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“What are you wearing?” Ben asked as she struggled with her skirt, eyeing the too-long garment critically.

“Someone else’s clothes.” And she wasn’t happy about it. Not only was the stupid thing a pain, she’d forgotten her boots in the communications room and now she had to cross hard metal floors on bare feet. Rivets dug into her soles, making her feet feel battered and bruised.

Ben huffed and scooped her into his arms, drawing a squeak of protest from her.

“No one can see,” he assured her.

“Says you.” Rey held onto his neck to steady herself, even though he clearly had no problem bearing her weight. “You’re not the one being carted around like an invalid.”

“I’m also not the one who snuck out in a dress that didn’t fit,” he pointed out, glancing down at her, but then he stumbled, making her grip him harder. His entire face flushed, and Rey followed his gaze down to her chest.

The blanket around her had loosened, and from the gap peeked the curve of one breast, the rosy nipple only partially shrouded by a fold in the fabric.

Rey gasped and jerked the blanket to cover herself, going rigid with embarrassment in his arms.

He said nothing, and she didn’t dare look up at him. After a moment, he resumed moving.

When he reached their hallway, Rey said, “You can put me down now.”

He didn’t even break stride. “No.”

Guards loomed ahead, probably not hers since the guard change would take more time than they’d spent getting there. “Ben, they’re going to–”


She considered wiggling out of his arms, as they were fast approaching the guards, but she’d never be able to land gracefully in that skirt.

He swept past the stormtroopers at her door and opened his own with a gesture. Rey struggled not to blush or hide her face as he carried her inside and deposited her on a particularly plush red chair with only a passing attempt at gentleness.

Rey untangled her legs from the skirt, thoroughly loathing the stupid nightgown and wishing she’d just put her sweaty, stiff, battle-stained clothes back on. She fixed the blanket more sturdily around her, determined not to let it slip again, and tried not to think about what he’d seen.

Ben opened a computer console in his wall and found the recording of her conversation, turning the volume up. He watched with his back to her, his posture rigid, and she couldn’t get a read on him.

Finn on the screen drew her attention, his smile at the beginning, melting into horror when she broke the news to him. On this recording, she could see her video feed beside Finn’s.

I look sad, she thought.

By the end, Rey’s jaw was stiff from holding back tears. Watching the feed was almost as bad as living through it, except this time she got to focus on all the little details she’d missed. Rose had seemed wary of her by the end, and Chewbacca had shared a concerned look with BB-8.

When it cut off, her relief was short-lived, because Ben played it again.

After the third viewing, tears streamed down her face unchecked.

When Ben spoke, his back was still to her. “Who is he to you?”

It wasn’t the question she’d anticipated. She’d thought he’d grill her on whether she’d passed along any secret information or coordinates. Instead, he wanted to know about Finn?

“The traitor,” he clarified when she took too long. “FN-2187. Who is he to you?” He rewound the video and stopped on Finn’s smile, her own grin an echo of his.

“He’s my friend.”

Ben turned his head a fraction. “He came for you at Starkiller Base.”


“He almost died for you.”


He turned to her, then, for one of his long, assessing looks, studying her every expression. “I won’t give you back to them.”

Rey blinked. What?

“I don’t care if you love him, I won’t let you leave. You agreed to this. I won’t release you.”

Rey’s eyebrows crept upward. “Excuse me?”

He stepped toward her, the movement almost violent. “You promised.” He towered over her, brows drawn. “You won’t contact him again.”

She stood, wrenching her skirts out of the way so hard that she heard something rip. She ignored it and glared defiantly up at him. “I wasn’t aware that our deal meant you could dictate my friends for me.”

He flexed his hands into fists. “Don’t test me on this, Rey.”

“Or what? You’ll lock me up and throw away the key?”

His eyes narrowed and his mouth twisted. Rey suddenly got a hint of his turmoil through their bond, and the sheer stunning weight of it stopped her in her tracks.

“Ben,” she said, eyes widening. “Are you jealous?”

“You’re marrying me. Not him.”

“I know that.”

“No other men, Rey. I mean it, I’ll kill them. You’re mine.”

She filed the thrill that shot down her spine away for later consideration and straightened to her full height. “First off, Finn and I have never crossed that line, so stop threatening him. Second, you’re not the only one in this relationship. It pisses me off that you think I’d do that to you, but since you brought it up, fine. Let’s do this.”

She prodded him sharply in the chest with a single finger. He didn’t step back, but she could tell she’d surprised him. “I will break the teeth of any woman you flirt with. Just because you’re Supreme Leader doesn’t mean you get to play the field. Once you’re mine, that’s it. You’re taken. I’m not going to put up with anything less.”

He watched her with eyes that always seemed to see too much. She flushed under his solemn intensity but kept her chin up, challenging him.

“We understand each other,” he finally said.

She nodded. “No one else. Not for me, not for you.”


They stood for a moment, and his eyes slipped to her bustline, almost as if remembering, then back up to her face. “I’ll find you something more comfortable to wear tonight.”

She wrapped her arms self-consciously around herself, her anger defused. “Thanks.”

He frowned down at her. “I’m curious, though. Why didn’t you ask someone to get you different clothing?”

She frowned back at him. “It’s the middle of the night.”

He blinked. After a few moments, he said, “I see.”

She wasn’t sure what he meant, but he turned and strode silently into his bedroom. When he returned, he had a pile of clothes in his hands. “They’re clean,” he said, handing them to her. The blanket slipped off one shoulder as she accepted them, freckled skin drawing Ben’s gaze. Rey felt heat prickle along the path his eyes traced, and she clutched the collection of clothes closer to her chest.

“Thanks,” she said softly.

She felt his eyes on her the whole way back to her room.