Poe is the first to think to tease her about it.
Finn is staring down at the table when he says it, too shocked to respond, and Rose gets up. She leaves the room.
Rose has only a sliver of patience for all of them lately. She keeps to herself, or spends time with Kaydel, or that wiry ginger with a beard who has been tailing her since the end of the war.
When she leaves them, even though the joke is about Rey, it’s nothing that feels undeserved, frankly.
She wants to wet her tongue that has gone dry, but she didn’t think to order water when she ordered nothing else from that bar. With her belly, no one would serve her anything stronger than bantha milk anyway.
She craves water to the point it’s like being back on Jakku. Her hands curl protectively over her stomach as the few remaining at the table fidget awkwardly and tries not to look at her belly. Or her face.
Everyone wonders. Everyone whispers.
“No,” Rey answers, her eyes far gone from the Cantina they had crowded into to get jostled by elbows and to try and celebrate this foreign, empty thing called victory. Her throat is dry, “dyad.”
She often moves her hands crisply over the belly, efficiently but also absently, like it’s going to slide straight out from the bottom of her shirt. It is solid under her hands.
At times even after she touches she wonders if this is really happening.
It’s too much of a labor to tie her hair back in her buns, so it falls soft and straight down her back. No one, absolutely no one, knows what to do with her. Rose is presently unbothered by anyone else’s business. Finn can’t meet her eyes and just stares at the belly. Poe can’t figure it out, the dyad, and if it means Ren is still out there.
No one knows who she is when she snaps at him like an angry dog for calling him that. But nobody was there to see it happen.
Not a living soul knows any different than she does.
The first things she finds is bones.
She can’t tell what they are at first. Charred, blackened, twisted. The wind eases the sand through the high eaves of a ribcage: she can tell slightly uncovered by the landing of her relatively large ship just a few short yards away from the house.
This plan feels wrong. She should be doing something else. What should she be doing?
Whenever she tries to place her mind on something vague that felt right, it takes her to Ben’s smiling face, his lips on hers, and the warming glow of his life-giving hand on her belly.
She looks down lamely at the sabers in her hand. Was this really where the Skywalker twins were raised? Leia was..a princess, wasn’t she?
Both Skywalkers were only myths to her a few short years ago. Piecing together their history was only through what a general and a cranky old hermit wanted to share. Odd, knowing them as twins, when they couldn’t seem to have come from more different worlds. She’s sees Luke’s life intertwining with the lay of the land here. Swapping fishing for checking moisture extractors. But Leia doesn’t make sense. Rey wanders the home, trying to ignore the bones of the previous owners, hoping to find the General-in-the-making within these walls.
It never starts to make sense.
With caution, she approaches the blackened remains outside the door. Obviously something violent and terrible happened here. Was Vader ever their father on these lands? He was from this planet. Was the mother of the twins one of these bodies? What of her abilities.
Her heart hammers irregularly in her chest.
You mustn’t think about it. For the baby.
The voice inside her tries to soothe when she is faced with nothing but shame. Living in their gutted, stolen home.
She always was a scavenger.
Guiltily, she weaves the twisted bones back into the sands with her powers. Says a prayer to the force.
How fitting it was that a war made heroes of her friends: and it made her into what she had always known herself to be.
She hoards the baby, selfish desert thing that she is, she keeps it all to herself.
She drops the cup she is carrying in her hands at the first kick. Precious water sloshes across the floor and soaks into her boots. She doesn’t move to keep away from the mess. She is stunned to stillness.
Her whole body shivers, and curls into itself. She is on the floor of the kitchen in an empty house on Tatooine, on her knees in that puddle of spilled water, and there’s the tiniest nudge from the inside.
She’s supposed to…
Is she supposed to tell someone?
She doesn’t know, it feels too strange to comm the people who swore up and down she could comm whenever she needed, to just say she felt a kick. She doesn’t need anything but to tell someone. It’s meant to be shared with someone close, in person, but she’s…
Rey is here.
Her body feels so strange and foreign as the kicking begins that she doesn’t even collect herself to sense the oddness of a soft voice in her head.
Probably a memory.
I feel it too.
Maybe she shouldn’t have come here.
The charred, sand-filled remains of someone else’s home. He wasn’t even Luke Skywalker when he lived her, not really, so she’s invaded a home with the family name Lars.
It rained constantly on base since the victory. The damp was invading everywhere. It was a constant state of summery storm, no one taking great issue with the downpour and riling up their victorious celebration to match the wind velocity with all the more violent quells.
The little drips that litter her cheeks and throat are like a thousand pinpricks and she grows unable to stand them. Rain, which had once passed al luxurious as silk through her hand, was a constant reminder of the sting of saltwater on her lips as she dueled with him.
Her body would shake, even with balmy steam rising from the greenery, and her trembling made people worry.
That strange, sith-impregnated girl who couldn’t begin to put words to what had happened to win this war. What had really been sacrificed.
She left to avoid the rain, and perform a proper burial of all she had left. While the skeletons that came loose from a dune after one sandstorm would have deterred another weary traveller, Rey has stumbled open much more gruesome tangles of skeletal remains in her days on Jakku while scavenging.
She winces and eases their black bones into the sands with her powers as well.
Though is suddenly gripped with the vision, not hers, of a funeral pyre.
She combs through old family logs. Nothing hugely substantial to Luke’s time on this planet: he farmed, sometimes was grumpy, and dreamed of flying. Rey could see clear enough to full picture of him formed from the man she knew, and see herself, and laugh to herself at the hint of irony in the accounts of the Uncle. Owen Lars.
Rey slept, even though it felt like she was carrying the baby in a bruised sack of skin when she did this, on the floor. Everything ached but she didn’t dare sleep anywhere else. It felt wrong to claim the Lars bed, and that left Luke’s, which she was sure he’d understand but still rib her mercilessly for.
Leave the place how you found it, kid.
But it’s not Luke that says it, but a perfect mimicry.
Luke learned to talk like a man from Han, and Han learned to talk with any sort of authority from Lando. Funny how every adult man in my life spoke from the same source. It made things painfully predictable.
Rey snorts to herself as she stirs a ration packet. The bread is bubbling into a full loaf already when she realizes that despite her appreciation for his help, her meeting with Lando was too urgent to recall a cadence she’d recognize as used by either Luke or Han. Even though the thought was felt and believed as her own.
The logs talk about that burning woman again. Shmi.
She supposes she must be their keeper, the relatives of Ben... her relatives. If the baby is to be believed. They will be the ancestors of her child, though she’s not so sure how that’s all going to work out when the baby comes.
She was stolen by raiders.
Rey’s hand shake a little while she tries to work back the date from the old datascreen. Vader’s mother. Leia’s grandmother. Ben’s great-grandmother.
She was a slave too. A slave whose name Rey now carries. A woman who carried a child with no father.
There’s a flail of shock and disgust that has Rey fling the screen down, drop it, really, so it falls heavy in her lap like she cannot hold it any longer. Her fingers seizing with horror as hand comes up to cover her face.
She came here to escape her past. Her eyes crawl the walls of the house surrounding her.
She can’t. She trapped herself in it.
There’s a night where it falls over her, like sleepwalking. She gets up so automatically, so surprisingly not-tender to her own back. Backaches, swollen ankles, sore ribs.
Her body, with her feeling quite detached from it, walks out of that main room and into the nearest bedroom.
Rey doesn’t particularly want to do this. Nor is she completely in a trance. It’s just happening without her thinking too hard about it. It’s like some hindbrain demands she get over her squeamishness and make herself comfortable.
She wonders, too, how it feels like there is something inside herself making her feel welcome in this home, when she’s not the one who can offer that to herself. But a feeling of ease falls over her like a sleeping drug.
Sleep here. For the baby.
She laughs to herself, stretching out and barely sneezing at the dusty blanket thrown over her body, she’s that tired. There's adoration that she has never, ever felt for herself in the thought that drifts in her head as she lays down.
You’re too stubborn.
The stars were unfamiliar here, blazed out by two suns, and Rey finds herself feeling a little lost, and ironically, looking for things she saw on Jakku. They are not near enough to any neighboring star systems to see familiar constellations. It makes her feel strange, unsatisfied, lonelier. To miss something from Jakku…
She must really be going crazy out here.
She can’t find her place on this planet, and expecting to navigate how she had for most of her short life, from the ground, looking at the stars, creates a strange breed of disappointment when she fails.
That night, she’s not sure why, but she digs out an empty, rusty canister from a trash bin. Her hands move automatically with a metal punch tool, sharply stabbing into the surface of the metal so little holes dot seemingly randomly throughout the surface.
She feels dizzy, and bad only because she should feel worse over this strange lack of control, like someone else is piloting her body. But she doesn’t. She feels safe.
I don’t exist in my body, she thinks to herself, the hinge of a compass marking the next puncture mark in a precise distance from the last. This isn’t mine anymore. Who are you?
Her hands falter for the first time. She blinks, suddenly awake at the table, a half-finished project in her hands, and is utterly alone.
The horror of it cuts deeply into herself. There’s a million tendrils extended through her nerves attempting to soothe, but each one wars with her body trying to exist as its own. Had her Grandfather returned? Did the voice that haunted Ben live in her?
Her panic makes it slip away: without any answers, the absence is no comfort. She sits at the table with the mystery of a metal canister being crafted into...something she doesn’t know provides not a single answer to her. It slowly gets dark, then the last chances at daylight are long gone before she can catch one to carry her away from her chair.
Who are you?
Now he only dares make small adjustments to her surroundings at night. Instead of butting against her consciousness while she’s already enough to catch intruders. She’s too stubborn, she sense every pull away from what she wants to do.
He doesn’t want to intrude, but it’s all he has. And if he lurks in the background forever, she’ll be alone.
He doesn’t want her to be alone.
When she sleeps, he carries her body back to the canister she left on the table. He’s surprised he doesn’t have to fish it out of the trash again. In the dark he moves slowly, so the light won’t wake her, and finishes punching all the holes in the metal.
Rey’s hands place it at the floor of the bedroom for him. The light inside flickering through brightly all the little punches.
Rey wakes up and he’s long gone by that point, but it’s still dark and the light shines through the cylindrical shadowbox so the room is lit with the star map he punched through the surface. She pushes herself upright on the bed to see it. The night sky as seen from the ground on Jakku.
Rey blinks at the empty room, light playing off of every wall forming familiar constellations. It is so odd to see something of that miserable planet and think of...home.
Someone hung the stars for her in her sleep and she doesn’t even know who she has to thank for it.
He smoothes her hands over her belly. She’ll notice, she’ll want herself back any moment, but he can manage little moments like these, where it’s as though the baby is inside him, with him inside her, Rey nesting them both but Ben taking his turn to hold it and be held all the same.
She holds him in her breast. Sometimes there’s a trill to her heart that is his awe of being there. The murmur makes her weary, has her sitting down to rest more often than she’d like for the sake of the baby.
Ben wishes he could make this easier. Should he seize her hand, make her scry his messages? Would she believe them? Would she want to hear them at all?
That first kick knocked aside a veil that he walked through. He can’t walk back. He is not a persistent person at loving. He crept back from his parent’s slights, grudges against children his own age, never forgetting as much as he wanted sharp tones from his teachers or the humiliation of discipline. He’d rather politely remove himself from her psyche without ever being noticed. But as she roams the empty Lars farm, he roams the dark of her body. The divine horror of fascination has him sift through her. The twinge of her muscles. Ghostings of pricking nerves along her skin. He lets her shivers overtake them both. She is the most hallowed home he has ever known. He could occupy her forever: if it didn’t make his soul so sick knowing if she knew, she wouldn’t like this one bit.
He remembered occupying Rey’s body before, in both the height of her strength and a momentary weakness. He can remember little than the feeling of her arousal and pain, clenching down on nothing. Were women made to suffer this way? He couldn’t really say, because her own stubbornness had awoken the first grasp at control he had inside her, piloting very delicately, to get her off her pallet on the floor and into a proper bed when her pain became something he felt again as well.
Rey sleeps every night after lighting the candle in the stars he carved for her. Her bed is in the constellations he hanged in the darkness. Even though her body aches, he can't leave it.
He’d managed to hold off on doing this for a while because feeling anything, even pain, was a strangely delicious joy.
Her breasts are tender and sore. She tried not to be aware of them before now. The only time she ever was when she was remembering the time Ben’s breath ghosted over them, his lips sliding across the swells wetted with spit, his fingers playing lovingly with them. His endless curiosity for ways to make her moan.
And his mind, so clear, open for her to roam around in. Seeking understanding, wanting to see her similarly exposed to him.
Touching them herself, with his hands as hers reaching for them, to please him. She was aware enough of her breasts in that bed with him. Used them to please him. Wound up pleasing herself.
She’s been in Ben’s body. He’s been in hers. It is so strange a complicated and raw to only have herself now.
A hand curls around her throbbing tit. Squeezes.
It doesn’t make the throbbing go away. Her belly is growing larger by the hour and she’s mad to assume the emotional need linked to her breast is going to cure the physical signs of pregnancy. Absently, in bed, she strokes around the pain. Letting it ache and letting it make her shiver at the same time.
Just like his memory. She can only seek pleasure by recreating a sensation he had caused within her. His gentle touch. His careful, deliberate attention.
She holds her breath as she exposes her breast to the air of the room, stroking her thumb in a circle around her nipple. They’ve gotten bigger since she’s become pregnant. The pain is from a heightened sensitivity. Would have like he better like this?
He wanted her aching with a terrible flu and leaking mucus all over his bed. He wanted her aching with horrible cramps and bleeding in the same place. She has a painful yet comforting feeling that he’d like her aching and swollen, as long as she was in his bed still.
Her nipple responds to the play in such a delighted tremble that Rey almost pities her body like a child. So sensitive and needy. She has to be more giving to it, if only as her one companion in this wasteland. What would she do on those nights on Jakku? Try to wet her fingers with her dry tongue and get herself messy…
Her arousal spike falls under its own weight.
Ben was better at making her a mess.
There were so many signs of him in her body and mind. The memory is there but he can’t answer. It was like Ben was haunting her insides. This was something so vile and awful and horrifying.
The hand on her breasts clamps hard enough to have her yelping out. She’s flooded with a pleading sense to not be afraid of it.
I can answer.
Rey’s mind slams shut in blind panic. The room feels colder, larger, around herself because she is now perfectly alone in it.
"Come back," she pleads, her eyes filling with hot tears. He floods back in. Makes her touch herself more firmly.
“Please,” she hisses, her heels digging into the mattress as her other hand slides down to cup her sex. She was feeling good before: it’s like he attempts to reset her by continuing the charade.
“Why did you do it?” her teeth clench as he strokes her. The urgency of the situation forces her to lie back and take what control he has. She knows if all those other signs were of his brief existence then she couldn’t waste it.
He is just a glimmer.
Why all of it. Why did he kill his father. Why did he kill himself.
Her own hand strokes her cunt much more surely than she would have in this moment. Every crook of her own fingers a foreign but wanted surprise. Her hips jerk under the touches, firmer than anything by her own hand should feel, but he keeps her steadied by them. Needy with them.
I just saw you dead and knew that you had to live no matter what. If it were one of us...
She does not have the luxury to silence him often. It hurts to do it now.
But she can’t let him tell her she deserves this.
“No, Ben,” her hand helps him along, though he seems to have a good memory of what feels nice against her cunt from experience, “it shouldn’t have had to be.”
I’m here. Don’t be afraid.
She can feel his grief spill through her soul. He knows she hates this, but it’s all he has. She can feel a cold lightness, almost like his weight is being lifted, and scrambles to hold him there.
“Ben...stay,” she steadies the vibration of his terror inside her. Two souls. “I need you here. At least a little while.”
He clouds back into her mind readily. Like a gasp filling the air. She arches her neck and rubs her hips into the hand that has gone still against her sex. Her fingers seem to jerk to life and he rubs her again.
“Ben,” she presses her face into her shoulder, wishing it was his and not her own. The warmth of her skin, knowing he can feel it too, does ease the ache a little, “what do you think of the baby?”
His pride fills her chest like a sunbeam. She actually gasps in the response of his intense emotions expanding through her entire body like light. Her hands rubs against her pussy frantically, so close, and yet so calm because Ben is here.
I love our baby.
“Do you…” her head falls back against the wall behind the bed, limp at the next, but not enough to hurt or knock him from her string of thoughts, “do you ever feel it kick?”
A smile cracks across her face as she cums: jagged yet full of hope and wonder.
Rey is asleep.
When he’s awake and she’s asleep and she’s rested back against the wall like this, it almost feels like he’s holding her. His hands roam her belly and legs, sometimes pulling her feet into her lap to massage so she wakes up feeling a little bit more soothed.
He does what he can to care for her.
The arch under the ball of her foot is ticklish. He doesn’t have much left in this world: but he had this knowledge and in the moment it is everything.
Her belly flutters.
He’s been present in her mind when it has happened. But it hasn’t happened yet when it is only him in her mind, his love fast asleep, leaving him alone with the child.
Tentatively, he lifts her hand to stroke over her round tummy.
The baby presses back.
Ben is in Rey’s hormonal body, much more ready at will for tears, so he blames that for the wetness sliding down her cheeks. Their child. Kicking away inside her.
He knew he couldn’t leave her yet because the energy of separation was a risk to the life she was carrying. The balance of his soul and hers, and the baby, it was all too delicate for his plan. This place for her and the baby is safer. For now.
She knows all about waiting.
It is his turn to wait for Rey.