When Rey was younger, she would sit outside the shipping yard of the Niima Outpost. Her fingers would find the gaps in the fencing meant to distinguish property lines, and she would lean her forehead against the rusted metal. Engine grease and exhaust would fill her nose, and she would watch the faces: a pot-bellied woman with goggles on her head. An old man spitting out chew onto the desert sands. She would watch them all, one by one by one.
Are you it? She would think. Are you?
The sun would set, and she would still be there—watching the faces, watching the engines become pinpricks of light in the setting sun as they flew further and further into the sky. She would stare up until her eyes strained, counting how many seconds it would take for them to vanish from view—until the faces were gone, and it was just her and the sand again.
Rey knows a lot about being lonely. Enough to recognize it in other people.
That’s how it started, really.
He wants her to be afraid of him, and she supposes in some ways she is. Afraid of what he might do. Afraid of the people he might hurt. But she has seen the boy buried under the ashes of Kylo Ren, and what once might have been fear of him is now nothing more than pity. Because how can a person be afraid of anything that is driven by fear? How can anyone run from that?
Rey doesn’t try to run anymore. Whenever they meet, whenever lines are drawn and someone has to face him, she always steps forward.
“We meet again.” Kylo Ren has not drawn his lightsaber, but his fists rest at his side and it is clear he is ready to.
It’s been a year since she burned his face. She has her patchwork lightsaber by her side, made up of salvage and scraps—the crystal from Leia’s ring, a hilt grafted from parts of Luke’s X-Wing, a power cell from Finn’s blaster, a lens from BB-8’s auxiliary kit. It’s a mismatch of parts, of the people she protects when she holds it in her hands. Not pretty, but strong. When ignited, its double blades resemble a staff.
Kylo Ren is alone, and waiting for her to make the first move.
“Nothing to say?” He asks, taking a step to his side. He begins to walk a circle around her—she keeps her eyes trained on his hands. “And alone.”
Her thumb grazes the ignition switch of her weapon. “No, not alone.”
She feels his stare.
It lasts for a few moments, before he ignites his lightsaber. She ignites hers in turn.
They fight. She wins.
Once again she leaves him on the ground, cradling his side and slamming his fist into the earth.
She doesn’t see him watching as the engine lights of her ship become pinpricks in the sky.