Rey senses him before she sees him. She supposes that is how this whole Force thing works.
His presence is thick, heavy, and electric - like the air before a thunderstorm. It makes the hair on her arms stand on end and her breath catch in her throat.
He positively suffocates her.
And he has ever since she had returned to the Resistance base on D’Qar from her year of training with Luke, only to find him settled into the casual routine of Resistance life as though he had always been a part of it. As though he hadn’t once been the scourge of the Galaxy; hadn’t been the strong arm and cracking whip of the First Order; hadn’t betrayed his own Uncle for power.
As if he hadn’t killed his own father.
It’s the last of these offenses that leaves the foulest taste in Rey mouth.
As Finn would tell it, Ben Solo had earned his and the Resistance’s forgiveness the moment four months prior when he’d deserted the First Order and rescued Poe Dameron from certain death. But she guessed he was a bit biased on the matter.
Poe had been on what should have been a simple reconnaissance mission that, because this is Poe Dameron we are talking about, ended with the pilot uncovering a secret training camp for First Order officers.
In other words, a highly secured area.
Poe had been captured and tortured… certain death nipping down the back of his neck…
“And then what happened?” Rey had asked, breathless in anticipation.
“Ben Solo happened,” Poe said gravely.
Apparently, the man she had known as Kylo Ren, had already defected from the First Order shortly before Poe’s disastrous mission, but upon hearing that the Resistance’s star pilot was being held captive on the Finalizer, he’d risked life and limb to save him – hand delivering him to General Organa with what everyone on base described as absolute contrition.
“He saved my life,” Poe blew, running a hand through his hair as he reflected. “He thought the Resistance would put him to death, but he accepted it and brought me here anyway.”
Finn nodded along with the story. “It’s true, Rey,” he said, his voice was clear and resolute. “I’m telling you, he’s changed.”
“I think you’ve both been mind-tricked,” she had deadpanned, immediately stiffening at the notion that he could be forgiven for all after one good deed. “I mean, has the entire Resistance lost its collective mind? Who’s to say he isn’t spying?”
Finn shook his head adamantly, “No. He’s real. This is real.”
“I don’t trust him,” Rey said firmly.
“But you trust me,” Finn interjected and she could only sigh and nod in affirmation.
“Give him a chance, Rey,” Poe pleaded. “Just hear him out.”
“Please, Rey,” Finn continued. “I promise you, he will win you over.”
And now here she was, standing outside her ship, the Millennium Falcon, his father’s ship, knowing full and well that he was inside doing the Force only knows what.
Despite giving Finn and Poe her word that she would give Ben Solo a chance, she had managed to stubbornly avoid any and all confrontation with him for a solid month. She hadn’t as much as made eye contact with the man since Starkiller base. She was quite proud of that actually.
But Rey knows the inevitable when she feels it.
And this – this was inevitable.
She clenches her jaw and growls as she begins ascending the ramp. How dare he! How dare he come onto MY SHIP!
She rounds the entrance, stomping her feet with angry purpose, mentally preparing herself to give him the verbal lashing of a lifetime - ticking off all the horrible names she is prepared to call him, most of which were, quite frankly, below the belt, even if they were true…
But, her mental tirade ceases as her brain comes to a shattering halt.
He’s standing in front of an open circuit in the main cabin, hard at work with a fusioncutter in one gloved hand and black safety goggles held up to his face with the other.
He’s broader and more muscular than she had imagined (she imagined him?), and his skin is a couple of shades darker now that he has been exposed to the sun on D’Qar on a semi-regular basis.
His bare chest is covered in grease and sweat, making him glisten beneath the dim lighting. He’s dotted with various scars - some which her static mind recognizes, most of which it doesn’t – and Rey is vaguely aware of a strange strangling sound emitting from her throat.
He’s wearing his usual black linen trousers, but they are hanging loosely on him, the drawstring waist falling dangerously low on his hips, revealing a tantalizing ‘V’ shape that Rey finds very difficult to pull her gaze away from.
Her body wants to go to bed with him immediately; feel his hips press into hers and wrap her legs around him. She can see the twin grooves on either side of the small of his back where she’d dig her heels in to gain purchase.
Warning bells fire inside her skull, and she has to bite the inside of her cheek to keep her devious body from impulsively reaching for him. Get it together. Get it together.
He’s barefoot and so clearly comfortable in his element that Rey has to take a moment and step back, making sure she is, in fact, on her own ship. Which, of course, she is. His presence is just making her slightly crazy at the moment.
She shakes and clenches her fists, digging her nails into half-moons on her palms. Get it together. Get it together. Get it together.
“Rey,” he says in a casual greeting as he turns the fusioncutter off and drops the safety goggles, seemingly unaware of the affect he was having on her. The sound of his deep voice finally breaks her out of her momentary trance.
“Just what the hell do you think you are doing on my ship?” She grinds out as she crosses her arms in front of her chest in what she hopes is a defiant manner. She can feel how red her face is, and she can only hope that he will attribute it to anger… as opposed to other… er, things.
He isn’t paying her much mind though, focusing instead on putting the panel cover back on the circuit, “Uncle Chewie asked if I would come take a look at her. See if I could help disable any possible tracking features that the First Order would use.” He absently uses his teeth to remove the gloves from his hands and Rey thinks she may faint, “I had to rewire the calcinator, but it shouldn’t affect the hyper-drive.”
“Errr…” She manages. She didn’t know he was any good with mechanics, she wouldn’t have guessed he was. It somehow makes the entire situation that much more unbearable.
He finally turns and faces her fully, a wolfish smile spread across his face, his resemblance to Han Solo suddenly quite shocking. “Don’t mention it, kid,” he says, mistaking her pause for a begrudging thank you.
They stand a few moments in uncomfortable silence while Rey tries to find her voice again. Quite infuriatingly, she can hear Finn and Poe in the back of her head, chanting at her to give him the chance she had promised them she would. She sort of hates them for it.
“Should we, er, test the hyper-drive then? Make sure your rewires haven’t affected it, I mean.” Her eyes go round as saucers at the dawning realization of what her treacherous mouth had just suggested. Really, Rey? Really? Alone in space with him sounds like the best idea you’ve had in ages. She wants to cry a little.
If possible, his smile widens, “Sure, kid. Let’s take her out.”
Two hours and a bottle of Corellian wine later (Ben had found a stash in one of the few smuggler holes on the Falcon that had eluded Rey. “Oh dad,” he’d smiled to himself and then to her, “Some things never change.”), they sat in somewhat amicable silence in the cockpit – contently watching the stars as they flew aimlessly through space.
“So,” Rey starts, distantly aware that it’s partially the wine talking at this point, “Are you going to tell me the story then?”
“What story?” Ben asks, taking a sip from their second bottle, but never taking his eyes off the stars.
She huffs, “Oh, I don’t know. Whatever story you told Finn and Poe and the rest of the base that have them all totally convinced of your genuine remorse.”
He glances her way then and there is a smirk in his eyes, “Not convinced yourself, I take it?”
“Forgive me if I am having a hard time reconciling all of this,” she gestures to all of him, “with the man who tried to kill me on Starkiller.”
“I never tried to kill you on Starkiller,” he states, shaking his shaggy head.
“A+ for deflection, but you’re only saying that because I handed you your ass.”
He chuckles warmly and it does strange things to her insides, “Rey. Come on, now. You’re a smart girl. If I had wanted you dead, you’d be dead.” He shifts in the co-pilots chair so he can put his long legs up on the control console, “And as for you ‘handing me my ass’, well, in my defense, I was suffering from an acute case of bowcaster to the side... coupled of course with the existential despair over having killed my own father.”
His last sentence may have upended Rey’s world, but he says it so casually you’d think it merely a typical day for him.
“So is that it then?” Her words coming out in a swift breath.
“Is what it then?”
“You apologize for killing Han and all is forgiven? Is that what has everyone so persuaded?”
Rey wants to scream in frustration, “So what IS it then? Tell me what you told Finn. I want to hear it. He hated you the same as I. What did you tell him? What has him so convinced?”
He runs a hand through his unkempt hair, but otherwise looks nonplussed, “I’m really not sure where you are going with this.”
“I want to know why Finn forgave you…” she starts, “so… so that I can forgive you too.” And yep, that is definitely the wine talking. Rey can feel the heat in her cheeks spreading down her chest.
He at least has the courtesy of looking somewhat chastised. He brings his eyes up to hers and the sincerity in them is breaking her apart. “Rey,” he says her name so softly that she has to look away, “I don’t expect or deserve your forgiveness.”
She clenches her jaw and closes her eyes against a flood of irrational emotions.
“But,” he says, apparently aware now that this was a losing battle, “I can at least tell you what I told Finn.”
Her eyes snap back open and look to him with rapt attention, waiting for him to continue.
He sighs, “I simply told Finn that I admired him.”
Her eyebrows knit together in confusion, “Come again?”
“Watching FN-2187 break First Order conditioning, turn traitor to become Finn was probably the first pebble in the avalanche that would be my own defection,” he continues as his head lolls back against his chair. “He might be one of the strongest men I’ve ever known. Definitely the bravest.”
His earnestness is undeniable, and Rey can see exactly how her friend came to forgive the man in front of her. “Yeah,” she nods taking the bottle from Ben’s outstretched hand and taking a large gulp, “that would do it.”
He hums in a kind of non-committal acknowledgment.
“So, how are you going to win me over?” She asks, her own boldness taking her by surprise, “I’m not as easily influenced as Finn or Poe, you know. It’s going to take more than saving my life or appealing to my vanity.”
She’s says all this despite the fact that she is already three-fourths of the way to accepting him with the same fervor as the rest of the base. She finds it mildly irritating that once he had started talking, she had found herself eager to find any reason at all to forgive him.
Finn and Poe were right, Ben Solo was frighteningly compelling.
“So, the wine and good company isn’t working, huh? Damn, that’s all I had.” His eyes are twinkling with good humor and Rey barks out a laugh despite herself.
"Come on, Solo,” she teases, her voice light and warm, “you got to give me something better than that. Help me save face a little.”
He pretends to consider her a moment, “Well, I can’t have the Great Heroic Hope of the Jedi go back to base with nothing to show for this little outing, I suppose.”
She smiles and kicks his chair, “Don’t mock me.”
“Okay, okay,” he throws his hands up in lighthearted defeat. He pulls his legs off the console and turns in his seat so he can look her square in the eyes, his long arms folding across his bare chest. He raises one dark eyebrow, “I suppose I can always tell you the truth, then, can’t I?” His voice is deep and low and wraps around her like a second skin.
The air in the cockpit suddenly becomes several shades more serious. “The-the truth?” She stutters back at him, dimly aware that if this was all some sort of elaborate trap, she was totally screwed.
He considers her a moment and Rey recognizes with burning certainty that he knows exactly the affect he is having on her. There is a shadow of the predator she remembers from the interrogation room about him now and she has to remind herself to breathe. Oh crap. Oh crap.
The corners of his lips twitch before fully committing to a smug smirk, and just like that, the air is breathable again. The overwhelming desire to punch him is back with full force though. “Ow!” He laughs as she hits him in the arm, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m terrible. I couldn’t resist.”
“Don’t scare me like that,” she hits his knee this time. “You’re lucky I don’t have my lightsaber on me. You could be missing appendages!”
His chuckling stops abruptly. “Rey,” he hisses, his tone grave. “Did you seriously come on board with me without your lightsaber?”
“I wasn’t expecting to need it,” she says innocently, neglecting to mention that she may have been persuaded to let Finn and Poe play, er, train with it this afternoon.
He runs his hand through his hair again, and Rey begins to pick up on the telltale signs of a nervous tick, “Look. I know you don’t want me to be your teacher or anything, but, kid, seriously. Rule one: don’t trust anybody enough to not have your lightsaber on you.”
“I didn’t want Kylo Ren to be my teacher,” she states with a dismissive wave of her hand, “I never said anything about Ben Solo.”
She hears him suck in his breath through clenched teeth, and she briefly wonders if she has inadvertently said something wrong. But when she chances a glance at him, his heavy gaze says something else.
Warmth begins to pool low in her abdomen and she’s flushing again. She turns away from him to squirm in her seat.
“Thanks, kid,” he says finally, his voice thick with emotion. “That-that means a lot, coming from you.”
She takes another sip of wine before handing him the bottle back, “You're welcome.” She fidgets as she watches him purse the bottle to his full lips, taking a couple swigs before returning it to her. He wipes his mouth with the back of his arm and smears grease across his face. Rey has never been more acutely aware of another person. She blinks and then stares at the lip of the bottle – more jealous of it then she has ever been of an inanimate object in all her life. She mentally shakes herself, “I suppose we ought to head back to base.”
He nods. “Yeah, probably best,” he breaks into that wolfish grin again, “don’t want anyone thinking I’ve abducted the Great Heroic Hope of the Jedi.”
She groans, “Please don’t call me that.”
“Rule 2: fastest way to earn a nickname – ask not to be called that.”
They land back on D’Qar a while later with a far better rapport than having left it, and a shockingly easy friendship forming between them, despite Rey’s initial misgivings.
Hell, he still hadn’t fully explained his defection in a way that made any sense, but, just as Finn and Poe knew she would, she had accepted him at face value. She’d leave the heavier thinking for another day.
They fall into a natural rhythm of life amidst each other on base, quickly earning a reputation for being inseparable.
Her, Ben, Finn, and Poe.
It’s good. It’s easy.
It’s two months into their easy friendship.
So what if every morning she’d go to the mess hall and unconsciously look for him?
So unconsciously conscious in fact that she couldn’t eat until she knew where he was in relation to her. Like something had happened to him in the middle of the night or something.
She was just a concerned friend.
So what if every night ended with her following his dark head until he was out of sight? It certainly didn’t mean she had any kind of feelings for him… other than friendly ones of course.
Okay, so it’s not that she didn’t notice. It’s just that if she noticed her notice, then it wouldn’t be noticing anymore.
It would be acknowledgment.
And that was getting into dangerous territory.
It’s six months into their easy friendship.
And, okay, so maybe it’s not so easy.
He doesn’t call her the Great Heroic Hope of the Jedi as he had threatened.
But he does call her kid.
And it hadn’t really ever bothered her that much…
But then, one morning, she rounds a corner heading to his barracks, intent on waking him for an early breakfast and lightsaber forms-
But he’s already awake and hungrily devouring a pretty blonde fighter pilot against his door. Both their hair is wet and Rey is uncomfortably aware that she had clearly spent the night with him.
Rey feels the crushing weight of a heartache she hadn’t realized she had fully committed to until it was too late.
They don’t see her and Rey is thankful for small graces as she turns on her heel and runs.
She runs and runs. She didn’t even realize she was headed toward the Falcon until she was climbing on board and throwing herself in the captain’s chair.
She feels like throwing up and crying at the same time, settling instead on pulling her legs up to her chest and groaning loudly into her knees. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Chewbacca’s tentative yodel in greeting snaps her out of her spiraling self-pity.
“Chewie!” She strains, “I didn’t see you there, sorry.”
He rumbles an acknowledgment before probing further.
“No, it’s nothing. I just – I just,” her vision is blurring with unshed tears and she knows she is starting to sound somewhat hysterical.
The next thing she knows, she is crying whole-heartedly into the furry arms of her heartache’s Uncle and spilling all her woes to him, “I’m *sob* just a kid to him *hiccup*. He doesn’t take me seriously.” She probably isn’t doing a very good job of convincing anyone she isn’t every bit a child right now, but that is beside the point. “I guess *hiccup* I just never expected to see… THAT!”
Chewie rubs her back soothingly, yodeling an affirmation and something about Ben always being a little thick.
She gives him a watery chuckle, rubbing her nose on her sleeve as she pulls away from his furry embrace, “Thanks, Chewie, but I doubt he doesn’t know how I feel. He is very perceptive about me.” A fresh wave of sorrow threatens to flood her. “He’s *choke* just older and wants *hiccup* someone closer to his own experience.”
She spends the next hour or so alternating between being comforted by furry arms and trying to rally herself enough to leave the Falcon to go get some food. Because, even if her heart feels like it’s in a million pieces and she could just die, she is still Rey – still a scavenger- and food trumps emotional fragility when her belly is rumbling.
“Do I look like death?” She asks her Wookie savior as she prepares to exit the Falcon for the mess hall.
Chewie answers in the way of a slight shrugging of his shoulders.
She laughs, “Okay. Fair enough, furball.” She gives him a quick hug and a ‘thank you’ before heading down the ramp to exit the ship.
She doesn’t see Ben until dusk begins to settle… er, well, more like she manages to avoid Ben until dusk begins to settle. He finally corners her in her usual mediation spot a couple miles from base.
“Hey kid,” he smiles at her and she has to bite her lip harshly to keep her emotions in check. “I thought we were going to do forms today? I have a couple of new ones for you. Doubt Uncle Luke taught them to you.”
“I changed my mind,” she says softly avoiding his gaze by playing with the frayed edges of her tunic. “I didn’t feel like forms today.”
He shifts and settles in front of her, “Rey,” he says, by way of a warning, “what’s going on? Is everything okay?”
Her breath comes out as a puff of annoyance, “Everything’s fine, Ben. I just didn’t feel like forms today.” She is uncomfortably aware that she is bordering on sounding like a petulant child and it makes everything just a touch worse.
She still won’t look at him. She knows how bad it bothers him when she won’t look at him.
“Kid,” he says softly as he brings his hand up under her chin, his thumb tilting her face until she is forced to look into his endless dark eyes. “Tell me.”
She knows he is trying to sound comforting, but it infuriates her. She snaps her head away from his hand, “I’m not some kid, Ben! I don’t need you looking out for me!” She jumps up and starts stalking through the woods, intent on getting back to base immediately before she humiliates herself any further.
She hadn’t expected him to follow her. Or to be angry.
“You sure have a funny way of not acting like a kid,” he growls at her as he grabs her arm, spinning her back into his chest with a ferocity that scares her a little.
"Let go of me,” she hisses through clenched teeth. She is hyper aware of every inch that connects his chest against hers. He’s warm and it’s dark, and if Rey hadn’t been so acutely aware that he had been freshly bedded by a woman who was most assuredly not her, she might have allowed her imagination to run a little crazy.
There is a wildness about him now that she hadn’t seen since he was Kylo Ren. Rey isn’t exactly sure what the hell that means, but some distant part of her is flashing a red alarm in warning.
His eyes are searching hers and for a tentative moment, Rey imagines he’d like to kiss her. It’s preposterous of course, but it’s been that kind of day.
He seems to come to some kind of internal decision and steps back as he releases her arm. The angry energy that had encompassed him ebbs away like the tide and Rey is left feeling strangely empty.
She rubs the redness from her wrist, suddenly feeling very small. But she won’t cry. She won’t.
“Oh, kid. I’m so sorry.” He says and he is all Ben again and it positively deflates her.
She might cry. She might.
He senses it because he’s Ben and she’s Rey and he knows her better than anyone. He wraps his big arms around her, pulling her into his chest. She doesn’t fight him. What the hell’s the point? She wraps her arms around him too and she is feebly aware that a little part of her is dying.
He buries his head in her hair and she hears him sigh, “I wish you’d talk to me, Rey. You’re so damn hard to read sometimes.”
“I know you can’t tell because I am buried in your chest at the moment, but I hope you know I just rolled my eyes so far back into my head I may have witnessed my own brain cells dying,” she mumbles against him.
He chuckles and it rumbles through his chest and into hers. She smiles despite herself.
And just like that, they’re okay again.
He walks her back to base and hugs her goodnight. She wishes it was more, but she accepts that there are parts of him she can’t have.
But now she comforts herself with the knowledge that she’s Rey and he’s Ben and that means that there are parts of him that no one but her can have.
She sighs into her pillow. Her arms still smell like him.
She thinks that should be enough for now.
It’s been a year since their easy friendship began aboard the Falcon, and she isn’t entirely sure how she had ever thought of him as an enemy.
They train together daily. Sometimes with Luke when he’s on world. But mostly just together.
He’s still a very dark grey in his use of the Force, but she thinks that is not as bad as traditional Jedi teaching would have you believe.
“Not everything has to be black and white, Ben,” she says one day when he is particularly frustrated with his inability to call upon the light during meditation. “I think – no- I KNOW, that it’s not as simple as that.”
He shakes his head as if he hadn’t heard her and it aggravates her so much because this is a conversation they have had a million times and he is STILL. NOT. LISTENING.
So, she does the one thing she hadn’t done before.
She calls upon some of her own darkness during her mediation just to prove a point.
The crackling energy surrounds her and licks her light, swirling her in a soft heather grey.
“Rey!” His voice is panicked and she thinks perhaps she has made a terrible mistake.
But the Force around her is calm and steady and every part of her marrow is telling her otherwise. She feels the strongest sense of peace she has ever felt.
And she knows immediately she was right. That they’d all gotten it wrong.
“See, Ben,” she smiles blindly at him, “not so bad, huh?”
He is starring at her like he’s never seen her before. “How? How’d you do that?”
It’s a year into their friendship and she finally gets to teach him something.
It’s a year and half into their friendship and she wakes up with the worst headache of her life in the infirmary.
“Rey!” It’s Finn and he’s holding her hand, “Poe! Rey’s waking up!”
“Ugh. Not so loud, Finn.”
He chokes out a sob as he wraps her up in a hug. Poe’s arms join an instant later.
Rey is confused. “What’s the matter guys? I don’t remember any-”
-Oh wait. Yes she does.
They were eating lunch when the raid alarm had gone off. The First Order had attacked D’Qar.
She and Ben had lightsabers out as they’d all raced towards the hangar for Ben and Poe’s fighters.
Too late, she’d seen the fighter target and fire a laser cannon at Ben. “NO!” She’d screamed, Force pushing him away and turning toward the blast herself.
It’s a bit fuzzy after that.
“Well, I’m alive, so that is good.” Rey muses. “Where’s Ben?”
Poe and Finn exchange meaningful glances and her heart thunders in her ear.
“Where’s Ben?” She repeats more harshly.
“He’s fine, Rey,” Poe says, easing her mind and placing a gentle hand on top of hers. “We had to send him away. He hadn’t left your side in days.”
“He was kind of a mess,” Finn adds.
“He’s going to be pissed at us,” Poe groans. “I love you, Rey, but you had to wake up just when we finally manage to convince him to get some sleep. He’s never going to let us live it down.”
Rey chuckles, but stops when she realizes it makes her head and ribs hurt like hell.
There’s a commotion in the hall outside her door, followed swiftly by a very disheveled-looking Ben bursting into her room, “I know you wanted me to get some rest, guys, but I had a bad feeling and-”
He stops suddenly when he sees Rey, wide awake and beaming at him, “Hi Ben!”
He crosses the room in two long strides and folds her into his arms. “Oh Force, kid. Don’t you ever scare me like that again.”
“I second that,” Finn agrees.
“Here, here,” Poe smiles.
They’re all here and they’re all okay. The base has to move from D’Qar to Dantooine (Ben’s suggestion much to his mother’s delight), but otherwise they sustain minimal damage aside from supplies.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Ben says darkly, pointedly not looking at Rey.
Rey simply hums in agreement.
Dantooine is okay, but there aren’t as many trees as D’Qar and Rey finds she misses them terribly.
She supposes that this is what homesickness feels like. She doesn’t like it.
And Ben isn’t helping matters. He’s been steadily avoiding her more and more ever since she woke up from the raid. It’s getting old.
After going a full two days without seeing him, she finally finds him sprawled out in the captain’s chair on the Falcon. He has a bottle of Corellian brandy grasped loosely in one hand and Rey wonders which compartment he’d found that in.
“You can’t know all my secrets, kid,” he says, plucking the thought from her mind as only he expertly can.
She frowns, “I thought we’d agreed to stay out of each other’s heads.”
He shrugs, “Can’t always help it.”
“And yet you still complain about me being hard to read,” she tuts, sitting down beside him in the co-pilots chair.
“You ARE hard to read,” he grumbles, taking another swig of brandy.
“You’re drunk,” Rey states, shocked at the revelation. She can’t recall Ben ever getting drunk.
“It’s been a rough couple of weeks.” He’s being vague, but Rey knows he’s talking about the raid.
“Ben,” she warns, “you have to stop beating yourself up over this. It’s getting old.”
“You could have died!” He hisses indignantly.
“So could you. So could any of us. So what? I’m still here. You’re still here. Can’t we just accept it and move on?”
He shakes his head and Rey feels his mood darken, “No, you don’t understand. You don’t understand what I would have done.”
It’s only then that Rey understands exactly what he would have done. Her eyes widen and her breath hitches.
And it’s just like that she realizes that his journey to the lightside isn’t as simple as he would have everyone believe. And that sometimes it’s all very tenuous. And sometimes he feels like he’d burn the whole galaxy down if anything happened to her.
Rey has no idea what to do with that information, because she’s still kid and she knows it doesn’t mean what she wants it to mean.
But he’s still Ben and she’s still Rey, so she does what she wants because that’s what she always does.
She stands and walks over to him, taking the brandy from him and setting it on the floor before moving to crawl in his lap.
“What are you doing?” He stills as she settles her back against his chest.
She shrugs and goes to grab his hands.
He pulls them away, “Don’t.”
“My hands are dirty.” It’s a lame excuse and he knows it.
“Mine are too.” She’s able to grab them this time and entwines their finger. “What are you afraid of?”
He doesn’t answer, but he does relax into her, and in a way that sort of is an answer. His face touches the side of her hair and he places a small kiss to her temple.
She sighs. This is enough. This is enough.
She worries that there will come a day when it’s not.
They fall asleep like that.
Rey wakes first and it’s the middle of the night. The night sky blankets Dantooine and the view from the cockpit is breathtaking.
Between his warmth behind her and that sky, she thinks she could die right now and be happy.
But she moves to stand up anyway, because the cockpit if drafty and she wants a blanket.
His large hands grasp her hips, apparently awakening with her movement. She bites her bottom lip to keep from gasping at the touch. “What are you doing, kid?” His voice is groggy with sleep and it’s enough to still her movements.
“I’m just going to grab a blanket, Ben. It’s cold.” She touches the hands on her hips in what she hopes is a comforting manner. His skin is warm and the electric current that runs through him sparks into her fingers. Get it together. Get it together.
She thinks he will let her up now, but instead he shifts, and Rey lets out a small yelp when he dips his arm below her knees and lifts her as he stands. She unconsciously wraps her arms around his neck to steady herself.
“You’re heavier than the last time I did this,” he says more to himself then to her as he walks them down the corridor towards the crew quarters.
And she isn’t fully aware of what he is talking about because she most assuredly would remember Ben Solo carrying her like this.
“I wasn’t Ben Solo when I did it,” he says as a way of answering before gently lowering her onto one of the Falcon’s bunks.
“Quit reading my thoughts,” she means to say harshly, but he’s crawling into bed behind her and she can’t seem to sound anything but breathy.
“Quit thinking so loud,” he mumbles, drawing her against his chest before pulling the covers over both of them. “Sleep now,” he commands, but he’s rubbing a slow circle with his thumb against her hip and she is quite positive that she will never sleep again.
“I’ll try,” she rasps, but he’s buried his face in the nape of her neck and he’s already breathing steadily against her skin. She can feel his full lips grazing the back of her spine and if she wasn’t so sure he had already fallen asleep, she would have been totally sure that he wanted her as badly as she wanted him.
She forces herself to close her eyes and counts backward from a trillion.
Because she’s kid, and he’s Ben, and that’s just not what this is, damnit.
Two years into their friendship and they have fought many battles together, but she doesn’t think she’s ever seen him more terrified then when she shows up at his door unannounced one night with Resistance made ale (terrible) and some cookies Poe had made her (not so terrible).
“H-hey, Rey,” he sputters, leaning awkwardly against the frame of his door. “What, uh, what are you doing here?”
“Hey yourself,” she raises an eyebrow at him. “I couldn’t sleep. Saw your light on and thought maybe we could hang out.”
“Ben,” a woman’s voice whines from inside. “Tell whoever it is to sod off and come back to bed.”
Though Rey has lost all sense of feeling in the three seconds it took for her night to go from fair to awful, she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that her face has turned a marvelous shade of red.
Ben groans and drags his hand down his face, “Kid-”
“-Don’t.” She says her voice shockingly calm. “Just, don’t.”
She turns on her heel, preparing to stomp away, but his hand grabs her elbow, “What do you want me to say, Rey?” His voice is low and there is a thin line of anger through it, “I won’t apologize.”
“I didn’t ask you too,” she says simply. “This is none of my business.”
He lets go of her arm and quietly adds, “No. It’s not.”
She walks away and doesn’t feel the least bit bad when she stumbles across Max Noto, a Rebellion pilot in Poe’s squadron who has been giving her eyes for at least a year, and invites herself into his room.
They drink the ale. They eat the cookies. He’s actually quite charming and it’s been well over two years since she has scratched this particular itch, so who is to blame her for falling into bed with him?
She’s leaves his room before dawn the next morning, quietly because he’s still snoring peacefully and she doesn’t want to have to explain herself this early.
She out the door and has almost made a clean escape when she feels the familiar tingle of eyes on the back of her neck. She doesn’t have to turn around to know who they belong to.
But, she turns to face him anyway, because he’s Ben and she’s Rey, and they’re going to have to accept certain limitations at some point or another.
His eyes are blazing with an emotion she can’t read. He takes a few steps closer to her and she is anxious over how much larger he is than her- than anyone really. She could almost hate him for it too. For the simple truth that no one is him, a fact she had desperately tried to overlook last night while she moved with Max, uncomfortably aware that he was too short, and too narrow, and his hair wasn’t the right length or texture, and his hands were too small, and he didn’t smell like burning…
“Ben,” she says in way of a greeting. She tries to stand at her full height. She won’t let him intimidate her. She won’t.
“Noto, Rey? Really?” He snaps, his jaw clenching, and she doesn’t think she’s ever seen more tightly controlled fury in all her life.
Any other time, she might have counted this as a victory, proof that his feelings for her were as confusing as her own for him. But right now, she just felt tired.
“Yes, Ben,” she sighs as she rubs her temple. “Noto.”
“Incredible,” he growls out. “Never would have guessed you to be so senseless as to get angry with me and sleep with the first guy whose door you come across.”
She bristles at the accusation, and decides she doesn’t feel like pulling punches. “Hardly the first, Ben,” she says because she knows exactly how to dig in to him.
His eyebrows snap together, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
She’s exasperated. “It means exactly what you think it means. I’m not some innocent girl you have to protect, Ben,” she narrows her eyes and crosses her arms over her chest, “I’m not some kid.”
He’s stunned into silence for a moment and Rey takes this to mean the conversation is over. She turns to leave like she always does, and it’s apparently exactly the wrong thing to do because the next thing she knows she is up against the wall of the barracks, arms pinned to either side of her by large hands and Ben Solo breathing down on her with every bit of his heavy presence. But she won’t be intimidated. She won’t.
She squares her jaw and glares at him. “Let me go,” she seethes.
But he apparently doesn’t hear her because in the next instant his lips are crashing hungrily onto hers.
And, oh, they’re as full and as soft as she had imagined they’d be. And she’s kissing him back with twice the hunger and ten times the repressed feelings.
He growls into her mouth and she moans because he’s pressing her into the wall. She hikes one of her legs up over his hip because she needs to be closer and apparently he agrees because he grabs her behind her knee and pulls, spreading her further, grinding filthily up into her. She breaks the kiss to gasps at the feeling. He uses the opportunity to move to her neck and even if she were capable of rational thought, she knows that would have been the end of it. She has one hand already in his hair and her other is traveling down his chest on its own accord.
Somewhere in the back of her mind she knows exactly how wrong this is. They’d both spent the night with others – substitutes for each other she realizes, but others none-the-less – and this is probably one of the worst places to even attempt this given that any minute the base would be waking up for breakfast and find her and Ben rutting against a wall like teenagers…
However, as she has already determined, all rational thought is out the window for the time being. She can’t think when his hands and mouth are on her like this. And she has to pay attention now because he’s started moving towards her waistband.
But, before he can put his hands exactly where she wants them, he peels himself off of her and groans as if it’s the hardest thing he’s ever done. She isn’t proud of the whine she makes at the loss of contact.
“Rey,” he rasps, “I need you to go back to your room.”
“Ben?” She breathes, asking a question with the tilt of her head and lick of her lips.
“Alone.” He grunts and runs a hand through his disheveled hair, taking a few more steps away from her as if to prove his point to her.
She’s never been more frustrated in all of her life, “What-?”
“Not like this, Rey,” his voice is barely above a whisper. “Please, just go.”
It feels exactly like having the wind knocked out of her. She extracts herself from the wall and rushes down the hall without another word. She allows herself one backward glance when she hears him punch the wall. But he isn’t looking at her, thankfully. His long arms are bracing his body as he leans against the wall, his head bowed in some kind of defeat.
She makes it back to her room just in time to cry.
Whew! Sorry about the wait folks! I am humbled by your wonderful reviews! I hope this chapter keeps you coming back!
It’s two weeks after the incident in the hallway of his barracks, and Rey has never been prouder of her ability to totally and unequivocally avoid Ben Solo. She hasn’t as much as laid eyes on him.
She’s very smug about that.
It’s another two weeks before she realizes, much to her chagrin, that she is not the one doing the avoiding.
And it’s enough to boil her blood.
How dare he! She thinks as she stomps angrily up to his door. I’m the one who should be avoiding him, that rat!
She is openly furious – positively fuming.
She is not-so-openly terrified that she may have lost her best friend.
She squares her jaw and raps harshly on his door, “Open up, Solo, you ass! We need to talk!”
No answer. Silence.
She grinds her teeth and growls, “Ben. Get. Out. Here. Now!” She punctuates each word with a hard pound on his door.
Still nothing. Not even the faint rustling of movement or the sound of his breathing…
She clenches her fists, seconds away from igniting her lightsaber and hacking down the offending door.
“He’s not here,” a voice behind her says softly, breaking Rey from her moment of wild irrationality.
She whips around, embarrassed that she has been caught… and by Max Noto of all people, who is looking a little worse for wear.
She ducks her head down, awkwardly aware that she has scarcely seen the man since their one night rendezvous. Her face is hot with a mixture of emotions. “Oh. Er, hi Max.”
He smiles at her, not unkindly, “Hi, Rey. Long time no see.”
She starts to run a nervous hand through her hair, but stops when she reminds herself of who exactly she had picked that particular habit up from. Damnit, Ben. She clenches her jaw and closes her eyes for a moment against the tide of emotions threatening to swallow her. Get it together. Get it together.
When she opens them again, she finds Max starring at her expectantly.
Several beats of uncomfortable silence stretch between them.
Rey finally breaks and sighs, “Look, Max-”
“-Solo was sent off world,” he interrupts, apparently not wanting to hear her rejection or excuses.
His harsh tone would normally be enough to make Rey wince, but she finds her ability to give-a-damn is temporarily out of order. Her eyes narrow, “What do you mean ‘he was sent off world’?”
Max shrugs, “I would have thought that you would have known, you two being so close and all. He’s been gone the better part of two weeks now.”
Her whole body stiffens as her mind tries to make sense of the information she’s just received. Two weeks?! “Where was he sent?” She tries to make her tone light, and fails gloriously. How did I not sense this? Why didn’t I know?
Why didn’t he tell me?
It’s only the last of these thoughts that really eats at her.
In retrospect, Rey knows she felt his absence in the Force. The thick electricity that she has come to associate with his presence has been noticeably thin. She had thought it was a symptom of his retreat from her, of him shutting her out. It’s partially what drove her to his door today. After two years of the heady feeling of Ben Solo near her at all times - she was going mad from the lack of him.
“Not sure,” Max answers. “It was on orders from the General. A mission of some sort. Real need-to-know stuff.”
“Oh,” she offers lamely. Mission? What mission? She briefly toys with the idea of storming into General Organa’s office with righteous indignation and demanding to know where Ben was and why she hadn’t been sent too, they’d gone on every other mission together after all. She then pictures General Organa’s reaction to such an impertinence, and balks immediately. Nope. Nope. Nope. Whole bag of nope. I’d rather live to see another day.
“Look, Rey,” Max sighs heavily, bringing Rey out of her thoughts. He is rubbing the back of his neck like he is searching for the words to say, “I don’t know what is going on between the two of you, but I’ve seen enough to know that…” he pauses as he gathers enough courage to look her in the eye, “… to know that you deserve better.”
If he notices her blanching at his statement, he has the gallantry to act as though he doesn’t.
She gives herself a mental shake and plasters on a smile she hopes looks real enough to squash any further inquiries, “That’s nice of you, Max. But Ben and I are just friends.”
It’s not a lie after all. They are just friends.
She quickly mumbles out some excuse to Max about having to get going, waving a polite goodbye as she hurries out of the barracks.
And directly toward the Falcon.
Because she’s Rey, and the Falcon is where she goes when she doesn’t know what else to do with herself. Distantly she understands that this is what having a home is supposed to feel like.
She curls up into the captain’s chair and rests her chin on her knees. Why didn’t he tell me? We’re still friends…aren’t we? I’m still his friend. Aren't I?
She closes her eyes and wills herself not to cry because she is absolutely done crying about this.
Because, in the end she knows that he’s Ben and she’s Rey, and they’ve only ever just been friends.
But now, with a gnawing ache, she worries that they aren’t even that anymore.
It’s another month before she hears word that he is due back from his mission.
Rey gathers with the rest of the base at the landing field as his shuttle breaks atmosphere.
She immediately feels the return of his intoxicating presence and despite a solid month of telling herself to get a grip, a rush of relief hits her system that nearly brings tears to her eyes. She smiles tightly to herself instead.
Force, she has missed him.
Finn and Poe flank her; neither of them fully aware of what had transpired between her and Ben (and she’d like to keep it that way, thank you very much), but both sensing a shift in her that has had them acting like big brothers since they had learned of his departure.
It had been a comfort to at least know that they had been as taken aback by his abrupt leaving as she had been.
“Wonder why he didn’t say anything to us?’ Poe had pondered late one evening.
“Not sure,” Rey shrugged, fiddling with the neck of the wine bottle in her hand to keep herself from betraying her own emotions.
“Maybe he just had to leave in a hurry?” Finn offered. “Maybe they wouldn’t let him talk to us?”
“Maybe he’s just being an ass?” Rey countered with a dark laugh.
They had laughed too, but the sliver of bitterness to her words had not gone unnoticed. They’d hovered over her a little after that. Making sure to include her in their daily adventures in a way they hadn’t done since before her and Ben had become friends and the group had splintered into Finn & Poe and Ben & Rey.
They were, of course, the most welcome of distractions.
Finn curling his fingers through her own brings her back to the present.
She turns and smiles at him, squeezing his hand to let him know she appreciates him, before returning her attention to the landing shuttle.
Her heart is beating wildly as the door opens and the ramps lowers. Get it together. Get it together.
She holds her breath. One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-
He descends from the shuttle with quick steps and that wide Solo grin.
She lets out her breath and clenches her hand around Finn’s to stop herself from parting the crowd with the Force and sprinting toward him, pride be damned.
Finn’s sharp intake of breath alerts her that she may be squeezing a bit too hard, but her brain can’t send out any commands to her limbs at the moment because Ben is running one hand through his obsidian hair while the other waves a greeting to the crowd. And. He. Is. So. Damn. Beautiful.
The crowd around her is cheering excitedly, happy to have a hero home. Rey tries to calm the thundering blood in her veins.
She watches as he approaches his mother, who stands as regally as ever at the front of the crowd.
“General,” Ben greets her formally, before he grin widens. “Mother, we have them.” He unexpectedly envelopes General Organa in a hug, lifting the smaller woman off the ground to the gasping delight of the entire base. He’s twirling her around as they both laugh happily.
The entire scene feels surreal and Rey is sure she has never felt so out of the loop in all her life. Have who?
As if sensing the question in her head, Luke Skywalker exits the shuttle next. And he is not alone.
Rey cannot help the gasp that escapes her.
Luke is flanked by three children, all no older than ten standard years, while in his arms rests a little boy of no more than one with a mop of blonde hair. They are all humanoid, save the oldest girl who Rey recognizes as a Twi’lek. They all look incredibly nervous, clutching onto the Jedi’s robes as if he was a lifeline.
But none of this is what is making her head swim and her whole body tingle.
“They’re Force sensitive,” Rey breaths aloud. Excitement thrums to life inside her chest.
She doesn’t take her eyes off the children, but she can sense Finn and Poe turn to look at her in awe.
She lets go of Finn’s hand and starts to make her way through the crowd, partially of her own volition and partially because the Force is positively compelling her to move forward.
None of them are as strong as she, Ben, Leia, or Luke, she can tell that immediately. But the simple fact that these children are like her is enough to flood electricity to her very core, filling her with a warm light. The word family is racking around in her brain.
She makes it to the front of the crowd, and, as if drawn by a magnet, the children (even the formerly resting little bundle of blonde hair) turn to look at her.
“Hello,” she greets them. Her voice is calm and inviting, even to her own ears.
The little blonde boy squirms in Luke’s arms and reaches for her without hesitation, “Up.”
It takes Rey all of two strides to reach him and gather him into her arms. Chubby arms wrap around her neck and squeeze as she takes him from Luke. He nestles into her neck and she nestles right back.
The Force hums around her.
“This is Rey, children,” she hears Ben’s voice to her right and looks up at him. He is looking at her with those infinite eyes of his and an expression she wishes she understood. “The one I told you about.”
“Ben says you have the Force too,” ventures the oldest Twi’lek curiously.
“She does,” says one of the younger ones; a dark-skinned girl from behind Luke. “Can’t you see it? She’s glowing with it.”
“I can see it,” Ben says softly, almost only for her. His voice is deep and he hasn’t taken his eyes from hers. It’s enough to make Rey’s entire body sway slightly. “I’ve always seen it.”
It’s sometime later that evening and Rey, Ben, Finn, and Poe are gathered around a fire on the edge of base. She still has the blonde bundle in her arms, sleeping peacefully (“His name is Knot,” Ben had told her, smiling softly in a way that had made her heart ache). The other children had gone with Luke and Leia to find quarters and rest from their long journey.
“Intelligence got wind that Snoke has been trying to gather Force sensitives,” Ben says to the group, as he explains his long absence. His voice is even, but Rey can hear the hardline that betrays his anger at his former Master. “He’s been kidnapping children; slightly different than his former modus operandi.” He spits the last bit out with the exact same disgust that rises within Rey at the mention of Snoke’s perversion of young Ben’s mind.
Rey’s eyes widen as she clutches the child tighter to her chest, “Are they’re more?” She’s not entirely sure she wants to know.
Ben shakes his head, “Not that Luke or I could tell. The children didn’t seem to think so either.”
“How’d you rescue them, man?” Finn asks, voicing their curiosity, “They had to have been under lock and key.”
Ben sighs, dragging a hand through his thick hair, and Rey’s stomach flip-flops. “Not easily,” he mumbles.
“Why didn’t you take me?” Rey asks quietly, intoning an accusation that has been brewing since before he’d even landed, “I could have helped.”
Ben looks down at his hands, rubbing them together and avoiding her eyes as he thinks of a response. She can feel his unease at the question. “It was a dangerous mission, Rey.”
He’s lucky she has a child in her arms or she may have slapped him. “That’s precisely my point, Solo.”
“You were needed here,” he counters firmly, obviously trying to end the conversation there.
Rey snarls. Oh no you don’t. “Oh? Is that it?”
She is fuming and about to let him have it when the bundle in her arms starts to wriggle unhappily at the change in mood. She immediately deflates, pushing her anger away swiftly and focuses on projecting a calm energy. She stands smoothly, rocking the child gently and kissing his forehead, “Shhh, shhh. It’s okay, little one. Everything’s okay now.” Knot calms instantly and Rey breathes a small sigh of relief.
After another few moments, when she’s sure he’s asleep once more, she returns to her seat by the fire.
Six eyes are trained on her when she finally looks up from the boy. Her eyebrows knit together in confusion. “What?”
Naturally, her curiosity has her gaze fall to Ben’s, and what she sees staring back nearly unravels her. The blazing look he is giving her is amplified by the dancing firelight reflecting in the dark pools of his pupils. He is absolutely fixed on her and the feeling of his heavy regard goes straight through her, intoxicating her as it always does, and pooling between her legs, uncomfortably reminding her of the fever she felt when his body pressed against her.
His full lips are slightly parted in a soft pout, and Rey has a wild vision of herself jamming her fingers into that mouth and demanding that he suck.
Rey clenches her jaw and breaths through her nose, forcing herself to turn away from him. The look between them only lasts a second, but, as with everything between them, it feels like an eternity.
It’s Poe who finally speaks, seemingly oblivious to the moment between her and Ben as he breaks the remaining tendrils of it. “It's nothing, Rey. Just never figured you for the mothering type, is all. Seems like you’re a natural though.”
Rey ducks her head down, flushing. She doesn’t know exactly what to say to that, so she remains quiet.
“We should take him back to Luke and my mother,” Ben says, mercifully breaking the uncomfortable silence as he rises and moves to stand in front of Rey. “Little tyke should probably go down for the night.” He reaches into her arms and plucks the child from her with an ease that belies his experience. He tucks the still sleeping Knot into his chest and places a big hand across the boys back. The whole sight is enough to make Rey twist in her seat, anxiously aware of the warmth between her thighs.
A flash of memory – hands, lips, teeth, thighs, hips – threatens to spoil Rey’s composer.
She shakes herself. Get it together. Get it together.
Nodding and standing, she wraps her arms around her torso to fight the sudden lack of warm child on her chest. “You’re right. Let’s get him back. It’s getting too cold for him out here anyway.”
They say their goodnights to Finn and Poe and start back to the base in careful silence.
Rey finds herself lost in her own head and nearly runs into Ben’s back when he stops short just outside General Organa’s door, having apparently come to some kind of decision.
He turns to face her and she does her best to keep her thundering heart from beating right out of her chest. “Look, kid. I’m…” he looks away from her and she is glad for it because she is not sure she could meet his eyes right now, “… I’m sorry I didn’t take you with us.”
He’s not apologizing for not taking her with him. She knows that instinctively. In the way that she knows him better than she sometimes realizes she does.
“I shouldn’t have done that…” he continues, raising his eyes up to hers tentatively, “… I shouldn’t have done that to my friend.”
His eyes are begging her; begging her to understand something very important.
And, as much as she hates it, she does understand. She understands that she is Rey and he is Ben, and whatever happened in that hallway was not them... or at least not the version of them Ben wants. No matter how much she wishes it was.
She understands because she can’t lose him. She can’t.
So, she’ll stay kid and he’ll stay Ben and it will just have to be enough because she’s already had a taste of the alternative, a life void of him, and just cannot go on that way.
Because she’d rather be miserable with him, than without him.
After a moment, she takes a deep breath in before smiling gently at him. “It’s okay, Ben,” she says and she finds she actually means it. “I’m just… I’m just so glad you’re here now.”
He uses the hand that isn’t holding Knot up to gather her into hug. Her face is pressed partly against his chest and partly buried into the blonde bundle. She snuggles into the both of them and lets out a content sigh. This is enough. This is enough.
She doesn’t care if she’s lying to herself. This has to be enough.
Two months later, and Rey has painstakingly tracked down all the children’s families. It was a very personal mission for her (“I won’t let them grow up alone,” she snapped when questioned about it. “I won’t let them wonder who their families are just so we can train a new generation of Jedi. It’s cruel.”).
Two of them, the Twi’Lek girl and the older boy, are orphans of war and of Snoke. But she still manages to find their incredibly grateful grandparents.
Knots parents are young and in tears when they hold their boy again. Sobbing out a ‘thank you’ while Rey tries her best not to cry right along with them.
Keiva, Ben’s favorite, the girl who told Rey she glowed, had lost her mother, but her father was overjoyed when he held his daughter again. “I thought I’d lost you too, child.”
Every reunion is bittersweet for Rey. She’s happy for the children… but she is each time reminded of the reunion she never got. The family that never came back for her.
You weren’t wanted. A voice says cruelly inside her head. It’s a nagging doubt that has plagued her for many restless nights. No one cared enough to come back for you.
She closes her eyes against the sting of repressed emotions and places a fist to her temple, trying to will the thoughts away. It’s not true. It’s not true.
She feels a comforting hand enclose on her shoulder. Instinctively she places her hand on top of his, relishing in its warmth. He always knows when she needs him.
“You alright, kid?” Ben asks kindly.
She opens her eyes and smiles weakly at him. “I’m working on it.”
He squeezes her shoulder, “I’m here if you need anything.”
She leans into him, “I know.”
Luke meets with all the parents and grandparents. He offers to teach the children the ways of the Force and help keep them all out of Snoke’s grasp. To Ben’s surprise, Luke makes sure that the families know that they are to be included in all forms of training (“Smart choice,” Ben says, a little wistfully.)
“I can’t train them here,” Luke says later to Ben and Rey, after each family had whole-heartedly agreed, “Dantooine is too big a target. I won’t let them get taken again by Snoke.” He looks pointedly at his nephew, “I won’t fail another child that way.”
Ben looks away. “Where will you take them?”
Luke sighs, “Actually, I was thinking about Tatooine.”
“That dust pile?” Ben groans, “You can’t be serious.”
“I know Tatooine,” Luke counters. “It might not be the greatest, but it’s always been a safe-haven for Jedi in hiding.” Luke’s faint smile is almost painful in its nostalgia.
“Deserts are always good for Jedi in hiding,” Rey adds sagely.
Luke and Ben turn their heads to look at her. Both men have the same intense look in their eyes and she is suddenly reminded of their familial connection.
Enigmatic Skywalkers. She thinks with an eye roll. “I mean, Tatooine has to be better than Jakku, right?”
This seems to snap Luke out of his thoughts, “Yes, especially with me there to guide them.”
“When will you leave?” Ben asks him, but his eyes are still trained on Rey.
“Soon,” Luke answers. There is a sadness in his voice that breaks Rey’s heart. “You both are, of course, welcome to join me.”
Ben finally turns from Rey as he shakes his head, “I’m sorry, Uncle. But for now, my place is here, fighting the First Order and Snoke.”
Rey nods in agreement, “Maybe one day, Luke. But, like Ben, my place is here. He can help me finish whatever training I may need.”
Luke smiles warmly before pulling them into a tight hug. “I am very proud of you both,” he chokes out.
Rey wraps her arms around the Jedi and she feels Ben do the same.
They don’t say anything else. They don’t need to.
Luke takes the families and leaves three days later.
“They’ll be okay,” Ben says in her ear as they watch the shuttle take off into light speed.
Rey nods, but doesn’t take her eyes off the spot where the shuttle last was.
Life returns to very much the way it has always been on base. Her and Ben train. They go on a few missions together. Nothing terribly exciting.
The First Order has been strangely quiet in recent months. No real attacks on any bases, only the odd skirmish when one small faction of Resistance runs across an equally small faction of First Order.
It’s all rather uneventful.
“Maybe they’re giving up?” Poe offers hopefully.
Ben and Finn both shake their heads with equal force.
“No way,” Finn says. “They’re planning something.”
Ben nods, “He’s right. Snoke isn’t going to take losing the Younglings lightly.” He runs a hand through his hair. “I have a very bad feeling about this.”
Ben’s bad feeling is right on target, as usual. It’s only a fortnight before Dantooine comes under attack.
Rey is asleep in her bed. She’d checked out early that night, feeling particularly groggy after dinner.
“You alright, kid?” Ben had laughed as her head drooped dangerously close to her soup.
She righted herself, covering her mouth as she yawned, “Uh-huh. I guess I’m just worn out.”
She had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. It was all very odd. Very unlike her.
That probably should have been their first red flag.
Rey! Ben’s panicking voice calls from inside her head, waking her. Rey! You have to get up and RUN! They are coming for you!
She wants to ask him who was coming, but her mind is too foggy. She can hear the distant sounds of blasters and laser cannon’s.
Rey! You have to MOVE!
She can’t move. She can’t even think.
Rey, they’ve drugged you. Ben’s voice is now well past panicking. I’m coming as fast as I can.
But it’s too late. She can hear heavy footsteps outside her door.
She tries to lift her hand to grab her lightsaber off the bedside table, but only manages to knock it to the ground. Kriff.
She hears the whoosh of her door opening. Ben, someone’s in here. She manages feebly through their connection.
She can feel his anger course through her. She’s never felt him this acutely before.
Rough hands grab her shoulders and heave her off her bed. Her vision is blurry, but she is able to determine that there are approximately ten Stormtroopers stuffed inside her tiny room. One yanks her arms behind her, cuffing her, while another shoves a gag in her mouth and a sack over her head.
Her limbs feel like jelly and she has the horrible notion that she may vomit.
“Get her lightsaber,” one says, his mechanical voice clicking the order.
They start pulling her out of her room and down the hall.
Rey’s head is still swimming and her body is utterly unable to follow any commands. Ben. Help me.
He’s closer now, she can feel it.
The night air hits her and the cold ground crunches beneath her bare feet. She trips over herself and the Stormtroopers take to dragging her. Her shins scrap the ground painfully and she’s dimly aware that she is bleeding.
“Please stop,” she manages weakly as she spits out the gag.
They release her, and she collapses to the ground.
For one ridiculous moment, her drug addled mind thinks it was because she said please.
But then she senses him and relief washes over her. Ben. He’s right here, he found her.
She can hear his lightsaber hum to life. She can feel his rage, pulsing off of him in waves. It makes her shudder.
The Stormtroopers never even get off a shot before he cuts them all down and Rey vaguely remembers that there was a time when he absolutely terrified her, when his power was something to be feared and his presence was what nightmares were made of.
Back before he was her Ben.
“Rey!” He cries as he collapses next to her, unlatching her bonds and pulling the hood off of her head. “Rey, are you alright?”
She blinks up at him and through her daze she finds she can only focus on the thin scar on his face that she gave him what feels like a lifetime ago. She reaches up and traces it. “Ben,” she murmurs out, her voice hoarse, “why didn’t you heal this?” It’s absolutely the drugs talking, but it’s a question she’s always wanted to know the answer to.
He looks at her a long moment, his eyes soft, but ever unreadable. He doesn’t answer. Instead, he pulls her against his solid body, places his arm under her knees and picks her up. He is running now, probably to take her someplace safe.
Rey’s head lulls against his chest. Darkness is threatening to overtake her. She closes her eyes. “You never answer me...” she slurs, her mouth feels as thick as the weight of her consciousness, which she is dozing in and out of now.
And she’s almost positive she imagines it when she hears him whisper softly into her hair, “Because I never wanted to forget you.”
She hums quietly before promptly passing out.
She awakes the next morning in the infirmary.
She is one of many who do.
Ben is with her. So are Finn and Poe. All of them have scratches and bruises to spare. Poe’s arm hangs limply in a sling.
But they’re there. And they’re alive. And she could cry for it.
“The Resistance took quite a beating last night,” Poe explains. “We didn’t see this coming. We lost a lot of good people.” She can hear the tears in his voice.
“What did they come for?” Rey asks, running a hand down her face.
“You,” Ben states darkly. He has been mostly quiet this whole time.
She turns to look at him and he won’t meet her eyes, “Why do they want me?”
“Probably because you’re so strong in the Force,” Finn suggests. “I bet Snoke wants you.”
“What do you think, Ben?” Rey asks softly. She just wants him to look at her. Please, Ben.
But he won’t. And he won’t answer her either. He just keeps starring at the wall.
She’d like to hate him for it, but instead she entwines their fingers – and he lets her.
“So, what do we know about the mole?” Finn asks two mornings later.
They were all gathered in the mess hall, eating breakfast before starting their hectic day of making preparation to leave Dantooine and find camp elsewhere. General Organa was pushing for Hoth this time, where a small Resistance base was already up and functional, much to everyone’s dismay. Ben had made a joke about his mother retracing old footsteps that had gone over Rey’s head.
“You mean besides the fact that he had a death wish?” Ben grumbles back, stabbing at the hotcake on his plate with something less than menace.
“I overheard Ackbar say he was a fairly new recruit to the division,” Rey chimes in, ignoring Ben’s sour mood.
“And, apparently, nobody thought to do a thorough background check on a kitchen hand,” Poe adds. He’s been about as testy as Ben these past two days and living with the two of them has had Finn and Rey climbing walls.
“Rumor has it nobody has been able to get him to talk,” Finn offers, trying to keep the mood lighter.
Ben snorts, “That’s only because they haven’t let my mother in there with him yet.”
Rey looks at him, shock clearly written on her face as she raises an inquisitive eyebrow.
“What?” Ben grins at her, “Who do you think I learned how to interrogate from?”
The sun is beginning to go down later that day when Ben comes to her inside the Falcon. She’s been packing up what she can and making a few last minute fixes to the deflector shield generator.
“Hey kid,” he greets as he walks up. He’s wearing his dark-grey flight suit (“I’m not wearing that orange thing,” he’d snubbed haughtily while Rey rolled her eyes) and he’s holding his helmet under one arm. His hair is still somehow perfect. Damn him.
He’d been sent on patrol with his squadron for most of the day on orders from above, tightening security while the base made preparations to leave. He must have only just gotten back.
“Change of shift time?” Rey asks as she continues to tighten down a few bolts.
He nods as he moves to sit on the grated floor, trading his helmet for a wrench and getting to work beside her, “Shields still acting up?”
Rey groans, “Always.”
He chuckles, “It’s just her way of showing you she loves you.”
Rey stops mid-twist and gives him a look, “What? By breaking every ten minutes? Hardly the best way to show affection.”
He has a wistful smile on his face as he shrugs, “My father used to say that sometimes broken things keep breaking so you’ll keep showing up to fix them.” He turns away a moment and scratches his chin, “Pretty sure he meant that as a metaphor for his relationship with my mother.”
“Oh?” Rey asks tentatively. He doesn’t talk about his parents’ much; she doesn’t want to lose the moment of rare insight.
“Yeah, well,” he smiles down at her and runs a hand through his hair, a gesture Rey could mimic in her sleep by now, “good ole’ Han Solo wasn’t exactly what you’d call ‘married to a Princess’ material. He didn’t like how busy she always was after the war. So, whenever he felt neglected he’d cause some kind of trouble. Make her come and bail him out of whatever shit he’d gotten himself into.” He laughs softly to himself as he looks around his father’s ship, his eyes betraying the grief she knows he feels. “Guess the Falcon just has a touch of my old man in her.”
Rey smiles sadly and reaches for his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, “Well, I suppose I can’t begrudge her that, then can I?”
His gaze shifts from their joined hands to her eyes and the look in his is the same one she sees at night when she’s alone in the dark and thinks of him - wishing he was there with her.
His eyes drop to her lips as he runs his pink tongue across his own.
Her breath hitches.
He says her name quietly as they both lean in closer.
Rey closes her eyes. She can feel his warm breath on her…
“You guys!” Finn calls as he barges on to the Falcon excitedly.
Ben pulls away from her so fast Rey is sure he uses the Force.
Rey is also sure Finn is going to get beaten to death with the blunt end of a lightsaber if he doesn’t have a damn good reason for interrupting them.
“You guys!” Finn repeats, somewhat breathless. He seems totally unaware of the scene he had just disturbed. “General Organa wants you both.”
Ben’s eye brows snap together, “What for?”
Finn smiles wickedly as he pants out, “She’s interrogating the mole.”
They race to the hastily erected detention area that the mole was being held in for questioning. There is a small crowd gathered around, apparently having heard the rumor that the General herself was questioning him, but Finn leads them past that building to another a few ways down. “General Organa had him brought here instead. Keep the crowd away.”
Ben nods, and then quietly adds, “It’s an interrogation maneuver. Change their scenery.”
Finn leads them in through a back door and they quietly enter into a dark room. Poe is there waiting for them and he greets them with a finger to his lips, as if they were children in need of reminding to be quiet.
Rey would roll her eyes, but she’s too engrossed in the scene before her.
General Organa and the mole sit facing each other, the room mostly dark except for the dim light above them. It’s hard to see anyone else’s face in the room, but Rey can tell that there are many shapes in the shadows. A few guards, Rey imagines, and a few higher-ups as well, posturing in the dark as if they would make a difference.
As if there is any question of who was in control in this room.
The General sits back slightly in her seat and Rey is overcome by the sheer power the woman possesses. She’d known, of course, that Leia was Force sensitive, she’d felt it, even been comforted by it… but never like this… there was nothing comforting about this and Rey would be lying if she said she wasn’t a bit frightened by it.
She blindly grabs for Ben’s hand behind her and feels him shift so he can stand closer her. He leans into her, his mouth by the shell of her ear. “This,” he chuffs out quietly so no one else can hear them, “this is Vader’s daughter.”
Rey shivers and the hairs on her arms stand on end.
“Who are you?” Leia’s voice commands, breaking the silence of the room.
“I am no one,” the man says, sweat breaking out on his brow.
Leia leans forward very slightly. “Who are you?” She repeats.
This time Rey feels a familiar pull in the Force and she has to put a hand up to her mouth to hold back her gasp.
“I told you who I learned it from,” Ben whispers again against her and Rey can only nod.
“My name is Ockto Tanio,” the man grunts out, straining against the will of General Organa’s power. “I am a servant of the First Order.”
There are a few scattered grumbles in the crowd, but they quickly dissipate.
“Why are you here?” Leia asks with such persuasion in her smooth voice that Rey finds herself wanting to answer, and, judging by the few murmurs and various shuffling in the room, she isn’t the only one.
“I was sent to infiltrate the Resistance base and drug the Jedi known as Rey,” Tanio is sweating profusely now, still trying in vain to counter the General’s influence.
“What is the First Order’s purpose for this?” Leia continues sitting ever so slightly more forward as the line of questioning grows more important.
“To kidnap her… and I-I don’t k-know, ex-exactly,” Tanio stutters out, clenching his jaw.
Leia leans all the way forward in the chair now. “Then you will tell me what you do know,” she commands.
Ben’s hand is firmly grasping hers now and she’s clutching him right back. Rey finds her breath coming out faster.
“Tell me,” Leia voice has taken on an unearthly tone as she raises a hand close to Tanio’s head in a move Rey recognizes as the same tactic Kylo Ren had used on her once upon a time.
Ben’s other hand grips her waist as if sensing her thoughts, and she automatically leans into him, her back ever so slightly resting against his solid chest. His breath puffs against her neck.
“Snoke wants her,” Tanio replies. He is no longer straining against the General’s power and he sounds not unlike a machine.
“Because of her power?”
“Yes,” Tanio replies. Then adds, “And because of her family.”
Rey snaps to attention and she feels Ben do the same, “My family?” She asks aloud, suddenly not caring about the imposed silence.
“What about her family?” Leia quickly recovers.
Thankfully, Tanio is still under her thrall, “I don’t know the specifics. Only rumors. They say her lineage rivals the Skywalkers. That her father’s father was a man of great importance. As was her father's mother.”
Rey’s whole body is burning. My family. They know my family.
“Who do they say he was?” Leia presses.
“I do not know the name. It was foreign to me.”
Rey’s heart is hammering in her chest. Ben’s tight grip on her is possibly the only thing keeping her upright. My father. My father. Sounds and voices long forgotten float across her mind. The warm dulcet tones of a man she called father… the strong arms… the quiet smile…
“Tell me what you remember of the name,” Leia continues, probing further, her hand now touching Tanio’s temple.
I’ll come back sweetheart, I promise. NO! DON’T GO!
“I-I c-can’t…” he stutters, “I d-don’t….”
Her father… dark hair… grey eyes… Rey… Rey, these are your first steps…
“Kenobi!” Rey shouts out, as if the name had always been just on the tip of her tongue, and not something that had been eluding her for years. “My name… my name is Kenobi.”
Whew! So here we are... things are starting to get interesting. Note the rating change my loves. Shit's about to get good.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Rey dreams of her father that night.
Clearer than she has ever dreamed of him before, but still nothing very tangible… nothing that helps her to remember who he was in any way that matters.
Just images, really. Feelings.
She remembers that the color orange constantly surrounded him… or maybe followed him… or somehow engulfed him… and the strong smell of engine grease burning on duracrete… and the screaming of ships roaring into space.
She associates him with that free feeling of flight… and the anticipation of take-off, the tight control of landing… the feeling you get in your stomach when your ship spins in a loop. Hold on, sweetheart.
She sees a flash of dark hair and the warmth of grey eyes – eyes that were always so happy to see her, but, somehow, always so very sad. Eyes that sometimes got lost looking past her into whatever memories seemed to prey on him.
She hears the soft timbre of his laugh, and the muffled way his voice sounded through his chest when she was pressed close to him, dozing to sleep as he hummed her a lullaby.
She can feel his gentle arms around her and it makes her feel at home and safe and so very loved… so very happy…
It’s a beautiful dream.
Or at least it is until it shifts.
Until, suddenly, she’s very small and very terrified.
And her father is scooping her up and holding her tightly as he runs. Faster and faster through a world on fire, cradling her against him as he shouts - words she can’t understand through the roaring of flames - and she is crying and screaming and there is something out there that wants to get her-
“Rey!” Ben’s rough voice breaks her from her nightmare, his strong hands griping her shoulders as he leans over her from his place beside her in bed.
Rey gasps in a deep lungful of air as she startles awake, her hands gripping his biceps as she shoots upright in the bed, a scream dying on her lips. No! Come back!
“It was just a dream, Rey,” he soothes, concern lacing his voice as he moves his hands up to cradle her face. “It wasn’t real.”
Rey is trembling as she continues to pant heavily, slowly regaining control of herself and her surroundings. Just a dream. Just a dream. Wasn’t real.
She’s with Ben. She’s safe. She’s on a bunk inside the crew quarters on the Falcon.
She breathes in. She breathes out. Just a dream.
They had come back here after Ockto Tanio’s interrogation and the subsequent debriefing with General Organa (“Kenobi,” the General had mused, rubbing her forehead in a gesture that Rey could only assume lived somewhere between long-suffering and amusement. “Guess I had better radio Luke. We’ll need him on this.”) to decompress with a bottle of brandy and each other’s company. She remembers falling asleep in the captain’s chair, listening to Ben’s dark voice distract her with tales from his childhood of heroes that lived a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
He must have carried her to bed and then fallen asleep beside her. She can feel the ghost of his arms wrapped around her torso and is dimly aware that she will scrutinize every detail later.
Right now, she just needs to keep breathing.
She closes her eyes and places one of her hands over one of his, leaning her cheek into his reassuring palm. She is overly warm and uncomfortably sweaty. Her hair has come loose from her signature buns and feels wet at the nape of her neck.
She breathes in. She breathes out. Just a dream.
He swallows as he gently touches his forehead to hers. “You were projecting,” he says softly. “I caught glimpses. There was fire.”
Rey’s eyes snap open. “You could see it?” She whispers, “You could see him?”
He pauses a moment, studying her hopeful face, before pulling away and nodding, “Yes.”
The hesitancy in his voice is almost imperceptible and there is a fraction of a frown ghosting his full lips. His handsome face shadows slightly the way that it does when he is trying to internally rationalize something and Rey knows immediately that he is trying to decide if he should keep something from her.
“What is it, Ben?” Tell me what you saw.
His face twists into a grimace, having been caught in his apparent omission. He falters for a moment before he is finally able to look her in the eyes. His dark gaze is etched in pain. “Rey… your father...”
Her breath catches in her chest and the sound of her own pulse fills her ears as a thousand different scenarios run through her head, each worse than the last. Oh no. Please… please tell me you didn’t…
“Oh, Force, kid, no,” Ben clarifies quickly, having apparently sensed the direction of her thoughts. “I didn’t… I didn’t kill him.”
Rey lets out her breath in a silent prayer of thanks.
“Not that I blame you for thinking that,” he continues darkly as he runs a distracted hand through his hair. “I don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to your father-figures.”
“Don’t.” She orders firmly as she grasps his forearm. She keeps her eyes trained on him as she reaches up and tucks a piece of dark hair behind his ear, “Don’t, Ben.”
He won’t meet her eyes. He never does when he’s feeling particularly self-loathing.
“What do you know about my father, Ben?” She continues in a soft voice as she traces his jawline with the tips of her fingers.
He shuts his eyes a moment and takes a shuttering breath in before returning his intense gaze back to her, scanning her with a scrutiny that would normally have made her flush, “I knew him, Rey. I knew your father.”
Rey leans forward and splays her small hand on his bare chest, directly over his heart. She can feel the steady beat of it as she braces her whole body for impact. “Tell me.”
She is the only child of Wedge Antilles - one of the best fighter pilots in the Rebellion, second only to Luke, and a hero.
Fragments of memories start to crystalize, and suddenly the orange that always seemed to surround him is a Rebellion flight suit. My father was a hero.
“Wedge was always really kind to me,” Ben continues, shaking her from her thoughts. He has far off look in his eyes, “Took the time to take an interest in me in a way that spoke of a man who knew what it was like not having a father around... showed me the basics of how to fly an X-Wing when my parents were in the middle of one of their more legendary prizefights.” He groans as he runs a hand down his face before chuckling, “Force, kid. I remember when you were born.”
He smiles wistfully and Rey can’t help but wonder at the way fate had wrapped them both up in its cloak far before either of them could have even comprehended it. Entwining their destinies in ways she was still trying to unravel.
Ben scratches his chin before running a hand through his messy hair, “Your name was Kira then, and you didn’t stay on base long. Wedge took you to live with his mother on Coruscant when you were just a few weeks old. Explains the accent, I suppose.”
Her given name is suddenly familiar to her, but still strangely foreign… she can hear the echo of her father’s voice calling her his ‘little Rey’... something to do with her mother… something to do with her reminding him of her mother…
“And my mother?” Rey asks tentatively, eyes shining. She is sitting cross-legged on the bed across from him, elbows on her knees and chin resting against her knuckles. “What about my mother?”
Ben hesitates. “I didn’t know her very well.” He takes one of her hands and presses it firmly between his own. Rey steadies herself. “She died in childbirth.”
She knew. She didn’t know how exactly she knew, but she did. Maybe she knew it by the absence of her… by the dull ache in the empty part of her heart that told her that she never knew the gentle caress of a mother’s touch.
Knowing it doesn’t make it any less painful though and her eyes well up with justified tears.
Sensing her pain, Ben pulls her into his lap, his big arms wrapping around her and holding her tightly; her back to his chest. He rests his chin against her shoulder and it eases her ache. “I’m sorry, kid,” he whispers. “I wish I could tell you a different story.”
She can only nod and close her eyes as tears streak silently down her face.
“From what I do remember,” he continues, he voice trying to take on a slightly lighter tone, “Dosmit Raeh was quite the spitfire, so you do come by it naturally.”
She can feel his small, affectionate smile against the skin of her shoulder as he tries to soothe her with gentle banter, a technique that would normally work to great affect…
…but time has come to an abrupt halt for Rey and she cannot help the watery gasp that escapes her. “Dosmit Raeh?” She repeats, her voice shaking. “My mother is Dosmit Raeh?”
The question isn’t really a question, because down to her bones she already knows the answer with agonizing and perfect clarity. He called me ‘little Rey’… ‘little Raeh’… after my mother...
Memories of a Rebel helmet and a handmade doll burn through her mind… as do the harrowing adventures of Rey the scavenger and Captain Raeh of the Tierfon Yellow Aces - made-up games she’d played that helped to ease her lonely heart when she was only a child growing up all alone on the harsh and unforgiving world of Jakku.
She’d loved that helmet. Loved feeling connected to its owner as she dreamed of a different life.
She’d brought that damn doll with her everywhere.
She’d brought her mother with her everywhere.
Her whole body wracks with heaving sobs. Her muscles ache and her lungs burn.
And Ben can only hold her tighter and rock.
“Wedge was a one of the greatest star pilots in the galaxy, and a cunning warrior,” Luke says, several hours later, his voice sad and reflective. “And he was a good friend. When he died, it was… it was quite a blow for me – for all of us.”
Rey nods, Ben had already told her.
“His ship burned up in an asteroid belt on the way to Yavin to see Luke,” Ben said. Rey could feel the pain in his voice and could tell it was an unpleasant memory for him as well. “I was about fifteen at the time… only a few months away from Snoke hooking his claws into me fully.”
Luke’s holo flickers in and out with static, and Ben hits the receiver, the image immediately clearing up. Even the best transmitter on base has its limitations, and Tatooine is very remote.
Rey, Ben, and General Organa crowd together in Leia’s chambers. All of them look like they’ve seen better days and could really go for a drink and a nap… followed immediately by another drink and another nap.
“I don’t understand where the Kenobi connection comes in,” Luke continues, rubbing his hands together in thought. “Wedge never spoke of any relation.”
Rey shakes her head, “He wouldn’t have. He didn’t know Obi-Wan was his father until late.”
Memories once locked tightly away wash over her and six eyes fix on her as she continues, “It was my grandmother… she kept it a secret until I started showing signs of Force sensitivity… even then she was reluctant.” Rey can feel with every fiber of her being that there is something else. Some other thing that happened… some other piece to this puzzle… but it’s too slippery and she can’t for the life of her grasp it.
“Wedge wasn’t Force sensitive,” Luke adds, shaking Rey from her thoughts.
“No,” she agrees. “Not in any way that would have mattered to a Jedi or Sith anyway…” Her voice trails off as she remembers her father’s hands on her head, telling her she had to stay hidden… compelling her to lock parts of herself away until she was safe… until he came back. “But he had the inherent ability to blend in and hide… not just himself, but others too.”
Luke smiles sadly, “Yes, well, that is most definitely a Kenobi trait.”
“The file I dug up on Wedge has no father listed, but says his mother was Sabé Antilles,” Ben states as he peruses through said file on the datapad in his lap. “Says she was born on Naboo to, shocker, unknown parents.”
General Organa groans, “Not this again.”
Luke looks at his twin and sighs with emphatic agreement.
“Oh. Wait a minute, the plot thickens,” Ben snickers as he passes General Organa the datapad for her to review. “It says here she was Padmé Amidala’s personal bodyguard and decoy during her reign as Queen of Naboo.”
Leia gasps and Luke’s holo flickers.
Rey’s more than a little lost when Ben turns to her with an absolutely wicked grin spreading across his face. “Well, kid,” he says, eyes twinkling as he crosses his arms behind his head and leans back in his chair, “seems like our families just can’t seem to get enough of each other.”
It’s three weeks later and the base has relocated to Hoth.
Rey is quite sure she will never complain about the desert again.
“You look like a Wampa,” Ben laughs at her. She has upwards of seven layers on and may or may not be considering adding seven more – range of motion be damned.
“Up yours, Solo,” she chatters through her scarf.
He just keeps chuckling as he pulls her to him, rubbing his gloved hands up and down her arms to warm her up.
Is it any wonder that, two months later, she enthusiastically volunteers herself for a supply run to Coruscant?
“Not a great idea, kid,” Ben warns.
“He’s right,” Finn agrees. “Intel says the First Order is still looking for you. They’ll have contracted bounty hunters.”
“I don’t care,” Rey scoffs with a dismissive wave of her hand. “If I stay here another minute, this desert rat is going to freeze to death.”
Ben looks put out. Finn doesn’t look much better.
At least Poe seems to have a gleam in his eye. “No, Rey’s onto something. Let’s do this. Supply run, guys! To Coruscant no less,” he grins at them. “We’ll get hammered and party in the red light district like the big damn heroes we are.”
Rey very much loves Poe at the moment. Ben very much does not. Finn has perked up though.
The four of them leave with Chewbacca on the Falcon four days later.
Coruscant is a lot wilder than any fragmented memories Rey has of it from living here as a child. She supposes that has to do with what she remembers as an affectionate but somewhat overly protective grandmother.
“Nana would not approve,” she slurs into Ben’s ear after taking her third or fourth (“Sixth,” Ben corrects as he downs his own) shot of some kind of orange and blue liquid. It spreads warmth throughout her whole body and all she really wants to do is move to the thumping beat of the cantina they had found themselves in.
They had arrived on Coruscant a few hours earlier, landing at a discrete location and meeting with their contact without much fanfare. They quietly negotiated payment and then oversaw the supplies being loaded onto the Falcon.
It was all super easy; most vanilla operation Rey had ever been a part of. She wonders why she hadn’t thought to do this before.
When all was said and done, Chewie had stayed with the Falcon while Poe excitedly directed them through quite possibly the dodgiest part of the city. Rey couldn’t identify half the different kinds of species she saw, but she was still pretty sure most of them were at least half-naked.
“Trust me, you guys,” Poe said as he led them through a giant, red-metal door. “This is the best cantina in Coruscant. A little sketchy, true, but totally anonymous. Nobody cares who anybody is here.”
Presently, Rey catches a glimpse of Poe through the throngs of people. He’s jumping around on the dance floor with Finn, who, for his part, is dancing with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for only the truly inebriated.
She whoops over the din of the music, “Poe! You beautiful genius! Best idea ever!”
He catches her eye and winks before waving excitedly at her. “Rey! Get out here, woman!” He shouts.
She doesn’t need to be told twice.
She grabs Ben’s hand and starts toward the dance floor, but is yanked back abruptly when her impossibly strong counterpart refuses to move. “No way, kid,” he says as he signals the bartender for another drink. “I am nowhere near defiled enough for that.”
Rey simply lets go of his hand and shrugs, “Suit yourself.”
She’s beside Poe and Finn an instant later, and moving to the music with abandoned inhibitions.
She can’t remember ever having this much fun.
The crowd around them seems to double and before Rey knows it she’s dancing eagerly with faceless strangers.
And she’s giggling and smiling and warm.
It feels like what being young should feel like. None of her weighted destiny seems to matter right now and it’s such a relief.
A while later, the beat changes to something slower, and Rey decides it’s a good time to get another one of those orange and blue drinks.
She untangles herself from the group to start towards the bar. Her cheeks are hot and flushed, her hairs a mess, and she can’t stop smiling. Best. Night. Ever.
She’s navigating her way through the crowds of couples, when a hand grabs hers. She turns to see the handsome face of a young man about her age smiling broadly at her.
He has pretty blue eyes and perfect white teeth. “You’re gorgeous. Dance with me?”
Her smile widens and she is just about to accept him-
“Not this time, junior.” His deep voice makes her tremble and she immediately drops the young man’s hand. Ben appears beside them from seemingly nowhere, standing at his full height - all broad-chested and burning eyes. “This dance is spoken for.”
Her smile falters and her heart starts beating erratically. If she ever forgets what a powerful presence he has, she’ll only have to remember this moment.
He reaches out his hand and of course she takes it, unable to even spare the other man an apologizing glance as Ben pulls her back to the dance floor.
“That was very presumptuous of you, Solo,” she says her voice low and breathy. She’s more than a little surprised she can even speak.
“Was it?” He smirks as he brings her hand up to rest on his shoulder; his other arm winding around her waist, drawing her closer.
“Perhaps I would have liked to have danced with that boy.” Her pulse is thundering in her ears and every stretch of skin that connects her to him feels tense and electric.
“Would you have?” His fingertips trace slowly down her arm, around the curve of her shoulder, and then down her side – painfully close to touching the side of her breast before trailing down her waist. His hand finally settles on the jut of her hip.
“And yet, you assume that I’d rather dance with you,” she continues, trying to remember to breathe.
“Am I wrong?” His grip on her hip tightens slightly, almost possessively.
She bites her lip to suppress a smile, “No.”
“This dance is mine then?” His voice is low and husky and it’s all she can do not to liquefy in his arms.
“It always has been,” she whispers.
His eyes darken and it sends chills down her spine.
She starts to lean up.
And he starts to lean down.
Her eyes flutter close and she knows that this is it. This is the moment when he finally give’s up the ghost and takes what she’s always wanted to give him…
…but then the beat of the music changes to something fast and pumping, and some enthusiastic partier bumps hard into them to get to the dance floor, sending them both stumbling and breaking them momentarily apart.
As soon as Rey rights herself, she chances a look into Ben’s eyes, knowing before seeing that he has returned to himself and that their moment is lost.
“Kid…” It’s all he needs to say to suck the air right from her lungs, and it’s sobering.
“Oh… I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” she babbles out, not sure what the hell she is even apologizing for, just knowing with absolute certainty that she had to get out of there. Quick. “Please excuse me.”
She hastily turns from him and races through the crowd to the cantina’s veranda, bobbing and weaving through the bodies of oblivious revelers. The cool night air hits her as she crosses on to the balcony.
The sound of the music is muffled out here, but the noise of passing speeders makes up for it.
She breathes in. She breathes out. Get it together.
She whips around. She hadn’t expected him to follow her, but there he is, closing the distance with long strides and worried eyes.
“Kid, talk to me.”
She shakes herself. “No… it’s… can we forget it all please?” Visions of the two months she spent without him and miserable are locked in her focus, “All these drinks and music just got to my head… I just… it was nothing… I’ll be better by morning, I promise.”
He looks decidedly unconvinced, and Rey think’s she sees a touch of desperation in his dark eyes, “Rey-”
“-Ben, please,” she cuts him off, turning away from him and bracing her arms against the cool metal of the balcony railing. She can’t hear his excuses right now and she is too tired of this to start making any more of her own. “Please allow me my dignity and just go.”
He makes a sound not unlike a roar as he grabs her shoulders and spins her to look at him. There is a touch of madness in his eyes, the wildness of Kylo Ren that Ben Solo can never truly shake. She should have known better than to turn from him. He hates it when she does that.
“Rey,” he growls, his lips furling in such a way as to reveal one white canine tooth against his full red lips. He looks predatory. “It’s not right. I’m not right for you.”
She clenches her jaw as she coolly grabs both of his hands and peals them off her shoulders. “If you are trying to break my heart, I would ask you to stop snarling and leave me in peace.”
His eyes narrow dangerously before flickering from her eyes to her lips and then back again; something like a question, something like a challenge.
Her breath catches and her body vibrates with an expectation it has no right to feel. She has no idea what his next move will be. She had learned long ago that anticipating Ben Solo was a fool’s errand.
But he does surprise her… though, admittedly not in the way she would have liked.
Something behind her catches his eye, and the next thing Rey knows, his lightsaber is out and he is pushing her to the side, “Rey! Get down!”
In an instant, blaster fire reigns down upon them from every conceivable angle.
Ben’s body is a blur as he deflects them.
“Bounty hunters!” He calls out, hissing in pain as a shot grazes his arm.
Rey’s saber is ignited in the same moment and the two of them go from dueling personalities to the most powerful team in the galaxy, fluid and moving as one, in less than zero.
“We have to get Finn and Poe and get back to the Falcon!” Rey cries out as she rolls to avoid a shot.
Ben already has his comlink out and is hailing Chewie.
Finn and Poe have heard the commotion and are already out on the veranda, blasters out and firing. “I might be too drunk for this!” Finn calls. He lands several shots anyway.
Rey has no idea how many there are. There must be dozens. She keeps deflecting, but shots keep coming.
“I wasn’t kidding, Chewie!” Ben shouts into the comlink, “We need your furry ass here now!”
The Falcon appears a moment later, hovering near the edge of the balcony with its ramp lowered.
Finn and Poe race and make the jump first while Rey and Ben provide cover and deflect shots.
“Go on, kid!” Ben calls as he uses the Force to push back several advancing Mandalorians, “You next!”
Before she can argue, another ship appears and starts firing at them. They exchange a look for a fraction of a second before simultaneously speeding toward the Falcon.
They jump… and Rey would have normally made the landing easy, but a stray blaster bolt hits her leg and she buckles. “Ah!”
She slips and falls off the ramp.
But quick hands and clever fingers are wrapped tightly around her wrist, saving her as she dangles perilously from the rising Falcon.
She looks up and can only see Ben’s blazing eyes. “It’s okay, kid,” he calls over the howl of wind as the ship picks up speed. “I've got you.”
“That’s some grip you got there, Solo,” Poe whistles sometime later when they are all safe and on course for Hoth.
Rey examines the finger shaped bruises on her wrist and hums in agreement, “I blame it on the nearly obscene relationship he has with his lightsaber.” Been secretly jealous of that thing for years.
Ben barks a small laugh. Rey takes it as a win.
Finn’s exaggerated yawn catches everyone’s attention. “I don’t know about any of you,” he says, his speech still slightly slurring, “but I need a nap.”
Murmurs of agreement follow and they all decide to fall back into the same sleeping shift rotation that had gotten them to Coruscant, with Ben taking first watch.
“I’m not tired,” he’d said, pointedly avoiding Rey’s eyes.
Rey had thought about staying up with him, maybe even trying to hash things out again, but her eyes were heavy and her head was beginning to throb. So, instead she followed Poe and Finn into the crew quarters (Chewie stays pretty much permanently fixed in the co-pilots seat; when he does nap, it is in a hammock close to the hyperdrive).
Poe took second shift and Rey was thankful. She was nauseous and tired and nursing a headache that demanded she stay horizontal for at least another six years. Finn was not much better.
“Dameron’s may not have the Force,” Poe had chuckled, his disposition entirely too chipper, “but we don’t get hangovers. To each their own superpower.”
Rey was beginning to think he had the better end of the deal.
It’s two days later and Ben is relieving Rey from her position in the pilot’s chair. They’re in the home stretch now, less than a day from Hoth.
“I don’t want to go back,” Rey pouts as she stands.
“Oh come on now, kid,” Ben chuckles warmly at her, “you can’t tell me you don’t miss freezing to death slowly while surrounded by the wonderful smell of Tauntaun’s.”
She groans, “Can’t we just run away?”
“Maybe someday, kid,” he grins, throwing himself into the captain’s chair. “But until then, go get some sleep.”
She huffs at him and slowly marches back to the crew quarters.
Poe and Finn are still asleep, sprawled across their respective bunk beds. Poe’s arm dangles down from the upper bunk, his hand just barely grazing Finn’s on the lower.
Rey smiles affectionately at them.
She takes off her vest and trousers before slipping between the cool sheets of her own bunk. She lays on her side and hugs her pillow closer to herself, a small sigh escaping her lips.
She wishes Rey & Ben were as easy as Finn & Poe. She thinks there was a time in the beginning, after they first formed a friendship onboard this very ship, that they were easy. That everything was so easy.
Back before furtive glances, stolen touches, and words laced with meaning she could barely understand. Back before frenzied hallway encounters that still made her body ache with want.
Back before a dance on Coruscant that made her yearn for the heady promise of his touch, only to be followed by heated words in the cold night air of the veranda.
Naturally, she and Ben have done what she and Ben always do.
Not talk about it.
They both fall back into the rhythm of friendship with an ease that is beginning to terrify her because she knows that it is all an act.
Every so often he’ll brush against her in the corridor or she’ll fall into him when the ship sways, and one of them will give just a fraction of an inch – a hand that grips harder than it needs to; a body that stays pressed just a second longer than necessary; eyes that stare too long… searching.
She knows he feels it too.
It’s probably half the reasoning this is all so infuriating.
He wants her. He wants her with the same madness that she wants him.
But for whatever reason, he won’t. He won’t give that extra inch.
In a few hours, Poe will wake up and go take Ben’s spot at the helm.
And then he’ll come into the crew quarters, his heavy presence electrifying the air as he casually takes off his boots and his shirt, before climbing into the bunk on top of hers.
Another hour or two after that, Finn will wake up and go keep Poe company in the co-pilots chair while Chewie goes to doze in his hammock.
She knows this rhythm by now.
Finn will leave the room and they will be left alone.
And then they’ll both quietly burn for each other.
Rey must’ve managed to doze for a while, because she doesn’t wake up until Ben comes through the door, Poe having apparently slipped out quiet enough to avoid waking her or Finn, who continues to snore softly in his bed.
She cracks open her eyes to watch him as he toes off his boots and pulls his shirt over his head. Even in the dark she can make out the ridged expanse of his bare chest and the deep ‘V’ of his hips.
She shifts her legs slightly to try and ease the pressure that is already building between her thighs.
He’s moving toward the bed, and she knows that any second he’ll pull himself up onto the top bunk and disappear from her sight for another agonizing round of this same old tune…
But, then, he’s not pulling himself up, because he is crawling into her bunk behind her.
She can’t help the startled jerk of her body as he dips his legs under the sheets and aligns his figure on his side a few inches from her own.
“It’s okay, Rey,” he whispers into the dark, sensing her shock. “I’m just tired of not sleeping.”
“I can appreciate that,” she breathes in a hushed tone, very conscious of Finn’s sleeping presence across from them.
Her words seem to placate him and he inches in a little closer, still not quite touching her. She can feel the warmth radiating off of him and the desert dweller in her wants to curl up under him like he’s the goddamn sun.
An hour passes and how can he possibly be asleep?
Rey’s whole body is intensely aware of his proximity; her muscles refusing to relax, her heart beating in a steady rhythm that seems to mirror the soft chuff of his breath in her ear.
She can’t move, she can’t even think with him this close to her right now, in this way, after everything that’s happened.
She toys with idea of just getting up and going to sit with Poe and Chewie.
And she just might’ve…
… But then Ben shifts in his sleep and it brings his hips flush against her backside.
And he must be dreaming of something pleasant if the bulge pressing firmly between her thighs is any indication.
She gasps – still quiet, because Finn is still here and still asleep – and clutches her pillow with white knuckles. Her heart is beating wildly as her sex throbs at the sudden friction.
In her defense, she tries very hard to remain motionless.
But how can she when every time he breathes in and out he rocks just a fraction against her?
Who can really blame her when it gets to be too much and not enough?
She holds her breath and slowly begins to move small circles against his hips... just light circles... just something to ease the ache-
“What are you doing?” Ben hisses into her ear as one of his hands clenches on her hip.
Rey stills for a moment. Her mouth has no idea how to respond to that, having been caught. Her body, however, seems to have made up its mind for her.
She starts back, continuing her circles against his hips now with a more purposeful grind, as her hand sneaks between her legs, touching the blunt tip of him through his trousers - eliciting a groan from him that positively ignites her - before moving to rub slowly against her clit.
He hisses and thrusts once despite himself.
Rey can feel him behind her, shaking with barely controlled restraint – like a coiled up spring, ready to snap.
She can feel the conflict in him.
She’s about tired of it.
“Ben,” she moans in a whisper. Finn’s sleeping form is still on the edge of her consciousness and she idly wonders if perhaps this isn’t the best time.
But that all doesn’t matter anymore, because with a quiet and defeated “Fuck it” Ben is now grinding up into her and kissing bruises onto her neck. The hand that was once on her hip replaces her own between her legs with a swat. He pushes aside her panties and runs one long finger up her wet sex before plunging in to her aching cunt.
Her cry is muffled by his other hand clamping down across her mouth, his other arm having snaked under her body and across her chest to press against her open lips. “You have to be quiet,” he whispers, his lips against the shell of her ear. She can tell he doesn’t like that fact any more than she does.
Their movements have to remain small and deliberate, their voices hushed lest they wake their sleeping friend.
But, oh, Force, this is Ben and every place he touches her is lit on fire with desire. She’s never wanted anyone the way that she wants him.
It’s a hunger unlike anything she could possibly articulate.
It’s past want. It’s… it’s…
“I need you, Ben,” she whispers because it’s the absolute truth.
He’s already using the hand that was previously rubbing her into delirium to hook a thumb through her panties, using the advantage of long arms to pull them completely off of her.
And then he’s pushing his trousers down and the next thing Rey knows, his thick and hard member is heavy and rubbing against her.
Rey closes her eyes and arches back into him like a cat.
His hand is on her hip again with bruising force as he adjusts himself against her.
And, ohh, she’s wet, so wet for him that all it takes is one small adjustment of her hips, a leg thrown behind her, a foot pressing against his shin to gain purchase, and with one hard thrust he glides into her like he was goddamn made for her. Like he was coming home.
It’s a good thing his hand is across her mouth still because she cannot help the throaty cry that escapes her.
He’s groaning deeply into her hair, while he stays stock still, letting her get use to the size of him, and also giving them both a much needed moment to breathe.
She’d imagined this, imagined him, but nothing like this – nothing could compare to this.
He’s big, much bigger than any fantasies she had conjured up… and, ohhh, the way he stretches her makes her want to babble out obscenities; makes her want to forge a new religion in his honor so long as he lets her worship him this way.
“Shhh shh,” he warns her again. He still hasn’t started moving yet.
Rey opens her eyes and spares a glance to where Finn lays sleeping still - he’s changed positions now and a quick look at the chrono tells her he will be getting up soon.
She briefly wonders if they should maybe just wait for him to wake up and leave… she thinks Ben is probably thinking the same thing.
But neither one of them is particularly good at thinking right now, and in the next moment, Rey is rolling her hips and Ben is pressing up into her, forceful and real.
They continue to rock like that, only small movements so as to remain at least somewhat discrete.
And as amazing as it feels, it’s also quite maddening. Rey wants more and, by the shake in his arms, she can tell Ben does too.
So, it’s a good thing, she supposes, that Finn wakes up when he does, because otherwise their poor control may have given him more of a show.
Ben pulls the sheets up more over top of them, and they both hold perfectly still, barely breathing, as the former Stormtrooper stands and stretches.
Finn seems wondrously oblivious as he pulls on his boots and jacket before exiting the crew quarters to start breakfast.
The moment the door whooshes shut, Ben has pulled himself back and thrown her onto her back. He moves to hover between her thighs and her legs wrap around him.
And then he is thrusting into her with bruising passion and Rey has to throw her hands over her head and brace the headboard to keep from getting rammed into it.
“They could still hear us,” she gasps, her heels finding the twin grooves on his back she swore she’d dig into the first day she’d seen them.
“I don’t care,” he grunts, and then he’s kissing her with the passion they’ve both been denying themselves for far too long, and she’s moaning because she really doesn’t care either.
She comes harder than she has ever come in her entire life, her nails scrapping down his back as she clenches around him.
His hips pick up speed, riding out her orgasm to claim his own.
And with the slapping of skin, spewing curses in every language he knows, he comes a moment later, spilling into her warmth with hard and wild thrusts.
He collapses against her chest, but tries to keep his weight off of her by leaning on his forearms.
She digs her hands into his hair and holds him tight against her.
They lay there panting until their breath begins to slow and the heaviness of what just happened begins to settle over them.
Ben moves first to rest his chin between her shirt covered breasts, while he gazes at her with a touch of wonder.
Rey tucks a stray black hair behind his ear and smiles.
He smiles back before pulling himself up and kissing her again, this time with a kind of gentleness that makes it feel like a prayer.
She kisses him back.
A cynical part of her begins to wonder if this will be another thing that they don’t talk about.
She tightens her legs around him possessively.
It had better not be.
Wedge Antilles is Rey's dad? Ben Kenobi is Wedge's dad? Sabé Antilles may have been more than just some background decoy? Who are Sabé's parents? What was with the fire Rey saw in her dream? Why did Wedge drop her off on Jakku while he went to talk to Luke?
But more importantly, how was the smut? Honest feedback appreciated. It's only my second time writing it.
Thank you all for continuing to read! I LOVE YOU!
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
Sorry about the wait, my loves! Writers block can be a helluva thing.
*EDIT* I made some aesthetics to help get my creative juices following! Find them on tumblr! Here's the link to the first one, which has the link to the other two!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It’s not so much that they don’t talk about it.
It’s that they don’t get the chance too.
They had just barely managed to pull themselves away from each other and throw on their clothes before they’d landed on Hoth.
And from there, they’d had to hit the ground running.
“Intelligence has confirmed that the First Order has narrowed down our location,” General Organa had said when she had met them all in the docking bay. “We have to have the energy shield up and operational within the week if we have any chance of withstanding an attack.”
“How did they find us so quickly?” Poe asked.
“Snoke,” Ben hissed. “He’s become obsessed.” He chanced a glance back at Rey, and the worry in his eyes was a tangible thing.
From then on, they only catch fleeting glimpses of each other as they all pull long and odd hours with their respective divisions. Poe and Ben in the air with their squadrons – running maneuvers and patrolling; Finn stays with command, assisting in determining base weaknesses and possible First Order strategies as well as preparing ground troops; Rey lives and breathes engine grease and base wiring with the rest of the grunts.
It is five days since they’d landed back on Hoth, and Rey is working diligently underneath a malfunctioning X-Wing and trying desperately not to let her mind wander to what had transpired between her and Ben on the Falcon.
She fails of course, and her mind supplies her with flashes of memory – tangled limbs, gripping hands, the rough feel of his stubble against her inner thigh…
She flushes and almost drops her wrench.
They’d managed to pack quite a bit into those few short hours of alone time on the Falcon. Rey still has the bruises to prove it. She knows Ben has a few of his own that aren’t likely to have faded just yet.
And though she’d very much like to get him alone long enough to give him a few more, she’s rather grateful for the distraction of frantic base life at the moment. As much as she wishes they had time to be together… she’s also, quite frankly, terrified of it.
Terrified that he’ll want to take it back; want to pretend it didn’t happen, or say it was a mistake.
Terrified that he’s already regretting it.
Rey chews on her bottom lip as she tries to push that thought aside. Ben hadn’t given her any indication that he had any intention of falling back into those old habits. In fact, Rey could honestly say that, in the few moments that she had seen him, he hadn’t tried to pull away or avoid her. Quite the opposite really.
Rey fights back a grin as she remembers the last time she’d seen him. He’d been amongst his squadron as the base had gathered around for daily huddle before breaking off to their assigned duties for the day.
She was across from him in the large circle they had formed around General Ackbar, and he’d caught her eyes as he took a sip of caf from the steaming cup in his hand. She’d smiled shyly at him and waved a small greeting.
His mouth had turned up in a slanted smirk and then he’d winked at her.
It was a small gesture, but it had Rey humming to herself and fighting a ridiculous grin for the rest of the day.
The things he does to me. Rey sighs to herself as she resumes her work. He’s turning me into a loon.
“Hey Rey,” Max Noto’s voice calls from above, breaking Rey from her reverie. “Do you have a minute?”
She slides out from below the X-Wing, “Max!” She greets and smiles kindly at the man, “What can I do for you?”
“Well, not so much for me, but Captain Canberra…” he trails off and grins.
Rey groans. Captain Canberra is one of the chief engineers for the Resistance – absolutely brilliant and quite frankly the most absent minded person Rey has ever come across. She has lost count of the times she has had to come and finish or fix one of his rewires. “What has he done now?”
Max chuckles and they fall into an easy rhythm together as he walks with her across base.
Rey likes Max. Despite their history, he’s always been sweet to her. He has that kind of easy charm that makes him nearly impossible to be uncomfortable around. And, honestly, one of the most truly wicked senses of humor she has ever come across.
Rey’s cheeks hurt from laughing so hard when he leaves her with Captain Canberra, who, apparently, has forgotten which wires, if crossed, would blow up the shield generator. She lets out a long suffering sigh and gently reminds him.
It’s later that night and Rey is tired and ready to collapse in her bed. The door to her quarters swooshes closed behind her as she starts to unzip her coveralls.
“I saw you with Noto,” Ben’s deep voice startles her.
She turns to see him leaning casually against the wall to her left, tucked just enough in the shadows of the dimly lit room to appear somewhat menacing, “Force, Ben!” She breaths, her hand on her heart as she tries to compose herself, “You scared me!”
He pushes himself off the wall and slowly walks over to her. “I saw you with Noto,” he repeats.
Rey’s mouth goes a little dry at the possessive tone in his voice, “I’m not sure what you mean.”
He’s close enough now that she can see the hunger in his eyes and she vaguely wonders if she is dreaming. “You were laughing with him.”
“He’s a funny guy,” she says, barely registering that she has started to back up from him until her back is suddenly flush against the wall.
His big arms press against the wall on either side of her, caging her in as he leans forward. The sleeves of his flight suit are rolled up enough that she can see the flex of corded muscle in his forearms.
She’s not very tired anymore.
“I didn’t like it,” he grinds out. His eyes are practically black as they scan her face.
“We were just talking, Ben,” she breathes.
“I didn’t like it,” he repeats.
She’s about to respond when he closes the space between them and claims her mouth with his, effectively shutting down any salty retort she may have had in mind.
Instead she’s moaning into him as her hands snake up around his neck and into his hair. Her fingers wrap around black tendrils and she pulls, forcing his head back and exposing his neck to her. She kisses his jaw before nipping her way down to his pulse point.
He groans as deft fingers find the zipper of her coveralls, ripping it down. He pushes it off her shoulders and down her hips.
It’s Hoth, so she’s still got four layers for him to get through, but he makes it happen in record time.
She manages to free him from his flight suit and thermals, and, before long, they only have each other to keep themselves warm.
And he’s so damn warm.
He finds her lips again, pressing her hard against the wall. She lifts one leg to catch around his hip, pulling him in closer.
He growls into her mouth as he hoists her up. She clings to his shoulders as he lowers her down.
They both groan and swear as he slowly sheaths himself fully into her.
He doesn’t move right away, taking a moment to nip at her clavicle and shoulder. “This is all I’ve thought about. You’re all I’ve thought about,” he murmurs against her.
She shudders and takes one hand from his shoulder to entwine in his hair, pressing him closer to her, “Me too, Ben.”
And then he’s moving, rolling his hips and pressing up in to her languidly.
Her head rolls back against the wall and he uses the opportunity to kiss fresh bruises onto her breasts.
He keeps the pace as he frees one hand to press the flat of his thumb against her sensitive nub. She digs her fingernails into his shoulder and gasps out his name.
His hips pick up speed and he bites a moan into her shoulder.
“You don’t know what you’re doing to me, Rey,” he whispers into her neck and it makes her groan and clench around him. They both hiss at the feeling.
He’s driving into her in earnest now, her back scrapping up and down the wall in time with his thrusts, and babbling about how good she feels, how right she feels.
Her eyes roll back in her head and she is close. So close.
“You’re mine, Rey,” he snarls out, his hips snapping into her with bruising force. “You’re mine.”
She cries out as her climax hits her with unexpected intensity – white heat washing over her as she claws at his back, clenching around the hard length of him.
His pace is brutal now, punishing, as he growls into her neck.
She’s still in the throes of her own orgasm when he finds his. His hands gripping bruises onto her hips as he spills into her with hard thrusts and her name on his lips.
They are slow to separate, panting heavily and clinging to each other with equal possessiveness.
He kisses her softly before finally pulling away and setting her down on wobbly legs.
He smiles down at her as he tucks a stray wisp of hair back behind her ear. He grabs her hand and starts to pull her toward the ‘fresher.
“What are we doing?” She asks with a shaky voice as she watches him hit the buttons on the wall for the shower.
“Showering, clearly,” he says as the water spurts on. “You’re gorgeous, but you kind of smell like Tauntaun.”
She frowns as she lets him pulls her under the water with him, “That’s not what I meant.”
He tilts his shaggy head back to let the water run through his hair as he considers her. “You mean us, I venture?”
She puffs out an annoyed breath and he chuckles.
“Well, kid, the way I see it,” he says as he pumps soap into his hands and starts lathering it up, “You’re an inevitability for me. You’re gravity. I tried to fight it and failed spectacularly. So, from here on out, it’s up to you. Take whatever you want from me. I’m yours.”
He says it all very nonchalantly and Rey wonders how he can be so collected while he up-ends her world once again.
It takes her a few minutes to process what he’s said, but then she’s smiling widely up at him as she watches him wash his hair.
It’s nearly three years into their easy friendship when, in a shower on Hoth, Rey and Ben finally become Rey & Ben.
For one glorious month, fate deals Rey the kindest hand it has ever seen fit. It flies by in a wave of soft kisses, warm laughs, and the strongest sense of belonging she has probably ever felt.
Sex in every nook and cranny on base doesn’t hurt either. The cold doesn’t even bother her anymore. As far as she is concerned, Hoth is her favorite planet.
“There isn’t a lot of room in here to try this,” she laughs as she straddles his lap in his X-Wing.
“Do or do not,” he bites at her neck, “there is no try.”
She snorts, but then he’s bucking up into her and she’s moaning as she rolls her hips.
Everyone on base knows. There is no hiding the way the air sets on fire whenever they are in the same room together. Rey relishes a little in the looks she gets from some of the women on base. It’s nice to finally be on the receiving end of someone’s jealousy regarding Ben.
He reads to her from old texts at night sometimes. Wraps her up against him and lulls her to sleep with the sound of his deep voice and stories of Jedi passed.
Finn and Poe are delighted, naturally. Though Poe slightly more so.
“Perfect timing!” Poe grins as he holds a hand out to Finn. “Pony up, babe.”
“You couldn’t have held out for three more weeks?” Finn grumbles as he passes several credits to the pilot over breakfast.
Ben barks out a laugh. She’s sitting on his lap and grinning right along with him.
It’s all so perfect, like something out of someone else’s life.
She supposes that should have been the first clue that it couldn’t possibly last forever.
It is one month and one week into their relationship when Hoth comes under attack.
She’s hard at work fixing an old R4 unit when the attack siren blares to life followed immediately by the thundering sound of laser cannon fire. The entire base seems to quake.
She jumps up and races toward base command, her heart in her throat. Ben’s squadron was on patrol right now. Ben was on patrol right now. Ben. Her pulse thunders in her ears as she runs past several scrambling Resistance pilots making their way to the hangar for their fighters to join in the airstrike.
“Battle stations!” A voice bellows from seemingly everywhere.
She tries to reach out in the Force for his presence, but hits a strange shimmering wall – like something is shielding him from her. Something strong.
Panic is flooding her veins as she rounds the corner into the command center.
General Organa is beside one of the monitors throwing orders out left and right to various Commanders when Rey runs up to her.
“General,” she gasps, “Ben’s out there, but I can’t feel him. Something’s blocking me.”
The General nods, “I’ve felt it too.”
“General,” Lieutenant Connix calls over the din. “Captain Solo’s X-Wing is no longer visible on radar.”
Rey doesn’t wait for Leia’s response before she is racing toward the docking bay where the Falcon is.
“Chewie!” She calls over her comlink, “Get in the Falcon and start her up! Ben’s out there!”
An acknowledging roar sounds off that Rey swears she could hear even without the com.
She’s in the captain’s chair a heartbeat later and taking off out of the hangar even faster.
They’re immediately greeted with laser fire that shakes the ship. Thankfully Chewie already has the shields up and the few modifications Rey has made seem to be holding up well.
“Hold on!” She calls out as she dodges in and out of the firefight.
First Order ships are absolutely everywhere and Rey realizes with a nauseating flip of her stomach that they are woefully outnumbered.
She blast through a clearing of ships, relying partially on her own skill, but more on the instinct the Force grants her to navigate through the disarray – she can feel it humming around her, pulsing through her with every heartbeat, every breath. Her fear is making her strong and any other time this fact might concern her, but right now, all she can focus on is finding Ben.
Chewie roars and points to a black dot against the blazing white in the distance.
Rey knows instinctively that it’s Ben’s fighter.
As they fly closer, Rey lets out a thankful breath as she realizes that it hasn’t crashed or been shot down. It’s parked, but she doesn’t see Ben inside.
Chewie yodels and points again to a cave opening nearby. There is a red glow emitting from within, and Rey knows intuitively that Ben is inside.
She quickly lands the Falcon and her and Chewie race down the ramp toward the cave. She ignites her saber and Chewie holds his bowcaster at the ready.
It’s freezing, and, in her haste, Rey didn’t grab her warm outer layer, but that doesn’t matter right now. None of that matters right now.
Only Ben matters.
She only slows down when she enters the cave. She can hear voices from deeper within. She stops. “Wait here, Chewie,” she says, “cover the entrance.”
Chewie grumbles an agreement, though she can tell he doesn’t like it.
She continues forward, the blue of her lightsaber reflecting off the white walls of the cave. The red glow still burns from within.
“You’ve grown weak, Kylo,” she hears a woman’s voice say. It’s modulated, like she’s wearing a mask.
“That’s not my name anymore, Shara.” It’s Ben. Rey nearly cries out in relief. Instead, she flattens herself against one of the walls of the cave and deactivates her saber to prevent the glow from giving away her position as she continues to inch forward.
“It’s the name of your true self, you’ve only just forgotten,” the woman snarls.
“Is that what Snoke told you? Did he tell you to come here and remind me?”
She can see them now. Ben is in the middle of a small clearing in the cave with his red saber ignited. There are six black figures surrounding him and she knows immediately that they are the Knights of Ren.
“Always so narcissistic, Ren,” one of the other figures clips at him. “What makes you think we’re here for you?”
Rey realizes two things. One: that she is very clearly walking into a trap, and two: that it doesn’t matter because she has to get Ben out of there.
So, she does the dumb thing and ignites her lightsaber, twirling it as she steps out from the shadows. “I suppose I am to assume you are here for me then?”
The room is quiet for a moment. She at least has the benefit of catching them all apparently off guard.
He doesn’t turn to face her, but she can see Ben’s shoulders tense up. “Rey,” he warns, “get out of here; I can take care of them.”
“Taught your pet how to cloak herself pretty effectively, Kylo,” Shara says. “I’m impressed.”
“Honestly, I don’t even know when I’m doing it,” Rey says. She’s taking a page from the Han Solo playbook and seeing how much she can just talk her way out of. “Guess I don’t know my own strength.”
What are you doing? Ben’s voice hisses in her head.
Improvising. She quips back.
“You’re very young,” Shara says, sizing Rey up. “Pretty, I suppose. In a kind of desert rat way.”
“Jealous are we?” Rey smirks. “See that, Ben? I think this one likes you.”
It’s probably the exact wrong thing to say, because, in the next instant, Rey is Force pushed and flying backward, smacking hard into the cave wall. “Oomph!”
“Rey!” Ben calls out, but he doesn’t take his eyes off the Knights. “Shara, if you hurt her-”
“-You’ll what, Kylo? You’re weak.”
Ben snarls, “You know full and well what I am capable of, Shara Ren! You would do well not to forget who exactly you are talking too.”
Whatever response Ben had planned against the woman is cut short when he rather unceremoniously flies backward through the air to land in a rolling heap at Rey’s feet near the mouth of the cave. She had used the momentary distraction afforded to her by their sneering banter to focus the Force and pull him towards her, as well as to simultaneously cause a-
“-Cave it!” One of the Knight calls as rocks begins to descend upon them
Rey grabs Ben’s arm and pulls him up, “Come on, flyboy! Move it!”
They race out of the cave, and for one glorious second, Rey thinks it’s actually going to be that easy.
But then the blinding white of Hoth hits them, as does the realization that they are completely surrounded by First Order troops.
Chewie roars, several Stormtroopers have guns trained on him. His bowcaster lies at his feet and his arms are bound. Rey can see the singes on his fur that indicate he has been shot.
“Surrender,” a mechanical voice orders them.
Ben twirls his lightsaber, “And if we don’t?”
“Our orders are to bring the girl in alive. Nothing was said about you, Kylo Ren.”
Ben smirks, “Death it is then.”
Rey’s mind is racing a hundred miles a minute. Ben, you have to run.
What? He sounds incredulous even inside her head.
“They want me,” she whispers to him. “And they want me alive.”
She turns to face him. His endless eyes are searching hers and she wishes nothing more than for them to have more time. So, let’s see if they can catch me.
His eyes widen at her implication. “Rey-”
She touches his cheek and smiles sadly up at him, her eyes glistening. I’ll see you again soon.
He grabs her hand and places a small kiss to her wrist.
She can hear the Knights of Ren beginning to emerge from the rock pile inside the cave and she knows she has to move quickly. Times up.
His eyes are still searching hers and their intensity is burning into her, “I love you.”
It’s the first time he’s ever said it. He has such shit timing.
She smiles as a tear streaks down her face, “I know.”
Several things happen simultaneously.
One: Resistance ground troops show up, led by Finn, and start firing.
Two: the Knights of Ren emerge from the cave and start racing toward her and Ben, weapons drawn.
Three: Chewie roars and breaks his bonds, taking another blaster shot to his arm as he picks up his bowcaster and starts firing– seemingly unaffected by his wounds.
Four: Rey uses every single scrap of power in her body to gather Ben in the Force and push him as hard as she can toward Finn.
The moment she sees him roll safely behind Resistance lines, she takes off with a flash.
The Falcon is too far.
But Ben’s X-Wing isn’t.
“Get her!” She hears Shara calling from behind her. “She’s the only thing that matters!”
Rey jumps and climbs into the cockpit. They’ve started firing at her, but they are too late.
“R2, buddy, I really hope you’re ready for this!” She flicks a couple of switches and the X-Wing hums to life.
The blue droid beeps at her.
“I like your confidence. I was born ready too.”
She fires several shots at approaching Stormtroopers from the wingtip lasers as she keys in the final flight sequence.
The engine screams as she takes off.
She knows without looking that all First Order ships are regrouping and preparing to follow her.
It’s sort of terrifying to realize that she was their only mission. That this battle, in all its enormity, was nothing more than a giant kidnapping operation. She wishes she understood why the hell she was suddenly so damn important.
“Ben!” Poe’s voice is very quiet and she realizes it’s because she hasn’t put Ben’s helmet on yet. She quickly throws in on. It’s too big, but she can hear Poe clearly now, “Ben! Come in!”
“It’s Rey, Poe.”
“Rey? What are you doing? The whole First Order is following you!”
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Well... it does make them easier targets!” She can almost hear the smile in his voice and from her periphery she can see his squadron coming in in attack formation.
“Keep them off me long enough for me to get away, would you?”
She can’t see it clearly, but the fight behind her looks ferocious. She tries not to think about all the Resistance pilots who are sacrificing themselves for her without even realizing it as several explosions go off behind her.
She’s not entirely sure how she manages to make a clean getaway. She’s fairly certain she hasn’t, but it is seven hours later and she hasn’t seen another First Order ship since she left Hoth.
R2 beeps at her.
“I don’t know, R2. I think we’ve lost them. I’m cautiously optimistic.”
The droid hums before beeping again.
“I’m not sure yet. I have to ditch this ship first, but I am open to suggestions.”
“Tatooine?” Rey pauses a moment as she thinks it over. She doesn’t want to lead the First Order to Luke, but at the same time, she could really use his guidance. “All right, R2. Set course for Tatooine.”
R2 hums happily as he obeys.
Rey sits back and tries to get comfortable in her seat as she prepares herself for several more hours of flight.
She hasn’t fully formed a plan yet. She just knows she has to outrun Snoke, and she hopes that by doing so, by leaving, the Resistance will have time enough to regroup and maybe come up with some kind of plan of their own to take down the First Order once and for all.
She also knows with burning certainty, for the sake of everyone she cares about and loves, that it is high past time she found out exactly who the hell she is.
Her thoughts drift toward Ben and she can’t help but reach out to him through the Force. It’s distant, but she can feel his warmth and knows he’s okay. She knows he can feel her too.
I’ll see you again soon. She’d promised him.
She can only cross her fingers and pray that Luke can give her some kind of answer or at least point her in the right direction.
Help me, Luke Skywalker. You’re my only hope.
Why does Snoke want Rey so bad? Just who is she? Is she tapping a little too much into the darkside?
And how stinking cute are her and Ben now that they've got their shit together? How much do you hate me for separating them almost immediately?
Thank you all, as always, for your wonderful reviews. Constructive criticism welcome within reason - I'm a fragile soul.
Love you all! Muah!
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
*coughs and waves shyly* Umm. Hi.
Sorry about the super long wait, my darlings. I have been suffering from the worse case of writers block I have ever had.
Special thank you goes to imyourfag, ivylovesnarry, and Jinga for your recent comments! They helped me battle this monster and get this chapter done!
It's a little shorter than my usually chapter's, but I figured I'd tortured you all long enough.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The twin suns of Tatooine are setting, casting the land in a reddish orange haze, when Rey lands Ben’s X-Wing just outside of Mos Eisley spaceport.
Luke, his weathered face hidden within the hood of his brown cloak, is already waiting for her there.
“The children and I sensed you the moment you set course for Tatooine,” he explains before she can even voice the question.
“I’m so sorry to have come here, Luke,” she chokes out. “I didn’t know where else to go.”
He hushes her softly and places a soothing hand on her shoulder as he begins to direct her toward an old, rusted out X-34 landspeeder. “You have nothing to apologize for, Rey. I’ve been expecting you.”
He hops into the pilot seat of the landspeeder with the spryness of a man thirty years his junior and smiles as he beckons her to join him.
One thing that always struck her about Luke – no matter what preconceived notions you may have of the man, whether it be because of his age, his legend, or just his general countenance, he would, without fail, find ways to surprise you.
Four years ago, when she had first arrived on Ahch-To and asked him to train her, her first impression of him was that of a sullen and quiet man who seemed to be buckling under the weight of his own destiny.
Within a month, Rey had found that, instead of some legendary mythical figure, Luke Skywalker was a very real, very human man who made terrible soup and talked to the plants on the island like they owed him favors.
“Remember that time I brought you inside during the rainstorm?” Luke chided a nova lily that had yet to blossom, “I expect you to show your colors soon.”
Rey starred at him over her steaming bowl of soup and wondered how anyone in the Universe could think of this man as a threat.
Of course, in the years that have past, Rey has had ample opportunity to see exactly what makes Luke Skywalker a threat.
Not unlike his sister, Luke’s intimidation lay in his quiet power. The way he could level you with a look and seemed to know everything you never wanted anyone to know, like your soul was bare before him, and, should he so desire - should the mood strike him - he could be your judge, jury, and reluctant executioner.
It was in his calm finality. The way he would just sigh wearily at anyone who dared challenge him, almost like he already knew the outcome of every battle, and it was always in his favor.
Though gentle and kind by nature, Luke Skywalker was not a man to be trifled with.
Rey jumps into the seat beside him and comforts herself with the reminder of precisely why she has come here – come to Luke - as they speed through the desert.
If anyone could help her now, it was him.
“What do you know of who I am, Luke?” Rey asks sometime later over a steaming cup of tea. They are sitting at a table across from each other in the old Lars homestead.
“If you had told me at 18 that, one day, I’d happily live out my days here,” Luke had chuckled. “I would have called you crazy.”
“Honestly, Rey? Not much.” He sighs as he runs a hand down his face – it’s a gesture familiar to Rey, she’s seen Ben do it a hundred times, usually when he was mad at himself for something. “I wish I knew more. I’ve spent a great deal of time meditating on it since I learned that Wedge was your father.”
Rey frowns as she thinks a moment, “Ben told me that my father was on his way to see you when his ship burned up in an asteroid belt.”
Luke grimaces and nods, “Yes, that’s true.”
“Do you have any idea why he was coming to see you?”
“No. He wouldn’t tell me at the time, just said that it was urgent he speak to me in person.”
“What about Jakku? Why would he leave me on Jakku?” The question burns Rey strangely, like an old wound reminding her it was still there.
“Wedge and Dosmit met during the Battle of Jakku,” Luke says firmly, as if he is glad to at least have this answer. “Her ship was shot down and he was part of the rescue party that found her.” A small and sad smile dances across his face as he remembers his friends and Rey feels her heart ache for him. He lost them too. “I remember Wedge telling me that a rather unfortunate creature on Jakku owed him a life-debt after he saved him from some Imperial ground troops.”
“Unkar Plutt,” Rey supplies, a bit astounded as a small piece of the puzzle slips into place. “That’s why he left me with him. He figured it would be the safest place for me.” More memories begin to unlock and she remembers her father coldly telling Plutt to keep her hidden and keep her safe.
“You owe me this, Plutt,” her father’s eyes narrowed. “You watch out for her until I return.” He turned to Rey with soft grey eyes as he got down on his knees, holding her tight against him, “I’ll come back, sweetheart. I promise.” He rose, placed a quick kiss to her forehead, and quietly reminded her to stay secret – stay safe, before turning and ascending the ramp to his ship.
“No!” She cried out for him, “Come back!”
“Quiet, girl!” Plutt’s thick hand pulled on hers as she watched her father’s ship fly away.
“What was he trying to keep you safe from?” Luke’s gentle voice brings her back to the present.
She shakes her head, “I don’t know. I remember feeling like something was coming for me and I remember a fire-”
“-A fire?” Luke interrupts, his eyes wide. “What do you remember about a fire?”
“Just flashes of heat and my father carrying me through the flames.” She looks at Luke and raises one delicate eyebrow, “Why?”
“I had forgotten this,” he closes his eyes and turns away, clenching his jaw - angry at himself. He briefly reminds her so much of Ben that it makes her heart seize up. “Just before Wedge contacted me on Yavin, there was a great fire on Coruscant, burned up half a city block. I didn’t find out about it until much later, but,” he pauses as he opens his eyes and looks into hers, “your grandmother was killed in that blaze. I had once assumed Wedge’s daughter had been too.”
“Stay quiet, no matter what you hear, my darling. Do you understand?” Her grandmother’s voice was gentle, but firm… and… and scared.
“I love you, my darling,” a tear that was not her own hit Rey’s cheek as her grandmother kissed her temple and closed the lid to the trunk she was hiding in.
“I love you too, Nana.”
Tears burn at the corner of Rey’s eyes as the memory overwhelms her.
Luke’s warm hands grasp hers tightly, “I’m so sorry, Rey.”
They’re all gone… All because of me…
“You have to go back,” a small voice cuts in, startling both her and Luke. It’s Keiva, the Youngling that Ben had taken a shine to, and she’s standing at the entrance to the kitchen in her pajamas clutching a blanket tightly.
“Keiva, my child,” Luke says as he stands and makes his way over to the girl, “what are you doing awake?”
She looks up at him for a moment before seeming to dismiss his presence and focus her attention back at Rey, “You have to go back to where the fire was.”
Luke’s face shadows, “Why do you say that, Keiva?”
“I’ve dreamt about it,” the girl explains casually, as if the answer should be obvious. “It’s waiting for her there.”
Something clenches around Rey’s lungs, a tightness that terrifies her. “What’s waiting for me there?”
Keiva looks to Rey once more, locking eyes with her, and the child seems ancient for a moment, her eyes boring through Rey and into infinity. It is several heartbeats before she finally responds.
They’re in docking bay 94 at Mos Eisley spaceport the next morning. Rey has already made up her mind that her next stop is Coruscant.
“I don’t know if I like this idea, Rey,” Luke says as he helps her pack up a small shuttle she had traded Ben’s X-Wing for with rations and supplies.
“Not sure I like it either, Luke, but I don’t exactly have much else to go on.”
He frowns, “The dreams of a child strong with the Force are not to be taken lightly. Snoke is a master manipulator. This could very well be a trap.”
She nods, “I’ve considered that.” She steps aboard the shuttle and starts to run a systems check.
Luke follows her, “Rey, I don’t think you fully comprehend the ramifications if anything happens to you.”
She has. Of course she has. How could she not?
He’s all she ever really thinks about.
She’d seen it in his head once, how he felt like he’d burn the galaxy to the ground if anything ever happened to her. She’s not entirely sure he’d been exaggerating.
“Ben has a great deal of my father in him,” Luke sighs wearily, as though having read her thoughts.
An unexpected flare of anger swells in Rey’s chest and she whips around to face Luke. “Stop doing that!” She bellows. “Stop comparing him to Vader like he is some kind of echo of the past or a ticking time bomb! He’s better than that!”
Inside the Mos Eisley Cantina, several glasses have shattered rather surprisingly in the hands of those drinking from them.
That strange feeling of strength is back. She can feel it - the way her anger makes her stronger. It doesn’t repulse her the way it should.
“Rey,” Luke’s voice is a quiet warning, “control your anger; don’t let it control you.”
She turns from him, feeling very much like a child being scolded. It doesn’t help abate her anger any.
“Remember where that path leads,” his voice is calm and infuriatingly sympathetic as he places a hand on her shoulder.
Rey closes her eyes and counts back from a thousand. Get it together. Get it together.
She pictures her ocean; the island from her dreams that helped her sleep as a child and has become her meditation point since the beginning of her lessons as a Jedi.
A sandy shoreline and clear blue water.
This time, she sees Ben there. He’s grinning at her as the waves lap at his ankles.
Warmth blooms within her chest and travels through her body, down to her toes, chasing the darkness away with it.
As quick as she had flared to anger, she returns to being calm and centered. Somewhere in the back of her mind she finds it rather amusing that it is Ben that can elicit both extremes from her.
She opens her eyes and turns to look directly into Luke tranquil blue ones. “Snoke is after me, Luke… if I am to stop him, to resist him, I have to be ready.” She turns from him once more, unable to maintain eye contact with him as she continues, “There is darkness in me, a darkness that I do not fully understand. If I am to have any hope of overcoming it, I have to know where it comes from… where I come from.”
Luke carefully grasps her chin in his hand and forces her to look at him once more. “You may find this rather hard to believe, Rey, but I understand.” His sorrowful face is so full of empathy that it brings her to tears. “I wasn’t always what you see now. I was once nothing more than a young man desperate for the love of a father who had forsaken me – it brought me to a very dark place for a time. Every light casts a shadow. Every end has a start.” He releases her chin before wrapping his arms around her in an embrace she welcomes. He smells like dunes and duracrete and for a moment Rey only has to take a deep breath in to remember what it felt like to have a father. “I don’t know what you’ll find on Coruscant, Rey, but I do know that your light is stronger than any darkness you may face. The Force will be with you, always.”
She holds on to him tight for a moment more. She lets his soothing presence ground her, and remind her of how far she has come, of how much is at stake, before she takes a deep breath and steps out of his arms.
He smiles kindly at her. She smiles kindly back at him.
They are both, at once, mirror images of each other - desert children with stars in their eyes and destinies that they don’t want. They are bottomless wells of sadness and hope.
“May the Force be with you,” she says because it’s all she can think to say.
His smile widens, “I never thought I’d get to hear a Kenobi say that to me again.”
Rey can’t help but chuckle.
A few moments later, she watches as the wind from her shuttle’s propulsion system kicks up the sand around Luke Skywalker, causing his robes to whip around his legs.
His eyes don’t leave her shuttle until she breaks atmosphere, even when it means starring into the unforgiving glare of twin suns.
Once Rey is in the ink of space, she sets course for Coruscant and then stretches her legs out. The journey will be long, and, although a touch sad she had to ditch Ben’s X-Wing (she had such fond memories of it…), she is rather thankful to be traveling in something a little more spacious than a fighter.
R2 beeps from behind her.
She turns and smiles at the droid, “Thanks for staying with me R2. I know you miss Luke.”
He hums sadly and beeps.
“You’re right,” she agrees, “There’s always next time.” She thinks of Ben and tries not to dwell on the ache in her heart that worries on how long it will be until ‘next time’.
Rey leans back in her chair and closes her eyes, because there are just some things you can only see when your eyes are closed.
She visits her ocean. She pictures Ben there.
She lets the warmth flow through her veins and she thinks that for now this should be enough.
And, for just a moment, it is.
Rey lands on Coruscant right before dawn.
She is surprised to find that she remembers exactly where to go.
She is somehow not surprised to find that her grandmother’s old apartment is still an ashen skeleton – a metallic husk, black and warped. The air tastes like aluminum and Rey feels, with a sick twist of her stomach, a strange darkness compelling her forward.
“Stay here, R2,” she tells the droid as she begins to make her way into her old home.
The droid beeps in emphatic agreement.
She steps through the hole where the door once was and takes in her surroundings. The walls still hold a touch of their original blue color and she traces them with careful fingers as she moves through the entryway and into what was once the main living area.
She sees flashes of herself running happily through the hallway while her father chases her, Nana smiling at them from the kitchen.
Her eyes burn, but she won’t cry. She won’t.
She feels a strange tugging sensation – like there is a small hook tethered somewhere just above her navel that is pulling her to something. It reminds her of the day at Maz Kanata’s castle when she had been drawn toward Luke’s lightsaber.
She’s in the hallway outside her grandmother’s bedroom before she knows it. She fiddles with the charred control board until she manages to get it functional.
As soon as the door swooshes open, Rey can feel the throbbing pulse of fear bubble up within her.
The room is shockingly well preserved from the fire as compared to the rest of the apartment. The walls are a touch blackened, the curtains singed, and the furniture coated in a thick pile of dust and ash – but otherwise the room is exactly as Rey remembers it.
There is a trunk sitting at the foot of her grandmother’s bed, and with a nauseating flip of her stomach, she recognizes it as the one she had hid in.
The tugging sensation is sharper now, feeling almost frantic, as she lets it lead her toward the trunk. She pulls open the top and closes it quickly as Nana’s perfume hits her full force.
She won’t cry. She won’t.
She opens the top again and tries to focus on honing in on whatever it is that is calling to her. She pushes aside various scarfs and silky material until she is at the bottom. She already knows it’s a false bottom; she isn’t sure how she knows – but she knows. She taps twice on the wood anyway and hears the hollow sound echoing the knowledge she already possessed.
Her fingers trace the edges until she finds an almost imperceptible notch. She wraps her finger around it and gives it a hard tug, opening the space beneath where nothing but a small velvet box lays waiting for her.
Her blood is pounding in her ears as she reaches for it. For a spilt second, she almost thinks she can hear her grandmother calling her name with fear in her voice…
She doesn’t heed the warning. She opens the box.
Inside is a silver ring. It’s large, a man’s ring. It has symbols she doesn’t recognize all around it.
And, in the center, the letter Peth is shining brightly, cut from a large red stone.
Rey reaches out, and as soon as her fingers touch the cool metal, the world melts away.
Suddenly – impossibly - she’s beside a lake, the sun is bright – too bright, but it’s raining. She sees young lovers some ways away from her. The man is kissing the woman’s neck, and on his hand is the ring Rey had just touched.
She hears the sound of disembodied voices behind her.
“That’s not true! That’s impossible!” It’s a man’s voice… but it melts into a woman's. A woman's voice she recognizes as her grandmother's.
She turns toward the sound of the voice and the world shifts.
She’s in an empty, sunlit throne room. Except, it isn’t empty, because there is a young woman with Rey’s eyes standing beside a man with a smile that is trying to hide the cruelty in his face.
They are both starring at her. The young woman looks sadly at her and Rey knows that face. “Nana?” Rey asks as she steps closer.
But the world spins again and suddenly she is aboard a spaceship, watching Luke Skywalker face down the Emperor and Darth Vader.
“It is your destiny!” The Emperor says to Luke.
But he isn’t looking at Luke.
He’s looking at Rey.
And Vader and Luke are gone and it’s just Rey and the Emperor in a dark throne room.
Rey looks down at herself and she is wearing an all-black gown with shimmering red stones laced into it. She tries to scream, but nothing comes out.
The Emperor is beside her now and smiling cruelly.
“You are now mine.”
“NO!” She screams, hot tears streaking down her face.
She turns to run from him, but trips and falls… and falls… and falls.
She lands with an ‘Oomph!” on the singed carpet of her grandmother’s room, having never truly left it.
She takes in several heaving breathes as the tears continue to come. She’s doubled over on her knees, her face buried in her hands. Please say it’s not true. Please.
“So,” a deep and terrifying voice says from the doorway, “you have finally learned the truth of who you are.”
Rey is on her feet in a moment, lightsaber ignited, tears forgotten. “You!”
It’s the first time Rey has ever seen Snoke in person, though Ben had told her a bit about his scarred face and cold eyes.
"He has terrible power,” Ben had said quietly one night when she had probed him about his former master. “It’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt. Like a chasm in the Force; great and terrible.”
But nothing could have prepared her for the nauseating way the Force seems to pull into him. Like he was some kind of black hole and Rey was perilously close to crossing the event horizon.
He’s as tall or taller than Ben, thin and gaunt. Rey briefly wonders if he had once been human, if the dark side had twisted him into the strange creature he is now.
It occurs to her suddenly how truly little she understands of the dark side. Was it capable of turning your body into something so undesirable? Was the power it offered worth it?
Rey shakes herself. She doesn’t like these thoughts. She suspects they aren’t entirely her own.
“His greatest trick is making you believe that your mind is your own,” Ben had warned. “You think you are following your own thoughts, your own desires… but you aren’t. You’re following his.”
He begins to move toward her with a strange, almost surreal, glide. His cloak billows behind him, though Rey can feel no breeze. “Strange isn’t it, child?” His dark voice curls around her, “That once upon a time, I nearly had you in my grasp within this very room.”
“I want the child,” the monster’s voice shook the room and Rey could only curl up in her grandmother’s scarf inside the trunk and try to be brave. “You cannot keep her from me! Your insufferable line has finally produced a child of some significance.”
“You will never have her,” her grandmother’s voice was iron. “She is light. She is a Kenobi! She is not his!” She spat the last word with such venom, such hatred.
Who did Nana hate so much?
“She is darkness as much as she is light, as you of all people should know,” his voice sneered, “daughter of Palpatine.”
She could feel her grandmother’s resolve sharpen. “That monster has no claim on me or my family!” Rey heard the strike of a torch. "And neither do you!"
She heard the monster scream, “No!”
And then she could hear nothing but the roaring of flames.
And she’s crying and screaming…
But then her father is throwing open the trunk and pulling her into his arms and they are running through the flames.
Rey exhales through her nose, she feels the beads of sweat on her forehead, as the last of the pieces fall into place.
“You came after me when I was a child,” she says to Snoke, but more for herself. “You came because I am the granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi and…” she pauses as she gathers herself, “and the great-granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine.”
“Yes, child,” he says, a dark whisper.
“And my grandmother burnt this place down to keep you from me,” she says smugly. “She left you scarred.”
He sneers, “She was a foolish woman who died for nothing, and her son was no better.”
Rey’s eyes narrow, “You killed my father too, didn’t you? It wasn’t a collision in an asteroid belt! It was you!” Rage floods her. The windows in the room splinter and burst and the shards of glass go crashing toward Snoke, pointed ends aimed straight for his jugular.
He waves his hand and they all stop inches from him, shattering uselessly to the ground. “It matters not, child, though you are correct.”
It feels like ice cold hands are circling her throat, choking her mercilessly, as she is lifted in the air and pulled toward Snoke. Her toes drag across the floor and she drops her lightsaber as she reaches up to try and release his hold on her.
But she is no match for him.
‘Terrible power,’ Ben’s voice echo’s through her mind.
Her eyes are wide with fear as she stops just in front of him. He gazes down on her with his dark, hollow eyes and smiles with a cruel twist of his lips. “All that matters, my dear Rey, is that I have you now.”
She struggles to remain conscious, but the swimming pull of darkness is overtaking her. The last thing she hears is the sound of a monster whispering in her ear, “How was I to have any hold on Kylo Ren when the blood of both of Skywalker’s master’s flows through your veins? How was he ever going to be loyal to me, while you exist?”
Many lightyears away, on the frozen planet of Hoth, Ben Solo awakens in a cold sweat, his breath coming out in desperate pants, as if all his nightmares had just been realized.
*The Letter Peth is Aurebesh for "P" - Aurebesh is the Star Wars alphabet.
Can you believe it??? Rey is a Kenobi AND a Palpatine!?!? Sheesh! Poor thing! Hope you guys were able to follow along in the "Force vision" I'd concocted. It's suppose to feel very much like her first Force Vision from TFA, but with a slightly darker tone.
To give a little backstory - Sabé grew up in an orphanage. She didn't know Palpatine was her father until her adult years, after he had begun to show his true colors. Palpatine never knew he had a daughter, her mother had kept it a secret - sensing the darkness in him. She died shortly after childbirth (what is it with all these women dying after giving birth to special babies??). If you have any further questions about it, feel free to ask! I may or may not answer them in the story, but I will surely answer them in the comments.
And what is this... possibly a Ben POV chapter next? Well... you've all been so patient with me, it seems like a treat is in order.
Hope you all continue you read and enjoy! Comments are super helpful and they give me life!