“Please,” he tells her, and for a moment he doesn’t sound like Kylo Ren, soon-to-be the supreme leader of the First Order, who just killed a father figure with the same lack of hesitation he displayed for the murder of his actual father.
For a moment, he is Ben.
Ben, who flushed slightly when she caught him shirtless in his quarters, and skidded down the corridors of the Supremacy to chase her presence through the force bond. Who touched the tips of his fingers to her own, and told her that she was not alone. Who stood so close to her on that elevator, and stared at her mouth until she lost her train of thought.
There is no destiny for her. No big picture. No cumbersome quest to carry out, woven in in her DNA, binding her to a future she cannot choose and a past she wants to forget.
Her presence in this story is random, a stray, erratic flicker that could not be further from fate, if such a thing even exists. She is nothing.
“But not to me,” Ben says, and he means it.
She can still feel the lines of his back against her side, the hard warmth of his muscles seeping through her clothes. The unyielding flesh of his thigh beneath her palm.
There are tears running down Rey’s face when she says yes.
She is given a cabin on the part of the Supremacy that is not currently being rebuilt, and someone’s spare clothing—surprisingly in her size. It’s entirely black, though not quite a First Order uniform. Trousers, and a shirt, and underwear that looks serviceable and comfortable at a cursory glance, though Rey doesn’t really take the time to peruse it, since Ben is standing just a few feet away from her. She can feel his gaze on her. A little disoriented, she realizes that she has never worn black before.
One of many firsts, then.
“Here is the bathroom.” He rests his hand—so large—on the doors. “The shower buttons stick a little.”
He is not—not blushing, precisely. But hesitating. A little nervous. Definitely not at ease. Rey has been observing him for the past few hours—taking over Snoke’s command, putting Hux in his place over and over, ordering the First Order fleet to turn away from the Rebels in a tone that brokered no misunderstanding nor insubordination. The contrast between Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader, and Ben Solo, showing Rey her new home while trying not to fidget, is striking.
He is—a boy, she realizes.
Rey is a girl. Very much so.
“Where do you sleep?” she asks, looking around, stepping forward to open a few compartments, to use her palm to test the firmness of the mattress of her new bunk.
Pointedly avoiding to look at him.
There is a pause, a little longer than comfortable. Then again, Ben is nothing but pauses and stretching, lingering looks. Rey should know, by now.
“First door on the left.”
She is genuinely taken aback.
“You mean—” Of course, he means. “I guess I thought…”
He cocks his head, a tendril of back hair falling on his forehead.
“You thought?” His voice is criminal.
“That you’d move into Snoke’s quarters? Maybe?”
He looks at her for a long moment, and she could probably—there is this bond, this channel between their minds that Snoke, or the Force, or whatever, created, and if she really wanted to, she could probably figure out what he’s thinking. But she’s not sure she—
“If I intended to follow in his footsteps, I would not have killed him.”
He exits after a stiff nod, leaving her there, to stare after him.
“What does it mean, if I say yes?” she asks before, while tears are still running down her cheeks, and his hand is still stretched towards her, dead bodies and chunks of armors and the smell of flesh torn apart by lightsabers still permeating the room.
There is something inside her, something that has always been in her, unfed and neglected. It is as if right now, in Ben’s presence, it has awoken again.
“What do you want it to mean?”
Is takes her a moment to find the words, and she buys time wiping the wetness from her face. “I want you to stop pursuing the rebellion. My friends.” She wets her lips, tasting the salt of tears and sweat. It was an exhausting battle, the one they just won. “You mother.”
He just keeps staring at her, in that way he has since the very beginning.
“You said it’s not about good and evil. You said you want to let go of the past.” She takes a deep breath. The air in the room is hot and thin. “Promise me you will, then. Promise me it will be different. That at least something useful will come of this.”
He studies her for long beat.
“I promise,” he tells her, voice deep and honest and calm, and she knows to say yes.
It is crucial, at the beginning, that she does not think of what she left behind.
Of the contempt in Finn’s eyes when she told him of her choice, and the way he grabbed Rose’s hand and lead her away from the hangar bay, as if offended by the idea of being in Rey’s general vicinity.
Of the horror in Leia’s tone as she pleaded, “You do not have to. You know what he did. You have seen what is in him.”
Luke… Luke does not bear thinking about.
She made her choice, and there is no explaining that she never meant to choose a side, but a person.
And yet, the Resistance is not being hunted anymore. There is no need for a rebellion, not when the priorities of the First Order have shifted from ruling and controlling aid in the rebuilding and stabilizing of the galaxy.
“Scholarship programs,” she says, bemused.
Ben lifts his eyes from the monitor, and says nothing.
“You mean... for children? To go to school?”
He gives her a confused look. “I thought you would like that.”
“Are they going to be indoctrinated about how the First Order is perfect and beautiful and shiny and the rebellion is terrible and murderous and—"
“No. The first order has murdered many people. As has the rebellion.” Rey is not sure it’s a good analogy. “That is the past.”
She studies his for a moment. “Ok. Ok. Then I do like that.”
She exits his office, a little dumbfounded.
They train together every day.
“You were way easier to beat, the first time we fought,” she mumbles, wiping the sweat from her brow. Her muscles ache, and he had her pinned to the ground three times today already, while she only managed to corner him twice.
“I was bleeding and severely injured, while you—”
“Yeah, yeah.” She crouches, ready to start again. “Excuses.”
Ben never rolls his yes. Except that lately he does, she thinks.
“Your foot. The way you turn before lounging, it gives away your intentions. You should try to avoid it.” There is no criticism in his tone, as there never was, not even when he referred to her as a scavenger. A nothing.
Facts, are all that Ben offers. Facts, and acceptance.
She sticks out her tongue. “Well, your posture sucks when you’re in defense.”
He is definitely rolling his eyes.
She is the one who initiates it.
But not—not because she wants it more. She wants it a lot, of course, but still less than he does. Somehow, she can sense that.
He brings her to a planet in the Core whose name she cannot remember, all tall, green trees, and yellow fields, and transparent bodies of water.
“I don’t understand why you like this so much,” he tells her, feigning irritation. He’s doing a poor job of it, too, or she wouldn’t be able to realize it even though she’s busy studying a particularly interesting section of bark. Still, there’s no denying that Ben does not fit these surroundings, not with his black clothes and his pale complexion and that sullen air he always has.
“Mmm.” She leans down to smell a yellow flower.
“We should not stay too long. The meeting with the Captains is—”
“Thanks.” She straightens and walks up to him, leaving less than two inches between them. He stiffens—even more so than before.
“Why are you thanking me?”
“Because.” She takes his hand in two of hers, turns it so that it faces the sky, and then lowers her gaze to stare at it, running both thumbs down his palm. It’s so...broad.
“Rey.” His voice lowers before he continues. “Rey, I…”
“Don’t be afraid,” she whispers in his chest, a hint of laughter in her voice. “I feel it, too.”
Whether he remembers speaking the same words to her, a million years and a lifetime ago, she does not know. Still, his breathing becomes shallower, a little quicker, and it makes her bolder, melts away whatever embarrassments she might have brought with her when she stepped in front of him, and she lets her fingers play with his, strip the black glove away from his hand, savor the warmth of his skin against hers.
He just stands there, as still as a statue. His eyes… His eyes, are—
“We don’t have to, Ben. I can—“
“No.” His tone is adamant. “Please,” he adds, softer.
He says it so often, of late, and Rey—Rey cannot say no to him now, any better than she could before.
They stay on the planet for a long time.
She calms him, she realizes after just a few weeks on the Supremacy.
Or maybe it’s that she just doesn’t agitate him as she used to. Maybe it's that for the first time Ben has what he wants, and he doesn't feel the need to fight to obtain more. It's hard to say precisely why he does't seem to grind his teeth quite as much anymore, and his outbursts are fewer, and as far as she’s heard nothing has been shattered into pieces in his quarters in quite a while.
He chuckles more, too.
Or, he chuckles sometimes.
When she is around, mainly, bickering with Hux over deployment of resources, saying outrageous things to the high ranking officers in the canteen—Do you all eat fries with mayo, on the dark side?—, using the force to mess with the environmental controls once she’s decided that the bridge is way too cold for someone who was raised on a desert planet.
They take meals together, the two of them, and they talk about everything and nothing. Never about the past. Sometimes about the present. Often about the future, and bite by bite, sip by sip, they build a vision together.
Ben—Ben, who is so big, he barely eats, but he looks at the size of her portions in amazement, and shakes his head in disbelief.
“Never had this much food at my disposal. Fair warning, I might get fat,” she tells him.
“Maybe that way I’ll finally be able to beat you when we spar,” he replies wryly.
She smiles around a mouthful of her sandwich.
The first time she does it, she surprises herself but not him.
It’s not nightmares, or loneliness, or curiosity. It’s not that that she’s horny—though…yeah, they spend a lot of time together, and—or that she’s cold in her quarters.
It’s nothing quite as mundane.
It’s that—there is something. Pulling at her. In a specific direction. And speaking to him, sitting across from him, training with him when only their lightsabers touch, seeing him through that bond of theirs—it’s just not enough.
He is laying down facing the door, eyes closed, but he doesn’t wake up when she wills the doors of his cabin open and a wedge of light from the corridor filters inside. She slips in, bare feet silent against the floor, trying to avoid the black clothes scattered on the floor.
A boy, she tells herself. He is such a boy.
Why is there room enough for her to slide between the sheets of his very average-size bunk, she has no clue. She only knows that he is warm, and solid, and that the second she is in his bed she never wants to go back to hers.
When she wakes up in the morning he is already awake and looking at her, and she immediately braces herself for whatever freaked-out reaction she is going to get from him.
“Hey,” she tells him cautiously, realizing that the comfortable pillow her head is resting on is his bicep. The very bicep she has noticed during training, the same bicep that—
He just yawns, rubbing his eye with the heel of his hand.
“Did you sleep well?” he asks, unconcerned.
In the mornings, his voice is even more…yeah.
It’s not quite a smile. “You move a lot.”
“Well. Your breathing got really loud for a minute, there—”
“Shut up.” She covers his mouth with her hand, and in response he sticks out his tongue. “Eeew,” she laughs, wiping her palm on her tank top.
That is definitely a smile.
“Did you really sleep well?” he asks again, somberly, and there is a trace of cautiousness in his eyes. Slight apprehension, maybe.
He nods, satisfied, and she lifts herself up to a sitting position, trying to look less reluctant than she feels.
“Breakfast in fifteen? I need to brush my teeth. And pee.”
He nods again, unconcerned, and pushes a tendril of hair away from her eyes.
And that, is that.
It becomes a thing they do.
A habit, in a way.
The following night she shows up while he’s still meditating—which he does a whole lot, for not being a Jedi anymore and having made wiping out the entire order his mission in life, but far, far from her wanting to point out the cognitive dissonance—and slips noiselessly between his sheets. She’s almost asleep when he turns off the lights and joins her.
“Don’t snoop around my head,” she tells him between yawns as he arranges her to make room for himself. The contact of skin on skin is oddly soothing.
She has almost dozed off when she hears, “I won’t.”
In the morning she wakes up in his arms, her back flush to his chest, and Rey is inexperienced, and a little ignorant maybe, but definitely not that naive.
“Good morning,” she says, feeling her skin flush red.
He feels big, hard, and long against the curve of her buttock. His breath against her nape is hot and pleasant.
“I’m sorry. I have no control over it.” He murmurs against the base of her neck, a shade of apology in the gravel of his voice, and it makes her want to turn around, to face him, to tell him that it's okay, she knew all along, she made her choice and she choose this, him, and he can—she wants him to—
“It’s better if you—” his arms tighten around her, forming an unbreakable loop. “Don’t wiggle. Too much. Please, I—I can control myself, mostly, but you—”
“Rey.” He sighs, pressing a kiss against her fleshy part her shoulder. Parting his lips to lick her skin. “You…”
He never ends the sentence.
“I—May I touch you,” he asks one night, in a tone that tells Rey that he has been working up to this, that he thinks he’s doing something brave, and—it’s stupid.
He is an idiot.
“No. I sneak into your bed every night when I have a perfectly serviceable one less that ten meters away, but I would rather if you never ever touched m—”
It’s not quite a kiss. More like Ben pressing his lips on hers, to shut her up—and to buy himself some time, Rey suspects.
It becomes a kiss soon enough, though—her first, all lips and tongues and warmth, and it's... perfect. Perfect.
She moans when he lifts his mouth from hers and starts trailing kisses down her body, first in disappointment, and then—then.
“What can I do?” he whispers into her tummy, and then lets his lips drag thought the patch of skin right next to her bellybutton. “To you. What can I do.”
“Everything,” she tells him, even though she has no idea what she is agreeing to.
Since that first yes, they have been particularly bad at denying each other anything.
He lets his fingers—long, long fingers—slide down past her hip bone, dip through her folds—wet, she is so wet—and circle once, twice.
She bites her lip.
“Yes.” She does not like it, how breathless she sounds. He only just started, and he is prone to inflations of ego. It’s just that it’s so—“Ah—Ah.”
His finger slides a little lower. Dips inside her a little.
“What about here.”
She swallows. Heavily.
“Yes. Yes. Everything.”
He slides inside a little deeper. It’s still—Rey doesn’t think it’s past the first knuckles, but his finger are sooo long and she could probably just—
“With my fingers?” He pushes a little further. She might not—“With my mouth?”
“With—with whatever you want. I—” Yes. Really, really, yes.
She’s empty all of a sudden, and his finger, which must be dripping now, inches lower still, between her cheeks. Comes to a stop.
“Here. I want to—“ He licks his lips. “Here, too.”
She could speak a few minutes ago, she remembers that clearly. Now… yeah. Now, not quite.
So, she just nods, and there is a flash of sorts in his eyes, something wonderful and horrific, and if she didn’t already know that he’s hers and she his, well, there wouldn’t be any doubt now.
“I will.” His props himself on one of his arms, and suddenly his mouth is against hers again, his chest pressing against her breasts. “I will do all of it, Rey.”
“There are… entire planets. Revolting.”
Hux sounds like there’s more he’d like to add.
You idiots, probably.
Ben knows. And Rey knows that Ben knows, but not because Ben’s expression shows it. Just because, by now, she knows. She knows what’s going on in his head most of the times, and that he hates apples but loves carrots, and that he’s not going to answer Hux any time soon.
“And, General Hux?” she asks, mainly out of pity.
“Against the First Order. They are refusing our rule and our offers to build infrastructures and—”
“Then so be it.”
The finality of Ben’s voice would echo, if this meeting were taking place in what used to be Snoke’s throne room. These days, however, Hux usually comes to find them in Rey’s office, which is too full of monitors and displays and equipment to carry sound that dramatically.
“Rey,” Ben cuts Hux off dismissively. “This route? Have you looked at it? Do you think it needs more monitoring?”
She follows the line of his fingers on. He is not wearing gloves. He doesn’t much, not anymore.
“Possibly. I mean, the navigation of the nearby area is tricky to begin with, and—”
“Supreme Leader, it is important that you—”
“Leave us.” Hux remains where he is. Ben’s nostrils flare, barely noticeably, and Rey steps forward without knowing why. “You know, I can make you leave.”
Hux is not quite stupid, Rey has discovered, but neither is he smart when it comes to dealing with Kylo Ren. “But it is—“
Ben is using the force to throw him out of the room before Rey can even blink.
“Ben,” she chides over the thud clearly audible from the corridor.
“He interrupted you,” he tells her, once again looking at the interstellar map.
She sighs. “Ben. He will probably try a coup, one of these days.”
“He has one planned in a week.”
“What? How do you even—” She lifts one hand and tries to stops herself, because—Ben is just too much sometimes. “Whatever. Are you planning to do something about it, or are you just going to go along with it and let him kill you.”
He smiles. It’s not quite a smile, but a corner of his mouth turns up. “You would not let him.”
She narrows her eyes. “I’m not so sure about that.”
He smiles a little more.
“I have it under control. Don’t worry.”
Yeah. Right. “I don’t like this,” she says, not quite able to keep the unease from seeping through.
He must hear it, because when he turns to look at her his eyes are full of concern. “We can leave whenever, you know,” he tells her, soft and hesitant.
“We don’t need to be here. We can go anywhere in the galaxy, and they would never find us. We could—”
“No.” She answers.
Because they cannot. Because she wants to, but it’s only the considerable power they yield together that stops the generals of the First Order from pursuing what is left of the Resistance. From going back to the way everything was.
“But maybe… probably, when the situation is stable. Soon,” she says, and reaches for his hand. There is a spot on his wrist, about an inch below his palm, where she has discovered that she can feel his pulse. She found it a few weeks ago, and has been taking full advantage of the knowledge.
She runs her thumb over it, three times, and then looks back to the monitor, focusing on the work they still have to do.
“More?” He husks in the curve her throat, and she is not quite sure what to answer.
Yes, she wants more.
No, it’s not painless.
He is… large. In every way. Through the force, within her head, inside her body—
“It feels good. To me,” he tells her, words a little slurred, and she thinks she becomes wetter just by hearing his voice, as it were specifically made to slick his way inside her. A drop of his sweat splashes onto her cheek, and another one on her left nipple. He bends to lick it away, and by now—by now he knows how to do it. By now, he has thoroughly mapped his way around her breasts.
He is, she has discovered, a fast learner.
She makes a split second decision. “Do it. Just—”
“Rey. Rey, I—”
“All the way. All the way, you can—”
She feel full. Too full, full everywhere, but pleasantly so, and her body must be deeper than she thought, because—
“Ah—I… Rey, are you—are you—”Okay?
He shifts his hips, and the movement is uncoordinated, almost involuntary. Well beyond Ben's usual control. Not two hours earlier they were training together, practicing martial arts that Ben insists on teaching her, whose moves have foreign and unpronounceable names. His command over his muscles and limbs was absolute, then.
Now, his hands are trembling, and the flex in his biceps has to be straining something.
The contrast is stark.
“Please,” he whisper in her ear. “Please, tell me I can move.”
She slides her hands up his shoulders and combs her fingers in his hair, pushing it back from where it clings on his brow. Her palm presses on his nape, forcing his head within reach. She licks the drop of sweat running down his temple, making him groan and clench his fingers in the sheets.
They tear with a ripping sound.
“Anything. I’ll give you anything—”
“Ben. You can—Move.”
They make a mess, and it’s delicious.
He doesn’t let go of her, afterwards.
Not that she wants to, boneless with pleasure, still twitching with aftershocks. She can’t imagine standing, or cleaning up, or even rolling to her side, which is the position she usually falls asleep in. Ben, on the other hand, seems energized, and given what just transpired—the moans, and the obvious bewilderment that something in this world could feel so good, and the thrusts getting faster, more intense, and the Rey, Rey, Rey, I…—she is maybe a little surprised.
He cleans himself with a shirt—not hers, she hopes— and then carelessly throws it in the direction of the bathroom. It lands in the middle of the cabin, and Rey almost snorts.
“You know,” she stifles a yawn. “I’m pretty sure you can use the force to keep your quarters clean. There isn’t a law against it, and even if there were it’s not as if you care—”
He kisses her, at first to shut her up, and then—then he seems to forget himself and begins exploring her again, a slow, drugging kiss, as if he hadn’t been inside of her just a few minutes earlier.
He can span her waist with his two hands. She probably could have guessed as much before, but now she has incontrovertible evidence. He can also cup the side of her face in his palm, and completely engulf one of her buttocks in his left hand. He can easily move her around, and she could stop him if she wanted to, but she finds that she likes it, the way he arranges and touches her a little frantically, possessive, as if to make sure that she is still there, with him, even after all that the two of them just did.
“Rey,” he says, calmly, nonsensically. And then again, “Rey. Rey.”
She just smiles at him as he splays her legs open and touches between her folds, smearing his semen on the inner part of her thighs, pushing it back inside her as if trying to keep it within her forever.
She finds it oddly… endearing.
She smiles around the word.
His gaze shifts up from her body at the sound, and it’s as if he remembers that she’s still there, still awake. He looks into her eyes in that way he has, that way he’s had since the very first time, since that cold, foreign, terrifying interrogation room, since he took that ridiculous mask off and began to face her the way she deserved.
“I am yours,” he tells her, his voice barely above a whisper.
I know, she thinks.
She reaches out and takes his hand.