Rey shifted with unease on the small cot in her makeshift hut within the nest of the aged, dark green hills of Ahch-To. The winds that blew through the thatched roof and thin walls around her chilled her body as rain battered down from the angry black clouds that hung in the sky, and it all did little to cease the incessant thoughts that flitted through her mind and would not allow her to sleep. After awhile, the howling thunder and excessive creaks of age from the legs of the cot became an annoyance as she tossed and turned with a restlessness that would not abate.
It had been three day cycles since the death of Han Solo and the successful destruction of the feared Starkiller Base, but It had also been three day cycles since Rey had seen the one who called himself Kylo Ren. Despite the events that had happened and all that she had seen, Rey dreamt of him- of Ren.
That was why, as the waves of the ocean below her crashed against each other and attacked the rocks, she lay awake and unsure of the world around her. She had seen the mythical Luke Skywalker for the first time only a few hours prior, but when she’d held the warm, legendary lightsaber out in front of him, he’d looked at her with an almost disbelieving, and maybe even fearful glare in his eyes. She’d asked him if he would train her and if he would return to his sister’s side in hopes of aiding the Resistance, but none of it seemed to matter to him. He’d simply turned from where he stood in the grassy field to the ocean to leave her in silence as she waited for him to deliver his thoughts.
She’d clipped the lightsaber to her belt after awhile without any dissuasion from him as she stood in her place behind him, her feet feeling as if they were rooted to the ground in her torturously long wait for his decision,
He never ended up answering her. Instead, he turned back around and breezed past her with a chaste order that seemed rushed.
”Go to one of the huts that lies out on the outcropping. I will have made my decision by morning.”
She didn’t bother arguing with him, as to argue would be cause for less consideration, or so she thought- her minimal successes bent on negotiating for better payment on her finds with the junk bosses on Jakku had taught her that. And so, she now found herself a temporary inhabitant of Luke’s sanctuary. Even still, Rey couldn’t quite shake off that something wasn’t right about him and about the situation she was in.
He’d looked at her with none of the kindness that had shown through Leia’s or Finn’s eyes, and he seemed…. Weary of her, as if he thought she might do something to cause him pain or discomfort. While one part of her felt like she should be here, another part of her screamed to get away from him and to never return.
She let her thoughts fall back to all the unfamiliar emotions she'd felt after her time with the masked monster on Starkiller Base, her body beginning to shake from the sudden boom of thunder. Ever since the night she’d dueled him, she would have nightly flashbacks and dreams of him, his alabaster, yet somehow non-threatening face bathed in the blood red light that his lightsaber would cast upon him while he ran after her during a storm that was much like the one happening outside, her name tumbling from his lips in a pleading tone that made her want to stop running.
Even the dreams of him could not stifle all the thoughts of being afraid to leave Jakku, the only place she could call a home. He didn’t scare her, but she wondered why it was that of everything she could dream about, she dreamt of him.
It was only when a feeling of calm washed over her that she allowed her eyes to lower in the knowledge that she would soon dream of the same man that had frequented them for the past three day cycles, but unbeknownst to her, Luke had sent that soothing feeling to her to begin the first stage of his plan.
The screaming winds continued to sound, and then the rain abruptly stopped its assault on Ahch-To. The sky was chaos, but Ahch-To had endured its rage, for now. It was after the rain stopped its descent that the Luke Skywalker moved through the night with a plan that had unfurled within his head during the storm. He had not slept, as the presence of one of the last apprentices he’d taken on to be part of the new generation of Jedi Knights before the horrible Jedi Massacre was within his reach, now.
She was the reason that Ben Solo, his estranged nephew, had died and Kylo Ren had been born, and being that she was grown, now, she was at the height of her power through which she would be able wield the Force. She was too great of a threat to train, as he feared for the lives of those within the Resistance as well as himself, should she choose the path of the one who’d destroyed everything that Luke stood for, and perhaps even the fate of the galaxy. Kylo had done it all for her, and if Luke trained her, her Force-Signature would be like a beacon, and Kylo would be like a moth to her flame.
Luke would not take that chance. He would go back and see his sister, yes, but he would not allow her to endanger herself or the galaxy on the chance that she chose to embrace the Dark Side.
And so, as he pulled aside the greyed cloth that she’d hung over the arched doorway of the hut, he decided to do what he’d done when she’d been but a child. He would again erase her memories, but only those she’d come to have during and after meeting the droid, that BB-unit that’d been holding the last piece of the map. The same piece that he had bestowed upon Lor San Tekka with the sole purpose of hiding his whereabouts.
He watched her like a hawk, his glare unmoving from her strained face as she trembled. Thunder rolled around them, and the rain threatened to fall again with small drops that began to come down from the angered sky. It was as if the Force was condemning him for this, but he would go through with his plan. Or, perhaps the Force was only telling him that her darkness would not surface if he erased her memory, and he was quelling it’s anger.
She looked harmless enough in her sleep, but when her hand shot down to clutch at the metal staff that rested on the floor before her, he knew she was a threat, even if that was when was asleep. He didn’t let himself reconsider, as his choice had been made, and he doubted that he would regret it. He reminded himself again that he was doing this for her own good and that of the Galaxy, and that this was the only way to keep each safe.
Lightning flashed as he raised his left hand over her head, just inches from where she shook in her fitful slumber, and then he allowed himself to let go of all the feelings of apprehension and uneasiness, and, like a waterfall, let serenity replace it as it fell over him. “I’m sorry, Rey. I’m so sorry,” he murmured.
The rain began to fall again, but this time, it was much more forceful, the drops pounding against the hut. Rey winced, her brows knitting together as Luke pushed past the barriers of her mind. Though an easy task, it became more difficult as he navigated through, as he was met with some resistance.She defensively put up haphazard barriers that were too weak to keep him from going to the memories that he needed.
Once he found the memories, he pulled them from her subconscious, burning them away with his own Force power as they were cast into bits until nothing was left. He took his time with each, making sure to tear them apart as meticulously as he could to ensure their total decimation. When he looked through her memories to assure himself that she would have no recollection of anything leading up to and after her encounters with the droid, the Resistance, and Kylo Ren, he allowed himself to leave her mind. Thunder yelled at him through the sky, and Luke watched as Rey’s expression relaxed, her fingers slowly uncurling from the metal staff below her.
He felt horrible for taking away memories that he knew she would’ve wanted to keep, but he kept telling himself that it was for the good of the Galaxy, and that it had to have been done. He lowered his hand back to his side and turned without another thought, disappearing into the night to begin the next phase in his plan while the rain hurtled down upon him.
Not even sleep could find him during the late hours of the night cycles aboard the Finalizer as he punched the steel wall in front of him repeatedly, only pulling his throbbing fists away when he’d split all of the knuckles and his dark, crimson fluid dripped from his pale hands.
His anger this time was centered on the sole fact that the Supreme Leader would not allow him to go out on the field and lead his Knights in combat. He not only would have been able to take his anger out on the targets they’d been assigned to slay, but he also would’ve been able to gain more insight into where the girl had vanished to. She had, yet again, condemned him to solitude as she’d done all of those years ago.
If he could not lead his Knights and utilize the power he was confident that he had to find her, he would take his anger out on the durasteel of the training room.
He’d only just been released from the Medbay, and his body ached even after having been confined to it for the entirety of the time after his battle with her on Starkiller Base.
It had taken Hux almost half of a day cycle to get him to the Finalizer, and when there, Ren was glad to have been wearing his mask, as every step he took made him wince. He’d not gotten any help on the way there, despite how difficult it was for him, having been struck with his grandfather’s own lightsaber on the face, shoulder, arm, and knee.
His leg had been the most painful injury, despite the fact that he couldn’t move his right shoulder or arm. The injures made him weak, and Snoke did not tolerate weakness, but the crushing defeat at Starkiller Base had been one with which the whole of the First Order was at fault, so Ren was confident he wouldn’t be punished, at least not as badly as he’d been when he was smaller and more ignorant.
Snoke needed Force-Users. Kylo knew he was the only one, and that made him significant.
As if knowledge of some kind of punishment by the Supreme Leader wasn’t enough, he could not ignore the humiliation he felt at the stares of the loathsome Stormtroopers and others that were far beneath him as he limped to the Medbay on his return to the Finalizer. Even as his consciousness had been waning, he made a mental note to make certain that whoever was allowing all of them to wander aimlessly would find an unfortunate end at his hand.
Hux, the damned fool, had told him to go straight to the Medbay under the Supreme Leader’s orders, but he’d had the gall to inform Ren that he was not authorized to use a bacta tank. Instead, the Supreme Leader had given orders to have Ren’s major injuries treated with controlled applications of bacta by the doctor in charge until he was well enough to leave. It was clear to Ren what the Supreme Leader meant by the notion. If he was not strong enough to live and be of use with the ailments he’d sustained, he would either die by the Supreme Leader’s hand or by that of infection.
His scars had all closed up, now, and he could finally use his right arm again. Unlike the rest of his injuries, a very minimal amount of bacta had been applied to the scar that now ran across his face, it’s raised, red edges no longer burning through his skin.
Ren liked the scars. His grandfather had had scars, and such things showed a brutality and aura of power when one had a life well-lived in the thrall of combat.
He also liked the scar on his face because it reminded him of her, and how much of an effect that that she’d had on him. He didn’t have to the see the scar to be reminded of how powerful and fiery she was. All he had to do was raise his hand to his face. Perhaps he should have been enraged that she’d been victorious in their fight during the night, but he couldn’t… Not after he’d recognized who she was. Not after she’d looked so mesmerizing as the darkness had swelled within and around her, the tendrils of it so alluring that even she had basked in it.
Were it anyone else that he would’ve had to battle with in the forest on Starkiller Base, he would’ve killed them without a second thought. He would not have hesitated or become reluctant. He would’ve allowed the pain and anger to empower him and release his wraith on whoever dared oppose him, but she wasn’t just anyone to him.
The girl that he’d dueled in the forest had been the same person that he’d ended Luke’s tainted and horrid academy for, and he would be damned if he didn’t bring her back to his side.
As he stood in the training room that was only a few doors down from his own quarters, he turned to peer out through the transparisteel and into the black abyss of space that loomed before him, and wondered how his life would’ve been different if she’d only just accepted him and allowed him to be her teacher.
Suddenly, he felt something tug at his conscience. Curious, he followed the invisible thread until he felt her. Something was happening and he could feel it.
All at once, he felt as if fractions of his past were being tossed around and jumbled in his head, and he fought with an intensity to keep his mind clear and untouched from whatever was happening to her…. To Rey.
A Force-Signature that he hadn’t detected for years abruptly pulsed through the invisible thread, but just as soon as it appeared, it disappeared. It had only been seconds, but Kylo knew who it was and had a worried thought that Rey had somehow been hurt by Luke Skywalker, his uncle.
Rage swelled within him then, and he thought about all the ways he would make his uncle suffer when he finally encountered Luke. He had a sense that Luke was involved in what had just happened, and he would make Luke feel a pain so terrible that he would beg for his death if Kylo’s instincts were ringing true and he had manipulated her again, but before he could act, the HoloMessenger in the corner of the room went off, it’s chime a special arrangement of sounds that was used only by the Supreme Leader when Ren was being summoned.
He briefly considered telling the Supreme Leader about the… whatever it was that had just happened, but he had a strong inclination to keep it from Snoke, and Kylo Ren was never one to go against his instincts, and right now, they were telling him that it was not the time to disclose what had occured with him and Rey. And so, Kylo lowered his gnarled mask over his head, and then stalked away from the training room, but not before he casted one last glance out of the transparisteel, his eyes searching for something he couldn’t have. At least not yet.
His deep voice came from the voice modulator, the tone of it longing and sad.
“I’m coming back for you, Reya. I promised you that I would.”