a son, and Bazine was no man. 

However, Kylo was. And "the First Order" was meant to become his one day. He would make sure of it. Now, with the development of the situation with Hux, the situation that Kylo had made possible, Snoke would finally acknowledge that his apprentice was worthy enough. And Kylo couldn't wait for it!

"You did a great job here, my boy," Snoke nodded at him, and Kylo felt excitement spreading over his chest. Here it was, his moment of glory! "And we can finally discuss your promotion."

"I am happy to hear…"

"Quiet!" Snoke barked at him, and Kylo realized he had done wrong. His old Master hadn't finished, and Snoke hated to be interrupted. So Kylo closed his mouth and listened respectfully. "There is just one thing that worries me, my boy," the old man’s voice was calmer now, but it still made Kylo tense. "I've noticed… you've been distracted lately."

"I don't know what you mean, Doctor Snoke," Kylo shrugged, trying to look nonchalant. Truth be told, he had an idea but was nervously hoping that he was wrong.

"You are distracted," Snoke pressed. "And I think we both know what, or should I say who, causes this distraction…"

Kylo looked at his Master inquiringly.

"This girl… Your student, I must admit, is not good for you… Not to mention you can lose your job and reputation if your relationship comes into the open before she graduates. Truth be told, I should report you to the Dean of the University, but I know we all make mistakes sometimes… And you should fix this mistake as soon as possible, my boy."

Kylo froze. So Snoke knew?! For how long?! Had anyone else noticed? 

They'd been seeing each other for more than two years now, and Kylo felt something towards the girl he didn't want to feel right now. He had been persuading himself that it was still a casual thing, that Rey was just a good way to spend his free time. But in the last two years, she'd been spending way too much time with him, never asking for anything, just taking what he gave her. And he… He had probably gotten used to her way too much.

And the thing that terrified Kylo most of all was that maybe they weren't so casual any longer…

He shook his head.

No! No! He had spent too many years to get to where he was now, he couldn't let anyone stand in the way to his dream.

"She is no one to me," he hissed through gritted teeth, suppressing the sting of pain in his chest.

"Good," Snoke shrugged. "Then end things with her as soon as possible. After all, you'll definitely need to get married one day, and you’ll have to choose your wife wisely. An orphan from nowhere is not good enough for you." 

Kylo tensed even more… Of course, Snoke had done research… Of course, he knew everything about Rey…

Kylo knew his Master was a voice of reason here, but, nevertheless, the old man’s words made Kylo angry.

 

"Sleep, Rey…"

"I am so tired, Daddy… You are so good to me…"

"Oh, am I now?"

Her voice was quiet, and Kylo realized Rey was falling asleep already.

"You are. Everyone treats me like I am nothing. Like the fact that I am an orphan or have no money makes me unworthy… Like I am not good enough for them…"

He kept silent, listening to her breathing getting more profound.

"Maybe, I am nothing…" she murmured before falling asleep completely.

He didn't say a word for several more minutes.

"Not to me…"

 

Kylo shook his head, suppressing the memory. His Master was right: he had become distracted. He had become soft. Kylo was mad at himself!

"To be the best, you need to be strong, my boy," Snoke sighed. "Your parents and your uncle thought you were weak, but I always believed otherwise…"

"I will not fail you," Kylo hissed.

"Then prove it, boy!" Snoke suddenly cried. "Do the right thing and do not disappoint me!"

Kylo froze, coping with the pain that his Master's words had brought him. He then nodded and walked out of the room, clenching his fists. He knew what he had to do. 

"And, Kylo," Snoke's voice stopped him on the threshold, and Professor Ren looked at his Master over his shoulder. "Don't worry… Beautiful women are not a problem. I already have a good match for you, son..." 

Three days later.

Rey felt dizzy. Her dizziness was usually stronger in the morning, but now, in the evening it still bothered her. Too bad she had no money or insurance to visit a doctor. When the dizziness had started, Rey had thought that she had eaten something wrong. However, now, after a week, it was still there, and Rey was worried.

She shook her head. She had to make it through the day. Waiters at Snoke's reception were paid well, and she needed the money. Her Daddy... Professor Ren, Rey had to remind herself, had been paying for her needs, but he had never given her much pin-money. He had paid for everything himself.

Kylo had always been afraid of complicating things, so while Rey was with him, she never needed anything, but now, when he was gone, with all her expenses and the cost of books, she would soon be broke again if she didn't work. She had always liked working, though, never stopping even when she’d had Kylo, but her savings were low, and she needed to make more money now. And Rey would make it through today. Even if it meant that she had to face him.

Their breakup had hurt so badly! She was still in pain… Rey tried to tell herself that Professor Ren had never promised her anything.

 

"This will be a casual thing," he said to her. "A casual thing, but we will both benefit from it. I won't be treating you differently from other students, and on-campus everything will remain the same. But in the safety of my apartment, you will be mine: to please and to take care of you… You'll be staying with me for a couple of nights per week, letting me have my ways with you. You will like it, I promise. While you are with me, I will be taking care of you. I will feed you (sometimes from my hands). I will be buying you things, and you will accept my presents… We can discuss our arrangement later at my place…"

"But…" she tried to interrupt.

"And you will speak only when I let you speak!" Kylo stopped her sternly.

Rey nodded, not really understanding why she was still sitting there, in his office.

"You may ask your question now."

"But what do you get out of it?" she whispered, looking up at him and noticing his Adam’s apple bob for a second.

"I will also get my benefits from our arrangement," he smiled and then, suddenly, leaned closer to her, reaching for her thigh, caressing the inner side of it and making Rey shiver. "Believe me," he whispered hoarsely. "We will both benefit from it, I told you that already," he sighed then, and Rey realized she was sitting in front of him her mouth agape and her cunt completely drenched. Professor Ren caressed her thigh, tracing his way to the soft place between her legs. It was so wrong... But it felt amazing…

Ren smirked when his palm cupped her pussy, and Rey shivered like she was hit by electricity. Her Professor grinned. He was so close to her now that she could smell traces of whiskey in his sweet breath. "Oh, I could see you reacting to me every time you entered the classroom..." He murmured. "I know you want it... And I can give it to you. All you need is to agree to accept my offer to discuss this arrangement. So, tell me, Rey," it was the first time he had called her by her given name, and the girl’'s vision blurred. "Do you agree?"

"Yes."

 

It had been so long ago, and yet, it seemed like it had only been yesterday. Rey tried her best not to think about it any longer. Sighing and fighting her nausea, she entered the reception hall, a tray of champagne in her hands.

She moved around the guests, offering people, who didn’t even notice her, their drinks.

"Excuse me?" she heard a woman's voice behind her back.

Turning around, Rey almost dropped her tray.

There he was, impeccable as usual. Professor Kylo Ren stood in front of her in his glorious Hugo Boss suit. Rey's heart skipped a bit.

His face was blank.

Kylo looked at her like he didn't know her, and Rey felt her eyes watering. By his side, there was a gorgeous woman, looking at Rey frowning.

"Can I get a glass of champagne, please?" the woman asked, annoyed.

"Yes... Of course, I'm sorry," Rey murmured, handing the tray to the beauty. Professor Ren also took a glass and was about to turn away from her, leaving Rey's heart shattering when she heard another voice.

"Oh, Miss Niima?" slowly, Rey turned around to face the man who called her.

"Dr. Snoke?"

She had only met Dr. Andrew Snoke once, at one of the University meetings, and was very surprised now that he knew her name. Snoke was one of Mustafar University's brightest minds and also Kylo's boss. Rey was speechless in front of the man.

"Oh, it's good to see young people working hard to provide themselves with a better future," suddenly Rey saw Kylo flinch at the old man's words. It was so strange...

"I... Uhm... Yes... Thank you?" she didn't know what to say to that.

"Oh, don't mind me!" it seemed, Dr. Snoke didn't really need her answer. He looked very cheerful, but for some reason, it chilled Rey to the bones.

 

"It sounds like your boss is an evil man."

"He is a powerful man. The most powerful man I've ever known." 

 

Kylo stood there, tense, but Rey couldn't look at him anymore. She concentrated on Dr. Snoke just to survive the next couple of minutes and then run away.

"I am just happy to see my daughter and this man, whom I consider my son, here, together," Rey tensed at these words. "Who knows, maybe I can hope for something," Snoke winked at her, and Rey almost screamed.

It hurt so badly...

"Oh, father!" Snoke's daughter rolled her eyes, smirking. "That's definitely not something to be discussed with a waitress!"

Rey lowered her eyes, but before she averted her gaze, she noticed the woman leaning closer to Kylo teasingly. Kylo smiled at the beauty, and Rey barely contained her tears.

"Of course, of course!" Snoke waved his daughter off. "Have a good evening, Miss Niima!" 

With that the three of them left, Kylo not even looking at her.

Rey's nausea intensified. Putting the tray on a table near her, she hurried away from the room. Breathing deeply, Rey tried not to vomit on an expensive rug under her feet. In the kitchen, she leaned against the doorjamb. Rey felt sick.

Suddenly she heard loud voices from another side of the kitchen.

"Get your hands off of me!"

"Get the hell out of here!"

There was an Asian girl, held by two men in suits whom Rey had already seen around the house today. They had to be a part of a security team that all the waiters had been informed about earlier. When they'd been instructed not to steal anything. Now, the guards were obviously trying to kick the girl out of here. Through her dizziness, Rey looked at her closely.

The girl looked familiar. Rey had seen her at several parties that she had attended on campus. As far as Rey remembered, those parties had been organized by the faculty of Journalism. 

"Don't touch me!" the girl cried.

"Get the fuck out of here before we press charges against you!"

"I didn't do anything!"

"Oh, of course, you didn't!"

"You all are going to pay for that! You and your corrupt boss!"

"This is a final warning! Get the hell out of here!"

The girl tried to fight the guards, but they pushed her away, and she almost lost her balance. In the heat of the fight, she didn't notice her phone falling down on the floor from her pocket. Two seconds, and the guards kicked the girl out. On wobbly legs, Rey walked to the phone and picked it up... The screen was black. Maybe, she could find this girl later and give it back to her... It was not good to lose an expensive phone like that...

Rey's mind was blurry, and suddenly she felt the vomit bursting out of her. She rushed away from the kitchen and barely made it to the nearest bathroom.

Clenching the girl's phone in her hands several minutes later, Rey was drying her mouth with the back of her hand. Something was so terribly wrong with her... A thought hit her, and Rey closed her eyes and started to count...

***

Two years prior.

He was looking through the list in front of him, suppressing a yawn. So many more faces. Most of them wouldn't make it through this year, he would make sure of it. 

Kylo would never admit it, but he loved teaching. He liked to see students working hard and committing themselves to the subject. The brightest of them would also serve his and Dr. Snoke's purposes, and that made Kylo smile. He would never deny the fact that he liked following his Master's example, trying to take whatever these bright minds could give them. It was the law of survival: only the strongest survived. And if those fools were not smart enough to protect their ideas – it was entirely their fault. However, if a student was not only smart enough to catch his or Dr. Snoke's attention, but could also take care of his intellectual property, they could all benefit from their arrangements.

Kylo smiled to himself, looking at the list. He was a predator and many of these students would either become his prey or a part of his pack.

It was time to start the lecture and Kylo rose from his chair, looking at the audience. Suddenly, a student caught his gaze. He hadn't even noticed how his Adam's apple bobbed at the sight of her.

Soft brown hair, a freckled face without any make-up. She looked so young, and so fresh, and so very delicious in her cheap oversized sweater.

Suddenly, the girl raised her eyes and looked up at him. He could see her gasping in surprise, and for a second she froze, not moving and watching him. Then, just as if she had remembered herself, the girl lowered her gaze, and to his own satisfaction, Kylo saw the tips of her ears blushing. He smirked inwardly, consuming her with his stare.

Delicious, he thought. Utterly delicious…

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 2.

No one's ever really gone.

He would never regret his decision to keep her away from Snoke. Rey Niima was bright enough to be put to the list of students who were potentially useful for Kylo's and his Master's purposes. She had brilliant ideas, and she was fierce, and she was ready to protect what was hers. All of the above made her a perfect candidate for an intern position in "the First Order" with good possibilities to not only be used by the company like many of Rey's bright classmates but also to actually become a part of the team. Had she agreed to accept Snoke's conditions, of course. 

But now, fucking her roughly from behind, bending the girl over his office table with her slick glistening around his hard length that Kylo was now watching moving in and out of her, he couldn't regret being selfish. He had decided to keep Rey away from Snoke. Not because Kylo was worried about her well-being in the future, he was telling himself, but because he was greedy. And he wanted her all for himself.

Rey moaned, and Kylo had to cover her mouth with his hand.

"Quiet, doll," he whispered. "Or do you want someone to hear us and come here?"

Rey shook her head.

"Oh, but maybe you do? Maybe you want someone to see you with my cock inside you, moaning here like a whore for your Daddy?"

Rey's back arched, and Kylo could feel her cunt squeezing his dick a bit tighter, telling him that she was close. 

He pussy was so narrow... He'd been fucking her for half a year now, and she still felt like a virgin. He had supposed he would stretch her in time. But here they were - him between her legs, squeezing the cheeks of her butt with his large palms. She was so lovely and young... Rey hadn't turned twenty yet.

Thrusting into her several more times, Kylo felt his orgasm starting to build. It was heaven to cum into her every time, feeling her inner softness embracing him. He had sent her to the doctor when they began their thing, and put Rey on pills. And it had been the best decision of his life. He would never want a condom to separate their bodies.

Suddenly Rey shook, spasming and coming hard, and Kylo couldn't take it any longer, following her.

"That's right, baby, come for me, come around my cock!" he murmured into her ear, covering her insides with his sperm. "Good girl!"

 

In the evening Rey was curling by his side on a sofa as they were watching Netflix and eating pizza. She was the only person Kylo ate pizza with. His image and lifestyle supposed that he should have been more subtle about his eating habits, but with Rey, he had started to indulge himself. He tried to suppress the thought that he had also started becoming softer when she was around.

It was Tuesday, and they hadn’t been supposed to meet today. In the beginning of their relationship, Kylo had scheduled Rey for Wednesdays when she had fewer classes, and for those weekends he hadn't been busy with work. However, lately, he had started to invite her more often, letting Rey stay the night. He had tried his best to not think of the reason why. To not think how domestic it was to watch Netflix and eat pizza with her. He hadn't felt domestic for years, maybe never. And yet, here she was, tucked under his side and covering him with crumbles.

 "Can I ask you something?" Rey suddenly asked, not averting her eyes from the television.

He wanted to scold her for the fact she didn't call him Daddy this time, but reconsidered for some reason.

"Hm?"

"Do you have parents?"

He frowned at that.

Parents... It was not the topic Kylo liked to talk about. However, he had let Rey ask the question.

"They are alive, as far as I am concerned."

Rey looked up at him.

"Were they... Were they bad people?"

It was so like her... To assume that he wasn't the one who had been the bad guy. To think that he was a good man while his parents weren't. Unintentionally, he smiled at her.

"We just parted ways."

"Oh..." he knew this look on her face now.

Kylo had studied Rey's background before he had made his offer to her, of course. An orphan raised in a foster system. A no one. He could laugh at how miserable her life seemed. However, he couldn't pity her. Rey was strong, Kylo could give her that. And, unlike him, she was never bothered about other people's opinions. He respected her for that.

However, the parent topic was complicated for her. She would probably never understand him. He had to cut this conversation short, but he realized he couldn't...

"I don't regret it," he tensed, realizing that he sounded defensive. He didn't have to defend himself! Kylo started getting angry. "Had I been given a choice to change things, I wouldn’t change anything. I am better off without them. You probably can't understand me," he shook his head, knowing perfectly well that his insinuation hurt her. However, to his surprise, Rey didn't seem hurt.

"Okay," was the only thing she said before turning back to the television.

She never overstepped. Kylo admired how subtle Rey could be about the most complicated things. She hadn't turned twenty yet, and still it seemed she was wiser than many people of his age. The foster system could probably do that to a person.

Kylo was confused.

"My parents," he murmured, hesitatingly. "They wouldn't be happy to see me. They think I am too far gone."

They kept silent for several minutes.

"No one's ever really gone," Rey suddenly pronounced, and Kylo flinched. This was exactly what his mother used to say, and now, when he heard that coming from the girl next to him, he couldn't help but look intently at her.

They'd agreed to make it a casual thing. Kylo wouldn't have it otherwise. Rey had to follow his lead, be a submissive one here. Why then couldn't he help it but see her as his equal now?

He shook his head.

He couldn't have it. He had to re-establish his dominance even if Rey hadn't wanted to question it.

"Come here, little one," he growled, pulling her closer and covering her tiny body with his. "Daddy is hungry."

And then she was standing on the threshold, looking at him with tears in her eyes.

"You are a monster!"

"Rey!" he tried to reach for her, but there was a wall of fire dividing them. He wanted to jump into it. He wanted to burn if it meant that he would have her back. "REY!"

 

"Mister! Hey, mister!"

Someone was shaking him by the shoulder. Ben's eyes opened abruptly, and he took a deep breath, trying to understand where he was.

Right, the train. An expensive private compartment.

"We are reaching Alderaan now," the steward said apologetically.

"Right," Ben rubbed his eyes and then smiled at the man. "I am sorry, I fell asleep. Thank you so much!"

"You're welcome!" the steward smiled, and then, already walking out of the door, he turned to Ben and asked. "Are you... him?"

 Ben frowned for a second, before nodding.

"I wanted to tell you..." the steward stammered and then fell silent. "Thank you!" he finally said.

Ben nodded to him again, and the man left smiling. Behind the windows, Ben could see the outlines of his hometown. He hadn't been here for more than twenty years.

Ben left the train still consumed by his dream. It wasn't new for him to dream of Rey. He hadn't seen her for about six years, and there wasn't a night she didn't pay him a visit. When he could sleep at all, of course.

Ben still remembered how he tried to persuade himself that he had done everything right. How terrified he had been at the perspective of seeing Rey in his classes after that terrible dinner at Snoke's.

She had never come.

At first, he thought that she would skip the first several lectures and then come back. Rey had a scholarship, and no matter how small it was, that money was essential to her. Especially after Kylo had left her. However, three weeks passed, and she had never turned up.

He had been busy back then. Snoke had assigned him with the task to complete the deal with Hux, and the plan was on the go. But when Kylo came back home every evening, he couldn't help but think about her. She had left some of her things in his apartment, and he had been gathering them, pacing rooms. He had been so angry with her. Mostly, for the fact that he couldn't get her out of his head… He had thrown her things away at first, but returned to the junkyard several days later, looking for them.

Ben still kept her comb and several other things Rey had left at his place.

On the fourth week of Rey's absence, Kylo had entered Amilyn Holdo's office. He had an official reason to ask the University Dean about Rey now. What he had discovered crushed him. Rey had left the University, and Amilyn couldn't provide him with any information about her.

"As far as I understood, her scholarship wasn't enough for her any longer to cover her expenses," Holdo explained.

And that was the only information she had given him. Kylo had been so furious then. He had tried not to think about her any longer. He had tried to drown his anger in alcohol. Too bad it hadn't been an option. Snoke wouldn't let him, and Kylo depended on his Master. So he had switched to another source of relief.

Snoke had pushed him towards Bazine, and Kylo had let it happen. They had started fucking, and then Snoke had insisted they get engaged. Kylo didn't care... Bazine had been good fucking material, and he didn't care about love. So, he had proposed. Good thing he had come to his senses earlier than they had set the date of their wedding. He had even felt bad for Bazine. Her father had never loved her, and neither had her fiancée... The woman was bitchy, and her morality level was close to zero, but Kylo knew where this had come from. He felt sorry for her.

 

So many things had changed since then... 

Ben looked at the magazines on the newspaper counter that he was passing.

"President impeached. The First Order is accused of corruption!"

"YOU HAVE NO RIGHT! Andrew Snoke promises to burn everyone to the ground."

"The fall of the Empire. Kylo Ren helps to build a case against "the First Order's" CEO."

It had taken Kylo three years after Rey left to come back to his senses. Three years after his girl had left his apartment, Kylo discovered that Snoke had been doing things behind his back. Those things had been dark, even for Kylo. They had been much worse than bribery or corruption. Snoke had started a new secret project that was studying a new method to use stem cells for the youth beauty industry. His research required much more stem cells than "the First Order" had at their disposal. What Kylo had found out was that Snoke had found an alternative source of biological material. It came from Mexico. From illegal brothels. The women there were abused and sent to get abortions in case they got pregnant. Most of them died from the procedure that had been performed in the most unsanitary conditions possible. And that was where from "the First Order" received the stem cells.

Kylo was probably a monster. But he wasn't a killer. That was the moment when everything had started to change…

 

He was officially Ben Solo again now. He had told himself that it would be safer, all things considered. But if he was totally honest with himself, he didn't want to be Kylo Ren anymore.

It took him two years to collect enough courage to reach his mother. Now, when the case against Snoke was still in full swing, he was finally returning home.

"I knew that no one's ever really gone," his mother smiled into the phone when he dialed her. Ben's heart skipped a beat.

Rey…

 

"Ben!" Leia Organa's voice sounded older now, and Ben's eyes watered when he saw how much his mother had aged. The old lady walked to him, and he had to lean down  to give Leia a hug.

She held him so tightly... Ben had never been close with his parents, never felt at home around them. They had a tough history, but right here right now, in his mother's arms, he felt like home. Finally, Leia pulled back from him.

"I'm glad you are here," she smirked in the manner Ben remembered so well. "Are you hungry?"

"Famished," Ben smiled weakly.

"Well, Maz's it is then!" Leia turned on her heels and headed away from the station towards the parking lot where her car was parked.

Ben flinched. Maz had been their family friend for as long as he could remember. However, now, after so many years of his absence, Ben wasn't sure he would be welcome there. Well, nothing could probably be done, not when his mother was so determined to bring him to the diner. He would have to deal with it. Not so many people would be happy to see him back here, even after he had gone against Snoke. Ben wasn't even sure he would be welcome at his own home... He had spoken to Leia, but Han, his father, had avoided contact, and Ben didn't insist. He didn't know if he was ready to face the old man... But Leia was marching confidently towards her car, and Ben followed.

Here goes nothing...

***

Rey smiled at the visitor in front of her, pouring him more coffee.

"You look good today, honey!" the old man winked at her, and Rey laughed out loud at that. Chewie was a regular here at Maz's. Rey knew that the two of them had been secretly shagging, but she would never tell her boss's secret to anyone. It just wasn't like Rey. Chewie was always very good to her, and Rey loved the old man. "I think you deserve some extra tips for how wonderful you look!"

She didn't mind extra tips. Not with her student loans still needing to be paid and not when Hannah needed new clothes.

"You can put them into the tip can," she winked at Chewie.

"Be sure, I will!"

"Hey, Peanut!" her co-worker and good friend Finn called from another side of the counter. "Can you fetch some coffee beans from the kitchen? We ran out of them!"

"Sure!" Rey smiled.

She loved to work here at Maz's. The old woman couldn't probably pay her too much, but at least Rey got her free meal every day. And people were good to her here.

Wiping her hands at her apron, Rey headed to the kitchen.

"Can you please take Mrs. Organa's order?" Finn asked her when she returned.

"Mrs. Leia's here?" Rey smiled brightly at him. "Of course!"

Rey loved Leia and her husband Han. The two of them had saved Rey's life five years ago, and she could never pay them back. They had also offered her a job as a maid, and Rey visited their house once or twice a week to clean it. Han and Leia adored Hannah, and Rey always brought the girl with her when she visited them. It was convenient, because Rey didn't have money for a babysitter, and she couldn't always ask Finn to look after her little one, no matter how often Finn had told her that he didn't mind.

"Mrs. Organa!" Rey smiled brightly at the old woman. "I'm so happy to see you!" and then she turned to look at the man Leia had brought with her today.

The notebook for orders fell out from Rey's hands, and she rushed to pick it up from the floor with her shaking hands. Standing up, Rey hit the side of the table with her shoulder. The impact was hard, and Rey hissed, rubbing the place where she’d been  hit. However, the tears in her eyes were not from the pain.

"Rey!" Leia exclaimed.

"I... I'm sorry, I am so clumsy today..." Rey forced herself to look up. No, no, she hadn't mistaken. There, across the table from Leia, sat a man Rey had never expected to see here.

Kylo Ren was looking at her, his mouth agape.

He had aged a bit... Six years... She hadn't seen him for about six years. He was still gorgeous though, and that hurt a bit. Rey hadn’t heard anything about him until recently. When Rey saw the newspapers for the first time, she’d almost lost consciousness on the street. The President's impeachment, the fall of "the First Order", the awful stories of the murders in Mexico... It was too much... She wasn't ready to see him that often. She wasn't prepared to know all those things about him.

Rey had tried to stay away from any media since then. People around her tried to initiate conversations with her about it all. Everyone loved to gossip so much! But Rey didn't support those conversations, so they just stopped. And now it seemed her worst nightmare had come alive. What on Earth was he doing here?!

"Are you alright, darling?" Leia asked, concerned.

"Yes, yes, I'm fine!" Rey waved the woman off. "Just clumsy, I'm sorry..."

"How are you? How is your health?"

"I am absolutely fine, thank you," Rey forced a smile. She didn't want to talk about her health in front of him.

"And how is little Hannah?" Rey flinched at that, looking at Kylo for a second.

No, no, please don't mention Hannah here!

 

Five and a half years ago.

Rey was walking down the highway and had no idea where she was. Moving her feet was hard. It seemed, she used all her power when she was running away from Plutt’s. She'd hoped that the bastard wouldn't try anything with her, at least not while she was pregnant. However, it seemed, the man had a kink... The bigger her belly had become, the more often Rey noticed the lustful ugly look on her boss's face. It didn't stop him from making her work double shifts in his rusty coffee shop. Today, when Rey had been working behind the counter, Plutt had made a move on her.

 

She felt his ugly hand spanking her, and would have jumped away from the man if her belly weren’t so big.

"What are you doing?!" she hissed, taking a step back from him.

"Oh, come on girl," Unkar smiled disgustingly. "Don't be so rude... After all, I am the one who pays you!"

"For doing my job!" Rey was looking for a way out now, but Plutt was blocking it.

"Come on, sweet thing, I will be gentle. You are with a child, after all," he grabbed her by the arm, and Rey panicked. Shaking, she grabbed the first thing that was in her reach. It was a coffee pot, and Rey splashed the hot liquid into Unkar's fat face.

"You bitch!" Plutt was obviously in pain as he pulled back from her, and Rey had an opportunity to run.

 

She ran and ran and ran while she still had strength. Plutt hadn't followed. The Jakku town was a small place on the outskirts of Alderaan. There was a big highway that  connected the town with the city, and Rey was walking along that road now. She had rented a room above Plutt's workshop, and there was no way she could return there. Rey had nowhere to go, she had no money, and she was starving. But the worst thing was that she was in pain. Rey could barely walk now, trying to ignore the bursts of pain that repeated every other minute now. She tried to ignore it... But she couldn't...

It's still too early... No, no, it can't be...

Finally, the pain became unbearable. There was a big garbage container by the road, and Rey leaned into it, trying to take deeper breaths... It was late, and there was no one on the highway. Rey was in labor, and she was absolutely alone. She had tried her best to go through her pregnancy well. She hoped she would figure it out somehow when her baby was born. She had sold all jewelry Kylo had given her and had run out of money. Plutt had been paying her shit, but at least she had a roof above her head, living in a room above the coffee shop. And now, she was probably going to die.

Sobbing, Rey closed her eyes.

Suddenly the light of a car blinded her. Rey panicked, thinking it was Plutt who had found her. She couldn't walk, and it was hard for her to think. She prepared for the worst.

But the man who found her was not Plutt.

"Hey, kid, are you okay?" he was old, but quite handsome, and reminded Rey of someone... The man's hair was gray, and he was wearing a brown leather jacket that made him look hip.

"I... am not," Rey gritted out.

"Hold on, let's take you to the hospital."

 

She didn't remember much. When Rey woke up, she saw white hospital rooms surrounding her. She tried to move, but her lower abdomen hurt, and she hissed.

"Careful there!" a voice said by her side, and Rey turned her head to it abruptly. The man who had saved her was there. "They gave you a c-section," the man explained.

C-section? My baby!

Rey gasped, looking around and not finding them. She started to sob, and the man was by her side, holding her hand. She was too tired to pull back.

"Hey, kid, it's alright... They took her away for some time, because you delivered her early. She's gonna be okay, I promise."

Immediately, Rey felt relieved, still crying from all the stress she had gone through.

"She?"

"It's a girl," the man grinned.

"A girl," Rey repeated, starting to cry even harder.

"There, there," the man patted her shoulder. "I called my wife. She's going to come here soon. She's better with all this than I am. Do you have anyone we can call? A husband? A boyfriend?"

"No," Rey whispered, and the man frowned.

"I see."

Suddenly, a thought hit her.

"I... I don't have money to pay for all of it," she whispered, looking around.

"Oh, don't mention it, kid!" the man waved her off, and Rey looked at him in disbelief. "I said, don't mention it," he repeated, seeing her surprise. "It's nothing for us. I am happy that I found you there... You've... You've lost a lot of blood..."

Rey could feel it. She was weak, and her eyes were closing.

"What is your name, kid?" the man asked her.

"Rey," she whispered. "My name is Rey."

"Well, it's nice to meet you, Rey," he smiled. "I'm Han. Han Solo. Sleep now, you will need strength for your daughter…"

 

Later, when Rey was finally allowed to hold her little girl, she couldn't contain her tears.

She was perfect.

The baby girl looked so much like her father, though, and Rey's heart clenched. Tracing the edge of her daughter's big ear, Rey cried and cried until Leia entered the hospital room.

"Oh, honey," the old woman smiled tenderly at her. "Just look at you two..."

"She's so perfect..."

Leia sat on Rey's bed, smiling.

"I remember when I saw my son first," Leia sighed. "I cried for a day... Han didn't know what to do, so he just got into his car and drove along the highway for hours..." Rey smirked at that, imagining the old man's distress.

Despite his hard edges, Rey knew now that Han was a very sensitive man. He was worried sick about people he cared for and sometimes had strange ways of showing it. It was Rey's fifth week in the hospital now due to some complications after the birth, and both Han and Leia were there for her almost every day. Rey had once told Han that she wouldn't mind some chocolate, and he had brought her a full box of it... Rey still hadn't finished it. She couldn't breastfeed because her daughter needed special treatment, and Rey had almost no milk at all, so the diet wasn't an issue.

"Where's your son now?" Rey asked, and Leia frowned for a second.

"Away," was all she said, and Rey never asked her again. She got to know Poe later, though, and never mentioned this conversation to Leia again. "So, did you finally come up with a name?" Leia changed the subject, smiling.

"I have," Rey smiled, touching her daughter's fingers.

That was the moment Han entered the room.

"Oh, just look at you, princesses!"

"Can I hold her?" Leia asked, and Rey gave her girl to the woman.

"I want to call her Hannah," Rey smiled, and that was the first and only moment when she saw Han's eyes watering.

 

Now.

Kylo was still watching Rey intently, and she shivered under his gaze. And that was the moment the door to the diner opened, and the little lightning rushed towards Rey.

"Mommy!" as always, Hannah wrapped her arms around her mother.

"Hi, sweetheart," Rey murmured.

It was too much for her…

"Oh, I can see, she is fine!" Leia laughed.

"Mrs. Leia!" Hannah stepped to Leia, and the old woman gave the girl a hug. "Hello, Mister!" that was the moment Rey's daughter turned to Kylo.

"Oh, of course!" Leia exclaimed. "How rude of me! Rey, Hannah, please, meet my son Ben. Ben Solo..."

Rey looked at Kylo again.

 Ben?

The man was looking at Hannah now. He was looking at Hannah, and it seemed he was utterly lost.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 3.  

Long time no see.

Around seven years ago.

"You seem to enjoy your food, doll," Kylo smirked, watching Rey inhaling caviar.

She had never tried it before, of course. She had never really eaten enough, neither in the foster system nor after she had entered the University. Kylo frowned at the thought. He enjoyed the sight of Rey eating way too much. It was an urge he had stopped trying to fight some time ago. She always looked so happy eating…

He tried to indulge her, just like any Daddy was supposed to spoil his baby girl. But the truth was, it was more than just their arrangement. Kylo loved to see Rey full and satisfied. And he liked to please her, no matter how much he didn't want to admit it.

"It's so tasty, Daddy," she smiled brightly at him.

He couldn't help but smile back at her.

"How are your studies, sweetheart?" he asked.

"Oh, it's fine," Rey shrugged. "It's just..." she hesitated, and Kylo frowned.

"What is it, little one?"

"Oh, it's nothing," she tried to wave him off, but Kylo caught Rey's hand, making the girl shiver.

"What. Is it?" he asked again, more strictly this time.

"There is a guy..." Rey lowered her eyes, and Kylo let go of her hand. "He was... He was hitting on me?"

That was the moment when Kylo saw red.

"What did he do?"

"He..." Rey pursed her lips, obviously searching for the right words.

"Kitten," Kylo pulled her face up by the chin, trying to contain his anger. "Look at me."

She did, and Kylo froze for a moment at how beautiful this girl was.

"It's my duty as your Daddy to take care of you. I don't want you to be afraid. Tell me what happened."

"He tried to hit on me," Rey exhaled. "I told him to leave me alone, but he... he insisted... After the classes, he caught me and..." Rey hissed because Kylo squeezed her hand that he had taken into his a bit too tight at her words, and he had to muster all his willpower to stay calm.

"I am sorry, baby," he apologized, letting go of it. "Please, go on, sweetheart."

"He tried to drag me into one of the classrooms... But I kneed him and ran away... I told him to never come near me again, or I would go to the Deans and..."

"Who was it?"

"Daddy..."

"WHO WAS IT, REY?!"

He could see her gulping.

"Dopheld Mitaka."

This guy was out of the University, Kylo would make sure of it.

"Kylo... I mean, Daddy, please, it was nothing. The guy won't come near me again, I kneed him hard, I..."

"Sweetheart," Kylo stopped her, closing Rey's mouth with his hand. "You don't understand one thing..."

He pulled her after him, leading the way to the bedroom. There, against the entrance, stood a large mirror, and Kylo stopped in front of it, putting Rey in front of himself.

"What do you see, little one?" he asked quietly.

"I..." Rey hesitated. "I don't know... I see myself and you?"

"Do you know what I see there, Rey?"

She shook her head.

"I see my property... While our arrangement works, you are mine, Rey," he grabbed her hair and pulled lightly, making Rey gasp. "This," he traced the way from her shoulders down to her ass. "Is all mine. And I never share."

She was looking at their reflection in the mirror, and Kylo knew for sure that Rey was drenched. He loved the way she reacted to him. After more than a year together, it still didn't take him long to turn his girl into a wet mess. He suspected that he would never grow tired of it.

He wanted to fuck her so badly... But he still had something else for her.

"I have a gift for you, sweetheart," Kylo released Rey's hair and stepped to the drawer that stood near them. Rey turned to him, still mesmerized by what had just happened. "Here you go, kitten."

"Thank you, Daddy," Rey smiled so brightly that his heart skipped a beat.

From the bag, Rey pulled out a cashmere sweater. At the beginning of their arrangement, Kylo had noticed that Rey's clothes were quite ragged, and he wouldn't have it. During their year together, he had bought her a whole new wardrobe, and now Rey didn't really need anything. However, Kylo enjoyed dressing her up. This sweater was expensive and warm, and when Rey pulled it on, Kylo couldn't help the warmth spreading through his chest.

So beautiful... And so fucking arousing.

"Come here, baby," he told her, sitting on the bed. Rey walked closer to him.

"Take off your pants," he ordered, and Rey obeyed, getting rid of them. "Your panties too."

She was standing in front of him wearing only the sweater he had bought for her.

"On your knees," Kylo nodded at the bed, and Rey crawled to the center of it while he was unbuttoning his pants. She was always so eager to please him, his sweet thing, all those little gasps and sounds coming from her, driving him insane.

He entered her in one swift movement, not giving her any time to adjust. He knew his girl loved a little bit of pain. He could feel her delight in the way she arched her back when he entered her. A sudden thought about this moron dragging her somewhere hit him, and Kylo became furious.

"Tell me whom you belong to, doll!" he cried, thrusting harder, deeper, more violently.

"You... I belong to you... Kylo..." he should have scolded her for calling him by his name, but instead of that, he came like he had never come before. Rey followed him, screaming loudly and squeezing his cock so tightly that Kylo almost climaxed again.

Panting heavily, he fell on the bed, and Rey cuddled close to him almost automatically. It was complicated to think, but Kylo knew for sure that he wouldn't be able to look at Rey wearing this sweater again without getting hard and feeling that strange feeling inside his chest. The one he tried to put into the very back of his mind, but couldn't. Finally, Kylo gave in to sleep, but the feeling remained…

Now.

Was he even breathing? Was it real? Was it really her? What were the chances of him finding Rey in his hometown? How did she know his mother?!

Too many questions were running through Ben's mind now, and he tried his best not to lose it. He'd spent the last several years fighting the dark sides of his nature. After he had sealed the deal with the government, promising them to build the case against the President and "the First Order" in exchange for inviolability, he had reconsidered almost every decision in his life. The situation with Rey was the first issue, of course, but he had also started blaming himself for everything that had happened before and after he had met the girl. He had been drowning in guilt and sorrow.

Soaking in depression, Ben struggled every day. He needed help, but he didn't want to go to therapy. Ben never trusted psychologists, considering them all frauds after his childhood, but he realized he needed help. That is how Ben had found himself in a small Protestant parish, talking to a Pastor there.

He had no idea how he got there, and wanted to leave the second Pastor Cassian had addressed him, but after several minutes of their conversation, Ben had been hooked. No, no, he still didn't believe in God, but by talking to Cassian, he started to believe in people again and realized that not everything in his life was his fault... However, Ben also realized that he had to work on his violent tendencies and temper outbursts, and Cassian was the one who had helped him with those. Ben hadn't become much happier, but he had at least become calmer. Now, however, he was losing it.

Rey still looked young. No wonder... She was just twenty-five. However, there were now sharp edges in her appearance, and Ben couldn't help but notice the way she flinched when she saw him.

Rey looked alarmingly pale and very thin. 

Does she eat properly? Does she have enough money?

His mother had asked Rey about her health, and Rey had promised she was fine, but Kylo noticed her tensing. Was she sick? He couldn't tell. Why was she working in this fucking diner? The turmoil of his emotions was killing him, and Ben took a deep breath. And then something happened that almost killed him for the second time today.

The door to the diner opened, and a small girl ran inside. Ben wouldn't have paid her any attention, had she not run towards Rey and hugged her. His mother had asked Rey about a Hannah just a moment ago, and now the girl was hugging Rey. Calling her... mommy?!

At first, Ben saw red. Was Rey married now? Who was the father of this girl? And then it hit him.

The girl... Hannah... had black hair and chocolate brown eyes. Her nose was small, just like Rey's, but her ears...

Oh my God...

Was it possible?!

"Oh, of course!" his mother suddenly exclaimed. "How rude of me! Rey, Hannah, please, meet my son, Ben. Ben Solo..."

He couldn't avert his eyes from the girl.

"Hello, Hannah," he managed to smile. "It's very nice to meet you. And you... Rey," he could see Rey's jaw working, but the main question still circled in his head. "How old are you Hannah?" it sounded like an innocent interest, but the answer shattered Ben to pieces.

"I am five and a half!" the girl grinned at him.

He hadn't seen Rey for six years... She had given birth to this girl five and a half years ago... He was sure Rey hadn't been with anyone else while she was with him... That could only mean one thing...

"Hannah, Mrs. Leia and her son are busy," Rey sounded nervous, and Ben turned to her abruptly. "Go to the counter. I'll be there in a minute and give you your meal. Just let me take the orders."

Hannah jumped from her place, grinning. It seemed this girl was made of smiles. Ben felt his eyes watering.

"You should try a cheeseburger and a milkshake," she stated professionally.

"Hannah," Rey raised her voice a little, and the girl turned to her mother, lowering her eyes. "It's rude to offer people you don't know anything, especially if they didn't ask you. Go to the counter. Now."

Hannah pouted a little but then waved at Ben's mother.

"Goodbye, Mrs. Leia! I am sorry," she smiled, and Ben felt like he could breathe again.

"Bye, honey, I'll see you on Saturday!" Leia chuckled.

When Hannah left, Rey took a deep breath.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Organa," she apologized. "I am still working on her behavior."

"Oh, it's fine, don't worry, Rey! She'll learn, and I always let her speak to me whenever she wants, there's nothing to worry about."

Rey smiled with a tense smile that didn't reach her eyes.

"So, what can I get you?" she turned to Ben for a second, and he almost managed to look her in the eyes, but she averted them quickly from him.

"I'll take my usual," Leia smiled. "Ben?"

"I..." he forgot how to speak for a second. "I'll take a cheeseburger and a milkshake."

"What kind of milkshake?" he noticed Rey's hands trembling as she was writing down his order.

"Whichever Hannah thinks is best," she looked up at him then. Rey tried her best not to frown, but her gaze was cold.

"I'll be back in a minute," she pronounced politely, and then smiled at Ben's mother and walked away.

"Poor girl," Leia smiled at him sadly when Rey walked away. "Had to go through so much... I am so glad Han found her..."

"Found her where?"

 

He saw red. His mother was telling him a story he couldn't consume. Rey appeared with their orders and walked away quickly, and Ben almost rushed from his place to follow her. Now, his fists were clenched, and he could hardly breathe. 

She had barely survived...

The awful images of dead Rey, bleeding by the side of the road, were running in front of his eyes, and Ben wanted to destroy this fucking diner around him and die right here right now.

"Han paid that bastard, Plutt, a visit... Rey needed her stuff back. She only had a small bag. I don't know how she survived the beginning of her pregnancy. She doesn't want to talk about it. And neither do I know anything about Hannah's father. Rey says he died... But, you know, the clothes that she had in her bag were quite good. She wouldn't be able to afford them... And if her boyfriend died, why didn't he leave her anything? I never pushed Rey, but I guess there's an ugly story there... I want to spit that bastard in the face."

Ben lowered his eyes. He would gladly do that himself.

"Anyway, Rey refuses our help, only takes something for Hannah from time to time. She does everything for her daughter, but I am afraid she doesn't spend anything on herself. She was so malnourished when we found her that she didn't even have to lose weight after Hannah was born. I haven't seen her in new clothes since then... We give her some clothes as Christmas presents, of course, but that’s it… We could help her, but she refuses. And Han and I decided to give her a part-time job."

Ben looked at his mother inquiringly.

"She comes twice a week to clean the house," Leia shrugged. "Brings Hannah with her. Han adores the girl. Me too."

She worked as a maid... And as a waitress...

Oh, God... 

"She told me she had her university loans. I tried to help, but she refused again. And she is not just shy! It's like she can't accept any money from anyone. I have no idea why... "

Ben had an idea. And he hated himself for that.

"Anyway," his mother shrugged, changing the subject. "I know you've been... nervous... about coming home..."

Ben needed to know more about Rey. His return had been the topic that frightened him a bit, but right now he didn't care about it any longer.

"I... I'm fine," he frowned.

"I hope you are... Han is, however, out of the town now."

Ben looked up at his mother.

"Is he?"

"Yes, he had... things to do... In Theed."

Ben smirked. Of course his father did. Ben was sure that Han just wanted to postpone their meeting for as long as possible. He had been prepared for that.

"Okay."

"Anyway, your room is prepared for you. I... I hope you don't mind having a guest-room... We... We didn't expect you to..."

"It's fine, mom," he interrupted her, suppressing the pain in his chest. Of course, they didn't keep his room. "I... I am sorry I had to bother you. I didn't know if I would stay. But I got a position at Alderaan University now."

"Oh, really? You haven't told me about it..." Did his mother sound worried?

"Yes... I... I decided to live closer... to my family..."

Leia smiled at him, but suddenly Ben felt that he had probably overestimated her will to be closer to him... Maybe, he should have just come for a visit and walked away... However, looking at the counter where Hannah was chatting with a guy in a waiter uniform, Ben realized that he now had other reasons to stay. And for now, he could stay in his childhood home. He could give it a try, at least.

"I will find an apartment soon," he promised his mother.

"Oh, don't mention it," Leia waved her hand, but Ben still felt like she wasn't completely sincere. "You are our son, of course, you can stay at our... At your home."

He couldn't help but notice her stammering. And then he saw Rey walking to their table.

"Thank you, darling," Leia nodded, taking the check from Rey's hands. "Will you come at the usual time?"

"Of course," Rey nodded quickly. "I just... I don't think I'll bring Hannah," she paid Ben a short look. "After all, you probably need some time with your son, and Hannah can be too loud."

"Oh, nonsense!" Leia exclaimed. "Hannah is never a burden."

"But..."

"No buts," Leia interrupted Rey, smiling. "Ben is our family, and our family welcomes you! We will await the two of you on Saturday, end of discussion."

Outarguing Leia Organa was impossible. Rey nodded and walked away, not looking at him.

***

She couldn't think straight. As soon as Leia and Kylo... Ben, his name was Ben, she had to remind herself... had left, Rey walked to her girl and hugged her tightly.

"Mommy!" Hannah laughed. "I can't breathe!"

"Sorry," Rey let her daughter go, suppressing her tears. "I love you. You know that, right?"

"I do. I love you too," Hannah grinned.

 

Rey had to think everything through.

She'd asked Finn to look after Hannah today because her shift was too long. Finally, Rey closed the diner, changed and walked out of the building. Her mind was pacing, and she had to remind herself to breathe.

"Rey?" his voice was like a bucket of cold water. Turning to the sound of it, Rey shivered. There he was, standing in front of her like the past six years had never happened. She watched him in terror, noticing the way he was looking at the old cashmere sweater she was wearing. The sweater he had bought her. She was speechless. "Rey, can we please talk?" he whispered hoarsely.

There were new intonations to his voice. The ones she hadn't heard from him before. Kylo/Ben didn't sound dominant. There was no powerplay in his words, just a request.

"We have nothing to talk about," she murmured, walking past him, but suddenly Ben grabbed her hand.

"Don't walk away like that, Rey!" he hissed.

And then she felt it. Rey was afraid of him again.

She remembered the last time they had spoken. The fight they’d had. Rey remembered too well how violent he was back then. She couldn't let this man near. She couldn't let him near her daughter.

"Rey, we have a daughter together. I think we need to talk!"

"Get your hands off of me!" she tried to pull back, but he didn't let her.

"Rey..."

"Hey, what's going on here?"

Ben let go of her hand quickly, and they both turned to the voice abruptly.

"I said what's going on here?" Poe Dameron asked and then squinted at Ben. "My God... So it is true? You actually decided to turn up, brother?"

By Rey's side, she could feel Ben tense. He let go of her hand and turned to the man.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 4.

 

Unwanted.

 

Many years ago.

 

"Happy birthday, Ben," Leia smiled brightly at him.

Behind her back, Han scratched his nape, smiling tensely. Ben knew that his father wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. Han Solo had never felt comfortable around his son. By Han's side stood Poe, smirking at Ben. Oh, how much he hated his stepbrother...

His parents adored Poe. Since the day Han brought the starving black-haired boy to their house three years ago, Ben had never felt needed again. Poe was easy-going, Poe was funny, Poe was nothing like Ben. Ben was Han and Leia’s only son, and, it seemed, their biggest regret.

"Thank you, mom," Ben managed to smile. He didn't feel comfortable around his parents either.

"It's cool to be sixteen, isn't it?" Leia tried to lighten up the mood in the room, as always.

"I guess."

He started unwrapping his present.

"Wow, thank you!"

The present was great, indeed. It was a new modern microscope, the one that Ben had been wishing to have since he saw it in the science magazine to which he was subscribed.

 "Do you like it?" Leia smiled worriedly.

"I do," it was a rare occasion when Ben actually felt like home in his own house. Too bad it couldn't last.

Poe left the room, and Han and Leia turned to Ben.

"We hope you don't mind if we celebrate yours and Poe's birthday on the same day?" Leia asked awkwardly. "Since his birthday is two days away, we thought it would be okay? Especially since you don't usually invite friends..."

"Since you have no friends at all," she probably wanted to say.

They hadn't told him about it before today, and Ben felt hurt.

His parents were always tense around him. But they used to have a dinner together on his birthday, and even with Poe around, Ben sort of liked it... Now he would have to share his birthday with Poe, and that meant that there would be a noisy party with lots of Poe's friends from school.

He hated them so much.

"And what if I do mind?" he asked, frowning.

"Oh, Ben..." Leia sighed.

"Oh come on, kid! Don't be problematic!" Han interrupted her. "We usually just have a dinner together, the one you don't even seem to like. Now we can have a nice party for the both of you!"

"But I don't want to have a party!" Ben started to get angry again.

Time after time it happened to him: the anger outbursts he couldn't control. His mother had tried to drag Ben to a shrink. She made him go, but Ben just sat there, not saying a word. He didn't like the man, didn't trust him. Why would he trust a stranger if even his parents seemed not to love him? He didn't have any good examples of loyal adults. What if he said something about himself and this man told on him to his parents?

He had problems at school, and his parents didn't even know about it. He was smart and grumpy enough to be bullied, and kids at school always outnumbered him. He had nowhere to go.

Poe was different. He always got along well with people. Ben's stepbrother had a lot of friends. And if someone tried to bully Dameron, Poe would fight back. Poe had punched the boy who wanted to do it once, and Ben's parents had even been called to the principal. Leia had chided Poe, and Han had supported his wife, but in spite of this, Ben's father had patted Poe's shoulder.

"But, truth be told, son, that moron deserved it. A man should know how to defend himself," Han said, and Ben couldn't help but notice Leia's lips curling up for a second.

Ben's father adored Poe, and so did his mother. Ben wasn't needed. Both Han and Leia had always been too busy to stay around him. He wasn't the child they wanted him to be. But he had always hoped that someday they could understand each other better.

"Then, don't come to the party!" Han cried out, taking a menacing step towards Ben.

"Han!" Leia raised her hand. "Stop it, now!" she turned to Ben. "Darling, we want to tell Poe something important at this party, and we hope you both will be happy about it. Please, I need you both there."

"To tell him what?" Ben was losing his patience, but he never really liked to upset his mother.

"Oh, you'll see," Leia smiled excitedly. "This is going to be a surprise for the both of you! And, if you want, we can go get some ice-cream together today?"

Ice-cream? Oh, that's rich!

"I don't want ice-cream," Ben murmured. "I don't want this party, and I don't want to celebrate my birthday with Poe!"

"Ben..."

"Oh, come on, Leia!" Han rolled his eyes. "Don't waste your time!” he turned to Ben. “You're going to celebrate together, or Poe will celebrate his birthday without you, kid! End of story! At least your brother is thankful enough to accept it!"

"He's not my brother, and what did you expect from a street rat like him?!"

The sound of his father's hand slapping Ben cut the discussion short. Ben grabbed his cheek and glared at Han, his eyes watering.

"Don't you dare..." the man hissed, leaning towards Ben and pointing at him. "Don't you dare talk about your brother like that! You are equal to us. And he is our son just as much as you."

"Han..." Leia had no words, not knowing how to stop the scene in front of her.

"Leave my room..." Ben whispered, looking his father in the eyes.

"Don't tell me what to do in my own house!" Han growled.

"You wouldn't have been able to buy it without mom's money," Ben smirked, and that was the moment when Han went wild.

With a growl, he pounced at his son.

"STOP IT! BOTH OF YOU!" the sound of his mother's voice was the only thing that could stop Ben's father from tearing his son apart.

"Oh, fuck it!" Han exclaimed. "You are nothing, kid! And you fucking depend on us! So, you'll be at the party or stay at home. Your choice! I honestly don't care!" with that he left the room, slamming the door shut behind himself.

And just like that, Ben found himself sitting in a fucking carting center. Of course... His father adored cars, and so did Poe. There were many kids whom Ben knew from school, but nobody paid him any attention. He was alone.

His mother was chatting with some parents while Han was laughing with the kids who had just exited the carting circle. Poe seemed so happy... Ben hated him so much!

"Oh, I think it's the time to make an announcement!" Leia rose from her seat suddenly, drawing the crowd's attention to herself. "As you all know, Han and I have two sons. They both celebrate their birthday today, though Ben's was two days ago, and we are all so happy that you all came here to join us!" 

Happy my ass, Ben thought, smirking evilly.

"Ben was with us from day one," Leia went on, not really looking at him, and smiling at the crowd instead. "And Poe joined us later, but we love him all the same. So, son," suddenly Ben's mother turned to Poe, smiling tenderly. "We love you, and we are so happy to have you. And what we wanted to tell you today is that we have finally finished the adoption process..." the air left Ben's lungs, but no one noticed it. On the other side of the room, he saw Poe gasping. "You are our son officially now, love, and you can be Poe Solo or stay Poe Dameron, but you are now legally a part of this family, and we love you so much..."

There were hugs and kisses. There were tears in Ben's parents’ and Poe's eyes...but Ben didn’t care. Was this the surprise his mother had told him about earlier?... He hated her. He hated them all. They didn't need him, and Poe was their favorite child. Ben wondered if they would get rid of him if they could... He exited the carting center to get some air. He couldn't breathe...

Ben had no idea how much time he had spent in the street outside the center, but suddenly, a voice pulled him out of his trance.

"So, brother," Poe smirked at him, standing there surrounded by his friends from school. "How does it feel to be the eldest kid in the family?"

He wasn’t alone. Poe had his best friends with him. And he had a lot of best friends. They all were laughing at Ben together with Poe now. Poe had never bullied him before, but he had always stayed out of the fights if someone was rude to Ben. Now, it seemed, Poe wanted to feel his victory. Ben kept silent. He was empty. He didn't want to fight Poe now. He felt weak and useless, and he didn't want to live.

"It seems," Poe went on, taking a step towards Ben. "It seems, our parents have finally realized that they need a normal child, not a grumpy moron like you."

"Shut up," Ben hissed, trying to stay calm. He used to have leverage on Poe before. No matter how much more his parents loved their second child, Ben had been the only one who was theirs legally. Until he wasn't. Ben had always fought with Poe. They had been at war. And now, now Poe had won.

"Well, I will, brother... But I hope from now on you won't need a reminder that our parents don't love you. They don't even need you. That's why they adopted me. To replace you. You'll have to deal with it, Benny..."

Ben could hardly remember what happened after he jumped on Poe. There was blood, there were screams, there were hands of people who tried to stop him. Ben had always been weak. Tall and skinny, he had never been strong enough to fight back. Not until now. His anger gave him strength, and he couldn't be stopped. Poe's face was covered in blood, and Ben's hands were the same. He came back to himself only in the hospital, where a doctor was putting stitches on his arm. His father was shouting at him.

"You won't spend another day in our house!" Han's face was red, and Leia was crying behind his back. "You are going to Luke, and I don't want to see you anymore!"

And just like that, Ben was sent away, and Poe stayed.

 

Seven years ago.

"Is it safe, Daddy?" Rey asked, looking around.

"What is?" Kylo raised his brow at her.

"Won't anybody... see us here?"

"I took you to Naboo for a reason," he let her lean on his elbow. "It's far from Mustafar, and no one from the University is going to come here for a weekend. It's way too pricey for all of them."

"Your boss could see us... He is wealthy enough to be here."

Rey had a point, but right now it wasn't that dangerous for them. Snoke had lectures in Hong Kong. He also had several important meetings there, so Kylo was sure he wouldn't see his Master here this weekend.

Kylo frowned for a second. He had a birthday today. He helped Rey to her chair and sat next to her.

Kylo never celebrated his birthdays, he hated this day too much for that! But at least today he could spend it in the company of a beautiful woman, even though she had no idea what day it was.

"It's not your part to worry about it, kitten," he poured wine into Rey's glass. "If I say that we are safe, then we are safe."

"I'm sorry, Daddy," she lowered her eyes shyly. "I am just worried."

"Don't be."

"You still think I should drink it?” she smirked. “You know I am not allowed? And we are in public…"

"You are allowed if your Daddy says you are allowed," he smirked back. "I have already told you that: these are the perks of being powerful and rich. I would like to see how they could stop me from giving you this wine." 

Rey smiled at him, but then looked around, and Kylo noticed her tense.

"Tell me, baby girl," he sat back in his chair comfortably. "What bothers you?"

"Nothing."

"You know I don't tolerate lies..."

He knew that with the intonation he had used, Rey would tell him everything.

"I..." she stammered. "I feel out of place here..."

She looked gorgeous in the dress he had bought for her. Kylo couldn't surprise anyone here with a young girl on his sleeve. Most of the men around them had their own mistresses, and Kylo could only be proud of the way all these big shots licked their lips, looking at Rey.

She was the best of them all indeed.

"Look at me, baby girl," he commanded.

Rey obeyed, as always, and he couldn't help the feeling of warmth spreading through his chest at the sight of her submission. She was so good at it... Sometimes he allowed himself the thought that she was actually the strongest in their relationship. Kylo tried not to form any attachments, but it was so easy to be attached to Rey's hazel eyes. "You think that you are not powerful or rich enough to fit in, don't you? “ Rey nodded, and Kylo sighed. “What you don't understand, sweet thing, is that you are actually the one who has power here. You are young and beautiful. And you are with me. They look at you with adoration in their eyes but can't touch you. I won't let them. You fit here because I am your Daddy, and you are my baby girl. And they don't look down at you, they envy me. And I wouldn't have it any other way..."

Suddenly, Rey looked at him strangely. He couldn't read her expression, and that was new. Kylo gulped unintendedly.

"Okay, Daddy," her face changed then, becoming the face of the kitten who fell apart every time he entered her. He smiled at her, pouring more wine into Rey's glass.

 

They burst into their room, laughing. Kylo couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed this heartily. But Rey had made a funny comment about a wealthy couple that had exited the elevator before them. And just like that, he had started to laugh.

"I have something for you," Rey suddenly whispered, pulling back from their kiss.

Kylo raised his brow. She had never given him anything. It was a part of their deal. But now, Rey was beaming with light, giving him a small package. Frowning, Kylo opened it.

He looked at her inquiringly. In his hands, there was a small box where, under thick glass, there was a beautiful butterfly, pinned and dried.

"Papilio Polyxenes..." Kylo murmured, remembering the name of it.

"You told me once that you had dreamt about having a collection in your childhood. This is nothing too fancy, but it can be the first... If you ever want to start... Happy birthday!"

"How did you know?" he was surprised, to say the least.

"Well, I may have sneaked into the University network when you didn't tell me when your birthday was last year. It occurred to me that I had asked two days after it, and I decided to congratulate you this year... You seem to not like this day," Rey frowned. "I wanted to give you this..."

It was the first birthday present he'd had since he was sixteen. Snoke knew when his birthday was, but the old man used to say that Kylo could have a birthday whenever he wanted, and never congratulated him on the actual date. Rey's present was unexpected.

Did he feel... touched?

"Thank you, baby girl," he smiled at her. "You shouldn't have, but I appreciate this..."

His words were too dry... Kylo was terrified that had he spoken to Rey more sincerely, the dam would have broken, and he wouldn't be able to control the emotions that rose in his chest every time Rey walked into the room.

"It's not good to be alone on your birthday," Rey whispered.

 

His lips were on every inch of her body. He licked at her cunt and sucked on her clit, and then his mouth was exploring hers. There was no rush, and no carnal passion this time. What they were doing was a lot like making love, and that would have terrified Kylo had he not been consumed by the process entirely.

"Kylo... Please... I am so close," Rey whispered under him, and he increased his pace.

He didn't even notice that she had called him by his name this time. It was so utterly natural…

 

Now.

"Poe," Ben hissed, looking his brother in the face for the first time in years.

"I didn't believe mom when she told me... It seems you've lost your mind entirely deciding to turn up after all this time."

"She didn't mind," Ben frowned.

"Oh, did she?"

Poe was too good at making him feel unwanted. He had always been.

"What's going on here? Rey, are you okay?" Poe walked to the woman, hugging her, and Ben was ready to kill. He took a deep breath.

"Everything is fine, Poe," Rey smiled, hugging him back.

"Are you sure? I thought I heard you telling him to let you go?"

"What? No, you must have misheard," Rey didn't want anyone to know that they knew each other, Ben realized. It was probably for the better now.

Poe looked at Rey frowning but then nodded.

"Anyway, what are you doing here, Kylo?" he turned to Ben again.

"My name is Ben," Ben tried his best to stay calm.

"Oh, is it now?"

He decided not to answer. It was too easy to lose it now.

"What are you doing here, Poe?" Rey's voice cut through the tension in the air, and both Poe and Ben were returned to reality by it.

"Oh, sweetheart, I just wanted to see my beloved girlfriend," Poe grinned at Rey, and Ben saw red.

A million questions rushed through his head, and Ben had been terrified for a second. Had his brother taken everything from him?!

"I am not in the mood, Poe," Rey's voice grounded Ben, helping him regain consciousness. He looked up at her and what he saw helped him calm down a bit. Rey was tense. She was standing further from Poe than before, just as if she had stepped back from him while Ben wasn't looking.

"Come on, girl," Poe smiled wider. "I told you I am going to marry you one day."

"Not today," Rey shook her head. "And, as I told you, I am not in the mood."

She started to walk away, but Poe stopped her.

"Wait, Rey," he said much less playfully this time. "I'm sorry. I wanted to see how you were doing, and I also brought Hannah a present."

Ben was watching the scene in front of him, tensing. Maybe Rey wasn't so much into Poe, but their relationship was much better than Rey and Ben's.

"Thank you," that was the first time this day he saw her smiling genuinely.

"You haven't seen it yet," Poe laughed. "Here!"

That was the moment Ben saw that Poe had a bag in his hands. Poe pulled a box out of it and handed it to Rey.

"I think whatever it is, it's great," Rey smiled, opening the bag and looking at a doll in a box that was in it. "I wish I could buy her presents more often," Ben's heart clenched at that.

"You know I could help you with that," Poe smiled back at Rey. "If you let me."

"You and your family do too much for me already," she murmured, hiding the doll in the bag.

"Come on, Rey, just one date?" Poe smiled playfully.

And that was the moment when Rey looked up at Poe, and both his he and Ben shivered at the look in her eyes.

"We don't need it," Rey handed the bag back to Poe.

"Rey..." Poe was confused. He wasn't expecting this. Ben, however, was fast to realize what was happening. Rey's hands were shaking. Ben knew that Poe didn't mean it like that, but asking Rey to go on a date with him after giving her the present, he made her think that he was trying to buy her. Just like Kylo had tried all those years ago. He had tried, and she had accepted his presents. But Rey had never been bought. 

Ben remembered the butterfly that he brought to Alderaan with him. The butterfly Rey had given him as a birthday present all those years ago. He had never started the collection. The butterfly barely survived Ben's emotional outbursts throughout the years. But he had kept it. He had looked at it so many times! It wasn't expensive, and it took him some time to realize what this cheap present meant. This butterfly meant that Rey would have stayed with him no matter what. She would have stayed, had he let her stay. Oh, how he wished he had!

Rey was already walking away, pulling the phone out of her purse.

"Rey!" Poe rushed after her. "Rey, wait! I'm sorry!" he grabbed her hand, and Rey pulled away harshly.

"Rey..." Poe murmured, walking after her. "Please..."

She stopped but was still frowning at him, trying to call someone.

"I need to call Finn. Hannah is with him," she murmured before ending the call, obviously not reaching anyone. "Where is he, for God's sake?..."

"Rey, I am sorry, please, take it back," Poe urged, giving the bag back to her.

"I said I don't need it," Rey hissed.

"Rey..."

"I think, Rey made it clear that she doesn't want it!"

The two of them turned to Ben abruptly, and he noticed Rey shiver again.

Am I so repulsive to her?... He thought desperately. 

"Oh, Kylo," Poe walked towards him, frowning. "Are you still here? You haven't learned to leave places where you are not needed until someone asks you to leave, as I see..."

Poe's words stung, and even Rey frowned at the curly man, but Ben made an effort not to react. He had to do it... For her...

"I wonder where your fiancé is," Poe suddenly smirked. "Did you bring her with you? I hope she won't come to a family dinner..."

Behind Poe's back, Ben saw Rey gasping.

Pictures of him and Bazine appeared in a few magazines after the situation with "the First Order" had become known to the public. People still wondered what a person who helped impeach the President and caused the fall of Snoke's company had to do with the said man's daughter. Ben had already broken up with Bazine back then, of course. Had Rey not seen those articles? She looked so pale now that Ben barely suppressed the urge to rush to her and hold her.

"I have no fiancé," Ben hissed.

"Oh, really? Did she dump you? Too bad, she was hot."

On shaking legs, Rey started to walk away, and Poe didn't notice it. Ben was watching her worriedly, Poe still telling him something. Ben wasn't listening. Rey took several more steps before stumbling. Ben watched her falling down in slow motion. Pushing Poe away, he rushed to her, catching Rey before she hit the ground. 

"Rey," he exhaled, afraid that something drastic had happened.

Her body was so soft, and she was skinnier than Ben remembered. Rey was so light but still so warm, and Ben was hit by her natural flowery scent that had haunted him for years.

In the haze of the moment, no one noticed a car driving into the parking lot near the coffee shop.

It seemed, Rey had lost her balance and felt absolutely confused now. She looked up at Ben, and their eyes met. He froze. Rey was looking at him, her mouth agape. She was so close that he could feel her breath on his cheek.

"Kylo..." she whispered, lost.

Behind Ben's back, Poe didn't know what to do. He didn't hear Rey.

"Mommy!" Hannah's voice made everybody jump. The girl was running towards them, the guy from the dinner (Finn, Ben remembered), rushing after her. "Mommy!"

Rey jumped away from Ben at that moment, and he couldn't help but notice her staggering a bit when she got on her feet again. Hannah collided with Rey, hugging her mother tightly.

"Mommy, are you okay?"

His daughter was looking at Rey with so much worry in her eyes that Ben's heart clenched.

"Rey, what's wrong?" Finn asked her, walking to her. "What happened?"

"I'm... I'm okay," Rey obviously tried to collect her thoughts. "Just stumbled over something... I tried to call you, but your phone was off..." she tried to change the subject.

"It died," Finn explained. "Rey, are you sure you are okay?" he looked worried, and Ben was worried too. "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine," Rey pressed. "Can you take us home?"

Who was this guy, and what did he have to do with Rey? Ben watched them more closely, but they didn't look like a thing to him. And he was so worried about Rey’s condition...

"Sure," Finn nodded, still frowning. "Poe?" he turned to Dameron. "What's up, man? Long time no see!"

"I was away for two weeks only," Poe murmured. "Rey, can I go with you? Make sure you are fine?"

"I am fine," Rey rolled her eyes. "Finn, let's go. Hannah should be in bed already. Say goodnight to Poe, Hannah."

"Night, Poe," Hannah smiled for a second. "And night, Mr. Ben!" her smile was wider this time, and Ben almost started to cry at the sight of his daughter.

"Good night, Hannah," he waved his hand and hoped that no one noticed his voice shaking.

Rey glared at him just for a second.

Don't you dare... her gaze told him.

She looked like she hated him.

Holding Hannah by the hand, Rey climbed into Finn's car and shut the door behind them.

"I'll see you on Saturday!" Poe shouted, but Rey didn't answer. He never managed to give the present back to her.

When the car left, Poe turned to him.

"I tell you what, Kylo," he smirked. "Mom may try to be polite, but I tell you, you are not welcome here."

Ben was watching the car leaving. He didn't give a damn about whether he was welcome in his parents’ house or not anymore. What mattered most to him was his daughter and his beloved. And he was ready to do everything possible to get them back.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 5. 

Solo.

 

Rey didn't sleep that night. She’d put Hannah to bed after reading to her for a bit and then tried to get some sleep herself, but she couldn't.

Her chest was throbbing. Rey was in pain and was already starting to cough. What she was afraid would happen finally happened, and she knew it would take her bronchitis a day or so to eventually hit her. The timing was so wrong! She hoped that this time, it wouldn't be too hard on her. After giving birth to Hannah, Rey was so malnourished and exhausted that she started getting ill quickly. It occurred to her that the weakest part of Rey's body was her lungs.

Rey sighed.

She was so afraid to be ill again. When her condition wasn't very drastic, she usually hid it trying her best not to cough. 

Leia could help her, of course, but Rey was so afraid to ask for this help...

Once Hannah had been born, Rey had nothing at all but her little daughter in her arms. Hannah was precious, and Rey was ready to give her life for her little girl. However, it seemed that social services in Alderaan had been not that convinced that love was enough to let Rey keep her baby. Rey's financial condition raised their concerns, and Leia had to step in to make those people leave the young mother alone.

That was why so many what ifs were circling in her head now. What if one day Leia decided that Rey wasn't a good mother? What if one day she would think that Hannah would be better off without Rey? Rey couldn't have it, so she tried to ask less for help. It was especially important now. Now, when he was around...

Rey shivered at the memory of Kylo Ren... Ben Solo, his name was Ben Solo now, she had to remind herself again... standing in front of her by the diner entrance. Rey couldn't help the traitorous feeling in her chest. He hadn't changed a lot... He was still so handsome. Maybe just a little bit older. However, what had surprised Rey most was his facial expression.

Rey had been in love with Kylo from the moment she had seen him in class. When he had offered her their agreement, she had taken it, hesitating. It had sounded a lot like selling herself for money. She would have never agreed... had she not loved him.

Rey had been foolish enough to make herself believe that, in truth, Kylo had been in love with her too. She had thought that he would admit it eventually. Sometimes, throughout their years together, she had noticed his face changing when he was looking at her. It had become softer, more tender... He had looked like that more and more as their time together passed, and Rey's heart had been filled with hope... Until the day he had thrown her away from his apartment.

Rey had sworn to herself to never make the same mistake again. However, what had surprised her most when they were standing in front of each other by the diner that evening was that this time he looked exactly like that: soft, tender... desperate...

And then Rey had almost fainted when she heard about his fiancée... He had been engaged... Rey couldn't help but Google it afterwards only to find her heart shattered to pieces once again.

Bazine Snoke-Netal...

Rey remembered the woman. She remembered the last time she had seen her. That night Rey had realized that she was pregnant. That night she had realized that her life would never be the same and that there would be no Kylo Ren in it.

No, no... She couldn't let him get to her. She couldn't let Leia know that Hannah was her granddaughter...

From the moment Leia had mentioned her son in the hospital room that day, the son that had been away, Rey thought that the old woman had only one son. Later, when Rey first met Poe, she was surprised by how close Leia and Poe were. In that hospital room, Leia was talking about her son as if he had been away from her life. Rey shrugged it off then. Different families had different stories, and that was none of Rey’s business. And now, she finally realized what the situation was.

That evening in the car, Rey had asked Finn carefully about Ben. Finn knew Poe from the time when Finn worked in a small coffee shop near Alderaanian University, and Poe attended classes there. The two of them had got along very well, so Finn was able to tell Rey the story of Poe's stepbrother... According to Poe, Kylo-Ben had been a monster since his childhood. He had almost killed Poe once, and Rey was surprised that Leia had agreed to let her eldest son come back. However, Rey could understand the older woman. She would let Hannah back no matter what. Ben Solo was Leia’s son, and unlike Poe, he had been the only one to whom Leia had given birth herself... Of course, she had let him in.

Rey never liked Poe too much. He was a good friend, but she had never seen him as something else. The guy was too persistent and couldn't take no for an answer. However, now, Rey was even happy about it. At least, she could have an ally if Ben decided to try and get to her daughter.

But what if Poe turned away from her, once he knew what kind of relationship Kylo and Rey had long ago? And what if, once Leia knew that Hannah was her granddaughter, she decided to take the girl from her mother? Rey's blood ran cold at that thought. She would not let it happen. She would fight for her little daughter with tooth and nail if needed.

Rey took a deep breath. Nothing was clear yet. She had gathered her stuff.

It was Saturday already. It was time for her to go to Leia's house.

***

This week had been torture. There had been no one but Leia in the house and Ben was glad because of that. Poe came by, but Ben had been at the University that day. It was November already, and Ben would have to start his classes after the winter holidays. He had to sign some papers and run some errands, so he had to be away once Poe had come. And it had probably taken Ben a little bit longer than usual to complete his tasks, so when he returned home, Poe had already left.

It was far more complicated than Ben anticipated being around his mother. He could see that Leia was glad that he was near, but they didn't know what to do when they were together. Their conversations were awkward, and Ben could see that Leia wanted to tell him something, but hesitated. It was only when Ben was late to meet Poe that Leia finally spoke to him about what was bothering her.

"Ben, darling," she put a cup of coffee on the table in front of him. "I think you need to make amends with Poe..."

Ben frowned.

So that’s what was bothering her...

"I am happy you finally came back, but Poe is our family, he is our son just like you... And so many years have passed since... You know..."

Since you threw me away like you didn't need me at all.

"What exactly do you want me to do?" Ben put those thoughts to the back of his mind.

"Maybe you could meet him? Have a cup of coffee together?"

So, Poe hadn't told his mother about their meeting by the diner? 

Interesting...

"He swears he would love to make amends with you..."

"Oh, would he?" Ben smirked.

Poe had always been good at it. He had always made Ben look bad in his parents' eyes.

"He would!" Leia exclaimed. "He was so sorry after you left all those years ago. Yes, he was angry at you for what you did, but he... missed you! He told me that much!"

Ben almost laughed out loud at that. Since he had left his home after that drastic birthday, no one from his family except for his mother ever contacted him. Leia had been asking Luke about Ben’s well-being and tried calling Ben a month after he left home, but Ben had refused to speak to her, and Leia had never considered coming for a visit. She sent him some money for his 17th birthday, but Ben had refused to take it. Since then, there was nothing. No calls or postcards for holidays, no news from his family. Then, just before Ben turned eighteen, things with Luke had gone south, and after that, Ben hadn't heard about his family for many years. His parents forgot him, and Ben was sure that Poe had never tried to contact him. 

Ben decided not to answer to his mother, and Leia dropped the subject.

He was waiting for Saturday as much as he dreaded it. He imagined meeting Rey again time after time, but in the end, she caught him off guard, nevertheless. Ben collided with the woman when he was walking out of his room in the morning.

"God, I'm sorry!" he exclaimed, catching her as she almost fell from the impact of their collision. And then he froze, feeling her warm body in his arms. Rey was speechless.

She was the first to pull back.

"I'm... I'm sorry," she lowered her eyes.

"No, I wasn't watching," Ben murmured, looking at her.

"Mr. Ben!" Hannah's voice pulled them both from their trance.

"Hello, Hannah," Ben smiled, his voice hoarse. His daughter was beaming with light as always.

"Hannah, what are you doing here?" Rey frowned at her.

"Mrs. Leia told me to ask you if I could play in the garden. Can I, mommy?"

"Okay," Rey sighed, giving Ben a short look. "Just don't climb the trees and be careful, honey."

"I won't!" Hannah was running away already.

"She's so beautiful," Ben murmured, noticing that Rey shivered by his side.

"I need to work," she hissed, walking away.

He wanted to catch her, to stop her. Ben didn't want Rey to clean his parents' house. He wanted her to have rest... She looked ill, Ben noticed, and he was worried sick.

Not knowing what else he could do, Ban sat by the big window in the living room that faced the garden. He couldn't spot Hannah at first but then saw her. His heart skipped a beat.

Many years ago, back when Ben had been a little boy, and there was no Poe around, his father made him garden swings. Ben had spent hours swinging, and his mother had to come and make him go home. Otherwise, he wouldn't stop. Now, Hannah was swinging with the same delighted look that he’d probably had on his face, swinging in his childhood. 

"She loves it," Ben shivered at the sound of his father's voice behind his back.

He turned abruptly.

Han Solo was old now. Much older than Ben remembered. His father had been remarkably handsome in his younger years, and he still kept some style, but Ben hadn't seen him for so long... He wasn't prepared to see Han's completely grey hair and wrinkled face.

"Hey, kid," his father smirked, and Ben couldn't tell if this smirk was kind or not. "Long time no see..."

"It is," Ben nodded, frowning. "It's... It's good to see you, father."

"Is it?" Han frowned back, and Ben realized that no, no, his first smirk hadn't been kind.

Han Solo was nervous. Nervous and uncomfortable.

"I... I was surprised to hear that you were coming back," Ben's father shrugged. "I never thought I would see this day, Ben... Or is it... Kylo?"

"No, no, I changed my name back," Ben's frown deepened. His father knew that he was Solo again, he had to know. However, Han had asked that question.

The old man smirked. 

"So you are Ben Ren?"

"You know that I am Ben Solo," Ben hissed.

Han wanted to say something else when Poe's voice interrupted him.

"Dad?"

The moment Ben's father turned to Poe, his face brightened, and Ben felt like he was a sixteen-year-old boy all over again.

"Hey, kid!" Han hugged his second son. "Look who we have here," he nodded at Ben.

"Oh, Ben, good to finally see you!"

"You saw me a couple of days ago..." Ben murmured, and Han pulled back from Poe a little, looking at his son inquiringly, but Leia interrupted their silent conversation.

"Oh, good! You are all here!" she exclaimed. "Dinner is served! Let's go eat!"

She hugged Poe, kissing him on the cheek. Ben clenched his fists. It would be a very long day...

 

"So we can open another shop there, dad, it won't be a problem!" Poe finished a torturously long story about his business-trip to Dagobah.

"Well done, boy!" Han patted Poe's shoulder. "I'll visit them soon. We need this expansion."

"So, Ben," Leia changed the subject, turning to her elder son. No one had been paying Ben any attention while Poe spoke, and Leia probably wanted to involve him in the conversation. "How are things going at the University? Are you ready to start after Christmas?"

"I am," Ben nodded, smiling politely. He wanted to make it all work. At least with his mother. So he had to make an effort. "I signed the contract several days ago, and they are waiting for me in February."

"Will you be teaching again?" Han raised his brow.

"I will, hasn’t mom told you?"

"She did, but I wasn't sure she had heard you correctly... Why would you teach? Didn't you get that fat check after you destroyed your former Master’s company? 

Ben frowned.

"Snoke was my boss, not my Master… And yes, I did. But I love teaching."

"Why here?" Han still looked annoyed.

"I... I wanted to be closer to my family," it was painful to pronounce these words to his father. His father, who hadn't even considered it to be a good reason for Ben to be around. Han frowned.

"Took you long enough..."

"Han!" Leia exclaimed.

"What?!"

It seemed that something finally broke the dam. His father was watching Ben, frowning angrily. 

"I thought that it would be okay if I came back," Ben pronounced quietly. "Mom told me so, so I assumed..."

"Don't get me wrong, kid," Han interrupted him. "I am glad," he rolled his eyes, "I am glad that you are here... But I haven't heard from you for God knows how many years, and now you are coming home as if nothing happened! And telling me that you wanted to be closer to your family... I know, I know that you destroyed that bastard's company... You are a hero nowadays, after all! But you never called us for more than fifteen years! And I can't stop thinking that there is something more to you coming back home now!"

"Are you accusing me of something?" Ben was starting to get angry but was still able to stay calm. 

"I don't know kid..." Han ran his hand through his hair, and Ben was caught by surprise of how familiar this gesture was. He did that too. Too bad this was the only thing his father and Ben had in common.

"It was always like that with you," Han sighed. "And I am sorry that I can't understand you well. But forgive me if I am wrong, as far as I know, this bastard Snoke did a lot of shitty stuff before you brought the fucking FBI to him..."

"Han, language!" Leia exclaimed. "What does it have to do with anything?! I thought we spoke about it, for God's sake!"

"Well, you know what?! I tried!" Han cried out. "But from the moment I saw him, I haven’t been able to get rid of the feeling that he is here for a reason! Just remember what Luke told us about him..."

"What does it have to do with Luke?" Ben's voice made his parents shiver.

"You know what," Han frowned.

"I have to say, I don't," Ben raised his brow coldly.

"You fucking destroyed his Academy all those years ago! You fucking ruined his reputation, for God's sake! And why?! Because he thought that one of his pupils was worthier than you?!"

Ben's blood went cold. That was what they thought about him?... Well, Ben actually had destroyed Anch-To Academy, but the reason why he had done so was far from the one that Han had named.

"And then," Han turned to Leia. "All those kids Luke told us about!" he glared at Ben again. "Don't tell me that you didn't know that Snoke was stealing their ideas, kid! I won't buy it. You..." 

Suddenly, Ben's father stopped talking. Han frowned, and Ben almost smirked, looking at him. He knew why the old man shut up... Ben had tried to change. He had wanted to come back home and try to make amends with his family. But it seemed nothing had changed since he left his home all those years ago. His family wasn't good at forgiving. Especially not his father. Ben would probably tell them everything, had they asked. But Han hadn't asked. Instead of that, he preferred to sit here and throw accusations one by one into Ben's face. And now, Ben wasn't Ben any longer... He was Kylo again. And Kylo wasn't looking at his father now. Kylo was looking at an older man whom he could destroy with a snap of his fingers.

However, a part of Ben remained. And that part made Kylo stop from destroying Han Solo. But Kylo wouldn't have any of it anymore.

"I see," he pronounced coldly. "Well, what can I say..." he smirked then, and Han gulped. "I guess you know everything better, Mr. Solo..."

"Ben..." his mother's pleading voice made Ben stop and consider his following words. He looked outside where Hannah was still swinging in the garden. Kylo calmed down a bit inside him. He had his daughter and Rey to think of now.

"Calm down, mother," he shook his head. "I think I overstayed my welcome here," he stood from the table. "I think I will stay in the hotel until I find an apartment closer to the University..."

"Of course, Ben," Poe's voice made him stop. "Do what you always do... Walk away, hurt our mother, destroy a couple of lives like your mentor taught you, you..."

"Don't you dare," Ben turned to Poe, and Dameron shut his mouth immediately.

"Ben..." his mother pleaded again, but this time he didn't listen to her.

"You know what, you are right... I have destroyed a couple of lives... Those morons had to read the fine print more carefully. However, even taking their ideas from them, we left them with a generous compensation... And those who read the fine print gained even more... They became parts of "the First Order" and even now, those of who had nothing to do with the Mexico case are not struggling... It was a test of a sort, you know. But it doesn't matter, does it?" Ben smirked, taking a step towards Poe. "Because no one here would believe me. Because you'd rather believe Luke. You know what? I don't care anymore. But next time you see him, mother," Ben turned to Leia. "Ask him about the idea he used to make his favorite student's project look presentable for the State competitions... Ask him whose ideas those were... Luke may be a lying bastard, but he is incapable of lying to you when you ask him direct questions."

"What are you talking about, kid?" Han frowned.

"Oh, it doesn't matter, Han," Ben smirked. "You won't believe me anyway. You never did, you never will."

"Ben," his mother was crying now, but he didn't care.

"I'm leaving," he stated. "And, oh yes, Poe," he smiled at his stepbrother. "Don't worry, I won't bother your family any longer. After all, you were right back then, when I almost killed you by the carting center... What did you tell me? Let me remember..." Ben pretended to be recalling the exact words. "‘They don't even need you. That's why they adopted me. To replace you’," he quoted, hearing Leia gasp by his side. "Oh, I was so angry with you back then... I almost killed you... But now I understand that I only got angry because you had voiced something I had known for a long time. Every time I was shouted at after I finally beat someone who bullied me at school... They preferred to ignore me. Just like you when you saw all those kids at school bullying me. Do you remember when Johns and his gang almost killed me in the backyard of the sports hall? I was in so much pain after those four guys started to punch me. Four against one, and you just watched, Poe. I got so mad that the next thing I remembered was him," Ben pointed at his father. "Shouting at me at the principal’s office. I broke Johns's hand and nose... She," one more nod towards a shocked Leia, "Had to pay so much money to save me from being expelled. They thought I got my bruises from Johns who was defending himself... But Johns didn't even manage to touch me after I went berserk... How many times did you ignore me being hit, and punched, and kicked at school, Poe? You fucking golden boy. You didn't come to me alone that night. You brought your friends... You were afraid to face me alone. You can have them, Poe," Ben looked at his parents who were now standing speechless by the table. "And you are right, Mr. Solo," Ben turned to his father. "I have my reasons to stay in this town. But they have nothing to do with any of you. I wanted to be closer to my family. Well," Ben shrugged. "It seemed, that there was one thing that Snoke was right about, after all. I never had one."

And now I fucking do, and I will fight for them.

With that, he turned on his heel and walked towards his room. He had to collect his stuff and leave as soon as possible.

"Is that true?" Leia was whispering to Poe who was now pale as a sheet. And then... "BEN!"

"Kid, wait!" His father tried to run after him, but Ben was faster. It was only in the hallway where he almost knocked a shocked and pale Rey off her feet.

"I am sorry, sweetheart," was all he managed to say. Rey looked at him with her eyes opened wide, shivering.

Ben had no idea why she was like that, and, truth be told, he was no better. Had she heard his fight with his family? He would find her later. Now, he had to get out of this house.

"Ben!" 

Good thing he hadn't unpacked too many things since he arrived. His mother was standing on the threshold of his room, watching him gathering his stuff. Han was behind her back, his hand pressed to his mouth.

"Kid, wait, let's talk," he murmured.

It was too late to be talking now. Ben heard his Uber arriving at the entrance.

The last person he saw when the car was driving him away was Rey, standing on the porch of the house.

I love you so fucking much, Ben thought, feeling his eyes burning from tears. He pulled the phone out of his pocket and dialed a number.

"Ben?" a low voice answered. "How are you, son? Is anything wrong?"

"Cassian," Ben whispered hoarsely, sobs starting to burn his throat. "Cassian..."

"Ben, take a deep breath, boy... I'm here... What is it?"

"Cassian... I... I need you... And I..."

"Breathe, boy, breathe..."

"I found her, Cass..."

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 6.

Changes.

Ben didn't remember the past three weeks very well. After he had left his parents' house, he rented a room in a decent hotel and was now leaving it only if he had something important to do. And there were only several essential things for Ben at the moment.

First of all, he had to find a place to live. It was good that Ben was talking to Cassian every day now. Otherwise, he would find a hole somewhere and live there not really bothering with his wellbeing. Cassian had reminded him that Ben had a family to think about now. Ben had almost smirked evilly at the man's words about how important it was to find a place for them all. However, after a while, he had realized that the old man had a point. Maybe, someday Rey would forgive him. Maybe…

That is why Ben found a beautiful house with enough rooms to fit the three of them. Rey, Hannah, and himself. The deal was quick, and it was something that reminded Ben that he still had a reason to live.

His mother had tried to call him every day, and after three days of endless buzzing of his phone, Ben blocked Leia's number. He did the same thing with his father's contact after he had picked up a call from an unknown caller. The second he had heard Han's voice on the other end of the line, Ben hung up on the man and added the contact to the blocklist.

His contract with Alderaan University was settled, and Ben had to go back there after the winter holidays. He focused on the repair work that had to be done over his (their, he tried to remind himself) new house. He returned to his hotel room every evening and spent the night with his eyes wide open. Never in his life had his insomnia been this drastic. The only thing that helped was the calls from Cassian, who talked to Ben until he fell asleep. Ben never slept for more than three hours, but it was better than nothing. Three weeks had passed since the day he left his family home, and Ben was something close to a walking dead man. 

However, there was one more thing that Ben did regularly. No matter what, every day he entered Maz's diner in the afternoon and started to wait. He learned Rey's schedule by heart very quickly, figuring out that she was working almost constantly. Every day he watched her from the corner, examining the woman’s fragile form. Sometimes Rey worked in the mornings, and sometimes she worked in the afternoons, but she was always in the diner when a school bus stopped by, and a girl who resembled Ben so much jumped off of it and ran towards the building. Ben craved these moments to see his daughter. Every time he was ready to cry.

He never stayed for too long after Hannah arrived because Rey was tense every time he was there at the same time as their daughter. But he had to see them. He didn't know how to fix things, though, and it was driving him insane.

What worried Ben the most was the fact that Rey looked paler and paler every day he saw her. She was also getting thinner, and Ben heard her coughing a couple of times. It wasn't a good cough. She was obviously taking something to suppress it, but it wasn't probably a functional medicine. Or it wasn't working properly.

Rey didn't look well.

 

"What do you need?" 

Ben had been lost in his thoughts and didn't notice her coming. He wasn't expecting Rey to come to his table. She never served him, leaving it to another waiter to get his order. Yet now she was by his side, and Ben froze at the sight of the love of his life watching him hatefully.

"Nothing..." he murmured, not knowing what else to say to not scare her off.

"You are here every day. You've been here every day for a week now, Kylo! What on Earth do you want?"

"I..." he stammered, ignoring her calling him by his former name. "I don't want anything, Rey, I swear... I just..."

"You just what?!"

What could he say?

"I just need you?"

"I just want to take care of you and our daughter?"

"I was looking for you everywhere until I found you here, in the place where I never expected to find you?"

She would never believe in his good intentions.

"I swear, I don't want anything, Rey... Only to see you and Hannah..."

"Leave Hannah alone!" she hissed.

"Please, Rey... She is my daughter too..."

"She isn't!" Rey frowned, but before he could answer to that, she couldn't contain her cough. Ben had to rise to his feet to support her, because Rey reeled a bit, her cough too drastic to hold back.

"Rey, are you okay?" he asked worriedly, but she pulled back from him, crossing her arms in front of her chest in a defensive gesture.

"Just..." she hissed. "Please, leave us alone. Please!" With that, Rey turned on her heel and practically ran away, and Ben realized it was his time to leave the diner. The guy he had seen before, Finn his name was, watched them from the counter frowning. Ben didn't want to get into a fight.

 

He returned the following day, though, knowing perfectly well that Rey would be there in the morning. He probably shouldn't have but Rey had looked too unwell the day before, and Ben had to make sure she was okay.

Rey wasn't there. Ben waited and waited and waited a little more, but she didn't come. He was worried sick and was already about to leave when suddenly a familiar voice stopped him.

"Ben?" his mother was standing behind his back, holding her purse close to her chest. He had never seen her this confused before. Leia Organa was not a woman to get confused quickly. This time, however, it seemed that she was out of words. "Son..."

However, Ben didn't have time for this now. Rey wasn't here, and he wasn't sure if she was okay. But what could he do? He didn't even know her address, and Ben doubted that anyone here would give it to him.

"I have no time for this," he murmured, trying to stand up, but his mother pulled him by the sleeve.

"Ben, please... Where are you going?"

He didn't know the answer to that question, but suddenly a realization hit him...

His mother knew Rey's address. Maybe, he could spare the woman a second, after all.

He sat back frowning and nodded at the place in front of him.

"What do you need?" he repeated the question that Rey had asked him the day before.

"I just... want to talk," Leia stammered, resembling Ben himself.

Ben gritted his teeth. He didn't want to talk. He didn't want to speak at all. But his mother was his only hope of finding Rey.

"I'm listening," he shrugged.

"I..." she was lost, he could say, and Ben would probably have savored this moment if he hadn't been so worried.

"Listen, Leia," he said, watching his mother flinch at his usage of her first name. "I don't think we have anything to talk about anymore. Ask Poe about everything. Ask Luke. They will probably not tell you the truth, but they will tell you something you will be ready to hear."

"But I want the truth!" Leia suddenly hissed fiercely. "I want to know what happened to my son! I... talked to Luke yesterday... And Han also did... Luke sounded very confused..."

"Oh, did he?" Ben smirked.

"Ben... What really happened between you and him?"

Ben shrugged.

"I don't want to talk about it now, Leia."

"Ben, please... I am your mother..."

He kept silent.

"Why are you coming here every day?" she suddenly asked. "You never liked Maz's diner too much. She told me you've been coming here lately."

"Oh, really?" Ben raised a brow. He hadn't seen the old hag here yet. It seemed she’d decided to not show up and greet him.

"She told me you spoke to Rey yesterday," Leia mentioned quietly.

"So what?" he shrugged, trying not to give anything away.

"She told me you'd been here every day... That the two of you spoke."

"I said hi," Ben shut her off. "Listen, Leia... What exactly do you want?"

"You!" Leia exclaimed. "I want to know you! I want to know what I missed... How I messed everything up! How both Han and I did! About Poe, about the situation in your school... About Luke, for God's sake! Ben... I'm so sorry..."

Ben was watching his mother intently. He wasn't interested in this conversation. The worst part was that Ben didn't even know how to approach the subject of Rey.

"Listen," he sighed. "Luke and I didn't get along well in the end. I don't know what he told you but we got into a fight, and he refused to take my project to a significant competition that would have assured I got a scholarship at University. I was offended to say the least, but that wasn't the worst part of it. Luke chose another student... And he decided not to inform me about the fact that he took pieces of my project and implemented them to this student's competition project. When I confronted him about it, Luke told me that I couldn’t go to the competition anyway, but it would help this guy a lot. ‘After all, we are aiming for the same goals,’ Luke told me," Ben smirked. "The rest, I think, you know. I guess Luke described my following actions correctly. Happy now?"

Leia was speechless.

"Ben..." she whispered. "I... I had no idea."

"Forget it," Ben waved her off, rising from the table to leave. His mother couldn't help him find Rey after all, he realized. He had to go.

Suddenly, Leia's phone on the table rang.

Ben turned to the sound only to see Rey's number lighting up the screen. His mother was about to hang up on the call, but Ben's hand stopped her.

"Answer it," he hissed.

"Ben..." his mother gasped, surprised. "I can call Rey back later! I..."

"Answer the damn phone!" Ben growled, and Leia picked it up and answered the call with her hands shaking, looking at him in surprise.

"Rey?" she asked, not averting her gaze from her son, and then… "Hannah?!"

Ben's blood went cold at the sound of his mother's concerned intonation.

"Baby, calm down!" Leia tried to say something else, but Hannah obviously didn't let her. "Where are you? Where is your mommy?"

Ben clenched the back of a chair in front of him so hard that his knuckles turned white.

 "What?..." His mother whispered. "Honey, I'm on my way. Don't open the door to anyone but me."

"What is it?!" Ben asked as his mother hung up on his daughter.

Leia started to gather her things quickly.

"Hannah called crying and told me that her mother is sleeping on the floor, and she can't wake her up."

"I'm going with you," it was good that his mother didn't argue with that. He would kill the woman if he needed to in order to get to Rey.

 

Ben called 911 on his way, learning Rey's address from Leia in the process. He cursed under his breath. This was not how he wanted to get this information, for God's sake!

The ambulance parked near an old apartment building at the same time that Leia drove into the parking lot. Ben didn't wait for his mother to park. He was running towards the paramedics already.

"Hannah, it's me," Leia called, knocking on a rusty door that led to Rey's apartment. "Open up, honey."

Slowly, the door opened, and Ben could see the crying face of his daughter behind it.

"Mrs. Leia," Hannah jumped into his mother's open arms, and Ben followed the doctors inside.

His heart stopped. The place was tiny. There was a living room with a joined kitchen and an entrance to another room in the corner of it. But what made Ben shiver was the sight of Rey's body lying unconscious on the floor.

"Rey!" he rushed towards her, but was stopped by a paramedic.

"Mister, please step back. We need to do our job," he asked sternly, and Ben could do nothing else but obey. After all, the paramedic had a point. Cursing inwardly, Ben started to look around.

The place was small but somewhat cozy. There were plenty of toys around, and Ben could see a TV with lots of DVDs, all of them cartoons. It seemed, Rey tried to provide Hannah with everything their daughter needed. And yet, something was very off here.

Not knowing what else to do, Ben entered the second room.

It was a nursery. The whole place was Hannah's from what Ben could see. There were books and toys, and Rey had also done a great job decorating the room. Everything seemed fine at the first sight, but...

Where the hell does Rey sleep?

Ben turned, looking inside the living-room again. He saw a blanket covering the sofa in front of the TV. Rey slept here... On the couch... Giving Hannah the best place to rest.

He ran his hands through his hair.

"Sweetie, let's wait for the paramedics helping your mom in your room, shall we?" Ben heard Leia urging Hannah not to look at her mother's unconscious body. "Are you hungry, honey?"

"Mom made me lunch," Hannah murmured, still watching the paramedics helping Rey.

"Oh, I bet she still has a dessert for you, she always does," Leia smiled. "Ben, will you please bring Hannah something from the fridge?"

Ben nodded. In two vast strides, he crossed the room and opened the cooler.

There was enough food for Hannah there, and yet...

There was nothing for Rey.

Oh, God...

He took a yogurt out of the fridge and brought it to his daughter. His world was spinning as he sat down on Hannah’s bed.

"Mr. Ben?" his daughter’s voice pulled him out of his trance.

"Yes, Hannah," Ben answered hoarsely.

"Will mommy die?"

The sight of his daughter's trembling lips broke his heart.

"Come here," he called, and to his and Leia's surprise, Hannah walked to him and crawled into Ben’s lap, sobbing. "Nothing is going to happen to your mom, sweetie. I promise you."

Ben could feel the girl calming down a bit, and it gave him strength. And then one of the paramedics walked to them.

"We need to get her to the hospital. She is malnourished and exhausted. And she has a fever."

"Of course!" Ben's mother exclaimed. "We'll cover everything!"

Hannah was sitting next to him as they followed the ambulance in Leia's car. The girl clung to his arm and wouldn't let go, and Ben caressed the crown of her hair, trying to calm his daughter down.

 

In the hospital, Ben watched Rey through a glass window of her room while the doctors were working on her.

"Hannah," he heard Leia's voice from behind. "You need to rest. Let's get you out of here while the doctors are helping your mother. I'll buy you some ice-cream."

Ice-cream... Ben smirked at that, remembering his own childhood and that drastic birthday when his mother offered to buy him an ice-cream instead of celebrating properly.

"No," Hannah shook her head. "I won't leave mommy."

"Hannah..."

"No."

"You need to eat. Your mother will be fine, I promise."

"NO!"

It happened in a flash. Suddenly, the little girl Ben had gotten to know in the past few weeks changed. She wasn't beaming with light any longer. Instead of that, there was a small ball of anger and fury screaming fiercely at his mother... Ben shivered. It reminded him of himself so much...

"I won't go anywhere!"

"Hannah!" Leia never liked it when children disobeyed. "Calm down, young lady! You need to rest!"

"I WON'T GO!!! MOMMY!!!"

Ben was speechless. So many times he had behaved like that when he was a child. Hannah was angry, and she couldn't control it. Just like he couldn't when he was younger. 

"Hannah!" Leia shouted. "Calm down immediately! Your behavior is unacceptable!"

And that was the moment Ben's body moved on its own.

"Stand back," he pushed his mother away, and Leia was so surprised that she obeyed.

Ben kneeled in front of his daughter and grabbed the girl by the shoulders and then hugged her tightly, immobilizing her. He could feel Hannah’s pain. He knew it too well.

"Hannah, you are upset..." he whispered into the girl's ear, feeling her starting to cry and sob in his arms. "And I get it... I know that you are scared, sweetheart... I promise we won't go anywhere. We'll wait here until the doctors tell us how your mommy is. And I promise, she will be fine," Hannah was crying louder in his arms now, but her body relaxed a bit. Ben had never heard these words directed towards him. He didn't know what to say, but he used his intuition. He had been a lost boy all those years before. And he felt the same as Hannah did now. However, no one had cared about his feelings back then, and he didn't want Hannah to find herself in the same situation. He loved his daughter, no matter how complex her behavior was now. "Sweetie, we won’t go anywhere, but I am hungry and you need to eat too. Let's grab sandwiches from the vending machine here. And then we'll sit here and wait, okay?"

Hannah hesitated for a second, but Ben waited patiently for her answer and finally she nodded, crying in his arms, and Ben hugged her tighter, feeling his mother's surprised look at them.

"Bring Hannah and me some hot chocolate, please," he turned to Leia, and to his surprise, the woman followed his instructions.

***

They were seated in Rey's hospital room, Ben with Hannah on his lap. The doctors had said his love was exhausted, malnourished and had a severe case of bronchitis, hence her state. Rey would be okay, but she needed rest and proper care. Hannah had gotten calmer when she realized that no one was going to take her from her mother, and Ben was ready to spend the night with his daughter in his arms if it meant she would feel comfortable. Leia had left to call Han, and Ben managed to get some alone time with his daughter.

"You have big ears," the girl murmured, caressing one of his earlobes.

"Oh, do I?" Ben smirked, turning his face towards her.

"Yes," she nodded. "Just like me."

"Your ears are beautiful," Ben assured her.

It was true. No matter how big her ears were, Hannah looked very lovely, and to him, no child was prettier. 

"Mommy says so too," Hannah leaned into his chest. "And you have black hair like me."

"I do..." Ben whispered, feeling the tears burning his eyes. His daughter was noticing their resemblance, and he could see it too. Not only did they look alike, but Hannah had been a lot like him when she had her angry outburst.

"But my nose is smaller than yours. I have mommy's nose, she told me so..."

Ben could only nod.

"Mister Ben?" Hannah asked, still lying on his chest. "Will mommy be fine?"

"She will," he almost sobbed. "She is the strongest woman I know."

Suddenly, Ben heard the sound of a cup falling on the floor. He and Hannah both looked up at the door where Leia stood watching them, her lips trembling and tears standing in her eyes as the realization fell over her.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 7.

Her first.

 

All those years ago.

"Come in, Rey," Kylo opened the door in front of the girl, letting her in.

She looked shy and innocent, and he lingered on her appearance for a moment.

Delicious...

"Please, take a seat," he nodded towards the sofa in his living room. "Here," he handed her a flute of champagne.

The best of the best it was, he was sure Rey had never tried anything like this before.

"Uhm... Thanks," she murmured, looking at the flute hesitatingly.

Of course, her age... Such an innocent little kitten... Delicious.

Kylo felt his mouth watering at the sight of Rey, but he didn't let it show. They had to discuss things first.

"Drink, I won't tell anyone," he smirked, sitting in front of her. "After all, if our agreement works, this will be the most innocent thing you'll be doing while with me."

Rey blushed but sipped on her champagne. 

"It's... very tasty," she whispered.

"Tasty" was not the word to describe "Dom Perignon Rose Gold" of 1995, but he would let her go with that... This time.

"I am glad you like it," he smiled. "But let me get straight to the point. I have already told you that this will be a casual thing. But also a commitment of a sort... Have you ever been someone's Sub or little one before?"

Rey shook her head, and Kylo almost smirked at how childish she looked right now. He actually loved his casual Subs a little bit more experienced. Not that he’d had any long-term commitments before... Just several escorts that came on call. He had never done anything like that with a student. It had been a taboo for him, and Snoke would have disapproved of it if he had known. But Kylo was tired of escorts. He wanted something fresh... Something a little bit more natural. And Rey with her naivety and youth was much to his taste, so much that he couldn't resist her.

However, Kylo would have to be careful, and he would also need to polish this girl.

He sighed.

 "I will be your Daddy. It means that I will behave like a parental figure of a sort, but our relationship will include sex. A lot of sex," he could feel the corners of his lips twitch at the gasp Rey gave out after his words. "And this is a dominant/submissive relationship. I will be your Dom, and you will be my Sub. That means that while you are with me, you will have to obey me and follow my commands. I will control every part of your life and behavior. And I will also give you tasks to follow while we are separated. If you obey, you'll get a reward, but if you disobey, you'll get punished."

"Punished?" Rey gasped again, and Kylo noticed her shiver. God, she had so much to learn!

"Yes," he grinned. "Punished... We'll discuss your boundaries later, but your punishment will include spanking, caning, orgasm denial, et cetera. I will also be able to tie you up and leave you alone in my playroom. I'll show it to you later... Don't be afraid," he added, watching Rey's shoulders sag. "In the end, you'll love your punishment, I promise you."

She looked up at him in disbelief.

"What you probably don't understand now is that we'll discuss your likes and dislikes," he explained. "And we'll discover your limits. If I punish you, it will be to make you better. A better little one for your Daddy. A better person for the rest of the world...  I will compensate for your punishment with a significant amount of pleasure... And you'll have stop-words if your discipline is a little too much for you. And once you say one of them, I will either be more gentle or try something different."

Kylo was sure Rey let out a breath of relief once she had heard him. She nodded, lowering her eyes, and he smiled at her.

"I will give you a small allowance… Decent enough, but not too big to draw any unnecessary attention to us. And I will buy you presents. Things... Clothes... Jewelry... You won't need anything while you are with me. And this relationship won't influence your educational process or grades... Maybe just a little," he smirked. After all, he could afford to give her better marks if she failed because she would be tired after their... "exercises"...  "But I am not pushing you into anything, and I will never demand anything from you in exchange for sex. Is that clear?"

Rey nodded again, blushing crimson and not looking Kylo in the eyes.

"Rey, look at me," he pressed, and she obeyed.

"I need you to understand what you are getting into and consider everything once again. If you disagree, I will call you a taxi, and we will part ways, and..."

"No!" she suddenly interrupted, and Kylo froze, looking at her inquiringly. It seemed Rey remembered herself because she murmured an apology and waited for his sign to go on. Kylo gave it to her. "I understand," she whispered. "And I agree to everything."

He  watched her intently... She seemed surprisingly eager, Kylo realized. He wondered why... Did she need money or someone to take care of her needs? Did she need sex? Kylo was intrigued but put this thought to the back of his head. He could think about it later.

"Well, then...” he shrugged. “Of course, nothing should change on campus. No one should know about our agreement. Your best friends should be unaware of it as well, is that clear? Because if anyone knows, I won't be punished... Trust me, I have enough influence..." It was true. He could deal with it if something happened. However, he didn't want that mess. "You, in exchange, will lose everything... But if you keep it secret, I will make sure that you are safe," he probably sounded too harsh, but Kylo needed to be clear with her.

"It's... It's not a problem... I don't have any friends... And my roommate is always with her boyfriend somewhere. I practically live alone," Rey murmured.

Kylo hated the way her words made him feel. Rey was quite good-looking and nice. Why didn't she have any friends then?

"Very well, Rey," Kylo nodded, deciding to figure out the answer to his question later. "Let's discuss your boundaries then... What do you like, and what do you not like?"

"Like?" it was as if Rey had been pulled out from a trance. "What..."

"Sex," Kylo frowned. "What do you like in sex?"

For a second, she was looking at him in confusion, and he tensed, not able to read her. And then...

"I don't know..."

What the actual fuck?!

"You... Don't know?" he tried to look as calm as he could.

"I have never been with a man before..."

Holy shit!!! A virgin?!

Kylo had to stop it right now. He had to! It was too dangerous! What if she broke after he deflowered her?! What if she lost it?! However, his cock was rock-hard in his pants.

Many years later, Kylo would remember that moment as the one when he got utterly lost in Rey. He hadn't realized it then, but her bright, naive face broke him. Rey cracked the shell he hid himself in and started to pull him out just by being herself...

"Rey..." he pulled himself together. "This thing will be a casual thing. Are you sure you want to lose your virginity with a man like me? This won't end with us being married or living together or whatever you probably have in your mind. I will be gentle, and you will like it, but, I repeat, this will be only a casual thing for me. Are you sure you want it?"

For a second, Kylo noticed an expression on her face that made his heart skip a beat. He cursed inwardly, hating that weakness, but deep inside, he had hidden a very simple realization... Kylo was afraid that she would refuse him.

"I am sure," Rey suddenly stated, looking at him confidently.

"May I ask why?" Kylo had to admit it finally: he was confused... Confused and intrigued by this beautiful young woman.

"I don't think I'll find a man who can... do it properly. And I... I'd rather do it with someone who knows what to do."

Her answer was simple, but Kylo realized that his cock would soon rip his pants... Rey had made a sage decision, he thought.

"Good girl," he growled, standing up from his armchair. Rey shivered again, and this time he didn't contain his smirk. Kylo loved the way she reacted to him. "We won't switch to dominant and submissive roles today. Today is your first time, and I want you to enjoy it without any extra stress... Do I understand it correctly that I have your consent?"

"Y... Yes..." Rey whispered.

"Can I see your bill of health?"

It was something Kylo had requested Rey to do. He had even arranged a meeting with the OB/Gyn for her. With her hands shaking, the girl pulled a folded paper out of her pocket and handed it to him. Kylo did the same thing, giving Rey all needed information about him. She was on pills for her period, something their free student clinic allowed her, and Kylo felt his mouth watering at the perspective of entering her bare.

"Wonderful," he whispered after checking the paper.  And then, he took a step towards the girl and lifted her from the sofa.

Rey shrieked, unprepared for this action, and clung into his shirt.

"Shh, darling... It is my time to act."

 

They were lying in his bed, Rey wriggling with his mouth on her cunt. He had almost choked realizing how tight she was. Kylo had never been with a virgin before, and all his encounters were actually older than Rey, no matter how much he liked to be a Daddy.

Rey was delicious...

She had been so wet when he pulled her pants off of her that Kylo couldn't resist; he attacked her immediately, devouring her perfect pussy. She had obviously never tried any of this before, and Kylo could tell Rey had been shocked at first, but he was good at what he was doing. His tongue was twirling around her pearl, applying more pressure on the spot as he heard her breathing getting faster. Carefully, Kylo inserted one finger into her narrow channel. 

"Argh!!!" Rey arched her back, and Kylo felt her cunt convulsing around it.

"Good girl," he whispered. 'Yes, Rey, yes!"

"Oh, my God..." he realized that she was crying now, overwhelmed by the sensation. Immediately, Kylo felt an unwanted sting in his chest. He had to calm her down.

He went up, reaching for her face with his lips. Her skin under them was so soft and perfect, slightly covered in sweat after her first orgasm.

"Rey," he whispered. "Open your eyes."

She obeyed, and he was captured by how beautiful her hazel orbs shone in the dim light of the room.

"You are okay," he stated quietly. "It is okay.” 

She nodded, sobbing and biting her lower lip.

"Do you want to stop?" he whispered, noticing his voice sounding more tender than he had expected.

"No..." Rey whispered back. "No... It's just too... Overwhelming..."

He kissed her on the lips then, hating the way his heart started beating faster. Her lips were so soft...

"You are almost ready for me... But I need to check something first..."

Her earlier tears forgotten, Rey watched him in surprise as he sat on the bed by her side and pushed her back, not letting her follow him.

"Close your eyes," he commanded softly.

She did.

Carefully, he started caressing her body with the tips of his fingers, touching every inch of the girl. Feet first, he touched every toe, noticing the changes in her breathing pattern. She loved it when he caressed her thumb. Carefully, he lifted her feet to his mouth and sucked on it.

"Ah..." Rey arched her back.

"I will remember this for later," he smirked, lowering her leg back to the bed.

He proceeded, up to her waist and shoulders. She loved it when he touched her inner thigh and almost cried out loudly when he touched her neck. Testing his guess, Kylo turned Rey on her stomach and gripped her nape. She was panting heavily now.

Gorgeous...

Kylo lowered himself, putting a wet hot kiss to the place where his hand lay. Rey moaned, and when Kylo put his palm on her warm wetness, he realized that she was almost gushing.

Rey also liked it when he touched her ear and caressed her hair. His examination was over, and now Kylo knew the full map of Rey's erogenous zones. She was so very drenched…

He turned the girl around, making Rey lie on her back.

"You are ready for me now," he murmured. "Do you wish to proceed?"

Rey nodded feverishly.

"Good girl. Bend your legs a little for me."

He placed herself between her thighs, pointing his head to her small entrance. He was rock hard... 

"It will hurt but the pain will fade, Rey," he whispered. And then, biting her earlobe, Kylo entered her in one swift movement.

Rey cried out, and Kylo could feel her hymen break. He let Rey adjust to him a little, suppressing the urge to come right then and there. She was so fucking tight! Kylo bit her neck, realizing that was her most sensitive part. And then, he started to move.

Rey sobbed at first, and Kylo knew she would be sore in the end. He reached for her clit then, starting to rub it fiercely, listening to how her sobs began to be replaced by moans gradually. He knew what he was doing.

"It will get so much better little one," he hissed, feeling sweat covering his forehead as he was trying not to come too soon. Rey was fucking gorgeous, and he felt like he was flying into open space, stars starting to appear in front of his eyes. Despite her initial pain, Rey was moaning louder and louder now. Her cunt convulsed a little, giving Kylo a sign of her upcoming orgasm. 

Perfect…

"Come for me, sweetheart! Come now!" he growled.

Rey climaxed under him with a loud cry, and Kylo followed her with a loud roar. She was so new... And yet, it was the most fantastic sex he had ever had.

He didn't make her go home that night. Kylo told himself that it was his duty as her Daddy to take care of her after the defloration. And he made her breakfast the following morning while they discussed how they would explore her limits together. He tried to convince himself that all those things he did to her on their first night together had been required. And he had tried his best to ignore the itching feeling in his chest when Rey left his apartment...

Now.

"God, Ben!" Leia was losing it. They had put Hannah to sleep next to her mother and were now standing by the door to the hospital room. "How could you... Why... How on Earth did it happen?! We found her bleeding by the road, giving birth to her child! How could you?!"

Of course, his mother assumed the worse...

"I had no idea Rey was with a child!" he hissed, trying to keep his voice low. "I made a mistake, but when I remembered myself, she was already gone and I couldn't find her!"

"You didn't fucking tell us!" his mother was mouthy when she was angry.

"Rey obviously didn't want me to tell anyone! And I wanted to figure it out by myself without involving my so-called family who would rather have me dead than have me back into their lives!" 

At that his mother gasped, entirely out of words. Ben felt a tingle of satisfaction in his chest. At least he had managed to make Leia shut her loud mouth. He didn't feel guilty at all about it.

"You know that is not true..." Leia whispered in a teary voice.

"Oh, this is not the time to discuss it," Ben rolled his eyes. "I told you I have  business to accomplish here. And at first, my business was to return to my family. However, it occurred that my family was absolutely different people... And I am going to be here for Rey and Hannah. And I am going to beg Rey, to crawl at her feet if needed, asking her to let me at least a little bit closer. But it has nothing to do with you!"

"Ben..." tears were running down Leia's face now. "But you are my son... And Hannah is my granddaughter..."

"No, I am not!" Ben hissed. "No, she isn't!"

"Ben!"

"Mr. Ben?..." they both turned in surprise to the sound of Hannah's voice.

The girl was looking at them, standing on the threshold of Rey's hospital room. The door was opened and behind it, Rey was sitting on the bed, watching both Ben and Leia with her eyes opened wide in terror.

***

Rey had woken up to the sound of something beeping by her side.

Where am I?

After a minute, she managed to focus on her surroundings. She was in a hospital room, and at first, she panicked, but then noticed her daughter sleeping peacefully by her side.

What happened?

Rey hated hospitals. She had an IV in her arm, and the machines were reading her heart rate and blood pressure. Rey felt feverish. By her side, Hannah opened her eyes and stretched a bit.

"Mommy?" she murmured sleepily.

"I am here, honey... What happened, sweetie? How did we get in here?" she shuddered, realizing that she should have lost consciousness somehow. Her little daughter must have been so terrified!

I am an awful mother...

Rey wanted to cry.

Hannah sat on the bed rubbing her eyes.

"You were sleeping on the floor and I couldn't wake you up. I called Mrs. Leia and she came to us with Mr. Ben," Hannah's lip trembled at the memory, and Rey hugged her with her free hand. 

What did he do there?! she thought about Ben, her anxiety striking her.

"I am sorry, baby," Rey whispered. "I will be okay, honey. I am so sorry you got so scared."

"Promise?" Hannah sobbed.

"That I will be fine?" Rey suppressed her tears at the sight of her daughter's sad face. She managed to smile cheerfully at the child. "I promise, baby."

Hannah's face lit up with a smile.

"Are you hungry?" Rey asked worriedly.

"Mr. Ben made me eat," Hannah shook her head. "He went to talk to Mrs. Leia, I think."

Rey gulped, concerned about why Ben was still here.

"I will call them!" Hannah shouted, jumping off of the bed before Rey was able to stop her.

The girl opened the door, and Rey saw Ben and Leia standing behind it, obviously quarreling over something.

"Ben..." Rey saw that Leia was crying now. "But you are my son... And Hannah is my granddaughter..."

"No, I am not!" he hissed. "No, she isn't!"

"Ben!"

"Mr. Ben?..." Hannah interrupted their discussion. Absolutely terrified, Rey saw Ben and Leia turning to her daughter.

Leia knew... Rey was ready to collapse now.

"Honey, we need to call a doctor," Leia hurried to Hannah.

Luckily for Leia, the doctor was passing her room. He stopped and entered, looking at Rey with a gentle smile on his face.

"Miss Niima," the doctor greeted. "I am glad to see you awake! How do you feel?"

It took the doctor several minutes to explain what had happened, and Rey had been terrified. Her daughter had been through too much, and now Leia knew that Hannah was actually Ben's daughter...

Everything was going to hell.

"Could you please take Hannah to the vending machine?" Leia asked a nurse when the doctor left. "Hannah, could you buy yourself a sandwich?" Rey tensed, knowing that Leia wanted her daughter out of the room. She was afraid that what the woman wanted to discuss with her was Rey’s greatest nightmare.

"I don't want a sandwich," Hannah murmured.

"Hannah, please, go eat a sandwich," Leia pressed. "We need to talk to your mom."

"She said she didn't want it," Rey started, but that was the moment when Hannah exploded.

"You are doing it again!!!!" she shouted. "I don't want a sandwich!"

"Hannah!" Leia said harshly.

"No!"

Rey was about to jump off of the bed to calm her daughter's outburst down. Hannah had it in her. Sometimes the girl lost it. The first time it happened, Rey had been terrified. She tried to chasten Hannah, but it only made things worse. Then Rey tried to think better, and what she had realized was that Hannah just couldn't cope with her emotions well. And now Rey knew that the girl only needed to be reminded that there was someone here who loved her. Who loved her no matter how bad her outbursts were. And she was there for her child. This time, however, somebody else surprised her.

Ben jumped to Hannah, taking the girl by the shoulders. Rey did the same thing every time Hannah was mad. With her eyes opened wide, Hannah looked at Ben, who was telling the most soothing words to her...

Hannah calmed down, and Rey was at a loss for words.

"Sweetheart, don't worry. Everything's fine, and you'll be with your mother soon. There is just an adult talk that we need to have here. Could you please bring a sandwich for me? Nurse Jennings here," Ben looked at the surprised nurse. "Will show you the way and bring you back."

To Rey's surprise, Hannah nodded. She paid Rey an insecure glance, and Rey tried to give her daughter a reassuring smile back. That conversation was inevitable, Rey realized. It was better now than later.

"I won't let you take my daughter from me," she hissed at Ben and Leia when the door closed behind Hannah's back.

"What?!" to her utter surprise, Ben looked confused. "No, Rey, no! We don't want to take Hannah from you!"

Leia, however, was silent for a moment, and Rey tensed, preparing for the worst.

"Honey," the woman finally said. "I wish you’d told us earlier..."

"Told you what?" Rey replied harshly. "I had no idea that you had two sons. You never spoke about Ben!"

From the corner of her eye, Rey saw Ben frowning and closing his eyes for a second, but she decided to ignore it for now.

"But when you saw him..."

"I don't want to talk about it!"

"Rey..."

"I said, I don't want to talk about it!" Rey resembled Hannah now. Her worst fear of losing her daughter still terrified her, and she thought that Leia would tell her that she wanted to take the girl away.

"Rey," Ben's voice made her freeze. It had been a while since she’d heard him talking like that to her. He sounded so tender... It was probably  on the night when he had taken her virginity from her, the first time she heard him talking like that... It had happened again later, but that first time was the most remarkable one... She couldn't move, hearing that voice... She didn't want to feel this way, but she couldn't fight it. "I know you don't have any reason to trust me... But I promise you, Hannah will stay with you, I will make sure of it... But you are sick and need attention. And Hannah won't leave you... Let..." he stammered, and Rey realized that Ben didn't know how to approach her.

"Let us take you to our house," Leia suddenly interfered. "You can stay in our guest room with Hannah. Until you feel better... You can't take care of her in your condition... And she is my granddaughter... I want you two to feel comfortable. I always have, you know it, honey..."

Rey was watching the two of them, her anxiety rising. But they were right. Hannah needed good care. And Rey was incapable of providing it to her now. Not in her state. At least, Leia’s suggestion would allow Rey to be with her daughter. And as for Ben... 

Rey still remembered the way he had acted with Hannah. In her wildest dreams, Rey wouldn’t have ever imagined Kylo Ren behaving like that with their daughter...

She had no other choice, it seemed...

Carefully, Rey nodded, giving Leia her consent.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 8.

 

Love.

 

After everything had been settled, the doctor let Rey go home. He was hesitant at first because Rey had a very high fever, but Hannah didn't want to leave her mother, and after a lengthy discussion, Rey was allowed to move to Leia's house. They had been given a lot of prescriptions, and the doctor made Rey promise that she would return to the hospital if she felt worse.

 

Now, Rey was lying in Han and Leia's guest room trying her best not to sleep. She was exhausted, but afraid to close her eyes in fear that Leia or Ben would decide to take her daughter from her after all.

 

It was stupid, she knew... Hannah was playing with Han right now, but at least Rey could hear her voice.

 

The door to her room opened with a crack, and Rey tried to see the person behind it.

 

"Rey..." it was Ben, and Rey would tense had she not been so exhausted. "Rey, are you okay? Why aren't you sleeping? Do you need anything?" she couldn't get used to how he talked to her now. He was still the same old Kylo, huge, dominant, and massive, but his voice... His voice was so tender...

 

"Hannah..." Rey whispered, unable to form any other words.

 

"She is watching the races with Han," Kylo frowned. "She is okay, Rey. We have just had dinner together. She also did her homework, and I wanted to ask you if it is okay for her to go to school tomorrow... She has missed a lot already. Leia contacted her teacher, telling her that you were ill, and she understood. I... I helped Hannah to catch up with several subjects today... Can she go to school tomorrow?"

 

Rey's eyes opened wide in terror. What if Hannah left and never came back to her?... 

 

Ben watched her for a moment, frowning, before he finally walked to Rey's bed and sat on it.

 

"Rey," he lowered his eyes and covered her weak hand with his, warm and large. "I... I heard you in the hospital... And I can see you are afraid to lose Hannah now, sweetheart, but I want you to believe in one thing: I will never take her away from you. And I won't let anyone take my daughter from her mother. You are the best thing that could have happened to Hannah, Rey..." to her utter surprise, Ben closed his eyes for a second, and she realized that he was trying to suppress his tears. "I would like to be able to see her, but if you don't want that, I will do it from a distance, trying not to bother you both... I... I had no idea I had a daughter, Rey... But I love her... I love her so much..."

 

Rey was too weak to say anything, and Ben pulled himself together.

 

"After all," he said, smiling sadly. "I have never lied to you, have I?"

 

Rey's eyes opened wide as she looked at this man. At the father of her daughter... At the only man she had ever been intimate with... At her only love who had broken her heart... She hated that she couldn't hate him now, but it was the truth. She couldn't... And Rey couldn't fight the growing feeling in her chest, the one that had been hidden in the bottom of her soul for six long years and that was coming back to the surface again now. Ben was right: he had never lied to her. Kylo had never promised Rey anything serious but had always kept every other promise he made...

 

"You have a high fever," Ben touched her forehead carefully. "The doctor said to give you a pill in case you have a fever. I will give it to you but it has a sedative effect. Please, don't fight it, sweetheart," Rey hated how her heart fluttered at Ben calling her that.

 

However, she took the pill. And the last thing Rey felt before she fell into a heavy dream was Ben's hand caressing her hair.

 

"Mr. Ben, is mommy better?" the voices were blurred in Rey's ears, but she recognized Hannah's voice.

 

"She is better, but she is still weak and has a fever. But I promise, she'll get better soon, honey," it was Ben's voice now. He was talking to Rey's daughter, but Rey couldn't open her eyes.

"I will sleep with her."

"Of course. But you need to sleep in your bed here. Mommy is weak, and she needs space in her own bed."

 

For several seconds everything was quiet, and then Rey heard her daughter's sob.

 

"Honey," Ben's soothing voice was still there. "I know you are upset. But I promise you, you'll be able to hug mommy when she is awake. But I'll stay with you until you fall asleep, and if you wake up and need anything, my room is right next to yours... Just knock on the door and I will come to you, okay?"

"Okay," Hannah was crying now, and Rey's heart shattered to pieces.

"Do you want to hear a story?" it seemed Ben's request soothed Hannah's anxiety. The girl agreed, and Rey heard some rustling as if Ben was tucking Hannah under her blanket. "Do you have any favorite stories?"

"Beauty and the Beast!"

 

Ben was silent for several moments.

 

"I don't remember the whole story," he finally said. "But I will tell you an alternative version, okay?"

"Okay!" Rey heard Hannah's laugh.

"Once upon a time..."

 

Rey listened to the fairy tale, not believing her ears. Ben was telling Hannah their story, leaving every sexual detail out of context. He told the girl about how the Beast met a beautiful young girl in the forest and was captivated by her beauty. He told Hannah about how the Beast couldn't figure out the way he felt, thinking that the girl's beauty was the only thing that interested him... He told Hannah about a huge fight between the Beast and the girl after which the Beast threw the girl into the forest in the middle of winter...

 

"That was rude of him," Hannah stated sleepily.

"He was foolish..." Ben sighed. "He made a huge mistake because when the girl left him, the Beast realized that she was the only thing he loved in the world..."

 

Rey's heart skipped a beat again. Did he mean it?...

 

"Did he find her?" Hannah asked, curiously.

"He did..."

"And what happened next?"

 

For some time, Ben didn’t answer.

 

"What do you think?" he finally asked. "Did the girl forgive the Beast?"

"She did!" Hannah exclaimed, and Ben had to ask her to keep it quiet so as not to disturb her mommy.

"What makes you so sure?" he asked bemusedly after Hannah had calmed down.

"Well, she loved him... And mommy says that when you love someone, you can forgive them of anything!"

 

Rey heard Ben chuckle and... sob?

 

"You are right... The Beast found the girl and they got married, and they lived happily ever after..." he concluded, his voice shaking.

"But he had to turn into a beautiful prince! Like in the cartoon!"

"Well, it was an alternative version," Rey heard Ben kissing Hannah’s head softly. "And the Beast was actually a beast... The girl just happened to love him just the way he was..."

"But he was ugly..." Hannah whined.

'He was, but she didn't care."

"I don't like this story," Hannah grumbled, and Rey heard Ben chuckle again.

'Well, maybe tomorrow I will find a proper book," Ben laughed quietly.

"Okay..." Hannah yawned. Within several minutes Rey could hear her daughter's soft breathing.

 

Rey was dozing off herself when she felt Ben's warm hand on hers again. He obviously didn't know that she was semi-awake and was talking to her now.

 

"I think I have actually lied to you..." Ben whispered. "I lied to you when I told you that it was a casual thing for me... For a while after I met you, it was... But then... Rey... I am so sorry," he was crying now, but Rey couldn't focus on Ben's words anymore.

 

The last thing she heard before she fell asleep was Ben telling her the words she had never expected to hear from him.

 

"Rey, I love you so much... You can't even imagine, sweetheart... I am so sorry..."

 

She wasn't sorry that he had actually said it... She was dozing off, after all.

 

After two days, Rey finally opened her eyes, feeling much better. She was all sweaty, feeling the moisture covering her body. Her fever had broken, and she was absolutely wet now. Rey sat on her bed and looked around, shivering. It was already evening, and she could hear Hannah's voice somewhere downstairs. 

 

Rey was dying of thirst. She looked at the glass by her bed but it was empty. She vaguely remembered drinking water from it some time ago. Rubbing her temples, Rey got out of bed.

 

She was wearing a light chemise and shivered as the air of the room touched her recovering body. Good thing there was a robe lying on the chair next to Rey's bed.

 

She went downstairs to get some water from the kitchen and find Hannah when the view in front of her eyes made her stop and freeze in place. There, in the kitchen, sat Ben and Leia, their backs turned to the door. They were quarreling over something again...

 

"Ben, Poe apologized to me for everything he did. And to your father as well... He feels sorry and wants to make amends with you..."

"Really?" Ben smirked. "Well, he can put his apologies up his ass..."

"Ben!" Leia exclaimed. "We are all very sorry... Truly, son... We had no idea... And we owe you a lot, please..."

"Well, actually Han hasn't even tried to approach me... I am grateful to him for that because I wouldn't like to waste my time on sending him to hell, but I would really love it if you left me alone!"

"Son! You are our family! Our blood!" Leia pleaded.

"Listen," Ben stood up from his char, watching Leia intently. "I am your blood, that is true. And as a biologist, I can tell you that is the case because I pushed my way through your vagina and was conceived by one of Han's little swimmer boys," Ben smirked as Leia gasped. "However, you are not my family. I have a family. And it’s Rey and Hannah... And I will spend my life trying to deserve to be near them... At least from time to time. But you! You leave me alone!"

"About that..." Leia sighed heavily. "This is also important... I talked to the lawyers the other day... They say that if we prove that you are Hannah's father, we could win full custody over her, and she can live here with us... I..."

"No!"

 

At the moment when Ben said the word, the glass fell from Rey's hands and shattered into pieces.

 

Her world was caving in, and she folded in half, sobbing. So it was true. Leia... Leia wanted to take her daughter from her...

 

"Rey!" Ben finally noticed her, rushing towards the entrance to the kitchen, trying to save her from falling. She pushed him away.

 

"Don't fucking touch me!" she hissed.

"Rey, I won't let her do it," Ben stated, trying to reach for her.

"Darling," Leia's voice made Rey turn her head towards the woman. "You will still be able to see her. I just want Hannah to live in more comfortable conditions, and..."

"Shut your fucking mouth!" it was Ben's voice that made Rey shiver now. She couldn't stop crying, and couldn't speak, but watched him taking a step towards his mother. "If you dare speak about it ever again, I will fucking kill you..."

 

Leia gasped.

 

"Ben..." she whispered.

"You didn't know what to do with your own child," Ben hissed. "And once he started having anger outbursts, you sent him to a shrink and decided that he was uncontrollable. You fucking took another child into your family, neglecting your firstborn! Don't you dare think that I will let you take Hannah from her mother. You are nothing in comparison to Rey."

"But Ben, she is your daughter... She is..."

"If Rey doesn't want me near Hannah, I will watch them from a distance and will make sure they have everything. But I will fucking respect Rey's wishes... And if you dare come closer to her or me or our daughter, I will tear your fucking throat apart, do you hear me?!"

 

Ben turned to Rey.

 

"I am taking you and Hannah away from here."

 

Rey didn't move. She was so terrified. How could she trust him? Rey couldn't stay here, but leaving with him was also a dreadful option.

 

"Sweetheart," Ben suddenly whispered, taking a step towards her. "I promised you that I won't take Hannah from you... Let me take you somewhere safe... You can't stay here... Please," he reached for her, giving Rey an opportunity to take his hand or refuse it.

 

He looked so vulnerable... Rey couldn't stop crying.

 

It seemed Ben was her only option now. 

 

She took his hand.

 

"Hannah!" Ben shouted, supporting Rey by the back and leading her away from the kitchen. "Hannah, come here, sweetheart. Your mother is better, we need to leave now!"

"But I was playing with Mr. Han!" Hannah whined.

 

For a second, Rey was afraid that Ben would burst out in frustration, causing another one of Hannah's anger outbursts. And probably, Ben was about to, but he stopped himself. Carefully, he kneeled in front of the girl and managed to smile. Rey hid her tears, trying not to concern her baby girl.

 

"Sweetheart... Your mother is better, but she needs to leave now to feel even more better. Please, go collect your stuff, I will explain everything else to you on the way, okay?"

 

Hannah pouted her lip, but nodded, rushing up the stairs to the guest room where her stuff was.

 

"What's going on here?" Han frowned, looking at Ben squinting. Ben didn't answer him.

 

He wanted to help Rey climb up the stairs, holding her by the back, but Rey realized that she couldn't go further, her last strength leaving her. Ben eyed her up and down, examining her carefully.

 

"I am sorry, sweetheart, but this has to be done," he murmured, and then lifted Rey up, carrying her to the bedroom bridal style.

"Ben!" Leia cried. "She is our granddaughter! I'm sorry! I'm sorry... I won't do anything... Please, don't leave!" she was running after them, Han following her in confusion.

"Who?..." he mumbled. "What?..."

Rey didn't have too many belongings, but her dress that she had been given back in the hospital was just too thin for the cold night air outside. It seemed the same realization hit Ben. He rushed to his room, carrying something in his hands on his way back.

"Here," he handed Rey a giant hoodie. "Put it on, sweetheart... Or you'll get cold again..."

"What the fuck is going on here?!" Han groaned, and Rey was happy that Hannah was collecting her toothbrush from the bathroom that was attached to the bedroom and couldn't hear anything.

"Hannah is Ben's daughter," Leia sobbed, and Rey turned to her, looking at the woman hatefully. Couldn't the old hag keep her mouth shut for a little bit longer?!

"What?!" Han was bewildered, and it seemed that forming the words was hard for him.

 

Rey struggled, walking to them, her fever coming back.

 

"You," she pointed at Leia. "Stay away from my daughter and me... Or I will fucking kill you, I swear!"

 

She didn't even notice how much she resembled Ben from just a few minutes ago right now.

 

"Our Uber is here," Ben informed her, taking Rey's hand in his. She didn't have enough strength to resist this time, letting him. Surprisingly, for the first time in years, his presence was actually giving her a feeling of protection.

"Hannah, sweetie?" she called in a weak voice.

"I am ready!" the girl beamed, walking out of the room with her little "Hello Kitty" bag.

"Wonderful,"  Ben forced a smile. "Let's go."

 

He carried Rey down the stairs, the action making Hannah laugh.

 

"Mommy is like a princess!" she exclaimed.

"She is," Ben murmured, and Rey wasn't sure that somebody but her had heard it. She was drowning in Ben's scent now. It was coming from both his hoodie and himself, and she was intoxicated.

 

Once they were by the car, Ben opened the door for Hannah and the girl climbed in. Rey was about to follow when she heard Han and Leia approaching them again.

 

"Son... Is... Is that true?" Rey turned abruptly to the sound of Han's voice. The man was crying...

"It is," Ben stated. "But don't you dare come near them. Leia has said enough today."

"I have no idea what happened," Han pleaded.

"Ask your wife," Ben hissed, pushing Rey into the car and following her.

 

Rey didn't look back as they drove away.

 

***

 

All his senses were heightened. He ordered a big car, so the three of them were sitting in the backseat, Hannah dozing off in her child seat. Rey was looking straight ahead and obviously didn't want to talk. Or wasn't able to, crushed by the events of the day. Ben wished he could hold her... He wished he could do something... anything to make her pain stop.

 

His mother had never had limits. She had always assumed that she knew what was best for everyone. Never willing to listen to anybody, Leia made decisions for those who were close to her... She had sent him to the shrink all those years ago, never trying to listen to him. To ask him what was wrong. To figure out his feelings... And now she had intended to take his child away from Rey... Ben's fists clenched again. He would never let that happen.

 

"Where are you taking me?" Rey suddenly asked.

 

Ben hurt from the way her voice sounded. It was weak and tender, and so very vulnerable. Well, at least she had let him take her away from his parents' house... That had to mean something, right? Maybe she would at least let him see Hannah from time to time... Maybe...

 

"To your apartment," Ben hurried to soothe her. "I am not going to take you or Hannah anywhere you don't want to go, Rey."

She looked at him with so much concern in her eyes, trying to read him... Just as she had done all those years ago when they had been together. It seemed, his expression calmed her down a bit. She nodded.

 

By Rey's house, Ben took a sleeping Hannah from her carseat and carried her upstairs, watching Rey following. She had gained some strength on their way, so she was walking herself now. He would carry them both if needed but it would be much more complicated, so Ben was glad that Rey was able to walk.

 

By Rey's door, they saw a delivery guy staring at the entrance to Rey's apartment confusedly.

 

"Hello?" Rey asked hesitantly.

"Um... Delivery?" the guy shrugged.

"Oh, it's okay!" Ben hurried to the guy. "I ordered some groceries while we were driving. You both need to eat," he explained to Rey.

 

She was watching him in confusion as he paid the guy a tip, trying not to wake Hannah up.

 

"Will you open the door, Rey?" Ben asked, seeing that she was still frozen to her spot.

"Oh... Right..." she remembered herself. "I... I think I can carry this..." she took the delivery basket from his hands and opened the door, walking into the apartment.

 

They put Hannah into her bed and walked into the kitchen where Rey sat on the chair, unable to keep standing. She looked at Ben, frowning.

 

"You really shouldn't have..." she nodded towards the basket. "But thank you."

 

Ben took a step towards her, still keeping a respectful distance not to scare Rey. She didn't tense, and Ben took it as a good sign.

 

"Rey," he rubbed his eyes. "I am sorry for what my mother tried to do... I had no idea."

"I know," she interrupted him. "I... I could be mad at you for... everything really... But I believe you didn't want to take Hannah from me. I should... I should respect that..."

"Good..." he tried to find words. "Rey, can we talk, please?"

 

At this she finally tensed, but Ben didn't move, waiting patiently for her answer.

 

"Okay..." she finally nodded, and for a moment, Ben thought that his world stopped turning.

"First of all," he started. "May I sit down?"

 

Rey seemed confused by his request, but he wanted to let her understand that in this situation, she was in the lead. He wouldn't do anything that she didn't want.

 

"Of course," she whispered, nodding at the chair across the table from her. Ben took his place.

 

"Rey, I know that you have no reason to trust me, but you are unwell now... And you are physically weak and need medical attention. I will get straight to the point, knowing that you prefer to talk this way. Please, let me stay here until you feel better. I will sleep on the floor, I don't need anything... Just please, let me take care of Hannah... and you."

 

In a romantic novel, Rey would probably refuse him, trying to fight back, not letting him in. In a romantic novel, they would have an emotional breakdown, followed by a catharsis of a character. Rey, however, was not a heroine of a romantic novel. She had always been practical and could see what was better for her under different circumstances. Ben loved it about her so much...

 

"Okay..." she nodded. "But you can take the couch... It won't be comfortable, but it's better than sleeping on the floor. I'll sleep with Hannah."

"Thank you," he breathed. "But I can sleep on the floor, I don't want you to feel uncomfortable."

"Hannah has been nervous for the last couple of days," Rey rubbed her eyes. "I always sleep with her when she is like that... She sometimes has problems at school with her emotional outbursts... Not often, but..." Rey closed her eyes for a second, and Ben felt his heart aching for his daughter. 

 

He remembered himself at school. It was a nightmare, and he had often found himself crying under some stairs, hiding from the bullies. He wondered what his daughter's outbursts were about. Because if some children were bullying Hannah, he would hunt them down and destroy the bastards. 

 

Ben covered Rey's hand with his, and she shivered but took it away only after several moments. "I am okay," she smiled weakly.

"No, you are not..." Ben frowned. "You are sick, and you need to go to bed. Do you want something to eat?"

"I am not hungry."

 

Rey was always hungry. That was a consequence of her childhood spent in the foster system. The fact that she didn't want to eat now meant only one thing: she was very ill. 

 

Not asking for her permission this time, Ben rose from his chair and took Rey in his arms again. She was too tired to protest, and he carried her to Hannah's bedroom.

 

"I am sorry," Rey whispered when Ben was already about to leave.

"What?" he turned to her, thinking that he had misheard something.

"I am sorry... For what happened to you in your childhood," she murmured, closing her eyes.

"Don't be," Ben caressed her eyebrows, trying not to cry. "I've got everything I need now," she was already asleep and couldn't hear him. "I love you, sweetheart," kissing Rey's forehead, Ben left the room.

 

He was woken up in the middle of the night by the sounds of Hannah's screaming.

 

"No, no, no!!! Mommy!" the girl cried.

 

Bewildered, Ben rushed to the bedroom. On Hannah's bed, Rey was trying to stop her daughter wriggling and crying in her sleep.

 

"Hannah, Hannah, wake up!" Rey urged. "It's just a dream, you are safe!"

 

Ben ran to the girl and shook her by the shoulders.

 

"Hannah, open your eyes, sweetheart!"

 

The girl woke up finally.

 

"Mr. Ben?" she cried. "Mommy!"

 

Rey hugged her tightly, caressing Hannah's hair.

 

"You had a bad dream, sweetie. You are safe. Everything is fine," she murmured, soothing the child. Ben also put his hand on Hannah's nape. She was gradually getting calmer.

"Can you stay here?" the child suddenly asked, turning to him.

 

Ben looked at Rey hesitantly.

 

"May I?" he mouthed.

 

Rey froze but nodded after a second. 

 

The three of them lay in the bed together, Hannah lying between her parents. Rey's hand was on the girl's shoulder, and Ben couldn't help but cover the woman's wrist with his palm. She shivered and looked at him... but didn't take her hand back. Tears were rolling down Rey's cheeks, and Ben was also crying, listening to their daughter's soft breathing. He then moved his hand to caress Rey's jawline.

 

"Sleep, sweetheart," he whispered, managing to smile at her. 

 

Rey nodded and closed her eyes, the three of them entering dreamland together.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 9.

 

Center of the world.

Rey's fever hit her again at night, and in the morning, she felt terrible. She only managed to gain some consciousness at the sound of Hannah's laughter that was coming from the kitchen.

For a second, Rey smiled, and then it hit her...

Her eyes opened in a flash, terror filling her body.

Her daughter wasn't with her.

Shaking, Rey tried to get off of the bed, but lost balance and fell noisily.

Two massive arms were around her in a minute.

"Sweetheart," Ben whispered, caressing her ear with his hot breathing. "What are you doing?"

"Hannah..." Rey whispered hoarsely.

"She is in the kitchen having breakfast," Ben lifted Rey from the floor and put her back on the bed carefully. "I cooked for her. Don't get up, darling, you are weak, and Hannah knows that you are sick. She will be worried to see you stumbling like this. Why did you get up?..." And then it hit him. "Jesus, Rey, I am not taking your daughter from you," he didn't sound angry, just upset. Rey was too weak to speak and was now lying on the bed watching him. "Sweetheart," Ben ran his hand through his hair. "I will make Hannah stay at home if you want, but she needs to go to school... Can I take her there?" Rey's blood went cold once again, and she started panting heavily, trying to form words. It was hard as her panic was taking over her. "Sweetheart!" Ben could see the turmoil of emotions in her eyes, and so he did something that made Rey freeze. Ben grabbed her tightly, hugging her and breathing hot air into the crook of her neck. "Love..." the word made Rey's heart shatter, but Ben was holding her tightly, so she managed to pull herself together...

Rey was surprised that he could make her feel this much calmer. He, Kylo Ren... Somehow, she finally realized, he wasn't him any longer. It was Ben holding her. And Ben felt so safe...

She tried her best not to trust him, but his breathing on her neck was so soothing that she couldn't... Tears started to run down her cheeks.

He called her Love...

She had dreamt of hearing this word from Kylo all those years ago... And now, after everything he had done to her, Rey wanted to hate him for saying it out loud. However, her traitorous heart refused to hate this man.

"Sweetheart," Ben called her, and Rey turned her attention to him. "I promise you, I will drive Hannah to school and can take her from there in the afternoon... When you were still at Leia's," the mention of Ben's mother made Rey tense. "She called Hannah's teacher, and now they know me at school. They know you are unwell. However, I don't want Leia or Han to turn up there and talk to our daughter... I don't think they will," Ben hugged Rey tighter, feeling the way she almost pulled back from him. "But just in case I want to drive her to her classes... And Hannah needs to study, you know that..."

He had a point, Rey realized. Ben was right. And, truth be told, in her condition, she couldn't take care of Hannah. And Ben had had every opportunity to take Rey's girl away but he hadn't. Rey had to relax a bit, or she would go mad.

She nodded, and Ben put her back on the bed, tucking Rey under the blanket.

"Rey, I will be back in half an hour, are you hungry now?"

She shook her head weakly.

"Okay," Ben frowned. "But when I get back, you'll need to eat. Hannah will sleep on the couch for the next couple of days," Rey wanted to protest, but he stopped her. "You have a high fever...The couch is small, and Hannah will fit there perfectly for several days. I will make sure she does. And you need a proper bed for yourself. I will sleep on the floor. It's not such a big deal..." Rey couldn't contradict him. She was too weak.

She tried her best not to sleep while Ben was away, but five minutes after Ben and Hannah had closed the door behind them, Rey couldn't fight it any longer. Closing her eyes, she prayed that Ben didn't betray her this time...

 

Rey opened her eyes. Her head was exploding from pain, and for the first several minutes, she couldn't understand where she was. And then, she felt something heavy lying by her arm. Rey turned her head.

Ben was sleeping by her bed, his head lying on it, but his massive body resting on the floor. He looked exhausted and sad, and Rey couldn't help but run her fingers through his locks, feeling their still familiar softness. He opened his eyes abruptly, and Rey pulled her hand away.

"Sweetheart," Ben murmured hoarsely, trying to focus on her. "How do you feel?"

"My... head..." Rey managed. "Hannah?..."

"She is at school and was happy to see her friends," Ben smiled. "I will bring you some Advil... And you need to eat."

After the Advil had finally worked, Ben brought Rey some food. He made an omelet with bacon, something she loved so much! Could he still remember small things like this about her? They didn't talk, and Rey tried to ignore his intent look on her body and face.

"I will feed you properly," Ben murmured to himself.

Rey could barely hear him. She looked up at his massive form, and Ben seemed to remember himself.

"Rey," he whispered, caressing her cheek. "Please, let me take care of you... At least until you feel better? Please?"

She should have refused, but life was a complicated thing. Rey hated the way Ben was making her feel. She felt like home by his side... She had always felt like this with him, even when Ben was Kylo. Life was a complicated thing, and sometimes, it didn't take someone long to forget or forgive. Rey didn't forgive, but she let Ben near... Nodding, she closed her eyes, and fell asleep again.

 

Ben brought Hannah back in the afternoon, and immediately Rey felt calmer. She felt good enough to call Finn now. Rey knew that her best friend would be worried about her, and Rey wasn't sure if Leia or Poe hadn't contacted him first, telling Rey's friend their own twisted version of the truth. Luckily, Rey was there first.

"Peanut!" Finn exclaimed. "How are you? How is Hannah? Are you still in Mrs. Organa's?"

She didn't explain a lot to him, just some things. Rey didn't mention finding Hannah's father, just told Finn that Leia had wanted to take Hannah from her, and that Ben had helped her. She promised Finn that she was okay and carefully made sure that he wouldn't turn up in her apartment. Rey didn't want to face anyone just yet. She would let it all calm down. She would get better and think about what to do later.

 

In the evening, Rey felt good enough to enter the kitchen. Ben was sitting next to Hannah at the table, helping the girl with her homework.

"Do you understand now?" Ben asked the girl, smiling.

"Oh, so it's eleven?!"

"Exactly! Well done, honey!"

Rey felt tears starting to burn her eyes again. This image she couldn't imagine even in her most beautiful dreams...

Ben finally noticed her.

"Rey!" he rushed towards her, taking her into his arms and trying to get Rey to the chair by the table. "You should have stayed in bed. I would have brought Hannah to you when we finished her homework."

"I'm better now," Rey smiled weakly, and at this moment Ben gasped, looking at her.

They stood together in the kitchen, and Ben was watching Rey’s face, making her nervous.

What was going on?

She raised a brow at him.

"You've..." he stammered. "You've never smiled at me since..."

Oh...

Rey lowered her eyes, not knowing what to say.

"Mommy, Mr. Ben taught me how to multiply and add!" Rey was grateful to her daughter for pulling both Ben and herself out from this awkward situation. Ben smiled at Hannah heartily.

"Hannah did a marvelous job," he took a step towards the girl and caressed the crown of her head.

"Mr. Ben said I was like Pifaloras!" Hannah beamed proudly, causing Rey to raise her brow.

"Pythagoras," Ben laughed, and Rey couldn't help but join him.

"Oh, that good!" she smiled even wider, looking at her daughter's happiness.

Hannah struggled with arithmetic sometimes, and it took all of Rey's willpower not to get too annoyed by it. Ben, it seemed, had no problems with explaining things to the girl.

Well, he is a Professor, a teacher, after all... Rey thought to herself.

She frowned, reminded once again of what had happened between the two of them.

 "I made some chicken noodle soup for you," Ben's voice pulled her out of her trance. "You need to eat, sweetheart, at least a bit."

Rey smiled at him, nodding lightly, still unsure of what to make of him calling her this. Maybe, she was delirious. Perhaps, she should have snapped at him, telling Ben that she was not his sweetheart, but... It felt so damn good... Rey decided to think about it later.

 

She had gotten tired pretty quickly, and Ben was the one to put Hannah to bed. When everything was settled, he entered Rey's room with a cup of steaming hot tea in his hands.

"Here, and I also brought you your pills," he put the cup next to her bed and was about to leave when Rey stopped him.

"Wait!" she called, and Ben turned to her immediately. And Rey... She didn't know what to say. 

She had no idea what had made her call out to him, but she had, and she was so confused now! It was clear as day to her that she didn't want Ben to leave... Even if she hated it.

"Rey?" he whispered hoarsely. "What is it, sweetheart? Do you need anything?" Ben looked so worried... So worried and so fucking fragile.

"Can you... Can you sit with me for a bit?" Rey asked hesitatingly.

"Of course," he definitely looked like she had just given him the world with this request.

 

Ben sat on the floor by her bed, running his hand through his raven locks. Rey hated the way she craved him, craved touching him, craved running her hand through his hair... She tried to stop her train of thought, but she couldn't. And then she remembered what she wanted to ask him.

 

"Can you tell me about your childhood?" Rey asked quietly.

Ben frowned.

"It is not a funny story, and I am not sure my version will be the same as Han and Leia's... Or Poe's... You probably won’t like it, and as far as I understand they are all important to you..."

Was he trying to protect her? Protect her relationship with his parents? Rey was surprised, and she would probably have been grateful for that had the situation been different, but...

"Leia wanted to take my child away from me... I don't think that anything will make me think less of her..."

Ben looked at her intently.

And then, he nodded.

"Okay, sweetheart, as you wish... But..." he stammered, probably looking for words. "But I want you to know that nothing about it justifies what I did to you..."

It was the first time Ben had mentioned their situation this openly. Rey gritted her teeth, feeling the sting of pain in her chest. It did hurt to remember what she had  gone through because of him. She looked at Ben frowning.

"You are right, it doesn't," she murmured. "But I still would like to listen to it."

And just like that, after another glance at Rey, Ben started to speak.

 

After several hours of Ben's childhood stories, Rey started to sob uncontrollably. There was so much pain in his every word. She didn't want to believe that Han and Leia, whom she had considered the most caring and kind people in the world after what they had done for her and Hannah, could do something like that to their own child...  Ben's stories about Poe sounded more plausible, but still, how fucking could he?!

Ben reminded Rey of her own stories, no matter how hard she tried to suppress these thoughts. He wasn't looking at her now, watching his hands that were lying on his knees in front of him. Rey couldn't take his words anymore.

Finally, Ben noticed her distress.

"Rey!" he was by her side in a flash. "I'm sorry, sweetheart," he whispered, hugging her tightly. "I didn't want to upset you..."

"No... no!" she sobbed again. "Don't... Don't be sorry."

"Hey," he kissed her temple, and Rey shivered at the sensation. It had been so long since he had touched her like this... "Let me bring you some more tea. And then you'll go back to sleep... I promise I am fine now, Rey."

She stopped him when Ben tried to stand up and go to the kitchen, and he sat back on the bed, looking at her worriedly.

"I heard what you said back then in Leia's dining room... When you left their home..." Ben was watching her quietly, waiting for her following words. "They were so cruel to you... Ben... I'm... I'm so sorry..."

He caressed her hand, tenderly.

"Don't be," he smiled sadly. "It's not your fault..."

"It's not that," Rey wiped her tears with her forearm. "You... You hurt me so badly... But... But I can understand why you became him ..."

Ben didn't need any explanation of who this "him" was...

"Rey, no," he shook his head. "No. I told you that my childhood doesn't justify anything, and it doesn't... You... You were always too kind to me. Back when I was him , you always believed that I was better than I actually was! And I was a monster... You..." he stammered, and Rey couldn't believe her eyes, because Ben was also crying now. Her heart was breaking to pieces at the sight of this massive man crying... "You almost died... I had no idea that you were with Hannah, and you raised her alone so well... I..." he sobbed, unable to speak.

And just like that, together they cried, sitting on Hannah's bed, and Rey couldn't hate Ben anymore... And if she was absolutely honest with herself, she knew that she could probably never hate him...

That feeling in her chest blossomed again.

Here he was, the only man she had ever been with, the father of her child. And she had no idea what Ben wanted from her, but she fucking loved him. She loved him and was absolutely terrified by it.

"I'm so sorry, Rey..." Ben whispered, still in tears.

He was looking at her now, and Rey could only nod at him.

"You need to rest," he finally rose from the bed and pulled the blanket to cover her. Ben had managed to fight his tears, but his face was red and puffy now.

"Ben?" Rey called, and he froze like he did every time she was calling for him. It was as if he was afraid to miss something and tried his best to listen carefully. "Can you... Can you stay here tonight? The floor is uncomfortable, and we will fit in here. I... I don't mean anything, just... I just want you to be comfortable..."

Rey could see the flow of emotions running across Ben's face.

"Are you... Are you sure, sweetheart?" he asked carefully, and Rey could swear she could hear a hopeful note to his words.

"Yes," Rey nodded, and after a second, Ben nodded back.

 

That night Rey laid next to Ben, his masculine scent she knew so well reaching her nostrils. They weren't touching each other, and Ben was obviously trying his best to make Rey think that he was asleep, but she knew that he wasn't. She, on the contrary, was dozing off quickly. And what she didn't want to admit yet was that it was because she actually finally felt protected.

***

A week had passed by very quickly. Rey had called Maz, telling the woman that she was sick, but taken care of. Ben insisted that Rey didn't go to work until she wasn't completely healthy, and to his greatest joy and surprise, she agreed.

He tried to take care of Rey's every need. Ben cooked and cleaned the house, he made sure that Rey took her medicine on time, and he also drove Hannah to and from school.

His daughter was pure happiness. She had her issues like every child of her age, but she was so bright and beautiful! Ben couldn't be more proud of Hannah.

However, they had fought once. Hannah was stubborn and didn't want to do her homework. Ben tried to insist, but the girl didn't want to listen. She had thrown another tantrum, and Ben had not been prepared for it.

Ben thought about it later, trying to evaluate his actions, and, although he had almost lost it, he was proud of himself for being able to stop.

 

He sat in front of the girl, looking her in the eyes.

"Okay, Hannah," he sighed. "You don't want to do your homework... May I ask why?"

"It's boring!" Hannah exclaimed, stamping her foot.

"Can you be a bit quieter?" Ben asked. "You will wake your mom."

No matter what, Hannah always cared about Rey. The girl pouted but stopped shouting.

"I know it can be boring, sweetheart... But it is just some reading. We can do it together and talk about it later... I thought you liked it?"

"No..."

Something was off, Ben could tell. He'd read with Hannah a million times, and Hannah loved reading. She could struggle with arithmetic, but reading... Reading was something she loved.

"Sweetheart," he looked at the girl tenderly. "How about I make you some hot chocolate, and you'll tell me how things were at school today?"

"I don't want..." suddenly, Hannah started to sob, and Ben realized he had hit the bull's eye.

He leaned into his daughter and hugged her tightly. 

"What happened?" he asked again, feeling Hannah starting to shake with sobs.

"It's Nick!"

Ben raised his brow. Who the hell was Nick?

"Who is Nick?" he tried to sound as calm as he could.

"Nick Roberts! He is in my class... He told me..."

So there was a boy involved... Hannah was just five and a half, but Ben was already ready to buy a gun to protect her from any boy who dared to come near her.

"What did he say?"

"He said that I am stupid because I read a lot! And... And he pulled my pigtails!"

Ben closed his eyes. He was definitely not prepared for this talk, but he had to try... Boys were stupid... Hannah was beautiful... And if Rey let him be near his daughter, situations like this would only increase in number... Maybe he had to buy a gun after all... He took a deep breath and started to talk.

 

Aside from that situation, everything had been perfect, considering... The morning after he and Rey had fallen asleep in one bed, Ben had woken up with the sleeping woman in his arms and a rock-hard morning wood in his pants. Good thing Rey slept very soundly. Ben had managed to get off of the bed and take an ice-cold shower.

But she was friendly with him. Ben could see that Rey was struggling with her attitude towards the man who had made her suffer, but there were no hard edges in her behavior any longer. They talked a lot about everything, and she let him take care of her. And Ben was happy with just that.

However, days passed, and Ben started to realize that Rey's apartment was too small, not only for the three of them but even for Rey and Hannah. And just like that, he decided to take a risk...

"Sweetheart?" Ben asked, putting a cup of coffee on the table in front of her. Rey was much better now and had lunches in the kitchen. Hannah was at school, and it was just the two of them in the apartment. "I wanted to ask you something."

To his utter joy, Rey didn't tense. It was like she wasn't expecting anything bad from him any longer. She looked up at him inquiringly.

"First of all, I wanted to give you this," he put some papers he had prepared on the table, and Rey took them curiously.

And then she gasped. 

"Ben..."

"Darling, before you say anything, let me explain," he interrupted her. "I paid for this apartment till the end of next year... And... Just believe me that this is nothing for me... Please, could you... Can you please just accept it, Rey?"

She was looking at him frowning, and Ben's blood froze in his veins. What was she thinking now? Was she upset? Angry? Mad at him? He couldn't tell...

"Please, Rey... I am worried sick here," Ben ran his hand through his hair. "Are you mad at me?" he decided that it was always better to ask.

Now, Rey was looking at him as if he had suddenly grown a second head...

"Mad?... No," she stammered finally. "I was... I was just not prepared for this..." she showed him the papers. "And I have never seen you this nervous about... Something like this... This is a lot for me, but not for... you..."

Ben knew what she was talking about now.

"I am not him any longer, Rey... You have to believe me..." he sighed.

They spent several seconds in silence.

"I know," Rey finally said, and Ben looked up at her. She was smiling at him lightly. "I know..."

"Rey," Ben took her hand in his, and she didn't pull back. "Thank you..."

"It’s you who is taking care of Hannah and me... I should thank you," she lowered her eyes.

"No, you shouldn't... Rey... You and Hannah..."

She looked up at him again, watching Ben worriedly, and he thought that a love confession was probably a bit too much at the moment.

"I care about you both so much," he concluded.

But this was only a step one for him.

"Rey, I also paid for your apartment so that you could feel safe when I asked you something else..."

This time Rey tensed a bit.

"Hm?" she raised her brow, sipping on her tea.

"I bought a house near the University," he started, praying to God that he wouldn’t scare her off. "And it is huge, and I have been doing repair work in it, and it is ready now... And it has rooms for you and Hannah. And I paid for your apartment to let you understand that you can go back here whenever you want, but could you please consider moving to that house with me?" her eyes were wide, and Ben was terrified that he had actually overstepped. "Please, I will be sleeping in a separate bedroom, and you won't have to see me at all if you don't want, just please, I beg you, consider it... I just want you and Hannah to feel comfortable…"

"Ben..." Rey whispered, but he couldn't look at her. What if she said no? What if she said no and told him to get the hell out of her apartment?! "Ben?" Rey called him louder this time, and he finally looked at her.

She was crying.

"Sweetheart... God... No," he rushed to hug her, but Rey stopped him.

"I am okay," she smiled, tears still in her eyes. Ben froze, awaiting her next words. "You know I should probably stop it right here, right now... I can't afford being hurt again," she wiped her eyes. "But you know, I am probably crazy... And I am so fucking tired of fighting..." Ben noticed that he had stopped breathing, so he inhaled just to stay conscious. "And as long as we can return to this apartment any time... I think I can give your proposal a try."

Ben was ready to kiss the ground under Rey's feet. She only smiled at him, tears rolling down her face. And just like that, they agreed.

 

They moved to his house quite quickly. On the first day, Ben was showing Rey and Hannah every room. His daughter was sad to leave the apartment she and her mother had spent so many years in, but when the girl saw the swings in the garden and all the toys Ben had bought for her, Hannah immediately forgot her sorrow. Rey even laughed a bit at the sight of her daughter jumping around her new room. Hannah was Ben's princess, so her room was made for one. Ben, however, knew that Hannah not only loved her dolls but also enjoyed watching races, so he added some cars to the box of toys.

Rey also had her room. Ben had told her that she could do anything with it, and Rey filled the place with her stuff. Ben was helping her carry her books when he noticed that there were plenty of old books on Biology in there, but almost nothing new. He didn't even ask Rey before buying her a whole new library... Ben remembered her interests well... Rey enjoyed microbiology and ornithology. Microbiology was a sensitive subject, considering his own specialization, so Ben bought every ornithology book he had managed to find in Alderaan. Rey thanked him sincerely, but later in the evening, he found her crying over some books he had bought.

Ben held Rey in his arms, whispering soothing words and asking for forgiveness over and over again until she fell asleep.

 

She cried a lot with him now, and Ben was happy that Rey let him stay with her during those moments. Her tears felt like healing ones now, and he cried a lot with her.

Yet, they didn't discuss anything.

Ben spoke to Cassian every day, and the old man gave him hope. After all, Rey had agreed to live with him, hadn't she? And she didn't take Hannah away.

Ben noticed that all the clothes Rey had were from the time they had been together. She had only two newer sweaters that were too large for her, and Ben suspected that Rey had bought them during her pregnancy. Rey's wardrobe looked quite rotten, but Ben was afraid to offer to buy her a new one. He still remembered how Rey had reacted to Poe, and their history was much more complicated.

However, Ben couldn't understand why Rey wasn't buying new clothes now since he took care of buying food and paying rent, and she felt good enough to leave the house for an hour to go shopping.

It was the first week of December when Ben finally got his answer. Rey had left to go to school with Hannah (the girl's school was near the University too, so Rey often had a walk with their daughter in the morning), and Ben was making a cup of coffee for himself when  he saw an envelope on the kitchen table. He didn't see to whom the letter was addressed at first, thinking that Rey had left it for him. She had asked her landlord from her apartment to send all post for her here, but she had not gotten any mail since she moved in. Ben opened the letter, and there it was...

Ben cursed inwardly. How could he forget about Rey's University loans?... Of course, she couldn't buy any new clothes! Rubbing his temples, he took a deep breath. Once again, he had to act.

 

"Ben?" Rey called him in the evening after Hannah was sent to bed.

He turned to her, raising his brow at the woman he loved so much sitting at the table. She was frowning, and Ben put down the plate he was washing, looking at Rey inquiringly.

 "I... I went to the bank today... Wanted to pay for my university loans. They told me everything had been covered... Do you know why that is?"

Ben dried his hands and sat at the table across from her.

"I paid for everything," he shrugged.

"Ben!" Rey exclaimed.

"Rey," he didn't dare to call her sweetheart this time, afraid of Rey's reaction in her current condition. "Please..."

"This is too much! You can't just throw your money at me like that!"

"I'm not throwing anything!" he raised his voice after all, and Rey shivered, looking at him. Ben ran his hand through his hair. "Rey," she rose from his chair, starting to pace the room. "Oh, for God's sake..."

He wanted to tell her how he felt. He wanted to let her know that she was everything to him...

"Ben..."

"Can't you see that I fucking love you?!"

They were watching each other now, Rey with her mouth agape.

"You never..." she started.

"I always have," Ben interrupted. 

Now, since he had said that, there was no turning back.

 "I’ve loved you from the day you entered my apartment... When you gave yourself to me so willingly! And no matter how much I wanted to think otherwise, I was lost then! I know that I don't deserve you. And I am not asking anything from you... God, I am ready to kiss the ground under your feet just for the fact that you didn't push me away and let me take care of you and Hannah! I... I had spent a year trying to ignore my feelings towards you after you left... I told myself that that was what I wanted. That I didn't need you. But I fucking died every day! I tried to forget you, I fucking proposed to that woman..." 

Ben noticed then that Rey had started to cry and he rushed to her, kneeling in front of her chair, taking and holding her hands. "I'm sorry, sweetheart, please, please don't cry..." he kissed her fingers, and Rey didn't pull back. That gave Ben some hope... "I am not asking anything from you. I would gladly be with you, and if you had me, I would marry you and give you everything. I would do everything you wanted, but I know that I can only dream about it after what I did to you... And I will be happy with whatever you let me do for you, but please, I beg you, Rey... let me take care of you... This money... It is nothing to me. And you can spend your own money so much better! I would be happy to buy you everything, but I am fucking afraid to scare you off, sweetheart... please, don't cry, Rey... Please... I love you so fucking much! Just let me..." he stammered over his words, and then...

And then she kissed him. Suddenly, Rey's lips were on his, and Ben deepened the kiss automatically. God, had he missed it! He still remembered Rey's taste, but now, feeling it on his tongue, he was going mad.

Rey wrapped her hands around Ben's neck, and he couldn't contain his moan, pulling her up, her legs wrapping around his waist. He carried Rey to the kitchen island, covering her face and neck in hot wet kisses. She felt so familiar...

Rey felt like coming back home from the most drastic war, she felt like seeing the first glimpses of Spring after the longest, darkest winter, she was so his, so...

"Stop..." Rey suddenly whispered, and Ben froze.

She pulled back from him, lowering her eyes.

"I... I can't..." she whispered, and Ben felt like his world was starting to cave in.

"I'm... I'm sorry..." he took a step back, not looking at her. It was too painful... She didn't want him, she...

"Ben?" Rey suddenly called, and he managed to look up at her, feeling his lips trembling.

"I just need some time to... to figure this out..." she didn't look mad, just confused, and Ben felt like he could breathe again, even if only a little.

"Of... Of course," he whispered. "I'm sorry, sweetheart... I didn't mean for it to happen, I..."

"I was the one to kiss you," she smiled kindly at him, and Ben was out of words. "I... This is just a little bit overwhelming, and I don't want to rush into anything that can cause me... pain..."

"I understand," he did. It was a miracle that Rey hadn't sent him packing. "I told you before, and I'll repeat it, Rey. I am not waiting for anything from you... Everything will go as you want it to go..."

"Thank you," she jumped off of the kitchen island and took a step towards him, taking his hand in hers. "Thank you, Ben."

"Will you still... stay?" he wouldn't be able to live if Rey left, so Ben dared to ask the question. "Live here, I mean? Will you accept the fact that I paid for your University loans?"

Rey hesitated for a moment.

"It's still too much, but I will," she finally smiled. "Even if it is absolutely crazy..."

"It's not too much, Rey," Ben murmured. "And it's not crazy... Because even if you reject me, for me you are the endgame..."

She squeezed his hand tighter.

"Ben..."

"I mean it. If you decide to move on with your life, I will still live only for you and Hannah. And I am telling you this only because it is true. But you don't need to do anything about it, just accept it."

Suddenly, Rey stood on her tip-toes and kissed him on the cheek.

"I just need some time," she whispered, and Ben managed to smile.

She needed time, that was a good thing? It wasn't like Rey was rejecting him, right?

Right?

Chapter Text

Chapter 10.

Revelations.

If someone said that Rey was confused, that would be the most significant underestatement of the century. After she had kissed Ben and then stopped him from kissing her back, Rey couldn't think clearly.

That kiss. It was like Rey had been returned to the better version of her past. The one where Kylo hadn't left her, and they were raising their beautiful daughter together.

Rey smirked to herself, thinking about it. Actually, it wasn't that far from the truth. Ben was always there for her and Hannah now. And yet...

Rey was terrified. She couldn't deny that Ben loved her. All her doubts about it had evaporated when she looked at him caving in after she had pulled back. Ben had looked like his world was exploding and he was standing in the middle of the fire, burning. Rey's first urge had been to rush to him and comfort him, tell him she loved him too, but... She couldn't put herself at risk like that any longer. Rey was afraid to be hurt, but there was also Hannah to think about now. So, she had asked Ben to give her time, and he had not pushed her, and now Rey was absolutely fucking confused.

A week had passed since their passionate encounter, and everything was like it had been before. Almost. Ben was attentive and took good care of Hannah, but Rey would often catch him watching her. His gaze was longing, and her heart ached because of it. He always turned his eyes the second she found him watching. It would have been cute if Rey had any idea what to do in that situation. She still needed time.

However, Rey loved living in Ben's house. She couldn't help but notice that he never called it his, only theirs, or simply "home". She couldn't help but feel the warmth spreading through her chest every time she heard it.

Today, Rey had a shift at the diner. She felt good returning and had missed her job. She told Finn everything, except for the details of her relationship with Ben, and her friend was outraged. Finn was Poe's best friend too, and he had known Dameron for a much longer time than he had known Rey, but surprisingly, he wasn't that shocked by Rey's story about Ben's past and Poe's attitude towards his brother.

"I knew he had a stepbrother... And he never said a good thing about him..." Finn frowned. "He never got into any details, but it seemed Poe was happy that his parents started to consider him their only child. I love Poe, but this... This is so not good..."

Later, when Hannah entered the diner, after jumping off of the school bus, Rey turned to Finn again.

"If Hannah started to misbehave, I would still not be able just to get rid of her as Han and Leia did to Ben," she murmured. "She is a part of my heart, for God's sake... How could...?" she didn't finish, because tears started to burn her eyes. "Forget it," she waved a concerned Finn off.

"I know, Peanut," Finn put his hand on her shoulder, patting it. "I know..."

 

Ben had some business at the University today, so Hannah came to the diner after school. They had agreed to meet Ben in Hannah's favorite park near Maz's after Rey finished her shift, and Rey was already pulling her apron off when she heard a familiar voice behind her back.

"Rey?" her blood ran cold at the sight of Poe. "Hi..." he sat at the counter next to Hannah, who was already smiling at him. "Hey, honey!" he ruffled the girl's hair, and Rey had to take a deep breath not to drag Hannah behind the counter, as far away from Dameron as possible.

"Sweetie, go get dressed, it's time to go," she managed to smile, and Hannah jumped off of the chair.

"To the park?!" she exclaimed.

"Sure," Rey wished Hannah hadn't mentioned the park at all...

"Can I walk you to the park, Rey?" Poe asked. "We need to talk."

Unlike Ben, Poe wasn't asking.

"I don't think so," Rey frowned. "What do you want, Poe?"

"Where do you live?"

"It's none of your business..."

"You are not living in your apartment. I came for a visit yesterday."

"Why?"

"Because I was worried."

"I am completely fine."

"Do you live with him?"

"That’s none of your business either," Rey tried to move past Poe to the corner of the diner where Hannah was dressing, but he grabbed her by the arm, stopping her. "Let me go!" she didn't want to shout, afraid to scare Hannah. Too bad Finn had already left, and another waiter who came to take his place didn't pay Rey any attention.

She pulled her hand away from Dameron and he let it go, watching her intently.

"Is it true?" he asked menacingly.

"What is?" Rey hissed, buttoning the new coat she had bought this week. She had money now that Ben had paid off her loans, and she could indulge herself.

"Is he Hannah's father?" Rey's mouth dropped. She hoped that Leia would not tell Poe. Not after everything that had happened between Ben and his mother. And she didn’t want Hannah to hear Dameron’s words, because if her girl had to find out about her daddy, it should not be like this. 

"As I said," Rey hissed, "It's none of your business!"

"Like hell it is!" Poe exclaimed, and Rey rushed away from him towards the exit from the diner. Hannah was already waiting for her there.

"Mommy?" the girl asked when Rey grabbed her arm and pulled her daughter after her.

"Let's go, honey. Ben is probably already waiting for us!"

Together they exited the diner, Hannah barely catching up with her mother. Good thing she wasn’t trying to stop Rey and that the park was just across the road from Rey's work. She could hear Poe following them.

***

Ben was sitting on the bench next to Hannah's favorite playground. He had gotten off work earlier than he intended but decided against going to the diner. It was Rey's first day back after her sick leave, and Ben knew she needed time to catch up with Finn. From what Rey had told him, Finn was a nice guy, whose girlfriend lived in the capital and who was a lot like a brother to Rey. Finn would take care of her if there was ever a need, and Rey promised to contact Ben if anything happened. So Ben was watching children on the playground, reflecting on the past week with Rey (she hadn't distanced herself too much after their kiss, and Ben was happy about it), when a familiar voice sounded by his side.

"Hey, kid," Han Solo murmured, sitting on the bench near Ben.

"What are you doing here?" Ben hissed, frowning at his father.

"I've been coming here almost every day since Rey left... To catch a glimpse of my son and my granddaughter...” Han frowned too. “I never walked closer... Didn't want you to see me..."

"We are not your family," Ben said through gritted teeth.

"You have every reason to say so," Han frowned. "Nothing can justify my mistakes or your mother's either, Ben."

"Oh, so you actually remember my name for once," Ben smirked evilly at his father.

Han didn't answer.

"Listen, kid," he finally said, turning to him, and for a second, Ben was shocked by his father's expression.

Han looked so much older than the last time Ben had seen him. There were dark circles under his eyes, and it seemed like his wrinkles were much deeper.

"We all behaved like crap towards you," he sighed heavily. "And I have no idea who is the worst of us... I just... I just wanted to say I am sorry... I really am," suddenly, Han pinched the bridge of his nose, and to Ben's utter surprise, he realized that his father was trying not to cry.

Too bad Ben had spent too many years learning to ignore the mere thought of his parents. After everything they had done, after he had tried to be closer to them and had been rejected, it was easy not to feel anything but anger and disappointment towards the old man. Still, Ben tried to remain civil.

"I don't think you decided to show up now, when neither Rey nor Hannah is around, just to tell me you are sorry, Han," he said calmly. "So let's get straight to the point: what do you want?"

"I guess there's no point in asking you to call me dad or father and trying to make you believe I actually miss you," Han grumbled, watching his feet.

"Correct. But I can believe you miss Hannah," Ben didn't want to fight, he just wanted his father to leave him alone... After all, maybe his daughter needed her grandparents. Hannah had asked Ben and Rey about them, but Rey had managed to change the subject. But Hannah clearly missed Leia and Han. Especially Han.

"I do," Han frowned. "I... You know, Ben, she always resembled you... I was so shocked when I saw her for the first time... She was a copy of you."

Ben flinched at his father's words. It was one more thing he had missed in his daughter's life. Still, somehow, Ben was grateful to his parents for being with Rey in what was probably the most drastic moment of her life. It was the only reason Ben remained seated and listened to the old man's words. Han went on.

"I... I never was a good father for you, and no matter what... I felt guilty, Ben. So when Hannah was born, I thought that maybe the heavens above were giving me a second chance... I would help that child, I thought... But then it was so easy to love her..."

"Did you know that Hannah has anger outbursts?" It was hard for Ben to keep listening to Han, so he changed the subject. It all hurt too badly…

"I..." Han stammered. "I saw her getting upset once... Rey managed to calm the kid down. I remember thinking that Hannah looked a lot like you when she was angry, but it ended sooner than it began, and..."

"Well, Hannah has them often," Ben interrupted, frowning at his father. "Just like I did," he smirked. "And had Rey been Leia, she would have already sent my daughter to a shrink. But you know what?"

Han was watching Ben, his teeth gritted.

"She talked to her, tried to understand what was wrong. She knows how to handle Hannah because she cared to listen, Han. And Leia wanted to take Rey's child away, has she told you about that?"

"Yes," Han hissed. "And it was the stupidest idea possible."

"Good that we can agree on this," Ben smirked. "Because that is why neither Rey nor I want any of you to come near our girl."

"And maybe because you want to hurt us even more for what we did to you," Han murmured, and Ben couldn't suppress a bitter laugh.

"Of course, I'd rather make my daughter suffer than let her see her fucking grandparents," he was so damn angry now...

"Kid, I'm sorry..." It seemed Han regretted his words, but Ben already couldn't care less. Standing up from the bench, he decided to meet Rey on her way out of the diner.

"I'll tell you what, Han," he turned to his father. "If Hannah wants to see you, and if Rey doesn't mind, I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. After all, Rey decides everything here, I am just happy that she let me near them. And I will tell her about our... conversation... And she'll be able to decide."

Han frowned before standing from the bench too.

"Thank you," he said, sighing heavily. "And please, trust me that I really am sorry and that I really want to be back in your life again, kid, I..."

"This is unnecessary," Ben stopped his father. He wanted to say something else, but at this moment he heard the sound of voices coming from the crossroad by Rey's diner. 

Both Ben and Han turned to it, and Ben froze, looking at Poe chasing Rey who was dragging Hannah along with her, obviously trying to get away from the man.

Ben ran.

He noticed that Han followed him only when they were getting closer to the crossroad.

"Do you live with him, Rey?!" Poe was crying, and Ben realized that Rey was trying to hold their daughter closer, closing the girl's ears. Of course, the girl didn't like it.

"Lemme go!" Hannah cried, escaping from the hands of her mother. Rey couldn’t manage to stop her.

"Is he paying you for sex, Rey?!" Poe shouted, and Ben's world stopped. Rey froze, turning to Poe, gasping and clutching her purse. "No wonder mom wants to take her from you, I think we can use it in the court when the time comes! What can Hannah learn from a whore like you and from a father like him?..."

By his side, Ben heard Han growl, but he didn't listen. He didn't even remember how he got to Poe, and it was good that Rey hid Hannah from the scene in front of her, because Ben's fist collided with Poe's jaw, and Dameron fell on the ground.

"Hold the kid," Ben heard Han crying to Rey as his father jumped on him, dragging Ben away from his stepbrother.

"Get the fuck off of me!" Ben cried, trying to shrug Han off.

"Kid, calm down! Hannah..."

His father didn't finish, but the mention of his daughter made Ben come back to his senses. He froze, looking towards Poe who was standing up from the ground, his lip bleeding. Ben fetched a phone out of his pocket and called Uber. Good thing there was a car a minute away. At this moment, Poe tried to jump on him, and he would have succeeded had Han not stopped him.

"Stop it, you moron!" the old man growled.

"Dad, he..."

"You fucking shut your mouth before I finish what he started! Have you lost your damn mind?" Han was furious. "You say something like that one more time, and I will fucking ban you from our house, you idiot!"

Poe gasped but stopped, looking at his father.

The car arrived, and Ben pushed an absolutely pale Rey and Hannah into it.

"Kid..." Han took a step towards him, and Ben turned to face his father.

"Stay away from Rey and our daughter," he hissed. "Forget everything I told you today. I will not let you or anyone from your fucking family near us."

"Ben..."

"I thought that mother would be smarter than telling that fucking bastard..."

"It was me," Han interrupted him. "I... I was so lost when she told me that I wanted to share it with someone, and..."

"Well, you know what Han?" Ben smirked evilly before getting into the car, nor caring to listen any longer. "Fuck off!"

 

The drive home was quiet because both Rey and Hannah were in shock. Hannah was so stressed that she had fallen asleep in the car, and Ben carried the girl to her bedroom, followed by Rey. They would have to talk to the child about everything that had happened, but now she needed rest. When Hannah was tucked under the blanket, Ben followed Rey to the kitchen.

He didn't know where to start... Rey was pale as a sheet and was watching her feet, leaning against the counter behind her back.

"Do you want some tea, sweetheart?" Ben tried, but Rey interrupted him.

"What was he doing there?"

Ben sighed.

He told her everything. It was his new rule: to be 100% honest with Rey. She listened, and Ben was relieved to see that Rey was getting a little bit more relaxed while he spoke. Of course, she should have thought that Ben was the one who had contacted Han... When Ben finished, they remained silent for several minutes. 

"He is right, you know..." Rey suddenly sobbed, and Ben rushed to her, taking her hands in his.

"Rey... What...?"

"Poe... He said I was a whore."

Ben saw red.

"What on Earth are you talking about?!"

"Well... Back in Mustafar... You paid me for sex... I didn't need it, but you still did..."

Oh, for God's sake...

"Rey, it was nothing like that..."

"Then, what was it?!" Rey cried, and Ben had to grab her by the shoulders and make her look at him.

"Listen,” he stated. “What we had... It was an arrangement, but you were... my Sub... not my whore," the words sounded harsh, but Ben had to say them to make Rey understand. "It was a part of..." he tried to find the right words. "It made me... as a Daddy," Rey tensed, but Ben only grabbed her tighter. "It made me feel better when I took care of you. I felt like a better man... And I never paid you for sex... Sometimes Daddies take care of their little ones even without sex... Because it makes us feel better... You let me take care of you... And that made me feel better... Can't you see the difference?"

"Not really," Rey murmured.

"It was an honor to take care of you, Rey," Ben explained. "I thought about why I was so into that Daddy kink... Cassian helped me understand," Ben had told Rey about Cassian, of course, so she nodded at his words. "And what I realized was that I actually felt so unworthy that I compensated for it, being a Daddy... But Subs are not whores... And I should have treated you differently… You were always much more than just my Sub… I just didn’t want to admit it. And you were never a whore, Rey."

Rey spent several moments not moving before finally nodding, but Ben was afraid that she still didn't trust him.

"What..." she murmured. "What if they use it against me in the court?"

Ben smirked at that.

"Sweetheart, first of all, they have no idea about our arrangement, so even if Poe wanted to accuse you in anything and found a reason to bring you to court, the only thing he knows is that you live with me now... And what's wrong with that?"

Rey was silent, but Ben realized that she was listening to him very carefully.

"And he hit a sore spot, that's why you are so upset... But I never told anyone about what happened between us, I promise."

Rey looked up at him.

"You didn't?" she asked.

"I didn't... Even with Cassian, I never got into details... And I never thought you unworthy... Fuck..." Be ran his hand through his hair. He hoped that his words were enough. "Rey, I told you that I love you... Please, please, don't let this bastard or anyone make you think less of yourself..."

Rey wasn't crying anymore. Instead, she squeezed Ben's hand and wanted to say something when they were interrupted by a high pitched voice that was coming from the entrance to the kitchen.

"Mommy?" Hannah was sleepy, and her cheeks were in tears.

"Honey!" Rey rushed to their daughter, and Ben followed her, kneeling in front of the girl. "Honey, why are you crying?"

Ben was afraid that he knew the answer to that question.

"Mommy, Poe said..." she started to sob now, and Ben's heart was broken. Why, why were the most important women in his life crying constantly?! Suddenly, Hannah turned to him. "Are you my daddy?" 

Ben heard Rey gasp, but it seemed there was no turning back now.

"Yes, Hannah, yes I am," he sighed. "I am your father..." It sounded so odd on his lips... And yet, it sounded so right.

The girl and her mother froze for a minute. And then Hannah started to cry even harder.

"Sweetie!" Rey hugged the girl tightly.

"You said he died!"

"I..." Rey was out of words, and Ben moved closer to them, hugging them both.

"Honey, your mother didn't know I was alive," it wasn't even a lie. Ben Solo had been a dead man for ages for most of the people who had known him. "And when I found you, we were thinking about how to explain everything to you. I am very sorry, Hannah..."

"But at school..." Hannah choked on her tears. "They said..."

She couldn't speak, and Ben hugged her tighter. 

"Honey, what did they say?"

"They said that my dad left me because he didn't love me!"

Ben's world started to cave in at his daughter's words.

"Hannah," he pulled back a little, and Rey, who was also crying, let him take the girl into his arms. "You and your mother are the two most precious people in the world to me. I love you, sweetie! And I love your mother. And I wish I knew where you both were earlier. And I am so sorry, honey! I promise you, I will always be here if you need me."

Ben hoped that Rey was okay with him saying this to their daughter. He just had to tell her .

"So..." Hannah sobbed again. "So, you love me?"

"More than anything," Ben smiled through the tears that were falling down from his eyes now. "And I know it is too much for you, darling, but we will figure it out, I promise."

“And you will marry mommy?” Bold questions were Hannah’s forte. Ben gulped nervously, trying to find the right words.

“It’s not that easy, Hannah,” Rey remembered herself faster. “Ben and I are not together now, but we will be here for you. And we will both love you.”

Ben was grateful to Rey, no matter how much he wanted her to tell that they were together.

Hannah looked up at him for several seconds before taking a step towards him and wrapping her hands around Ben's neck.

And Ben was crying, Hannah was crying, and Rey was crying too. It seemed the whole world was crying, and it was a bit too much for Ben. But he had to go through it for his family. And he did.

"Poe called mommy a bad word," Hannah murmured, and Rey shivered by Ben's side. The girl pulled back a little. "I read it on a wall once, and mommy said that it was a nasty word..."

Ben sighed. How many more problems would his family cause?!

"You are right, honey," he nodded, trying to find the right words. "It is a horrible word, don't repeat it after Poe. He is..." Ben didn't know how to explain it to Hannah.

"He is an idiot, Hannah," Rey's voice made Ben look at her with his eyes opened wide.

"Whaaa..." he tried, but Rey went on.

"Do you remember how I told you not to swear, sweetheart?" Rey wiped Hannah's tears. "And that sometimes people upset you because they are foolish... And you asked me if you could dare to call them some bad words?"

"You said that when I turn thirteen, I will be able to call them idiots, mommy," Hannah nodded.

"Why on earth thirteen?!" Ben mouthed at Rey, and she just shrugged, waving him off.

"Well, I am older than thirteen, and that means I can say this word," Rey smiled at their daughter, and Ben decided to ask her about the twisted logic she used to teach Hannah not to swear later on. "He is an idiot because he called me a terrible word and said a lot of bad things about me that weren’t true. And do you also remember when I told you never to do something you don't want to do when a boy or someone who is not close to you insists on it? Do you remember what I told you back then?"

 Ben just watched his two women talking, trying not to breathe. Something important was going on.

"You told me to run to you and tell you what they want," Hannah replied.

"Exactly... And today Poe wanted me to do something I didn't want to do. And he couldn't take no for an answer. It made him mad, and he started to say nasty things to me because something didn’t go the way he wanted it to go. And, sweetie, remember one thing: we don't need guys like him in our lives, do you understand me, sweetheart?"

Hannah nodded thoughtfully, and Ben couldn't help but be proud of Rey. She was a great mother... Hannah looked at him.

"Daddy?" she asked, and Ben's world stopped spinning at the word. Rey also gasped by his side.

"Yes, darling?" he managed to say before his tears finally took over him.

"Daddy, why are you crying?" Hannah started to cry as well, looking at her father's tears.

"No, no, these are happy tears, sweetheart," he hugged his daughter tightly. "I just love you so much..."

Ben did his best to suppress his sobs.

"There is too much drama," Rey murmured, smirking and looking at the two of them.

"You fucking don't say," Ben mouthed so that Hannah didn't hear his swearing, and that made Rey laugh.

"Shall we order some pizza?" she smiled, and Hannah clapped happily at the prospect.

 

"Rey, tell me that that bastard's words won't make you leave this house..." Ben touched Rey's shoulder after they had put Hannah to bed and returned to the kitchen to wash the dishes. "I can leave and let you live here alone if you want, but please, stay here... It's much more..."

"The only thing that could make me leave," Rey interrupted him. "Is you not buying us a dishwashing machine."

Ben was so confused that he hadn't realized that Rey was smiling at him at first.

"I... I will... I..." he stammered, and Rey laughed at him.

"We won't leave, Ben," she smiled then.

"I will make a room full of dishwashing machines for you," Ben was so happy that he grabbed Rey's hand and squeezed it tightly, making her splash some water from the sink at him.

"Ouch, you'll break my hand, you giant beast!" she chastened him playfully.

"Sorry," Ben lowered his eyes, pulling his hands away when Rey took one of his palms in her tiny hand.

"I still need some time to figure everything out, though," she frowned.

"Of course..." he wished she just let him be with her. This distance she created between them was tearing Ben apart, but he would give her all the time she needed.

"But I will let you be in Hannah's life no matter what," Rey went on. "I just need to make sure you won't leave her."

"I won't..."

"I think I believe you."

They remained silent for several minutes.

"Why on Earth thirteen?" Ben suddenly asked, remembering Rey's rule concerning nasty words. Rey laughed heartily at him.

"Because, let's face it, when Hannah is thirteen, no one can make her not pronounce any dirty word she wants... I am just trying to make her behave for as long as I can, hoping that I will be able to explain that swearing is only suitable when you are overfilled with emotions... You know how it is, right?"

"Like when you hit your toe on the table leg, and the only way to feel better is to swear at it?" Ben smirked.

"Exactly."

"That is a... wise approach, I must say."

Rey only winked at him.

***

Christmas was approaching very fast.

It took both Rey and Ben some time to cope with the outcome of Rey's confrontation with Poe. Hannah asked things about Poe’s word, and it was hard to explain to the girl what the moron meant by “paying for sex”. Hannah had never asked Rey about sex before, and Rey realized that she wasn’t ready for that talk… Good thing that there was Ben who helped Rey change the subject, promising Hannah to talk about sex later. Rey wasn’t sure they had a lot of time, though. Hannah was a very curious creature…

Rey’s daughter had also gotten very anxious after what she had seen, and two days after the encounter, Rey was called to the school.

 

Ben called her when she was finishing her morning shift. Maz was at the diner that day, and Rey had been having a wonderful morning. After she told her old boss what had happened between her and Poe, Maz had promised Rey to make sure that Poe wouldn't show up in the diner for a while.

"Like you could stop him from coming here..." Rey frowned at the old woman's words.

"Well, Poe owes me a lot," Maz shrugged. "And this boy will do as I say, or he'll be in trouble."

"What do you mean?" Rey turned to the lady, looking at her inquiringly.

"Do you know why I never showed up when your Ben came here?" Maz frowned.

"He is... not mine," Rey was confused for a bit and skipped Maz's question at first.

"Oh, whatever," Maz smirked. "So, do you?"

"No," Rey shook her head. "I have actually no idea."

"I was the one who brought Poe to Han..."

Rey frowned.

"And you thought that..."

"I saw Ben angry when he was a teenager, I must say I was concerned he would not react well to me..."

"He never mentioned you at all," Rey murmured.

"Now, I think, he has no idea who caused all that mess," Maz sighed.

"You didn't cause anything," Rey frowned, but that was the moment her phone rang. "Ben?" she replied, smiling uncontrollably. Ben called her often to keep her updated on Hannah's behavior or some household things, and Rey had realized not so long ago that she loved the way his calls made her feel. This time, however, he didn't have any good news for her...

 

Hannah had gotten into a fight, and both Rey and Ben had to attend a meeting at the Principal's office. Everything was a blur, and the only thing Rey could hear was the sound of her heart beating in her chest. Hannah had been crying, but Ben managed to calm her down. The Principal, however, was still concerned.

A boy told Hannah that she was lying about finding her father, and Hannah had lost it. Now, the Principal was asking both Rey and Ben about their family situation, and Rey hated it. She was still afraid that her every failure would help Leia take the girl away. The only thing that was soothing Rey was Ben's presence by her side. At some point, the Principal asked Hannah to wait outside of the room. 

"So, Miss Niima, you are telling me that Mr. Solo here is actually Hannah's father."

"Yes, I am," Ben interrupted, sounding annoyed. It seemed he wasn't fond of this conversation as well. "What is the problem here?"

"And you live in Mr. Solo's house with Hannah? May I ask if you two are together?" the Principal ignored Ben's interruption.

"How is it any of your business?" Ben sounded harsh now, and Rey took his hand, trying to calm the man down. It wasn't good to look bad in front of the Principal now. Ben seemed to remember himself at Rey's touch. "I am sorry, Mrs. Connix. I am just worried about my daughter, and I would rather go back to her..."

"But this is exactly my point, Mr. Solo," it seemed, the Principal had decided not to go hard on them this time. "Your family situation affects Hannah. We can't allow her to attack other children like that... Trust me, I will speak to the boy's parents as well, but Hannah's behavior was unacceptable!"

"We know, Mrs. Connix," Rey sighed. "Ben and I are... not together, but yes, we live in the same house, and Ben helps me take care of our daughter..." For some reason it didn't sound right to say that she and Ben were not together, and Rey frowned at the feeling.

"I see..." the Principal chewed on her lower lip thoughtfully. "And does Hannah understand... what is going on?"

What could Rey say to that if she didn't understand it herself? They ended the discussion with the Principal's strong advice to visit a family counselor.

"I don't trust psychologists..." Ben murmured when they returned home, and Hannah had been sent to do her homework after a long discussion.

"Me neither," Rey rubbed her temples.

"Are you afraid that someone can use it to take Hannah away from you, sweetheart?" Ben took her hand in his, and Rey felt calmer immediately.

"I am... And I know what you'll say... But I can't help but worry..."

She let Ben hug her.

"Maybe..." he murmured into the crown of her hair. "Maybe if we are all there with Hannah, it will go smoothly?"

Rey couldn't help but hope that he was right...

 

It seemed Ben had indeed been right because the first session with the family counselor was quite successful. The man promised that he would tell the Principal that their "family unit", as he had put it, was alright, and that had given Rey hope. The only thing that she couldn't get out of her head after that meeting was the counselor's final phrase.

"You need to figure out your... situation with Mr. Solo, Mrs. Niima," he said. "Because what you described looks like a completely healthy family with a great approach to the child's upbringing... Maybe, you need to face it already..."

 

Indeed, it was harder and harder for Rey every day to stop herself from getting closer to Ben. She was terrified, but every time he was near, she wanted to take a step towards him just to smell him, to feel the warmth that was always emanating from him...

Christmas was two days away, and two days ago Ben had bought the biggest Christmas tree Rey had ever seen in her life. Hannah was so happy! They had decorated it together, and Rey couldn't help but accept that the counselor had probably been right.

Today Ben took Hannah ice-skating. Rey stayed at home, afraid that she would get sick again. Her bronchitis didn't bother her anymore, but the doctor had told Rey to stay at home as much as she could for a little while longer.

So, she was making herself a cup of hot tea when she heard a knock on the door.

When Rey opened it, she faced an old man, not very tall but rather handsome, standing in front of her. The man had very kind eyes and he smiled brightly at her.

"Hello, Rey," the man greeted Rey. "My name is Cassian Andor, I think Ben told you about me... I was supposed to stay in a hotel, but it seemed they messed something up with my booking. I tried to call Ben, but he didn’t answer… So I am sorry, but I decided to visit Ben straight away. Is he home?"

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 11.

 

Silver lining.

"Um..." Cassian Andor wasn't someone Rey was expecting to see, so she froze for a second. "Oh, yes, Cassian, of course... Ben has told me about you. No, he is out with... our daughter..." Rey wasn't sure how much Cassian knew about her or Hannah, although Ben had told her that he was speaking to the man every day. However, Cassian's smile was so sincere and bright that she couldn't help but smile back.

"Oh, Hannah! Sure, I think he told me he was going to go ice-skating... How could I forget?!" the man laughed. "I'm sorry then, I'll go charge my phone in the coffee shop across the street, and we'll probably meet later!"

This was the moment Rey remembered herself.

"Oh, God, how rude of me!" she exclaimed. "Please come in, Cassian! It's cold outside!"

"I really don't want to interfere," Cassian frowned.

"You are not! I was going to have a cup of tea. Come in! Are you hungry?"

Rey watched Pastor Andor from the corner of her eyes, and the more she observed him, the more she liked the man. Cassian looked like he was kindness itself. His gaze was soft and wise, and despite his old age, he seemed somehow young. It was probably because of his sincere smile that was always on his face.

"So, what should I call you?" Rey smiled, putting a cup of coffee on the table in front of the man. "Is it father Cassian? Pastor Cassian?"

"Are you religious?" the old man smirked kindly.

"Not really," Rey laughed, rubbing the back of her neck shyly. She never trusted people of the church. Rey had spent her childhood in the foster system, and a lot of her foster parents had been religious. However, it hadn't stopped them from hurting or abandoning her. Rey never really believed in God. Sometimes she felt like someone was watching her from above, but why then had He never answered her prayers back when she had still prayed?

"It's okay," Cassian laughed, noticing her discomfort after his question. "And you can call me Cassian. Ben always does."

Rey smiled. And just like that, they started to talk.

"And what happened to your hotel?" she asked after another round of stories. 

Cassian was hilarious. He'd told Rey a lot about his wife and his Parish, and Rey loved his stories. It seemed Ben had told Cassian a lot about Hannah and Rey's life in the house too. The old man laughed kindly every time he remembered it.

"Well, my wife booked it for me and even paid for the booking, but when I got there, there were no rooms available," Cassian sighed. "They apologized a million times, promised me to refund, but... I will have to find another room somewhere."

"It's not that easy this time of the year," Rey frowned. Alderaan was a popular family destination for winter holidays, and everything was usually booked for Christmas. "Oh, stay with us! We have several guest rooms, and you won't find anything better anyway!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands happily at the idea. Cassian was so lovely, and she really wanted him to stay. And then it hit her. "I mean," she stammered. "I am sure Ben will be happy about it... And he won't mind..." It wasn't her house, after all.

At that, Cassian laughed heartily.

"Rey, I think that you are the real mistress of this house," he grinned. "No need to be shy about it."

"I'm... I'm just a guest," she lowered her eyes, frowning.

"Now, that is a lie," the old Pastor patted her hand. "If it weren't for you and Hannah, Ben would have never bought this house."

Rey felt confused, and Cassian probably noticed her distress because he changed the subject quickly.

"These cookies are gorgeous!" he smiled, nodding at the sweet treat on the table. "I guess Ben made them?"

"I had no idea he was such a great cook," Rey laughed. "But these he made together with Hannah."

"I really need to tell Jyn that her recipe is much better when Solos make it," Cassian laughed. "I think this was something she taught Ben to cook when they were cooking for children in the orphanage."

Rey looked up at the man in surprise.

"Orphanage?"

"Yes! They often make party meals together for the children," Cassian's face became dreamy at the memory. "Ben claims he doesn’t know what to do with the kids, but everyone loves him there. Everyone always asks me when Mr. Ben will come."

"Do you..." Rey stammered, trying to find the right words. For some reason, the mention of an orphanage and Ben together made her heart beat faster. "Does Ben help you with an orphanage you created?" she finally asked.

"I created?" Cassian raised his brow. "Rey, has Ben never told you about the "Silver lining" foundation?"

All Rey could do was to shake her head.

"Oh, shit," Cassian suddenly cursed, making Rey shiver. "I'm sorry, Rey. It was probably not my story to tell..."

"What story?..." Rey whispered.

"Ben created a foundation that helps to get abandoned children off the streets... It is really a minor one for now. We have only one orphanage near our Parish... My wife and I help manage it, but Ben is a founder. I actually arrived here, because we will be opening another one here, in Alderaan, and Ben wanted to discuss the final details before Christmas..."

Rey was shocked. Ben had never told her about that foundation, and this information was a bit too much for her right now. Why did he do it? Why had he decided to help abandoned children?

"You had no idea about it, did you?" Cassian sighed.

Rey shook her head. The two of them kept silent for a minute.

"Why... Why didn't he tell me?" Rey whispered, trying not to cry.

Cassian took her hand and squeezed it.

"Can I tell you a story, Rey?" he asked her, and Rey looked up at him, nodding.

"Several years ago, I was delivering a sermon in our Parish. It was tiny back then. And you know Mustafar, don't you?" the old man smirked sadly at the sight of Rey nodding. "It is not the best place for God... We didn’t have many parishioners, and the number of children on the streets was enormous... But no one did anything. Jyn and I tried our best to help those children, to at least feed them from time to time, but we couldn't give them enough, and I started to lose hope," Rey gulped, looking at Cassian. The man looked so sad. But then he smiled. "So I was delivering that sermon, and I was depressed to the point that I didn't believe the words I was preaching, can you believe it?!" Rey smiled lightly at the man's emotionality. "And then I saw him. Ben was sitting in the corner, and he looked... bad... He looked terrible, Rey, and I suddenly realized that I was delivering the sermon for him... Because... Well, Rey, I should be honest with you, when I walked up to Ben and started to talk, I was really worried that he would do something drastic to himself... Do you know that he lived with us for two weeks?"

Rey had no idea about it.

"Well, I must say, Ben was never a burden. I thought that we would feed him and take care of him as much as we could, but the first morning we woke up in the same apartment, there was a delivery guy at our door with so much food that it was enough for all of us to eat for a month, I swear," Cassian laughed. "Those two weeks changed every one of us... Ben told me about you... He had been searching for you for a long time back then, but there was no trace of you anywhere... He helped me with the Parish, and once we opened the kitchen to feed the children... Well, to cut things short, that was the moment Ben decided to open the foundation. He helped us gather some money and also find some sponsors. And... You know he doesn't believe in God, don't you?"

Rey nodded, still dumbfounded by what Cassian had told her.

"Well, after he founded "Silver lining", I believed in Him even more," Cassian shrugged. "But... Ben... He did it for you, Rey. This is something I am sure of..."

"Why... Why didn't he tell me?" she asked, shocked.

"Well..." Cassian shrugged, looking at her thoughtfully. "As far as I know you asked Ben to give you time, didn't you?"

Rey looked up at the old man inquiringly, feeling her lips starting to tremble.

"Oh, darling," Cassian smiled. "Please, don't cry unless these are the happy tears! I think Ben didn't want you to feel obliged to stay with him... He wanted the decision to be yours and only yours... I am sure he will tell you later..."

Rey's heart was beating like a hummingbird. God, she loved Ben... She wanted to cry so badly. She wanted to hug Ben, to kiss him, to say that she wanted to be with him if he had her... 

Rey took a deep breath, trying to calm down.

"Cassian," she asked. "Can you go with me to the lake? There's a skating rink there, and I really need to see Ben now."

The man smiled at her brightly.

"Well, of course!" he exclaimed. "And I won't mind looking after Hannah for a bit in case you and Ben need to talk," he winked at her. "After all, Ben told me so much about your daughter that I feel like I’ve known her forever!"

***

The ice-skating rink on the Alderaanian lake was a tradition that had been kept for decades. This was something Rey knew from Leia Organa. Rey'd spent years on this rink with Hannah, teaching her daughter how to skate, and then watching her little lightning gliding around the crowd.

Hannah loved ice-skating. The girl had talent, but Rey never had money for a good trainer.

Now, the lake was full of people. This winter was a little bit warmer than usual, and the crowd was so thick that Rey felt hot.

"Jesus, it is crowdy here!" Cassian smiled, looking around.

He and Rey walked to the lake border and tried to spot Ben or Hannah on the lake.

Unfortunately, the first people Rey noticed were Leia and Han standing several feet away. Rey had known that they could be here, they had discussed it with Ben before he had taken their daughter to the lake. No one could stop Leia or Han from coming here, mainly because Leia was one of the main sponsors of this public ice-skating rink. So Rey had asked Ben to get Hannah away from his parents as soon as he saw them. Now, Leia and Han were watching the crowd intently. Behind them stood Poe, and the sight of the man made Rey mad. She hated him so much after everything he had told her! Rey had an idea of who the Organa-Solo family was looking for, and she swore that as soon as she found Ben, they would leave immediately.

"It really is too warm here," Cassian suddenly frowned by Rey's side. "Is it safe to skate during such weather?"

 

Rey looked at him, frowning. The man was right... It was too warm.

"They always say that they check the ice," Rey murmured. "There has never been an incident with ice-breaking... But you are right... And there are so many people..."

"Let's find them quickly," Cassian pulled her by the hand. Together, they stepped on ice without skates. Officially, it was forbidden, but Rey couldn't care less now. Cassian, it turned out, was also a rule-breaker... So strange for a Pastor, but Rey couldn't help but like it.

"Oh, there they are!" he exclaimed, pointing at the crowd. Rey turned her head, finally spotting Ben's massive figure in the center of the ring. Hannah was circling around him, laughing happily.

And that was the moment the ice under them cracked, and Hannah fell under the ice-cold water.

*** 

Ben watched his daughter gliding over ice. God, was she good at it! Rey had told him that she'd taught Hannah to skate, but Ben was so very impressed now!

Maybe they could talk about finding Hannah a proper trainer? The girl obviously had talent.

Ben opened the collar of his coat. It was too warm for December. But maybe he was just hot from skating. Ben had spent the last fifteen minutes trying to figure out if it was him being delusional or if the ice was... somehow wrong... He had spent his childhood on this lake but hadn't skated for two decades. He stood well on skates, but his evaluation of ice could be wrong... And people around him were calm.

Hannah was circling around him, and Ben laughed at how happy his daughter looked right now. And then, suddenly, he heard a strange cracking sound. Ben didn't have time to understand what it was because the next moment, the ice under Hannah broke, and the girl disappeared under the water.

Somehow, no one else fell into the ice-hole. All the people around him stepped back from it, and Ben could see terrified parents taking their children as far away as possible. Behind his back, he heard a desperate scream, and it sounded a lot like Rey, but Ben had no time to look there. Hannah's skates were too heavy, and the girl couldn't keep her head above the water. Ben had to act. He rushed towards the ice-hole and jumped into it.

The water was freezing cold, and Ben had to pull himself together to take a breath when the cold hit him. Once in the ice-hole, he looked around frantically. Hannah was floundering nearby, and Ben made an effort and moved towards the girl.

"DADDY!!!" Hannah screamed.

"Hush, baby, hush," Ben murmured, trying to take Hannah by the waist to push her from the water.

"HANNAH!" Suddenly, he saw Rey on the edge of the ice-hole. He was scared at first that the ice would break under her as well, but Rey seemed fine. The water around them started to cover with a thin layer of ice, and Ben realized that he had to use every opportunity to push Hannah from the water before they both went under it and the ice covered the water’s surface. Rey was reaching for them.

"REY, TAKE HER HAND!" Ben cried, and at that moment, another person appeared by Rey's side, and he couldn't believe his eyes.

It was Cassian.

"Son, you need to move a bit closer!" Cass cried, and with a final effort, Ben did move, pushing Hannah into the old man's arms.

Hannah was out of the water, but Ben dove under, pushing her. When he tried to come above the surface, his head met the ice. The hole was covered now, and Ben had no strength to break through it. The world around him went black, and Ben's last thought was about his daughter and how he wished that Hannah was safe.

Chapter Text

 

Chandrila pearl.

 

Around six years ago.

 

"Professor Ren?" Rey asked, entering Kylo's office.

 

He had messaged her earlier today, asking to pay him a visit after his office hours. She barely visited him on campus. It was too dangerous, all things considered. Now, Rey hadn't seen Kylo for two weeks. He had been visiting Chandrila for some business, and she missed him badly. So, even if he wanted something from her that wasn't related to their arrangement, she was still happy that he had called her.

 

"Come in, baby girl," she heard Kylo growl. Her heart fluttered at the sound.

 

Baby girl...

 

That meant she wasn't here because of her studies...

 

"Daddy," she whispered after closing the door behind her.

 

Kylo was sitting in his armchair, a glass of whiskey in his hands, and as always, Rey shivered at the sight of him. This wasn't their first day or week or even month together, but she still couldn't get used to him. Rey loved him so damn much, even if he kept insisting that it was a casual thing only.

 

Rey tried to suppress the thought that his gaze on her was filled with much more than casual sexual longing now. She took a step towards Kylo's desk and lowered her eyes, just as she was supposed to do.

 

"Look at me, doll," Kylo commanded, but his command sounded soft.

 

Rey obeyed.

 

He was now by her side, smiling at her softly.

 

"My good girl," he caressed her cheek. "I have something for you, kitten."

 

She never wanted his presents, only him. But Kylo had glorious taste and always seemed so proud when he gave Rey something. She smiled at him with her eyes opened wide, something Rey knew Kylo enjoyed.

 

"Thank you, Daddy!"

"Wait until you see it," he smirked.

 

It was a small pearl on a golden chain, and Rey gasped at how elegant and subtle it looked on her neck.

 

"This is a Chandrila pearl," Kylo whispered hoarsely in Rey's ear, his hot breath making her wet immediately. "It looks simple but elegant, and it was used by the ancient kings as presents for their betrothals," his words made Rey hold her breath. He couldn't mean that... "Considering our arrangement, I love that I can spend so much money on this simple gift for you, kitten." Of course he didn't mean it... Their arrangement... It was still working. Rey suppressed a hurt sigh. However, the feeling of his warm hand on her nape made the girl forget her sorrow... Almost. "Come here, baby," Kylo whispered.

 

She was standing in the center of his office now, watching him. Kylo walked to the shelves by the wall and turned on a retro vinyl player that he loved so much. Soft sounds of music filled the room when he took Rey into his arms and swung her.

 

They danced, Kylo leading as always, and Rey melted in his arms.

 

"I will have to go back to Chandrila tomorrow," Kylo suddenly murmured, and Rey looked up at him, frowning.

"Of course, Daddy," she managed to smile then. For how long would she not see him?

"I have a meeting with... an important person. And I have to be persistent... Even if that redhead is a total dick," Kylo stopped himself suddenly, and Rey looked closer at him, trying to understand what had caused his distress.

"You always get what you want, Daddy," she tried to lighten up his mood and managed to do so, as Kylo smirked proudly at her.

"You are right, kitten, I do..."

 

Rey wanted to tell him she loved him. She wanted to tell him how much she missed him. Maybe one day she would be bold and courageous enough to say it. Maybe one day she could look Kylo in the eyes, reading the same emotions there that she felt herself.

 

Maybe one day...

 

 

He was fucking her, Rey's back pressed to the shelves of his office. Kylo was an animal today, and Rey bit his shoulder, causing him to growl.

 

"I fucking love your tight cunt!" he hissed. "I fucking miss it every time I am at those stupid meetings. I'd better spend the next week inside you!"

"Yes, Daddy, yes! I'm so close! Please... Oh... OH!"

"I will fucking fill you with me! I'll make you so fucking full of my cum that it will be dripping from you for a whole entire week!"

"YES!"

 

Rey could feel him exploding inside her, and she would have been afraid that someone could hear his scream had she not been climaxing herself, his cock so hard inside her that it was even slightly painful.

 

 

She would keep the Chandrila pearl for years. Two months later, Kylo would throw her away from his apartment, and Rey would realize that she was pregnant.

 

Now.

 

Hannah was conscious. A group of paramedics worked on her quickly, changing the girl's clothes and wrapping her in a safety blanket. Hannah was pale, but Rey talked to her and realized that her daughter was relatively fine, all things considered. Still, Rey could barely speak. Another group of paramedics had just broken the ice and fetched Ben out of the water. Quickly, they brought him to the shore. Ben was massive, so Cassian had to help the rescue team, and so did Han. Now, Rey was holding Hannah, not letting the girl watch the paramedics revive her father. Ben was lying on a gurney, and one of the medics was giving him CPR.

 

Ben's heart wasn't beating.

 

"He is not breathing!" a paramedic cried, and Rey felt the taste of blood on her lips. She had bitten herself too hard and hadn't even noticed it.

 

God, please... Please!!!!!

 

By Ben's side, Cassian was also praying, his eyes closed.

 

"Come on, man!" the paramedic on Ben's chest pleaded. "Come on!"

 

Ben hadn't breathed for too long, and Rey closed her eyes. Everything in her life had to end like this, it seemed. Clinging to Hannah's delicate body in her arms, Rey howled quietly.

 

"Mommy?" Hannah sobbed. "Mommy?..."

 

Rey couldn't answer. She had to be there for her daughter, but she fucking couldn't.

 

Suddenly, Ben coughed.

 

Rey's eyes opened in a flash, and she saw water coming from his mouth. He lost consciousness again immediately, but the paramedic above Ben was smiling.

 

"Get him to the hospital, now!" he cried.

 

Rey could breathe again.

 

"Mommy!" Hannah cried, tears running down her cheeks, and Rey remembered herself.

"It's okay, honey," she hugged her daughter tightly. "Daddy is alive... He's alive..."

 

She didn't know if he was alright, but at least he was breathing, and that gave Rey some hope.

 

 

She went to the hospital in the same ambulance as Hannah. Ben was in another ambulance, and Cassian followed them by taxi. Rey wasn't sure where Leia, Han, and Poe were, but they must have been following too.

 

"Give me your phone," Cassian asked her in the hospital, and Rey did, unlocking it.

 

Cassian spent some time shuffling the phone before giving it back to Rey.

 

"I added my number to your contacts, and I also have your number now," he explained. "Go take care of Hannah. I will keep you informed on Ben."

 

Rey was glad that Cassian could think clearly now. She definitely couldn't. Nodding, she followed the paramedics into a room where Hannah was examined.

 

"Miss Niima," the doctor who had examined Rey not so long ago gave her a humorless smile. "I would say that it's good to see you, had the circumstances been different... Well," he looked at the papers in front of him. "At least both you and your daughter have insurance now."

"What?" Rey thought that she'd misheard something.

"Hm?" the doctor looked at her inquiringly. "Your insurance," he showed her a paper in his hands. "Everything seems to be in order. And Hannah will be completely fine, won't you darling?" he smiled at the girl. Rey, however, was shocked.

 

Ben...

 

He had covered this too, not letting her know. Rey wanted to cry. Now, Ben could die, and she couldn’t even tell him that she still loved him.

 

"Hannah is young and very healthy. She had hypothermia, but now, after we’ve warmed her up," the doctor smiled at the girl. "She will be absolutely fine. However, I would like to monitor her till tomorrow, Miss Niima."

 

Rey just nodded, still unable to form words.

 

"Miss Niima," the doctor smiled, and Rey looked up at him. "Go splash some cold water on your face and grab a cup of hot tea or coffee. I will finish with Hannah by the time you get back."

 

Rey nodded again and left the room, the doctor smiling at her kindly.

 

 

"I said I want my granddaughter to be transferred into the room where her father is!" Leia's loud voice made Rey's blood boil. The old woman was standing in front of the nurse outside Hannah's room, and the guy was trying to tell Leia something but couldn't because Mrs. Organa was in her I-get-what-I-want mode. "I am one of the main sponsors of this hospital, and you will transfer Hannah to another room, or else..."

"What's going on here?" Rey interfered. The water and coffee helped, and she was able to speak and think clearly now. And she was very angry.

"Rey," Leia stated, looking at her. "I was just asking the nurse here to transfer Hannah to Ben's room. You will be able to be with the both of them that way, and..."

"I didn't ask you for help," Rey hissed. "And neither did Ben."

 

Leia gasped at her words.

 

"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Rey!" she exclaimed. "I know we had a... misunderstanding... But let me help! I can help, you know it!"

 

Rey knew it perfectly well. And deep inside, she also knew that Leia meant well. However, after the woman had intended to take Hannah from her, Rey couldn't trust her to help. It could cost too much.

 

"Where is Ben?" she hissed then, realizing that she still hadn't received a message from Cassian.

"He... The doctors are working on him. He is breathing..." Leia stammered.

 

Rey turned to the nurse then.

 

"I am very sorry," she apologized, looking at the name tag on the man's chest. "Nurse Peters. I am sorry... Mrs. Organa made you so concerned. I know it can be a burden to transfer patients. We will be happy with whatever is possible as long as both Hannah and... my fiance... her father... are fine."

 

Rey still felt the weight of the word "fiance" on her tongue. She wanted to claim to be one so that the doctors would let her see Ben, but now she felt so much more about it. The nurse smiled at her and was quick to leave, not wanting to talk to Leia any longer. The old woman looked at her in surprise.

 

"Fiancee?" she gasped. "Rey, did he...?"

"Listen, Leia," Rey interrupted. The woman had asked Rey for a million times to call her by her first name, but Rey never could, feeling too much respect towards her. Now, however, she didn't give a damn about respect. "You know perfectly well that Ben won't be happy to see you. And I owe you a lot... But after you wanted to take Hannah from me, I don't feel indebted any longer. So, even if I would really like Hannah to be transferred to Ben's room, I don't want to accept your help. And Ben is not..." Rey couldn't contain her sob now. "The doctors are still working on him... He can..." he could die, Rey realized. She couldn't breathe again. "Please, Leia... Just go away..."

 

Leia watched her, and for a second, the younger woman saw so much hurt in the old woman's eyes that it hurt. However, she couldn't think about the old woman now. Entering Hannah's room, Rey pulled her phone out of her pocket. There was finally a message from Cassian.

 

"The doctors have just finished working on him. I am near his room, but he's still in a coma. Take care of Hannah and come when you can."

 

"Mommy?" Hannah looked so much better now, but her lips were trembling.

 

Rey crossed the room and hugged her daughter.

 

"Sweetie, how do you feel?" she asked, holding Hannah tightly.

 

"Okay..." the girl sobbed. "Mommy... Where's daddy?"

 

Rey closed her eyes for a second, containing her tears.

 

"The doctors are helping him, honey."

 

That was the moment when Nurse Peters entered the room quietly.

 

"Miss Niima?" he called, and both Rey and Hannah turned to him. "I told Mrs. Organa that it is quite complicated to move your daughter to Mr. Solo's room, but... I can do it for you... if you want?"

 

Rey was watching him in surprise when the man smirked.

 

"I don't like when people behave like they own the world because they have money," he took a step closer. "But I chose this profession to help people...  And I want to help..."

 

Smiling through tears, Rey nodded.

 

***

 

Rey swung in his arms, and Ben was absolutely fucking happy. He hadn't seen her for some time and missed her so much. The Chandrila pearl was shining on her neck. He knew it was a symbol of eternal love and fidelity, and he couldn't understand what made him deny his feelings towards the girl.

 

Ben loved this woman so badly...

 

She was looking him in the eyes now, and he could see the love emanating from them in waves. Why hadn’t he told Rey that he loved her? He wanted to, but the next moment Rey was standing several feet away with a small bundle in her arms.

 

Hannah!

 

And then older Hannah was under the cold water, and Ben realized that he was losing everything: his family, the two most important people in the world, his soul...

 

With a cry, Ben sat on the bed, looking around. There was something in his hand, and Ben pushed the IV out of it, violently, still not realizing what was going on.

 

"Daddy?!" a small voice exclaimed by his side.

 

Hannah!

 

Ben turned to his daughter, who had now climbed onto his bed, and pulled her closer, looking over her face and body frantically. The girl seemed fine.

 

Oh, God... Oh, God!

 

He hugged his daughter so tightly that Hannah squeaked.

 

"God, baby, I was so worried! Are you okay? Are you..." he couldn't speak, tears taking over him, so he just buried his face in the crown of his daughter's hair, feeling Hannah wrapping her small arms around his chest.

"I'm okay, daddy," Hannah whispered, and Ben could breathe again.

 

He pulled back from his daughter, still looking at her and wiping his tears. And then, suddenly, by his side, he heard a sob.

 

Ben turned to the sound, and there she was. Rey was standing by his bed, and Ben didn't even have time to realize what happened before she rushed to him and kissed him, clenching his hair so tightly that it hurt a bit.

 

He couldn't care less.

 

Ben kissed her back, on the lips, on the cheeks, on Rey's temples. He was covering her face with kisses that were probably too harsh, but he needed to feel her. Her warmth, her life, her forgiveness, her acceptance...

 

"Wooooooo! Mommy kissed daddy!" Hannah giggled by their side, and they pulled back from each other, smirking shyly and remembering themselves.

 

Ben gazed at Rey. She was looking into his eyes just like she had been during his dream several minutes ago. They would explain it to their daughter. And he hoped so much that they would raise her together from now on. Because there it was, inside Rey’s eyes...

 

There it was - her love for him. The love he had seen there all those years ago. There was also worry and so many questions there. Ben wanted to soothe her so badly!

 

He pulled her closed, making Rey bury her nose in the crook of his neck.

 

"I'm not going anywhere, sweetheart. I'm here... I love you... I love you..." he murmured.

 

Suddenly, in the corner of the room (he was in the hospital, Ben finally realized) he heard another sound. Another sob. Ben looked up to see several more people in the room.

 

Cass!

 

The old man was the first one who Ben recognized. His heart leaped with joy at the sight of his friend, but the next moment, Ben saw the person who had caused the sound he had heard and he frowned.

 

His mother was there, standing not far from his bed with Han. Behind his parents stood Poe, and Ben couldn't contain his growl.

 

"I tried to make them leave," Rey whispered, pulling back from him slightly. "They wouldn't..."

 

Ben looked at Hannah by his side. He couldn't throw a tantrum in front of his daughter.

 

"What are you doing here?" he asked, trying to sound as calm as he could, but realizing that he should have sounded menacing instead.

"Ben... Please... We were so worried..." Leia pleaded. "We just wanted to be with you..."

 

Ben smirked, looking at Poe.

 

"You too, Poe?" he asked. "I am flattered."

"I..." Poe stammered.

"Sorry I didn't die again this time," Ben smirked, feeling anger rising in him.

"Ben!" Leia exclaimed. Poe frowned but didn't look his brother in the eyes. He looked ashamed.

 

Rey squeezed his hand, and Ben took a deep breath. He had to remember that Hannah was here.

 

"I really want to be with my family now," he finally said calmly. That was the moment when the doctor entered the room.

"Oh, you are awake!" he exclaimed. "How do you feel, Mr. Solo?"

"I am okay," Ben lied. He felt like shit but didn't want Rey to worry. “But I would appreciate it if you showed my parents and brother the way out of the room. It is a bit crowded here..."

"Your family was worried about you, Mr. Solo..." the doctor frowned. "But I understand... Your fiancee, however," the doctor looked at Rey, and Ben's heart skipped a beat. "She is here with your daughter, so..."

"My fiancee stays," Ben interrupted the man, not averting his eyes from Rey who was now watching him, smiling shyly. "And so does Mr. Andor."

 

His life seemed to finally work in his favor. Ben was so happy that he could explode from it right here, right now. He looked at his parents and Poe who were now gathering their stuff to leave. It was maybe his happiness that made Ben say the following words... After all, he had to always think about Hannah.

 

"Han," he addressed to his father, and the man looked at him, frowning. "I am too tired now, but Rey and I will discuss the possibility of Hannah coming to visit," Rey raised her brow by his side, but didn't say a word at that. She trusted him, Ben realized. "But now I need to rest."

"Okay, son," Han nodded sadly. "Thank you."

 

As soon as they left, Cassian took a step towards Ben's bed.

 

"I know what you'll say," Ben rolled his eyes. "I need to learn how to forgive..."

"Oh, cut this crap, son," Cassian smirked and then apologized to Rey quickly. Rey glared at him, nodding at Hannah, who thankfully hadn't paid attention to the Pastor's nasty words this time. "I am just happy you are okay... I think we'll need to postpone our discussion, though."

 

Ben looked at Rey worriedly.

 

"I'm sorry," Cassian frowned. "I know it wasn't my story to tell, but Rey knows about "Silver lining" now..."

 

Ben frowned, feeling his anxiety hitting him. Ben didn't want Rey to know about the foundation. He didn't want her to feel pressured.

 

"Rey, I..." he started, reaching for her hand and afraid that she would pull back this time.

 

She didn't.

 

Rey sat on his bed again, caressing his hair and smiling at him.

 

"We'll talk about this later," she whispered. "You'll tell me everything."

 

Ben nodded frantically. He would. He definitely would.

 

"Cassian's hotel messed up with his reservation," Rey nodded at the old man then. "We met this morning when Cassian came looking for you. I invited him to stay at ours," Ben almost lost his breath, hearing Rey calling their home "ours”.

"I have no idea why you decided to stay in the hotel at all," Ben smiled at the man. "I am sorry I made you worried, Cass."

 

Cassian walked closer.

 

"You are safe and with your family now," he grinned at Ben. "That's all that matters. I will have to return home tomorrow  evening. There are no more tickets for earlier trains."

"Stay with us for Christmas!" Rey exclaimed, and Ben couldn't love her more. His real family was right here, in this room.

"I haven't spent Christmas away from my wife for more than thirty years," Cassian smiled. "Jyn wants me to make sure that Ben is fine, but he looks okay to me now, and I need to return home or she'll be celebrating without me... Our Parish has elders to deliver the sermon, and Jyn won't be alone, but..." Cass shrugged. "I miss her..."

"Can't she come here? I can buy her a plane ticket, no, no, Cass..." Ben stopped the man who was obviously going to object. "I've spent last several Christmas with you, I really would like you both to be with us... I want Jyn to meet Hannah and Rey. And I miss Jyn too..."

 

Cassian looked at Ben hesitantly before nodding.

 

"I think she would love to come... I'll see if there are train tickets to Alderaan left. Oh, come on, boy!" It was Cassian now who stopped Ben from objecting. "I know you have a hell of a lot of money," he smirked. "No need to remind old Pastor here about it," Ben laughed at that. The first day Ben had ever stayed with Cassian, he had bought half of the grocery store. Cassian had been teasing Ben about it ever since.

 

Ben turned back to Rey who was now giving Hannah new crayons, something that had thankfully occupied the girl while the Organa-Solo family left the room.

 

"Fiancee, huh?" he smiled kindly at her.

"They wouldn't let me see you otherwise," Rey gasped, hurrying to explain. "And Cassian too. He spent an hour outside your room before I came and asked for permission for him to enter... And..."

 

Ben pulled Rey closer, making her shriek in surprise.

 

"Rey," he smiled, kissing her temple. "The only thing I wish is for you to become my fiancee for real..."

 

Rey gasped before replying.

 

"Can we discuss it later?" she smiled at him, and for a moment, Ben felt hurt. But then he remembered himself. He would give her as much time as she needed...

"Of course, sweetheart..." he nodded. "But... Are you with me or...?"

"Yes," Rey smiled, tears shining in her eyes. "Yes, I am..."

 

Suddenly, on her neck, Ben noticed the Chandrila pearl. It was the same pearl he had given her all those years ago. The pearl of his love, of his devotion... He hadn't seen Rey wearing it before, thinking she had sold it. He touched the jewelry, trying not to cry.

 

"I kept it in the box... Wanted to give it to Hannah when she grows up," Rey explained. "As a family legacy, you know?... But today in the morning I suddenly wanted to wear it... Before Cassian arrived..."

"I love you," Ben whispered, kissing Rey again. "I love you so much..."

 

***

"Rey?" Cassian's voice was the first thing Rey heard in the morning. She opened her eyes, looking at the old Pastor, who was pressing a finger to his lips.

 

Rey looked behind him. A woman was standing by the wall. She was old, but beautiful, with full lips and bright eyes that shone despite her age. The woman waved her hand at Rey, smiling, and then nodded towards Ben’s bed.

 

Yesterday, the nurse brought another bed for Rey to sleep on, telling her that there was enough space for patients in the hospital and that Rey could rest properly, not on the chair in the corner. Rey had agreed, because it had seemed the only chance for her to stay in the room. Ben didn't want to hear about her sleeping in the chair. But Rey couldn't leave him and Hannah. Hannah laid in Ben's bed for some time, and both Ben and Rey had read a book to her. After the girl had been put to bed, Rey laid next to Ben and they talked about nothing, knowing that there would be time to discuss more important things later. In that moment, the only thing that was important was that they were all fine and together.

 

Rey, however, had fallen asleep in her own bed and was now looking at Hannah who had obviously woken up earlier and climbed into her father's bed, curling next to him.

 

"These are moments to remember," Cassian whispered, and Rey pulled her phone from her pocket and took several photos of Ben and Hannah sleeping together.

 

"You must be Jyn?" she whispered to the woman then. "It's very nice to meet you!"

"Likewise, Rey," Jyn smiled. "I am so happy to finally meet you. Ben has told us so much about you!"

 

Rey blushed at that but thankfully the doctor walked into the room, waking both Ben and Hannah up. It was time for a final check-up. It was time to go home.

 

 

It was Christmas Eve, and Rey was not prepared for it. Good thing Jyn was there to help. Ben had ordered delivery on their way home, and now Jyn and Cassian occupied the kitchen, cooking.

 

"Honey, don't get me wrong," Jyn smiled at Rey. "I know that there should be only one Mistress in every kitchen. And this kitchen is yours. However, I am sure you'd rather spend some time with your daughter and your husb..." Jyn stammered. "Man..."

 

Rey couldn't help but notice her stammering and blushing crimson.

"Oh, sweetheart," Jyn laughed. "You still have a lot of things to work on... But I have never seen Ben so happy..."

 

Rey couldn't help but hug the woman.

 

"Thank you," she whispered.

"Not at all, darling. Now, go have fun with your family."

 

Ben felt good, and as soon as Rey joined him, he pulled her closer, kissing her temple and placing her in his lap. Rey didn't mind. Cassian was playing on the rug with Hannah, and the two of them were building a railway. Rey could feel Ben's hot breath tickling her neck. She gasped. She could feel something hard pressing into her thigh, and there was no question of what it was...

 

She was drenched herself...

 

Rey turned to face Ben, and he was looking at her with so much longing and desire in his eyes...

 

"Ben..." she whispered.

 

She wasn't sure if it wasn't too soon. Shouldn't they wait? Rey's anxiety returned, but Ben sensed it immediately.

 

"Sweetheart, I'm sorry," he whispered. "I just can't control myself around you... I never could... It... It doesn't mean we need to do anything, Rey..."

 

His words calmed her down. However, Rey climbed off from Ben's lap.

 

"I just don't want your dick to hurt later," she smirked, and Ben couldn't help but laugh at that. His eyes were sad, though.

"It will hurt nonetheless," he murmured, and it was Rey's time to laugh now.

 

Later, after the glorious Christmas dinner that Jyn had made, they put Hannah to bed and Rey was about to return to her room. Ben had already left for his room. He was a bit tired after the day. He had been in a coma, after all, and it had taken a lot out of him. Rey, however, felt strange...

 

She didn't want to sleep alone tonight...

 

"Rey?" Jyn called her from the sink where they had just finished washing the dishes. "Can I talk to you for a second, honey?"

 

Rey already loved the woman. Jyn was so hearty and witty. She matched Cassian perfectly, and they both were like perfect parents to Ben. The perfect parents that he never had.

"I know that you have a lot of doubts concerning this situation," Jyn was also bold, and that was also something Rey liked about her. Now, however, she tensed. "You know, when I met Cassian he was a smuggler..."

"What?!"

"You heard me," Jyn smirked. "He wasn't always a good Pastor like he is now... He is still a bit of that reckless man I met all those years ago. But what I want to tell you is something else..."

 

Rey listened carefully to the old woman.

 

"God rarely gives us second chances, you know," Jyn shrugged. "But Ben sort of got his... And I know that you have doubts... I know it is scary... But he didn't even think before jumping into that cold water to save your daughter... And I know you have questions... But the only thing that can help in this situation is for you to talk... Rey, ask him anything, and he won't lie to you. I just know it... Don't distance yourself from him. Not now. Not when you’ve decided to give him a chance. And you have decided, haven't you?"

"I... I have," Rey whispered.

"Well," Jyn smiled at her. "Knowing Ben, I don't think he is sleeping... And don't worry about Hannah, we will look after her and call you if you are needed, I promise."

 

Rey was watching the woman her eyes opened wide.

 

"Well..." Jyn looked at her inquiringly. "What are you waiting for?"

 

Within a minute, Rey stood in front of Ben's door. He was there, right behind it, and Rey smiled at the thought of this giant man who was probably waiting for her...

 

With a deep breath, she knocked.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13.

 

Christmas.

 

Ben was pacing his room when he heard a knock on the door. His mind had been rushing since the moment Rey woke him up this morning, and he had to pull himself together to make it through the evening.

 

No, no, everything was terrific!

 

But Ben couldn't believe he wasn't sleeping. His life had never worked out this happily, and he was deadly afraid to open his eyes and find himself alone and hated by Rey.

 

She had sat on his lap today... God, everything about her had always made him aroused, but today Ben had barely managed to pull himself together. He had been rock-hard ever since, and Ben could swear he had seen Cass smirk at him several times. It was quite complicated to hide his hard-on, after all, and Ben wasn't really sure he had managed to do it properly.

 

Rey was everywhere - in his mind, burned on the inside of his eye-lids, her scent filling Ben's nostrils. Ben had tried to think about Hannah, and it had helped for a bit, but then his thoughts had drifted to the woman he loved again, and Ben was already about to go to the bathroom and jerk-off until his dick bled when someone knocked on the door.

 

He thought it was Cassian. The old man was probably visiting him to have some private time with Ben. They liked to just sit and talk about men's stuff, and Jyn always left them alone for some time. After Ben had seen his parents again today, he realized more than ever that Cassian and Jyn were more like parents to him than Han and Leia were. And now his true parents had met his daughter and... his Rey.

 

Ben smiled at the thought. Yes, he would be glad to speak to Cassian now. He opened the door.

 

There was no Cassian. There was Rey.

 

"Hey," she whispered, biting her lower lip, and Ben clung to the doorknob so hard that his knuckles turned white.

 

She didn't ask for permission to come in. She just entered his room just like she was the Mistress here. Just like he had dreamt of her doing. Ben closed the door behind her and turned to her, still unable to speak. Still trying to distance himself so as not to jump on her, not to claim her. He had to stay composed.

 

"How do you feel?" Rey asked quietly, taking a step towards him.

"I... I'm good... Rey..." he tried to warn her, but Rey interrupted him.

"Are you tired? You were in a coma, Ben," her voice trembled, and Ben realized she was terrified too. Terrified of what had happened to him. Terrified of what was happening between them now.

"Rey..." he tried again, but she finally closed the distance that had been dividing them and wrapped her arms around his torso, burying her face in his broad chest. Ben hugged her, releasing a breath he was holding.

"I thought you died," she whispered, her hot breath burning the skin under his shirt. "I was so scared, Kylo..."

 

He shivered at the name she used, and Rey remembered herself, looking up at him worriedly.

 

"I'm sorry..." she whispered. And all Ben was able to do was to shake his head, trying to let her understand that it was okay. She could call him whatever she wanted. "I don't care about your name, Ben... I don't care..."

"Okay..." was all he was able to say.

"But I want you to tell me everything... I want you to be honest with me..." she pleaded, and Ben couldn't deny her anything.

"Okay," he repeated, hugging her tighter. "I won't hide anything from you, Rey, I promise."

"You always kept your promises to me..."

"I just gave you the wrong ones, love..."

 

Ben felt like her gaze was burning the skin on his face. Rey was so fragile and so desirable in his arms...

 

"What do you want to know, sweetheart?" he murmured.

 

Rey shook her head.

 

"Not now..." she whispered. "Not now... love..."

 

At those words, Ben felt like he died and rose from the dead, and then Rey kissed him. Tender and tentative at first, she was the one to deepen the kiss when Ben, overwhelmed, opened his mouth in surprise to let her in. And then he remembered himself...

 

Ben was kissing her like there was no tomorrow. His hands were roaming her beloved body, and he caught her when Rey jumped on him, wrapping her legs around his waist as she had done so many years ago.

 

She was even lighter now. Ben squeezed Rey's butt and moved them to his bed. She fell on her back, and he was already above her when he managed to stop.

 

"Rey..." he hissed. "Tell me to stop if..."

"I don't want you to stop," she whispered hoarsely, and he attacked her mouth, devouring her, tasting her.

 

They got rid of their clothes quickly, and Rey was finally naked in front of his eyes when Ben froze.

 

She was so beautiful he couldn't move...

 

Rey, on the other hand, felt uncomfortable under his gaze and tried to hide herself.

 

"NO!" he cried, stopping her. "No, Rey, don't hide from me... Please..."

"I'm not like I used to be," she whispered, her voice trembling, all her anxiety lying in front of his eyes.

"You are the most beautiful woman in the world," he knew he sounded sincere. He meant it. Rey's body changed a bit after pregnancy. Her breasts were bigger, and a little bit swelled now, her nipples darker.

 

Ben loved it.

 

She was very thin, and he saw a scar on her lower abdomen, the one she had after her C-section, Ben realized. He gasped at the sight of it.

 

Rey had gained a little bit of weight living with him, but she was still skinny.

 

"I just need to feed you better now, love," he whispered, kissing her scar, his action making Rey shiver.

"I... I have... marks..." she murmured, hiding her eyes behind her hand, her body still tense.

 

He finally noticed them — the stretch marks on her stomach. There were plenty, but Ben hadn't even noticed them before she mentioned them. He covered her body with his own, removing Rey’s hand from her eyes.

 

"Rey," he whispered, kissing her fingers. "Look at me."

 

She obeyed as always. So many years had passed, but Rey still did everything that he told her.

 

"I didn’t even notice them before you mentioned you had them," he kissed her jawline now. "But I think..." one more kiss to the corner of her lips. "I think that I need to see more of them one day... If you ever agree to have more kids with me... You are gorgeous, Rey... I don't see anyone but you."

 

She was looking at him with her mouth agape like she couldn't believe his words. Ben kissed her passionately and Rey opened to him, letting Ben deeper, tasting him. Her body finally relaxed in his arms.

 

"Tell me what you want, sweetheart," he murmured into their kiss.

"Don't..." she finally whispered after sucking on his lower lip, the action making him tremble with desire. "Don't treat me like a porcelain doll... I... I want you."

 

He growled, moving his hand to her folds, finding them absolutely drenched.

 

"My wonderful girl," he breathed on her neck, making her body arch at his touch. "Baby, you are so wet..."

 

She bit his jawline, and he tried to move lower, but she stopped him.

 

"Not today, Ben... I am ready for you... I want you inside."

 

He wanted to object, but Rey gripped his cock, stroking it.

 

"Oh, fucking fuck!!!" Ben growled, and Rey moaned under him. "Baby!"

"Should I repeat myself?" she smirked hoarsely. Rey'd never been this demanding before, and Ben was captivated by her now. He loved her this demanding. He wanted to crawl at her feet, letting her punish him if she wanted to. Maybe they could talk about it later. After he devoured her. After she was wholly his again.

"So demanding, baby doll," he was afraid that this pet name would scare her off. After all, it sounded as if they were approaching the Daddy/little girl territory again now. However, Rey surprised him once again.

"I've been waiting for you for so long... Daddy..."

 

His heart was trying to rip his chest apart. Ben was panting heavily, lying above Rey.

 

"Rey..." he whispered.

"You told me that baby girls were never whores," she murmured. "Did you mean it?"

"Yes..." Ben had meant it. He just didn't want Rey to regret anything.

"Will you think less of me?"

"Never... Never, Rey!"

"Then what will you say if I tell you that in my lowest moments I masturbated to the thought of you fucking me on that table in your office? I had men who wanted to date me, you know," Ben saw red at the thought of someone with Rey. He could kill every single one of them easily. Ben concentrated on Rey's words again.  "But they were nothing like you," she whispered. "Never like you... I couldn't even let them close... What will you say to it?..."

 

Ben growled, pulling her folds apart and placing himself next to her entrance. He cursed then.

 

"I want to tear you apart, baby girl... But I don't have any protection..."

 

Rey frowned.

 

"Me neither," she whispered hoarsely.

"I'm clean," he kissed her earlobe, licking on it afterwards. Rey's wet opening pressed to the head of his cock for a second at that, but Ben had to contain himself. "I got myself tested several years ago... And I haven't been with anyone ever since..."

 

She caressed his face then.

 

"Why?" she looked so surprised. How could she not understand that there was no one for Ben but her?...

"Because after you left, I didn't want anyone but you... I have never wanted anyone but you after I met you, Rey..."

 

There had been Bazine. But Bazine had only been a distraction. Ben knew it wasn't right, and they would have to discuss it, but now Rey was under him, and he just needed to fuck her.

 

"I've never been with anyone but you," Rey repeated. "And I am clean."

"Do you trust me?" he asked, his voice hitching.

 

For a second, Rey looked at him intently.

 

"Yes."

"Bend your knees for me, little one."

 

It was just like fucking her when she was a virgin. Rey was so fucking tight! The moment he entered her, she squeaked, tears rolling down her face. She was tiny down there. Ben kissed Rey's every tear away, moving inside her, stretching her.

 

"Does it hurt?" he managed to murmur.

"Yes," she whispered. "But I always loved a little bit of pain, Daddy..."

 

Ben's eyes rolled to the back of his skull. He was in heaven. He held Rey by the waist, pressing her to himself. She was so tiny he could break her. She finally adjusted to him, and Ben heard Rey moaning.

 

"Yes, baby, yes," he hissed. "You'll get used to me again... I won't let anyone else near you, do you hear me, Rey?!"

"Yes... Yes, oh, yes!!!"

 

He pulled out of her, making Rey moan in frustration, but the next moment Ben lifted her from the bed, turning her around, pulling Rey's ass higher.

 

"Hold onto the headboard," he growled, and Rey obeyed as he thrust into her from behind.

"Oh, GOD!!!" Rey cried out. "GOD, BEN!!! BEN!!! DADDY!!!"

 

He watched his cock pulling out and entering her again, Rey's slick glimmering over him, Rey's peachy ass in his massive palms. He squeezed, and her cheeks moved between his fingers. Ben growled.

 

"God, baby... Yes, oh, fuck!!!"

 

He froze, trying not to cum, but Rey started to slide over his cock, making Ben enter her to the hilt, making him feel her womb with his head.

 

"I want you deeper, Daddy," she moaned, and Ben started to thrust again, pulling Rey to himself by her ass.

"Daddy, I'm so close! Deeper!!!" he was holding her by her lower abdomen now and could feel his dick hitting his palm from inside of her.

"BABY!"

"HARDER, DADDY!"

"GOOD GOD!!!"

 

He barely managed to pull out, covering Rey's butt and back with his seed. Rubbing it into her like a madman. They fell on the bed, Ben still climaxing, and he inserted two fingers into Rey's pussy, catching her final spasms. He bit her shoulder, leaving his teeth marks there. Rey cried out, and he knew she loved the pain.

 

"Love... Sweetheart... Darling..." Ben murmured, feeling Rey's heart beating madly in her chest.

 

She turned in his arms, hugging him and smiling lazily.

 

"We ruined your bed," she whispered.

"I don't give a fuck about it..."

 

Rey laughed, and Ben hugged her tighter.

 

"You know there's no turning back for you now, don't you?" he asked quietly.

 

He was probably wrong saying it. Rey had asked for time, but she had come to him, and he would never let her go now.

 

"What are you going to do, Ben?" she asked him.

"I'm going to own you, sweetheart," he stated hoarsely. Rey had to know. "I am going to own you, but I am also going to worship the ground you are standing on."

"You are not even asking for permission now," she smirked.

"Do I need to?"

"No."

 

They had sex several other times that night. Once in the bathroom where Ben cleaned them both up only to make them dirty again several minutes later, and then on the desk in his room. Rey had made his back bleed from her scratches, and Ben was ready to worship every single one of those wounds.

 

"It's 2 a.m.," Rey murmured sleepily.

"It is," Ben was too excited to sleep. He was caressing Rey's back now as she curled by his side, lying on his chest.

"I always get up at 3 a.m. on Christmas to put presents for Hannah under the Christmas tree."

 

Ben rubbed his temples. Truth be told, he had absolutely forgotten about it.

 

"I guess there's no point falling asleep now," he smirked.

"Can I ask you something then?" Rey kissed his chest.

"Anything."

"Tell me why you threw me away that night."

 

Ben barely managed to contain his growl. He didn't want to talk about that right now... But he owed Rey this conversation. He sighed but started to speak.

 

 

"Why was his approval so important to you?" Rey wondered when Ben finished his story. "Snoke's?"

"He..." Ben tried to find the right words. "He was the first man to believe in me... To tell me I was worth something..."

"You were always worth something."

"Not to my parents."

 

Rey nodded and was quiet for several minutes, digesting the information.

 

“Ben…” she finally asked. “Did you know about the Mexico case before…?”

“No,” he shook his head frantically. “I had no idea, I promise. The moment I found out, I decided to ruin Snoke.”

 

Rey nodded.

 

“Have you ever done… something criminal?”

 

Ben frowned.

 

“What do you mean?”

“I know you never killed anyone or caused someone’s death, but what about that corruption case? Did you really not know?”

 

He looked intently at her. Ben didn’t want to answer this question… But he’d promised to never lie to Rey.

 

“I will tell you the truth, Rey,” he sighed. “Because I promised you… But… Do you really wish to know, sweetheart?”

 

Rey nodded.

 

“I do.”

“Okay then,” Ben shrugged and distanced himself from her. After all, after Rey heard his story, she would probably decide to leave him… Ben talked… and talked… and talked some more. He told Rey everything about the fine print in students’ contracts, he told her everything about Hux and about the former President. He told her everything about himself.

 

Rey’s face was still when Ben finished. He waited and waited until she spoke again.

 

"Did you love her?" her question was unexpected, and Ben had no idea who Rey meant at first.

"Who?"

"That woman... Bazine..."

 

Oh...

 

"Never."

 

Rey didn't say a word.

 

"Promise?" she finally whispered, and there she was again. That young, naive girl he met all those years ago. Ben never could understand how Rey contained all of it - tenderness, her carnal desires when in bed, her innocent ability to forgive and to ask him to promise something. She wondered so sincerely and sounded so pure. Rey had been through so much. But nothing had managed to break her. Ben barely contained his tears.

"I promise, sweetheart," he whispered, kissing her on the lips. "I have never loved anyone but you..."

 

It was true, but another woman would probably never believe him. But if anyone could forgive Ben Solo, it was Rey Niima... She sobbed and hugged him tighter, and Ben thought that maybe, there was God, after all...

 

"Me neither," Rey whispered, and Ben pulled her closer, trying to soothe all her pain. "Me neither, Ben... I have always loved you... Even when I hated you with all my soul."

"I am so sorry, sweetheart..." he would never be able to ask her enough for forgiveness. All Ben could do was stay by Rey's side and make sure she never lacked anything. "I wish I could take it all back... I wish I were with you when Hannah was born. I wish you never suffered."

"What's done is done," she kissed him on the cheek. "You'd better take care of us now."

“But… What about the story I told you?” he raised his brow at her. “Rey, I just fucking told you that I bribed the President, for God’s sake, how can you…”

 

She pressed her finger to his lips, making Ben shut up.

 

“Shh…” she shook her head. “I don’t want to hear that again…”

“But Rey…”

“Did you cover every trace of your involvement?”

“I did, but…”

“Then let’s never talk about it again. I don’t care, Ben…”

 

He was looking in astonishment at her, not really trusting his ears.

 

“I want our daughter to grow up with her father by her side… And I want Hannah to be proud of you. Everyone thinks you are a hero… And you are a hero, you stopped that bastard… As for everything else…” she shrugged. “You have your whole life to  redeem yourself, and I know you regret it… That is enough for me.”

 

Ben couldn’t believe his ears. Was she a saint? Was she crazy?

 

He didn’t give a damn. Ben loved Rey with all his heart and soul.

 

“Sweetheart…” he pulled her closer. “Rey…”

“I want you to take care of me and Hannah,” Rey whispered.

"I will, Rey. I promise."

"You have never broken your promises to me," she said again, smiling through her newfound tears.

 

She was right, he had never broken a promise to her. And he would never break one in the future.

 

She asked him a lot of things that night. Ben told Rey about "Silver lining", and Rey asked if she could help with the kids. Ben thought that Rey could probably provide massive support to the foundation, considering her personal experience. She listened carefully to his every word, before asking him:

 

"Did you do it because of me?" she was bold and asked direct questions. Ben loved her so much for it.

"Yes..." he murmured.

 

She kissed him again, long and tenderly.

 

"Good," she whispered.

 

 

After finally going to sleep at 4 a.m., with all presents under the Christmas tree, Ben was woken up by Hannah's loud voice at 6 a.m.

 

"Mommy! Where are you, mommy?!"

"Hush, kid!" Ben heard Cassian's laughing voice. "Your parents must be sleeping, give them some rest!"

 

 

By Ben's side, Rey opened her eyes in a flash and started to pull on her clothes automatically. It looked like she was still sleeping.

 

"Baby, hold on," Ben caught her by the hand, and Rey finally opened her eyes properly.

"Hannah..." she murmured.

 

Ben pushed her back to bed.

 

"I'll take care of it," he smiled, jumping into his sweatpants and pulling on his t-shirt. "Hannah!" he called, and the next moment his daughter appeared on the other end of the corridor, Cassian trying to catch her.

"Daddy! Where's mommy?!"

"She is sleeping, honey," Hannah collided with Ben, and he caught her and lifted the girl from the floor.

"It's Christmas!" Hannah exclaimed.

"Ben?" Rey called from the room, and he entered it with Hannah in his arms. Rey was sitting on the bed, wearing his sweater and leggings from yesterday and was rubbing her eyes, smiling.

"Merry Christmas!" Hannah exclaimed.

"Merry Christmas, honey!" Rey laughed. "Look who's excited!"

"Presents!" Hannah jumped from Ben's arms and ran to her mother, pulling Rey by the sleeve.

"Okay, okay," Rey smirked, climbing off of the bed. "Of course you couldn't wait for another hour..."

 

"Sorry, this child is a force of nature..." Cassian murmured when Ben reached him, wishing the old man Merry Christmas.

"Just like her mother," Ben smirked.

"Everything's fine?" Cass raised a brow at him.

"Yes," Ben felt as if his stupid smile was glued to his face now. "Yes, it is."

"I'm happy for you, son..."

 

"Which one is mine?" Hannah asked confusedly, looking at the mountain of presents under the tree.

"You can read, sunshine," Rey smiled. "Just find the box with your name on it."

"Okay..." Hannah jumped under the tree. "Oh, here!!!" she sounded so excited, and Ben couldn't avert his eyes from his daughter. "Oh, mommy..." Hannah's voice sounded concerned now, and Ben tensed. What was wrong?

"What is it, darling?" Rey asked, crawling to the girl.

"There is another one..." Hannah murmured. "With my name on it... And one more... And... Mommy?"

 

Ben's heart clenched in his chest. Of course, Rey never had an opportunity to buy a lot of presents for their daughter.

 

"Well," Rey shrugged, obviously trying not to cry too. "It seems, Santa was generous this year..."

"He’s never generous to me," Hannah pouted. "Only to Barbara and Nancy and other girls at school..."

"Well, kid," both Ben and Rey had no words, so Cassian saved the situation. "You still had your presents, didn't you? And it's important to be grateful for what you get. This year you have a lot, it seems, don't you?"

 

Hannah nodded, her sorrow and confusion immediately forgotten, and Ben could breathe again.

 

"Thank you," he murmured to Cassian.

"Any time... You will spoil this girl, though," the old Pastor smirked.

"I can't help it..."

"Good thing you have Rey," Cass laughed.

"She's everything..."

"Well, marry her and have more kids, for God's sake... You seem to handle them well."

 

Ben felt his cheeks burning.

 

"I'm afraid to scare her off."

"Considering the teeth mark on her neck, I don't think it's possible," Cassian raised his brow cockily.

"Oh, shut the fuck up!" Ben couldn’t believe that he was blushing now.

"Language!" Cassian huffed, smiling afterwards.

"I will, Cass," Ben nodded at him when they both finished laughing. "I will. I..." he stammered. "I can't believe this is happening... It is just too good to be true..."

"Well, take what you get from God and don't ask any questions," Cass smiled.

"This is your Pastor's advice?" Ben laughed, and Cass only winked at him in reply.

 

 

They were having tea with biscuits in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door. Rey wanted to stand up and open it, but Ben stopped her. She had been examining Jyn's present, and Ben didn't want her to bother. It should have been the postman or a neighbor. Neither Ben nor Rey were expecting anyone. However, on the threshold, Ben saw a woman in a black official coat.

 

"Ben Solo?" the woman asked, and Ben nodded, frowning. "Detective Gwendoline Phasma, FBI," the woman showed him her badge. "We have received information that you were involved in "the First Order's" corruption scheme that led to the President's impeachment in May. We have an order for your arrest. Will you follow me please?"

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 14.

 

That night.

 

Rey never imagined that her perfect morning would turn into a nightmare. It had been her first perfect morning in years, dammit! And now she felt like she was falling into an abyss and no one, no one could catch her.

 

"How are you, child?" Cassian sat next to her, sighing heavily. "His lawyer is on the way."

"I'm fine..." Rey murmured.

"No, you are not," the old Pastor smirked. "And neither is Hannah..."

 

The only thing Rey was happy about at the moment was that her daughter had gotten along well with Jyn. Rey managed to calm the girl down and leave Hannah with the old woman. Now, she and Cassian were sitting in a waiting room of a building where Kylo was being kept, and Rey didn't even know what the building was. Was it an FBI building? Maybe some sort of governmental facility? She couldn't tell...

 

"I wonder why they couldn't wait until tomorrow..." Cassian murmured. "They could let you celebrate at least... Don't worry, his lawyers are really good, honey. I'm sure this is all some misunderstanding or something..."

"You know, it is not," Rey murmured before turning sadly to the man.

"Rey," Cassian looked surprised, to say the least.

"I think Ben told you everything about himself... And I think he trusted you enough to... to enlighten you concerning his... former activities."

 

The old Pastor frowned.

 

"He did," he nodded then. "And, truth be told, I am glad that he didn't keep it from you either... So... Are you okay with all that?"

"I am not," Rey shrugged. "But for Ben, I made an exception... I want him with Hannah and me," she ran her hand through her hair. "I wonder why you are not judging him... Being a Pastor and everything..."

"Judge not, that ye be not judged," Cass smirked. "God taught us to forgive, after all... And I also may be a bit biased when it comes to Ben."

"You are a very strange Pastor," Rey shook her head.

"Guilty..."

"I just hope that Leia... Oh, for fricking sake!" Rey couldn't believe her eyes. Could this morning get any worse?!

 

Leia Organa Solo was marching towards them from the building entrance.

 

"Oh, for fuck's sake..." the man of the church next to her murmured, and Rey would have been scandalized, had she not wholly agreed with him.

 

"Where is he?" Leia asked her sternly.

"They’ll keep him guarded until the lawyer comes," Rey replied as calmly as she could.

"My lawyer is already here," Leia stated. "I am sure this is the greatest misunderstanding of the century!"

 

Rey kept silent. There was no point in explaining anything to Leia now. An old man entered the building and walked up to them.

 

"This is Lando Calrissian," Leia introduced him. "Lando, this is Rey, Ben's... associate, and this is Pastor Cassian Andor, Ben's... friend."

 

Rey almost snarled at the woman's intonation. Leia behaved like she owned the room. And... an associate?!

 

"Where is Hannah, Rey?" Leia asked demandingly.

"She is with Jyn, Cassian's wife. At our home. And I am Ben's fiancee, not his associate, Mr. Calrissian. It's nice to meet you," Rey nodded at the man, keeping her composure.

"I will ask Han to take Hannah and you to our place. We will take care of our granddaughter and her mother while Cassian is taking care of Ben here," Leia stated.

 

It seemed, Leia hadn't gotten over everything that happened in Ben's hospital room the day before yesterday. The woman was clearly insulted, but Rey was furious.

 

How fucking dare she?!

 

"Hannah is safe, and she feels good at home," Rey hissed.

"Oh, nonsense! She has a proper room in our house, I don't think..."

"I will fucking repeat it once again, and it will be the last time!" Rey growled, and Leia froze, finally looking at her. "Hannah has her own room in our house. Mine and Ben's. She feels good there, and I won't move her anywhere, is that fucking clear, Leia?"

 

It was the first time that Rey saw Leia Organa at a loss for words.

 

"As for your help, Mr. Calrissian, we can ask Ben if he needs it. I appreciate you coming here on Christmas, and I am sorry that Mrs. Organa asked you to leave your family and come here. Yet, Ben has good lawyers, and we will have to ask him first... I hope you'll understand."

"Oh, of course, Rey... Can I call you Rey, by the way?" Lando smiled at her, smirking at Leia by his side afterwards. Rey nodded at him. "I actually told Leia that someone like Ben should have an army of lawyers, but she didn't want to listen, and I am a close family friend. I hope you understand," Rey did understand. Leia had no limits when she wanted something. "And don't worry about my family. They have gotten used to it already. And I will be paid generously."

 

Leia frowned by his side, and Lando laughed at that.

 

"Okay," Rey rolled her eyes. "Let's figure it all out then."

 

 

To Rey's utter horror, Ben wasn’t released that day. Of course, he refused to work with Lando at first, and Leia had been furious about it, but later, after Ben's lawyer finally arrived, they called for the old Calrissian. Ben's lawyer explained to Rey that the court session would happen in Alderaan, and Lando knew the environment here. Rey was exhausted when Calrissian finally exited the room with his colleague and headed towards her.

 

"Mr. Solo asked me to bring Rey and Mr. Calrissian up to speed," he frowned. "You, Leia, are not allowed to know anything, I'm afraid. It was Ben's specific request. He is my client now and will cover all the expenses himself."

"This is nonsense!" Leia exploded. "He is my son! I need to know what is happening!"

"Well, I must say that all you can do now is to draw less attention to the case..." Lando frowned. "But the problem is - you have already drawn a lot of attention... We clearly needed more time to come up with a press-release concerning this situation that would help the case... But you have already spoken to the reporters, haven't you?"

 

Rey looked at Leia in astonishment. Lando, however, was looking behind Rey's back, nodding at something. Rey turned to see the screen of a TV where a breaking news report was on the go. Leia was giving an interview there. It seemed, it had been taken in the morning because Mrs. Organa was standing on the threshold of her house in her robe. A running line at the bottom of the screen said "BREAKING NEWS! BEN SOLO/KYLO REN CORRUPTION CASE". Rey froze.

 

"How bad is it?" she murmured.

"Well, because this is breaking news to everyone, lots of reporters will start to try getting as much credit from it as they can... And how great it will be to gain popularity, telling the world that the hero Ben Solo everyone had been so crazy about lately is actually a fraud," Lando shrugged. "If you want to help, Leia," he frowned then. "Please, abstain from giving any other comments in the foreseeable future. And ask Han and Poe to do the same. I promise I will keep you informed on as much as I can... But I won't be able to tell you a lot. Go home now... I will talk to Rey and Mr. Andor, and then we'll all have to go home and have some rest..."

 

It took everyone some time to calm Leia Organa's tantrum down. However, the woman finally left, and all Ben's lawyers were left alone with Rey and Cassian.

 

"It's better to discuss everything at your place," Lando frowned.

"Can't we see him?" Rey asked, her voice trembling.

"I'm afraid not," Lando shook his head. "Ben, however, asked me to give you this."

 

Calrissian handed her a note, and Rey almost sobbed, looking at Ben's neat handwriting, covering the small piece of paper.

 

"Sweetheart," it said,

 

"I'm terribly sorry that I can't be with you and Hannah right now. I'm sorry that our perfect Christmas was ruined. But trust me, my lawyers are good. Very good. I will be back home sooner than you start to miss me. I will hug you and fuck you until you are so exhausted that you beg me to stop. I will come back home soon, Rey. After all, I promised you to take care of you and Hannah. And I always keep my promises to you, Rey.

 

So now, go home, baby girl. Hug our daughter and tell her that her daddy loves her.

 

Your Daddy loves you too, kitten. More than anything. Stay calm, sweet thing. I will be back soon.

 

I love you, Rey.

 

Yours, Ben."

 

Ben was, however, wrong. Rey was already missing him. Closing her eyes, she pulled herself together. She had to be strong. For him and Hannah.

 

 

"Fucking bitch!" Rey exclaimed, throwing a glass of water into the wall.

 

Good thing Hannah was already asleep, because Rey didn't want to throw tantrums in front of her baby daughter, and she couldn't contain herself right now. Bazine Netal had pressed charges against Ben, saying that she had evidence that Ben was the one responsible for the corruption scheme creation. Bazine's lawyers had found a transaction in her father's financial statement, showing that Ben had transferred some money to Snoke's account. The exact same amount of money was transferred to Armitage Hux's account on the very same day. It seemed this was not everything, but Bazine wasn't telling anyone more at the moment, and that was disturbing. They had to wait until the court session. Typically, Ben would be let out of jail until then, but considering how dangerous and important Snoke's case had been, they didn't let him out. Ben was kept in comfort for now, but he still was imprisoned.

 

"They had to ask for a special request to keep him," Lando smirked sardonically. "I have never seen anything like that happening before."

"Lando," Rey took a deep breath. "I guess, as a lawyer, you know everything about him now..."

"I do," Lando shrugged. "And I know he is guilty, Rey... But we will try to help him, nevertheless. He has a good chance, actually... Unless Bazine has something really good on him. And as far as I understand, Ben covered his traces very well... This transaction could be a coincidence... The worst part is that there will be a jury trial... And if the Prosecution plays it right, they can make those people think that Ben is actually evil... But we'll see..."

 

Rey closed her eyes and prayed that everything turned out fine.

 

***

 

Rey was sitting in the living room, trembling like a leaf. It was two days after Christmas, and Ben's case was in full swing. Cassian had been right when he told Leia that her interview would only cause problems because the next morning Rey received the first proof of it.

 

"A Hero or a fraud?" the first line of a newspaper in her hands said.

 

There were more later. Lando bought every newspaper he could find in Alderaan, and they all wrote about Ben. Only one of them cast him in a positive light. The public loved a circus, and the media knew about it perfectly well. Everyone tried their best to write the most scandalous article about Ben.

 

There were also reports on TV. People on the streets were asked about Kylo Ren and Ben Solo, and everybody who praised him yesterday wanted his blood now. There was even this fucking story with Ben's middle school teacher who remembered him having violent outbursts in school. Rey saw red.

 

Everything was going to hell.

 

Several hours ago.

 

"Mr. Solo, how would you describe your relationship with Mr. Hux?" the Prosecutor asked.

"Strictly professional. Wemet a lot in "the First Order's" office to discuss business. Mr. Hux was the government contact person for our healthcare project. I had no idea that there was that corrupted scheme behind all that."

 

Everything sounded alright to Rey's ear. However, she tensed, watching Hux smirk from across the room.

 

"So," the Prosecutor went on. "You say that you never met Mr. Hux outside the office to discuss the healthcare project and the corruption scheme that was behind it?"

"Never."

"Are you sure, Mr. Solo?"

"Objection!" Ben's lawyer raised his hand. "My client has already answered the question. The Prosecution is using psychological pressure on him!"

"Objection noted," the Judge nodded. “Prosecution, please refrain from asking superfluous questions of Mr. Solo.” 

"Oh, I'm sorry, Judge. I just can't believe that Mr. Solo had never met Mr. Hux outside the office."

"We probably met here and there, in the queue for coffee or something, but nothing more," Ben smirked.

"I see," the Prosecutor smirked too, and Rey tensed even more. "Then I'd like to present the court with proof of Mr. Solo's lies..."

 

The audience gasped, and Rey leaned forward in her seat, her eyes opened wide. She could see that bitch, Bazine, sitting in front of the Judge, smiling evilly. Rey wanted to kill the woman.

 

"Objection!"

"Objection denied."

"Would you please show us the tape?" the Prosecutor asked the court assistant.

 

There was a screen on the wall of the room, and the Prosecutor took a step towards it, explaining the image that was projected on it. There was Ben. Ben in a hall of a gorgeous hotel. Ben was sitting across the table from a man. A redhead man.

 

It was Armitage Hux.

 

Rey gulped.

 

"Mr. Solo, is that you on the tape?"

"It looks like me," Ben hissed, frowning.

"Your Honor, I'd like to address to Mr. Hux," the Prosecutor asked politely.

"Please, do," the Judge nodded, frowning.

"Is it you on the tape, Mr. Hux?"

"Yes, it is me. In the hall of Chandrila Ritz Carlton. Mr. Solo was so kind as to pay for my room there."

"Objection!" Ben's lawyer tried again.

"Objection denied."

"Is it true, Mr. Solo?" the Prosecutor asked.

"No," Ben shook his head, his teeth gritted. "Where is your proof?"

"It's not your place to ask questions," the Judge frowned.

"I'm sorry, your Honor."

"Well, we don't have any proof, you are right, but I'd like to mention to the members of the jury here that Mr. Solo claimed that he had never met Mr. Hux outside "the First Order's" office, except for when in the queue for coffee... As far as I know "The First Order's" headquarters were situated in Mustafar, is that correct, Mr. Solo?"

"Yes," Ben hissed.

"And Chandrila Ritz Carlton is in... Chandrila... Am I correct?"

"Yes."

 

The audience exploded.

 

"I didn't fucking want to be associated with this fucking bastard!" Ben cried out.

"Mr. Solo, this is your final warning! Quiet everyone!" the Judge was angry, and the audience was so fucking noisy. Rey looked at Ben, catching his gaze. He looked at her like he was a wild animal in a cage.

 

This wasn't good.

 

Now.

 

"They’re demanding to revise the former case," Lando was pacing the room, cursing after his every word. "That bastard Hux is with Bazine, and he claims that he was under pressure and that Ben blackmailed him. He has no proof, but the jury can be convinced... He demands to shorten his term and also wants a moral compensation..."

"What compensation?" Cassian, who sitting in the armchair in the corner of Ben and Rey's living room, rubbed his temples.

"Ten million dollars," Lando smirked humorlessly. Cassian's eyes opened wide.

 

They were all sitting together in the living-room, an anxious Hannah already put to bed. There was Rey, Cass, Lando, Jyn and Ben's lawyer there. Rey tried to breathe deeper, but it was complicated to breathe at all.

 

"That's... a lot..." Cassian murmured.

"After "the First Order" was destroyed," Lando went on. "Ben got away with a lot of money, but this... He will be bankrupt."

"He will be imprisoned, that's the worst part," Cassian rubbed his eyes.

"Mr. Andor, you don't understand," Calrissian shook his head. "Your foundation... "The Silver Lining"... You will have to close it. Ben won't be able to support it any longer, and after this scandal, no one will want to have anything to do with you... And no one will want to employ him if he ever gets out of prison..."

 

Rey watched as the realization dawned on Cassian's face.

 

"Oh, for fuck's sake!" it was the first time Rey ever heard Jyn curse.

 

Cassian reached for the woman and squeezed his wife's hand, smiling sadly.

 

"I think, you can call me Cassian, Mr. Calrissian," he then turned to the man. "And let's try our best to save our boy."

 

***

"This won't work!" Lando exclaimed.

 

It was already noon, and neither of them had left the room since yesterday, except for Rey who had to take Hannah to school.

 

Rey couldn't think any longer. Lando tried to come up with an explanation about why Ben had been in Chandrila on the day when he met Hux there, but couldn't. They had no proof of anything, and to make up a story to melt the jury's hearts, they needed something strong...

 

Rey was touching the pearl on her neck mindlessly when Cassian turned to her.

 

"You need to get some rest, darling," he smiled at her.

"I won't be able to sleep," Rey murmured.

"Is that a Chandrila pearl?" suddenly Cassian's eyes lit up with interest. "A real one?!"

 

Rey looked at the jewelry in surprise.

 

"It... is..."

"Oh, sorry!" Cassian laughed, remembering himself. "My smuggler's past is showing..." Lando looked up at him, raising a brow at that. "We used to hunt these beauties," Cassian explained. "They are very rare, and every single one of them costs a fortune. Good for you, Rey, they look so simple. Where did you get this one? A family heirloom or something?"

 

Suddenly a realization hit Rey.

 

"Lando..." she whispered, turning to the man. "This pearl... Ben gave it to me after he returned from Chandrila... He was going to go back the following day to... to meet a "redhead"... so he said..."

 

Calrissian looked at her inquiringly, and then to the pearl. Then, he finally realized what Rey was talking about.

 

"Rey..." he murmured. "Did anyone see you on campus that day?"

"No..." Rey knew that Lando understood her. She just hoped that this story could work. "I spent two days in my room, all alone..."

"Rey... How long ago was it?"

"Around seven months before Hannah was born..."

 

At that, Jyn closed her mouth with her hand.

 

"Hannah was born too early... Around two months earlier than expected to be precise..."

 

Lando's face was getting brighter with every minute.

 

"Rey!" he finally exclaimed. "This is the story we were looking for!"

"Can anyone fucking explain to me what is going on here?!" after a sleepless night, Cassian didn't look like a Pastor any longer. He looked roguish. Black and silver stubble was covering his chin, and dark circles under his eyes made him look like a man who had just exited the jail.

"The night before Ben met Hux was the night he spent with Rey!" Lando explained. "They..." he stammered then, looking for words.

"We conceived Hannah that night," Rey stated, frowning. "And no one saw me on campus... We can make it look like Ben went to Chandrila to... to see me..."

"But you... You were his student back then," Cassian frowned.

"So what?"

"That... That can ruin his reputation."

"It is still better than going to jail!" Rey exclaimed, exhausted.

"Rey... There is one more thing to consider," Cassian's frown deepened, and Rey looked at the man inquiringly. "Hannah... You will have to involve her..."

 

Rey froze at that...

 

No... No...

 

Hannah was still out of the picture. No one knew that Ben had a daughter, and considering the things that the newspapers wrote about him, it was definitely for the better.

 

"And, Rey... You will have to lie in court... This... I understand that you want to save Ben, but this is just not right! Not for you, at least..." Cassian shook his head.

 

Rey's world was spinning. Cass was right, she knew it. What was she turning into? What was this whole situation turning her into? And maybe Rey herself was lost, but Hannah... She couldn't involve Hannah.

 

The moral dilemma was killing her, and Rey was about to cry when she looked at the clock.

 

"Maybe Cassian is right," old Lando murmured. "I can't guarantee that this story will help, but you will have to lie to the court... And Hannah..."

"I need to take her from school," Rey murmured, standing up. She needed to be closer to her daughter now. She needed to hug her and hold her close.

"Go fetch her," Lando nodded. "We'll keep thinking."

 

 

Rey drove to school, realizing that she was a bit late. She felt delirious. Was she really crazy enough to break the law? She couldn't risk Hannah, but what if involving her daughter meant saving the love of Rey's life and Hannah's father?

 

Rey drove into the school parking lot just to see Hannah's teacher opening her car.

 

Strange...

 

The woman never left if any of the kids were still in the class. And Hannah couldn't go by bus because Rey had told her daughter to wait for her.

 

"Mrs. Paterson!" Rey called the woman, jumping from the car. "Hey, Mrs. Paterson!"

 

The woman turned to Rey, looking at her in surprise.

 

"Miss Niima!" she exclaimed.

"Where's Hannah?" Rey asked, not letting the woman proceed.

"Hannah?" Mrs. Paterson asked, surprised. "But she left with Mr. Dameron. He took her from her second class today... I thought you knew..." the woman looked astonished. "Miss Niima!"

 

Rey was already about to dial Lando when the man called her himself.

 

"Rey..." his voice sounded concerned.

"Poe took Hannah! I'm going to Leia!"

"Don't," Calrissian stated. "Open the link I sent you, Rey."

 

She hung up to open the app, clicking on the link. It was a news web-site. Alderaanian news showed Poe Dameron talking to a reporter. Rey's blood went cold. By Poe's side stood Hannah. The girl wasn't looking at the reporter, but Poe was nodding at her repeatedly. With shaking fingers, Rey turned the sound on.

 

"This girl is Ben Solo's daughter! And that bastard never gave a damn about her!" it seemed, Poe was about to finish the story he had been telling the reporter earlier. "My family helped Hannah's mother, Rey, but as soon as Ben returned home, she banned us all from our Hannah," Rey was about to cry out in pain. "And you saw the news. He is a monster! He has always been a monster, and he will always be a monster! And Rey... She let Hannah live with him!"

 

That was the moment when terrified Rey saw Hannah finally looking up at Poe and the reporter.

 

"Where's mommy?" the girl asked, and Rey felt her tears burning her face. She folded in half watching the reporter asking Hannah questions the girl couldn't answer. Hannah was worried and started to panic, her anger outburst taking over her. "MOMMY!"

 

Poe tried to grab the girl, smiling at the reporter apologetically.

 

"You see? The girl is unstable because of her parents..." he tried to explain, but Hannah interrupted him.

"MOMMY!" Hannah cried. "MOMMY!"

 

Rey was struggling to breathe, Mrs. Paterson looking at her in terror when two hands wrapped around her shoulders.

 

"Come on, child," Cassian's voice whispered into her ear. "We need to get home. You need to stand up, Rey!"

 

Rey couldn't. Her body wasn't functioning any longer.

 

"Rey, Hannah needs you! Ben needs you! Come on!" Cassian cried.

 

She took a deep breath. She took a deep breath and managed to stand up. Suddenly, all her insides were numb, and she couldn't feel anything any longer.

 

As soon as Cassian opened the door for her, Rey almost stumbled over the threshold. Her body wasn't listening to her. That was the moment someone caught her, and Rey felt a familiar scent hitting her nostrils.

 

"Ben..." she sobbed, clinging into him.

 

He was looking disheveled in his white t-shirt and sweatpants, and Rey noticed that he was wearing a leg bracelet on his leg.

 

"I managed to get him out of jail before the court. They just brought him here. He is under house arrest," Lando explained.

"Rey," Ben hugged her tighter, noticing her distress. "Rey, are you alright?"

 

She was kissing him desperately, crying and sobbing, and Ben lifted her and carried her to the sofa, murmuring soothing words into her ear.

 

"Sweetheart, it's alright. I'm here... I'm here, love..."

 

He clearly didn't understand what was happening to her... And then...

 

"Rey, love... Where's Hannah?"

Chapter Text

 

Sensation.

 

The first thing he wanted to do was to run from the house, find Poe, and fucking destroy the man.

 

Ben didn't care about the fact that he was under house arrest. He didn't care he had this itchy cuff on his leg that was tracing his every movement. Ben wanted blood.

 

Then Rey called for him, and he managed to stop before he crossed the threshold, but the urge to kill was still there. It seemed karma had finally gotten to him. Ben had done a lot of shitty things in his life, and now he was under trial, Rey couldn't stop crying, his foundation was about to be destroyed, and his daughter had been taken by his mother who had a significant influence in Alderaan.

 

"She can't just take Hannah like this!" Ben growled. "She has no right!"

"Well, I am not sure it is entirely her fault," Lando murmured, dialing somebody. "I spoke to her yesterday. I didn't tell her a lot, but she wanted me to update her on everything I could, and I did... She is your mother, Ben... But now I can't reach her... But you are right... She has no right to take Hannah and neither does Poe."

"Bring my daughter home!" Ben hissed, walking back to Rey and taking her into his arms. Rey was trembling, and Ben was ready to give everything to soothe her.

 

Lando was about to say something when someone rang the doorbell.

 

"I fucking hope this is not some reporter..." Cassian murmured, standing up to open the door.

 

They all sat in silence, waiting for the old man to come back. And when he did, everyone froze. Cassian didn't come back alone. Ben couldn't believe his eyes, but Han Solo entered the room after the old Pastor. After him, Hannah walked in.

 

"Mommy!" the girl exclaimed as Rey rushed to her, grabbing their daughter and hugging her tightly.

"Hannah!"

 

Ben was by their side in a flash, hugging them, kissing them both, feeling their small bodies in his arms.

 

He would kill for his women.

 

Ben looked up at his father, frowning.

 

"Son, I think we need to listen to him," Cassian sighed, and it was the only reason why Ben didn't tear the old Solo apart.

 

 

Hannah refused to leave her parents. She was still trembling, but a cup of hot chocolate that Jyn had made for the girl managed to help a bit. Rey had finally stopped crying and was tucked under Ben's arm, clinging to her daughter who was sitting on her father's lap.

 

Han sat in the armchair next to them, watching his hands, and obviously tried to find the right words. Everyone in the room was looking at him.

 

"I think it's about time you speak, Han," Lando sighed, pouring himself some whiskey.

"I'd like to have some too," Cassian frowned, standing up. "Ben?" he looked at him, and Ben nodded. 

 

It was still a bit early for this, but no one gave a damn.

 

"First of all," Han frowned. "I had no idea what Poe was going to do. He just returned home with Hannah, and I saw his interview an hour later... Leia has been losing her mind because Ben wouldn't let her help, so Poe took advantage of this to persuade her that he was doing the right thing. Hannah's teacher knew Poe, so she thought it was alright that he took her from school..."

"Well, Leia is a grown-up woman, so nothing excuses her," Lando murmured.

"I know," Han rubbed his eyes. "And I know it is useless to say I am sorry. Hannah was hysterical when Poe brought her to us. She never liked him too much, but I guess after everything that..." he looked at Hannah who had fallen asleep in Ben's arms, realizing it was safe to talk about everything now, before going on. "After everything that happened by the diner several days ago, Hannah didn't like him... She was crying, and Poe couldn't manage to calm her down. He started shouting at her, and when I interfered, she was already absolutely lost."

 

Ben could feel blood on his lips. He had bitten himself while Han was talking and hadn't even noticed.

 

"Leia didn't manage to calm her down, but I did. I told them I was going to take Hannah to her room and took her back to you as soon as I could... I'm so sorry about everything, Ben... Rey..."

 

Ben wanted to respond, to tell Han to get the hell out of their house, but Lando interrupted him.

 

"Well, I am not so sure either Ben or Rey is willing to see you right now, Han, but I am going to save your ass this time, mate..."

 

Rey growled by Ben's side, and they both looked at the old Calrissian inquiringly. Lando would have to give them a very good reason not to destroy the old Solo bastard right here, right now.

 

"The interview Poe gave messed everything up... This case... It is not about evidence or proof anymore. It is about winning the jury. And now the jury is willing to see Ben and probably Rey torn to pieces... We should use every opportunity there is to make Ben look better. You can help, Han."

"Tell me what I should do," Han nodded willingly.

 

Ben wanted to punch the man but decided against it for now.

 

"Well, mate," Lando smirked. "I remember Leia being jealous over every girl who looked in your direction when she was pregnant with this kid of yours," Lando nodded towards Ben, and Ben couldn't help but roll his eyes. "And there were many pretty girls, I must say... I guess it's time to put this Solo charm of yours to good use. After all, my friend, let's face it: you fucked up as a father... And now it's time for you to support your child finally."

 

That was the moment Han looked Ben in the eyes, and for a second Ben could see so much sorrow there that even his heart, which had learned to hate his parents, couldn't help but melt a bit.

 

"Of course," Han said then, turning to Lando. "I will do whatever you say."

 

***

 

The first two days after Hannah returned home, she slept with Ben and Rey. Rey would often wake up at night, shivering and afraid that someone had taken her girl from her, only to find Ben watching them both in the darkness of the room, not blinking. He would always caress her cheek until she fell back to sleep, but Rey was not sure he slept at all.

 

Dark circles under Ben's eyes were becoming darker every day, and on the third day of his house arrest, Rey practically forced him go to bed and watched him until he started to snore. That was the day when Han gave his first interview, following Lando's instructions about what to say and how to explain the situation with Poe.

 

"We were not good parents," Han shrugged, speaking into the microphone that a blonde interviewer was holding in front of his face. "When we adopted Poe, we started neglecting Ben, and it was wrong... I think Poe lost it when Ben returned, and I am sorry for everything he has said in that interview... Lots of people in Alderaan knows our family. Leia, my wife, is one of the elders of the town. And everyone knows Poe. However, we have forgotten Ben for so many years, and it is entirely our fault. I am sorry our son has to suffer now... He and Poe never got along well, and it was mine and Leia's fault. But he was never a bad person. And Rey is the most wonderful mother I have ever seen. She is a much better parent than Leia and I put together. And so is Ben. I ask that everyone who knows us, as well as everyone who doesn't, to consider it and to leave our granddaughter out of this mess..."

"But, Mr. Solo," the reporter wondered. "Is it true that Ben has neglected Hannah for her entire life?"

"No," Han shook his head. "The problem is that we haven't spoken to Ben for many years. There was a misunderstanding between us. And I must say that we are fully responsible for it. We didn't know that Hannah was our granddaughter, and neither did Rey know that we were Ben's parents... Ben had no idea he had a daughter."

 

"Misunderstanding..." Ben and Rey were watching the interview too, and Ben could barely hold it together. "This is rich..."

"Oh, shut up, boy! I wrote this speech, and it is perfect!" Lando exclaimed. "People know Han, and people love Han. And people will listen to him."

 

Ben growled but didn't comment.

 

"This should help..." Lando murmured, and Rey prayed to God that the old Calrissian was right.

"What do Leia and Poe do now?" she asked. "Will they not... spoil this?"

 

Lando frowned.

 

"Leia is devastated," he replied. "It seems this is all too much for her. She realizes she made a mistake, supporting Poe... But she has no idea what she can do to make it up for you both."

"Nothing," both Rey and Ben replied in unison.

 

Rey turned to Ben and looked at him. He didn't say anything else, just kissed her forehead.

 

"Let's take it one step at a time," she whispered to him. "We'll figure it out..."

 

 

They slept together every night now. Ben's room turned into their shared bedroom, and Rey couldn't get enough of him. There was a whole new world of what-ifs in her head again.

 

What if they put him in prison? What if Hannah will never see her father again? What if I lose him...

 

Rey tried to suppress these thoughts, but she couldn't. Every night after they put Hannah to bed Rey and Ben returned to their room, and Ben ravished Rey, devoured her as if his life depended on it. 

 

They were making love this night, two becoming one. Ben was moving inside Rey, his hard cock penetrating her, tearing her apart, delivering Rey the most delicious torture possible. She knew him so well - his breathing pattern when he was entering her, the way his eyes rolled into his skull when his rock-hard dick was consumed by her welcoming wetness.

 

Rey usually closed her eyes when she was close, but today she didn't want to do it. She was afraid to miss something, she was scared that when she opened her eyes, Ben would not be there any longer. No matter how afraid Rey was that Ben would be put in prison, she was much more terrified to wake up and find out that he had never returned to her life and that this had all been just a dream.

 

"Sweatheart," Ben panted. "I'm so close... I need to..."

 

They still hadn't bought condoms. Ben pulled out every time, rubbing his seed like a maniac into Rey's belly or back (depending on the position in which they both climaxed). She adored it, the way Ben was absolutely mad about claiming her.

 

Today Rey didn't want to let him go. She wanted to merge into him, wanted to be a part of him.

 

"Sweetheart!" Ben moaned when instead of letting him pull out, Rey wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him closer. "Rey, love... Oh, God!"

 

Ben wasn't holding back any longer. His movements became frantic, and he was thrusting deeper and deeper.

 

"Fucking mine!!!" he growled, making Rey lose it. She could feel the heat spreading from her pussy down the inner side of her thighs. The splashes of almost unbearable pleasure that only intensified with Ben's every thrust. "You're mine, Rey... Mine!" he was panting, gasping, losing his breath, but couldn't stop repeating the words.

"Aaah!!!" Rey climaxed so hard, and Ben came into her, covering her insides with hot sprays of his seed. Her orgasm was so intense that Rey couldn't help but bite his shoulder, unable to cope with her bliss.

 

Ben pressed into her as if he was trying to enter Rey deeper, like he was making sure that his seed reached its target.

 

"I love you... I love you so much..." he was whispering into Rey's ear, and she couldn't help but cry. "Darling?" Ben was kissing her face now, obviously still in his post-orgasmic bliss. "Rey, what... Why are you crying, love?"

"I..." she sobbed, burying her head in the crook of his neck. "Ben..." she couldn't form words.

"Rey," Ben's hand was on Rey's belly now, and he was caressing it softly, his warm breath tickling her ear. "Rey, don't be scared, sweetheart..."

 

It was magic of a sort, Rey thought, how Ben managed to understand what was happening to her. She was terrified. Rey was scared to lose Ben. Rey was afraid that Hannah would grow up without her father, that something would happen to Ben in prison. Lando told her that corruption usually meant five to seven years behind bars, but considering the public resonance of the case, Ben risked getting ten. Rey couldn't think about it.

 

And now Ben hadn't pulled out, and there was a possibility that Rey was pregnant. But it was not pregnancy that scared her most now.

 

"Sweetheart," Ben went on. "If..." he pressed his hand tighter to her belly, trying to form words. "I... I promised you to take care of you. And in case something happens to me, I made sure that both you and Hannah have everything... There is a trust fund... The trust fund I made sure they won't be able to take from me. Cassian knows how to reach it. You and Hannah will want for nothing, and I also..." Ben gulped, and Rey realized that he was trying his best not to cry. "This house is yours, Rey. Yours and Hannah's, I asked Lando to help me with the documents. He will also help you manage it, his elder son is an excellent financier... And... And if there's a little one," Ben was crying now, and Rey's heart shattered to pieces. "Cassian and Jyn will help you with them. They will also help you with Hannah, you won't be alone, sweetheart. And I will think about you every day, Rey. I will..." Ben stopped talking, unable to handle his emotions. Rey was crying herself now, smelling his masculine scent. "Rey," Ben suddenly whispered. "If... If they put me in prison... You don't need to wait for me..."

 

Rey's eyes opened wide in the darkness of the room, and she couldn't believe her ears. Ben went on.

 

"I will be in prison, and you won't need anything. If you don't want to connect your life with me, I..."

"Shut up," her voice sounded too loud in the silence that hung in the room.

"Rey..."

"I said, shut up!" she hissed. "Don't you fucking dare, Ben," she was watching him now, looking Ben straight in the eyes. "I don't need anyone but you. And do you really think I am afraid of getting pregnant from you, Ben? I fucking want to!"

 

He squeezed her tighter now, listening to her every word.

 

"The only thing I am afraid of is that you won't see our baby's first steps, that you won't fucking be there when they start talking! For God's sake, Ben! Don't you dare give up!"

"You... you really want to have kids with me?" Ben whispered, sobbing, not trusting her words at first.

"I do," Rey kissed him. "Ben, I do want to..."

 

This was all too much. There was just too much love, too much tenderness. Ben stayed buried inside her for a while, and then they made love again, not caring about protection anymore. Maybe it was foolish, but somehow, for Rey, it seemed like the only right thing to do.

 

***

 

Thursday morning was an anxious one. Lando was pacing the room like a madman, awaiting the information from his agents. They had to tell him about the results of his campaign for improving Ben's reputation. When he ended the call, the old man looked at Ben and Rey, frowning.

 

"Well," he finally managed to smile. "The situation improved..."

"It sounds like there is a massive "but" somewhere there," Cassian raised his brow at the old Calrissian.

"But," Lando sighed. "It may not be enough... We need something stronger."

"Well," Han shrugged, and everyone turned to him. "I guess we could still use that Hannah situation..."

"No!" Ben growled, and Rey turned to him, frowning.

"Kid, I guess, considering the fact that everyone knows that you have a daughter, it would be your only option," Lando shook his head.

"We are not involving Hannah. She's had enough already!"

 

Han didn't argue, but Rey took Ben by the hand.

 

"Love, they have already seen her... It can't get worse..."

"We have discussed it!" Ben cried, and Rey closed her eyes for a second.

 

They had. Ben hated that someone had seen Hannah's face. He wanted their daughter as far away from all this mess as possible, and Rey loved him for that, but drastic times called for drastic measures, and she couldn't deny it any longer.

 

"It can not work," Ben growled. "And I will go to prison, and you will have to deal with the outcomes of it on your own!"

"We won't be on our own, Cass and Jyn will be with us!" Rey exclaimed, and Cassian smiled at Ben, but it didn't help.

"I said no, Rey. End of discussion."

 

Rey wanted to cry desperately.

 

"I need to get ready for work," she murmured, and Ben tried to stop her, but she didn't let him. He let her go, knowing that she had to deal with his decision on her own.

 

Rey still went to work. Lando told her that it was good to behave friendly with everyone in the diner to show people that she had nothing to hide and whatnot. There were many more people there now, and although Maz was happy about the additional customers, she often told Rey to go home earlier because of the whispers that followed her everywhere.

 

"Is it her?"

"That's the one... They say she was his student..."

"My daughter goes to the same school as her."

 

Rey was so tired...

 

Today, however, she was glad to be here. She needed to think. Needed to get ready... Court was tomorrow, and Rey was terrified.

 

"Peanut," Finn's voice pulled her out of her trance, and Rey turned to him, smiling sadly. "How are you?"

 

Terrified, exhausted, probably pregnant but still have no idea about it.

 

"I'm fine," she nodded.

"This is an idiotic tradition, isn't it?" Finn smirked. "To ask about someone's wellbeing without awaiting the real answer... And you are always supposed to say that you are fine... Even when you are absolutely not..."

"Still, people like other people only when they are fine, it seems," Rey frowned.

"I like you even when you are an absolute mess," Finn smiled.

"Thank you..." it was great to have someone like Finn by her side. After the interview Poe had given, Finn ended all contact with him and took Rey's side. They spent hours working side by side in the diner, and although Finn still didn't know Ben, he was ready to like him just because Rey loved him. Ben needed people like this in his life.

"Listen, Peanut..." Finn rubbed his neck, and Rey realized that he was somehow embarrassed because of something. "I know you didn't want to talk to the reporters or give any interviews, but my girlfriend..."

"Rose," Rey remembered.

"Yeah, Rose... She works for a newspaper in the capital..."

"I remember that," Rey smiled.

"Well, she has spent years there and still hasn’t gotten a promotion... And... She is magnificent... Could you...Possibly... Ask Ben to give her an interview?"

 

Rey frowned. Too many reporters wanted to gain something from Ben's situation.

 

"Listen, Rey," Finn hurried. "I know that you need a good article. Something that will show that Ben is actually a good guy, and Rose... She can do it if you give her an opportunity..."

"And what if he isn't exactly a good man?" Rey smiled sadly. "Will she lie to her readers just because she needs a good interview?"

 

Finn frowned.

 

"She never lies..." he murmured. "She is a great reporter! I just know it! But if you managed to find the good in Ben, why can't she?" Finn was so naive sometimes, Rey thought. However, he asked her so desperately.

"I will ask Ben," Rey nodded. "And we will need to talk to Rose before we agree to let her publish anything."

"Deal!" Finn beamed. "Thank you, Peanut! I will give her your number then!"

 

***

 

Ben didn't want to give any interviews at first, but Lando urged him to give this one.

 

"If she is a friend of Rey's friend she may really want to write something good about you... And considering the fact that you don't want Hannah to show up in court, this may help us," the old lawyer shrugged.

 

This is how Rey found herself pacing the room, waiting for Finn and Rose to come.

 

"Hey, Rey! Ben," Rey smirked inwardly at the fact that Finn didn't call her Peanut in front of his girlfriend while he shook hands with Ben. "It's nice to meet you! This is my Rose."

 

The Asian woman looked familiar and resembled someone. Finn looked at her with so much adoration in his eyes that Rey couldn't help but smile at the man.

 

"Hello, Miss Niima, Mr. Solo," Rose nodded politely, looking absolutely professional.

"Any interviews will be given behind closed doors, and I will be present," Lando shook Rose's hand as well. "And we will want to read it before we give you permission to publish."

"Of course," Rose shrugged. "Shall we start?"

 

 

They were sitting in Ben's office, and Rey noticed how Rose's face had changed after Finn left.

 

"So, Miss Tico," Ben smirked. "How much do you want this interview?"

"I need it enough to make it look better for you even if there is nothing good to show to people," Rose smirked back.

 

This was unexpected, and Rey looked at Rose, raising her brow.

 

"Interesting," Lando murmured.

"And Finn said you never lied," Rey frowned.

"I never lie to him," Rose shrugged. "But I am a reporter... And I will think you’re foolish if you believe that a reporter can be unbiased... This is something I learned too well, working in the capital. I need an exclusive story. But, respecting the fact that you are Finn's friend, Rey, I won't publish anything you do not want... In fact, I will win the jackpot if they acquit Ben in the court and I publish this interview..."

 

The world was never black and white, Rey realized.

 

"I like your honesty," Ben rubbed his brow.

"And I like the fact that you have just signed a million papers that won't let you publish anything without our permission," Lando smirked.

"And I really like Rey, to tell you the truth," Rose smiled at the old man before turning to Rey. "This is the reason I also would like to help... I asked Finn... He didn't think I was using him as a source for my investigation, and I won't publish it anywhere, but I had to know what I was dealing with... Your story... Touched me."

 

Rey's frown deepened. This Tico woman was not that simple.

 

"This is something we have in common..." Ben murmured.

"Shall we begin then?" Rose grinned.

 

Lando got ready to catch every upcoming word.

 

 

After two hours of the interview, Rose finally turned off her voice recorder.

 

"I guess this is it... I will make something gorgeous out of it," she smirked. "You'll get the draft by this evening."

"That is fast," Rey raised her brow.

"I desperately need this interview," Rose shrugged. "And court is tomorrow," she rose from her chair. "Can I ask you something? Not on the record..."

 

Ben nodded at the woman.

 

"Are you guilty?"

 

At that, both Rey and Ben jumped from their chairs. Lando was by their side in a flash.

 

"Miss Tico, I warned you..." he growled.

"How fucking dare you?" Rey hissed. "We did you a favor!"

"Relax, Rey," Rose switched to  first name basis suddenly. "I won't tell this to anyone. I just need it to understand how much you want your man out of jail... You told me a charming story... Something that just could not be an absolute truth, considering what I know about you... You must want to protect your man very much."

 

Both Rey and Ben were looking at Tico menacingly, and the woman smirked.

 

"I need this story so badly that I would publish any lie if that meant this lie would be successful," she shrugged. "And I already know the answer to my question. After all, I understand you well enough to know that you wouldn’t be persuading me that Ben wasn't guilty if he wasn't guilty... You don't like to lie, Rey, and it shows... However, I am good with lies," Rose lowered her head. "That's why I will make this story look great... I also would like to see Hux in prison... I've been dreaming about it since he ruined my undercover piece back when I was at university..."

"What are you talking about?" Ben growled.

 

Rose looked up at him.

 

"I attended a dinner once," she smirked. "The one that Dr. Andrew Snoke organized... It was around seven years ago, and I was in my senior year... I worked as a waitress there, but my main goal was to gather information about "The First Order's" doings with the government. I investigated them for some time and realized that they were hiding something. I just needed proof. Can you imagine a senior student releasing an article that destroys "The First Order" and impeaches the President? I would’ve never had problems with finding a job after that..."

 

Suddenly, Rey realized that she had already seen Rose somewhere... She just couldn't remember where... Rey looked at Ben, then at Rose. And then she sat back in her chair.

 

"Go on," she hissed, and Ben sat by her side, surprised by Rey's behavior. Lando followed them.

 

Rose lowered herself into her chair too.

 

"I heard a conversation..." she sighed. "Hux was the one talking, telling a woman I didn't know back then a fascinating story... According to him, he was the one who sealed the deal with "The First Order" and helped Snoke corrupt the government. Your name was also mentioned there, Mr. Solo..."

 

Ben looked like he was ready to kill, but was still sitting motionless in his chair.

 

"Hux claimed you didn't know anything about the deal with "The First Order", can you imagine?" Rose smirked, and Rey saw Ben's brow raising. Lando leaned forward in his chair. "He looked like he was trying to fascinate the woman he was talking to, so he probably lied, but he gave out a lot of exciting information. I recorded it..."

"What happened to the recording?" Ben growled, and suddenly it hit Rey...

"I got caught by the guards and was thrown out of the house," Rose went on, proving Rey's realization. "The phone with the recording... I lost it... My story was ruined. I have wanted to get back at Hux ever since."

 

It was her! The girl from Mustafar University. The one that lost her phone at the dinner where Rey had worked as a waitress. Rey inhaled loudly, trying to calm down her nerves.

 

Ben turned to the sound.

 

"Sweetheart," he rushed to her. "You... You look pale. What is it?"

"Miss Tico," Rey turned to the woman. "I think I have something for you..."

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 16.

 

Colorful world.

 

Seven years ago.

 

"I don't think I could lie to someone important, Daddy..." Rey sighed, her warm, soft cheek pressed to Kylo's chest. They were lying in their post-orgasmic bliss in the warm coziness of his king-size bed, and Kylo didn't want to think about the outside world at all right now.

 

He’d had an annoying meeting with Snoke. His boss had been angry about Kylo's slow progress with Hux's case, and Kylo had been very frustrated... Before Rey came. Their conversation had drifted to the topic of woulds and would nots, and Kylo had asked Rey if she would be able to break the law and lie to someone important.

 

"Oh, is that so, little one?" he chuckled. "I recall seeing you lying to the Dean yesterday..."

 

Rey gasped.

 

"Yes, little one, isn't the Dean of the University an important enough person for you?"

"You can't scold me for that!" Rey exclaimed. "I was late for classes because of you, Kylo!"

 

He spanked her.

 

"Ouch!"

"Think about what you said again, baby doll..."

"I was late for classes because of you, Daddy..." Rey hissed.

"That's much better. I won't punish you for this. After all, you are right... I just couldn't let you go without tasting this delicious pussy of yours, kitten. I was too frustrated, I must admit."

 

Rey stretched in his arms.

 

"I was glad you couldn't Daddy," she whispered, licking his jawline.

 

He would have fucked her again, had they not spent the past two hours coupling. He needed some rest, after all.

 

"I mean," Rey went on. "I wouldn't lie in court, for example."

 

Kylo caressed Rey's back, feeling the warmth of her body penetrating him. It felt too good. Of course, she wouldn't... Rey was too kind, too pure for that. Sometimes Kylo had problems suppressing the feeling of guilt in his chest.

 

She deserved so much better...

 

He shook his head, shooing the thought away.

 

"But," Rey suddenly whispered. "Maybe I would make an exception for someone I loved..."

 

Now.

 

"Mr. Hux," Ben was watching Lando pacing the courtroom lazily. "You claim meeting Mr. Solo in the hotel in Chandrila to discuss the conditions of your deal that led to the corruption of the government, am I correct?"

"I said that Mr. Solo insisted that I meet him there and that he blackmailed me into it," Hux smirked. "But otherwise you are correct."

"Your Honor," Lando addressed to the Judge. "I'd like to ask Miss Rey Niima to appear before the court."

 

The Judge nodded, frowning, and Rey sat in front of the jury. Ben tensed, looking at her. Here, in all this officialdom, wearing a strict but elegant suit he bought for her, she looked fragile and even thinner than ever. He hated that she had to be here, but Lando said that this would guarantee their success, so Ben agreed. Rey gave him a small smile. Ben tried to smile back, but he was too nervous. She turned to Calrissian.

 

"Miss Niima, what were you doing on the 10th of January, 2012?"

"I was spending the night in Chandrila Ritz Carlton hotel," Rey replied calmly, making the audience gasp.

 

Despite their efforts to keep Rey and Hannah away from the spotlight, people in Alderaan knew Rey. And they obviously realized what was to come.

 

"Objection, your Honor!" Hux's lawyer tried to interfere. "Mr. Calrissian is using Mr. Solo's fiancee as a witness. There is a clear conflict of interest here!"

"Objection denied," the Judge said calmly. "I am at least interested in what they have to say. You are not giving us any proof either, so it won't hurt to listen to Miss Niima here."

 

It was precisely what Lando had expected, and Ben smirked inwardly. The Judge had gotten tired of this case. This was a fight where there was almost no concrete evidence. The jury, however, watched it as if it were a soap opera of a sort. The Judge didn't like it, but he could do nothing about it. And it was Hux's lawyers who’d started this fight, so he was willing to give Ben a chance.

 

"Were you not supposed to be on campus?" Lando asked Rey.

"I was," Rey tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. "But I left for a day."

"Did you pay for your room yourself? Do you have any proof that you spent that night in the Chandrila hotel?"

"No, because I stayed in Mr. Solo's room."

 

The audience exploded.

 

"Quiet!" the Judge exclaimed.

 

It took him some time to calm the people down.

 

"Were you not Mr. Solo's student back then?" Lando asked Rey, raising his brow.

 

Ben knew what was to come. His knuckles turned white as he clenched his fists, and his teeth were gritted. He was deadly worried about Rey. She, however, looked absolutely calm. Smiling politely at the Judge, she started to speak.

 

"Nothing was going on between Mr. Solo and me... Ben... back then," she sighed. "But I was in love with him from the moment I first saw him in class... He... I suppose now I can say that he fell in love with me too, but back then I was not so sure about it. We tried to distance ourselves from each other, but in the end, we gave up... that night was the only night we had. Ben didn't want to ruin his career at the University, and I had a scholarship... I came to Chandrila, we spent the night, and then parted ways... It was a mistake..."

"Leaving Mr. Solo was a mistake?"

 

Rey nodded.

 

"Yes."

"Why?"

 

This was a cruel question, and Ben knew that it was bound to hurt Rey to answer it, lying. He hated himself for it. Rey, however, didn't hesitate.

 

"Because I loved Ben... And because that night I got pregnant with our daughter..." the audience gasped, murmurs filling the room. Rey went on. "Had I known that Ben felt the same way back then, I would’ve tried to make him find a way to figure it all out... However, I got pregnant... We avoided each other outside classes after that night, and I couldn't take it when I realized I was with child. So I dropped out of the University and ran away. I didn't know that Ben wanted to have a relationship with me... I didn't want to be a burden..."

 

Ben watched Rey in awe. She was lying in front of the court for him, trying to save his ass. What had he done with this girl? With this young woman? Had he destroyed her purity? Her sense of justice? Her good faith?

 

No...

 

No, he hadn't.

 

 

"Rey, I don't want you to lie in court..."

"What?..." she was lying in bed with him, her cheek pressed to his naked chest, her warmth penetrating him.

"You... You will have to tell a lie... To break the law... I really don't want you to regret anything, kitten... I..."

"Shut up."

 

There she was again - his fearless, determined kitten. No, not a kitten... A wild cat. A tigress.

 

"I am going to fight for you. I want my family to stay together. I want my daughter to be raised by her both parents. So shut the fuck up, Ben. I was always going to fight for you. I have always been like this. So shut. The fuck. Up."

 

 

He hadn't changed her, Ben realized. Rey would always stand by his side, protecting him. Even if it meant doing something terrible. Even if it meant playing dirty. 

 

The world wasn't black and white... And the world also wasn't grey, Ben realized. Rey had made him understand one simple thing: the world was colorful.

 

"So yes," Rey smirked. "I remember what I did on the night of the 10th of January, 2012. I was in Chandrila Ritz Carlton with Ben Solo. And all I want now is everyone to believe that he is not guilty. We've just found each other again. Hannah, my daughter, and I... we miss Ben. Hannah misses her father, and I miss my man."

 

The audience couldn't take it any longer. The crowd exploded, and Ben could hear screams from some people he didn't even know.

 

"Let him go!"

"Release him!"

"Free Ben Solo!"

 

"Objection!!!" Hux's lawyer cried. "You can't consider Miss Niima's statement! She is biased!"

"Objection noted!" the Judge growled, frustrated. "Quiet everyone! Or I will put him into jail right here, right now!"

 

People in the room calmed down, but Ben saw them all ready to explode again. In the corner of the room, he saw Han and Leia. Poe was with them, and Ben smirked inwardly as a gray-haired woman in front of Dameron turned to Ben's stepbrother and murmured something, her face looking very angry. Poe blushed and lowered his eyes. It seemed, the old lady had recognized him and was now blaming him for the situation with Hannah.

 

Meanwhile, Lando went on.

 

"You are right, your Honor," he nodded to the Judge politely. "We can't consider Miss Niima's statement, but I wanted our jury to listen to it before we go on..."

"Objection," Hux's lawyer raised his hand. "Mr. Calrissian is wasting our time!"

"Objection denied," the Judge hissed. "Do go on, Mr. Calrissian, but please, let us finish before dusk."

"Of course, your Honor," Lando smirked. "I have just one more thing to show you all... Just thirty minutes before the court session, an exciting record was published on YouTube... And I would love everybody here to see it. Turn on the projection, please!"

 

There was a big screen on the court wall, and the audience turned to it. Ben looked at Rey, who was sitting with the rest of the crowd now.

 

"I love you," she mouthed to him.

"I love you... Always," Ben mouthed back.

 

No one paid attention to them. The video was on.

 

It looked like the person who was recording the video was hidden behind a large column. However, the camera captured the face of the man who was talking to somebody, smiling widely. The man was Armitage Hux.

 

"Oh, darling," Hux grinned at somebody. "Are you sure you want to listen to your father and get into this bastard Ren's bed? He's not worth it!"

"Oh, and you are worth it," a woman's voice replied to Hux.

"I am," Hux shrugged. "Kylo has no idea what's going on in the Government. He has nothing to do with the deal your father and I are sealing. Think twice before you try to get to Ren... There might be a much bigger fish by your side right here right now. Your father and I, Bazine," the audience gasped as the camera moved to the right exposing the face of the woman with whom Hux was talking. It was Bazine Snoke-Netal. Ben smirked at the sight of her and Hux going absolutely white in the face as they looked at the screen. "Mr. Snoke and I, we are going to rule this country one day. We are going to rule the world..."

 

Hux was obviously a little bit tipsy, and Bazine looked at him, raising her brow. Hux was showing off in front of the woman. And his showing off would cost him everything.

 

"Come on, darling," Hux tried to caress Bazine's cheek, but the woman pulled back from his hand. "We've known each other for ages... You want to get to Ren and his money? Why? He is nothing. Your father doesn't tell him everything. Why not choose me? Soon we'll corrupt the Government, and we'll be in the lead! You want money? You'll have everything with me."

"I am not sure I can believe it, Armie," Bazine smirked. "I was always good at evaluating my assets, after all. That's why I dumped you... Father says we need Kylo. And my father is never wrong. And I don't think I can believe words of somebody who is drunk and telling me secrets that are not supposed to be pronounced in public. Maybe father is not telling me everything, but he says I need to get to Kylo Ren, and I will get to Kylo Ren. And if Kylo doesn't know anything as you say, then father has a good reason to keep him in the dark. He is never wrong."

"You are making a mistake, Bazine," Hux hissed.

 

Suddenly, Bazine leaned forward and kissed Hux passionately. The camera shook as the person who was recording obviously hadn't expected this.

 

"I sometimes miss you, Armie," the woman smirked after pulling back. "I will visit you soon. And now I need to go find Kylo Ren. He is quite hot, I must say. You'll need to try hard to get me interested..."

 

Hux growled, and that was the moment another voice sounded from behind the camera.

 

"Hey! What the fuck are you doing here?!" it was probably a security guard, but it remained unclear as the recording stopped.

 

 

In the courtroom, the audience froze. And then it was as if a volcano had erupted. This time not even the Judge could stop the people's cries.

 

"You fucking whore!!!" Someone cried to Bazine. "He has a daughter, you bitch!"

"Release him right here, right now!!!"

"Free Ben Solo!!!"

 

The Judge was trying to calm the crowd, and when he finally managed to do it, Lando addressed Hux.

 

"Was that you in the video, Mr. Hux?"

"My client doesn't have to answer this question!" Hux's lawyer cried.

"I was trying to impress her!" the redhead cried at the same time.

 

It was done. Everything had gone according to plan. The Prosecution asked for some time to examine the recording, and the final court session was moved to the next week, but it was over for Hux. Ben was released from the court to spend time before the final session with his family. The ankle monitor was removed from him, and he only had to sign a recognizance this time.

 

Exiting the courtroom, Ben reached Rey, who hugged him tightly.

 

"It's over..." she whispered.

"Yes, yes, sweetheart... It is," Ben felt his eyes burning from tears, and only the sight of the crowd of reporters who were running towards them helped him to keep from crying.

 

"Mr. Solo!" one of the reporters cried. "What do you think, will they acquit you now?"

"I hope so," Ben said coldly. "I am not guilty, after all..."

"Mr. Solo!!!"

"Mr. Solo, wait!"

 

They were moving through the crowd, accompanied by Lando when one of the reporters cried to him.

 

"Mr. Solo, will you marry Miss Niima now? What are your plans for the nearest future?"

 

Ben froze.

 

Turning to the reporters, he took a deep breath. The reporters all stilled, looking at him. Ben felt like Kylo right now, and everyone had alway been intimidated by Kylo Ren. From the corner of his eye, he could see Rey smirking at the sight of him. His kitten loved it when he was in charge.

 

"I am going to make a statement," he said. Lando was by his side, ready to stop him if needed, but Ben was sure that the old man wouldn't have to. "I hope that the court will acquit me because I am not guilty, and the recording that was shown to you today proves it. As for my private life, it is none of your business, but yes, Miss Niima and I are going to get married as soon as we can. My daughter and my wife both need my surname."

 

He switched so easily to calling her his wife. The word tasted delicious on his tongue.

 

"Are you mad at your mother and brother, Mr. Solo? Miss Niima, what do you say about all of this?"

 

Ben tensed at the question, but suddenly Rey spoke in a calm, menacing voice.

 

"Neither Ben nor I have any intention to speak about Mr. Dameron. Ben and I are going to do everything possible to protect our daughter from any additional stress... However, we both thank Mr. Han Solo, Ben's father, for his help with the explanation of the situation that happened due to Mr. Dameron's thoughtless actions. And now we need to get home to our daughter. Please excuse us."

 

Rey pulled Ben after her, and he followed, falling in love with this woman all over again. She was his life, his strength, his equal — the love of his life. Ben would spend an eternity making up for everything he had done to her. He was ready for it.

 

***

 

By the court entrance, Rey saw Rose Tico, who was smiling at her brightly. 

 

"So, Miss Tico," Ben smirked at the woman as she followed them to the car. "Do you want another private interview?"

"No, I have already sent a message to my boss that I want a raise," Rose smirked. “I just wanted to ask you something, Rey."

 

Both Rey and Ben stopped, looking at Rose worriedly. Was she going to blackmail them now? What did she want?

 

"Please... Don't tell Finn about your real story..." Rose lowered her eyes, and Rey gasped at the sight of the young reporter. "I want him to think I am actually an honest journalist... He believes I am perfect for some reason..."

 

Rey frowned at Rose, taking the woman's hand.

 

"Maybe he loves you?" she smiled. "That could be the reason."

"I still don't want him to know... the real me," Rose frowned. "Not everyone is as forgiving as you, Rey..."

 

Suddenly, Rey felt sorry for this girl.

 

"Your secret is safe with me," she smiled at her kindly. "I owe you too, after all..."

 

Rose nodded and was about to leave when Rey stopped her.

 

"The world is not black and white," she said. "Finn has to understand that."

 

Rose turned to her, smirking.

 

"Maybe I love him for thinking this way," she shrugged. "Maybe we all need more people like him in the world. People who trust that the world is a place where you always have to choose the light side in a fight?"

 

Rey didn't know the answer to Rose's question.

 

"There's too much philosophy there," she shrugged. "The only truth I know is that it is impossible to build something good, based on lies."

 

Rose considered her answer for a second.

 

"Maybe," she finally said. "But I think I will try anyway. Bye, Rey! Good luck!"

 

With that, she turned on her heel and left. Ben and Rey watched her go, then got into the car.

 

"All I want now is to hug Hannah and ravish you for the whole night after we put her to bed," Ben murmured into Rey's ear, making her realize that she hadn't told him about one thing that she'd discovered this morning.

"I... I have my period," Rey turned to Ben, looking him in the eyes.

 

For a second, Rey saw an expression on his face that resembled her own expression from this morning. 

 

Ben was upset.

 

But then he smiled at her and kissed Rey's forehead.

 

"It's okay, sweetheart. Don't be upset. We've just started trying. I'll give you as many babies as you want... We have our whole life for that."

 

Rey buried her face in the crook of his neck. Ben was right. They did.

 

***

 

After they put a happy Hannah to bed and were finally left alone in their bedroom, Ben put Rey on the bed and just laid down next to her, pulling her close. Then he moved lower, exposing her flat stomach to him.

 

"What are you doing?" Rey giggled as he blew on her belly button, watching her sucking in her stomach. He was so goddamn happy that his heart hurt.

"Oh, nothing..." he blew again.

"Stop it!" Rey exclaimed, laughing and hiding her body under her sweater. "Ticklish!"

 

Ben grabbed her, laughing, and started kissing her on every part of her body that he could reach.

 

"Teasing man," Rey smiled when they finally calmed down. "You know I can't do anything right now."

"I just love touching you," Ben sighed. "I just love you."

 

They laid together calmly for several minutes.

 

"Rey?" Ben finally spoke to her, finding the strength and courage to ask her finally.

"Hm?"

"Will you marry me?"

 

She turned to him, smiling softly. Rey wasn't crying. She looked calm and loving. God, how Ben loved this woman!

 

"Of course," she replied, and Ben was in heaven.

"I spoke to Lando today," he finally found his words, speaking hoarsely. "He can marry us whenever we like. We can prepare for the ceremony and..."

"Can we marry tomorrow?" Rey interrupted him.

"Wha..." he wasn't prepared for that. Of course, he would marry her any today, but didn't she want to... "Rey," he frowned. "Don't you want a beautiful wedding? With a dress and everything?"

 

Rey snorted. Literally snorted.

 

"Ben, a white dress is a symbol of purity... We have a daughter together," she laughed. "And I really don't want a big wedding. I want you, me, Hannah, Jyn, and Cassian. And Cassian will have to go back to his Parish soon. So... Can Lando marry us tomorrow?"

"Yes," Ben gasped, feeling a smile spread over his face. "Yes, Rey, he can."

"Good," she whispered, happy tears finally starting to roll down her face.

"Good," he repeated.

 

And then Ben kissed her. There was no rush to their kiss this time, just a promise. A promise of their happy future together.

 

Chapter Text

 

Epilogue.

 

Two years later.

 

"Dad! Mommy wants you to bring her the wine from the cellar!" Hannah cried to Ben as he was looking for the shirt Rey had prepared for him this morning.

 

Hannah had grown up a bit in the past two years, but she still called Rey mommy. Rey was sad sometimes that their only child would be grown up soon and wouldn't call her that, but they both were so proud of their daughter. Ben and Rey had found the girl a coach, and Hannah was doing really great in ice-skating. After what had happened on the lake two years ago, Rey didn't let her go near the skating rink again, but Hannah had enough of ice-skating now and didn't want to skate on the open lake herself. This year she would be going to the State junior competitions, and both her parents were always there to support her.

 

Hannah was an absolutely normal child. She had her moments sometimes, and Ben was also sometimes cross with her, but if he was completely honest with himself, his daughter had him wrapped around her little finger. 

 

Hannah didn't like biology at all. She didn't understand the subject and never displayed an interest in knowing more about it. Ben had been a little bit upset because of that, but he never blamed his daughter. He loved her more than anything, and he was happy with whatever path she chose in life. 

 

Hannah was still their only child. Rey and Ben had been trying to conceive since that night before the court hearing, but still didn't manage. Ben hated how hurt Rey looked every time her period started. They had gone to the doctor, and the doctor told them that Rey was healthy, but that they might have problems because of her difficult first pregnancy. 

 

Ben felt guilty for that. Rey never blamed him, but he couldn't help it. After a year of trying, Ben had asked Rey if she wanted to adopt. She refused, saying that they already had Hannah and that she wasn't ready for an adoption yet. Ben never blamed her for that. After all, adoption wasn't an easy decision, and Ben didn't want to push her into anything. They decided to let it be, and now, after a year, Ben was okay with that. Still, though he would never admit it, he prayed sometimes. He prayed to God to give them a child. He loved Rey so much. And he loved Hannah. And there was so much love in him that he wanted to give it to one more person, or several more people... Ben wanted to have a lot of children. Cassian had told him once that everything was in God's hands, so Ben prayed that those hands sent them a little one...

 

"Tell her I'll be there soon, honey!" Ben cried, exiting the room.

 

 

Rey was cooking with Jyn in the kitchen, and Ben lingered on the sight of his wife who was laughing happily at something Jyn had said.

 

Cassian and Jyn had come to visit them as they always did one week after Christmas.

 

"Ben!" Jyn exclaimed. "Just look at him, Rey. Isn't he handsome?" she winked at Ben's wife, and Rey smiled at him.

"Oh, he is," Rey took a step towards him, wrapping her arms around his neck. "Are you ready for today?" she whispered.

 

Ben nodded.

 

Today was their second wedding anniversary, and for the first time in two years, his parents would come for dinner. Together with Poe.

 

They had married the day after the court case just as Rey wanted. Afterward, Rey allowed Hannah to see Han. At first, Ben's father visited them every week, spending time with the girl. Ben couldn't deny the fact that his daughter loved her granddad, so he had to deal with it. After all, Han was always polite with him, and after some time, they finally started having normal conversations. Once, Rey had sat next to Ben in front of the fireplace in their living room, kissing him softly. That was the day everything started to change.

 

 

"Ben?" she whispered, curling in his lap.

"Hm?"

"Can I tell you something?"

"Of course," he was surprised by Rey's question. She had never asked for permission before.

"I am afraid you won't like it..."

 

Ben frowned.

 

"Go on," he urged softly.

"I think that Han loves you."

 

He looked at her in surprise, his frown deepening.

 

"Rey..."

"I'm just saying it," she interrupted him. "So that you notice that he is actually trying to get to know you better... I don't think he is waiting for you to acknowledge it, but he always asks me about how you are doing. And he looked very proud when I told him that your book was very well received... He bought himself a copy and even read it."

 

Ben was finally doing what he loved. He taught students and studied biology. His new book on stem cells had sold out two days after it had been released.

 

"Did he understand anything?" Ben smirked.

"Not a word, according to him," Rey laughed. "But he asked his friends to explain what it was about to him..."

"Really?" Ben was astonished and somehow... touched.

"Yeah... Really..."

 

 

After that day, Ben decided to give his father a chance. And, surprisingly, he came to realize that Han Solo had actually changed.

 

 

"Father?" Ben called, entering the kitchen where Han was gathering his stuff after his meeting with Hannah. He had just put the girl to bed and was already about to leave when Ben walked in.

 

Han turned to him, confused. For a very long time, Ben had called him by his first name. Ben handed him a beer. Han looked at the can in surprise but took it.

 

"Do you want to..." Ben stammered, not knowing how to ask. He had never offered anything to his father. "Do you want to have a drink?"

"Sure," Han's confusion was replaced by a happy smile now, and Ben felt relieved.

"I hope you don't mind if I drink wine?" Ben asked, hesitantly. "I am not really fond of beer, I'm afraid..."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Han huffed. "Drink whatever you like! You don't have to drink what I drink!"

"Don't I?" This probably sounded too harsh...

 

Han frowned.

 

"I'm sorry," Ben apologized, rubbing his temples. "I didn't mean for it to sound like that..."

"It's okay, kid," Han smiled sadly. "I guess, we both need to learn how to behave with each other..."

 

They spent several minutes in silence, sipping on their drinks. 

 

"I just wanted you to know," Han suddenly said, "That I am very proud of who you've become."

 

Ben looked up at him.

 

"Maybe you don't know everything about me..." he murmured.

"Oh, I know enough," Han waved him off. "But... I don't care, boy... I see how happy you make Rey and Hannah... I see how hard you work with your students... And I know you are a good person... The only thing I am sorry about is that I have nothing to do with it... But Ben... You are the best son I could ever wish for, I promise."

 

This was too unexpected. Suddenly, Ben felt tears burning his eyes.

 

"Um..." he stammered. "Thank you, dad..."

 

They spent the evening talking, and Ben knew that Rey was at home, but wasn't disturbing them for a reason. He was grateful for that. Everything couldn't be mended quickly... Some things he could never forgive. But at least Han wasn't a stranger to him anymore.

 

"So, how's mom and Poe?" Ben finally asked, observing his father.

 

Han frowned.

 

"Your mom is fine... She misses Hannah, but I told her to stay away from you..." Ben was surprised that Han had taken his side in this, but he was grateful to his father for that. "And Poe... You know, Ben... I love him... I have always loved him... And he visits us often... But... I think I haven't forgiven him still..."

"For what?" Ben raised his brow.

"Well..." Hun shrugged. "I know that it was my fault that we never cared to listen to you... But I am mad at him for lying to us about you... For not telling us about your problems at school... For coming to you and telling you that we wanted to replace you..."

"Father," Ben interrupted him. "But you did want to replace me... Let's face it."

 

Han kept silent for several minutes.

 

"We did," he admitted. Ben thought he would feel upset, but he actually felt relieved by Han's words. "And now I regret it every single fucking day..."

 

 

Starting from that day, things began to change slowly. Ben discussed it with Rey, and they started taking Hannah to Leia and Han's from time to time. They always attended, and the visits were short, but Leia was happy about it. Poe was around often, but he never approached. Hannah didn't feel comfortable around him, and it took Ben and Rey a lot of time to fix it.

 

And the situation with Leia was still complicated.

 

 

"Hello, everyone!" Rey greeted the guests at the entrance. "Come in!"

"Oh, Rey! You look radiant!" Leia complimented her. It was true. Rey really looked gorgeous.

"Thank you, Leia," Rey smiled warmly. 

 

Today was their day, and Ben knew that Rey wanted everyone to feel comfortable. Leia handed Ben's wife a bottle of red wine.

 

"Han didn’t tell me what the occasion was," she said. "What are we celebrating?"

 

Both Ben and Rey turned to her with surprised looks on their faces.

 

Of course... Han hadn't told her... And neither Rey nor Ben had bothered to as well.

 

"Today is our second wedding anniversary, Leia," Rey explained softly.

 

The old woman froze.

 

"You are married?" To his utter horror, Ben saw Leia's lip tremble.

 

Both Rey and Ben kept silent, looking at her, and for a second, Ben felt a trickle of satisfaction in his chest.

 

"We are," Rey sighed. "Hannah is officially Ben's daughter now, and we are all... Solos..."

 

It took Leia a second to gather her composure.

 

"Did you know?" she turned to Han.

"I did..."

 

Ben knew that his father would have problems after this, but he was immensely grateful to him, nevertheless... It was good that Rey and Ben were able to enlighten Leia about their marital status on their own.

 

"Okay," Leia sighed heavily. "Okay..."

 

 

They say at the table, and Ben watched as Hannah helped Rey and Jyn with serving dinner.

 

"Hannah made this pudding herself," Rey smiled, nodding at the dish the girl had just placed on the table.

"Really?" Ben raised his brow, enjoying the way his daughter beamed with pride. "Hannah, it's amazing!"

"You haven't even tried it, daddy!" Hannah rolled her eyes in the manner that Rey always did, and Ben couldn't love the girl more.

"I still know that whatever my daughter makes is the most delicious thing in the world," Ben shrugged.

 

Hannah walked over to him and hugged him. It was amazing how easy his daughter coped with her feelings. Hannah's anger outbursts weren't an issue anymore. And no matter how terrified Rey was about them coming back when their daughter hit puberty, Ben was sure they would be able to deal with it.

 

"I love you, daddy," Hannah kissed him on the cheek.

"I love you too, honey," Ben smiled at the girl, tears burning his eyes as they always did at such moments. "I am always so proud of you!"

 

His life was perfect.

 

"A toast!" Ben exclaimed at the end of the evening when everyone, Leia included, was already way too tipsy. "To my family. To my beloved wife, Rey, who is making me the happiest man alive," he told her every day that he loved her. He had never skipped a day. Rey was his everything, and he could never get tired of confessing his feelings to her. "To my darling, beautiful daughter Hannah. I am so proud of you, honey! And I want you to know that your mom and I are always here for you. We love you, and we will always love you... To my dearest friends Cassian and Jyn, who I consider my second parents. I can never thank you enough for everything you've done for me..." At that Cassian lowered his head, avoiding Han and Leia's gazes. But what could Ben do? It was true. Cassian and Jyn were more his parents than his biological ones were. But still, Ben wanted to say something else. "And to Han," he pronounced, and at this his father turned to him, looking at him in surprise. "I know I am not like you... And I know that... you probably wanted another son... But I am happy you are all here," he didn't mention Leia and Poe... Even mentioning Han was complicated for Ben. Some wounds never healed... However, he did what he could. "To my family," he concluded.

"To the family!" everyone raised their glasses.

 

Ben was so fucking happy...

 

***

 

"Hey, Rey..." she heard Poe's voice and tensed immediately. They hadn't spoken since that day by the diner when he accused her of being a whore. Today when Poe came by, Rey suppressed the urge to vomit. She hated the man... But Han loved him, and Rey loved Han...

 

After everything that happened two years ago, Rey needed some time to come to terms with the Solo family... She had made up her mind... She’d forgiven Han, but both Poe and Leia were personae non gratae for her. And still... Ben and Rey had invited them both for dinner today... Han loved them, and Rey didn't want to upset the old man.

 

"Hey, Poe," she managed to smile at him.

 

Poe walked to the kitchen island and sat by it. Everyone else was in the living room, and Ben had probably left to fetch some more wine when Poe had left.

 

"How... How are you?" Poe asked insecurely.

 

Rey turned to him, raising her brow.

 

"I'm fine," she shrugged. "Studies take a lot of time... But I love it."

 

Rey was graduating this summer... After all those years she had missed, she had to go through her junior year once again, and so this year she had her finals. Ben had to talk to some people, and Rey was able to pass exams and start studying again. Rey was going to go on with her studies. She wanted to be a teacher for middle and high school. Rey wanted to teach children biology, and Ben supported her as always. She would probably have to postpone her studies now, but that was a story for another day...

 

They spent several minutes in silence.

 

"Rey, do you really love him?" Poe suddenly asked.

 

Rey frowned at him. She had hoped to avoid this conversation.

 

"Yes, Poe... I really do love Ben... I married him, after all..."

"But..."

"Poe," Rey interrupted him. "Don't you even start..."

"I just want to understand!" Poe exclaimed, and Rey looked behind his back worriedly. She could see Ben in the living room with Hannah on his lap, and it calmed her down. She could call her husband, and Ben would be here in a second. However, she still hoped that they could avoid the conflict.

"What exactly do you want to understand, Poe?" she asked calmly.

"What is it about him? His money? His position? His reputation of a fucking hero that you helped him to maintain? What is it? Why couldn't you choose a normal man who would take care of you?! Do you really need all of this?" he looked around. "To be happy? I never knew you were like this!"

 

Rey sighed heavily, rubbing her eyes.

 

 

"Kid?" Han called her as Rey gathered Hannah's toys from the floor of the living room. 

 

Rey smiled at the old man.

 

"Han! Is everything fine?"

"Yes, I was just about to leave."

"Oh, so soon?" Rey asked, surprised.

"Yes, I hate to go, but I need to meet Poe, and we have to drive to Theed today. Business matters. I will be away for a week. Wanted to see Hannah before I go."

"Good," Rey nodded. "She would have missed you, had you not come."

"I'll be back soon," Han smiled.

 

They stood together in silence.

 

"Poe is asking about you," Han suddenly said, and Rey raised her brow, frowning.

"Is he?" she asked coldly.

"He is," Han sighed. "But I won't try to make you forgive him. That moron deserves the way both you and Ben treat him... I just wanted to say that he cares about you. Just so that you knew..."

"Well, if he truly cared, he wouldn’t have called me a whore and then stolen my daughter away from me," Rey hissed.

"True," Han smiled sadly. "But I guess what you need to know is that he actually does love you... You don't have to love him back, but I guess that his inability to take no for an answer is also mine and Leia's fault. We spoiled that brat..."

 

Rey looked at Han inquiringly. She knew that Poe liked her, but to hear that he actually loved her was... somehow unexpected.

 

"Oh, don't look at me like that, kid!" Han huffed. "Both my sons are crazy about you... But I am glad you chose Ben, to tell you the truth..."

"Really?" Rey smirked, not really believing Han's words.

"Really..." the old Solo rolled his eyes. "I've come to realize that he is actually the best of the two... And I am glad that you are happy together..."

"I would always choose Ben," Rey blurted, not expecting herself to confess anything like this to Han. She had forgiven the old man for everything, but their relationship was not like it used to be. Rey always had trust issues. Now, Han was looking at her carefully. Rey gulped. "You know... He is the only man I have ever been with... Oh, God... I don’t think this is something to tell your father-in-law!" she buried her face in her hands, and Han laughed heartily.

"You are probably right, kid," he grinned. "The last thing I want now is to imagine you and Benny in bed together," he sighed then while Rey blushed crimson. "Well, I guess, Poe never stood a chance... And it is actually great... This will teach him a lot... Just... If he ever approaches you, remember what I said to you... He loves you. Dearly. I just don't think he will ever be capable of coming to terms with your choice..."

 

 

"Listen, Poe," Rey finally opened her eyes, remembering that conversation with Han. "I know that you are upset that I didn't choose you... But the thing is that Ben is endgame for me. I've never loved anyone but him... And I am sorry that I can't love you back," Poe gasped at that, but Rey just went on. "I would stay with him even if he was broke and in prison. I love him. I am his. And he is mine. So if you don't want to be thrown out of this house and to spoil the evening for your parents, I think you should stop insulting me and just go on with your life... You have a lot of things to apologize to Ben for, you know. But I don't think Ben needs your apology. So go back to the living room, finish the evening, and then you are free to go away and never come back here ever again."

 

Poe watched her for several seconds, before turning away and following Rey's piece of advice. This story was closed for both of them. Rey caught Ben's eye. Her husband was looking at her worriedly, noticing Poe leaving the kitchen.

 

"I love you," she mouthed to him. "So fucking much."

 

Rey turned back to the sink. She had to put the dishes into the dishwasher that Ben bought for her two years ago, after she had asked. Before she proceeded, Rey put her hand on her belly. She smiled for a second, closing her eyes and then went on with her task.

 

***

 

Ben pulled the leash that was connected to the collar on Rey's neck. He thanked God for his own idea to make the walls of their bedroom soundproof. Rey was practically howling as he fucked her like an animal from behind.

 

"MORE! DEEPER!!!" she cried, and Ben pulled the leash, thrusting harder, tearing Rey's cunt apart. 

 

"DADDY! I'M GONNA CUM!!!!"

 

He stopped abruptly.

 

"Whaaaat?! Daddy?!" Rey turned her dizzy face to him, and Ben almost came, looking at the drop of saliva on her lip.

"Not yet, kitten."

"But Daddy!"

"Contradict me and you'll get the cane, baby doll, so think twice before you speak now," he growled, feeling Rey's cunt squeezing his cock tighter at his words.

 

Ben knew what his baby liked. Their sex had always been fascinating but had gotten even better in the past two years. They were exploring their limits and boundaries every time and had discovered that they were... quite extensive.

 

Ben turned Rey on the bed, not pulling his cock out, so that Rey was lying on her back now. She wore a lacy lingerie set. Ben decided against pulling her knickers off and entered her, sliding them to the side. He watched his massive cock penetrating Rey, entering her to the hilt now, a thick vein on it pulsing lightly under his gaze.

 

"Daddy wants to get dirty today, baby..." he growled. "What do you think, kitten? Are you in the mood for it too?"

 

Rey kept silent, and Ben grinned at her.

 

"Good girl," he praised. "You can speak now."

"Yes, Daddy, please, make me dirty," Rey whispered in her high voice.

 

Ben growled, reaching for the object that was lying on the nightstand.

 

"What, baby?" Ben smirked, looking at Rey's eyes widening at the sight of it. "Are you excited?"

"Oh... Yes, Daddy!"

"My naughty little whore," he murmured, pushing the gag into Rey's mouth. He could feel Rey's cunt squeezing him again at the word, knowing that she loved this little game they played. "I will own you now, baby. Your tight little pussy... I will tear it apart."

 

Rey moaned, unable to speak. Her saliva was gathering around the gag already. Ben pulled her by the leash.

 

"Follow me," he ordered.

 

During the past two years, they changed the small room next to their bedroom into something exceptional. Ben opened the only door that led to the room and turned the light on. The sight of steel gray walls around them made Rey moan again from behind him.

 

"Oh, I know, baby. You are always so excited to be in our little playroom, aren’t you?"

 

There were plenty of toys here, but Ben led Rey to a special soft padded table that split into two extensions with stirrups on either end.

 

He knew Rey loved it.

 

Ben ordered her to lie on the table, detaching the leash from Rey collar. He wiped saliva that was rolling down Rey's chin now and chuckled.

 

"You were so naughty last time, kitten," he murmured, chaining Rey to the table - hands first and then, after he finally removed her panties, legs too. "Broke those damn handcuffs... These are much better. You won't get away from me," Rey arched her back, moaning and gulping. The table was a little bit slanted, so Rey would not be able to choke on her saliva. Ben took a step back, enjoying the view in front of him.

 

Rey looked so sexy that his member stood rock-hard, ready for action.

 

However, he had told her that he wanted to get dirty today... And he had every intention of doing so.

 

"You asked me to bring you new toys, doll," Ben started circling Rey, fetching the needed items from the drawers around them. "I prepared something absolutely special for you..."

 

Rey was panting, wriggling, trying to see him. Ben enjoyed her vulnerability so much now...

 

He returned to the spot in front of her, and Rey gasped, looking at him.

 

Ben smirked at the sight of her eyes opening wide at the sight of the candles in his hands.

 

"You have a gag in that little mouth of yours," he proceeded, ignoring Rey's humming. "So I need you to stop moaning, little one... Because you definitely won't be able to use your safe words if you do that," Rey fell silent, watching him. "I want you to moan once for yellow, and two for red," he said. "Nod if you agree to it, doll."

 

Rey nodded feverishly.

 

"My good girl... I promise I will make you feel so good..."

 

Ben hadn't done this for years, but he remembered perfectly well what to do. He had never tried it with Rey, though. And he had to make her love it.

 

"Keep quiet, little one, so that your Daddy knows if you need for it to cool down..."

 

Rey followed him with her gaze as he stood between her legs, his cock pressing into her opening.

 

"I won't enter you yet, baby," Ben smirked, hearing her gasp. He had already lit the candle, and the wax was melting, ready to...

 

"Ahhhh," Rey huffed, closing her eyes, as the first drop touched her skin, right next to her belly button.

 

Ben learned how to play with wax ages ago. Long before Rey had come into his life. He would never tell her those stories. There was not much to tell, anyway. Just a few escorts who’d taught Kylo Ren a few new things. He was the one on whom the wax had been used first, and then he had been the one to use it on somebody else.

 

Ben knew the wax had to sting. But it was precisely what was needed. He knew that when the sting faded, Rey would be ready for more.

 

Ben rubbed at Rey's clitoris, watching her closely. He knew Rey's facial expressions too well and would see if she didn't love it. So, he watched and watched...

 

And then she opened her eyes, smiling around her gag.

 

"Good girl," Ben growled, spilling more wax between her breasts, and then some more onto her nipple. Rey arched her back but didn't moan, remembering that her moan would stop her pain and adjoined pleasure. Ben kept rubbing her pearl, realizing that Rey was soaking wet. Much wetter than she had been before they started their little game.

 

"My sweet little kitten," Ben murmured, watching Rey close her eyes as she felt the tip of his cock touch her folds. "Always so wet for me... Always so eager..."

 

He thrust into her, and Rey squeaked as he wasn't gentle penetrating her cunt. Rey loved this sort of pain, Ben knew. The pain from Ben's dick tearing her apart.

 

"Oh, baby... Should I stop?" Ben raised his brow at her. "The sounds from you mean I should slow down," he smirked, knowing that Rey had trouble keeping quiet now. "Should I slow down?"

 

Rey shook her head frantically.

 

"I thought so..." 

 

He reached for the long sharp knife that he had prepared and set on the small table near them. Rey gasped again, watching him, and Ben's dick twitched at the sight of her excited horror.

 

"Do you trust me, baby?" he asked her, raising his brow.

 

Rey nodded once, not turning her gaze from the blade in his hand.

 

Ben smiled calmly.

 

"My good little girl... Don't move, Rey."

 

Rey froze, obeying, and the sharp tip of the knife touched her soft skin for a second. She gasped again when Ben peeled away the wax skillfully.

 

Rey's skin was red underneath, and Ben was ready to come right here right now. However, he was the Alpha Dominant now. His little one depended on him and trusted him. So he had to deliver.

 

He added more wax, marking the way from Rey's nipples down to her cunt. He rubbed her clit again, feeling her getting more and more aroused.

 

Wax, wax, knife. Soft gasps from Rey who arched her back to the point where Ben was slightly concerned she would break it. But she loved what they were doing.

 

Ben felt that Rey was close, but he couldn't let her come yet. So when he knew another thrust would push Rey over the edge, he pulled out.

 

This time Rey literally growled, gagging on the saliva that was filling her mouth now.

 

"Should I stop, baby?" Ben raised his brow. "Or will you finally trust your Daddy to do what is best for you?"

 

Rey frowned, and Ben knew she would hiss at him had she not been gagged. Now, however, she only gave him a sign to proceed.

 

The next drop of wax landed too close to Rey's clitoris, and she gasped, looking at him concerned this time.

 

Ben only smirked. He knew what he was doing.

 

"I won't be using a knife here," he raised his brow.

 

And then he entered her again, not waiting, not giving her time to adjust. He entered her again and again, making the wax disappear from the place where it had landed. And then, then Ben reached for the candle again.

 

Rey was on edge, but she still froze when she saw Ben raising the candle above them. He looked at her for a second, giving her a chance to stop him. He had trouble handling himself. He could see his cock penetrating Rey's tiny pussy and was about to explode. However, he waited for Rey's sign.

 

She didn't stop him.

 

They only needed one drop.

 

Rey howled when the final drop of wax touched her clitoris. She howled so loudly that Ben thought that even the soundproof walls of their playroom wouldn't be able to hold this sound, and then he felt her cunt squeezing him so tightly that he started to have problems moving.

 

She squeezed and squeezed, her orgasm hitting her hard and Ben spilled all the seed he had inside him into Rey's small channel, shouting with his every thrust.

 

"OH, FUCK!!!! FUCK!!!! OH, YES!!!"

 

Ben unchained Rey's hands and pulled her limp body closer, removing the gag from her mouth and kissing her passionately. She was still slightly delirious, her gaze foggy. Ben had never seen her come this hard.

 

He put her back down on the table, pulling out of her with regret and walking to a small fridge in the corner of the room.

 

A cube of ice was on Rey's clit soon, and after applying it, Ben took her pearl into his mouth, soothing Rey.

 

"My good girl," he whispered, freeing Rey from her restraints. "Daddy is so proud of you."

 

 

Rey dozed off quickly after Ben had taken care of her and put her back to bed. She curled up on his chest, and he inhaled the smell of her hair, feeling it calming him down as always.

 

He told Rey he loved her every day and still felt like it would never be enough. They had fought just a couple of times over the past two years. After every time, Ben felt like he had been stabbed by a knife in his gut. He hated it when Rey was hurt for any reason, and he literally suffered when they fought. That's why they almost never did. 

 

Ben couldn't understand how he deserved her. How he had been given a second chance with Rey and their daughter. He couldn't understand how Rey could love him. How she could be this perfect. Not only was she his beloved wife, but she was also his best friend, his partner in crime when it came to their sexual games and his baby doll when they were together in private.

 

"Ben?" Rey stretched, pulling him out of his trance.

 

He kissed her.

 

"Why aren't you sleeping?" he smiled.

"I wanted to tell you something but got distracted," she smiled slyly.

"Oh, really?" Ben smirked. "And what is it?"

 

At that, Rey sat up on the bed, turning to him.

 

"This is actually good news," her smile became tender, and Ben leaned forward to take her hand.

"What is it, sweetheart?" he asked. Rey was obviously happy about something, and Ben wondered what it was.

"I'm pregnant," she smiled at him.

 

Ben's world stopped spinning.

 

"Whaaaat?" he couldn't believe it. "Are you sure?"

"I didn’t tell you anything before because we've been here already," she lowered her eyes. "I didn't want you to feel disappointed in case I wasn't, but..."

"How long?" he whispered, feeling tears starting to burn his eyes.

"Around eight weeks," Rey whispered back, tears starting to roll down her cheeks.

"Come here!"

 

Ben pulled her closer, covering her face with kisses.

 

"I love you," he whispered again and again. "I love you so fucking much!"

 

 

They were lying together, Ben's head pressed to Rey's still flat stomach.

 

"Do you want a boy or a girl more?" Rey asked, running her hand through his hair.

"I don't care at all," Ben shook his head, kissing Rey's belly button after that. "Maybe my genes will play a trick on us, and you'll have twins," he smirked.

"The doctor said that because of my first pregnancy, this one could be tough," Rey frowned, and Ben sat on the bed near her, taking her face in his arms.

"We'll figure it out," he promised. "I will be by your side all the time. I won't leave you, you will never be alone again, sweetheart."

"Neither will you," Rey sobbed, kissing Ben on the lips.

 

This time she lay on his lap, and Ben started to caress her hair.

 

"Can we keep it a secret for some time?" she asked him. "I want just the two of us to know for now."

"Of course," Ben whispered. "Of course, sweetheart."

"And I will probably have to take one year off of University after I pass my finals before I start my Major."

"We'll figure it out, Rey, don't worry."

"I love you, Ben," she murmured, and Ben realized that Rey was falling asleep.

"I love you, sweetheart. Always." She was fast asleep already, but Ben knew he would have time to say it to her again when she woke up.

 

Life was never easy, but they would find the way out of every complicated situation. Inhaling the smell of Rey's hair once again, Ben finally fell asleep. His insomnia didn't bother him anymore. He was loved, and he loved back. He felt peaceful.