“We’re finally here!” Rose exclaims as she skips ahead of them in Gare Centrale. “That train ride was so long.”
“Remind me why we didn’t fly again?” Finn asks as they walk towards the exit to the taxi stand.
“You know I don’t trust TSA with my babies, plus Poe had all that camera equipment.” Rose huffs as she drags her suitcase along behind her.
Finn grumbles something about being able to carry-on skates, but Rose ignores him.
“It doesn’t matter because we’re here now and I am starving!” Rose runs up to the taxi queue as the boys pull up the rear behind her.
“Is she ever not hungry?” Poe asks Finn. The man just shrugs with a smile.
Once they’re checked in to Takodana Hotel the trio are enjoying some long-awaited steak frites and savory crepes. Rose starts prattling off about their big day tomorrow.
“Okay, so for tomorrow…” She looks over at Poe. “You remember who everyone is right? And you watched all those video’s I sent? Most important is Rey Kanata and Ben Solo—our choreographers. Maz will be showing up in a few days to see our progress and hopefully we won’t have too many changes. I doubt it, but Leia Organa might be there. She and her brother Luke Skywalker were the Olympic silver medalists in the early eighties. Leia might still be training them, and if she’s there I might have a heart-attack.”
Finn shakes his head amusedly at his partner. “Calm down, Rose. You have to be chill alright?”
Rose sighs as she takes a bite of a fry. “This is just such a big opportunity. The only reason we even have this shot is because Maz is Rey’s adopted mom. We have literal greats—actual Olympians working on our program. I just don’t want to screw it up. Like—we could actually qualify for the Games if we can place at this Worlds. Especially if we have a program choreographed by Ben and Rey.”
Poe crosses his arms over his chest. “I don’t want you to freak out when I ask this…” He starts and he can already see Finn shooting him a warning look across the table. “But, why is everyone so obsessed with them?”
Rose stares at him. “I feel like I’ve told you this a hundred times.” She says seriously. “There is literally no one more fluid, more synchronically perfect, more—just more flipping spiritual than Ben and Rey on the ice. They’re like literally soulmates that share the same brain in two different bodies, it’s just—you didn’t watch any of the videos I sent, did you?” She glares at him accusingly.
Poe has the decency to look embarrassed. “I did! I watched that Olympic program—”
“You watched ‘The Dyad’, and after that, you STILL don’t get it?” Rose looks beside herself and Finn places his hand atop her head.
“Breathe Rosie. Poe isn’t obligated to be a connoisseur of the ice dance world just because he’s working with us. His only requirement was that he could skate and film at the same time.”
Poe narrows his eyes at Finn’s patronizing tone. “Hey—”
Rose shakes her head. “What kind of filmography did you say you were into again? I swear your Insta was full of moody, artsy clips. Honestly lots of ‘Dyad’ potential.”
It seems to Poe like this topic is turning to a combative one.
“I play around with a mix of genres.” He quips, but leaves it at that.
“When you watch them in person, you’ll see.” She says assuredly. “But just remember what I told you—don’t ever talk about their relationship, don’t even ask, don’t even ask a random person at the rink who might say something that makes you think otherwise.”
Poe just shrugs. It sounds a little bit too dramatic, and he is only here on business. He’s not looking to create a film that could be considered a Soap Opera. Rose’s reaction to the subject does make him a bit curious, but it really doesn’t matter to him. He has to admit, when he took on this project, he hadn’t thought much about it except for the big paycheck that was coming his way. Rose actually slid into his DMs to ask about his work. He’s still curious as to how she found him if he thinks hard on it…
Finn and Rose were looking for someone to document the journey of their new Free Dance program for the 2021 World championships. They were looking to qualify for the 2022 Olympic games, and it seemed that underrated teams were doing all sorts of their own media marketing to grow their audience.
Figure skating was a spectator’s sport after all. Rose made sure to drill that into his head with all her blabbering.
The number they offered him for the gig was too good he couldn’t refuse. Since he was just starting out in filmmaking, an opportunity like this was a godsend. He just didn’t expect to have to take a class on the history of ice dancing to do it.
And he did watch some of the videos, at least the major ones. Ice dancing was cool and all, but they didn’t do any crazy jumps or throw people in the air like the other skating tricks he thinks of on the very few occasions when he thinks about figure skating at all.
It was just a job. It’s not like it was going to be that exciting.
“Bonjour!” They are greeted by a young woman with a glowing smile. It’s the first thing Poe notices about her. It’s obvious this is Rey. He thinks of some of the footage he’d watched of their Olympic performance. It’s startling, but unsurprising that Rey is even more beautiful than she appears on camera.
He watches as she kisses Rose on both cheeks and then throws her arms around Finn in a welcoming hug.
“Ugh, hello my lovelies.” She chimes as she wraps her arms around them both. Her auburn gaze lifts up to his and Poe feels his heart thump a bit faster in his chest. “You must be the directeur de la photographie.” Her smile would light up a Goddamn room.
Poe coughs, clearing his throat as he nods his head. “I’m Poe.” He says as he watches the way her eyes twinkle. He awkwardly lifts his large camera bag in reference.
Rey grins before immediately turning to her two subjects. “We have something very exciting to show you. I think you both will be so pleased.” She says as she grabs their hands and starts to walk them towards the rink. It’s then that Poe notices Rey already has her skates on.
They walk into the ice rink and the drop in temperature is instant.
Rey motions to the stands. “Go, sit.” And then she hops onto the ice with the ease and grace of an Olympian.
Rose vibrates with excitement as she whispers to Finn. “I can’t wait to see what they’ve done!” Then she turns to Poe. “Hey Poe, maybe you should get some shots of this. A big part of the doc will be focused on the process and—trust me—when you watch how they skate and how they work, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s insane. They basically choreograph on the spot.” Rose assures as she looks out onto the ice with dazzled eyes.
Poe pulls out BB-8 and starts fiddling with the settings before mounting it on his shoulder. It’s then that he looks out onto the ice and his eyes settle on Rey. There are a few other skaters on the ice, but Rey stands out like a beacon. It’s then that he notices the much taller, dark haired giant standing beside her.
He knows it’s Ben, but seeing him now in person feels different. The guy seems to give off this powerful, commanding presence without showing any emotion. He and Rey seem like complete polar opposites, and yet when she breathes in and exhales, her realizes they’re breathing in tandem with one another. It’s so naturally in sync it’s almost hypnotizing to watch.
Rey turns to look at them then and he can see her dimples from here. She pulls a slim device out of her pocket. It must be a phone because she’s tapping on it a bit before the music starts.
The soft melodic tune of a guitar starts and after one count of eight the vocalist begins to sing. Rey clicks a button and the song begins over. She zips it into a pocket in her jacket before she and Ben turn to face one another.
Again, Poe watches as their chests rise and fall with one another’s.
My head is filled with ruins
Most of them are built with you
As the words sing over the speakers Rey takes a step backwards, gliding effortlessly as her free leg slowly extends out. Her hands come up in a soft and fluid motion, reaching out longingly to Ben as they move together in the same direction. Their legs move in arching curves around the ice, creating swirling patterns as smoothly as a well-blended batter.
Now the dust no longer moves
Don't disturb the ghost of you
He watches as they twist and twine around each other, their arms move in large sweeping motions, always reconnecting with every other stroke. They fall into a waltz hold, Rey’s left arm drapes over Ben’s arm as her back arches like a bow, bending languidly with each downward swoop of her body. They turn from backwards to forwards in long and measured twirls as they waltz around the ice.
“Oh, I love that.” Rose murmurs as Rey sways to the hums of the singer’s voice.
I'm gonna miss you
I still care
Sometimes I wish we never built this palace
But real love is never a waste of time
When the chorus rings throughout the arena Poe watches with wide eyes as Ben picks Rey up like she weighs nothing and they spin around and around at varying levels. At the end of a verse as the voice sings a long, drawn out, note Rey stretches out and is parallel with the ice as Ben continues to dip her through the air. Rey’s moves are so precise, and calculated and she floats as she soars in his arms.
It’s clear the story they are telling on the ice is one of a broken love. Their expressions are forlorn and Rey has an almost desperate look on her face every time she reaches for Ben. It’s mesmerizing, how they are able to move around each other so fast and so effortlessly. He swears they should bump foreheads by now after the number of times he’s watched them swoop towards each other and linger with hardly an inch between their faces.
The control is out of this world.
Yeah, I know just what you're saying
And I regret ever complaining
About this heart and all its breaking
It was beauty we were making
On the second verse, they return to their waltz hold, however this time as they change edges on the ice, they are turning in various different directions. Rey’s leg lefts up high above her head, and they are both leaning so far back that Poe thinks they could easily fall back on their asses. Rey lets out a visible exhale as she glides backwards and her leg floats down right before they both step forward.
“Yes! Choctaw’s are our strength Rosie.” Finn hisses with excitement.
Rose squeals. “Oh, and it goes right into the twizzles!”
Poe looks on bemused but also in wonder as Ben and Rey begin to spin impossibly fast in sync with each other. Each time they exit a few revolutions they extend their limbs in perfect harmony before they push right into another set of quick turns.
Rose starts to clap when they complete this section. “We will have to practice that at least 30 minutes a session. They make it look so easy.” Her voice sounds wistful as she looks on.
Through the camera, Poe can zoom in and get a better look at their feet and their expressions. Their acting is almost as good as their skating. The emotion ties perfectly with the music.
I'm gonna miss you
I'm still there
Sometimes I wish we never built this palace
But real love is never a waste of time
When they twirl into a spin Rey’s body begins in a perpendicular shape to the ice while Ben sits beside her. In an instant the position changes and Rey rises up before her back arches back impossibly far. One of her legs comes up and it almost looks like her hair could catch the blade.
Sometimes I wish we never built this palace
But real love is never a waste of time
Rose jumps up excitedly as the song begins to fade. Ben and Rey are still spinning, but the rotation slows down as they stop intertwined with each other.
“I love it.” Rose exclaims. “Yes, Finny put your skates on.”
Rose then turns to Poe who’d lowered the camera down slowly. His eyes still gazing upon the couple on the ice.
“They’re incredible, aren’t they?” She asks pointedly. He can hear the smirk in her voice.
Poe watches as Rey’s head perks up and looks over at them, her smile a dazzling contrast to the broken-hearted soul he just watched glide around in abject sorrow.
She jumps up and rubs her hand through Ben’s hair roughly and he just…let’s her. “So, yes?” She calls out exuberantly and then she turns to Ben and says something to him that must be in French because it’s indecipherable. He doesn’t seem to respond, but Rey doesn’t seem to mind and she swizzles towards them creating wide circle shapes in her wake.
Rey hops up on the boards as she waits for them to finish lacing up their skates. An older woman in a quilted vest and thick turtleneck sweater walks over to her, speaking amiably in French. Rey greets her with a kiss on the cheek and Ben skids over to greet her in the same way.
Poe notices how touchy-feely Rey is with Ben, how she sort of handles him in her own way. It feels pretty intimate to watch, but maybe it’s a French-Canadian thing.
The other woman says something that makes her laugh. Poe looks on and wonders, very curiously, what the status of their relationship is. Rose had said not to mention anything about them being a couple—because they weren’t.
But it sure didn’t look like that to Poe.
He’s thrown out of his thoughts when Finn and Rose get onto the ice. Poe grabs his camera and goes to stand at the side of the boards near them.
“Finn, Rose it’s lovely to meet you.” The older woman smiles kindly at them.
Rose beams. “Leia, it’s such an honor to meet you—to work with you. I—we are just so excited.”
“Oh, I’m more of just an observer. Your whole program is really all Ben and Rey. I’m just a spectator, but I’m sure once Maz gets here there will certainly be a lot of opinions.”
Rose and Finn chuckle along with her. Leia’s gaze then trails over to Poe. “You must be the videographer I’ve heard a little about.”
Poe raises an eyebrow. “Just a little bit?” He jokes and when she smiles back at him, he thinks it doesn’t reach her eyes.
More serious bunch then.
“I know you said it’s okay, but we just want to make sure that Poe being here and filming you both is still alright. We did get a contract drafted up and everything.” Rose says hurriedly as she looks between the three Canadians.
Poe’s eyes slide over to Ben to see an austere expression on his face, but Rose is instantly placated when Rey smiles brightly at her.
Her smile really is…something.
“Of course, darling. We would be happy to be a part of your film and can sign the papers.” There isn’t an ounce of coolness in Rey’s disposition—in comparison to her counterpart. Every emotion she shares she does so with transparency. It’s quite refreshing.
Ben’s deep voice grounds above her and Poe doesn’t expect it to sound so…soft.
“What sort of filmography are you trying to achieve?” He asks, and Poe blinks when he realizes he’s addressing him.
Poe feels himself puff his chest out, for a reason he can’t entirely explain. “Right, I was thinking we would do some shots of me following you two on the ice—”
“You can skate?” Ben asks and it’s the way he says it, that makes Poe bristle a bit inside.
He juts his chin up and says. “Yup.”
Rey smiles at him and pokes Ben in the side. “I think that sounds wonderful. We’ve never done anything like that before.” She says sweetly as she looks up at Ben, and it looks like they’re having their own conversation without words.
Poe is itching to for the translation.
Ben just grumbles softly, and his head brushes back to flip his hair away from his face.
The dick did have nice hair…
“D’accord.” Rey says brightly. “Let’s get started then.”
Poe notices two things as he strokes around in his hockey skates with BB-8 strapped to a harness on his chest. He’s been shadowing Ben and Rey around the ice for the last thirty minutes.
The first, is that when they skate, they do it with such an instinct it’s like they just know what the other is going to do, where they are going to go. Ben will start to move backwards in one direction and Rey instinctively follows. Poe learns that the first presentation of the program to them was just a loose idea of what they wanted to choreograph. They’d basically skated freeform and Poe is aware that kind of talent is… unusual.
From Poe’s little knowledge of figure skating, he knows that people usually need their routines programed for them and it’s extremely rare to watch two people choreograph a program instinctively like this together.
The second thing Poe notices, and confirms, is that Ben Solo really is a huge dick.
He flicks away at the dusting of snow that Ben has shredded on him for what feels like the hundredth time.
He hears Rey mumble into Ben’s ear a few times, “Arrête…” But there’s a smile on her face as she chides him. She says it more crossly and with a string of other French, when Poe has to stop following them and slide on his knees and skid around them to keep from falling over after Ben does an unexpectedly deep edge that has their flow of direction turning right towards him.
The brute always just stares at her with a ‘what?’ kind of expression.
Rose and Finn begin to mimic some of Ben and Rey’s movements on the ice. They work through some of the patterns to see how easy or difficult it is for them to achieve them.
Aside from having a few near experiences of getting Ben’s toe pick lodged into his face, Poe thinks he has some good material to work with in editing.
“How’s it going?” Rose prods as Poe replays some of the footage by the boards.
He shoots her a thumbs up and keeps any and all comments about Ben and his douche attitude to himself.
At the end of the first session, they’re all milling about in the front area. A few other teams greet Rey as they enter for their session.
It’s clear that everyone adores Rey. It’s also clear that everyone just puts up with Ben because of it.
“Where are you all staying?” Rey asks conversationally.
“The Takodana Hotel.” Rose pips and Rey’s eyes light up.
“Ah, we are also staying there for the week.” She says brightly. “We love it there, whenever we come to train in the city.” She turns to look at Ben. “We will see you then, we should get lunch.” Ben just stands there stoically as he nods almost imperceptibly.
Rose looks overly excited. “That would be awesome!”
When they’re back at the hotel they all decide to meet at the Bistro on the second level. Rey has changed into some sort of flowy poncho thing that engulfs her form. Her athletic legs peak out from underneath it and Poe finds himself glancing at her legs again.
Ben is clad head to toe in black and Poe decides it must be his unspoken uniform. When Poe looks at him, he’s met with a darkening glare.
Dick status, affirmed.
Poe takes a generous bite out of his burger so he has something to do other than just be there.
Rose won’t stop talking, she’s like a hamster on a wheel as she prattles on and on. She lets Finn interject here and there, but for the most part it’s just her voice yammering on. He looks at Rey and she looks hardly affected. If anything, she looks on endearingly at the shorter girl. Seriously, how can she be so happy all the time? Especially with that brooding cloud always hanging around above her?
“Is Luke still coaching?” Rose asks and Poe’s attention is drawn in at the sudden silence at the table.
He glances at both Rey and Ben and it’s the first time he notices the smile on Rey’s face falter. Ben sits there silently as he stabs at his salad.
Rey recovers so quickly the pause is almost unnoticeable. But Poe has a great attention to detail, it’s why he went into filmmaking. He watches her curiously.
“Luke took some time off.” Rey says lightly, but it seems like a weighted answer.
“Are you guys still thinking of going to Beijing?” Finn asks then.
And this is the first time Poe has seen them not in sync.
“Maybe.” Ben mutters as Rey says, “We are planning to.”
Ben’s lips press into a thin line.
“It would be different without him on the team.” Rey supplies, but there’s an edge to her voice, like she’s holding something back.
Ben, on the other hand, seems to have a different opinion. “The team would have to change. And if we were to make a decision, there’s already an offer on the table.” The way he says it, it sounds like he’s not so much speaking to them, but to Rey in another one of their own secret conversations.
Rey shakes her head slightly then and it looks like she’s biting the inside of her cheek. A smile turns up onto her lips and her eyes squint at the motion. “Well, if choreography works out for us, we may just stick with that instead.” She jokes and it turns the conversation back to Rose gushing over how happy she is with the program already.
Poe glances between the two across the table from him curiously. There’s been a shift in mood between them and Poe wonders if he’s the only one who noticed.
His piqued curiosity in this ‘dyad’ is growing like wildfire as each day goes on.
The next day, Poe meets two of the most asinine people he’s ever had the displeasure of meeting in his entire life.
“Hey Solo, they filming your retirement sendoff already?” Armitage Hux shouts across the ice with a snicker. His partner, Gwen Phasma smirks over at them from beside him.
Poe can’t decide what makes them more heinous, their better-than-thou personalities? The weird sniffing thing the one who goes by ‘Hux’ did when he passed him? It could be their matching slicked-back hairstyles, or maybe their matching bright red jumpsuits. Yeah, that’s the most obnoxious part about them—it’s gotta be the jumpsuits.
The second they get on the ice BB-8 almost gets right-checked by the six-foot tall woman. He couldn’t imagine that scrawny redhead lifting that, but who is he to know or to judge?
Today they’re working on something Rose keeps calling the ‘twizzle segment’. It proves to be challenging because Finn is not very good at them. Then again, when comparing their spinny things to Ben and Rey, Poe doesn’t think anyone is any good.
They have to shoot the segment almost twenty times before Rey considers changing it.
“Yeah, this is bad.” She says bluntly. “Ben.” She calls him and it’s still such an odd thing to watch them interact. When they’re on the ice they really do move like one fluid braincell. He drifts over to her and the moment his body enters her space she instantly starts to move, starting at the beginning of the segment.
She’s talking to him as they go, but it’s just random incoherent words mixed with some French, yet he understands her like she’s speaking in full complete sentences.
Rey pauses. “Rose.” She calls over. “Can you do a falling leaf out of a back outside twizzle?” She says and then she grabs Ben’s hand pulling him around in a big circle to demonstrate. Poe watches, mesmerized, as they spin side by side in perfect harmony before Rey kicks her leg out and leaps around Ben, changing their position.
“Alors…” Rey says as she continues to turn on the opposite foot. Ben follows her and when they extend their legs out he comes around and sweeps her up into his arms and they’re spinning with her legs wrapped around him in an intimate like embrace.
Poe knows it’s compulsory to the music, but the way Rey rubs her cheek against Ben’s is so believable. It almost feels invasive to be watching.
“Wow.” Rose sighs, “I hope we can look like that.”
“Pft, please, Solo doesn’t even have to act to put that lost puppy dog look on his face.” The comment breezes by them and Poe almost wants to roll his eyes.
“What is with those two?” He asks exasperatedly.
Finn shrugs with a smirk. “They suck, and they know it.”
When Rey and Ben skate back to them Rose nods good-naturedly. “I’ll try it.”
“I think at the part where he says, “And I know we'll both move on, you'll forgive what I did wrong…”, is where you will jump out and start the lift.” Rey says before she motions through the steps in front of them.
Rose and Finn both nod as they skate around the rink to try it out. When they’re on the other end of the rink Rey turns to Poe.
“So, what do you think so far?” She asks him as her eyes watch the pair skate around the corner.
Poe presses his lips together and nods. “Yeah, it’s good.”
Rey looks at him then with an amused expression. “How much do you know about ice dance?”
Poe shrugs a shoulder then as he pretends to think on it. “Almost nothing.”
And then she laughs and Poe feels his chest expand.
“Tu plaisantes.” Ben grumbles beside her and she leans into him. His reaction is instinctual as the hackles on his shoulders visibly relax. His hand falls to her waist in an action that looks like he’s preformed it over a thousand times. Maybe even more than that.
Rose performs the move then and it is not as effortless as Rey, but it looks alright.
“Oui, Good.” Rey says. “We’re changing it to that.” And she skates over to them as she starts holding her arms out to demonstrate choreographed movements for their upper bodies.
Poe glances over at Ben who’s still glowering at everything.
Poe considers something then, and debates if it’s even worth it. “You…” He starts. “You don’t have a—problem with me, do you?” He asks questioningly. He doesn’t really look over at the taller man but he continues to peek at him from the side.
Ben turns his head slowly to him then and something about it that is so weirdly intimidating. Poe huffs through the discomfort.
Ever so quietly Ben says. “I have no opinion of you.” And there’s a slight accent as he speaks the words that Poe hasn’t noticed before.
Poe just nods absently. “Okay, good.” He’s about to ask something else but then Ben skates away from him. “Great, glad we had this talk.” He calls out after him.
The sound of a door being slammed shut rattles around the rink. Poe looks over to the sound to see an old, sinewy looking man trudge across the ice in what almost looks like loafers before he goes to sit in the players box. Phasma and Hux glide over to him. There’s something oddly sinister about the man and Poe thinks it’s fitting that he would know the Wonder Twins.
He looks back at where Finn, Rey, Rose and Ben are all standing and decides he can take a break on the filming since they seem to be doing a lot of talking and not a lot of skating. As he makes his way to the boards the old man grates out at him.
“You shouldn’t be on this session.”
Poe looks around feigning ignorance before he points to himself. “Who, me?”
The bald man glares his piercing blue eyes at Poe. “This is a private session.”
Poe is about to retort with another snarky comment when he feels a gentle hand on his arm.
“There a problem here?” Rey says as she stands beside Poe. Her gaze is hard as she stares at the man.
The man’s beady eyes observe them calculatingly. Poe also observes the skeletal asshole. He wonders why his eyes linger behind them and then to where Rey is touching his arm near his elbow before he sniffs.
“If he gets in the way of my skaters, I’m getting him kicked off.” He says grouchily.
With her hand still on his elbow, Rey nudges him to the box on the other side of the rink.
“Who’s that pleasant fellow?” Poe asks and Rey breathes out a laugh.
There’s something in her eyes though, something heavier than just annoyance. She sighs as she glances back at him and there’s a somberness there that makes Poe believe there’s much more to the story.
“He’s hell on earth.” She mutters. “Be careful not to get too close.” And then she leaves him to go back to the group.
When the session has ended and they are getting off the ice Poe is behind the group with BB-8 perched on his shoulder. He watches as Rey’s hand grips at Ben’s forearm. She whispers something to him and even if it was in English, he’s has no idea what she said.
Poe can’t pinpoint exactly why he is so…fascinated by them. It’s the last thing he imagined he would focus on. There’s a mystery here that bubbles under the surface.
In a way it all feels very cinematic.
His curiosity peaks even more when he watches Ben slowly pull his arm away from her grasp.
Poe almost feels borderline nosy. There’s a surprising desperation in him to know what the hell is going on and why he feels like he’s about to witness the dramatic event of a lifetime.
Maz arrives that following day to see her students’ progress. Leia is back to join her and the two women chat in the stands during the session.
Maz is impressed with the program after they skate the first two minutes without too many issues. There is a little debate on the theatrical themes as Maz mentions, “Finn and Rose are: much too happy to look so devastated.”
In which, Ben makes a comment that is borderline insufferable as he explains to them all that ‘uncut music and dark emotion are what score higher points these days.’
Now they’re practicing different spin variations and Poe is dizzy just watching through the camera lens.
It’s during this exercise, however, that he realizes Rey is very flexible.
There’s one variation, where Rey’s leg is being pulled so far over her head she’s almost in a standing split. Poe can’t help the way his head slants a bit as he tries to fathom how.
The ‘lovebirds’ are not in good spirits today. Ben especially. At one point he starts speaking on the verge of yelling. In the week that they’ve been here, he’s never seen the man so much as raise his voice higher than his usual muttering quips. His eyes would occasionally shift to Poe and now he’s wondering what he has to do with all of this.
“Le con…” Ben says this word a few times whenever he looks over at him and Rey has skated away from him more than once while rolling her eyes. It’s happened enough that he decides to Google Translate the word.
Ben Solo really is a dick.
Poe scoots over to where Finn and Rey are standing, watching the two of them warily. “So…how long do you think this will go on for?”
Rose just sighs refusing to comment and pulls Finn along as they practice some other steps to their routine. He notices the big bad baldie is back and his eyes glint over to where Ben and Rey are arguing.
Poe is pulled out of his observations when a small hand taps him in on the shoulder. “Mr. Cameraman.” The gravelly voice of the small woman Poe has come to know as Maz, peers up at him.
The older woman adjusts her large, circular spectacles as she looks at him. “I was told you’re filming a documentary of my pupils.” She quirks an eyebrow at him. “I’m sure it will be…tasteful…won’t it?”
Poe’s brow furrows at the woman. “Uh, yeah of course. I’m just following Rose’s direction for what she wants—”
“Does that include close ups of my daughter?”
The question throws him so off guard his eyes widen at the woman.
“What? Uh, no…of course not—unless Rose has asked…” He should just stop talking.
Maz dimples up at him then. “Ah, I’m teasing. You’re a funny one.” She pats him on the arm again. “This sort of grand exposure on the internet is new to me. I haven’t been a fan of it.” There’s an edge of criticism to her voice. “What Ben and Rey have is truly special, I’ve always felt that it was not something to be exploited. It was something special to them, something we, as spectators, are more than blessed to experience.”
Poe just looks at her, unsure of what to say.
“But I am an old woman, who am I to say?” He exhales his anxious breath as he notices her smile fall when she looks across the way. “And that Snoke, he’s been giving us all some trouble lately. Exactly what I mean when I say they are not something to be exploited. He would love to wear them down, throw them to the wolves for his own glory. Be sure to let me know if you notice anything…questionable.”
Poe wonders why she thinks he would be of any help with that, but before he can reply Maz calls out to Rose and beckons them over.
“J'en ai eu assez!” A voice shouts on the ice that causes a few heads to turn. Poe glances up to see Rey staring angrily at Ben on the far side of the rink. They talk in quieter voices but Poe’s attention is stealthily focused on them.
Ben appears to be saying something, something that he’s trying to convince to Rey. She shakes her head vehemently at whatever it is he is saying. Her expression turns from anger to frustration and then to pleading. In the next second Ben has swooped forward so that they’re extremely close, his hands have come around her upper arms like he’s trying to soothe her, but whatever he’s saying has her shaking her head distraught.
Poe knows it’s uncouth and that he shouldn’t do it, but he flicks the preview screen on BB-8 that allows him to view the lens of the camera through the screen and he can see a close up at Rey’s face. From the way her lips move it looks like she’s saying:
Don’t, please don’t go this way.
Whatever Ben says next as her shutting her eyes closed tight before she pushes away from him.
Poe looks up from the camera as he watches her skate away from Ben and practically run off the ice without a word. He can see Maz a few feet below him shaking her head sadly before a heavy sigh heaves from her chest.
It’s hardly ten seconds later that Poe watches as Ben speeds towards the exit as well and chases after her.
He’s shocked to find Rey at the hotel bar that night alone. She has a glass of some amber liquid in front of her and she sips at it.
“Where’s Mr. Broody?” Poe asks as he sits in the chair beside her.
Rey looks over at him and smiles softly as she lifts the glass up to her lips.
“Is it strange to you…” She starts and she looks down to the bottom of her glass, pensive. “Being thrown into this world so quickly and without any context? I’ve had my whole life to get acclimated to it…and still—it’s like I can hardly ever stay on my feet.”
Poe isn’t familiar with talking in tongues. Well—the contemplative ones anyway…
He holds his hand up to the bartender to get his attention. “I definitely noticed…tension.” He supplies as he orders a beer. “How—if this isn’t invasive—how did you get into all this? Do you have one of those, ‘I’ve been skating since I could walk’ stories. Like Finn and Rose who were paired up at the age of like…three? I think that was what she said…”
Rey shakes her head, and she exhales in a way that sounds almost like a laugh. It’s a humorless one and it makes him pause.
“No, no…it definitely wasn’t anything like that. Sometimes I think Luke still thinks it was a bad idea.”
“But you guys won the Olympics, didn’t you?” Poe asks confused. Who would have doubts with that on their CV?
Rey sighs and she looks around the quiet bar. Maybe he is overstepping, maybe it isn’t for him to ask these things.
“I was almost nine when Maz saw me skating around with some other kids at the home in Jakku—it’s a town outside of Montreal.” She adds for context before shaking her head like the memory is a nonsensical one. “I was way too old, there were little girls with rich daddy’s who were much more qualified than me…you know, usually it’s hard to find a male partner but Ben…Ben was the difficult one. As I’m sure you can already guess…”
Poe shrugs. “He does give off a pleasant aura when you first meet him.” He supplies sarcastically and it makes Rey chuckle a little. He feels pride buzz in his chest at making her laugh.
“I think Maz thought it was cute. I was all rough around the edges, but she thought I was good. She thought I’d be good for Ben. He wouldn’t admit it, but I know Luke didn’t like the idea of an orphan for Ben’s partner. In the end, after we stepped on the ice together that first time, Luke had to just accept it.”
Poe’s head tries to wrap around this information. “So…you were just chosen to skate with Ben. It all sounds very Great Expectations. It sounds kind of messed up…”
“You study English lit in videography school?” She jokes before answering. “When you’re an orphan, there’s not a lot of doors opened to you.” Rey shrugs. “Maz gave me a chance of a better life.”
“But was it a life you wanted? How can you know if that choice was made for you?”
Rey looks over at him and her stare makes him swallow the formed lump in his throat. “No need to feel sorry for me.” She says levelly. She could be angry at him for giving such an opinion. Instead, she looks steadfast. “I wouldn’t have wanted it to be any different.” Her gaze hardens. “I know that’s why people talk and probably why Rose didn’t want you to ask me about it. A lot of people think of it in that way. But they don’t know me and they don’t know Ben.”
“I didn’t mean to—ah—make assumptions.” Poe concedes. “You’re right, I just don’t get it.”
“Most people don’t.” She looks down at her glass. “Ben and I, we’ve been through it all together. It’s always been just us…” She trails off and Poe can tell there’s more she wants to say. He wants to ask her if she still feels this way, if she knows he’s noticed the way Ben seems to be straying from the ‘us’ she mentions.
He wants to know if there’s a ‘but’ following the end of her sentence.
She gets up then, because to her the conversation is over.
The time for deep reflections at the hotel bar has ended.
“I hope you can enjoy the rest of your time while you’re here.” Rey says kindly as she pushes her chair back in. “Bon nuit.”
Poe watches her go. He follows her as she walks out of the entryway and right before she turns out of sight, he sees her wipe a tear from her eye.
Poe decides that in today’s episode of ‘What’s Ben Solo done this time?’, and for the sake of that man’s dignity, he should delete most of his footage from this session. He has never seen a man exemplify a lost puppy dog, to quote that whiny, bedazzled idiot, more than Ben. It’s almost uncomfortably pitiful.
They’re working on a segment where Finn and Rose will be skating together side by side but not touching before they skate in a big circle mirroring each other.
Rey does most of the demonstrating and Poe can only describe their dynamic as that of a cat following those laser pointer things. Ben’s eyes follow her around wherever she goes and he always looks like he’s on the verge of wanting to say something to her, or just hold her hand or something equally as tragic.
Poe is seriously considering writing and directing a short film about this. He thinks something like this could actually make it into the TFF.
Or he could sell the rights to Netflix for a K drama series. That might be a better, more lucrative option.
His thoughts are further endorsed when Hux skates along the boards and makes whiny dog sounds as he passes.
“We’re going to do a canon sequence into the next waltz portion. Maybe it would be interesting to film.” Rey says and it breaks Poe out of his inner analysis.
Poe nods. “You got it.”
Rey cues Finn to play the music and they wait for it to get to a lyrical pause before they start mirroring each other around a larger invisible circle.
The canon she was referring to begins with her deep sweeping edges and turns while Ben follows those same steps but at the next 8 count of music. They look like dancing echoes of movement, so close to connecting, but Rey is always a breath away from Ben. At the last turn, before Poe suspects they’re to start the circle element, Ben’s arm curls around her waist gently—like she’s something precious to him.
Just as he’s about to bring her back against his chest she breaks out of his hold, her hand waves dismissively in the air. Ben looks wide-eyed and longingly at her back, like a man who’s just had the love of his life ripped away from him, like she’s decided to take another man’s proposal—or something equally as distressing.
Finn cuts the music.
“Merde, I’m sorry, something about this part feels off.” Rey has both hands on her hips as she shrugs her shoulders disappointed. Her head whips to the clock on the scoreboard up ahead. “We’ll have something for you tomorrow.” She says confidently, but there’s a stiffness in the way she nods her head and a watery glint in her eye. It has Poe questioning the stability of the emotional well-being of the Dyad.
With that she nods again before she skates off the ice. It’s uncomfortable to witness Rey as anything but the glowing image of happiness incarnate. Instead she looks like a star that’s slowly dying, a dimming light barely holding on.
“Are they okay?” Poe mutters to Finn who’s standing beside him.
Finn shrugs but he looks unaffected. “Of course they are. They’re endgame. Nothing gets in the way of the Dyad, no one.” He says it confidently, like it’s the obvious answer.
Poe isn’t so sure, but then again, how can he say he knows anything after only being here for five days?
It’s 9pm when he gets to the rink. The Zamboni driver, Plutt, had begrudgingly allowed Poe in after-hours so he could get some wide shots of the rink for scene changes and intros. He’s confused when he sees the lights are still on in the south rink and that a familiar music is playing.
Poe shouldn’t be surprised. It’s actually all very fitting. When he peaks inside, he sees Ben and Rey are there. They’re skating to Finn and Rose’s music. The volume is up unnecessarily loud and they don’t hear the door close shut behind him as he enters the cold ice box.
They don’t seem to be aware of much of anything but each other.
He watches them skate. Watches how they literally look like true love incarnate if it were personified into ice dancers. Ben is head to toe in his usual black, but Rey is wearing a white skintight unitard. She almost blends in with the ice. They continue to serpentine each other, a part of their bodies always touching and Poe stares when Ben picks her up and starts to spin her in the air. Her face is pressed against his neck.
It’s a different routine to what they did for Finn and Rose. As the music slows so does Ben and then he places her down so gently, it looks like he doesn’t want to let her go. Once her feet touch the ice, he continues to lower still until he’s kneeling in front of her.
And yeah, they’re extremely convincing when they emote as they skate, but this feels different. This feels real. Ben’s shoulders shake as his nose nudges against her abdomen. From where he stands, it looks like Rey is openly crying. One hand goes to cover her mouth as she sobs through her fingers.
What the fuck is happening?
After a moment, Ben’s torso bends and he’s slumped over now with his head by her knees. After a breath, Poe watches as Rey floats down to kneel beside him, her forehead resting above his crown.
Poe feels invasive as he witnesses this private moment.
The silence is deafening in the huge arena. The way the rink is concaved into the ground creates the sort of sound amplification that allows Poe to be able to hear Rey when she sobs.
Ben mutters something indecipherable in French, something that sounds like love, regret, and repentance. Or maybe even all of the above. “I’m sorry.” He gasps and his arms fall around her back loosely at first before he hesitantly gathers her in closer. Rey slides into his chest as he presses his lips against the skin at her shoulder.
“Ne me quitte pas…” His voice breaks as he begs her, it sounds desperate. “Ne me quitte pas…”
“We’re telling him no tomorrow. If we want to do this we can, but we don’t need Snoke. It can just be us.” She says as she rests her head on his shoulder. “Oui?”
He nods against her ear before he buries his nose in her hair.
“Just be with me…stay with me. This is enough, isn’t it?” She says these words brokenly but with a brevity she struggles to maintain. It’s her tone that lure the farthest ship back to shore.
“Je suis à toi–mon Coeur.” He replies. “Tu es tout pour moi.”
“Ben…” She whispers as she pulls away and her hand comes up to rest on his cheek. They sit there on the frozen ground a vision of black and white swirled together in a perfect fit.
And when she leans forward to kiss him—like the only thing she revolves around is him—it’s like watching a flame exposed to more oxygen after burning for hours in an closed room. Her dying star has turned nuclear.
And while extremely personal and almost chastening to witness, Poe thinks he has never encountered an emotion as intense—as inspiring—of a connection as them. It’s an almost overwhelming feeling, something he knows to be unequaled.
Something Maz had said should not be exploited.
Something Rose had said with one-hundred percent accuracy.
It was spiritual.
His desire to embody this in his craft surges through him like how he imagines Michelangelo felt when he thought up the Sistine Chapel.
Poe slips back out the door as quietly as he can, but he’s convinced they wouldn’t have heard a whisper that wasn’t between them.
The atmosphere is different the second Poe walks into the lobby the next day.
For one, it looks like one of those scenes from a K drama—possibly a telenovela—where there’s shouting, and spitting and cursing. Hux and Phasma are there wearing sparkling diamond studded jackets.
Poe decides from this picture alone, he really has seen it all.
Maz, who must be only four feet tall, is standing between Ben and Rey and Snoke, who is probably two and a half times the size of the big-spectacled woman. It doesn’t matter though. Poe knows who he’s more intimidated by when Maz shoves her finger up into the man’s sternum.
“That is quite ENOUGH from you, you malnourished succubus.” She growls as she points her finger at him for good measure.
Snoke sneers down at her. “This doesn’t concern you…or your pets.” He glares at Finn and Rose who look about ready to pummel him to the ground. “You won’t succeed without me.” He growls as he stares at them.
Rey glares at Snoke, her hand twists down to twine in Bens. “You underestimate Ben, and me.” Her chin juts up. “Whatever we decide to do, it will be us who decides it.”
“You will be nothing if you don’t stay in the circuit. Forgotten. Just a pathetic sports commentator. A one-hit wonder turned to local network garbage.”
Ben takes a step forward and Hux’s eyes widen in fear.
Poe unstraps BB-8 from his harness and holds the camera up and flicks the record button swiftly. “Alright that’s enough!” He calls out and it causes everyone’s heads to turn towards him in confusion. “Yeah, I’ve been recording this whole time. Really riveting stuff, you’ll be a good villain for my documentary.”
Snoke recoils angrily. “You can’t use any of that without my permission.”
Poe shrugs. “Actually, I have their permission.” He nods towards Rey and Ben. “I don’t have to credit you, hell I’ll cut you out even, but it won’t take a genius for fans of theirs to figure it out. Your self-righteous blather is almost too recognizable anyway.” Poe waves one hand for emphasis. “Just walk away now and I’ll delete the footage.”
The aged man’s beady eyes widen in fury, but he backs away from the group. “We’re training at Starkiller from now on.” He growls as he heads for the door. Hux and Phasma scurry behind him, their flashing jackets blink against the florescent lights overhead.
When Poe turns back around to look at the group Rey is beaming delightedly at him.
“That was spectacular.” She exclaims before she looks up at Ben. There must be something in her eyes because when he glances at her he huffs a little before he says.
“Yeah, not bad.”
Poe raises his eyebrows. “Wow a compliment from you?”
Maz shakes her head. “Good riddance, I hope to never see that cancerous miscreant ever again.”
Rey rests her hand on Rose’s shoulder. “Come, we have something to show you. Your program will be finished today.”
Poe switches his memory card twice with all the footage he’s taken this session. He decides it’s due to two things. His view of Rey and Ben has now shifted to referring to them as ‘the Dyad’, and that Dyad is skating in a way that has him losing them from the frame time and again due to how many times he’s become mesmerized in their connection.
At the end, when Rose asks him if he got enough footage, Poe just holds his thumb up.
He wouldn’t call it footage, per se. He would call it goddamn gold.
“Thank you, thank you SO much.” Rose praises giddily as she hugs Rey.
Rey pecks her on the cheek. “Of course, ma chérie. It has been a delight.” She looks over at Ben who’s standing closely beside her. “I think this has been a great learning experience for us.” She leans forward to embrace Finn in the same manner.
When she turns to Poe, she gives him an enigmatic look. “We’re both excited to see how your footage turns out.”
Poe blinks and the bad joke is out of his mouth before he can help it. “Yeah, me too.”
But Rey, being the bright, electrifying star that she is, laughs while Ben just stares at him with an edge of disparity.
Poe wouldn’t expect anything less from the dude.
As they walk to the exit doors, Finn and Rose chatting up ahead, Poe chances one last look back.
He suspects it must be a sense he has, this ability to catch them in their more private moments. Almost like the universe wants him to remember them, wants him to immortalize them for the world to see.
Ben’s holding Rey in his arms, his own hands grip his elbows and her legs dangle a few feet in the air. She’s brushing the hair away from his face before her hands press against his cheeks and it looks like she’s squishing them playfully. There’s a scrunch in her own nose as she gazes down at him.
Maybe it’s because, in the course of seven days, he feels like he’s witnessed a life’s journey worth of love—but he already knows there’s no way he’ll be able to give that justice in the documentary.
There’s just no way.
It’s 3 a.m. and he really should just shut his computer off and go to bed. He’s been editing Finn and Rose’s documentary for weeks now, it’s about thirty-five minutes long and almost finished, but he continues to get stumped on a few sections. His deadline is two days from now and he really has to just get this done.
Poe runs a heavy hand down his weary face as his vision blurs against the various video clips in front of him.
He goes to his folder of the raw files and scans through them again. There has to be something there to fill the gap…
His finger pauses on one of his files from the last day and he clicks it open. It’s a full run-through of Ben and Rey and it’s all mostly wider shots with their full bodies in the frame. He watches the four-minute clip through and he’s once again lost in the flow of their performance.
Poe glances at the clock. There’s a project in his head and it’s itching to be made right now. But this could turn into an all-nighter and he has to finish the documentary and he really should just go to bed.
Ah, fuck it.
When he looks at the time it reads 7 a.m. and the sun has risen, the daylight is streaming through his window and casting a glare on his screen.
Poe hesitates as his finger hovers over that little button on the top right corner. Maybe this is a mistake, an amateur move for someone trying to be taken seriously in the film industry. He should be submitting his work to the Tribeca Film Festival not YouTube.
It’s possible he might have to up his glasses prescription after how long he’s stared at his screen.
He uploads the video.
Rey Kanata & Ben Solo, Palace Choreography – Poe-formance Productions
He shuts down the screen and barely makes it to his bed before he’s out to the rest of the world.
At 3 p.m. when he wakes and he feels totally discombobulated. For a minute he can’t remember what day it is or what he had been doing before he went to sleep. With a yawn he gets up and boots his desktop back up.
The window to YouTube is still up when the computer turns back on, but it refreshes.
Poe’s eyes nearly bug out of his head when he sees the number of views.
“500,372 views?” He stares at the number in shock. It’s only been a few hours but there’s thousands of comments. “Holy shit.”
He scrolls through a few comments.
Love this, haven’t seen skating filmed in this way before. Let’s me imagine what a practice with them must be like!
They are so beautiful together, honestly the best ice dancers ever.
I didn’t know I needed this video in my life…until now…wow!
Ugh, they are so perfect. Amazing to watch. I’ve missed them!
Thank you for sharing this, I think this is better than most footage I see on TV…
Poe stares at the screen in shock.
His phone buzzes on the desk and when he looks over it’s a call from Rose.
“Oh…my GOD. Poe, I just watched the preview you uploaded to YouTube. My dancers group chat is going INSANE. I can’t wait to see how the doc looks. This will totally put us on the radar, the responses are crazy.”
Poe slowly sits down in his desk chair. “Yeah, uh I’m looking at the page now.”
“It’s seriously amazing. Kaydel already asked me if you were doing more docs. Not to mention, so many pairs are now talking about Rey and Ben’s choreo…I just can’t believe there’s like half a million views in less than 24 hours? Everyone’s dying for more.”
Poe hums distractedly into the phone. The video had begun to play when it refreshed and he catches glimpses of them spinning in each other’s arms.
It really is something.
“Poe, are you there? It’s trending on Twitter. They’re literally blowing up. I think non-skaters love it because they’re like a literal heartbroken romance on ice. Can you imagine the following if you make these as recurring videos?”
Rey smiles down at Ben like he’s the only person in her universe. The only planet in her orbit. It’s true, their intimacy is unmatched. Their connection is real.
“I…think the documentary should be something special for you guys, you do own the rights to it after all.” Poe mutters as he clicks the button with three little dots at the bottom of the video screen. “I’ve thought about it. I might want to do something like this in the future, but I think I’m going to change the way I go about it.”
He’s going to do it differently. He’s going to give it justice.
“What do you mean?” Rose asks.
“I don’t really know yet, but I probably should have asked their permission to post this first.” Poe says quietly.
And then he deletes the video.