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The Light Within Us - A Regency Reylo AU Story

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“Good. Again!” Lord Ren urged, quickly wiping the sweat from his brow. 

The heat in the forgotten stables of Naboo was stifling. 

Rey grumbled but followed his order and advanced on him with precision and speed. The impact of each strike reverberated through their arms, the sensation familiar as it spurred them on equally. 

Paired with the sound of metal against metal the rhythm they created sang an ancient song that echoed off the crumbling walls around them just as it had the grounds of both Alderaan and Naboo for the past few weeks.  

They’d worked together, slow and awkward at first, until Rey found her strength.

She truly gave it her all today, and her determination showed. 

“Good!” Ren called again over the clatter, his smile wide in spite of his effort to keep her at bay.  

Again and again she advanced and struck until she saw her moment and slipped her sword around his, knocking Rens’ blade aside to push the tip of her weapon to his throat. 

Wide eyed with amazement at her ability and a twinge of fear, his eyes focused on the would be deadly point of the blade, but the feeling was instantly replaced with pride and a fierce desire the moment he looked down the length of steel to her beaming face. 

“Very good.” He concluded with a sincere nod that made her grin. 

“Enough for today?” Rey asked sounding pleased. 

She lowered her sword and turned, walking back towards the makeshift stand where they’d been keeping the dull blades.  

The swagger in her stride made Ren laugh to himself. 

Lady Palpatine was feeling quite accomplished lately, but to be fair, she had beaten him three times today alone. Her confidence was well earned.

But yes, that was indeed enough, any more and he would not be able to show the restraint needed to continue as master and student. 

Her training had proven to be a true test of his own temperament. 

She had been right all those weeks ago. If she needed someone to teach her how to fight, he needed someone to show him patience. 

Between teaching her the movements and technique, he’d learned control by slowing his pace and working with her until she knew each step. Only then could they be put together, and this could not be rushed, nor could he explode in anger when she got it wrong like he was so inclined to do, though a few times he had shouted at her, which Rey more than gave right back. 

Aside from the swordplay, Ren had also learned the patience needed when getting to really know a woman. 

He’d never been the sort to force himself on anyone, but he’d never actually had to wait either. Rich men’s daughters found him dangerous, pretty girls stuck in taverns thought he was an escape, and bored Ladies found him thrilling.  

Rey, was not so easily won over. She’d given in to that first kiss, wanting it just as badly as he, but a true Lady, she insisted they act with some decorum and had not allowed him much more than a few stolen kisses when no one was looking. The resulting want that ached in his body had been yet another lesson in living life as a patient man. 

But damn it all if she wasn’t the most desirable woman. In that simple white cotton dress she wore for training, she became irresistible.

Especially with his imminent departure approaching quickly.  

Joining her at their makeshift stand, he put away his weapon, stealing a glance at the glow of sweat along her bare arms and face, noting the glisten along her collar bones even over the curve of her breasts. He drew a strained breath stepping away. 

Rey casually handed him a towel which he quickly used to rub the filthy, wonderful thoughts from his mind, pressing it against his hot face until he could look at her again. 

“Your best yet my Lady.” He told her, clearing his throat and regaining his composure. She smiled with a light bow in thanks.

“I really felt it today.” She still radiated a distinct feeling of accomplishment. “I’m not certain but, it’s as though the two weeks you were away gave my mind time to connect with my body? And now, I can not remember having ever not known the way.”

He smiled at her adoringly when she turned. 

“Will you come back next week?” She asked sheepishly. 

He sighed a bit and looked out the empty window frame to the pond. It sat on his land but was a quick five minute walk away. Hoping she would accept his change in topic, he nodded towards the water. “It’s a bit hot, don’t you think my Lady?”

She rolled her eyes at his attempt to distract her but nodded as she dabbed the towel along her neck and shoulders. “Oh yes, nearly unbearable. What on earth has gotten into us, sparing for so long” She teased.

Ren eyed her “It’s hard to stop once you find your stride.” He said reaching over to give her cheek a soft rub with the back of his hand. 

“As we have” She said gently looking up at him. 

She really was so beautiful. Her brown eyes could look at him with the terrifying intensity of the sun, or as she did now, the innocence of a lamb. 

He sat on the sill and took her hands “Come with me, for a swim, before I…”

“Before you go.” She finished for him. 

He could not say it, and the silence was thick. Rey pulled free turning her back to walk to the open doorway.

This place was like a dream, a ruin of stone and moss and ivy and she the pale ghost to haunt it. He took a moment to admire her before joining her side. 

“I am sorry my Lady.” He offered knowing she did not want the apology. She wanted him, and he could never deny wanting to stay with her, but his work called him away. The First Order required much more attention than he'd been giving it lately.  

Ren had very nearly built an army of like minded men and women with nothing more than his quality as a leader and a little persuasion from the muscle of his Knights. 

The violence that happened in dark alleys and behind closed doors was not dignified but he knew what must be done to ensure their continued rise. This most assuredly included him returning to their northern headquarters as often as he could.  

Which meant, he would have to let his Lady down. 

With a bit of a grimace Ren reminded himself of his weeks schedule which had been looming over his head for days.

He was to meet with Hux again. He hated the tight faced upstart but could not deny his dedication and value to the movement.

They were working together on securing one of their men in a position close to the King that could see them set for some time.  It could not be missed. Still, he felt a special sort of anger towards his compatriot for pulling his attentions away so soon after having just come back.

And now, before he left for the cold north and Hux's regrettable company, Ren wanted to give her more than just the memory of him as her instructor.

He wanted to remind Rey that he was the man who loved her, though the words had not been spoken, there were other ways to say it. 

Rey smiled when he slipped his hand around her elbow and gently pulled her out into the grass. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” She asked with a giggle. 

“I want to take you away for a while.”

“And if my grandfather should call?”

“He wont.”

“And if a servant sees? Don’t you worry about your reputation?” She asked only half teasing.

“Do you worry about yours Lady Palpatine?”

She scoffed and gave him a light smack on the shoulder, the very same she’d wounded just a few weeks ago. “The Lady Aaron thinks that we spend our time running naked across the moors. She’s been working very hard to inform our fellow villagers.”

“Doing what?” He asked stopping in his tracks, drawing away from her. “Who?”

Rey laughed, tossing her head back “The Lady Aaron! She has been busy spreading quite a few rather scandalous rumors my dear Lord Ren.”

“I should pay this Lady a visit.” He said, dark eyes narrowing as Rey walked past him.

“Hush,” She said looking up at the sky as she went. “She’s a lonely old woman, let her find some joy through ours in her final days.” She said and turned to him. 

“If we must. But let us at least give her something to truly speak of.” He said and walked up on her in a way that made Rey bite her lip.

She inhaled quickly, nearly intoxicated by his overwhelming size as he swept her up like a bride. 

It made her laugh and she crossed her arms behind his neck. 

He stood holding her for a moment, just enjoying the sight of her eyes level with his own before kissing her.

Walking forward, very sure of his steps, Ren pulled away only when they neared the edge of the pond. 

Setting her down, he stepped on the heel of one tall boot to slide it off, and then the other before leaning over to roll up his breeches. 

Rey followed suit kicking off her own shoes and gathering her dress up between her legs. She walked to the water and sat down on the long grass letting the cool ripples lap at her ankles. 

Squinting against the sun she looked up smiling at him. “It is so peaceful here.” She said tossing a few pebbles. 

He reached down to rub her neck for a moment before sitting beside her. “It is.”

Ren leaned back on his side, propped up on his elbow, enjoying the view of her face from this angle. It was very rare for him to look up at her.

“Do you really need to leave?” She asked leaning back on her flat palms, her toes spread in the cool water. 

Hanging his head for a moment Ren sighed. “I must...And you must not forget me”

Rey rolled her eyes. “Surely you don’t believe that to be a possibility”

“In my absence anything is possible.”

“But not that.” She replied to the water.

“Show me” He said reaching out to turn her face to him. 

“Pardon?”

“Show me” He said taking her by the chin and bringing her face down to his. 

The kiss was deep, a call back to their first, but this, he would see through to something more. 

When he did pull away, Rey was breathing heavy on her back. 

“Kylo, how can you even suggest I forget this, or you or what we have”  She was stroking his face and playing with his hair and every touch felt like fire to him. She was the burning heat of his love in flesh form and all he wanted was to be consumed by her… but not yet. That time would come. Until then, he would leave an impression on his dear lady. 

Leaning back to rest his head on his fist,  Ren used the other hand to run his finger along the ups and downs of her profile lingering a bit on her lips before slipping down, along her neck and to the first hint of the valley between her breast.

With the lightest touch, he traced the soft curves and then slowly, so that she may feel it, he closed his hand around her neck. He was careful but it was enough that Rey looked up at him with wide eyed alarm. “I won’t hurt you,” He said every so slightly tightening “Not unless you ask me to.”

Her response was immediate. She shut her eyes and slowly raised her throat just enough to imply that the pressure was welcome. 

There had been an unspoken understanding between them during their sparring sessions. They took such pleasure in pushing one another, small injuries were had, but something about the pain in it urged them on. He’d even given her backside a slap when she'd tried another dirty trick while training. Her little yelp and the flush in her cheeks had made him nearly throw her over his knee. Now, he wanted to explore it without the burden of a blade in his hand. 

She took a light breath and the sound made him shut his eyes. 

“I would like,” She whispered “For you to do with me as you will, until I say it is enough.”

He opened his eyes and looked down on her in this vulnerable position. She was always so headstrong and determined. It would be interesting to see how she would respond to his hinting at his own natural dominance. 

Letting go of her neck, he slid his hand down over the smooth flat front of her dress to her thighs and slowly began to gather the dress up. 

Rey tensed as the threat of exposure seemed to frighten her, but she did not say no, and so he went on, inch by inch pulling until her long legs stretched out towards the water. 

He sat up on his side, gently brushing along her bare skin. Up and down, back and forth until she made a little mewling sound that put a fierce strain on his breeches. 

He pushed the dress up just an inch or so more, her plain white under things fluttering a bit in the late spring breeze.

Slowly, he pulled her thighs apart, not so much that she might be shown to him, but enough to hint at what lay beneath her coverings. He admired the sight before returning his attention north.

“Open your mouth” He said, his deep voice resonate. 

She obeyed a bit nervously, and he gripped her chin while pressing the tip of his index finger to her lips until she allowed him to push his way into her mouth. 

Encompassed by her warmth and the wetness he knew was matched in another area, Ren sighed willing himself to stay calm. 

He drew himself up towards her face, pushing in deeper, watching in awe as her eyes searched his. She was breathing heavy with excitement, her mouth reflexively starting to suck gently making him groan. 

Hard as a stone, he had to pull his finger from her mouth and kissed her passionately as he reached down, taking that wet finger and slipping it between her legs. 

Her gasp was lost against him. 

He did not go too far, just enough to show her that he knew the delight she held there. Light as a feather, he ran his finger up and down her soft skin until he parted those lips as well and felt her slickness match that of his finger. 

She nearly growled in response.

“Look at me.” He said and she hesitantly obeyed turning her head a bit to see him. 

Rey still looked slightly afraid, but he would not cause her real harm. “Don’t look away.” He said and she bit her lip moaning again as he raised his finger to find that sweet, swollen spot.

She moaned loudly and shut her eyes. 

“Open them, look at me. Do not look away.”

One again she obeyed though it proved to be very difficult for her. 

Around and around, slowly, he worked, sometimes dipping down to her opening to bring up more of her natural lubricant. 

Her hips were rocking gently, her moans fading to quick heavy breaths. He looked down to enjoy the sight of his large hand pressed between her slim thighs, then back up to her face where she waited for him to command her again. 

Instead he said, “I will leave you, but I will come back. And you will wait for me?”

“Yes” she breathed. 

“Because you are mine.”

Rey’s mouth shut she moaned again, her head lolling to the side as he gently circled his finger. 

“Say it.” He said calmly, working faster now, the pressure more firm. 

“Because I’m yours.” She managed. 

“And I am yours,” He replied lovingly before his eyes went cold “Your Lord and master.”

She whimpered a nod. 

“Say it.”

She shook her head and shut her eyes. 

Ren pulled his hand away so abruptly then that she gasped, startled by the loss, only to feel him wrap his fingers around her throat, his grip tighter this time.

“Say it.”

She opened her eyes parted her lips and obediently said, "You are mine, my Lord and master." Her voice was as light as air.

He nearly smiled and released her, tossing her skirts back up, quickly finding his place again. 

She cried out in response, one thigh laying open without care. Her eyes fluttering shut.

“Please, I can not take more.” She gasped when she thought she would die from the pleasure, having never felt anything so intense before.  

“Yes you can.” He growled, working his arm now. “You're strong, and you're mine” He flashed a pained smile, such was his love for her. “And I am what?” He asked watching her intently. 

She moaned deeply, back arching. “You are mine, my lord and master.” She managed, the mantra as effective as his skilled attention to her. 

“And you will come for me now.” He said and pressed firmly, grabbing and rubbing simultaneously until Rey cried out, her thighs shaking and her breath stopped. 

The world froze for five glorious seconds. Ren’s own breath matching hers, the ache in his pants horrible as he watched her climax. 

And then it was done. 

She crashed back to the grass, empty as a shell. 

He watched her chest rising and falling in short, shaking breaths until at last she calmed. 

He pulled Rey's dress down to cover her and laid on the grass, pulling her onto his chest where she stayed until he was nearly certain she’d fallen asleep.But then he felt her small hand reach up to hold his. The very same that had tested her limits. 

“Have you ever had anyone do that to you before?” He asked. 

Rey shot up, her eyes hazy, hair a bit wild. “Lord Ren… Kylo. You can not be serious”

He smiled holding her cheek. “Then I am your first in everything?

“You are.” She said and looked away, shy about it perhaps. “Is it always this way? You… you made me feel.” She paused to find her words “I can not say those things when we're not…”

He laughed and hushed her, pulling her back down to him. “The things that are said when we, well… you must know I see you as a most capable woman. What I said to you then, I mean and I feel, but no one else needs to know.”

“So you won’t make me call you master in front of other people.” She laughed. 

He chuckled and gave her a pat on the back “No, sweet Lady, I will not. But, do not forget what you felt in that moment,” He said in all seriousness. “And that it was me who made you feel it"

She moaned into his shirt feeling that incredible pulsing again and raised up to look at him. “I could never my Lord.” She look away hesitant before meeting his gaze.

“When you come back, I want to feel it again.”

Ren smiled and pulled Rey down to kiss her, already anticipating his return. 

 

**

 

Two days later, Kylo left in the rain, Rey standing at his door, her grandfather by her side.

The two men had formed some strange bond she could not understand but was thankful for it none the less. 

She stood in the doorway, just shy of the windy downpour and watched him go until the coach pulled from view down the wooded drive. Her heart ached as much as her body, still recovering from their endless training. 

This would be the longest wait yet. He’d come and gone often over the last two months, but she could feel it in the air, these doors would not open to him for some time. 

“Come in. You’ll catch a deathly chill.” Palpatine said bluntly. “And let Edmunds serve us tea while we wait for it to stop” 

She nodded and went past him surprised by the way he ever so gently touched her back as she passed. 

It was nearly a loving touch and Rey bit down on her lip to stop herself from spinning and throwing her arms around the old man, she so needed the comfort. 

“My Lord, my Lady, tea is served” Edmunds said bowing as they went to the parlor. 

It was a bit strange to be here without Lord Ren, but it would be silly to walk home in this and rude to Ren’s hospitality. 

They sat in comfortable silence, lost in their own thoughts as the sound of rain brought Rey very near to sleep. She sat her cup down on the little table beside the couch and watched the droplets stream down the window panes. Her eyes lazily followed individual drops on their random paths noting how, much like the sporadic moments of life the water seemed so sure on its way until a new unexpected course took it to the left or right. 

One second you’re a quiet, but hopeful girl living a solemn life, the next you’ve become a woman capable of so many things, your path taken off course in the most wonderful way.

The pitter patter was the song of all the beautiful chaos in the world and she smiled as it sang to her. 

Rey moaned a little and stirred on the soft silk couch, realizing that she had in fact nodded off. 

Opening her eyes, she looked around to find the room empty and the rain finished. There was blanket over her legs and someone had lit a small fire. 

Groggy, she raised up on her arms and looked about for her grandfather. 

Either he was somewhere in this enormous house or he’d gone home. Rey felt a little worry for him on the two mile journey alone, but it quickly faded when she saw something across the room on Ren’s desk. 

A letter sat, the top half pointing up from the fold, a dark red seal calling to her like a spot of blood on a white rug. 

She lowered her legs and sat for a moment wondering if it had been there before. She could not remember, but still, there it was. 

It felt a little sneaky to be looking through his things, but the letter was just out, in the open. If he didn’t want it seen he should have put it away, she reasoned with herself. 

Rising up, she crossed the room and hovered over the desk for a moment before plucking the paper up to scan it quickly. 

It was a request for him to join someone named General Hux with Friday’s date on it.

Formally written and not very interesting she sat it back down. But something about the look of that seal. The First Order. The name seemed to follow her around like a dark shadow. 

They had not talked of it again after their first argument. Neither had been willing to risk the fight, but Rey had been asking questions here and there in other places. 

Her grandfather called the ones who belonged to the party, good countrymen with strong leadership and said that he was "Excited to see any new developments” but some of the folks in town, the Lords and Sirs of the village did not share his enthusiasm. 

“A group of militant riffraff.” Sir Elsby had said at the Two Suns public house. 

Rey hadn’t even been asking that time, she just overheard him talking to some of the other men. 

Rose said she’d written to Mr. Finn and that he was well, but so busy he was unsure of when he’d be back to visit again. Apparently he had gone up in their ranks, which they seemed to have now, and he would be working with others in the north. 

Rey wasn’t sure what to think or feel as she stared down at the paper. Loving someone with so much passion had proven to be quite consuming, she was not sure she could make room for this as well. 

“Snooping are we?”

“Grandfather!” She jumped looking up “I wasn’t, I just, this letter was here and I’ve seen the seal before. On your desk I believe. It’s from the First Order?”

He nodded and joined her. “Yes, Rey. Your Ren seems to be making quite a name for himself.” He said looking at her curiously. 

She looked away, face awash with worry. “ I just don’t know that this group can be trusted. And if he… he’s a good man grandfather I know it.” She said in an attempt to convince herself more so than him. 

“Oh, to be sure of it.” He said, voice heavy with mockery “And good men are capable of doing a great many things. Things that have lasting effects on many people.”

“You think he’s ranked so high?” She asked eyeing him. 

Palpatine shrugged “I think he’s a natural leader, and you should be prepared to see him less, a movement needs its momentum.”

His words stung her heart. She nearly sat in Ren’s chair, but steadied herself on the desk. “I can not believe he would leave me, not after… “She glanced up and looked away before he could read her mind. “He’ll come back of course, I just worry that this group is much more than I’ve allowed myself to believe. ”

“You are still a child. A girl trying to fit into a world too grand for you.” Palpatine said looking deep into her eyes. 

Rey stood up straight suddenly feeling a chill. 

The old man didn’t look so very old just then, and for an instant she could see the sort of man he must have been once, a long time ago. And that man was not kind or good. 

“Mark my words young woman. There are changes coming. You would be wise to keep him close. But if you can not accept the change, then let him go.”

“What does that mean?” She asked not understanding at all. 

He smiled at her, but there was no feeling in it. “You shall see.” He said and started to walk away leaving Rey to her confusion. 

“Come, let’s be off. This home is too, large for my taste” He said shaking his head in disapproval as he went. 

Leary but without choice, she followed him to the door. 

Not another word was said about it, but Rey could not shake the feeling that things were happening around her she’d never taken the time to notice before. She would have to change that and soon.

 

**

 

Days quickly became weeks and no word came. Rey hadn’t expected a letter every day, but nothing at all was surprising and though her pride would not allow her to say so, it hurt a great deal. 

At first she’d been sad and long faced as she went about her daily tasks, and then angry, refusing to speak his name or respond when friends asked after him. 

Secretly she hated that he’d touched her and made her body respond in that way, only to leave her without a thought. And the fact that she felt ripples of the most glorious sensation when she thought back to the pond made her furious, and then desperate to feel it again until she found herself in bed alone touching the same place as he had. 

She’d discovered this incredible spot hidden within her own body some time ago, and it always felt nice, but now, she had something to think of. 

When she remembered the way it felt when he closed his fist around her neck, and the sight of his arm, the long muscles moving as his fingers played.

She would mimic those movements until she felt the building pressure and its body numbing release. 

And then she would lie in the dark and damn him for it all. 

 

*

In time, Rey resigned herself to the simple fact that even though she’d promised not to forget, he had all but erased her from his mind, why else would he go so long without writing. 

She felt the sting of rejection each morning when she remembered, and the hollow pain seemed to follow her throughout the day, but, determined not to let it define her, Rey decided to move on to other things.

Time with Rose, teas with friends, she would start attending the events she’d been invited to instead of sitting alone like the spinster she was not. 

He was after all, just a man and she was very much a young woman with a life to live with or without him. 

Winning over the favor of the great houses after having gone ignored by them for so long, was a fulfilling distraction. The pursuit would see actual benefit unlike the waste of time loving Ren had proven to be. 

 That being said, rumors of her romance with the Lord had spread quickly, before word of their unspoken estrangement could be known. So long as folks thought she might possibly become the Lady of Alderaan, making her the wealthiest woman across this land, she would use it to her advantage. 

At one lovely dinner, she sat next to the Duke of Bespin and thrilled him with her quick wit and natural humor.

A tea with the Lady Secura surprised her in it’s success. Rey was even able to smooth over an old grievance between the Lady’s father, and Palpatine.

Feeling accomplished and ready to start setting her sights on advancing their sum by speaking to the bank about investments, the letter she finally did receive from Lord Ren was unexpected. Not only because she’d given up on ever hearing from him, but because of its content.  

 

My Lady Palpatine

Forgive me for my prolonged absence. I did not realize my leadership would be so desperately needed, nor did I expect to find matters moving so quickly here.  

As you know my duty is to the First Order. I must remain where I am needed most. That being said, I will not leave you without a proper instructor and so I am sending someone to take my place in your lessons. I hope you find him satisfactory. 

I must also, with a heavy heart inform you that in light of my responsibilities within the Order, I can not continue to keep you. 

I must free you from any attachment you may have to me unspoken or otherwise. And I must be free to continue in my pursuits.  

 

Sincerely, 

Lord Kylo Ren

 

The letter made no sense, not for it to have been written by the man she knew. 

Ren was many things and she had thought one of them to be kind and the other, honest.

To be so bluntly set aside felt like, a lie. But here were his words, written in his own hand. 

Perhaps it was the distance, she wondered. Perhaps it was the pressure of his work. 

Or perhaps he had simply never felt for her what she’d been so certain of before. 

No matter the reason, he’d said it and with him nearly two days journey away, she could not simply cross the moors and go to him demanding an answer. 

He was gone, and that was it. 

And she felt the wave of anger and betrayal washing over her, rising like the great swell of a storm.

Foolish, silly girl, she scolded herself again and again as she sat holding the letter, too stunned to move. 

He’d seduced her with dark ways that seemed exciting but now she saw were no more than tricks. 

With a rage in her heart, she finally stood and went to the little fire kept for her grandfather, even in summer and burned the letter.

As the flames consumed the paper, she felt as though the smoke was choking her. The room felt very small and shut in. 

Taking a pained breath, Rey fled from the sight of the blackened page and made her way through the house to the back door. 

She would find refuge in the magical world of the stables. The thought was a comfort as she stomped across the lawn desperately holding in her tears.

Once there, she went directly to the corner and yanked her sword from the stand.

She slashed at the straw man Soames had made for her, again and again.

Her aggression rose as her sounds of attack became shouts that morphed into cries.

She felt for a moment very much like Ren with his violent temper, but she pushed that feeling aside because the thought of him made her want to die and death was not an option.  

“My lady, supper is ready” Dear old Soames said from the doorway. 

Rey looked up from her spot on the floor.  At some point during her outburst, she’d finally lost her strength and dropped the sword stumbling to the ground.

All she could do was cry. She cried for the hurt and embarrassment of having ever loved him at all. Him, with his ridiculous opinions and sad eyes.

He had left such a scar on her heart.

“Thank you” She managed and wiped her face with the back of her hand. And then she thought of the fact that Soames had not come to find her for supper since she was a little girl.

Looking up, she watched as he came near stopping a few inches away. Silently, he reached one large old hand down to her. 

He knew, he understood, and the dear old thing loved her like a daughter. He was hurting too. 

She graciously accepted his hand and let him help her to her feet. 

Wiping her eyes, Rey looked over her shoulder at the once romantic world she’d created with Ren here. It was beautiful, but like them, broken and ruined. 

It was over and so was her love for this place. 

 

**

 

3 MONTHS LATER  

 

Sitting at her desk, Rey’s lips twitched with a smile. She would finally write to him. After so long, she felt as though she was able to respond in a way befitting his own letter. 

 

Lord Ren,

I hope you are well. 

It has taken me some time to find the words to say to you, because as I’m sure you must know, I felt some hurt. But, I am quite recovered. 

As you said, we must do what is best for ourselves, especially in these strange times. 

I hear more and more of your beloved Order and though I don’t see it growing into much, it seems to bring you some happiness which I’m sure is a welcome sensation. 

I wish you good luck in your journey, and I thank you for sending Mr. Aftab Akbar to me. He is an exceptional teacher and has shown me many things.

While I had hoped to speak with you face to face, perhaps it is better for me to say it this way,  I hope you are happy with your choices. And I hope you find what is it you are looking for. 

 

Regards,

Lady Rey Palpatine

 

**

 

Kylo Ren sat the letter down, rubbing his finger to his lips in thought. 

Three months it had taken her to reply. Either she never cared at all or he’d underestimated the pain he’d caused. 

Sitting forward, he rubbed the bridge of his nose and sighed. 

Writing to her had nearly broken him, her response was having the same effect. It wasn’t because he didn’t love her, it was because she was a tether to a world that simply did not fit in with this one. He could not be tied to frivolous days of playing with swords and sun drenched luncheons. He was second only to Hux. He had his knights to lead, and a ruling power to overthrow. 

True he’d put off writing it for too long, but as always his mentor had guided him and he’d done what needed to be done, and thought she would perhaps understand his reasoning, perhaps even saying that she still cared for him. 

That was selfish of course, but, he had hoped. 

Glancing at the letter again his eyes focused on the last part. 

He’d been so preoccupied with her dismissal that it was only now sinking in. 

“Who is Aftab Akbar?” Ren asked looking up across the room. 

His assistant sat at his small desk busy with what, who knew. 

The man looked up, his young face fearful, his eyes round with worry that he would be blamed for something he knew nothing about. “Forgive me my Lord, I don’t believe I know the name”

Ren eyed him for a moment before standing. 

“Some time ago, I gave you a letter, in it was an invitation to a man named Sabine. He is a sword master. Sabine is not where he should be and in his place is a man named Aftab Akbar.Who is he?” He asked in that stunted way that threatened without threat. 

“Forgive me my Lord, I truly do not know.” 

“Ritter,” He addressed the man. “Did you deliver the letter to the post as I told you to?”

Ren rounding his desk. 

Ritter nodded. 

He was a small weak man but he was good at his job, Ren believed him but could not understand how this could have happened. 

Back and forth he paced occasionally looking over at the assistant as though the answer might still be there.

And then it came to him suddenly and in a rage Ren realized what had been done. 

His frustrated sigh terrified poor Ritter who protectively covered his head though Ren paid him no mind. 

He threw open the door of his office and went charging down the hall passing other workers who all flung themselves against the walls to make room for the man. 

Ren didn’t even notice them. Instead he set his sites on the door at the end of the long dim hallway.

The headquarters of the First Order were far up north where cold and grey were the only feeling and color to be seen. It suited him just fine. 

The warehouse had been procured though some underhanded dealings and by the time he’d arrived, everything looked as sleek and shining as any spartan palace might. 

And down here, at the end of the hall was the room where Hux had made his office. 

Without knocking Ren threw the door open. 

Hux jumped in his seat, his already tightly drawn face outraged instantly. 

“Ren! What is this!” He demanded. 

“What did you do?” He asked slamming a fist on the desk.

Sighing, Hux sat back and narrowed his pale green eyes. “What?” He asked already having had enough of this. 

“You intercepted my letter home. You sent her someone else.”

Hux seemed to be thinking of this but truly looked confused. “I can admit to many deeds, but not the ones I know nothing of. Please leave my office.”

Ren straightened still trying to make sense of it. If not him, then perhaps… but no. Why would he care?

After a moment, Ren glanced at Hux and took a sharp inhale. “I’ve made a mistake” He said without sign of remorse. 

“Yes, well, thank you for stopping by” Hux mumbled as Ren turned and left the room, chaos in his wake as he went storming down the hall.
 

“I really do hate that man,” Hux mumbled shaking his head before returning to his papers. 

 

*

 

“Come in Lord Ren.”

Kylo went past the guards stationed outside the sprawling office. 

“My Lord.” He said and bowed deeply. 

“I did not send for you, what brings you to me?” The impossibly deep voice rumbled across the cold room.

Ren looked up passed the grey stone walls and floor, ignoring the red banners with the First Order sigil, to the wide desk and black leather chair where the Supreme Leader sat. 

Lord Snoke was the sort who could draw truth from a dishonest man and set fear into a brave one. He would strike down any who stood in his way simply for the joy it brought him. 

Ren had long admired and hated him and now felt a bit foolish coming to ask after something so trivial, but was wasn’t really. It mattered. She did still matter. 

“Forgive me my Lord, I have a question.” He said showing no sign of intimidation as so many often did. 

“Ask it.” Snoke said patiently. 

Ren analyzed him for a moment.

The two of them could look one another in the eye, easily, which wasn’t common. Most men looked up to Ren, but he stood equal in size with his master.

They seemed to share a power over others between them that one pitied while the other envied. To wield such force was dangerous and they both knew it, it was their connection. 

Snoke was waiting, his dark eyes peering out across the long room right into Kylo’s. Those eyes could drive a person to madness. He was difficult to look at, even for a man who had known him for as long as Ren. 

He seemed somehow ancient but still strong and capable. And he kept his hair shaved to display that brutal war wound which ran from his head to his mouth.

Kylo knew he liked the way it made others uncomfortable. The way it twisted the mans face drawing it in along the cheek to his mouth made too small by the scar tissue was most memorable.

“There are only so many who have access to my personal affairs.” Ren finally said.  “I’ve received one denial in this matter and I believe him, that leaves only you.”

“What are you asking ”

Ren stood up straighter refusing to feel as though his concern was not valid. “I sent for a teacher, for someone back in the village where my estate is located. The one I sent for is not the one that came. Did you do this?” He asked. 

Snoke leaned forward a bit, the silence deafening and endless until at last he sat back drawing a nasally breath. “You think I interfered with this matter?”:

“I do.” Ren said, his deep voice thin but he spoke with confidence.

“And why would I do that?” He asked. 

“I don’t know my Lord, and I honestly do not care, however I will not have my personal life controlled by anyone. Not even you.” He stated.

Snoke blinked at his pupil for a moment before rising. 

He crossed the room slowly but with his usual grace as he neared. His long coat swaying as he came until finally he reached Ren. 

“I see, such greatness in you young Lord.” He said clapping a large hand around the back of Ren’s neck. “Greatness that can not be distracted.” His hand was cold, like the clamp of a vice. 

“So it was you.” Ren determined. 

“It was,” Snoke admitted with a nod. “She will have forgotten you by now, with the letter and someone else to pay attention to her, the girl will have moved on, and now so can you,”

“She is not a distraction.” Ren insisted though he knew that whatever he felt for her had certainly made him doubt his actions at times. 

“Isn’t she.” Snoke said with a tight, pained smile. “I will not speak of this further Ren” He said curtly removing his grip. “Your dedication is to this Order, and this Order alone. She may be the granddaughter of Sheev Palpatine, but that does not mean she shares our vision.” He started to walk away but stoped and turned looking over his shoulder. “You realize there are many women in the village here. Use them if you want, call them by her name until you’ve fucked them all and can get back to doing what it is you do best.”

Ren was breathing too hard, his head down to hide his clenched jaw, though his fists gave him away. “Which is?” He asked between his teeth. 

Snoke stopped and turned fully looking back at the man. “Whatever I say.”

He shut his eyes tight wanting to lash out, but he shook the feeling aside and stood fast

“Now, choose another woman,” Snoke said as though it were so simple, “And choose one who understands what must be.”

Ren watched him walk until he sat back down at his desk.

“Yes, my Lord.” He said and bowed before turning away, raging past the guards. 

*

One of the men stationed outside Rens office looked up at the two suited men approaching.

They  looked as though they had a scheduled meeting with Ren, but both halted at the sound of what seemed to be the man’s furious cries paired violently with the sound of destruction 

The guard looked at the two of them and shook his head no. 

Wide eyed both men quickly retreated back down the hall their meeting abandoned.

 

 **

 

Rey couldn’t stop laughing. She struggled to catch her breath as she leaned over until the grass tickled her face. 

Aftab laughed too enjoying the sound of her voice, pleased he could bring her to such hysterics. 

“You must stop please!” She managed waving her hand for him to end the story. 

“But I haven’t even told you about milking the thala-sirens!” He insisted. 

Rey didn’t even know what that was but just the sound of it made her fall back onto the grass, arms tight around her aching stomach as she cackled.

She had not laughed this hard in a very long time. “Oh my dear Mr. Akbar, you must stop. I am begging you! As your student!”

He grinned and gave her leg a friendly pat. “Alright, alright, another time perhaps.”He said and stood. 

Exhausted Rey followed, brushing grass and dirt from her dress before inhaling and exhaling deeply to calm herself. 

“May I ask my Lady?” Akbar started as they went to gather their things. “Why is it that you train? I’m certain I’m not the first to point out how rare it is. And for the payment to come from your absent neighbor…”

So he’d figured it out then. Rey stiffened at the implication and brushed the hair from her eyes.

“I used to as a girl because my grandfather didn’t know what to do with me and because I was good. I do it now because I wouldn’t know what else to do with myself. I love it, its as much a part of me as my name. As for the payment…. I’d prefer not to speak of it. If you don’t mind.”

His kind face dropped a bit as he understood things were clearly complicated.

“Well, I am glad for it. Training with you has been a great joy in my life.” He said and she smiled kindly if not a little hesitant. 

He was looking at her just a touch too long. Rey quickly picked up her swords and started the walk back only to have him pull the items from her arms. 

“Allow me my Lady.”He quickly offered.

Her lips pressed together as she held back protest and nodded. “Thank you Mr. Akbar.”

They went up to the house where he helped her put everything back in the little shed just outside of the kitchen. 

“Shall we sit outside during our breathing?”He asked.

Rey looked up at the sky. The crisp days of Autumn were upon them and with them came pale blue skies and golden leaves. She adored the season and relished in every moment spent in the warm sun as the chilly breeze touched her skin. With a nod she led them and sat away from the shade of the house in a nice thick band of sunlight. 

Mr. Akbar sat opposite her crossing his legs as he’d shown her to do, Rey followed. 

They both closed their eyes and began to take deep slow breaths. 

“We release the energy within to allow the intake of the world around us.” He said

Rey had become quite skilled at this portion of her lessons. 

When Mr. Akbar first came she wasn’t so sure that sitting and breathing and “opening her mind” would do much of anything, but over the weeks it really had created a deeper connection for her, to everything and everyone. And when they finished their meditations, she felt as though something that had been asleep within her had finally come to guide her though life, and it’s many challenges. 

However, her grandfather knew nothing about it. She had a very strong feeling that he would not have allowed it, and so she insisted they only meditate out of his sight. He was such a cantankerous old thing, something new like an opening of the third eye might be seen as dangerous.  

Their secret endings had been perfectly safe, until today. 

“Stop that!” Palpatine shouted from the back door. 

Rey felt the world spin and lurch as she opened her eyes, the feeling was very much like falling from a high perch. 

“My lady!” Mr. Akbar grabbed her by the arms to steady her.

“‘I’m alright.” She insisted and looked back to Palpatine. “Grandfather, please, it’s alright. It’s just a breathing exercise.” This was so strange, he never came down through the servants entrance.

“I said stop!” He shouted and she jumped back. She’d never seen him this way before. It was as though some fear consumed him and enraged him and she felt both afraid and guilty for having upset him so, but damn him for ruining this wonderful thing for her. 

“I would never do anything to cause the Lady harm!” Akbar insisted following her as she rose and went to the man.  

“Get out!” Palpatine shouted. 

“Enough!” She demanded “Mr. Akbar is my instructor and a good friend! You will not speak to him this way!”

“This is my house, and you are my granddaughter. And you,” He shoved a crooked white finger in the man’s face. “Leave!”

Offended, but not so badly that he could not square his shoulders and look down at the Lord, Akbar cleared his throat and bowed to Rey. 

“I will take my leave today, but please, if you need me again my Lady do not hesitate to call.”

“You would dare speak to her that way in front of me!” Palpatine shouted raising his arms, hidden by the heavy cowl he wore. 

Rey’s heart was pounding as she nodded to Akbar trying to show that she still cared before letting him go. 

Once alone she turned on the old man.

“How could you!” She screamed. “He is my friend! You have insulted him deeply grandfather!”

“I don’t care about that mans feelings! Now go into the house!”

“I’m not a child!” She shouted going through the door. “I am a woman and you must show me some respect. Some love!” She said before she could stop herself. 

Once inside the empty kitchens she waited and braced for what she knew would come. 

“Love?” He said as though the word were a foreign language “Love is this house, love is that food, and those people who make and bring it to you! Love is not putting an end to your ridiculous behavior sooner.”

“What do you mean?: She asked turning.

“Sparring with Ren was one thing. He is a man of wealth and consequence. This… thing. He is nothing, no one. You will not continue.”

“Ren pays him to train me,” She said defiantly, as though this might stop him.

Palpatine nodded. “Yes, wealthy and important does not make him smart. He does it to keep you close, though he told you he does not want you. No man would do such things for a woman he doesn’t want in his life.”

Rey leaned back on the high butcher block. She hadn’t allowed herself to consider Ren as anything more than a ghost from her past now with one somewhat bizarre connection. Perhaps this awful man was right and Ren did love her still, but no. It mattered not. He was up north with his men and she was here alone with this one. 

“You’re detestable.” She said shaking her head. “I Believe I might actually have enough room to hate you both.” Her broken voice was soft as she turned leaving her grandfather alone in the kitchens. 

*

“Lord Ren. Come back to bed.”

Kylo stood looking out the window of the small room he kept in the northern village.

The snowfall was fresh and pure white, sparkling under the pale moon.

The sky was a brighter blue at midnight than he’d ever seen in the south and something about it made him feel alive which was welcome after the dark haze he’d been in for the last few weeks. 

Looking over his shoulder, his brow furrowed he studied the girl laying in the bed. 

She was beautiful and tall, with yellow hair and green eyes. Her husky voice deeply accented by this wild northern land. 

He’d had her before, and too many times tonight. He should be exhausted but the air here filled him with a vitality he wished to take with him when he did eventually return to the estate to settle his affairs. 

The thought of Alderaan threatened to change his mood but he brushed the thoughts aside and went to her again. 

“Will you come back to the village again soon? I do so enjoy your visits” She asked with a sly smile. 

Ren lay on his back beside her, their naked bodies pressed together. He looked up at the dim ceiling. “I’m not the sort for, visits.” He said. 

She snickered and shook her head. “Not even me?” Her long thin fingers traced lines down his torso to the thin skin of his hip and thigh. 

She nearly tempted him to pull her on top of him again, but he couldn’t. He blamed Alderaan. Because Alderaan was her and thoughts of her ruined any moment shared with another woman, though this one had been the only girl who’d been invited back. 

“Your castle isn’t so far that you can’t come to me more often.”

“It’s not a castle.” He said. 

“I’m not talking about the Order” She said looking into his eyes, waiting. 

Ren glanced and her and then away again.

“You know the south is no place for you my Lord. You’ll be back, you must, you’re too needed up here.”

“I have things to settle."

“Things? You mean her?”

Kylo shot the girl a look that made her sit back a bit but not much… she was after all a generals daughter, all she’d known were the fierce looks of angry men.  

“Do not speak to me of things you know nothing about, Sylvia”

“You’re right.” She said leaning towards him again and planted little kisses on his chest. “I know nothing of it,” Her words muffled. “But I know a broken heart when I see one.”

Ren turned his face from her, sickened by her words. He was not one for showing vulnerability, or so he thought. 

“It’s alright, we all have that one.” She said and sat up. 

He watched her rise and crawl over him, leaving the bed. She padded across the wooden floor, her elegant curves hypnotic as she went.

Reaching into her jacket that hung on the door hook she pulled an already rolled cigarette from it. 

Ren watched her light it with a match, her movement slow and efficient, before she walked over to the window. 

Sylvia raised the pane, letting the cold cut through the fire warmed space like a knife, and blew the smoke out in a steady stream. 

She leaned her arms on the windowsill,  resting her weight on one foot, hooking the other around her calf which made her hip jut out in the most appealing way. She rocked her hips side to side, just a bit, as she blew another stream of cigarette smoke out the window, knowing he would come to her soon. 

And he did because he wanted to keep the thoughts of Alderaan at bay, and because he did not belong to anyone anymore, which meant he could have her all he wanted. 

No harm could be done, he thought coming up behind her and smoothing his hands over the soft curve of her backside. Ren groaned a bit, the touch of her skin on his was electric. 

She was an extraordinary woman. The headstrong daughter of a general, she had been making a name for herself in their propaganda department. And Ren had been aware of her for a while, mostly because she made no secret of her intentions with him. 

She’d worn him down quickly once thoughts of his past and the feelings that went with them were pushed down deep. When at last he added Rey to the dark pool of hurt that plagued his heart, he opened his mind to the idea of other women who he could never love, but could at least enjoy.

Her laugh was low and sultry as he grabbed her hips and guided himself to slide into her quickly.

This was the third time since they’d come to his apartment, the one he kept when the base was too much, when Hux bothered him or Snoke’s existence felt stifling, or, when he needed to fuck a woman and forget that he’d ever loved one. 

Ren sighed as the sensation went tingling through his limbs. She was hot around him and he groaned as he started to move. 

She tossed the cigarette out into the snow and gripped the windowsill her head out in the cold, her body on fire in the heat of the room. 

Laughing at first, she could only moan and cry out as his movement became short violent thrusts that left her gasping. She looked back over her shoulder, her face contorting each time he jerked forward. 

He watched her face. She did not say stop, and he would not until he was finished with her. 

Ren’s hand slammed against the wall as he came, again and again he pulsed until his muscles relaxed and he pulled away. 

Sylvia went to the floor, her body shaking, her blonde hair covering her face.

He’d left her and collapsed in the chair by the fire, and lay there looking at her, waiting for her to move. 

Just as he started to worry he’d done some damage, Sylvia reached up and brushed the hair away. 

Relieved, Ren shut his eyes.

“Who was I just then?” She asked. Her voice raspy now. 

“What?” He asked eyes still closed. 

“Who was it you fucked so cruelly? Couldn’t have been me, I never did anything wrong to you.” She said, her thick northern accent making her words hard to understand sometimes

Ren opened his eyes and looked her up and down. She was sitting on her side and he saw the red marks that his grasp had left on her hips. Those would be bruises by tomorrow.

He grimaced and sat up ready to say something when she held up a hand. 

“No no, I know you, I know what your story is, and I still come when you call, even when you don’t.” She said flashing a smile “Just don’t forget, I’m not the one you left behind.”

“I never left her.” I He said defensively. 

“Well, this surely isn’t the south” She teased.

He sighed and sat back. “I did what had to be done.”

“You did what they told you to do my dearest.”

His eyes narrowed on her. 

“Don’t look at me like that, I never told you to do anything but fuck me harder. Maybe not so fierce as you just did, but still…” She said and laughed a little. 

She didn’t lie. 

“If you still feel so strongly then go back, she’ll take you.”

Ren laughed this off. Rey would never look at him again, not after all this time, nearly a year. And certainly not after Sylvia. She would turn her nose up at him and walk the other way, as she probably should. 

“No,” He said shaking his head against the back of the chair. 

Sylvia squinted in the dark nearly stunned to find him looking so wounded.

“It’s done” He said, his gaze wandering out the open window to that dark blue sky.

Fighting it as best he could, Ren focused on the moon through the wavering line of tears that blurred his vision until they cleared and he felt no danger of releasing Rey from the dark pool of regret he’d resigned her to. 

 

**

 

 

8 months later

“Oh my dear, you surely can’t know what all of that means?” Lady Arlo said truly surprised as she fanned herself. 

Rey smiled politely and nodded. “Actually, I do, every bit of it.”

Lady Arlo, a pretty, somewhat vapid thing shook her head, her thin pink lips pursed. “I simply can not understand figures nor the need to know such complicated equations.” She said and brushed the previous conversation about managing the finances of a household away. 

Lady Holdo re-joined her table smiling sympathetically at her guest Lady Rey. “No” she said in her soft voice “It’s not for everyone, but Lady Palpatine should be admired for her skill with finances and commended for her managing of the estate. It is a great undertaking but one I’m sure your grandfather appreciates.”

Rey sipped her tea and nodded. “I think, in the end, perhaps he does.”

“Well,” Lady Arlo continued, her voice rising above the others. “ I should think you will be most glad when your Lord Ren returns, perhaps things will progress and you can leave this business up to him.”

Rey froze, her fingers tight on the delicate tea cup. She hadn’t bothered to stop the rumors of their ending, but perhaps because she was so liked in the village it was slow to spread. No one wanted to see her humiliated. 

Ever loyal, Lady Rose glanced at her friend, Lady Holdo and finally Arlo. She raised her chin and addressed them “When and if Lord Ren and Lady Rey come to an understanding, I believe it would be best if she continue in her own pursuits as I think it should be. If she were Palpatines grandson would it not be so? She has the knowledge and skill, as Lady Holdo said, it is most admirable.”

Rey set the cup down and flashed a little smile at Rose. 

Lady Arlo continued on about how wonderful her own betrothed was with the managing of his estate which became a conversation about weddings in the summer versus spring, and that’s when Rey stopped listening. 

“Forgive me, I just need some air.”She said to Lady Holdo who excused her. 

Out on the balcony, Rey inhaled deeply. It was June and the air was still with the sort of heat perfect for sleeping, or swimming. Neither of which she would be able to do today, but she was thankful for a lovely afternoon with friends, no matter how bothersome they could be. 

“You’re doing well.”Lady Holdo said joining her. 

Rey looked up and the slender beauty that was Amilyn Holdo. She was a soft spoken woman with the sort of commanding presence Rey aspired to emulate. 

Lady Holdo gave her a knowing smile and touched the girls cheek with the gentleness of a mother. “The pain will stop eventually.” She said and Rey looked away afraid that Holdo’s kindness would bring on tears she refused to cry. 

“I will say, I am surprised you didn’t go to him. Or you’ve just made no mention of it?” She asked leaning over a bit to look down at Rey’s face. 

Rey gave a resigned sigh and shook her head. “I don’t think I’d like the north much.”

Holdo blinked and looked out to her gardens, the rushing water of the fountains relaxing, the song birds calming. “No my dear I meant here” She said. 

Rey looked up at her. “He wrote to me weeks after he’d gone, not before he left.”

Lady Holdo’s face went from sympathetic to upset. “Oh, my dear I’m sorry, I thought you knew,”

“Knew what?” Rey asked feeling her body tingle with anticipation. 

“Lord Ren returned last week. He was just here to speak with my husband but two days ago. I did not see him myself, but Lord Holdo spoke of it briefly.”

Rey’s hand gripped the wide marble bannister. She could only shake her head in disbelief as she looked out at the bright green land. 

How could she not have known? He must have come back under the cover of night and had clearly been avoiding the path when he was sure she would take it. 

“Are you alright?” The Lady asked worried over Rey’s pale face and wide eyes. 

“Yes” Rey managed, though she felt anything but. 

He’d come back without a word said or sent… but, wasn’t that as it should be. 

They had after all ended their relationship nearly year ago. It was over and he now he treated her as a man with no attachment might, but the unbearable disappointment was threatening to crush her. 

“No, of course you’re not.” Holdo said with a frown as she put her arm around Rey. She sighed and held the girl close. “Men don’t know what it is they do to us when they act so recklessly. But that is why you must be strong and push him aside now. You are young, intelligent, and beautiful. You will find love again, and with someone a little less… well, less.” She said leaning closer, her nose scrunching up with her playful smile. 

A quick laugh escaped Rey in a rush, it felt like a release of the many emotions swelling up inside her. 

“I heard Mr. Akbar’s son, Aftab had been calling on you a bit.”

Rey nodded “My grandfather did not approve.” Her voice broke as she spoke but she did feel a little of the pressure lifting. Thinking of dear Aftab reminded her that there were other men of course. 

It was just so hard to see them through the haze. 

“Well, there will be others. And you have us.”

Rey leaned into the woman just a touch more wishing she could lay her head on her chest and cry. Lady Holdo was so kind and good, she really felt like the mother Rey could not remember. 

“I think it might be time to switch to the sherry.” Lady Holdo whispered and Rey laughed genuinely now as she was turned and led back inside. 

*

After an afternoon of too much laughter and a little too much sherry, Rey felt strong again.

She went on through the next few days feeling energized especially after learning of some new developments from a friend at the Two Suns Tavern. 

He was a scruffy sort, one a Lady should not be seen with, but given her love of sneaking into the public house though the side door, she didn’t see the harm with enjoying the company of the other patrons. 

Mr. Dameron was handsome, funny and exciting in the ways Ren was not capable of being. 

Rey asked him to come to lunch at her estate, only to have him turn her down in the most wonderful way.

Somehow when he said he wasn’t one for fancy sandwiches and tasteless tea, she didn’t mind. He told her instead he liked sitting with her here, in a real place, in the real world surrounded by real people. 

He also mentioned some new findings in his travels. One in particular being the discovery of a new mineral said to have unimaginable capabilities. 

With a nose for this sort of thing, as she’d proven again and again, Rey set out to find more information, and was eventually convinced that she should indeed procure a loan and invest before it was too late. 

Simple as this should have been, being an unwed woman of twenty proved to be her biggest hurdle. In a world ruled by men, it seemed one in particular would not give her the chance to present her findings, he would not even let her through the door. Such was the obstacle known as Mr. Carson, bank manager and provider of loans.

It wasn’t so much the making of appointments, she’d had one nearly every day for a week, it was the actual meeting in person that had proven to be impossible. 

He would always have some reason for not being available. Illness, mistaken time, another more important meeting. Always something to keep her from his office. 

At first she’d believed him, but when she finally went and sat in the lobby for nearly two hours, she noticed that all of the men who came to call were being admitted, welcome even. She being a young self reliant woman, would see no such kindness.

And so, she would use her training now. 

Her ability to think and see a few steps ahead just might help break down that damned door.

*

The smoke was thick, Reys lungs burned the moment she stepped into the entry hall of the gentleman’s club. 

“You can not go in past the parlor my Lady” The footman whispered loudly to her, frantic eyes darting back and forth. 

“Yes I know, but please, I believe a Mr. Carson is here. The manager of the bank? I wish to speak with him and this seems to be the only place I can do so.”

“You must wait here, I’ll go and see to it.” 

He bowed and trotted off terrified by the idea of a woman standing within these most sacred walls of their mens only club.  

Lady Rey did not wish to be here anymore than they wished to have her, she would make this as quick and painless as possible.

Peeking around the marble wall, she spotted the footman who was gesturing wildly with what looked to be the head butler. 

It became clear that they were not going to admit her, she had to take a risk. 

It wasn’t as though a woman had never set foot here before, but each time had been scandalous and spoken of for months after. 

 Rey hadn’t had a proper scandal since Lady Aaron’s accusations of her naked tromps across the moor. 

She bit her lip and took a quick breath. 

Light on her feet and silent as a whisper, she took to the stair well, up faster than the footman could turn to see her go. 

Once upstairs she rushed past the curious men who eyed her as though they’d never seen woman before and went to the library rooms. 

She’d had it on good faith that Mr. Carson liked bourbon and a pipe in this room after lunch, and so she went, assuming it wouldn’t be hard to find him. 

Rey slipped into the open doors and realized instantly just how challenging this might prove to be when she saw the length of the room. 

There were more books here than the grandest estate, and the room seemed to stretch the length of the building. Small tables and large chairs housed the men of her village and the neighboring ones as well, each of them mumbling their disapproval as she went, searching desperately.  

“I say, Lady Palpatine!” 

She stopped nearly colliding with a servant only to find Lord Holdo sitting with friends. “My  Lord!

“What on earth are you doing here?”

She eyed the men quickly before looking over her shoulder, he would not betray her would he? “I’m here on urgent business, I must speak with the bank manager, Mr. Carson. It’s about an investment that we must act on at once”

The men gave each other funny looks, brows raised, laughter stifled. 

She ignored them and looked to Lord Holdo. 

“My dear are you sure your grandfather can not speak with him?”

“My grandfather wouldn’t know a good deal if it crawled out of the grass and bit him on the….”

More outrage. 

Grumbling she shook her head. “I promise to go as soon as I’ve spoken with him, if you could just point me in the right direction.”

Lord Holdo seemed to think this over for a moment, he clearly did not approve nor did he wish to be made an accomplice in her actions, but the man knew his wife cared for her, and she for Lady Amilyn. 

With a begrudging sigh Holdo pointed behind her. 

Rey spun and spotted the manger right away. He sat alone at a table in the sunny half circle of a bay window drinking and smoking just as she’d been told he would be. The smoke swirling and white around him in the light. 

“Thank you!” She mouthed to Lord Holdo before rushing away. 

“Forgive me sir, but if I may have a moment”’

The old man with a large belly and long face opened his eyes and looked up at her startled. He sputtered something along the lines of “who are you?” And “how did you get in here” before she motioned for him to calm. 

“I will not take more than five minutes of your time good sir, but seeing as you will not give me even that in your office I’ve had to come and find you here.”

“You must make an appointment, like everyone else!”

“The thing is, I have, actually. A few times. I know it’s not what you’re used to, but I’ve been trying to speak with you about the matter of a loan for an investment.”

“A what?” He withdrew aghast at her suggestion. 

“An investment. A rather promising one actually. I have very good reason to believe that there is money to be made in the mining of a particular mineral recently discovered.”

His eyes narrowed as he looked her over. “What do you know about investments… mining.”

“Enough that I have seen my sum rise some three percent this year. I don’t except much more, but with this I believe there will be enough profit to make it worth my time and yours.

The bankers brows raised and he cleared his throat sitting forward. He was clearly interested, and she dared to allow a glimmer of hope. 

“You send your grandfather to me,”He said smiling. So he did know who she was, this revelation made her all the more angry over his treatment. 

“And we will talk. But I will not do business with a woman.” He said with a firm nod before pushing back into his chair. 

Rey felt the flush rising. She wanted to kick him over but she took a breath and steadied herself. However, as she began to speak, she was cut off by a most unwelcome interjection. 

“You would be wise to listen to her Mr. Carson.”

She shot a look over her shoulder and went cold instantly. 

Mr. Carson looked up too, but he just frowned and shook his head. “Lord Ren, you should know better than to defend a woman as brazen as this.”

“She is a most determined woman.”He said looking at her sidelong, before looking to Carson. “ If she says it’s worth the investment sir, I would at least give her the decency of a meeting in your office.”

Rey felt her entire body shaking. She clenched her fists in an attempt to stop it. How had she not seen him, she wondered closing her eyes in a vain attempt to shut out the sound of his beautiful voice so close. 

“And” Ren continued  “It’s my understanding you’ve had some troubles of late, problems with collecting on loans.”

She opened her eyes then, glancing up at Ren and back down to Carson. 

The banker was furious but could not find the words to say so. 

“Give her the meeting Carson.” Ren said calmly. 

With a huff the man looked from one face to the other, realizing he could not win the battle. Red faced and grumbling, he agreed, waving them away. “Go and make the appointment with my secretary” He said desperately reaching for his bourbon.  

Rey’s eyes lit up, her grin illuminating the room. 

She was too happy in that second to notice the way Ren looked at her, as though her smile had soothed the ache within him. 

“Yes, I’ll go now! Thank you Mr.Carson!” 

Bounding with excitement, she turned to leave but was reminded that all had not been accomplished on her own. She turned and looked up at Ren who was staring at her.  

“Thank you.” She managed with a dip before turning and hurrying for the door. 

Out in the enormous hall of white marble, the glass roof was letting rays of sunlight in to flood the grand atrium. Reys celebrations were cut short when she spotted the footman and butler below. They saw her too and pointed up with enraged shaking fingers and fists.

“You!” The footman called. 

She froze wondering what they might actually do beyond the humiliation of being tossed from the front doors. This wasn’t a crime was it?

“You came to find me, and now I’ll escort you out.” Ren instructed appearing at her side. Not missing a beat he took her by the elbow and began leading her down the hall and to the steps. 

“Lord Ren, is this Lady with you?” The butler asked as they came trotting down to level ground. 

“She is.” He said just as confident as ever. He didn’t bother to stop, just spoke to them as they passed. “Forgive me good sirs, there was an urgent matter but I’ll show the Lady to the door.” 

She looked back at their scowling faces, nearly running to keep up with Ren. 

Once outside, Rey began to pull away from him. “Will you please let go of my arm!” She demanded yanking until finally he let go and she stumbled back. 

Angry, she spun to curse him but stopped, struck by the sight of him after so long. 

He’d let his hair grow longer. And he looked a bit older, not with lines or greys, but there was a look in his eyes, the look of a man who had seen and done many things… one of which happened to be breaking the heart of a young Lady.

She collected herself and raised her nose. “Forgive my intrusion Lord Ren, good-day.” 

“You look well” He said, his words stopping her before she could go. 

Hesitant, Rey blinked up at him but shook her head. “Good bye Lord Ren.” She said and spun into a brisk walk towards the village square. 

Ren was on her in a few steps and she damned his long legs. 

“That was, brave, my Lady.” He said nodding back towards the club.

“Was it?” She dismissed, looking around as though she might see some friendly face to save her. 

“It was, though I’d expect nothing less from you.”

She wanted to scream and strike at him like a wild cat, but she kept walking. 

“You seem to be doing well with the estate. And I’ve heard you’ve made quite the impression on the older houses, attending all of the parties? ”

“Yes, I suppose so.” She said trying to walk faster. 

“I can’t find much point in going.” He said absently. 

“Well, you already have everything you need, don’t you.” She said stopping to face him again. 

Ren was looking at her as though he was hurting too. As if his stone heart could ever beat again. She rolled her eyes shaking her head, annoyed by him. 

For a second he looked nearly distraught, and she never despised him more. 

“Do not look at me that way Lord Ren” She threatened, her voice was low and her jaw set. 

“If we might,” He paused and looked down “If I might just have a moment.”

“A moment?” She asked and managed to quickly smile at a couple passing by who were both staring at them. “You ask me for a moment” She whispered with some aggression, “When I was willing to give you a lifetime!” She stepped near him, her eyes fire, but she quickly calmed herself. 

Finding her reserve, Rey swallowed the lump in her throat. “If you truly regret your choice, I’m sorry that you’re in pain. However, I believe you will find peace in time. As for me,” She took a shuddering breath. “It’s no longer my concern. Now please, I must go!” 

Lady Rey spun and ran off as best she could while still holding onto some dignity. 

She did not look back, and she did not let the tears that stung her eyes fall. The voice in her head cried out to, please, for goodness sake, go back and speak with the man. But she shamed her foolish heart and kept going, instead setting her sites on a meeting that might change her life for the better. 

 

*

 

The return of Lord Ren had thrown her for a loop, but her financial success was quite the consolation. Not to mention the pride she felt in having done it all on her own

A few days after she’d snuck into the gentlemans club, Rey got her meeting and her loan. 

She was now the proud investor in a new mineral called Kyberite 

Rens insistence with Mr. Carson that she be given a chance had played a roll too, but it was she who took the chance and it was her right to celebrate her success. 

The solstice festival would be the perfect indulgence. 

Rey’s village considered itself to be a place of good people, with good morals, and while they did not loose sense of said morality, when solstice came, allowances could be made. 

This was a village wide event that everyone, with the exception of Sheev Palpatine, took part in. 

Rey and Rose had helped with the planning of the music and decorations this year and as they arrived, stood back to admire a job well done. 

They’d come with baskets of flower crowns to be given to the single women of the village. The single men wore crowns of thin branches.

The players were beginning to strum and strike their instruments, welcome by the joyful cheers of the crowd. 

“To a job well done!” Lady Tico said handing Rey a cup of punch. She was most proud of it, having gotten the recipe from a letter Mr. Finn sent, who got it from a Dutches’s chef. 

Rey accepted and stood back with her friend to take in the festivities. 

They walked among neighbors and strangers, the feeling in the air dreamlike, as everyone felt deliciously intoxicated by the solstice sun.

The park was alive with excitement. The lush greenery made a vibrant background to the day and Rey, soaking it all in, laughed with the children who played around she and Rose.

She also noticed, with her keen eye, the looks from some of the young men who now seemed to notice her, though last year she’d been nearly invisible. She paid them no mind, though the looks were flattering, she was not here to find love, just some happiness. 

As the day became evening, She and Rose wandered down the gentle slope of the park towards the graveled yard to watch in awe as the fire eater swallowed flames and the woman on stilts waved long ribbons in the air. There was a juggler and a contortionist that elicited gasps and cheers from the large crowd. 

After the spectacle was over they went into the glass flower house and tasted the decadent treats from the buffet donated by the Holdo’s and the Hutts before being called back out to circle the maypole.

Under the deep pink sky, the slowly setting sun blazing orange, Rey and Rose along with with the other unwed women, wrapped the ribbons around and around until they were all in a fit of laughter, their vibrant spirits infectious, and their white dresses and loose hair taunting the branch-crowned young men.

As the pink sky faded to purple, so late on this endless day that it was actually night, the musicians began to play the dances loved by everyone, who all rushed to fill the wooden dance floor that had been set over the grass until it was full to the edges.

Moving gently to the music on the side of the stage, Rey laughed as a cup of wine was thrust into her hands by a handsome man she did not know, who asked for a dance, which she promised...but not yet. 

Instead she took the first three lively dances with Rose, until she was whisked away by Harris Snell who had grown a solid foot in the last year. 

Happy to share her partner, Rey found herself in a circle of women who gave into the night and danced free of any restrictions enforced during a more traditional event.  

Another cup of wine from another young man who hoped to dance came at her through the circle and quick enough, Rey was floating on a golden fog that brought her closer to happiness than she’d been for far too long. 

*

The sky was growing dark and Ren watched the men light torches and lanterns around the revelry. 

The dancing went on with such noise he was sure it would drive him back to the sanctuary of Alderaan. But he’d promised himself some escape from the never ending darkness that filled his days of late. 

He’d come back here to ready the estate. He’d wanted it sold as soon as possible, but the moment his coach pulled into the village, his heart felt a change happening.

The rushing urgency of life in the First Order seemed unnecessary once here in this peaceful place. 

And as he’d passed Naboo, the doors to a feeling once shut, opened in spite of his best efforts. 

And so he lingered.

At first, to buy himself some time, he’d sent a rather curt assurance to his master that he would in fact return.

Then he’d had his first encounter with Rey at the club which had been unexpected to say the least, but encouraging. She hated him, but not so much that she did not look at him without some flicker of what once was.

And so… he stayed. His last letter delivered to Snoke stating that he was quite capable of traveling when need be, but that since they’d secured their man in a position on the Kings council, he would not be needed so often now.

His lingering had officially become permanent, and there was once again promise of more than conquering and power. 

In the middle of the crowd was Rey, like a glowing emblem of that promise, her presence called to him and he went quietly to her.  

Hidden under the veil of night, Lord Ren came to the edge of the dance floor. 

He watched, entranced by her movements which became a beautiful extension of the life within her and as she spun, time itself slowed. 

She tossed her head back in laughter, her long brown hair flared out as she twirled one way and then the other, the crown of flowers she wore highlighting her beauty like a goddess. 

All of the young women wore white, as did Rey, but the white she wore was her sparing dress and the sight nearly killed him. 

She raised her arms up in elegant movements that swept back down just as quickly,  reaching for heaven and earth, her body the connection between them. 

The driving beat of the music seemed more primal now as the sun finally disappeared beneath the horizon and Rey responded to it with a natural ease that spoke to him. 

Other men saw her too, but she paid them no mind. 

This was her time to feel free, he could see it in the way she laughed without care, the way she danced as though no one else were here. 

She seemed so truly happy without him. 

And as she spun near him, he froze, afraid she’d seen him. But the glowing torch flames blinded her to the night around the floor, and she stood breathing hard, her smile wide and bright as the music slowly died down and the dance finished. 

Unable to resist, he reached out and touched his fingertips to hers.

Rey gave a start and peered into the night, her eyes slowly scanning the wall of darkness as she tried to see past it.

“Hello?” She asked softly, playing with her hair as she waited for a reply.

Her grin faded to just a small, curious smile as she continued to try and see who had touched her. 

Carefully, Ren stepped back, he could not bear the change in her face when she saw it was him. 

Perhaps, he thought watching as she trotted off, he’d been right in ending it. But right was rarely easy, and when he saw her, he felt such overwhelming doubt in his choices.

“You don’t mind if I ask her to dance do you Ren?” The sound of another mans voice broke his trance. Glancing down, he found Ashford Wilcox glaring at Rey.

He was an arrogant little shit who Ren imagined would be one of the first to go once the First Order came to power. 

“No” He said ignoring the thoughts racing through his mind, and returned his gaze to the dance floor.

Ashford gave him a hard couple of pats on the back in thanks and quickly crossed the wooden floor to her side where he surprised Rey by lifting her up at the waist, not missing a step in the dance.  

Rey squealed laughing as they went down the line together. 

It was painful to watch, but the sight of her happy kept him calm, and he thought that maybe he’d let Wilcox plead his case in the new order.  

He let the display go on for another bar before turning away, his heart aching from it all.

In the dark, away from the warmth and happiness, Ren felt more like himself, or the self he so carefully created over the years.  

He would take the long walk home tonight in the dark and be reminded of why he’d left her the first time. 

 

* 

Feeling the wine a bit more than he’d expected, Kylo sighed as he started down the  path to Alderaan.

He fought internally with the light in his heart and the dark thoughts of his mind. 

This walk should have begun to clear his head. 

Instead he felt more clouded than ever. 

The sounds of the festival followed him for a while until the natural melody of nightfall took over. Crickets and frogs, the soft rustling of dark leaves in the summer winds. All the things he’d missed while in the north. 

Nearing Naboo, he looked up to find, unsurprisingly that not a single candle had been lit, she would come back to a dark cold manor. 

He rubbed the ache in his neck that came from stress and worry, but, she was not his concern, not anymore.  

However instead of home, and in spite of his better judgement, his steps carried him down the drive to the stone facade of the old manor.

He looked up at the wooden doors, and windows. Funny, he thought, the beauty of the place could still be seen, if you looked hard enough. 

Slowly, quietly, he kept walking, along the side of the house, occasionally looking out to the moor to take in it’s eerie beauty. His own estate sat hidden in that direction. And he wondered if she ever looked this way from the windows. 

Where was he going he wondered, until it became clear to him the further along he went. 

The run down stable. He’d led himself back to the last happy place they’d shared together.

Once there, he carefully stepped inside, as though any sudden movement would wake the ghosts of their past.

Looking around Kylo noticed that it hadn’t changed much in the year he’d been gone, just more ivy, more moss, nature reclaiming what man had left behind. 

Her weapons were gone. That surprised him, he was certain she would continue training even without him, or that, Mr. Akbar. 

Otherwise, it still felt as perfect to him as it had before, standing now as the embodiment of their fractured relationship. 

“Kylo.”

Ren spun to find Rey standing in the doorway with a little lantern, still in her festival flowers and dress. 

“My Lady, I’m sorry… I-I don’t really know how I ended up here.” He said looking around as though she’d pulled him from a dream and was suddenly aware of where he was. 

Her lips pressed tight and she shook her head looking at him. “I thought I made it clear that I don’t want to see you.” She said. Her tone was cool but not completely unreceptive. 

“I had no intentions of being seen.” He replied. 

“You’re on my property.”

“I thought you would stay at the festival.”

She went to speak but stopped looking away. “I did too, but…” She shrugged. “I was happy, truly. It felt wonderful to laugh and dance and forget that I’ve any troubles at all. But deep down” She paused shaking her head “I could not find the peace I seek” She said shrugging sadly. 

“So you came here?”He asked. 

She stood unresponsive for a moment then nodded. “It still has some fond memories left. ” She admitted. 

“Rey..” He said coming to her. 

“No, please, please don’t” She held up a hand stopping him. “I can not bear it my Lord, please.” The instant swell of emotions in her had been bubbling at the surface since their run in at the club. 

Kylo would have dropped to his knees to plead if he thought it would have worked. Instead he sighed and looked over his shoulder towards the pond and Alderaan. “I’ll go, forgive the intrusion.”

He sulked away wondering if he should just keep walking on until there was nothing left of him when he heard her say his name. 

Turning Kylo held his breath.  

“I would have waited.” She said, and he could tell that it pained her to say it. 

“I know.”

“Then why? Why did you say such things, why did you turn your heart against me?”

She looked so small in the dark holding her light. “I, didn’t” He tried. 

“Yes you did!” She snapped. “You left and forgot me, and then you brushed me aside as though there was nothing between us!”

“It truly was not like that” He said and dared to come back to her. “Please, will you let me explain.”

She stood, her face in and out of darkness as the lantern swayed, but, she didn’t stop him, and so he tried again. 

This time he was sure to be clear and direct so that he’d never have to say why he’d left her again. 

He managed to explain that while his time with her was more than he could have expected or hoped for, she was never his reason for being here. He had a large roll to play in the First Order and she made him question his own ambitions. He told her that he’d gone to his mentor Snoke for advice, and how the man had been there for him since he was young and lost. Snoke, he explained, had been there when his own father had not. And now, he needed Kylo, and he would not let the supreme leader down. The pressure had come at him from all sides and in a dark moment of weakness he decided that ending it would be better than to continue with something that at the time he could not be a part of.  “And I’ve regretted it every day since.” He concluded feeling empty. 

Rey shook her head. The Lady hated him, he knew, but at least she’d heard. 

Resigned to look on her face one last time, he peered through the dark only to find her cheeks streaked with tears, and he could not stand by any longer. 

Kylo rushed to her, hesitant to touch, but needing to so deeply that he dropped to a knee and looked into her eyes nearly level with his own.

“I have been a fool my lady. There is nothing left of me without you." He stopped and calmed himself. "We became more, but in the beginning I think we were friends, I would gladly take that title at least, if nothing else. If you would have me.”  

Rey’s surprise shifted to distrust, she studied him by the dim yellow light of her lantern and he felt the world slowing around him as he waited for some kind word, a cruel word, just a word, his eyes were pleading.

Rey took a deep breath and looked at him in a way he thought relegated to memory.

Fingers trembling, she reached out, her warm hand pressing gently against his cheek. “You have wounded me deeply Lord Ren, but, I believe you, and I would have you.” She paused searching his face, settling on his eyes. “I would have you or no one else.” And she slowly leaned over to kiss him. 

Ren wrapped his arms tight around Rey and stood, pulling her up along with him. 

Like their first kiss, he carried her. He walked back to into the stable, their place among the broken stones and ivy and tasted her until she pulled away. 

“You must stay with me tonight” She whispered breathless, tears staining her face.

“Tonight my Lady, and always.”

*

Rey shook her head against Kylo’s mouth, pulling away from the kiss. She felt desperate for air.

He raised up a bit watching her. He seemed nervous. Not as much as she but still much more hesitant than he normally was.

Feeling dizzy, Rey turned her head away from the little fire he’d made and let the cool night air touch her skin. 

Perhaps it wasn’t his weight on top of her, but the crushing reality of what was happening that made her head spin.

She took a breath and looked up at him. At the sight of his pretty eyes glowing in the firelight, his black hair a curtain around them, tickling her cheeks. 

Quickly, Kylo ran his fingers through it, brushing the thick strands to the side before looking down at her again. 

She gave a little nod of permission and he sighed, reaching down between them.

He was guided himself to her, she could feel the impossibly soft skin of him against her own heat and wet, and she gripped his shoulders bracing herself unsure of what would come next.  

He was such a large man, when he’d finally stood naked in front of her, Rey’s  conflicting feelings of absolute desire and virginal fear made her tremble. Almost unsurprisingly he was as large there as he was everywhere else, and now he was slowly pushing his way into her. 

So careful was he that Rey began to wonder if Kylo was being too delicate with her. She was after all a strong, healthy woman. But as she felt the sheer size of him begin to spread her apart, Rey silently thanked him for his care. 

Ren stroked her contorted face.  “Are you alright?” He asked, voice a little thin. 

She nodded squeezing her eyes shut as he continued until her breathing became a long moan. 

She’d expected some pain, but the completely unfamiliar feeling of being stretched and filled made her bite down on her lip a little too hard. 

He was trying not to hurt her but clearly the sensation was overwhelming and she presumed it must have taken some restraint to go this slowly. 

Little by little, he began to move, the in more alarming than the out, until something changed. She began to understand what it could be instead of what it temporarily was. 

Kylo hung his head, resting it on her shoulder with a groan as he moved a little faster. His mouth brushed along her face until they met in a kiss all the while him gently working his hips, letting Rey feel the thick length of each stroke. 

She was being touched by him completely, his lips on hers resulted in a lovely pulsation below. She smiled into his hair when he pulled away, her first wave of pleasure rushing over her body. Her breath began to match his rocking until she was moaning in his ear, into the night air, the feel of him completely and wonderfully unrelenting. 

He moaned “Forgive me”  And his eyes met hers with a darkness in them.

“For what?” She managed. 

“For this.” He whispered and reached forward pressing a hand on the wall to brace himself.

She gave a sort of gasping cry as he began to thrust. It was awful and exquisite. Her hands pressed into his chest moving quickly to hold onto his sides. Her thighs were tight against his hips and he slid his other hand under her backside lifting her up a bit allowing him to reach deeper. 

Rey moaned and arched her back involuntarily like she had at the pond, the pain explosive for a moment but wanting him all the more for it. Because the pain was giving way to indescribable pleasure now and she was floating somewhere between feeling everything and complete numbness. 

Just as she worried he would break her in two, and her cries could not be silenced, she felt him stop and turn hard as stone before a rhythmic explosion filled her belly. 

Her shuddering breath was quick as she lay shaking beneath him. Kylo pulled his arm away and hovered over her, inhaling and exhaling as though he hadn’t for days. His soft sounds of relief made her heart skip a beat. 

Finally he looked down at her again. 

His smile was weak but he gave it and kissed her quickly. 

Rey smiled too, only to wince as he pulled away. 

She felt a warm rush leave her body followed by a strange emptiness. It was all so new, she wasn’t sure how to feel, but as she turned onto her side, her hip bones aching, the blanket a bit scratchy beneath her,  she locked eyes with him and knew that she’d made the only choice that could be right for them.

Yes it was difficult. He would push her to her limits, but he loved her and needed her. And she him. It seemed there were many forces at play trying to keep them apart, but she knew in that moment it would never be so.  

Kylo brushed her hair back, pushing the strands behind her ear and kissing her sweetly before pulling her close and closing his eyes. 

She listened to the drumming of his heart, the rise and fall of his breathing like the rocking of a ship at sea, until the waters quieted and the night closed in.

And they slept intertwined, lost in a world of their own making. 

*

Groggy from last nights wine, Rey’s eyes slowly fluttered open. 

The heat of the morning sun was already drawing a fine sheen of sweat from her body and she longed for a drink of water. 

With a groan, she turned onto her back, a blissful breeze crossing her skin, and she realized suddenly that she was not in her bed. 

Her eyes flew open and she looked down, finding herself completely naked and alone. 

It all came back in a rush and she sat up, regretting it the moment her head spun towards a fierce ache. 

Where was he… 

She looked around slowly, already feeling worry and regret. He couldn’t possibly have left her again, not after everything that was said and done…

“You’re awake.” Kylo said stepping over the uneven threshold. 

He was carrying a tray and over his arm, a dress. 

Her smile spread across her face until her cheeks ached. 

“What’s all this?” She asked reaching for the softer of the two blankets. Going up onto her knees and crossing her ankles to sit back, Rey watched with anticipation as he sat down. 

On the tray was bread, butter, jam, some bacon and two cups of water. “I couldn’t find much else without your cook seeing me.” He said and tossed his hair back as he reached for a slice of the dark brown bread. 

Still grinning, Rey followed suit and began spreading the bright red raspberry jam across her bread. “What’s that for?” She asked nodding towards the dress he’d laid at the bottom of the blanket. 

“I didn’t think you’d want to put the other back on, so I found this for you in the laundry.”

She chewed and studied him for a moment.

So this is the real him then? Considerate and accommodating. Thoughtful and kind. 

Her heart felt the wonderful pain of love. 

The mouthful of food could not stop her from rising up on her knees and leaning over to slip her hand under his chin. She raised his head, amused by the look of surprise on his face, and kissed him. 

“Thank you.”She whispered and sat back down. 

He was watching her now, looking content and somewhat sleepy, which she found to be her new favorite expression of his.  

“Did anyone see you at all?” She asked grabbing the cup of water. 

He shook his head washing down his own breakfast. “No I don’t think so.”

Rey nodded and sat the cup down to pull her hair back from over her shoulders into a loosely twisted bun, low on her head. 

The look on his face changed a bit then, and she felt some trepidation. “What is it?” She asked already knowing. 

Ren was eyeing the places where her skin was exposed. She was holding the blanket over herself between her chin and chest, looking up at him as she finished her hair. 

He brushed the crumbs from his hands and slid the tray down near the dress. 

“Don’t you dare” She warned, her voice funny as she tried to hold the blanket up and talk. 

He gave a deep nearly sinister laugh as he reached over, like some big cat on the prowl who’d found his prey. Grabbing the blanket he pulled and it fell away leaving her naked for him

Rey sighed sitting back on her heels. “You find my nakedness so amusing sir? Would you humiliate me for your own enjoyment” She said through a smile. She didn’t mean a word of it which was fine as Kylo clearly could not hear a word she said. 

He got onto his own knees and looked down at her.

Cupping her small pert breast in his hands, he ran a thumb over her nipple and she gave a little purring moan.

“Wait, I don’t know if I can” She said still so sore from last night. 

He was leaning to the side to look at the way her breasts responded to his touch, not really listening, 

“I’m not” She tried to speak “it’s still…” She couldn’t get a word out between the sensations distracting her. He was gently pulling and rubbing each dark pink nipple and she felt the resulting moisture below betray her protest but this time he heard. 

“Let me make it better for you.” He said, his soft voice as stimulating as his touch. 

Her frown of confusion turned to shock when he pulled her down to the ground stretching her legs out on either side of him. 

“What are you doing?” She asked with a nervous laugh.  

“Just, trust me,” He said, and the tone in his voice said to absolutely not do any such thing. 

“Lord Ren!” She demanded rising up onto her elbows just as he lowered to his stomach. His enormous body stretched out long in front of her, his right knee bent letting him rest on his side. He laid his head on her thigh and began to look. She was amused but very surprised to find that he seemed happy to just lay there looking at her. 

The feeling of such exposure and examination was making her squirm. “Please, my Lord? I’m not sure I know what you intend.” She said, her voice breathy as he kissed her thigh. 

“I’ll show you.” He said and pushed himself forward an inch or two. Rey opened her mouth ready to demand an answer, when she felt the incredible warmth and softness of his lips on hers.

She tossed her head back with a heavy gasp, the wet heat of his tongue shocking and wonderful as he began to lick her, actually lick her. 

She could not believe such a thing could be done, or that such a thing could be so horribly wonderful. It seemed so indecent her mind would not let her think about it, nor would her body as the only thing she could manage was to feel glorious. 

Where last night had been shared, this was about her and her alone as he ran his tongue up and down her now glistening divide. 

Her breath was rhythmic, and her moaning deep as he began to push a finger into her very wet opening.  

“It hurts.” She gasped quickly shaking her head.  

“Just at first” He assured with a mumble. 

She shut her eyes tight through the burning stretch until she felt something happen deep in her body that she hadn’t even felt last night. He was stroking a place so far inside of her, she had not known of its existence until now. 

It made her groan and her eyes roll back as she dropped her shoulders to the ground. 

Over and over, he would not stop, one finger was two and she cried out only to laugh with amazement when it felt even better. 

With a growl of encouragement and lust, he sat up just a bit and pressed down on her belly with his free hand, the other working at a steady, pounding pace. 

This was like the first time at the pond but on another level. 

When she felt that pressure build and build, Rey opened her eyes and looked up him like she had before. He smiled at her and nodded. “Let it happen.” He said softly and Rey nearly screamed as her thighs trembled and her muscles tensed. 

The contractions seemed to go on forever, Ren moaning at the grip and release on his fingers until she made one last sound and motioned for him to stop. 

He was slow as he pulled his fingers free and she lay there, hand over her forehead trying desperately to catch her breath. 

Finally, she looked up at him. He was just sitting there waiting, the smallest smile on his beautiful mouth. 

“I didn’t know.” She said shaking her head feeling a rush of emotion. “I didn’t know it could feel like that” She nearly wanted to cry, which was confusing and wonderful. 

“I told you my Lady” He said with a little smirk “You need a teacher.”

*

They parted ways, but just barely. 

He must have walked back to her three, possibly four times loosing himself in her kiss until finally he knew the demands of the day would not wait, not for even this. 

“I must see to my work, but I will send a note for you to come.”

“Tonight?” She asked a little surprised. 

“Of course.” He said smiling in the sun. His normally stern face was beaming as he turned his back and started for his property. 

“Kylo!” She called standing naked in the shade, the blanket barely hiding the parts of her that would have him back beside her in seconds if he didn’t take care. 

He watched her expressions changing quickly in a wash of joy and worry. 

He knew just how she felt. It should be said, but they would let this ride just a while longer. “I know.” He said with a confirming nod.

Rey smiled wrapping her arms around herself and watched him turn and walk away. 

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”She whispered and laughed a little shaking her head at her change in circumstance before she went to grab the dress he’d brought out for her. 

 

*

 

“Can you believe it? Lady Palpatine is throwing a dinner party!” Lady Arlo whispered leaning towards her company. 

She slowly stroked the the head of her spoiled pug and eyed her companions for their reaction. 

“Do you suppose they’ll make a formal announcement?” Miss Fairlane wondered looking from one prim face to the next. 

The women were sat around Arlo’s card table, teas and cakes nearly overflowing, her colorful parlor smelling sweet with fresh picked flowers. 

“Well,” Miss Akbar said sitting back “It would be the proper thing to do, after snubbing my dear Aftab to run wild with that, that man….” She fanned herself shaking her head. 

The women fell silent for a moment until Lady Arlo spoke up “He’s not all bad. Though I don’t know how she can stand all of that, frowning.” Her petting picked up pace. 

“ I wouldn’t speak to harshly about Lord Ren, I’ve heard from my father that he heads a new political party that has seen a surge in the north. They have great sympathy amongst the large houses” Miss Fairlane said sounding very nervous. 

“He would” Miss Akbar snapped. 

“Well, we should be proud that our dear friend has landed a Lord of such ambition, and perhaps he’ll be better equipped to help manage her new found wealth, unlike that grandparent of hers.” Lady Arlo said, shaking her head. “As for the party, I shall wear my new blue dress,” She thought allowed, letting her normal ignorant bliss wash over her face. “My dear Lord Henly brought it back from Paris just this week.” She said proudly. “I believe it will be a fine dinner”

 

*

Damn this party.” Rey said with a huff. 

She stood looking around the dining table, place cards in her hand. 

“It can’t be all that important. Just throw them up in the air.” Kylo said coming up behind her. “And let the guests sit where they fall” He brushed the fallen tendrils of hair aside and kissed her neck. 

Reys eye’s shut involuntarily. “That is not helpful my Lord, neither is this.” She said with a deep inhale as he pushed himself against her. 

“I was not trying to be.” His breath tickled her ear, his hands slid around to press against her belly, pulling her closer until she could feel exactly what he was trying to do. 

“Lord Ren.” She shot pulling away. “Compose yourself!” She was grinning and he groaning with wanting her as she stepped away. 

“I am the picture of composer my Lady” He said and she laughed at the pathetic sight. 

“Help me, please my Lord, you of all men must know the importance of where one is sat.”

Still distracted, he looked around. “Don’t put me near Lady Arlo. That is my only word of advice.”

“Oh, you’re no help at all!” She sighed exasperated. 

“I can however help you feel better.” He offered and she shot him a look that made him rethink his steps towards her. 

“My Lady.” Soames said walking into the room. 

Ren rolled his eyes and sat at the head of the table, slouched down like a pouting child. 

“My Lord has received a message.”

She nodded and waved him towards Ren, her mind still on the diplomacy of seating arrangements. 

The old man approached Ren. 

“Where is the message?” He asked. 

“It was from Edmunds my Lord. He said a messenger came after you’d left for your morning ride. A General Maddox to see you sir.” 

Ren sat up and pushed his hair from his eyes.

“When?”

“Now my Lord, he’s arrived very early.”

Ren looked away thinking this over before looking up at Rey who was staring at him. 

“Is everything alright?” She asked cautiously. 

With a nod he stood. “I must go.”

Her acceptance was reluctant but this was not unusual.

He had not spoken of permanently leaving Aldreaan again, but the demands of his position were no less. He often left for a day or so before returning exhausted. 

“Are you coming?” He asked in the doorway. 

Rey looked up confused but then understood.

He wanted her to be a bigger part of this side of him as well.

She could not refuse him, he seemed to need her, and she wondered with a chill, who this Maddox was. 

*

He turned out to be an elderly man who had the look of a sly fox with beautiful grey hair and bright blue eyes. He said he was here as a friend.

Rey doubted this very much and at one point she was certain a look passed between the men that spoke of some deep rivalry. 

She pitied general Maddox if he thought Ren would cow to him, but admired her loves’ restraint when the older man slid subtle insults towards Alderaan and the village.

In the end, polite politics ruled the day and Rey invited him to the party which he accepted graciously. 

He added that it was a shame his daughter Sylvia had not joined him this time, she did so love a grand dinner.

Rey offered her a seat should they ever find themselves in the village again, and immediately noted the color drain from Ren's face.

There was bad blood here to be certain. 

“Do not sit me near him” Ren mumbled as they watched the man climb the staircase of Alderaan, a footman leading the way. He had been given a room to rest and change for the party.  

“That’s two.” She said and glanced up at him smiling, only slightly worried for the cold look in his eyes. 

*

The storm that rolled in an hour before the start of the evening nearly ruined Rey’s mood, but in the end, the placements were done perfectly, the candles were lit, the table set with the finest silver from the old cabinet and, most importantly, the look on her grandfathers face when he’d been stuffed into his old dinner jacket and neckcloth left Rey in hysterics. 

“Do try and enjoy yourself my dear” She said patting his crisp shirt gently. 

He grumbled and she left him to his chair in the library where he sat until Ren and the general arrived. 

The other guests came streaming in, with high praise for the turn around the old manor had made. Though she was not finished, Naboo showed glimpses of its once splendid glory. 

Their guest of honor arrived, beaming smile a welcome sight. The return of Mr. Finn who had been given leave to attend and stay the weekend with Ren was nearly applauded by those that knew him

But it was Lady Rey Palpatine who would be praised most this night. Lady Holdo raised her glass in a toast that was very touching and worthy of Rey. 

Dinner came out, presented by the servants of Alderaan, on loan to her by Lord Ren as he had no use for them tonight. 

Feeling quite content, Rey sat her glass down, folding her hands on her lap. She slowly looked around the table to take in the sight of all the faces she cared for most in the world, and it felt indescribably good to finally have a moment like this within her own home. 

Though the weather had failed her, these good people did not. Satisfied, she thanked them all silently. 

“Tell me, my Lady, will you visit us in the north?” The only unfamiliar voice asked from a few seats down the table. 

She leaned forward, to see General Maddox, her head tilted with curiosity  as she thought. “I suppose it would be nice to venture out beyond the borders of the village, but perhaps someplace a bit warmer.” She said receiving polite laughter from the surrounding guests. Her tone was sweet but dismissive of the idea, clearly Rey had no intentions of leaving. 

“Well, if you do decide to come, I’m sure Lord Ren will be happy for the visit. The days are short and the winds unrelenting. A reminder of gentler climates and connections to home are always appreciated.” He said smiling and raising his glass to her. 

She sat back, her eyes shifting across the table to Ren who was looking at her as though the last bite he’d taken had lodged itself half way down his throat. Clearly, he’d been caught. 

Sussing the situation quickly, Rey’s energy shifted and she reached out to grab her wine. She began to drink, motioning for the footman to fill her cup again when it was empty. 

She drank half that and wiped her mouth with a napkin which she placed all to perfectly back across her lap. 

Ren watched her reactions the entire time. He knew what those precise movements meant, and what that look in her eyes was saying without her lips parting. 

“General,” She said glancing down to the man who was already speaking with Lord Holdo. “When you say remind him of home, will that be his current or former estate of Alderaan.”

The general looked back and forth between them a little cautious but he sat up straight and spoke clearly. “My Lord” He said addressing Ren “If you wish to keep your estate after the move, might I suggest a good house manager to keep things ship shape for any holidays you may have in mind,” He said this as though he were a genius, delivering some brilliant tip. 

Ren’s eyes flitted across the table and he gave a little nod of thanks to Maddox before going back to Rey. 

Rey looked away, trying to work through how to go about this in front of her guests, but he had lied. She found no other way to deal with the man but to pursue a direct course. 

“You’re leaving again Lord Ren?” She asked straightening in her seat. 

His eyes narrowed, the flickering flame of the candlesticks glowing warm in them. He  glanced up and down the table at the others and rested his arms on the white linen before leaning towards her. “It’s something that has been discussed.” He replied, tense already. 

“With everyone but me it would seem” She was staring into his eyes and Ren could not look away no matter how much he did not want the confrontation. 

The guests closest to them slowly stopped speaking. 

“Nothing has been set in stone my Lady. I had every intention of speaking with you about it before any decision had been made.”

“And yet, Lord Ren, you did not.” She said. 

He sighed shaking his head. “And what would you have me do? Come to you fist?’

“Yes!” She said in disbelief that this was not the most obvious answer. “Yes I would. However this seems to be an impossible request, so perhaps I should stop expecting anything of you at all. My lord.”

“This dish is absolutely exquisite.” Lady Arlo interrupted. Her shrill little voice  and her desperate attempt to end the exchange, cut through the air like a knife. 

“Yes, complements to your chef Lady Palpatine!” Mr. Finn added quickly. 

They were trying to join together to defuse the situation but Rey could not be settled. 

She and Ren were shooting daggers at one another across the fine table settings and delicious food, all of it seeming very silly to Rey now. 

“My Lady, has it occurred to you that I can not always come to you first, not when matters of importance are presented to me with no time to…” Interrupted as she stood, Ren gave a heavy sigh tossing his napkin onto the table in anger.

“Please, forgive me I feel as though I need some air.” She said to the disappointment of those close, confusing those at the other end of the table. 

She made a swift, but silent exit from the dining room, rushing past her grandfather who was too slow to call to her. 

“What’s this? What’s the matter with her?” Palpatine demanded as Ren went to follow. 

He looked down at the man, picking at his food like a sick bird. 

“She’s fine my Lord, I’ll see to it.”

“See that you do!” Palpatine insisted, as though any of this made some difference to him. 

Rey pushed past the doors and went out into the hall. He was following her and all she wanted was to get away at least for a moment. 

Running to the back of the house, she went down the stairwell and to the kitchens where the hired cooks looked up in alarm., 

She ignored them all breaking through the back door and out into the rain. 

She’d forgotten about the storm, but, too late, it was done. A second in this and she was soaked. 

No matter, She needed to be free of him and his lies and hurt and all the ways he seemed to ruin her life just when it was getting better. She’d nearly crossed the lawn before she heard him.

“Please! Rey! Come inside!” He called from the open doorway. 

“Leave me alone!” She shouted and spun to keep walking. 

“Where are you going?” He called. 

“Away from you! Away from them, and this!” She was beginning to feel embarrassed. 

“What do you mean?”

“This lie! This bloody lie that were living!”She stomped back towards him “You don’t care! You never have, if you did you would not do the one thing you swore to never do again!”

Kylo shook his head as he walked out into the wind and rain with her. 

“I did no such thing. I haven’t made any final arrangements to go.”

“But you will! I’m sure of it! You can’t stay here and pretend to be the man you’re not! You’re much more than a Lord. I know that about you, you’re important to them, and to me, but they win every time. Every time!” She shouted. 

“Rey!”

“No!” 

“If you come inside and just listen.”

“To what? Another promise?” She asked blinking hard against the downpour.

He was struggling to reply. She imagined he held back unable to find the best way to phrase his lies.  

Having lost all patience for him, she let loose an angry growl of frustration and turned to run away, only to have him grab her arm and spin her around. 

“I will not have it.” He demanded. “I will not have you running off like this. You’re the most stubborn, impossible woman!” 

“Then what would you have, my lord.” She shot back, her voice heavy in her throat.

He let go of her arm and stepped back, standing straight and tall in the rain, his black hair slick on his face, dilated pupils making his eyes go just as dark. 

Rey’s chest rose and fell with exasperation as she brushed the rain from her eyes happy for its veil as warm tears began to flow in unison with the downpour. Her breath shuddered as her fists clenched. She wanted an answer, a true, honest answer, for these would be his last words to her If he couldn’t say what it was he wanted. She would end it here and now and leave him to his precious Order, and the north. 

Kylo’s expression changed the longer he looked at her, as though the sight were unbearable. His brows knitted together in distress, but beneath the dark ridge, his eyes spoke of something much more tender.

His own breath ragged, he sighed heavily and hung his head for a moment before looking at her. 

“You, Rey.” He said sounding very tired.  “I would have you.”

And while her young heart leapt, she shook her head refusing his words. She’d heard this before and never doubted his wanting her, but what more was there? A life half lived? Love spread over miles with yearly visits. It would never satisfy them, they both knew it.  

But then, Lord Ren took a few steps closer, blocking the worst of the rain. His large frame nearly engulfed her as he reached to cradle her face. “Rey. My dear girl.” He said softly.

He leaned over a bit to get her to look up at him, smiling at her in spite of their anger when she did.

His eyes danced across her face, settling at first on her lips, and then her own brown eyes.

“I would have you as my wife.”

Rey’s immediate reaction was to shy away. She turned her head, her lungs seemingly incapable of catching a breath. His voice tore at her, beat her to a pulp but, his proposal was honest. His proposal was true. Just as she’d wanted. She saw it clearly in his piercing eyes.

She was shivering and the rain was unforgiving. When he realized she would not give him a reply so quickly, he glanced over his shoulder. “Will you come inside, please?” He called over the wind.

She nodded letting him protectively escort her back to the kitchens. 

Once inside, the heat of the ovens and fires began to warm them both instantly.

Kylo quickly dismissed the servants who went scattering from the room to leave them alone with the steaming foods of the next course and the good smelling chaos of a downstairs kitchen. 

He handed Rey a towel from the counter which she took thankfully and wiped her face. 

He followed suit and laid the towel back where it had come from, taking the moment with his back to her to steady himself. 

In spite of it all, their reconciliation, the bodily oaths they’d sworn more than once, he’d disappointed her again it would seem and she was not one to forgive so easily. He’d barely found himself in her good graces after the last time, and though he had been in talks with the generals about permanently relocating, at no point had he considered leaving Rey behind.  

Quite the contrary, but, he would respect her wishes if she felt it better this way and leave her to a life free of him, though he was certain it would kill him in the end.  

Clearing his throat, Kylo sighed and pushed away from the countertop. “Rey.” He started, resigned to his fate yet again. 

“No” She stoped him. 

He turned to her deeply afraid of what she would say next. 

“My Lord. Kylo. I…” She was struggling to find the words. He felt it certain then that she meant to reject him but couldn’t find a way to do it without mortally wounding him. 

Ren’s shoulders squared and he took a breath bracing for the blow.

“My Lord,” She said again and took a few steps closer. “From the moment you came charging into my life I knew this was more than just, friendship between neighbors, or even a typical courtship. I believe we have proven to be well matched in every way. Even in our ability to wound one another. Though it seems you do like to strike first.”

He looked away a little ashamed. 

“You must understand that I can not bear the pain of our separation again, not like that. Without a word, and then, well… too many words. It broke my heart and I shall find it hard to believe you won’t do it again.”

“I swear it. I had every intention of telling you,”

“You say that now” She insisted. “You tell me, and then you disappear.”

“I say it now because it’s true. I say it because there’s nothing else I can say.” She didn’t seem to believe him and the thought of loosing her over his mistake from so long ago, was making him feel hopeless. 

Ren shrugged as though he’d accepted the loss and began reaching up and into his jacket. “I’d been saving this, but I feel it may be my only alibi.”

Rey stepped back, hands covering her mouth. Time slowed as he pulled a little velvet satchel from his breast pocket and opened it. 

With ease, Kylo pulled a small golden ring from the sack and held it between his fingers, both of them staring intently the piece. 

“I never wanted to leave you Rey, not the first time and certainly not now. But I let the influence of others guide me instead of trusting myself, which was a most regrettable mistake. I hope this is proof of that,”

Her hesitant trembling fingers reached out. She was nearly afraid to touch the ring, but it was so beautiful in it’s simplicity. 

“You bought this for me?” She asked, fingers curling into a fist in the air mid grab. 

“No” He mouthed. “This has been in my family for a very long time.” He glanced at her  “I never imagined myself with a wife, I never imagined anyone could make me smile long enough to want my company, but you have.”

She looked up and saw the far off gaze of a memory in his eyes. It touched her deeply to see him so, hopeful. 

Stepping back she spoke. “My Lord, you once told me not to be afraid. You felt a thing between us that I felt stirring as well. It connects us, and while I don’t know that this shared thing is good, I do know that it is powerful, and I” She looked away, her eyes downcast “I can not fight it and I can not deny it and I will not pretend that it does not exist. You and I are one in the same. And it is my firm belief that to go on living a life separate from yours would be to deny myself the truth.”

“Which is?”

“That you are my constant, you and I have found our balance, and we must be together. There is a space for light and dark in our hearts, and I feel the only way to keep us both centered is to stay together.”

He straightened his back, raising his chin to look down on her, his dark eyes wavering with tears.  

Rey smiled, “And.” She continued, guiding her hand up along his cheek to lace her fingers in his hair, her other hand slipping over his hand that held her ring.

“Because I love you….very much.”

He shut his eyes and pulled her close, a thin tear fell over one cheek and then the other. He wrapped his arms around her easily holding her so close she nearly disappeared. 

Exhaling into her hair, Kylo opened his eyes and looked into the fire of the kitchen hearth. “And I you.”

*

They went back up together. Silent in the awe of their new engagement. 

Rey stopped in the hall and glanced down at her finger, still shaken by the sight of the thin gold band and the deep green emerald at it’s center. 

Noting her hesitation, Kylo gently took her hand and raised it to his lips, before looking at the dining room doorway. 

“I suppose I could stand a dinner and an announcement tonight.” He said with a sly smile as he looked down at her. 

Rey pulled her gaze from the doorway and up, behind her to find his face. “I believe I’ve made quite a scene my Lord, the strange dinner habits of Rey Palpatine will circle the village quickly.”

He shook his head holding her hand “The people in that room are your friends my Lady, no one would speak a word, no one would dare”

She smiled and leaned her wet head back on his damp shirt “Please, try not to strike down the entire village my love.”

He rested his lips against her head and laughed a little. “No…my love. I will try to restrain myself.”

Though he joked with her, the weight of the moment seeped into his bones.

They had spent days sparring, nights intertwined, a year apart and months together, and only now did they say it.

The word seemed to spread its self over them like honey. It stuck to every inch of skin, every strand of hair. Love.

And who would have guessed he could, in the end and after everything, be worthy of it. And from her, he could scarce believe she'd opened her heart to him in the first place. 

Kylo was capable of so many things, cruelty, dominance, and violence, but he had been cowed by this woman. By her very existence. He felt for the first time in his adult life that there was purpose beyond a mission, he felt a need to be a part of something created out of this one simple word.

And as they walked, her small ringed hand hooked around his arm, he thanked her for finding him worthy though he did not. Even if everything he'd worked for came crashing down around them, he would die a happy man next to his dear Lady wife.