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“Ben.”

Ben felt like his was heart expanding as he looked at Rey. She returned his gaze with equal intensity, wonder in her expression. He wanted to say something, but the weight of everything that had happened kept him silent. All that really mattered was that it had worked. He had saved her. The force had granted him this one last request, to make at least one thing right after all he had done wrong.

Rey raised her hand to touch his face, cupping his jaw. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her, how he had loved and yearned for her since the moment he had seen her. He hadn’t known then of course, what they would become, a dyad in the force, two people on opposite sides sharing equal power. He had sensed her confusion over the thing whispering between them when he was interrogating her on Starkiller Base, and his own confusion had matched it.

Before he realized her intention, Rey leaned forward and pressed her lips to his. His heart stopped, time stopping with it. Without consciously deciding to, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer, ignoring the pain in his body. He could feel the lifeforce draining him but ignored it. This moment was perfect. He may have given the last of his life to Rey, but in return he was being granted a return of his affections. Melancholy sliced through his heart that he would be leaving her, but it was worth it. He had no family left, and he had done unspeakable things as Kylo Ren. Most importantly, a galaxy without Rey was not a galaxy he cared to live in. Instead he would be granted this one moment and would die peacefully, knowing he would be reunited with his family, and that Rey could go on to make the galaxy whole again. It was for the best.

She pulled away too soon. He watched her carefully, trying to memorize the moment, to take this memory with him into the afterlife, Rey unaware that he was slowly slipping away.

She smiled and he felt blinded, his already full heart expanding further. He regretted all the times he had made her cry instead of smile. He should have been making her smile from the moment he met her, this woman, this Jedi who was the other half of his soul. He couldn’t stop the smile from breaking out on his face any more than he could stop the strength from draining from him.

But regardless of how much he wished he could stay, the moment of his departure had arrived. The smile slipped from his face, Rey’s soon following as she likely sensed his end. Before he could tell Rey he loved her, his body gave out, and he fell back, slipping away.


“Ben.”

Ben opened his eyes, his mind in disarray as he tried to make sense of where he was. He looked down, seeing nothing but stars beneath his feet. He appeared to be floating within the vacuum of space, nothing but stars all around him. And yet, he felt as if he was standing on solid ground. He frowned, his heart cracking when he realized he had become one with the force, that he was yet another person in Rey’s life to leave her behind.

“Ben.”

He turned, and had his heart been beating, it would have stopped.

“Mom?” Her name came out on a sob.

His mother, nearly a foot shorter than him, smiled up at him. She reached out to touch his face, a faint smile on her face, her eyes shining with regret. “My darling boy. I’ve missed you so much.”

It shouldn’t be possible, to cry in the afterlife, but he was. He had missed her, despite the many times he had tried to convince himself that he should let all his feelings die, that it was impossible to return to her. He had failed every time.

He pressed his mouth together as she regarded him with tears pooled in her eyes as well.

He shook his head, trying to get enough control of himself to speak. “Mom, I’m –“ He broke off, not knowing what to say. How did he apologize for killing his own father, for turning to the dark side, for trying to destroy everything she had stood for?

She brushed her thumb across his cheek, wiping away a tear. “I know. I know you’re sorry. I forgive you.” She sniffled. “It was my own failings. I should never have sent you away. I should have been there for you.”

He shook his head. She could not get away with blaming herself. It had been Palpatine. He had been pulling the strings of Ben’s life from his earliest memories.

“It’s not your fault.” The words were raspy, but he willed her to believe him.

She shook her head in return. “It is my fault. I’m your mother. I had spent so much of my time fighting for a galaxy of freedom that I had no idea how to be a mother. I put the galaxy ahead of you, and I shouldn’t have. I lost you the moment I didn’t prioritize you in my life.”

Ben shook from the effort of reining in his emotions. A look of compassion filled her expression as she pulled his head down to her shoulder. The dam broke. Ben sobbed into his mother’s shoulder as she ran a soothing hand up and down his back. Every emotion he had kept hidden while alive came barreling out.

He had no idea how long he sobbed, this void they were in making time seem irrelevant, but eventually, he pulled away, the beginnings of embarrassment slithering into his mind.

He looked around, trying to compose himself, to gather his thoughts.

“Where are we?”

“A place between.”

He turned back at her answer. “A place between? What does that mean?”

A sad smile broke out on her face. “It means that what is done can still yet be undone.”

He frowned, trepidation winding through his heart that his mother would be speaking so cryptically.

“My darling boy, you are the last of us. The last Skywalker. My father was created by the will of the force, and by the will of the force, you can be remade.”

Ben felt the hairs on his neck stand on end as she spoke, and he was certain it was no longer his mother, but the force speaking through her.

“By your selfless act,” she said, “you were able to save the jedi from extinction. I know your heart, that you love her, as she loves you. Anakin was created for this very moment. Everything that has happened in the galaxy happened so that there could be balance once more.”

Ben stood frozen as his mother – or more accurately, the force – spoke, unable to fully wrap his mind around what she was saying.

“A dyad, such a rare occurrence, cannot be broken without once more damaging the balance in the universe.”

He shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

His mother again cupped his cheek. “We will see each other again one day, when you have lived your life, when your hair is threaded through with silver, when you once more become one with the force as your family stands around you.” She paused, looking between his eyes as he tried to grapple with what she was saying. His traitorous heart began to hope, to yearn for that life she was describing. But it could not be possible. He had already passed on.

His frown deepened. But had he? He looked around, at this place they were in. “A place in between” she had called it.

“I – can go back?”

She nodded, her eyes filled with a bittersweet mixture of sadness and hope. “I held on as long as I could, knowing my death would be tied to yours as well. Just as you gave your life force to Rey, so I also gave the last of my life force to you, that you could live. You have known nothing but suffering. Now go and live a life with the one whose soul is tied to yours. You both deserve every happiness.”

His eyes widened when he realized that everything around him was beginning to fade. “Mom!” He knew it was not impossible to see her again as a ghost in the force, but he couldn’t leave without telling her what he had longed to say since the moment he had left her as a boy.

“I love you!”

Before she had a chance to respond, the world went first white and then black.


He heard an intake of breath as the world materialized around him. He felt the hard stone beneath him as he blinked, his eyes immediately falling on Rey.

Her eyes were wide, a hand covering her mouth.

Had he dreamed it?

No. The look on Rey’s face was enough to prove he had indeed faded away.

“Rey.” His voice was nothing more than a rasp, as if he hadn’t used it in years.

She sobbed once before dropping her hand, tears filling her eyes as she spoke in wonder. “Ben? How –“ she shook her head, reaching her hand out to touch his face. “I saw you disappear.”

He curled his fingers around her wrist, pulling her hand away as he sat up. Her eyes roved over his face, as if checking for any sign that he was hurt.

“I did disappear.”

Her gaze snapped to his, her eyes colored in confusion as a wrinkle appeared between her eyebrows. “I don’t understand.”

He swallowed, pulling her hand to his heart, subconsciously trying to soothe her concern that he wasn’t really alive. “My mother. She – gave her life force to me. I – when I faded into the force, I didn’t go all the way.” Her lips parted as if to interrupt him, and his lips twitched into a smile. “I don’t really understand it either, but she said it was the will of the force that I live. That –“

He cut off, suddenly unsure of himself. What if Rey didn’t want the life he spoke of? What if she wanted to let the past die, as he had once told her to do?

Rey waited for him to continue, her eyes filled with emotion.

He steeled himself. No matter if she didn’t want him in the end, his mother had not given her life up so that her son could be a coward.

“She said that I was being sent back because of our connection, Rey. Our dyad helps hold the force in balance.”

There would be time enough to tell Rey of the future, of the children and grandchildren his mother had spoken of.

Her mouth fell open as she sucked in a breath. She was so beautiful, this woman who had captured his heart, had dared to believe he could be turned back to the light. He swallowed, hoping that their second kiss wasn’t anticlimactic as he cupped her cheek and pressed his lips to hers before he could lose his courage.

He didn’t know what he was doing, not really. A kiss should be a straightforward thing. You press your lips together. But he knew there was technique involved, even if he had never had the opportunity to develop his.

He pulled back slightly, tilting his head to better fit their lips together, acting mostly on instinct. Rey wrapped her other arm around him, pulling herself closer to him. He dropped her hand, sliding it around her shoulder, his other hand on her lower back, pulling her onto his lap.

He moved his mouth against hers, his heart beating as if it wanted to escape his chest. He traced the seam of her mouth with his tongue. When she opened, he dipped inside, sliding his tongue against hers tentatively, unsure of what he was doing, but loving that he was discovering this with Rey.

She slid her hand up to cup his jaw, pressing herself close to him. Ben had never known something as simple as a kiss could be so intimate. He felt the force humming between them, the whooshing sound and then silence that let him know their bond was open. Ben suddenly lost track of where his emotions ended and Rey’s began, the bond heightening everything.

He pulled away with a gasp, the intensity of Rey’s emotions hitting him. They stared, faces mere inches apart, no sound but their heavy breathing.

The moment broke with the sound of cracking. They both looked up to see the temple ceiling fracturing.

“We need to go.”

Rey nodded, scrambling up. She turn and held a hand out to help him up, but he was already on his feet. Whatever had happened to him had healed his body. He paused, the urge to kiss her again strong, but another loud crack reminded him it wasn’t the time. He grasped her hand and began running through the temple. They were at the heart of it and would have to hurry if they wanted to make it out before the whole thing collapsed.

When the finally exited the building, they stopped, both trying to catch their breath. Rey looked up, her eyes widening at what she saw. Ben followed her gaze, now realizing why the temple had been cracking. Broken pieces of star destroyers were raining down.

Ben grabbed Rey’s hand, pulling her toward the TIE fighter he had arrived in. He jerked to a stop when she resisted.

“Ben, wait.”

He exhaled sharply. “We need to get out of here before we’re killed by falling debris.”

“Ben, I have to go back to the resistance. They have to know I’m alright.”

Ben froze. “Rey, I…I can’t go there with you.”

She nodded. “I know.”

He looked around, panic that she was leaving him beginning to choke the breath out of him. His chest heaved as he tried to calm himself.

When he felt Rey’s hand on his arm, he turned towards her, trying to rein in his emotions.

“I’m meet you somewhere.” The corners of her mouth turned up. “We have a way to communicate across vast distances.”

He swallowed and nodded. They did, though neither of them quite knew how to turn it on at will. They usually became connected when the force willed it. But if he was to be separated from her, he would do everything in his power to learn how to connect it intentionally.

A chunk of metal cashed down not more than ten feet away, reminding them both of the urgency of their escape.

“Tatooine.”

Rey frowned, shaking her head in confusion.

“Meet me on Tatooine.” He needed to go back to where it had all began, this history of the Skywalker family.

Understanding dawned on her face and she nodded. “Tatooine.”

Ben pulled her to him and kissed her once more before pulling back reluctantly.

Rey stared up at him, seeming as reluctant as he was to be parting ways once more. “I’ll see you again.”

He nodded, watching as she stepped back and hurried to her X-wing. Only when she was powering it up did he remember he was supposed to be leaving as well. He climbed into the TIE fighter, glancing at Rey once more as she lifted off and flew away.

He would see her again. On Tatooine. He repeated those words to himself as he flew in the opposite direction.


Tatooine was remarkably similar to Jakku. There was nothing but desert for miles, each small town filled with nothing but dusty cantinas and brothels. He had inquired after his uncle’s family homestead. After paying for a speeder to get out to the area, he went on his way, mentally preparing for whatever he might find there.

Which was nothing. Nothing but sand. The house was half-filled with sand. He stared at the scenery around him, the weight of all the tragedy that his family had suffered making him feel as if he were also sinking into the sand.

The cycle ends with me.

He didn’t stay long, finding nothing worth staying for. He headed back into town and rented a small apartment for an indefinite time, going by the name Jacen to avoid being recognized. He knew there were few who knew that Ben Solo and Kylo Ren were one and the same, but better to be safe than sorry.

He spent his days mostly working on his meditations, centering himself within the force. With little else to occupy his time, it didn’t take him long to discover the means of opening his bond with Rey. She filled him in on the happenings of the galaxy, the desperate scramble to re-establish a galactic senate. He wanted to be there with her, hated that anything was keeping them apart. But she promised to come to him as soon as she could manage.

It wasn’t until several weeks later that she told him she was going to search for a kyber crystal for a saber of her own. They discussed what to do with Luke and Leia’s sabers. Rey wanted to bury them on Tatooine, and Ben agreed.

They agreed on a day to meet. Rey would be taking the Falcon with her, and promised they could go anywhere.

Ben had spent a lot of time thinking of where they could go, where he wanted to build a life with her. He had never felt at home on Chandrilla, he never knew where exactly his father was from, and he hated the desert here on Tatooine. He knew Rey loved the green, after a life spent on a desert planet.

Naboo. He had distant relatives there, though whether he wanted to risk meeting them, he didn’t know. But they could hide in the fertile lands of the Naboo, where his grandmother had been queen and Rey could be surrounded by green.


Ben paced anxiously from the spot he had agreed to meet Rey. She said she was going to stop and bury the sabers before coming to him, so that they could leave the past behind immediately. He scanned the skies. They had been apart for far too long. They had only just found themselves together before they had been forced apart.

Now that his head was silent, truly silent, Ben had been grappling with the decisions he had made over the years. He had spent countless hours reliving the worst of his mistakes, but whenever he was connected with Rey, those thoughts quieted. Their dyad did not only balance the force; they balanced each other.

He ran a hand through his hair, unsurprised to see his hands shaking. He had slept little the night before, so anxious to be with Rey again. She was truly the other half of his soul, and being apart from her had become taxing.

His head whipped up as the faint sounds of a ship reached his ears. When the ship began it’s descent, Ben grabbed his meager belongings and bolted towards it. The bay door hadn’t even fully descended before he jumped onto it.

“Ben-“

He cut her off, throwing his small bag to the ground, grabbing her face, and kissing her. She stumbled backwards, and he kept the momentum moving until her back was against a wall. This was unlike their kisses on Exegol, not sweet and tentative. He had spent the better part of two months reliving those kisses, eager to get the rest of his life with Rey started. He no longer cared that he was inexperienced. He couldn’t get enough of her. He never wanted to be parted from her again. Where Rey was, there he would be also.

A tension eased between his shoulders as she returned his kisses with equal fervor, wrapping her arms around him and tilting her head back. He ran his tongue over the seam of her lips, and when they parted, he wasted no time, thrusting his tongue inside.

Rather than these kisses soothing his intensity, they seemed to feed it. Rey made a sound in the back of her throat, and it went straight down to his cock. He growled back at her, sliding his hands from her cheeks into her hair, tangling his fingers into the three buns.

Rey curved her hands up over his shoulders from behind, pressing herself closer to him, matching his intensity, seeming just as frantic as he was.

He pulled his mouth away from hers, kissing a trail down her jaw to the column of her throat.

“I…missed…you…so…much,” he said between kisses. He tried pulling her shirt out of the way, but the collar was too stiff.

He pulled back with a growl of impatience. Rey stared up at him, biting her lip in what looked like amusement, color high on her cheekbones, her lips looking kiss-swollen.

“Hello.”

He blinked at her tone, sounding shy, only then realizing that he hadn’t even said a proper hello to her.

He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, feeling his face and ears grow warm. “Hello.”

The amusement dropped out of her expressions. “I’ve missed you, too.”

He swallowed, the admission doing strange things to his heart. They held each other’s gazes, Rey still pressed against a wall of the Falcon, their bodies mere inches apart as Ben braced himself with one hand against the wall. He swallowed, trying to keep himself from picking her up and carrying her into the pilot’s quarters.

“I want you to.”

Ben’s mouth dropped open as Rey’s eyes grew wide.

“Did you just skim my thoughts?”

Her face began reddening. “It was an accident.”

He huffed a laugh. “An accident? Did you mean to skim someone else’s thoughts?”

She bit her lip, looking down. He might have thought she was upset if the corners of her mouth weren’t curling upwards.

“I didn’t really do it consciously.” A crease formed between her brow. “It’s so much easier to use the force with you around.”

He curled a finger under her chin, tilting her head back so he could see her eyes. “Did you mean it?”

She shook her head. “What?”

“Do you really want me to take you to the pilot’s quarters?”

He held his breath, trying not to get his hopes up in case she had changed her mind. His heartrate doubled as he waited.

When several long moments passed with no answer, he dropped both of his hands and stepped back, nodding.

“We should go.” He tried to keep his voice even, so she wouldn’t know just how disappointed he was. She had every right to say no. They had only just seen each other after many weeks apart, and prior to that had had a very tumultuous relationship. It made sense that they move slow.

As he turned to grab his bag, however, she grabbed his arm.

“I meant it.”

He froze, certain he had heard wrong. Rey walked around him, coming to stand in front of him. He stared down at her, not daring to speak a word in case he had truly misheard.

Her eyes looked between his, her hand sliding down to grab his. His gaze dropped to their hands, his heart thumping, waiting for her to move first.

She cupped her other hand on his cheek, rising on her toes to press her lips to his. It was over before he had a chance to properly respond, but the look in her eyes when she fell back on her heels was heated and full of promise.

She turned and pulled him behind her. He followed in a daze, nerves and excitement battling in his mind. They had already discussed their respective romantic pasts, such as they were, which is to say they both admitted to never having had one.

They crossed the threshold of the cabin, the door whooshing closed behind them. Rey turned to look at him, and he saw his own nerves mirrored back at him.

The tension in him eased, knowing she was just as nervous as he was. He swallowed, stepping closer. Her lip was caught between her teeth as she watched him. He paused, feeling the moment expand around them. There was no hurry. They had the rest of their lives. More than anything, he wanted to let her know how much she meant to him.

He reached behind her, carefully pulling out the ties on her buns, her hair cascading down to her shoulders. He ran his hand along her jaw, brushing his thumb over her bottom lip, pulling it out from under her teeth. He saw her breath catch, her eyes wide and mouth parted.

He leaned down, pressing his lips to hers, immediately delving into her already open mouth. He poured all his feelings into the kiss, trying to let her know just how much he loved her. He felt the bond humming between them, the force surrounding them like a cocoon.

After a time, Rey began pressing herself against him, reigniting the urgency between them. Ben pulled way, his mouth quirking up when she made a sound of protest. He pulled his shirt up over his head, feeling more than a little cocky when her eyes tracked over his chest, not looking away as she had done the first time she had found him shirtless.

She reached out with tentative fingers, tracing her fingers across his skin. He swallowed as a shiver ran through him, sending all sensation directly to his cock. He tried to let her take her fill, but after several moments, he grasped her wrist, pulling her hand away before he embarrassed himself.

Seeming to jolt back to herself, she tried to snatch her wrist away, looking down as her cheeks reddened. Shaking his head, he raised her hand and kissed her fingertips before sliding his hand up her arm and then back down her side to the hem of her shirt. He slid both hands just under the hem, tracing the skin at her waist. She watched him, hardly moving as he unbuckled her belt, unwrapping it from around her waist and dropping it to the floor before slowly pushing the fabric of her shirt up.

Rey grabbed the hem and pulled it over her head, tossing it to the side. Ben swallowed hard at the exposed plane of her abdomen. Much like she had done, he skimmed his fingers across her stomach and around to the small of her back, pulling her close.

He kissed her again, moaning at the feel of her skin against his. She stood once more on her toes, wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing herself close. He squeezed his arms, as if trying to fuse the two of them together. Their souls were already fused, and it felt as if their bodies should be as well.

He pulled away once more when he was in danger of losing control of himself. He had waited a lifetime for Rey, and he wasn’t going to give in to a lack of self-control now. He pressed his forehead against hers, trying to catch his breath. Rey put a hand on his cheek before pulling away. He tried to stop her, cursing his need for a break, but she shook her head, biting her lip as the corner of her mouth turned up in a smile.

His eyes widened when she started to unravel her breast band. He held his breath as each pass around revealed more of her skin. She paused at the end, color high on her cheeks and no longer smiling, before taking a deep breath and dropping the fabric away.

Ben stared, unmoving as he grappled with the sudden lack of blood in his brain, all of it having traveled south. When Rey shifted, crossing her arms and looking away, he rushed forward, shaking his head as he pulled her hands down.

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered, tearing his eyes from her breasts long enough to catch her gaze, to let her see that he wasn’t lying. “I’ve never seen anyone more beautiful.” Uncertainty threaded into his mind. “Are you sure you want to do this? We…” He swallowed, praying to every god in the galaxy that she didn’t no. “We can stop. We don’t have to do this now…or ever.”

Her lips parted and some of the embarrassment left her expression as she looked in his eyes.

“I want to do this, Ben.” She slipped her wrists from his hands, grabbing one of his hands and guiding it to her breast.

He forgot to keep breathing as he tested the waters, rubbing his thumb across her nipple, feeling awed at how it hardened, his eyes snapping back to hers when he heard her sharp intake of breath.

“Keep going,” she said, her voice higher than normal as she grabbed his other hand and placed it on her other breast.

He swallowed, cursing at how little he knew. He wanted more than anything to make this good for her. He had spent a good deal of time doing research on the subject of female pleasure – on sex in general – but felt the inadequacies that mere reading had left him with.

He felt mesmerized, watching her face, her head tilted back, eyes closed, as he experimented with kneading, plucking, pinching, trying to feel through the force what gave her most pleasure.

“Ben.” His name came out both breathless and on a groan, making his cock twitch painfully in his pants.

“Please. I need you to touch me,” she said, panting.

“I am touching you.”

She opened her eyes, shaking her head as she pulled away, toeing off her shoes, shucking off her pants and underwear, and kicking them away. Ben watched her, nearly panting himself as he took in the legs that seemed to go on for miles. She was so much more petite than him, but her legs seemed to never end.

His gaze was still traveling up when she stepped forward, grabbing his hand and pulling it between her legs, all traces of bashfulness gone. He sucked in a breath at the wetness he found there. She covered his hand with hers, pushing his middle finger on a specific area, whispering a hushed “circles” as she let go and grasped both of his shoulders.

He once more watched her face, now thrown back, biting her lip as he ran experimental swipes on what proved to be a particularly sensitive area. He tried to recall what he had read, the lack of oxygen to his brain making his recall skills poor. He ran the tip of his finger through her folds, breath catching at the slickness he found there, the sign of how much he was affecting her. He returned to the bundle of nerves, swiping it as he wrapped an arm around her waist to keep her upright. He lowered his head, placing a kiss in the hollow of her neck. Her resulting shiver emboldened him to continue kissing down her chest, making his way over to one breast and sucking her nipple into his mouth.

It took a fair bit of concentration, but he found a rhythm between his mouth and fingers, experimenting with swirling his tongue in time with his fingers and dragging his teeth lightly over her skin. Her fingers dug into his shoulders, her nails biting into his skin. When her knees buckled, he caught her, removing his hand from between her legs to catch under her legs and carrying her to the waiting bed. He laid her carefully back before kneeling between her legs and repositioning his hand.

Rey grasped his other hand, forcing him to lean back on his knees. She seemed to be beyond words, panting heavily as she guided his other hand between her legs as well.

“Inside me,” was all she seemed capable of saying as she began squirming beneath him. Keeping his thumb moving, he inserted one finger, biting his lip hard at the wet heat, his erection becoming painful and his brain losing even more blood. Rey nearly bowed off the bed when he curled his finger, touching a spongy area inside. He felt powerful, watching as she dissolved into incoherent sounds urging him to continue as she squirmed, trying to press her knees together and finding his body in the way. He carefully pumped in and out, once more finding a rhythm between his two hands. He sped up his thumb and added a second finger when he felt her walls relaxing, finding it miraculous that he recalled anything he had read when he was beginning to feel almost lightheaded.

If she hadn’t kept up a steady volley of “keep going,” he might have stopped, the moans and squirming making him wonder if she was experiencing pleasure or pain. The chords stood out on her neck as every muscle clenched, including those around his fingers, before he felt a pulsing wetness as she keened loudly. He sat back when she fell, every muscle seeming to relax at once, the only sign she was alive her heavy breathing.

That was the sexiest thing he had ever seen in his life. He took in her parted lips, the arm thrown over her eyes, her flushed skin, her heaving chest, the way her legs had fallen open in the most deliciously lewd manner. He scrambled off the bed, Rey dropping a hand to watch him as he finished undressing, nearly crying out in relief when his hardened cock was released.

He had to keep himself from smirking at the way her eyes widened. He hadn’t gotten around to entering three fingers before she had come apart, but he could – and would – go slow.

The urge to smirk fell away when her expression changed, becoming more vulnerable as she looked away, biting her lip as her cheeks flushed. He frowned, sensing the embarrassment through their bond and wondering what had caused the sudden change. He climbed back onto the bed, settling himself between her legs, resting on his forearms.

“Hey,” he said, brushing a strand of hair off her face. “What’s wrong? Why are you embarrassed?”

She looked back at him, still biting her lip, uncertainty in her eyes. “I –“ she broke off before taking a deep breath. “It’s never been like that before…I’ve never been like that before.”

He drew his brows together, still uncertain and shaking his head as he tucked another strand of hair behind her ear. She covered her face, her voice muffled when she spoke.

“I’ve touched myself before, but that was nothing like when I’ve done it. I’ve never screamed like that, or squirmed. I just…it’s embarrassing.”

Ben wrapped his fingers around her wrists, pulling lightly and pushing her hands beside her head, threading his fingers through hers.

She swallowed, but held his gaze when he spoke, his voice low and hoarse with emotion. “That was the sexiest thing I have ever seen in my life, Rey.” When she didn’t react, he continued. “I nearly came just watching you. Never be embarrassed by that.”

He squeezed her fingers, willing her to see he was telling the truth. Her eyes looked between both of his before she raised her head, kissing him. He pressed her back down without breaking the kiss, sucking her bottom lip into his mouth, running his tongue over hers.

He pulled back when she began squirming again, his hair creating a cocoon around them as he rubbed his nose over hers, breathing heavily.

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

Rey’s mouth twitched as she nodded. “Yes.”

He swallowed, clenching his jaw and praying to every god in the galaxy that he didn’t come before they got started.

Letting go of one of her hands, he grabbed himself, pumping her slickness over himself before lining up. He looked back up at her, waiting until she nodded before slowly pressing in. Her fingers tightened over his, pain flitting over the bond. He stopped, nearly pulling out before Rey said a hasty “No!”

She took a deep breath. “Keep going.”

He frowned. “Are you sure?”

Instead of answering, she wrapped her legs around his waist and pulled him further in. He hissed between his teeth at how amazing she felt. He stopped her when he felt resistance, leaning down to kiss her as he pulled back and snapped his hips, capturing her gasped with his lips as he waited for her to adjust.

Pulling his head back again, he swallowed against the intensity of his emotions. “I love you, Rey.”

It probably wasn’t the right time to say so, and he could tell by the look in her eyes that she thought he was caught up in the moment. He would be sure to set the record straight when he wasn’t seated inside her.

He swallowed, shaking from the effort of holding himself back. “Let me know when.”

She smiled, nodding at him. He grasped her hand again, holding her hands on either side of her head as he began to move. He forced himself to go slow, paying attention to every hitch of her breath, quickly skimming her mind to make sure everything was still ok. After a few strokes, she began tilting her hips up to meet him, throwing her head back again and panting.

His head dropped as he began speeding up, trying to find the right angle inside her. He pressed wet kissing in the valley between her breasts, feeling triumphant when he felt her twitch and heard her cry out. He felt the muscles in his low back tighten, knowing he was moments away from losing control. He wanted her to come again, to feel her contracting around his cock, began trying to grind his hips into hers, to provide friction where she needed it. He tried thinking of anything to slow himself down, but his ability for rational thinking had disappeared.

He was certain he was going to fail when he felt her begin to contract around him, her legs squeezing him so hard he couldn’t move his hips as her knuckles whitened as she grasped his hands. He soon followed, dropping his head on her chest, groaning through his teeth at the intensity. He suddenly knew what Rey was talking about. He had never come this hard, had never felt this intensity.

When he could no longer hold himself up, he dropped on top of her, pressing her into the mattress. He turned his head to the side, laying on her chest, and tried to calm his racing heart.

Neither spoke, both breathing heavily and seeming to need a moment to recover. Rey threaded her fingers through his hair, scraping her nails on his scalp. He closed his eyes, humming in satisfaction.

Once his heartrate slowed, he stirred, feeling embarrassed to be crushing her. It was a wonder she could breathe. He started to move but she grasped his hair painfully, stopping him.

“Please stay.”

He turned his head, resting his chin on her chest. “Aren’t I crushing you?”

She shook her head. “No. Please. Just…just stay like this?”

He nodded, turning his head once more, wrapping his arms underneath her to hug her closer. He could feel the calmness that spread through the force as she continued brushing her fingers through his hair. He closed his eyes. How had he ended up here? How was it possible that after everything, he had been allowed this slice of happiness?

“Rey.”

Her fingers paused before continuing the brush through his hair. “Yeah?”

He opened his eyes, staring at the wall of the Falcon. “I meant it.”

A pause.

“What do you mean?”

He turned his head again, making sure she was looking at him before he continued. “I meant what I said. I love you.”

The confusion left her expression, her lips parting as her eyes widened. “Ben –“

He hurried on. “You don’t have to say it back. I just wanted you to know that I meant it. That I really do love you.”

She stared into his eyes, and he resisted the urge to once more skim her thoughts, too afraid of what he would find there. He knew she cared for him, but he didn’t want to assume all her feelings were the same.

“Ben,” she said, her eyes never leaving her face. “I love you, too.”

His heart stopped and his breath caught. He froze, wondering if he had misheard.

He blinked when she smiled, reviving him, and immediately bent down to kiss her, his heart soaring as he played and replayed her words in his head. She loved him back.

He pulled back, smiling at her, feeling freer than he had…maybe ever. He pulled her off the bed and to the ‘fresher. They kissed under the spray, but Ben refused to let it escalate after spotting the pink-tinged water swirling down the drain. When they finally turned off the water – Rey lamenting how wasteful they were being – they dried off, Ben stealing more kisses and making the process of dressing much longer than it should have been.

They walked hand-in-hand to the front of the ship, Rey sitting in the pilot’s seat, turning to him as she began turning on the Falcon’s engines.

“So, where are we going?”

Ben took a deep breath. “I was thinking Naboo.”

Her mouth curved upwards, understanding in her eyes, before she nodded. “Naboo it is.”

Ben smiled as she ordered him to help her like the copilot he was. A thread of sadness crept through the happiness as he recalled his childhood, the time he had spent here with his father.

He would never stop feeling sad for the things he had done, but with Rey at his side, living a simple life on a fertile planet, he could at least make sure that the future of the Skywalker family remained bright.