The Romanian sun beat down on his back as he stared intently at the letter before him. Summer holidays were winding down to their end, and soon Ben Solo would be back in the corridors of Hogwarts. Year Seven, his last year as a student. He paused that thought to look back at the letter in front of him, admiring the messy yet charming handwriting of his best friend Rey Niima. They had been writing to each other all summer while his family was away on holiday, and he truly couldn’t wait to be seeing her and the rest of their small friend group a few weeks from now.
They had joined Hogwarts together as First Years, but hadn’t truly gotten to know each other until Year Three. The two young Gyriffindor's had almost every lesson together that year, and it wasn’t long before their friendship made them inseparable. An outsider looking in would find the pairing odd: a tall, lanky, and shy young man befriending a small, spunky, larger-than-life young woman...but it worked for them. Rey had eventually introduced him to her other friends from other houses, Poe the Ravenclaw, and Finn and Rose the Hufflepuffs; they were as tight-knit as any chosen family could be. But there was always an exceptional bond between Ben and Rey that even they couldn’t explain, and that bond carried them through their years at Hogwarts.
You won’t believe how fast I can get my broomstick to go now, you’re definitely in for it this season! Rey boasted in her letter. They had both joined Quidditch together in Year Five, but even being on the same team brought a level of friendly competition that pushed each other on the practice pitch every day. He smiled to himself as he read her words, almost certain that she would be right; her skills and size made her a menace to the other teams and in her final season he was sure she was going to let nothing get in her way.
I hope you and your family are having fun in Romania! It’s been a long summer and I can’t wait for our last year at Hogwarts, it’s going to be the best one yet! Also...there’s something I want to tell you but I will definitely tell you in person when I see you (I can already see the worried expression on your face, don’t worry you plonker it’s nothing bad!)
As ever predictable, Ben scrunched his nose at her words. What could she possibly have to tell him? The possibilities began to swirl in his head as the tiniest voice in his head whispered his deepest darkest wish: Maybe she feels the same way about you .
He brushed that voice away with annoying speed, he doesn’t have feelings for Rey. That’s his best friend...even if she has the most beautiful smile and eyes that shine like the full moon over the lake--no! No, he wouldn’t think of her that way, he couldn’t even entertain the idea that their friendship would be ruined if such feelings aren't reciprocated.
He folded the letter back up and stuffed it in his pants pocket. Picking up his own piece of parchment and ink quill, he quickly but neatly drafted a positive response to her letter. Calligraphy had always been a hobby of his, and the fluid swirls of his words looked like art against the parchment. He stuck his letter in an envelope addressed to Rey, grabbed his wand off the desk and silently cast a charm to send the letter to his friend (He definitely wouldn’t make his poor owl fly hundreds of miles while he’s on holiday). Looking up from the large open window of their Romanian villa, he sighed to himself as the cool breeze flowed through his thick black hair.
The beginning of September has finally arrived as Ben hugged his parents goodbye from the train platform. He was unfortunately traveling alone on his way to Hogwarts this year, as Rey’s parents had to take her to the train station several hours later after what she could briefly describe as a “Dittany plant experiment gone wrong”. Rey had dreams of being a healer, and her parents being herbologists meant for some interesting healing applications of common herbs and plants. He chuckled to himself and the story he would undoubtedly hear during their first Great Hall feast of the school year.
The first half of the train ride to Hogwarts was uneventful, but he eventually caught up with Poe and Rose and they spent the second half of the journey exchanging summer stories and instantly dreading the coming coursework. As the journey finally took him to the entrance of the castle, he felt a pang of nostalgia. This was going to be his last time walking through these gates for his first day of the school year. Finn had eventually caught up with the group and they were soon walking through the stone corridors that saw them through endless pranks, panicked study sessions and reprimands from stuffy professors. As the crowds of students made their way to the Great Hall, Ben began wondering about Rey again. Did she make it here alright? Was she going to be happy to see him? Was she going to notice how much he’s changed this summer?
It was mental how much one summer had changed Ben Solo. He was always seen as incredibly tall and slender, with jet black hair that almost reached his shoulders and a brooding demeanor that intimidated his classmates. However this summer, he spent a lot of his time in Romania practicing his Quidditch skills, leading him to build a more toned physique and skin that -although still pale- had a sun-kissed glow that magnified his facial structure. He felt more confident in his appearance, and the deep seeded voice that dared to whisper his innermost thoughts hoped that she would notice.
While the rest of his friends made their way to their respective house tables, he stood near the Gryffindor table but kept his eyes locked on the doorway, waiting for her to appear. Almost as if by the magic of his thoughts, she turned the corner and they almost instantly locked eyes. Her golden hazel eyes brightened the smile that quickly took over her face as she saw him. Her dark bronze curls framed her face as her robes swept around her dramatically. The corners of his mouth cracked open wide and she quickly made her way to him, and the next thing he knew she was wrapped in his arms and his chin resting on top of her head.
“Look at you, you big oaf! Hardly recognized you after being away a whole summer!” she beamed up at him gleefully. He ignored the hustle and bustle of the Great Hall as he looked down at her. Their exchange of letters did not do their time apart any justice, the sweetness of her voice flowed through him like honey.
“Well you refused my family’s invitation to join us, so that’s on you.” he scoffed sarcastically. He was fortunate enough that their families had become friends early into their friendship, but her parents herbology research project had stifled them in joining his family to their holiday home in Romania.
She stuck her tongue out at him as they parted. Her demeanor quickly shifted as he began to notice a stranger standing behind her. He hadn’t made himself known, and it was clear when she began to bite her lower lip that she was about to introduce them. “Ben? I want you to meet Zacharias Smith...he’s my….boyfriend.”
The deafening silence in Ben’s ears was not that of the Great Hall, as he continued to see indistinct chatter surrounding him with no sound to accompany it. Boyfriend? Rey has a...boyfriend? Is this what she wanted to tell me about in her letter? He looked down at her, and her eyes searched his face pensively for a reaction. Quick - he had to give her a positive reaction - one that wouldn’t look like he just took a Bludger to the heart.
“Hey man, nice to meet you. I’m Ben.” he said as confidently as he could muster. He stuck his large hand out to the strange man. Zacharias was only a few inches shorter than Ben, with coiffed blonde hair, tanned skin and freckles that peppered his face. Upon looking at his build - similar to that of Ben’s - he noticed the yellow striped tie donning his robes: a Hufflepuff.
“Nice to meet you Ben, you can call me Zach. Rey has told me so many great things about you.” he responded cheerfully, taking Ben’s hand in a firm handshake. Ben nodded quietly and looked back at Rey, whose pensive look hasn’t left her face. Ben offered her a sheepish smile and nod, silently letting her know she could stop holding her breath. She silently understood, breathing a shaky sigh of relief at the sight of them shaking hands.
Bells began to ring across the Great Hall, indicating that Headmaster Obi-Wan would soon begin his pre-feast address to the students.
“Best be getting back to my table.” Zach smiled at both of them before returning his gaze to Rey. “I’ll catch up with you later?” She stifled a nod and a shy smile before he placed a quick kiss on her cheek and walked away. Ben hastily averted his eyes, not wanting to intrude on the moment. He repressed the sudden feeling of bile rise in his throat as he motioned for Rey to come join him at the Gryffindor table. His mind was spinning with this sudden revelation, but he had to keep a brave face.
Of course she has a boyfriend...do you really think she had feelings for you? The pestering voice cackled in his mind. He shooed it away feverishly as he brought himself back to the present moment and readied himself for a very long school year.
“C’mon Ben, you could’ve easily blocked that!” Rey shouted from the skies atop her broom. Sweat dripped down Ben’s face, and he began balancing his weight on the broom with one hand as he used the other to sweep the hair sticking to his forehead.
“You weren’t kidding when you said you got faster!” he chuckled. With Ben being the team’s Keeper and Rey being the head Chaser, their practices together were critical in both of their success. They were able to learn from each other’s skill and practicing against the best ultimately made you the best, so their joint practices became advantageous for the entire Gryffindor team.
Both their brooms began their descent back to the ground as they took a much needed break. Tryouts were already in full swing, but due to their tenure and obvious talent they made the team automatically. Ben’s feet hit the ground first as he swung his broom around him and placed it on the ground by his feet, Rey following his steps only half a second behind. They looked at each other panting after the last 2 hours of heavy drills they had pushed each other through.
“You’ve got to start using your left side to block the Quaffle when you see it coming from their left hand. You’ve got all this body and you’re not using it!” she laughed, motioning to his towering stature.
“All this body?” he questioned with a smirk. Had she noticed the physical changes he had gained during the summer? They had started their practice in full head to toe gear, but as the stresses of their drills became more intense Ben had shed everything on his top half but a tight black vest.
“Oh you know what I mean!” she playfully slapped his arm. “You just look...more...you have more...meat on your bones.” she managed to stutter out. He let out a hearty laugh, but his heart skipped a beat at the thought of her noticing. She found it hard to make eye contact with him as he had peeled off his long sleeve and that alone had pushed him through the grueling training.
“Hm, thanks.” he scoffed happily. They stood in silence for a few moments, the shallow panting of their breaths the only sound passing between them. They were in one of the wide open fields on the south side of the grounds, so there weren’t too many people walking by or observing their practice. Their eyes locked for a brief moment as he felt like it was time to break their slightly uncomfortable silence.
“Are you coming to the party they’re throwing in the Ravenclaw common room tonight? Poe said Seamus snuck in some of his father’s aged brandy and scotch.” he asked. As they had become older, the idea of sneaking around and having parties with their fellow classmates helped lessen the burden and stresses of preparing for their N.E.W.T exams.
“Oh I don’t know yet. I told Zach about it and we might come, unless he made plans for us.” she said cautiously. His name brought a small shockwave through his body, sometimes he forgot that Rey was dating him. He felt like he spent more time with her than Zach did, but them being from different houses did put a strain on the time they were allotted so he rarely saw much of them together.
“Oh yeah...okay. Sounds good. Well I’m heading back up to the dormitories, you wanna call it a day?” He began picking up the long sleeve he shed an hour ago and throwing it back over himself.
“Yeah definitely. I’ll walk with you.” She smiled up at him shyly. “Even though you only managed to block like 5 of my shots today.” Her shy smile turned unabashed as his face lit up in a shocked laugh. They spent their walk back to the dorms playfully bickering over Ben’s technique and how Rey needs to be more coordinated in her offensive attacks.
The night at the Ravenclaw Common Room turned into a small get together of about 20 or so Sixth and Seventh Years of different houses listening to music and passing around a bottle of brandy and scotch between paper cups someone managed to swipe from the commissary. Ben, Poe, Finn and Rose all lounged in the corner by the window gossiping about the latest news that Eddie Carmichael and Mandy Brocklehurst had been caught hooking up in a broom cupboard by Professor Phasma earlier that day. Poe always had his eyes and ears to the gossip of Hogwarts, and although Ben never took himself as the petty gossiping type, he relished in the juicy stories that made up for the uneventful journey of his own life. Ben had a few short-term girlfriends over the past few years at Hogwarts; they all ended up pretty cordially, both parties coming to the agreement that “I like you, but I don’t like you like you”.
As his friends continued their alcohol induced gossip session, Ben’s eyes turned to the large plush couch on the other corner of the room. Rey and Zach were cozied up in the corner chatting to each other, Rey letting out a giggle and playful slap on the arm when he whispered something in her ear. Ben hated being one to spy on an intimate moment, but he couldn’t help but wonder what they were talking about. What sweet nothings he was whispering to her to make her blush that way? His ears felt hot with the feeling of -- jealousy? Maybe envy? Envy that he didn’t have a significant other to converse with in the same way or that the significant other he wanted most was entangled in the arms of another? Oh piss off , he muttered to his thoughts. He caught one more glance of Zach caressing Rey’s cheek as he placed a soft kiss to her lips, and he immediately regretted it. He hastily turned back to his friend group and tried to rejoin the conversation of which ever Slytherin girl had been trying to use a love potion on a guy she’d been fancying.
His thoughts began to betray him at the thought of kissing her. The softness of her lips, her snaking her arms around his neck, him pulling her closer -- STOP! He couldn’t think of her this way, not even just as his best friend, but as a girl who was already spoken for. He would never be the one to come in between a couple, and if she was truly happy with Zach then he would be a supportive best friend to her. He was snapped out of his thoughts when the conversation turned to the mention of her name.
“Yeah I don’t know a whole lot about him to be honest.” Poe stated, peering over Ben’s shoulder to watch the couple. “Only that he comes from a long line of Hufflepuff Purebloods who own London’s biggest chain of cosmetic potion shops.” He looks back over to the group, they all acknowledge the new detail of their friends boyfriend.
“Well that explains the great hair.” Finn scoffs, earning a chuckle from Rose and Poe.
Ben just pursed his lips, trying not to think about the conventionally attractive man that had his arms around Rey. His friends continued to chat as the alcohol flowed, the fireplace crackling and emitting an amber glow across the room.
Ben found himself longing for Rey more and more as the term continued. They only had two lessons together (with Zach also being in one; he didn’t love having to be the third wheel), Quidditch practices and nightly dinners in the Great Hall between them. Almost any moment outside of that Rey was galavanting with Zach. He missed his best friend and the missing presence of her fiery energy started to detract him back into the moody silent stranger that she had found him during their third year. He started noticing her wearing her hair down more often, sometimes even sporting a coat of mascara or swipe of lipstick. It was unusual for Ben to see her this way, but in no way unpleasant.
She would’ve looked beautiful in a potato sack, but this sudden change in her appearance peaked his curiosity. If these new changes had made her more confident he would understand, but as much as he was starting to detract without her presence, it was almost as if she too was detracting with the presence of her new cosmetic regimen. He could see the look of unease on her face as she walked down the corridor on the way to Transfiguration, constantly rubbing her lips together in an effort to blend the blush colored lipstick that stained her lips. The streaks of black running down her eyes from the mascara she wore during one of their Quidditch practices had her huffing in frustration, cursing to herself that she wouldn’t have time to reapply before meeting up with Zach for lunch. Against his better judgement, Ben finally bucked up the courage to inquire about it as they studied their Potions lesson in the library.
“New shade of lipstick today?” he questioned absentmindedly, flicking through his Potions textbook on the chair opposite her. He looked up at the exact moment she did, a nervous blush flooding her cheeks.
“I -- Zach gave it to me. He actually gave me a set of them actually...from his family's shop.” she squeaked, suddenly uncomfortable. “Does it look stupid? Oh, I knew it would. I just thought I would make him happy by --” Her rambling sentence is cut off when Ben places his hand on hers in the table space between them.
“It doesn’t look stupid. It looks...pretty.” he managed to say, their eyes locked together. He thought if he had called her beautiful it would have made the situation awkward. But damn, did she really look beautiful. The shade was only slightly more mauve than the natural color of her lips, and the glossy sheen accentuated her naturally full shape.
“Thanks…” she shifted in her seat, smiling sheepishly up at Ben. “You know this stuff isn’t really my thing, but he said it would really suit me. And the other day he said I would look even prettier with it. And I didn’t think anything of it until he gifted me the set last night. I just felt like I had to show him that I appreciated it, ya know?”
“But why are you just doing it because he says so? Doesn’t he think you look beautiful without it?” Ben asked, almost surprised by the slight defensive undertone his question beared. Rey seemed surprised by it too, though she didn’t let herself waver.
“Ben...he’s my boyfriend. If I want to look nice to appeal to him then that’s my business.” she replied curtly.
“I just don’t understand why --”
“That’s exactly it, Ben. You don’t understand. You’re not in a relationship.”
Her words hit him like a tidal wave. He never expected words coming from Rey to pierce his heart like this. Her tone was cold, condescending and out of character. He scanned her eyes as he furrowed his brows. “Wow, okay. Fine…” he mustered quietly, as he closed his textbook a little too loudly and began gathering his belongings. He didn’t need her to remind him how painfully lonely he was, and to hear it from her directly made it all the more hurtful.
“Ben, I didn’t mean it like that…” she sighed apologetically before realizing that he was starting to leave. “Don’t leave, c’mon now. Ben I didn’t --” She tried to reach out to grab his hand like he had done for her a few moments ago but she wasn’t quick enough.
“Yeah well it didn’t make it hurt any less.” He retorted, keeping his voice low to not attract attention in the already quiet library. “I’m sorry I asked, okay? I’m sorry that I think someone should be loved regardless of all this extra bullshit the person thinks they need, when they don’t. But don’t worry, I won’t bring it up again.” He stood up, not breaking his eye contact with her. “For what it’s worth, I think you look beautiful with or without it.” He shrugged at her before turning on his heel and walking out of the library, disappearing as he turned the corridor.
The feeling he left her with in the library was of confusion, embarrassment and...hope? Ben had called her beautiful, she was taken aback by it at first no doubt, but she found a small part of her heart fluttering by his admission. Of course they’d been best friends for years and seen each other through thick and thin, but she never thought he saw her more than a simple average looking girl.
She remembered her first look at him in the Great Hall a few weeks ago: she couldn’t believe how much he had matured in their summer apart, how...handsome he was? No, no, she couldn’t think this way. He’s her best friend, not to mention she had a boyfriend of her own.
Zach was sweet, they had met over the summer holiday at a charity function his parents had invited her parents to. He was charming and witty, and filled her lonely days apart from Ben with harmless flirting. When he asked her to be his girlfriend only a week before they were set to go back to Hogwarts, she didn’t have reason to say no. She’d been in a few relationships through her time at Hogwarts but this one felt more...grown up. They held hands, kissed in the corridors before lessons, and he would occasionally whisper things in her ear that would make her blush in public. Their time behind closed doors was relatively tame: half-clothed make-out sessions and once in awhile she would let his hand drift between her legs. She didn’t know if she felt comfortable giving him more than that, it was still early in their relationship and she also didn’t feel like he had the full approval and support of her friend group...especially Ben.
It’s been a few days since they’ve spoken to each other. Rey still saw him in the lessons they shared, on the Quidditch pitch during practice and in the Great Hall during dinner but they’ve barely said a word to each other. She doesn’t know if it’s out of anger or if he’s embarrassed for his hasty admission. She misses him while he sits across from her in the Gryffindor Common Room, peering over her book as she watches him writing in his notebook in the corner arm chair across from her. He must feel her watching him when he looks up, their eyes meeting in an intense gaze before she quickly looks back down to her book.
It’s finally Halloween, and the big Halloween feast in the Great Hall was in full swing. The tables are covered in delectable baked potatoes, lamb chops and Yorkshire pudding. Rey’s appetite is ravenous as she tucks in, but an unfamiliar sense of worry overtakes her when she realizes Ben is not at the table. She scans her surroundings, maybe he’s sat even farther from her than normal? It’s not the case, he’s nowhere to be found. It’s unlike him to miss dinner, especially the Halloween feast; she reflects back on Year Four when they had eaten so many pumpkin tarts that they spent the night nursing each others twin stomachaches. Maybe she’ll take a few of them with her and leave by his bed for him later; although they may have been fighting she knows how much he loves them. Maybe it would be some kind of peace offering?
She discreetly waved her wand to take a handful of pumpkin tarts in a paper bag she fashioned out of thin air and left the Great Hall early. She walked the empty corridors back up to the Gryffindor dormitories, politely wished the Fat Lady a happy Halloween and made her way up to his room. Boys and girls dormitories were separated as soon as you hit the top of the stairs, so she turned to the left and headed down the long corridor. The perk of being an upperclassman is being able to have a single dorm, and she knew there Ben’s room was towards the end of the hall.
Upon reaching dorm 43, she saw a sliver of light from under the doorway. She sighed in relief in knowing that he was okay and began to turn the knob.
“I can’t believe you missed the—“ she started before looking up and seeing a sight she didn’t expect in a thousand years.
Ben was sitting shirtless on the edge of his bed, with an equally shirtless (she donned a bra thankfully) girl straddling his lap. They were kissing furiously, her hands tangled in his long black hair as his hands were pressed into her lower back. It took all of one second for them to realize the door opened and they both gasped, wide-eyed and crimson-cheeked as they broke apart, their eyes met with Rey’s.
“I—uh...oh my God I’m so sorry—“ she stammered, embarrassedly looking down at the floor. Her cheeks felt hot and her palms were sweating, undoubtedly soaking into the small paper bag of pumpkin tarts she was holding.
“Rey...” Ben breathed. He must’ve suddenly realized what she was looking at as he quickly scrambled to take the girl off his lap and put her on to the bed next to him. The girl didn’t seem as embarrassed as he seemed, softly pushing her hair back and biting her lower lip. “Rey....you know Gemma? She has Transfiguration with us.” His breathless introduction was as calm as he could manage, slowly standing up and putting his hand on the girl's shoulder.
Gemma Farley. A Slytherin. She didn’t know much about her but she did recall Gemma sitting behind her and Ben in Transfiguration. She was definitely pretty, the contrast of her dark hair and pale skin making her a sight for sore eyes. She was definitely quiet though; Rey didn't even known that she and Ben had ever spoken to each other, let alone to the point where she was snogging him in his bed.
“Hi Rey. It’s good to see you.” Gemma said sheepishly with a smile, waving her hand with a quick flick of her wrist.
“Nice to see you too, Gemma. I’m so sorry...I didn’t mean to....interrupt.” She waved her hands in their general direction, still unable to make more than two seconds worth of eye contact. “I brought this for you, Ben. I saw you...missed dinner and know these are your favorite.” She extended her arm out, the small paper bag dangling in the air. Ben walked over to her and she finally found the courage to look up and meet his eyes. Her eyes betrayed her as they scanned his toned naked chest on their way up. They admired every smooth dip, freckle and scar as they finally locked with his. His expression was unreadable as he finally broke the contact to look down at the bag in her hand.
“Wow, thank you.” He smiled, taking the bag gently. Their fingers brushed past each other for a moment, and the tingling feeling made Rey retract her hand as soon as politely possible. He put the bag on the dressing table next to him.
“I’m just gonna go now. Again...I’m really sorry. It was nice to see you, Gemma.” She stuttered, walking backward and grabbing the door handle simultaneously. She saw Gemma feebly wave her hand again and Ben’s unreadable expression as she finally closed the door behind her.
She covered her mouth as she sped down the hallway, making her way to the girls side of the dormitories towards her single room. As soon as she was in the confines of her room, she gasped and tried to catch her uneven breaths.
It was the first Quidditch match of the term and Rey was an even mix of excited and nervous as she downed her morning pumpkin juice. Gryffindor vs. Slytherin, always a marquee match-up that had almost every student and faculty member in attendance. The match wasn’t for a few more hours so she took the time to carb load as much as she could, with Finn, Rose and Poe surrounding her. Breakfast didn’t require students to sit exclusively with their own houses, so the group cherished this time together to catch up.
“It’s always weird to go to a match that isn’t with your own house because I wonder if I’m gonna get in trouble with my house for supporting Gryffindor.” Rose joked, earning chuckles from Finn and Poe.
“Maybe they’ll make you an honorary Gryffindor!” Poe poked back at her, earning him a stuck out tongue from Rose.
“How are you feeling, Rey?” Finn turned to ask her. She nodded silently as she munched on buttered toast. She found it hard to talk a lot on game days, she wanted to make sure she stayed focused and in the zone.
“Oh Ben, there you are! Over here!” Poe called out, waving his hand high. The group turned to see him walking in between the tables, a pensive smile on his face. His robes caught the breeze and it looked like he was gliding majestically towards them. Rey swallowed hard as their eyes met; they haven’t spoken since her embarrassing intrusion the other night and she worried that this might be brought up before the game.
“Hey guys.” Ben greeted nonchalantly. He almost immediately began grabbing food from the dishes in front of them, barely looking up to meet their eyes.
“Exciting day for you man! The start of yours and Rey’s last Quidditch season.” Rose beamed, giving him a quick pat on the back. Rey and Ben’s eyes met and she offered him a feeble smile. It’s true, this was the beginning of their last season together. The dynamic duo of the Gryffindor team would only have a few matches between them before their tenure was over. And to have them in the uncomfortable limbo they found themselves in now made the pressures of their first game all the more apparent.
“Yeah, should definitely be interesting.” was all Ben managed to say before taking a bite of his eggs. Rey nodded in agreement. Rose, Finn and Poe only knew vaguely that Rey and Ben’s friendship had been strained as of lately, the details were unclear to them but knew better than to pry. The three of them silently communicated that it was time for the Gryffindors to be left alone to talk.
“I think it’s time for Poe and I to head to Potions.” Finn spoke up after a moment of silence fell upon the group. “Rose, do you want us to walk you to the library?”
“Yeah that’s a great idea!” Rose stated, quickly standing up. Finn and Poe followed suit, the three quickly saying their goodbyes, well wishes and promises to meet up after the match.
Rey scrunched her nose at the uncomfortable silence that fell over her and Ben. They had never gone this long without talking, hanging out or just being in each others presence. Because Rey was the last to make their relationship uncomfortable, she felt her responsibility to break the tension floating between them.
“I finally mastered that reverse pass we were practicing.” she stated, taking another bite of toast. Practicing without him had been difficult, but she managed to make it work and felt confident in her skill. He looked up at her with an amused smile, and she returned him one at lightning speed.
“Oh have you now? That will definitely come in handy against Marcus Flint’s suffocating defense.” he chuckled, pointing his fork matter-of-factly.
They spent the rest of breakfast talking and suddenly it was as if their relationship had gone back to normal. She shared strategy for today’s match and he joked about how he’d managed to actually complete Phasma’s research paper at midnight last night just so he didn’t get suspended for the game. The laughter and smiles between them seemed to melt away any awkward feelings or unspoken words about what had transpired between them this past week. She looked up at the gleam in his eyes and they shared a look that said what they were both thinking: I missed you.
Damn, it felt good for them to be talking again. He was worried she never would after what she walked into with him and Gemma the other night. He honestly didn’t even know how it all happened; maybe it was Rey’s words in the library that set him over the edge and finally take Gemma up on that study session she had offered him a few days prior. That session didn’t actually get a lot of studying done, mostly just getting to know each other and the occasional coy flirting. He definitely found Gemma pretty with her long black hair, piercing green eyes and soft pale skin; but he had no idea that she even found him attractive until she had walked him back to his dormitory and softly pushed him against the wall, her hand gently caressing the hair that framed his face. The tension was palpable and without thought they both crashed their lips into each other in a frenzy. He hadn’t been kissed like that in a long time and the overwhelming emotion of it all had let her take the lead, pushing his sweater over his head and unbuttoning her own shirt to reveal a black lace bra. When Rey had walked in he was mortified, yet some part of him was smug. You thought I couldn't even get a girl in this way, huh? He had thought to himself as her wide eyes scanned the two of them. He did feel a pang of guilt soon after when he realized what she had been doing there in the first place: bringing him back his favorite treats after realizing that he missed dinner.
It was things like that that had made him miss Rey and feel an emotion for her that he didn’t know if he’d ever feel for Gemma. The physical aspect had been fun and thrilling, but he and Gemma didn’t talk much and when they did the conversations were pretty surface-level. They had continued to see each other since the incident, but I think they both knew it was a relationship (if one could even call it that) on physical need and convenience. He thought better of bringing her up around Rey and let her think whatever she wanted to think about them. What would she care anyway, she had a boyfriend of her own and she only ever saw Ben as her best friend. A part of him felt like she had seen him differently when she scanned his naked chest, but he did his best to repress that as nothing more than blind idealism.
The roars of the stadium crowd filled Ben’s ears as he balanced himself on his Nimbus 2000. Floating a few feet in front of the goal as he watched his teammates and the opposing team whip past and around him, his defensive stance kept him level. There was only 10 minutes left of the match, the score close between Gryffindor and Slytherin as the Golden Snitch has yet to be caught by either team. He felt good about his personal game so far, he’d managed to block a majority of the Slytherin advances using the techniques that he and Rey had practiced time and time again. His eyes scanned the pitch to find Rey, her small figure holding the Quaffle and quickly weaving through the opposing teams brooms trying to make her way to their goal. She cocks her arm back and heaves the ball with astonishing agility and the loud ding of the scoreboard releases cheers from the Gryffindor section of the crowd. Ben claps his hands together excitedly as she whips her broom back around, her bright smile beaming from ear to ear.
Gryffindor has won the first match of the season and the Common Room is buzzing with excitement as the team and their housemates celebrate their victory. Even some Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs are in attendance as the music plays and the chatter fills the cushioned room with remarkable energy. Ben shakes hands and accepts pats on the back from his housemates as he walks through the common room, his eyes absentmindedly looking for Rey. She’s nowhere to be found so he starts his ascent up the staircase when he finds her coming down, their eyes meet in delight as they hug. They are at eye level with each other due to Rey being a few steps above him, but he doesn’t mind as he watches her hazel eyes twinkle with excitement.
“You weren’t kidding about that reverse pass!” he exclaimed as they hugged.
“And you finally used the left side of your body, it was incredible!” she laughed back at him. He poked her jokingly in the stomach as she swatted him away.
The gaze between them lasted longer than either of them expected. Ben couldn’t exactly read her expression but he watched as her eyes flickered across his face, lingering slightly on a lower point of his face. She must’ve caught herself and immediately snapped out of whatever trance she was in.
“Zach must be here by now. I’m gonna go find him.” she finally stated, ending the period of silence between them. Ben pursed his lips and nodded, moving himself to the side to allow her access down the stairs. What had just happened? Did he have something on his face? Or was she staring at...his lips? He brushed off the notion quickly and took a few moments to regain himself to walk back down and rejoin the festivities.
Almost as quickly as he made it down the stairs he bumped into Zach. He was startled that Rey hadn’t found him first, but decided to make cordial small talk with him until she did.
“Oh hey man. Rey’s looking for you.” he smiled at him cordially, reaching his hand out to shake Zach’s.
“Yeah, I’ll find her. But how have you been, mate? I heard you’re with Gemma Farley? Great choice, she’s super fit!” he playfully punched Ben’s arm and Ben had to find it in him not to grimace. The idea of Zach finding other girls fit when he was with Rey made his blood pressure rise but he repressed it to just playful male banter.
“Uh yeah. We’re just hanging out.” Ben nodded, scanning the room absentmindedly. He wondered if Rey had told him about them or if word just happened to get out one way or another. He didn’t care regardless, he definitely wouldn’t be divulging anything too personal to Zach directly.
“Nice, mate. Hey who knows, after that win we both might just get laid tonight!” he grinned wickedly, flashing a wink and another nudge to Ben’s arm.
All the blood in Ben’s body rushed to his ears, he almost thought it was the reason the sound seemed to get sucked out of the room. His fist curled at his sides as he had to hold back punching him square in the face. How could he be so crude about something that? The thought of Rey giving all of herself to someone like this made bile rise in his throat. He had to think of everything under the sun to get the mental image out of his head. Had she already done it with him? Would this be her first time ever? Ben and Rey had never openly discussed their sex life and the concept of virginity, but there was an unspoken understanding that neither of them had gotten that far with another person before. Before Ben could think or say anything in response to Zach, Rey popped up behind them.
“Oh there you are! I’ve been looking all over for you!” she beamed up at Zach excitedly, planting a kiss on his cheek. He gripped her from the side and planted a kiss to her temple, looking directly at Ben while doing so. Ben would rather be looking into the gates of hell then that. “Ready to go?” she asked, looking up at her boyfriend.
“Oh definitely. I just gotta say hi to Clyde real quick. I’ll be right back babe.” he said, making eye contact and waving over to Clyde Wellington from a few feet away. As he sauntered away, both Rey and Ben’s eyes followed him before making their way back to each other.
“So, what are you guys gonna get up to tonight?” he asked pensively, almost hating himself for it. It didn’t mean for it to sound invasive or nosy, he was hoping she took it as casual small talk.
“Oh I don’t know. He said he just wanted us to chill in his dorm tonight. His roommate went home for the weekend and we never get to hang out there.” she responded absentmindedly, shrugging her shoulders. Ben tensed slightly, she had no idea what Zach was planning.
“Hmmm, that seems nice. Just be careful.” he responded, nodding as casually as he could. That wasn’t intrusive right? He was just being a good friend.
“What do you mean ‘be careful’?” her eyebrow raised slightly, looking at him more intensely before flashing over to Zach a few feet away chatting it up with Clyde.
Oh great, he’s really done it now. “I...uh, you know what I mean. Just...be careful.” he stammered, glancing over at Zach quickly. How else could he respond without sounding like an obsessed maniac? She clearly wasn’t going to let this go without a fight and Ben wasn’t prepared to go down this path with her again.
“Christ’s sake, Ben. Really? We’re going to do this again? How many times do I have to tell you that I’m a grown woman and I can take care of myself?” Her voice raised slightly in exasperation, throwing her arms up. “It’s almost like you’re jealous of him…” she mumbled to herself.
“Jealous? You think I’m jealous of him? Yeah, that’s rich. ” he scoffed, his voice matching hers.
“Yeah, I do. Ever since I introduced him to you, you’ve been nothing but negative! Always telling me everything you think he’s doing wrong. I just can’t understand it…” Ben was thankful the volume in this room was loud enough to drown out their argument. They had reached the point of no return, and it was only a matter of time before someone said something that neither of them would be able to take back.
“I just don’t think he’s good for you. You deserve better than him!” he retorted, taking a step closer to her. Her eyes flashed in shock, but she maintained her composure.
“Oh really? And why don’t you enlighten me on who you think I deserve?” she snapped sarcastically, inching closer to him in response.
“Someone who loves you exactly as you are, someone who understands you and is there for you no matter what. Who thinks you’re beautiful and fiesty and lights up any room she walks in. Someone like --”
Stunned silence hit them both. Ben stumbled back and his eyes are nervously scanned the floor. Fuck fuck fuck...he really did it this time huh? This was the point of no return. In the haste and intensity of their argument he just admitted his innermost feelings that he was keeping repressed even from himself. A flood of guilt rushed over him as he finally made panicked eye contact with Rey. Her hazel eyes were wide and confused, scanning for the right words to say. He can’t tell if she was taken aback by his admission, or if she almost egged him to finally say it and didn’t expect that he actually would. They stood for what felt like an eternity, and it was only the return of Zach that broke the thick tension that stood between them.
“Hey babe, you ready to get outta here?” He grabbed the side of her waist and pulled her in close to him. Rey was too stunned to notice, and Ben could see her blinking rapidly to shake herself from this moment and return to normal. Zach could never know the conversation that had just transpired, so she quickly regained her composure and looked up at him with a feeble smile.
“Yeah, let’s go.” she said flatly, unable to meet Ben’s eyes. They swiftly turned for the door as Ben nodded silent goodbye to them both. Zach turned and looked over to Ben above Rey’s head, flashing him a wink and a smile that could have pushed every meal Ben ever ate back up his throat.
As soon as they were out of sight, Ben pushed his way through the crowd and dashed up the stairs to his dormitory. His mind was racing a thousand miles a minute as he waved his hand to unlock his room, slam the door behind him and press his back into the door. His breath was shaky and uneven, and he pressed his forefinger and thumb into each eye socket hoping it would subside the impending migraine. He flung himself on to the bed and threw the pillow over his head, swearing a string of expletives into it.
He couldn’t believe that he just did that. He ruined his friendship with Rey by admitting his feelings for her, and all she did was take the hand and walk away with the man he despised. She would never look at him the same way, never let herself be near him, and she would rub it all in by continuing to be with Zach. They would live out their last year at Hogwarts apart from each other; no more Quidditch practices together, long nights feasting at the Great Hall, or curled up in the common room studying. He tried to push the feelings of disgust and guilt out of his head as he let the exhaustion of the day finally sedate him to sleep.
Ben suddenly wakes with a gasp. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, the pitch black of night still covers his room with only the small sliver of moon through the window shining light. He doesn’t know what time it is or what even woke him so suddenly, but soon enough the memories of what transpired between him and Rey flood him again. Before he can even begin to wallow in his self pity he noticed a soft white light gleaming from the crack under his door. The light starts to transcend the door and appears the pale glow of a Patronus. He blinks rapidly to allow his eyes to focus on its shape: a swan. Rey. Rey’s Patronus is a swan. She was calling him...but why? He stood up and walked towards the swan, it’s glowing feathers ruffling as its eye contact remained locked with his. It suddenly turned back the way it came and walked through the closed door again. Did it want him to follow it? Was Rey in need of his help? He dashed through the door and opened it feverishly before becoming frozen in his tracks. The petite frame of his best friend stood in the doorway, her big eyes glowing from the reflection of her own Patronus. Her lower lip was quivering and she clutched her own waist tightly, the glow of the Patronus slowly fading into nothing.
“Rey…” he breathed, his half-sleeping voice deep and vibrating. “What...are you okay?” He didn’t even think about the admission he’d made to her only a few hours prior as his body instantly went into defense mode. Had Zach hurt her? Was she upset by something he did or said? His blood boiled at the thought, but he pushed it aside to lightly grab her shoulders at arms length.
“I’m fine...I just wanted to see you.” she looked up at him for a moment before walking straight into his chest and wrapping her arms around his waist. Without even thinking, almost as if his body was on autopilot, he did the same and wrapped his arms over her shoulders. He started to hear her whimper into his chest and his body instantly gripped her tighter. He walked her back into his room and sat her on his bed, flicking light to the candle on his bedside table. Ben could finally see her face in the warm amber glow: her cheeks were stained with tears, her lower lip continued to quiver as her eyes searched his face again. “I’m sorry.” she whispered.
“What...why? If anything I should be apologizing to you.” he scoffed with a weak smile, earning a trepidatious smile from her. The fact that he could joke about the most traumatizing moment of his young life only hours after it happened had to have meant something, right?
“I’m sorry for pushing you away. You were right...about everything.” she said softly, placing her head on his shoulder.
“What did he do to you?” his voice was still soft, but starting to grow in agitation at the thought of what Zach could’ve said or done to her.
“Oh, no...not like that...well not necessarily.” she said hastily, popping her head back up to look at him directly. “Basically, when we went back to his dorm he was getting really touchy and I could tell he wanted to….go all the way….” she paused to look up at Ben’s face. He closed his eyes and pursed his lips, the agitation spiking. The thought of that prick forcing himself on her was too much for him to bear. “But I kept telling him that I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t the answer he wanted so he got really mad at me. We started fighting and he said It’s because you’re in love with Solo aren’t you?! ’”
She paused again to gauge his reaction. Ben’s eyes were wide, but the rest of him was stoic as he silently pressed her to continue. At some point in the story Ben had enveloped one of her hands in between both of his, gently squeezing as she spoke. “I wanted to fight back, tell him that’s not true and that I only had feelings for him but...I couldn’t. Something deep down in me knew it not to be true, and maybe it was the conversation you and I had that finally brought it to life. So I ended it with him, we’re over.” Ben’s thumb gently swiped across her cheek as another tear fell, and her head almost seemed to lean into his palm. He couldn’t believe this was happening, that she was admitting to the things only that pesky voice in his head dreamed of all these years. They were silent for a few moments, just the sounds of their uneven breaths filling the room.
“Ben, please say something.” she squeaked. He was too enthralled in his own head to realize they had just been staring at each other for what felt like hours.
“I….meant everything I said. You deserve better, whether that’s me or not.” His voice was low and quiet.
“But that’s the thing: it is you. I had no idea that you felt that way, but when I thought about it I realized everything you’ve ever done, everything you’ve ever said...I started to catch feelings but I was worried about ruining our friendship if you didn’t feel the same way. Not to mention how much you’ve changed...physically.” she chuckles to herself as Ben shakes his head with a smile. “I was stupid to deny myself a good thing I’d had in front of me all along.” It was now her turn for her palm to rest on his cheek, and he found himself also leaning into the soft warmth of her palm.
“So...you really want this?” he asked nervously, waving at the space between them. Although she basically admitted that she was in love with him as long as he’s been in love with her he just wanted to hear her say it. Just to make it feel like he wasn’t about to wake up from a dream.
“I want you. If you’ll have me.” Their smiles broke out at the same time as they embraced in a tight hug. This was it, it was finally happening. He and Rey would finally be together in the way he’d only been dreaming about. They remained in each others embrace, her face nuzzling into the crook of his neck as he softly petted her hair. “Oh, there’s one more thing I need from you.” she said softly against his neck, coming up to meet his eyes. Their noses barely brushed against each other and he could feel her breath on his lips.
A smirk broke out onto both of their faces as he happily obliged. Their lips met in a soft almost innocent way, momentarily unsure but quickly falling into place with the other. Her lips were as soft as he had imagined, and he could feel her sigh in relief at the reciprocated contact. The innocence didn’t last long, as her tongue begged for entrance into his mouth. Once again he happily obliged, grabbing her by the waist and slowly laying her down on the bed as their tongues explored each other further. His body covered hers like a blanket as her hands snaked up to grab fistfuls of his hair. Their lips eventually broke at the need for air, but Ben was quick to begin trailing kisses down her jawline into the crook of her neck. She let out a sigh and a shaky laugh as she moved her head to give him more access.
“I’ve always wondered what these lips felt like.” she breathed. He smirked against her skin, her admission giving him the confidence boost he needed to concentrate on one spot with enough power to surely leave a mark. Small gasps escaped her lips as his hummed against her sensitive skin, the grip on his hair only egging him further. Ben wanted to please her, feel her, show her what he could be for her. He never wanted to hurt her, never wanted her to feel pain or sadness in his arms. He would do everything in his power to show her what love really looked like, even if he didn't quite know himself.
He finally came up to meet her eyes under him, they’re panting breaths finally catching up with each other. He closed his eyes as he slowly lowered his forehead to meet hers, small laugh escaping his lips. She let out a breathless giggle in return as her hands cupped his face.
They laid together until both of them peacefully drifted off to sleep. As the morning sun flickered through the window pane, he felt a comfortable warmth that he had never woken up to before and that he would almost certainly want to wake up with everyday that followed. They were still in each other’s arms: Rey sprawled on her back with Ben’s head resting on her chest as he covered her with his wide frame. He woke up to the feeling of her nimble fingers weaving through his hair, an instant smile and hum of approval before his eyes decided to open. He wasn’t in a dream: Rey was really here in his bed after they had professed their feelings for one another last night. That alone gave him the energy to rise up to meet her eyes, his head joining hers on his pillow.
“Morning.” she whispered with a smirk.
“Good morning. Sleep alright?” he yawned with a smile.
“Never better.” She slowly traced circles on his shoulder, the touch of her finger sending small pulses of electricity through his body.
“Oh that’s good. Do you mind reminding me what happened last night?” He joked playfully, raising his eyebrow. “Preferably in a practical reenactment?”
She giggled as he dodged the small pillow next to her being pelted at his face. She tickled him as she moved on top of him, her legs on either side of his body as she sat on his upper thighs. Their combined laughter filled the room, her gasps and excited shrieks like music to Ben's ears. He grabbed her by her hips, bringing her down until they were firmly pressed chest to chest as he flashed a devilish grin.
“Ben Solo, you are truly something else.” she laughed, finally giving in and pressing her lips down to his. The kiss was tender and soft, like years of unspoken feelings were pouring out of her and into him. Her hands found their way quickly to his hair, and Ben already knew that this was going to be his favorite part of his day.
Ben paced the corridors in front of the Great Hall for what seemed like an eternity. He had managed to finish his N.E.W.T exams with plenty of time, but now that time was spent worrying about how Rey was doing. He was definitely the more test-savvy of the two, but had faith in his girlfriend that she would emerge victorious. Girlfriend...he shook his head and smiled to himself at the thought. He and Rey had finally admitted their feelings for each other and became a couple only a few months ago. Coming out to their friend group was the easiest part: Rose and Finn squealed excitedly and gossip king Poe matter-of-factly claimed he knew all along. Things got slightly more weird when they would walk down the corridors together holding hands and he would catch people glancing a little longer than normal. The Quidditch team didn't really mind all that much. As long as it makes us win , team captain Angelina Johnson had remarked half-jokingly.
They had managed to survive the term before heading home for the Christmas holiday. They agreed to spend half the holiday with each family. Both sets of parents were so thrilled that they were together now, Ben’s mum flashing a wink at him when his father handed her a crisp bill under the dinner table. We had bet going for awhile and I clearly won , his mother giggled when they were washing up the dishes after dinner. Their nights in Ben’s bedroom were some of his favorite, kissing, cuddling, exploring each others bodies for the first time. He soon learned that he was the timid one and it was actually Rey who usually took charge, always deepening the kiss, pushing his sweater over his head first or inadvertently grinding herself on top of him. Christ, he absolutely loved that about her. He already knew how much of a firecracker she was a friend, and as a girlfriend she turned into a complete fireworks display.
But now with the flowers in bloom all over Hogwarts, the spring term was coming to an end. The N.E.W.T exams were the stamp on the end of the school year and next week they would finally be graduating Hogwarts and starting their lives as adults. He began to imagine his future with Rey. He imagined a nice flat in central London, he as an Auror and her as a healer, living their daily lives happy and in love. He would stand behind her, wrap his arms around her waist and kiss her temple as she overlooked the city from their balcony. A nice simple life together, that’s all he wanted.
He was snapped out of his thoughts when the large doors to the Great Hall opened and a handful of students made their quick and silent exits. He stopped to scan their faces before his eyes immediately met a pair of familiar hazel ones. Without saying anything, she quickly walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He picked her up by her waist and spun her around, a quiet giggle escaping both of their lips.
“I really thought I was a goner there.” she admitted once he put her down in front of him.
“I’m sure you did great. It’s over now, so you don’t need to worry about it.” he smiled, slumping his arm around her shoulders as they began to walk. Her hand went up to intertwine with the one hanging from her shoulder, leaning her head against the side of his chest.
As the sun began to set through the window pane of Rey’s dormitory, she gently pushed Ben to the bed as they kissed hungrily. He was tall enough that him sitting and her standing put them face to face, and he gripped her hips to push her even closer. He knew that Rey needed to let off steam after that exam, and he was always more than happy to oblige her. His tongue begged for entrance as he sat her on top of him so that she was straddling his lap, his urgency surprising them both. They deepened the kiss and she began to push at the hem of his sweater before unbuttoning her own blouse. He started to plant sweet kisses down the trail of her jawline and throat before settling somewhere on her collarbone.
“I feel like I’m having deja vu.” she laughed breathlessly as he continued his focus on her collarbone. “Although I’m more than happy with being a part of this instead of an...observer.”
He stopped his ministrations on her to look up with amusement. The fact that they were half-naked, making out on her bed, and she chose to bring up the night that she caught him and Gemma Farley in this exact position...typical Rey.
“Just shut up and kiss me..” was all he could muster through his laughter before placing his hand on the back of her head and returning his lips to hers. She smiled through the kiss as he let out a sigh of relief.
With her in his arms, he felt invincible. Whatever the future had in store for them after they left the corridors of Hogwarts, there was nothing he couldn’t do with her by his side.
And that's a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed my first Reylo AU :) I was very nervous to upload this, so any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!
I have ideas for more canon/canon-divergent Reylo stories, so stay tuned for that! in the meantime you can follow me on twitter @blessedbensolo! Thank you for reading!