y para componerme ando de vago
No me des tu obediencia
por que te enseno mi cuerpo de lodo
a donde la piel estuvo debil
con una hambre que no me deja cantar
En mi vida,
el oscuro me mantiene
cuando yo te vi
en la lluvia me prometistes tu sangre
Yo no me quedo en mi vida
el oscuro me mantiene
cuando yo te vi
en la lluvia me prometistes tu sangre
yo no me quedo
Y ya que caiste de este mundo
cargo una navaja
Cuantas veces me mordiste
y cuantas veces yo me fui
Y ya no me estoy enamorado
con tus mentiras
el infierno me duermo
por que el infierno es la unica verdad
En mi vida,
el oscuro me mantiene
cuando yo te vi
en la lluvia me prometistes tu sangre
Yo no me quedo en mi vida
El oscuro me mantiene
cuando yo te vi
en la lluvia me prometistes tu sangre
yo no me quedo...
Estrella de la mañana
Samael te persigo a ti
y si me quedo sin alas
ademas me muero por ti
She remembered this dream: running through the forest, running hard. The woods were a blur, their sad, leafless limbs scratching her as she attempted to get as far away from that house as she could. It was never quite far enough. The house stayed in her mind and tormented her in her dreams instead; a terrible memory distorted by her subconscious to make her blood run cold with fear. She was prey being hunted, and it seemed at times, she would never escape that fate.
Sweat dripped down into her eyes. She pushed it away just to keep herself from getting blinded. She looked over her shoulder, but the thing behind her wasn’t who she thought it was. And no matter how she tried, she couldn’t get a good look at it.
Where are you?
She could hear it calling her, its voice dark and prickly like the burrs that had already gotten into her socks. The dirt her feet had kicked up was beginning to cover her skin. Cuts were bleeding down her arms and into her fists from where the forest had wounded her. It was all exactly the same as the other dreams she had of running away from her tormentors, except for whomever, or whatever, was behind her.
It was hunting her and it wouldn’t stop until she was caught.
Rey knew it was ending the moment Teedo kissed her goodbye that day. The way he kissed her was all wrong. Too chaste and too perfunctory. Her heart roared out in agony, throbbing against the walls of her chest as if attempting an escape.
No, no, no, not again! I thought this time would be different!
It was exactly like all her other relationships; she didn’t know why it was ending—just that it was.
What had gone wrong this time? She thought things were alright between them. They’d just moved in together six months ago. The sex was good, and Rey did her best not to be a horrible person to live with. She did her chores, she cooked for them often, and she didn’t nag him too much about anything. Rey tried to make things exciting by suggesting new date activities every so often, yet she was perfectly happy to stay at home whenever they were feeling lazy and just watch one of his favorite shows.
Teedo was aware of her past, and he didn’t think she was damaged goods. In fact, he’d been one of the better ones. He never blamed all her little quirks on her horrible childhood. Not even once. They wanted the same things from each other. Marriage. Kids. They got along just fine. They didn’t argue much. They were so comfortable together. And yet, just like all the other men she had dated, the relationship was crumbling underneath her feet. Rey knew there was no sense in trying to fix whatever it was. If it was anything like her last ten boyfriends and fiancés, there was nothing to be done.
She curled up on the floor of their apartment and cried for a good thirty minutes before forcing herself to go to work.
Her head hit a branch. Rey stumbled momentarily and cursed. The impact made her dizzy, but she had no choice but to keep on moving. If she didn’t keep moving, he would catch her and force himself on her. She would be kept out of school for weeks until the visible bruises healed. They might move again to avoid suspicion.
Where are you? Tell me.
That voice wasn’t Plutt’s. But it wasn’t the boys from school either. That scared her more than the fact that she was being chased. Who else was after her? What had she done now?
Where are you?
She was barely breathing anymore. Her lungs burned as hard as her legs did and Rey with wondered how long she could run like this. Why didn’t this new pursuer tire? At some point she was going to collapse from the exertion, so Rey forced herself awake.
Or at least it felt like awake. She felt so heavy she couldn’t move, but this was definitely the bed she shared with Teedo. Rey could feel the weight of him sagging behind her. Was she just tired from running in her dreams? Perhaps she was too groggy to move just yet. After a few moments confirming her surroundings, Rey tried to move again. She couldn’t. Panicked, she wondered why the hell she would be so incapacitated. She kept trying, her heart rate increasing as she pressed against whatever held her back, but the weight upon her never gave. Instead it spoke.
Where are you?
Show yourself to me.
“You promised you would never do this to me.”
Her words were pointed. Deliberate. All wrong. Teedo sighed and no matter what Rey said she knew—of course it wasn’t working. Nothing ever did. Not the generous amount of sex she had initiated for the past few weeks. Definitely not the little present of his favorite candy (milk chocolate peanut butter truffles) she’d gotten him after a long day at work. And almost certainly not trying to bridge the distance with conversation.
“I’m sorry, Rey. I never thought I’d feel this way.” Teedo wouldn’t look at her. He kept his eyes on the clothes he was folding and packing into a suitcase. Shaggy, bright green bangs hid his face from her further.
“Why? What did I do?”
She saw him pause and bite his lip before turning back to the closet. But instead of picking out more things to pack into his suitcase, his hands lingered over one of the shelves inside.
“It...It doesn’t feel real, Rey,” he said softly, the autumn sunlight making it hard to look right at him. The large windows of their apartment sounded like a good idea when they signed the lease, but she hated how much the light engulfed him now. “It feels like we’re pretending. Like we’re playing house. It’s exhausting.”
The tears that had been bubbling just at the surface of her eyes sprung forward and began to trail quietly down her cheeks. Her voice cracked as she spoke. “It didn’t feel like pretend to me.”
Teedo turned to look at her finally, pity and guilt making his baby face look even more young and sad. “Rey…I’m sorry, but if I let this just go on and on, we’d be… I don’t know...married with kids or something! And I know we both wanted to start a family one day, but also I know that if I stayed here and did that, I’d feel fucking trapped!”
His words burned holes in her chest, making it even harder for Rey to breathe without gasping and sobbing. What had she ever done to make him feel that way? It’s not like she didn’t let Teedo go out with his friends or visit his family. She was never jealous of anyone he wanted to spend time with. She didn’t stop him from doing the things he wanted either. If she wanted to join him, she’d ask. If not, she’d do her own thing. His mom loved her. She asked when they’d give her grandchildren all the time, which was awkward but made Rey secretly thrilled. She’d even taught Rey how to make Teedo’s favorite pork and garlic steamed dumplings.
He watched her cry for a few more moments, then he grabbed a handful of sweaters and sighed. “I’m going to stay with my parents until the end of the month. We should both look for new apartments.”
“Teedo, please don’t go… Don’t do this to me.” It was useless. But that knowledge—it didn’t make it hurt any less, nor did it stop her from trying to see if something, anything, would be different with this relationship.
The running was beginning to get easier. Perhaps because she was having these nightmares nearly every night now, her body in her dreams glided through the woods a little easier. Even with her every breath and step forward burning her from the inside out, she could ignore it a little more and push herself harder. So she could get farther and farther away from whatever it was calling out to her.
What it was, Rey didn’t know. Whenever she turned to look, it flickered black and amorphous, a dark cloud drifting behind her, blocking everything from view. It was always too fast or too slow, not in the place she expected. But when she wasn’t looking, it sounded like someone’s feet crashing through the leaves and twigs just like her own did.
Maybe it was because of the break up. It was stressful as always. She had been late to her shift at the hospital twice in a row and nearly gotten fired for it. She had escaped to Finn and Rose’s couch for a few days until the combination of their lovey-dovey relationship and her aching back drove her to return to her apartment.
Their apartment. Only Teedo wasn’t there anymore and there was no more “them.”
Where are you?
Rey’s eyes snapped open. Again she was in her own room, definitely surrounded by her own familiar life and drenched with sweat, but she had begun to realize that this too was something like a dream. One she had little control over.
It wasn’t for lack of trying. Her body was screaming that it was awake, and so Rey struggled against whatever was holding her down. It always spoke to her.
The voice was too deep to be human. Whatever it was, Rey didn’t know why it chased her or why it pinned her in place as she tried to escape her nightmares. She almost missed Plutt now. At least he was a monster she knew well.
I need you!
Finn and Rose were being too couple-y again, but it was either watch them get a bit too affectionate after three margaritas each or wallow in self pity all weekend. It helped that the bottomless margs, particularly the mango flavored ones, at Tia Mazita’s were too good to pass up.
“We need to stop, Finn.” Rose giggled and squirmed as he kissed her neck. “We’re here for Rey.”
Finn pulled himself back as smoothly as one could after a considerable amount of tequila had entered their bloodstream. “I know, I know. I’m sorry, Peanut. We don’t mean to rub it in your face.”
Rey shrugged and finished chewing a bite of Finn’s nachos, a decent chunk of which now sat in her belly. “It’s okay. Your relationship is what I aspire to have. It gives me hope.”
Rose smiled, eyes full of sympathy, from underneath her thick black bangs and scooted around the booth to lean into Rey. “You’ll find it, Rey. I promise you will.”
Rey reached for another bite of nachos, but it did nothing to stop the wave of tears that overtook her. The sobs came out between chews and she knew it looked disgusting, but Rose hugged her, and Finn came around the other side of the booth to do the same.
When she had calmed down enough to speak coherently, Rey sucked in a breath and took another sip of her margarita. “I just don’t get why. Why does it never work out?”
There were no answers that Finn or Rose could give her. Finn had been her best friend since freshman year of college and had coached her through many of her first relationships. Those had been rocky as Rey navigated what it meant to be in a healthy, non-abusive relationship with anyone, let alone a lover. She had learned well and gotten through those first few heartbreaks with ease. Those were just flings with other busy students who didn’t know exactly what they wanted yet, though Rey always remained focused on her own goal of starting her own family. The worst part wasn’t losing those loves so much as being left behind again. So Finn became her rock. Her constant.
And Rose had been just as wonderful. She and Finn had met through work, and she was everything Rey wanted for Finn — open and loving, but tough and unafraid to put him in his place if he was wrong. She had easily accepted Rey as part of Finn’s life and they became friends quickly. One of them heading over the other’s place for a girls-only wine and movie night was not uncommon. Finn and whomever Rey was dating at the time learned to stay in the background.
“C’mon Rey, you know it wasn’t really anything you did,” Finn said, squeezing her shoulder. “Assholes like Teedo just don’t know what they want yet and don’t appreciate the fact that you would love them despite that.”
“Yeah, but it just never works out. Like how many people can say they’ve been engaged three times by the age of thirty-two?”
Rose ran a hand over Rey’s arm, “You are definitely not the only one in Corellia who’s dated that much. You’re not even in the top one hundred, I bet.”
Tossing back the rest of her drink, Rey leaned on Finn. “I know! I know all of these things! And it just never makes it any easier and it never seems to stop this from happening again and again. It just feels like something’s wrong with me.”
Finn held her tighter and almost growled. “You know that’s not true, Rey. You just need to find the right person, and I know it’ll happen!”
After they had gotten properly wasted and stuffed themselves with burritos, Finn and Rose called up an Uber and the three waited together downstairs. Rey leaned against a pillar and gazed out into the park across the street, simply wanting to avoid her friends’ sloppy, yet chaste kisses beside her.
The tall oak trees blocked most of the view, but there was a street light and an entrance deeper into the park, and as her eyes scanned the foliage she caught sight of a tall, dark haired man walking slowly through the park, turning every which way every few feet. His gaze was lifted, almost as if he was looking up, but it was too cloudy for stars. Rey frowned, and realized he was not looking up high enough to see the sky. The movement was familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.
A strange scent hung in the air. Blood and death. Rey recognized it only because she had been working in the medical field for so long. An odd smell, even for a city whose streets were always littered with strange odors.
“Ride’s here,” Rose said.
Rey’s focus snapped back to the world in front of her. Finn opened the door to the car and shuffled in, with Rose following behind him. Rey waited for her turn to climb in, but lifted her head one last time to see what the strange man in the park was doing.
Immediately she felt dizzy. The man had nearly turned his entire face towards her and what he was doing suddenly became clear. He was sniffing the air for something like an animal would, and Rey could not escape the feeling that she needed to hide from him.
Ducking quickly into their car, she slammed the door shut and buckled her seatbelt as quickly as possible. Rose tilted her head. “You okay?”
Rey looked back up at her friends who both stared at her with concern. Even the driver was staring at her through the rearview mirror. Rey gulped as the dizzy feeling made her head roll.
“Oh! Fine! Sorry! I didn’t realize I slammed the door so hard! Too many margaritas.”
The driver barked, “Just don’t puke in my car, okay?”
As they backed out of the parking space and pulled onto the street, Rey didn’t dare to look out the window.
“Now onto our top story of the night,” the radio blared. “A family was found dead in the Tyrena neighborhood earlier this evening. Police originally thought it was a murder-suicide upon discovery of the bodies, but upon further investigation they now suspect the murders were committed by an intruder.”
Rey felt a chill run down her spine at the news. The smell of blood and death. Did the man in the park have anything to do with the murders?
“Do you mind changing the station, please?” Finn asked. “Too depressing.”
The driver complied and found an easy listening station instead. The dizzy feeling didn’t pass for another five blocks.
Always running. Always right behind her. Hot breath on her neck as the forest ripped her to pieces.
Rey had become aware of how aware she was during these dreams. This wasn’t just a strange play she was being led through by her subconscious; this was happening to her as she slept. In the first part she was able to move. She could choose where to run, when to look back at her pursuer, when to try and wake up. It may not have been her true body, but it was her lungs, her skin, her thoughts.
She was totally paralyzed when she woke up to the second dream with her face buried in her pillows, but no matter what she did the voice still growled in her ear.
“Have you seen a doctor about this?” Finn asked her. “It totally sounds like sleep paralysis.”
Rey blinked at her friend as he leaned on the edge of her kitchen counter.
He nodded and bit into a piece of cheese she had sliced for them to snack on. “What you’re experiencing sounds exactly like it. People think they’re haunted, like some apparition is attacking them in bed, but it’s just something weird your brain is doing.”
Her thoughts tumbled down this possibility as they nibbled on bites of cheese. Finn watched her grow quiet, knowing when to shut up for a moment and let the gears in her brain work through the idea.
“I bet the hospital has someone who specializes in that sort of thing. They can help you do a sleep study. To find out what’s going on,” he offered as the silence continued.
Right. Someone at her hospital would know someone. Corellia University had a large medical program that covered practically every specialty Rey had ever heard of, typical of a big city research hospital.
“I think I will.”
Two weeks later Rey woke up at work, gently strapped into the bed by various monitors. She pressed a button and the nurse came in to disconnect her.
“Good morning!” the other woman said cheerfully. “Did you sleep well?”
That had felt like such an odd question these past few months, so Rey just nodded silently. She had, in truth, been sleeping just fine even with the nightmares. However, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something deep within her was tired, even if she wasn’t showing any symptoms of exhaustion on the outside.
Rey padded into the bathroom to change and get ready. The nurse had prepared a breakfast tray for her in the little room when she got out. That felt strange, eating patient food in the hospital where she worked instead of just getting food from the cafeteria.
The sleep study techs were resetting the complex machinery around her as she ate. A few of their faces she recognized from around the hospital, which was funny. She suspected one of them had caught on that she was a pharmacy tech when he stepped over to the little breakfast table.
“Miss Niima,” he said, not waiting for her to finish chewing her eggs. “We’ll have the results ready in a week, and the doctor will let you know her findings. You can leave whenever you’re ready.”
Rey covered her mouth. “Okay, thanks so much!”
The man smiled and turned back to his work.
“You’re sure you had the same paralysis nightmares the night of the sleep study, Miss Niima?”
The slim, lilac-haired doctor in front of Rey turned back to her chart, no doubt to comb her findings again for something she’d missed.
“Yes, I’ve had the same dream with only slight variations for about three months now,” Rey answered, concerned.
“Strange… There was absolutely nothing. Everything about your study was normal, but your one test suggested narcolepsy...”
Rey tried not to panic at her words. There were always other doctors, even though she knew that Doctor Holdo was considered one of the best in the country. Sometimes it just took a little bit of digging. A second opinion.
“Would you mind coming in for another sleep study?” Doctor Holdo asked.
The dizzy feeling returned when Rey was headed home that night. She was walking towards the Green Line tracks when it hit her. She leaned against a pillar for a moment and looked around, trying to make sense of the feeling.
The usual rush hour crowd milled around, going every which way, not caring if they bumped into her now and again. Rey tried to figure out why she felt so ill—perhaps her usual turkey sandwich and salad lunch hadn’t been as fresh as she thought.
A flash of black hair wandered in her view and without knowing why, Rey looked up at the person it belonged to. Just as quickly the man was on his way and the feeling began to fade.
Her nostrils flared at the faint scent of iron and pine.
I could feel you today.
The voice sent terrible shivers down her spine. Rey tried to remember the doctor’s words, that these dreams might be the result of undiagnosed narcolepsy. That the fact that they repeated was just a mystery of the brain that science hadn’t yet discovered. Maybe there was some issue she was too focused on. Maybe she should return to therapy.
You were so close, I could smell you.
Rey desperately wanted the doctor’s initial diagnosis to be true. She craved an explanation. Anything to make her feel less crazy.
“Rey!” Rose threw her arms around Rey like the two hadn’t seen each other in many years, her voice singsong. “How are you?”
Rey pulled back immediately suspicious. “What is it?”
Finn chuckled, his hand covering up his smile, and Rose pouted. “Shit, was I that obvious?”
Rey crossed her arms, blocking the entryway into her apartment. “Spill, or no movie and pizza night.”
A grin lit up Rose’s face, splitting it wide and filling her eyes and cheeks with a mischievous glow. “We may have found you a man.”
Rey frowned. “And you’re sure he’s not a serial killer?”
“Of course not! Oh my god, Rey!”
Finn chuckled at that, while Rose grumbled further.
“Listen, considering those three families that got killed last week, it’s a valid question!” Rey countered.
Blind dates sounded terrifying to Rey. In fact, preparing for her first date with Poe was so nerve-wracking she had to call Finn over to help her calm down so she wouldn’t spiral into a panic attack.
But Poe was so ridiculously charming that Rey forgot it all the moment they started talking. Something about him set her at ease, like she was the most interesting person he had met that week.
Her eyes glanced up at his face as Poe explained between bites the logistics of his role as project manager. She was taken by the soft curls of his hair and the thick, dark eyelashes that made his eyes seem brighter. The five-o’clock shadow wasn’t quite as appealing, but Rey could live with it. It gave him a certain ruggedness.
“What do you think of the new Plague of Kings season? Finn said you guys were watching it together,” he asked after their conversation had turned away from the basics and toward more personal interests.
Rey smiled as she thought of the idea of them curled up on the couch with Rose and Finn, watching the show. “Honestly, I’m a big fan of the books, so the show is a pretty poor adaptation if you ask me. I still can’t believe they killed off the lion pride after two seasons!”
Poe laughed and smiled at that. “Thank you! Girl after my own heart, right here. The pride played such a huge role in the books! They should have never changed the story like that.”
Arms tangled around her middle and Rey screamed. It was the most unearthly sound she’d ever heard, but it was definitely her voice.
She thrashed against whatever creature was holding her, and in her panic thought she saw black, bent limbs.
Then she was awake again, or at least in her bed. The creature was still holding onto her, she could feel its fingers digging into her ribs uncomfortably. Rey tried to move, even if only to pull herself away from the painful hold she was in, but this was the part of the dream where she could never move. This time was no different.
Show yourself to me! Let me see you!
I don’t understand, Rey wished she could tell the monster. Why me? What did I do?
But her body remained lifeless and heavy, unable to move, unable to speak, helpless. Rey let the fear wash over her just as it had every night for four months.
Poe’s stubble tickled when he kissed her the first time, but his lips were so very soft. Rey couldn’t help but giggle and pull back.
“What is it?” He asked, eyes concerned for a moment before Rey shook her head.
“Your beard. I’m just not used to all that stubble.”
Poe grinned at that, then moved in again, this time to rub his beard over her cheeks instead of kissing her.
“Ahhhh! Stop stop stop!” Rey squealed and tried to pull away, but Poe had a tight grip on her arms. Thankfully he didn’t continue for more than a few moments before he released her and rested his forehead against hers. She felt the slight panic that he might assault her subside, and breathed out.
“I liked that.” Poe breathed out too, his eyes twinkling. “I like you a lot, Rey.”
“Me too,” Rey replied and smiled as Poe pressed his lips to hers again.
To say she liked him a lot might have been an exaggeration, but she did like Poe. And she liked kissing him. She could learn to love a man like him.
Letting the giddiness of her budding feelings take over, Rey started dreaming of what their kids might look like.
Try as she might, the monster had no trouble catching Rey now. She fought and fought and fought against it, but inevitably she would up in that strange waking dream.
The monster, however, had begun to let go of her after they entered that state. Or, if it kept its arms entwined around her, its grip was more relaxed. It knew she couldn’t move or escape now.
Show yourself, it chanted over and over. You can’t run from me! I will find you!
Rey just sobbed silently into her pillows, praying for it to be over.
Rey found herself looking up every time she saw a man walk past her with thick, black hair. She’d brace herself for the dizzy feeling to return, but then they’d pass by and Rey would be left unphased. No strange smells lingering in the air.
The first time she did it on a date with Poe, he thought she was just squeezing his hand tighter. He pulled her hand up and placed a kiss on the back of her palm. “You alright?”
Rey blinked at his question. “Yes?”
“You seem a bit nervous today. Everything okay?”
There were a great deal of things she still needed to tell him. Poe knew about the foster care; he knew that she had been abused, but not how badly. It wasn’t time to tell him yet. She had to know it was serious before Rey ever opened up that much to a person. She had to know that she wouldn’t be thrown away again.
“Oh, just had a nightmare last night. That’s all,” she tried to say as casually as possible. As if this wasn’t something that was happening to her every night now, as if she understood it, and as if it wasn’t slowly getting worse.
Poe kissed the back of her hand again reassuringly and didn’t press further. She liked that. She liked Poe. Their children would have the most beautiful curls.
The monster continued to fight her night after night, grabbing her, trying to pin her down while Rey fought him, like she had always fought all her monsters, until the dream transitioned and she was powerless.
Until one night it didn’t.
It just held her against its chest as she thrashed and screamed until she woke up to the second dream.
So close. I can smell you.
If she could have beaten her fist into her pillow, she would have torn it apart until feathers flew through the air. Instead she just waited until she could feel the monster’s heat pressing into her back. She held a sob in her hoarse throat as its hand ran down her the curves of her face and over her many tears.
Don’t cry, it said . Let me see you. Just let me see you. Why aren’t you awake yet?
Rey had never been quite so shaken by the nightmares upon waking. Before this, the familiarity of the woods, it’s association with her past, and the fact that she woke up properly after the second part of the dream, made her think it was just a weird recurring dream. Or sleep paralysis. Or some undiagnosed issue she didn’t know much about. The results from her second sleep study still hadn’t come back yet.
But something was changing. Now the monster’s touch felt almost soothing. It’s voice wasn’t as harsh to her ears. It was even asking her questions as if she could respond. It sent a chill down Rey’s spine that she tried to ignore.
Beside her Poe stirred. Rey jumped, forgetting that he had spent the night at her place, and felt her heart race until Poe moved toward her side of the bed. Gently, he brushed some hair away from her neck and kissed it. “Hey, beautiful.”
Rey turned herself around to face him and looked into Poe’s rich, brown eyes, framed by those beautiful thick lashes. “Hey, handsome.”
He kissed her, careful not to let his stubble rub her face more than necessary, and Rey let herself be distracted by him. After all, it was just a dream and now she was awake.
It wasn’t just her imagination, the monster was being gentler with her. Yes, she still ran from it and it still caught her, but instead of pushing her to the ground or trying somehow to contain her, it waited.
When she awoke in her own bed, it would touch her carefully, almost lovingly, and ask all manner of questions.
Can you feel me?
Why can’t you show yourself to me?
Can’t you see who I am?
Why aren’t you awake?
Why aren’t you using your powers?
Don’t you know you are mine?
On and on it asked about things she didn’t understand, so even if she could answer, she didn’t know how.
Finn leaned in across the booth as Poe walked to the bathroom.
“Things going okay?”
Rey took a sip of her margarita—mango, of course—and nodded, a little smile crossing her face. “Pretty well.”
“Have you told him about stuff?” Her friend’s brow furrowed as he gazed towards the bathroom doors.
“Finn’s worried about accidentally saying the wrong thing about you at work,” Rose chimed in, less concerned, but keeping her voice to a whisper. “Poe asks us for little details about you sometimes.”
Rey bit her lip as she saw a man emerge from the bathrooms. Not Poe, thankfully. She turned her eyes back toward her friends. “Honestly, right now I’m more worried he’ll find out about the nightmares when one of us sleeps over. You two I trust, but Teedo told me I say weird stuff in my sleep sometimes so I don’t exactly trust me. ”
“That’s still happening?” Rose asked a little too loudly. “The doctors haven’t figured out what it is yet?”
“No. The second sleep study didn’t show anything either. I don’t know what’s causing the nightmares at all.”
Rey looked up at Poe who had suddenly materialized by their table and felt her heart begin to pound. The three of them stared at him in horrified silence as he pulled himself into the booth. She wasn’t ready to explain. Not yet.
Poe’s hand found her forearm and rubbed it reassuringly. “Hey, it’s okay. You look like you don’t want to talk about it right now.”
Rey opened her mouth and closed it again. They had already talked about trust, and which situations were not a matter of distrust so much as Rey not being comfortable sharing things yet. Poe would understand, hopefully.
“It’s just a bad dream I have about my old foster dad. It just happens a lot.”
Poe nodded. “You should try a hypnotherapist or something. Maybe that would help you get rid of them?”
Rey smiled back at Poe, and felt the guilt sink deep inside her. She’d always meant to get back into therapy after her last therapist started coming onto her, but something always stopped her. Nerves, a rough stretch at work, getting too caught up with a boyfriend. She didn’t want to tell Finn and Rose what happened, tired of making them worry about her.
Now it had been years without a single session and she was functioning more or less normally until the nightmares had started. Did she really need to go back?
“I’ll ask for a recommendation.”
Rey's nightmares are changing, becoming something stranger, something...sinful.
Don’t forget to read the tags.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Rey was pinned once again to the bed. In the dark of her room she could smell Poe’s lingering scent. They had fooled around before he returned home and the musk of his cologne had seeped into the fabric of her pillows. The familiar smell almost made her forget that this was a dream, at least until it spoke.
You have another. I can smell him.
Her heart began to race as she tried to remember what should have come before this. The dream had changed again. There had been no running through those unhappy woods this time.
No matter, it growled. Such things are not unusual for our kind.
What that meant, Rey didn’t know. She tried to focus on moving, on ending the dream, to no avail. Her body was still frozen, trapped.
I want to see you, beloved. Show yourself.
That was new. Rey’s mouth curled in disgust at the strange endearment. The monster brought a hand up to her face, cupping her cheek, and ran a finger across her lips. Rey shivered at its touch, though not from fear.
It felt like the spark of a thousand different fires had lit up her across her skin and down into her core. The reaction was so… primal and confusing: what was this monster that it made her wet without effort?
It took a deep shuddering sigh as if the touch had affected it also.
Rey woke up with slick pooling in between her thighs and the memory of the monster’s touch coursing underneath her skin. Poe’s cologne still permeated her bedsheets, making the whole dream feel alarmingly real. The monster had known about Poe. It had been almost jealous of him. And some part of her knew it wasn’t just her subconscious thoughts affecting her dreams. The monster was, somehow, real.
Desperate for a less frightening explanation, Rey hoped it was left over arousal from the sex she had with Poe the night before and tried to scrub away the feelings in the shower. Instead they lingered with her throughout the day and she became increasingly restless, her body aching for touch and release as she worked.
Can I come over tonight? Maybe spend the night?
Will you be okay spending the night here and going to work the next morning?
I can pack myself a bag :)
You can always leave a few things at my place if you want. Can’t wait to see you tonight.
A smile flitted across her face as Rey read his last message.
Poe was truly one of the sweetest men she had ever dated. She just wished that their relationship didn’t feel all wrong deep in her gut. She wished she understood why she felt that way.
It wasn’t as if she couldn’t picture their future together. Rey could see it so clearly. She knew she’d always be content with him, and they’d weather all the challenges of starting a family together. Poe was a giving partner, always. Even if she had to teach him a few new ways to be an even better one. Was it nerves that were making her feel this way?
The day went by painfully slowly; the world felt new again when Rey finally reached Poe’s apartment building. The air was fresher, the leaves on the trees seemed brighter, and her skin tingled with electricity and anticipation for what was about to happen.
Poe let her in and gave her a welcoming kiss and it… It was strange. It wasn’t their first time together—that had been a few months ago, a passionate Saturday night where they took the time to explore each other as much as possible before exhaustion hit—but tonight was heavy with infinitely more importance and she didn’t feel right.
She wasted no time depositing her bag in his room and pulling Poe into her arms for a deeper kiss. They parted to breathe and Poe raised an eyebrow. “Last night wasn’t enough for you, huh?”
Rey bit her lower lip and fiddled with the hem of his shirt. “Guess I just can’t get enough of you right now.”
Poe grinned and dipped his head to kiss at her neck, his hand reaching down to squeeze at her ass. “We should fix that.”
Their clothes found their way to the floor quickly, and Rey didn’t let Poe waste much time on foreplay. She didn’t need it, her cunt had been dripping dangerously all day long at the mere thought of her strange dreams, or anything sexual. It was nice that he tried though, that he’d always make sure she was ready first. He was too good for her.
But the fullness of his cock buried between her legs was what she needed tonight. Rey almost came the second she slipped herself onto him. Her walls clenched hard, and Poe gripped her thighs from where he lay below her.
"Fuck! I didn’t know you could get that tight!”
Rey only moaned and rocked her hips against his length. “I need you so bad.”
She set a punishing pace, pistoning herself up and down until her legs gave out. Poe rolled her over onto her knees and took over, fucking her harder than he ever had before. And for awhile it worked. Her cunt was full and energy coursed through her body happily, as if some greater force was sighing with satisfaction.
Then Poe’s thrusts became erratic, and seconds later he came with a deep grunt. After a moment to recover, he pulled out and Rey felt crushed by the loss. She needed him inside again, but as he walked back from disposing the used condom he was still limp.
Rey sighed and Poe grabbed her ankle, pushing it up in the air playfully so he could slide his body between her legs. “I know, poor baby, you didn’t get to cum yet. Don’t worry.”
His tongue and fingers did help, but not enough. Even after she came twice thanks to Poe’s eager ministrations, Rey was still aching deep inside. The instant he could get fully hard again, Rey rolled a condom on and let Poe pin her legs down with his weight as he fucked her.
By the time he came again, they were both a sweaty mess. Rey’s muscles were too sore to continue and she hobbled over to the bathroom to pee. Despite all of Poe’s efforts, need throbbed throughout her body still. After cleaning herself off, Rey sunk into Poe’s bed and nestled herself against him dutifully.
“You should stay over more often,” Poe murmured sleepily in her hair. “That was a good workout.”
Rey laughed, trying to ignore how hollow her unfilled cunt was making her feel. “If you say so.”
You’ve eaten well, I see.
Rey heard the monster’s voice before she realized she was in the dream once more. It took her a moment to register exactly what he had said, but its true meaning remained as unclear as ever.
Before she could even think on it, the monster’s hand brushed against her cheek. Another tender caress that set her aflame. Her aching pussy gushed in response.
You look beautiful. You’re glowing with power.
The hand trailed down the hollow of her neck and over her shoulder. Her body burned harder with each moment of contact, but the hand stopped right before her arm met the side of her breast. Even without her eyes open, Rey could tell the monster was staring at her with longing.
An urgent thought overtook her mind: He would satisfy her, not Poe. Rey recoiled at the idea, yet part of her wanted it more than anything. To lie with whatever was haunting her, searching for her, threatening her would be beyond disgusting. And if it was just as real as Rey felt it was, instinct told her it was even more dangerous and risky.
Her mind was so consumed by these thoughts that she didn’t notice she had spread her legs wide.
Is that an invitation, beloved?
A hand appeared on her thigh and Rey felt her body twitch involuntarily at the unexpected contact. The monster hissed in response, not as a threat, but with great delight.
Perhaps you would like a taste of what’s to come?
The monster’s hand moved up her leg, its thumb brushing against the taut skin that connected her thighs to her cunt. A strangled moan escaped her lips, and Rey flinched at the noise. What was happening? Was she no longer frozen? She tried to move her body, but only her hips obeyed, wriggling where they were. Rey tried to use her voice to speak, to say anything, but only unintelligible moans came out.
Shhh, your powers are waking. I can teach you. Let me help.
Without further hesitation, the monster pulled away her panties and parted her folds. Rey responded with twitches and gasps, but it still persisted with teasing her entrance, sliding a finger around in the slick and up to her clit. Each loop caused her to see galaxies of stars behind her closed eyes as she fought the urge to cum.
Finally the monster plunged its fingers into her and her senses whited out. There was nothing but fire throughout her body: roaring, wild, all-consuming. Yet the white hot flames held no pain, only satisfaction. As Rey drifted off into sensation, she thought she heard the monster speak.
Until next time, beloved.
Rey woke up to the sound of Poe’s alarm, too groggy to focus for a good fifteen minutes while he showered. Her mind flitted back and forth between memories of Poe thrusting hard into her cunt and the monster’s searing touch. It was strange that one was so much more satisfying than the other, but Rey couldn’t dwell on it. Her body begged to return to sleep.
“C’mon sleepyhead,” she heard through the fog.
Rey buried her head deeper into the pillow in response.
“Hey now, don’t do that.” Poe said, grabbing her shoulder and shaking it. “You’ll be mad if I don’t wake you up and you’re late for work.”
This was true, but sleep was calling her so strongly. Rey tried to fight back the exhaustion, but failed and began to give in until she felt a sharp pinch at her nipple.
Her eyes flew open to Poe crouched beside her, his curls still damp and loose from the shower, his fingers already in retreat.
Two seconds later he was attempting to run from the smack of her pillow.
“I’m SORRY! I was just trying to wake you up!” He cried. “It worked didn’t it??”
Tonight she was able to withstand the monster’s fingers and could arch her back with each thrust into her throbbing cunt.
Her hesitation over letting him touch her was gone the moment he laid hands on her again. Pleasure so intense couldn’t possibly be real, she decided. Whatever had been tormenting her had been just a figment of her imagination. Therefore she could give in to whatever debauchery her dreams had in store for her.
That debauchery had his lips on her now. His tongue swirled across her cunt, sucking on it periodically as his nose nudged at her clit. When he finally brought his mouth to her sensitive nub, sensation overwhelmed her again until the dream ended.
Rey had never felt more relaxed in her life. All her aches and worries seemed to take a back seat as she daydreamed on the subway ride to work. Thankfully there was a panhandler wailing badly on his guitar in the corner or she would have fallen asleep on the man next to her, an uptight businessman sort who spent the entire ride taking up too much legroom and crowding into her space while he furiously wrote out emails on his phone.
He needed to get fucked more, Rey thought out of nowhere. If she didn’t have a boyfriend, she would have offered to help with that.
Work provided a similar struggle not to nap. Thankfully Rey could switch from sitting to standing, which she did just to keep awake. Sleep begged her to return to it. Perhaps if she did, her dreams would wander towards the monster and the way his hands made her feel.
The chime of a text message on her phone provided a much needed jolt of adrenaline.
My parents want to invite us to dinner next week. Do you want to?
Dinner with parents was a big deal. She’d have to get their general approval, forge a good relationship, and explain some of her complicated and pitiful past to Mr. and Mrs. Dameron. The first two were the easy parts, but she still struggled with how best to talk about her lack of parents. It was always a delicate dance between telling them what they wanted to know without letting on too much too soon. Before she trusted them. Before they empathized with her.
Still, Rey wanted this relationship with Poe to work out. Sure, there were times when she felt that perhaps Poe was not the right person for her, but there was no weight behind those feelings. His flaws weren’t enough to drive her away, he always made her laugh, always took care of her in every way possible.
There was no reason to say no.
Sure! I’d love to!
At least worrying over meeting Poe’s parents gave her something to concentrate on for the rest of the day.
Her arms could move now and Rey buried her hands in the monster’s hair. It was the softest she had ever touched, smooth and silky between her fingers. He grunted in approval as she pushed his mouth against her sopping cunt.
Enjoying this, beloved?
She let him continue on and on, wondering at how he never seemed to tire, no longer losing the dream each time she orgasmed. The monster’s touch still made her body course with energy and flames of pleasure, and Rey felt grateful to experience it, even if it was only a dream.
“Are you still having those nightmares?” Rose asked during their usual weekly movie night. They actually started to schedule them ever since Poe became a regular fixture during Rey’s weeknight plans. Then there was the once a month double date with Finn and Poe at Tia Mazita’s, and Rey’s weekly coffee friend dates with Finn.
She should have felt busier than usual, but Rey was too blissed out every day to care.
“No, not anymore.”
That was probably a lie, but she couldn’t really call them nightmares now. Not when they left her so satisfied upon waking up each morning. Even Rey’s coworkers had begun to tease her about how happy she seemed lately.
Rose laughed. “Must be Poe’s charm working on you.”
Rey returned the laugh. Only because if she didn’t, it would worry Rose. And really, things with Poe were fine, so why worry?
“Hey, did you hear about that family that got murdered in Bindreg Hills? Scary…” Rose mentioned. Rey was more than grateful for the change in subject.
His tongue circled her nipple, jolting Rey to awareness.
There you are.
Rey moaned quietly before his lips crushed against her mouth. Her head and neck were still weighed down, unable to move, though she could feel the soft skin as it moved against her, the wetness of his tongue seeking entry.
He pulled back when there was no response back from her and stroked her cheek.
Still not all the way through, beloved?
Rey took hold of his wrist and pressed it to her cheek, wishing she understood what he meant, but hoping he wouldn’t stop. Strangely, his monstrous voice had smoothed over into something deep and soothing. She loved hearing its rumble against her skin now.
He returned to her breasts and began to suckle on one as he kneaded the other. Rey laced her hand in his hair and arched herself towards him. Her other hand sought out the curves of his body, running its way along his muscular chest down towards his hips and thighs.
As he pressed against her, Rey had felt the indentation of his hard cock along with the rest of his large form and curiosity overcame her. Her hand slipped lower, between his legs, curious to feel all of him. He froze above her, letting go of a nipple with a small gasp that turned into a guttural growl.
You want more?
She did. During these dreams, her mystery lover only gave, never taking anything for himself. But Rey’s curiosity and appetite was beginning to grow. Her fingers reached until they encompassed his shaft and moved down slowly. If her heart thudded a little faster at the size of it, she tried not to show it.
Enough of this.
His hand gripped her hips and within a moment he was pressing his length against the soaked cloth of her panties. Lightning coursed through her nerves at the sudden sensation and Rey pushed back as the orgasm peaked.
You can feel it, can’t you? Do you want me in you?
She nodded, not hesitating for a moment. If heavy petting felt this good, how could she resist more? Her body writhed with anticipation and he stripped himself, then her. Rey revelled at the heat of his thighs against her own and moaned when his hand came to pull back the lips of her cunt.
With this you’ll be truly mine and I’ll be yours, beloved.
The head of his thick cock pushed at her, and Rey was almost surprised at how swiftly and eagerly her body accepted him.
It is a dream, she thought as the monster began to thrust above her. Of course a dream would feel this good.
Poe’s parents were lovely people. Shara instantly took to her, while Kes delighted in regaling them with embarrassing stories of Poe’s childhood days. She didn’t even have to say much about her own childhood, leaving her more relaxed than she would usually be at first. Maybe Poe had warned them not to bring anything up, which she could appreciate. Rey spent the entire evening laughing and feeling as if she was already part of their family.
That should have made her happy. She shouldn’t have felt like she was faking it.
Tonight he lifted her up and onto her knees, taking her swiftly from behind. They didn’t need foreplay anymore. All the dreams before had sated that need. Now Rey could just appreciate the way he fucked her in all the right spots, how he pinned her wrists against the bed so his body could be close to hers, and how wet she got at the mere sound of his voice against her ear as he uttered the filthiest things to her.
Another orgasm crested as his balls slapped against her, just barely grazing her clit. Somehow his rough pace and the position didn’t remind her of all those bad times growing up when Plutt had raped her, when she hadn’t run fast enough to escape. In fact, she could barely remember those times now, as if her memory of them were being wiped clean the longer she spent in her mysterious lover's arms.
Absentmindedly, she wondered if she should try to recreate this with Poe. Perhaps if he could fuck her like this…
Something about the club—maybe it was the way the lights throbbed—made Rey feel sick. Still, she toughed it out for Poe. He had been so excited to get an invite to his old college friend’s show. The man—Poe knew him as Ben, but the marquee said Kylo Ren—was a fairly famous musician. Not that Rey had ever heard of him, but the venue was packed with screaming fans as a testament to his popularity. Maybe it was the hot, sweaty masses that were making her feel ill. Maybe it was the stench. She kept catching wisps of blood over the wall of body odor.
Or it could have been all the noise. The music wasn’t quite heavy metal, but it definitely took a lot of inspiration from the genre. Poe’s friend had a deep voice, one that reminded her of her dreams, but his face was obscured behind the red and black, demon-like mask he wore. The only thing she could really appreciate about any part of the evening was Kylo Ren’s rippling muscles and pale chest covered by the strap of his guitar. The movement of his body was her only distraction from whatever was making her ill. It was taking all of her energy just to pretend like she was having a good time instead wanting to run out and vomit.
Thankfully the show ended sooner than she expected and everything was mercifully easier to handle when the band headed backstage and the music switched to playback. Rey sighed with relief and wished she could sag against Poe until he took her home.
“Man, that was great!” he exclaimed as they headed toward a side door that would lead them backstage. “Ben’s really gotten good; I can’t believe he’s the same nerdy guy I used to jam with in our garage. He was total shit back then.”
“It was really interesting,” Rey said, smiling as best she could. The smell of blood grew stronger now that the crowds had dissipated and began to mix with a heady pine scent. “I liked it.”
Backstage was teeming with people and Rey felt her dizziness return as the amount of space and air diminished. Poe pulled her by the hand toward two tall figures. One was a blonde that Rey recognized as the drummer. A woman, Rey realized, now that she had taken her own silver mask off. The other had his back turned until Poe called out.
He turned and Rey felt her eyes focus in on his face. He still wore his mask, black with red lines that ran up from the corners of the mouth to the cheeks, before curling into the horns. It felt strangely familiar, but Rey’s discomfort increased to the point of distraction. She mentally debated how she could say hello without spewing her last meal all over the man’s shoes.
“Don’t fucking call me that here, Dameron,” Kylo Ren said gruffly as he wiped his neck with a towel.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, Mr. Fucking Big Shot,” Poe shot back as he pulled the other man into a back slapping hug.
It was then that Ben caught sight of her, his eyes changing into dark steel behind the leather mask and his thick lips drew into a tight line. Suddenly the nausea began to throb and Rey wanted to ask about a trash can where she could hurl, but she felt frozen in place by his stare.
“Who’s this?” Ben asked as he and Poe parted, nodding his head over to where Rey stood.
That voice was a little too familiar for her comfort.
“My girlfriend, Rey,” Poe replied quickly, pulling Rey forward by her elbow. “You gave me two tickets after all.”
Ben chuckled and began to pull the face mask off, revealing the full extent of his strong features: wavy black hair, a prominent nose, thick brows, and the dark eyes currently fixated on her.
She knew him. Without having ever seen him with her own eyes before, she could tell that this was the man from her dreams, both the lover and the monster. But how?
“Nice to meet you, Rey.” Something about his wry smile made Rey wonder if he recognized her, too.
“Nice to meet you. Great show.”
Her hand shot out automatically towards him, and his eyes darted down to it. He pulled off the glove on his hand and took hers. And with that, any lingering doubts that this was the man in her dreams were erased. She could feel it was him, the way his skin made hers tingle down to her core. The nausea and pain from before fled her body, leaving Rey wanting to sink into his arms like she did in her sleep. He took a deep breath, as if he wanted to pull her in too.
Instead, Ben Solo let go of her hand and said, “Let me introduce you to Phasma.”
The blonde woman strutted over when he called her name, and wrapped an arm around Ben’s waist. Rey felt his stare as she shook hands with the woman. As Ben and Poe started to talk and catch up, she could only watch and pretend to follow along with the conversation.
He acted as if he didn’t care much about Rey’s presence beyond a few glances when she moved or spoke. His girlfriend was too busy with her phone and eventually wandered off to sit on a couch. Poe didn’t catch on either, and Rey began to absentmindedly check her phone while the two men talked. Anything to distract herself until she could get home and fall asleep. She felt like she might burst out of her own skin any moment now. If she said anything now, she’d seem like a crazy woman. Once she was asleep, they would be connected again.
“Would you like to sit?”
Rey’s head snapped up at Ben’s question and he smiled politely. Poe started moving towards the couches where Phasma was still perched, but Rey held back.
“I should go, it’s getting late and I have a shift at the hospital tomorrow.”
Poe’s eyebrows raised and Rey could tell he had forgotten that crucial piece of information despite reminding him many times. Surprise morphed into concern, and he turned back towards her. “Oh baby, I’m sorry. Let’s get going then.”
“No, no, you should stay. Catch up with your friend… Uh, should I call you Ben or Kylo Ren?”
Ben’s eyes shot over to her, his intensity made her shiver inside. “Ben.”
Rey smiled politely, trying to hide everything that threatened to spill out. “Right. It was nice meeting you. Thank you for the ticket. I loved your show.”
“No way, I’m not letting you take the subway home this late all alone. Not with that serial killer around,” Poe cut in, his hand coming around to grip her shoulder.
He kissed the side of her forehead, and Rey blushed. Her eyes flicked up to Ben to see his reaction, but he was just as stone-faced as before.
“Ben, my man. I’m so sorry to skip out, but you know how it is,” Poe said, reaching out a hand before bringing Ben into a one armed hug. “Thanks again. It was great to see you.”
“Don’t worry. We’ll be hanging around town to record our next album. I’ll text you.”
“Really? That’s great. Let me know when you’re free.”
Her eyes met Ben’s one more time as Poe turned away, and she let her eyes linger before she followed. A smile crept up his face as they stared at each other.
Yes—he recognized her. Rey was sure of it.
After Ben and Rey finally meet, Rey learns about and has to grapple with her strange new reality.
Mind the tags. Always.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Thank goodness Poe didn’t stay over that night because Rey rushed to bed as if she had a three AM shift. Besides, she didn’t know if she could face Ben with Poe sleeping beside her the entire time anyway.
She slipped into it as easily as any other night and when she woke, Ben was lying beside her on the bed, dressed only in black sweatpants.
Hello, beloved, he said calmly, his stare piercing her as she gaped at him. You made it through.
She could see him, actually see him. Just like at the concert, Ben was shirtless, this time wearing only loose black pants that hung low on his hips. She had tried not to stare too much at his massive chest in person, worried that Poe would be upset, but now she drank in every line formed by muscle, the size of his hands, the gentle black waves she had already grasped in ardor. He was just as overwhelming as she imagined with her eyes closed.
He seemed to be doing the same, staring wantonly at her hips, her breasts, her face…
Rey gulped, taking shallow breaths as she searched for rational explanations for whatever was happening. Maybe she was just delusional and had re-created a dream Ben, now that they had met.
H-hi, she stammered out. It’s really you then? Ben Solo, or Kylo Ren, or whatever you call yourself?
His lips tightened and Rey saw his cheeks expand with air before Ben huffed out a small laugh. It’s really me. You can still call me Ben.
Was her dream creation just saying that to appease her swirling mind? How?
Another laugh escaped. Because of what we are, Rey.
What? I don’t understand what you mean.
He rose, leaning on an arm to prop himself up on the mattress. You don’t?
His eyes searched her worried face for an answer, but of course there was none. Ah, you don’t.
Ben sat up fully, tucking long legs under his knees and gripping his ankles. Rey rose tentatively, still not sure how free her movements could be in this new version of her dream. She pulled a pillow into her lap and mirrored his cross-legged position.
It’s simple, really, he started. I’m an incubus, and you’re a succubus. We’re a mated pair.
I’m sorry, but what the hell does that even mean? She frowned at that last line. A mated pair? Did he just expect her to understand him without any more information than that?
Ben’s lips pulled themselves taut again and his brow furrowed, giving him a pained expression. I assume you didn’t grow up in a community of our kind then.
No? I grew up in foster care. She stopped her explanation there. This was already upsetting enough without dredging up bad memories.
Seeing her doubt, Ben shook his head. It…It happens. We’re hunted. Have been for all of time. There are so few of us left now that we don’t know how many children have been stolen away.
Rey’s eyebrows raised. Deep inside of her some violent echo churned where she was small and screaming. Someone lay before her not moving at all, and she clung to them until someone else pulled her away. And then she screamed until she could no longer remember.
Only Ben’s voice shook her from her own mind. I’ve been searching so hard to find you, to find my mate. I want to help rebuild our kind, our community.
Mate. Community. Words that still lacked so much context for her, but ones she longed for. Ones that Ben seemed so intimately familiar with...Not that he was being very forthcoming with information yet. Perhaps she wasn’t asking the right questions.
I still don’t understand, Rey said softly. I thought incubi and succubi were myths?
His eyes rose back up to meet hers, intensity burning hotter than her cheeks at his bare chest. We’re not. We’re just as the myths say, demons living among humans and feeding off them. We eat their sexual energy.
Rey blinked at his blunt description. But you look human.
Ben nodded, a wicked smile breaking through his stern expression. We all look human, Rey. No one would fuck us if we didn’t.
The workday began like any other with orders to fill and inventories to count, but Rey’s head was more focused on the glut of information she learned the previous night from Ben.
Her nightmares had been the scene of his increasingly desperate search for her, a shared unconscious space where incubi and succubi could talk to their mates once they were fully awakened. Normally, had she grown up with her parents or in a community, she would have learned to use it and other powers as she went through puberty. Somehow she had still stumbled across it without realizing what it was, unawakened and hidden from Ben until he caught her scent and followed it.
He’d told her how their kind fed off the sexual energy of humans, needed it to live, and developed the innate ability to attract others to them in order to do so. With that, her whole life fell sickeningly into place. The way caretakers used to fawn on her as a pre-teen, the assaults and rapes she suffered from her foster father soon after puberty hit, the way she never seemed to have trouble finding someone to sleep with… And also why her relationships never seemed to work out.
According to Ben, humans could only stand to have their energy stolen by incubi or succubi for a few years before a subconscious instinct to flee kicked in. Both relief and sadness settled in her gut as Rey realized she had been the reason why all her relationships failed. At least there was an explanation for all of it now, as strange and reeling as it was.
It had taken her a full half hour after waking up just to process that one thought. She was no longer human. Not entirely anyway. She tried in vain to piece together a scientific explanation for it all. If sex emitted a kind of consumable energy, she supposed a living being could survive off it. Perhaps the mixing of fluids facilitated it, but then how did that work with the invention of condoms? No matter what train of thought she went down, science failed to provide a working theory.
Was she just supposed to accept this? That magical beings somehow existed? She laughed at the idea of having missed a version of Hogwarts for incubi and succubi. Ben had mentioned spells. It seemed insane until she remembered some of the darker details of his patient explanation.
Incubi and succubi mated for life, something that surprised her considering how sexual their kind was, only having one other with whom they could reproduce with and could truly satisfy them. For Rey and Ben, they were the only pair of their age group still alive. Most of the others had been killed off, either by jealous lovers or by those who found out their true nature, leaving some to live without a mate. Worse yet, Ben’s ability to reproduce would be gone in a few scant years, around age 42. He was already 38.
Growing up knowing he had a mate but being unable to find her had taken its toll. At first Ben tried to ignore it, assuming his mate had been killed and he’d die unfulfilled. Once he’d even caught Rey’s scent in a truck stop -bringing back a horrible memory of vomiting in a shitty bathroom somewhere out west- but lost it immediately, sending him deep into depression. Once Ben hit 30, he decided to form his band in order to search further afield. He was ecstatic that it had worked after so long.
Tears welled in her eyes and threatened to spill onto her clipboard at the thought of Ben. How lonely and relieved he looked as he sat before her, telling her about the history of incubi and succubi. The “witch” hunts, the inquisitions, and now that belief in science dominated over belief in magic, the people just killed just out of fear or anger.
“There are a lot of suicides. When someone finds out their mate has been killed and they’ll never be able to have that connection or have children, it’s so hard to carry on,” Ben had said.
Rey put her hand on his and look into his eyes. “Did you think that would happen to you?”
Tears welled up in his eyes and he nodded quickly. “A few times.”
She had felt funny lacing her fingers in his as Poe flashed briefly in her mind, but Ben needed comfort and with every touch between them Rey felt like she had found the home she had always been seeking. More than when she had found Finn, more than any man she had dated, more than any place she had ever moved to.
So she began to tell him about her life. The foster care, the abuse, the bullying, all the horrible things that had happened to her, and all the times she wanted to die, until they were both in tears and wrapped in a tight, consolatory embrace on the bed.
They shouldn’t have stayed that way for so long. She was still with Poe and she felt the guilt of getting so close to another man —his friend no less— but she hadn’t protested when Ben pressed his nose and lips into her neck either.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket, throwing her mind back to the present, and Rey’s heart rate increased as she reached for it.
Good morning, Rey. This is Ben.
Thankfully Ben was more than eager to teach Rey more about their kind instead of immediately returning to the subject of mating or any acts of intimacy. There were spells she could use to protect herself from unwanted advances and spells to lure in those with stronger sexual energy. She was beginning to wonder if their kind were really just witches when Ben started describing different glamors she could use to enhance certain body parts.
She laughed when he demonstrated a glamor that made his already prominent muscles become more defined and shiny as if he had been rubbed with oil. She learned one that made her hair thicker, full and wavy like a movie star’s.
It was still so strange, and part of her wondered if it was all in her dreams, but she was grateful for the camaraderie. If this world of demons was real and she was truly a part of it, then Rey knew she could face it with Ben by her side.
It felt surreal already, sitting next to Poe on a black leather couch, watching Ben on the other side of the glass as he did take after take. Ben was radiant as he played, all his energy focused on the task in front of him, making him glisten with sweat that caught the light when he moved. Rey tried to make her eyes stray towards Phasma or the sound technician, the producer, or even just to Poe, but they always returned to Ben before long.
As if responding to her, Ben’s gaze always found her first as soon as he looked up from his work. Quickly he’d shift towards someone else in the booth as they discussed that particular take, or back to Phasma who was seated behind him at her drum set. The process would repeat again once Ben started anew.
She had tried one of the glamors Ben taught her when she was awake and outside their dream space, just in case Ben had just found her number somehow and it was all a ruse. The effect was subtle, like a professional makeup artist gave her a barely noticeable “natural” look, but it was definitely there. Rey wondered if Poe would notice, but he was oblivious. Ben gave her a small smirk when he first saw her, as if he could immediately identify exactly which spell she used.
Poe squeezed her shoulder at some point, but when she turned to look at him, he just stared ahead. Perhaps he thought she was terribly bored. Music was his hobby, not hers, and Poe could deep dive into the details of a sound board like he was studying an ancient text. She nestled into him and continued to be entranced by Ben singing something about fated, tragic love.
The car ride back to his place was unusually quiet. Rey fiddled with her phone, playing a puzzle game while the Poe’s favorite station lulled her into a sense of peace.
“That was really interesting. I’ve never seen anyone record music before,” she finally said as Poe set down his wallet on his coffee table. She moved to sit where she thought he’d settle down, but Poe turned toward the kitchen and gripped the counter.
“You were staring at Ben the whole time.” He tried to hide the anger in his tone, but Rey felt her spine shiver with caution. As a child that feeling had meant it was time for her to plan a quick escape, but surely Poe wouldn’t?
She gripped the couch cushions to stay in place. Her heart raced as she searched for an excuse. “Well yeah, kinda? We were there to watch them record, after all”
Poe’s shoulders relaxed slightly, sagging at her innocent-sounding lie. “You were staring at him at the concert too. When we went backstage.”
Rey frowned. She wanted to tell him the truth, but Ben had warned her not to reveal what they were to anyone. Doing so could put both their lives in great danger. “I mean, he’s a famous rock star and we were talking to him, of course I was looking at him. What are you trying to say?”
Poe turned back to her then, and Rey could see his frustration painted clearly on his face. “Do you have a thing for him?”
She raised her eyebrows, honestly more surprised that he noticed their chemistry than surprised by the accusation. It was hard to deny it was there, but Poe had a tendency to zero in on one thing and ignore everything else going on around him. Thankfully her bewilderment worked in the moment. “Is that what you think? I have you, Poe.”
He let out a loud, sad laugh. “That hasn’t stopped him from trying to steal girlfriends from me before.”
I want you to meet my mother, Ben said later that evening. She might know something about your parents.
Rey’s eyes widened. It made sense that someone in the community would know something of her family, if it was as tight-knit as Ben had been telling her it was.
Can she come to our dream space then? She was relieved that Ben was still focused on teaching her the ins-and-outs of her powers, especially since she had stayed at Poe’s after they fought and she could feel her boyfriend lying in the bed next to her, in the strange way that their dream space connected to the physical world. Things with Poe still felt uneasy, but in the morning she could wake up and kiss him until he believed her.
No, that’s just for mated pairs. No one else can come into their space, Ben answered. We would have to meet her in person. When are you free?
Rey felt her heart drop into her stomach. Meeting in real life—without Poe—felt far more risky than in their dream space. She was already terribly nervous about texting Ben at all and immediately changed his name in her phone, just so Poe wouldn’t accidentally stumble across it. She usually deleted Ben’s texts as soon as she read them too. Perhaps Poe was right about Ben stealing his past girlfriends. But this was different. She was a succubus, and Ben was her mate. It wasn’t stealing as much as settling into an inescapable bond. They had no say in the matter, after all.
I could meet you during my lunch hour near work sometime?
Ben’s mother wasn’t anything like Rey expected. She was at least a foot shorter than her son, and though her hair was flecked with salt-and-pepper strands, it was clearly a far lighter brown than Ben’s black hair. It wasn’t until Leia’s eyes crinkled as she shook Rey’s hand that Rey noticed a resemblance.
“Rey, I’m so pleased to meet you. I almost thought Ben would never find his mate,” Leia said, warmly, her hands squeezed tightly around Rey’s.
Moments later, they were ushered into a booth and Rey blushed as Ben shuffled in beside her instead of next to his mother. Asking to meet near her work was a mistake, she realized. A number of her coworkers had met Poe at the hospital holiday party, and her brain rifled for plausible excuses as Ben laid his arm across her shoulder. Would anyone believe they were cousins? How many people knew that she grew up in foster care?
Worse, Poe was still acting suspicious of her and she was going out of her way to prove there was nothing between her and Ben. Rey knew he was trapped in a meeting across town at this very moment, but Ben’s heat beside her and the bond that drew them together was not helping to ease her mind.
“Rey, tell me more of what you know about your family. Is there anything you can remember?” Leia asked after they ordered.
There wasn’t much. Rey had only been three when she entered foster care, but she told Leia of the memory of her screaming, the location she had been picked up from—something she had learned from her CPS file—and everything else she could think of that might provide some clue.
Ben leaned in to kiss her head when her voice choked with emotion and Rey felt relief rush through her.
That night Ben immediately pulled her into his arms.
I’m sorry, that must have been so hard on you, he said, his lips nestled into her hair.
Rey leaned into it freely now. The contrasting hardness of his chest compared to the softness of his skin, the pine smell of his body wash, the way her heart felt so full whenever they were together. She was grateful that this time he didn’t keep his distance. She would have—merely out of respect to Poe—but her heart and her body was craving more.
It’s okay. I’m okay, she said as Ben lifted her chin up to look into her eyes.
He smiled softly and brought their lips together. Rey didn’t care that she clung to him like a weak, needy child searching for warmth and affection, nor did she mind when Ben slipped inside her and began gently thrusting. It felt just as right and satisfying as all those times when he had fucked her hard and fast, and she loved the feeling of each inch of her being cherished under his fingers.
Poe and I have been fighting, she told Ben after they finished and laid together, still connected. He thinks you’re stealing me away from him.
Ben raised his eyebrows, but kept silent, so Rey continued. He said you stole a few of his girlfriends back in college.
Ben huffed at that. Wasn’t ever intentional. They came on to me. One of the downsides of being an incubus.
I’m surprised you two are still friends, she continued.
I always made it up to him, Ben smiled. Introduced him to new girls, treated him to a few beers, that sort of thing. I usually didn’t know they were dating him.
Ben shrugged casually. I was also an immature little shit back then.
And now? Rey asked.
Now is different, he said as he moved to kiss her. Nothing could keep me from you. Except death.
Finn opened the door, his face grim.
Rey’s breath caught and she gripped the strap of her purse tighter. “How is she?”
Finn sighed and gestured for Rey to come inside. “Beside herself. I would be, too.”
She found Rose on the couch with a pillow clutched to her chest tightly, a blank stare, and tears streaming down her cheeks. Rey immediately sat beside her friend and pulled her into her arms.
“Rose, I’m so, so sorry.”
“I-I don’t understand,” her friend hiccuped into Rey’s shoulder, as Finn sat on the other side of her and began to rub Rose’s back. “How could anyone do such a thing? Thomas and Anh didn’t do anything to deserve this. Let alone their...their kids!”
Rey held her friend tighter, unable to do anything but comfort her physically. There was no rational explanation for the psychopath who had murdered two of her family’s closest friends and their young children in their own home.
“They think it’s the same guy who killed that family down in Northern Hills last week. And all the other ones,” Finn added.
“That’s terrible. I hope they catch him soon.”
“They should fucking murder him!” Rose cried, breaking down into fresh, choking sobs.
Rey opened her eyes and found Ben beside her as usual.
Hello, beloved, he said, smiling at her. He looked especially contented and leaned in to kiss her.
Rey let him do that, but pushed him away gently when he moved his body closer to hers.
I know what we did before, but I’m still with Poe, she told him. It doesn’t feel right to just cheat on him.
Ben took a deep breath and leaned back. I understand, but you know I’ll always be your mate, right?
She nodded. There hadn’t been a single night where he hadn’t appeared in her dreams. It just felt wrong to pursue the physical side of their relationship when she was still with Poe. Something was preventing her from just ending it with him. She enjoyed being able to spend time with him, to have normal dates and a normal life with him. Perhaps it was knowing that she’d never have such a life with Ben that prevented her from breaking up with Poe.
What about you? Aren’t you still with Phasma? Rey asked.
Ben shrugged. Phasma and I are more like friends with benefits. She knows I won’t commit to anything more serious.
Rey felt a pang of hurt at those words. What if I wanted something more serious?
His eyes scanned her face, turning from soft to serious. You’re different, Rey.
She almost thought he’d try to kiss her again, but instead he pressed their foreheads together. When you’re ready, we’ll start our family.
“Ben invited us to a backyard gig on Sunday,” Poe told her as they settled in for a binge watch of a popular sci-fi show that both always meant to get to. “Do you want to go?”
Rey set the popcorn down on the table in front of them, instantly curling up next to him. She looked into his eyes for a moment, contemplating their relationship, and what she had with Ben. Poe just raised his eyebrows, waiting for a response. They had never really resolved the whole fight, it had just fizzled and died since Poe had nothing to go on except past hurts from over a decade ago.
“You should go without me,” she finally said. “His music isn’t really my thing.”
Poe seemed relieved by that, even though he decided to question her decision. “You sure? Usually you want to be together as much as possible on a weekend.”
Rey smiled and kissed his cheek. “We’re together almost every night I’m not with Finn or Rose, babe. I keep wondering when we’re just going to cave and move in together soon.”
He broke out into a wild grin and pulled Rey closer. “You want to?”
Rey bit back the rising feeling of doubt in her gut and squeezed Poe’s hand. “We can think about it.”
My mom thinks she’s found a lead on what happened to your parents.
Ben leaned back against the pillows of the bed in their dream space. He had been telling her a few of the finer points of the history of demon-kind for the better part of the night, including a strange quirk of their shared dreaming: They would grow tired as soon as the other person had fallen asleep. A soft calling to join their mate.
Rey’s eyes widened and her pulse quickened at the news. Really?
Ben nodded. Do you want to meet her again? She told me some of the details, but not the full story.
What did she tell you? Part of her knew it would be best to wait until Leia told her everything she knew, but Rey was so starved for anything resembling a family, there was no way she could wait.
There many unanswered questions growing up. She had pieced a few answers together from her old files, calling up former case workers and guardians after she had left and reported Plutt to the authorities. Her parents’ identity was always a gaping hole that taunted Rey whenever she let her mind linger too long. To have any information now would surely send her spiraling, but at least it was something.
Ben licked his lips nervously, then they parted. Rey inhaled deeply, trying to steel herself, but he paused a moment before speaking. If my mother is right about who your parents were, your mother was killed in an attack on your home, but your father might have disappeared.
She isn’t sure, but he might still be alive, Ben continued.
A million questions swirled through her brain, but Rey was unable to ask them. She just cried uncontrollably in Ben’s arms for the rest of the night.
Have fun at the baseball game with Finn today!
I will, thanks babe
Rey sighed and clicked off her phone. She had declined to join the boys, citing a hard week at work and a need to clean her apartment. In truth, she was already at a noisy lunch spot on the other side of town, sitting across from Leia. Ben sat next to her, instead of with his mother.
This time it was far more comforting than uncomfortable. Rey was nearly shaking with nerves, but Ben’s hand in hers kept her grounded. Leia had brought a whole folder with the information she’d found during her research. They ordered and Leia began.
“So, according to an incubus who used to live near your old home this happened nearly twenty-eight years ago…”
Rey was three years old. Her mother stayed at home while her father was a traveling salesman. It helped them maintain the relationships they needed to feed, while still remaining under the radar.
Leia had newspaper clippings of the attack. A man had been convicted of it, the official reason was given as a lover overcome by jealousy. Rey was mentioned, but not named since she was a minor. Her father had never returned from his trip, and with police unable to contact him or find other family members, she was placed into foster care. Her mother’s name was Rachel, and her father was John. The attacker was sentenced to 40 years without parole after police began to suspect he had also killed her father. They had no proof, but he got a harsher sentence based on the brutality of the attack.
It was the picture of Rachel that made Rey really sob. Her mother had soft eyes that crinkled as she smiled. Her nose was small and ended on a point, a lot like her own. Soft, light-colored hair spilled down to her shoulders, clearly teased and styled to fit the trends of the time. She looked like a model, and Rey wondered if her mother needed spells or glamors to look so beautiful or if she just was. There was no photo of her father.
Ben rubbed her back as she nibbled at her sandwich and Leia looked on with pity.
“I’m sorry, my dear. It’s far too common in our world,” she told Rey. “If only someone had stepped forward before they put you in foster care...”
Rey took a shaky breath. “What do you think happened to my father?”
Leia sighed. “That’s where the trail runs cold. Perhaps he was afraid to return home after learning of the attack, but I can’t imagine one of our kind abandoning his child and leaving her to grow up alone and unprotected.”
She reached for Ben’s hand and looked up at her son. “I could never do such a thing to my own child. Not if I had any say in it.”
Ben smiled awkwardly and squeezed his mother’s hand. “That’s why we think your father might not have survived.”
Leia smiled sadly at Ben, then turned to Rey. “Let me give you my number, dear. You may not have had anyone growing up, but that has changed. You’re a part of our family now.”
Ben helped her home, making sure she reached her apartment door safely, there to catch any tears with careful brushes of his fingers against her cheeks. Still, she stopped him before he entered.
“You shouldn’t. Poe could find out,” she said softly, trying to block her doorway from his massive frame.
He looked wounded at that, as if he should take precedence over Poe. And perhaps he should have, if they were meant to be lifelong partners. But Rey was still adjusting to this strange second life she never knew existed before last month. She knew she wasn’t ready to let it take over just yet.
Ben relaxed and smiled down at her. “Tonight?”
Rey smiled back, although weakly and with the threat of fresh tears spilling out of her eyes. “Tonight.”
That night she let Ben hold her and kiss her neck as much as he liked. His thumbs stroked just under her breasts and Rey’s resolve wavered. Thankfully Poe had gone back to his place after the game, claiming to be wiped out by all the sun and excitement.
Please, beloved, Ben begged her, nipping at her earlobe, something he knew would turn her on more. He won’t know a thing if we fuck in the dream space.
Rey bit her lip, holding back a moan. He ground his hips against her gently, teasing her purposefully. I want to, but it seems unfair to him…
Rey, think about it. You have to feed off of a human, Ben whispered. You can’t live any other way.
Rey pulled herself away from him and raised her eyebrows. Is that true? I’m always going to be cheating on someone with you?
Ben nodded sadly. We don’t have a choice.
She hummed, deep in thought. Was this really how their kind had evolved? What would happen if she went without sex for too long?
Meanwhile Ben caressed her chin, his eyes moving toward her lips. Besides I’ve run out of non-sexual spells to teach you. There are all sorts of other tricks you could learn.
Oh? Rey wanted to think more about how she felt about the constant infidelity, but she couldn’t help but be curious about what else there was that she didn’t know yet. Like what?
Ben began whispering something in her ear as his fingers found their way through her folds. Rey felt herself clench tight around him, and he began pumping his hand in and out of her cunt. Feel any different?
He didn’t let her answer at first, capturing her lips as she moaned in protest. When they finally pulled apart long enough for her to answer, Rey knew. A spell to make me feel every inch of you.
That’s right, Ben grinned. A+.
Kaydel plopped down next to Rey at a cafeteria table and sighed. “That line was sooo long.”
She cracked open her energy drink as Rey took a bite of her beef and broccoli stir fry.
“Mm,” Rey managed. It had been a particularly rushed morning with a ton of emergency orders coming through the hospital pharmacy, and her usual spaciness after a particularly sexy dream with Ben was not helping. She was hoping that lunch would help her snap out of it until an RN from the ER department sat down at their table.
Mitaka looked ashen, which was saying something since he was normally pretty pale. But this was almost deathly-looking.
“Are you okay, Mitty?” Kaydel asked immediately.
He gave them a blank stare, then gulped. “There was another multiple homicide involving a family.”
Rey and Kaydel gasped simultaneously. This was the first time the killer had struck within their hospital’s radius.
“The two little girls made it to ER alive, but they didn’t make it,” he continued, tears breaking through his weak defenses. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so cruel before.”
The both of them scooted their chairs closer and wrapped their arms around the sobbing man.
“It’s okay, Mitty,” Rey whispered as she rubbed his back. “You did everything you could to help them.”
Rey couldn’t get the thought of Mitaka sobbing out of her mind that night, despite Ben’s best efforts. And of course she had seen the news reports about the victims before heading to bed. A young, well-off family. Two darling daughters with matching dresses on in their photo. The epitome of senseless violence.
Ben seemed increasingly restless the more she denied him. Beloved, I need you.
Please not tonight. I’m too upset.
He bit gently at her neck, a spot where he’d learned she was sensitive. Rey closed her eyes and steeled herself against his advances.
Her lover grunted in frustration and rolled over to the other side of their bed. All I want is to teach you. You’ll need to know as much as you can possibly learn in order for us to mate successfully.
Rey raised an eyebrow. What do you mean?
She heard him huff softly, then pause before speaking. Mating isn’t easy for our kind. We have to make sure everything is perfect first to improve our chances of getting a child.
Yes. And I can’t afford to waste any time.
Whether that as a threat or a hopeful promise of things to come, Rey couldn’t tell.
Ben was right, in a weird way. Poe hadn’t noticed or suspected a thing after Rey had started fooling around with Ben in the dream space. She tried to make up for it. Every single trick she learned from Ben found its way into bed with Poe.
He loved it when she used the spell that suppressed her gag reflex. And the one that made her clench tighter around his cock. And the one that made it easier to talk dirty during sex. It made her feel less guilty about fucking Ben. At least Poe benefitted, even if he thought she had just gotten better at giving blow jobs or started doing kegel exercises.
It felt surreal, having this double life that she could never reveal to anyone. Rey found herself almost mentioning it to Rose one day as they prepared popcorn for their movie nights and her friend asked what was new.
Oh, not much, just learning how to fuck a guy’s brains out with my incubus mate. Ahhhh! Did I not tell you? I’m a succubus. Just found out a month ago , is what she wanted to say.
“Eh, nothing really. Work is work. Poe and I saw that new superhero movie the other day. Have you seen it yet?” was what she said instead.
Rey watched Rose talk animatedly about her favorite parts of one particular scene and felt loneliness seep into her heart. It plagued her as they shifted to the couch for the buddy romcom that Rose had picked out for them.
Rey would never be able to tell Finn, her closest friend, who was almost like her family. Finn, who knew almost everything about her there was to know.
But telling anyone, even her most trusted friends, meant a serious risk of death, that much she could tell from Ben’s grim oral histories.
Thankfully an emotional scene came on and Rey could cry along with it. She felt so alone again, there was virtually no one in the world who could know her secret.
Rey wanted to resist the temptation to text him.
It would be rude to Rose, she told herself, repeating it as if she needed convincing. She’s here to spend time with you and she desperately needs a good distraction. You’re just being a big baby about all of this.
The phone lay on the couch beside her, and Rey could swear she felt it trying to pull her attention away from the TV screen. Redoubling her efforts, she did not let her eyes drift anywhere else except Rose and the movie playing in front of them. For awhile, it was easy. Then her phone buzzed and Rey nearly jumped out of her seat.
It was just a Facebook notification. Kaydel had probably liked a link to some political news she’d reposted, but it was an excuse to unlock her phone and pretend it was a text.
Come over tonight
She held the phone to her thigh, screen facing her skin, so Rose wouldn’t see who she was texting, and tried to focus on the movie again. The seconds passed slowly, some boring scene playing out where the two friends bonded during a long car ride after a tense fight. But Ben didn’t make her wait long.
Her fingers glided over the screen in an instant.
When I text you. My friend is over.
I’ll be waiting
It wasn’t until after she closed the screen that she thought his question odd. She wouldn’t invite Ben over after Poe left, since Poe would most likely spend the night. But there was no real reason to dwell on it, so she turned her focus back to the movie and tried not to feel like she was about to commit a crime.
Ben was there within 15 minutes of her text, as if he had been waiting somewhere close by. Rey didn’t doubt for a moment that he had been by the way he swept her into his arms and kissed her the second she closed the door.
“Hi there,” she breathed out as soon as he let their lips part for a moment.
Ben softly grunted a greeting back and squeezed Rey’s ass tight enough to make her stand on her tiptoes and yelp slightly.
“Sorry,” he grinned, finally putting some space between the two of them. “I’m just excited to see you.”
Rey smiled back, admiring him for a moment. Ben always looked best when he smiled, but she knew it was something he didn’t do often. Except for her. “I can tell.”
He shrugged off his coat and followed Rey into the apartment. She looked shyly back at him, realizing this was the first time he had been inside.
Another line crossed, her mind whispered.
Shut up, she whispered back.
Her eyes traveled down to his hand, intending to take it in her own, but she noticed a spot on his sleeve.
“Is that blood?”
Ben’s eyebrows raised quickly and he pulled his wrist up when he noticed where her gaze had landed. The large red spot and the surrounding splatter grew clearer, and Rey looked back at Ben.
“I nicked myself earlier. Forgot to wash it off,” Ben said, still inspecting his sleeve.
“Must have hurt.”
“Nah.” Ben pushed ahead and flopped back on her bed before Rey could reach it. She laughed at the childish display and crawled on top of him, pretending to be seductive. Ben had just smiled happily at her when she dropped her full weight onto him.
Like it was an old habit, Ben’s hands ran from her shoulders to the curve of her hips, settling there. “What are you doing?”
Rey’s own hands found their way up his chest, enjoying the feel of his soft black shirt against her fingers. “I feel lonely. My friend Rose and I were watching a movie, and I realized I couldn’t tell her anything about this. About you.”
Ben kissed the top of her head. “Didn’t you tell me that she and that Finn guy are the ones that introduced you to Poe?”
Nodding against his chest, Rey tried to hold back the tears. “I just—There’s only us. Just us and your mom, and there’s no one else who knows. There’s no one else I can talk to. I feel so alone sometimes.”
Ben was quiet for a long moment.
“You’re right. It is lonely.” His hands moved up around her shoulders and squeezed her tight. “But you’re not alone.”
Rey looked up at him. Of course, he knew. He would feel exactly the same, or worse, growing up with so few of their kind around. “Neither are you. Not anymore.”
Ben gave her a hopeful smile. “I’m glad.”
He flipped them over and hovered above Rey, a gleam in his eye. “I don’t want to wait any longer. Let’s be together and start our family right now.”
She realized after a moment of silence that Ben wanted some sort of answer. Rey nodded shyly, feeling a little overwhelmed. Okay, very overwhelmed. She desperately wanted a family of her own, but things with Ben had just gotten started. But at the same time it felt right if it was Ben. Maybe she just had to jump in and stop doubting someone who clearly loved her.
“Let’s do it.”
Chapter 3 art by lauvamp
Rey grapples with the complex mating rituals she must do in order to bear children with Ben.
There are tags. You should read them.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The bed creaked and Rey shifted, her sleep disturbed by whomever was beside her. She attempted to roll over in order to fall back asleep, but the movement jostled her senses to a more awake state.
Ah, she was dreaming.
Rey flipped to her other side and came face to face with Ben, who laid there beside her in the dream and in her real bed. He blinked at her sleepily.
She smiled, amused at the whole situation. You know, for some reason, I thought I would just have a normal dream and not wind up here again.
Guess not, he said, leaning forward for a kiss. It was soft, just lips enjoying the feeling of being together and nothing more.
So, I guess I should stop my birth control and break up with Poe. If we’re going to do this, she continued.
Ben sighed. As much as I hate to say this, don’t break up with him. You need to feed more in order to mate successfully. You should definitely stop your birth control though. You’ve never needed it. Humans can’t get a succubus pregnant, but it will hinder our ability to mate.
Rey felt a stab of guilt through her heart. She couldn’t imagine becoming more serious with Ben while still being able to maintain a relationship with Poe. He had already begun searching for apartments that would suit them, so ready to take their relationship to the next level.
Then her mind strayed to the matter of birth control. She had always been adamant about condoms when she was in control of the situation, even after she started taking the pill. But there had been times she had no control, and no pill or condoms. Yet she had never gotten pregnant. A small blessing she supposed. One she had never noticed before.
Her eyes refocused and she noticed Ben watching her closely. He seemed worried, so Rey smiled shyly. Mating seems so complicated.
It is, he said, his voice growing dark. I’m afraid you won’t enjoy how our kind reproduces. But we need to in order to help save our species.
Rey nodded slowly, unsure of what horrors to expect. I’m guessing it’s very different from what humans do?
Not too different. We actually have to use humans in the mating process.
A pit of dread started to form in her stomach. How?
Ben sucked in a breath and Rey could see a touch of nerves in his usually stoic face. His mouth turned down as he described to her how she would need to convince Poe—or another willing partner—to have sex with her without protection and to cum inside her. Very shortly afterward, she would need to meet up with Ben and have sex with him, so his body could absorb the seed. Then he would need to rush out and sleep with Phasma, or some other willing woman, and attempt to impregnate her.
Rey’s mind raced as he told her how the human mother would have to carry the baby to term, and that Ben and Rey would have to steal it from the woman shortly after its birth. The child would be one of their kind, imbued with demonic magic through its unusual conception, but would look just like a human—just as they did. Such children were called Cambions.
She nodded, like a fool, like she understood all this, like she accepted it. But inside Rey felt sick from all the emotions and questions swirling around. There was disgust and guilt that they’d need to use humans to mate and carry their child, only made worse by the fact that they’d have to kidnap the child from an innocent, unknowing mother.
I know it’s a lot to take in, Ben continued after giving her a few minutes of torturous silence. Especially having gone through life thinking you’re a normal human until just recently.
Rey nodded again. At least she actually agreed with that statement. She fell quiet again and Ben began to rub her back in an attempt to comfort her.
Has no one tried sperm donors? Proper surrogate mothers or IVF?
Ben shook his head. The process is too delicate for that. If the sperm has been frozen, it won’t work. And surrogates typically don’t allow the husbands to impregnate them directly.
And no one’s tried starting a polyamorous relationship so you’re not just using people and stealing their children? Rey didn’t care if she sounded hurt and angry, this was madness.
Ben’s face softened along with his voice. There have been many of our kind who have tried to do just that, beloved.
He pulled her face up to look into her eyes, his were full of worry. Most who’ve tried that were killed. That’s why it has to be done this way. To protect ourselves.
Her mouth tasted like ash. She tried to imagine a world where she did this, where she lived with this her whole life, and taught her children to do this too. Then she realized that the only way she would be able to have children would be through this horrible method. And it hurt.
No wonder they hate us.
Ben tried to continue the conversation when they woke, telling her about why it was an advantage for them that they had long term partners. Poe would probably believe Rey if she told him she had gotten an IUD, and therefore be more willing to go without a condom. Phasma, though Ben had billed her as the type who didn’t want to settle down, would be more likely to keep a baby at her age rather than get an abortion, and if not, Ben would find someone else. They only used condoms, so Ben could convince her that he wanted to take their relationship to the next level. Ben could try to get sole custody of the child through the legal system. That would be better than kidnapping, perhaps? That was their only other option.
Thankfully, he only had so much time to talk before Rey needed to be out the door. Outside meant other people, which made him quiet. And since she couldn’t risk Ben escorting her to work, they parted at the subway station. He seemed tense and nervous, but Rey hardly noticed, too busy with every worry that shot through her mind.
It was horrifying.
There was no better word for it. It was cruel, and brutal, and nothing at all like she expected. If Ben had told her she had to stick his hidden spiky monster dick up her ass, get filled with eggs, and give birth to spiders, that would have somehow been less shocking than this.
Kaydel’s cheerful face and small talk when she arrived were the only things that kept Rey’s mind off of it for a whole two minutes. By then Ben was already texting her repeatedly. She didn’t even bother reading whatever it was he was trying to tell her, her mind was too exhausted.
At work now. We’ll have to talk later. Need time to think and process.
She turned her phone off before Ben could reply and let work try to consume her thoughts instead.
Sleep was hard to come by that night. It didn’t help that she’d sat down at home and watched the evening news, just to be able to think and feel about something different. Unfortunately, the serial killer had struck again that day, murdering two families on one block, and it sent Rey’s mind back to the subject of mating. Instead of just questioning the moral implications of stealing a child from its birth mother, she worried about bringing any children into the world at all.
It was in this state of worry that she did not notice when exactly she fell asleep and when she awoke in the dream space. It was only when Ben sighed beside her that she started and realized where she was.
Ben sat on the opposite edge of the bed from her, oddly calm. It wasn’t until he spoke that she realized he was angry with her.
You didn’t return any of my texts or calls. His voice sounded harsh, accusing.
Rey’s eyes widened as she remembered turning her phone off at work so many hours ago. It sat lying in her purse, still off. Poe was probably worried about her too. They never went a day without texting now.
I’m sorry, she sighed. I’m really sorry. It’s just a lot.
Ben nodded, still somehow calm yet simmering with anger. I get it. I just worry. You’re my one and only, Rey.
He turned to her, voice still tinged with hurt, the beginning to tears in his eyes. This works just like any other relationship, you know? Even if we are bound together as mates, you can’t just shut me out like that.
All Rey could do was wrap her arms around him and tell him she was sorry until they both cried.
“What were you doing all day?” Poe asked, the accusing tone in his voice reflected in his hard eyes.
Rey had gone over with coffee for them both after work. Poe stared at it, then walked inside. She followed cautiously, knowing what would happen next. She hadn’t been wrong.
“Nothing unusual,” she replied. “I just... I had a bad day.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” His voice softened slightly, though it was still hurt. “You usually tell me when that happens.”
Rey looked down at the two cups of coffee cooling in her hands. “It was worse than usual.”
Poe touched her wrists and Rey pushed his coffee towards him. She looked up, hopeful that he would forgive her. Instead he asked, “Were you with Ben?”
Her heart stopped for a moment. Had she showered? Did she still smell of her mate? Her chest tightened and her eyes began to water.
And somehow the tears were enough to convince Poe. She didn’t even need to say anything, he just wrapped his arms around her and apologized while she sobbed.
So Rey just sobbed.
She let Ben comfort her, and tell her that she did exactly the right thing considering the situation.
She let him kiss her until she was able to forget everything and just wrap herself around him.
She let him erase everything with pleasure.
If there was one thing that was nice about being a succubus, it was that you could ignore it all after a few orgasms.
Poe was trimming his beard in the mirror as Rey watched from his bedroom. It was a quiet Saturday morning, even the city outside managed to mute itself just enough to allow them to sleep in.
She was feeling especially lazy; peaceful mornings felt rare that week, her mind still spinning from Ben’s revelations. And the killings had continued almost every other day like a barrage of punches to the gut. How was the killer getting away with it? The question that was on the entire city’s mind, and a frequent subject of discussion.
It didn’t seem right to be thinking of starting a family when that sort of thing was happening. Not that Rey could talk about it with anyone except Ben.
“I was thinking about getting an IUD,” she said aloud. It was the only thing she could talk about, even if it triggered a fresh wave of guilt.
“Yeah?” Poe called out from the bathroom.
“Yeah,” Rey responded. “I’m tired of the pill. And they make them with hormones now, so it’d be basically the same thing.”
Poe was quiet for a moment as he concentrated on the curve of his throat, and Rey felt an urge to go up and lick it as he pulled the blade against his skin. Another wave of nauseating guilt. “Sounds good.”
“Of course it does. No more condoms for you, mister,” she laughed, trying to sound natural.
Poe hummed his agreement as he started up a new patch of skin. “Don’t think I’ve ever tried that before. Might be nice.”
Rey closed her eyes and felt her gut twist. It was wrong to want to create a family when it meant lying. But she hated the thought of a future without a family of her own, and now she was one step closer to having it.
I told him, she whispered to Ben as they parted after a kiss.
His eyes snapped up from her lips to her eyes. You told him?
Ben looked so afraid for a moment, that Rey had to scramble for the next sentence. That I was getting an IUD to replace the pill. And I stopped taking the pill too.
A long sigh passed his lips and Ben pressed his forehead against hers. You scared me for a moment… But I’m glad.
He pulled back to smile at her, joy etched into his face. Rey hated that it made her feel relieved. We should talk about what’s next.
Yes, when are you going to tell him it’s okay to stop using condoms?
Oh, Rey replied, her mind churning as she thought about mating. I’ll have to think about it.
We’ll have to coordinate when the best time to make our first attempt will be, he continued. Preferably a day when we can meet each other quickly, after you get the seed.
Rey nodded and watched Ben smile again, and mimicked it just so he wouldn’t worry. He was happy for now, and that was all she could do.
“How are you?” Rey asked as she and Finn hugged each other in greeting.
Finn sighed heavily, “Tired. Mostly just trying to help Rose and her family out because they’re helping the Bùi family out with the wake and the funeral arrangements.”
“How’s Rose coping?” she asked as they sat down. Finn had already ordered her favorite—a snickerdoodle hot chocolate—which sat steaming on the table.
“About as well as can be expected. They were like her cousins almost. She calls their parents Auntie and Uncle.”
Her phone pinged, but Rey ignored it. Poe and Rose knew she was out with Finn, not too many other people would need her immediate attention on a Saturday. Rey tilted her head towards Finn, encouraging him to continue.
“I think she just needs a few days off so she can feel rested again and she’ll be okay. Don’t know when that’s going to be.”
“When’s the wake again?” Rey’s phone pinged twice in rapid succession and she cringed.
“Next Tuesday,” Finn answered. He arched an eyebrow. “Sounds like you might want to get that.”
She let out a frustrated sigh and shook her head. “I should have just turned it on silent, sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry, peanut. You know I don’t mind.”
“Yeah, but this is our time to hang out…”
Rey’s words trailed off as she read the first message on her phone.
Did you tell him you got the IUD yet?
You need to tell him. We need to get started.
Inhaling sharply, Rey swiped open her phone and typed out a quick response.
I’ll tell him the appointment is scheduled for Monday at the hospital.
With my friend Finn right now, so it’ll have to be later.
Her eyes flicked up to the top of her screen, which indicated there was another text she hadn’t seen. After flicking over to the previous screen, she was surprised to see one from Leia.
No luck with the search for your father yet, but my brother is in town for a few days.
I’d like to introduce you to him. He was Ben’s teacher, and I think he could help you too.
When are you free?
All my love,
Rey felt the tension from Ben’s pestering fade as she typed out a response to Leia. It would be wonderful to meet another demon and learn more. Ben had never mentioned his uncle before. She wondered briefly if cambion siblings would look alike if they had different human parents, or if they looked more like their demonic parents. Ben did resemble his mother slightly.
I’d love that. I should be free Monday evening.
Rey clicked off her phone’s screen, and switched it to silent. “Okay, no more texting. So how did that meeting with your boss go?”
You told him? Was the first thing out of Ben’s mouth when she woke up in the dream space that night.
Yes, Rey lied.
It was a shitty plan. It was going to backfire eventually, when she didn’t come up with Poe’s seed. But she didn’t know how to talk to Ben about her misgivings. His heart was clearly set on having children, if only to replace those who had been senselessly killed.
All she could do was lie and deflect for now, feeling the guilt pierce her stomach. If only she could be the partner he wanted. If only mating wasn’t so horrible…Then maybe.
Either she’d have to put a stop to it or give in. But how?
The meeting with Leia and her brother was arranged for after work on Monday, just when she’d told Poe she was getting her IUD put in. But when Rey arrived at the cafe they’d agreed upon, Leia was sitting alone at a table meant for two. Leia waved cheerily as she approached and gave Rey a loving hug and kiss.
“Hello, my dear. How are you doing?”
Rey shrugged off her coat and placed it on her chair. “I’m alright. Where’s your brother?”
The other woman’s brow twisted in frustration. “Old family drama, I’m afraid. That stubborn ass said he didn’t want to teach anyone anymore. I told him you were Ben’s mate and that made him dig his heels in harder.”
Rey laughed awkwardly. “Did something happen between him and Ben?”
“Luke thinks Ben will get us all killed by humans, and Ben thinks Luke’s passive ideology will mean our slow death. They had a big fight back when Ben was studying under him, and they haven’t spoken since.” Leia paused and let out a huge sigh. “Actually he didn’t talk to any of us again until you came along.”
Rey raised her eyebrows. “He didn’t? Why?”
Leia’s eyes watered with what must have been painful memories, but with another deep breath her composure returned and she looked Rey in the eyes. “Many reasons. He feels like we held him back from his true potential.”
Rey looked down at her hands as they fidgeted with her glass of water. “He hasn’t told me about any of this.”
A smile crossed Leia’s weary face. “I suppose that’s because he loves you very much. He just wants you to have everything you missed out on, growing up without your family. He probably didn’t want to drag you into our old fights.”
Tears began to form in Rey’s eyes at the thought. As much as the whole issue of mating was eating her up inside, she didn’t doubt Ben’s love for her at all. And she knew, somewhere deep inside and with unfaltering surety, that he was the only man she ever wanted to be with again. And yet…
She looked up at Leia and wondered if she could ask the older woman’s thoughts on mating, on feeding off of humans. Had she done the same thing with Ben’s father? Leia was so kind, it seemed like she could never do something so cruel.
Leia smiled at her from across the table, taking a sip from her tea. “I have to say, I’m looking forward to the thought of having a grandchild.”
Rey’s heart felt like it had dropped to the very depths of the earth.
Her walk home sent her into a deep depression. Every cold wind that came her way felt like a slap in the face, scolding Rey for thinking she could find a way out of her own lies. A few times she openly cried on the subway, earning the perturbed glances of her fellow commuters.
There was no solution to be found, nothing that she could think of anyway, that would keep Ben from suspecting her eventually. What would happen then? Would her mate turn sour towards her? Ignore her?
Deep in worry, she didn’t see the man standing by the doors to her apartment building until he spoke.
Rey jumped and looked over the shaggy, bearded old man. She didn’t recognize him from anywhere, so how did he know her name? Her fist closed around her keys, ready to defend herself if he made a move.
“Don’t trust Ben,” the man continued. “He’ll do anything to get what he wants.”
“Are you Luke?” Rey asked quickly. “Ben’s uncle?”
The man nodded, looking grim and unhappy about the mention of his nephew’s name. “I can’t teach you, but I can at least tell you to stay away from Ben.”
Rey shook her head. “Why? I don’t understand. He’s my mate.”
Luke looked as if he rather not answer, but with a determined glare he continued. “After Ben quit his studies with me, he found another teacher. In fact, they had been corresponding for quite a long time before he left. The man thinks demonkind is superior to humans, that we should kill the majority of them and rule the earth.”
Rey frowned. “Ben believes all that?”
“He does. Snoke has pushed Ben into believing that he will be the savior of our kind, bringing forth enough offspring to save us from extinction. Snoke isn't happy that Ben hasn't succeeded. He's getting desperate.”
Taking a deep breath, Rey steadied herself. “And what do you think? About the way we mate?”
She saw the old man reach a hand into his coat pocket and grip something inside of it. “There was a time when our kind prospered and mated easily. If we were meant to rule the earth, we missed our chance. All we can do is fight just to survive and limp along until the human world changes or we come to our natural end.”
Without another word, Luke pulled a book out from his pocket and pressed it into Rey’s hands. Then he turned and walked off.
Inside her apartment, Rey glanced at the volume in her hands. It was older than she could tell, the fabric of its cover ripped and stained with time. If there was a title to it, she couldn’t tell. The pages were parchment and in delicate shape. The first page contained the words, “Forgotten Arts.” The only thing she could do was start reading in order to find whatever Luke intended.
They were on round four or five now. Rey couldn’t remember, but Ben had pushed her down to his cock, and so here she was: on her knees, her lips around the slippery, hard flesh of his head, and her pussy feeling alarmingly empty.
Now that the plan was underway, Ben seemed more relaxed. Rey tried to copy his mood and focus on their shared pleasure, but every now and then her thoughts returned to worrying over when she would be caught.
Good girl, Ben grunted after he came down her throat. A second later he was pulling her up for a deep kiss. She loved those. They were the most distracting, just having Ben right there and breathing the same air as her.
But to her dismay, he pulled away a few moments later. Have you and Poe...?
She shook her head. He still wants to wear a condom just in case.
Then convince him otherwise! Ben growled angrily, smacking the headboard above them with his fist.
Rey yelped and pulled back, searching Ben’s face for an apology or anything that would indicate that he hadn’t meant to do that. But something heated and cruel still burned in his eyes.
I’ve been trying, she said weakly. Hopefully he would buy it.
Try harder, he seethed. We can’t waste time.
Irrational panic creeped up Rey’s throat, and she pushed herself up and off the bed. She wanted distance between them, just to feel safe but Ben reached out and grabbed her arm.
Where are you going?
Rey tried to tug her arm away, but to no avail. Her heart thudded too loud against her chest, and her vision began to narrow. Ben, let go! You’re scaring me!
Where are you going? He repeated, more insistent and gruff. He yanked her arm forward and made her stumble.
Whimpering, she attempted to free herself again. I’m not going anywhere, there’s nowhere to go!
Ben’s grip tightened around her wrist and he pulled her back to him. You’re hiding something.
I’m not! I swear I’m not, Rey pleaded.
Looking up into his eyes, there was something Rey had seen too many times before and had hoped to never see again. She had to get away. She had to run. She squeezed her eyes shut and prayed.
Rey, Ben growled. Like the monster from the woods.
She woke up with a gasp, darkness all around her. It took her a moment to realize that she was really, truly awake and then Rey bent over sobbing with her hand clasped tight over her mouth. It had been too much like…
“Rey?” Poe called softly, shifting carefully. “Are you okay, baby?”
She flinched too hard when his hand reached her back, and the hand quickly retreated.
Another sob escaped and Poe engulfed her in a hug. This time she took it without twitching, but she wanted to run and be so far away that no one could touch her ever again.
What exactly had made Ben get so angry? It was like a flip had switched within him and suddenly… Nausea ripped through her stomach at the thought of those hate-filled eyes. Had he realized her deception?
Rey rocked forward and Poe pressed his forehead to her cheek. It was so cool compared to her flushed skin. “Was it your nightmares?”
“Y-yeah,” she murmured.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. I’m right here. Anything you need...”
Work had been hell, even with her phone switched off so she didn’t have to see Ben’s texts, but it was the hours afterward that frightened Rey even more.
She ate, taking her time between bites of her dinner, stretching the seconds as much as possible. She turned on a Saturday morning cartoon, avoiding the nightly news announcing the details of another set of murders, hoping that binging something light and cheery would lift her mood as well. Knitting a scarf helped keep her mind active so that she wouldn’t just sink into the couch and doze like she normally did.
She watched a young boy and girl learn to fight monsters together until the loops and stitches became too hypnotic and she could feel her eyelids drooping. There was a part of her closet she’d meant to clean out and organize, but it only took a few minutes to do. She never got into the habit of having too much stuff, she just kept the habit of never throwing useful things away.
Around midnight, she gave herself a very detailed manicure and pedicure, and ignored the tired pull she felt from deep inside. Ben must have fallen asleep already. Rey bit her lip and added extra flowers on her toes.
A few times she passed the old tome that Luke gave her. Rey hadn’t learned much of use from it, unfortunately. Just odd facts like if an incubus had his genitals removed, they would eventually regrow. In another chapter she found that demons couldn’t contract any sort of sexually transmitted diseases, which was somewhat useful information and a relief. But mostly it was spells she already knew and trying to read it often put her to sleep.
After cleaning the shelves of her fridge, Rey was too tired to continue. Her feet were beginning to ache and every movement made her body more weighed down. The bed looked inviting, that much she could admit. Maybe she could play games on her phone until she couldn’t resist her body’s needs anymore.
But of course, as soon as she turned out the light and put her head on the pillow, she was gone.
No! No no no no! She cried, jumping up in an instant and putting as much space between her and Ben as she could.
When nothing attacked her, Rey slowly dropped her arms and looked at Ben perched on the bed. He had moved toward her and then froze when he saw her fear. She could see the tears streaming down his cheeks, the utter heartbreak in his eyes, and so much regret.
They stared at each other for a moment in silence and Rey felt her godforsaken heart waver.
Navigating ever more complicated waters, Rey finds the solution to all her newfound problems. But will it be a solution she can live with?
The Major Character Death tag applies to this chapter.
I didn't want to apply the archive warning because, let's face it, people don't read your fic if you use the archive warnings.
However! A few important people are dead by the end of the chapter.
It becomes obvious who might die, so if you don't want to read about their deaths, stop after Rey makes a certain purchase.
As always proceed with caution and read the tags.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
She let him hold her and apologize over and over and over again.
I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I should have never done that. Rey, please forgive me.
She should have pushed him away, not let him think that she was okay with his behavior the night before. The problem was that she didn’t know where she would go if she did. The dream space only really consisted of the bed and the edges around it. They didn’t need anything else. Rey felt trapped by her own mind.
So she let herself hang like a ragdoll as Ben squeezed her, kissed the top of her head, and babbled apologies—as if repeating himself or finding new ways to say the same words would change much.
Rey? He asked as he pulled back slightly, his eyes large and desperate.
She looked at him, letting the disappointment and hurt show on her face.
Rey could see Ben’s heart sinking away into the depths of his soul the longer they spent in silence. He spent the rest of the night clinging to her and trying to sway her. She kept quiet, but she let him.
The next morning went by like normal. Rey showered, dressed for work, texted Poe that she was feeling a bit better, and watched the news while she ate breakfast. If it wasn’t for the gruesome murder spree (this time the killer had used a gun the husband had bought to protect his family only days before), it almost would have been a nice morning.
She almost felt calm, as if last night had actually kicked things back into their rightful place. Work went by easily, a good enough distraction to throw herself into. Things were busy as she and Kaydel did inventory in the main pharmacy storage room and moved boxes of medicine up to their unit. It continued into the afternoon, Rey eventually taking over for Kaydel while her coworker caught up with a few backlogged orders.
She passed a window on her way and realized it had grown dark without her noticing. Winter was beginning to creep up on the city, and soon it would be snowing. As much as she hated the cold, Rey always looked forward to the way the world changed this time of year. It felt more like magic than any of the magic she’d been learning.
Outside people were beginning to shuffle home, catching her eye as she pushed the empty cart along the hallway. Rey only paused when a large, dark figure walked past her so closely that she realized she wasn’t paying enough attention to where she was going.
The scent of pine drifted into her nostrils, not too strong, just insistent. A lot like Ben’s scent. Whipping around, Rey saw no one. Whomever it was had already turned a corner. She backed up to the nearest one and looked down the empty corridor.
There was no one, not even the sound of a door clicking shut. Did she imagine someone walking past?
Rey bit her lip worriedly and tried not to feel scared the rest of the way to the pharmacy.
We should talk. In person, Ben told her that night in the dream space.
He kept his distance from Rey, doing his best to keep their contact on her terms. That gave her some hope. Still, it was obvious that he desperately wanted to touch her and kiss her. To return to their usual fooling around.
When? Rey asked, not really looking at him. If she looked at him, she would want to give in. Her traitorous body ached for touch.
Tomorrow. Are you free in the evening?
Rey nodded, but kept her distance until it was time for one of them to wake up.
She gave in the moment she saw Ben again, reaching out for a hug when he greeted her shyly in front of the restaurant. It was a foolish thing to do, she knew. What if he grew angry and threatening again? What if he lashed out and hurt her? Abusers rarely changed.
The answer was there when their arms wrapped around each other and Rey gave him a soft peck on the cheek. He would always love her, she would always love him, and there was no way to escape from the bond they shared as mates. Rey bit back the terror that thought caused as she smiled softly at Ben. She was stuck with him.
The awkward feeling between them persisted as they ordered and ate. Small talk went nowhere, and Rey only picked at her pasta bowl instead of hoovering it down as she usually did. Ben watched her between every bite of his steak, failing to come up with something to break the tension.
Finally Rey decided to take the initiative. “I lied to you about telling Poe. He doesn’t know if I got an IUD or not, and we haven’t stopped using condoms.”
Ben’s eyes widened before her, morphing from shock to hurt to anger. Before he could formulate a response, she continued. “I don’t feel comfortable with the mating process. I want to find another way. One that’s less hurtful. That’s why I lied.”
His brow furrowed with confusion and pain, and Rey waited for a swift burst of anger.
It didn’t come. Instead he looked down at his plate and softly asked, “Why?”
“Because I don’t want to hurt people like that. I love Poe, even if it’s not the same way I love you. I don’t want to hurt people I care about.”
Ben scoffed. “He wouldn’t even notice. It’s just his sperm."
Rey sighed and put her fork down. “You know it’s not just that. I just want to find another way.”
His eyes caught up to hers and they stared at each other for a moment, still tense.
“I think—” Ben chewed on his words a moment, working his jaw nervously. “I think we should see my teacher. He might have some advice.”
Rey raised her eyebrows. Was this the same teacher that Luke mentioned? The one who believed demonkind should kill the majority of humans and rule the earth? She couldn’t help but be curious about the man. “Okay…”
Ben pulled out his phone and brought the device up to his ear after a few taps. “Hello, sir. I was wondering if you’re free tonight. Rey’s with me and I think we could use some guidance.”
A smile graced his lips a moment later, and he looked over at Rey hopefully. “That would be great. We’ll be over as soon as we finish eating. See you shortly then.”
He hung up, and Rey could tell he was already feeling more confident than before. “I hope you don’t mind, I just figured…”
Rey shook her head. “No, I’m free tonight. If you think it might help...”
Within minutes they were in an Uber. Rey had a to-go bag for the first time since she could remember and wondered if it was odd that she was bringing it along.
“Did you mean it?” Ben asked her as they passed street after street.
“That you love me,” Ben replied. “You’ve never said it before.”
“Yes,” Rey breathed as his hand laced with hers on the leather seat. The material creaked as he shifted towards her. She felt frozen in place, yet the heat of his touch lit a fire inside her.
“I love you, too,” his voice whispered next to her ear before he pressed a kiss to her neck. “My Rey. My beloved.”
Rey felt herself flush. She turned her head towards him, but he tilted downward to kiss along her chin. Sighing into the touch, she squeezed his hand and cursed herself for wanting more.
“Hey guys, no fooling around back there,” their driver called out from the front seat.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” Rey responded immediately, embarrassment coloring her skin a dark red as she tried to pull herself away from Ben.
“No.” Ben wrapped his other arm around her and growled out a few words.
“Okay sorry about that,” the driver said monotonously. “I’ll just let you be.”
Rey’s eyes widened as Ben undid her seatbelt and pulled her into his lap. Her hands grasped his shoulders for balance “What did you just do?”
He grinned wickedly at her as his fingers found their way to her thighs. “Hiding spell. He won’t see what we’re really doing.”
“You didn’t teach me that one?” She didn’t push him away as he pulled her jeans and panties down and ran his hands up her bare ass, too hypnotized by his touch. She probably should have. Instead Rey lifted her hips to allow Ben access to his own pants.
“New spell,” he said gruffly as he undid his fly and pulled out his cock. “My teacher and I created it.”
A moment later he was pumping in and out of her and it was almost too difficult to think with his lips on hers. But one thought did slip past her ecstasy: Sounds like a dangerous spell.
Rey was still coming down from her high as they walked up to an unassuming brownstone. Her mind didn’t think to worry, pressed close to Ben’s chest. It wasn’t until a man older than Rey’s mind could process opened the door and offered his hand to her that her nerves caught up.
“Hello, Rey. My name is Desmond Snoke. Ben has told me a great deal about you.”
She stood up a little straighter as she grasped his clammy hand. It sent an uncomfortable chill down her spine, as did the ungodly scar that created a valley down his face. How he had survived whatever made it, she couldn’t guess. Perhaps someone had tried to kill him and failed. Something about his presence made her feel like running. “Nice to meet you, sir.”
He ushered them in and Rey noticed the fine Victorian styling of the interior. It would have been pleasant, but the wood paneling was stained a strange color—a dark red that reminded her too much of the color of fresh blood.
The sitting room he turned into was no better. There was no light from the outside, just a candelabra dripping onto a side table, which cast the crimson-painted room in unfortunate shadows. Snoke sat in a golden high-backed chair while Ben pushed Rey toward a pair of smaller wooden chairs. She gulped and hoped her anxiety wasn’t showing.
Snoke steepled his fingers and stared. “So, children. You’ve come to me for advice before you mate.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ben nod next to her.
“What exactly is the issue? I trust that Ben here has explained the finer details to you, Rey.”
Snoke turned his imposing stare solely onto her. Rey couldn’t think of anything she wanted less than to discuss any of her problems with this man.
“I-I just…” she paused. “I don’t want to hurt humans in order to mate.”
Snoke laughed. “Hurt them? My dear, there are billions of humans on this earth. You won’t make a dent in their numbers at all.”
Rey frowned. “That’s not what I meant. My friends—”
Snoke waved a hand to stop her. “Your friends are a threat to your life, child. You should keep them at arm’s length, if you must indeed keep them. Is this why you’re having trouble, Ben?”
Ben glanced at Rey, then back to Snoke. She saw his hands curl on his thighs and his jaw grind itself once before he answered. “Yes. She wants to find another way. One that’s less traumatic for the humans.”
With a dramatic sigh, Snoke leaned back into his chair, covering his eyes with a bony hand. “Oh, how I miss the days when we could just swoop in and fuck without too many questions. It was much simpler when all the humans cared about was whether or not you looked clean enough.”
How old was the man? Rey wondered. His words seemed reminiscent of a time that was too far past for a normal life-span, and the fact that he couldn’t see the world had changed since made her uncomfortable. “My friends are the only family I’ve ever really had. And they’re not the ones I would sleep with anyway. I have a boyfriend.”
“A boyfriend,” Snoke scoffed. “All you young fools worry too much about developing relationships with your prey instead of just taking what you need. Ben here has made the same mistake.”
Snoke rose and paced the floor in front of their chairs. “Humans will not hesitate to kill us. Why should we pay any respect to them?”
Rey gripped her hands together in her lap. “I grew up as a human after my parents were killed. How else am I supposed to act? I only found out I was a succubus a few months ago!”
Before she could react, Snoke leaned down and placed his hands on the arm rests of her chair, effectively trapping her. “And now you are a powerful demon. Don’t waste your talents, child."
Cringing at his stale breath and fighting back reminders of Plutt breathing into her mouth, Rey pushed herself as far back into the chair as possible and looked Snoke in the eye. “The more I learn about demonkind, the more I realize why humans are so willing to hate us. There has to be a better way to go about feeding and mating!”
“There isn’t,” Snoke shot back.
“I don’t believe you.”
“Then what will you two do? Not have any children? Do you think Ben wants that? Is that what you want?”
“We’ll figure it out,” Rey hissed.
At that Snoke stood up straight again, freeing Rey, and turned to a worried Ben. “Are you going to let her ruin your possibilities of furthering our kind?”
Ben opened his mouth as if to say something in retort, but Snoke spoke again before he could. “We could arrange something, perhaps. If we keep her here, I’m sure we can find a human man willing to pay for the privilege. Remember, your union is about procreation, not love.”
Rey stood quickly, knocking down the chair she was in with a bang. She could see when a red flag was being waved inches away from her face. “I’m leaving.”
She moved too quickly for the old man to catch her, though she saw that he made a feeble attempt as she turned toward the exit.
“Rey, wait!” she heard Ben call out behind her. Snoke had been standing in front of his chair, making it harder for him to get up and chase after her. She was already out the door and running down the street when he caught up to her.
He grabbed her arm to stop her, and Rey pulled it away with a yelp. She kept moving. If she didn’t, she wasn’t sure what would happen to her. Would Ben take her back to that man to be mated against her will?
Unfortunately Ben’s legs were long and he was beside her in another moment, even as she raced. He whipped in front of her and held out his arms, forcing her to stop or move around him.
“Rey, please, ” he begged.
Rey stopped, pulling her hands up into fists, ready to fight back if she needed to. But Ben didn’t reach to grab her.
“How could you be involved with that… that monster? ” she shouted, not caring who heard them. “Did you really think he could help?”
Her mate looked utterly miserable, as if Rey had broken his heart again. “I thought he would know something more… I’m sorry, Rey.”
Rey gave him a look of disdain, but dropped her arms to her sides and straightened. “I won’t go back in there. Not after what he said.”
“You don’t have to,” he said, a hint of pleading in his voice. “I won’t make you.”
They ended up at his apartment, Ben wrapping a protective arm around Rey as they headed home on the subways. She had forgotten her food and her jacket at Snoke’s house, though Ben promised to retrieve the latter.
“I don’t want you to go back there,” Rey whispered. “That man is evil.”
“He’s not evil. He just wants to increase our numbers,” Ben sighed. “We’re in danger of extinction.”
“He’s evil,” she repeated, frowning up at him as he unlocked the front door. “He threatened to tie me up and have men come and rape me!”
“That— That part was uncalled for. And I’m sorry you had to hear him spout shit like that,” Ben said as he let her into the apartment. “But what he knows about our kind… Our history. Our customs, our lost arts, and spells. It’s invaluable, Rey. Demonkind needs him.”
Rey shot him a withering look before stomping towards the living room. How could he?
“Don’t be mad at me, please,” Ben called as he followed her.
“You’re siding with a man who threatened me!” She growled before she sat on the sofa, arms crossed, trying not to look at her mate. “You know what happened to me as a child! How could you side with him after he threatened me like that?”
Ben kneeled before her, his hands rubbing her knees as he looked up in her eyes. “Rey, that’s not it at all. His knowledge is useful to us. It needs to be passed onto the next generation. He can say all the horrible stuff he wants because he knows what he has is invaluable to our kind. But I won’t ever let him do anything to you. I won’t let anyone harm you.”
Looking down into his pleading eyes, Rey felt her anger begin to waver.
“You don’t ever have to go near him again, beloved,” he took one of her hands and kissed it.
“Promise?” she sighed.
He clambered onto the couch beside her, quickly wrapping an arm around her shoulder and pressing a kiss to her forehead.
“Now what?” She asked softly.
“Up to you,” Ben murmured, nuzzling the top of her head.
Ben wound up eating her out on the couch, then they fucked in the bedroom with her legs over his shoulders, then again up against the wall in the shower when they’d meant to clean up before falling asleep. Now that they were in the dream space, they could continue what their exhausted bodies could not.
At one point when she was on her back and he was lapping too gently at her, she absentmindedly wondered why it was so easy to fall back into sex. Perhaps it was their very nature, constantly craving that which they fed upon—a sort of gluttony. It wiped away their desire to really talk to each other, and that was really a shame, but…
He had grown tired of using just his tongue and Rey’s thoughts collapsed. But guilt rotted in her gut as she came.
She woke up happy. Ben was by her side. Ben was on her side, and Rey had an idea. It wasn’t a perfect idea, but it was something. The hope it gave her filled her with a feeling of lightness and ease, which let her know that it was at least a good idea. Maybe even a solution.
The room glowed in the early morning, light seeping in from under the shades, just barely bright. Ben’s pale face seemed almost angelic this way, still asleep and relaxed.
Soon he stirred, pulled out of the dream space by her absence. When his eyes fluttered open, his face transformed with a smile.
“Hi,” he croaked, voice still hoarse from sleep.
“Morning, sleepyhead,” Rey responded as she scooted closer to him in the sheets. She kissed him, letting them get tangled up in the physical again for a moment longer.
“I have an idea,” she whispered after pushing his eager lips back. “About mating.”
Ben’s eyebrows raised quickly and his face grew serious. “What is it?”
Rey chuckled. “Honestly, it’s basically the same… The only difference is that you and Phasma would stay together and raise our child. We wouldn’t take it away from her.”
An alarmed look in his eyes, Ben leaned away from her, mulling it over in his head. “But… how would the child know what they are then?”
“You’d be there to teach them, of course.”
Ben frowned as he thought more. “But she’d leave me. Eventually, she’d grow tired of her energy being sapped.”
Rey shrugged. “You two spend a lot of time apart, right? Maybe keep it that way. Encourage her to keep seeing other people. You don’t have to still have sex together to raise a child.”
“That might work,” Ben said, nodding slowly. “It’d be pretty risky though. What if she found out?”
Rey bit her lip. She didn’t think it that far through, but there was always that nagging possibility. “We’d have to think of a plan for if it does, I suppose.”
Ben nodded again, lost in the idea and staring at some point that might have been her tits if he was truly looking.
“That’s... that’s doable,” he finally said. “We could do that.”
Rey smiled at him. “I know it’s not perfect. We couldn’t live together unless you and Phasma split up, but we’ll still have ways to be together and it’s better. It’s less hurtful. And you’re right in a way… I don’t think Poe or anyone else I might end up with will miss their sperm much.”
“It’s pretty genius, Rey,” he said, his smile returning too.
They lingered in bed, just kissing, so satisfied to finally find a solution. Eventually Rey had to drag herself away, citing plans with Poe later that day. She showered while he made them a quick breakfast.
By the time they had finished, Rey needed a bathroom again. She slipped in and pulled her pants down, wincing at how cold the toilet seat was before settling in. She looked around at all the things in there. It was the most lived-in room with all the bottles and brushes and other things Ben used.
Her eyes swept towards a little closet across from the toilet. It probably held linens or a washing machine, if Rey had to guess, but what really caught her attention was a rust-colored dot on the white tile just before it.
Quickly, she finished up and washed her hands, taking a piece of wet toilet paper to wipe the blood away. Perhaps Ben had cut himself shaving one day, she thought. But when she crouched down she noticed a piece of paper sticking out from the door as well—a business card.
Without thinking, she pulled it out and read it.
Law Offices of Duc, Vinh, & Bùi
Rey frowned, wondering if it was the same Thomas Bùi that Rose knew, the one that had been murdered alongside his family. She flipped the card over and nearly dropped it.
The other side was covered in blood splatter. It looked like more blood than just a little cut.
Rey could guess the kind of force it took to create it.
She hid her gasp behind her hand and stood. She very much wanted to leave it there and assume Ben had it in his possession by some strange mistake. Yet when she looked back at the door that the card had been under, she knew she had to open it. Something was there, but she couldn’t be certain of anything she was seeing until she did that.
Her hand shook with fear as she grasped the doorknob and twisted. At the top of the closet was a normal shelf with a number of white towels stacked neatly. Below that, an empty hook up valve for a washer/dryer unit. And below that was a hamper.
The clothes inside were white and heavily stained with blood.
Rey’s knees gave out and she scrambled to mask the sound of her body hitting the floor.
“You okay, beloved?” Ben asked from somewhere in the living room.
“I’m fine!” she called back, hoping her shaky voice sounded like pain instead of fear and shock. “I accidentally kicked my toe into the wall!”
Her head turned back to the hamper and she bit her lip to keep from whimpering out loud. Her mind tried to race for a plausible explanation. A music video shoot? No, Ben had said they were still writing and recording their next album. A party? It was the wrong time of year for Halloween costumes. Perhaps she should have searched for more evidence than a business card and stained clothing, but her mind kept landing back at one conclusion: Ben, her Ben, was the one murdering human families all around the city.
Immediately, her mind switched to survival mode. Rey shot up and looked in the mirror. Her normally rosy complexion was pale, her eyes involuntarily wide as her brain processed information. If she was going to get out of this apartment without attracting any suspicion, she would have to look normal. Showing her fear would only get her hurt.
Rey doused her face in water and slapped it a few times to make it the usual shade of pink. Taking a deep breath in, she assessed the situation. She’d need to close the door for starters. Dry off her face. Then she would have to walk outside, smile, and kiss a serial killer goodbye.
When her heartbeat and breathing returned to a calmer pace, she did just that.
Her journey home was full of questions. Why? When? How did he manage to avoid suspicion? How had she never noticed?
Her blood ran cold when she thought of Snoke, that evil man in that evil house. Luke had been right about him. He must have pushed Ben to commit such horrible acts in the name of his cause. And then there had been that night when Ben lashed out at her and frightened her…
It dawned on her, as the pieces she knew began to fall into place, that the reason why Snoke had created the hiding spell was to allow Ben to literally get away with murder.
By the time Rey arrived at her apartment, she felt nauseous. She was bound to a man who could kill without abandon, who was willing to kill innocent children. He wanted to mate with her, create children of their own… so why?
She contemplated confronting Ben with what she had seen, asking him all these questions. But this was no ordinary couple’s fight. This was an attempt at genocide. No matter the reason, he was hurting people. Ben. Her mate. The one she was fated to be with. The one she spent every night with in the dream space.
A shudder passed through her as she thought about having to see him again that night. Rey wondered if there was some way to prevent their shared dreams, but she knew of none. Another horrific feeling: even if she reported Ben to the police and had him put in jail, they would still be together in their sleep.
She reached for Luke’s book and sat down on the couch, desperately searching for something that could help her. Perhaps a spell that broke their bond, or something that could quiet the murderous instincts of her mate. There was nothing. Just spells and notes on certain traditions, and the bonds of mates. Not a single thing that could provide her solace from her racing mind and the horror she felt. Did Luke just take pity on her and give her a Succubus 101 textbook?
Sighing in frustration, Rey closed the pages. She needed to think and plan a way to keep herself away from Ben.
Her date with Poe had been the bright part of her day since the awful revelation she experienced in Ben’s apartment. It felt nice to be with someone normal, to think about normal things like what to have for dinner or what movie they wanted to watch. Rey missed that feeling dearly. Craving it, she let it lull her into a false sense of security.
But then the hero of the movie watched an innocent person get killed by the villian, and Rey’s mind was sent straight back to all her problems.
The killer— Ben —struck every few days. Sometimes more than one family at a time. If Rey was going to do anything about him, she needed to act fast before anyone else died.
She couldn’t waste any time.
I’m mad at you, she told Ben as soon as he entered the dream space. You didn’t teach me the hiding spell.
Ben cocked an eyebrow at her. What would you even use it for?
Rey shrugged. I just want to learn all I can. I missed out on so much growing up. And it’s pretty cool that you can make a new spell, you know?
Ben smiled and leaned in for a kiss. She let him. She had to order for her plan to work.
Buying a gun was so easy, it was disgusting. She hadn’t done any research, so she just bought the first thing the salesman suggested “for protection” that wasn’t pink.
“I d-d-don’t blame you for picking something up, little m-m-miss. Not with that s-serial killer on the loose,” the man said. “S-smart move.”
Rey just nodded and acted as if she wasn’t about to murder someone. It was easy. After all, she had years of experience pretending like terrible things weren’t happening to her.
She scribbled a note down on a piece of lined paper. It was stupid to leave evidence, but at the same time, she wanted whoever found his body to know why she had killed Ben. Or at least part of the reason why.
Ben Solo is the serial killer.
Now he has paid for his crimes.
I’m sorry I couldn’t stop him sooner.
Rey folded it up and tucked it into her pants pocket before she left for work.
I told Poe we could stop using condoms now.
I’m going over to his house tonight
Should we try later?
Yup I thought we could
Is Phasma back?
Yeah she is
Rey hadn’t really planned this part. It didn’t really matter where she killed him as long as no one caught her in the act. But if Phasma was home, that meant his apartment was out of the question. If she used her apartment, then the murder would be traced back to her instantly.
It took her a moment to think, then she switched over to Google Maps. She found it, almost perfectly placed between Poe’s apartment and Ben’s. The Corona Gardens were always deserted late at night and isolated enough that a gunshot or two wouldn’t bring quite as much attention.
You want to fuck there?
Lol you fucked me in an uber
Figured you’d like it
Maybe I do
She spent the evening with Poe as planned. He cooked her a delicious meal of Chicken Pepián with rice, and they settled down to watch a movie together. Rey made sure to cuddle up close to him so that Poe’s scent would rub onto her clothes and her skin. Within a half hour, her back was flat against the couch cushions and Poe’s crotch rubbed against hers as he pressed his tongue into her mouth.
“God, I missed you, baby,” Poe murmured when he moved to suck on her neck. “I’m glad the waiting’s over.”
“Me too,” she smiled. The words were true for the first time in a while. She had taken Poe for granted. Sweet, normal, not-a-murderer Poe. He was a good cook, and she really did appreciate the attention he lavished on her. Rey was going to spoil him rotten when all this was over.
Bringing a purse to the gardens was probably a bad idea, but Rey needed something to hide her gun and her knife during work and her date with Poe. Both were quickly transferred to their hiding places in her jacket before she entered. Thank goodness she already had a coat with inside pockets. And thank goodness it was so chilly that it would make sense that she was wearing a thick down jacket.
She puffed out a breath of hot air out and watched it float away in the darkness, then sucked in a deeper breath and steeled herself. Her heart was already beating too fast. The park was decorated for the upcoming holidays already. That made things less dark than she’d hoped, but at least it was easy enough to spot Ben on the other side of the entrance.
He bent down to kiss her cheek, his eyes sparkling with excitement like a schoolboy. Ben slipped his hand into hers and Rey had to suppress a shudder.
“You ready?” He asked.
Rey smiled and nodded, trying not to dwell on the fact that they were thinking about two different things. She let Ben lead her further into the gardens, as they searched for a secluded spot.
“Are you nervous?” Ben asked, clearly fishing for conversation as she stayed silent. Rey didn’t trust her voice right now.
“Mmhm,” was all she managed. It was a good cover for her fear.
“Don’t be. The only thing different is where we’re doing it.” He pulled her in front of him and pressed her body into his, settling his hands over her hips. Rey gasped quietly and prayed that he didn’t brush against the gun.
“I know,” she whispered, and leaned in carefully to kiss him.
Her heart thudded as she pulled back and smiled at him. Just these few light touches and kisses were enough to distract her. Rey’s mind immediately went to dark places.
If you kill him, you’ll never have this again with anyone else.
That stung. She wondered how others whose mates had been killed handled it. Maybe Leia or Luke could tell her… Guilt pierced her heart as she realized she would be hurting Ben’s sweet mother with her actions. Leia didn’t deserve the heartbreak. She sternly reminded herself that the families of Ben’s victims didn’t deserve it either.
Ben stepped ahead of her, pulling on Rey’s hand to lead her into the trees. Up ahead was mostly darkness, though her eyes began to get used to it as the sparkling lights faded behind them. She quietly pulled the gun from its pocket and fingered the safety. She’d have to wait to unlatch it so as not to draw Ben’s attention. Carefully she held it behind her back, trying to assess the right moment. Were they far enough away from the main paths yet? It was hard to tell above the sound of her own heart thudding away at the walls of her chest.
With a deep breath, Rey decided to act.
She clicked the safety off and hooked her finger around the trigger, raising it up to Ben’s back. “Why did you kill all those families?”
He whipped around just as she dropped his hand. Taking a step back, she steadied the gun with her other hand and made sure her aim was still true.
“What? I-” For a moment, he fumbled until his eyes adjusted and he spotted her gun. Then a look of panic took over his face.
“I saw it, Ben. The shirts in your bathroom. Mr. Bùi’s business card with blood all over it. He was Rose’s friend, you know.” Her voice wobbled slightly, betraying her nervousness. “Why did you kill them?”
His eyes darted up from the gun to her eyes. She shifted the gun to aim for his head and raised her eyebrows. “Answer me!”
A sneer transformed his face, and Rey felt her stomach drop. She recognized that expression of superiority and it chilled her to see it on Ben’s face. “I did it for you! For our family! The fewer humans there are, the easier it will be for us! ”
“I never would have wanted such a thing!” She shot back. “Did Snoke tell you to do it?”
Ben growled. “He didn’t need to tell me anything! He and I agree about what should be done with those who stand in our kind’s way”
Rey fought back the tears that threatened to spill. He was lost. His charm gone to some other darkness within him. Had the Ben she knew ever been real?
“You’re disgusting,” she said.
“Growing up with humans has made you weak! You’re stronger than that, Rey,” he snapped. “You won’t ever shoot me. You’ll never be able to have children without me.”
“There’s always adoption, Ben.”
“Adoption? Ha! Did that go well for you?”
Without further pause, she pulled the trigger.
Rey tried to think back on all the movies she’d seen where someone got shot. It wasn’t like any of that. The force of the gun made her step back and shake. Before her, Ben staggered back and she couldn’t even see where she’d hit him until he clutched at his hip. He roared in pain at his own touch and Rey thought he might fall down, but instead he lunged wildly at her.
She ran, desperate to put more space between her and Ben. But if she strayed to the main paths where it was easier to run, Rey might get caught by a bystander. And, worst of all, Ben was definitely not dead yet.
He staggered after her, calling her name. He was slower, but those long legs could close the gap between them quickly. She could still hear him too close behind her. Pulling out the knife, she unsheathed it just in case he got too close and she needed to attack quickly.
Rey jumped behind a tree and began moving in a different direction. If she could hide, maybe she would be able to surprise him and finish this whole mess. Quickly, she whispered the words of the hiding spell to herself and crouched low, moving carefully until she found a hollow where she thought she might be safe for a moment.
Her legs were stiff from squatting for so long, and Rey straightened herself slowly, trying to listen for Ben’s location. She couldn’t hear or see him, her heart beat pounding too loudly in her ears from panic and exertion, and her eyes frazzled by the flash of the gun. Had she lost him entirely?
“The spell doesn’t work well on other demons,” he growled from beside her. “You can smell them if you get close.”
Rey turned just as Ben lunged for her, wrapping a large hand around her throat. The impact left her choking for breath immediately.
“What do you want me to do, Rey?” he sneered. “Do you want me to take you back to Snoke and let him whore you out just so we can mate? Is that what you want?”
Rey let out a strangled sob and lifted the gun to his chest, right over his heart. “Fuck you, Ben.”
Ben roared and grabbed her hand, twisting it hard as he tried to push it away from himself. From there it all seemed to happen so quickly, yet slowly. Rey yelped as her hand was bent in the wrong direction. She heard the sound, saw the flash at the edge of her vision, even felt the impact on her stomach. Yet it didn’t register that she was the one who took the bullet until Ben froze and looked down.
“Shit!” he screamed. “NO! FUCK!”
His grip loosened on her neck and she leaned against the tree behind her. Only then did the pain hit.
“Rey! Are you…?”
It made her dizzy at first, and then within the dizziness was an ache of emptiness. It felt like she had been punched clear through her stomach, left only with a hole where her torso should have been, like one of those cartoons with fake violence.
She dropped the stupid gun, her hand didn’t have the energy to hold it anymore. The knife on the other hand…
Slowly, her eyes made it back up to Ben. He seemed panicked and unfocused.
She could feel his hands pressed to her stomach, which hurt more than anything else did, and something warm flooding her clothing. But more importantly, she needed to refocus and kill Ben, and he had stopped fighting her.
Her first jab was wild, inelegant. It sliced up the right side of his face, which sent blood splattering onto the both of them. The pain of it sent Ben falling to the ground, clutching at his cheek and forehead.
Somehow Rey managed to kneel on the ground next to him, with enough power in her arms to thrust the knife into his gut. Then she repeated the same action on his shoulder, his chest, his neck, ignoring his screams of pain.
She ripped at him until blood leaked past his lips and she had the urge to wipe it away. She was getting tired anyway. Breathing was hard and the ache made her senses dull. Something registered that she might be seriously injured, so her hands found her stomach and tried to locate the wound. There was too much wetness to be sure where it was. All Rey could feel was blood spilling out.
That’s a lot to lose all at once, she thought hazily.
She laid herself down next to Ben and moved his arm away from his face to wipe at the blood that had now dribbled down his chin. Rey wouldn’t let him die totally alone. She couldn’t do that to someone she loved.
“I’m sorry, Ben. I wanted to make it work. I really did,” she whispered as she tried to clear the runny liquid away. There was too much of it, though. It was a losing battle.
Ben’s eyes fluttered, then slowly moved to hers as if he had forgotten about her existence. She cupped his pained face and stroked at his uncut cheek. “If only you didn’t kill all those people, Ben. I could have loved you forever. I think I always will.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and groaned in pain.
“Shh, shh, I won’t leave you, baby,” Rey said. She leaned forward and gave him a kiss, blood be damned. She would be a comfort in those final moments, if only sleep didn’t call her so strongly.
Oh. Am I dying too?
“Ben?” A moan came from his lips, but his eyes were just barely open now. Rey pressed her forehead to his. “Do demons believe in heaven?”
“No,” his voice was almost nothing, barely eking out past his lips.
“Maybe they’ll let us stay together in hell then?” she asked, her own voice growing weaker with every word.
His only response was a shallow, sucking breath. It was a sound she had heard many times before. All those times when she sat in patients’ rooms as a patient monitor while studying for her degree.
Ben was gone and only she remained.
Somehow the tears and sobs came freely, full of energy and vigor she didn’t have. Pulling herself closer to his lifeless body, Rey wrapped herself in his arms. Touching him didn’t feel the same at all. In fact, she didn’t feel a thing except the pain in her heart, the ache of her wound, and the deep tug of sleep.
“Don’t leave me alone, Ben,” she whimpered. “I don’t want to be alone.”
She gave into the urge to shut her eyes. If she slept, she could see Ben. If she slept, she didn’t have to be in a world without him. So Rey let sleep take her, the scent of pine and blood in her nostrils as she faded away.
Ill, I arrived
And to make myself better, I became lazy
Don’t give me your obedience
Because I showed you my muddied body
And where the skin was weak
With a hunger that won’t let me sing
In my life
The darkness maintains me
When I saw you in the rain
You promised me your blood
I don’t stay in my life
The darkness maintains me
When I saw you in the rain
you promised me your blood
I don’t stay…
And since you’ve fallen from this world
I’ve carried a blade, my God, for you
How many times did you bite me?
And how many times did I leave?
I am no longer enamored
With your lies
In hell I sleep
Because this hell is the only truth...
...In my life
The darkness maintains me
When I saw you in the rain
You promised me your blood
I don’t stay in my life
The darkness maintains me
When I saw you in the rain
You promised me your blood
I don’t stay…
Samael, I shall chase you
And if my wings are burnt away
I will die for you
Chapter 5 art by Yodah
Lyrics by The Mars Volta (and shitty English translation by me)
Well, here we are at the end. I suspect a few of you will be a bit stunned by it. My original idea for this fic was 100% romantic/HEA, and somehow it became an amalgamation of my thoughts on various things like pregnancy and how society pushes women towards it too much (among other things.) Don't ask me how that happened, the outlining process was a whirlwind for me and it was during a very stressful period of this past year.
I will say that the ending of this fic in no way represents my thoughts on how TRoS will go. My preference for my own AU fics is that they don't follow the canon too closely. The occasional "you're not alone" is good enough for me.
Thanks again to all the artists who created the chapter art, the Reylo Fanfiction Anthology mods for pushing me to create this work, my beta readers, and everyone else like persimonne who looked at my outline and said "yep, this is solid."
This fic is my baby and it's made me proud to see all the attention it's gotten, even though it's a bit messy and overambitious at times.
Thanks for reading!