Prince Ben Organa-Solo of New Alderaan had everything. A kingdom, a family, a home, more riches then he could comprehend. People envied him, people wanted to be him. He had everything he could possibly desire at his fingertips.
Everything, except one thing. One thing was out of his reach. A person, a wonderful person who had come waltzing into his life without prior warning. A person who was fierce and brave, who laid down her life to protect him. A person who had turned his whole world upside down the day she smiled at him for the first time.
It was an amazing thing, her smile. She could light up any room she entered, she was a ray of sunlight. And that was her name, Rey. She lit up his life, a guiding light in the darkness that had surrounded him for a large portion of his life.
Since the moment he met her, Ben knew Rey was special. She was different from anyone he had ever met before. Her presence in the force was unlike any he had ever come across, a light that almost blinded him. It was warm and familiar, so like his own. They seemed to be entwined, linked together. A force connection, more powerful than life itself.
They had never told anyone about it, they didn’t want it to affect Rey’s already unstable position.
For three years, Rey had been his personal bodyguard, accompanying him on trips and ensuring he was safe at all times. There were two reasons she had been given the position. The first was that she was well trained, she was a strong fighter and had superior skills to most of the members of the royal guard. The second was (as much as Ben hated to admit) was so people could keep an eye on her. As the granddaughter of the famous Emperor Palpatine, people didn’t trust Rey easily. Many despised her, which Ben really hated. Because once you got to know Rey, you would learn what a wonderful and compassionate person she was. Ben knew that better than anyone because, for the past three years, he had been hopelessly in love with her.
If only he could tell her, for years he had wished he could. But things were too complicated. He was the Prince of a young planet and she should be his sworn enemy, people would disapprove. Many already did, they didn’t like a Palpatine being so close to the royal family. However, in reality, the royal family adored Rey and the King and Queen loved her as a daughter, it was the lords and government that disliked Rey. The lords had wanted her banished years ago, they had nearly executed her when the truth of her heritage had been revealed. But the Queen had stepped in, proclaiming that their accusations were ridiculous, that Palpatine had been dead for nearly a decade before Rey was born. The Queen had been fighting for Rey since then, protecting her just as she protected her son.
He had kept it his secret for so long, no one knew. Well, maybe Poe knew, but Poe always knew the gossip so that didn’t really count.
“Why don’t you just tell her?” Poe asked as they sat in Ben’s suit, drinking glasses of his father’s Corellian Whiskey.
“Because she could hear me!” Ben exclaimed, throwing his arms up dramatically.
Poe rolled his eyes, “For a Prince who has the best education on the planet, you really are not that smart Solo.”
“I hope you know that I could have you executed.” Ben muttered, sending him a glare.
Poe barked out a laugh, “Yeah yeah, but then who would you whine about your problems to?” He had a point, Ben rarely spoke to anyone about his feelings. His relationship with Rey was very personal, they had opened up to each other and told each other things they had never told anyone. Ben could tell Rey pretty much anything, his nightmares, the voices he used to hear in his head. Except this, he has sworn from the beginning that Rey could never know this secret, it would only cause them pain.
“Besides, what’s the big deal? It’s obvious she feels the same.” Poe said as he casually poured himself another glass.
Ben shook his head, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“And you do?”
Ben shot him a look that said, shut up before I throttle you.
What annoyed him the most was the fact that Poe was once again correct. He had always been very bad with women. Any he met at the balls he was forced to attend often only wanted his attention because of his position. Many of them were out to win his heart by batting their eyelashes or swaying their hips as they walked to try and grab his attention. He ignored them, often sneaking away with Rey halfway through the ball to go and tinker with his father’s prized ship or even on one occasion, go swimming in the moonlit lake. Rey usually found a way to sneak away and often assisted him in sending the desperate women away, informing them that he was tired or in a meeting and was not in a position to entertain company at that moment. On several occasions, he had caught her doing it even when he hadn’t asked her to, he tried not to think too much into that.
“Where is she anyway? Shouldn’t she be trying to make sure I’m not trying to murder you?” Poe asked curiously.
Ben looked down into his lap, twisting his glass in his hand, “She’s on a date, with a senator from Naboo.”
There was a moment of silence and Ben looked up just as Poe slammed down his glass and stormed over to where he was sitting. “You absolute idiot!” he exclaimed, “So you’re telling me that whilst we have been sitting here drinking you father’s liquor cabinet, the love of your life is out with some other guy?”
Ben nodded slowly, “That would be correct.” he said, taking a chug straight from the bottle, “It’s better this way.”
This time Ben stood, clenching one fist as the other gripped the neck of the bottle, “Because she can be with someone who makes her happy!” Ben retorted.
“Have you ever considered that you might make her happy?” Poe argued. Ben froze, he didn’t like to entertain that to be a possibility, going down that road would only end in heartbreak. He could handle it, but he didn’t want Rey to get hurt when the lords disapproved.
“Because I see the way she looks at you, she adores you Ben. She can’t do anything because of her position, you have to take the first step.” Poe continued, his hand resting on his shoulder.
Ben sighed, shrugging his hand off before walking in the direction of his room, “Goodnight Poe.” he said firmly before slamming his door shut and collapsing on his bed, taking large chugs from his bottle and thinking about how much he hated the man Rey had chosen over him.
Rey sighed as she walked through the palace doors. “Rey! You’re back early.” said Finn, one of her friends who like her was a member of the Royal Guard.
Rey nodded, “Yup, things didn’t really work out.” she said, slipping off the ridiculous heels as she and Finn walked through the quiet corridors of the palace. She wasn’t at all surprised that her date had gone as badly as it had, she had disliked the Senator of Naboo ever since she first met him on a trip with the Royal Family, he was rude and a complete snob.
And that is exactly why she had agreed to go on a date with him in the first place, if only her idea hadn’t backfired so massively.
When the Senator asked her if she wanted to have dinner, she originally was going to say no but when she approached the Prince and asked him if he would permit her to go on such a date, he had brushed it off and said yes in a way that suggested it meant nothing to him. That had hurt.
She thought Ben would care a little more that someone had taken an interest in her, especially with the nature of their force bond and connection with each other. But he had brushed it off and been quite cold for the rest of the day, dismissing her in the early afternoon after insisting that he planned to spend the rest of the day in his rooms.
She must have been imagining things when she considered that there was a possibility that Ben could return the feelings she had been harbouring over the past few years. She had never taken much interest in relationships or god forbid, love. It was against the Jedi code and involved putting too much faith and trust in another person, something Rey didn’t do easily. That was of course until she met Ben.
This large brooding mountain of a man who stomped around the palace. She had been quick to break through his walls. He had been adamant that he didn’t need a bodyguard, that he could handle himself. But after their ship had been attacked during a trip to Chandrila and he had received a strike to the face, leaving behind a scar, he changed his tune. He insisted that Rey came on every trip he went on as his personal guard. As a result of this, Rey had seen more of the galaxy then she ever thought she would, she would always be grateful for that. Ben had shown her the galaxy, helped her open up.
She told him things she had never told anyone, about Jakku, about her parents, about how much she hated her grandfather.
And he had listened. For the first time in her life, someone cared enough to listen to every word she had to say.
They had built a strong friendship over the years they had been together. Maybe it was just that, a friendship was all it would ever be. But Rey couldn’t help but dream that one day, one day Ben would see her as more than a bodyguard. That one day he would love her just as much as she loved him.
She said goodbye to Finn as they reached the west wing, even if Ben had dismissed her for the day, she wanted to make sure he was okay before she went to bed.
As she walked down the corridors leading to the Prince’s rooms, the faint smell of alcohol filled her sense. When she turned the corner, she understood why.
Ben was sitting on the floor in front he door with a bottle of (no doubt the King’s) Corellian Whiskey. Rey sighed and approached him, hands on her hips as she looked down at him. “What are you doing?” she asked.
Ben looked up at her, his face lighting up, “Rey!” he cheered, trying his best to scramble to his feet. Rey helped him up, steadying him as he struggled to stand. He stank of alcohol and seemed to be incredibly intoxicated. Ben rarely got drunk, a man of his size certainly wasn’t a light-weight so this was definitely a surprise.
“Come on your highness, let’s get you to bed.” she said, kicking open the door and leading him inside.
“Aww Rey, you’re my favourite.” he said, slurring as he spoke, “I like you the most.”
Rey chuckled, “Thank you, your highness.”
Ben began to shake his head, “No no no, I like you the most, Rey.” he said, Rey’s heart skipping a beat as they paused next to his bed. Shaking herself out of it, she helped him onto the bed, pulling off his shoes, “I appreciate the sentiment your highness.” she said, focusing on unlacing his shoes.
Ben shook his head again, “Rey.” she looked up at him, at his serious eyes that she often found herself getting lost in, “I like you, I like you more than anything and I hate Naboo because Naboo tried to steal you from me. I’ll declare war on Naboo.”
Rey chuckled nervously, trying to process the weight of what he had just told her. Was it true? Or were these just drunken thoughts? “I do not think that would be wise your highness, I think what you need to do is rest.”
Once his shoes were off, Rey stood, waiting idly as she looked down at him. He sat on his bed, looking a lot soberer than he was as he gazed up at her. “Poe says I’m stupid for not telling you.” he said, his voice barely more than a whisper as he reached up to brush a stray hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear.
“Not telling me what?” Rey asked anxiously, hoping for the answer she had dreamt of.
“That I’ve loved you since the moment I lay eyes on you.” he said as if it were obvious as if it were straight forward and there were no complications. Her breath caught in her throat and she did the only reasonable thing her mind could come up with.
“Thank you, your highness, that is very kind of you but I’m afraid I must retire for the evening.” she practically ran from the room, not waiting around to see his reaction as she fled the room, scooping her heels up from where she had left them by his door.
She didn’t stop running until she reached the safety of her room, slamming the door shut as her heart pounded in her chest.
Prince Ben Organa-Solo loved her. And she had run away, despite the fact she loved him too.
Ben felt terrible. His head was pounding and he felt like he had been thrown down a flight of stairs. He wanted nothing more than to be in bed, sleeping it off. But unfortunately, he was stuck in a very boring morning meeting with his mother.
Last night had been a mess. His eyes flickered to Rey who was standing guard across the room, looking straight forward and avoiding him the same way he had all morning. Ben cringed with embarrassment, he had messed everything up, allowed the alcohol to turn him into a pratt.
He had most likely made her incredibly uncomfortable. Rey was simply trying to do her job and he had made it more difficult for her by letting his personal feelings get in the way. But that didn’t explain Rey’s very unprofessional reaction the night before, the way she had stumbled to run out of the room, as if she were scared of her own reaction.
Just as he was about to jab a pen into his eye as a distraction from the immense boredom of the meeting, his mother dismissed him and the council they were with. Rey exited the room immediately, no doubt to wait outside for him before following him into town for an event he was attending in the afternoon.
With a tired sigh, he bid good day to his mother, giving her a peck on the cheek before walking out of the meeting room.
As he expected, Rey was waiting outside the room, masking her emotions incredibly well as they walked down the palace corridors in complete silence.
Ben casually turned to make sure no one was around before grabbing hold of Rey’s elbow and yanking her into a small alcove with him. “Your highness-”
Ben placed his hand over her mouth, he didn’t want a lord visiting the palace to catch them in a position such as this one. “Please Rey be quiet, allow me a moment to explain myself, my behaviour last night was unacceptable and you deserve an explanation.”
Rey nodded slowly and he took his hand away, the feel of her lips still tantalizing present on his hand. The alcove was dark, taking Rey’s hand, he pulled her further inside. Reaching along the wall, he reached the hidden lever and pulled on it.
The wall shifted, creating a space for them to squeeze through and make their way down a hidden staircase. He gestured for Rey to enter first before stepping in behind her, closing the entrance.
They walked down the stone steps that led into the palace’s hidden basement, “It is one of five secret entrances dotted around the palace, only the royal family and now you are aware of their existence.” Ben explained, “They were created as a precaution for incase there is a great threat we need to hide from. No one will find us here, it is only used in emergencies.”
“And this is an emergency?” Rey asked, raising an eyebrow as they reached the bottom of the staircase and came to a door.
“Perhaps it isn’t, but it is certainly an important matter.” With a flick of his wrist, the door opened and they stepped inside the bunker. There were a few cots of varying size along the walls with shelves stacked with rations and medical supplies. “It would probably be wise to let the Royal Guard know about a place such as this, it would prove useful during an attack.” Rey said as she looked around the room.
“I agree.” Ben said as he stepped further into the room with her, “My uncle thinks otherwise. As you already know, he doesn’t really trust anyone other than himself.”
Rey simply nodded in understanding a silence came between them again, a barrier stopping them from expressing themselves.
They chuckled awkwardly, “Please, but only if you call me Ben.” he said, gesturing for her to continue.
Rey nodded, taking a deep breath before beginning. “I’d like to thank you for what you said last night. You know where I’m from Ben, no one has ever said such kind words to me-”
“It was not merely a kind word.” Ben said taking a step forward, entering her space. She didn’t step back, she simply looked up at him with eyes that seemed to be trying to explain what her words could not. “Rey, it was not an act of kindness. It was the truth. I love you, so much it nearly kills me. Ever since I met you I knew you were special, different from anyone I had ever met before. You understood me, you listen to me, put your life on the line countless times to save mine.” There were tears in her eyes as she listened to him, Ben reached up to cup her cheek as he spoke, gently brushing her tears away, “I understand if you don’t return these feelings, and you are not obliged to stay I-”
He was cut off when Rey surged forward, pressing her lips to his and kissing him. It threw him completely, taking him by surprise and her lips moved against his own. After a few moments, he began to return her kiss, taking her into his arms and kissing her passionately.
It was like the planet had stopped, everything stopped and it was just them, safe in the tender embrace. He felt like he was flying as he held Rey close to him, her chest flush against his own as her soft and gentle lips moved with his.
After a few blessed moments, Rey slowly pulled away, allowing them both a moment to catch their breaths. “Sorry, I just needed you to stop talking.” she said timidly. “If you had allowed me to finish, you would have learned that I feel the same, Ben. I love you all the way to Jakku, perhaps further, and back. And I really hope that I don’t have to go back there to prove it.”
A smile broke out across Ben’s face and he pulled her into his arms, wrapping them around her waist, “I’m never letting you go Rey, It will become incredibly annoying for you as I hope to never have to leave your side again.” he said playfully.
Rey chuckled, “I think I’ll be just fine with that.”
Ben leaned forward and kiss her again in response. They had no idea what came next, where this road would lead. But for now all that mattered was that Ben loved Rey and she loved him in return. They could figure out the rest later, but right, now all Ben wanted to do was kiss the woman he loved like his life depended on it.
Maybe he was a fool. A fool who was helplessly in love...