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Perfect Illusion

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It was early morning on January 1, 1843, the start of a New Year. The streets of London were soothingly quiet as Benjamin Solo was walking home after a party with family and friends. He was headed to his flat, where a simple yet elegant five room escape awaited him. He lived alone, and rather preferred it that way. These days it seemed like it was too easy to make attachments. Especially as a wealthy nobleman such as he was.

Matchmakers were constantly trying to arrange him with eligible ladies in waiting. His mother, Leia Solo nee Organa was desperate for him to settle down and marry, but he had yet to meet anyone who struck his fancy. Leia wanted grandchildren before she was too old to enjoy them properly. The irony. When Ben was a child, she hardly enjoyed his company. She was too busy immersing herself in politics, unusual for a woman in that day and age. Then again, she was an unusual woman.

Leia had a commanding presence, and people responded well to her. With her magnetic personality and ample amounts of charisma she could easily persuade anyone to believe as she did. It was a way of filling them with hope. So many enviable characteristics that Ben Solo lacked. He had too much of his father’s devil may care attitude. His father was a renegade and a scoundrel, a regular pirate if you will. That made for the most unlikely family situation for him growing up.

Mere blocks from where he lived, he noted the temperature dropping quickly, and was surprised by the unusual appearance of snow. How unlikely it was to see snow in London. Something was different in the air beyond that. He felt as though he were being followed. Quickening his pace, he turned down an unfamiliar alleyway. He thought he knew this part of town, but he was quickly realizing that he was way out of his league.

There were homeless people everywhere, shivering beneath thin worn blankets, fires blazing in trash cans. Children with dirty smudged faces peered up at him with impossibly wide eyes. He dared not look upon any of these derelict individuals, lest he be drawn into them. The pity he felt for them was overwhelming at best, and he idly wished he could save them, knowing too well it was impossible.

An unnatural silence passed in his wake as he walked on. One couldn’t even hear a pin drop, much less the stereotypical alley sounds of crying cats and trash skittering along in the breeze, nevermind the eerie but sad murmuring of the homeless people who surrounded him. This was a part of town not many people were brave enough to enter, especially not at night. This night in particular though, the strangeness that followed him as he walked only began to eat at the back of his mind, as he became legitimately concerned for his own safety.

He took a turn into a brighter, safer street that was devoid of derelicts and their pleading eyes. Ben Solo had distanced himself enough from his family that no one knew he was the son of a well to do senator, however his fine clothes revealed that he was a cut above the rest, and spoke of greater nobility.

Ben cast a fleeting glance over his shoulder, yet there was no real reason to be afraid. After all, he was a rare sight at his unnaturally tall height of 6’3”, which was most unusual for a man at the time. Regardless, something chilled him to the bone. His instincts served him well as at his next turn he found himself face to face with what could only be called a monster.

The man he now faced somehow managed to be even taller than he was. He was dressed in a similar fashion as Ben, however his attire appeared to be considerably out of style. His fabric choices were gaudy and ridiculous, accented with touches of gold. His face bore many terrible scars, as if he had been plagued at some point early on in his life and somehow survived. Or perhaps he’d been severely burned. Ben stammered out an apology in haste, and yet as he attempted to side step him to continue along his path, the man only continued to step with him.

“I beg your pardon sir, I must be on my way.” Ben pleaded, real terror beginning to take hold. The man did not budge.

“Master Solo. I have been watching you. You live a sad and lonely life. There is literally nothing tying you to this place, and yet here you remain. Whatever for? Did you ever consider there was more to the world than this sad town?” The man now spoke, his voice was somewhat grating, his accent barely traceable.

Ben immediately got the impression that this man was ancient, and idly noted the cane he leaned upon, and the slight limp like hobble to his gait. Why was he being watched? The words that were spoken to him were cruel and unsettling, and yet they resonated with the sound of truth. Ben smiled politely, quickly thinking for a diplomatic way to get out of this conversation and be on his way.

“I am sure there is a great big world out there, good sir, but I am quite content here.”

“Are you though? I think not.” the man persisted, reaching out with a seemingly spindly, eerily long fingered hand and pressing it on Ben’s chest. Ben glanced down warily, cringing at the unwanted touch.

“Perhaps not, however the hour is late and I must bid you adieu. Happy New Year, sir.”

“My friends call me Snoke.” the man spoke, not willing to let Ben pass.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Master Snoke. I really must be on my way.” Ben persisted.

“I don’t think so. You are not going anywhere til I tell you that you are, Master Solo.”

Snoke pushed forward upon Ben’s chest, causing him to slink back into the shadows seemingly without a will of his own. Ben felt himself pressed against the wall, as the man named Snoke bent close to his neck and bit down upon it. He struggled out a pained cry, paralyzed with terror, but felt a delirious sensation come over him as he heard the unmistakable sound of swallowing.

This man, no, this creature who had called himself Snoke was drinking his blood. When he came to that realization, the delerium passed almost as quickly as it came and he pushed back with all his strength, trying to fight the monster off. Despite all odds, his frail old man still managed to overpower him. Snoke had trapped his arms down, effectively pinning him to the wall. Ben felt dizzy. The world spun around him. His heart thundered in his ears, and he came to the sudden realization that his life was about to end, a mere 26 years of age. He had nothing to show for it. Absolutely nothing. It was completely wasted.

Snoke pulled up from his neck, drawing his mouth close to Ben’s ear. When he spoke, it was a chilling whisper.

“You are strong. You have the vigor that could allow you to endure for centuries. You will bear my legacy and rule over my coven. You have the raw talent to be a natural leader, and could bring us all to a new era. I am going to give you something to drink, and I expect you to consume it completely, as your life depends upon it. Do you understand me?”

Ben could only turn his head to the side, looking upon the decrepit creature and giving a slight nod, willing to do anything to stay alive. He could feel his body sinking slowly to the ground, the heartbeat that thundered in his ears was overcompensating for the loss of blood and his body was in a state of panic. He felt weak, his life slipping away.

Snoke bit at his own wrist, putting it to Ben’s lips. Ben was immediately repulsed at the idea of consuming blood, and yet he did as he was told. He consumed the hot fluid as if his life did indeed depend upon on it. He felt the blood surge through his body like an elixar and involuntarily found himself clutching onto Snoke’s arms with both hands, his eyes widening slightly the more he consumed. The thundering of his heartbeat gradually slowed the more he drank, and eventually it stopped completely.

For all intents and purposes, he must have been dead and yet at this exact moment he had never felt more alive. Now as a new power coursed through him, he felt his body changing with it. His hair, which was already long and black, became impossibly thick and curled slightly. His skin paled, and became exceptionally smooth, any traces of flaws vanished. He felt his senses changing as everything became amplified and intensified. Even his teeth changed, which seemed the strangest thing for him. Why would his teeth of all things change? He felt intoxicated with new strength, yet at the same time it felt as if his body was being torn apart from the inside. His guts twisted and his muscles ached. He thought he might be sick, and he cried out in anguish.

“Your body is dying, it is only natural. Give it time, it will pass.” He heard Snoke say, as he knelt down next to Ben’s writhing body on the ground.

Dying?! How? Why? What in the hell was happening to me?!

Just as Snoke had promised the pain stopped. How long it had lingered Ben couldn’t be sure. Minutes? Hours? He was grateful the pain was over now and he sat up slowly, peering upon the world around him with new eyes.

Things seemed to buzz with life. Colors were richer, the night itself seemed so vibrant, all the way down to the smallest detail. He saw a rat eating at a piece of scrap food at the base of a waste bin. He heard the chewing sounds it made, the scratching of its tiny claws upon the crusty bread. Overhead, an owl flew past, and dove down, capturing the rat in its talons and flying off into the distance. There seemed to be an infinite amount of stars twinkling in the sky above him, which due to the cloud cover and pollution present in London was often impossible to see. The snow still drifted through the air and he nearly wept as he gazed upon each individual snowflake, noting every intricate detail as they floated to the ground. He realized he didn’t feel the cold chill in the air anymore. Indeed, it felt comfortable, and he breathed with ease. He continued to ponder the world around him, testing out each of his senses, and Snoke emitted a bitter laugh.

“It has been over a millennium for me, but I can still keenly remember those first few minutes beginning my life in Darkness.”

“Darkness?” Ben questioned, observing that even his voice sounded different in his own ears. Slightly deeper, impossibly smooth.

“Yes. You have just been born into Darkness, young one. I gave you the Dark Gift. One I have never bestowed upon anyone else, meaning you received a pure source of ancient blood. You will be mightier than the mightiest of all vampires, and you will rule over your coven with a fierceness like no other.”

“Are you jesting at my expense? This is a bad dream. Who are you? Why are you telling me all this?”

“Because it is the truth. I know you felt that change when you became a child of Darkness. It is in you now, along with all the powers I possess. Now, follow me. Morning will be here in a few short hours, and we must not be caught out here in the daytime.”

“Why is that?” Ben queried, standing with ease with the ancient man.

“Creatures of the Dark such as us cannot live in the light of day. It would quite literally burn us to ashes. You are now a slave to the moon, the stars are your companions. The night is your salvation.” He explained, as he lead Ben to a nearby flat, gesturing with his unnaturally elongated hand.

They climbed down to a basement, and he noted all the windows had been covered. The basement room scarcely bore any furniture, and the unfinished dirt floor left everything covered in dust. He saw ridiculous amounts of gold spilling forth from chests piled in one corner, and in the opposite corner, two wide rectangles which resembled coffins. He lifted the lid to one, and realized it actually was a coffin. How fitting, that he die at age 26 to be born again, yet forced to sleep in a coffin as if he were a fetid and rotting corpse. This is a dream, how could it not be?

“Here is your new bed, young one. It will protect you from any light and allow you to rest. I suggest you retire soon, as you are new and not quite used to the sun and its effects upon your body.” Snoke explained, as he caressed the wood on the lid of the coffin.

“What about you?” Ben asked now, uncertainty rising in his eyes. He had only met this man hours ago and yet all of the sudden he felt an overwhelming connection to him that he couldn’t explain.

“I will do things on my own time.” He said, gesturing now for Ben to get into the coffin. Ben stepped in gingerly, uncertain how he felt about this. It was surprisingly comfortable and he settled himself against the cushions. This was no ordinary coffin, for he doubted real ones were so soft and comfortable.

“I am grateful you survived the transformation process. So few actually do. Now that you have shed your former life, I am dubbing you with a new name. From this point forward, you will be known as Kylo Ren. Do not attempt to contact anyone from your past. They will not understand what you have become. This life is a solitary one, much as you are used to even now. With the coven you will find your brothers and sisters in Darkness. They will become even more of a family then the one you knew before.”

“I am not sure I understand. You speak as if I am cursed or otherwise damned. Why wouldn’t they understand?”

“Because you are cursed and damned. You are immortal now. You will discover things all in good time. After all, time is now on your side, as it will never end...ever...except for those who cannot endure one moment more and take their own life. I have lived more than a millennium, and I grow tired of this existence. I was intending on doing this after you went to sleep, but I might as well finish it now and have you bear witness.”

Kylo sat up with a jolt. Bear witness to what?!

“Do not forget to feed regularly. You are a killer now, and you will do it with swiftness and precision. Just make sure you stop before the heart stops, dead blood tastes wretched, take it from me.”

“Wait, why are you telling me all this?” Kylo asked, panic rising in his voice.

“Because, Kylo Ren, I am going to die now. Do not disappoint me. I will not have my one true heir make a mockery of his existence.”

Kylo grasped upon the edges of the coffin, hoisting himself up as he saw the man named Snoke cross the room. Snoke grabbed a bottle filled with alcohol and a long rag, an object Kylo knew to be a Molotov cocktail. Snoke lit a match and ignited it dropping it at his feet as his body burst into flames. Kylo leapt out of his coffin and ran across the room towards Snoke’s burning body, witnessing as promised. The twisted man bore a smile upon his face as the flames consumed him.

“Scatter my ashes once I am gone, or I will come back and I will kill you.”

“What madness is this? Why are you doing this? Don’t leave me. I don’t know what is happening, I don’t understand any of this. I need you.”

“Which is precisely why I made you this way. You will always need, but never have. You will be endlessly abandoned, it will be the theme of your never ending life. This is the only way to truly pass for someone as ancient as me. I have endured enough. So long, Kylo Ren.” He said, his head falling back as he emitted a wicked laugh that cracked with the flames that consumed him.

Snoke's body falling apart beneath the wretched flames, the smell of burning flesh singeing at Kylo’s nose, his newly heightened senses overwhelmed. He felt his knees buckle as he collapsed to the ground, his body retching as he coughed up blood. He found he could no longer watch this creature burning before him, and he twisted on his heels, standing slowly and making his way back across the room. A compelling sense of heaviness came over him as he climbed back into the coffin, pulling the lid down over him, his eyes closing the minute his head hit the silk pillow. The sun had risen and he now lay dead, the embers of his fallen Master smoldering as the day went by, eventually cooling and becoming an indistinguishable pile of ashes.

Kylo slept...and slept...and slept. When the sun set, he woke with a renewed sense of energy, panicking somewhat when he realized where he was. It wasn’t a dream, this really happened? What the hell am I? Why does my throat burn so much? Climbing out of his coffin again, he saw the massive pile of blackened ashes in the corner where the wicked man named Snoke once stood.

Kylo remembered what he had been told. Scatter the ashes or die. But where?! He saw a door, and opened it, revealing a set of stairs he hadn’t noticed earlier. It lead up to the main part of the house, an elegant almost formal but somewhat dusty residence. Kylo had supposed this was his now, along with everything inside. Idly and still in shock, he thought he’d need to somehow make it back to his old home, and sneak out some clothes and maybe some books...a few odds and ends, perhaps...surely if he went after midnight, no one would see him. He could make it work for his benefit. No, I must make this work for my benefit, this infernal dream, this nightmare. I will endure.

In the kitchen he saw a broom and dustpan in the corner. He thought about grabbing it and started to walk towards it when it suddenly came flying into his hands. Well this is new. This must be one of the powers Snoke had mentioned. Interesting. He went downstairs quickly, wasting no time as he swept up the pile of ashes, dumping them into a can. He carried the can outside, exiting through the external basement door and climbing back up to street level. He felt ridiculous for carrying a can filled with ashes in his arms, but he also knew he needed to scatter them, lest Snoke come back and murder him.

As he walked through the streets he was overcome by the cacophony of people talking...but they weren’t really talking, the words were too chaotic. Some shouted things out louder then others. Some had complete monologues, others were random and idle. He realized upon noticing their lips weren’t moving that these were their thoughts. He could hear their thoughts echoing in his head as if it were his own! It was overwhelming, and he forced himself to breathe deeply and focus, block out the noise. It worked for the most part, but a vexing drone remained.

He came upon another alleyway, where he saw a collection of trash bins. He pulled the lids off all four of them and distributed the ashes into each bin. That should do the trick. He dropped the can that carried the ashes into one of the bins, replacing all of the lids. Is this how I will end one day? In a trash can like meaningless refuse? The thought saddened him and introduced him to a new type of loneliness, a new type of suffering. Is this my life now?

Walking around the alleyway once more, he felt his throat burning again as he took in the appearance of those same homeless people from the night before. He approached them cautiously and realized he was beginning to salivate. He hungered for them...for their blood. Seeing one in a darkened doorway, he approached, holding a gloved finger up to his lips in a universal gesture of silence.

Sinking deeper into the shadowy doorway, he bowed down slightly and sank his teeth into the unwilling man's neck, guided by unnatural instinct. Without warning he was immersed in all the memories of this man’s life. It was the saddest existence he had ever witnessed, the torture he had endured, the abuse from all those around him. The intense loneliness he felt when his family abandoned him. He was nobody, even in a community of homeless people. Kylo’s heart broke for the man whose life he now consumed. He heard the man’s heartbeat thudding in his ears, the beats slowing. He pulled back, licking his lips as he eased the dead man to the ground.

“Thank you, friend, for your sacrifice that I might live.” Kylo said respectfully, drawing his fingers over the man’s eyes as he witnessed him taking his last breath.

He felt the dead man’s life flowing through him, and felt warm, satisfied. This wasn’t too unpleasant. He wondered how often he’d need to feed like this? He couldn’t be certain. All he knew now, was that he needed to find the “Coven” of other vampires that Snoke had spoken of.

Kylo wandered the streets, pondering his new existence, unwittingly making it back to his old flat. He entered without a second thought, lighting a gaslamp before easing himself down into his favorite chair. Surely it wouldn't be too terrible for him to remain in this place? It was home, it was comfortable, it was his. He bought it with his own hard-earned money. Maybe he’d keep both places. Of course, the other one was larger and more refined. Impressive by most people standards, but this place was so comfortable.

Now, what of his family? His friends? They weren’t many but he loved them. Would he be compelled to drink their blood too? Did he indeed have to stay away from them like Snoke had said? Drive them away? But other voices now whispered in his head, telling him stories of power and influence. And pleasure. Was this Snoke’s blood overwhelming his own? Who was he now? Benjamin Solo or Kylo Ren?

He let forth a sigh, his internal battle raging on for what felt like hours. After a time, exhausted, he wondered if he had a basement. It was something he never would have considered before now. Did he? There was an underground crawl space, was there not…? All he knew was that he could sense the dawn approaching, he needed to get somewhere dark, and fast.

Entering his own kitchen, he pulled up a trap door, revealing the underground pantry that lay there. Well this will have to do for now. Gathering up blankets and pillows from his bed, he carried them carefully down the stairs that led to the pantry, a gas lamp in his other hand. He pulled the trap door shut after he had set down the linens and lamp, then carefully made himself a bed among the canned goods, pickles and hams.

Snuffing out his gaslamp, he sank into a deathly slumber, stirring not even once as the hours of the day passed slowly in the world above him. A world completely ignorant to what lay below.

Chapter Text

Rey Kenobi was a top-notch mechanic, who lived just outside of London. She was young, carefree, full of life and endlessly curious. Some called her a dreamer, and chided her for wanting to believe there was more to life. She couldn’t help the way she felt though, it’s as if something inside of her that had always been there was desperate to get out. She knew not what.

Having been orphaned at the age of five, she had no family she knew of and was taken in by a burly man named Unkar Plutt. He had fed and provided her shelter, so long as she worked for him and submitted to his every demand. While he never physically abused her, he had done more than his fair share of mental abuse, reminding her all the time that she was nothing and that her parents had tossed her like garbage. The only kind words he ever said to her were “That’s my girl.” but it was almost an insult, and he only stated it whenever she completed a task for him.

It was April, 10, 2017. Today was her birthday, and she was meeting her friends at The King’s Arms, a charming pub close by her flat. Taking her time getting ready for what would hopefully be an exciting night on the town, she selected one of her few dresses that hung mostly neglected in the back of her closet. The dress was knee-length but bore a somewhat asymmetric hem that was slightly higher on the sides than it was in the front and back. It had long fitted sleeves and a modest scoop neck. It was her favorite shade of shadow blue. She paired it with tall slim brown boots and accented it with a simple silver necklace that hung low with a delicate silver medallion. Her thick chestnut hair was pulled half up, revealing the delicate silver earrings that matched the necklace.

Rose had got the set for her for Christmas this past year, and since she was seeing Rose tonight she thought that it would be fitting if she showed how much she appreciated the present she had received. Rose was far more fashion forward than Rey was, which she found oddly amusing. Rey was far more practical than feminine, which meant shopping trips with Rose was always torture. She dusted a bit of blush on her cheeks, some mascara on her eyelashes and clear gloss on her lips. Giving herself a once over in the mirror, she couldn't help but have a negative outlook on her self image. Same old Plain Jane. Why do you bother?

While she may have felt plain and unimposing, she took great pride in her physique and practiced endlessly to master her martial arts training whenever she wasn’t working. Slaving away hours at a time, she perfected her forms, almost to the point of over training and causing physical abuse to her body. It was the only thing that would ease her troubled mind and help her to sleep at night.

For as long as she could remember, she was troubled by nightmares, visions she couldn’t understand about things that felt like they could be memories but could only be dreams. She heard the same voice call out to her in the night, and it only ever said her name. It was like a whisper on the wind, and yet it chilled her to the bone. Shaking off the thought, she reached for a slim dagger which she tucked into one of her boots. It would have seemed a strange habit to some, if they had known, but to her it was much like a lucky charm. A symbol that she wouldn’t stand for the darkness that tried to haunt her in her dreams. Besides, the streets of London weren’t always safe, and a girl could use all the help she could get. She gathered her simple brown purse and unnecessary but useful smartphone, and made her way downstairs to head out to the pub.

She approached the old pub with love and affection. The neighborhood was filled with Georgian terraced houses. The pub itself was full of charm, and on this rare sunny spring afternoon, the main bar was flooded with warm light. She advanced towards her gathered friends, whom had become more like family.

There was Finn and Rose, whom were a newly minted couple and could hardly keep their hands to themselves. They were both exchange students. Finn was from the United States and Rose was from Vietnam. They were a year apart, and met through a psychology class they shared. Rey couldn’t help but laugh, remembering how when she first met Finn at a local football game that he expressed great affection towards her and yet she wanted nothing more than friendship. He found love in Rose, and the two were like bread and butter.

Then there was Poe. An ace pilot with the Royal Air Force, whose time spent in London was always limited due to ongoing missions around the world. Poe was a different breed of man. Ridiculously suave and charming, he could have anyone he wanted -- male or female -- and frequently, he did. He had eyes for Rey though, which frustrated her to no end as she looked upon him as if he were her big brother.

They greeted her with cheers, each one hugging her in turn and offering her a stool at the bar. They promised her that it was their intent to get her positively tanked as it was her 20th birthday, and she was no longer a teenager. She was entering a new decade of her life. They took turns paying for shots and drinks, and the hours slipped by in no time. She was sipping upon her favorite drink, known as Black Velvet, which was an equal blending of Guinness and hard apple cider. All of the sudden, she felt rather dizzy, and nearly stumbled off her stool when laughing at a joke that Finn had told. Her friends noticed her imbalance, and understandably were concerned.

“Oh, I’m fine.” She droned out, her normally crisp accent slurring as she spoke. “I just need some fresh air. I’m gonna step out a few minutes...I’ll see you all in a bit.” Poe insisted he join her, but she feared he might try to take advantage of her in her weakened, inebriated state. She pushed him off as kindly as she could manage and worked her way through the crowd and out into the night.

The temperatures had cooled significantly, feeling more like an April in London should feel. The night air was full of a fine mist, not quite rain but enough that she felt it biting at her skin. It felt good to her though, as in her current state her skin was flushed and she felt impossibly warm. She absently tugged her sleeves up to her elbows, loving the way the mist seemed to caress her skin as she walked. She then took it upon herself to begin wandering in no particular direction. Her eyes roamed over the beautiful historical homes, and idly wished she could live in one of them, knowing they must have been as gorgeous inside as they were outside. Not that she should complain about her own flat.

She lived in a quaint little split level one bedroom flat on St Saviours Wharf in the heart of Shad Thames. It had a magnificent view of the river, and boasted a warm comforting palate of pale blue, white and warm wood tones. She loved the charming touches of the chair railing around the main room, the built in bookcases, the wide-beamed dark wooden floors. What truly captured her fancy was the spiral staircase that lead to the floor above where her bedroom was. It had warm tan carpeting which was thick and lush. She loved walking around barefoot and wiggling her toes into the carpet, in contrast to the cool wooden floors downstairs. The kitchen was surprisingly large, and the cabinets were contrasting in color, white and crisp on top, a deep cornflower blue on the bottom. It suited her aesthetic perfectly. Regardless, she appreciated all things old. Perhaps that’s why she became a mechanic. So she could get her hands on gorgeous old cars and repair them and make them like new again.

Her thoughts drifted randomly, and she began feeling more stable on her feet now as she walked, breathing in the moist fragrant air surrounding her. Not really knowing where she was going, she took a turn down an alleyway, only to stumble on a terrifying situation. Two unbelievably tall men fighting over the terrified body of a pregnant homeless woman.

“I should get the fetus, I discovered her first,” one spoke with a thick French accent.

“I am older and could benefit more from the pure blood, I deserve the fetus. You take the woman,” the other argued, which made the trembling woman cry out. Rey couldn’t place his accent, but it certainly didn’t sound like he was a local.

“Please have mercy...don’t hurt my baby. Don’t hurt me. Someone...anyone...help me!!!” She shrieked out pitifully.

Rey ducked down by a trashcan, suddenly feeling incredibly sober. It was like she hadn’t had a sip of liquor to begin with, much less all that she had consumed. She covered her mouth quickly, biting down on her finger to prevent from screaming out. Something about the men frightened her intensely. She had to remind herself that she was an ordinarily fierce and independent woman.

Having been well versed in martial arts she could handle herself. Yet seeing the men and hearing their conversation, then seeing the woman who was a blubbering mess of tears among a stinking pile of rags, clutching her stomach and cradling her unborn child shook Rey to her core. In a state of panic, Rey realized she left her cell phone and purse on the bar, in anticipation of returning to the pub. She had nothing on her that could aid in the poor woman surviving the eminent attack.

Rey was suddenly aware of the sound of menacing growling. She looked to her right, hand still poised over her mouth, and saw a large mangy looking dog approaching her. It was foaming slightly at the mouth, a telltale sign of rabies. She scooted back closer to the wall of the building that was closest to her on the left. She shooed away the dog, but it continued to approach, and began to let forth a volley of vicious barks, lunging forward and snapping at her with its half rotten teeth.

Rey leapt up reflexively, and the two men whom she was hiding from suddenly snapped their heads in her direction. Her eyes widened as she saw them sniffing at the air before looking at each other and grinning widely. The homeless woman saw this as her way out, and slipped past the two men, breaking into a sprint. The two men now advanced upon Rey, and she was torn between turning towards the rabid stray dog or running directly into the pair who grinned wickedly at her. She opted for the dog, landing a swift kick across its boxy head and jumping over its body.

She broke into a sprint, but wasn’t fast enough. Somehow the men who before now were at least a good 40-50 feet away were now in increasingly close proximity to her. One managed to zoom around in front of her, effectively blocking her between the two of them.

“Ooh, would you get a whiff of this one? I believe we have ourselves a witch. And she’s a virgin! I bet she tastes exquisite,” the French one murmured.

“Far better than any fetus! We should share her. You take one wrist, I will take the other and we can both benefit from her purity and vigor,” the ancient one suggested.

“Good plan. Should we knock her out first?” The French one asked.

“No, I think we should just go ahead and take her. We can fill her mind with pleasure as we feast upon her, give her the orgasm she never got to experience with a man,”

Witch? What’s that about? Are they seriously debating how to take me right now? Rey’s mind reeled and her eyes widened, as she gradually backed up until she hit the wall of the building. Her eyes darted around, between the two men, looking up for fire escape ladders, low hanging light posts, anything that she could use to volt upon and use to her benefit. Then she became aware of a third man who appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

“This little one is not worth your time. Leave her,” he suggested, a lingering trace of a British accent causing him to articulate each word with care and precision.

Rey studied him, noting his thick slightly curly black hair, his impossibly smooth, pale skin. The expression on his face somehow managed to be intense and yet carried a hint of softness, alluding to youth despite having such an otherwise powerful presence. He too was tall - only slightly taller than the other two. What is it with the tall men all of the sudden? Despite being dressed head to toe in black, Rey was baffled to note that he was incredibly fashionable, all things considering. He was also painfully attractive, in a unexpected way.  Rey felt her heart flutter upon looking at him, and was almost ashamed to be feeling this way for a perfect stranger, especially given the rather chaotic and frightening situation she found herself in.

“Master, surely you don’t want her? You could have anyone you wanted...let us share her, we’ll make it as pleasant as possible for her,” the French one spoke, looking over at the newcomer.

“I told you. She is not worth your time. Now leave,”

“Be reasonable, Kylo. Jacques and I are desperate. We have not fed in days,”

“That is not my fault Acron,” the man named Kylo reprimanded, a tinge of anger causing his accent to become slightly thicker. “I suggest you leave. Do not make me cut you down,”

“You would not dare! Do you know how old I am?” Acron blanched, and his eyes were drawn down as he witnessed Kylo drawing forth a longsword. A sword? Where the hell did that come from? Even Rey had to admit she was shocked at the sight of the weapon the man named Kylo now wielded with finesse.

“Age is merely a number. You dare question my authority? I am your leader,” Kylo proclaimed, before crouching down into a defensive pose. Jacques and Acron cast fleeting glances at each other. Jacques lunged for Rey while Acron lunged for Kylo.

Rey’s fight or flight instincts kicked in and she brandished her hidden dagger from her knee-high boots, suddenly grateful for her instinct to carry it. She effectively slashed at Jacques’ cheeks, ducking down beneath his arms as he sought to catch her waist. She spun on her heels, watching with utter shock as a few blood drops trickled down his chiseled features, but the cuts themselves appeared to heal instantly.

“What are you?” She gasped, before crouching down in her own defensive pose, glancing in the direction of the Kylo and Acron who were now full on fighting. Acron was wielding a long lead pipe to counter strike against Kylo’s medieval looking sword. The vision of those two was positively surreal, and she doubted it was something she’d ever see again.

Rey barely managed to sidestep Jacques as he lunged at her once more. Instinctively drawing up her hands, her leg tore through the air landing a kick straight at the man’s gut, causing him to fall back against the opposite wall. She smiled, that move always worked, and ordinarily would knock the wind out of the unsuspecting victim of her intense roundhouse kick. Not this man. He leapt up on his feet without missing a beat, causing panic to rise in her again. Stumbling back over a random cinder block, she dropped her dagger with a loud clatter, as he advanced on her.

Just as his body hovered over her, she saw the blade of a longsword piercing directly through his torso. The shock upon his face was as present as it was on hers. She covered her mouth again to stop from screaming. Her attacker looked down at the blade that was sticking out of him. One of his hands reached up to grasp the blade, too late for he was gone. His body collapsed to the ground in front of her with a sickening squish that seemed to echo in the alleyway.

Rey looked upon her savior, the man named Kylo, who reached for her now with a steady black gloved hand. With shaking hands she hesitantly took it, feeling him gently pull her up. She cast a side glance at the her fallen attacker, stepping over his corpse. Kylo pulled the blade out of the man’s back, and in a swift motion beheaded him.

“He was already dead, you didn’t have to do that,” Rey said, watching as he gathered up the head and dumped it into a large metal bin. Kylo folded the body in half, and she heard bones crunching in a disgusting manner as the body was compressed with ease in the hands of the man in black. That’s physically impossible. She reasoned with herself, her mouth agape as she watched him folding up the other corpse and placing it in the bin with the first man’s before casually tossing the second man’s head into the bin as if he were making a scoring shot in a game of basketball. He withdrew a matchbox then, pulling one out and striking it before tossing it onto one crumpled corpse, giving the other crumpled corpse the same treatment. Almost instantly, their bodies were ablaze. He turned towards Rey now, and she gazed up at his face seeing the warmth of the fire reflected on his skin.

“Are you ok?” Kylo questioned, concern apparent across his face as he spoke.

“Hardly...What the hell was all that? Who are you? Why is this happening?” Rey queried, her body beginning to tremble with adrenaline that now pumped through her veins. She should have ran when she had the chance. He sighed, his broad shoulders lowering as if in defeat.

“I should have expected that reaction. Try to forget it, it is better that way,” Kylo reasoned, making a somewhat off-handed gesture with one of his hands. Rey felt oddly dizzy for a moment but she shook it off.

“Forget?! How does one forget something like that?” Rey asked incredulously, her eyebrows arching up as she gestured with frustration at the scene in front of her, noting the burning corpses no longer resembled corpses at all.

“It will all seem like a bad dream when you wake up tomorrow. You were drunk. You passed out in the King’s Arms, and your friends took you home. None of this really happened. Those men do not exist. I do not exist,” his voice carried a tone of melancholy as he spoke, and she somehow felt as if her heart would break, if she were to hear him say anything else in that hauntingly bewitching voice of his. How could he say such things?

“You will forget. You have to. There is no other choice,” he stated simply, looking down and to the side, as if he could no longer bear to look at her. Just like that he was gone. Had he disappeared? No...he simply moved to fast for her to notice, as she felt a breeze come over her, which made her hair lift slightly in passing.

Rey rubbed her head, not knowing what to think or how to feel. Casting a final glance at the burning trash bins, she noted that the fire was dying down almost as quickly as it had ignited. Shaking her head in disbelief, she turned, walking back out the alleyway and returning to her friends at the pub. Her haunted expression left her friends even more concerned than they were when she had hobbled out drunk earlier. She told them she wanted to call it a night, claiming that she got sick from having drank too much and that she just wanted to go home. It was a bold-faced lie, but in a way she had felt impossibly sick. Not from the alcohol, but from her personal experience. She was completely shaken to the core.

Poe drew a protective arm around her, offering to walk with her.

“Fine, as long as you know I’m not going to invite you up to my flat. I need to be alone,” she said, eyeing him wearily.

“Sure, sure, I just want to make sure you make it home in one piece. You look terrible, even for you. And that’s like... impossible,” Poe replied, eyes travelling a little too much.

“Hey man, that’s not nice. I mean, you’re right but you don’t have to tell her. It’s her birthday, try to be more considerate,” Finn reasoned, slapping Poe on the arm as he spoke.

“Let them go, Finn, it’ll be what it’ll be,” said Rose, ever the voice of reassurance. “Take care of yourself, Rey, I’ll check in on you tomorrow. Oh, and Happy Birthday.” She gazed upon Rey with fondness before turning to Finn and pulling him away from Poe. Rey watched as Rose gathered Finn into her arms and placed a tender kiss upon his lips. He was distracted, and Rey was grateful for the getaway opportunity. She still had to contend with Poe, but at least Finn wouldn’t be an issue.

Walking slowly with Poe, she heard his voice droning on hoping to distract her, but failing miserably. She wasn’t paying attention and tuned it out as the scene that had developed before her in the alleyway ran itself through her mind in an endless loop. Did they call me a witch? Why did the man in black -- Kylo -- have a longsword in the middle of London? She felt like she somehow missed a memo somewhere, and knew that this would be a birthday she wouldn’t forget for many many years to come, even if the beautiful creature who fought for her had insisted that it was exactly what she needed to do. She could never forget.

“Hello? Earth to Rey? We’re at your flat, are you gonna stop walking?”

“Hmmm? Oh, yes, sorry. That was fast. Thanks again for walking with me Poe,” Rey murmured, turning to face him and offering a weary smile.

“No problem, Rey,” he said softly, and she realized he was leaning in close to her, angling his face as if to kiss her. With a sharp intake of breath, she pulled back.

“Thank you again, Poe. Have a good night,” she had hoped that her voice sounded stern, but she never felt more weak or flustered. It had nothing to do with Poe. She was haunted by those eyes, that voice...she had seen Kylo before, but where? Trudging almost robotically up the stairs, she entered her code to get into the front door and making her way towards the elevator. Once she was in her flat, she dragged off her boots, idly realizing she had left her dagger in the alleyway. That was one of her favorites too. It was probably long gone now. Alas.

Sinking into the couch, she grabbed the book she had been reading. She tried to distract herself, but found herself reading the same line multiple times. Sighing, she slid her bookmark back into place, closing the book and returning it to its previous place. She leaned back on the couch. I’m just gonna rest my eyes, that will help. Yes, breathe, focus, remember your training. Kylo’s eyes, however, wouldn’t fade away from her memory.

Chapter Text

The next day was painful. Although Rey had forced herself to sober up mentally, her body reacted poorly, most notably from dehydration. She had a throbbing headache all morning, and the slightest movement in the wrong direction made her nauseous. She took some pain medicine and forced herself to head into work. Never having called in sick before, Rey felt she would be damned if she let it happen this time around. By the time she took her lunch break, she felt back to normal and was relieved.

She was looking over her email as she nibbled absentmindedly on some carrots. Unkar Plutt had written to her, a rare occurrence in the recent years. He wished her a happy birthday, and asked if she’d be interested in having dinner with him sometime this week. He had something to give her, and this was most peculiar, as he never gave her anything. Intrigued, she replied instantly, thanking him for remembering her birthday, and suggesting they have dinner together the next day.

She had nothing else planned, beyond going to the Taekwondo studio. Much to her surprise, he agreed and suggested Cantina Del Ponte, an Italian restaurant nearby her flat which she had been desperate to try out but couldn’t afford. He said he owed her, as he knew he hadn’t particularly been kind to her over the years. She was oddly comforted by the gesture.

That evening she was all nerves. By the time it was 11pm, she couldn’t get her mind to settle. Why would Unkar want to see her all of the sudden? Rey couldn’t help but feel suspicious. They hadn’t spoken since Christmas, and that was only him messaging her a thank you for her Christmas card. It hardly warranted the need to spend any time together, let alone share a meal and a gift.

Rey headed up to the rooftop garden on top of her flat, and absently trailed her hands through the foliage as she made her way to the edge of the roof. She sat on a lip near the edge, leaning back against the cool stone pavers, peering up at the sky. Slivers of moonlight and a faint sprinkling of stars shone in the distance. Out over the river she saw a barge floating along silently, its lights a beacon in the darkness. She allowed her eyes to drift aimlessly over the various buildings within the near vicinity, imagining what the people were like who lived around her.

Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath, releasing it slowly. In her mind, she could have sworn she heard a faint murmuring, but she couldn't place it. It was as if she were hearing her own thoughts spoken out loud, but there was a vast multitude of voices, and she couldn’t pinpoint them. She feared she was going crazy, but chalked it up to lack of sleep, preferring not to let such an odd thing to linger on her mind. She did tend to have an overactive imagination, Unkar had always reminded her of that.

She drifted back down to her flat shortly after. Once she was back in the comforts of her own space, she trudged up the spiral staircase and practically collapsed into her bed. Having no idea what time it was, she was grateful that sleep had fallen the minute her head hit the pillow.

The next day went by considerably quicker, perhaps due to her anticipation for what was coming up that evening. Getting ready quickly, she chose to dress a little finer than her usual tee-shirt and jeans. She didn’t want to overdo it though, as she had no one to impress. Making her way downstairs, she crossed the road and walked several blocks, drawn to the waterfront. The Cantina del Ponte boasted exquisite riverfront views and she longed to take them in. It was atop a building full of other businesses and housing, as there seemed to be no wasted space in London. Once she made it to the main entrance, she walked in, greeting the maître d' with a warm smile.

“Ah yes, Miss Kenobi? Right this way, please,” the prim older woman directed, leading Rey through the restaurant to the back corner. Rey took in the atmosphere of the restaurant as they walked, appreciating the vast mural of what she could only guess was a street market somewhere in Italy. The smells were incredible, as she felt like she was floating on a river of garlic and cheese.

She spotted Unkar without any trouble. He was wedged into a chair at a table that suddenly seemed comically small. She was surprised to see his smile. He seemed to have a carefree expression on his face as he gazed upon her, as if by her becoming an adult he had suddenly changed his mannerisms. Standing as she drew closer, he held his blubbery hands forward to take hers, and kissing both of her cheeks. It was a gesture which to anyone else would seem commonplace for greeting a loved one, but this was most unusual for him.

Why is he being so kind?

He owned a pawn shop buying and selling junk, a ruthless, savvy man through and through. “One man’s trash is my treasure,” he’d always claim, a twist on the old saying. As a little girl, Rey liked to pretend that he was referring to her. As she grew older she gradually realized that it was just a silly fantasy, she was nothing but a nuisance and a burden to him. Suddenly she felt wary, as if he were deliberately being kind to soften some sort of blow he intended on dealing to her at some point. She noted a small gift and a card off to the side, and she eyed them as he pulled out her chair.

“Thank you for agreeing to meet me, my girl. You look well. Happy birthday,” Unkar said, his usually gruff voice once again coming out kind and light.

“How could I say no to any request you make of me?” Rey took a sip from the ice water in front of her, playing along with the charade.

They ate a three-course meal, complete with glasses of Prosecco. She found the flavors as magnificent as the scents had alluded to when she had made her way through earlier. They kept their conversation light, talking mostly about the goings-on of the pawn shop, and one of the more unique cars Rey had worked on recently. When they were enjoying their dessert, Unkar seemed to have made up his mind and presented her with the gift and letter.

“Now listen, girl, I want you to wait to read the letter till you return to your flat. I’m not sure how you might react to it, as I’ve never read it myself. All I know is that it might upset you and I don’t want you to make a fool of yourself crying in public.” Rey felt her stomach twist into a knot at those words, mind racing through the possibilities of what he may have meant. She would have to wait to find out. Crying in public was definitely something she was looking to avoid.

“I can appreciate that thought, thank you. Should I open the gift now, though?”

“Absolutely, I insist.” He gestured with his spoon still perched in his chubby hand, taking another appreciative bite of gelato.

Rey reached for the small, seemingly innocuous gift in front of her, grasping at the card as well, and setting it in her purse. Sliding her fingers beneath the brown wrapping paper, she opened it to reveal a beautiful wooden box that was inlaid with delicate designs in mother of pearl. She couldn’t help but smile as she drew her fingers along the smooth, shiny surface.

“This is technically two gifts, my girl. The box is from me and what’s inside comes from your mother.”

“My mother?” Rey gasped, immediately looking up at Unkar.

“Yes. I’m sure you’ll likely hate me for this, but I knew your parents well before I ever became your guardian. You see, I’m technically your Godfather, and I agreed in front of God and the church that should anything happen to your family, I would care for you as if you were my own. At the time, I had never anticipated things would happen the way they did. I never imagined I’d be the one raising you. If I had, things would have been considerably different. I’m aware I wasn’t exactly the kindest to you, but my own childhood had left me… ill-equipped.”

Rey was beside herself with emotion. This was the most either of them had spoken in years...and here, he is revealing things about her past she so desperately needed to learn. Things she had begged to know for so many years, only to be met with what she was now learning to be lies. Suddenly the meal she had consumed sat in her belly like a heavy stone.

She gritted her teeth to keep herself from saying something harsh, to maintain the decorum she had so painstakingly cultivated tonight. Unkar nodded down at the box, and she peered down at it again, her thumb tenderly caressing the edge of the lid. Heart racing wildly, she knew she needed to open it, yet hesitated as though on the precipice of a momentous revelation. What could her mother possibly give her?

Finally, she couldn’t wait any longer. She lifted the edge to reveal a beautiful necklace with an ancient-looking medallion. It had a single stone, roughly two and a half inches long, and narrow. It appears black at first, but when she held it to the light she noticed it was iridescent with hints of green and purple. In her mind, something spoke to her, telling her it was fire obsidian, but she pushed the thought away like another of her silly fantasies. It was attached to what looked like a medieval sword hilt in silver, complete with a crossguard, which seemed eerily familiar. She was completely awestruck, and noted it hung from a black leather cord. She drew it around her neck immediately, stroking her fingers over the stone and feeling the cool smoothness it possessed.

“As I’m sure you now realize, that letter I told you to wait on reading is from her also. If you want to discuss anything with me, I’ll be up fairly late tonight. Read the letter first and then call me. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have,” Unkar stated softly, noting the tears that were gathering in Rey’s eyes. He sounded guilty, and Rey felt glad, perhaps he did have a conscience after all.

“Thank you, Unkar. For now, I’m completely at a loss for words. I think I’d like to finish my dessert, if you don’t mind, then be on my way.”

“I perfectly understand, my girl. Follow your instincts on this one, you won’t hear any argument from me,” he said, reaching one of his hands across the table and resting it on top of hers. Her heart warmed at the gesture despite her anger. It was the kindest thing he had ever done for her. She had needed the comfort countless times, and hated the way he was so unnecessarily cold and cruel to her. Perhaps it was his guilt at deceiving her for so long that compelled him to warmth now, but Rey didn’t care. Affection was a precious resource in her life. Somehow after dinner this evening, she felt closer to him than she ever had before.

He finished his gelato as she picked at her tiramisu, not wanting to waste a single morsel, and yet her appetite had all but disappeared. She managed to finish it, drinking down the last of her Prosecco to cleanse her palate. Unkar drew her chair out for her, offering a hand to help her stand.

“The meal was delightful, I appreciate the opportunity to spend time with you. Thank you again, for everything,” Rey said quietly, reaching up slightly to rest her hand on his arm.

“You’re more than welcome, my girl. Don’t forget, if you need to talk later, I’ll be there for you,” he offered with utmost sincerity. Rey nodded in response, knowing she’d break down and cry if she were to speak. She still could hardly believe he had taken such a dramatic turn in his attitude and treatment of her. Turning, she made her way out the restaurant and back to her flat, somehow managing to make it there despite not really paying attention to anything that she passed between the table at the restaurant and her front door.

She kicked off her flats the moment she walked in, locking the door up tight behind her. She drew out the envelope and practically ran to the sofa, clicking on a lamp along the way. Her name was written in an elegant script on the center, and she traced her fingers over the lettering. She hesitated before pulling a nearby dagger off a side table and slicing it through the top of the envelope. Reaching in, she pulled out several pieces of rough ivory parchment. The same elegant script flowed across the page, and she found herself enchanted by what must have been her mother’s hand writing.

 

My Darling Rey,

If you are reading this, you have likely just celebrated your 20th birthday. Happy birthday. I am sorry I am unable to be with you on this special date. I hope you know I am with you in spirit. I am uncertain whether Unkar Plutt has told you about your past. I am grateful that he was able to take you when he did, as I’m well aware that raising a child is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly. I can only hope he bestowed upon you the comfort and love you deserve.

I’m sure you must have a thousand questions - about why your father and I left you. That’s only natural. I’ll have you know that it was totally unintentional, and that we left so that you could be saved.

I’m sure you’ve noticed things that set you apart from others over the years. You’re not imagining it. There’s no way to put this lightly. Rey, you’re a witch. As am I, and my mother before her, and so on and so on. It’s not like you think, we don’t ride around on brooms and cackle in the moonlight. Instead, we have heightened psychic and telepathic abilities, are able to manipulate mind and matter, that sort of thing. I mean sure, if you want to make potions and cast spells you can, but honestly that’s very inefficient. It also takes time and practice, whereas your mental abilities are natural.

Allow your natural instincts to guide you to places of knowledge. As much as I wish I could instruct you, there have been grimoires and and journals left along the way with all the information you will ever need on how to use your abilities.

I will tell you now, however, a crucial bit of information to keep you safe. There’s an ongoing war that’s been continuing for centuries between witches and our nemesis, the vampire. We are quite literally on opposite sides of the spectrum. We are the Light and they are the Dark. Be mindful of these creatures. Trust your instincts, and do the right thing. We separated ourselves from you that you might live. As you come of age, there’s no denying that you have it in you, and they’ll be able to sense it. Be safe, my darling daughter. Protect yourself. Be the Light we need you to be. Maybe someday we can be together again. Til then, know we’re apart only because we have to be, not because we want to be.

Love eternally,
Your mother

 

Rey must have read the note half a dozen times, holding it close to her heart and weeping for what felt like hours. Just when she thought she’d calmed down, she’d look at the letter again and the waterworks would start all over. She could hardly believe it, she was a witch, as had been indicated to her by the very creatures her mother had mentioned. Had she not witnessed firsthand the vampires whom she interacted with a few nights ago, she would have never given it another thought.

Surely that’s what they must have been. At least the two that were arguing over her. She wasn’t sure about Kylo. He didn’t seem as evil as those other two. Although he was impossibly strong to be able to crush their bodies the way he did...she shuddered at the memory. It only made sense, the more she thought of it. She couldn’t imagine him being her nemesis. After all, he had saved her. What reason did he have to do that? Unless there was something more than meets the eye.

With shaking hands she now picked up her cell phone, thumbing through her contacts. She knew who she had to call. There were so many questions that had risen in her mind, and she had hoped Unkar Plutt would be as useful as he had suggested he would be. Holding the phone up to her ear, she listened to the dial tone and heard his gruff voice moments later.

“So you’ve read it?” He asked, not even saying hello. Rey choked back a sob, nodding her head before realizing he couldn’t see her.

“Yes. How did you know them?” she asked now, forcing herself to take long slow breaths.

“Your father and I were college roommates. He and your mother grew up together and were always close, but never became involved with each other til they were both older. Some would argue they were soulmates, if you believe in such a thing. I wouldn’t ordinarily, but with those two….something was different,” Plutt answered, his words flowing freely, much to Rey’s relief. Why had he insisted on hiding the truth for as long as he did? Perhaps some part of him enjoyed seeing her suffer?

“Are they still alive?” She forced herself to ask, almost afraid of the answer.

“I’m not sure. I want to say yes, but it’s been five years since the last time I heard from either of them,” he admitted, his tone low and full of sorrow. He had been in communication with them as recently as five years ago and didn’t tell her?

“Why...why didn’t you tell me?” she choked out. “Why wouldn’t you let me talk to them? Why couldn’t I see them? I just don’t understand.” Rey was crying again, gripping the phone tightly.

“I’m sorry, my girl. You might not want to hear this, but…” Unkar hesitated. Rey’s eyes narrowed and she felt the anticipation tying knots in her stomach.

“...they asked me not to tell you. They didn’t want to talk to you. They didn’t want to see you.” His voice was low, and she had to strain to hear him, especially in the end. She could hear that it pained him to tell her the truth, but why? He was back to his old cruel tricks, the heartless bastard that he always had been. Why should she be surprised? She shouldn’t have expected anything.

Liar!” Rey all but screamed. How could she believe anything he said, ever again? Unkar Plutt had never been more cruel than he was in this moment, and she didn’t care how soft and sincere he sounded.

Ending the call immediately, she threw her phone at one of her couch cushions. She collapsed, her elbows on her knees, head in hands. The pain of rejection clutched at her heart even more than it ever had in the past, and she was crying so hard that she shook. The necklace from her mother that hung from her neck now felt like a noose, threatening to choke her, and a part of her wanted to rip it off and throw it into the river. She needed to save herself somehow, needed to breathe again. Needed to feel something other than pain.

Just then, the room faded and Rey found herself standing in a beautiful country field. The mid-afternoon sun streamed in through the spring foliage making it glow bright green. The grass swayed gently in the dappled shadows. Above, clouds dazzled her with their brilliance, contrasting starkly with the cerulean blue sky. A sense of peace came over her, soothing away her distress, as though the warm breeze was cleansing away all her fears and worries.

A gentle voice spoke in the silence, a whisper on the wind, she was almost sure it was female.

“Dear child, the belonging you seek is not behind you ...it is ahead.”

Unexpectedly, in the corner of her eye she noticed the shadow of a figure moving between the trees. She felt like she was being watched. Where she should have felt alarmed she felt protected and safe. Turning towards the figure, she attempted to get a better look but it simply moved deeper into the the forest. Somehow, she managed to catch a glimpse of its eyes before it vanished completely from view. Those eyes, she had seen them somewhere before though for the life of her she couldn’t remember where.

A deep longing began to emerge in her heart, as though the watcher was a part of her, a piece long missing, finally found. Something clicked into place, the whole world in its correct order, an ancient wrong righted. Then just like that the vision was gone. She was back on her couch in her apartment. She pondered the meaning of it all, the pain she felt before all but gone.

Chapter Text

Deep underground in the heart of London lay hidden catacombs. This is where Kylo Ren and his First Order Coven had made their home. It was a quiet, ancient place, but Kylo had brought it into the modern era.

It was fully wired with electricity, and had its own wifi, media center, library, and other such useful things that modern vampires could appreciate when they weren’t out hunting. After all, if they had to be active during the night, when everything in the world above was closed down, they needed to do something. Somehow the juxtaposition between the modern and ancient was the ultimate irony. That they had so much technology and were surrounded by bones and deteriorating coffins that were hundreds of years old somehow seemed wrong.

Kylo never felt more at ease than in this place though, comforted by the presence of his brothers and sisters in Darkness. Those who trusted him as their leader, and appreciated the quality of life that he had provided for them. They were a respectful and quiet community for the most part, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Kylo prided himself on his success in bringing the coven into the future. He had sworn to his ancient Master that he wouldn’t disappoint him. He hoped that he had succeeded in exceeding all expectations. He held up his end of the bargain, purging the weak from the group, strengthening others. There was a sense of security for his fellow immortals. They need not fear discovery from the humans, as they were so covert in the way they handled things. Their coven was one of the finest in the world.

He still managed to appreciate the way some things in life became more refined with age. Much as he himself had. After all, he was turning 200 years old next November. He was one of the oldest vampires in the coven. There were, however, a few who were older than he was who had managed to linger on in their existence, although they were really more like statues. They barely moved and no longer needed to feed on humans. They simply existed. He valued their presence, however, and the vast knowledge they possessed. When needed, they could easily be roused and impart their wisdom. Others might have neglected these ancient ones, but not Kylo. He utilized every resource he had, even those who were undead.

Now he resigned himself to sharpening and polishing his long sword, which had been put to good use recently. This ancient weapon had served him well over the past century. He knew the blade as if it were an extension of himself. It was the second such sword he had possessed in his lifetime, and was far superior to the first one. He was perched on the edge of his chair, leaning over a small wooden table. There was an array of tools before him; a metal file, a whetstone, oil for the whetstone, and some coarse sandpaper.

Methodically he began using even, measured strokes with his metal file. He counted each stroke as he went along before turning over the blade, using the precise same number of strokes on that side as well. He gathered up his oil and dribbled a bit on the surface of his whetstone, rubbing it in slightly with his fingertips. He took slow, uniform strokes along the blade once more, drawing it up to the light on occasion to make sure he didn’t miss any spots. He tore a small square of the sandpaper, wetting it slightly with water as he ran it along the edge of the blade again. He was so precise he might as well have been a sword sharpening machine. The action soothed his weary mind, and he never felt more at ease than when he was polishing and sharpening his sword.

He often wondered why men stopped wielding swords. They were an elegant choice for weapons, far more refined than any gun could ever be. They harkened back to an era where men were honorable, and true justice existed. Being a nobleman in the Victorian era, he had learned fencing from an early age. It was one of the few useful things he had learned while he was still human. He prided himself on that skill, as so few immortals existed who could fight as well as he could, and he used that to his advantage. Once he was satisfied with the condition of his blade, he slid it into its sheath and sat it aside. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes as he allowed himself to become lost in his thoughts. He knew it was merely a reflexive action - much as breathing had been, but he did it regardless.

What happened the other night? That girl, that beautiful girl he had seen in his dreams was real. Even more radiant in person, like a rare jewel. A goddess in the night, the embodiment of Aphrodite herself. Perhaps he should liken her to Persephone, as surely he was Hades? How could something so pure exist in such a corrupt world? He shook his head at the realization that she was a witch.

No wonder she was so alluring.

A true creature of the Light, the embodiment of good, drawing her strength from nature and the world around her. She was so young still, and wasn’t even aware of the power she possessed. In a way, he was glad she didn’t know. At the same time, the older she got the more likely she was to discover her abilities. It was only a matter of time before she became the most sought-after target for every vampire in the near vicinity. Word would spread like wildfire - as it always does - of her existence. This saddened Kylo for some unknown reason, way beyond what he thought was reasonable. Was it because he felt a connection to her? He couldn’t know for sure, and did he really want to?

He cast her from his mind as quickly as he could, remembering the ongoing war between the witches and vampires that had plagued the supernatural world for as long as anyone could remember. No one knew how it started originally. Perhaps it had something to do with the blood that the witches possessed. It was positively delectable, and highly sought after by vampires in the earliest years of existence, or so legend says.

It could strengthen the vampire in untold ways, causing them to take on the characteristics the witch had held when she was alive. Vampires had hunted witches almost to the point of extinction, but somehow, over many generations, witches had managed to build up their numbers and gather together to take out weaker covens. These days, the world of witches had grown weak, while the vampires only maintained their numbers. With vampires, the strongest survived, the weakest were eliminated over time, and more were always created.

Not so with witches. It was something you had to be born into - the old-fashioned way. The slow way. A union between a human man and woman, one if not both possessing the latent genetic code which allowed them to possess natural, magical abilities. In a sense, it was impractical. Their lifetime was also significantly shorter than that of a vampires, as they were mortal and still suffered in ways that all living beings had. They were susceptible to illness, injury and inevitably death. Many modern day natural-born witches weren’t even aware of what they were, and therefore no longer offered as much of a threat as they had in the past.

Shifting in his chair, he opened his eyes and took out his pocket watch. It was quarter after one. Standing, he made his way across the room to a large desk where a stack of documents lay that he had prepared a few nights ago. He was meeting a client at the White Cube Contemporary Art Museum at 2am. He preferred to be early to such meetings, as he had a reputation to uphold. After all, he was one of the leading experts in his field. He was able to forge the finest documents, helping people create new identities for themselves with ease.

This occupation came rather by accident, as he had initially started doing this for himself mere decades after he had been born to Darkness. It was a way he had been able to survive for so long without being detected. He regularly created new identities for himself and had moved countless times. Somehow, he always made his way back to London. It was where he was born and inevitably, he supposed, where he would die. Eventually.

“Another client?” a voice spoke up from behind him. Kylo peered over his shoulder as the figure of Armitage Hux approached.

Armitage was what could be considered the second in command of the First Order Coven. If Kylo were ever to be away for any extended amount of time, Armitage would lead in his stead. The two immortals regarded each other as allies only out of necessity, as they could hardly stand to be in each other’s presence for long. Although Armitage was older by a few decades, he was the weaker of the two, and yet he was so ambitious that he always felt he would make a better leader than Kylo had. How foolish he was to believe this.

“Of course. Someone has to work around here, we have bills to pay,” Kylo said with a hint of a laugh as he turned back to his documents.

“Mortal or immortal?” Armitage asked, facing Kylo and holding his hand out to inspect the documents.

“What do you think?” Kylo responded with a smirk, handing over the documents and hoping Armitage didn’t crease them.

“What is it with you and mortals?” Armitage inquired, a look of disgust causing his nose to wrinkle before he cast his gaze upon the passport photo he now held. His expression quickly changed, “Oooh but this one is a snack. Tell me you are going to feed from her. If you do not, I will find her and do it myself.”

“No, you will not. We do not touch those who provide us with financial stability. You know that. Same as we do not touch those who provide us with services, like internet technicians. Those people are often innocent. Evildoers are easier, and they taste better. Need I remind you of all our other rules, again? I have somewhere to be.”

“Of course, Kylo. Go be with that pretty mortal. Earn your pay.” Kylo couldn’t help but roll his eyes at Armitage’s tone of voice. The man seriously grated on his nerves. Setting the documents in a small black leather briefcase, he cast a fleeting glance at his fellow immortal and then left the room.

On his way out, he passed a full length mirror. He had seen his reflection thousands of times, and it was something he tried to avoid at all costs. He drew in closer to peer at his reflection, sneering at himself. He felt like a caricature.

He smoothed his hand through his hair, tucking it behind his ears. He ran one of his fingers over his perfectly straight nose and smoothed his hand over his cheek. When he was 21, he had broken his nose in a bar fight. It had been a somewhat unfair fight, and Ben Solo was left far more broken and battered than his bloody nose had indicated. The doctors he saw hadn’t set his nose straight either, so for several years it was slightly crooked. Of course, when he became a vampire, it straightened itself out.

Everything about him was impossibly symmetric, as if he had been sculpted by an artist. His skin was flawless, all scars vanished and even his pores appeared to diminish. It’s as though vampirism was nature’s finest cosmetic surgeon. This worked to his benefit, naturally, which is what made him the ultimate killing machine. Everything about him was appealing, but it was wholly superficial.

Deep inside he was tired, lonely and ashamed of who he was. Of course, no one was the wiser. With a smile as endearing as his and a personality as charming as he had, he created the perfect illusion of being a happy young man. He was grateful for the power he held within this existence, but a part of him still felt like he was a monster, trapped within himself.

Every night when he awoke was another reminder of the life he was forced to live, a life he didn’t choose. Instead of letting it hold him back, he had embraced it. At the core of it all, he knew he was a survivor. But just like the black he always wore head to toe, he wondered if even that was all a ruse. A sleek, stylish, hollow ruse. He was a survivor because living was not an option. He gave himself a final quick once over and straightened his tie then continued on his way.

Making his way to the surface of the city, Kylo exited the catacombs and crossed the road to a nearby garage where he kept his collection of cars. He had a half a dozen that he had collected over time, one of the luxuries he had indulged in. He opted to take his newest addition to the collection, a black Aston Martin DB11.

It was a thing of beauty, all smooth lines and sexy curves. He had ordered a custom interior that was made of the finest leather, dyed red with black trim. It suited him, and he couldn’t help but smile whenever he got behind the wheel. He knew it was flashy and attention-grabbing, but it was all part of the image he had made for himself this time around. The roads were blissfully empty at this time of night, and he zoomed around with ease, making it to the White Cube in record time. Parking beneath a street lamp, he stepped out and leaned against his vehicle, casually looking around for his client.

Kylo’s client arrived minutes later, approaching in an equally exquisite car. A hunter green vintage 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster. Remembering the year this came out, he had almost bought one for himself, but for whatever reason opted not to. His client was one of the wealthier ones he had worked with, and the quarter of a million pounds she now paid him was mere pocket change.

Watching her appreciatively as she stepped out of her car there was no denying that she was unbelievably attractive, a fantasy woman by most men’s standards. She had curves that would make any woman envious and legs that went on for miles. Her flowing blonde hair was curled in loose waves, and her striking blue eyes and lush full lips were beyond enticing. Absently Kylo wondered how much of her was natural versus fake. These days, so many women sought perfection through plastic surgery, so there was a lot to be said for the rare woman whom possessed natural beauty. Regardless of all this, she wasn’t entirely his type, although he still appreciated her beauty for what it was.

“Miss Beckett,” he called out softly as she approached.

“Mr. Ren,” she acknowledged, nodding at him respectfully. They exchanged briefcases and she opened hers immediately, as he sat his in the trunk of of his car. She began inspecting the documents he had created. Passport, driver’s licence, birth certificate, the usual.

He heard her stifle a laugh.

“So I’m to be Vanessa now, am I? I like it. I’m glad I left that choice to you. I would have chosen something boring like Sarah or Jane.”

“I found it rather poignant. The name Vanessa means butterfly in Greek, and you are choosing a new life and flying away,” he explained, gesturing slightly with his hands before crossing his arms over his chest.

“How poetic, you’re far more thoughtful than most would be. Your work is well worth every pound you make,” Vanessa now stated in a reverent tone as she closed the briefcase, gracing him with a smile. He watched her carefully as she turned towards her own car, setting the briefcase in the passenger seat.

“Well I take great pleasure in what I do. Especially when it comes to interacting with such captivating clients as you, Miss Beckett,” Kylo stated, brazenly flirting.

“I’m sure you must say that to all the ladies,” she said, acting coy, turning towards him and making an offhand gesture with a delicate hand, jeweled ring glinting in the somewhat dim streetlight.

“Only the ones who are worth it.” he replied sincerely. He captured her hand in his and drew it up to his lips, grazing a kiss upon her knuckles, peering at her directly in the eyes. She felt something stimulate her latent desire for him.

“Ever the charmer. Are you sure you don’t need anything else from me?” she questioned, her tone suggestive as she knowingly eyed him. Cocking his head to the side somewhat, he considered her thoughtfully, eyes slowly taking in the exquisite woman who stood before him. He tried to resist looking at her neck and instead gazed into those piercing blue eyes of hers.

“Perhaps. Join me in my car?” he suggested, making her smile even brighter.

“With pleasure,” she nearly purred in response, and he had to restrain himself from laughing as he heard her heart skip a beat. The thoughts that poured out of her head would have made him blush, if he were able to. They both wanted each other for different reasons, but it suited him nevertheless.

Once they were settled in his car, she leaned in and kissed him, caressing his cheek. It was somewhat shy and tender at first, as if she was testing the waters.

“Are you always this cold?” she asked, noting how his skin felt icy to the touch. Her hand trailed down to his broad chest, playing with the lapel of his jacket, trying to ignore the shiver that went down her spine.

“I had been standing outside for a while, and it is not exactly a warm night.” It was obviously a lie, but Vanessa believed it.

Then he felt her thoughts shift as she decided she needed more from him, tapping into her innate carnal desire. Shamelessly, she climbed onto his lap, straddling his hips, as she began kissing him again. Her tongue slid into his mouth as he let their kiss deepen. Kylo allowed this to work to his benefit, piercing her tongue slightly with one of his fangs and feeding from her as they kissed without her even realizing it was happening. Take that, Hux!

Little drinks like this were satisfying, and the way humans allowed themselves to become so enraptured in their kisses, it merely added to the pleasure he was already giving her. Kylo stroked his hands through her golden hair, gathering it and draping it over one of her shoulders. Caressing the back of her neck, he allowed his hands to trail down slowly before resting them on the small of her back, pulling her closer to his body.

Vanessa’s hands tangled into his hair, tugging it slightly before dipping her fingers beneath his collar and scratching the flesh there. Kylo appreciated the gesture and enjoyed the sensation that rippled through his body. He broke the kiss, watching her writhe in pleasure, grinding her hips against his. How easy it was for him to influence women and arouse them to the point that they willingly gave him what he needed.

He much preferred feeding in this manner to killing unnecessarily. The need to feed was satisfied, and no one had to suffer. He licked his lips, savouring her taste as he felt the warmth of her blood coursing through his veins. She moaned appreciatively, and he could see in her mind that she wanted more than just a kiss. Just as her desire rose, the image of that beautiful witch entered Kylo’s mind, and suddenly he vehemently wished it was her skin he was caressing, her thighs pressed against his. This woman, as beautiful as she was, was a mere shadow, an imposter. The intensity of his desire caught him completely by surprise, and he pushed it away.

“Mmmm, you’re warm now,” Vanessa all but moaned again and nuzzled her nose against Kylo’s. Stroking her hands around to the front of his neck, she played with the knot of his tie.

“Can you blame me?” he inquired, feigning innocence. His eyes searched hers, momentarily lost in the icy blue lust-filled gaze, wishing they had been hazel despite himself.

“I think we are done now,” he whispered, despite being tempted to feed from her a little more.

“Are you sure?” she queried, not so easily dismissed.

“Yes, thank you, Miss Beckett,” he answered, seeing the disappointment in her eyes. It radiated off her in waves. She opened the car door, climbing off his lap. Before she turned away, he captured her chin and drew her face closer to his, claiming her lips once more. This kiss was much quicker than the previous one, but enough to get a message across. Using the brief contact to put her mind at ease, he let her know that she was worthy of more and that she should save herself. Standing, she smiled appreciatively where he sat down in the car, not quite knowing why she felt the way she did. In her mind he sensed acceptance and resolve replacing the disappointment from the union that never happened.

“Guess I’ll see you next lifetime,” she whispered, before turning away and returning to her car.

Kylo sat there for several minutes, even after her car was no longer visible. Deciding that he wasn’t quite ready to return home, he got out of the car, and once it was locked began to walk. He turned down random roads, drawn to the river for some unfathomable reason. Pausing in front of one particular building he looked up. Suddenly, he felt a presence. Not just any presence, her presence. The girl from the other night. The Witch. Had he unknowingly made his way to her residence? Scanning the building, he realized she was on the fourth floor. He took several steps back, peering up and seeing a balcony that must lead to her place. Looking around, he noted that no one was present to witness. Crouching down low, he allowed himself to leap up, landing quietly on her balcony.

Peering through the glass door, he saw her sleeping peacefully on the couch. What a vision she was, even in her sleep. His client, Miss Beckett, had been gorgeous; that much was undeniable, but this girl surpassed the woman in every way. Scanning her mind, he closed his eyes, breathing calmly. Her name came to him immediately, without him even realizing he was looking for it. Opening his eyes again, he couldn’t help but be in awe of the angel who slept so peacefully in front of him.
.
“Rey,” he whispered. I know her, he realized then. But how?!

The world dissolved around him. Looking around, he recognized the place he now stood. He was standing in a train depot not far from where he lived when he was still mortal. Glancing around at the people who passed him, he realized they were in Victorian era clothing. Was this a memory? He boarded a train automatically, making his way down the aisle in search of a seat. Passing in the opposite direction was a familiar figure. The girl. How was that possible? This was roughly 175 years ago, she couldn’t possibly have been there…? Turning, he glanced back at her, noticing her pause and glance back at him. They shared a friendly smile, and then he realized his vision was changing again.

This time he stood in a large park surrounded by trees. In the distance he saw a gazebo next to a lake, where swans swam. He was bathed in moonlight, and upon seeing the people around him he realized it must have been the late 1920’s. He followed the crowd without a second thought, and discovered an outdoor arena, where an orchestra was tuning their instruments and preparing for a concert. Settling himself down against a nearby tree, he was more than eager for the concert that was about to start.

He distinctly remembered this evening, as the music was hauntingly enchanting and filled his cold dead heart with warmth and happiness. Setting one of his hands on the ground next to him, he realized he had touched the hand of another person. Looking over, his breath hitched. Stammering out an apology, he looked into her eyes, realizing she had been there too. What was this? How was it even possible? Smiling sweetly, she told him he had nothing to worry about.

Again, the scene shifted. Walking down a crowded street he was drawn towards a dance club. It was the 1980’s. Looking down at his arms as he walked, he was embarrassed by the hideous fashion he had been wearing. The acid wash denim and ill fitting layers were atrocious, but it was en vogue and he didn’t want anyone to think he was out of place. Standing in line waiting to get into the club he saw her again. Her hair was impossibly big and held a ridiculous amount of product. She wore fishnets and neon, just like all the other women around her. Otherwise, she looked the same as she did now. She wasn’t immortal though, he could hear her heartbeat, saw the warmth of the sun in her cheeks. Their eyes met again, and she gave him a knowing look. Did she just recognize me, too?

Blinking several times, he realized he was back in the present time. Peering through the windows, he couldn’t help but press one of his hands against the glass. Until now he had assumed he had only seen her in his dreams. Naturally, he had, but those weren’t just dreams. They were memories. Perhaps she was being reincarnated time and time again because she was designed specifically for him? Maybe the timing in the past wasn’t right and that’s why she kept coming back? If he weren't immortal, he might have missed the signs. Fate. It was fate. The realization seemed to make time stop, for he couldn’t quite comprehend the immensity of it.

Stepping back a few paces without turning around, Kylo leaned back against the railing, finding himself unable to stop watching her as she slept, reeling with shock. Rey’s mind was open, inviting and warm. It eased over him like a comforting blanket, despite the fact that he could feel her loneliness and sadness also present. It’s as if she was reflecting what he felt right back at him. The more he observed her, the more he noticed the blotchy red stains that had streaked down her face. Had she been crying?

She was crumpled on her side, hair splayed around her, looking so fragile. It was disheartening, and he found himself settling down to sit on her balcony, watching her all the while. He lingered there for what must have been hours, and had not the approaching dawn threatened to burn him where he sat, he would have never moved. The further he went from her that morning first to his car, than back to the catacombs, the more he felt like he was leaving behind a part of himself. A part that warmed the endless emptiness inside him, bringing something completely new to life. Something deeper and more profound, that left all else paling in comparison. He had found her. She was like the sun, bringing him back to the Light...how he burned for her now, as surely that’s what he’d do if he were exposed to her radiance once more. It was a pain he longed to feel.

Chapter Text

Rey was a hard worker, a real grafter. A most diligent and conscientious employee, she thrived in the bustling environment and was never one to still, her hands were always busy and her mind focused on the tasks at hand.

Always the first to arrive at the Pit-Stop Motors repair shop that she worked in, she valued promptness and was always mindful of managing her time efficiently. No one volunteered before her to tackle difficult repairs and she was eager and enthusiastic when she calculated or found new ways to approach problematic situations. More often than not, she was usually the last to leave in the evening and tonight was no exception. The shop had closed hours before and she was still on her back beneath the chassis of a particularly gorgeous, but sadly broken down, vintage Mercedes. Her boss, a kind middle-aged man named Lucian, was about to turn off the lights and lock up when he saw her legs sticking out from under the car.

“Rey, you know we closed two hours ago, right?” Lucian questioned, quirking a brow upon hearing her put down a tool. He watched her slide out from under the car, peering up at him with oil-smudged cheeks and heavily stained hands.

“Oh, did we? I guess I lost track of time again,” she admitted sheepishly, sitting up on the creeper she had been laying on. Lucian approached Rey with a smile on his face and handed her a towel to clean her hands with. Graciously, she accepted it and wiped as much of the grease and oil off her hands as she could manage before she braced herself on the ground and stood.

“Why don’t you sleep in tomorrow and come in a few hours late. We’ll manage around here. You deserve a break and I’ll go broke if you keep working overtime as much as you do,” he suggested with an easy laugh. He watched her as she scrubbed her hands with the Lava soap they seemed to have at every sink in the shop. She ducked her head down, splashing water over her face and rubbed at her cheeks and forehead.

“Of course, whatever you say,” she agreed, speaking with certainty as she dried off her face and hands before facing her boss again.

“You know how much I appreciate your hard work. You need a life outside this place though.” His tone was laden with genuine concern, he cared for her and wanted her to shine in life.

“I have a life! Why just the other day, on my birthday, I met my friends at a pub. It was a blast!” Rey offered, forcing her enthusiasm about the event. It had been a mostly fun night, but it certainly wasn’t a blast. At least not the strange incident that occurred outside, in which she’d (truly) feared for her life. She pushed those thoughts aside, unwilling to relive that terror and offered what she had hoped was her best smile. Lucian bought it, thankfully. He patted her arm gently before turning and walking back to his office.

Rey gathered her purse, a small duffel bag and jacket, pausing at the doorway to Lucian’s office after she sensed that he wasn’t quite finished with her.

“Where are you headed now?” he questioned, gathering his keys and wallet.

“Oh you know, my dojo just down the road. It’s my home away from home,” she admitted, which was true. She frequented there so often, that her Sabumnim gave her keys to the place so that she might practice after hours.

“Do you need a ride?”

“No, I’ll just walk. It’s clear out tonight. If it were raining, I’d totally take you up on the offer. So how about I just give you a rain check?” she asked with a laugh.

“Deal. Thanks again for all your hard work, Rey. Have a good night,” he said with a smile, locking the door once they had both exited. He watched her for a moment as she began walking away before speaking again.

“Oh, and Rey?”

“Yes?” she turned towards him without hesitation.

“Don’t come in early tomorrow,” he said, he pointed a finger at her for emphasis.

“I promise I won’t!” she couldn’t help but laugh again, grateful that she worked for such a kind man.

She started her apprenticeship with him while she was still in secondary school at the age of sixteen, and now, four years later, she was his best mechanic. Having learned so much from him as well as her coworkers, she found real passion in the work she did. Working with her hands, making repairs and receiving instant gratification when something she touched suddenly seemed to work again, made her feel satisfied and complete.

Minutes later, she found herself at the door to the Taekwondo studio. Much to her surprise, there was a crimson rose with a black ribbon tucked between the knob and the door frame. She picked it up and gazed at it curiously. Instinctively she knew this was meant for her. Drawing the rose up to her nose, she breathed in its sweet fragrance. A trace of a smile curled upon her face. She stroked along the length of part of the black ribbon.

Remembering where she was, she unlocked the door. Flipping on the lights, she quickly re-locked the door as not to be disturbed by anyone who might pass by. Glancing about briefly, she headed to the bathroom, changing into some fitness gear. She had no need to wear her dobok since she was there alone. Knowing that it was highly unorthodox to practice martial arts in a sports bra and shorts, she did it anyway, as tonight she honestly didn’t care.

Smelling the rose again, she laid it on top of her bag with a delicate touch. Slipping her wireless earbuds into her ears, she listened to the music that she streamed from her phone. She closed her eyes for a few minutes, nodding her head a bit to the beat before approaching the mat. Upon stepping on the mat, she bowed respectfully and approached the wall of mirrors. Warming up with some simple stretches and a round of push-ups, jumping jacks and sit-ups, she then began moving through her forms.

Always starting with Kicho, otherwise known as the foundation form, she flowed through the kicks, punches and blocks, going with the flow of the music. Once she finished that form, she found herself doing the Kyuki Il Chang, known for its ability to awaken the spiritual potential within the person who performed it. As she went through the movements, she felt something stirring within her. She chose to ignore the sensation, but she couldn’t deny what she felt. It was as if there was a tension coming from somewhere outside and she couldn’t quite comprehend what it was.

Unbeknownst to her, the tension she now sensed came from a very real source. In a nearby alley, Kylo was fighting off a random vampire who had been stalking Rey and had planned on ambushing her when she left the studio. Kylo too had been stalking her, but for a different reason. He didn’t want to end her life and consume her lifeforce; he wanted to protect her, as he felt compelled to do so.

As Rey’s hands cut delicately through the air in her practiced movements, Kylo’s blade dealt swift justice, beheading the weaker vampire with ease. Wiping the blood off his blade with the corpse’s shirt, he slid it back into its sheath. Much as he had in the past, he dispatched the corpse, lighting it on fire.

Crossing the road then, he watched her through the windows as she moved with cat-like grace, none the wiser about the carnage that had just taken place. Seeing her move so fluidly - in so few clothes at that - caused something to stir within him that he hadn’t felt in a very long time. Shifting his hips slightly where he stood, he found himself leaning against a lightpost, unable to stop watching her.

Rey lost track of time again, finding herself performing her favorite form: Sa Rang. Also known as the love form, it represented willingness to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of someone or something you believe in. She had always longed for a real connection with someone. Having been fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people in her lifetime, she had never made a connection with any of them. Longing for a spark, a feeling, something that proved she wasn’t alone, she so desperately wanted love, but she didn’t even know what love was.

Walking off the mat, she then drew a water bottle out of the nearby fridge. Drinking it down in one long swig, she reached for a nearby towel, dabbing at the sweat that now covered her head and torso. Feeling a chill come over her body, she turned her head sharply, looking out the window.

Had she just seen…? Was that the man in black from a few nights ago? Shaking her head slightly, she approached the windows, trying to adjust her eyes to see more clearly in the dark. No one was there. Just as well, I’ll probably never see him again. Just because that handsome man saved me once doesn’t mean he has any interest in me. Get a grip on yourself.

Sighing, she turned to cross the room again. Pulling on her jacket and gathering her belongings, she bowed respectfully before the flags. She slipped on her shoes then turned off the lights. Locking the door after she left, she noted warily that it had begun to rain again.

As if on cue, she noticed someone walking towards her from the opposite direction carrying a large black umbrella. As the person approached closer, she saw that it was that man. Their eyes met as they crossed paths and he graced her with a smile upon recognizing her. He stood next to her now, blocking the rain that seemed to fall harder than before, and she was grateful to be sheltered by his umbrella.

“Fancy seeing you out here,” he said, peering down at her with a kind expression on his face.

“Kylo, was it…?” she recalled, having heard his name spoken by one of the men whom he had killed. After what she saw, she felt like she should be afraid of him, and yet somehow she wasn't. He had saved her life.

“Ah, you remembered,” Kylo seemed awestruck, as though she wasn’t supposed to have remembered his name.

“Why wouldn’t I? It was only a couple of days ago.” He appeared taken aback as he cleared his throat, before regaining his composure.

“I never caught your name, miss…?” he started, his tone light once again.

“Rey. I’m Rey,” she offered with ease, wiping at her face with the back of her hand.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, Rey,” he said, gathering up her free hand in his and bowing down to kiss it. What an old-fashioned gesture! This man is so strange. Letting her hand go as quickly as he had claimed it, he looked about to the left and right before peering down at her again.

“Rather unfortunate weather we are having right now, don’t you think? Where are you headed? Would you like me to escort you so you can stay dry?”

Rey hesitated a moment. Could she really just allow herself to walk with this stranger? Sure, he had saved her the other night, although she couldn’t help but sense he was different. He was dark...very dark... Turning her head to the side thoughtfully, she regarded him now.

Suddenly, she heard a whisper that sounded like his voice, but she was certain his lips had not moved. Trying to focus, she realized she was picking up what must have been his thoughts. It was disjointed and she could only catch a few words here and there, but it resonated in her head. She felt him begging her to let them walk together because a part of him wanted to stay with her, if only for a few minutes. Were these the beginnings of her telepathic abilities developing as her mother had suggested they would in her letter? Interesting. Ultimately, she decided to trust her instincts, which said to go with him, that he was safe.

“That’s awfully kind of you to offer,” she said then, gracing him with a genuine smile.

Turning around to face the direction where she was walking, he stood at her side, taking careful strides next to her so as not to move too quickly. They walked in silence for several blocks, and yet this didn’t bother her. The longer she remained in his presence the more comfortable she felt.

The more she focused on his thoughts, the more she felt he was genuinely intrigued by her, and she found herself returning the feeling. Beyond being unbelievably attractive, she felt a certain magnetism pulling her to him. She caught an image from his mind - that was most surprising. A red string? What’s that for? Allowing her own thoughts to wander freely, she pushed his thoughts away; as disjointed as they were, it was disorienting to hear his voice in her head.

“I never thanked you...the other night. For what you did,” Rey muttered out, her tone low and uncertain.

“It was not a problem. Those men should not have been bothering you. You were in one of those wrong place/wrong time type situations. A young lady of your age and beauty must be particularly careful in the city, especially at night.”

She felt herself blushing when he mentioned that she was beautiful. Like he can talk? He’s the beautiful one. I’m just...Rey. She looked up at him and he met her eyes with a somewhat sorrowful expression as if he heard her thoughts.

“We’re here,” she acknowledged then, realising that they had made it to her building.

Although she was grateful to have arrived home so quickly, a part of her was profoundly saddened that they were now expected to part ways. She was almost hesitant to admit to herself of how much she had enjoyed his company. The idea of him disappearing into the night gripped her with a cruel and most heavy anguish.

When she was with him, she no longer felt alone, a solitary figure in a world full of people who all failed to cure what ailed her. Now, she knew that Kylo quelled that ache; he incited a fullness, a sense of completion in her soul that she never thought possible. Loneliness was a callous fiend and something she would battle, she could not lose what he offered, this budding companionship without risking losing a piece of herself.

No.

A steely determination enveloped her; she would pursue whatever this was between them.

“That is fortunate. It was most pleasant seeing you again. Try to stay dry and have a good night.” Kylo nodded respectfully to her, equally crestfallen to be leaving her.

Now that she realized what was happening, Rey was able to hear his thoughts much more clearly. She sensed his longing to see her again, and his uncertainty about asking. Speaking again, her voice was clear and full of confidence.

“Maybe we can see each other again soon?”

“I would like that very much,” he admitted with surprise.

Hearing his thoughts made her smile somewhat, as he was truly shocked by something, but she couldn’t quite tell what. Feeling as if she were intruding, she stopped listening to his thoughts again. Resisting the urge to touch him, she turned slightly towards the door. She wished she could understand why it felt impossible to walk away from him.

“Good night, Kylo,” she stated almost shyly, daring to peer up into his eyes again.

A part of her regretted that decision, as the needy look in his eyes now made her knees weak. Fearing she would get lost in those warm umber portals to his soul, she turned her head away, biting her lip and looking at the ground.

“Good night, Rey,” came his own response, her name practically a whisper on his lips, he had spoken so softly.

They shared another shy smile and then she climbed the stairs and entered the code, turning to see he was still there, watching her to make sure she got in safely. Giving him a little wave before crossing through the door, she felt ridiculous the moment she did it. She turned and faced the wall, pressing her forehead against the cool plaster. Stupid! Stupid! What were you thinking waving like that? Especially after he admitted to wanting to see you again? Blushing more than ever before, she sighed, making her way to the elevator.

In her flat once more, Rey started a hot bath for herself, sprinkling in lavender bath salt and lighting candles around the tub. She felt such a flurry of emotions, she didn’t know where to begin. Stripping slowly now, the air cooled her overheated skin. When did she become so warm? It was a warmth she distinctly felt in her groin. How unusual.

Sinking into the water now, she felt a sense of calm come over herself as she breathed in the soothing fragrance that clung to the air around her. She wasted no time washing herself, pouring shimmery rosemary mint shower gel onto a loofah and leisurely creating circles of suds over her limbs and torso. Dipping beneath the water, she held her breath and shifted her head from side to side as her hair swirled around her beneath the water. Drawing herself back up, she reached for the shampoo.

Once she was thoroughly cleansed, she decided she could afford spending time on a good soak, as she didn’t need to wake up early the next morning and it wouldn’t matter whether she stayed in any longer than she already had. Resting her head back and stretching her arms over the edge of the tub, she closed her eyes and felt her muscles loosen in the soothing warmth of the water.

Feeling the water rippling around her, she realized she was no longer alone in the bath. A cool smooth hand came from just beneath the surface of the water, caressing along her stomach, up her chest and to her neck, causing her to lift her head. Opening her eyes she saw that Kylo was in the water with her, leaning in to kiss her. His pale wet body glistened in the soft candlelight that she had surrounding the tub, the firelight dancing in his eyes.

Rey felt him cradling her head as she eagerly closed the distance between the two of them, and they shared a tender but passionate kiss. His lips were as pillowy and soft as she had imagined they would be, and he tasted sinfully delicious. As she reached to touch his cheek, he pulled back slightly and began trailing heated kisses down her jaw, to her neck and settling his lips upon her breast.

There was a slight a twinge of pain as she felt him biting her breast then and she clenched her hands into fists slightly before reaching down and stroking along his broad shoulders as the pain rippled away and blossomed into intense pleasure. Rey no longer felt as though she were floating in the water, but instead it was as if she were drifting among the stars, the only thing keeping her alive in the vacuum of space was her connection to Kylo. The pleasure was like a shock to her system, her heart pounded in her hears and her breathing quickened. It was an experience like no other.

Kylo's right hand dipped beneath the water and he snaked his arm around her waist while his left hand gently massaged her other breast. Rey’s head fell back again and she allowed a satisfied moan to pass through her lips. Clenching his jaw somewhat, he suckled and lapped his tongue at her breast. Feeling him pull back again she cast a heavy lidded gaze down at him, noticing how his wicked smile was tinged crimson with a touch of blood - her blood.

Shifting beneath the water again, he reached up and cupped her jaw, smoothing one of his thumbs over her lips before drawing in for another kiss. Closing her eyes, she could taste the coppery zing of her own blood she licked at his lips, pulling him closer to her and deepening the kiss. Feeling the full length of his naked body pressing against hers she couldn’t help but notice that he was so warm and she was so needy. Suppressing the urge to moan again she opened her eyes and realized she was alone. What in the hell was that? Was that a dream?!

It was hard to deny how realistic that whole scene felt to her, and the arousal that had built up inside. Shifting beneath the water in the tub again, she surveyed the bathroom around her, disappointed that she was alone. Peering down at her pert tawny breasts, the only thing she saw there were the usual freckles. No blood - but why would there be? It was only a dream.

No one had ever touched her like that before, nor had she even been kissed. Her friends always teased her about her status as a virgin, but she insisted on saving herself stating that anything sexual wasn't something she cared to experience, as she was perfectly content with things the way they were. Relationships complicated life, for she had seen so much heartbreak from those she had gone to school and worked with. Never having had an example of what real love was, given that her parents had orphaned her, she didn't want to fall victim to another tragic ending.

Gripped with confusion and an even more profound sense of loneliness, she leaned forward and pulled the plug, hearing the gurgling sound the tub made as it began to drain. Being careful to get up as not to slip, she stood and gingerly stepped out of the tub, bending down to blow out the candles once she was on dry ground. Drying off, she made her way back to the bedroom and pulled on a thin blue satin nightgown, slipping into bed. A part of her had hoped her previous dream had picked up where it left off, but unfortunately, it was to be a dreamless night for her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rey pulled her cell phone off her nightstand, pressing the power button. Groaning out loud, she realized what time it was. She hadn’t set an alarm, and yet still managed to wake up at eight in the morning. It was later than when she normally woke up, but still early. She pressed her palms to her face, rubbing at her eyes. Sitting her phone down, she rolled over on her stomach. You can sleep in more. Just do it. Sleep. You know you want to sleep. Sleep already. She lay silent for a few minutes. Grabbing at one of her pillows, she cuddled it close to her body, waiting in silence. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter, still waiting. Finally she relented, letting out a long sigh and rolling over on her back, staring at the ceiling.

“I can’t do it,” she admitted out loud. Swinging her feet around, she sat up, looking at her phone again. 8:08. Really? She realized she gave up too easily. Willing herself to move as slowly as possible, she got dressed and ate breakfast. In an effort to waste more time, she even put on a touch of makeup and took more time styling her hair. Even if she’d just get messy under a car again, she was willing to do anything to pass time.

She still managed to get to work by nine. The shop had been open for an hour. Waving hello to her coworkers, she made her way to her locker, setting her jacket, purse and duffle bag inside.

“Rey, I thought I gave you permission to come in late?” Lucian asked, carrying a cup of coffee as he walked into the break room.

“You did, sir. I am late,” Rey stated simply, flashing him a smile as she walked past.

“That’s not what I meant. I was thinking more like noon…?” Lucian shook his head, watching her as she made her way across the shop to where her tool cart rested.

“Right, noon. That makes more sense, I suppose? I’ll try to do better next time you suggest I come in late, sir.”

“Or maybe you could stop being a workaholic and simply work the hours you’re scheduled to work just like everyone else does. Maybe even consider taking a vacation now and then?”

“That would work as well. I just get so caught up in things...I lose track of time,” she confessed then, her hands resting on the lid of her toolkit as she fidgeted with the lock.

“Get your head out of the clouds then. When you’ve grounded yourself, head back to that Mercedes you were working on last night. Its owner called for a status update the moment we opened. I need something to tell them,” he said, patting her on the back and walking away.

“Yes, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

Rey twisted the combination to her toolkit, lifting off the lock and setting it aside. She pulled out a few of the drawers, seeing everything perfectly arranged as she had left it. When she lifted the lid, however, she got received another surprise.

Her tools were still there, all arranged neatly in the drawers.

On top of her tools lay another single crimson-colored rose. Tied around it was a plush, black satin ribbon. As she had at the Taekwondo studio, she hesitantly reached for it and picked it up by its long stem, mindful for the thorns that adjourned its sides. Swallowing hard, she eyed the memento, her heart raced.

How did it get in her locked toolkit?

Goosebumps pebbled her tawny skin as she continued her observation; she peered at the rose and the box and tried to understand what exactly had happened. It was disconcerting but unsurprising with the odd events that seemed to follow her around. Although the idea of someone gaining access to her belongings confused her, the flower was not entirely unwanted. A part of her was thrilled at such a gift. There was no sense of fear, only quiet curiosity.

Shaking her head, she knew she could not waste her time of thinking too hard about the situation, not while there was work waiting for her. Biting her lip, she looked at the flower once more before she wheeled her tool cart over to the Mercedes.

Hours passed. She figured out that the compressor had busted on the old Mercedes, and with a bit of finagling managed to pry it loose from the slightly rusty fastenings. After she finished replacing that, she had done a few oil changes, rotated some tires and repaired a flat. Following a simple but satisfying lunch of hummus and vegetables, she pushed through to closing time with ease.

Wiping her tools clean, she set them back in their predetermined places in her toolkit. Seeing the rose again then, she carefully picked it up, gingerly holding it as she pressed her lock closed. She pushed her tool cart back across the room, lining it up with everyone else's. Back in the breakroom, she cleaned up a bit, gathered her belongings and headed out. Much to everyone's surprise, she left with them, sharing light conversation and laughing as she passed through the door to the shop.

That evening as she was gathering her laundry to take to the basement, she picked up her phone on impulse and called Rose.

“Hey girlie! What are you up to?” Rose asked, clearly surprised to hear from Rey.

“Getting ready to do laundry. I know you’re totally jealous right now, I can tell. Don’t you wish you were me?” Rey asked, her tone light.

“Haha, totally jelly, girl. Are you having a good week so far?”

“Oh yeah, you know the usual car stuff. Karate. Doesn’t get any better than that,” Rey said, eyeing the rose that she received at work and placing in a vase with the rose she had received the night before on her kitchen counter, unable to contain her smile whenever she saw them.

“I still don’t see what you find so fascinating about cars. You have such a messy job. Why can’t you be like a librarian or something?” She could hear the disgust in Rose’s tone.

“Because I like fixing things and making them work. Although you know how much I love books, I suppose being a librarian would be an ideal job.”

“Sure, sure. So other than laundry and cars...you could have texted me about all that. You called for a reason, what’s up?”

“Do I really need a reason to call? I wanted to hear your voice. I miss you,” Rey admitted honestly.

“We should hook up then, girl!!”

“That’s a great idea, but no boys please.”

“I like where your mind is going with this. Girls night!! We should do karaoke or hit up a night club or something. Paint the town red!!” Rose sounded as if she were bouncing with excitement.

“Haha, sure. Friday night?” Rey asked, shifting her laundry basket in her arms.

“The 21st…?”

“Yeah, are you busy?” Rey pushed the button on the elevator, switching shoulders she rested her phone upon, heading down to the basement.

“Lemme see...no...I’m clear! We are gonna rock out so hard girl. You better be wearing something sexy. Maybe if we’re lucky we can hook you up with a hot single guy!”

“Oh goodness, I don’t know about all that...” Rey said hesitantly, feeling herself blushing. At that moment she remembered Kylo, her thoughts drifting to the incredibly sexy dream she had of him making her blush even harder than before. “…but I’ll try to at least look better.”

“Deal! See you Friday. We can text with details over the next few days. Oh and Rey, I know you’ll hate me for suggesting this...but go shopping.”

“I do hate you Rose! Ugh. I’ll see what I can do,” Rey couldn’t help but laugh. As much as she hated shopping, she couldn’t deny that it was therapeutic. She finished loading her clothes into the washing machine then, sliding in a few coins. It would take about an hour for the first load to get started. Looking at the time on her phone again, she noted it was 6:15PM. Well, surely there would be some store open on a Tuesday night this late?

Making her way back up to her flat, she gathered her purse and changed out of her house shoes and into her tall brown boots. She gave herself a once over in the mirror, realizing she looked kind of messy but otherwise ok. Once she left the flat, she hailed a cab.

“Take me to Warehouse. 68 William Street. That’s a good place to shop, right?” She asked the cab driver.

“Sure lady, I’ll take you wherever you want to go,” he replied gruffly.

“Thanks,” Rey said, trying to sound confident, peering out the window as the car made its way through traffic. She gazed out over the river at the lights of the passing boats as the taxi sat on the bridge, waiting. Her thoughts drifted with the boats along the currents of the water. Once they reached their destination, she paid the driver, giving him a generous tip and thanking him again for the ride.

Approaching the tall, imposing but oddly beautiful old building, she took a deep breath and headed inside.

“Good evening! Welcome to Warehouse! What brings you in?” she was asked, greeted by a rather flamboyant young salesman, whose tag listed his name as Andy.

“Oh uhm...I’m going out with a friend on Friday. She told me I should get something sexy…?” Rey knew she sounded weak and out of her league. Andy walked around her, looking her up and down.

“Oh girl, I can tell you have a fierce figure under all that. We could set you up with anything and you’d make it sexy. Why do you hide behind all those layers?” Andy questioned, fussing over her oversized sweater and leggings. Rey blushed profusely, feeling uncomfortable. This is why she hated shopping.

“Come on, I’ll hook you up with some good looks,” he said, ushering her forward.

Over the next half hour, he pulled out a nearly a dozen outfits and forced her to try them all on, insisting she show him everything she tried. Each outfit seemed more spectacular than the last, she couldn’t deny it. Andy lavished endless amounts of praise on Rey, feeling inspired and gathering accessories and shoes to make complete looks. For once his job as stylist had paid off and he was truly enjoying playing dress up with her.

In the end, Rey wound up purchasing a black bardot jumpsuit. Andy insisted she purchase some chunky gemstone earrings and strappy silver heels to go with it. She admitted reluctantly that this was something she’d never have picked out for herself as it left her shoulders bare and the low sweetheart neckline revealed more skin than she was used to. The length of the pants made her feel comfortable though, as it seemed to balance out the sexiness.

“See girl, you can let your shoulders do the talking and still be sexy. You look like a dime. You’ll turn heads with this look! Boys won't know what hit them.” Andy insisted as he rang her up.

“Thanks, Andy, I appreciate your help,” Rey said, feeling a bit better once the experience was over.

“No problem. You come back and see me anytime you want to, I’ll help you spruce up your wardrobe and showcase that fantastic bod!” Andy offered. Rey couldn’t resist the soft laughter that spilled from her lips then.

Walking out with confidence, she looked left and right before hailing another cab. Idly noticing a fire burning in a nearby trash can she found it odd for this part of town, but didn’t give it another thought.

In a nearby alley, Kylo Ren was cleaning off his sword, hiding in the shadows. Whatever it takes to keep Rey safe...

Chapter Text

Thursday was Rey’s late day, which had her working from 10-6:30. It was significantly busier than it had been the day before, and for that, she was most grateful. The shop seemed busiest in the last hour, as people wanted to bring their cars in before the weekend. She was just wiping her hands with a towel when a car pulled in that caught her attention immediately. Setting down the towel, she quickly approached the vehicle, running her hands along the hood and gazing with admiration.

“Oh my goodness, this is a 1963 Series 1 Jaguar E-Type. 3.8 Litre, straight six engine. Fixed head coupe…” Rey started listing off the specifications she knew off the top of her head as she walked around it, admiring every detail as she took it in.

“Yes, and it has an upgraded 5-speed gearbox, high performance engine, adjustable Ohlin’s dampers, heated front and rear wind-screens and a fully integrated sound system. Among other things,” someone spoke from behind her.

Rey recognized that voice, and upon hearing it her body stiffened and she felt a wave of pleasure wash over her at the memory of her dream. Her eyes rolled back in her head slightly and she sucked in a ragged breath. It could only be…

“Kylo. Is this your car?” she questioned, eyebrows raised in surprise, as she turned to face him.

“Well technically it was my grandfather’s, but he gave it to me a few years back,” Kylo explained, grinning down at her. It was a lie, he had bought it new when it came out, but he didn’t need to tell her that.

“I see. Well it's absolutely exquisite. It looks like it’s been impeccably maintained. Why have you brought it in?” Rey couldn’t help but feel suspicious that he showed up randomly at her workplace, and with such an amazing car at that.

Was he trying to prove something? It just so happened that this was one of her favorite cars. She adored the opalescent blue paint job it had, the navy blue interior, the classic wooden steering wheel and chrome spoked hubcaps. In fact there seemed to be gleaming chrome in abundance on this car and she was hard pressed to find anything wrong. Rey chanced a glance up at Kylo as she could feel his eyes tracking her every movement.

“You offer tune-ups, do you not? This car has been in a garage for several months. I want to make sure everything checks out before taking it out for any kind of longer drive.”

“That makes sense. Are you planning on a vacation soon?” she queried, heading over to a computer terminal. He followed dutifully, tossing his keys in his hands as he walked.

“Perhaps. First we need to make sure the car is safe.”

“Right. May I have your information?”

Without hesitation he handed her his driver’s licence. She scanned over it, making note of the address and other basic information that was listed on it. Typing it into the computer, she set up a profile for him. It suggested merging it with another profile from 25 years back, listed under the name of Benjamin Solo at the same address. Most peculiar. Her forehead scrunched slightly as she read over the information again, comparing the addresses. It must have been a previous resident.

Upon seeing her initial reaction, Kylo scanned her thoughts. Oops. Seems that they had added their records from the past into the computer database, and there he was from the last time he brought the car in. On occasion he had been known to do his own car maintenance, but the snob in him prefered not to get his hands dirty if he didn’t have to. More often than not, he’d choose a random shop to bring it in for tune-ups and repairs. This shop was far from random, however, but he’d never admit that.

Rey thankfully bypassed the suggested merge and handed his licence back to him.

“Alright, Mr. Ren. Unfortunately, we’re going to be closing shop in 15 minutes. We won't have time for a tune-up today, but I can schedule a time for you to pick it up on a later date?”

“What do you have available? Anything in the evening? I am busy during the day, so I can’t always make it out,” lying again, he hoped she hadn’t managed to catch wind of the lies he so easily told.

“Well, most evenings we close at 4:30, with the exception of Thursdays, in which we close at 6:30. It all depends on when you have time, really.”

“Hmm…” he started, pulling out his cell phone and pretending to look over the calendar. He knew full well that the sun would still be up at 4:30. Perhaps he should go for 6, as by that point it would be closer to twilight, as was the case tonight.

“What about 6pm, next Thursday?” he questioned.

“Wow, you want us to keep your car for a whole week? That’s a bit overkill for a simple tune-up. How will you get around? Are you sure you don’t want to take it somewhere else that might offer later hours?” Rey suggested, not wanting him to leave but also not wanting to inconvenience him with such limited hours.

“No, a week is fine. I have several cars that I can choose from. Both my father and grandfather were collectors of sorts.”

“That’s exciting. I’d love to see your collection some day. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll go ahead and take those keys. We’ll take our time on it, and make sure everything is perfect,” she promised with unwavering confidence. It was a promise she intended to keep, as she would not allow anyone else to touch his vehicle, knowing she was more than capable of handling whatever problem might arise.

Handing her his keys, he watched as she eagerly went to the car, sitting in the driver’s seat and turning it on. Rey all but moaned when she heard the roar of the engine.

Kylo had to stifle his laugh at that. So old cars were her thing? Or was it just old things in general? That could be convenient for him either way.

Rey pulled his car into a bay then, turning it off and running her hands over various parts of the interior. It was so satisfying to see a gorgeous old car in such excellent condition. It hardly needed a tune up, but she wasn’t about to turn away a client, and she knew deep inside she wanted to put her hands all over both the car and its owner. It was something that never would have crossed her mind before now, and she blushed at the thought.

Was it the man she was after, or his car? Why not both? Something in her mind suggested. Rather begrudgingly, she stepped out of the car, noting it was now 6:45 and the shop was closed. She made her way back to the front of the shop, where Kylo was patiently waiting for her.

“Do you need anything else?” Rey asked now, standing a little closer to him than she would if he were any other customer.

“I’d like to buy you some coffee,” Kylo responded, his tone confident and determined.

“No…” Rey started, seeing his face fall at her response. “Not this late, I mean. Coffee would keep me up all night if I had it this late. I wouldn’t turn down tea, though.”

Kylo’s face notably brightened, and he smiled, which made her heart melt. Rey found she could look at that smile all day and never get tired of seeing it. Having seen him only twice before now, she couldn’t help but feel something for him beyond a simple crush. He managed to be captivating and mysterious at the same time, and he had an air about him that made him different from any other man she’d interacted with in her lifetime.

“Let me gather my things, and we can head out. I know a cafe close to my flat that’s open late.”

“Sounds good. I will wait here.”

Rey headed back to the employee area, where she ran into Lucian, who was gathering his things and locking up his office.

“You’re still here?” Lucian asked, his tone amused.

“Sorry, sir. We had a last-minute client drop off a car for a tune up,” Rey said, blushing slightly at the thought of the client, who was now dutifully waiting for her in the lobby.

Again, she felt a stirring sensation in her loins and a subtle wetness between her legs. How could someone she barely knew cause her to react like a needy primal creature, as opposed to the rational independent woman she truly was? She idly hoped that Lucian didn’t notice the shudder that coursed through her body.

“I hope you told him that we were closed?” Lucian shook his head slightly in response to Rey being so eager to help others, especially given the fact that it lead her to staying late.

“I did. I arranged everything. He’ll be picking up the car next week,” she crisscrossed the straps to her duffle bag and purse on opposite sides of her body, gathering up her jacket and laying it across her arm. She began walking towards the lobby now, Lucian following closely.

“A week? What’s wrong with his car?”

“Nothing, at first glance. He’s busy during the day, however, and Thursday is the only day he can get it,” she paused, turning towards Lucian then, looking at him with uncertainty in her eyes. She had hoped she made the right decision in making the arrangements.

“I see. Well, good for you, bringing in new business like that. Nice work, Rey.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Now get out of here already, go enjoy your evening!”

“I fully intend to do that. I actually have plans!”

“Oh? That’s good to hear! I hope you have a fantastic time,” he couldn’t suppress the grin that was forming on his face.

It’s about time Rey met someone. Lucian felt she was far too attractive and unique to be alone, truly one-of-a-kind. Were he younger and unmarried, he’d pursue her without hesitation. Lucian had promised himself that he would never cross the line with Rey though, as he valued her too much as an employee and was a loyal husband and father as well.

“Yes, sir. I hope so too,” she noted, returning his smile.

Pushing the door open to the lobby now, she walked directly towards Kylo, who had been sitting and reading a magazine. He stood the moment he heard the door open, setting the magazine back on the table, arranging the pile neatly. Lucian gasped when he saw Kylo, never having seen a man quite like that in his shop. There was something...different...about him. Lucian was taken aback, and looked warily at the two as they approached each other now. He suddenly felt uncomfortable being in their presence.

“Have a good night Rey,” Lucian said, holding the door open as she and Kylo stepped through. Lucian felt a shiver go down his spine being in close proximity to Kylo, and couldn’t quite place why.

Rey and Kylo walked in silence for several minutes, both uncertain how to begin a conversation, but grateful to be in each other’s presence. They seemed equally shy in a way they had both seldom experienced in the past.

Tentatively, Rey stroked at Kylo’s mind and tried to hear his thoughts again, as it had been so easy the last time they ran into each other a few days ago. She couldn’t sense anything coming from him though, and it disappointed her somewhat. It was as if his mind was a vault and had been locked up tight. Either that, or she had imagined that she had sensed thoughts before, when really it was just her overactive imagination proving that she was as utterly insane as she had always feared she was.

Once they reached the cafe, they were lead to a table which had a spectacular view of London Bridge. Rey was already in love with the place, as the decor suited her as if she had done it herself. She loved all the wooden finishes on the floors and the tables and chairs themselves. There were dainty bouquets of blue and purple flowers, wonderfully fragrant, on all the tables. She adored the classic white plates and blue crystal glasses. It contrasted dramatically with the floor-to-ceiling windows which allowed for an uninterrupted view of the river. Seeing the lights from the bridge, the surrounding city, and the boats that drifted along seemed so magical to Rey, and this place immediately became a favorite of hers.

Now she sat with Kylo, a man she had met only a week and a half ago, though it felt as if she had known him for longer. Being around him made her feel as if she had come home; as if she were now complete.

“I’d like some mini dodgers and a cup of your Victorian Afternoon tea, please,” Rey requested of the waiter when he approached.

“I second that, make it a whole pot of tea if you do not mind, sir,” Kylo suggested.

“Very good, we’ll have it out for your in a few minutes,” the waiter stated after writing down the order.

“So, Rey. Tell me more about you. How long have you been in the area? Are you originally from London?” Kylo asked the moment the waiter walked away. Resting his elbows on the table, he folded his black leather glove-clad hands together and laid his chin upon them, peering over at her.

Rey met his gaze, nearly losing her breath at the intensity in which he gazed upon her. Was he always this fierce, or was she just being self-conscious? Turning her attention to the table ahead of her, she idly noticed there was a votive candle in a small jar by the flowers that had been unlit. It was a shame, as she always enjoyed having candles around, finding the firelight to be peaceful and the flames themselves mesmerizing. It would have been a nice distraction from the intense, albeit equally mesmerizing gaze that Kylo had locked upon her.

Somehow a small flame grew up around the wick and steadily began to flicker. Blinking, she was curious whether or not it was something she had done, or if it were merely a figment of her imagination. She tilted her head to the side, lost in deep thought momentarily. Noting that Kylo was shifting uncomfortably, she looked up at him to see he was also looking at the candle. Maybe he had done it? Doubtful. He’s not the witch, you are. She decided she’d tuck the idea of pyrokinesis in the back of her mind for now and explore it more later. He had asked her a question after all, and who was she to deny answering him?

“Yes, of course, I was born in Westminster. I love it around here, there’s so much history and charm to the city. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. What about you?” Rey inquired, sipping some of the ice water the waiter now brought them.

“I was born in Liverpool, actually. I moved to London when I was a child. My mother was involved in politics, and she brought us here,” he stated with unwavering certainty, easily revealing the truth for once.

“Oh that’s interesting, might I have heard of her then?” Rey was genuinely curious now. Women in politics was a particularly favorite subject of hers, as she had taken several classes in Women’s History and Feminism.

“I seriously doubt you have...she uh...did not make it that far,” Kylo found it difficult to talk about his mother, and in turn couldn’t lie about her as it would reveal his age, which he couldn’t permit. Rey could feel his discomfort and immediately chose to change the subject.

“London is a marvelous city, don’t you think?” she enquired, hoping to ease his mind.

“Yes, that is why I always make it back. I have traveled quite a bit over the years, but there is no place like home. London will always be home.” He was grateful for the change in subject.

“What sort of travel do you do? Business or pleasure?” she asked, thoughtfully running her fingers over the rim of her waterglass, her eyes unwavering from his as she spoke.

The waiter now brought the biscuits and tea, setting down two tea cups and saucers along with a small blue crystal container of milk and a matching blue crystal bowl full of sugar cubes. Kylo took the teapot without hesitation, pouring some for both of them. Once he had set down the teapot, he took off his gloves and quickly wrapped his hands around the warm cup he had poured, drawing it up to his face and breathing in deeply. He closed his eyes and he felt like he was transported back in time, the sweet fragrance like a vortex portaling him to another era. The notes of rose, chamomile and lavender reminded him of his mother’s garden on their countryside estate.

Rey carefully dropped in two sugarcubes and a splash of milk into her tea, adding in a few ice cubes as well before stirring it. She dunked one of her mini dodgers into the tea then, noting how the biscuit seemed to soak up a good amount of the warm liquid and made the raspberry jam slightly gooey. It practically melted in her mouth when she took a bite now, and she was instantly taken back to her childhood.

It was one of the few positive memories she had, enjoying tea with her friends on Sunday afternoons in the summer. She knew some people frowned upon dunking biscuits in tea, as it was considered a gesture of the working class, but at the time she was a child so no one told her otherwise. In one of her history classes, Rey remembered reading that historically, Queen Victoria enjoyed dunking her biscuits in tea and if it was good enough for a queen, it was good enough for Rey. It remained a simple pleasure she indulged in when she could.

She repeated her previous question to Kylo before taking a sip of her tea, noting he was merely holding his cup and smelling the hot liquid but not drinking it. Seeming lost in memories, and she caught an image of a beautiful garden in his mind. His face wore a most serene expression as he breathed slowly. Upon hearing her repeat the question, he opened his eyes, peering across the table at her once more.

“Oh, uhm...a little bit of both? I have been mostly around Europe. I would like to venture to other parts of the world, though. I am drawn to places of historical significance. I would love to visit the Seven Wonders of the World some day. What about you?”

“I’ve only ever been around the British Isles. Travel is a luxury, and therefore rather foreign to me. Although, I must agree, it would be fascinating to see the Seven Wonders of the World,”

“You simply must travel whenever you can. There is such an amazing world out there, so many cultures to explore, experiences to be had. You are still so young, the world is your oyster,” Kylo started, with an easy smile, taking a breath before continuing, “I consider myself lucky to have been able to see as much as I have seen in my lifetime.”

“You act like I’m a child, Kylo. I’m 20 now. Plenty old enough, although unfortunately not rich enough to be able to travel beyond the British Isles. Having money is a considerable factor in getting away,” Rey chided now, noting the embarrassed expression on his face. Taking a thoughtful sip of her tea, she had hoped her tone wasn’t too sharp.

“My apologies, I did not mean to insult the lady,” he nodded respectfully in her direction.

His response made her laugh outright.

“Kylo, you have much to learn. I’m no lady.”

At that comment he joined her laughter, his whole expression changing, his body shaking slightly. He was positively carefree whenever he laughed.

Rey couldn’t help but stare at Kylo’s mouth when he spoke, now that she had him in good lighting. Absently she wondered if he had braces when he was younger. His teeth were absolutely perfect, but he had an odd way of holding his mouth as if he were trying to somehow cover something that had been there…? Or perhaps something that still was? On occasion, notably when he laughed she caught a flash of something that seemed almost wrong, specifically his elongated incisors and canines, which were most peculiar.

Perhaps it was because he had such a large mouth that they stood out? His lips, though, were lush, most appealing and seemed oh-so kissable. For a moment she remembered the dream she had in the tub where they kissed. She wondered how accurate that dream would be if she had the opportunity to actually kiss him, and wouldn’t hesitate to do so given the chance.

Gathering her thoughts, she focused again on their conversation, drawing herself out of her reverie. Once their laughter had died down, Rey took it upon herself to redirect the conversation. Talking to Kylo had been much easier than she had anticipated it would be, once they got over their seemingly mutual shyness.

Kylo loved listening to Rey talk, and found himself quickly getting lost in her words, finding her voice soothing. Their interactions seemed almost innocent, nothing was forced. He didn’t have to charm her in anyway. They were simply two people enjoying tea and getting to know each other. Shifting the conversation, she began talking about something else and he half paid attention as she spoke, watching her expressions, the way her eyes lit up, the way her full lips moved as she spoke.

Her lips seemed impossibly soft and particularly kissable, and he couldn’t help but stare at them, as he saw her doing the same thing to him earlier. When she smiled, her eyes crinkled slightly, and she had the most adorable dimples appear on her cheeks. Her laughter was almost musical and heartwarming. Kylo couldn’t help but feel her sadness though, as well as her loneliness.

She guarded herself naturally, although with him it was unnecessary. He could feel her opening up more, and it took little encouragement on his part. He knew that there were certain topics that were uncomfortable for her, and so as the hours passed he’d steer the conversation around carefully, making sure to keep her as engaged as possible. It didn’t take much effort, and he found this was the most time he had ever spent with a mortal whom he wasn’t actively hunting. They were now on their second pot of tea, and she allowed him to serve her whenever her cup ran empty. He only ever held onto his cup, refreshing it on occasion but never drinking.

“Why aren’t you drinking?” Rey asked, hardly able to contain her curiosity on this subject.

“You noticed that?” Kylo asked, sighing softly, “Well, I love to feel the warmth and to breathe in the fragrance of the tea, but I cannot stand the way it tastes. I know, that is positively unbritish of me, but I can’t help it.” Rey couldn’t help but laugh when he admitted this.

“What do you like to drink then?” she inquired, once her laughter died down.

Kylo looked Rey up and down with hungry eyes, making no effort to disguise the gesture as he absently licked his lips.

“Mmmm...other things,” he proclaimed, his tone suggestive.

Rey couldn’t help but blush profusely at that response. Feeling something primal stir within her at that exact moment, she gazed up at his warm umber eyes, unable to look away. She opened her mouth as if to speak and the waiter approached again, causing them to both look up with a start.

“Here’s the check. We will be closing in 10 minutes. You may either pay me, or head up to the register in the front,” the young waiter stated, setting down the check on a small tray. Kylo picked it up, pulling out his wallet and setting a debit card on the tray. The waiter nodded respectfully, taking the tray and walking away.

“Where did the time go?” Kylo queried, gesturing with one hand as he looked back over at Rey.

“Apparently, it got lost in conversation...and the tea, that you don’t like to drink but enjoy its warmth and fragrance,” she responded, making him smile in return.

“It has been an absolute pleasure losing time with you, Rey. I would not mind doing it again,”

Kylo acknowledged the waiter again, when he returned with his card, the check and a pen. Leaving a ridiculously huge tip for the waiter, Kylo was grateful that he and Rey had been left to talk relatively undisturbed for hours. Signing his name, he took his card and receipt, handing the tray back to the waiter. The waiter’s eyes practically bulged out of his head when he saw the tip.

“Thank you so much, sir. We hope to see you again very soon,” the waiter stammered out, most graciously, not needing to force how grateful he felt at the moment. Kylo heard the young man’s thoughts, who was realizing could now afford to pay rent for the month thanks to his generous tip.

“Of course. Thank you for the wonderful service. I’m sure we’ll be back,” Kylo stated, shifting back in his chair and standing.

He slipped his gloves back onto his hands then before stepping around the table and reaching for Rey’s hand. Gently pulling her up to stand beside him, his smile only grew as he looked at her now and he couldn’t remember smiling so much in his lifetime. It almost made his face hurt, which seemed impossible but was an undeniable sensation. This bewitching girl drew something out of him that felt so unfamiliar, but it was more then welcome, and he was most grateful to experience it.

“Shall I escort you home again?” he queried.

“This seems to be becoming a trend with you, Kylo. By all means, please continue,” she replied.

Allowing him to hold her hand a little longer this time, she found it strange that he always wore gloves. She couldn’t quite fathom why, perhaps he was cold-natured? As they began walking, she attempted to read his thoughts and was surprised when she heard a polite Hello, there. I can do that too. Her eyes widened somewhat and she gazed up at him. Feeling embarrassed rather immediately, she was uncertain whether she heard him clearly and looked away, wringing her hands together uncomfortably.

Is this normal? She found herself asking him with her mind.

Likely not, but then again, what is? He responded, and she found it a reasonable response.

Now she really needed to look into techniques and further develop things. While he may have seemed pleased to be able to communicate with her this way, she wasn’t sure how others would react - assuming others could actually communicate this way? Were she and Kylo unique in this sense? She also somewhat feared the implication of his knowledge of this, of her in general. What if he finds out what I am? He’ll hate me! She thought to herself.

That would be impossible, he replied, directly answering her thought. Swallowing nervously, she realized she’d have to find a way to shield her thoughts.

“You never have to hide who you are from me,” he stated aloud, his tone soft as he peered down at her.

Realizing again that they were outside her flat, she considered inviting him up, but banished the thought as it was too soon. Kylo had given her a slight nod and she knew he understood her reasoning.

“Thank you again for the tea, Kylo. I really enjoyed getting to know you better,” she stated warmly, and this time she didn’t hesitate when she felt the urge to touch him. With a delicate caress, she rested her hand on his forearm, and he placed his hand on top of hers.

“Me too. Goodnight, Rey,” his low response was spoken in a thoughtful manner, once again his eyes expressing something more to her that she wished she could understand.

Catching herself staring him a little too long, she pulled back reluctantly.

“Goodnight...Kylo,” her voice was quieter than she had wished it would be, but to her relief he graced her with another kind smile.

This time she really had to force herself to walk away, as it seemed even more difficult then when they last parted. Something pulled almost painfully at her heart, and she clutched at her chest slightly, looking back at him as he continued to watch her. She quickened her pace, making it up to her flat in record time, only halting when she put her keys in the door, noticing what was tucked between the doorframe and doorknob.

Another rose?!

She gasped as this was her third, in just as many days. Shivering slightly, she looked about, no longer as touched by the gesture as she had initially been and wary about what it meant. Who kept leaving her roses everywhere they knew she would be?

Gathering it up and slipping into her flat, she quickly locked the door behind her, checking the locks were secure several times before turning around again. Peering down at the rose she held, she entered her kitchen and placed the bloom into the vase next to the other two. Crossing the apartment and heading out to the balcony, she looked out over the calming waters on the river Thames. She pondered the events of the evening and why every interaction with Kylo left her feeling as if she were losing a part of herself whenever they separated.

Chapter Text

Rose met Rey at her flat Friday after the both of them got off work. Pulling along a small suitcase, she made her way to the elevator once Rey buzzed her in. She was practically jumping with excitement as she entered Rey’s flat, loving the vibe Rey set with the music that now flooded the flat. Rey was stirring her famous sweet potato curry just as the rice cooker timer dinged that it was done. She was heating up some garlic naan bread in the oven, and everything was ready for a light meal before getting ready and painting the town red.

“Hey girlie! That smells amazing, as usual. Did you add some extra spice for me?” Rose asked, giving Rey a hug.

“Just the way you like it! It’s a good thing the boys aren’t here, they can’t take the heat!” Rey said with a grin.

“They sure can’t! Oh my goodness tonight is gonna be amazing! I’m so pumped! Let me see what you bought to wear!” Rose eagerly stated as she opened her suitcase on the couch and pulled out her own sexy club outfit.

Opting to go short and low, Rose had no problem showcasing her petite body. Rose may be taken already, but she knew Finn was confident enough not to worry about her doing anything foolish, and Rey needed a good wingman to help her find her own prince charming. Rose had a good feeling that tonight would be something special, and she wanted to support and showcase her friend to the best of her ability. Hanging her short black striped dress on Rey’s bookcase, Rose delicately placed a pair of black pointy toed heels beneath them. She next began pulling out a ridiculous amount of styling products and makeup. Being a woman on a mission, she decided to let nothing get in her way to make Rey - who was already beautiful in her own right - drop dead gorgeous. Rose practically fell over herself when she saw the outfit and accessories that Rey had picked, and knew that Rey would most certainly be the center of attention.

“You’re going to look stunning babe, you’re sure to meet someone new tonight!” Rose exclaimed with glee, clapping her hands together in that exuberant way Rey so loved to see. Yet the meeting of someone new only brought the image of Kylo to her mind, and she tried to stifle her somewhat mischievous smile, not wanting to tell Rose the whole bizarre story just yet.

After a satisfying meal of Rey’s famous curry, the girls began getting ready, with Rose dominating the whole process, giving Rey a much needed makeover. She began with Rey’s hair, giving it a side part to the right and creating three tight braids across her head before creating loose waves on the opposite side with a wide-barreled curling iron. She then began to apply makeup as if it were something she had done countless times, using Rey as her artistic muse. Absently Rey worried that Rose was going overboard, in particular with the eye makeup. She felt Rose lining it in a way that seemed almost too heavy.

“What are you doing to me?” she asked nervously, wearily opening one eye and peering up at Rose.

“Keep your eyes closed til I tell you to open them, or you’re gonna mess up my masterpiece,” Rose scolded, her hand hovering inches from Rey’s face.

Rey scanned Rose’s thoughts, finding them random and all over the place. Naturally, Rose thought of Finn; it was an ongoing theme. Rey caught a memory of Finn and Rose being intimate - she did not need to see that. She felt her face flush crimson with her embarrassment and hoped that Rose didn’t notice. Sensing Rose’s ongoing excitement for the evening though, she caught the name and the location of the club they were going to immediately, despite Rose insisting that she not know where they were going.

Rey scarcely recognized herself in Rose’s mind’s eye as the makeup guru continued her work. When did she become beautiful? Idly she hoped she’d run into Kylo, so he could have a view of her dolled up and not worn down from work and exercise, as she had been the last two times they saw each other.

“Ok open your eyes…” Rose suggested, “...perfect! Ok, hold your mouth like this.” Rose formed her mouth into a slightly slack O shape, and Rey mimicked her look, watching warily as Rose withdrew a bright fuchsia lipstick. Rey resisted the urge to say anything about the almost garish color, but kept her mouth posed as suggested.

Rose carefully painted Rey’s lips, and when she was certain Rey’s mouth was appropriately colored, she indicated for Rey to rub her lips together, doing the same to her own. Rey copied the gesture perfectly, her mouth feeling strange as she was only used to wearing gloss or chapstick.

“Perfect, ok go get dressed now but do NOT look at yourself in the mirror until you’ve got the whole look together. I’m gonna get started on my own look now,” Rose indicated, making a gesture as if to shoo Rey away.

“Of course, whatever you say,” Rey admitted, rolling her eyes as Rose all but pushed her out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind her.

Rey resisted the urge to look at her full length mirror, instead walking towards the garment bag she had hanging on the door frame. She began holding out her hands in anticipation of pulling it down, and the garment bag flew into her hands. What the….? Another ability? She’d have to watch her thoughts even more carefully. Things were developing more rapidly than she cared to admit, and the thought left her concerned. Why was this all happening so fast, and if anything unusual were to happen to her in front of the wrong person, how would they react to her? How could she even begin to explain it?

Again, she pushed that thought from her mind and dutifully began getting dressed, her thoughts drifting to Kylo again. He had been so handsome last night, and also surprisingly warm, inviting, open. It was completely unexpected. She longed to see him again. Zipping up the jumper on her left side, she was grateful she had opted to purchase a padded strapless bra as her bosom looked almost embarrassingly inviting as she peered down at it. Hopefully they wouldn’t draw the wrong kind of attention. Sitting on her bed to strap her silver sandal shoes, she lifted her head as she heard the bathroom door opening.

“Rose, you look gorgeous!” Rey commented immediately upon seeing her friend. Rose had styled her hair in a dutch braid, with her bangs swept to the side and a few loose tendrils of hair hanging down. Her makeup was simple with black rimmed eyes and ruby red lips. The two would make quite a pair tonight.

“Rey, you’re the gorgeous one. Have you looked at yourself yet?” Rose asked, watching Rey putting her earrings on now.

“Not yet...I was waiting for you to be here to bear witness,” Rey admitted somewhat sheepishly.

She neglected to mention that her mind had been wandering and seeing herself in the mirror paled to seeing Kylo Ren in her memories. Standing now, her legs somewhat shaky beneath her, she approached her full-length mirror. This cant be right?! She had never looked like this before in her life! Who was this stranger? Seeing the woman in the mirror copy her own smile, she noted the way her nose crinkled slightly as it did whenever she was amused with something. It was most assuredly her, although she was completely and utterly transformed. Now she really wanted to see Kylo--he would be floored.

They arrived at the club in time for the line to begin lengthening. It only took a few minutes for them to head to the front, shivering slightly in the chilly night air which was vibrating with excitement of party goers. Rose paid the entry fee and the door girl stamped their wrists with a bright pink elephant, and Rey laughed.

“This is going to be amazing!” she said to Rose, trying to be heard over the pumping bass reverberating through the dimly lit hall. There must have been smoke machines inside because hot pink mist was spilling onto the floor from around the corner. Rose merely turned around, and mouthed “Hell Yeah!” with a cheeky wink and she pulled Rey by the hand onto the dance floor.

The two felt bold and went to the dead center of the crowd, people parting like the sea looking them up and down as they passed. Rey felt like the spotlight was on her, and for once she didn’t mind. Being at Rose’s side suddenly made her feel confident, and that surge of excitement she felt before only made her more eager to flaunt her new look.

The music that was pumping through the air now was a mix of the late 90’s and early 2000’s music, just the sort of thing she enjoyed listening to, even though she’d never admit to enjoying pop music. It was like her personal crack. Feeling the bass pumping through her, she and Rose faced each other, their bodies flailing to the beat, hips swinging, arms in the air. Rey was certain she looked ridiculous, but Rose assured her she looked quite sexy.

Several songs later, Rose leaned in close to Rey and shouted something. Rey wasn’t entirely sure what was said, but she nodded anyway, assuming Rose wanted a drink or do visit the ladies room. Alone, despite the crowd surrounding her, Rey had never felt more at ease. This surprised her, as ordinarily she was shy and kept to herself.

Rey was dancing to one of her favorite songs, Judas by Lady Gaga. She absolutely adored all of the work that the American artist produced and had nearly every song memorized. Her body flowed from side to side along with the beat, and she closed her eyes, getting lost in the rhythm and the mouthing along with the lyrics. Drawing her arms up over her head, she snaked them through the air as she danced, tossing her hair over her shoulder.

Suddenly, she felt someone come up behind her and caress their hands down her arms. Reflexively, she turned her body to strike at the person who dared to touch her, only to have her wrist captured in the hand of someone who seemed to tower above her. She felt herself being spun slightly as her body was drawn closer to her captor’s. Glancing up now and noting a mischievous glint to his eyes, Rey gasped at the sight of him -- Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren was actually there, in the dance club, in Rey’s arms. Or was Rey in his arms? Either way, their bodies were pressed together and flowed in unison to the beat of the music. Rey felt as if everything around her faded away in this moment, there was only him. Breathing in deeply, Rey felt intoxicated by his very scent, he smelled musky and masculine with notes of sandalwood and leather.

It was rather unexpected how perfectly their bodies fit together and how natural it felt to be in his arms. Their bodies moved as if they had already been intimately connected, the closeness as familiar and comforting as the air they shared between them. But just like that the punishing beat of the song and the heaving crowd brought them back in the room and Rey stepped back slightly to keep her balance. Where ordinarily she needed a fair bit of space to maintain her comfort zone, she chose to stay mere centimeters from Kylo, nearly having to restrain herself from wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him…Good god, what’s gotten into me!

“Kylo what are you doing here?” she whispered, her eyes slightly widening. She knew he could hear her. They were so close, she could feel the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. Even with the four inch heels she wore, he was still taller than she was. She kept her gaze up, seeing the colored lights reflecting off his pale skin and glinting in his dark eyes.

“Dancing with you, obviously,” was his own whispered reply, his eyebrows arching slightly, regarding her with unwavering intent.

“Yes, I see that...but…” Rey started, uncertain how to phrase what she was trying to say.

She couldn’t help but feel distracted at his proximity, and feeling his body against hers was something she craved far more than she cared to admit. She felt almost delirious at the moment, uncertain how to cope, so she bit her lip. She remembered her lipstick all of a sudden and wondered how it would look on Kylo’s neck, abdomen… and maybe even lower than that...

“You wanted me here, I heard your call. You summoned me to your side, so here I am,” he admitted biting his own lip flashing his curiously sharp teeth, his eyes aflame with desire.

This fact was true - something that disturbed her, to an extent, but she was still so overwhelmed simply being with him at that moment. In a way she supposed she had summoned him, although rather indirectly, as her desire to have him at her side was undeniable. Her heart was pounding in her chest, and a part of her wondered why she couldn’t feel his heart as well? Perhaps he didn’t feel the same way she did? Only one way to find out...

Not wasting any time given how physically close they now were, Rey felt herself drawing up on tiptoe, no longer flowing with the beat. Closing her eyes, she drew up her chin, leaning in for a kiss. Their lips hovered within inches of each other, and she could feel his breath caress her lips.

Kylo leaned down to meet her lips with his, unwilling to pull back, despite knowing he should. They barely connected, and Rey was almost afraid it would be over before it began, so she took a step closer, pressing her lips more firmly against his. Unable to resist drawing her arms around his shoulders, she tangled her fingers in his raven locks, holding him in place as their kiss deepened. All too soon, she felt his body shifting, but he was unable to pull away as she had captured him so tightly in her arms, almost trapping him.

His hands shifted up her back over her naked shoulders as he cupped the back of her head, moaning slightly in her kiss, warring with himself whether or not he should continue. Her hair was so silky, and her scent was overpowering him; he felt the warmth in her skin, the sun pouring from her very embrace. It felt too good, being able to embrace her like this. He felt himself falling, crashing almost, her kiss was metaphorically like an all-consuming trap and he struggled to break free despite not wanting to. He needed to resist her though...she was so innocent…

In that moment he was transported back to a different time, a much darker time. A chapter in his history he had tried so hard to forget, and a part of himself he went to the greatest lengths to control. A curious thing happened to vampires when they first turned and began to drink blood - a thing that Snoke had neglected telling him about.

The blood of a living thing was more intoxicating than anything Ben Solo had ever tried. Even his experiments with opium from the Far East during his college days would not even begin to come close to the delirium the sweet copper of tang began to envelop him in. It was like a fever burning in his soul, consuming him from the inside out. Each drink compelling him onto the next, each snap of the neck coming faster and sharper, the violence and brutality blurring together in an endless echo.

Soon death wasn’t enough, and the manner in which his victims moaned made him think of other pursuits, ones that required the participation of the fairer sex. A handsome young man, with a dashing air and a mischievous grin only needed to weave a few sweet words into a delicate ear, to run his gloved finger softly along a milky collarbone, and all those debutantes bedecked in the finest brocade and lace were suddenly mere putty in his hands, debauched and defiled before anyone else had a chance to lay their filthy mortal hands on them.

He would take them everywhere. Behind a heavy curtain, in their father’s study, in the garden atrium... he would invite them to tea only to ravage their very souls. Soon one would not be enough. His coven began to organise parties, each bringing a favor to share for the feast. Not all of those girls went home, things had a way of getting out of hand. The moans of pleasure turning into whimpers of terror all too frequently, and when the blood lust was at its peak the fear had only egged them on.

It’s one of those girls that he remembered now, chesnut curls bouncing as she fell back on the settee. The glint of fear in those hazel irises. A desperate plea silenced by a finger feigning gentleness. In truth there was nothing gentle about what was to come, there was no Ben Solo there at all, just a fever-stricken spectre….

Kylo took a sharp breath, suddenly back in the club, and frozen in place, Rey’s wide eyes shaped so perfectly like the girl he had just seen, those lips, smeared with fuchsia pigment from their earlier kiss had just the same cupid’s bow... No, It couldn’t have been...could it?

“I should not have done that,” Kylo murmured and she could feel him mouthing the words against her lips as he spoke.

Rey pulled back slightly, loosening her grip on him and lowering back on her heels, peering up at him in shock.

“I am not good for you,” he whispered as he let go of her body.

Suddenly the music seemed to throb louder than before and she watched him back away a few steps before turning and disappearing into the crowd. Rey stood, stunned, suddenly feeling as if all the air had been sucked out of her. Feeling claustrophobic, she became all too aware of the bodies that were around her. They writhed to the beat that droned on in the background, and she drew her arms around herself almost protectively. Winding her way back through the crowd, she made it to the ladies room, where Rose was touching up her makeup.

“Who was that?” Rose asked, the moment Rey appeared.

Picking up a water bottle, Rey took a long swig, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand, making an even bigger mess of her already smudge lipstick. Rose pulled out a makeup wipe and handed it to Rey without hesitation, who peered over at her friend, realizing she was being asked about Kylo. Rose must have seen them and opted to give her friend some space.

“Oh...he was nobody. Just someone I met recently,” it wasn’t a lie...they had only met two weeks ago, and yet…

“He was hot!! So tall, and he looked like he was really well built. I mean those shoulders! That ass! His hair and that sexy half man-bun! Mmm...and the black leather he wore! What happened? Why did he walk away? Did you say something stupid? You guys were so in sync when you danced together, it was insane” Rose gushed now, totally excited to see her friend interacting with a man.

“Uhm...I guess? I’m not sure what just happened, honestly. Can we go?” Rey shrugged as she spoke now, it wasn’t a lie.

She was still utterly confused. Kylo had been so incredibly close. Feeling his body moving with hers drew forth something primal, and the kiss they shared seemed a natural progression. Closing her eyes again, Rey pressed her lips together at the thought, absently wishing it had been more than it was. But that vision… those images like something out of the strangest of dreams… nightmares.

It was Kylo in a different time, doing things that made chills race down her spine. But how could it have been him? Her vision was of what she knew to be the Belle Époque. She had always liked history; something about all these times and places that she had never experienced fascinated her. She had pored over her books, mesmerized by grainy old photographs, imagining what those people’s lives might have been. There was no feeling of romance in her now; she felt shaken, and frightened.

He had invited them for cups of tea, just like their date… He had compelled them into doing things against their will… and why had she been so eager for him lately? This is far from the way she usually behaved around men. Is he playing tricks on me? It was all far too much.

“Leave already?! Rey it’s barely midnight!! The night is still young!” Rose was flabbergasted, eyes scanning her friend’s abruptly troubled expression. They never went out, and now that things were getting interesting, Rey wanted to leave? Had one awkward interaction with a man really been enough to push her limits?

“I know...it’s just too loud in here, it’s making me uncomfortable. Can we just take a walk or something? I want to be with you and not all of them,” Rey reasoned, gesturing at the crowd in the other room.

“Yeah, sure, it is loud. You’re right,” Rose acknowledged, her throat hurting slightly from having to scream everything over the music and murmur of the crowd.

They gathered up their bags and made their way across the room and out the door. Rose had apparently drunk a little bit more while Rey was dancing, as she staggered slightly as she walked on the sidewalk, leaning against the building and pausing for a long breath. She reached down and pulled off her heels, gathering them up in one hand and walking barefoot on the cobblestone sidewalk. Rey offered her an arm for support.

“Should I call us a cab?” Rey asked softly, the night around them suddenly eerily silent in comparison to the club they were just in.

“Not yet. Let’s walk a bit. The air feels good.”

“Yeah it does,” Rey agreed, patting Roses arm gently. “Hold on to me, I’ve got you.” They walked along slowly.

The further they went, the more Rose seemed to straighten her previously hunched, inebriated self. They conversed softly, talking about some of the people they saw in the club, remembering all the songs from the early 2000’s and what the music meant to them when they were younger. How now as adults, they find different messages within the same music which in the past only seemed catchy and upbeat. They reminisce over how good the music scene used to be, and absently wondered why music had gone to shit over the past few years. It soothed Rey to temporarily take her mind off what had just happened with Kylo.

All of the sudden, Rey felt an odd tension in the air. She looked about, trying to be subtle about the gesture as not to make Rose unnecessarily alerted to what could be nothing. Looking down a somewhat darkened alleyway, Rey thought she saw two figures. She tried to focus her eyes, pulling back from Rose and turning her body towards the scene ahead of her.

“Are you ok, Rey?” Rose asked now, her hand on Rey’s arm.

“Yeah, hold on. Why don’t you have a seat on that bench, I want to go see something,” Rey suggested, patting Rose’s hand without looking at her.

“Ok, sure. I should drink some water anyway, I have some in my bag,” Rose affirmed with a shrug, making her way over to the bench Rey had indicated.

Rey hardly took notice of Rose as she began to make her way down the alleyway, noting the figure of a man from behind. He was tall, with broad shoulders, dressed head to toe in black. His head was bowed, but she could see his soft black curls. He had one of his arms pressed against the wall, another was holding onto the other person. Rey knew immediately that it was Kylo Ren...again.

What was he doing? Knowing she should just walk away, her curiosity got the better of her. She tried to be quiet but she stumbled over a crack in the pavement, causing him to look up. Rey now saw the person whom he was holding. Another man, significantly shorter than Kylo, and she noticed the wound on his neck. Kylo turned his head slightly, and she saw his profile, her eyes focusing in on his lips, the blood that dripped from them now.

Rey swallowed hard; she didn’t want to accept what she saw, but she couldn’t deny it. Pressing one of her hands against her mouth, she felt tears stinging her eyes. Shaking her head, she staggered slightly as she spun on her heels, walking away as fast as her legs could carry her, wishing she could run but not feeling like it was possible in her ridiculous shoes. Silently she cursed herself for purchasing the four inch heels to begin with, as they did nothing but hamper her desperate efforts of escape.

Kylo sighed, having sensed Rey and knowing what she saw. He looked down at the man whom he had been feeding from. Licking at the wound now, it healed, the puncture marks no longer visible. Taking a step back from the young man, Kylo peered down at him, noting he was still very much alive. Kylo made a slight gesture with his hand then, and the man looked up at him.

“This never happened. Move along,” Kylo uttered, noting the momentary confusion in the man’s eyes. Shrugging, the young man now walked away.

Kylo made his way to Rey as quickly as he could, halting in front of her, making her bump into him. She practically jumped out of her skin when he seemed to appear out of nowhere. Rey looked back, seeing the young man walking away in the opposite direction. He was alive. Kylo hadn’t killed his victim? Didn’t vampires always kill their victims? She looked back at Kylo then, shock and revulsion plain on her face.

“You’re a vampire? Really? If you had told me I never would have believed you. Seeing you feed just now totally cements it in reality. I don’t know how I could have been so stupid,” she admonished herself as much as him, drawing her arms protectively around her trembling body, turning away from him slightly.

Despite how much effort she had put her appearance tonight, she no longer felt sexy and instead felt naked and vulnerable.

“You would have found out eventually,” he admitted with a sigh, not quite knowing what to do as he looked over at her.

“So am I next then? Are you going to kill me? Drink my blood?” Rey was positively livid right now, but not just with him, with herself for not having believed it the first time she saw him, for dismissing his impossible strength when he crushed the bodies of the other two vampires.

“No...I might want to taste you on occasion, that much is true. I cannot deny my nature, the killer that is inside of me. However...there is something about you. Something about us," he swallowed nervously before continuing. He couldn't help but stumble over his words, and he had hoped she understood what he was trying to convey, "your blood...it sings to me, it is as if a part of you is in my very soul. I cannot help but feel complete whenever we are together. I do not know how else to explain it to you,”

Turning back towards him, Rey met his eyes and her face softened at his expression. He seemed positively distraught, the image of sorrow and regret. How could someone so beautiful and with such a seemingly pure soul be so tormented and dark? His nature made him evil, but was he really?

Using her newly heightened psychic abilities, Rey studied him, scanning his mind. She couldn’t help but observe that the person who was trapped inside was not the person whom she saw before her. It was as though he was split, fighting against the Darkness that stirred inside him. Kylo Ren was more than just a vampire, that much was true. His humanity lingered within. Rey felt her mouth go slack at that realization, but she knew he was still her enemy. She couldn’t feel pity for him; it went against who she was as a witch.

“That’s how it is then? Well I suppose I should consider myself lucky then,” Rey tried to sound as detached as she should have felt now, but her words came out weak. She suddenly felt hollow inside.

“If that is how you want to think of it, then by all means. Whatever helps you cope. I realize it is not exactly...ideal…? To be falling for someone you can never have,” Kylo admitted softly, trying to be as delicate as possible, having sensed Rey’s inner torment. He took a step closer to her and she took a step back, holding her hands up defensively.

“How can you say such things? Who said I’m falling for you?” she asked, trying to twist her face in mock disgust, but it didn’t reach her eyes.

“Really. You are going to deny what you feel now? Or are you unwilling to admit it to yourself? You know I can read your thoughts. Even without being able to do that, it is written all over your face. Anyone would see it, plain as day,” he took another step towards her. This time she stood her ground, her face falling.

“I...I...don’t have a response to that,” she stammered out, shaking her head slightly.

“You will eventually. I do not blame you for thinking you are falling for me. It is not like you can help it. Everything about me appeals to you. My look, my voice, my smell. It is how I lure my prey in. So really, you are not falling for me after all. You are not feeling what you think you are feeling. This isn’t love - it is a perfect illusion, disguised as love,” Kylo turned away from her, letting forth a long sigh.

Crossing his arms, he leaned against a building, his back to her. It had taken him centuries to cope with the monster he had become, and he still never quite came to terms with his new lot in life. He cursed his existence nightly, hating that he never changed, that he was eternally damned. Everything fell apart with time, the world around him had dissolved and renewed itself in so many ways, and yet there he remained. Unchanging. Always needing, but never having, it was Snoke’s curse over and over again, a tragic loop that repeated itself in his mind.

“But is it? You’ve got me there, Kylo. I couldn’t admit it myself. I am falling for you. What does it matter, though? You said it yourself that we can never be together. Is it because I’m human? Or because I’m a witch?” It was the first time Rey had admitted what she was out loud to anyone.

Closing the distance between them slowly she reached out and touched his arm, noticing the warmth radiating from him now. Was it from the blood he had just consumed? She sensed that it was. He turned his head slightly, glancing over his shoulder.

“A bit of both, I guess?” He turned towards her again, as she continued to stand her ground, unfazed by him. “Look, Rey...I will be honest with you. I am immortal, meaning I can never change. You will grow old and die eventually. I won’t. You do not want to stay trapped with someone who will never change. It would be more painful for you in the end.”

“Unless you could grow old with me? Surely there’s some way to reverse this? Bring you back to life? Cure you of your vampirism?” she gave him a forced smile through the heartbreak.

“Unfortunately, there is not. If there was, I would have done it ages ago,” he admitted, his eyes downcast again.

“Ages…? How old are you?” she inquired, cocking her head to the side.

“Do you really want to know? It might shock you.”

“Tell me.”

“I will be 200 years old next year.” Kylo studied Rey’s face as he confessed this, sensing her inner turmoil again. “I was 26 when I was born to Darkness.”

“I see,” she forced herself to say, even though she was absolutely taken aback. Then she got an idea. “Well maybe if we’re lucky, you can be 200 when you return to the Light?”

“Spoken like a true witch. How precious you are to want to bring me to the Light,” he scoffed in response. His jaw shifted slightly and he bit his lip, drawing forth the slightest trickle of blood as one of his fangs pierced his lip without him realizing.

“Kylo…” she started, reaching for him.

“Don’t,” he said, pulling back from her, putting his hands up defensively as she had done earlier when she first confronted him.

Did she really think it was so easy for him to turn back? Was this some sort of sick joke? A cheap trick? Remembering his earlier visions of how they had crossed each other's paths time and time again, he realized it had been her that he fed upon almost two centuries ago, a thought that now sickened him to no end. Fucking witch, it’s her blood that has intoxicated me.

But even as he thought it he knew it was a lie, not in the wildest most abandoned ecstasy had he felt THIS. It was a knowledge that had no place in this situation, a feeling he had to make himself forget. Now he felt tormented by that memory, even more than he had before. He dared a glance at her and then left, moving quickly to get away from her as fast as he possibly could.

Rey no longer felt confused. She felt hurt, maybe even betrayed. Her enemy was exactly as she had feared he would be. Untrustworthy, cold and unwilling to change, despite the fact that she could sense that deep within he wanted to. How could she feel such admirable virtue within him, when clearly he was anything but? The duality of his nature left her dumbfounded. Did she think she was falling for him? Yes, that was undeniable. Maybe he was right. It was a perfect illusion. Either way, she hoped she’d never see him again, as it would be too painful to face him after all that they had said to one another. She turned to walk away, and something inside her ripped. She ignored it willfully, refusing to turn around.

Making her way back out the alleyway, she found Rose curled up on her side, sleeping peacefully on a bench. Smiling down at her friend, she pulled out her phone and called a local cab company requesting a pickup. Rose would stay with her tonight, for safekeeping if for nothing else. Rey helped her in and out of the car, paying the fare and gently waking her up as they slowly made their way up to the front door of her building.

“I’m sorry I’m so sleepy…” Rose mumbled out, leaning heavily against Rey’s arm.

“You’re fine. Let’s get you set up on my couch, you’ll be more comfortable there,” Rey responded in an almost motherly tone, stroking Rose’s hair off her forehead.

“You’re such a good friend,” Rose said, yawning.

“You are too, Rose. Thanks for suggesting we do this, I had a really great time.”

“Good...good...we’ll do it again another time.”

“Yeah, sure.” Not any time soon.

Chapter Text

Rey wasn’t sure how she managed, but she made it through the weekend. Having Rose around helped, and after their “girls night” on Friday, they spent Saturday recovering and doing some shopping. Sunday they watched chick flicks and pigged out on junk food. Romantic comedies wouldn’t have been Rey’s first choice of film genre, as she was suffering from heartbreak, but she couldn’t let Rose know. Seeing Rose happy mattered more to her at the moment than facing the truth. It was Rose’s companionship that she craved now more than anything - if only to fill the hole in her heart, albeit temporarily. Their conversations were light and uplifting and it was exactly what she needed. Naturally, the weekend ended, as all weekends invariably do, meaning Rose had to leave and Rey was left alone again.

Feeling suffocated by her loneliness, she felt it more intensely than she ever had in the past. Unable to shake the feeling, it was as though a part of her heart had been ripped out, and perhaps it had. How had she allowed herself to get so close to that infuriating vampire? Kylo Ren had charmed her with ease...as was his nature to do, and she let him do it. How could she be so stupid to want to fall for her natural enemy? What baffled her the most was that deep in her soul she knew she should hate him, she should fight him, want to kill him...and yet, she couldn’t. She felt torn apart by this revelation that what she should have felt wasn’t what she truly felt.

Quite suddenly, she sympathized with the doomed Shakespearean couple Romeo and Juliet - the Montagues and Capulets fought, and yet those two managed to fall for each other, only to have it end in tragedy. Is that what would happen if they were to ignore their nature and simply be two people in love? Would they destroy each other? Likely, it would be left to their kind to handle the aftermath of a forbidden affair, which hardly seemed like something that would lead to a happy ending. No, they were doomed from the start, and she needed to accept it.

On Monday, she did something she had never done before - she called into work. Lucian was shocked and immediately knew something was wrong, and told Rey she could have as much time off as she needed. She was grateful, but she wouldn’t take his kindness for granted; she’d allow herself to take one, maybe two days off. Knowing it wouldn’t possibly be enough time to accomplish anything, she planned on also requesting off for a week at a later time, so he could have time to schedule other people accordingly. A part of her felt incredibly guilty for taking a “mental health” day and shirking responsibilities, but she also knew that she wouldn’t make it through the day working if she tried.

Hanging up her cellphone and resting it on her nightstand, she eased herself back onto her bed. Curling on her side, she wept pathetically. She shouldn’t feel this way, as the ache she felt in her heart now seemed wholly irrational. Shaking her head, she couldn’t help but replay Friday night in her mind. The way he felt in her arms when they danced. The way he moaned so erotically when they kissed. Then, there was the vision...which lead to the way he pulled back and walked away. She agonized over the conversation they had after she caught him feeding. It all made sense now, as they were on opposite sides of the spectrum...but what if they didn’t have to be? What if that’s why she felt so much pain? She couldn’t deny what she felt for him, but maybe it wasn’t all bad.

There had to be some solution to this problem. Maybe a vampire could come back to the Light? Becoming human again - that might not be a possibility. What could work though, would be for him to no longer be a Child of the Night. Surely that was possible? Logically she knew that him being immortal was something that wouldn’t change, but he didn’t need to be forced to live a life in total Darkness for eternity. Deep in her soul, she felt like this was a distinct possibility. A solution that perhaps he never considered. Perhaps then, if he were to turn back she could meet him halfway and it wouldn’t be such a terrible conundrum for them to be together?

Wiping at her tears, she sat up and felt resolve. She’d start online, researching things there, and if she couldn’t find the answers there, she’d go to the library. There had to be some resources about the preternatural world - particularly of vampires and witches - that she could use to her advantage. Perhaps there were other natural witches out there who could guide her somewhere? Hadn’t her mother mentioned that there were grimoires and journals out there that she could learn from? She needed to learn about who she was and what she was capable of as well as of the war and what vampires had to bring to the table. Maybe there was something out there that would help her uncover the solution to their problem. Surely over the centuries they weren’t the only pair to have crossed the line?

Pulling on some blue jeans and a black Taekwondo tee-shirt, she pulled out her laptop and settled at her desk, pulling up her trusty Google search bar. Fingers hovering over the keyboard, she hesitated. How does one research this subject without running into cinema and fiction? Is there some sort of underground source out there? Starting with the basic “real vampires and witches” search, she came up with a staggering 15,800,000 results. The top sites included National Geographic, Discover Magazine, BBC News and the History Channel. Those were all legit sites. She took her time, opening each one in new tabs and began reading various articles.

Hours passed and she found herself still feverishly reading everything she could, making notes and coming up with more questions but no reasonable answers. Not a word about the war. This was something that obviously remained hidden from the rest of the world. Interesting. She tapped her hands idly on her desk and read over her notes. Everything was scribbled haphazardly, and the thing that stuck out the most on the page were the endless question marks. Why? She stood and stretched, making her way down to the kitchen and pulling out her blender. She decided she’d make herself a smoothie for lunch. While she was chopping up some fresh fruits and vegetables, her cellphone began its cheery little ringtone. Setting down the knife and wiping her hands off with a nearby towel, she unlocked her phone and answered politely.

“Miss Kenobi, how are you today?” A rather chipper sounding woman asked.

“Fine, thank you. What can I do for you?” She queried.

“The time has come for your next blood donation! We’re starting to run low on your type and could really benefit from you coming in. Would you like to schedule something?”

Rey gasped. Blood donation? Really? The irony was not lost on her. Here she was, pathetically falling for a vampire who she couldn’t have, in the midst of researching ways to turn him back to the Light and learn more about what she was and she gets a call to come in and donate blood? She knew someone who would happily take what she had to offer - especially given how rare her type was. The phlebotomists at the blood bank always gushed that she was like a unicorn, her rare AB- was something she shared with only 1% of the world’s population. A unicorn, indeed. Unicorn witch at that. Would that explain why her blood “sang” to Kylo Ren, or was it something more?

“Miss, are you still there? Can you come in to donate?” the operator asked, somewhat less cheerful then when she first answered. Rey looked at the clock on her stove. It was just after 1pm.

“Do you have anything available this afternoon?” Rey asked now, fidgeting with her piles of chopped produce, arranging them into neat piles.

“We could get you in at 3:30. Is that an ok time for you?”

“Absolutely, thank you. I’ll be there.”

“Fantastic! Thank you for your time!” The operator sound chipper once more and Rey could swear she heard the smile in the woman’s voice, as well as her relief. That was the sort of job Rey never wanted to do. While she enjoyed providing customer service, she hated talking on the phone. What was worse was making cold calls. The very idea sent shivers down her spine. She ignored the sensation and turned towards her fridge again, pulling out some spinach. Need to get that iron up before donating, even if the logical side told her that eating spinach now would by no means be the boost needed had her iron been insufficient. Her body would need time to process the nutrients.

Hours later, she found herself walking into the blood center, already pulling out her ID and blood donor card, knowing the procedure, as she had been a regular donor since she was of age to donate legally. She had even received calls and letters of thanks from patients who had received her blood and been saved by her donation. That always warmed her heart and brought her back for more.

Sitting down at a small desk, she filled out the initial paperwork, answering a survey of 50 some odd questions about health and travel, the usual. Waiting her turn, she then went through the medical screening process, having her vitals taken, and delighted in the fact that everything checked out perfectly. Her blood pressure was 110/66, pulse was 56, temperature was 97.8 and her hemoglobin was 14.2. Idly she thought about Kylo again, he probably would have been more pleased than she was at her perfect vitals. She could almost see him salivating at the very thought of pressing his lips to her neck... It’s not my blood he needs, the blood is better off going to a worthier cause… it’s my help he needs, for a better future. The thought only deepened her resolve to find out just how to do that.

Laying down in the donor chair, she extended her left arm on the armrest as the phlebotomist prepared the bag and began checking her veins. Rey found herself more fascinated then usual at the procedure, and couldn’t take her eyes away as the phlebotomist glided the large needle into her arm with such skill she barely even felt it piercing her skin. She eagerly watched the blood flowing down the tubing and into the bag, which rocked rhythmically on a scale every few seconds. The phlebotomist than drew several tubes for testing from a smaller bag as the large bag continued to fill. Rey rolled a stress ball lazily in her hand to help with the blood flow and absently read the thoughts of her phlebotomist.

This woman was only a few years older than Rey was, and she had a kind soul. Naturally, utilizing her skills to help provide blood to hospitals and people in need would warrant someone with that sort of disposition in life to do this sort of job day in and day out. Blood never bothered Rey, but she couldn’t imagine sticking people. She always laughed whenever she heard the comment that blood donation was like getting an oil change for your car. It was something she could appreciate, as she knew the importance, so the significance of the statement was not lost on her. Regardless, she’d much rather do dozens of oil changes each day as opposed to sticking people in the arms with needles.

“Do you get a lot of people talking about vampires around here?” Rey asked lightly, after having chatted to the lovely woman about the weather, knowing how cliche she must have sounded.

“All the time,” her phlebotomist answered, forcing a chuckle and rolling her eyes.

“I wonder if vampires rob blood banks the same way people rob financial banks?”

At this the phlebotomist genuinely laughed, and Rey saw in her mind that no one had ever asked that.

“No, although with some of my co-workers, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did!” the phlebotomist said in a low almost conspiratorial tone. Rey found herself leaning in somewhat.

“Really? But you guys are only open during the day, right? Vampires can’t exist in the sunlight.”

“True, but our lab here is open 24/7, as hospitals always need blood and it takes hours to process the volume of blood we get in every day. Some of those late night shift workers are a little...different,” the phlebotomist admitted, her tone now clearly indicated she was uncomfortable discussing it. Rey pondered the meaning of that as she watched her phlebotomist take off the tourniquet before pulling out the needle and pressing a large stack of gauze onto Rey’s arm, gesturing for her to put pressure on the wound and hold it her arm above her head.

“I see,” was all Rey could muster at that. She’d have to ask Kylo if that was the sort of thing his kind often did. It would make sense. Having unlimited access to a blood bank would mean fewer kills. Although she remembered again, he didn’t kill his victim the other night. He sent his victim on his way after feeding a little bit. Was that for her benefit, since she caught him halfway, or did he make it a habit? Also, were others out there like him who had respect for life, or was he unique? She had imagined he had to be at least somewhat unique, as they had spent hours together and he never made his nature known to her, even though the more she thought about their interactions, the more she should have put two and two together. Perhaps it was her witch heritage that allowed to her to accept something supernatural so easily, where others would have completely freaked out.

She sighed, lowering her arm and allowing the phlebotomist to wrap it, listening dutifully to the aftercare instructions she had all but memorized. Rey considered herself lucky that she never got sick after donating blood, as she had seen many people have bad reactions over the years. That’s another reason she couldn’t be a phlebotomist - the idea of cleaning blood spills, vomit, urine and even feces turned her stomach. Getting up, she made her way back to the lobby, where she grabbed a blue sports drink from the fridge and a sweet and salty almond granola bar.

Hmm...what now? Her mind gave her the answer instantly. She had the rest of the afternoon, and she knew she needed to do more research. Once she had sat long enough to appease the people at the blood center and assure them that she was feeling fine, she hailed a cab to the Westminster Reference Library. Seemed as good a place to start as any, and she would use any excuse to return to Westminster when she could. She adored the old library, and when she was growing up she spent countless hours there, combing over the never-ending shelves, eagerly reading each and every book she got her hands on.

Walking through the massive doors, she inhaled deeply, instantly comforted by the somewhat musty smell. Her eyes trailed around the place, taking in the endless shelves of books, the lovely parquet floors, the massive old windows and all the quaint details that older buildings like this possessed. She made her way to a nearby computer and entered in the same search she had given Google earlier in the day. She wrote down the numbers of a few books of interest, finding an overwhelming amount of books available on the supernatural. This pleased her to no end, and she wondered how much of it was actually true. Making her way to the second floor and nearly losing herself in the stack, she gathered up a pile and carefully laid each book in front of her, laying her trusty notebook and pen to the side. Skimming through several books, she quickly saw that some were absolute rubbish and unworthy of spending any amount of time on.

Picking up a tome titled The Vampire in Lore and Legend, she rifled through the pages when suddenly a page fell out. Picking it up carefully, she realized it wasn’t part of the book. Instead, there was a poem written in beautiful black calligraphy. She read the words once...twice...three times, feeling something stirring within. Tracing her fingers over the calligraphy she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Upon touching the written words, she had a sudden vision of Kylo sitting at a desk, holding an old fashioned quill and dipping it into an inkwell. He hovered the quill above the paper thoughtfully, then the words flowed out of him. She was in awe of how focused his expression had been, the way the feather on the quill swayed with every stroke of his elegant hand. As abruptly as the vision had started, it faded away. Had he known she would come and research this very subject? Was he encouraging her to learn more about his kind? She was positively taken aback and reread the poem again:

 

Not so long ago I found the one who made my heart sing
Our hearts were connected by strings,
Playing sweet melodies and harmonies
Such that I had never before heard.

I would give anything to feel the warmth of her love once more
My forgotten sunshine
My sweet serenity
I am so lost without she who once completed me
who helped me be a better man
who saw past my flaws
who would do anything just to see a smile across my lips
whose love I dissolved leaving nothing
but pain and bitterness

Now my soul is but a shattered husk of what it once was
I no longer hear the melodies,
Instead I’m left with the echoes of what remains,
Grasping for anything that would reconnect us.

 

Oh, Kylo. What are you trying to say here? What are you doing to me?

“Excuse me, miss…?” she heard a voice whisper from behind. She practically leapt out of her skin at that moment, tucking Kylo’s poem beneath the table and resting it on her lap. She looked up and saw a middle aged woman coming around to her side. The woman was petite, barely filling out her knitted dress. Her greying hair was twisted up into a somewhat dated style and was tied together with an eccentric scarf, and the corners of her eyes crinkled slightly as she looked down at Rey. The woman radiated a warmth that was inspiring and comforting at the same time.

“Yes? What can I do for you?” Rey queried softly now, offering a friendly smile.

“Listen to what I have to tell you and follow your instincts. Recognize me for who I am, for I am like you.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Read my thoughts, Rey. I know what you are, and I’m telling you, I’m the same. I’m your sister in the Light, and I want to help you.”

Rey looked around carefully, noting that no one was nearby and gestured to a chair across from her, watching the woman wordlessly nod as she walked around and sat down.

“You’re newly awakened, aren’t you, sister?” the woman now questioned. Rey could only nod in response, swallowing awkwardly as she took in the woman who claimed to be her sister in the Light. She scanned the woman’s thoughts, and sure enough she recognized a kindred spirit. Another witch. One whose gifts were not that different from hers, who had a greater understanding of the world around her, and shockingly enough knew about the war. The name Annabelle came to her immediately, and as if recognizing her name in Rey’s thoughts she nodded somewhat enthusiastically gracing Rey with an incredibly warm and comforting smile.

“I’m not sure if this is the best place to discuss things…” Rey started, her voice wavering as she spoke.

“I agree, but when I saw you and the books you had spread around you, I couldn’t help but introduce myself to you. Here’s my number, feel free to call or text whenever you want. I’ll answer whatever I can for you, and what I can’t I’ll help you find whatever resources I can to help you accomplish what you’re after,” Annabelle offered, passing Rey a slip of paper across the table.

“Thank you, Annabelle. I’ll definitely be in touch,” Rey promised, feeling tears stinging her eyes. She was an emotional wreck again. First she finds that she’s a witch, then she finds the man she’s falling for is her enemy, and now she finds another witch who wants to help her. Just how many other witches were there out there? How many vampires, for that matter? Were there other supernatural beings? What was this hidden world she suddenly found herself a part of?

“It’s going to be ok, Rey. I hear you. I assure you, everything will begin to make sense in time. Things aren’t as dire as they may seem,” Annabelle suggested, resting her hand on top of Rey’s.

“What about Kylo?” Rey whispered out, her hand caressing his poem. She had seen in Annabelle’s mind that she knew of the local coven of vampires, including its leader. As if being in love with a vampire was bad enough, he’s their freaking leader? Of course he is...

“We know of him. He’s less of a threat then the rest of his coven is. If you had to fall for one of the enemy, be grateful you fell for him. He is incredibly powerful, most certainly, but a part of his humanity has always lingered within, and he is more man than monster. You’re not the first witch who has fallen for a vampire. Let’s discuss this more another time though, I don’t want anyone who might eavesdrop on our conversation to hear anything that they shouldn’t.” Annabelle whispered, softer then she knew anyone else would hear but Rey understood her perfectly. Rey’s heart ached now, and the tears streamed down her face much as they had that morning. She opened her mouth to speak more than once but every time closed it, as her lips trembled almost uncontrollably.

“Rey, don’t cry. Please. I know this is a lot, but you’re on the right path. Learn what you can, I will help you. Your other brothers and sisters will help you. There’s a place for you in this world, you just need to find it.”

Again, Rey could only nod in reply, graciously accepting the packet of tissues that Annabelle had offered her. She felt numb, and knew she needed to check out these books and head home. Meeting a fellow witch was wonderful, and the more she learned the less she felt alone. It was more comforting than she cared to admit.

“I’ll leave you to collect yourself now. Breathe. Whenever you decide you’re ready for more, let me know. Any time, day or night. I am here for you.”

“Thank you, Annabelle,” Rey whispered, finally able to find her voice. She felt the overwhelming urge to hug the woman who now stood in front of her, and so she did. Reaching across the table, she embraced the woman as carefully as she could considering the width of the table. Annabelle leaned into Rey, caressing her long chestnut tresses in a comforting manner before releasing her. The two women nodded respectfully at each other, and then Rey watched as Annabelle walked away, turning between the bookshelves and away from view. With one more dab at her eyes, Rey gathered up the pile of books she decided she wanted to use for further research and went to the self-checkout counter, scanning her card and the books before tucking them into her bag.

Leaving the library now, she realized the sun had nearly set, meaning soon, the vampires would stir, and knowing what little she knew about witches and the ongoing war meant she needed to get home and fast. She wasn’t quite sure how she had been so lucky to avoid running into other vampires beyond Kylo, and the two whom she met on her birthday. Idly she wondered if Kylo had been protecting her in secret? A part of her wished he had been, as it warmed her heart knowing he had been there in the shadows, keeping her safe...much as the man had in her vision...

Oh my God. That was him!

She froze in her tracks, momentarily unable to force herself to move. Someone passing on the sidewalk bumped into her and spoke a hasty apology. She barely even saw them, as she shook her head slightly to be rid of the trance she now found herself in. Staring at her from across the street was a woman, ridiculously tall, with platinum hair cropped neatly around her ears. Her steely blue gaze was simultaneously mesmerizing and terrifying...another vampire...but the female vampire didn’t feel threatening. She merely watched Rey with a sense of curiosity, before vanishing.

Rey made her way home as quickly as she could, and in the last block before she reached her flat it had begun to rain. It soothed her soul and she felt cleansed by nature, a sense of calm coming over her. Back in her flat once more, she double checked the locks on both the front door and her balcony door. Venturing towards her kitchen, she made herself a light dinner of a spinach, quinoa, avocado and grapefruit salad. Cleaning up and tidying her kitchen, she headed up to her bedroom, spreading her books on the bed. Looking at Annabelle’s phone number, and then Kylo’s poem she allowed herself a deep breath, releasing it slowly. A comforting silence in the air allowed her to reflect now on all that had transpired that day.

Glancing around the room, her eyes settled on her dresser. She crossed the room slowly, eyeing the box that she had gotten from Unkar Plutt. Her hands ghosting over the lid, she took another deep breath and opened it again, seeing her mother’s pendant. With shaking hands she pulled it out, stroking along the fire obsidian sword. Tears silently streamed from her eyes once more and she clutched the pendant in her hand, drawing it close to her heart. With closed eyes, she said a silent prayer to her mother, begging for some sign, another vision, anything to help her along her path.

Opening her eyes again, she realized she was no longer in her flat. She was in a valley, surrounded by mountains. It was another bright day, almost to the point of being blinding. She drew her hand up, shielding her eyes as she took in the surrounding environment. In the center of the valley there was a massive old tree with an opening that looked large enough for her to pass through. Climbing down carefully, she crossed the grassy valley, feeling the tall grass tickling at her calves as she passed through it. She heard whispers, as if coming from the tree, beckoning her to come closer. Her legs carrying her quicker than she could have imagined, she found herself nearing the tree in record time, and the closer she got to it the louder the voices became and the bigger the tree itself seemed.

Once she made it to the tree, she caressed the wood along the trunk, fingers tracing over the knots she found there, breathing in the soothing scent of the wood itself. Passing through the large opening, she found herself enchanted by the sight that greeted her. A shelf, carved from the tree itself with a neatly arranged row of ancient looking texts lay waiting for her, light streaming in through the top of the tree shining upon the books like a spotlight. She reached for one of the grimoires, stroking the leather spine with a feather-like touch. Pulling it out, she opened it to find ancient runes and ornate drawings. The longer she stared at the text, she began to notice that the runes appeared to turn into words that she could read. There was a prophecy written upon the sheet, and while she realized the words had begun to translate, she realized that the vision was beginning to blur.

“Wait, no mother...mother please help…” she cried out, fingers no longer feeling the parchment beneath them.

“Mother...I need you…” she begged as the vision completely faded.

Her head falling now where she stood, she clutched the pendant even tighter in her hand. That vision had to be a sign. This valley existed somewhere, as did that tree. Something in her gut told her it had to, and she needed to read that prophecy. It was the answer she needed to change the future. She knew there was no other explanation. Her mother had helped as much as she could, but this was something she needed to find, to make a claim upon, something that her life depended on. And she would.

Chapter Text

Kylo Ren was in the catacombs again. It was Sunday, and he had woken to a new night, feeling numb, even more so than he had the previous night. Once he had risen from his coffin, he crossed his personal space, and went to the stereo. Shuffling through his record collection, he found what he wanted. Chopin’s Nocturne. Placing the needle on the record, he closed his eyes, taking in the piano chords that spoke to him on a deeper level. He then idly thought back to the concert he saw in the 1920’s where he sat beside one of Rey’s previous lives, and how the two had enjoyed the performance of that same piece.

He remembered how she clutched her hand at her heart, and drew forth a dainty lace kerchief to dab at her eyes. Music had touched her as deeply as it had touched him. He hadn’t realized it at the time, but even then they shared so much. That was the only time he interacted with her during that particular past life of hers. It never occurred to him at the time how significant she would be in his future. The previous time he had seen her when he was a feverish newborn vampire, intoxicated by the blood he consumed and the bodies he shared heated moments with, he had killed her without a second thought. Looking back, he wished he had given her more time, or at least taken effort in getting to know her during both occasions. Clearly she kept coming into his life for a reason, but he had always been too self absorbed to ever think anything of it or even begin connecting the dots.

Sighing to himself, he decided perhaps thinking of all their missed opportunities and remembering her in this light wasn’t the best way to cope. Regardless of how he didn’t seem to feel anything in the past, what he felt now left him confused and somewhat bitter.  Rey had awakened things within him that he never imagined he'd feel. The universe had something planned for them, perhaps he’d figure out just what this time around. In an effort to distract himself and refocus his energy, he decided to polish his sword, as it had offered him such peace in the past. Sitting at the small table in front of him, blade in hand, he found that for the first time in many years the action did little to calm him. He shifted his legs as he sat, feeling like he was crawling out of his skin, increasingly exhausted by his constant longing.

“Kylo, I thought I heard you in here. Why aren’t you out and about? We’ve hardly seen you for the past two weeks and yet you’re here now. What’s going on?” a low female voice now spoke.

It was none other than Gwendolyn Phasma, a lovely vampire who was as tall and statuesque as he was, her short platinum hair seemingly vibrant and alive with every movement she took as she crossed the room. She rested her hand softly on his shoulder, halting his movement with the file on his blade. He peered up into her pale blue eyes before taking in her appearance.

“You look beautiful tonight, Gwendolyn. Are you going out?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m going to the opera within the hour. I have a date,” she said, a soft smile gracing her face.

“Ah, I did not know you were seeing someone. Is this a new relationship?” Kylo brought his attention back down to his blade again, knowing Gwendolyn wouldn’t mind. She sat in the chair opposite him, crossing her legs and smoothing out her flowing red gown.

“You don’t notice as much as you used to Kylo, I’m surprised. Then again I don’t go around announcing my relationship, so I guess it’s as much my own fault as it is yours. My paramour and I are celebrating our 25 year anniversary, it’s a rather momentous occasion.” She had a faraway look in her eyes as she spoke, her tone light and fondness for her mate apparent.

“25 years is a considerable amount of time for a relationship. Congratulations. How did you two meet?”

“Oh goodness, you’ll laugh. It was rather by accident. I was stalking a human who I had intended to feed upon and had followed them into a bar. Apparently that night they had a speed dating event, and I had accidentally sat down at the wrong table. Long story short, he assumed I was there to meet a man, and we wound up hitting it off rather immediately. He’s so sweet - my man, my Samuel. I love him so much, and couldn’t imagine my life without him.”

“Good for you, you deserve to be happy,” Kylo offered, gazing up at Gwendolyn, happiness apparent on his face although it was somewhat forced.

A part of him couldn’t help but be jealous, as he wished he could be in a relationship of his own. He had been lonely for longer than he remembered, never allowing himself to fall for anyone. A fall-back of sorts to the days when he was mortal and no one seemed to appeal to him. The world was full of shallow people, and he had no desire to become attached to someone like that. He needed something deeper, something that would endure the tides of time. He had yet to find it, although he had hoped it had existed. An image of Rey popped up in his mind and so did an unbearably sharp ache in his heart. He swallowed hard and pushed her out of his thoughts.

“Thank you, Kylo, I appreciate you sharing in my happiness. I’ll be honest, it’s actually refreshing to be able to talk to someone about this. I must confess, my lover is mortal. He’ll be turning 46 in a few days. He’s aging very gracefully though, I’d like to think it’s my influence somehow, that I’m keeping him young, but I’m sure it has more to do with genetics.”

“Mortal? My, my Gwendolyn. What would the others think if they knew that? Armitage in particular would likely think you had gone mad. He does not much care for mortals, as he only sees them as a food source. I am with you though, they are so much more than food. We share this planet with them, and though their lives are short and somewhat fleeting, each one of them is precious in their own right,” he nodded calmly as he spoke, setting down the file as he dribbled oil on his whetstone again, but internally he was trembling, the topic hitting too close to home.

Gwendolyn couldn’t help but smile as she watched his long fingers rubbing the oil into the stone with a delicate touch, noting how much care he put into maintaining his beloved sword. He had taught her fencing several decades ago, and on occasion they sparred. Since she had become involved with Samuel though, she had spent many of her nights with him, and less and less time around the catacombs. No one seemed to miss her though, as they all came and went on their own schedules. Some would vanish for decades, only to return without explanation. Even Kylo himself would venture out for extended amounts of time, and so it was understandable that he wouldn’t have noticed her absence. She had noticed his though, these past two weeks in particular. When she had seen him, he seemed so full of life, he walked with a spring in his step, he seemed genuinely happy. Now, as she peered across the table at him, she noticed his color was off, his face gaunt, his hair disheveled. His normally pristine suit was dirty, his collar open at the neck and his tie discarded. To put it bluntly, he looked like he had been dragged through an alleyway and was left wounded in the gutter. She swallowed nervously, debating whether or not to ask him about it.

“I am fine Gwendolyn, I understand your concern. I had a rough few nights, and I just have not quite coped,” Kylo spoke, having heard her thoughts.

“You haven’t fed either, I can tell by your color. It’s unlike you. What’s the matter? You can trust me,” she offered, reaching out and placing her hand atop his, halting his movement as he dragged his blade across the whetstone.

“I just...I…” he swallowed nervously, looking up at Gwendolyn. Could he tell her about Rey?

“It’s ok. I can spare a few minutes before I have to meet Samuel. Please tell me, I want to help you. I haven’t seen you look this bad in ages,” she gathered up his other hand, leaning forward to get closer to him.

“Thank you for your concern...although, honestly I am not sure what is wrong. I cannot quite place this feeling. I feel...empty. Well, emptier than usual, I should say,” he shook his head as he spoke. The look of shock and revulsion on Rey’s face came to mind again, and as he peered up into Gwendolyn’s kind, understanding eyes, his lips began to tremble.

“I met someone...my goodness, Gwendolyn, is she amazing. Never before have I witnessed such a natural beauty with such a pure heart. She is like the sun itself, so warm and radiant. Being around her became addictive, seeing her smile, hearing her laughter...it was more than I could bear,” he admitted, uncharacteristically forthright.

“What happened?” Gwendolyn asked, surprised at his sudden openness and feeling pity for the man whose hands she tenderly caressed in a comforting manner.

“Well...she found out the truth...about what I am. I should have told her outright, but for whatever reason I could not bring myself to.” He felt his eyes getting moist, a sensation that was almost alien to him. He swallowed nervously, once, twice...he couldn’t clear the lump in his throat. The more he spoke of her, the harder it became.

“She’s mortal, I take it?” Gwendolyn offered reassuringly, speaking very softly so as not to be overheard. It was one thing for her to date a mortal, she had no real rank within the coven. The leader however… that would be an enormous scandal. Highly dangerous. If their relationship ended badly, the whole coven would be implicated, and it would risk exposure to the rest of the world.

Kylo could only nod. He refused to tell Gwendolyn that Rey was also a witch, for if a mortal lover was a scandal, then one that was a witch was tantamount to high treason. At that moment, he was grateful Gwendolyn wasn’t gifted with the ability to read minds. He couldn’t imagine what her reaction would be to that. Feeling a tear streak down his face, it felt like his body was betraying him. He shouldn’t feel this much pain, wasn’t he beyond it? His head fell, as he attempted to hide the shameful tear from Gwendolyn.

“I understand how you feel. Samuel went through a bit of shock when he learned the truth, but invariably he loved me so much that he accepted me for what I was. It doesn’t define who I am as a person, and it most certainly doesn’t define who you are either. Kylo, I’m going to tell you something, and I mean it in the kindest way. You are a vampire with a human soul - an immortal with a mortal’s passion. It is a rare and beautiful thing, which is what sets you apart from the rest of us. You do a fine job of hiding this fact, but I know the truth. I can see it, because we’re much the same, you and I. There’s no shame in it. You feel much deeper than most would, as do I. She will come around, just you wait. Be patient, be strong. When love comes calling, don’t look back, don’t look away. If it’s meant to be, it will find a way. I promise you.”

“I am sure you are right...thank you…” Kylo whispered, clutching her hands tighter in his, but she knew immediately he was just being polite. He was entirely unconvinced. Gwendolyn accepted this silently, perhaps the seed of her message would grow in time.

“You’re welcome. Now heed my advice, and get out there. Go feed. Take care of yourself. I must be off, I don’t want to miss my date! Do you care if I take one of your cars?” Gwendolyn asked, knowing the answer already. She watched Kylo nod yes, clearly he was too choked up to speak, his face obscured by loose raven curls. Gwendolyn really couldn’t remember the last time she had seen him so distraught. She stood, leaning forward and cupping his chin, gently making him look up at her.

“Things will get better,” she promised, offering him her most genuine smile then straightened and ran her hands over her dress in anticipation of the evening ahead. “See you in a bit?”

Still unable to talk, Kylo pressed his lips together, nodding again and ushering her to leave. He listened as her heels clicked across the ancient stone floor, hearing her pick a set of keys off a hook by the door. It creaked as she closed it, and he was grateful to hear her pull it shut completely. He felt utterly humiliated for crying in front of Gwendolyn like that, and he drew the back of his hand over his face almost angrily. How pathetic that he feel this way for someone he barely knew, despite their connections over the centuries. Rey shouldn’t have this much effect over him, he reasoned. It was ridiculous. He was almost 200 years old, the master of one of the mightiest vampire covens in all of Europe. How could he be brought down by a mere mortal, a witch at that? Feeling more befuddled than he had when he first awoke that evening, he decided he needed to refocus his energy yet again.

Kylo stood, stretching, as if the gesture alone would ease the weight of the pain he felt. It wasn’t something physical though, and could not be wished away so easily. Curse her for doing this to me. Crossing the room, he peered down at his desk, seeing a fresh stack of parchment, a quill and his inkwell. Suddenly he had an idea. Perhaps Rey was as affected by things as he was...perhaps she would appreciate a poem. If he were to spill his heart out to her in the form of words, perhaps she would understand. Perhaps she would forgive him for his lot in life. Sitting down, he opened the inkwell and dabbed his quill in, careful to allow the excess ink to drip before bringing it to the paper. His quill hovered above the paper for a moment, and then the words began to flow. Once he was finished he allowed it to dry, recapping the ink and setting aside his quill.

Walking back across the room, he finished his earlier task of sharpening his blade, feeling slightly more confident than he had before his conversation with Gwendolyn. He was grateful for a friendly ear, a confidant of sorts. They had been close from the moment they first met 80 some odd years ago, but had drifted apart recently, a fact which he now regretted. Thinking back over the years, he realized she had been right. They were so much alike, clinging to their humanity as so few immortals did. The feelings were always platonic between them, and he had much respect and admiration for her. Remembering fondly the time he spent teaching her to fence, she had been such an eager pupil and a natural at the art of fencing. They enjoyed many a night sparring against one another, and it never mattered if either became injured as they always healed so quickly. And now, perhaps she had something to teach him in return, something he sorely needed. Yes, Gwendolyn was what he would consider his best friend, and he was so grateful to have her in his life.

Sliding his blade back into its sheath, he crossed the room again, carefully picking up the parchment and noting that the ink had finished drying. He reread his poem several times before setting it down again and venturing off to a nearby bathroom where he proceeded to strip and enter the spacious shower he had custom built. It had been modified to include various ways of setting the temperature, water pressure, massaging functions, mood light settings, etc. He adored a good shower, and at the exact moment he needed one now. He didn’t smell - as vampires never did, their bodies not feeling the heat nor sweating from exertion. Nevertheless he felt the need to rid himself of whatever dust, dirt or debris had accumulated on his body and in his hair. The scorching hot water felt good on his chilled body, and he lost track of time how long he stood beneath the comforting stream that now poured upon him.

Stroking his hands over his body as he cleansed himself, he closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation. Idly he thought about Rey, and how wonderful it would be to have her in the shower with him. He imagined they’d wash each other lovingly, maybe share a kiss. If he were really lucky he could maybe bend her over the bench in the shower and take her from behind, or wrap her legs around his waist and take her standing up against the wall...the possibilities were endless. A shudder went over his body, and he opened his eyes. Looking down he was almost embarrassed to see how his erection was now standing tall and proud. He shook his head slightly, an hour ago he was mourning the loss of the beautiful witch and now just thinking of her gave him a raging hard-on? Amazing that his body still reacted that way, despite being dead, but stranger things had happened...he was always one to attest to that.

Washing his hair, he took his time, hoping his body would recover from the predicament he found himself in. Once his hair was fully rinsed, he looked down again, noting his erection was still there, straining more than ever. Perhaps he needed this anyway, a salve for the ragged shreds of his psyche, polishing his other sword had not done the trick this time. Sighing, he resigned himself to giving in to pleasure.

He leaned back into the wall, the water pouring over his shoulders and beating down upon his manhood in a most pleasing manner. Wrapping his right hand around his shaft, he began his oft practiced movements that he had all but ignored in the past several decades. With several long slow strokes, he let out a moan, remembering just how good it felt. His head fell back and he closed his eyes, the sensations almost more than he could bear and he had just started. Alternating his speed between short swift strokes and longer slower strokes, he focused somewhat on the head. His breath quickened, and he felt a churning in his abdomen. His body was already beginning to tremble and he willed the pleasurable sensations to last as long as possible. His breathing became heavy once he felt his release, and he cried out, shocking himself as he imagined thrusting into Rey and her name spilled from his lips as his voice echoed in the shower.

Overcome with a sense of emptiness he staggered forward slightly, he leaned into the opposite wall in the shower, pressing his palms into the cool tiles as the water continued to beat down upon him. If only she had been there for that. He would have much rather heard her moans and cries then those of his own. He knew that she had wanted that, before their fight. The pleasure he could give her… as much as he had neglected his sex drive in recent years he still had many decades of experience...he knew exactly how to push a willing partner to the brink over and over again.

He was reminded of the advice he had been given earlier: When love comes calling, don’t look back, don’t look away. If he were to look anywhere, it would be ahead, and in his future he saw Rey. It was as if the sun had risen for the first time in centuries. Turning off the water, he stepped out of the shower and reached for a nearby towel. Catching his reflection in the mirror, he realized that Gwendolyn had been right. He did look rather terrible, although now that he was clean it wasn’t nearly as bad. All he needed was a good snack and he’d be in much better shape. Back in his room, he rifled through his vast closet, choosing yet another black suit but opting to wear a deep eggplant button down and choosing not to wear a tie, instead leaving his collar open at the throat.

Picking up the poem he had written earlier, it occurred to him he had no idea how to deliver it to Rey. Having left her roses was easy enough, as he had known where she was going simply from reading her thoughts. Knowing how much she appreciated the gesture, he had seen in her mind that having a secret admirer was something she had always longed for. They were much the same, two hopeless romantics flung out into the world, longing for true love. After centuries of being alone, he had assumed that there simply was no one meant for him, and he resigned himself to being satisfied with his state of loneliness. Upon meeting her though, the yearning for more blossomed within much quicker than he had ever imagined it would.

Having seen in her mind that she was a very logical and thoughtful woman, he knew she liked understanding the way things worked. She also took great care to research things that she was passionate about, and he had seen that she was a great lover of books as well. With this in mind, it occurred to them that she might want to research their kind to gain a better understanding of what she was up against. While she was busy researching the enemy, he needed her to understand that he was not the enemy, but instead just a broken-hearted man. Having remembered she was from Westminster, he knew she’d be drawn back there, and they had a marvelous old library that he had often visited over the decades, and was even there the date it had opened back in 1928. Maybe if I just slip the poem in a book she’ll find it? It is risky, as someone else could find it also, but that is a risk I will have to take.

He was a driven man now, motivated further by the idea that she would find it, and would automatically know it was meant for her. Whether or not she’d realize it was from him wasn’t up for debate however, as he knew her powers as a witch had been developing steadily. Witches often had the gift of being able to see things that occurred in the past, simply by touching an object. Surely she would see him writing it? Slipping the poem into a folder to keep it from creasing, he exited the catacombs with a sense of urgency, making his way across the street to the garage. Hopping into his Aston Martin, he made the short drive to Westminster, parking around the block from the library as not to draw attention to the location he was headed had anyone noticed him. He knew it was highly unlikely as it was approaching midnight and most people had to work the next day, and therefore had likely already turned in for the night.

Taking a brisk walk around the building, he saw that there were no fire escapes or balconies that he could leap upon, so he’d have to climb the wall to make it to one of the upper windows. He knew he could just as easily manipulate the lock and walk in the front door but that would be too risky. The climb was somewhat invigorating, and he felt the adrenaline pumping through him as he breached the library, his feet softly landing on the old parquet floors. Having researched his own kind in the past, he knew exactly where to find the books she would likely seek. Thumbing through the titles, he opted to go for the book The Vampire in Lore and Legend as it was an older book that perhaps would appeal to her. Drawing out the poem, he pressed a kiss to the top of it and then gingerly tucked it into the pages of the book. Now it was up to fate to determine whether or not she would find it. He had done his task, and had hoped for the best.

Just as he was about to exit the library, he heard a noise behind him. Lifting his head slightly he smelled that there was a human nearby. A night security guard. Well this is convenient, my snack came to me. But wait...this is what got me in trouble with Rey in the first place. Changing his mind on feeding upon the guard, he made his way swiftly towards the window he had used to break into the library. Climbing through the old glass panels, he turned and slid the window closed before leaping back down to the ground, somehow satisfied at his desire to resist his nature.

Walking back to his car, he couldn’t help but feel guilty, despite not having fed on the innocent guard. Unable to stop remembering the look on Rey’s face when she caught him feeding, it pained him more knowing that it had lead to their fight. Then there was the numbing pain of loss that followed, leading to his agonized confession to Gwendolyn. I can’t keep living like this...suddenly he felt himself double over in pain. Collapsing to the ground, he found himself retching, although nothing came out as he hadn’t fed. His hands shook as he drew them up to his mouth. That had never happened before. What could this mean? He decided that the reason he had become sick had to be a sign. All he knew was that he no longer wanted to be the monster he was and that he never wanted to see the look of revulsion in Rey’s eyes again. He needed to change for her, if he were to have her in his life. He’d find a way to do it one way or another. A tenuous hope awoke inside him. Perhaps Rey had been right, perhaps somewhere out there, there indeed was a way to help him, an avenue he hadn’t tried…

The following evening, when he awoke he was in excruciating pain. Climbing out of his coffin, he clutched at his stomach with one hand, bracing his other hand against the wall. What fresh hell is this? I am far weaker than I should be...though it has been many years since I have not fed two nights in a row…

Closing his eyes and breathing deeply, he grounded himself, determined to find a swift solution to his newfound problem. Pulling out his cellphone, he called the blood center, knowing that the night calls were automatically transferred to the lab. He hadn’t been in decades, but he knew his friend Jonathan would still be there. Nearing his mid 50’s Jonathan was one of the most laid back human’s Kylo had ever known, as Jonathan was sympathetic towards immortals and gladly helped whenever he was asked. He seldom asked for anything in return, and even turned down the offer from several members to be turned. Kylo found that admirable about the man that was so eager to help and was otherwise selfless.

“Hello, is Jonathan working tonight?” he asked when a female voice answered.

“Yeah, who’s calling?” she asked, chewing annoyingly loudly at some gum. The sound grated on his nerves somewhat, but he maintained his calm.

“Tell him it is Ben Solo,”

“Sure...hold on,” he heard muffled sounds of the phone mouthpiece being covered up and then the woman who answered was yelling for Jonathan. He could scarcely hear his friend’s reply over the phone but immediately felt a sense of relief when he knew his friend had indeed been there. He heard more shuffling, then his friends voice who had asked the woman who was calling, who mentioned his name.

“Hey, Ben! Old buddy! Long time no speak! What can I do for you?” Jonathan’s chipper deep voice asked, and Kylo could almost envision the broad grin Jonathan now had on his face, it was one that seldom went away.

“Well I have found myself in a bit of a situation, and I am wondering if you might have anything available that would not be missed if it disappeared…? You know I like the rarer types, what have you got?”

“Oh my man, you are in luck. We had this lady come in this afternoon who was AB-, you want rare - that’s as rare as it gets. Want her stats? I know we’re not supposed to talk about this shit, confidentiality and what not, but I want you to know how good it is,”

“As long as you are not worried about anyone overhearing…”

“Oh, don’t worry, Megan over there has her headphones on and keeps to herself. We’re the only two in the lab tonight. Ok so this lady is local, she’s been donating pretty regularly for four years now. Her tests always come up clean. Her CMV and HLA are negative, she has perfect clotting factors, I mean she’s freaking perfect as far as her blood is concerned. She’s super healthy too, vitals are spot on and she’s a vegetarian which is pretty cool on its own. I have a lot of respect for successful vegetarians who can maintain healthy bodies and what not I mean that lifestyle is a bit extreme”

“Ok, Jonathan, that sounds like just what I need. You say it was fresh as of this afternoon? Have you processed it yet, or is it still whole?”

“It’s in the pile to be processed...we haven’t made it there yet, we were focusing on all the O-’s because the hospital supply on that is critical. Want me to leave it unprocessed for you?”

“Yes...it is better that way. Out of curiosity, what is her name?” Kylo asked, tapping his fingers on the table in front of him.

“Rey Kenobi. What a weird last name...but I like it,”

“R-Rey...Rey Kenobi? Did I hear you right?” Kylo staggered back a few steps, feeling as if he had been dealt a blow to the chest. He clutched the phone tighter in his hand. They had her blood, and it was freshly donated that afternoon?! This had to be another sign of some sort...

“Yeah, why? Do you know her?”

“No...you are right, it is an unusual name. When are you due for your next break?”

“Eh well since it’s just me and Megan tonight, she won’t care if I step out for a few minutes. Want to meet in the back parking lot, like we usually do?”

“That would be great, thanks Jonathan. I will meet you in a few minutes. Do you need anything?” Kylo asked once he had caught his breath from the initial shock of hearing they had her blood.

“Now that you mention it, I’m feeling tired, can you get me some coffee? You know what I like. I’ll see you soon. Good talking to you again Ben,”

“Likewise. Consider it done. You are a real lifesaver,”

“Just helping out my fellow man.” Kylo heard the line click and switched off his cellphone.

He walked as quickly as he could out of the catacombs without running, as he didn’t want to draw any unnecessary attention. Driving quicker than he probably should have, he was grateful he didn’t come across any cops. He saw Jonathan standing by the dumpster, holding a small cooler the moment he pulled into the parking lot. Taking a puff from his e-cigarette, Jonathan tucked the curious metal object into his scrub top pocket and waved at Kylo.

“Sweet ride, is this new?” Jonathan asked, approaching Kylo once he had parked and offering him a high five.

“Yeah, I got it a few months ago. You are looking good, Jonathan, have you lost some weight?” Kylo complimented, handing his friend a tall cup of coffee.

“Thanks for noticing! I’m on this new diet, I feel so good. I’ve got more energy than I ever have even when I was in my 20’s man, this is amazing,”

“Good for you,” Kylo eyed the cooler, looking back at Jonathan, trying desperately to maintain an air of calmness at the prospect of getting a hold of Rey’s blood without having to hurt her. “Are you sure you do not want anything else? I feel bad only giving you coffee for something people would pay hundreds for in the hospital,”

“Nah, not like I’d ever see a penny of that anyway. My earnings are meager, but it’s a good job and I enjoy the work. I like helping you and your kind too, keeps you guys off the streets,”

“That is true. Thank you again, Jonathan,”

“No worries. It’s really good seeing you again, Ben. Don’t be a stranger,” he offered a smile up to his friend before reaching out for a handshake. Kylo reached for his friend’s hand, drawing him in for a man hug, patting his back before releasing him.

“Thanks again, see you around,” Kylo expressed with a grin when he finally had the cooler in his hand.

He took his time walking back to the car, gingerly placing the cooler in the passenger seat before starting up the engine. Then once he was belted and settled, he took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Just a few more minutes, and you’ll get to taste a little piece of heaven...he told himself, before making the decision that he needed it now and therefore opted to floor the engine and was out of the parking lot in a flash. Again, he was more than grateful that the cops were nowhere to be seen in that late hour. Making his way back into his chambers again once he entered the catacombs, he shut and locked his door, something he seldom did but he needed his privacy for this.

Lifting the lid off the cooler as carefully as possible, he withdrew the innocuous blood bag with a delicate touch. Unwrapping the tubing that was around the bag itself, he gently rocked the bag back and forth between his hands, mixing the plasma that had settled back into the red blood cells, also allowing it to come up to room temperature. Biting off a chunk of the tubing, he used it like it were a straw at first, taking a careful sip as if it were the finest wine, allowing it to roll around on his tongue a bit. Naturally it would have been better if it were fresh and hot, and he swallowed down another sip.

Then it hit him...it was sweeter than anything he had ever consumed, like pure nectar. Ambrosia from the gods themselves. Taking a longer drink, he let forth a low moan, his eyes rolling back slightly as a wave of pleasure more intense than he had felt when he was stroking himself earlier came over his body. A new strength and vitality coursed through him, the expected effect of powerful witch blood. Yet he fell to his knees as his body shook slightly and he opted to pull the entire bag up to his mouth then, sinking his fangs into the bag itself, wishing it had been her neck, her breast, her ribs, her thighs, her cunt, anything other than a useless bag. He clutched the bag in both hands, sucking hard upon it, not wanting to miss a single drop. In his mind he saw Rey standing before him, her petite form nearly naked as she beckoned him forward, her hazel eyes blazing with an intensity he had never before witnessed. Continuing to clutch the bag in his teeth, he blindly began crawling towards her lithe form, reaching for her as he drew closer to her. He saw her go down on her hands and knees, crawling towards him in the same manner he crawled towards her. He drew his body up just in time for her to push him backwards.

The blood bag at this point was empty, and he tossed it aside, pulling her on top of him. Her body burned against his and when they kissed now it left him breathless, and he couldn’t resist moaning into her. He realized she wasn’t really there, it was but a hallucination produced by the witch blood, but he didn’t care. Writhing against the ground now, images flowed through his brain of untold pleasures, visions of each and every delicate debutante he had pleasured over the decades melting into one another and his body was afire with sensation. Rey was the only one who mattered though, and her blood was utterly intoxicating. That was merely a sample - a single pint, and it was as if he were strung up on the most potent drug. He had tasted the blood of a witch before, but none were even close to this. He now realized that no other blood will do for him...Rey’s blood was so goddamn satisfying. Clawing at the ancient stone flooring around him and arching his back, the sensations only continued as the blood itself blazed through his body, and he was left moaning and wanting for more.

Kylo’s reverie was rather short lived. Quite suddenly, he heard a knocking at his door. He heard someone on the other side try to turn the knob and then curse upon finding it locked. Recognizing the voice, and then hearing the stream of thoughts, Kylo knew immediately it was Armitage. Really? Now?...you’re killing my buzz…he mused. Yet the knocking continued, the ginger vampire’s thoughts screaming at how he much he hated being locked out. Kylo placed the emptied blood bag in the drawer of his desk. Running his hands through his hair, he unlocked the door, opening it ajar.

“Yes, Armitage, what can I do for you?” Kylo questioned, hoping he didn’t sound as bitter as he felt. He did not appreciate the interruption.

“Well I came to ask you a question about something, do you have a moment?” Armitage queried, leaning against the doorframe.

“I always have a moment for you Armitage, please, make yourself at home.” Kylo said somewhat through clenched teeth, opening the door wider to let Armitage enter.

“There’s been an issue within the coven. Several members have disappeared,”

“People come and go all the time, Armitage, what is your point?” Kylo’s breathing hitched upon realizing immediately that Armitage was somehow on to the fact that in protecting Rey he had murdered several of his fellow immortals. Kylo kept his face neutral, as he appraised his second-in-command.

“You’re right, of course, however…” Armitage began, pausing suddenly, his beady blue eyes scanning the room around them. “it would seem there are some more pressing matters at hand...this is really bothering me, Kylo. Why did you have your door locked?”

“I wanted some privacy, I needed to be alone and did not wish to be disturbed.” Kylo reasoned, all of which was the truth, naturally. He neglected to mention his desire to be able to feed upon Rey’s blood without being caught…

“That’s all good and well but there’s more to it, isn’t there, Kylo?” Armitage leaned in close and made no effort to disguise the way he sniffed the air around Kylo. His mouth twisted in distaste and Kylo could practically feel his sudden hostility in the air between them, “What’s this? I smell a witch on you.”

Chapter Text

“Witch…? Witch, you say…?” Kylo thought fast on his feet, crossing his room as he spoke. “Oh, you mean this?” he asked, pulling out the empty blood bag and holding it up for Armitage to see.

“You expect me to believe that you got witches’ blood...from the blood center? Why didn’t you just go hunting instead?” Armitage approached him skeptically, holding out his hand for the blood bag. He grasped at one of the corners, holding it away with a disgusted expression on his face. He pinched the bridge of his nose as if the action would somehow clear the air of the stench surrounding the offending bag.

“I felt strange this evening when I awoke, and so I called Jonathan. You know I have a taste for the rarer types, so I asked for it and this is what he gave me. You know as well as I do that AB- is the rarest of them all. I had no idea it was witch blood until I tasted it.”

“I see. Perhaps I owe Jonathan a visit?” Armitage made his way into Kylo’s en suite, disposing of the offending bag and washing his hands feverishly. Kylo was hot on his heels, seething, his voice full of venom when he next spoke.

“I will not have you threaten our contact with the blood center. Many of our kind rely on him for their survival. Besides, how was he to know that the donor was a witch?”

“Indeed...my apologies -- “ Armitage didn’t even look up, clearly unfazed by the tone of voice that Kylo now used. He dried his hands calmly, draping the towel back over the rack.

“You owe me more than just that. You know better than to question my authority on this, or anything else for that matter. You have crossed the line far too many times for my liking. I am your leader. Show some respect.”

“You are for now…” Armitage muttered under his breath.

Kylo held his hand into the air, and an invisible hand clutched at Armitage’s neck, causing his throat to constrict.

“Best bite your tongue, knave, lest you find yourself swallowing it. Or worse. I could have your fangs for threatening my authority.” Kylo practically growled in his anger now, baring his teeth to Armitage, his eyes alight with fire. Terror flashed in Armitage’s eyes, as he tried to scrape his hands against the invisible one at his throat but was unable to. It was a battle of wills now, as the two vampires stared each other down, Kylo tightening his grip on Armitage, not standing down.

You made your point, I yield! Armitage screamed in his thoughts.

“That is what I thought,” Kylo said bitterly, releasing his telekinetic grasp upon Armitage’s throat, “Now leave. You irritate me - your very presence is irritating.”

Kylo continued to stand his ground, glaring down at the weaker vampire, daring the man to even utter another word. He made his point well, and Armitage scampered off like the frightened rat he was, pulling the door shut behind him as he left. Standing still a moment longer, he waited till he no longer heard the ginger’s footsteps before taking a few lumbering steps to a nearby chair as he all but collapsed into it. Raking his hands through his hair, he kept his head down, his mind racing. If Armitage suspected anything...that meant others might have as well. He was treading a fine line now, one that if he were to fall the wrong way might lead to certain death...whether it was his own death, or Rey’s was left to be determined. Never before had he felt so completely and utterly powerless despite his position within his beloved coven.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Tuesday morning, Rey awoke feeling refreshed, her mind somewhat clearer than it had been in days. Rolling over on her back, she felt something shift across her chest. Drawing one of her hands up, she thoughtfully caressed the stone sword pendant. Of course, she had fallen asleep wearing her mother’s necklace. It’s something she determined she would never take off, with the exception of when it came time to shower. She somehow doubted the ancient leather cord would last long, and debated venturing off to purchase a studier chain to thread the ancient pendant upon.

First things first, though, she was determined to make it into work and in a timely manner. Getting ready as she would any other day, she managed to make it in early, witnessing a very surprised expression upon Lucian’s face when he saw her cross the threshold of the door at the shop.

“Rey, what a pleasant surprise! How are you feeling? I thought I gave you permission to take off as much time as you needed?” Lucian suggested, approaching her cautiously, placing his hand gently on her upper arm. Rey could feel many emotions rolling off him then, the strongest of which was concern for her safety and well being.

“Much better, I just needed a day of recovery. I do intend on taking you up on that suggestion for time off though. I’d very much like to take off next week, if that is at all possible? I’m well overdue for a vacation, and I feel that there is an epic adventure in my near future just waiting to be had.” She kept her tone light as she spoke now, hoping her eagerness for a vacation was apparent.

“I appreciate you asking in advance, it’ll give me time to cover your shifts. If I recall, Jacob and Matt were both asking for more hours, so that works out well. Whatever you plan, make sure you take pictures. I want to hear all about your adventures later on! For now, get to work. You still need to do that tune-up on the Jaguar, remember? It’s in your bay, and no one else has touched it, I made sure of it yesterday while you were gone. I know how much you love Jags.”

Rey hesitated upon hearing Lucian mention the Jaguar in question. Truth of the matter was, she had forgotten about it completely. Kylo’s car...absently she drew her hand up to her neck, caressing the cord of her mother’s necklace. Swallowing nervously, she looked up and graced Lucian with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes before nodding and turning away. He seemed distracted enough based on his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed her faltering at the mention of the Jaguar.

Putting away her things in her locker and drawing out her tool cart, Rey approached the car in question, remembering again just how magnificent it was. It occurred to her then that, given his true age, he had likely bought the vehicle when it was brand new, as opposed to having inherited it as he had initially claimed.

Clever vampire, hiding your true age so easily.

She couldn’t help but smile and shake her head at that thought. Caressing the side of the vehicle, she closed her eyes, breathing slowly, and caught the image of Kylo approaching the vehicle, opening the door and sliding into the seat before settling himself in for a long drive. He would often take this car out for drives in the countryside, always pausing at the same plot of land that lead to a cliff overlooking the ocean...it bore some significance, but from this vision she couldn’t grasp just what...only that it was a trip he took often. Opening her eyes again, she shook away the imagery she had just witnessed. At least she knew for certain she’d be seeing him again in a few days...and it was something she actually looked forward to, especially after having completed some of her research and receiving the most beautiful heartbreaking poem imaginable from him.

The tuneup itself proved her earlier theory that the car was maintained impeccably, and there was nothing she could do to improve it beyond changing out fluids and rotating tires. Taking it around back, she washed it lovingly, something she seldom did to cars, as that was often left to the interns, but she wanted to keep her hands on his car as much as possible. It was a connection to him, and she wasn’t afraid to admit that she longed for him now more than ever. The interns cast questioning glances at her upon witnessing her washing the car, and she just grinned at them somewhat sheepishly, explaining it was one of her favorite cars, and she couldn’t help but want to lavish as much affection upon it before its owner came to pick it up.

Making her way back through the shop, Rey felt a new sort of tension in the air...one that caused her to halt her movements. It was daytime though, it couldn't have been a vampire...walking slowly now, she felt the tension thickening the air even more intensely, the closer she was to Lucian’s office. Peering through the window there, she gazed upon him, noting his back was to her where he sat, and he was sweating profusely, his hands clenched in fists, knuckles white. He had an almost hostile air about him, and confusion swirled around him as well. She couldn’t fathom just what was happening to him, but it made her wary. Before he could notice her lingering presence, she made her way back through the shop, assisting her coworkers with some engine work and rounding out her day with a few quick oil changes.

That night, Rey went straight home so as to avoid any potential encounters with the vampires she now realized lurked about London. She busied herself with researching things, making notes here and there with the intent of contacting Annabelle for clarification. They had texted at one point, Rey keeping things light on her end and not really divulging much about what she was learning, but more trying to connect with who Annabelle was as a person, and what their friendship could mean to each other. This was more important to Rey than simply the status of being her Sister in the Light, as Annabelle was more than just another witch. Annabelle responded positively towards Rey, and took her under her wing much as a mother bird would. It left Rey feeling warm and protected, a kinship she never knew she needed.

Wednesday came, and much to Rey’s surprise, Lucian had called in sick, leaving her in charge of the shop in his absence. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, as Lucian would call in on occasion if one of his children were sick. She had hoped that was the case, although having remembered seeing him in such a questionable state the previous afternoon left her worried that there was more to it then she had initially anticipated. Thankfully the day was an easy one, as most Wednesdays often were, and they closed shop mere minutes after the last client left, as they spent most of the day cleaning and organizing things in the shop inventory. Rey knew that one day, she might have her own shop, and intended on running a tight ship. The place would be impeccable, she would keep her employees well paid and satisfied such that they knew their efforts were appreciated and would make work seem more like a fun hobby than anything else. She realized it was many years off, but it was something that she liked to entertain in her mind.

After work, she went straight to her Taekwondo studio, offering to assist her Sabumnim with his beginners class, walking around the room and helping the children straightening their stances, encouraging them to kick higher. She held out her arm for them to practice kicking over, and couldn’t help but smile as over time they would improve just a touch more. Working with the children often left her feeling warm, appealing to her maternal side. She knew she was still quite young, but she longed to have children of her own, idly wondering if it would ever be a possibility. She knew adoption was always an option...if all else failed. After all, if things were ever to continue with Kylo...she knew as a vampire he would be unable to procreate, as they were undead and immortal. At least for now she could utilize her own teachings in the martial arts to help lead future generations in developing their own appreciation for the fine art. That was more than enough to leave her maternal instincts satisfied.

Following class, she sparred with her Sabumnim, and they were like equals at that moment, enjoying their mutual strengths and skill. It was far more exhausting of a work out than she had endured in a while, but it was something she needed. The perfect distraction, despite the fact that the later the night dragged on the more risk there was of running into the terrors that existed in the night. Also the closer it drew her to Thursday, and the impending meeting with her would-be vampire lover.

Once she was home, she made herself a simple vegetable frittata for dinner before diving back into her research. Remembering her vision of the island with the ancient tree and library, she searched for a possible location where her people might have had their humble beginnings. Based on her findings, and after receiving confirmation of the island’s existence from Annabelle, Rey decided she’d need make travel arrangements soon to visit the famed Skellig Michael. She needed to find ancient texts and whatever answers they may hold. Clutching her mother’s pendant, she felt an unspoken sense of affirmation that she was making the right decision. Standing slowly, she stretched her achy muscles, feeling a whole new sense of pain from having somewhat overexerted herself during her earlier spar. She found the pain to be oddly comforting. It anchored her to the here and now, reminding her of her fragile humanity, something she had never before considered. Being awakened as a witch and having fallen for a vampire certainly changed her perspective on life.

Thursday was an agonizingly slow day. With each passing hour, the anticipation within her grew. Rey kept looking at the clock, practically jumping whenever she heard someone enter the shop. She fooled herself a number of times, thinking he’d walk right through the doors and into her arms and the world would disappear around them. Nothing else mattered to her at the moment, not his gorgeous Jaguar, her coworkers, Lucian, the fact that they were supposed to be enemies but she couldn’t make herself hate him...Lost in a reverie, she almost missed the fact that he had indeed entered the shop, and when she rounded the corner, she found herself breathless upon witnessing him. She pulled back though, as he and Lucian were having a quiet conversation, and she sensed it was one she wasn’t meant to hear. Pressing herself against the wall, she turned her head to the side and strained to hear what the two men now debated.

“...seriously, what are your intentions with Rey?” she heard Lucian ask, his tone suggestive of a disapproving father scolding an inadequate suitor for his young daughter.

“Only the best, I assure you. I will not do anything to hurt her. She has bewitched me in every sense of the word, I just want to know her better…” Kylo’s low voice trailed off. She turned her head around the corner, realizing he had sensed her presence and his eyes were now locked onto hers. Realizing she had been caught snooping in on the conversation, she straightened herself, taking a deep breath and letting it out before making herself known.

She approached the two men, appraising them both as she drew close. In all honesty, they both looked terrible to her for some odd reason. Lucian still looked feverish, somewhat irritated, his ordinarily kind face twisted into something nearly unrecognizable. His green eyes glinted with something almost wicked and Rey couldn’t help but shiver. Then there was Kylo...he was finely dressed, impeccably groomed as usual, but he looked guilty about something, and almost seemed strung out…? His skin was paler than usual and he looked gaunt. Immediately she had sensed that he had stopped feeding, and she raised her brow in question.

“Mr. Ren, so good to see you again. I’m sure you’ll find your car is in tip-top shape now. I even washed it for you,” Rey offered, keeping her tone light and cheerful as she looked between Kylo and Lucian, forcing a smile. Drawing forth his keys, she placed them directly in his outstretched hand. Standing closer to him, she whispered softly, “Are you ok?”

Kylo kept his mouth closed, pressing his lips tightly together and jutting his chin towards Lucian in a subtle manner. Rey shifted her eyes over and peered into Lucian’s mind, seeing instantly what had Kylo so seemingly disturbed. She saw flashes of the moon, and the form of a gray wolf running in the distance. Then it hit her. Lucian was a werewolf. No wonder his behavior was so uncharacteristically off. Her wide eyes shifted back to Kylo, hardly able to hide her shock, and he nodded quietly in confirmation.

I knew the moment I first saw him, although at the time he did not recognize me for what I am. He knows now. Kylo’s voice echoed in her mind.

Rey shifted uncomfortably where she stood, her eyes shifting back over to Lucian, who stood his ground, glaring at Kylo. Making her way back to the nearby computer and cash register she typed a few things, trying to ignore the tension in the air.

“Ok, Mr. Ren, your total today is 350 pounds for your tuneup and car wash,” she watched as he withdrew his wallet, counting out the bills and handing them to her. Their hands briefly touched and she closed her eyes, feeling a shiver go down her spine. Nervously sweeping her tongue over her lips, she focused her attention on the cash register, sorting the bills into place and closing the drawer, ripping the receipt off the roll once it finished printing it out. She dared a glance to the left, practically jumping out of her skin when she realized that Lucian was now standing right next to her. She peered up into Kylo’s eyes, handing him the receipt and forcing another uncomfortable smile.

“Thank you for taking care of it. I will be on my way now, I have plans for the evening that must be attended to,” Kylo indicated, nodding respectfully to both Lucian and Rey before turning and walking away. As much as she wished he had lingered, she now understood why he left so quickly. He didn’t want any trouble, and for that she was grateful. Trying to keep her thoughts in check, she breathed slowly and evenly, her body on automatic pilot as her fingers stroked the keyboard, printing reports from the day before shutting down the computer. Gathering the pages from the printer, she turned, placing the stack directly into Lucian’s waiting hands.

“Nice job today, Rey. I appreciate your hard work,” he said, and though his expression was still somewhat conflicted and intense, his eyes were kind as he looked at her. It left her feeling thoroughly confused, and she wanted nothing more than to run away from him.

“Thank you sir, I appreciate it.” Rey forced another smile before turning on her heels and walking quickly towards the employee break room. Gathering her belongings, she was grateful that a few of her coworkers had lingered, and were completely oblivious to what had occurred mere minutes ago between the three preternatural beings. She chose to walk out with them, avoiding Lucian as best as she could. Once she was a few blocks from the shop she all but doubled over, gasping out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding in. She stroked at her mother’s pendant again, feeling a wave of calmness flow through her and she straightened her body, bracing herself slightly on a nearby wall. Forcing herself to breathe calmly again, she resumed her walk home and didn’t stop for anything else, focused completely on the commute.

Once she made it through the doors to her flat, she dug out her cellphone and tossed her bags to the sofa before racing up the stairs and collapsing onto her bed. Immediately she sent a text to Annabelle.

Tell me about werewolves.

Pulling forth a pillow and wrapping her arms protectively around it, Rey eagerly awaited her reply. Thankfully Annabelle didn’t leave her waiting long.

They protect witches, why do you ask? Have you found one?

Yes...my boss. I think he only recently became triggered though, his behavior has been off this week, and I couldn’t quite peg it down until I saw it in his mind.

Kylo?

Oh God...what does this mean, Annabelle?

This is bad Rey, wolves hunt vampires. Wolves like to make a meals out of them whenever they find them during a Full Moon. If your boss is feeling protective of you, Kylo is in danger.

Rey was feeling positively distraught now. She buried her head into her pillow now, unsure what to think or feel. How much more complicated could things get? Pulling up her calendar app on the phone she realized that next week would be a full moon. She had to learn whatever she could from the sacred island as quickly as possible.

There isn’t much time till the next Full Moon.

Go to Skellig Michael then, that is our most ancient place. You’ll find everything you need there. Good luck Rey. If you need me, you know how to find me.

Thank you Annabelle.

Jumping to action, Rey went directly to her laptop, finding it surprisingly easy to book a flight to Kerry Airport in Ireland for the following evening. It was more expensive, as it was a next day flight out, but she knew it had to be done quickly, as this trip couldn’t wait any longer. She made a package deal, choosing to rent a car and also book a hotel. Skellig Michael turned out to be more of a popular vacation destination than she had imagined, and the tours were limited, as they didn’t like having too many people on the island at any given time. The soonest she would be able to take a tour would be Monday, and she opted to book the earliest possible time slot there, that she might make the most of her time on the sacred island. She just hoped she’d be able to find all the answers she needed and in a timely manner at that. Packing a bag, she felt all the more eager to get away, and hoped that the next day would pass quickly.

Luckily Friday passed quickly, and while she did her best to avoid Lucian, she realized he behaved a bit more like his usual self. Perhaps it had to do with him feeling protective, as Annabelle had suggested, and in knowing she would be leaving he somehow felt she would be safer than she would be if she remained in London? Hard to say for certain, all she knew was that when 4:30 rolled around she felt herself breathing a bit easier. The feeling of relief flooded over her more completely when she boarded the plane for the early evening flight to Kerry Airport. It was a quick and easy flight, it felt like she barely even covered any distance on the small puddle jumper of a plane. Once she acquired her rental, she set off for the city of Portmagee, which is where the ferry would depart to take her to the sacred island of Skellig Michael.

It wound up being a mercifully dry weekend, which was surprising for the last weekend in April, which was often rather rainy, especially along coastal towns like Portmagee. She went to the local library there, gathering up any and all intel of the island, texting with Annabelle all the while. She read a legend about a mysterious tree that was massive and ancient, but which no one had ever been able to find despite having scoured the entire surface of the island countless times. Legend said that this massive “life tree” contained a small library with untold truths from the past and predictions about the future. One could lose themselves in the library and come out a changed person. Of course it was all just a legend - a myth, it couldn’t possibly be real, could it?

Annabelle, tell me what you know about the Lifetree?

Rey set her phone aside before settling down at a local cafe, preparing a cup of tea with milk and sugar. As she stirred the cup, she remembered the time she had tea with Kylo, and was absolutely enchanted with the way he held the cup with such a delicate grip and drew the liquid to his nose as he breathed in its fragrance, his mind full of memories of a time long past. Hopefully that won't be the last time we have tea. She thought to herself, nursing the warm, comforting liquid as she waited with anticipation for Annabelle’s reply.

Ah the Lifetree. It is an ancient library of our most sacred texts. It’s protected by a spell, making it invisible to anyone who lacks the necessary preternatural genes. Even then, there is another layer of protection. The books themselves will remain invisible until a particular word is spoken. Only our kind can reveal the books, anyone else would simply find a hollow tree.

What is the word?

Revelio. It’s pronounced reh-VEL-ee-oh. You need to enunciate very carefully, otherwise the spell won’t work. Practice saying it out loud several times before venturing in and hopefully it will come out naturally to you.

Is there anything else I need to do? Hand gestures, what have you?

It should only take a spoken word. You’re a witch Rey, and our powerful words pack a heavier punch then most would. Believe in yourself, and you can move mountains if need be. Thankfully this is a simple reveal spell, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

That makes sense. Thank you Annabelle.

You’re welcome. Oh, and while you’re in there, find Luna Belringer. She’s another witch, who happens to work with the Skellig Michael tours. It’s not often that our kind seek out the island, but when they do, she’s there to help. She can hide you till the last of the tourists leave and will grant you as much time as necessary to read the texts. Good luck Rey. I believe in you, and what you’re doing here. There’s a solution to your problem just yet...I can feel it.

Me too. I’ll keep you posted on things. Thanks again for everything.

Don’t mention it. Enjoy your time in Portmagee.

Putting away her phone, Rey finished the tea, munching on some biscuits before paying her tab and venturing back to her hotel. She read away the rest of the day, falling asleep with her head on a pile of books, her mind swimming with knowledge of her people and her heart full of hope for a better future.

Monday morning, Rey awoke with a start, her back was sore from having fallen asleep sitting in a chair, hunched over the table. Standing slowly, she stretched and twisted her back, feeling several satisfying cracks along her spine. Glancing down at the faded off-white painted wooden chair, she was startled to see blood there. Glancing down at herself, she realized she was slick with it between her legs. Really? My period had to start now, didn’t it? Cleaning up the chair before stripping out of her soiled clothes, she put them into the sink with cold water to soak the stain.

Taking her time with a hot shower, she mused that the reason she wasn’t ready for her period or had suffered from any of the usual cramps was that she was so stressed out and focused on other things that she didn’t take the time to pay attention to her own bodily functions. Thankfully, she was always prepared and had necessary supplies with her. Popping a few painkillers in anticipation of upcoming cramps, she was determined not to let anything hold her back from her mission. Hopping into her rental, she checked her reflection in the mirror before taking a deep breath. You can do this, she told herself, repeating it over and over as she made her way to the ferry terminal. Tickets in hand, she boarded the ship, settling down on one of the chairs as she eagerly awaited its departure. In no time, the boat made was filled and made its way lazily across the water to the island, where Rey and half a dozen other visitors eagerly took in the moist windy air that whipped around them. As she climbed off the boat, a lithe ginger woman who bore a knowing look approached her.

“Rey?” she questioned, her thick Irish accent causing her to roll her R somewhat. Rey couldn’t help but grin, knowing immediately it had to be Luna.

“Luna?” Rey asked, holding out her hand.

“Failte ter Skellig Michael! Ah’ve been expectin’ yer.” Rey could feel her bones cracking slightly at the Irish woman’s impressive grip on her hand when she shook it. They walked to the side on the dock overlooking the water in attempts to get out of earshot of the other tourists, who were already busying themselves by climbing a winding stone staircase.

“Did Annabelle contact you?” Rey asked, her tone hushed as she leaned in closer to Luna.

“Naw, ah’ve never met any lass named Annabelle, but oi can recognize wan av me sisters whaen oi meet ‘er.” Luna nodded her head as she spoke, her silver-streaked red curls bouncing on her shoulders.

“It’s awfully good to meet you Luna. Our Sister, Annabelle, told me to find you, that’s why I asked. She said you can help me hide on the island till the tourists clear out later on in the afternoon?”

“Aye oi can chucker dat. Let me show yer ter de ‘uts.” Luna gestured for Rey to follow, and they began the steep hike up the stairway that seemed never-ending as it wound its way around half of the island.

It was no easy climb, as there were no handrails, and more then once Rey feared she would fall. Clutching the pendent tightly gave her the strength she needed to continue. The two women reached a landing after what felt like hours of climbing, and Rey found herself enchanted with the surrounding stone huts. She counted out six of them, as well as a few other structures. Luna took it upon herself to explain about how the huts were constructed without cement and yet have survived the harsh conditions of the Atlantic coast since they were built in 588. Luna also explained about the monks themselves, and the various other structures surrounding the sacred land. Witches had taken over the island in the 1200’s after the monks had abandoned it due to threatening Vikings trying to stake their claim on the land far too many times for the peaceful monks liking. The witches took an extra measure to enchant the land and create a safe haven where they peacefully existed for several hundred years.

The hours quickly dwindled away as Rey explored every inch of the island that was possible, having recognized the low valley where the tree waited for her. Although the valley itself was full of fog, she knew the tree had to be there. She had seen it in her vision. It awaited her approach among the tall fine blades of green silky grass. Luna jutted her chin at Rey, causing Rey to cast her gaze upon the largest of the huts. The two woman took a rather nonchalant approach to the hut in question now, and when they were both inside, Luna gathered both of Rey’s hands in hers, peering her in the eyes.

“Stay 'ere an' be quiet. Wait til de ferry bell rin' tree times an' de islan' is al' yers,” Luna spoke in a hasty whisper.

“Thank you Luna, you’ve been most helpful. I truly appreciate your kindness,” Rey whispered in return. She squeezed the older Irish woman’s hands, gracing her with a smile.

“Don’t menshun it. Oi’m alwus ‘appy ter ‘elp me Sisters.” Luna returned Rey’s smile, releasing her hands and turning towards the exit of the hut, gesturing for Rey to sit before walking through the exit. Settling herself on the stone floor, Rey leaned back against the ancient rock walls lining the hut, waiting for the time to pass as the tourists made their way down the winding stone staircase. She must have drifted off to sleep while waiting, because when the ferry bell finally chimed, she practically jumped out of her skin.

Standing slowly, she stretched again. I’d give anything to sleep in my bed again, Rey mused, making her way out of the tiny doorway. Reaching in the rucksack she brought with her, she dug out a flashlight, and carefully made her way over to the valley where the tree awaited her. Thankfully, it was a clear night, and the moon was bright - brighter than she had ever seen. She kept her flashlight pointed on the ground itself, making sure she wasn’t surprised by any rocks or creatures that she might trip over, as she had the misfortune of being clumsy.

All at once it was as if the vision was coming back to her...only in her vision, it was early afternoon, and now she was guided by moonlight. In the center of the valley once more, she saw the fog lifting with every step she took. It couldn’t have been a coincidence, and soon the massive old tree was revealed to her in all its glory. Hearing the whispers, as she had in her vision, she realized the tree was calling to her. Surrounded by the comforting scent of the wood, she caressed the rough trunk with a gentle touch before entering. Seeing the shelf, she noticed it was empty - unlike the way it was in the vision when it appeared full of books. For a moment, she almost forgot what Annabelle told her about the books being hidden by a spell. She carefully sat her bag down on the ground and straightened her posture as if it would help. Clearing her throat, she took a deep breath and let it out.

“Revelio,” she spoke out loud, feeling ridiculous when nothing happened. Squaring her shoulders, she stood even straighter than before and breathed calmly, focusing the way her Sabumnim had taught her to when in meditation. When she spoke again, she kept her tone calm, maintaining an air of confidence as she tried to deliberately enunciate each syllable. Almost instantly the books appeared to her, and she gasped at the realization that words truly were powerful. She heard whispers again, and they seemed to be praising her for her success. She couldn't help but grin, as she too was rather proud of her success at casting her first spell. With a gentle touch, she trailed her fingers along the spines of each ancient text, eager to read whatever knowledge they possessed.

Chapter Text

The island was eerily quiet, as the voices that she had heard previously had ceased their whisperings, and she took that as a sign that she was onto something now. There wasn’t a force on the planet that could stop her from learning what she needed to know to move forward with her newfound status as a witch and her interest in Kylo. Knowledge was power, after all, and she felt as if she were on the edge of discovering something monumental.

Remembering from her vision which text she had seen the prophecy in, she pulled it out with as gentle a touch as possible, caressing her hand over the ancient leather cover. It appeared to be smooth and well worn as if read countless times by her people over the centuries. Upon opening it and flipping through the pages, she took extra care not to cause any damage to the fragile parchment. Rey recognized a drawing on the opposite page and noticed with delight that the prophecy magically translated itself from ancient runes to English, golden light swirling about the ancient parchment, much as it had in her vision. Blessed magic, she loved witnessing it work first hand.

Prince of Dark existence bleak
A ray of light makes shadows meek
The Witch of fate he will find
To soothe and ease his troubled mind

If love be true
And acceptance new
They will unite
To end this fight

When rule together side by side
In darkness he’ll no longer hide

Rey felt numb, her knees weak and was clearly taken aback. She almost didn’t know what to think. As if being inside a hollow magical tree wasn’t distorienting enough, she felt her stomach churn as if she were going to be sick. It was all too convenient that her name was Rey, as she had been called a ray of light many times over the years by everyone who knew her. Kylo did seem rather princely, although she couldn’t quite call him a Prince of Darkness. Did vampires even consider themselves to have distinct royal titles like that? This was an ancient prophecy, and so she assumed the wording would be questionable, and yet...she had to see Kylo immediately. Perhaps he had heard of this ancient prophecy?

Now she had to figure out a way to contact him. She had copied down his phone number from their records in the system at work. Pulling out her cell phone she noticed she had no signal. Of course not, ancient monks and witches didn’t have cell phone towers, she reasoned with herself. Then she remembered the night at the club, when he told her she had summoned him and that’s why he came. Could she do it again? Before, all she had done was think about him. Perhaps now if she spoke out loud...words have power. Following this train of thought, she stepped out of the tree carefully.

“Kylo,” she whispered, looking around at the darkened landscape bathed in moonlight.

“Kylo...Kylo Ren, hear me,” she spoke louder, feeling foolish as if expecting him to hear her, despite being thousands of miles apart, “Kylo Ren, hear me now. I need you at my side. Come to me.”

She crossed her arms then began to pace a bit. One...two...three to the left...one...two...three to the right. Where the hell is he? Why won’t it work this time? She was using her words and not just her thoughts. Granted, London was far from where she was now, but she needed him. Surely he could sense the urgency in her tone? Suddenly feeling angry, she screamed out into the darkness.

“Damnit Kylo, get your undead ass over here now!” her words echoed into the night. She stormed back into the tree, crouching down on the ground, bracing herself against the side of the tree below the ancient bookshelf. Her mother’s pendant in her hand, she forced herself to breathe slowly in an effort to calm down.

“Patience. I came as fast as I could. What do you want?”

Rey gasped upon hearing the low even tone of his voice as he spoke from behind her. She felt a shiver go down her spine. He was there...it had worked. Standing, she gradually turned, noticing he was just outside the entrance of the tree. Gathering her strength, she took several slow paces towards him. Feeling unable to take her eyes off his, she saw a hunger there that was not so different from what she herself had felt.

“You’re really here…” she whispered.

“Yes, well I was trying to work...I had a client with whom I was making an exchange with and then I heard your summons. You are a rather demanding little witch, are you not?” Kylo asked, his tone amused as he casually crossed into the entrance of the tree in an effort to close the distance between them.

Out of nowhere came a blast of fire from within the tree, repelling Kylo back into the tall grass. Gritting his teeth against the pain, he drew up on his elbows, looking up at Rey. She rushed to the entrance of the tree, grasping at the edge of the entry with one hand and covering her mouth with the other. Drawing up to his feet, he approached the tree more cautiously. Reaching out his hand slowly, he cursed as flames licked at his fingertips. Falling back on his vampiric instincts in reaction to the pain, Kylo crouched low, letting forth a hiss, baring his dangerously sharp fangs to Rey.

“Why would you summon me to a place I cannot enter? Clearly, it is protected by magic. My kind is not welcome here. Are you mocking my existence now?” Rey had never heard his tone quite so raw and primal. It frightened her, causing her to backtrack a few paces into the tree for the sake of protection.

“Not at all...I’m sorry, I wasn't thinking,” she said, shaking her head and looking down.

“Clearly you were thinking enough to bring me here. What do you want?” he repeated his earlier question, straightening his back and rolling his shoulders before beginning to pace in the tall grass. The moonlight reflected off his pale skin, making him look more painfully alluring than he already was. Rey felt responsible for causing the pain he had endured upon being rejected from the tree. Still, she stood firm at the entrance, knowing he couldn’t touch her.

When he looked at her now, he bore a mixture of self-contempt and sorrow on his face. She sensed he felt guilty about snapping at her. Rey knew what she needed to do...She had him there, and though she felt profoundly nervous she couldn’t help but confess her feelings for him, fearing that perhaps the feelings were unrequited.

“Kylo...from the moment I met you, not a day has gone by when I haven't thought of you. You’ve planted the seeds of intrigue and desire within me. I’m dying for them to blossom and flourish. It’s agonizing,” she began fidgeting with the hem of her shirt, avoiding looking at him.

“The need to be more than complicated enemies has become a torment to my very soul, and it all stemmed from that kiss which you were never supposed to have given me. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you - I can't breathe. What can I do?”

Tension arose in the air between them. Kylo’s posture shifted as he regarded Rey in a thoughtful manner before looking around at the grassy valley, the enchanted tree, the moon and stars. He ran his hand through his hair and returned his intense gaze upon her.

“If you’re suffering as much as I am, please tell me,” Rey pleaded gently.

“I cannot...we cannot...it is not possible,” Kylo whispered, breaking his gaze away from hers.

Anything is possible, Kylo! Listen to me - “

“No, you listen,” he started, cutting her off mid-sentence, “We live in the real world. Come back to it. You are a witch...I am a vampire. If you follow your thoughts to their logical conclusion, it will take us to a place we cannot go. I am sure you are well aware that we are supposed to be enemies. It does not matter how we feel about each other.”

“Then you do feel something!”

“I never said I did not…” Kylo’s voice trailed off, and he crossed his arms across his broad chest, peering up at the moon again, his expression was unnervingly dispassionate. “But even if we did decide to make something of this connection we have, we would have to hide it. We would be living a lie. I could not live that way, could you?”

Rey hesitated, sucking in a deep breath. She looked Kylo up and down, trying to think of something to say that would put his mind at ease and help him to come around. Having admitted he felt something for her stoked the fire she felt within, only making her yearn for him. She wanted nothing more than to wrap her arms around him and show him what could not be said with words alone.

Turning around, she walked back towards the shelf, gathering the ancient grimoire that held the prophecy she read earlier. She had to show it to him. With careful strides she left the safety of the enchanted tree and approached him. Staring up at him, she loved the far away look he had in his eyes as he gazed at the sky. Having sensed her nearness, he looked down at her, their eyes locking once again. In his sorrell depths she saw the same longing she felt for him reflected back at her.

“It wouldn’t have to be that way. I found something that might change the future - for both of us. Look,” thumbing carefully through the pages, Rey found the one with the prophecy. She turned the book towards Kylo, holding it up slightly.

“What is this?” he asked, quirking an eyebrow, “I cannot read it,” the confusion and embarrassment on his face were evident.

“Oh, that’s right. Magical enchantment and the like. My kind must really hate yours,” she confessed, her arms going slack as she loosened her grip on the ancient text.

“Are you just now getting that?” he asked, eliciting a soft laugh. Reaching out hesitantly, he stroked away a stray hair that had fallen on her forehead. With a delicate touch, he trailed his gloved hand down her cheek, settling his hand along the curve of her jaw. His eyes lowering, he noticed the fine silver chain that hung from her neck, leading to a pendant that nestled perfectly between her breasts. Reaching for the metal links, he hooked one of his fingers around them, trailing down until he caught the amulet, lifting it up.

“This is different…” he whispered, and recognition struck him suddenly. It was a miniature version of his beloved sword. Surely it was a coincidence?

“It was my mother’s…” she admitted, making a slight off hand gesture, not wanting to be distracted by that at the moment. She needed to focus on the task at hand, “Ok so what we have here is a prophecy that was made centuries ago.” She walked around to stand at his side, opening the book again, trailing her fingers over the words as she read aloud. She could sense Kylo’s mind racing with every lyrical and archaic word she spoke. His thoughts at this moment were chaotic and random, leaving her slightly dizzy.

“Do you...do you think this... is about us?” Kylo asked, stumbling over his words as if he didn’t believe what he was saying.

“Undoubtedly. Who else could they have meant?” Rey reasoned, looking up at him again. Her eyes were clear and bright, she clearly accepted it, and yet...

“This changes things...considerably…”

“I agree. We could end this war and reshape the future. Change the preternatural world forever.”

“But there is a catch, Rey. This suggests we have to love each other. How could you ever love me? Honestly? You may have fallen, but we have been over this before. This is not love. How could I ever expect you to love a monster like me?”

“Kylo, I do love you...very, very much,” she tried to keep her tone as light and convincing as possible, resting one of her hands on his arm, her eyes pleading for acceptance.

“So then why hasn’t anything changed? What is supposed to happen, anyway?” he looked away from her rather suddenly, taking several steps past her. He seemed exasperated when he turned back to face her, gesturing as he spoke, “If I look at that book, I still will not be able to read it. I still cannot enter the tree. Your words are meaningless.”

“But Kylo, you just told me you had feelings too...why would you take it back so easily?” she felt her heart fall, and she tried not to appear as hurt as she felt deep inside.

“Just because we both feel something does not mean it is real. True love does not exist. It is all a lie.”

“If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t feel anything when I do this,” Rey whispered.

Watching her curiously, Kylo saw her set the ancient text on the ground before standing and facing him again. She drew closer to him than she had been before. Her scent hit him stronger than ever the closer she got, and he could feel himself begin to salivate involuntarily, remembering how intoxicatingly sweet her blood tasted.

“What are you…” he started, his words halted by a delicate finger pressing against his lips. He tried to resist inhaling too deeply now, and stared down at her as she reached up and caressed his face. Rey’s fingers ghosted over his features, like a blind person trying to see. He closed his eyes, shifting his head to the side and pressing a kiss into her palm. It took every ounce of willpower not to sink his fangs into her delicate wrist and he hoped she hadn’t caught that thought from his mind.

Kylo still couldn’t understand why Rey’s scent was so overpowering. As he was puzzling over that, Rey surprised him by standing on tiptoe and cupping his face in her hands as she pressed her lips against his. Reflexively, he leaned down into her kiss and wrapped his arms around her waist, drawing her closer to his body. Her tongue wildly stroked at the seam of his lips, and he was pleased with her bold move to intensify the kiss. Thankfully this time, there were no visions. He sighed contentedly, thinking of how heavenly she tasted, if heaven were to exist. It was distinctly sweet, almost fruity, something he wouldn’t mind tasting again and again. Their tongues shared a slow tango as he felt her heart pounding against his chest.

Rey’s hands trailed down his neck, clutching upon the lapels of his jacket, then splaying her fingers open across the broad expanse of his chest, lightly groping at his firm chiseled muscles. Trailing her hands up over his shoulders, she pulled down on his neck in an effort to draw him closer. He responded by letting forth a low, eager groan and clutching tightly to her hips. All too aware that she was turning him on in a way he hadn’t felt in decades, he could hardly resist languidly thrusting his aching hardness against her. Arching her back, she responded instinctively, and what started as an innocent kiss evolved into something fiery and passionate within a matter of minutes.

When Rey finally broke the kiss, she was gasping for breath and gazed up at him. Her pupils were fully dilated and her skin flushed crimson with her arousal. Her chest heaved with every breath she took, and Kylo couldn’t get over how stunning she looked at this exact moment.

He also couldn’t believe how intoxicating her scent was. It was ordinarily appealing, but at this point in time, it was more intense than it had ever been. The fragrance was familiar. He reasoned with himself that it had something to do with the fact that he had tasted her blood. Regardless, he couldn’t help but draw closer into her embrace, trying to be subtle about the way he leaned over her, sniffing at the air around her. Hardly feeling satisfied, he stroked one of his hands through her hair, and in drawing her silken tresses up to his nose, he inhaled the subtle refreshing fragrance of the rosemary mint shampoo she used...No, that wasn’t it…

Kylo lowered his head further to nuzzle his nose along her jaw and down her neck, breathing in deeply. Carefully he grazed his fangs along the artery there, not wanting to pierce her flesh but hoping the proximity of her artery to his mouth would allow him to attempt to narrow in more on her scent. That wasn’t it though, as he smelled the sweet nectar of her blood, but there was something else that was even more distinct than that, if it were possible.

Trailing his tongue over her slender neck, he began peppering her flesh with kisses, working down to her collarbone, eliciting a moan from her lips. Placing one of his hands on her shoulder, he took a step backwards before he began to trail his hand down the length of her arm, catching one of her wrists and rotating it slightly, drawing her hand close to his face. He pressed kisses upon each fingertip before drawing his fangs over her wrist. Again, not piercing the flesh but merely feeling the tenderness of the flesh. That too, was quite nice as the fragrance there was almost spicy, like anise, but not what he was after. Dropping her wrist carefully, he began caressing the rest of her body, his hands roaming around with the tenderest of touches.

Gliding down from her shoulders, he grasped upon her breasts, causing Rey to arch her back and thrust her chest more fully against his hands. As he began playfully teasing her quickly hardening nipples, she closed her eyes and elicited more sinful moans from her sweet lips. Her head fell back.

Guiding his hands around her slender waist and down to her hips, Kylo dropped to his knees in front of her, lifting the hem of her her shirt and exposing her midriff, as he began peppering kisses over the exposed flesh before trailing his tongue along her abdomen, impressed with the hardness of the muscles beneath her flesh. Rey rolled her head around, looking down almost lazily, gazing upon him with heavily lidded eyes as her hands trailed through his hair, twisting the curls there between her fingers. Grasping his hands tighter on her hips, he drew his face closer to her crotch, and there...there...that’s where the intoxicating fragrance was coming from.

Pressing his nose against the fabric of her jeans he inhaled deeply, the musky coppery scent nearly overwhelming him as it occurred to him that it was her menses he was smelling now. Bless her, this gorgeous woman was on her period. This realization left him salivating even more than he was before and he moaned blissfully at the very thought of her womanly blood dripping between her legs. It was quite possibly the sweetest gift he could be given at this exact moment, and he was desperate to taste her. He felt dizzy with lust, her scent clouding his mind as he nuzzled his nose against her again, drawing his hands around to grasp at her ass over her jeans.

“Can I taste you? Please?” Kylo asked with a nearly breathless whisper, peering up at her from where he knelt, licking his lips with anticipation.

“If you really want to, sure,” Rey whispered back, reaching down and caressing his cheek. All those exquisite kisses and sweet caresses left her nearly drunk from the pleasure he had been tempting her with. She did not know entirely what he meant by “tasting”, nor could she begin to imagine what he had in store. He pulled back from her and started taking off his jacket, his eyes never leaving hers as he moved.

“What are you…?” she questioned, confusion apparent on her face, and she quickly came to her senses as she watched him spread his jacket on the ground next to where she stood. It became apparent now what he meant by “taste”....

“I want you now,” he admitted, sitting back on his heels, looking up at her expectantly.

“Kylo, I don’t know...right here? Right now?” Drawing one of her hands up to her mouth, she chewed nervously on her fingernails.

“Yes, Rey. Right here, right now,” he nodded his head for emphasis, shifting slightly where he knelt on the ground. “Please tell me I can.” The sight of her fingers in her mouth brought a rush of blood straight to his groin, and he couldn’t help but wonder how sexy she’d look with his cock between her lush lips.

“Kylo…” she began, her voice wavering as she spoke, “I’ve never...never…”

“I know.” His admission that he knew she was a virgin shouldn’t shock her, but it did.

“Just let me taste you at least...you smell so good, and I have been dying to taste you from the moment I set eyes upon you earlier this evening.” Absently, be began stroking one of his thumbs up and down the seam of her jeans over her heated core. His fingers splayed appealingly over her hips, and Rey found herself letting forth yet another moan. Her body betrayed her as she felt a shudder coarse through it. She couldn’t deny how badly she wanted him. The idea of what he was asking for seemed somewhat sickening, but...he is a vampire, she reminded herself, it’s what he wants. It’s what he needs Ceasing the nervous assault of her fingernails in her mouth, she lowered her hands down resting them on his shoulders to steady herself.

“Now?” she questioned again, shifting her hips. Looking to the left and right, she scanned the area around them. Logically, she knew they were alone and yet...this was a sacred island.

“Did I stutter?” he questioned, arching one of his eyebrows. “Please...sit down on the ground with me, Rey,” he gently ordered, his tone husky.

Watching carefully, he noticed her face went through a range of emotions - doubt, fear, curiosity, arousal. He had to resist the urge to laugh out loud as he listened to her mind warring with itself: Let him do it, it’ll make you both happy! No, that’s disgusting, he shouldn’t be doing that. It could be fun? Absolutely not, this is so wrong, and yet no one’s ever offered before...The banter back and forth in her mind continued until she found her resolve.

Lowering herself carefully down to his jacket on the ground, Rey drew her knees up to her chest as she sat, wrapping her arms around them. Kylo drew closer to her, shifting forward on hands and knees with a predatory glint to his eyes. Suddenly Rey felt afraid, perhaps it was the look in his eyes or the fact that he was about to feed from her, albeit indirectly...Her breathing hitched, causing him to hesitate in his pursuit as he settled back to sit on his heels again.

“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered now, his expression softening considerably, “I feel it too. I will not hurt you, I promise.”

Rey sensed he wasn’t lying to her, and felt a cool, calming sensation of comfort blossoming through her mind, easing her worries and causing her to gradually loosen her arms that clung to her knees. Nodding slowly, she leaned forward and reached towards him with a shaky hand. Kylo clutched her hand in his, drawing close and tenderly kissing her lips now. Rey moaned into his kiss, allowing it to deepen as it had before. Scooting forward, she let go of his hand, draping her arms around his neck as his arms claimed her small waist, pulling her even closer to him.

Capturing her lower lip with his teeth, he gently suckled upon it, drawing forth a sweet mewling sound from her. She practically sat in his lap now, and with every passing moment felt herself melting further into him. Her ragged breathing caused her chest to heave against him as he trailed his kisses down her neck again, her head falling back. Feeling as though her body were on fire, she burned beneath him as he gradually lowered her to lay against the ground. She shifted her hips and pressed her thighs together, desperately needing to feel some friction there, peering up at him with lust filled eyes.

Catching the edge of the middle finger of his glove with his teeth, he drew his hand back, pulling it out and shifting his head to the side before spitting his glove to the ground. His other glove received the same treatment. When he touched her, his cool skin contrasted dramatically against hers, causing her to shiver involuntarily.

Grabbing the hem of her shirt, he drew it up slowly, not wanting to rush the moment, treating her as if she were the most precious gift for him to unwrap. Carefully pulling the shirt over her head, he supported her neck with one hand and made sure not to pull on any of her hair as he completely withdrew the garment from her. Tossing the shirt aside, he noticed she wore a silver lacy bra. Unable to suppress his smile, he caressed at the fine delicate lingerie before drawing his hands over the swell of her small breasts.

“I like this, I think we will keep it on,” he whispered in regards to her bra, reaching to touch her chest again and hesitating when he noticed the pendant she still wore, drawing it up and over her shoulder to fall behind her back. Lowering his head to bestow kisses upon her newly exposed chest, he nuzzled his nose against the flesh between her breasts and inhaling her sweet perfume. With a gentle touch, he eased one of the cups down, tucking it beneath the warm flesh of her breast, drawing his mouth close to suckle upon her nipple.

Rey arched her back, exhaling slowly as she drew one of her arms around Kylo’s broad shoulders. Glancing up at her blissful expression, he smiled before shifting his attention to her other breast, giving it the same treatment. Once he was satisfied with the amount of attention he bestowed upon her chest, he pulled the lace cups up, smoothing them over her moist flesh, which now glistened with a soft sheen of perspiration. Stroking his hands along the narrow dip of her waist, he trailed his fingers over the arch of her ribs and then down her toned stomach, catching the button of her jeans and undoing it before gliding the zipper down.

Spreading open the top of her jeans, he was pleased to see she wore cottony panties with silver lace trim that matched her bra, a perfect set. Absently he wondered if she always wore such fine undergarments, and if so, did they always match so beautifully? He sensed that perhaps this was a guilty pleasure of hers, to hide sexy lingerie beneath ordinary clothing. Either way, he adored it.

Smoothing his hands around and down beneath the curve of her ass, he lifted her hips, capturing the waistband of the edge of her jeans. Drawing them down as slowly as he had removed the shirt, he leaned forward and planted kisses upon her thick thighs and curvy hips. Her martial arts training had turned her into a veritable goddess, allowing her to be strong and toned while maintaining her natural curves. He thoroughly appreciated her body, eager for the countless nights when he could learn the pattern of all her freckles and beauty marks. Each dimple in her supple flesh. What moves lit her core on fire, making her eager to take whatever he had to offer her? Woefully he wished she was wearing a skirt or a dress, as it would have made things much more exciting for them and he wouldn’t have to undress her completely to reach the prize he was after. Once she was finally laid bare, save her undergarments, he went back to his earlier pursuit of caressing her wonderfully freckled, sun-kissed skin as he enjoyed the way she felt beneath him.

Working his way down to where he wanted to be, his fingers caught the waistband of her panties, playfully caressing the flesh beneath it. He delighted in the way she squirmed and couldn’t help but grin despite himself. He knew she needed this as much as he did. Lowering his body closer to hers, he pressed kisses to her abdomen, her hips, and her thighs, teasingly dancing all around her coveted core, making her writhe even more beneath him. As he removed her feminine underwear, he gazed upon her glistening cunt, licking his lips eagerly in anticipation of the thick blood that was his for the taking. Trailing his fingers through the curls of her pubis, he didn’t hesitate as he eased his middle finger between her folds.

Regardless of his gentle touch, it was still rather painful for her, as his fingers were significantly larger than hers. Any efforts she had made to masturbate in the past could not compare to feeling someone else touching her intimately, and she couldn’t help but cry out and arch her back.

Rotating his wrist and curling his hand upwards, he stroked along a sensitive spot within. Her initial pain began melting away with every stroke of his finger, and she found herself beginning to enjoy the new sensation. Blood oozed slowly into his palm, the vibrant crimson starkly contrasted to his pale skin. When he withdrew his finger at last, he went as gently as he had when he first eased it in, causing Rey to let forth a frustrated grunt as she opened her eyes and glared at him.

Kylo gazed at his bloodied hand, flexing his fingers and shifting his hand around, looking with wonder as if he were covered in rare coveted nectar. Caressing his lip with his bloodied finger, he spread her blood over his lips as if it were gloss, his tongue slipping out between his plush lips to lick up the trail he left there. His eyes rolled back slightly and he let forth a guttural moan before drawing his finger into his mouth, sucking it clean. As he licked up the last trace of blood from his palm, Rey couldn’t remember ever having seen something so vulgar and filthy and yet painfully erotic in her lifetime. She felt her hips circling involuntarily in response, eager to feel more from him, uncertain what he’d do next. Staring at him now, she saw his tongue glide down the length of one of his sharp canines.

“Mmmm...it is the first night of your menses, is itnot? This is so fresh...so intoxicatingly decadent. The finest wine. The sweetest ambrosia….” he complimented, his body shuddering as he drew forth a shaky breath through his teeth. The burning sensation he now felt in his throat intensified, and he couldn’t remember the last time he had felt such despairing hunger before now.

“Kylo, please...I feel your suffering. I know you’re hungry...please...just take it…” Rey moaned, thrusting her hips up.

“Feeling desperate now, are we?” he asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes, “I am enjoying this, seeing my little vixen begging for pleasure. You are right, my hunger is causing me to suffer, but the pain is worth seeing you beg and writhe beneath me like this.”

“You wicked devil. Just take it. I need you to…” she whined pathetically. He saw in her mind how painfully close she was to feeling her release, between the kisses, caresses, and swift finger fuck, she had never known such intense pleasure, and he had only just begun.

“You do…? Ah, you do…” he took in her writhing form before catching the back of her thighs in his hands and lifting them, spreading her further open. Hooking her legs over his shoulders, he lowered his head towards her heated core. He felt her whole body shaking beneath him in anticipation, and he teasingly kissed the apex of her thighs, his mouth painfully close to the prize he so desperately sought to claim. Pressing his tongue flat against her juicy folds, he began lapping at the blood that oozed forth from her cunt, slowly at first as he savoured her flavor, then gradually increasing the speed at which he fed and pressure of his tongue as he worked them both into a bit of a frenzy. Rey had tangled her hands into his hair, clutching onto his silky dark locks for dear life, bucking up against his face.

Reading from her mind that she was now completely blown away and had never known it was possible to feel such intense pleasure, he saw that this was the most incredible sensation she had ever felt in her life. Her body arched and writhed against his as if she had completely lost her last sense of self-control. Catching the bundle of her clit between his teeth, he suckled tenderly at it, causing her body to quiver violently beneath him as she went over the edge. Her orgasm made the last of her menses to ooze forth with each contraction, and he eagerly ate it up till she was completely clean beneath him.

Kylo was far from done, and Rey wasn’t ready for him to stop either and so he continued, shifting his chin back slightly and plunging his tongue even deeper into her folds, nuzzling his nose against her clit as he went. She widened the spread of her legs, shifting her hips allowing him better access, and he let forth a deep growl. Deciding her quickly depleted menses wasn’t enough to satisfy his more carnal needs, he shifted his head to the side, gradually sinking his fangs into the slick pink flesh of her outer lips, causing a fresh font of blood to pour forth, and they transcended to a new level.

It was as if they were both floating, no longer grounded on the island beside the ancient tree. Their bodies drifted up through the clouds and into the stars, their past merged with the present and the future seemed almost painfully bright. In his mind’s eye Kylo winced in pain at the intensity of the light, and he felt them both come crashing down as she tightened her legs around his shoulders, another orgasm bringing them back to the present.

He lapped his tongue a final time at the wound he had created, causing it to heal instantly. They were both delirious in their shared pleasure now. Her warmth burned him as he knew it would, but it was a sensation that thrilled him like no other as her blood surged through his body. Feeling stronger than ever before, he knew he needed to be careful around her. As addictive as she was, he was an older, strong vampire and could break her before he could even register that it was too late. Kissing her outer lips, he raised one of his arms up, unwinding her legs from his shoulders, and shifting back before lowering her legs to the ground.

Rey’s body continued to convulse, aftershocks of the immense orgasm having claimed her body. Kylo had many a lover in the past, but they were all forgotten as if he had never before witnessed such an exquisite beauty as Rey completely and utterly give into the pleasure that he had brought her. It was pure bliss, the sensations he felt coming from her, and a part of him knew she was still in that higher level that he had witnessed before she came, floating among the stars, the galaxy opening itself to her and all the endless mysteries and possibilities contained therein.

Crawling up to lay beside her, he turned onto his side, propping himself up on his elbow, simply watching her as she maintained her high. He had to bite his tongue to suppress the moan that threatened to escape his mouth as her pleasure rippled through him. Her blood scorched through his veins.

Kylo’s meaningless existence was but a shadow of emptiness before she came around. With all the times they crossed one another’s paths in the past, nothing could have prepared them for what the future had promised. Thinking back over what the prophecy had claimed, he was becoming increasingly convinced that there might be some truth to the ancient words. Though they were on opposite sides, their connection would bring balance. Their love would inspire peace leading to the end of the war. The preternatural world would never be the same again.

It occurred to him...if he had gathered all this from simply bringing her pleasure and feeding upon her, what on earth would happen if they were to come together as one and actually make love to one another? What, indeed? His body questioned, and he felt his cock stirring in his pants. That would have to wait for now. He sensed she was coming down from her high at last. While her body glistened and gleamed with sweat in the soft glow of the moonlight, he couldn’t help but notice she was shivering, so he drew her body close to his. Kylo found it ironic that the reason his body was now warm was because he was full of her warmth. She nuzzled against his chest, her breathing finally calmed, and she reached up with one of her hands, catching a few tendrils of his hair and twisting the curls around her dainty fingers. He pulled her in tighter, wrapping both arms around her and hooking one of his legs over her as well, allowing her to share in his stolen warmth.

“Thank you for letting me do that,” he whispered at last, nuzzling his head into her silky hair, breathing her in.

“Anytime...truly, I mean it. It should be illegal for someone to possess such a talented tongue. That was almost too much,” she admitted, her body shaking with another aftershock.

“I have had a bit of experience, what can I say? The joy within the curse of immortality,” Kylo’s tone was somewhat bitter, as he was hardly bragging. He was almost ashamed to have admitted his abundant past experience with other women. The acceptance he felt coming from her mind soothed his self-derision.

“Right...what a lucky girl I am to be on the receiving end,” she teased gently, hoping to further drive home the acceptance she felt for who he was in the past. “My first and only lover, an expert, and I am but a willing student in the ways of love. Teach me more, Kylo.”

“All in good time, my dearest little one,” he replied, and it was a promise he intended to keep. Gracing her with a genuine smile that made her heart skip a beat as he leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead.

Rey could hardly contain her smile at his promise, knowing he was good for his word. Resting her head upon his chest once more, she nuzzled against him, feeling the rise and fall of his chest. Rather unexpectedly, it occurred to her that she couldn’t hear his heartbeat...questions arose in her mind, and her thoughts began to race, causing her face to contort in her confusion. Kylo sensed her anguish, and upon hearing her thoughts, he wanted to ease her anxiety. Pressing another kiss into her hair, he decided it was time to share a bit of the truth about who he was.

“My name is Ben, by the way...not Kylo. That is the name my Maker gave me when I was born to Darkness. My birth name is Benjamin Solo. Everyone who knew me called me Ben,” he offered up, hoping that sharing a piece of his humanity with her would calm her wary soul.

“Ben,” she repeated, as if trying his name out for good measure, “I like that. Ben...it suits you.”

“Thank you, Rey, I appreciate that,” he caressed the small of her back, secretly thrilled at hearing her speak his true name, “Well, I do not want to be the one to kill our mutual buzz here, as I am aware you are enjoying it as much as I am. However...the sun will be rising soon, and I need to hide, lest I burn to death.”

“Ah, I was wondering how that worked…” she began, glancing up at him and noting the wary glint in his eyes, “Don’t worry, Ben, I won’t exploit your weakness. I just now got you...I can’t lose you…”

“You will never lose me, as long as we both exist,” he replied, continuing to caress her shoulders and back as he held her. A part of him had hoped that she didn’t find that thought creepy or in any way uncomfortable. In her mind she reassured him that she appreciated his kind words, and in response he hugged her closer.

Reluctantly, she loosened herself from his comforting embrace and sat up, arching up one of her palms and drawing the clothes that Ben had discarded so casually, before sending her to the realm of blissful pleasure, to her. Rey’s shirt smacked into the side of Ben’s head when he sat up as well. They both laughed outright, as he peeled the offending garment off his shoulder, handing it to her before smoothing out the hair that the errant shirt had misplaced. Once she was fully dressed, she stood, reaching for Ben’s hand to help hoist him up, although she knew he didn’t need it. Stepping off his jacket, she bent over shaking loose the grass and dirt that had clung to it. Handing him his jacket, he surprised her by coming around behind her and draping it over her shoulders.

“You need the warmth more than I do,” Ben whispered into her ear, leaning forward and dipping his head down to press a kiss into her neck.

“Thank you,” Rey responded, touched by the gesture. She drew his jacket tighter around her body, ducking her head down and breathing in Ben’s unmistakable musk which clung to the jacket.

“Don’t mention it. By the way, I hope you do not mind me being proactive, but before I made it to the island, I procured someone to pick us up and bring us back to London before the sun fully rises...they should be here any minute, by my estimate,” Ben suggested, pulling out his pocket watch and looking down. As if right on cue, a helicopter approached the island, landing in the tall grass.

“I’ve always wanted to fly in a helicopter! This is so thrilling!” Rey admitted, giving forth a girlish squeal of delight, causing Ben to smile.

“I know...I have seen it in your mind, my sweet. Perhaps later I can teach you how to fly?” Ben offered up, and Rey snapped her head over to him, shock melting into excitement at the realization that he was a pilot. Was there anything he couldn’t do?

“I would absolutely adore that!” she admitted, handing him a random bag before turning and entering the ancient tree to gather the texts she found. They made their way across the low valley to where the helicopter awaited them. Once they boarded the craft, they were each given a pair of headphones for the sake of communicating, although both knew it was a formality as they could communicate telepathically if need be. Still, they indulged the pilot, who double checked their belts before taking off for London.

During the journey home, they held hands, and Rey was grateful Ben never put his gloves back on...in fact it occurred to her, they never picked up his gloves…

I did, while you were in the tree gathering the texts. Ben admitted, and Rey felt the shudder course through her at the soothing sound of his voice echoing in her mind.

Very good. It would be a shame leaving anything behind on that sacred island.

Agreed. You witches sure do have a flair for the dramatic with the way you have chosen the island and all the measures you have taken to protect your ancient secrets.

Yes, well....I’m sorry again. I didn’t know the place would be harmful to you.

Do not worry...I am ancient as well, and so the only spell that really affected me was the fireball that shot forth from the tree itself. That was merely an annoyance more than anything.

“You two ok back there?” they heard their pilot ask over the headphones, “You’re awfully quiet, I almost forgot I had passengers.”

“We are quite fine, thank you. Just tired, as it has been a long night,” Ben suggested, clearly hiding the truth from the pilot in question - they were silent because they had opted to communicate telepathically. He heard the back and forth chatter over the headphones between the pilot and copilot, but for him all that mattered was his Rey, his sunshine, caressing his hand with both of hers. He peered down at her almost shyly for a moment before leaning down and claiming her lips with another sweet kiss.

Chapter Text

Rey had fallen asleep during their taxi ride from the airport. Ben didn’t have the heart to wake her, as he knew that she wasn’t a nocturnal creature like he was. She had curled her petite form against him, her head on his lap, arm lazily hung over his thighs. Absently he stroked her hair, feeling more content then he ever had. After paying the cab driver, he hoisted her bag on his back and carefully withdrew her still-sleeping form from the car. He found it fitting that he was carrying her like the bride he absently wished she would be.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, he had always dismissed the idea of marriage and commitment; he hadn’t believed in love. With her, though, it was different. With her, it was a possibility, even if her life was fleeting. She had unexpectedly planted a seed of hope within him, making him sentimental and yearning for completion. Each moment they passed together only made him feel like he couldn't imagine life without her, as if she were his true mate.

Going back to his own flat seemed the best option, as he wasn’t quite willing to leave her. While he knew he’d be sleeping all day, he also knew there was enough for her to explore in his space that she could keep herself busy. Suddenly he was grateful that he had made the last minute call to his housekeeper to freshen up the place before their arrival. When he laid her in bed, the sweet fragrance of freshly laundered linens was comforting, and he had hoped she’d appreciate it as much as he did. Tucking the blankets around her, he pressed a kiss to her forehead before lowering the curtains around her.

Pulling out his pocket watch, Ben realized he still had two hours before the sun rose. Since Rey was comfortable and safe he decided now was the best time to run out and collect a few things he might need later on. He took a quick shower and changed his clothes before heading out, as he didn’t want to risk her scent lingering on him in any way, drawing unnecessary attention. He knew that going to the catacombs wasn’t ideal, especially after his confrontation with Hux, but he needed his sword and a few other things. Also, he wanted to bring one of his cars home for her to ride around in, lest Rey felt like venturing out during the day.

Taking extra care to lock all the doors, he made his way out into the night. First stop was the catacombs. Heading straight to his rooms, he ignored everyone he passed. Not wanting to spend any time conversing, he merely nodded to each person respectfully as he walked by.Thankfully almost everyone had already begun to settle, so he didn’t cross too many.

In his rooms, he gathered up a briefcase, tucking in some parchment and calligraphy supplies, Looking at his car keys hanging neatly in place, he debated which one Rey would like. He opted for the ‘71 MG MGB. It was a classic: it had smooth lines but wasn’t too flashy. Plus he imagined she’d love having a convertible to drive about in. He could almost visualize her in the driver's seat now, the sun shining down on her tawny freckled skin, large sunglasses protecting those kaleidoscope eyes, and her chestnut waves flowing forth like a magnificent mane in the breeze. The thought alone left him grinning like a fool.

Making his way across the room, he gathered up his sword, strapping the sheath to his belt. He was hoping he wouldn’t need it, but at the same time, now that he and Rey were together he had to take extra measures for protection - for both of them. Taking a final glance about, he left the room, holding his breath in an effort to calm his nerves, which seemed to itch at the back of his mind as he made his way around the catacombs until he reached the surface. Few things bothered him since he had become immortal, but the idea of what his coven could do, should they ever turn against him left him chilled to the bone.

He was well aware that the moment he had made the conscious decision to further his relationship with Rey, he had committed the highest possible treason, and would be considered a traitor among his kind. While he was prepared to face whatever backlash that brought on him, he couldn’t begin to imagine what would happen to her. It was bad enough that several of his kind had already targeted her for her coveted witch blood. He had slaughtered them without a second thought before they could even touch her, as he could not allow any harm to come to her. He would destroy them all if he had to, for though they were his brothers and sisters in darkness, her life was far more important than all of theirs combined. He had hoped it wouldn’t come to that, and he gritted his teeth against the very notion of that thought as he slid behind the wheel and started the engine.

The drive between the catacombs and Ben’s flat was thankfully a short one. Along the way he passed a floral shop he had often visited over the years. Having remembered how much Rey enjoyed the roses he left for her as her ‘secret admirer’, he thought she deserved a full bouquet at this point. Going in reverse, he pulled around and parked in front of the shop. He looked about to make sure no one was in the near vicinity, though at this late hour it wasn’t an issue. He approached the door and picked the lock. Making his way in, he carefully chose a bunch he knew she’d like. Leaving money on the counter, he left, turning the lock before closing the door shut behind him.

Once Ben was at his flat again, he parked his car in the garage before gathering all his belongings and bringing them in through the small mudroom in the back. Pulling out some parchment and his calligraphy supplies, he wrote Rey a quick note. Creeping quietly up the stairs, he narrowly avoided the spot which he knew always creaked, and breathed a sigh of relief once he had made it to the top.

Resting a crystal vase with the flowers on the nightstand, he tucked the note beneath it. Drawing back the bed curtains, he chanced another glance at her. Rey had curled on her side and was clutching a pillow to her chest. He wished he could join her, but even with the protection of the hangings he knew that it would be too risky, as the slightest bit of sunlight would ruin him. Letting forth a bemoaned sigh, he resisted the urge to touch her and put the canopy drapes back in place.

Ben realized he was cutting things too close as he made his way down to the basement, racing against the quickly approaching dawn. Each step felt heavier than the last and he all but stumbled down the last two stairs as he felt the sun come over the horizon. It sent a bit of a shockwave over his body, as if to let him know what fate awaited him. Clutching to the walls as he made his way to his coffin, he practically fell inside when he lifted the lid. Once he had slipped it back in place, his body all but froze as he succumbed to his deathly slumber once again.
________________________________________

Rey stirred slowly, nestled comfortably in a large, plush bed. Wrapped in silken sheets that smelled of lavender and chamomile, she knew she wasn’t at home...and yet she couldn’t imagine waking in a better place. Instinctively, she knew Ben had taken her to his flat. Upon opening her eyes, this was confirmed as she took in the curtained four-poster bed she was laying upon. The linens were by far the finest she had ever slept on, the purest white silk with a bedspread in a delicately embroidered crimson and black brocade. The curtains themselves were also crimson, edged with a short black fringe. Finding a thick-braided black silk cord near the head of the bed, she gave it a gentle tug and the drapes pulled back. On the nightstand next to her, she noticed a stunning bouquet of white roses, much to her delight. She was overwhelmed with a feeling of warmth and happiness and was touched by the gesture.

Scooting herself across the sheets, she drew her legs over the edge of the bed, letting them dangle for a moment as she took in the rest of the fine bedroom. The massive four poster bed was impressive - and she adored the deep wooden frame with smooth curved posts. On the far side of the room was a fireplace. A massive mirror hung above it. Across from the fireplace was a fine seating arrangement, a settee and a comfortable armchair, both finished in the red and black brocade fabric that matched the bedspread. Plush, dark gray silk pillows perched invitingly on the cushions. A short table sat between the two, a stained glass lamp atop.

She found gorgeous bookcases with neatly organized leather bound books on the opposite wall. The volumes were artfully arranged with unique bookends and chotskies that were purposefully scattered. Closer to the bed itself rested a massive wardrobe, which was polished so smooth it nearly glimmered in the ambient brightness that shone through the curtains.

There were so many windows, she imagined the room would be delightfully flooded in light, yet they were covered with crimson velvet curtains. She’d have to open those later to let the sunshine in. The room itself was impressive by anyone's standards. She appreciated the old world charm it presented and felt immediately at home.

If this was representative of Ben’s style, she couldn’t help but think he was a deeper person than she had initially imagined he would be. Clearly, he had an eye for quality, every detail and design carefully picked. It spoke volumes of who he was as an individual. She had to remind herself that he was almost two-hundred years old, and being from the Victorian era, it only made sense that he had such style and sophistication.

Rey chose to stand then, leaning into the bouquet and breathing in its fresh, almost powdery sweet fragrance, which was oddly reminiscent of violets. Its scent was familiar and comforting, taking her back to another time. Remembering the herbalism class she took a few years ago, she knew immediately how symbolic it was that he had given her white roses. Naturally, they stood for purity and innocence, but above all they symbolized true love and she was beyond touched that Ben had given those to her. Despite the fact that he had told her that true love didn’t exist, it showed effort on his part that he was wanting to believe that maybe - just maybe - it did.

Rey reached out and caressed the velvety rosebuds before shifting her head slightly to the side and noting the corner of a slip of parchment. Having recognized the paper as what he had written his poem on, she was enchanted to see that he had left her a note. Picking it up, she opened it, caressing her fingers over the written words as she read.

My beloved Rey,

I hope that you slept well and that the day greeted you fondly. I regret that we cannot be together until nightfall, but do not despair. I will be dreaming of you, walking on sunshine, all the more eager for when we can be together again.

My most sincere apologies that there is no food in the place. I should have prepared things better for your arrival, but could not have anticipated it. I have, however, left you one of my cars - which you will find in the garage - as well as a set of house keys. Feel free to come and go as you please. I cannot wait to see you later.

Ever Faithfully Yours,

Ben

Rey drew her free hand to her heart and clutched it there, reminding herself to breathe. Seeing his beautiful calligraphy again was one thing, but reading his words...the way he mentioned he’d be dreaming of her walking on sunshine brought tears to her eyes. It’s something he himself had not been able to do in well over a century, and here he was mentioning it. Its significance had not gone unnoticed, and she vowed to do just that. She would fill herself with light and warmth, so he might appreciate it when he woke up.

Setting his note down with a delicate touch, she made her way downstairs, pausing in the kitchen and noting he had left keys for her on the counter. Picking up the keychain, she recognized the symbol on the car keys instantly. He had left her an MG? They both seemed drawn to the same types of cars, and she was pleased that they shared this common interest. His classic car collection knew no limits, and she was eager to see what else he had.

Noticing he had placed her purse next to the car keys, she gathered it up, drawing it over her shoulder. She made her way out the door, locking it carefully behind her. Passing through the mudroom, she crossed into the small backyard. Glancing over the perfectly manicured landscape with trimmed flowering bushes, she noted there was a stunning fountain that was quietly trickling with water, and stepped across an artfully arranged stone path. Absently, she wondered if Ben had hired a gardener, or if he had completed the landscaping himself. Shaking her head, she realized that the idea of someone being a night gardener seemed silly and unlikely. It wouldn’t surprise her if he had done it, though, as the work was almost too precise to be managed by human hands.

Upon reaching the garage, Rey saw the stunning cherry red ‘71 convertible in all its glory. I like this! Now here was a car she could happily run around in. It suited her aesthetic perfectly, and she knew it would be in as good condition as the gorgeous Jaguar had been. Sliding in behind the wheel, she started the engine, nodding appreciatively as it purred to life. Backing out slowly, she discovered the buttons for the garage door as well as for a security gate. Once she had left the property, she knew immediately where she was and navigated around this part of town with ease, parking on the street outside her flat in twenty minutes.

Climbing the stairs two at a time, she entered her place, noting that it seemed tiny and unrefined. She still felt at home, but it paled in comparison to his fine home. Wasting little time, she pulled some leftover Chinese food she found in the fridge and gorged herself on everything she could get her hands on. Once she was satisfied, she decided to write up a quick list of things she enjoyed eating, as she planned on making a grocery run to properly stock Ben’s kitchen. She still had the rest of the week off for her vacation, and she certainly didn’t intend on staying at her place. Not when Ben had invited her to stay in such a subtle but comforting way.

Upstairs, Rey showered, careful to clean off the remains of her all-to-brief trip to Ireland. Smoothing her hands over her body as she washed herself, she remembered her interaction with Ben the night before. The way he kissed and caressed her body. The way he brought her such pleasure with his wicked tongue, and was able to satisfy both their needs. He had awakened her sexually, without a doubt. If he was that capable with his hands and mouth, she couldn’t begin to imagine what else he was able to do. Shifting her hips where she stood, she directed the spray of water directly at her heated core, shuddering with pleasure. If only he were here, what would he do to me?

Drying off and rummaging through her closet, she opted to wear a dress. In fleeting moments when he was undressing her last night, Rey had caught from Ben’s thoughts that he had wished to see her in a dress, so she decided to indulge him. Feeling like a woman now more than ever, she wanted to flaunt her newfound femininity knowing he’d appreciate it, as well as the fine lacy lingerie she wore beneath it.

Gazing at her reflection, she caressed the bare flesh on her chest, realizing just how much she was exposing with the low neckline. It was more than she was used to showing, which left her feeling self-conscious. However, she was dressing with her lover in mind, so she decided it didn’t matter much.

She glanced at her nightstand and saw her mother’s pendant. Crossing the room and hesitating, she lifted it up. Remembering how it had caused Ben to be distracted the night before, she opted not to put it on. She wanted his attention solely on her, as tonight might just be more important for them then the night before had been. Crossing the room to her dresser, she opened the box Unkar had given her, placing the necklace back inside for safekeeping. Forgive me mother, I’m sure you’ll understand...

After a quick trip to the grocery store, she returned to Ben’s flat. Once there, she eased the car back into the garage, gathered up the bags of food and clothes, and made her way into his house. Putting away the groceries that needed to be chilled first, she jumped with surprise when the fridge spoke to her after she closed it.

“Good afternoon,” a heavily modulated voice said, “I am C-3PO, your friendly refrigerator assistant. I see you have loaded twenty-three new items into the refrigerator. Based on what I have scanned, would you like an assortment of recipes?”

Rey let forth a giddy laugh, seeing a monitor on the fridge she had somehow overlooked before.

“No, I’m fine at the moment. I have other things I want to do first,” she said, realizing how ridiculous it was to be talking to a refrigerator.

“Very good. I will be happy to assist you when you are ready, simply tap the screen.”

Rey nodded, feeling a bit foolish for nodding at something that couldn’t see her. Nevertheless, she found herself amused. What a pleasant surprise that he had technology integrated into his home. What other wonders would she find? She decided she’d go exploring once she put away the rest of the things she brought with her.

Returning to the bedroom, she sat her duffel bag on the floor next to the nightstand, leaning in to breathe in the roses’ sweet fragrance again. Crossing the room she began pulling back the red velvet drapes, and the light poured in through white sheer curtains, much as she had hoped it would. Closing her eyes against the brightness she let out a calming breath, feeling the warmth of the sun caress her skin.

It wasn’t quite warm enough, though, as she felt a shiver go down her spine. His flat so far had been quite lovely, but thought it was uncomfortably cold. Turning towards his wardrobe, she rummaged through his clothes, noting there were distinct differences in what was fashionable for him over the decades. She couldn’t help but laugh at some of the pieces he had. Tucked between fine silks, linens, and velvets, she found garishly colored polyester, lace, and an ample amount of stripes. There was also some acid wash denim, which even on him must have been atrocious. He might need to put on a fashion show for her later.

Finding a slightly long black velvet coat with delicate beadwork on the cuffs and down the back, she decided this was what she wanted to wear and she pulled it on. Where it might have gone to his thighs, it went down to her calves, making for a perfect comforting robe of sorts. She drew one of the lapels up to her nose, breathing in his scent, causing a ripple of pleasure to course through her body. She longed to see him again, and hated that it was only mid-afternoon.

Clutching the velvet coat closed around her torso, she began to meander through the various rooms of his flat. His bedroom had an attached en suite which was simple and elegant. Just another bathroom, really, nothing special beyond the massive clawfoot soaking tub.

Down the hall, she discovered what would be considered a music room. It was paneled in a deep woodtone, which she assumed to allow the room to be soundproof. One of the walls had built in shelves, containing countless records, CDs, and sheet music. Rummaging through the titles, she found he appreciated a wide range of musical genres.

In one corner, there was a baby grand piano. Nearby, a medium sized rectangular case sat upon a tufted velvet stool facing a music stand. Opening the case as carefully as possible, she was stunned to find the most exquisite Stradivarius violin she had ever laid eyes upon. Caressing the smooth wood of the violin, she caught a vision of Ben tucking it beneath his chin, drawing the bow across the strings. Though she couldn’t hear what he played, as it was only a vision, she imagined the music was otherworldly and divine -- just like him.

In a smaller adjoining room, she found a study. There was a wooden desk, with a neatly arranged calligraphy set and a pile of the fine parchment. A small lamp sat in the center of the desk, and other items, all arranged in rows as if placed purposefully. Rey nearly laughed when she saw a sleek black laptop with a wireless mouse sitting next to it. The mental image of Ben’s large hands using the tiny mouse to navigate things on his computer struck her as being quite ridiculous. What a curious creature he is to choose something like that.

Making her way downstairs, Rey passed through the kitchen and formal dining room before entering a sitting room. The couches there were in a similar style to the settee in the bedroom upstairs, there was just more of everything...more seating arrangements, more bookshelves, more books. She found a low, narrow cabinet along one wall that seemed slightly out of place. Observing a button on the top, she pushed it, causing a large flat screen tv slowly rise up. Very sleek, she thought to herself, understanding why he opted to have a TV hidden in a piece of furniture. It would take away from the old world charm of the room. Pushing the button again and watching it ease back down, she couldn’t contain a snicker, wondering what other hidden things she’d find.

Rey had recalled seeing another door in the kitchen. She could only assume it lead to the basement. Opening the door she discovered a darkened staircase. Flipping a switch just inside the doorway, the stairway and room were illuminated with a cool glow. The basement would have been ridiculously dark otherwise. Descending the stairs, she observed windows that were at street-level, although they had been painted black.

Clutching Ben’s jacket tighter around her body against a sudden shiver, she walked around the vast room. It must have been a fairly recent addition, as it didn’t match the formal, luxurious look of the floors above. It was also the only room in the flat with wall to wall carpeting. There was an expansive movie screen on the far wall with cabinets on either side that was filled with DVDs. A wide, plush, black microfiber sofa sat facing the screen. As she approached it, she noticed a long rectangular box the length of the couch, which she would have missed had she not drawn closer. It was the same color of the couch and was almost camouflaged to the back of it. How peculiar...what sort of box is this…?

Lifting the lid, Rey peered in and saw Ben. Logically, she knew he was asleep, but he looked dead, and it absolutely terrified her. She screamed, dropping the lid and falling back before scrambling to the wall opposite from what she now realized was his coffin. Involuntarily she began to quake with fear. Somehow she shouldn’t be so surprised - or even afraid - to see him like that, and yet...a part of her wished she hadn’t ventured into the basement.

Of course it only made sense that he hid himself away here. Looking around at the walls, she noticed that they appeared to be reinforced...with what, she couldn't tell, but they were definitely different from all the walls in the upper floors. She saw a door that must have lead to a stairway up to street level. It was heavily barricaded, visible alarms and large metal bars crossing over it. While he slept he needed to be safe. It was smart of him to have taken such care to keep himself well protected. Taking another look around, she imagined it shouldn’t have been so easy for her to simply walk in. Glancing up the stairway, she noticed that there were padlocks hanging loose on the back of the door which lead to the kitchen. Why would he have forgotten to lock those?

While she pondered that thought, she found she was feeling much calmer. Unexpectedly, she wasn’t as afraid as she had been before. This space wasn’t meant to be frightening. Him being an immortal shouldn’t upset her either. He couldn’t help what he was. On occasion she had sensed from him that it was something he never even wanted to be to begin with. Despite being thrown completely off guard by this new revelation, she loved him. Deep inside, his humanity shone through and she knew his heart was pure.

Rising slowly, her heart pounding frantically in her chest, Rey crossed the room again. She caressed the lid of Ben’s coffin with a soft touch. Opening it again, she peered back down at him. Kneeling down next to his casket, she reached in with shaking hands. She stroked his silky black hair, and smoothed the back of her hand over his cheek, noticing he was ice cold. He didn’t breathe or stir when she touched him, completely and utterly dead in every sense of the word.

A part of her wanted to cry, seeing him frozen in a death-like state while he was asleep despite being otherwise so alive when he was awake. He was truly trapped between the world of the living and the dead, her immortal beloved. Instead, she leaned over and pressed a kiss to his lips. Caressing his face one final time, she pulled back, gradually standing and closing the lid. She reminded herself that he had completely trusted her in choosing to sleep in such a vulnerable state so close to his would be enemy-turned lover.

It was four o’clock, and out of the blue she found herself completely exhausted. Deciding that she really wasn’t interested in doing anything else at the moment, she opted to take a nap instead. Unsure of how long she’d nap, she set an alarm for six and crawled back into bed, drifting off to sleep the minute her head hit the pillow.

Rey awoke before her alarm went off - it was roughly five thirty. Pausing briefly in the ensuite, she splashed some water over her face and ran a comb through her hair, pulling it up into a loose Dutch braid. Feeling satisfied with her appearance, she headed down to the kitchen to prepare an early supper. She was in the mood for a refreshing salad, so she began pulling out vegetables from the refrigerator.

“Hello again. It would seem you are withdrawing some vegetables. Do you require a recipe?” C-3P0 asked Rey in his chipper modulated tone.

“I think I’ve got this. I’m making one of my favorite recipes,” Rey replied, eyeing the monitor on the fridge.

“Very good. Could I perhaps suggest a dessert? Or some perhaps a mixed drink?” he asked.

“Oh no, I don’t need the calories. Need to be in peak fighting performance, you know,” Rey replied with a grin as she began digging into Ben’s cabinets. She was surprised at how well supplied his kitchen was despite him not needing to eat.

“A fight? Oh my. I sincerely hope you will be ok? Do I need to call the police?” his tone took on a ring of concern.

“It’s nothing like that 3P0. I like to stay active, that’s all. It’s my martial arts training. I don’t expect you to understand,” She shook her head slightly, knowing the gesture wouldn’t be seen. Placing strawberries into a colander, she began rinsing them off in the sink.

“You would be surprised miss. I’m programed for interaction beyond mere kitchen needs,”

“I see. Well, I assure you, I’ll be fine. You needn’t worry.” Rey began chopping things carefully, mindful to avoid cutting herself, as she didn’t want to make a bloody mess. Not that Ben would mind, he’d likely be more than eager to help clean her up. Much as he had last night...

“Very good. I will be here if you require any further assistance,”

“Thank you. You’re very kind...for a refrigerator. No offense.”

“None taken, why would I be offended? I appreciate the conversation,”

“Indeed. Likewise.” Rey never imagined she’d have a full fledged conversation with a refrigerator, but then again stranger things had happened in the past several weeks, so she shouldn’t be too surprised.

She actually stayed...she stayed with me...Rey heard the thought echoing through her mind, as Ben made his otherwise silent approach. Feeling him wrap his arms around her waist, she let out a contented sigh, setting down the knife she held in her hand. He pressed a tender kiss to her throat as Rey rested her head back against his shoulder, further exposing her neck to him and ignoring the chill that went down her spine. His lips were so soft and pillowy as he kissed along the column of her neck, and the way his kiss lingered on her pulse point made her yearn for something more.

“I was beginning to wonder when you’d wake up,” Rey whispered softly, turning in Ben’s embrace to face him. She wanted nothing more then to get lost in his eyes, quickly becoming drunk in their dark umber depths.

“Usually after sunset, sometimes earlier. Depends on what I have got going on. I could not leave you waiting too long,” he acknowledged, bending down to capture her lips with another kiss. As much as Rey wanted their kiss to linger, she was also very hungry and broke the kiss before it could become too intense.

“What are you fixing? Something with strawberries, I see. Is that avocado as well?” he queried, causing Rey to pull back slightly, glancing over at the cutting board.

“Oh, it’s just one of my go-to salads. Strawberries, avocados, spinach, red onion, sliced almonds and some lemon poppy seed dressing,” she listed off the ingredients in rapid succession before pulling away from his arms completely and returning to her task of cutting things up.

“I see. No meat?” he questioned.

“No...I don’t like meat. I can’t stomach it,” Rey acknowledged, looking up at him, noticing he was now casually leaning against the doorframe, watching her every move. She saw him smirk slightly, and attempted to read what thought just went through his head but came up with nothing. It was difficult to sort through his thoughts, as her telepathic abilities were still developing. Ben was far from having a simple mind, unlike so many others she had interacted with, which made it even more challenging.

“Surely there is some sort of meat you might like? Perhaps I can let you sample something later,” he said with a wicked glint in his eyes.

“Mmmm not sure if I could handle that meat,” Rey flushed deep crimson, knowing exactly what he was implying.

“But you want to, do you not?”

Must maintain calm here...yes, I want it desperately, I can’t exactly say that though...why did he suddenly just become even sexier? How does he do that?

“I might consider it.”

He grinned, as if catching her thoughts she had tried so desperately tried to hide.

“I can guarantee you have never tasted anything like it.”

“Well you’d be right about that, for many reasons.” Don’t look at his lips, you’ve already tasted those enough, you don’t need to be so thirsty. This is ridiculous. “Are we really having this conversation?”

“I do believe we are,” Ben replied with a laugh, letting his gaze linger over her body, shaking his head when he realized what she was wearing. “Is that…?”

“Yes, one of your jackets. You keep it very cold in this place, that’s why I put this on. Incidentally, I rather enjoy this jacket. Where did you get it?”

“Paris.”

“Ah, of course. The French are well known for their fashion.”

Rey served herself a generous portion and made her way towards the dining room, pausing to glance up at Ben, playfully brushing up against him before continuing on her way.

“That looks good on you, even if it is too big. I am dying to see what you have got on underneath it though.” Ben cast a devilish smirk at her before adding, “Perhaps I should put the heat on so you would be more comfortable taking it off?”

Ben sat down at the table opposite Rey as she dove into her salad, delighting in the way the flavors merged. She let forth a satisfied moan, picking up a piece of strawberry, knowing Ben was watching her while she ate. She stroked the juicy berry over her lips, staining them bright red. Holding the berry between her lips, she suckled on it slightly before biting it. Ben’s eyes widened marginally, and he absently licked his lips in response.

“You know Ben, I’m already starting to feel a little warm. Maybe you don’t need to bother with the temperature after all?”

To show she wasn’t all words and no action she sat the fork down, reached for the jacket, and began slowly peeling open the buttons. Her eyes locked on his, making sure she had his full attention as she caressed her hands over the velvet fabric, and she stood before easing the jacket over her shoulders. The dress she chose was dusty lilac in color, with a low sweetheart neckline and slightly puffed cap sleeves. It was gathered and fitted through the bodice and a flared out into a skirt that went mid thigh. Ben’s mouth went slack as he took in her appearance, and he shifted in his seat before resting his elbows against the table and leaning forward on them.

“You look ravishing,” he whispered, his eyebrows arched for emphasis as he spoke.

Smiling sweetly, Rey blushed at the compliment and settled back into her seat. Ben seemed to wait patiently while she finished eating in silence, deliberately taking her time, enjoying every last morsel of her meal. Rey was a fairly neat and thoughtful eater, measuring the balance of flavor in every bite. When she finished her meal, she dragged her finger through the last of the dressing on her plate, and licked it off with the caress of a pink tongue. Ben clenched his jaw, his eyes darkening.

Glancing up at Ben, Rey's face bore a ruddy glow as his darkened gaze caught her off guard. She knew her actions were effecting him, but she hadn’t quite anticipated how much. Feeling the heady waves of sexual energy that Ben was now exuding, she tried to maintain her calm. Grateful her legs weren’t visibly quaking, she stood then, making her way to the kitchen to clean up after herself. As her skirt fluttered around her legs with every move, she could tell Ben was even more distracted and aroused than he was before, and with each passing moment her desire only grew with his. Rey’s confidence soared as she realized what she was doing, successfully teasing him the way she did, despite being such an innocent virgin. That’s why when he reached for one of her wrists, clutching it in his hand, she looked up questioningly, trying to play coy.

“That is enough cleaning,” he murmured, releasing her wrist before trailing his hands down the length of her torso, causing her to shiver in anticipation, eager for what awaited them next.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: Bliss

Ben woke earlier than usual this evening, his body reanimating itself with a jolt. Licking his lips, he tasted Rey there, realizing that at some point in the day she must have discovered him in his slumber. He idly hoped it hadn’t frightened her, as he’d imagined the idea of seeing one’s lover lying dead in a coffin wasn’t ideal by anyone’s standards. Then it occurred to him...if she had seen him, that meant she got into his ordinarily impenetrable basement. That must have meant he forgot to lock up the basement properly. He’d have to be more careful, as he couldn’t risk just anyone catching him at his most vulnerable state.

Pushing aside the lid, he climbed out, stretching his limbs. He realized that action wasn’t necessary, but it still felt good to do it. Gazing around the room, he realized nothing was amiss, nor would it be. Her scent remained in the air, which was comforting. In a way, he was glad she had been there, and idly hoped she had lingered. He realized he had no guarantee whether or not she would still be there. The thought of her leaving and never returning left a bitter taste in his mouth. Then there would be nothing left for him, and it was something he feared more than he cared to admit.

Climbing the stairs up to the kitchen, he let forth a sigh of relief when he heard her voice. Was she talking to C-3P0? That chatty fridge had its uses and sure knew how to entertain a person, but had a bad habit of not knowing when to shut up. Ignoring that, he still couldn’t get over the fact that she actually stayed.

Ben approached Rey silently, appraising her as she worked at the kitchen counter with a knife, he had assumed she was preparing her dinner. The relief he felt that she was making herself at home in his space was even more profound than what he had felt at the mere idea of her having stayed. Feeling the need to wrap his arms around her waist, he did so, drawing her into him and immediately feeling a sense of completion at the contact. The contented sigh that slipped from her lips was all the reassurance he needed that she wasn’t going anywhere.

She had waited for him, and in doing so it was only natural that she kept herself busy. She sat down the knife she held in her hand, leaning into his embrace. He couldn’t resist the urge to kiss her, and the way her hair was tied up, her neck was beautifully exposed to him. It was so tempting to satisfy the hunger he felt for her, but he opted for kisses instead. He allowed his lips to linger on her pulsepoint to feel her artery throbbing beneath them.

“I was beginning to wonder when you’d wake up,” Rey whispered softly, turning in Ben’s embrace to face him. He peered down at her, momentarily caught off guard by the light she seemed to radiate from within. The way her impossibly wide eyes drew him in, he found himself drowning in her innocence and was truly enchanted by the woman he was so fortunate to be holding.

“Usually after sunset, sometimes earlier. Depends on what I have got going on. I could not leave you waiting too long,” he acknowledged, bending down to capture her lips with another kiss.

Allowing the kiss to deepen, he was pleased to taste strawberry on her tongue, something he hadn’t tasted in a long time. Her sweet kisses were addictive, and he wanted more. He couldn’t help but feel disappointed when she broke the kiss and pulled back. He felt her stomach rumble against him as he held her, and understood she only ended the kiss because she was hungry.

As she turned to resume her task of preparing food, he leaned against the doorframe and began a light conversation. Knowing she was a vegetarian based on what Jonathan had told him when he got her blood, he couldn’t resist the urge to tease her about meat. Noticing how easily she became embarrassed, he loved seeing how quickly the redness creeped over her features whenever she felt flustered. Hearing her thoughts on how much she desired him was most amusing. He never quite understood the appeal others saw in him, but he was pleased he affected her in such a positive way. Knowing how much he turned her on was unexpectedly arousing for him. Ben made it his personal goal to pleasure her in every imaginable way when the time came.

Since Rey was in a flirty mood, he decided it was only fair that he followed suit, shamelessly flirting and offering her wicked grins and playful turns of phrase. He found that it came naturally to him, as he enjoyed seeing her reactions. She threw him completely off guard when she withdrew his jacket and revealed the dress she wore.

He had always enjoyed seeing beautiful women wearing feminine dresses. The one she chose that night was exceptional; it accentuated her curves, showcasing her perfectly toned body and making her look positively delicious. Being polite, he told her that she looked ravishing, but that was an understatement. She seemed to appreciate the compliment, and he gathered immediately from her thoughts that she seldom received such praise. It was a shame because she was truly a goddess in every sense of the word, and should be thoroughly worshipped at every possible chance.

He couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Now every action she took only served as a distraction, drawing him in deeper and causing the craving he felt for her only to intensify. He wanted her now more than ever, and the primal urge he felt to take her and claim her as his only seemed to grow. Seeing her lick the last of her salad dressing off her finger was the final straw. He could imagine that sweet pink tongue twisting around his cock and her lips sucking him deep into her mouth. He knew he was done for when he he heard the sweet symphony of her blood rushing through her veins and the way her heartbeat quickened, he realized she was just as turned on as he was. As if the shameless flirting hadn’t indicated it enough before. He couldn't help but notice her legs were visibly quaking, whether it was from nerves or arousal was left to be determined. She tried to hide it with her movements, and the way her skirt swirled around disguised it well.

The heat Rey was radiating off her body only intensified with every passing moment, and the whole room began to feel hot - even to him. Finally he couldn’t take it anymore, and had to cease her nervous cleaning and claim her once and for all. She had driven him absolutely insane with desire, and he had to show her how she effected him. Although she tried to play coy, he knew better. He could tell she was satisfied at the knowledge that she had successfully turned him on, but he knew she wasn’t prepared for what that truly meant. She had crossed the line, waking his inner monster, the satyromaniac inside was itching to come out and play.

Rey turned to face Ben, standing on tiptoe and draping her arms around his neck. Ordinarily, he’d want to wear her arms around him like a prized award, a medallion of love. Not now. Not when he needed more. His lips crashed into hers before she even had a chance to say anything, and he could feel her melting into him again. Their kiss only intensified as his arms tightened and he pulled her closer in his embrace. Gone was the gentlemanly facade he chose to wear, and he ravaged her when he tangled his tongue with hers.

Ben trailed his hands down the curve of her back, caressing her ass and sliding his hands down her thighs until he met the hem of her dress. His hand drifted under the gauzy fabric of the skirt and he moaned as he caressed her naked thighs. They were thick and strong, her flesh there so silky. He remembered how they had felt on either side of his head when he had feasted upon her the previous night. Easing up one of her legs, he hooked it around his waist. Grinding himself against the growing wetness he felt in her panties, he debated simply taking her in the kitchen.

Remembering she was still a virgin, he knew she deserved a better first time than simply a heated romp in the kitchen. There was plenty of time for that later. He couldn't rush this, it was too important. Lowering her leg and taking a reluctant step back, he reached up with one of his hands, caressing her face. Peering deep into her eyes, he saw her aching desire reflecting his own.

“Let me make love to you, Rey. Please.” He whispered, smoothing his thumb over her lips.

Though she had been breathing heavily from their intense kiss, her breath hitched and he sensed from her mind that she was ready for this to happen. She wanted to give herself completely to him. Unable to find the words, she nodded her head, a nervous but excited look upon her face.

Rey squealed with delight when Ben scooped her up in his arms. Smirking, he realized she had been asleep last time he carried her like this, so naturally she wouldn’t have remembered. She leaned into him now, holding on with an arm around his neck. He couldn’t help but gaze lovingly upon her face before leaning in, his lips caressing hers till Rey tried to draw it out longer than he would have liked so he playfully bit her lip and pulled back, shaking his head slightly.

“Let us save that for upstairs,” he suggested, pulling her closer to his body before walking towards the staircase.

She was so warm, and he immediately caught the heavenly scent of her perfume. She smelled of peonies, raspberries and pralines. It was mouthwatering. The way she nuzzled her head against him left him feeling overcome with the myriad of emotions she stirred within him. Emotions he hadn’t felt for so long, encompassing everything from ecstatic joy and wonder to peaceful comfort and acceptance, that they utterly changed him. First in his mind was desire. For her. Once they had reached his bedroom, he set her down on her feet gently.

“So now what?” Rey queried, nervously wringing her hands together.

“First let us have a talk, shall we? You need to relax,” he held out his hand to her, and she took it with ease, allowing him to lead her to the settee. They sat facing each other, and Ben caressed her hands with his thumbs, tenderly rubbing circles over them. Rey’s back and shoulders were stiff, and her eyes bore a troubled expression. She was more afraid of this than he had realized, so he took extra measures to ease her mind.

“I understand your apprehension. I am sure you have heard a great many horror stories about how painful the first time can be. Let me assure you: I will not hurt you. I need you to trust me, Rey. Surrender yourself to me. I know what I am doing,” he kept his voice as soft as possible, his tone was borderline hypnotic when he spoke. He noticed Rey loosen slightly, but the concern was still apparent on her face. Ben let out a long slow breath, thinking about what would put her mind at ease.

Leaning forward, he reached for her shoulders, gently turning her body away from him. Rubbing his hands together in an effort to warm his skin, he began massaging her shoulders and neck, causing her to moan blissfully. So that’s what she needs? Simple enough. He continued his ministrations, gradually working his way down her back. A smile played at his lips as he watched Rey roll her shoulders slightly. With each passing moment he could sense she was becoming more and more relaxed as her body arched languidly into his hands. Reaching for her zipper, he slid it down slowly, leaning in to press kisses upon her exposed flesh.

Grasping her sleeves, he trailed them along her arms, pausing only when they reached her elbows. Caressing her naked shoulders with the gentlest touch, he relished in the smoothness of her skin and the heat that radiated from her with her arousal. He stood, walking around to where he could face her, holding out a hand to lift her up. Wanting to see her chestnut locks wild and untamed, he threaded his hands through her hair and loosened the braid she had put into it. Once her hair was fully undone, he held the back of her head, caressing her neck as he began kissing down to her jaw and along the column of her neck.

Moaning again, Rey grasped her hands around Ben’s shoulders, digging in her fingernails as she began breathing heavily. The sensation was most pleasant, even through his jacket. He could only hope she’d continue with the tantalizing interplay between pleasure and pain once they were both fully bared to one another. Secretly it was something he would always hoped his mate would do for him whenever he found her.

“That’s it, Rey…” Ben whispered between kisses, “Let go of your fear. It is all in your mind.”

Trailing his hands down the length of her torso, he relished in the softness of her dress, knowing her body was even softer beneath. Grasping the hem of her skirt, he stood back from her and began pulling it up her body. Automatically, Rey drew her hands over her head, and he was pleased he didn’t have to guide her actions. She may be a virgin, but she had good instincts, and he could tell she trusted him completely.

Resting the dress carefully against the back of the settee, he took her in, admiring her as if she were the finest work of art he had ever set his eyes upon. He wasn’t convinced that he had seen anything finer in all his two hundred years, and he told her such. Rey looked down, seemingly embarrassed by his compliment, biting her lip. In her mind he saw that she was self-conscious about her body, as no one had ever seen her so exposed, and she was afraid of disappointing him. Disappointing? Really? Far from it. Stepping closer to her, Ben caught her chin and gently drew it up, tugging slightly to loosen her lip from her teeth.

“You broke the mold when you were created, my sweet,” he spoke reverently.

Holding out his hand for her again, he guided Rey to the bed. She climbed eagerly upon it, crawling towards the center and sitting down with her legs stretched out. Lifting each foot, Ben loosened the straps of the sandals she wore, taking them off and setting them down on the floor. He paused only when he noticed the tattoo she had on her foot of three stars. It was unexpected, but he liked it, pressing a kiss to each star.

Stepping back several paces, he knew from her thoughts that she wanted to watch him as he undressed. He slipped off his coat and tie, laying it on the settee next to her dress. Working his fingers along the buttons of his shirt, he slowed the speed at which he unbuttoned them when he realized Rey’s eyes trailed along with each one as it came undone. When he untucked it from his pants, peeling it off his torso and tossing it aside, her eyes became almost impossibly large as she took in his naked torso.

Again, he observed that gorgeous shade of crimson creeping over her skin as she blushed. Reaching for his belt buckle, Rey bit her lip, and the inhale of breath through her teeth was purely primal. Loosening the belt he wore, he caught the edge, and pulled it through, causing it to snap slightly as it came off completely. That startled Rey somewhat, and she jumped at the sound, but she wasn’t truly frightened. Ben caught the tantalizing thought from Rey’s mind that she had always fantasized about being tied up and whipped. That's something I could easily arrange...but not with a belt.

She tucked her legs beneath her as he kicked off his shoes. Reaching for the button and zipper on his pants, Ben smiled smugly as he watched Rey leaning forward in anticipation of the prize she sought. He drew his pants down his legs, leaving his boxer briefs on. They were tented out, straining with his desire as he approached the bed, crawling his way up to kneel by her side.

“Remember, my sweet, this is all in your mind. Let go of the fear. Surrender yourself.” he whispered, leaning in to kiss her again, letting forth a deep groan as her soft warm hands began caressing the hardened muscles of his shoulders and chest.

Ben felt Rey trail her hands down to his abdomen, grasping at the edge of his boxers. He playfully swatted her hands away.

“Not yet, sweetheart, slow down,” he suggested, his tone even and calm.

Reaching his hands around behind her back, he unclasped her delicate lacy bra and removed it with care as not to ruin the fragile garment. He began lavishing affection upon her small pert breasts, delighting in their warmth, loving how smooth they felt in his hands. When the scent of her arousal hit him, it hit him hard. It was sweet and tangy, much as it had been last night, though it was significantly less coppery. Her arousal was intoxicating and it took every ounce of willpower he possessed not to simply pound her into oblivion and consume every last drop of her virginal essence.

With a gentle push, Ben eased her to lay on her back, his hands trailing down her curves as he caught the waistband of her panties. Trailing them down her legs, he had a twinge of déjà vu, as less than 24 hours ago, he was doing much the same thing. He felt it would be easier if they simply remained naked...and perhaps they would after this.

For now, he was pleased to see her laid bare before him, and he pulled back, taking the time to study her carefully, memorizing every detail of her body. He adored the way her hips flared so unexpectedly, despite being otherwise petite. They would make a lovely handhold for him. Each freckle, scar, or imperfection was a beacon for him to kiss or caress. He thoroughly worshipped her body now, not leaving a single inch of flesh untouched. By the time he was done, she was writhing uncontrollably beneath him, and he knew she was ready. Slipping off his boxers, he tossed them aside, sighing with relief as his manhood was finally freed and he was completely nude.

Ben wanted the focus to remain on her this time around, so he positioned her body to prepare her for their union. Carefully drawing up her knees one at a time, he eased her thighs back, effectively blocking her view of his body. Rey’s eyes had been closed up to this point, and he could see from her glazed expression that she was still lost in a state of bliss he had rendered unto her with his kisses and caresses.

Gazing down into her kaleidoscope eyes, he marveled how the ambient lighting in the room seemed to draw out the greens and golds there. Gently caressing her cheeks, he noticed her breathing slow down, sensing she felt a new degree of anticipation. Drawing even closer to where she lay, he situated himself between her thighs, giving them a gentle push down and spread wider. He could feel the heat radiating from her core, and when he stroked himself against her juicy slickness, coating his manhood in her essence they both shuddered at the sensation.

Pressing his cockhead against her entrance, he rested his hands on either side of her torso, effectively caging her in. Leaning to kiss her lips again their tongues caught in that sweet tango once more, making her moan mournfully when he pulled back. Shifting his head to the side, he pressed a kiss just below her ear on her pulse point.

“Remember Rey, you need to surrender yourself to me.” he whispered, as he took the initial thrust, barely easing into her folds causing her to gasp. Pulling his hips back slightly, he pushed forward again, easing in deeper, planting more kisses along her neck.

“Lose yourself to sensation.” he murmured, going in even deeper, letting forth a moan that echoed hers. Rey wrapped her hands around his biceps, fingers digging into the flesh of his toned arms as he thrust forward even deeper into her, still not completely inside.

“No pain.” he breathed softly against her, making the final push in, until he was buried completely in her tight heat. He pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes, losing himself in the sensation.

“No pain,” she echoed, letting forth a deep sigh, involuntarily arching her back.

He gave her body a few minutes to get used to the full sensation of being intimately connected with someone. Taking the utmost care to be as gentle as possible, he began to move within her, as her name slipped from his lips in a breathless whisper. Each thrust drew forth a pleasured moan or sigh, and it became soundtrack of their love making.

Rey’s body curled in around his as she hooked her legs over his hips, pulling him down closer to her. Ben readily complied, wrapping his arms around her, eager to take their heated union to a new level. Their bodies moved as one as Rey began to meet his thrusts, and Ben was pleased at how she had allowed her instincts to take over. Once his bold little minx began dragging her nails down his back, he knew he was in for it. The pleasure only intensified when she began kissing along his shoulders.

Then Rey took it another step and clamped her mouth onto his neck, drawing forth a love bite and suckeling on his flesh. Feeling the tables turn on him like that was utterly unexpected, never had a woman made the move to bite him. He nearly cried out at the intense sensation, instead a sinful moan spilled from his lips as he tightened his grip on her. It sent a tingling sensation down his spine, and it was something he immediately loved. She could keep her teeth locked to his flesh as long as she wanted, and it wouldn’t bother him in the least. Even though the marks she left with her love bites would heal, he’d still remember the way it felt.

He could sense Rey was nearing her orgasm how. Her thrusts against him felt more urgent, and in response, his hips pounded into hers with total abandon. Rey withdrew from Ben’s neck, throwing back her head and exposing her throat to him. With the sensation of her bite still fresh on his mind, he pulled back slightly as he continued thrusting. Peering into her eyes, there was an unspoken question upon his lips. Though her eyes were glazed and somewhat unfocused, she nodded once, giving him the permission he needed.

Dipping his head down again, he opened his mouth wide upon her delicate flesh, sinking his fangs into her neck and she exploded beneath him. Rey's orgasm nearly triggered his as he drank from her, transporting them to that higher realm they’d soon call home, as frequently as they’d visit. He rode out the waves of her orgasm, her tight little cunt rippling against his cock as he took another long draught of her sweet nectar. Her blood burned through him as he slowed his movements, and he lapped his tongue against her wound. Closing his eyes, he pulled his head back, as his whole body shook with hers. Easing his cock out slowly, he untangled their limbs, gazing upon her with a newfound sense of adoration. This wasn’t over yet.

“Turn over,” he ordered, his voice husky as he spoke.

She immediately obeyed, her legs still quivering from her orgasm. Drawing her up onto her knees and pressing her body against his, he wrapped his arm around her waist as he thrust into her again, burying himself to the hilt with ease this time. He couldn’t help but love how quickly her body adapted to his. She truly was made for him. Wrapping his other arm across her chest, he rested his hand against her neck, caressing her collarbone as he continued moving in her.

Rey’s thighs began to quiver uncontrollably, and he could sense she was building up another orgasm. He could tell she wanted to collapse against the mattress, and he tightened his grip around her, not allowing her to waver in the slightest. It only took a few more long thrusts before she became completely undone, this time taking him with her. Together they moaned and cried out, their bodies shaking as one.

Ben collapsed to the side at last, keeping her with him, his cock remaining buried deep within, not wanting to leave her juicy warmth just yet. Feeling her aftershock surging through her body, her cunt rippled around his cock again, milking the last bit of his essence from him, causing him to soften gradually. He watched Rey carefully, unsure of what sort of reaction she might have as she came down from her high. She rolled away from him, resting on her stomach, and he reached out, stroking at her unruly, sweaty hair. When she finally shifted to face him, she wore the biggest grin, her eyes sparkling with sweet satisfaction.

“You were right...it was all in my mind. Once I surrendered to you, the only thing I felt was pleasure. That was incredible,”

“That is just the beginning, my lovely one. I suppose I should have warned you before hand. Vampires have insatiable sexual appetites and zero downtime. You will likely wear out long before I have had my fill,” he admitted, a knowing glint in his eyes as he spoke.

“I’ll try my hardest to keep up with you then.” she offered, her eyes shone as a woman who had tasted the forbidden fruit and was eager to taste more.

Ben gathered one of her hands in his and began peppering kisses along her knuckles and the back of her hand, making her giggle. He glanced up at her through his lashes, a smile playing on his lips. He was eager to take her again, but he knew she’d start to feel the soreness from their union soon and he didn’t want her to suffer.

“What do you say I draw us a nice hot bath and you relax here, then we can take it from there? Does that sound good to you?” He asked, releasing her hand. He began stroking at her hair and face again, loving how she melted under his touch.

“That would be wonderful, thank you. I don’t feel like moving anymore so I might doze off a bit. Is that ok?” her words were already trailing off with her evident sleepiness, and Ben resisted the urge to laugh. Already worn out after round one? I can’t wait to teach her how to push her limits and give her more.

“Perfectly fine, I will let you know when it is ready,” he offered, leaning forward and capturing her lips, noticing she didn’t return the kiss as she had already fallen asleep. Sliding off the bed somewhat reluctantly, Ben made his way to the en suite. Approaching the tub now, he reached forward, adjusting the tap to get the perfect temperature. Hmmm...a simple bath isn’t enough. This needs more.

As the tub began to fill, he went back to the bedroom, pausing to look at Rey who had curled slightly onto her side. Approaching the nightstand, he gathered up a few of the roses from her bouquet, carrying them with him to tub. Plucking off the velvety white petals, he let them fall into the water, watching them swirl around in the tub. It was only a quarter of the way full, he knew it would be a while before it was completely filled as it was a rather large old tub. Gathering up some candles from a nearby cabinet, he scattered them around the room. Realizing he had neither matches nor a lighter, he headed downstairs to the kitchen.

Shuffling through his cabinets in search of matches, remembered he had some unopened bottles of wine from the last party his coven had hosted there. Deciding a nice white wine might suit Rey’s palate, he selected one of those. Gathering up the wine, a glass and some matches, he made his way back upstairs. Upon entering the bathroom, he was pleased that the sweet fragrance of rose clung to the air.

Turning off the water, he lit the candles before pouring a glass of wine and setting it down on a small wooden table next to the tub. Returning to the bedroom, he climbed onto the bed next to Rey, who had rolled over to her back in her sleep. Stroking along her curves with a tender touch, he leaned forward and kissed her, causing her to stir.

“It is ready.” he whispered, “Would you like me to carry you again?”

“Please.” Rey mumbled sleepily, reaching up her arms for him. He gathered her up without a moment's hesitation, her warm petite form collapsing into his as they made their way to the en suite. Lowering her down slowly into the tub, he relished in the blissful moan that escaped from her lips. He’d never tire of hearing her moan like that. He settled into the space behind her, pulling her body to lay against his.

“Would you care for some wine?” he offered, glancing down at her.

“I’d love some. You don’t miss a thing, do you? All of this...it’s just so unexpected…” Rey stated sweetly, reaching up to caress his jaw.

Ben picked up the wine glass, and took a sip into his mouth without swallowing it. Turning her chin toward him, he opened his mouth to her, allowing the wine to flow into hers. They began to kiss, which invariably turned from something innocent to something fiery in a matter of minutes. He playfully bit her lip and she moaned, reaching back and grasping upon one of his thick thighs. Drawing one of his arms around her torso, he grasped upon one of her breasts, massaging it and teasing her nipple, causing it to pebble beneath his touch. This elicited an even louder moan from her lips.

“This reminds me a bit of a dream I had a few weeks ago…” Rey sighed, shifting beneath the water to face Ben.

“Oh? Let me see…” he questioned, stroking his fingers along her temple and closing his eyes. In an instant, he was transported to her dream, witnessing it first hand as if he were there when it happened. He saw her in the bath as he snaked his way up her body from beneath the water and kissed her passionately before feeding from her breast. He felt the sensations that rippled through her body, as it was her dream. The initial pain she felt from when he bit her was surprising, but the pleasure she experienced after was all too familiar after their recent intimate encounter.

“My my...you have quite the imagination,” Ben suggested with a surprised laugh. Opening his eyes again, he was gifted with Rey’s profuse blush at being caught red-handed.. “Coincidentally, that is something I would do. Perhaps it was a glimpse into the future?”

“Perhaps. Feel free to feast upon me that way, if you wish to make that dream come true.” Rey offered, gesturing to her breasts.

“Such a temptress. That is enough of that now, Rey. I will never get you clean if you keep that up.”

“What if I don’t want to be cleaned up?” she queried, challenging him with her eyes.

“You, my darling, are insatiable. Indulge me here. Let me take care of you then I will give you more, I promise. The night is still young.”

“Fair enough. Can I have some more wine?”

“Certainly. I will let you have the glass this time, though,” he insisted with a slight chuckle.

Handing her the glass, he reached for the shelf beneath the tabletop and gathered up a bar of soap and a washcloth. Rey sipped her wine thoughtfully while Ben cleaned her. The sweet fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and ylang ylang intermingled with the rose that clung to the air. It was earthy and floral and oh-so-seductive, assaulting to the senses in the best possible way. Ben was hoping this fragrance would cling to her, as he knew combined with her natural scent that it would be even more delectable.

Once he decided she was clean enough, he draped the washcloth over the faucet and took her now-empty wine glass from her. He began washing her hair then, working his long fingers through her tresses, massaging her scalp, causing her to relinquish a subtle laugh.

“Hmmm?” He questioned.

“If you had asked me a week ago what I’d be doing right now, this would be the last thing I would have ever imagined,” she shook her head slightly, “Your fingers truly are magical, have I mentioned that?”

“You might have at some point, if not verbally then in your mind. Believe me, I am just as awestruck over all this as you are. I would not want it any other way, though.” Once her hair was thoroughly rinsed, she sat up, as he moved his arms around her beneath the water, caressing her curves and playfully brushing his fingers over cunt.

“I do believe you are clean,” he murmured, gripping at her thighs appreciatively.

“Does that mean you’ll take me now?” she asked, reaching down to grasp upon his hands, guiding him to wrap his arms around her torso and resting her arms on top of his.

“Only if you want me to.” he responded softly, resting his head against hers, giving her body a gentle squeeze.

“You don’t even have to ask.” she breathed, her tone indicating she was ready for more.

“Good. I have an idea then. Step out, will you? There are towels over there.” He encouraged, gesturing towards a nearby towel rack.

Pulling the plug on the tub, Ben climbed out, realizing he’d have a bit of a mess to clean up later with the rose petals, but it was worth it. Making his way over to the towel rack, he pulled one off and began drying himself off, noticing Rey following his every move. Once he was sufficiently dry, he hung the towel back up, and approached her slowly, a wicked grin playing at the corners of his mouth as he eyed her up and down. Catching her arm, he guided her across the room, leading her towards a full-length mirror and turning her to face it.

Unwrapping the towel she had tied around her body, he let it fall to the ground, causing her to automatically cover herself with her arms. Gathering her hands in his, he gently spread out her arms, exposing her completely. Lifting her chin when she tried to look away, he made her look at herself - at both of them - in the mirror.

“You are so beautiful Rey, do not ever shy away from that. Look at yourself. Truly. If only you could see yourself the way I do. Your beauty is unparalleled.” Ben complimented, making sure her eyes were fixed on their reflection as he reached for her neck and tilted it to the side, peppering her with kisses. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he eased his hand down her stomach past her abdomen and to her pubis. Lifting his head back up to lock his gaze with hers, he thrust his fingers into her tight needy cunt.

“Do you want to watch me fuck you?” He asked, his voice taking on a lower tone than before. He lazily stroked his fingers in and out of her, causing her circle her hips in rhythm with his fingers.

“Yes...please…” Rey whimpered.

“I was hoping you would say that. Let us move over here. Bend over the counter. You can grip the edges if you need to. Keep your head up though. I want your eyes on us the whole time, is that understood? If you close your eyes at all, I will stop.”

“Understood.” Rey replied, as she obediently made her way to the counter, bending over per his request.

Ben let forth a strangled moan as he gazed upon her, seeing her ass hoisted in the air, her dripping cunt ripe and ready for the taking. Her willingness to submit to him was a pleasant surprise, and it would seem she was a natural. Stroking his hands down her back and squeezing her ass lightly, he wrapped his fingers around her hips, gripping them tightly as he angled his hips. Their gaze locking in the mirror, he thrust forward and set a quick pace without warning.

The intensity of Ben’s movement and the way his thighs slapped against Rey’s ass sent her plummeting to a new level of pleasure, and Ben witnessed her expression changing with every movement. Her jaw went slack and her mouth formed a perfect O as her eyes gradually closed in her delirium. Ben stopped his movement mid-thrust, causing Rey to snap back into attention, her eyes refocusing on them as her breathing quickened. Ben grinned at her immediate reaction, flexing his fingers against her hips, coming up with another idea.

“There is a new rule...you cannot cum unless I give you permission,” he muttered, watching her gasp in response, her grip on the counter tightening.

“And what if...what if... I do…” she asked, choking out her words with effort. Oh she wants to play it that way?

“Simple. I will punish you.” his response got the desired effect, as she turned her head to the side to look up at him wide-eyed. He arched his brow in response, ceasing his movement again. She quickly faced forward, her attention on them. Rey continued to watch them, and Ben quickened his pace, realizing how close she was to her release. Just as she was about to teeter over the edge he stopped his movement and pulled out. She nearly cried out in frustration.

“Punish me how?” Rey asked through gritted teeth.

Ben smoothed one of his hands over her ass and drew back, smacking it hard with a satisfying sound, causing her to let forth a surprised squeal. The sound was something he had hoped to hear again, as it was almost as sexy as her moans.

“Like that. Shall we continue? I know you are close to your release. If you are a good girl, I will let you have it. I might even let you have mine. But you have to ask me nicely first.” He realized the irony in his statement the moment he said it. Rey was far from being a good girl. She was a bewitching minx, and she had him under her spell. He couldn’t let her know that though and did his best to conceal the thought before she caught it.

“Please, Ben.” Rey whispered then, caressing the edge of the counter. The way she shifted her hips caused Ben’s cock to twitch. He wasn’t sure what was more enticing - hearing her beg for pleasure or realising how she had submitted so willingly to him.

“Please what?” He asked, leaning over her body and kissing along her shoulders and upper back.

“Please take me...fuck me now…” She had fully submitted to him when she begged him to fuck her, and it was like music to his ears. So many wonderful things had slipped from her lips tonight, each one more enticing than the last. Idly he realized he could never get enough of her.

“As you wish,” he rewarded by slamming his cock into her and setting an almost punishing pace, causing her to cry out. He alternated his pace between vigorous and agonizingly slow, making her body to quiver beneath him, but she held firm. He could sense it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to hold on much longer and so he finally relinquished her needs.

“Cum.” he commanded, and she came undone with the single word.

Her body shook violently beneath him, tears streaming down her face as she screamed out in exquisite pleasure. The intensity of her orgasm triggered his and he gripped her hips so tight he knew she’d be bruised tomorrow from it. He gathered from her mind that she didn’t care. Her thoughts were chaotic. She was all but lost, continuing to convulse below him as he slowed his movements and withdrew from her. When he pulled back from her completely, she nearly collapsed into the floor but he caught her with ease, drawing her up into his arms again and carrying her back to bed. Laying her down carefully, he walked around to the other side, climbing in next to her.

Rey’s body continued to quake as she moaned pathetically with each movement. Ben was afraid he had given her too much too soon, but she assured him with her mind that she was more than fine. He let forth a not-so-subtle sigh of relief as he drew close to her, causing her to cuddle against him. He lazily caressed her back, knowing the soothing sensation was exactly what she needed. Her breathing slowed and evened out, and in no time Ben could tell she had fallen asleep again.

They remained cuddled together like that for hours, with Rey sleeping, and Ben wide-awake, simply watching her and holding her in his arms. He didn’t want to move for fear of waking her. Ben glanced into her mind on occasion, witnessing her dreams as she experienced them. It was one of those rare occasions when he could actually enjoy his telepathic gifts, finding them to be a blessing rather than a curse.

Eventually she rolled to her side, away from him and he eased out of bed. Carefully moving the covers that were under her, he drew them around her body, grateful that she remained asleep through his actions. Once she was tucked in, he went to his wardrobe and selected a slightly more casual outfit, opting for blue jeans and a fitted black tee-shirt. He took in his new look as he passed another full-length mirror and decided he liked what he saw, although it could just be the afterglow he felt from having consummated his love for Rey.

Making his way to the music room down the hall, he debated whether or not he should shut the door. He imagined Rey would actually enjoy hearing him play, even if she were asleep, so he left it open. Shuffling through his sheet music, he selected several pieces and approached the piano, laying out the music on the stand and sitting down on the bench. Flexing his fingers in anticipation, he lifted the keyboard cover and lovingly caressed the keys. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, he began to play. He lost himself in the music like he always did, closing his eyes. Although the sheet music lay spread in front of him, he had it memorized and simply let the music flow through him as the night melted away.

Chapter Text

 

Rey woke slowly, her body languidly spread across Ben’s large bed, blankets having been kicked off at some point in her sleep. Clutched beneath one of her arms was a plush pillow. Pulling it up to her face, she buried her nose in it, and could smell Ben. Letting forth a deep sigh, she curled her body around it, idly wishing it was him instead. She hated having to wake up alone, especially when she had fallen asleep so comfortably in his arms. The way he stroked her hair and caressed her back had been so soothing. It felt like she could stay wrapped up with him like that for days on end, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

The night came back to her in bits and pieces. She could never forget just how gentle he was with her that very first time. With all the kisses and caresses that led up to the moment itself when they connected intimately, it was as if they were coming home. Their bodies were so attuned to one another. She wished she didn’t have to let him go. Being filled by him was the most spectacular sensation for her. He completed her in ways she never thought imaginable.

All those years she had denied herself from being close to anyone, and now she had Ben. She couldn’t help but think he’s the only one truly meant for her, and doubted she would ever feel this way about anyone else. A part of her worried perhaps she was jumping to conclusions thinking he’d be her one and only forever, but with him being immortal it was a distinct possibility. As an added bonus, he did seem rather dedicated to her, something she found shocking, because he could have anyone. She assumed he had quite a bit of experience given his age, but he seemed to only have eyes for her.

Rolling over now, Rey winced in pain. Her entire body ached, and though she was ordinarily in good shape, she had used muscles that seldom got used. Ben had thoroughly worked her body. At the time, it all felt incredible...but now after the fact, she wondered if she’d ever get used to the pain that followed the pleasure. Did she truly want to though? No. That lingering pain reminded her it was real. He had been here. They were joined in those moments, and would be again and again, and she craved every second of it.

Climbing out of bed, she carefully made it. Drawing the sheets up to the edge, she noticed some brass rings attached to the posts. Making her way to the foot of the bed, she noticed more. How peculiar. Why would Ben need these on his bed? She shook off the thought, knowing he’d tell her later if she asked.

Picking up her duffle bag, she dumped it out on the bed, sorting out piles of clothes and other necessities she had brought for her stay. In her haste to pack, she had only grabbed one of her favorite boots. She also noticed that she had left her mother’s necklace behind, as well as several other things, and determined she’d need to return home. Shaking her head at her forgetfulness, she selected her clothes for the day and slowly dressed.

Passing a full length mirror on her way downstairs, she couldn’t help but notice upon seeing her own reflection that she was actually glowing. It was subtle, but definitely there. Not a trick of the lighting, either. Rey seemed to be radiating light from within herself. Idly she wondered if it was some sort of gift she possessed as a witch. Had it always been there? Ordinarily, she had gone to great lengths to avoid her own reflection. After last night, the way Ben forced her to see who she was, she finally saw herself the way he did. The light her mother had told her about in the birthday letter really was there.

The more she thought about it, the more she realized that perhaps it had something to do with her proximity to Ben. What kind of light was it? Was it just visible or was it ultraviolet? Vampires were sensitive to ultraviolet light. Was this a natural defense against them? If so, would Ben be affected by it? It was something she needed to talk to him about. If only he were awake now. Rey longed to see him again. She knew she’d have to wait for nightfall, which would easily be another ten hours, but it would be worth the wait.

Rey made herself a bowl of oatmeal with almonds and cranberries, carrying it with her to eat in the sitting room. Curling up on one of the sofas, she turned on the TV, surfing through the channels before settling on a campy vampire movie. She laughed out loud at how ridiculous their representation was. Since when could vampires walk in the sun? Why on Earth would they sparkle? Such demented fictions for angsty teenagers. At least the lead actor was attractive, although he paled in comparison to her Ben.

After an hour and a half of that nonsense, Rey realized that was a chunk of her life she’d never get back. At least it helped to pass the time. Cleaning up after herself and making her way back upstairs, she freshened up in the bathroom, washing her face and brushing her teeth. Opening up one of his bathroom cabinets, she found a hairbrush and began to tackle her unruly hair. She almost never let her hair dry naturally, whenever it did, it wound up a half curled, knotty mess. Taming it as best as she could, she pulled it half up.

Returning to the bedroom, she picked up her phone and plopped down on the settee. Idly, she noticed her dress and Ben’s coat and tie were still there, despite everything else having been cleaned up. Smiling shyly, she caressed Ben’s coat before picking it up and putting it on. Breathing in his comforting scent was enough to hold her over for a few hours.

Pulling up her messaging app, she sent out a text to Rose, suggesting they meet up for lunch. Almost immediately Rose responded, and they agreed to meet at noon, choosing to eat at the King’s Arms Pub again, as that was a favorite of Rose’s.

Rey idly surfed through her favorite blogs to pass the time until she needed to leave. Shrugging off Ben’s coat, she stepped into her sandals, making her way out to the garage and the car that awaited her. Driving was quicker than walking and she was grateful to have a vehicle at her disposal.

Rey arrived to the pub well before Rose did. It was to be expected, Rose had indicated she would be in a meeting that might make her late. It just gave Rey more time to daydream about the incredible man who was waiting at home for her, come nightfall. She sighed dreamily, nursing her drink and looking out over the park across the street. Oh God I am so late...so so late...Hearing Rose’s thoughts, Rey was shaken from her reverie as her friend entered the pub. Standing, Rey scanned the room for Rose before seeing her and waving her over.

“Rey, I hardly recognized you! You look amazing!” Rose gushed the moment the two met at the table, giving each other a hug.

“Thanks, Rose! You look very professional, but that’s to be expected. You are in the middle of a work day.”

The two settled into their seats, looking over their menus.

“Yes, well, not all of us are lucky to be off on vacation.” Rose said with an easy laugh, her eyes appraising Rey as she studied her friend. “I know that look, Rey.”

“Oh? What look?” Rey questioned, tilting her head to the side and eyeing Rose before returning her attention to the menu.

“You have a dreamy look in your eyes. Your smile is lighting up the room. It’s like you’re a million miles away. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re in love. Spill. I want to hear all about him!”

“Oh…” Rey said, immediately flushing a deep crimson as she thought of Ben, “So you remember that guy I danced with at the club a couple of weeks ago?”

“How could I forget him? Tall, broad, perfect hair, dreamy eyes, nice ass...girl, are you telling me…?” Rose asked, a twinkle of envy in her eyes.

“Yeah...we kinda hit it off.”

Rey could’t stop blushing. In fact she worried she was starting to get sick, as she was feeling somewhat feverish. Maybe it’s because she was thinking of Ben, and he was making her feel hot. She squirmed in her seat, bumping her knee on the table and cursing at the pain.

“Look at you girl! You’re obviously smitten. I can’t entirely blame you. I want more details! What’s his name? What does he do? How did you guys meet?” Rose asked, leaning in closer to Rey, her eyes dancing with excitement.

The two were interrupted momentarily by a waiter who brought them ice water before taking their orders. After taking a sip of her water, Rey began speaking, her tone light and musical.

“His name is Ben Solo. I don’t exactly know what he does, we’ve never really discussed it. Kinda crazy story how we met actually…”

“So wait,” Rose interrupted, “you don’t know what he does? Does he know what you do?”

“Well yes, of course, he dropped one of his cars off for repairs once.” Rey explained as if there was nothing unusual about that.

“Oh, that’s not weird at all. Don’t you think that’s something you should know?”

“I never really thought about it...I guess we need to talk more.”

“For sure, you never know, he could be doing something illegal. Guys these days are so unpredictable, you gotta be careful. He looks like he’s a really sweet bad boy, the kinda guy who is a gentleman on the street but a total freak in the sheets,” Rose suggested with a mischievous glint in her eyes

Rose!” Rey blanched, nearly choking on her food.

Smacking her friend in the arm lightly, she cleared her throat and took another sip of water. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Rey chose to ignore what Rose had suggested, even if it was true. She opted for a more diplomatic approach instead.

“I can see where you might get that impression. He is a total sweetheart though, you’re right.”

“I’m glad to hear that. Do you love him?”

“I think I might...but it’s too soon to tell, you know? I mean he the first person I’ve had romantic feelings for...I don’t know what it’s even supposed to feel like.”

Rey couldn’t tell Rose the truth...she was madly in love with him. The fact shocked her as she realized it. It was unexpected, but true.

“Do you feel like you’ve been running for hours and your heart is about to burst out of your chest? Like the only way you can catch a breath is if you breathe him in, like he’s your sole source of oxygen? Do you feel like you’re falling and there’s no hope of getting up unless he’s were to catch you, only to take off soaring with you to a higher level? Do you feel like your heart no longer belongs to you?” Rose asked, her words flowing out in rapid succession.

“Yes…” Rey said in a breathless whisper.

“Oh Rey, honey. You got it bad.” Rose gathered Rey’s hands in hers for a moment, giving them a gentle squeeze and smiling, “I’m so excited for you! I really want to meet him sometime soon. Maybe we can do a double date?”

“Thank you! I’m pretty excited too! I’ll talk to Ben when I see him tonight, and we’ll work something out with a date.” Rey squeezed Rose’s hands again before releasing them and returning to her salad.

They ate in silence for several minutes, both grinning for different reasons. Rey arched her eyebrow now as she witnessed Rose placing her her fork down and immediately digging into her oversized purse. Rose had a playful look on her face when Rey regarded her now.

“I got something a few years ago, that I have found extremely useful. I feel like given your inexperience, you could benefit from it. Now that you’ve got yourself a boyfriend, I’m going to give you these!” Rose said, handing her two small books.

Rey reached out, taking them into her hands. The books were worn around the edges, and had obviously been read more than once. She read over the titles, immediately flushing deep crimson. Tickle his Pickle and Ride ‘em Cowgirl, with suggestive pictures on the covers of a woman holding a pickle to her lips on one book and the other with a woman drawing a cowboy hat over her face.

“Are you serious right now?” Rey asked, her tone incredulous.

“Serious as a heart attack. You’ll thank me later, sweetie.” Rose said with a wink.

“I...uhm...okay?” Rey said, uncertain of what else to say.

Rose laughed heartily at how flustered Rey had become.

“Trust me on this. When you go home after lunch, read them! I promise you, Ben won’t know what hit him when you show off your new skills!” Rose suggested with a wicked grin on her face.

Rey could only nod, tucking the books into her own purse, looking around and hoping no one in the pub had witnessed the exchange. Rose began laughing again at Rey’s expression. As much as Rey felt embarrassed she was grateful that her friend had been proactive and she didn’t need to ask any awkward questions. Presumably, everything she needed was in those books.

The two women finished their lunches shortly after, Rose checked the time and cursed when she realized she had already stayed with Rey longer than she had intended. She had to get back to work before her next meeting. They bid each other goodbye, and Rey swore she’d let Rose know how effective the books had been, and that she’d talk to Ben about their double date.

Rey made her way back to her flat in record time, practically skipping into her flat. Drawing the two books out of her purse, she climbed upstairs into her bedroom, settling herself down onto the bed and looking down at the books. Reading them carefully, she found herself oddly aroused by all the suggestions within the pages, the illustrations of positions made her curious how she and Ben would look trying things out experimentally. Nevermind how they’d look, how would they feel?! Incredible. He’d take me across the universe, I wouldn’t even miss being bound by gravity.

Climbing off the bed, Rey crossed the room to her desk and settled down on the chair, opening her laptop. Drawing up her search bar, her hands hovered over the keys. She began typing in a word before backspacing it and grabbing her mouse, clicking “New Incognito Window”. Even though it was her personal laptop, sometimes her friends would use it. She couldn’t have them stumble on her search history and see what she was after.

How to please your man she typed now, looking at articles from Cosmo, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. She realized quickly that all of these articles were the same at the core, and didn’t teach her anything. Taking a deep breath she began another search. Female friendly pornography.

She had always been critical of pornography, and found it foul and unnecessary, oversexualizing both men and women and giving an unrealistic view of sex...and yet, for the sake of science...she needed more than just pictures to inspire her. Finding a video that appealed to her, she watched carefully, trying to look at it from an educational point of view. Seeing the bodies of the lovers in the video so passionately coupled reminded her of the way it looked last night when she witnessed Ben taking her. The way his muscles rippled when he thrust into her was like poetry in motion, as his body was truly a sight to behold. Those little grunts of effort he made and the way he moaned her name was like music to her ears. He was truly a magnificent lover, if ever there was one. She couldn’t imagine anyone being better.

Rey sat back in her chair, realizing she was circling her hips in time with the thrusts of the couple on screen. She found herself hiking up her skirt and dipping her hand between her thighs, immediately shocked by her own heat and wetness. Closing her eyes, she remembered the way Ben felt as his body pressed against hers, his cock buried deep inside of her. Tugging aside her panties, she stroked along her sopping wet slit.

Circling fingers around her swollen clit, she whined pathetically before thrusting two slender fingers deep into herself. Throwing her head back, she began fucking herself with her fingers. The sounds of the lovers going at it on her computer screen and the memory of Ben taking her over and over again took her to the edge within minutes. It started in her lower abdomen, that familiar tingling, spreading through her core and swirling around her body she felt herself winding up tighter and tighter. Her years of self-pleasure had been for naught, as they paled in comparison to being truly filled by her lover and yet at this moment she found herself surprised by the sudden gush she felt pouring out of her, she had never given herself an orgasm quite like that.

Remembering last night, when Ben had told her the “new rule” that she could only cum when he gave her permission left her feeling guilty but satisfied. She had brought herself pleasure so many times in the past, but this surpassed any of her previous experiences. Surely he had only meant that one time, right? At the thought of what punishment he might bestow upon her this time, she immediately closed her internet browser. Standing up on shaky legs, she stripped and made her way to the shower. Cleansing herself quickly, she rid herself of whatever residual wetness she had from her experience, ignoring the sensation of the water pouring over her cunt and focusing on what she needed to do to make herself look good for Ben.

Once she was satisfied with her appearance, she collected the things she needed from her flat, making her way back down to the lobby and picking up her mail. Hopping back into Ben’s wonderful little MG, she zoomed across town and back to his flat, grinning when she noticed the sun had started to set. It wouldn’t be much longer till he was up. Fixing herself a light dinner, she nibbled on some hummus, vegetables and pita bread, zoning out as she read one of the books Ben had in his vast collection. Cleaning up after herself, she settled down on one of the sofas in his sitting room, picking up where she left off in the book.

Rey heard Ben’s approach as he padded across the hardwood floors, turning her head, she drank in his appearance. The fitted black tee-shirt and lowhung blue jeans made him appear almost boyish with his unblemished smooth skin. His pale arms were exposed, revealing a hint of his perfectly sculpted biceps and triceps. Looking down she noticed he was barefoot, giving him an overall casual and carefree look. Though she had already eaten her supper, she found herself ravenous, and only he could satisfy her craving.

“There you are!” Rey exclaimed, standing and walking towards him.

Rey noticed Ben appraising her with his eyes, and he grinned appreciatively at the dress she chose for him this evening. Seems she and Rose would need to shop for more dresses - and soon - as clearly he loved seeing her in them. Drawing him into her arms, she peered up at him as he bowed down and bestowed a kiss upon her lips that left her mind reeling. His irresistibly full lips pressed against hers before slipping in his wicked tongue and tasting her, consuming her as only he could. When he pulled back, he gave her a knowing smirk as she gazed upon him with glazed eyes, breathing heavily.

“Good evening, my sweet. Tell me about your day.” he suggested, moving to stand at her side.

They walked hand in hand and settled onto the couch facing one another.

“Ah well, I met with my friend Rose for lunch. We had a fantastic time. She wants us to go on a double date with her and her boyfriend Finn.”

“Is that so? Hmm...I do not think I have ever gone on a double date. Does this mean we are...how do they say it these days...official?” He asked, chewing thoughtfully on his lip, causing her to laugh at at the way he analyzed modern phrasing of things. She wouldn’t have been surprised if he had suggested that they were courting instead, as it seemed more likely what a young couple would do in Victorian Times.

“I suppose it does, if you want us to be?” She had tried so hard to keep a level head, hoping her voice sounded steady. Inside she was a flurry of emotions that he had even suggested taking their relationship further.

“Absolutely.” he said without a moment’s hesitation, drawing her hand up to his lips and kissing it tenderly.

Rey blushed profusely in response, pleased with the knowledge that they were something more than simply complicated enemies or friends. She found herself looking over at him again, drinking in his casual appearance, shifting her hips where she sat. Ben graced her with a sexy half-smile, caressing her hand in his.

Rey found herself thinking about the way he felt inside her then remembering the pornography she had watched. It wasn’t nearly as sexy as witnessing him taking her had been, but it was enough to get her aroused. It was the thought of them coupled that brought her to her final release. She was certain he must have seen that in her thoughts along with everything else that transpired.

“What else have you been up to?” He asked innocently as Rey felt herself unknowingly dropping her guard. When she didn’t respond the way he apparently expected her to, he drew up one of his hands, cupping her chin and gently forcing her to look at him.

“Hmm. It would seem you have been a naughty girl today, haven’t you?” Ben asked, his tone somewhat deeper as he easily caught where her thoughts had drifted, “Haven’t you?” he whispered now, peering deep into her eyes. She swore in that moment she could almost feel him drawing the memory from her mind.

“Yes,” she admitted, deep crimson flooding her cheeks with her arousal.

“Say it out loud, Rey. Tell me you have been a bad girl,” his tone made her squirm again in her seat and she felt herself starting to get wet.

“I’ve been a bad girl,” she whispered.

“What was that? I did not hear you. Say it louder.” he stated, his eyes narrowing slightly as he spoke.

“I’ve been a very bad girl, Ben,” she responded louder, giving him what she had hoped was her most innocent expression. She drew one of her hands up to her mouth, playfully biting at her fingernail. His eyes widened marginally, and she saw him lick his lips, swallowing reflexively.

“Bend over my knees. Now,” Ben ordered, his tone flat, emotionless.

Rey obediently draped herself across his lap, ass hoisted in the air. Her eyes searched the floor, noting the pattern of deep reds and golds on the Persian rug beneath the coffee table. She could feel Ben easing her skirt up, and slipping her panties down her thighs. His cool hand rested on her naked ass and she felt her heartbeat quicken. Bracing herself mentally, she had hoped she knew what he meant to do next. If he were to start spanking her, she would be ready for it, as it was something she desperately craved although would never admit.

“You touched yourself without my permission,” he stated matter of factly.

Rey bit her lip before affirming, feeling him lift his hand off her skin. It came down with a satisfying smack. She jerked slightly with the impact, pleased with the way her body now tingled, and could hardly resist her hips from squirming.

“You made yourself cum without my permission,” he stated, his voice jarringly low, making a shiver trickle down her spine.

Rey nodded her head, reaching out and gripping the leg of the coffee table, feeling his hand come down again on her ass. He tenderly rubbed her cheeks as she squirmed again beneath his touch. The way he soothed the pain away only made her desperate for more, as his punishment was more than desirable. She never imagined herself the type to enjoy that sort of thing, but then again, he had been the one to awaken her desire. It shouldn’t be surprising that her kinks mirrored his.

“You like this, do you not? Making me punish you because you are such a bad girl,” he sharply articulated the last two words before landing another smack.

She moaned her affirmation, her body shuddering. She felt him rubbing her ass again before he dipped two fingers into her cunt, the fullness instantly more satisfying than it had been when she fingered herself that afternoon. Moaning low, despite having covered her mouth, she was left for wanting more.

“Fucking Christ, Rey. You are soaking wet. I think we need to take this upstairs.”

He pulled her panties off the rest of the way, drawing her skirt back down to cover her up. Rey shifted down to the floor on her knees, looking up at Ben. His pupils were fully dilated with his arousal and she could tell by the way his chest heaved that he was ready for more action. He confirmed this by bringing the panties up to his face that he held clutched in his fist. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply before letting forth a guttural moan.

“Move. Now,” he demanded, indicating up with his finger.

Rey nodded, standing and making her way up the stairs, Ben following closely behind. The thought of what deliciously sinful things he might have planned for them caused her arousal became more profound with every step she took, her thighs becoming slick with her juices. She took her time climbing the stairs, deliberately swaying her hips as she knew Ben was right behind her.

Ben must not have been patient enough to make it up the stairs all the way, as she felt his hands on her her waist, halting her movement. He smoothed them around to her front before easing her down onto her hands and knees. Instinctively she began to clutch the edge of the stairs. She felt him tuck his head beneath her skirt and his hands reached up and spread her cheeks. Rey whimpered the moment his tongue dove into her folds, her knees immediately buckling as she knelt on the stairs. His tongue worked its magic on her again, swirling around her clit and licking deep into her opening. He captured her clit with his teeth and sucked hard, causing her to arch her back and buck into his face. Her body shaking, she knew she was on the brink of an orgasm when she felt him pull his head back.

“Ben, why?” She cried out pathetically, glancing over her shoulder at him, not really able to focus in her state of delirium.

“Because you cannot cum until I am inside of you. You know that. If you even try, your punishment will be worse. Believe me,” he answered, and she could hear the smirk he must have had on his face as he spoke.

Rey was uncertain if she could stand again because her legs were quaking so much. Apparently Ben had sensed that, as she felt him pull her body back into his, shifting her in his arms to carry her in his arms the way he loved to do. Draping her arms around his neck, she dipped her head down, nuzzling her nose into his hair and breathing in deeply. He carried her up the stairs the rest of the way before laying her down on the bed. Rey sat up, observing him as he walked around the room, searching through drawers until he found what he was after. She saw him withdraw some black silky looking rope and a blindfold. What she saw next made her eyes go wide and her jaw drop. Ben pulled out a black and red leather whip, with a diamond patterned woven handle and dozens of strips of leather dangling down enticingly.

BDSM was something she had heard about, and what little she knew of it came from her exposure to certain movies which appealed to the desperate housewife audience. The idea of submitting herself to someone was more than merely appealing. She was eager to feel what she had hoped would be the best mixture of pleasure and pain, and she had high expectations given that Ben would be taking charge again as he had briefly the night before.

Approaching her again, Ben gazed upon her with a knowing look. Rey knew he had seen her fantasies...and now they were about to become reality. She could hardly contain her enthusiasm, and she forced her breathing to slow down as she let him strip her the rest of the way. With a gentle touch, he had eased her to lay down on her back, bending down and kissing her tenderly on the lips before working his way down to her neck, playfully nibbling on her flesh without fully biting down.

Ben made his way up to one of the corners. Rey followed his every move as he began looping the silky ropes through the brass rings on the bed posts. That's what those are for! Ben gathered her wrists in his hands, one at a time, bestowing kisses onto them before tying the other end of the rope around them on either side.

Climbing on the bed, Ben straddled her hips, reaching for her arms and pulling on them carefully, testing the knots and length of the rope. Rey thrust her hips up against him as he was checking the knots, and he looked down with a smirk, shaking his head no. Leaning over her body, he adjusted the rope on her right arm before bending down and capturing her lips again, drawing out their kiss and making her moan against him.

“Now listen. When we play like this, if you tell me to stop, I will not stop. That is part of the fun. Only if you are truly in pain or afraid of what is happening to you will I stop. I will be able to sense it in your thoughts, but in case I do not catch on to it, I want you say a certain safe word. Do you want to come up with your own word, or shall I?” He asked, caging her in with his arms, his hair hanging down on either side of his face.

Rey wished her arms weren’t restrained, as she longed to stroke his hair, his face - anything she could touch. The look he gave her now was a mixture of seriousness, excitement, and desire. He wanted this as much as she did, and she could tell by the way the hardness of his arousal pressed against her. Her mind was clouded with her desire, but she knew she needed to come up with her own word, as it would be easier to remember it if it were something she came up with. Harkening back to her martial arts training, she remembered the word stop in Korean.

Geumanhae” Rey said softly, her eyes searching Ben’s as he processed this new word.

Geumanhae?” He repeated, getting a feel for the word.

“Yes.” She replied, nodding for emphasis.

“Do not forget that. Geumanhae. I hear that word and I will stop everything I am doing and untie you, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good girl. Hopefully you do not need your safe word. I do not want to hurt you, ever.” Ben’s tone was very sincere and Rey knew he’d take good care of her. Her heart fluttered when he smiled then, and she glanced down at his hand as he showed her the blindfold he held.

“Now I cannot have you see what is happening to you, so lift your head…” he suggested, as he smoothed her hair down before tying a blindfold over her eyes, securing it with a double knot.

The moment the world around Rey went black, her heart skipped a beat as a combination of fear and heightened excitement took over. She felt Ben ease her head back down to the pillow before she felt his weight leave the bed.

Having to rely solely on her sense of hearing was difficult at first, and she couldn’t quite track him as he moved around the room. She knew he was at the foot of the bed when she felt him capture her ankle in his hand. Kissing the flesh there tenderly, much as he had with her wrist, she felt him tying her to the bed. He lifted her legs to check the knots and slack on the rope, as he had with her arms, and he let forth a satisfied hum when he had finished the task.

She suddenly became aware that his movements were too quick for her to track, as she could feel a fleeting breeze when he passed her. It was cool as it tickled her skin, and she wondered what on earth he could be doing. Hearing the distinct striking of a match, she realized he had set up candles and was now lighting them. Always with fire. If only he knew how I burned for him.

His breath caressed her neck then, as he drew close to her ear.

“I burn for you as well.” He whispered, nibbling on her earlobe. Gasping at the sensation she turned her head towards him only to realize he had stepped away.

Rey discerned a muffled sound of fabric moving and assumed Ben had taken off his shirt. Hearing his feet padding across the floor again, his steps faded as he went down the hallway, leaving her shocked when she realized she couldn’t hear him any more. Had he left her there, bound and blindfolded to the bed? Surely not? Shifting uncomfortably within her restraints, Rey flexed her fingers and rotated her wrists.

After several minutes, she heard the sound of music drifting down from the hallway. Ben had chosen to put on one of his old records, apparently. It was a piece she was unfamiliar with but was immediately drawn to, the rhythm of the guitar spoke to her in whispering words of endless yearning and deep rooted desires. Each instrument that added to the melody only added to the sensual nature of the piece, making her intuitively aware of what was to come.

What is the music? She asked with her thoughts, to which he replied Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo.

Rey knew Ben had returned the moment she felt his full lips touched hers. Sighing into his kiss, she lurched forward when he pulled back. She felt a warm liquid begin to dribble over her breasts, pooling over one nipple and then the next. What’s that?

“It is hot wax. Do not worry, it will not burn you, it is soy. I can use it as a massage oil too. It is actually very useful. Made for this exact kind of play.” He explained in a hushed tone as he trailed patterns over her chest.

It was a sensation unlike anything she had felt, and it was as if he were painting her with a molten liquid brasserie. She assumed he had set the the candle down nearby because soon his hands were on her breasts, massaging in the melted wax. Squirming beneath his ministrations, the contrast of the cooling wax on her heated flesh to his icy hands was dramatic. Rey had heard of ice cube play, and Ben’s touch was akin to that. Her body arched languidly against his hands, and she tugged hard at her restraints, reaching desperately for him and falling short by the limitations of the ropes. All she could do was grip her hands into the sheets, imagining they were his body she mewled beneath him.

One of his hands continued its journey down her body as he began to lavish affection on her breasts and ribs with his mouth. Circling a finger around her belly button, he smoothed his hand over her abdomen. Trailing fingertips through her feathery down, he stroked down the outside of her juicy slit, rubbing his thumb over her clit in slow circles. He knew the music well, as he timed his movements with the piece, and she could have sworn he was playing her body as if she were starring in the performance. Pulling on her restraints again, she longed to touch him the way he touched her. She sighed his name when he he dipped his fingers into her cunt, the lewd sounds of her womanly nectar squished in time with the passionate music.

“Please! Don’t stop!” She cried out desperately when she felt him pulling away. Lurching her body forward, the ropes caught, and she cursed that the knots were tied so perfectly. She bit her lip at the pain, knowing no matter how much she pulled she couldn’t undo his handiwork.

A new sensation took over her body, as she felt something soft tickling the flesh of her upper arms. It must have been the whip, she realized, all those fine strips of leather dancing upon her flesh. Ben had begun by trailing the lash enticingly slowly down her left arm, causing her to shrug up her shoulder and roll her head to the side, a heavy sigh escaped her lips. The leathery ribbons continued to brush enticingly across her breasts and stomach, over her cunt and down her legs. Rey was grateful she wasn’t the ticklish type and instead she was left writhing and panting at the sensation.

At the crescendo of the music she felt the whip come down sharply against her breasts. Screaming out his name, she arched her back as he lashed her again across her ribs and then upon her thighs. The impact caused tears to sting her eyes. Never had she imagined that this kind of pain could feel so good. She tried to draw up her knees but the restraints on her feet stopped her. The last time the whip landed upon her body she began trembling, on the cusp of orgasm.

“Rey…” He growled in warning.

“Ben I’m not sure how much longer I’ll last,” she confessed, her voice raw and breathing ragged.

“Please, take me...please...I need you,” she whimpered, following with a litany of whispered pleas, as her desperation for completion reached a newer height.

Rey heard the sound of his button unsnapping and the zipper going down, along with the rustle of fabric as he drew his jeans off his body. She felt his weight on the bed again as he climbed up between her legs, his hands tugging at the knots on her ankles and freeing them from their restraints. Pushing her thighs up, he plunged his hardened cock deep into her tight, needy cunt. His name spilled from her lips in a choked sob, and she never felt more complete. The pressure of his body on hers changed as he angled himself closer to her. Their bodies pressed against each other and he began to move within her. Feeling his hand caressing her face, he withdrew her blindfold. She blinked several times, realizing he had turned off the lights and they were surrounded by the soft glow of candlelight.

Rey reflexively wrapped her legs around Ben as he bowed to kiss her, their lips crashing into each other sloppily, teeth gnashing, groans escaping their lips as they breathed each other in. The sound of him moaning her name along with the rhythm he had set as he fucked her left her blissfully drifting to another realm. She met his thrusts with her own every time, and was left was whimpering and sighing. He caressed her curves and along her still-restrained arms, hastening his speed the moment he realized she was ready to burst. Rey smiled at him when he drew his torso back and stared intently into her eyes.

“Cum for me, beautiful witch.” he ordered, and she came undone, squeezing her eyes closed and screaming as her orgasm tore through her body.

Rey felt it sparkling through every cell as if they had all burst simultaneously, followed by mini explosions, random like fireworks sparking around the rest of her body. She saw stars, and the moment she felt the sting of Ben’s fangs sinking into her neck, she also felt his release. When he spurted deep within her, it triggered another wave of spasms to course their way through her body. Gradually he slowed his movements within and had begun licking and kissing at the wound he had made, caressing the opposite side of her neck with his hand, causing her to sigh contentedly.

Easing her legs down from around him reflexively as he pulled out of her, she watched as he reached over her body again, untying her hands. Settling down on his side next to her, he peered at her, a curious expression on his face. Rubbing her wrists, she glanced over at him, a smile playing at her lips.

“Did you like that?” he asked, his tone light as if he already knew the answer.

“Of course I did, Ben. You fulfilled one of my deepest, darkest fantasies. Thank you.”

“It was my pleasure, believe me. You looked magnificent, all splayed out and bound up like that. It was such a treat for me.”

“I wouldn’t mind if you did it again.” Rey suggested, rolling to her side and caressing her hands over his chistled torso.

Rey doubted the great Renaissance masters could have ever sculpted a more perfect body than the one that lay next to hers. Ben smiled shyly, catching the thought from her mind. Shifting up on her elbow, Rey pushed him gently on the chest so that he would lay on his back. She began studying his body the way he had studied hers so many times, caressing her hands over his hardened flesh, playfully walking her fingers from mole to mole, connecting the constellations that spread across his skin. He tucked one of his arms under his head and watched her exploring curiously. She always seemed to hesitate whenever she drew close to his cock, and he smirked in response.

“Although you were very naughty earlier today...surely you must have learned something. Show me,” he suggested, his cock twitching invitingly as she witnessed him growing hard again.

Swallowing nervously, she positioned herself further down his body, and reached for his hardened cock, wrapping her slender fingers around the middle of its considerable length. He took in a sharp inhale in response, closing his eyes against the sensation. Stroking her fingers carefully down his shaft, his hips rose to meet her hands. Feeling encouraged by his immediate response, she drew her body closer to his, dipping down and licking up the beads of precum that dripped from his red swollen head.

“Fuck,” he cursed through gritted teeth, the moment her lips wrapped around him. He gripped tightly to the sheets, pulling on them as she eased her mouth down his shaft. Realizing he was too big to fit entirely in her mouth, she swirled her tongue before drawing her head back, releasing his cock with a satisfying popping sound. His eyes flashed open and he drew up his torso, leaning on his elbows and peering down at her, his mouth agape.

“I’m not done, don’t worry,” she said teasingly, stroking his length again, grinning as she watched his head fall back.

Rey ran her tongue up and down the length of his shaft, trailing along the thick vein there, opening her mouth to him and taking him in again, her hand gripping at the base of his cock. Lowering her head down further than she had last time, she felt his cockhead hit the back of her throat. Gagging slightly she pulled back up, drawing her hand up his shaft as she went.

Ben let forth the most sinful moan then, and she knew that using her hand and mouth together was exactly what he needed. He reached down one of his hands to thread his fingers through her hair, loosely holding the back of her head as she continued to bob upon and stroke his cock. She let forth a pleased hum when she tasted more of his salty yet sweet essence on her tongue. Glancing up at him through her lashes she witnessed the most blissful expression on his face, his eyes were closed and his mouth open, jaw slack and he was panting with his rapture.

“So close…” he moaned, tightening his grip on the back of her head.

That was her cue to pull back. He had suggested she show him what she learned, and she was more than eager to comply. Time to be a cowgirl and ride my stallion. She climbed up his body as if it were a tree, opening her legs to him and mounting him, rubbing his cockhead against her aching cunt. He opened his eyes again, letting forth a gasp as he watched her lower herself down upon him.

The sensation was more than extreme, as this angle was totally different from what she had experience previously. Rey groaned lowly as she circled her hips, grinding her cunt against him, somewhat uncertain how to move. Ben gripped her hips, guiding her to move up and down against him. Remembering how the book showed her to position her legs and feet, she settled herself upon him, and together they moved. It was slow at first, and she dug her hands into his chest, her fingernails breaking the skin more than once. She marveled as his skin healed around the scratches and it only made her want to scratch him more, making him cry out in ecstasy.

Laying her body down against his, she began kissing him, letting him take over with the thrusting as he moved his hips in a perfect rhythm, hitting a spot inside of her that made her toes curl. She began nibbling the flesh along his collarbone and he mewled beneath her, a most curious sound which she loved to hear.

Finding the will to move again, she shifted her thighs up, gripping his torso as she began bouncing upon his cock now, his moans were like a recurring chorus of a song sung only for them, a duet which she joined with her own. She could feel her orgasm building and she drew her torso up slightly, causing her breasts to bounce in Ben’s face. He shifted one of his hands up to grasp upon her right breast as his mouth closed on her left nipple.

“Do it, Ben...bite me…” she breathlessly begged. He hesitated for a fraction of a second and their eyes locked as he opened his mouth wider, his fangs glinting in the soft candle light before they disappeared into her breast and his lips closed around the tender flesh. They both closed their eyes, moaning as a sense of euphoria took over when he began to drink. She arched her back against him, and the orgasm that rippled through her transported her to another time…

Suddenly she was herself, and yet she wasn’t. She saw memories going back...back...1980’s, 1920’s, 1870’s...this wasn’t her first life. Not by far. She had been reborn, time and time again. He was there. Every time, he was there. They were meant to be together. Yet...every interaction seemed to fail. First it was a night at a dance club, then it was a night listening to a Chopin concert...they were together, and yet...Then there was that fateful night in the Belle Epoque era, the vision she had seen when she first kissed him. He had lured her into a social gathering and then he murdered her, feeding from her till her heart beat no more.

A tormented cry spilled from her lips, she knew Ben had seen her vision as he drew back from her breast. Her blood was still fresh on his lips he tried to shush her and calm her. Climbing off him, she grabbed a pillow curling it up against her as the last of her orgasm shook its way through her body. She cowered away from him, glaring intently with unseeing eyes. Rolling over, Ben drew up on his knees to face her, licking the blood that had spilled from his lips.

You...you fed on me...and you let me die?!” she seethed, her voice rising with hysteria as she screamed out, tears streaming down her face.

Chapter Text

 

Ben had done it again. He had made Rey panic and left her wrapped in anguish. That look on her face, eyes bleary, mouth twisted in a grimace of pain and torment. His very nature at a point in life when he was most uncontrollable had been revealed and had left her shaken to the core. He deserved whatever wrath she decided to throw at him this time, much as he had last time. Hadn’t he warned her of this somehow? How difficult it would be to love someone with his predisposition? Yet despite all her anger, he still felt that undercurrent of love rippling through her. How is that even possible?

“It was a mistake, I swear. A different time...a different me. I have changed, you have to believe me,” he claimed, shaking his head as he spoke. He felt terrible pain and guilt, even more so having witnessed the tears that seemed to flow endlessly. Her trembling lips looked so sweet, and despite knowing how much agony she seemed to be in, he wanted nothing more than to kiss her. To taste the salt of her tears and ease away that pain. Was he selfish for wanting that?

“How? When? Why?” she asked, breathlessly.

Unable to resist the urge to comfort her, he reached out his hand for her shoulder, causing her to jerk back automatically. Clearly she wasn’t ready for that. Gathering up another pillow, he held it to his body much as she had hers, feeling the need to cover up his nakedness and that persistent erection that didn’t seem to want to go away. He mentally cursed his body for not knowing when to cool down, obviously the moment for that was long over. Raking his hand through his hair, he was crestfallen, as he let forth a slow steady breath. Rey deserved to hear the truth about what happened that ill-fated night, as well as so many other nights. The words needed to flow.

“It was about that time, actually. When I regained some of my lost humanity.” He pursed his lips, momentarily, wrapped in thought. Might as well not hold anything back.

“You see, when a vampire is newly turned and feasts upon the living he becomes a raging monster of sorts, wanting to feed non-stop, his thirst unquenchable. Each body I claimed was better than the last, but never enough. I had become a veritable killing machine. It was shameful. Looking back, I have no idea how many people I killed. It was not me...I mean, it was, but...it was like I was someone else,” he said, pausing to further sort his thoughts.

By now, Rey’s breathing had evened out. He had sensed from her thoughts that although she was still upset with him, she was genuinely intrigued by his story and in a silent plea begged to hear more.

“Tell me how you vanquished the monster that is Kylo Ren. I want to hear everything,” she whispered, lip no longer trembling but her voice still raw.

“Very well, my lovely one. I cannot deny you anything. This likely will not be easy for you to hear,” he offered in warning.

He found he couldn’t quite look at her anymore, despite the fact that she had come down from her earlier sense of panic. His story of the early years was one that haunted him to this day. Ben didn’t want to remember anymore, didn’t want to tell her, and yet she deserved to know.

“I don’t care. I need to know the truth,” she claimed.

“Fine. I will continue then. My coven mostly consisted of younger vampires at the time. We would hunt in packs, and I would lead. Then one night it occurred to me, humans could be more than...more than just a meal,” Ben wore a pained grimace, casting a fleeting glance at Rey. She nodded encouragingly, not quite willing to smile, but still curious.

“Indulging in pleasures of the flesh, combined with feeding intensified the experience. We would host parties - grand balls of sorts, quickly turning into blood orgies. Some of us had not quite mastered feeding without killing, so the vast majority of those who came to our parties never went home. We moved every few years to different countries, so as not to draw attention to ourselves.

“The time I found you...was at the end of that era. We had been moving about, hunting like savages for over two decades by the time I found you. Telling you all this now makes it seem even more dreadful than it was at the time. Goodness.” He said, covering his mouth with his hand. He wished he could simply forget everything, and yet the memories were still as fresh as the night he made them. Haunting him in his waking hours, as if the nightmares he endured weren’t enough already.

“So why did it end? Did it have something to do with me?” Rey asked, her emotions still causing her voice to waver as she spoke. Ben watched warily as she shifted her position on the bed, crossing her legs, yet still clutching the pillow. Drawing up one of her hands, she stroked away the tears that fell from her eyes. Amazing how a little story telling seemed to calm her, despite the disturbing content.

“Actually it did have something to do with you. Restoring my lost humanity was a two-fold event for me. I distinctly remember you, your chestnut hair curled in ringlets, pinned up in a beautiful style as was fashionable for the time. You and I had an almost instant connection, it seemed. We talked for several hours before I…” Ben swallowed nervously, pressing his lips together.

“Well, you know. I remember looking down at you, seeing the life fading from your eyes and I felt instant regret. I had taken you...I had ended you...and you were so innocent. Curious by nature, with a brilliant mind. You were truly ahead of your times with your wit and humor. I snuffed you out as if you were nothing…” He closed his eyes to the pain he felt from the memory. Why was he foolish enough to think he could confess all of this to her, and not feel the torment of his actions that still haunted him after all these years?

Reaching forward with a shaking hand, Rey surprised Ben by touching his face, closing her eyes and immersing herself in his memory. The scene played out for the two of them as she witnessed herself lying underneath him, curls loose on the settee, her mouth poised open, her eyes lifeless.

The actions that happened next in his memory had clearly surprised her, as he could hear her gasp as a distant echo. In his memory, he had stroked hands over her face, closing her eyes with a delicate touch and dipping down, pressing kisses to her closed eyelids. He had whispered an apology to the fragile corpse, as if she would have heard it but it had been too late, for she was gone.

As the memory faded, Ben found himself staring into Rey’s bright eyes, she was alive, as if it were some sort of miracle. She came back to him. It seemed she always would until they made things right. The expression she bore was one of sorrow. That she could witness that memory directly left him humbled and trapped deeper in the shame he forever carried with him. In a way he supposed he should be happy, as she was now alive and so full of life - and most surprisingly - love for him. He didn’t deserve it.

“Ben…” Rey whispered, her voice barely audible.

“That was not the last straw. It was a huge part of what lead me back to my humanity. I told you it was twofold, right? You were not the last innocent person I killed. There was...Han…” he choked out the name when he spoke it, he could barely stand to say it, even after all these years.

“Who is Han?” Rey asked, scooting closer to Ben and taking his hands into hers. He felt his lip trembling as he drew in a shaky breath, giving her hands a gentle squeeze. This was a story he had never told anyone, and it felt a hundred times worse than the one of when he murdered Rey as an innocent young lady. Patricide was never to be taken lightly, as it’s something much more personal.

“Han...Han Solo...was my father,” he said, his voice wavering with emotion.

“Ben...you killed your own father?” Rey asked, her mouth agape.

He acknowledged her with a slight nod, unable to speak. Hanging his head low, he tried not to let the pain twist him any more than it already had. He had been split in two the moment it happened, and he scarcely wanted to feel that sense of agony again. Feeling Rey reaching up with a tender touch, she stroked his hair back that had fallen around his face, tucking it sweetly behind his ears before speaking again.

“Let me see it...show me the memory. Please.” Her tone was gentle and sincere.

Ben met Rey’s gaze, parting his lips as if to speak, but no words came out. He knew what he had to do, but he didn’t think he had the strength to do it. What backlash would he face if she saw just how very depraved he was? Her eyes were warm and gave unspoken words of reassurance and acceptance. Clenching his jaw slightly, he leaned forward, pressing his forehead to hers. Immediately they were both taken aback, immersed within his memory, which was far more intense then the one she had previously witnessed.

It was the mid-1870s, and Ben had been walking down a darkened dirty street in Old London. The streets around him stank of human refuse and industrial waste. The air was thick with smoke. Rats skittered about around him. It was most unpleasant, and yet it hardly fazed him. He had been wandering in the early hours of the morning, lost in his thoughts.

“Ben!” a man called out at him from across the street. He turned his head upon recognizing the voice, taking in the old man who approached him now. The man must have been in his 80’s, but he had a light step as he walked as if he were younger.

“Han Solo? I somehow knew this moment would come. What do you want?” he questioned his father, folding his arms across his chest. When had his father grown so old?

“Ben, I cannot believe it. After all these years! I have found my son!” Han eagerly stepped towards his son, watching with a hint of sadness as Kylo took several steps back.

“Your son is gone.”

“No, he is alive!” his father looked him up and down, scrutinizing his appearance. “Somehow remaining unchanged, untouched by time…”

“You are mistaken, for I am not your son -- nor am I alive. Ben Solo is gone forever, I am Kylo Ren.”

“Ben...what has happened to you?” Han bravely took another step towards Kylo.

“Stop calling me that!” Kylo spoke through gritted teeth, baring his fangs at his father in an attempt of scare him off.

Han’s eyes widened marginally, and his heartbeat quickened, thudding louder in Kylo’s sensitive ears. He could smell his father’s fear. Good. Kylo hoped that would be enough to make the old man back off. Kylo didn’t want to hurt Han, but he would if he had to. Unfortunately, the infuriatingly determined man stood his ground, much to Kylo’s dismay. When Han spoke again, he bravely stepped closer.

“No, Ben, not until you come home. It’s been thirty years since the night you disappeared, but I never gave up hope that I’d see you again. People told me to give up on you but I knew you had to be alive. I’ve never stopped looking for you.” The kindness that shone forth from the old man’s eyes was gut wrenching. Han Solo had felt so inspired, so warm and giving, so eager to have his son back.

“I have no home with you, Father. Nothing you can say or do will change that. You cannot begin to understand what I have become,” Kylo said, seething as he spoke.

“Ben...Kylo...whoever you are, it doesn’t matter. I love you.”

Han reached out with a shaking hand, resting it on his son's shoulder. Kylo swallowed nervously. A part of him missed his father, and the gentle touch was welcome. No. Kylo couldn’t allow sentimentality to take over and make him weak. Snoke had told him to more or less sever connections and not make any attachments, and so he had to stand his ground. Gritting his teeth, he jerked away from his father's touch, hoping the words he said next would be enough to rest his case.

“Well, I do not love you. I do not love anyone, nor will I ever love again.” Kylo drew up his chin in defiance as he spoke.

“Son, you can’t mean that…” his father had choked out, he was clearly grief-stricken. The tears that had welled up in the old man’s eyes had began to spill, but it was too little too late.

“I am not your son,” Kylo growled out.

He had grown tired of this conversation and could not allow his past to compromise his current position as leader in a great coven. Kylo needed to silence the old man and be rid of his influence. He would not be reduced to weakened fool. Finding no other alternative, Kylo physically lashed out at the man who had been his father. Clutching onto the old man’s jaw, he twisted his neck, killing him instantly with a sickening crack.

He stood there frozen in the street as his father’s body crumpled at his feet. A jolt went through his body, and the realization of what happened struck him. How could he have reacted so impulsively? What sort of monster had he become? Dropping down to his knees, he picked up his father’s corpse, stroking the old man’s thin gray hair from his face.

“What have I done?” he questioned, screaming out into the night.

Ben drew his head back from Rey’s as the memory faded from around them. Fresh tears fell from both of their eyes. Rey drew one of her hands up to her mouth, at a loss for words. Several minutes passed in silence, with them simply looking at each other.

Again, she surprised him by reaching out and taking him into her arms. Curling against her body, he lay with his head on the pillow in her lap, clutching onto her as if his life depended on it. Rey tucked her legs to the side for stability before reaching down and stroking Ben’s hair. They both wept for those who had been lost in the past.

“It’s no wonder you’re conflicted, you have suffered so much.” Rey whispered at last.

“No, not always,” Ben choked out between sobs. He cleared his throat, sitting up and peering into Rey’s eyes. Her tears had long faded, and a new light shone from within. Being in her presence had been like the most soothing balm to his tortured old soul.

“You had a hell of a rough start,” she said, nodding her head knowingly.

How could it be this easy for her to understand? Surely she can’t be serious, accepting the horrors of his past. He was a monster through and through, and yet she managed to see his lost humanity as if he were something more than just a creature of darkness. Could this be the meaning of love? Or was he simply reaching?

“Yes. You understand.” he whispered, eyes wide and mouth agape with wonder.

“I do. I also think I know why we were brought together time and time again. Why we’re meant to fulfill the prophecy. Alone we are lost...wandering souls in a world, full of deception and hardship. Together we’re invincible. You belong to me, as I belong to you. Together we can combine our forces and work for the greater good. Our love has, can, and will defy all odds.”

Ben shook his head, his lips curling into a smile.

“Ever the optimist, Rey. You know how to make light of every situation, do you not?”

“Of course. It’s one of my coping mechanisms. All of my life, I’ve felt so alone and had no sense of belonging. It was as if I was trapped in a dream and living someone else's life, watching from the outside. In a way, perhaps I have. I’ve always been different, but never knew why. Knowing what I am and having my place in something greater has been life changing. At least now I don’t have to be alone.”

“That is true. You are not alone.”

“Neither are you. I love you, Ben.” Rey whispered, leaning forward and pressing her lips to his.

He found himself reaching up to cup her jaw, smoothing his thumb over her cheekbone. He couldn’t express his love so easily, despite the fact that he knew he felt it. It was undeniable, and yet the words would not come to him. Pulling her close, he pressed kisses into her hair, breathing her in and willing her to feel what could not be said.

Minutes passed as the two cuddled, neither feeling the need to speak as they clung to one another in silence. There was a lightness to the air as if a great tension had been released, and in a way it had been. Revealing the truth to Rey about two of the most gut-wrenching experiences in Ben’s vast life had left him feeling cleansed. He felt acceptance and a profound sense of peace. Rey had heard his confession and forgiven him for his sins.

“So, Ben, you told me immortality wasn’t all bad. Surely you have some good memories. What happened after you redeemed yourself?” She asked.

“Ah, well. I decided I needed to be alone. I left the second in command in charge of the coven and began to travel by myself.” he shook his head slightly, scoffing at the next remark, “Armitage is always more than eager to take control of things, so he did not even question my motives. If anything, he encouraged me to leave. Sometimes I wonder about him.”

“Is he someone I should worry about?” Rey asked, biting at her lip.

“Not in the least. He cannot touch you if I am around. I would not hesitate to kill him. In fact, I would likely take great pleasure in it. The bastard should not have lasted this long,” Ben admitted with a bitter tone. A look of distaste crossed his face for a fleeting moment, and he shook his head, his jaw shifting as if to be rid of a bad taste.

“I see. I probably don’t want to know how long is too long. Do vampires have rules for that sort of thing? I mean, do you guys...co-exist...or whatever you do...peacefully?”

“For the most part, yes. But as with humans, not everyone gets along. Unfortunately, we have to endure what equates to multiple lifetimes with the same people, and after a while it gets old.”

“I can’t imagine. How many others are in the coven?”

“Honestly...I am not sure. The numbers fluctuate every few decades. Some create fledglings, some chose to travel, others go deeper underground into the earth itself and sleep to pass the time. Still, others simply cannot stand another moment of their existence and destroy themselves. Not that I entirely blame them. Immortality is not for everyone. If I had to pick a number though, at any given time there are seventy-five to one hundred of us. Not the biggest by any stretch, but a decent size.”

“Oh, wow. That's still a significant number of vampires. I’m not sure what I was expecting though, to be honest. That’s...terrifying…”

“Do not worry, sweetheart. They respect me as their leader, and I take care of them. They are as peaceful as can be for the most part, to use your word, and often do not want any trouble. I keep them in line and weed out the rogues.”

“Well. That’s refreshing, I suppose?” Rey said, swallowing nervously.

Perhaps talking about the other immortals that lurked about the city was not the sort of thing she needed to hear right now. He could tell by the way she started chewing on her nails that she was deeply unsettled by the news. Her eyes seemed to dart around the room as if expecting someone to jump out and attack her. He had to change the subject quickly, and so he did, keeping his tone light.

“You had asked for a good memory and we got sidetracked, forgive me. Paris is always a place for good memories. I remember in 1887 when they began construction on the Eiffel Tower. That was fascinating to watch. Do you know there’s actually an apartment up there? I have stayed in it before. It has a fantastic view of the city below. A little small though.”

“Hmmm...I thought that was just a rumor? It makes sense, though. I guess the architect needed somewhere to stay. I’d love to visit Paris one day. I hear it’s magnificent.”

“Oh, it truly is. A city full of lovers and dreamers. Very Bohemian. You would fit in wonderfully,” He complimented, gathering her hand in his and kissing it tenderly.

“How much do you travel, if you don’t mind me asking? How do you afford it? Not to be rude, but what do you do? My friend Rose had asked and I was embarrassed when I confessed I didn’t know.”

Oh, right. Most people who aren’t immortal like knowing that sort of thing.

He had forgotten what it felt to have a normal conversation with someone who didn’t already know everything about him. He couldn’t remember the last time he had had such an in depth conversation with a human that allowed that kind of thing to come up. His clients certainly never asked. After all, they knew what he did since they were the ones who contacted him. It was refreshing, as it showed she cared enough to ask. As if she was genuinely interested to know even the most minute details of his routine.

“You are not being rude at all, I welcome your curiosity. I am happy to tell you everything. I travel as often as I can. Sometimes I will spend months or even years in a given area before moving on to the next. Other times I will explore different countries as any other tourist would, taking vacations for a week and hitting all the hot spots. Depends on my mood, really.

“I inherited a small fortune from my Maker before he passed...but most of the time, I enjoy doing work to pass the time. Out of necessity, I began forging documents for myself and my fellow immortals, and then eventually, it became a job. Now mortals and immortals alike pay a considerable amount of money to obtain my handcrafted documents. No one has ever discovered that they were not genuine. I create new identities for people all the time.”

“Fascinating.” Rey said, eliciting a subtle laugh before talking again, “Rose warned me about guys doing illegal things...In your own way, what you’re doing is illegal, and yet you’ve never been caught so I guess that isn’t too terrible. At least you aren’t a drug dealer or anything.”

“Heavens no.” Ben replied with a laugh. “I do not condone that sort of behavior in people. Although I must confess, feeding on someone who is under the influence can give you a buzz. The seventies were fantastic for that.”

“Okay then…” Rey said, her words trailing off awkwardly as she squirmed uncomfortably in Ben’s arms.

Ben sensed she didn’t like it whenever he spoke of feeding. Strange that she was so accepting of what he was and yet found discomfort at the mere mention of blood. He couldn’t help it that he needed to eat in order to survive. Blood just happened to be what his body craved. It had never been his choice, but he never complained about that detail. It as the immortality itself that bothered him the most. There were times he wished he had simply died, and yet he had never been more content to be alive than he was now, being held by his sweet love.

Rey’s stomach grumbled loudly, shaking him from his reverie. Ben glanced down at her, arching an eyebrow.

“Sorry, I guess I must be hungry.”

“Do not apologize, it cannot be helped. I guess I worked you into an appetite earlier.” He said with a cheeky grin.

“With you, I’m always starving, Ben. You’ve become something I crave. I never knew it was possible to crave a person until I met you.”

“Welcome to my world, darling. Craving people is something I do all the time. I dare say, feasting on blood is considerably different from the sort of thing you are after. Although it can be equally stimulating and satisfying.”

“You can say that again,” Rey confessed, a shudder coming over her body.

Curious about her initial physical reaction, he scanned her thoughts, pleasantly surprised to know that she loved the way it felt whenever he fed from her. Especially given the fact that it always triggered her orgasms, and transported her to another place. He heard her heartbeat quicken and suddenly her body felt warmer where she lay pressed against him. Suppressing a grin, he watched as she shifted her hips beneath the sheets. The sweet scent of her arousal filled the air.

“How about I get some food for my starving little human, then we can take it from there?” Ben asked, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“If you insist.” She suggested, reaching up and stroking his face.

“I do. It is only fitting that I take care of you. After all, you have managed to suffer through the stories of my past, it is the least I can do.”

“I could listen to you talk all night, Ben.”

“Likewise. Stay here. I will be back in a few minutes.” Ben said, leaning down to kiss Rey’s forehead.

Ben begrudgingly released himself from Rey’s loving embrace, slipping off the bed and heading out the door. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw her leaning forward and smiling, as he had chosen to remain nude. He knew she appreciated his body, so he was more than eager to expose it to her as frequently as he could within reason. Making his way to the kitchen he approached the fridge and tapped the screen.

“Hello 3PO, what do you have that would make for a good snack?” Ben asked, idly scratching at his neck. He hadn’t the slightest clue what one would consider snack food.

“Sir, if I may...you do not eat.” 3PO eloquently pointed out.

“The snack is not for me,” Ben mustered, his tone agitated. What was the point of having a smart fridge if all it did was give you sass?

“Very good, sir. Might I suggest some grapes and cheese, perhaps? They would pair nicely with white wine.”

“There, that wasn’t difficult now was it, 3PO? Thank you,” Ben replied dryly, reaching in and finding the grapes and a large block of cheese.

He had imagined she wouldn't want the cheese like this, so he gathered up a cutting board and knife and cut it into cubes. He thoroughly rinsed the grapes before grabbing the necessary plating and wine and setting them on a tray.

Making his way back upstairs, he was pleasantly surprised to see Rey had slipped out of bed and was now practicing yoga. Her round little ass was hoisted in the air as she was bent in half, her arms twisted around her legs as she clasped upon her ankles. He let forth a moan of appreciation before he even realized it. Her body was gorgeous, skin smooth and unblemished. She carried the sun within her, her tawny flesh speckled with freckles. The subtle glow he had noticed many times never seemed brighter, and he realized it must have been due to the fact that she was relaxed and innately happy.

“Is that an invitation, my sweet?” he asked, setting down the tray of food and glass of wine that he held.

Rey rolled her body up slowly, drawing her arms over her head and pressing her palms together, easing them down gradually, as she drew up one of her legs, resting her foot on the opposite calf. She continued to breathe slowly and evenly. Ben couldn’t resist approaching her now, snaking one of his arms around her waist and pressing a kiss onto her shoulder.

“You know you can take whatever you like.” she murmured low, causing him to let forth a low chuckle.

“That is an awfully dangerous thing to say to a vampire,” Ben admitted, articulating every other word with a kiss along the column of her neck. He teasingly scraped his fangs along the tender flesh, causing her to roll her head to the side in anticipation of his bloody kiss.

“I like to live dangerously.” Rey all but moaned, leaning back into his embrace and stroking his arm as he held her.

“Here I thought you were hungry, I was all ready to feed you,” he whispered lowly in her ear, nibbling on her lobe.

“I am hungry...for you.” she sighed, turning her head to look at him. He ducked his head down, his lips capturing hers easily. Despite the odd angle, his tongue caressed her lips as their kiss deepened. Ben could feel himself growing hard as Rey ground herself invitingly against his erection.

Easing her forward, he guided her to wrap her hands around the bedpost.

“Hold on tight, sweetheart.” he whispered.

He aligned himself to her juicy opening before thrusting forward, pressing the full length of his body against hers as her body quivered against his. Wrapping his arms around her, he nuzzled against her hair, choosing to remain still for a moment. He relished in her warmth and the way she pressed herself more firmly against him, allowing him to bottom out inside her.

“How do you want it? Slow and steady or fast and rough?” he asked, his voice low and strained.

Ben doubted he’d ever get used to how tight and wet Rey always seemed to be, so eager and ready to take him. He was grateful her sexual appetite matched his own.

“Surprise me,” she murmured, grinding against him impatiently, willing him to move.

Easing his arms down her body, he grasped gently onto her hips, pulling back slowly till he was almost out causing her to sigh blissfully. Thrusting forward again, he felt her rest her head against his shoulder, her eyes closed and mouth slightly agape. He could tell she was getting tired, so he opted to go slow and steady, his movements guided by her low sinful moans. How long they went at this pace, Ben couldn’t be sure, all he knew was it was one of the most sensual lovemaking experiences he had ever had.

Glancing down at her he witnessed the subtle redness spreading over her body as she neared her peak. Once her body began to quake, he picked up the pace, resting one of his hands atop hers on the bedpost and easing her body forward slightly. Gathering her hair up and laying it over her shoulder he dipped his head low, pressing a lingering kiss to her pulsepoint. Her orgasm this time was slower and longer than the previous ones had been, like waves crashing over the beach, pulsing it’s lunar rhythm around him. Their bodies flowed together and he found his release, her name a muffled moan against her neck as he felt her milking him of every last drop of his spend.

When they both ceased trembling, he eased himself back, making her whine pathetically at the separation when he pulled out completely. Turning her around carefully, he picked her up in his arms again, gazing lovingly into her eyes. Although she was sleepy, her smile was all he needed. Pressing kisses into her forehead, onto her eyelids, the tip of her nose and finally her lips, he realized he had never felt more content.

Laying her down gently, he tucked her in carefully before climbing in next to her. She automatically curled herself around his body when he settled beneath the sheets. Wrapping his arms around her, he kissed her forehead again. He found himself softly humming a song to her, hoping to lull her to sleep. Caressing his hand lazily over her lower back he was hit with a sudden realization. I could get used to this.

“Mmm...me too.” Rey whispered, speech somewhat slurred with sleepiness.

Reaching up his left arm as carefully as he could without disturbing her, he found the black silken cord, tugging at it and causing the heavy drapes to fall around the bed. Tonight he would stay. Whatever consequences he’d face when the sun rose, he’d happily do so because in this very moment, there was no place he’d rather be.

Chapter Text

 

It was dark. Unnaturally dark. Rey stretched out her achy limbs and tried to focus on her surroundings. That's when her leg brushed something...or was it someone? With a tentative hand, she reached out, patting the bed around her. She felt a solid hip to her right. Someone was in bed with her. She gasped at the realization of what that meant. Rolling to her side she focused as much as she could in the darkness. Reaching out her hand again, she found his face. Stroking her fingertips along the planes of his face, she took in the sleeping figure.

“Oh, Ben,” she whispered softly. “What have you done, my love?”

Now the reason for the unnatural darkness made sense. Ben had drawn the curtains down to protect himself. The realization of just how much of a risk he was taking sank in slowly. He had put a considerable amount of trust in Rey to have chosen not to sleep in his coffin in the safety of his basement. If she had wanted she could simply tear open all the curtains and burn him alive where he lay and he would be completely defenseless. With that in mind, she couldn't help but feel her heart swell with love. He stayed with me. Risks be damned. He must love me.

Rey’s eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness as she took in Ben’s form. His unnatural stillness whenever he slept still left her shaken, but he looked so peaceful. Innocent. Breathtakingly handsome.

A shrill sound jarred her from her reverie. Her phone. This would be a whole other issue - how to slip out of bed without having any light creep into their zone of safety. Maybe I should just ignore the call? She held her breath, her head nodding along with the chipper tune when at last there was silence. Letting out a long sigh, she looked down at Ben again, noticing with a smirk that he didn’t even stir. Returning to her earlier efforts of lovingly stroking his face and hair, her body jerked when the ringtone started up again.

Shifting out from under the covers, she crawled down to the foot of the bed, cautiously grasping a hand on the bedpost and edging her foot down. With a final glance back at Ben, she slid out of the bed as quickly as she could, holding out her hands immediately to still the curtains as they swayed. Letting out a huge sigh of relief, she made her way to the nightstand, picking up her phone. Annabelle.

“Good morning, Annabelle.” She said in a hushed tone.

In all honesty she had no idea what time it was, but she had hoped it was still morning. Hard to tell when one is surrounded by darkness, although the rest of the room was dimly lit with light filtering in from around the edges of the curtains, where they hadn’t been perfectly closed the night before. She’d have to fix that before she did anything else that day.

“Oh good, Rey! Finally. I haven’t heard from you for several days, and I was hoping everything was going well. I was starting to worry, I had assumed you’d message me about your findings on Skellig Michael.”

Rey made her way across the room, settling down on the settee. Grabbing Ben’s jacket where she had left it yesterday afternoon, she pulled it on, immediately grateful for the warm embrace, a mere echo of what she would have rather had from him, but the jacket was comforting regardless. Rey let forth a long exhale.

“I’m sorry, Annabelle, I meant to call. Truly I did. Time has gotten away from me these past few days.”

“I see,” she heard Annabelle shifting the phone on her end, before a soft laugh came over the line, “That wouldn’t have anything to do with a certain vampire, would it?”

Rey shifted nervously where she sat. She pulled the phone away from her face, staring down in disbelief. What did Annabelle mean? How could she know? Glancing over at the bed where Ben now lay, lost in his deathlike slumber, she only stirred when she heard Annabelle’s muted voice filtering through the phone, calling her name. Pressing the phone up to her ear again, she softly groaned, as if admitting defeat.

“Maybe.”

“Please don’t be alarmed Rey. I know more than I’ve let on. I’ve read the prophecy. I know it’s been written about you two.”

Rey gasped in response, gripping the phone tighter in her hand. She was at a loss for words. What else could Annabelle know that she wasn’t admitting?

“Listen Rey, why don’t we meet somewhere? Have a late brunch, perhaps? I’ll tell you what I know and then perhaps we can train you on some of your abilities. After all, if you two are going to make this forbidden relationship work, you need to be able to defend yourself. Once the other vampires find out, they likely won't be as understanding as we witches are.”

“Okay,” Rey said, her voice raw with emotion. She couldn’t be sure when it happened, but she was suddenly aware that she was trembling. Glancing down at her free hand, she gripped it into a fist to stop it from shaking.

“Everything will be okay, Rey. This is meant to happen. It has been foretold. Why don’t you take a breather, collect yourself, and then come meet me? I’ll text you with the location of one of my favorite cafe’s. It’s a hidden gem where we can speak freely.”

“That sounds good. Thank you, Annabelle,” Rey croaked out when she found something that resembled her voice.

Hanging up the phone, she let it drop from her hand, letting it land on the cushion next to her. Drawing Ben’s jacket around her, she drew it up over her face, making a protective shroud of sorts. Somehow the reality hit her the moment Annabelle said forbidden relationship. Rey had been floating through the clouds, set adrift on the wings of love. Something she had never imagined she’d experience. Things had to change, though. Nothing was ever easy. Taking several slow deep breaths, she immersed herself in Ben’s scent and made an effort to clear her mind. She focused on the teachings of her Sabumnim. Finding the sacred place in her mind, she felt peace once more and was able to look at things from a different perspective.

Rey needed to learn whatever Annabelle had to teach her. She needed to be able to defend herself, and to keep Ben safe in case they turned on him. What sort of partner would she be to him if she couldn’t provide the same sort of protection that he has provided for her? They were a team. They needed to work together to make the prophecy come true. It was their destiny. Therefore, it was her duty to be the best partner she could be to the man she loved and help change the future for everyone.

Taking a final deep breath, she lowered her self made protective shroud, removing Ben’s jacket and facing the world with a renewed sense of purpose. Making her way over to the windows, she adjusted the drapery so that the windows were completely covered and not a sliver of light made its way through. Taking determined strides towards the bed, she peeked into the darkness beyond the heavy curtains, witnessing her lover in his peaceful death-like slumber.

“I won't let you down, Ben,” she vowed out loud.

With a careful touch, she tucked the blankets lovingly around him, bending to place a kiss on his forehead before adjusting the curtains and walking away.

Once she had showered and changed, Rey gathered her purse and keys, and double checked the locks on the doors before venturing out. Zooming along in Ben’s little MG, she let the convertible top lower, enjoying the rush of the air as she weaved her way through traffic along the London Bridge. Coming to a stop outside a small cafe on the outskirts of town, the cafe itself looked rather dismal. A rundown shack that might have seen better days, but she doubted it was ever anything special.

Entering the cafe, she was pleasantly surprised by the warm and inviting atmosphere. The colors were subdued neutrals, blues, beiges, whites, and grays. It was the ultimate shabby chic locale, with ample amounts of lace and burlap aplenty. Exposed brickwork and a tin plated ceiling added to the overall charm. There were a few patrons located among a scattering of round tables, tiny bouquets of baby’s breath perched in vases on each one. In the far corner, she saw Annabelle, sipping on a cup of tea and eyeing Rey expectantly. Having seen no hostess, Rey made her way across the cafe, settling herself opposite Annabelle.

“It’s good to see you again, Annabelle. I feel like it’s been forever,” Rey gushed, reaching out and placing her hand on top of Annabelle’s.

Annabelle smiled warmly, immediately making Rey feel at ease.

“It certainly feels that way. So talk to me, my dear. What have you learned in your studies? You have read the prophecy, no doubt. I take it you’ve told Kylo as well, otherwise you two wouldn’t be together. Did it take much to convince him to accept the truth?” She asked, pouring herself another cup of tea. Gesturing to the empty cup in front of Rey she made a silent offer to fill her cup as well. Rey nodded, reaching for the sugar and milk to doctor up her drink.

“Well, he did take a bit of convincing, but he’s become more accepting over the past few days. He’s...well...How can I say this?...Not what I expected.”

“No, he’s definitely not. I’m glad he's on board, though. You two have what it takes to end this war. I had no doubt in my mind that you two were the ones mentioned in the prophecy the moment I first set eyes on you. You’re different. Especially now.”

“How so?” Rey asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Well, I knew you two had gotten closer, but I never imagined he would mate with you.”

“Wait...what? Mating? What do you mean?”

“Rey, dear, it’s ok. Just surprising. When vampires mate it’s forever. Kylo has tied himself to you, essentially binding your souls together for eternity. It makes sense, given the prophecy,” she said, laughing softly as she shook her head.

“He’s what?” Rey asked, thoroughly baffled. She watched warily as Annabelle reached across the narrow table, stilling slightly as the older woman stroked Rey’s hair aside. Rey immediately knew where Annabelle was looking, and sucked in a shaky breath at the mere memory of how it felt whenever Ben pressed his lips to the very spot.

“There.” Annabelle’s fingers trailed along a spot on her neck. “I know it’s healed, and to anyone else your neck looks normal. But to any being like us, they would see his mark. It’s very subtle, silvery almost. That’s definitely a mating mark. It doesn't help that he’s fed from you more than once. Naughty boy. He’s made sure there’s no mistaking that you belong to him.” Annabelle said softly, tilting Rey’s head to the other side, inspecting her.

“Yes, well. I mean you’re right he has fed on me, but he’s fed on countless others. Are you suggesting he mates with everyone he feeds on? What makes me special?”

“Oh, Rey, sweetheart. You are so naive. It’s not just the feeding that sets you apart. It’s the circumstances under which he fed from you. It was during an intimate encounter, was it not?” Annabelle asked, giving Rey a knowing look.

Rey felt she couldn't quite admit it aloud and instead began blushing profusely. She hid a secret smile by biting her lip and found herself unable to look Annabelle in the eyes.

“How do you know this?” Rey asked, pushing past her nerves.

“Simple, my dear. It’s important to know everything about your enemy. Mating practices just happen to be something that stood out at me in my research, as most people don’t realize how sensual vampires can be. Mating is deeper for them. During that very moment, you two were connected: body, mind, and soul. When he fed from you right then, he marked you as his forever. There’s no shame in that. It just means it will be easier for him to accept his role in the prophecy down the line. He will now feel obligated to do anything for you, since you two are bound. He will put himself on the line for you without hesitation. Has he told you he loves you yet?”

“No...but I can feel it. This morning...well…” Rey let out a sharp exhale, closing her eyes.

“Yes?” Annabelle asked.

“I’m sure it’s nothing, really. But...he was with me when I woke up.”

“He didn’t return to his coffin?”

“No.”

“Oh my. It would appear he is changing then. That’s an unexpected surprise.”

“What does it all mean?” Rey asked, nibbling on a piece of bread.

“Well, part of the prophecy said ‘In Darkness he’ll no longer hide’ perhaps that’s what it means. He’s turning to the light.”

“But how?”

“You influence each other simply by being together. Haven’t you noticed? Your aura...it is shifting as well. Have you seen your glow?”

“Well yes, but I didn’t know what to think of it. I meant to ask you about it, actually. What does it mean?”

“Well, it’s ultraviolet light. We witches all radiate it, whenever we’re in the presence of a vampire. It’s an automatic defense mechanism, since UV light affects vampires. If Kylo can stand to be close to you - to the point of being intimate - and not feel the burn, then he is changing.”

“Hmm. This is a good thing, though, right?” Rey asked.

“Well yes...for both of your sakes, it is. Alternatively, it is turning him into an incredibly powerful vampire. Be glad he is on our side, otherwise that sort of power could be used against us. Yet another reason to develop more of your skills.

“But he would never turn on me.”

“One would hope not. Regardless. This relationship of yours won't go unnoticed for long. Especially now that the Wolves are being awakened. You two may not realize it, but you’ve just taken the war to a whole new level.”

“I’m sorry.” Rey whispered, looking down.

Suddenly, she no longer had an appetite, and yet before her the spinach and cheese quiche had looked so perfect. This cafe sure knew how to outdo themselves, compared to any other place she had eaten at. It was truly a diamond in the rough. A hole in the wall turned into a food lover’s paradise. She imagined everything here was positively decadent. Idly, she wished she could bring Ben here. He’d enjoy the atmosphere at least, even if he couldn’t indulge in the delicacies it held.

Rey watched Annabelle warily, picking up her tea and sipping thoughtfully. She felt as though she had a million questions, and yet couldn’t articulate a single one. Chewing on her lip she began to wonder about the future and what sort of danger she and Ben were in. All she wanted was to love him, she didn’t need any complications. Why did things have to be so difficult?

Annabelle finished the last of her buttered biscuit, picking up her napkin and dabbing at her mouth before taking another swallow of her tea.

“You’re worrying again, Rey,” Annabelle said, pausing to rest a reassuring hand on top of Rey’s, “Please don’t forget: all of this has been foreseen, generations ago. It may be a bit of a struggle, but you and Kylo will change the preternatural world for the better. I promise you. Together, you two will bring peace. It’s only a matter of time. Rest assured, everything happens for a reason.”

All Rey could do was nod slowly and pick at her quiche. She wished she shared the same optimism that Annabelle held. Perhaps once she developed more of her skills she would feel more confident in the sort of danger they unknowingly brought to themselves. It was hard to imagine how something as simple as loving one's enemy could be so destructive. Again, she reflected back to Romeo and Juliet. While it was just a play, it somehow rang true to her. Especially after Annabelle had said that Ben would be willing to sacrifice himself for her. She hoped that wouldn’t happen.

“Are you done, my dear? We can get a box for that, if you like?”

“We probably should. I can’t eat, not while my mind is eating away at itself. I feel full already, to the point of being painfully uncomfortable,” Rey confessed.

“Just you wait. Once you have learned what I have to teach you, you’ll begin to feel better,” Annabelle held up her hand, gesturing for the check, “It’s only a matter of time, my dear.”

“Yes...time changes everything,” Rey admitted with a heavy sigh.

“Indeed it does. When we’re done here, I’d like you to follow me. We’re going to go a fair distance from the city, deep into the woods. I don’t want anyone to see what we’re doing. You’ll understand why once we get started.”

“I guess it’s a good thing I came in a car as opposed to being dropped off by a cab.”

“I knew you had one of his cars, my dear. Otherwise I wouldn’t have suggested this place.”

“Oh, of course.”

On her way out, Rey purchased a large bottle of water, instinctively feeling that it was something she’d likely need. She had a feeling this session would be draining in every way imaginable: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Liquid refreshment might not heal her mind but it would likely aide in fueling her body.

The two women walked to their respective cars, Annabelle sliding into a faded blue Mercedes 300TD SD. Rey did a once over of the vehicle, her initial inspection noting several obvious repairs that would be needed. Hearing the way the engine sputtered before starting made her cringe. Not everyone was on top of car repairs the way Ben was. She’d have to offer Annabelle a free tuneup later. It was the least she could do.

They began their trek further out of the city and out into the countryside. Rey realized rather quickly she had no idea where she was, and they only continued to drive deeper into the wilderness. Soon, towering trees surrounded them - until they didn’t. There was a clearing, a wide open space in the center of this wooded area. The sun began to break though the clouds, and upon stepping out of the car, Rey immediately recognized the place as one she had seen before. The vision from her mother. Only this time, Ben would not be waiting for her in the shadows, as he was tucked away in his bed, enjoying his daylong slumber.

“What is it?” Annabelle asked, looking at Rey with a curious expression.

“I’ve been here before...in a vision.”

“Ah yes, from your mother? Did she say anything to you?”

“She did, actually. At least, I assume it was her. She told me that the longing I seek is not behind me but in front of me. She must have meant the prophecy. I saw Ben - I mean, Kylo. Or at least I assume it was him. He was there in the vision.”

Rey gasped when she realized Annabelle was standing in front of her, not having noticed the older witches approach. Annabelle reached out, stroking Rey’s temple with a gentle touch. Immediately they were both immersed in the vision, and Rey was able to focus on the man in the shadows. It was Ben.

“Your mother was always stronger than the rest of us. She knew the prophecy without ever having read it. She told it to me, in fact, and I later went to Skellig Michael and confirmed it for myself. She mentioned it would be relevant, because we both had something at stake,” Annabelle admitted.

“What do you mean, you both had something at stake? Annabelle, what aren’t you telling me?” Rey asked, leaning back against the door of the MG as if to brace herself for impact of something major.

“You aren’t the only one who has been reincarnated in the effort to save our Ben.”

Rey paused. Up to that point, Annabelle had always called Ben Kylo. How did she know his name was Ben? Why did she lay claim to him?

“Who are you?” Rey asked, eyeing her fellow witch with suspicion.

Annabelle leaned forward with a smile, grasping Rey’s hands in her own.

“In his lifetime, my name was Leia Organa Solo. I was his mother.”

Rey gasped. Was this another thing that connected her and Ben to the ancient prophecy? His own mother was present, offering guidance to Rey, molding her into the perfect witch, who was both strong and powerful. Rey supposed she shouldn’t be too surprised. She was the witch who loved Annabelle’s one and only son, who had the power to return him to the light. They had worked together this whole time. No wonder Annabelle knew so much about Kylo. No wonder she held such interest for him and encouraged their relationship. This was really happening.

They would fulfill the prophecy, and Annabelle was there to make sure they were successful. Her motives were different. She was a mother desperate to see her child redeemed. To bring him to life again.

“So wait...you’re Ben’s mother? Does he know? Has he met you?”

“No. I always watch him from afar. I’m not sure how he’d react if he knew who I was.”

“He never really talks about his family. It might have something to do with a conflict he mentioned having with his father.” Rey mused, remembering Ben’s confession.

“His father? What did he say? What happened?” Annabelle asked, gripping Rey’s shoulder suddenly with a desperate look in her eyes.

Rey shook her head slowly before speaking.

“It’s not for me to say. This is why we need to work together to make sure the prophecy is fulfilled, so Ben is no longer trapped in Darkness and our people can be saved. We have to do this. Everyone is counting on us. He needs us too.” Rey suggested, feeling Annabelle’s grip loosen from her previous hold.

The two women shared a meaningful look as if they found mutual resolve.

“I need you to show me my place in all of this.”

“Yes, of course. Okay. Let’s focus.” Annabelle suggested, closing her eyes before taking a deep breath and letting it out.

“Right. So I’m guessing you took us to this clearing because I’ll need the space. What am I doing?”

“Well I’m sure you’re aware you have a multitude of telepathic abilities. You can hear thoughts and communicate telepathically, obviously you can see memories when you touch a person. What else can you do?” She asked, holding Rey’s hand and leading her out into the center of the clearing.

“I can touch an object and get an image of a person interacting with it. That’s happened a few times. I can also think about an object and draw it to myself. I’ve only done that once though. Oh, and I think I can start fires.”

“Oh, that’s excellent! I can’t say I’ve come across a witch who is as naturally gifted as you are. Of course, both of your parents were gifted, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising. I can help you with all of that. Also I want to teach you how to shield yourself and also to crush someone’s mind. That will be convenient when facing a rogue vampire because they won't expect it. You can bring them to their knees with excruciating pain and potentially even kill them if they’re a particularly weak immortal to begin with.”

“Oh, that sounds awful.” Rey said, immediately cringing at the idea of bringing someone down with her mind alone.

“Is that really something I could do?”

“I believe you could. Okay, let’s start with your telekinesis. See that rock over there?” Annabelle pointed to a softball sized rock on the edge of the clearing. Rey nodded in acknowledgement and held out her hand in hopes of drawing it to her. The rock rose slowly and then promptly dropped back into the soft grass.

“What did I do wrong? Last time it happened, it was instantaneous. Is it the distance?”

“No. Your mind is elsewhere. Breathe. Focus. With most of your mental abilities you need to concentrate on what you’re doing to make it happen. Visualize physically picking it up in your hand. Think about how that rock would feel if you held it. It’s weight, texture and temperature. Does it feel cool in your hand? Is it moist where it was touching the earth? That sort of thing.”

“Okay. Let me try again.” Rey said, nodding slowly trying to take mental stock of what she needed to do.

She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. Holding out her hand again, she kept her eyes closed as she focused on the rock. It began to rise and travel across the clearing. Annabelle ducked to the side as it flew past her and crashed into the headlight of her vehicle. Rey opened her eyes upon hearing the glass break. Turning around quickly she took in the damage, wincing when she saw she had damaged Annabelle’s old Mercedes.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t expect it to keep going like that.”

“That’s fine, really. It’s a beat up old car. Worse things have happened to it,” Annabelle said with a laugh, walking over to the car and dusting the glass to the ground before bending down and picking up the rogue rock.

“I’ll fix it for free if you bring it into the shop next week. I’ll throw in a free tune-up as well,” Rey promised, approaching the car and her friend slowly, her face flushed red with embarrassment.

“I’ll hold you do that, dear. Do you want to try one more time?”

“Perhaps an object that won't break something?” Rey asked, gesturing offhandedly.

“Certainly, good idea. We’ll use my scarf. I’ll stay here, you go to the middle of the clearing. Take it off me and draw it to yourself.”

“Allright.”

Rey made her way to the center, as was indicated, and this time she took her time. Focusing on the scarf, she noted the delicate weave of the silken fabric. She imagined that the glass beads that had been sewn in would be cool to the touch. The fabric itself would be warm from Annabelle’s body heat. It would smell sweetly of sage and citrus, like the key notes in Annabelle’s perfume. Holding out her hand, she kept her eyes open, and marveled as it slipped off Annabelle’s neck and flew into her hand.

“Very good! Alright, take a breather and we’ll move on to the next thing. I don’t want to spend too much time on each one, I’m sure you have things you could be doing.”

Rey walked to the car, picked up her bottle of water and took a long swig. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and nodded in response. Picking up her phone she noticed several texts from Rose. The gist of which implied that tonight would be the perfect night for their double date, as it was “Classic Movie Night” at the Movie Tavern, and they were playing her favorite Gone with the Wind. Rey agreed she’d talk to Ben when she saw him next, but that more than likely he’d go along with it. Taking another drink, she set her phone and bottle down and faced Annabelle with a determined grin.

“This next one has the potential to be very deadly, so you’ll need to be alert whenever you do it…” Annabelle began with a warning.

Hours passed, and both Rey and Annabelle were equally amazed at what natural talent Rey seemed to possess and that she learned her new abilities with a dizzying speed and accuracy. It was a blessedly cool and overcast day and that made for a very pleasant training for Rey. Once the sun began to dip low in the sky, and the two ladies knew it was time to wrap up their lessons.

“No wonder you were the chosen one. You truly are the brightest witch of your age,” Annabelle complimented Rey, hugging her.

“You’re too kind, truly. It takes a good teacher to be an even better student. I owe much of this to your guidance and care.”

“Well I’d be selfish if I said I was doing it for you, but you know truthfully I’m doing it for Ben.”

“I do. I won't hold it against you.” Rey couldn’t help but smile. Ben was worth it.

“When you see him...well...give him a hug for me. Maybe someday I’ll meet him again.”

“You will, I’m certain of it. Thank you for your help.”

“Stay in touch, dear.”

“Of course.” Rey said, smiling fondly before giving a slight wave and ducking into the car.

Leaning back in the seat she closed her eyes, breathing deeply and refocusing herself on everything she needed to do. She was about an hour away from Ben’s flat, hopefully by the time she got there he’d be awake. Then they needed to be ready to meet Finn and Rose at nine for a ten fifteen movie. Rose wanted them to have an opportunity to hang out and talk before the movie started, maybe snag a few beers. She laughed out loud when she saw the comment about beer.

Rey scrolled through her GIF collection on her phone till she found the perfect one to send to Rose. There we go. Michael Jackson snacking on popcorn from the Thriller video. She then selected a GIF of Scarlett and Rhett with the quote “You should be kissed and often”.

Immediately she got a response from Rose with the Queen emoji, saying ‘You did it again GIF predator! Can’t wait to see you and Ben later!’ It always made her laugh whenever Rose called her the lovingly bestowed moniker, as Rey was known in her blogs and through texts as having the largest collection of GIFs out of all of her friends and followers.

She grinned, setting her phone down and putting the car in gear. Rey would never admit it, but she much preferred manual gear shift to automatic. There was something satisfying about shifting as she drove along, as if she were one with the vehicle. It never ceased to amaze her the number of people who couldn’t drive a stick shift. Then again, she was a mechanic, so it only made sense for her to know how to drive all vehicles. She often amazed people when she admitted to being able to drive semi trucks, which for someone of her size seemed impossible, but she found it highly enjoyable, Driving in general was a guilty pleasure she rarely got to indulge in.

Remembering that this was but one of Ben’s many cars, she would have to get him to show her the rest of his collection at some point. Then they could geek out over specifications and maybe have a quickie in the back of his favorite. Her grin brightened as she watched the sun sink into the horizon in the distance. She chased the glow of twilight as she crossed the London Bridge, wishing she could see the stars and silently cursing the light pollution from the big city. Pulling into Ben’s driveway she noticed several lights on around the flat, meaning he was up and active.

In the dim lighting in the backyard, she couldn't help but notice movement. Parking the car in the garage, she cautiously excited the vehicle, approaching the small yard. Upon careful inspection, she realized she had no reason to be concerned.

Ben was there, dressed head to toe in black, wearing high waisted black leather pants, tall boots, a tank top and...suspenders? Never before had Rey imagined suspenders as being something sexy but she knew she just found a new kink. Ben’s hair was pulled up into a sort of topknot and she noticed his ears poking out in the most adorable way. How had she never noticed his ears before now? That wasn’t what truly captured her attention, though. She was absolutely mesmerized by his motions.

Ben was moving with catlike grace, wielding his beloved sword as if fighting an invisible enemy. His eyes were closed and yet he saw exactly where he was going as he maneuvered about the garden, ducking beneath trees, twisting around the quietly dripping fountain. He barely made a sound as he moved, and only on occasion did she hear the swish of his blade cutting through the air. It almost appeared to glow in the dim street lamps and the moonlight beyond that. It was nothing short of breathtaking to witness him as he practiced.

Rey leaned against the fencepost, simply watching him, hoping he wouldn’t stop. He must have heard her thoughts though, because he halted his actions. His back was to her at that point, and he lowered his sword, turning to face her across the garden.

“Oh, please don’t stop on my account. I was enjoying watching,” Rey said, passing through the gate.

Ben gave her a shy half smile as if he had been caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar.

“I am not used to having an audience.” he confessed, his voice low as he tossed his blade between hands, inspecting it slightly before sliding it into its sheath strapped to his belt.

Rey closed the distance between them, making a show of appraising his appearance before halting directly in front of him. Placing her hands on his chest she stood on tiptoe and sweetly kissed his lips.

“I like the look,” she whispered, keeping her face mere inches from his as she smoothed her hands up and around his neck.

She gently scratched him on the back of his neck and he moaned appreciatively, dipping his head down and capturing her lips with his. His kiss was slow and gentle at first, gradually increasing with intense passion, consuming her the way she loved. Feeling him wrap his arms around her and pulling her close to him she couldn’t help but moan against his lips. As always, when he broke the kiss she was left breathless, her chest heaving against his. Rey could never get enough of his kisses, and absently wished she didn’t need to breathe so that they wouldn’t have to separate. If she had it her way, she would always be connected to him in some way, whether holding hands, enjoying a loving embrace, sharing kisses, or being intimately connected.

He was addictive. She wasn’t afraid to admit it.

“Tell me about your day, darling. I saw you were out? Are you enjoying the ride, by the way? I meant to ask the other day.”

Rey pulled back from his embrace, glancing over her shoulder at the MG in the garage.

“Oh yes, it’s a delightful little car. I had the top down today. It was perfect, feeling the breeze whipping through my hair.”

“I can only imagine. You must have looked stunning. I wish I could see you in the sunlight…” he said sadly, his voice trailing off.

“Ah, well…” Rey started, not knowing what to say.

She drew back one of her hands from his neck, smoothing her hand over his cheek. Thinking quickly she decided she’d let him know more about her day, surely he’d be delighted by the progress she made in developing her abilities. Gazing up at him with bright eyes, she was happy when she noticed his expression changing from curious to happy.

“Developing abilities, my sweet? Did I catch that correctly?” he inquired, cocking his head to the side.

“Oh, yes. Hold on, let me take a few steps back, some of this is physical,” she admitted, begrudgingly slipping out of his loving embrace. Ben folded his arms across his chest as he watched her every move.

Once she was on the opposite side of the yard, she held up her hand, focusing on his sword, hoping she could draw it smoothly out of its sheath without cutting him accidentally or stabbing herself. Not that it would be a problem, as he could always heal her a gentle sweep of his tongue. Thankfully, since his arms were crossed, the sword slid up and out smoothly, gliding through the air. The hilt landed softly in her grasp, and she held it up, beaming with a broad grin upon her face.

Ben clapped his hands slowly, a smile on his face as he began walking towards her.

“Impressive. You look good holding a sword. Perhaps you would like fencing lessons sometime? I would be happy to teach you,” he offered, holding out his hand for the sword. She presented it to him, and he took it with a delicate touch, returning it to its rightful place at his side.

“I would love to know anything you could teach me, Ben,” she admitted, nodding with enthusiasm as she spoke.

“All in good time. What else did you learn today?” he asked, stepping back in anticipation.

“Watch this!” Rey began, holding up a finger for him to wait. He nodded once, his eyes alight with excitement.

Rubbing her palms together slowly, they began to glow as embers sparked. She slowly drew her palms apart, fingers spread, making circular movements as if holding a ball. In a way, she was holding a ball. A ball of fire. Keeping her movements slow and precise she ceased the movements once the fireball was about the size of a basketball. Presenting the fireball to Ben, it pulsed and radiated in her palms, hovering above the surface of her skin. What impressed her was the fact that she barely felt the heat from the flames, and the fact that this was far more stable than any of the fireballs she had created in Annabelle’s presence. Rey quirked an eyebrow as Ben took another step back, the look of excitement melting into one of fear.

“You know, you are rather frightening. Remind me not to get on your bad side,” he muttered, offering a pained smile while swallowing nervously.

Rey gasped as she saw his hand drifting towards his sword hilt.

Chapter Text

 

Maintaining the ball of fire, Rey warily noted Ben’s grip on the sword. He hadn’t pulled it out yet, but he appeared ready to draw it should he feel the need to defend himself. Had she truly frightened him to that extent? He should know by now that she would never harm him. Rey tried to keep her expression as neutral as possible, hoping not to appear malicious in any way. She took several slow steps towards him, noting how he instinctively recoiled.

“Would you please just put that out, Rey? You have proven you are quite a worthy adversary,” he acknowledged, having bumped into the outer wall of his flat.

The flames began to shrink in her hands, and a smattering of sparks drifted off in the wind as Rey lowered them.

Ben visibly relaxed, no longer grasping at the hilt of his sword. He took out the band holding his hair up. Luscious black locks cascaded down to his shoulders, and he raked one of his hands through them, looking down, clearly uncomfortable with what had just transpired.

“I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to frighten you like that. I won’t show you anything else. I don’t want to risk hurting you...after all, my defenses are mostly geared towards hurting your kind. It doesn’t mean I love you any less.”

“I know. Thank you, sweetheart.” His tone was still laden with anxiety, as their conflicting natures became more apparent than they had been in awhile.

Ben had that look on his face from when she first confronted him on Skellig Michael about the prophecy. His eyes seemed to look everywhere but directly at Rey, and he had closed off his mind from her completely.

Rey supposed she’d crossed a line somehow, and instantly she regretted having done so. Chewing nervously on one of her fingernails, she was at a loss for how to amend the situation and make light of the rest of their evening together. “Well...uh. Rose and I messaged earlier today,” she said, opting for a more relaxed tone. That caused him to look over at her. Their eyes locked and he softened his stance, his body no longer tightly coiled as if ready to burst into action.

“And?” he prompted, taking a few cautious steps in her direction and watching her carefully as he approached.

“It’s classic movie night at the Movie Tavern. They’re showing Gone With the Wind, which just so happens to be Rose’s favorite movie of all time, although she’s never seen it on the big screen. Are you still up for that double date?” she asked, closing the distance between them again, her approach equally cautious. She held out her hands, palms up in a peace offering.

Ben regarded her warily, his jaw shifting slightly. With a hesitant touch, he placed his hands in hers, smoothing them over her wrists, up and around her forearms, stepping forward as he drew her into his arms. Resting his head against hers, a sigh escaped his lips.

“What time?” he asked, his tone still low.

“The movie itself is at 10:15, but she wanted to meet us at 9:00 so that we could talk and hang out. The Movie Tavern serves alcohol and food, so we could snack - “

“You mean you can snack,” he corrected her, his tone sharper than it had been.

“When the lights are out, you can feel free to feast on me as much as you like. Or you can feed on me now; you know I don’t mind.”

Ben let out an exasperated sigh, pulling back and releasing her from his grasp.

Rey watched, confused, as he took several steps away.

“Will you just stop already?” he asked, his tone bitter.

Rey watched as he raked his hands through his hair again, pacing a bit in the small yard. She scanned his thoughts to determine what had bothered him so beyond frightening him with the flames, meeting with nothing that clued her into his exasperated state. Was it something she had said or done? Should she have not made an effort to learn proper defenses if anything happened to one or both of them? Was he perhaps ashamed that he was afraid? Were the differences between the two of them too much to overcome?

“I thought you learned to block your thoughts, Rey? Please. Just stop for a minute. Go eat. I can tell you are starving, and waiting till we get to the theater would affect your blood sugar levels. I need to be alone for a moment,” he said, his back to her.

“Sorry,” Rey said softly, wanting to reach out and gain an understanding about what had upset him so. He had mentioned that they would be going to the theater, though, so perhaps not all was lost. As she turned and entered the house, she heard Ben drawing his sword out of its sheath again.

Rey made herself a grilled cheese with avocado and tomato, cleaning up as she went so that her dirty dishes were neatly stacked in the sink. She sat on the window seat in the dining room, watching Ben practice with his sword again. His movements were much sharper than when she had first observed him not an hour earlier when she’d first come home.

She should have known better than to show him her new abilities. Especially since she could now cause him so much harm, both physically and mentally. Not that she would ever want to hurt him, but the threat was there, and she realized that at the heart of it all, they were still natural enemies. Is that what had him so upset? What about the prophecy? What about their mating? It was far too complicated for her to wrap her brain around.

Finishing the last bite of her sandwich, she looked down for a moment and dusted the breadcrumbs from her shirt. She glanced out the window again, realizing Ben was no longer outside. Turning her head, she noticed with a start that he was standing mere inches from her. She’d never get used to how fast he could be when he wanted to be. She realized he put effort into moving at a normal pace around her. In fact, he went to a great effort to do everything as normally as possible around her. She knew what he was capable of, after all, and yet…

“See, that’s the problem. I can never truly be normal, Rey. This is what I tried to warn you about before. I am not good for you. You need someone who will not be afraid of your great power. You need someone who can participate in normal activities with your friends, who can go out and eat and drink. Someone who goes to sleep with you at night and wakes with you when the sun rises. Someone who can enjoy the daylight hours with you and show you the world.”

“No, Ben, you’re wrong. While some of that might be nice, I don’t need it. What I need is you.”

“Rey...are you hearing yourself right now?” he asked, a tortured look on his face.

She was having none of it. Shifting in her seat so she was facing him directly, she gathered his face in her hands. Staring directly into his eyes, she could see the subtle ring of green around the edge of his irises. How had she missed that? Every part of him was so unique, and he was hers. Bound to her for eternity. Smiling sweetly, she spoke as calmly as she could, carefully articulating each word.“Benjamin Solo. I love you. That isn’t going to change, so accept it already.”

“I don’t deserve you.”

“Shhh. I’ll have none of that from you. Remember, we were made for each other. We’re connected, you and I. You can’t get rid of me so easily just because you think you’re not good enough for me, or whatever bullshit you’re trying to feed me,” Rey said gently, stroking his face and kissing his forehead.

Ben closed his eyes, sighing as if in surrender. “If we are going to go, we should likely change our clothes. My training attire is hardly what one would consider ‘normal’ to wear on a date. We also need to get you out of those wretched blue jeans,” Ben advised, making Rey smirk in response. She knew he preferred seeing her in dresses, and so when she felt him catch his fingers in her belt loops, she couldn’t help but squeal with delight as he pulled her forward, causing her to stand.

“I don’t have any more dresses,” she confessed, biting her lip.

“Rewear that purple one; you look incredible in it,” Ben recommended.

Rey felt him tug her lip down gently with his thumb before bending and kissing her sweetly.

She pulled back and let forth an exasperated sigh, feigning irritation at having to change. Making a mental note to go shopping the next day, she cast a cheeky grin before turning and making her way upstairs towards the bedroom.

Ben was hot on her trail as she stripped out of her t-shirt, and he captured her waist in his hands, pulling her back into him before helping her remove her jeans.

She moaned the moment he began peppering kisses along her shoulders and stroking his hands down her sides. “Ben…” she sighed blissfully.

“Relax, I am not going to do anything that will take up any time. Just this,” he said, grasping the waistband of her panties and pulling them down her legs.

She giggled when he gently smacked her bare ass.

“Time is wasting, my dear. Put on your dress,” he suggested, tossing her panties aside before turning towards his wardrobe.

Rey grinned, walking away from him and picking up the dress that still lay on the settee where they had left it two nights ago. Had it only been two nights? Time had been creeping by so slowly, and yet it felt like so much more had passed them by. She pulled the purple dress over her head, reaching back awkwardly for the zipper before she felt Ben’s hands gently pushing hers away, sliding the zipper up for her.

“That truly is a lovely dress,” he whispered in her ear, kissing it before turning her around. He gently draped a jacket over her shoulders to complete her look. Rey appreciated the gesture, because she knew he worried about her being cold and theaters were notorious for keeping the air low.

Rey gazed up at him, noting that in the time it had taken her to pull her dress over her head, he had completely stripped out of his clothes and changed into something more casual. Shaking her head at his use of his vampiric speed again, she gave him a once-over, pleased with his selection of dark jeans, a soft gray henley and black leather jacket. The fact that he’d replaced the leather pants with a leather jacket made her smile. She loved seeing him in leather, as it gave him a sexy edge. If she were completely honest, he could wear a burlap sack and still be sexy. That mental image made her blush profusely, and he must have caught the thought as he graced her with his signature half-smile that always made her heart skip a beat.

“We really should go now. Do you want to drive, or should I?” Rey asked, reaching out to take Ben’s hand. She led him through the house, picking up her purse on the way out.

“I would like to watch you drive, actually. Plus it would leave my hands free to enjoy other things,” he suggested, winking at her as he spoke.

“Keep those hands to yourself, if you don’t mind. I don’t want to die in a car crash because you gave me a mindblowing orgasm,” Rey said sarcastically, noticing Ben cringe out of the corner of her eye upon mentioning her potential death.

“Fair point well made,” he winced, his voice wavering slightly. “I will just watch you then, if that is alright with you?”

“Of course, that’s perfectly fine,” she said, clicking her seatbelt before reaching over and kissing him.

Rey flipped on the radio, not really paying attention to what was playing as she backed her way out of the garage. She kept her focus completely on the road as she made her way to the Movie Tavern across town. She was aware of Ben humming along to the tune, his deep baritone somehow perfectly in key with the song that was playing. That’s when she remembered that he was a musician, with his piano and violin. But could he sing?

“You really are too open with your thoughts, my dearest. Of course I can sing. Anyone can sing if they just try. I really like this song. Muse is a favorite of mine,” he admitted, his tone light.

Glancing over at him, she saw that same smile she always loved spread across his face. “Ah, I wasn’t sure how much modern music you kept up with,” she confessed, flashing an apologetic look in his direction.

“I try to keep up with as much as I can. It is what keeps me going through the years. Staying on top of life.”

Rey glanced over as Ben all but jumped out of the car when she pulled into a parking space, making his way to her door and opening it before she could even get her seatbelt unbuckled. She giggled at the gesture as she accepted his hand, allowing him to gently pull her out of the car. Glancing up at him, she felt him cupping her face in his hands as he pressed a tender kiss to her lips before nuzzling his nose against hers and taking a step back. His name spilled from her lips as she sighed, watching him close her door and hold his hand out expectantly for hers.

They made their way around the corner, entering the theater only to be met by an incredibly enthusiastic Rose. Rey pulled back from Ben as she witnessed her best friend pounce on her beloved and give him a hug, her body almost comically small next to his.

“Oh my God, you’re Ben?!” Rose said, looking up at him before turning to her friend. “Rey, you didn’t tell me he was a vampire! That is so cool!!”

“Shhh...keep it down, will you?” Ben asked, gesturing as he spoke in a low tone.

Rey thought he might blow a fuse based on his expression. He was clearly trying to calm the overly zealous girl as he looked about, making sure no one overheard her.

Rey could hardly blame him, as she was doing the same. Thankfully no one else was in the lobby. “Rose! How can you say that sort of thing? How do you know?” Rey asked in an equally low but horrified tone, her eyes wide with fear. Idly, she wondered where Finn was as he didn’t appear to be anywhere nearby. That was a relief; at least this revelation about Ben’s nature could be kept between the three of them. Still...

“Because, my darling, it would appear your best friend is a wolf,” Ben murmured, looking over at Rey and gritting his teeth as he spoke.

What?” Rey asked in a high-pitched squeal, looking Rose up and down.

“Oh, don’t feel bad, honey. I deliberately hide it from everybody. When you were awakened as a witch, I sensed it, and so I’ve been actively focusing my thoughts on everything other than the fact that I’m a wolf. Old Benny here can smell it though, isn’t that right? I can smell you too. Vampires always smell of oak and spices. The scent is stronger the older they are.”

“Indeed,” Ben said, arching his brow. “Try not to take this the wrong way, but most wolves smell terribly. You do not. I wonder why?” Ben asked, studying Rose carefully.

“Oh well, could be ‘cause I’m not a local wolf? I kinda stay away from the London pack, personally. I’m a lone wolf. My pack is back in Vietnam. I miss them terribly, but it’s ok. At least I have Rey and Finn!” Rose said, offering Rey a hug.

“So wait. If your pack is not here…” Ben started, folding his arms over his chest.

“Oh, if you’re wondering if I wanna eat you, no, I don’t. I mean, you look like a yummy snack, but I’ll leave you to Rey,” Rose suggested with a wink.

Ben laughed outright, obviously relieved. Rey felt the the tension in the air around them lifting, and Rose grinned, reaching in and hugging them both. At that moment, Finn came around the corner, eyeing everyone as he walked into the room.

“Hey, you must be Ben. Do you like arcade games? They have a sick arcade here,” he suggested, offering Ben a firm handshake.

“I have dabbled in a few games over the years. Let us see what this arcade has to offer,” Ben said with a grin, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. He ducked his head down and kissed Rey on the cheek before following Finn to the arcade.

Rey and Rose watched their partners walk away, Rey shaking her head at Ben’s sudden enthusiasm.

“So he’s a vampire?” Rose asked as she directed Rey towards the bar.

“And you’re a wolf. How did that happen?” Rey asked, nodding as she spoke.

“Oh well, it’s in my blood. Most of my family are wolves. It’s all I’ve ever known. Back at home, everyone in the pack turns. The local vampires have a peace treaty with our pack, so they don’t bother us and we don’t bother them. It’s kind of nice, actually. Most of us phase when we hit puberty. Some a little earlier, some a little later. It’s terrible the first time, but after that, it’s as natural as breathing. I love the freedom of it, personally.”

“I see,” Rey said, pondering the implications of everything that Rose had just revealed. The two friends headed for the bar and settled on barstools, ordering glasses of wine from the bartender. They sat in silence while Rey sorted through her thoughts, debating just which question that kept popping up in her mind was the most pressing.

“Does Finn know? I mean, is he…?”

“Oh no, he’s a boring old human. He does know, though. He loves it when I go into heat. Sometimes he has a hard time keeping up with me, but he tries so hard. He’s usually exhausted by the end of the week.”

“I’d love to see you sometime...in your wolf form, if I can? I mean, that’s not too weird to ask, is it?” Rey asked, suddenly embarrassed.

“Oh no, not weird at all. I’d be happy to phase for you later. Maybe we can knock back a few cold ones and drag our boys out into the countryside. Have some naughty fun in a field.”

Rose!” Rey said, spitting out the sip of wine she had just taken.

“Ok, if you want to do the deed in private, that’s fine, I understand. It would be hot to see you two go at it though, I’ll be honest.”

“Oh my God! I had no idea you were such a freak like that!” Rey admonished, smacking her friend’s arm.

“Don’t act like you’re all innocent, missy. I see where he’s fed from you. You two are mated! I didn’t know vampires did that too? I just thought it was a wolf thing. Look at Finn’s neck next time you see him. I did a number on him,” Rose said, clearly proud of herself for what she had done.

Rey was too flustered to speak. She downed her glass of wine and ordered another from the bar before gesturing that they join the boys in the arcade.

Finn and Ben were easy enough to find. Both were eagerly playing away at an old-school Mortal Kombat game. Finn howled in dismay as Ben delivered a final KO. Ben wore a smug grin on his face; clearly, it wasn’t his first win of the night.

“Are you playing nice, baby?” Rey asked, walking up to Ben and standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

“No, he’s not. He’s brutal. He keeps kicking my ass at all the games. Do you live in an arcade or something, man?” Finn asked bitterly. Rey glanced over at him, casually tilting her head to take in the scar of the bite mark that Rose had left there. She wasn’t sure how she’d miss something that gnarly before, but perhaps it’s because she hadn’t known to look for it.

“I am just lucky, I guess?” Ben offered, running a hand through his hair and looking down with an embarrassed expression. He shrugged his shoulders, looking over at Rey.

Let him win something, she advised.

Fine. He can win at shooting, that’s easier for me to lose at. I hate guns, he admitted.

“Ok guys, one more game, then our movie will be starting,” Rose said, clearly using it as an excuse to go back to the bar.

“Shooting?” Finn and Ben asked at the same time.

“Bring it, Solo,” Finn said, teasingly punching Ben’s arm.

Rey leaned against the wall, watching the two men square off against the arcade consoles. Both wore serious expressions as they shot at the targets. Four rounds later, and neither had missed a shot, and things were getting tense. Finn was concentrating so hard, he was breaking a sweat. Ben tossed his hair to the side as it was getting in his face. Rose returned, carrying two more glasses of wine.

“Are they still going at it?” she asked, looking down at her watch.

“Yeah...I know, the movie starts in five minutes,” Rey said, taking the fresh glass with a nod of thanks.

Ben glanced over his shoulder at Rey and grinned, shooting low and missing his target.

Player One Wins an automated voice stated.

“Did you see that? Did you see that? WOOO! I won!” Finn said, pumping his fist in the air and practically jumping out of his skin with enthusiasm.

“Nice going, pumpkin. Now let’s go see my favorite movie,” Rose stated sweetly, leaning in and kissing Finn on the cheek.

Rey smiled at the two, unable to get over just how cute they were together. She felt Ben wrapping an arm around her, pulling her close and pressing a kiss to her forehead. Rey leaned into him, wrapping her arm around him and walking in step with him as they made their way into the theater.

“You know, I remember the year this came out. 1939. Right before World War II. It was the first film I saw in color,” Ben murmured to Rey as they walked.

“Really? I guess it was one of the first color pictures ever made. Did you see it on opening night?”

“Yes. The theater was not that crowded either, which was surprising to me. I guess it must have taken a while to gain notoriety? I thought it was brilliantly made. Relatively accurate insofar as it is a historical fiction film. I believe it was more popular in the United States, particularly the South. Of course, that makes sense, all things considered,” Ben said, holding the door open and gesturing for everyone to pass ahead of them.

They settled in the back row, Rey tucking her legs beneath her and wrapping her arm around Ben’s arm, resting her head on his shoulder as the lights dimmed. The first few notes of music boomed through the theater before the screen lit up. Rey sighed contentedly, looking up at Ben with a smile as the flickering ambient light played off his features.

Rey found herself quickly enthralled with the sounds of the Old South, the imagery that passed the screen during the opening credits. She had forgotten that old movies always played their credits first, and marveled at the way the cast was divided by locations and each character was displayed, no matter how minor their role. She heard Ben clearing his throat, and then he leaned close to her.

“Lets see if I can get this right…” he said, before letting his accent slip into that of an old Southern gentleman, his words drawling on as he read the opening script. Rey giggled with the natural way he flowed through it, as if he had lived in the deep south his whole life.

“You’d give Clark Gable a run for his money,” Rey whispered, kissing Ben on the cheek.

“Why thank ya, little darlin’,” Ben said, returning her kiss.

They sat in silence, watching Scarlett sashay about the screen with the two men fawning over her, and Rey was entranced with the back-and-forth bickering of sorts.

Ben leaned over again, returning to his natural accent as he spoke in a hushed tone. “Vivian Leigh was so lovely back then, was she not? If I may be so bold, I must say that dress would look marvelous on you.”

“Thank you...although it seems terribly impractical; that skirt is massive.”

“That was the fashion back then, my sweet. You would have worn it as readily as you wear this short little thing now. You would not even think twice about it.”

“Maybe not. Still,” Rey said, smoothing her hand over her skirt, which had begun to creep up her thighs with her movement.

The gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Ben, and he skimmed his fingers over the hem of her skirt, hiking it back up. He rested his hand on her bare thigh to prevent her from moving it back down again.

Rey glanced up at him, shooting daggers with her eyes as he gave her his signature smirk. She placed her hand on top of Ben’s and tried to focus on the movie.

The actors on the screen and the scenery were stunning, and she found herself drawn back in with ease. Then came the scene where Scarlett was holding onto the bedpost as she was being tied into her corset. Rey cringed at the movement, immediately grateful that such things were no longer en vogue.

Ben apparently had another idea as he dipped his head down to whisper to her again. “I would love to tie you up in one of those,” he admitted without any hesitation.

“A corset?” Rey moaned, grateful she had shielded her earlier thoughts about not liking them.

“Oh yes. I would cinch you in good and tight. Do you have any idea what that would do to me?” he said, his voice heavy with desire.

Rey opted to play dumb. “I haven’t the foggiest.” She cast a fleeting glance at Ben, whose face was mere inches from hers. She knew that look all too well and swallowed in anticipation of what was to come.

“Maybe I should show you,” Ben offered, shifting slightly in his seat.

He lifted the armrest that divided their seats and dipped his head down, trailing kisses down her neck, causing her head to fall back. Rey couldn’t help the choked sob that escaped her lips as she felt the hand that was on her thigh slowly drawing inwards, fingers easing into the warmth near her core. She had to bite her lip to prevent herself from moaning too loudly as his fingers slid between her delicate folds.

“We should be good and keep watching the movie. What will Rose and Finn think?” Rey choked out, her chest heaving with exertion as Ben continued kissing along her collarbone, wrapping his other arm around her and pulling her closer.

“Who cares about them,” he murmured against her skin. “Besides, if I can smell your arousal, Rose can too. She is a wolf, after all. She knows.”

“Ben...the things you say…” Rey all but moaned, feeling him ease his fingers in deeper. She couldn't help but arch her back and thrust her hips forward to grant him better access.

Ben ceased his kissing and drew closer to her ear again.“You do not know the half of it, sweetheart.” He began slowly thrusting his fingers in and out of her heat. “I could take you now, and I know Rose would not complain. Did she not tell you that she wanted to watch us ‘go at it’?” he asked, nibbling on her earlobe.

“Yes, but…” Rey whined pathetically.

“If you want me to stop, just tell me, and I will.”

“For now, please...I hate that I’m stopping you, but I’m trying to be good here.”

“Of course. For now, you may try.”

Rey moaned at the loss of his touch the moment he withdrew his fingers. She glanced over at him, her body still quivering with the need for more as she witnessed him sucking her juices off his fingers. Rey instantly regretted telling him to stop, but she knew it would be worth the wait. She shifted up in her seat, adjusting the skirt of her dress before settling back down and leaning against Ben, sighing as he wrapped his arms around her.

The movie continued, everyone around them still quite entranced and paying no mind to the heated moment that had happened between them. Rey found herself amused at the way Scarlett threw herself at Ashley, wondering how a woman could be so weak as to do that sort of thing. Scarlett reacting impulsively and throwing the trinket across the room and causing it to break was relatable, as she herself had felt the desire to do so on occasion but had always restrained herself. The moment with Rhett made her smile as the back-and-forth banter was all too perfect.

Sir, you are no gentleman.
And you, miss, are no lady.

Ben had dipped his head down again, whispering softly in Rey’s ear. “You told me not too long ago that you were not a lady.”

Rey scoffed at his comment. “That’s because I’m not.”

“I beg to differ. You are my lady,” he offered, his tone sweet.

“Oh you...” Rey sighed, gripping onto his arms where he held her and nuzzling into his embrace.

“Shh. This is getting good, no more talking.”

“You started it.”

“I am ending it too.” Ben pressed a kiss into her hair.

Rey sighed as Ben began to trace small circles into her arm. She no longer felt the aching desire that had ravaged her earlier and found herself once more absorbed in the film, seeing Scarlett galavant about as a woman with her own motives to get her way, feigning friendship with Melanie in an effort to be closer to Ashley. But why go after Ashley when there was an oh-so-charming Rhett there to sweep you off your feet? Rhett was roguish and appealing, and he matched her sass with his own.

Rey absently wondered what it would be like if Ben were to play that role, as she could see him drifting into it perfectly. Admittedly, he was far more attractive then Clark Gable, but she didn’t think it would detract from him playing the part. Her mind began to drift at the thought of her flaunting herself about as Scarlett and him whisking her around on the dance floor…

“Do you know how to dance?” Ben asked suddenly, catching her thought.

“Not like that,” she confessed.

“I could teach you.”

“Where would I need to dance like that?”

“Does one need a place to dance?”

“I suppose not.”

“How about this? You can dance on my heart. Be my lady always,” Ben suggested, lifting one of her hands and kissing it softly.

“There you go again, calling me a lady.” Rey couldn’t help but roll her eyes.

“If you continue to insist that you are not, then perhaps I should have my way with you and treat you like a tramp,” he said, the subtle threat making his tone seem darker.

“Oh, how I wish you would,” she said with a sigh, already squirming at the thought.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Ben suggested, pushing her forward gently so that he could slip out from under where she reclined against him. He stood and held his hand out for her.

Rey took it without hesitating, standing at his side. She followed him as he led her out of the theater. Marveling at the way the lights in the hallway dimmed with a mere flick of his wrist, she gasped with surprise as his hands caught her waist and he eased her backwards till she was pressed to the wall.

Feeling him gather her wrists in one hand, he held them above her head, caressing his other hand over her cheek before bending to kiss her.

Rey sighed against his mouth as their tongues tangled. She felt Ben shift his stance as he began pressing sloppy kisses into her neck, working his way lower. Pulling uselessly against the iron grip of his hands, she attempted to regain focus, using her words in an effort to take control. “Ben…” she sighed out, rasping as desire made her voice heavy with need.

“What?” he mumbled against her skin, barely pausing to regard her.

“Ben, baby, stop,” she said, finally wriggling one of her hands loose and immediately threading her fingers through his hair. She felt him shake his head no as he nuzzled his nose between the peaks of her breasts. Thinking fast, she remembered their earlier agreement.

Geumanhae,” she moaned as she felt him caress her breasts.

He pulled back immediately, hands dropping to his sides. “Why?” he asked, clearly frustrated at having been stopped but willing to hear her out.

“Well…” she started, once her breathing caught up, “if I’m gonna behave like a tramp, shouldn't I be the one taking control?”

“Oh?” he asked, his tone curious, but his face quickly changed as it dawned on him what she meant. “Oooh. Okay, sure. I fully relinquish all control to you.”

“Good…’cause I’ve been wanting you since the moment I got home and saw you in those leather pants. I wish I could have been the one to take them off you,” Rey said with a broad grin, taking a step towards Ben and clutching the lapels of his leather jacket to pull him down and capture his lips roughly with hers.

Ben growled low upon breaking the kiss, peering down at her with a lust-filled expression. “Feel free to strip me the next time the opportunity presents itself,” Ben suggested, gracing her with his sexy signature smile.

Rey guided his body around so his back was now pressed against the wall. Slipping her hands under his shirt, she let forth a satisfied hum as she groped his sculpted chest before dragging her fingernails down. He responded immediately, his head falling back as he blissfully moaned. “I fully intend to,” she breathed huskily.

Glancing up at him with a cheeky grin, she lowered herself to the ground, perching herself on her knees in front of him. Catching his belt loops in her hands, she pulled his hips forward, drawing his crotch closer to eye level. She noted that he was already straining with his desire, his bulge most prominent and in need of release. Biting her lower lip in anticipation of what was to come, she met his gaze and began working at his fly.

Grasping his cock firmly with her right hand, she rested her left hand on his hip. Maintaining eye contact, she stroked his length several times from base to tip, sweeping her thumb over his slit and collecting the precum to use as lube. Dipping her head down, she ran her tongue up and down the underside of his cock. Lapping her tongue on his cockhead like it was a lollipop, she took him into her mouth, pleased that at this angle she could fit more of him in. Rey was rewarded with a symphony of low moans and soft mewling sounds as Ben became lost in a blissful state of pleasure. Feeling encouraged by the way he caressed the hand that held his hip, she pumped her hand along his length as she bobbed her head with increased vigor, hollowing her cheeks and sucking harder.

Once she had established a rhythm, she felt him thrusting his hips gently in time with her, and she found herself getting used to the sensation of him hitting the back of her throat. Soon Ben began a low litany of words, praising her for what a good girl she was and how amazing she felt. He cursed out loud when she hummed in response, and she could tell he was nearing his release. Feeling him tangling his hands into her hair, she moaned at the sensation of him tugging gently at it.

In no time, his cock was twitching in her mouth, and she felt his hot release spurting in streams down her throat. Her name spilled from his lips in a choked moan as she swallowed his tangy-sweet cum, gazing up at him through her lashes. Pulling her head back slowly, she lapped at his head a few more times, making sure she didn’t miss a single drop before gently tucking his cock back into his jeans. Leaning back to sit on her heels, she peered up at him with an innocent expression, witnessing how his head remained held back and to the side, eyes closed and mouth slack. His chest heaved as if he were still lost in the lingering remnants of his orgasm. He looked so relaxed and in such a blissful state that she couldn’t help but feel proud of herself for giving him so much pleasure.

Rey smiled when he opened his eyes and gazed down at her, his expression revealing more than words could ever say. Rey sighed with contentment as Ben dropped to his knees in front of her and took her in his arms. Their lips crashed together like waves on a beach in the calm that follows the storm. A litany of thank yous spilled from his mind into hers as their tongues collided.

Rey worried momentarily that Ben might not appreciate tasting his own cum on her tongue. As if in direct response, he pierced one of his fangs into her tongue, and the coppery zing of her blood mixed with the sweet tang of his cum was the most appealing nectar she’d ever had the pleasure of tasting. She moaned in return, her mouth opening a bit wider as the blood spilled from her lips.

Ben pulled his head back to lick up the blood that trailed down her chin so that not a single drop more would be spilled. Pressing his forehead against hers, he sighed contentedly. “I cannot wait to get you home and make love to you properly. You have certainly earned it after that, you naughty little witch.”

“Mmm...you’d use any excuse to take me, wouldn’t you? Sex fiend,” Rey playfully accused.

“That is a moot point, my sweet. I cannot help that you are so scrumptious. That having been said, I wonder how much of the movie is left?” Ben asked, pulling back from Rey slightly.

She grinned, reaching forward and patting down the pockets on his jacket before finding his cellphone and pulling it out. Looking at the time, her nose wrinkled in response. “Well, it would seem we’re only at the halfway mark. Ugh, we still have two more hours left? Why does Rose’s favorite film have to be one of the longest ever made?” she asked, rolling her eyes as she spoke.

Ben chuckled in response, taking his phone back from Rey and returning it to his pocket before standing and offering a hand to pull her up.

“Because it is a classic, and one does not simply rush a classic.”

“Fair enough,” Rey agreed.

She allowed herself to be pulled into a standing position, and she straightened her dress, smoothing her hands over her curves as she went. Glancing up at Ben, she nodded that she was ready to return to the movie, threading her fingers through his as she led him back towards the theater.

The door began opening the moment Ben held his hand out for it, and Rey was surprised to see Rose on the other side. During their little escapade, enough time had passed for it to be intermission and people began making their way out of the theater and to the concession stand and bar. Rey and Rose shared a knowing look as Rose burst into laughter. “Enjoying an early intermission?” she asked, wiggling her eyebrows as she spoke.

“Something like that,” Ben admitted with an easy grin, running his hand through his hair as he spoke.

“Relax, guys, I don’t care. At least someone is having fun,” Rose stated, shooting a look at Finn who was rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand.

“I am having fun,” he muttered, yawning.

“Mmhmm. I can’t take you anywhere,” Rose teased, reaching for his hand and pulling him close.

“I love you, my little rosebud,” Finn whispered, planting a kiss onto her cheek.

“I love you more, pumpkin,” Rose said, giggling as Finn scratched behind her ear.

Ben and Rey watched them interact, their banter as playful and sweet as they were as the young pair made their way to the bar. The air between Ben and Rey was suddenly heavy with unspoken words. Rey looked up at Ben to find his face somewhat unreadable, his mouth set in a tight line. He shifted where he stood, clearly uncertain about how to behave at the moment.

“Rey, I…” he started, his words trailing off as he swallowed nervously.

Rey turned to face him, pressing her finger against his lips and causing his expression to soften.

“I know. I know,” she assured him, nodding as she spoke. She didn’t want him to feel pressured into saying the words. It was obvious by the way he looked at her. When the time was right, the words would flow, and she knew there would be no sense of obligation or need for hesitation.

Chapter Text

 

Somehow, Rey found herself in bed. It was eerily dark again, which meant Ben was there with her. She felt the weight of his arm hanging over her waist, and she idly wondered if she would be trapped beneath him. In all honesty, she didn’t care if she was, as there was no place she would rather be. Burrowing further under the covers, she molded herself to fit against the curve of his body. She shivered as her bare flesh came into contact with his, an unpleasant reminder of what he was.

Closing her eyes, she breathed deeply, allowing herself to become immersed in the memories of the night before. Their movie had let out sometime after 2:00 in the morning, and apparently she had fallen asleep in his arms at some point during the film. Ben had woken her and driven her to his flat as she watched him shifting the gears and singing softly to the music on the radio. Hearing him sing made her want to melt. They had made love, much as he had promised her they would. It was tender, sensual, and she’d felt more connected to him than ever. They lay cuddling - just as they were now - and simply talked until the sun had come up or they’d drifted off to sleep, whichever had come first.

A part of her wanted to drift off to sleep again, but a bigger part of her was hungry. Her stomach grumbled loudly, as if reminding her that she needed to eat on occasion. Sometimes it felt like such a curse being human. She knew Ben was to blame for her having these thoughts to begin with. It was ironic that at this very moment, she envied his ability to be dead to the world and not have to succumb to bodily needs.

It occurred to her quite suddenly that she could have quite a bit of fun with him as he lay there, and he’d never know. Giggling aloud, she thought about playing with his hair, giving him a manicure and a pedicure, giving him a makeover, and all other such things people did to those who were ordinarily passed out drunk and unable to control what happened to their bodies. Sure, she could do other things to him. Bad things. Did she really want to, though? Depended on the definition of bad things. Biting her lip, she suddenly felt embarrassed by the thoughts that were going through her head. You are not a somnophiliac; don’t go there.

Rolling over on her back, she turned her head to look at him. His face was smooth, relaxed. Completely and utterly at peace. She brought her hands up to her face, even more embarrassed that her mind had gone where it did, although she knew he would have encouraged that behavior had he been awake. Turning her body again, she now lay facing him, studying his features as she so loved to do.

Idly, Rey wondered if Ben had been this handsome when he was alive or if his appearance had been altered in any way when he became immortal. It was impossible to know, as she doubted he had any photographs. She knew she could always ask, and yet she worried about offending him. Perhaps he had an old portrait stashed away somewhere. She would enjoy seeing him as well as Annabelle - or rather, Leia. What on Earth was she supposed to call this woman now? She’d likely respond to either name, if push came to shove.

Rey refocused her attention on Ben and absently began playing with his hair. She began braiding it, loving the way the silky tresses felt in her hands. She ran her hands through his hair, loosening the braids and flopping it in his face. Blowing gently, she watched it fan back from his cheeks.

Remembering how he had covered her face in kisses a few nights ago, she opted to do the same. Pressing a kiss to his forehead, both of his closed eyes, the tip of his nose and finally his lips, she hated that he wouldn’t respond the way she wanted him to. She was fully aware it wasn’t his fault, but that didn’t mean it hurt any less. Suddenly, it was no longer amusing, and she decided she was simply irritated because she was so hungry. Sliding out from under his arm, she made her way off the bed.

She stretched in every direction possible, cringing every time she heard a bone pop. It had been almost a full week since she had last practiced her martial arts, and, despite being well rested, her body was suffering. All the positions she found herself twisted into during intimate moments with Ben didn’t much help either. She needed a good work out, a long soak in the tub and a full body massage. Let's face it, you’d take a good fuck from Ben too.

Too true.

Reaching for her cellphone and tugging it loose from its charger, she switched it on. She blanched the moment she saw what time it was. It was already 1:00 in the afternoon. She had never slept that late before, although she shouldn't have been surprised. After all, she didn’t ordinarily stay up till 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning cuddling and talking to her nocturnal lover. Letting forth a low sigh, she knew she’d have to set boundaries, especially since she had to go back to work on Monday. Ben would understand. He had a life of his own as well; it wasn’t like they could stay trapped in their love bubble forever.

Making her way downstairs, she grinned when she saw the refrigerator, wondering if 3PO would be in his usual chatty mood. A part of her hoped he would, even if he wasn’t real. Opening it up, she began shuffling through the food she had there when his familiar voice chimed.

“Good day to you, Miss. How are you?”

“Pretty good, thanks. A little shocked that I slept this late, but I’ll live,” she admitted, pulling some eggs and cheese off the shelf. Setting it on the counter, she turned and dug back in, picking out some vegetables.

“If I may, you are up much earlier than the Master usually is. You actually make use of me as well. I don’t know why he bothers having me if he doesn’t use me.”

“He does it to maintain appearances. You couldn’t possibly understand. You don’t have to hide who you are.” Rey stood, regarding the refrigerator. She could have sworn if he had a face, he’d likely be pouting.

“Ah, but in a way, I do, Miss. Do you think I enjoy being a refrigerator? I was created to interact with people, and here I simply stand collecting dust. Only recently have I been graced by your presence. Do you know the Master doesn’t usually live here? Can you imagine how lonely that makes me?” 3PO asked, his tone almost mournful.

Rey paused, onion in hand, and began to ponder what 3PO just said. Did she know that Ben didn’t normally live here? Should that be at all surprising? She tried to rack her brain over their conversations. He rarely spoke of the coven, which she supposed she could understand why. Who wanted to talk about a bunch of fussy old vampires anyway? She suddenly began to wonder what all the chatty fridge knew of its master.

Chewing on her lip, she idly tossed the onion from hand to hand, different scenarios going through her head. What did it honestly matter where Ben spent most of his time? His life was his business; he would tell her what she needed to know when the time was right. She knew enough already, and every night they spoke at greater lengths. It had become easier for them to open up with each other, and when they couldn't formulate words to articulate what they wanted to say, they could always do so telepathically or through viewing each other’s memories directly. It was something that normal couples only dreamed of being able to do. The level of intimacy they’d reached was something she treasured.

“No, 3PO, I can’t imagine. You seem to be handling it just fine, though. I’ll try to stop by and say hello more often. No one should ever feel alone,” Rey said, trying to sound as genuine as possible. Even smart refrigerators matter.

“Your kindness knows no limits,” 3PO chimed, causing Rey to smile softly at having somehow comforted the artificial being.

Preparing a vegetable omelette for herself, she settled at the dining room table, looking over her phone. She updated her blog with apologies to her followers for her absence of late, claiming that yes, she was still alive. Finding a silly GIF, she texted it to Rose as a thank you for an awesome date night with the boys, hoping they’d be able to hang out again soon. She went through the motions of cleaning up after herself and changing into a random outfit before gathering up her dirty clothes and preparing to make her way out.

Pausing by the bed, she heavily debated if going out was worth it or if she should just stay wrapped up in bed with Ben. Surely she could catch up on reading or something...just to stay close to him. Somehow, she knew he’d prefer for her to get out and do her own thing, which was exactly what she intended to do.

Parting the curtains, she peered in at Ben while he slept, leaning against the bedpost and letting forth a heavy sigh. It hurt like hell to have to walk away from him, to spend the day alone. Before you knew him, you were always alone. Even that simple reminder wasn’t enough. It was becoming more and more difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t a part of her life. She felt like a lovesick teenager and shook her head, closing the curtains and walking away.

Throwing her bag in the backseat, she lowered the convertible’s top, basking in the sunshine as much as she could before the cloud cover took over. She knew it was supposed to rain in the early evening, and that was just fine for her as she had so much planned. Having Ben’s car also meant she didn’t have to deal with the rain for long while she went from place to place.

Stopping first at the Taekwondo studio, she surprised her Sabumnim by helping him teach his 2:00 class. She knew she needed to feel relaxed for her next stop - visiting Warehouse, where she hoped Andy would be working again.

“Well, if it isn’t Miss Rey of Sunshine!” Andy announced the moment she walked in the front door. Everyone within earshot regarded Rey carefully, making her blush profusely. The giddy young salesman greeted her, making her feel less like a customer and more like an old friend.

“Hey there, Andy. I’m on a mission. I’m seeing someone, and he loves it when I wear dresses…” Rey started, resting her hand on his arm as she spoke.

“Say no more, I got you covered. I hope you’re prepared to drop a pretty penny, girl, ‘cause you know this isn’t gonna be cheap,” he jested.

“Oh I know, but I trust you to work your magic,” she said, loving his rather flamboyant way of galavanting about as he prepared a dressing room for her. He had her change into a silky pink robe and wait for him to bring her an array of garments. Once Rey had changed into the robe, she snapped a mirror selfie and texted it to Rose, knowing her best friend would be thoroughly shocked to not only see her wearing pink - a color she absolutely detested - but also that she was shopping of her own free will.

Rey heard a soft tap on her door announcing Andy’s arrival. Opening the door cautiously, she peered out, gasping when she saw a full rack of dresses in all colors and styles. He wheeled around another cart, arranged with shoes and accessories. Rey’s eyes widened, and she wondered if there were enough hours in the day to try on every single thing he presented her with. Automatically, she wanted to rule out half of them, as they were either too fancy or of a distasteful color or pattern. She hardly knew where to start, hesitating before reaching out and gingerly stroking the garment nearest to her on the rack.

“Don’t be shy now, sunshine. These are all going to look amazing on you. I already know, but I still want to see you try them on!”

“All of them?” Rey choked out, looking over at Andy, her eyes wide with fear.

“Of course! That’s part of shopping!” he said with a laugh, gesturing with his hands as he spoke.

Rey swallowed nervously as she saw him reach for a sleeveless black dress with a tropical print in olive, mustard, cream and salmon. It was a modest design with a gathered halter top neckline that would graze her collarbone and a somewhat looser skirt that ended above her knees.

“Andy, this isn’t really my…” she started, finding it hard to like anything about the dress in question. The only thing that stood out to her was the fact that it had pockets and so was at least practical in that manner.

“Tell me, is it the length? The colors? The print? Maybe we should purge some options you don’t like right off the bat so you don’t feel like you’re stuck with something that will just sit in the back of your closet,” he suggested, causing her to sigh in relief.

“I’m really quite a simple gal. I know that’s probably incredibly boring for you as a stylist, but can we stick with solid colors and maybe really subtle patterns?”

“Of course, doll! The goal is for you to be happy and have something you’ll want to wear. I tend to get a little over-excited when presented with the possibility of dressing someone with such a perfect body. You are a fashion designer’s dream come true. I’m sure you could wear anything and make it look spectacular,” Andy gushed, doting upon her as he talked. He lifted her chin, making her smile and blush at his candid nature.

“Thanks for understanding,” Rey said, playing with the long ties on her robe.

Over the next few hours, Andy and Rey worked together, selecting another half a dozen dresses, all mostly casual but one that would be what Andy deemed a “showstopper.” Not being one for fussy accessories, Rey selected a few pairs of earrings, a necklace to wear with the showstopper, two purses and a pair of shoes. Rey closed her eyes, holding out her credit card as Andy rang everything up.

“Don’t even tell me the total; I’ll see it when I get my bill,” she suggested, biting her lip and staring down at the floor, trying not to feel guilty.

“Probably a good idea,” Andy said with a laugh, carefully draping a garment bag over her new dresses and packing her shoes and accessories into a sturdy black paper bag with “Warehouse” written in a blocky font in capital letters across the middle. “Are you gonna need help getting out, or are you good?” he asked, stashing the receipt in the bag.

“I’m good. Thanks again, Andy. It’s been a joy shopping with you.”

“Likewise, doll. Come see me again soon and let me know how your man likes your new wardrobe!” he suggested, leaning forward and kissing both her cheeks affectionately. She smiled when he mentioned “her man,” and Andy’s face brightened in response as he clasped his hands together and held them to his chest. He gave her a little wave goodbye as she turned and walked away.

Settling in Ben’s car again, she started the engine just as the skies opened up and rain began to pour around her. She was grateful she had the insight to put the convertible top up before entering Warehouse. That was lucky. Carefully backing her way out of the parking space, she navigated her way around the block, forced to take a detour due to a car crash. Once she made it to the bridge, she sat patiently as it opened to allow a large ship to pass through. Glancing down at the clock on the dash, she saw it was half past 6:00. She hadn’t been home in several days, so she decided she’d stop there next before returning to Ben’s flat. Hopefully, she could time it so that she could sneak in a bath before he woke up. She loved his old clawfoot tub; it was perfect for soaking in.

Running into her building, she managed to not get completely drenched as she fiddled for the keys on her mailbox. Digging out several bills, pieces of junk mail and a magazine, she hesitated when she saw a paper harkening her to the front office for a package. What could she possibly be receiving in the mail? She hadn’t ordered anything. With her arms full of bags, she decided now was not the time to get it. She needed to work fast if she was going to get laundry started and repack her bags. Strange how she always seemed to be short on time whenever she needed to do things at home. Or maybe it was because she was so eager to get back to Ben? Either way…

In her flat again, she offloaded her things in her bedroom before making a dash to the kitchen to scarf down a quick meal. She tried to be mindful of the time and keep an eye on the sun as it began to creep closer to the horizon. In her bedroom once more, she dumped out her dirty clothes, pausing when she noticed her mother’s necklace landing amongst the dirty clothes.

“Forgive me, mother,” she said out loud, pulling the amulet over her head and holding it over her heart. Closing her eyes, she breathed slowly. “Stop rushing. There’s enough time.”

Sorting out her pile, she retrieved what few dirty clothes remained from the previous week from the hamper in her closet, grateful she only had to do laundry every other week. Dumping her things in a basket, she trudged down to the basement and got her load started. On her way back up, she stopped by the office, picking up her packages. One package was from Unkar Plutt; the other left her puzzled. It was relatively small in size and dusty pink in color with delicate scrollwork surrounding the address. Along the side of the package, the words Agent Provocateur were written in a flowing script, causing her to arch an eyebrow and double check her name on the box. She kept studying the package as she made her way back to the elevator. As she was opening the door, she heard her phone ringing and ran into the room, tossing the packages on the couch and running upstairs to dig out her phone only to discover a missed call.

Unknown Caller

Really? Rey let out an exasperated sigh. She ran her fingers through her hair before twisting it up into a bun. She went to her shopping bags from earlier and began carefully cutting off tags and folding her new dresses into a neat stack. Once everything was packed and squared away for her return to Ben’s flat, the timer on her phone went off, indicating it was time to flip laundry loads. Trudging back down to the basement, she switched things over to the dryer, knowing if she left it there, none of the other residents would bother it. She was fortunate enough to have respectful neighbors.

As she was driving towards Ben’s flat, it struck her quite suddenly that after a week she considered his flat her home. She laughed to herself, feeling silly that she wanted it to be that way - for it to be their home together. Coming home to him was becoming her favorite event of late, knowing he’d be there waiting with open arms and an open heart. It was something she had never dreamed of wanting, or even needing, and yet here she was. The feelings of love and devotion were undeniable, and she told him often how she felt. Ironic that she was the witch, yet he had put a spell on her from the very start.

Pulling into the driveway, she noticed the flat was dark. Either he was still asleep, or he wasn’t home. Her heart sank at that realization, but she also knew he had a life, so it was only a matter of time before it somehow caught up with him. With her purse and duffle bag drawn over her shoulder and her packages tucked beneath her arm, she ran through the downpour, feeling like a drowned rat when she finally closed the door behind her. Catching her breath from the sprint, she leaned against the fridge, uselessly wiping her face with the sleeve of her drenched sweater. A shiver came over her as she realized the heat had never been put on, and she felt the chill even more now that she was drenched. Making her way upstairs, she dropped her bags by the nightstand, noting that the curtains were drawn back and the bed was neatly made.

“Ben?” she called out, entering the en suite and picking up a towel.

She began pacing from room to room, calling out his name, her heart sinking more with each empty room she was presented with. It had hurt to leave him this afternoon, and it hurt even more now that she realized she was alone in his lovely but cold flat. It was even colder without his presence, if that were possible. She debated calling him on the phone or even summoning him, but she knew he’d come back to her. He wouldn’t leave her without leaving word. That’s not the way it worked. Taking a deep breath and letting it out, she returned to the bathroom, starting a bath for herself and adjusting the taps for the perfect temperature.

She nearly hissed in pain as she lowered herself into the steamy hot water, almost afraid she had made it too hot, but realizing it was more a direct contrast to how chilled the rain had left her. Once she sank deep beneath the water and allowed herself to float beneath the steamy surface, she noticed her body temperature balance out and no longer felt the burn. Instead, she was comforted, her muscles loosening, her body relaxed. She gasped for breath as her head breached the surface of the water, and she clutched her arms around the edges of the tub. Humming a tune to herself, she began washing herself with Ben’s heavenly soap, loving that she could smell his scent even when he wasn’t around.

Once she was clean, she dried off, feeling considerably warmer and more like herself. Choosing to walk around naked, she began hanging her new dresses in Ben’s wardrobe, debating which one to wear for him tonight. Opting for a fitted green sheath dress, she laid it across the settee, slipping on some nude lacy panties and a matching strapless bra.

Drying her hair, she took her time and actually curled it for once, and although her waves weren’t perfect, it was better than what she usually managed. She slipped into her dress, which fit like a glove, and she was grateful that Andy had suggested it. It was something she’d ordinarily avoid due to the way it clung to her body, but these days, she had certainly been more willing to embrace her femininity. Ben had made sure to caress every inch of her body as often as possible, making her more than comfortable in her own skin. Leaning forward slightly, she looked at herself more closely in the mirror, tracing her fingertips over the mark he’d left upon her neck, reminding her that she belonged to him, and only him. She was increasingly comfortable with that idea.

Applying the lightest touch of eye makeup, she opted not to go too over the top, as she knew how much Ben appreciated her natural beauty. Sitting down on the settee, she began slipping on the strappy silver heels that she had originally bought to wear to the club with Rose. She heard the door downstairs unlocking and broke into an easy smile, ready to see Ben’s reaction to her new dress. Instead, what she heard next left her shaken.

“Kylo? Are you home?” a female voice called out.

Rey stiffened where she sat, her senses tingling. She knew it was another vampire. Frantically, she hunted for her phone, trying to be as quiet as possible and hoping that she wouldn’t be heard. Digging it out, she pulled up her messaging app and shot a quick message to Ben.

Someone is here at the flat.

She typed quickly before switching her phone to silent.

I will be there as soon as I can.

Ben had immediately replied, causing her to sigh in relief. All of her senses went into overdrive, and she became hyperaware of everything happening around her. Crouching low, she paced slowly through the room, making her way to the stairs. She paused there, casting her eyes down to make sure there was nothing in her path that could cause her to trip. She could hear the other vampire, walking about in the rooms below, calling out for Kylo the same way she had not an hour or two earlier. Clearly, this vampire must not have been too close to him if she didn’t know his true name. Or maybe he preferred that his peers called him by the name his maker gave him? It was hard to say.

Rey hid herself in the office, ducking low by the window. She no longer felt cold as the adrenaline pumping through her veins seemed to warm her. The fear of being found was beginning to gnaw at her. Hearing the other vampire’s footsteps approaching, she braced herself for the confrontation she had hoped she would be able to avoid.

“There you are, Kylo! Why are the lights out…” that same smooth voice called out, and with a flick of the switch, the room was bathed in the warm glow of light. “Wait, you’re not Kylo,” the woman realized the moment she saw Rey crouched by the window.

“Now what gave you that idea?” Rey asked, conjuring a fireball in her hands as she stood at full height, looking the female vampire up and down. As she spoke, she realized that she recognized the woman.

It was the tall, blonde vampire she had seen the night she left the library before beginning her journey to Skellig Michael. The woman’s eyes drifted down to her fireball, and she took a step back, baring her fangs.

Rey stepped forward, grateful that for once she had the upper ground and was able to defend herself.

“I don’t understand,” the female vampire said, taking another step backwards and sniff subtly at the air before speaking again. “You smell just like him...unless…”

Ben walked in at that moment, causing Rey to immediately drop her hands, fireball fizzling into sparks and dissipating around the room. He stood between the women, his hands held out. “Woah, ladies, relax. I can explain everything. Gwendolyn, this is Rey. She is my-” he started, eyeing the female vampire as he reached for Rey’s hand.

Rey took it without hesitation, standing at his side and straightening her stance, jutting her chin out slightly.

The female vampire glanced quickly at their hands, and her eyes flicked up to Rey’s neck. “She’s your mate,” the vampire named Gwendolyn said, her tone reverant as she relaxed her stance, a look of awe and wonder apparent on her face.

“Yes, exactly, she is - wait, what did you just say?” Ben asked, his mouth dropping open as the immediate shock caused him to waver slightly where he stood, gripping Rey’s hand a little tighter.

Rey glanced from Gwendolyn to Ben, and she couldn’t help but snicker, causing them both to look at her.

“You mean to tell me you weren’t aware that you mated with me?” Rey asked, quirking an eyebrow at Ben, who ran his free hand through his hair.

“She’s a witch,” Gwendolyn said, dumbfounded, as she looked from Ben to Rey.

“Yes, she is,” he acknowledged, looking over at Gwendolyn before looking at Rey. “Are you sure about that? How do you know?”

“You mated with a witch,” Gwendolyn droned on, her voice getting quieter.

“I know because Annabelle told me. She’s...another witch I know who happened to research vampires and recognized the marks you left on me.”

Ben tilted his head to the side and glanced down at her neck, then looked at the other side before nervously biting his lip. It seemed Rey wasn’t the only one who had neglected to notice the marks prior to them being pointed out.

“You mated with a witch,” Gwendolyn uttered again, peering at Ben with a curious expression.

“Yes, yes, we got that part, Gwendolyn. Thank you,” Ben said, gesturing for her to be quiet before shifting to stand in front of Rey. “I thought vampires could only mate with each other. I am sorry. I hope you are not upset with me for doing that. If I had known it was possible, I would have... ” Ben’s voice trailed off as he took her other hand in his. His face bore great shame, and Rey could feel his guilt. His thoughts betrayed him and he felt remorse for having mated with her without proper consent. Rey laughed softly, shaking her head. Does he honestly think I don't want him that way?

“Shhh, it’s ok, really. I don’t mind. I just wish I could somehow reciprocate the gesture. I like the idea of being bound to you for eternity, even if I won’t live that long.”

“You really mean that?” Ben asked, causing Rey to nod immediately. Ben drew both her hands to his lips, pressing kisses into them and making her close her eyes as she sighed.

“Kylo,” Gwendolyn stated, causing Ben and Rey to snap their attention to the elephant in the room.

“You realize what you have done is basically committing high treason among our kind, correct?” she asked, awkwardly scratching the side of her neck as she looked down at the floor.

“Well yes, but I need you to hear me out, Gwendolyn. Listen. This war is pointless. We have nearly brought extinction to the witches countless times, causing more and more wolves to awaken and hunt us down like the monsters we are. It is a mess, and it has gone on for too long. It needs to end, and Rey and I are going to end it together.”

“Well, I agree that this war is ridiculous, but how could you two possibly end it? Why now?” she asked, folding her arms across her chest.

Rey gave Ben’s hands a squeeze before letting them go and walking out of the room, past Phasma, who shaded her eyes and shrank back. Rey left the two vampires in Ben’s small office, making her way towards the bedroom. Remembering she had brought the ancient texts with her, she found them on the floor by the nightstand. Pulling out the one with the prophecy, she carried it back and presented it to Gwendolyn, carefully explaining what it meant.

Gwendolyn rubbed her chin thoughtfully, casting a wary look between Ben and Rey before she spoke again. “So you two just assume that these ancient words were written about you, and you assume that somehow, magically, everyone will be at peace and we’ll all live happily ever after?” she asked, her tone skeptical.

“Well, when you put it that way…” Ben said, lowering his shoulders as if in defeat.

“Look, I know it’s possible. What Ben - I mean, Kylo - and I have is really unique. It shouldn’t work, but it does. If that isn’t proof that peace is possible, then I don’t know what is,” Rey declared, setting the ancient text on Ben’s desk and approaching him. She wrapped one of her arms around his waist and rested her head against his shoulder.

He wrapped his arm around her in turn, pressing a kiss to her forehead.

“How can you do it, Kylo? I don’t understand,” Gwendolyn said again, looking down to the floor.

“I just can,” he answered with a shrug.

“Just be careful, ok? You know Armitage won’t take kindly to this. Rey being human is one thing, but a witch is something altogether different.”

“I am well aware. Ending the war would be a great relief to everyone, however. And with Rey...well…she makes it worth it,” Ben admitted, gazing down at Rey fondly.

Rey beamed up at him, grinning broadly and reaching her free hand up to stroke his face.

“Well...Rey…” Gwendolyn started, squinting as she looked at Rey as if gazing upon the sun itself. “I believe you are right. It’s truly unbelievable, being able to witness true balance between the Light and the Dark, proverbially speaking. Your calmness in each other’s presence alone is enough to convince me. If push comes to shove, I would gladly stand at your sides.”

“Thank you, Gwendolyn. That means a lot to me,” Ben said. The relief he felt was plain on his face, and Rey could feel it radiating from him, causing her to relax as well.

“Of course, Kylo. I of all people would be a hypocrite if I didn’t support you, given my relationship with Samuel. Granted, he isn’t a witch, but…”

“That is true. I never held it against you. One cannot help who they fall for. It happens when you least expect it,” he said, nodding as he spoke.

“Indeed. Just like I told you…” Gwendolyn said, sharing a knowing smile. “Well, I best be on my way. I mostly wanted to come by and make sure everything was ok with you since I knew you were having a rough time for a while there. I must admit, I’ve never seen you look better. Being in love suits you, Kylo.”

Rey glanced up at Ben to see his reaction to what Gwen had said. He bore a shy smile on his face, his eyes soft, but he kept his mouth shut. He nodded in thanks before offering to show Gwen out, leaving Rey’s side. She watched the two immortals make their way out of the room, feeling a mixture of emotions surging through her body. Fear, pride, acceptance, love, disappointment...it was hard to say which one trumped the others.

Chapter Text

 

Ben kept his hand low on Gwendolyn’s back as they walked through the house. They were silent as he ushered her through the front door, but her mind was a frantic mess; she was panicking and he knew it. He could hear the conflict within her, knew that her nature made her to want to take Rey and feast upon her powerful blood. He also knew that she respected him enough not to touch Rey. The conflict was understandable, especially since he personally knew how delectable Rey was. He was grateful he had such control, as in the past he hadn’t been so lucky. This time Rey would live - he loved her too much to end her precious life, as fleeting as it was. It hit him again just how fragile Rey was and how at any given time her life could simply end...he shuddered as he closed the front door behind them and turned to face Gwendolyn, pushing the dark thoughts from his mind.

“May I ask how you two met?” she asked, as if it had been gnawing at her.

“Of course. It was roughly two months ago, I think? She had just awakened as a witch but was not aware of it yet. Two of our kind were threatening her in an alleyway, so…” He hesitated as his voice trailed off. Could he admit to murdering his kind in order to protect his beloved?

“You killed for her?” Gwendolyn queried, her tone incredulous. Ben almost couldn’t answer. He needed to confess to her what was really happening, and yet he himself was only now becoming aware of how it would come out. Killing one’s own kind was frowned upon, and while he could simply say he was weeding out rogues, that wouldn’t cover the number he’d fended off. It was too many to simply be weeding out rogues. Ben hadn’t been careful enough; Armitage had already noticed it. It was only a matter of time before others started making the connection that all the killings were centered around a particular individual.

“You did, didn’t you? How many?” she inquired, turning to face him and crossing her arms over her chest.

Ben stood there, chewing on his lip and staring at the ground. He was thinking. How many had there been? Going over the talley in his mind, he couldn’t keep the number straight. His only interest had been keeping Rey alive, and now that they were together, it hadn’t been an issue. It all made sense - he had inadvertently deterred any more would-be killers by marking her with his scent when he’d mated with her.

“How many have you killed, Kylo?” Gwendolyn asked again, shaking him from his reverie.

“I do not know, exactly. Several. I would do anything to protect her,” he confessed. His eyes flickered up to meet hers, and he was met with resounding shock.

“Are you prepared to die for her as well, then?” she asked, her tone wavering.

“I am,” he answered without a moment's hesitation. “Gwendolyn, I love her.”

“Yes, I can see that.” Gwendolyn’s eyes softened the moment he confessed his love for Rey. A curious expression then crossed her face as she looked him up and down, as if seeing him for the first time that evening. “You seem different. Lighter, somehow. You are changing.”

“That should not be too surprising, should it?” Ben inquired, cocking his head to the side, uncertain of what she was getting at.

Gwendolyn shifted awkwardly where she stood, glancing down at the delicate golden watch that hung from her wrist. “I suppose not. I need to go; Samuel is expecting me. Take care of yourself. I’ll see you soon,” Gwendolyn said, surprising Ben when she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. She had seldom shown him affection beyond holding his hand or offering a reassuring pat.

Ben shook his head as he watched her walking away. She must have been truly shaken to have done that sort of thing. He smirked when he saw her driving off in one of his cars. In all fairness, she had asked if she could use one not too long ago, and he supposed it was better that someone made use of it as opposed to it being neglected.

Ben walked down the length of stone pavers that lined the walkway in front of his flat to the street. Leaning against the fence, he cast a lingering glance up and down the street, closing his eyes and breathing in the cool night air. Having sensed no other immortals nearby, he felt relief as he surely had a target on his back now. Had anyone heard his conversation with Gwendolyn, he wasn’t sure what the outcome would have been. Running his hand through his hair again, he cast aside the dark thoughts. First it was Rey’s fragile mortality, and now his own immortality was at risk. He would have welcomed death not too long ago, but now? His life had purpose again.

Returning to the flat, he made his way through the rooms, pausing as he entered the kitchen and looking over at 3PO. He considered getting Rey a snack but instead opted for a bottle of water. The chatty fridge attempted its usual pleasantries, and Ben immediately shot them down, stating he was in no mood for such things.

Once upstairs, Ben found Rey perched on the settee, playing with her phone. She set it on a nearby table the moment he crossed the threshold to the bedroom. Looking up at him with a curious expression, she stood, graciously accepting the proffered bottle of water. She moved as if to embrace him, and instead he held her at arm’s length, inspecting her with great appreciation for the new dress she was wearing.

“You look lovely, sweetheart,” he said, tone laden with admiration. “I would have said something sooner, but I did not exactly come home to an ideal situation.”

His confession caused her to scoff in response, and he watched her cross the room, taking a long swig from her water bottle before stopping in front of the windows. She drew back the curtains and peered out at the darkened street.

Ben approached her slowly, scanning her thoughts as he walked, but he was met with a solid wall of silence. Standing behind her, he leaned forward and pressed a kiss upon her bare shoulder, causing her to respond immediately by melting at his touch as she always did. He smiled softly at her response, although he could sense something was bothering her. Was she feeling envious of something?

“So, Gwen. How long have you known her?” Rey asked, her tone curious as she peered over at him.

He leaned against the windowsill opposite, regarding her carefully before speaking. “Roughly a century,” he said at last, causing her to laugh.

“I thought she had a bit of a flapper girl air about her. I bet she was amazing at the Charleston, with legs that long.”

“Do I sense jealousy from you, my sweet? I assure you, we have never been close like that. Gwendolyn and I have always been friends. Nothing more.”

“That’s good, I suppose. I mean, I have no right to be jealous. I know there have been others in the past,” she said, taking another long drink of water before setting the bottle on the windowsill.

“Yes, in the past, but it was the past. There is no one else for me but you, Rey. I...I do not know what I would ever do if I lost you. You mean the world to me,” he confessed, stepping forward and cupping her face with his hands. She peered up at him with moist eyes, her lip trembling. There was more than the mere jealousy he had initially sensed from her. This went deeper.

“What is it, sweetheart?” he asked softly, brushing his thumb over the tear that trickled from her eye.

“Oh, Ben,” she said before lunging at him and burrowing her face in his chest. Her sobs were soft, and he was taken aback. “I was so afraid when she showed up. I know it’s totally irrational, and I know I handled myself well, but what if I hadn’t? What if it was someone else who wasn’t as understanding? What are we doing?”

Ben wrapped his arms around her, caressing her hair and rocking her gently where they stood. He closed his eyes, breathing steadily and allowing a wave of calmness to pass from his mind to hers, hoping to ease her anxiety. She loosened her vice-like grip upon him somewhat but still clung on as if her life depended on it. His chest felt damp as the tears she shed soaked through, and the pity he felt for her was all-encompassing. He wanted nothing more than to take away her pain and make it his own so that she would no longer suffer.

“In all fairness, sweetheart, I am very proud of you for standing your ground. You are right. We were lucky that it was Gwendolyn who found us first. There will be others, most assuredly, but we can handle it. I believe in the mutual power we possess. Plus, we have fate and destiny on our side. We have been brought together time and time again, and this time it has worked out. This time we can make a better future. You said it yourself. Have a little faith.”

He felt Rey pulling back slightly and loosened his hold on her. She looked up at him with bleary red eyes and tear-stained cheeks and looked as beautiful as ever in her vunerable state. He smiled softly at her before kissing away the tears that had fallen. Capturing her lips with his own, he savored how her naturally sweet flavor mixed with the salt from her tears. She so willingly accepted the comfort he offered her. When he drew back from her lips, he noticed that hers were still slightly pursed as if wanting more. Her eyes were closed, her expression almost blissful. Ben gently caressed her cheek, noting she had ceased crying, and was pleased that he was able to ease away her pain. He could sense that Rey was still profoundly disturbed, but for now, she felt peace.

“So, now what?” she asked, opening her eyes and casting the most innocent look up at him, causing him to smile.

“Well…” he started, pulling away from her and walking over to where her bag lay. He picked up the packages that were on the floor next to the bag. “I could not help but notice these when I came in. I know what one of them is already, but not the other. Who is Unkar Plutt?”

Rey let forth an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes as she approached him, reaching for the package from the man in question. “He’s nobody. Only the man who claims to be my godfather, who also claims to have raised me. Far from the truth. I raised myself,” she said, her tone bitter as she carelessly tossed the package onto the side chair. Ben handed her the other package, in hopes she wouldn’t toss it aside as well. “How do you know what’s in this package?” she asked, quirking an eyebrow at him.

“Because I ordered it for you,” he said with a sly grin.

“Benjamin Solo, what have you done this time? I don’t need anything!” She regarded the package thoughtfully, trying to play as if she wasn’t insanely curious about what it contained.

He could sense her excitement at the prospect of what the gift she held had to offer. Rey seemed genuinely delighted that he had chosen to surprise her, which in turn was a surprise as she hated surprises.

He laughed in spite himself, listening to her thoughts that flowed forth now she dropped her mental shield. As she stood distracted by looking at the outside of the package, he made a move for the office, grabbing a dagger from his desk and returning to her before she had a chance to glance up and notice he had left the room. Turning the hilt towards her, he handed it to her.

She took it graciously, cutting away the tape and gingerly opening the package. She moved away delicate pink and black tissue paper, revealing a corset.

“Is this what I think it is?” she asked, looking up at him and grinning.

“It most certainly is. I am hoping I ordered the correct size. Do you like it?”

“I do, actually. I never knew a corset could be so beautiful! I think it’s timelessly sexy. I love the contrast in panels between the delicate lace and sheer. The trim is so soft as well. I should have known you’d go for black. Oh, Ben, this is exquisite, thank you!” she gushed, grinning as she caressed the lingerie.

“I was hoping you would like it. I know how much you appreciate fine lingerie, so I wanted to gift you this as a token of affection,” Ben confessed, stroking a stray strand of hair behind her ear before casting a cheeky grin at her. “Also because selfishly I knew it would look way better on you than it did on the model.”

“Let’s find out!!” Rey said, sounding genuinely excited as she placed the box gently on a side table. She reached for the side zipper on her dress, dragging it down before peeling it off.

Ben’s jaw dropped the moment he saw the lacy nude lingerie she wore beneath her green dress. The shade nearly blended with her skin tone, and the delicate floral lace was sheer and unlined. Shadows of her nipples and soft pubis were visible, making it all the more tempting. She might as well have not been wearing anything, and that would have suited him just as well.

Ben’s automatic reaction was to gather her in his arms, and he did so, pulling her close and dipping his head to kiss her. She took him as greedily as he had hoped she would, her sweet tongue tangled with his. Trailing his hands over her heated flesh, his fingers caressed her thighs as he drew her legs up around his waist. He kissed along the column of her neck, and in return, she arched her back against him, humming sweetly before gasping aloud. He suddenly wished he wasn’t wearing so many clothes as she clung to his shoulders, digging in her fingernails as best as she could in an effort to get a better grip.

Ben began lapping his tongue along her neck, gently nibbling along the way, careful not to draw blood. Pressing his lips against her mating bite, he suckled, causing her to writhe against him. He kept his hands spread wide across her back to keep her from falling. He could feel her stiletto heels digging into his backside, and the sharp pang was inviting as he always enjoyed the balance of pleasure and pain.

Rey threaded her hands into his hair, gently scratching at his scalp and making him moan as he shifted his hold on her.

He turned them around till he was facing the settee, and he perched her on the top edge. Continuing his expedition of kissing and caressing her tawny, freckled skin, he dutifully worshiped her as the goddess she was, loving the way she felt.

“Ben, the corset?” Rey queried, gasping for breath as his kisses lingered on the peaks of her breasts, his fingers sinking into the tender flesh of her hips.

He glanced up at her, eyes full of lust, before pulling back and releasing her. “Yes, of course. Forgive me. You are such a temptress, I could hardly resist myself, seeing you in such enticing undergarments,” he said breathlessly before taking a step back and helping her to stand.

“I’m aware of that, but the corset would be even more incredible, I’m sure. Besides, you got me this far. I actually want to know what it feels like to wear one of these things.” Rey stated as she reached back and unclasped her bra.

Ben pressed his lips together, suppressing a moan the moment he saw it drop to the floor. “Fair enough,” he stated, his voice husky with need.

He walked over to the innocuous package, picking up the corset as he began to loosen the laces on the back. Pulling it around Rey’s torso, he began to carefully hook the front together, cursing every time the top one came undone as he worked his way down.

Rey chuckled softly, reaching up and holding the top one in place.

Ben cast her a grateful smile as he finished with the hooks, tracing his fingers over the design on one of the lacy panels. Urging her to turn around, he gently pushed her forward till she was facing the bed. “Hold onto the bedpost, sweetheart. I am going to cinch you in. I will go slowly, so it is not too much at once,” he claimed, gathering up the silky black laces in his hands. He pulled them gradually, hesitating when he heard Rey suck in a sharp breath.

“I’m ok, I’m ok. Keep going,” she encouraged.

Ben eyed her carefully before pulling the cords tighter, wrapping them around his fingers as he continued tightening them. Holding the laces in one hand, he started along the top, tugging each cord down evenly as he went, ensuring they were spaced out just so.

He grinned as he heard Rey’s heartbeat quickening, and he could smell her arousal as he felt the heat radiating from her body. Giving one more tug, he began tying the laces together in a knot, shaking his head when he noticed they dangled between her perfect, round butt cheeks. He gingerly picked them up, tucking them beneath the edge of the corset. Smoothing his hands around her waist, he encouraged her to turn around to face him.

His breath hitched the moment he saw her from the front. Starting at the flare of her now wider-looking hips in contrast to her waist, which seemed impossibly small, up to her bosom, which seemed to heave with every breath she took, his eyes lingered over every inch of her new shape. They settled on the swell of her magnificent breasts, and he bit his lip so hard, blood began trickling down his chin.

“Careful there, you naughty vampire. Eyes up here,” Rey said with a laugh, reaching for the pocket square in his jacket and dabbing at his chin.

“Forgive me,” he muttered again, his voice practically breaking as he spoke.

“You’re forgiven. Now, didn’t you say that I could strip you when the opportunity next presented itself?” Rey asked, licking her lips suggestively as she tugged on his tie and pulled him close.

“By all means,” he breathed, reaching out to caress her body only to have his hands swatted away.

“Look but don’t touch, baby. You’ll get a chance once I’ve got you naked...if you’re lucky!” Rey teased as she loosened his tie.

He pressed his lips together, swallowing hard as he nodded in agreement. He watched as she finished loosening the knot on his tie and pulled it off his neck, tossing it in the direction of the settee. Grasping the bottom edge of his shirt, she gently tugged till it came loose from his pants. Her fingers trailed along his buttons, fumbling as she began to loosen them.

Ben began to grow impatient and put his hands on top of hers in effort to help.

“Now now, Ben, I’m perfectly capable of doing this myself. Perhaps I need to slow down so you can enjoy it more? No need to rush, my love. The night is still young.”

“Oh, you wicked witch, how you torment me,” Ben said, feigning distress. Secretly, he loved the game she was playing. He couldn’t wait for her to finish undressing him so he could properly pay her back for making him wait.

“You think you’re going to take control, do you? Not this time,” Rey said, her tone suggestive as she began peeling off Ben’s layers: first his jacket, then his vest and finally his dress shirt.

Her blazing touch seared his flesh; he nearly hissed at the sensation when she raked her nails down his back.

“You’re mine tonight,” she whispered, trailing her arms around his neck and pulling him down closer to her. Capturing his lips with her own, she surprised him by biting his lower lip and suckling on it before letting it go.

The intensity of the pleasure he felt from such a simple gesture was overwhelming, and he longed for more. As if on command, she did it again, locking her gaze with his as she suckled on his flesh, drawing it out a little longer. He felt as if his knees might go weak, and he knew he was in for it.

Rey was no longer in the mood for teasing, he could tell, as she practically ripped his belt off, the buckle clattering against the floor when she dropped it. As carefully as she could, she knelt before him, finding it difficult to bend over while tied into her corset. He held out a hand to support her as she made her way down, which she took graciously.

The view of her bosom from this angle was even more tantalizing than when she was standing directly in front of him. Staring down at her, he was impressed with her newfound speed and dexterity as she practically ripped his fly open, sinking her fingers beneath the waistband of both his pants and boxer briefs. Tugging them down his legs, she cursed when she realized he was still wearing his shoes.

Ben laughed softly at her frustration, causing her to glare up at him before tapping on his leg. He dutifully lifted his feet one at a time as she took off his shoes, slipping off his pants the rest of the way and his socks as well.

“You wear too many clothes,” she chided, cursing at how much effort it took to strip him.

He smirked, knowing full well he could have had it done in less than half the time, and she cast him another look, having caught the thought. He held out his hands to offer support for when she stood up. Once she stood at full height, she leaned into him, kissing him again. She surprised him when she reached between their bodies to grasp his already-hard cock. With a firm grip, she stroked his full length several times, and he gasped at the sensation.

Rey positioned herself so she straddled one of his thighs and began grinding herself against him. Her panties were completely saturated at this point, and he could feel the slickness of the juices that had trickled out as they coated his thigh. It was like liquid fire, trailing its way down, and she continued to slowly ride his thigh in time with the movement of her hand as she stroked his cock. Ben’s head fell back and he moaned, long and low, not caring how loud he was. She deserved to know the way she made him feel. He would sing her praises all night long so long as she never stopped giving the pleasure they both deserved.

She was truly on fire tonight, and oh, how she burned. After several long thrusts against his thigh, she came undone. He drew his head closer to hers so her mouth was next to his ear, and he relished in every little sound she made as she came. Her body quivered against his, and he was eager to feel more than the heat of her hand wrapped around his throbbing cock. He wanted nothing more than to penetrate her and take her again and again, milking every orgasm for what it was worth, giving her pleasure till she saw stars.

Rey rested her head against his shoulder once she ceased quaking from her release. Releasing her grip on his cock, she glanced up at him. He never ceased to be amazed by how truly beautiful she was, even with her hair sticking to her face with her sweat, her eyes glazed over, her skin flushed as she panted. Her lips were swollen from kissing, and her skin seemed to glisten with the subtle sheen of sweat in the low lighting. Oh, how he loved this woman. He was desperate to tell her, but the words just wouldn’t come.

She cast him a knowing smile as she took a step back. “Ben, I want you to kiss me,” she told him, her voice low and husky.

He leaned in to capture her lips only to pause as he felt her press her hands against his chest. Quirking his head to the side, he noticed her easing her hands up as she placed them on his shoulders in an effort to push him down. A quick glance in her mind revealed all he needed to know as he dropped to his knees before her, pulling off her panties in a single swift movement. He tossed them aside. Lapping at the juices that coated her thighs, he worked his way up, playfully nipping at the flesh of her inner thigh before plunging his tongue deep into her delicate folds. They moaned in unison, both feeling the shiver of desire taking over their bodies.

Drawing his hands around to caress her ass, he eased his fingers into the cheeks, massaging in time with his mouth, which devoured her sweet nectar, pausing only to suckle upon her clit. Her fingers tangled in his hair again as she clung to him for dear life, her body nearly collapsing upon itself with every movement of his wicked tongue. What a joy it was for him to fuck her with his tongue, as he so loved the way she tasted. The ambrosia from her cunt was almost as scrumptious as her blood itself. When she came undone this time, her scream came out more like a wail, and it was glorious. He latched his mouth upon her, suckling up her creamy essence as it flowed forth.

With shaky legs, she stepped back from his eager mouth. He peered up at her as she gestured for him to stand. She crooked a finger at him and gave him a come hither stare. She walked around to the front of the settee and motioned for him to sit down.

He did so without hesitation, leaning back casually among the pillows, his legs slightly spread and his cock at attention, its weeping head darkened with need of release. With careful steps, Rey climbed upon him, her thighs straddling his hips. He felt her reaching between them again as she stroked along the length of his cock, reaching down further to caress his tight balls before stroking his head against her juicy heat.

When she eased her body down, enveloping him in her heat, it felt like coming home. At last, they were truly connected and nothing else mattered. At first, she fumbled with her hand placement, resting them on his shoulders before bracing against his pecs. Eventually, she settled one hand on his shoulder and the other between them, occasionally reaching to touch his cock as he slid out of her. With tender caresses along her thighs up to her hips, he gripped her lightly, helping her establish a rhythm they could both enjoy.

He could tell she was straining to arch her back at the pleasure she felt, but the corset she wore kept her posture perfectly straight. Reaching back, he tugged at the knots, her corset loosened and with a swift movement, he unhooked the front, casually tossing it aside as she sucked in a grateful breath of air. Arching her back, she rolled her shoulders and tossed her hair over her shoulder. It was such a fluid and sexy movement, it nearly took his breath away.

Ben shifted his hips slightly to help as she thrusted against him, knowing if he could get her to angle herself just so, he’d hit the spot that made her toes curl. He watched her face as she went through a range of emotions; she was straining so hard to focus on her movements that the occasional grimace was endearing. More often than not, her face was a picture of pure bliss.

Reaching up with both hands, he grasped her breasts, massaging them as he so loved to do. He teased the hardened nipples, rolling them between his thumb and forefinger, making her lean forward in an effort to be closer to him. Licking at one of her nipples, he took it in his mouth, and suckled it. She gazed down at him, her eyes bleary as she bit her lip.

Releasing her breasts, he reached one hand up to pull her head closer to his. The kiss they now shared was punctuated with gasping breaths and blissful moans. He could sense she was waiting for release and it was becoming nearly agonizing as she wanted nothing more than to scream out and let the rapture take her.

“Let go,” he whispered against her lips, causing her to whimper in response.

She drew back slightly as the tremors began taking over; her eyes locked with his for a brief moment before her orgasm ripped through her. Oh, how she moaned and cried, her head thrown back as she clutched his hands. Her cunt gripped his cock, and the rippling sensations caused him to hit his peak. Together they shook, the lights around them flickering as their moans filled the air.

Rey all but collapsed on top of him once she was spent. She was like a ragdoll, limbs hanging limply; she was truly done in.

He was impressed she had lasted as long as she had, although he attributed it to the two orgasms she’d had prior. She deserved to be pampered now, and he had just the thing in mind. A rumble of thunder outside had given him the idea. Gently guiding her off of him, she curled on her side against him, breathing still labored as she came down from yet another aftershock from the immense orgasm they’d shared.

Shifting where he sat, he regarded her fondly, eyes trailing over her from head to toe. He stroked her hair back, tucking it behind her ear. He couldn’t help but chuckle when he realized she still wore the silver stilettos. With a careful touch, he undid the clasps, easing the shoes off her feet and setting them on the floor. He stood then, dipping low and gathering her into his arms. Carrying her back to the bed, he laid her down in the center, encouraging her to lie on her stomach.

Reaching into a nearby drawer, he found what he was after. The massage oil he now used was a warming blend of jojoba, jasmine, sandalwood and rose. Its scent as alluring as it was calming, he drizzled it liberally over her shoulders, her back, down her thighs and legs and to her feet. The way it dripped from her skin was mesmerizing as he listened to the sounds of the rain dripping away just outside the window. Recapping the lid, he began rubbing her down with long, featherlight strokes from her shoulders, down each leg, to her feet. Stroking down the length of both arms, he worked each one of her fingers before letting her hands fall to her sides. He then began working her shoulders and back, increasing pressure as he went, causing her to settle deeper into the bed and let forth a heavy sigh.

“Is this ok, sweetheart?” he asked softly as he continued his ministrations.

“Mmmhmm, this is perfect,” she admitted, her voice trailing lowly as she spoke. She let forth a long sigh before speaking again. “That feels so good, baby; you must really love me.”

“I do. Very much so,” he confessed, dipping his head down to press a kiss to her shoulder before continuing with the massage, working his way lower along her body.

She shifted her head to the side, glancing up at him with a sleepy smile. “I knew you did,” she said with a soft laugh before closing her eyes and breathing deeply again.

His own smile broadened as he continued with the massage, kneading at the flesh of her buttocks, down her thighs and to her calves. He focused on each foot individually, knowing how different spots triggered different sensations throughout the body. He was eager to take her again, and as he worked his way back up her body, he smoothed his fingers over her cunt to see how she’d respond. A subtle shift of her hips was all he needed to see, and he urged her to roll over on her back.

Again, he drizzled more of the warming oil over her skin, carefully massaging along her upper chest, around her perky breasts and down to her stomach. Tracing delicately around her pubis, he continued working down her thighs, easing his way inwards and occasionally swiping a finger over her delicate folds. Watching her closely, he saw her expression shift from a state of bliss to one of arousal, and soon the air became thick with her womanly scent.

She reached to caress his arm lovingly and voluntarily spread her legs slightly wider for him as an invitation.

Dipping his head down, he kissed her tenderly as he reached with his left hand to caress her jaw. His right hand worked her cunt from the outside in, slowly moving along layer by layer. He took his time as if he’d never done it before. Lightly stroking along the creases of her thighs on either side, he didn’t allow his touch to linger for too long in any given area. Their kiss deepened as he inserted one finger, slowly pumping it in and out before adding another. He curled his fingers upwards, causing her to break their kiss as she bit his lip in surprise.

Ben could tell by the look of hunger in her eyes that Rey wanted him to take her. He was already hard and ready; he simply needed to mount her and drive his way home again. With one final kiss, he drew back from her, moving to straddle her hips. His eyes locked on hers as he eased his way inside her, her tightness enveloping him once more in its warm embrace as she locked her arms and legs around his body. With long, slow strokes, he felt every inch become sheathed in her heated core again and again, drawing forth sighs and whispered words of devotion. Gazing deep into her eyes, he found himself lost within the kaleidoscope of greens and golds, fracturing into his very soul. She pulled him closer to her, all but pressing his face against her neck.

“Ben, please,” she begged, and he knew immediately what she wanted. She needed to feel him feed from her, nearly as much as he needed the liquid sustenance she provided. He opened his mouth to her, caressing the mating bite with his tongue before his fangs sank into the tender flesh there. She arched her back against him, groaning loudly as they revisited that sacred plane they called their own. He closed his eyes as he drank, his thrusting flowed to the rhythm of her heart, a steady and even pace that thundered in his ears.

Rey tenderly scratched at the back of his neck as she clung to him.

Licking the wound again, he kissed it before drawing back slightly and resting his forehead against hers. “You are mine,” he whispered now, his voice heavy with emotion. Quickening his pace, he drew back again, leaning on his elbows, creating just enough distance between them to peer into her eyes. He witnessed a single tear fall from her eye as she nodded in response before she spoke aloud.

“Always and forever,” she choked out, her hands shifting their position on his back as she clung tighter to him.

“Never forget,” he whispered, kissing her tenderly. “You are loved.”

At that, she crumbled, and wave after wave of pleasure coursed its way over her body; it shook his along with it, and together they rode out their mutual orgasm, a tangle of limbs and a chorus of moans and sighs. Outside, the thunder rolled and the patter of rain danced upon every surface, much like the sweat that dripped from Rey’s body as she trembled against Ben. It was in that moment he realized he could truly never live without her.

Chapter Text

It was an unseasonably hot and humid fall night. At just past midnight, Rey was out walking arm in arm with her friend, Marie, and they were talking animatedly about something. Rey couldn’t quite recall what. They rounded a corner and entered an alleyway, focused solely on each other and their conversation. Dodging the occasional trashcan and alleycat, they came to a halt in front of a strange man that seemed to appear out of nowhere.

“Expecting someone else?” he asked, his voice taking on an arrogant tone as he appraised the women in front of him.

“I...I don’t know what you are talking about? We were just walking…” Rey started, inspecting the man who stood in front of her. The man who wasn’t a man; he was one of them.

Another vampire.

His hair was cropped short and a vibrant shade of red-orange. It was tousled and loaded with product, with an oddly precise part to the side. Wearing a suit with a shiny black coat in lieu of a traditional sports jacket, he seemed out of place, as if attempting to be stylish but missing the mark. The flickering lights in the alley made his features seem particularly garish, with his high cheekbones and square jaw. Piercing blue eyes, long sideburns and full, rosy lips were the only things that broke up his otherwise pallid face. He wasn’t unattractive, by any means, but he was strangely gaunt and pale, and that took away from the overall effect. He had a forlorn but arrogant air about him, and Rey sensed he was up to no good. Then again, when was a vampire ever up to any good? Rey hoped he couldn’t smell what she was - what they both were - and she cast a glance at her friend.

“One of you was talking to our great leader. One of you was trying to sway him with your witchy ways. I heard you, but I’m not sure which one it was. I want it to be known, this ends here. Now. We do not need your kind corrupting ours; you’re meant to be fed upon, nothing more. Your powers belong to us,” he said as he paced around the two friends, like a vulture circling its prey.

Rey could tell that Marie was panicking. Her thoughts were chaotic. Marie was positively petrified with fear. Having seen her own future, Rey knew that this was her time to go. Marie needed to live. The future of the preternatual world depended on it.

“It was me. I came here to meet with Kylo. She’s just along to keep me company,” Rey admitted, jutting her chin up as she spoke, freely admitting the truth.

“Well, that was easier than I thought it would be. Of course, I can’t have both of you being a risk, so perhaps I should just eliminate you two instead,” the redheaded vampire said, looking them up and down and licking his lips.

“No...she’s innocent. Take me,” Rey said, spreading her arms and gesturing for him to keep his attention on her.

“Volunteering yourself so freely? Will wonders ever cease? You truly must want to die for your cause!” he said, standing directly in front of her now, tracing his black-leather-clad fingers over her jaw. He glanced down and saw the necklace she wore, picking up the sword pendant. “He can’t save you, you know. It’s just us now.”

Rey peered into his steely blue eyes and jerked the pendant away from him, in turn completely pulling the necklace off. With a side glance to her friend, she tossed her the pendant.

“RUN!” she screamed. Her voice was cut off as the red-headed vampire attacked her. The pain she felt was excruciating as he had practically ripped her throat open. She struggled in his grasp until he held her firmly.

He drank greedily, taking long draughts from her. He paused momentarily, looking at her as her vision began to fade. His cheeks seemed to fill out, his skin took on a rosy hue and his eyes rolled back in his head as he let forth a satisfied moan. He was truly enjoying himself at her expense. Her blood dripped from his chin. She felt so weak...so weak...then it was over the moment he latched onto her again, finishing her off in a matter of seconds.

Rey bolted straight up in bed, her body drenched in sweat, breathing labored. What sort of hellish nightmare was that? Was it a memory? It must have been. It was the 1980’s, she could tell by the clothes...was that how she’d died? She was supposed to be meeting Ben, that much she gathered, but who was that other vampire? Maybe Ben would know.

Glancing around, she realized she was alone in bed. The curtains weren’t down, and there was dim light from a nearby lamp. Down the hall, she could hear the faint sound of piano music. Ben was still awake. She took a moment to calm her labored breathing and wipe the sweat from her brow. Stroking her hands through her hair, she twisted it into a bun, tying it in place. Sliding off the bed, she picked up the shirt she had taken off Ben earlier, buttoning it and rolling up the sleeves.

With quiet steps, she approached the music room, feeling calmer with every step she took, soothed by the music her lover played. Leaning against the doorframe, she watched him as he was lost within whatever piece he was playing. His eyes were closed, and he was swaying with the music, his long fingers dancing across the keyboard as he played. The melody was as haunting as it was beautiful, and it made her heart swell.

“Did I wake you, sweetheart?” Ben asked after several minutes, clearly done with whatever piece he had been playing.

“No...it was a dream. That was lovely. What was it?” she asked as she approached him now. She gestured for him to stay on the piano bench when he made the move to stand. Standing behind him, she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, resting her cheek against his.

He reached up, lightly caressing her arms before holding onto them. “Beethoven. One of my all-time favorites. Rather fitting that it’s called the Moonlight Sonata, in a way. I was once told that the moon would be my only companion. I am grateful that is far from the truth.”

“I thought I recognized the piece. I’m terrible with titles and composers, though. You’re right, since you’re stuck with me now,” she said with a laugh. “I’m happy to be your companion as long as I live.” Pressing a kiss to his cool cheek, she felt him sigh contentedly.

“Would you like to hear another piece?” he asked, turning his head and glancing at her, gracing her with his signature half smile.

“I would love to. You could play till the sun rose, and it would never be enough,” she admitted, pecking his cheek again before drawing back. Crossing the room, she settled on the winged armchair, tucking her legs beneath her. Nodding her head at him to indicate she was ready to hear him play, he began again, losing himself in another piece of music.

She must have been lulled to sleep by the melody, as when she next woke, she was in bed, surrounded by darkness. Ben’s body was partially laid across hers, his head resting on her chest. Dark, silky curls tickled her chin as she breathed, and she could feel his arms holding her tightly in place. Idly, she wondered what time it was, as it didn’t feel like she had slept that long. With great effort, she lifted his arms and wiggled out from beneath him, tucking a pillow in place of her body. She pressed a kiss into his hair before sliding off the bed.

Picking up her phone, she saw it was only 8:15. They couldn't have been in bed for too long; the sun had only just risen. She felt bad having left Ben the way she did, and yet she knew if she attempted to lay down again, she wouldn’t be able to sleep, even in the presence of her inviting companion.

Heaving a great sigh, she paced a bit, making her way to her bag and picking up a fresh change of clothes. Slipping on some leggings and an oversized sweater, she made her way downstairs, moving on autopilot as she made some oatmeal with blueberries. She scarcely paid attention to her conversation with 3PO, only slightly aware that she even had one. Rey wasn’t afraid to admit that she was exhausted, and yet the thought of sleep only led to the nightmare she had, and she wasn’t ready to face it should it happen again.

Glancing out the window revealed a rather gray, gloomy day. Par for the course in London. She knew what she needed to do. She could feel it in her bones, as if something was calling for her.

Remember...remember...remember what, exactly?

Making her way back upstairs, she picked up the box from Unkar off the side chair she had discarded it on the previous night. Tugging the chain on a small Tiffany lamp, the room was bathed in a warm glow of muted colors. Picking up the dagger Ben had given her to open the other package, she hesitated before sinking it into the tape. Holding it up closer to her face, she inspected it carefully. This is my dagger! He had retrieved it from the alley the night they met a few months ago. Was it a memento for him, so he wouldn’t forget her? Perhaps he thought he would never see her again. It was far from the truth, and she for one was grateful how far their relationship had progressed since that fateful evening on her birthday when he rescued her. It was somewhat bittersweet to think about, but also heartwarming in its own way. Opening the package, she smiled before setting the dagger back on the table next to the lamp.

Settling on the settee, she smoothed her hand over the velvety fabric, blushing at the memory of the previous night and their seemingly endless escapades. Glancing at the bed, she smiled shyly, thinking of Ben and what an incredible lover he was. She allowed herself a moment to drift with the memories from that experience before refocusing her attention. This package was significant, whether or not she wanted to admit it.

Opening it carefully, she picked up a handwritten letter. Unkar had the sloppiest chicken scratch writing she had ever seen. Holding the paper back before drawing it closer to her face, she turned her head to the side, taking in each word individually before recognizing the pattern and flow of the words that spread across the page.

Rey,

My apologies for our recent conversation. I know I left you shaken; that wasn’t my intention. I found these the other day and thought they might be useful to you. Call me with any questions.

Unkar

Setting aside the letter, she pulled out what appeared to be two books. She laid each book on the settee before placing the box on the ground. Picking up the first one, she opened it up, delighted to see it was a photo album.

The first several photos were of a handsome young man. He had sandy blond hair and striking blue eyes. Reading the caption, she saw the name Will Kenobi, written in an elegant script that she knew was her mother’s.

Why was that name so familiar…? It couldn’t be simply because he was her father; it felt more like she knew him personally. Was that even possible?

Turning the page, she gasped when she saw the picture of the man she knew as Will with a woman she immediately recognized as her best friend. Marie Bishop. She didn’t even need to look at the caption. She swallowed nervously as the studied the image of the smiling young couple, tracing over the image with a delicate touch. What she saw next brought tears to her eyes.

It was a picture of her standing with Marie. They had struck a ridiculous pose in front of the rolling sea. They both wore neon bikinis, their hair frizzy, blowing in the breeze. The caption said “Rey and Marie, friends forever.” Closing her eyes, she choked back a sob. Pressing her hand to the picture, she was immediately taken back.

They had both just turned 17, having been born mere days apart. They were running about on the cold, windy day, enjoying the holiday from school. It was early fall, and though the waters were frigid, they flounced about in their bikinis, cursing and laughing as they splashed each other with water. Will had called to them, and they looked up, striking a pose as the picture was taken.

Opening her eyes, she wiped at the tears, uncertain if she could continue. She had been friends with her parents. She knew them at a time when she was young and carefree, before...before she died. Memories began to flood her mind, and she was taken back, wrapped in a familiar blanket of happiness but torn when she realized the truth. Casting another glance at the photo of herself with her mother, she took a deep breath and turned the page.

There were other pictures from that same holiday, but only one of them together. She blindly caught a glimpse of several other pictures, all smiling people or beautiful vistas. There were fireworks indicating the new year. A sappy, candlelit date her parents took on Valentine’s Day. Another picture of Rey with Marie featured the two women in tea-length dresses in stiff taffeta layers and pastel colors with lacy gloves and their hair piled up on their heads. Some sort of formal event -- a school dance, perhaps? She didn’t dare touch it, lest that memory come back to her.

Rey nearly fainted when she saw the next picture. It was the most damning of all. Rey and Marie were clearly at a club, as they both held glasses of some colorful beverages, Rey biting a straw between her teeth, flashing a grin at the camera. They were decked out in neon and fishnets, and they looked atrocious, but oh so happy. Just past Marie’s shoulder, a fair distance back, she could see Ben, standing next to that same red-headed vampire from her nightmare. Bright neon lights bathed them in an obscure array of colors, but it was undeniable. She didn’t even need to read the caption to know what had happened. Being one to torture herself, she read it anyway, and her heart sank. “Lost my best friend that night. I miss you, Rey.”

Again, a whispered voice echoed in her mind. Remember...remember.

Okay, here goes nothing. Touching the photo, she was transported back.

They had not yet left for the club. Rey and Marie were getting all dolled up, trying on each other’s clothes and painting each other’s faces. It was the most ridiculous thing ever. They were two peas in a pod, completely carefree and laughing up a storm. Both had just turned 18, and they were planning on visiting the club to (legally) drink for the first time. Will was out of town, so, unfortunately, he’d have to miss the whole thing, but that didn’t stop the girls from getting down and having fun!

Earlier that week, Rey had had a vision about this evening; she knew that it wouldn’t end happily, but she couldn’t let her best friend know that. Instead, they gathered up their purses and piled into Marie’s tiny brown VW Golf. They left the windows open to feel the breeze as they drove across the London bridge, singing songs at the top of their lungs along with the radio.

The two stood in line waiting to get into the club when Rey saw someone she recognized. It’s that vampire, Kylo! Their eyes locked as he made his approach from across the road, and she cast him a shy smile. He cocked his head to the side as if having recognized her, but he didn’t seem sure. He returned the smile just as it was her turn to pay the entry fee. Casting a fleeting glance over her shoulder at the vampire, she walked into the club. The music was pulsing, and the whole room felt alive with the crush of bodies.

Everywhere the two walked, they saw someone else they knew, and by the time they made it to the bar, both were feeling a buzz from the energy that surrounded them. Both had taken several shots of whiskey before ordering fruity cocktails to carry around while they mingled with all the other party-goers. They had shouted at everyone that it was their birthday, and so, naturally, they got all their drinks for free. When the bartender presented them with their blue and green cocktails, someone offered to snap a photo of them, pulling out a Polaroid camera. The women posed and then took the photo, shaking it out as they giggled and made their way out past the bar.

They sipped their drinks as they danced in place, not quite ready to breach the crushing wave on the dance floor. Suddenly the song Don’t You Want Me? came on, and Rey set down her drink, grabbing Marie’s hand. “I love this song!” she squealed over the thumping bass, as the two meandered through the crowd. Rey had spotted Kylo from across the room, staring intently at her as she began to sway to the music. She cast him a wicked smile and winked at him, seeing him smile in return. Marie and Rey danced together to that song and several other songs following before Rey felt nature’s call. As she was finishing in the bathroom, she was feathering out her hair a bit, surprised to notice no one else was in the bathroom with her but paying no mind. She jumped slightly when she saw someone standing behind her, reflected in the mirror.

“How do I know you?” she heard him ask. Turning to face the man in question, she took him in: his towering height, the dark lush curls, his intense gaze.

“From another lifetime,” Rey breathed out, her heart racing in her chest.

“I suppose that would make some degree of sense. You know me, then?”

“Yes. I’ve been watching you for a while now, Kylo. I know who you are, and more importantly, I know what you are.” The more she spoke, the more confident she felt.

“You do?” he questioned, studying her face as he approached slowly.

“You’re a vampire,” she said, her voice nearly a whisper.

“Indeed, I am. Yet you do not seem afraid, witch,” he stated simply, arching an eyebrow as he spoke.

“Should I be?” she asked, looking at him with her most innocent expression.

“I have not decided yet,” he admitted with a shrug of his shoulders.

Rey thought fast on her feet. The two of them were alone in the bathroom; it wasn’t a coincidence. She had been watching him for a while, and now they were face to face. Suddenly, her fantasy became reality. She needed him now, more than she cared to admit. If it was to be her last night alive, she’d make the most of it. She lunged at him, surprising him as she pulled him close to her; her kiss was all but suffocating as she drank him in. Drawing her arms around his shoulders, she felt brave for having made such a bold move. She could feel him circling his arms around her waist before breaking the kiss that left her breathless.

“What did you do that for?” he asked, clearly shocked by what had just happened.

“You are drunk, and I am sexy...oh wait...is it the other way around? Haha, well, I know something,” she said, poking her finger at his chest. “Something big, but I might need a minute...I think I’m gonna go drink some water,” she said, her face suddenly quite serious.

He mirrored her expression, nodding his head as he released her from his grasp and gestured for her to lead the way.

He followed her from the restroom, and she led them through the crowd, occasionally looking over her shoulder to make sure he was following. She settled onto a barstool, ordering a bottle of water and glancing to her right when he sat down next to her.

“I do not believe you are as drunk as you might have suggested,” Kylo said, leaning in as he spoke to her.

“I needed an excuse to kiss you, didn’t I? It seemed good enough at the moment. I am rather pleasantly buzzed, though, I will admit to that,” Rey responded, gesturing with her bottle as she spoke. Taking another long swig, she glanced over at her newfound companion. They stared at one another in amicable silence, pondering how to direct the conversation.

“So, tell me, witch. What do you know?” he asked, as if unable to contain himself any longer.

“This war we’re having? You know what I’m talking about, of course, right?” she asked, and he nodded in response. “It’s completely unnecessary. Bogus. Pointless. Just an excuse for your kind to unnecessarily kill my kind, and the wolves to do what they do best, and so on. I know that it’s possible for us to get along.”

“And how do you know this, exactly?”

“Well, for one, we’re having a civil conversation, aren’t we? Shouldn't you be trying to kill me? Or vice versa? What is your nature telling you to do right now?”

“I am ignoring my nature because you have sparked my curiosity.”

“But that’s not all, is it?”

“Perhaps not. We should talk elsewhere, if you do not mind. The energy here is...suffocating, at best,” Kylo suggested, glancing around as if uncomfortable.

Rey finished off her bottle of water, leaving it on the counter with some money. She stood, stepping closer to Kylo and gently touching his arm.

He regarded her with a degree of apprehension, waiting for her to speak.

“We should go around back; there's an alleyway that should be secluded enough where we can talk without being bothered by anyone.”

He took a deep breath and swallowed thickly before answering. Looking past where she stood, he seemed distracted momentarily before he responded. “Certainly. I will meet you out there shortly.”

“You better!” Rey said, offering a cheeky smile before turning and walking away. She sought out Marie, and the two left the club.

Rey opened her eyes, forcing herself back to the present. She knew what happened next. It was her nightmare all over again. What was the point of being lost in that memory, though? Why would she be taken back to the night she was murdered? This made for the second time she had witnessed her own death...both times at the hands of a vampire. It seemed to be a recurring theme. Idly, she wondered what happened to the 1920’s version of herself she had witnessed in her flashback with Ben. Hopefully that version of me died of natural causes.

A part of her felt angry that this had happened. Her enemies were truly that: cruel, vile creatures of darkness who brought nothing but death and destruction in their wake. Glancing over at the bed again, she sighed, knowing it wasn’t true. Ben wasn’t evil. There had to be more of his kind that were like him. They would find these vampires together. They’d travel the world together if that’s what it took. Spread the peace in every way imaginable, so that all that remained of the war was a bad memory.

Refocusing her attention on the photo album, Rey began to scan over the images again, witnessing her parents as they fell in love, were married, and had her - this current life, choosing to name her after herself, or as they knew it, Marie’s best friend. She shook her head at how ridiculous it all was. Reincarnation is so confusing.

Setting aside the album, she found herself quite suddenly exhausted. Stretching, she yawned, and she walked over to check the time on her phone. It was barely 1:00 in the afternoon. Sighing, she resigned herself to snuggling with Ben and going back to sleep for a while. Tugging off her clothes, she shifted behind the heavy curtains, burrowing under the covers and snuggling next to Ben. We will fix this. We will make peace. That was her only resolve as she drifted off to a blissfully dreamless sleep.

Hours later when Rey awoke again, she was much relieved that no terrible nightmares of cursed memories had ruined her much-needed rest. Nuzzling against Ben, she was grateful to have him at her side, her eternal companion. It warmed her heart and left her feeling hopeful. Stroking his cheek and pressing a kiss to his silky lips, she slid from the bed again. After redressing, she collected the other tome from its spot on the settee. She made her way downstairs, pausing in the kitchen to pick up an apple.

Settling on a plush sofa, she grabbed a soft throw blanket, draping it around her shoulders. Rubbing the apple on her sweater, she took a large bite, giggling as the juices dripped from her chin. Wiping her face with her sleeve, she propped the book on her lap, opening it cautiously.

It was a journal. Inside was that same lovely script she knew to be Marie’s, and at first, the entries seemed mundane, just daily routines and the like. Then a theme emerged. One that started when Marie lost her best friend. That fateful night Rey died.

September 23, 1988

This is a day I will never forget. My best friend Rey and I went out to celebrate our 18th birthdays, only to have the night end in tragedy. She’s dead, no thanks to the idiot of a vampire that ravaged her and slaughtered her like she was a pig. I will never forget the sacrifice she made for me. If I ever have a daughter, I will name her after my friend, that her memory may live on. Her life was over too soon.

Something else happened tonight. I ran into another one of their kind. I ran into him: Kylo Ren, the leader of the local coven. There’s something about him that feels different. He’s important, but I don’t know why. Rey mentioned him once before. She was always more powerful than I was. She had such a strong spirit and was truly one with her nature. I will find out what I can about him, that she might not have died in vain.

Gradually, the journal evolved into what one would consider a scrapbook. It started with a folded paper, a copy from an old article printed from the local library. A newspaper clipping that was a missing persons add, from 1843. There was a sketch of Ben, surprisingly accurate, along with pleading words written from a certain Leia Organa nèe Solo. If you hear or see anything, please let me know. Bring my son home to me.

Rey drew her hand to her mouth, tears welling in her eyes. She wondered if Ben had ever seen that, and how he felt about knowing how much his mother missed him. Was he so far gone at that point in his life that he even cared? She knew for a while he had been consumed by the blood, consumed by his very nature. Perhaps he didn’t care? Perhaps he couldn’t? It was hard to say. Wiping at her tears, she folded the article, tucking it back in the journal.

Turning page after page, she saw her mother had made notes about Ben, about the prophecy, drawing sketches of his sword and comparing it to Rey’s own necklace. There were questions about the necklace, and just how much Rey herself knew before her tragic death. Rey cocked her head to the side. How did I get that necklace, anyway? She rubbed her chin thoughtfully, attempting to recall, but nothing came to her.

A small envelope fell into her lap when she turned the next page. It was labeled 1994. Opening it carefully, she pulled out a series of photographs, all of Ben in various locations, taken from afar. She gasped when she saw him with the ginger vampire. Turning it over quickly, she read the caption that said “The demon that murdered Rey.”

Rey sat the photos down and closed her eyes. She wasn’t aware of it, but she was breathing rapidly, nearly hyperventilating. Clutching her hand over her heart, it felt as if it would pound out of her chest. Her body moving as if on automatic pilot, she tucked the photos back into the envelope and closed the book. Curling in on herself, she held the soft throw blanket close to her, her body shaking as she sobbed. Why did she need to remember this? What was the point of it all? What was her mother trying to tell her? Nevermind that; what was she trying to tell herself?

She felt as if her mind would explode, and, idly, she wondered if this is how Ben felt, living through lifetime after lifetime, witnessing the things that he did. Being simultaneously a part of the world and apart from it. She began to have more of an understanding for the conflict she sometimes sensed from him; the very tragedy of his existence as an immortal. I might as well be immortal, given that I keep coming back.

Thinking about Ben soothed her weary mind, and she found herself breathing easier. The irony was not lost on her how similar they were, even if she couldn’t remember everything that happened the same way she knew he must. Loosening her grip on the blanket, she withdrew her arms, stretching them up high above her before twisting her torso to the left and right. She needed to loosen up already; all this tension couldn’t be good for her body.

Glancing at the clock on the mantle, she realized it was just past 6:00. Ordinarily, she’d be hungry, although at the moment, she had no appetite. Shrugging her shoulders at the passing thought, she glanced down at the the journal in her lap. Feeling brave, she decided she might as well finish reading as much as she could. Flipping through the pages till she found the envelope containing the photographs, she realized that there wasn’t much more to the journal aside from a note that stated what Rey already knew; the prophecy was written about her and Ben, and her mother urged her to find him and “make things right” with their world.

Hearing movement upstairs, she knew that meant Ben was up. He didn’t need to make noise to get around; she knew he was doing it more for her benefit to signal that he was up and about. It was surprisingly considerate of him, and she was grateful. Peeling off the throw blanket, she tucked the journal under her arm and made her way upstairs, grinning the moment she saw Ben. He was making the bed, wearing nothing but loose-fitting sleep pants that hung low on his hips. Rey found herself staring at his ass a little too long as he bent over smoothing out the sheets.

“There is my sunshine!” he said, turning the moment he heard her enter the room. He approached Rey with a radiant smile that warmed her heart.

“Hello, Ben. Did you sleep well?” she asked, standing on tiptoe to kiss him as he drew her into his arms.

“Only like the dead,” he said with a laugh, clearly amused with himself.

Rey couldn’t help but roll her eyes and laugh with him, happy to see he was in such a jovial mood. It lightened her own, but only just. She smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. Concerned about ruining his good mood, she kept her mouth closed and simply shook her head at the playful vibe she could feel from him.

“What have you been up to today? I noticed you opened that box from your godfather. Did he send you anything good?” Ben inquired, stroking back her hair and pressing a kiss to her forehead.

“Ah well...about that. Yes, and no. It was a very eye-opening snapshot of the past,” Rey uttered, chewing her lip nervously. She pulled back from Ben slightly, without thinking of it.

“You seem so tense all of the sudden. Do you want to talk about it, sweetheart? I can draw us a bath, if you like? We can chat there?” he asked, tugging her lip loose and gently smoothing his thumb over it. He tilted her chin up.

“That would be perfect, actually. Thank you for suggesting it,” Rey said with a smile, grateful he always seemed to know just what to do.

“Just relax here, then. I will let you know when it is ready,” he promised, leaning in for another kiss before walking past her and into the ensuite.

Rey made her way lazily to the settee, picking the box off the floor and placing the photo album and journal back inside. She tucked the flaps together in effort to reseal the box, returning it to the floor. Stretching out her legs in front of her, she rolled her head around slowly before closing her eyes and breathing deeply. A smile tugged at her mouth when she heard Ben singing softly to himself as the bathwater filled the tub. After several minutes, he switched off the tap. Rey heard the soft padding of his feet on the hardwood as he approached. She felt his weight settle on the settee next to her.

“Wake up, sleeping beauty,” he whispered, tenderly caressing her cheek.

“I wasn’t asleep, I was resting my eyes,” Rey said, leaning into his hand and smiling as she opened her eyes.

“Well, whatever it was you were doing, it is time to get you naked so we can enjoy a good soak and soothe your weary mind,” he suggested as he leaned in, kissing her softly. Standing, he reached for her hands to pull her up. He helped her undress as he shed his pants, leading her to the bath.

Once they settled beneath the steamy water, he began cupping handfuls of water over her, patiently waiting for her to talk when she felt the time was right.

Rey leaned back into him, feeling the tension melt away the moment he began washing her.

His movements were slow as he leisurely drew soapy circles over her, lavishing attention on every inch of her body and making her sigh blissfully. They maintained the same peaceful silence as he washed her hair, massaging her scalp in a way that left her feeling utterly boneless as they floated together on waves of bliss and happiness. Rey finally spoke when she felt completely at peace and was ready to broach the subject.

“How do you do it?” she asked as he began rinsing her hair. “How have you handled your immortality so well without being left disgruntled and at a loss?”

“Well, I learned something early on that helped me cope. The trick is not to think about it. Any of it. If you allow yourself to be consumed by your anxiety and cannot let go of the past, you will drive yourself insane. Is this what has you so at odds? What have you learned, my sweet?”

“It’s complicated,” Rey admitted with a sigh, leaning back against his body.

“Try me,” Ben offered, stroking down the length of her arm and kissing her shoulder.

“Alright, so, I learned today that reincarnation really isn’t all that great. It’s akin to being immortal, only you forget the memories of what happened in each lifetime until they are triggered.” Rey paused, lost in thought as she mindlessly caressed his arm where he held her.

“That makes sense, really. You’ve been subconsciously filing the memories away as if in a vast database. I do that sort of thing all the time. It does not do well to dwell on the past unless you are looking back to learn something. Even then, more often than not it takes several times making the same mistake before one truly learns.”

Rey sighed heavily, considering his words. Before she was aware of it, words began spilling from her mouth in rapid succession, and she told him of all her findings. She told him about when she was alive in the 1970’s and 80’s, how she was best friends with her own mother - who named her after herself when she met an untimely demise at a young age -- something she found incredibly ironic. She told him of her sacrifice and of the wretched ginger vampire who killed her. She felt his body tense the moment she mentioned it.

“May I see that memory?” he asked, his tone suddenly very serious.

“Of course, by all means,” she stated, capturing his hands in hers and placing them to her temples. The nightmare that had vexed her that morning played again, and she cringed the moment she felt the attack all over again.

“I will kill him, if it is the last thing I do,” Ben all but growled the moment her memory had ended.

Rey turned in the tub to face him, noting the venomous expression on his face.

“You’ll do no such thing. If he still exists, I’d like to take him out myself. Especially now that I have something to fight for,” Rey said, a fire in her voice as she spoke.

“I was supposed to meet you that night. I remember it all too well. I waited for you...for hours, and you never showed. I returned every night and waited for you, several nights following that. I had no idea what had happened to you. I remember seeing that woman -- your friend and future mother -- running away that evening. Apparently, I missed you by a matter of minutes. If I had been quicker, I could have saved you,” he said, suddenly looking distraught.

“Ben, baby, it wasn’t your fault. Don’t feel bad. It was my time to go. I know because I had a vision of it. I knew I was meant to die, I just didn’t know the details. That wasn’t the right time for us, but it is now.” Rey shifted beneath the water, floating on her belly as she reached her arms around his shoulders, leaning into him.

“Of course, you are right. Our time is now,” he said, shaking his head as he spoke before pressing a kiss to her forehead. Holding on to one another in silence, they floated together, each lost in their own thoughts, only to be interrupted by Rey’s stomach growling loudly.

“Sorry, I haven’t eaten yet. I wasn’t hungry earlier…” Rey confessed, looking up at Ben and blushing.

“Do not apologize, sweetheart. I get hungry too sometimes, you know. I have not forgotten what that feels like, although I dare say I can go considerably longer than you without eating. What do you say we get dinner out somewhere? A lovely date would be just the sort of distraction you need to get your mind off everything you endured today,” Ben advised, smoothing his hands over her hair as he spoke to her.

“I would like that very much, if it wouldn’t be too awkward for you?”

“Of course not. I would not have suggested it otherwise. I cannot have you starving, and I believe it would be nice to go out like a normal couple. It would do us both some good.”

“That’s settled, then." Rey smiled at the idea of them going out, and loved how much effort Ben put into their relationship.

Out of nowhere, she was struck with an indescribable fear. If Gwen had found out about them so easily, who would be next? Subconsciously, she knew there were other immortals out there. Others whose opinion differed from that of Gwen and Ben. Others like the ginger vampire who had slayed her in the past. It was only a matter of time. She needed to remedy the situation -- or at least put her own mind at ease. "May I make one request?” Rey asked, her expression suddenly quite serious.

“Anything,” he answered, locking his gaze with hers.

“Would you please carry your sword with you...just in case anything that goes bump in the night decides to rain on our parade.”

“Of course. Whatever it takes to put you at ease.”

“Let’s get ready, then! You can even pick out my dress, if you like? I want to look good for you tonight.”

“You always look exceptional, my love; it takes no effort whatsoever,” he admitted truthfully, planting a kiss upon her lips before gently urging her to step out of the tub.

Rey pulled the plug as she leaned in to grip the edge of the tub, carefully stepping down onto the cool tile floor. Ben climbed out shortly after, playfully smacking her ass before gathering up some towels for the two of them. They chatted animatedly as they got ready, both feeling mutually excited for the night ahead of them

Chapter Text

The air was moist and fragrant, the remnants of a late May shower causing the streets to remain eerily quiet and bringing a sense of calmness to the evening as Ben and Rey made their way to the restaurant. Ben held the car door, gesturing for Rey to step out. She graciously accepted his hand as he helped her. They opted to dine at Oliveria, a restaurant that Rey had been dying to try. She had heard that they had particularly scrumptious dishes featuring local produce and boasted an international flair. Ben was eager to take her wherever her heart desired. He settled for a cup of hot soup, enjoying the warmth and fragrance while Rey ordered a full meal.

The two chatted casually, talking about cliche date topics including education, movies they’d both recently seen or were interested in seeing, and music they both enjoyed. Rey gushed about her blog, talking about friends that she had in various places around the world including Scotland and the United States, who were near and dear to her heart. She dreamed of someday traveling to meet them, but funding was always an issue.

“Scotland would be the easiest place to visit; you should head there first. The Highlands are stunning this time of year. I strongly recommend visiting them,” Ben encouraged, smiling easily as he spoke.

“Perhaps. Would you come with me?” Rey asked cautiously, uncertain if he’d be willing to travel with her. She hoped that he would, but she never wanted to assume anything.

“Of course, my love. I would happily cover the cost and everything. I know of several places we could visit there. We could venture around elsewhere, if you are interested? Perhaps extend your week-long vacation and explore more of Europe?” he offered, and the light in his eyes showed he was already coming up with plans to make their trip worthwhile.

“That’s very kind of you to offer. I’d happily go anywhere with you as I’m sure you’ve seen it all,” Rey mused, thoughtfully swirling her fork through the last of her meal before eating the final bite.

“Would you like dessert tonight?” Ben asked Rey when the waiter came by, eyeing the two expectantly.

“Maybe later,” Rey said with a wink.

Ben grinned as he caught the image she shared with him from her mind. Naughty witch, you have such an insatiable appetite.

I do, and it’s all your fault. You set the bar high.

I could always aim higher.

I have no doubt in my mind that you could. Are you up for a challenge, vampire?

“Check, please?” Ben asked the waiter, nodding respectfully. As the waiter walked away, Ben eyed Rey mischievously. “You are really pushing for it tonight, sweetheart.”

“I know what I want. You’re going to give it to me.”

“We shall see.” He smiled as he signed the receipt, thanked the waiter for his time, and bade him a good evening. Standing, he held out his hand to help Rey to her feet. “I think I might make you wait, build up the anticipation,” he whispered in her ear before turning and kissing her cheek.

“Mmm, you would say that. Tease.”

“You do not know the half of it, my darling. Good things are worth the wait. Let us take a walk to settle your stomach first, then I will show you what a good tease is.”

“Promises, promises. Fine, I’ll indulge you; let’s take that walk. There’s a park not too far from here that has a lovely view of the river.”

“Lead the way.”

As they crossed the road, they meandered the few blocks that led to the park. It was an older part of town, and it felt as though they were entering another time. A simpler time. A carefree, romantic time where lovers courted one another, doing little more than holding hands and stealing kisses when no one else was looking. They saw a street peddler, an older woman with a basket full of flowers. Ben purchased a single red rose, giving it to Rey with a secret smile as if he knew something.

“It was you!” Rey said, blushing as she spoke while drawing the rose up to her nose, breathing in the heavenly aroma of the velvety petals.

“But of course, my love. Would you expect anyone else?” he asked, stroking one of his hands through her hair before bending to kiss her tenderly.

Rey smiled shyly before returning to his side, threading her arm through his as they resumed their walk. On occasion, she snuck another lingering smell of the sweet bloom she held.

Nearing the park, they strolled along an uneven cobblestone path, making Rey grateful she’d worn boots as opposed to heels. The trees embraced them as they continued, a gentle stirring of leaves in the breeze. Colorful flowers dotted their way along the walkway, and, despite it being late evening, there was a surprising amount of people present. Ben’s sword at his hip drew a few double takes from those passing, but Rey chose to ignore that. She felt better knowing he could protect them, although somehow she knew their combined powers would deem the weapon unnecessary. Still, deep within, she felt reassured.

They walked in silence as Rey took in all that the park had to offer, enjoying the warm pools of light from the street lamps and the occasional view of the full moon peeking out from behind the clouds. Rey had the sudden creeping sensation that they were being followed. Out of the corner of her eye, she swore she saw movement among the trees and bushes. Glancing up at Ben, she noted his expression was oblivious. She knew his senses had to be keener than hers, and if he wasn’t fazed, than she had nothing to worry about. Casting a fleeting glance over her shoulder, she realized she was right. Something was there - but it wasn’t anything to be afraid of.

“Ben, look!” she whispered, her voice full of wonder as she gestured to a spot in the distance.

There was a small family of deer grazing on a patch of grass, their bodies bathed in moonlight. It was almost like witnessing something from a fairytale as they lazily moved about. Rey let go of Ben’s arm and approached the herd slowly, taking careful steps so as not to disturb them. Ben followed, equally cautious. Finding themselves in a clearing that lay just beyond a wooded area, Rey was surprised just how close she was able to get to the deer without disturbing them.

“Did you know these were here?” Rey asked in a hushed tone.

“I did,” he answered, his tone equally hushed as he chose to remain several feet away. “Hundreds of years ago, these were hunting grounds for noblemen. They would hunt deer and other wildlife for sport. It later became a royal park for the public. Naturally, the deer remained, and now they roam freely. I think it is very quaint to find wildlife like this amid the urban sprawl. The juxtaposition of nature with the city skyline beyond the trees shows us how much the city has grown. You should have seen this before the buildings were here. It was green as far as you could see.” He shook his head slightly as he spoke, bearing a small, somewhat sad smile on his face that tugged at Rey’s heart.

Feeling brave, Rey took several steps closer, and a buck drew its head up to look at her. Reaching out slowly, she placed her hand on the side of its neck, giggling softly as she felt the coarse fur beneath her hands. Glancing back at Ben, she grinned before returning her attention to the magnificent creature, whispering awe-struck words of its beauty.

The buck seemed unusually tranquil, resuming its grazing as she paced slowly around it, stroking along its body. All of the sudden, the creature snapped its head up, its ears flicking rapidly. Making a snorting noise, it looked to the rest of the herd, and they all bolted off towards a nearby field, away from the woods.

“I wonder what spooked them?” Rey asked, turning towards Ben, seeing him drawing out his sword as he nervously eyed the darkened trees.

“I think I know…” he said, his voice low. He walked around in front of her and crouched into a defensive stance, his sword poised for a possible attack.

Out of the woods stepped an impossibly large, grey wolf. Immediately, it began to growl, its head low and sharp teeth bared.

Rey gasped, drawing one of her hands over her mouth. “That’s...that...it must be a werewolf. It’s too big to be a normal wolf,” she choked out, her body beginning to quake as the wolf drew closer.

“That is because it is not a normal wolf. Your instincts serve you well, Rey. It is also a full moon. I know what it wants,” Ben said, his voice eerily calm as he tracked the movement of the sizable beast.

Closing her eyes, she reached out with her mind and came to a sudden realization. Without a second thought, Rey moved in front of Ben, causing him to lower his defense for fear of accidentally cutting her with his sword.

He held out his arm, capturing hers in an effort to pull her back. “Rey, are you insane?” he asked, his voice full of concern.

“No, he won't hurt me. I know who he is,” she said, looking back at Ben before facing the wolf. “Isn’t that right, Lucian?” she said, her voice louder.

The wolf appeared to pause mid-stride, his large paw poised in the air. He cocked his head to the side before drawing his nose up, sniffing the air. Sitting down on his haunches, he eyed Rey carefully.

How is this possible? You smell like one of them, and yet you are still human.

Rey heard Lucian’s voice echoing through her head. She held up a finger, gesturing for him to wait a moment.

He nodded his head once in understanding.

Rey turned to face Ben, who appeared more on edge than she had ever seen him.

He raked one hand through his hair, sword still held in the other as he eyed the wolf warily before drawing his attention to Rey. “That is Lucian,” Ben said with a sigh. “Are you going to talk to him?”

“I’m going to try. He needs to understand you mean me no harm. He’s here to protect me. He probably still sees you as a threat and won’t stand down till he knows I’m ok,” she said, placing a reassuring hand on Ben’s arm. “Put the sword away. I’ll be ok.”

Ben scoffed in response, irritated at the suggestion, but following her request nonetheless. Sliding his sword in its sheath at his hip, he crossed his arms over his chest. “Oh, I am certain you will be fine. He does not want to make a meal out of you.”

“Ben, relax, sweetheart. I’ve got this,” Rey said, standing on tiptoe and kissing him.

He softened somewhat, nodding his head much as the massive wolf had done not a moment earlier. “I trust you,” Ben replied, his voice still laden with concern.

Rey cast him another reassuring smile before turning back towards Lucian and approaching him carefully.

Lucian, I need you to understand something up front. I am okay. This vampire is not threatening me in any way. You can stand down; I do not need your protection.

But why do you smell like him, Rey? What have you done? the massive wolf asked, shifting his weight between his front paws.

This isn’t going to be easy for you to hear, but...we’re mated. Rey pulled down the collar of her dress to prove it, revealing the bite Ben had left on her. That’s why I smell like him. But there’s more to it -

MORE TO IT? Like hell there’s more to it! Why on Earth would you allow yourself to become mated with your enemy? Doesn’t he want to kill you? Vampires are cruel, vile creatures of darkness. You are the embodiment of goodness and light, Rey. Do you realize what you have done by giving yourself to him like that?

It’s not like that, though, Lucian. He’s a good person, you have to believe me!

There’s no such thing as a good vampire, Rey. You were like a daughter to me. I loved you. Do you know that? I loved you so much. Now...now you might as well be my enemy too. Even if you had wanted my protection, I can no longer provide it. He bowed his head, letting forth a pitiful whine, and Rey took another step closer to him, reaching out a hand to touch him.

In the nearby woods, they heard a branch break, their attention immediately snapping in the direction of the sound. Rey lowered her hand, taking several paces away from Lucian and towards the sound.

“Who is there?” she called out, feeling brave. After all, whatever was there couldn’t be worse than the wolf and vampire at her back. Another branch broke as the person hiding in the shadows took another step. Rey looked back at Ben, whose hand was poised on his sword. He sniffed at the air and relaxed his stance.

“Come out, Mitaka. I know you are there,” he said, taking several steps towards the woods.

Another vampire? Lucian asked as he paced forward to stand at Rey’s side.

“Sorry, Kylo, I was just curious. I’ve been following you and the lady for a while now. She smelled like you, but she has a glow like a witch; her presence is truly puzzling. Then I saw that wolf, and I just had to see what was going on…” Mitaka said in a shaky voice.

Rey watched curiously as Ben interacted with the nervous-looking young man. Vampire, Rey reminded herself. He’s probably not as young as he looks.

The two immortals were having a conversation, and Ben gestured casually towards Rey as he spoke; his tone was that of a commanding superior of sorts. Clearly, he was in his element as a leader, and the smaller man nodded in understanding as their conversation continued.

I’m so hungry, Rey. I know my brothers and sisters are too. You can’t expect me to stand here idly and just watch those two interact? Lucian’s voice entered in her mind again as she felt a shiver go down her spine.

Can’t you just ignore them? There are others in the city. Please, Lucian, I beg of you. Don’t hurt Ben. Rey turned towards him, a pleading look in her eyes. Ben and I are destined for something bigger; we need to work together to make changes for the better. This war doesn’t have to continue. There’s a prophecy about -

Lucian shook his massive head no, snorting before responding. This war is the reason I’m the monster you see before you now. I’m ending this here. I hunger, and I will not allow you to be ensnared by this immortal any longer. I need my Rey back. If you cannot be reasoned with, then he and his kind have already turned you against your own. He drew his head back, and a long howl resonated in the air.

It was so loud, Rey had to cover her ears as she stepped back several paces. Ben and Mitaka also covered their ears, Mitaka dropping to his knees as if in pain.

A snarl escaped from Lucian once he finished howling, and he bared his teeth again, licking his chops as he drew closer to the vampires.

“Mitaka, run. Get the others,” Ben encouraged in a low voice as he held out a hand to pull up the smaller immortal.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” Rey begged before turning and moving to Ben’s side as she threaded her arm around his.

Please, hear me out! There is a prophecy, an ancient prophecy that my kind wrote centuries ago. It is about the prince of darkness and the ray of light - we believe it was written about us. It claims that our love is what is needed to unite the warring factions and bring an end to the war!

You honestly think it’s about you two?

Rey noticed several wolves coming from the woods to stand behind Lucian. They were various colors and sizes, although Lucian was the largest - clearly the Alpha of the pack. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the vampires coming in, led by Mitaka, per Ben’s request. There were easily twice the numbers of vampires as there were wolves, and that didn’t much surprise Rey based on what she’d gathered from Ben during their various discussions. She looked back at Lucian, taking a step and jutting her chin forward confidently.

I do, I believe it...and I love him, so very, very much. It’s hard not to.

What about him? Does he share this love for you?

“I do indeed. Very much,” Ben answered, looking pointedly at Lucian as he spoke.

Who invited you to the conversation? Get out of my head, vampire.

“No. This needs to end. If you love her as a daughter, you should trust her. What we have is something unique, and you must admit this is all a bit ridiculous. Stand your pack down. Let us all leave in peace,” Ben said, keeping his voice even as he spoke.

Lucian arched a sizable brow as he regarded Ben thoughtfully.

Just then, a vampire darted out of the crowd, approaching Rey cautiously. “Who brought a snack to the fight? I sure could use a taste if you don’t mind sharing. Was it you, Kylo? She smells like you. Is she yours? Could you share?” he asked, reaching for Rey’s hand.

She jerked it away, stepping closer to the pack. Rey looked towards Ben, seeing him drawing his sword.

“Stand down, Phillip. This does not concern you.”

“Then why are we here? More importantly, why is she here?” he asked, pointing at Rey.

She regarded the man named Phillip, sucking in a deep breath in an effort to remain calm.

Your lover may not pose a threat, but this one certainly does, Lucian said, causing Rey to snap her attention to him, suddenly quite nervous again. I will not harm him, but I can’t speak for the rest of my pack.

As if on cue, a smaller red wolf to Lucian’s right leapt directly towards the vampire who dared to touch Rey. His tail knocked Ben’s sword from his hand, leading him to raise his hands in an effort to maintain the peace, but he realized it was too late.

Another wolf surged forward and bit into his shoulder.

Ben threw it off, causing its body to tumble across the ground. It rose to its paws again and began to charge towards Ben just as Rey was pulled back, quickly losing sight of Ben.

Her world became dark for a moment, and she found herself lying on the ground, witnessing a wolf nearby feasting on a vampire who she assumed had tried to attack her. She rubbed the back of her head, feeling a knot forming there where she must have fallen. Her hair was dry, so at least she wasn’t bleeding. Regardless, she knew she’d have a hell of a headache later. She could already feel one coming on, but a sudden surge of adrenaline coursed through her body, overruling any pain there might have been.

She began pacing through the ongoing battle, oblivious to the action that surrounded her. Everything seemed a blur to Rey. Vampires and wolves were coming in from all directions, fighting one another as if it was what they had been born to do. Admittedly, the vampires seemed to take control quickly and were more organized with their movements, working in pairs to fend off the wolves, each careful to avoid their massive jaws. Rey witnessed Gwendolyn lunging at a wolf that was trying to feast on Ben. She snapped its spine with a sickening sound, tossing the body aside as if it weighed nothing.

Every time Rey tried to see what was happening to Ben, she got held back. Reflexively, she began utilizing her martial arts training, kicking and blocking the vampires who attempted to attack her. Without realizing what she was doing, she hurtled fireballs at random, not caring if they actually hit anyone, walking as if in a trance. Another wolf fell dead nearby, and the sounds of snapping jaws and breaking bones echoed in the air.

Blood splattered and howls of pain could be heard, but the only thing that mattered to Rey was Ben. At last she made it to his side, all but collapsing on her knees next to where he lay. He had a deep scrape across the right side of his face from above his eye, down his cheek and beyond, all the way past his collarbone. The wounds on his shoulder and side were gaping, and she could have sworn she saw bone. He was covered in blood, and she could tell his body was trying to heal, but it couldn’t heal fast enough.

“Rey...the pain...it is agonizing. I have never felt anything like this,” he choked out, reaching for her.

She knew what he needed. Sitting on the ground beside him, she cradled his head in her lap. Pressing her wrist to his mouth, she encouraged him to feed.

He held onto her arm, lovingly caressing it as he fed and in that moment, the world around them dissolved. It was only them in the stillness of the night; the only sounds were Rey’s heart beating and her steady breathing. She let forth a blissful moan as waves of pleasure washed over her body, and she knew peace despite the chaos that surrounded them. Glancing down at Ben, she witnessed his body rapidly healing as he fed from her. His eyes were closed, and he looked as peaceful as she felt. Licking tenderly at the wound, he pressed a kiss there before opening his eyes and gazing up at her, the look of love apparent on his face.

Sitting up next to her, he pulled her into his arms, holding her close and whispering thanks. Rey clung to him, realizing that she was finally breathing normally for the first time since they’d run into Lucian. The stillness that surrounded them was jarring as they returned to reality. Rey glanced up slowly, aware that there were a dozen or so pairs of eyes on the two of them as they tenderly embraced. Drawing back slightly from Ben, she noticed he too was observing what seemed like a momentary break in the fight. He shifted where he sat before standing, extending a hand to pull her up to his side.

To their right, they saw a figure approaching, making haste as he shoved past the bodies of those who were gawking. It was him. The ginger vampire who had slain Rey almost 30 years prior.

Ben reached for Rey’s hand, clutching it tightly in his as if to keep her anchored to the ground. She knew he could sense the anger that was rolling off her in waves. She longed to finish the vile demon who stood mere feet away from them, his eyes roving over the two, a look of disgust on his face. His gaze narrowed at their joined hands, and he spat at the ground.

“Traitor!” he screamed now, pointing a finger at Ben. “Just who do you think you are, standing with this cursed witch? She has corrupted you! How could you even pretend to lead us now, having bedded with the enemy? Wouldn’t it have been enough to simply kill her?” he asked, taking several steps closer as he took in Rey’s appearance.

Her scowl mirrored his own, and she clutched Ben’s hand tighter to prevent herself from attacking him.

“You. How is it that you’re here now? I know I killed you. I never forget the faces of those I’ve killed. I rather enjoy dreaming of them in my daytime slumber. Yours was one of the finest I had seen, and the burst of power you gave me that night that I fed on you was glorious. You shouldn’t be here. How is it possible?”

“Reincarnation, you asshole. I haven’t forgotten you either. I have no intention of sacrificing myself tonight. I stand here as a woman who has no fear. You cannot harm me now. Especially not with Kylo at my side,” Rey said, seething as she spoke. She gritted her teeth and glared at the ginger who dared to step closer to her.

“You lay one finger on her, and it will be the last thing you do,” Ben threatened, his tone jarringly low.

The ginger cast a look over at Ben, sneering before he turned and faced the small crowd of vampires who had dared to step closer, eyeing the trio curiously.

“Are you all seeing the same thing I am seeing? Our leader has fallen. He is no longer fit to rule over his coven, all because some silly witch has charmed him. What good are we if we allow ourselves to be so easily swayed by a pretty little thing? Humans are food. Witches in particular are delectable; I can speak from experience. What Kylo has done cannot be allowed. Not in our community. This sort of treachery ends here, now. Take up your arms and strike him down. Strike them both down.” He turned towards Rey again, glancing at her with sheer disgust before casting his eyes on Ben.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you filthy, pathetic excuse for an immortal,” he said, spitting at the ground. He opened his mouth as if to speak again and suddenly winced in pain. Clutching at the sides of his head, his mouth opened wide in a silent scream. His eyes questioningly searched Kylo’s, who shrugged, grinning as he glanced over at Rey.

She was starting to sweat with effort as she concentrated on crushing his mind. She continued to glare at him as he fell to his knees, blood beginning to drip from his nose.

“The witch! She is torturing Armitage, and Kylo isn’t stopping her?” a random vampire cried out, breaking her concentration. She snapped her attention towards the voice and saw the outspoken immortal cringe.

“Why isn’t Kylo protecting his own?”

“Why are they together?”

“What is the meaning of all this? She needs to be stopped!”

“They both need to be stopped. You heard what Armitage said.”

Ben…

I am thinking this is not a situation we can talk our way out of. You did attack Armitage, after all.

He was insulting you; I couldn’t stand it.

I know, sweetheart, and I appreciate you defending me. Now might not have been the best time for it, though. Brace yourself. Things are about to get messy.

Ben and Rey’s eyes locked in that moment, and they nodded to one another before moving to stand back to back. Ben ducked to the ground, gathering his sword that had been dropped earlier as Rey held out her palm, drawing a large branch that had fallen nearby. Holding it in the middle, she slowly moved her hands down the length of the stick in opposite directions, a golden light swirling about her fingers as she transformed the stick into a hardened magical staff. Ben crouched in a defensive stance as Rey twirled the staff in front of her. It felt like minutes had passed when it had been mere seconds.

Several of the vampires had assessed the situation and run off into the woods, but others had stayed, and now they made their way towards the pair who had broken the rules and defied the unspoken preternatural laws.

Some had makeshift weapons with them - Rey assumed they had brought them with them when they’d heard of the wolf attack from Mitaka. With a quick glance around, Rey realized she saw neither Mitaka nor Gwendolyn. They had fled with the group who chose not to fight.

On one hand, Rey felt relief at not having to face off with those she knew by name, but on the other, it pained her to know that she and Ben were truly alone in this fight. She had no doubt in her mind that they could fend off whoever came at them, but she had hoped they’d at least have some support. Looking to the spot where Armitage had lain curled on his side, she noticed he was also no longer present. That set her on edge, and as the vampires descended, she reacted on pure instinct. Leaning against Ben’s back, she gripped his hip before launching herself at the oncoming slaughterfest, immediately knocking out two with her kick.

One bounced back up, and she handled him quickly, swirling her staff and dealing a skull-shattering blow to the side of his head before aiming another kick at his chest. Tucking her staff under her arm, she gathered up a ball of fire and blasted it at him, setting his body ablaze. To her right, she saw a female vampire with a bullwhip, weaving it through the air in an elaborate pattern in an effort to confuse Rey. She caught the edge with her staff, twisting it around and pulling sharply at it, drawing the immortal closer to her. With a swift swipe of her hand, Rey gripped the shoulder of the woman she held captive, twisting her torso around quickly and strangling her with her own whip.

Breathing heavily, she braced herself where she stood, already drawing another fireball and turning to face the next foe. She found Ben several feet away, hearing his grunts of effort as his shining sword swung through the air in great arcs. He beheaded one vampire with ease, turning to stab another through the chest before kicking the corpse away from his blade. Twisting to his left, his movements were so fluid it was as if he were dancing.

Rey was mesmerized and had allowed herself to become so distracted she didn’t notice the vampire that had come up behind her till she felt the sting of his fangs as he bit into her arm. She screamed in anguish before jerking her arm away. She turned and blasted the vampire directly in his face with the fireball she had been holding, shoving his burning body away before clutching her arm, blood flowing freely and trickling between her fingers.

Are you ok? she heard Ben’s voice in her head.

It’s nothing; you can heal me later, she answered, biting her tongue against the pain.

Shaking her head to regain her focus, Rey cast a sweeping gaze at the scene, noting there were only four vampires left that still posed a threat. The rest were either blazing and smoking from her searing fire or dismantled and left bleeding from Ben’s wicked blade.

Narrowing her eyes, she focused as one vampire began charging at her in a full-on sprint in effort to attack. She held her hand in front of her, halting the vampire in his tracks. Squinting her eyes, she began concentrating, imagining she held his brain in her hand and was crushing it, causing the vampire to shriek in pain and crumple to the ground. Blood poured from his ears and his mouth as his limbs shook with a final jolt before he lay lifeless.

Another vampire grabbed her from behind, pulling at her staff and pinning it against her throat. Rey managed to grip her hand tightly enough around the magical staff, creating enough distance so she could continue to breathe. Pathetically, she pawed at the air behind her, seeking to grasp upon a limb or even an errant article of clothing in an effort to throw him off.

“Rey!” she heard Ben shout, and she looked in the direction of where she heard his voice, noticing him shifting the grip on his hilt before he threw his sword at her. She held out her hand, focusing on the saber as it flew through the air so that she would catch it without being stabbed. Grasping the hilt, she switched the blade so that she held it with the point aimed at her attacker. With an abrupt twisting motion, she stabbed it in the side of the attacking immortal, causing them to loosen their grip on her staff and fall away from her.

Gasping for air, she shifted her gaze up to see Ben as he approached her, his expression joyful as they were the only two left standing among the carnage. His suit was utterly destroyed - much as she knew her dress was; torn, bloodied, covered with soot and dirt from those who had ravaged them. His hair was a tangled, tousled mess, and yet to her, he had never seemed more handsome than he did in that moment. Holding open his arms, he caught her with ease as she all but leapt into his embrace.

“I can’t believe we did all that,” Rey said, releasing a choked sob as she clutched tightly to Ben. “I’ve never fought like that before in my life.”

“Neither have I. Mind you, I have had a handful of battles in my lifetime, but never against my own kind. That is something I hope I never have to do again,” he said, nuzzling against her hair and pressing a kiss there. He drew back then, his face etched with concern as he spoke. “Are you ok? I heard you scream as if in pain at one point. Let me look at you.”

He pulled back, inspecting her carefully, and she allowed him to shift her body to the side before narrowing in on her bloody arm. With a gentle touch, he held firm to the sleeve there, tugging at it and ripping it away from the wound. Dipping his head close, he lapped at the wound, cleaning away the blood that had trickled from the wound itself, causing it to heal. Glancing down, she grimaced at the angry pink scar that was left behind.

Ben lovingly caressed her arm, soothing away the last of the pain before moving around her as he continued to inspect her body. Reaching up, she traced her fingers over the healed bite mark on her arm, feeling the indentations that the teeth had left in her skin. It felt so different from the mark Ben had left on her; it was tender and borderline painful to the touch, but only if she allowed her touch to linger. Reaching up to caress her neck, she felt a shudder of pleasure, and her body warmed with a flush of arousal when she palmed the mating bite.

“Your beautiful dress is ruined now. What a pity,” Ben said when he finally faced her again, catching a strip of torn fabric from her skirt and letting it slip between his fingers.

“It happens. What matters is that we survived. We came out on top,” she said, reaching for his hands and holding them.

“We did indeed. I had my doubts for a moment or two there, but you were amazing,” Ben said, his eyes twinkling with admiration and love.

A calming silence settled over them; the only sounds were the crackling embers that lingered from the fires she had set. Turning her head slightly, her eyes trailed over the carnage they had left in their wake. There were so many bodies, vampire and wolf alike. It seemed distasteful to simply leave them where they had fallen. They deserved a proper send-off of sorts, a blessing or final rites, perhaps, to ease their transition into the afterlife. Rey worried at her lower lip as she contemplated, glancing up nervously at Ben.

He nodded his head as he caught her thoughts. “They do deserve peace, you are correct. However...cleanup is also key for protecting our kind. If humans were to become aware of our existence...I hate to think what would happen to us. I will gather the bodies if you wish to give them a fiery farewell?”

“That works. I’ll think up a few words to say while you do your part, if that’s ok with you?”

“Certainly,” Ben said, ducking to kiss her before turning away. He began casually gathering corpses two at a time, carrying them over his shoulders as he piled them up neatly together.

Rey’s eyes were moist as she viewed those who had fallen in combat. It was all so unnecessary, and she hoped that this would serve as the final major battle of the war. She meandered among the bodies, noting that some of the wolves remained in their wolf form, having died too quickly to phase back, while others had been dealt wounds that hadn’t quite killed them instantly. Their maimed, naked corpses were far more unsettling to see than the half-burned, hacked up corpses of the vampires. She couldn’t quite explain why.

It quickly dawned on her that she didn’t see Lucian among those who had expired. He had somehow escaped with his life. That comforted her in an odd way. He had been a father figure of sorts, encouraging her to develop her skills, nurturing her as she blossomed into the woman she was today. They had been close for the past four years. She had hoped when all of this was over that they could remain close, but at this point she couldn’t be sure.

Shaking her head sadly, she glanced back up to notice that Ben was wiping his hands off on his pants, having freshly laid the last of the corpses on the pile he had so carefully created. Another quick glance around revealed that, beyond obvious scuff marks on the ground, there was no other sign of battle. A good rain would rinse away any blood or scorch marks. No one would even recognize the place as one of devastating carnage by the time they left. The earth would be cleansed, and it was her job to make sure that their passing was not completely in vain. They would know peace as well.

Ben looked at her expectantly as she approached him, still gathering her thoughts as she walked. Reaching for his hand, she gazed at him before allowing her eyes to fall upon the dead. Letting forth a heavy sigh, she closed her eyes. Immediately, the words came to her, and when she spoke, her voice took on an almost dreamy, trance-like tone, as if someone else were talking through her.

Time has passed, the Wheel has turned.
It is time to move on.
Those who have fallen will walk hand in hand
With those who have fallen before
As they enter the afterlife,
May they be welcomed
Wrapped in a loving embrace.
May they know neither fear nor pain
Give them strength to move forward
With peace and dignity
We do not mourn them,
For they are not truly gone
The Blessed Dead live on for all eternity
Time has passed, the Wheel has turned.
It is time to move on.

Opening her eyes again, she cast a side glance at Ben, whose eyes appeared moist with unshed tears. He was clearly moved by whatever she had said, and although she knew she had spoken, she wasn’t entirely sure what she had said. Releasing his hand, she drew hers together, gathering a fireball with little effort. Launching several blasts of fire at those who had fallen, their bodies quickly became engulfed in flames. Rey shielded her eyes against the intense light, noting Ben had done the same.

Turning from the fire, she cast a final sweeping gaze over the area where they had fought, finding her staff. She took several paces towards it and knelt to pick it up.

Ben went to her side, pulling her to her feet with a gentle touch. The fire behind him created a surreal glowing aura, causing him to look like a fallen angel. “Let's go home,” he said, his tone low. He offered his arm to her, and she graciously took it as they headed off towards the walking path beyond the wooded area.

In the distance, they heard the sirens of fire trucks that were quickly approaching, the burning bodies having released great plumes of smoke skyward. They slipped past unnoticed by the crowd that had begun to surge together, having seen the blaze in the distance. People were not expecting to see anyone leaving alive - nor did they know what had caused such a tremendous fire to begin with. Ben and Rey realized that the fire would put itself out by the time the firemen reached it with their equipment. The mystery would remain, but the truth about those who existed in the preternatural world would be safe.