Actions

Work Header

terrains

Chapter Text


VANCOUVER, BC AIR CANADA Flight 1029: DELAYED 13:10

Rey brings her hands up to her face and presses her palms close.

 

I will not cry, I will not cry she thinks to herself, feeling the all familiar sting in her eyes.

 

She tries not to think about missing her best friend’s wedding. She tries not to think of Finn’s beautiful face with a sad smile while he tells it’s okay that she missed his wedding and that it’s okay because he’s Finn and he’s amazing, and a total friend that Rey did not deserve.

 

“God, I shouldn’t have come here.” She moans to herself, removing her hands way from her face to stare at the bright screen ahead of her.

 

But really, she had to. It was assigned to her co-worker (a fellow photographer in a league Rey is sure she couldn’t even touch with a ten-foot pole) but due to a last-minute injury, her editor assigned her to take the photos of the elusive hoard of elk that only happened to migrate during Finn and Rose’s wedding date.

 

Despite not thinking she qualified for such a project, and the fact that it dangerously close to her best friend’s wedding (“It’s okay Peanut, just make sure you get here on time before I say I do.”) she had taken it. She felt that she needed this opportunity to showcase more of her art, felt it in her bones that she needed to take this project.

 

But, of fucking course, a snow storm just happened to drag its way through on this particular day at this particular time, causing cancellations and delays. It was official; no commercial plane was leaving this airport today.

 

Which so happened to be the day before she was to stand beside her best friend as his ‘Best Man’ while he said ‘I do’ to his future wife.

 

“Fuck.” She swears under her breath again and turns to walk away from the board before she resorted to kicking it.

 

 

Rey walks back to her small luggage that she placed to the side and clenches the handle before wheeling it over to a row of seats that were placed in front of the check-in booths. Her side bag was becoming heavy on her shoulders, her equipment, far too fragile to be trusted in her luggage, grows heavy in her bag, her shoulders beginning to ache.

 

Once sitting down, she brings her hands up to her head and runs them through her hair. What was she going to do? She was guaranteed to be stuck here at least for the night and that left very, very little time to make it to Finn’s afternoon wedding.

 

Rey gives her head a shake and reaches down into her side bag to pull out her cellphone. She stares at the wallpaper, a photo of her boyfriend Poe eating from a bag of Cheetos with a pair of chopsticks and tried to find her balance. What was she going to do?

 

Before her thoughts could trail further or give her an inkling on what to do, an irritated voice cursed through and then a loud slap on what sounded (and Rey hoped) was the counter.

 

She tore her gaze away from her phone to watch a man, very heated, try to talk his way through to the poor agent on the other side of the counter, the very same agent Rey had just tried talking to just 40 minutes or so earlier.

 

Rey chewed on her bottom lip while she watched the man’s shoulder slightly shake while he spoke to the woman. Rey gave the woman credit, she did not flinch while the man in front of her tried to intimidate her.

 

Finally frustrated with the situation, the man pulls away with his hands up and stalked away from the desk, dragging his wheeled bag behind him. It's only when he looks up and catches her that she realizes she was staring.

 

She whips her gaze away from the man and looked back down to her phone. Unlocking it, she pulled up a very familiar contact and hit the blue phone icon.

 

Poe picks up after two rings, “Babe! Give me some good news!”

 

“Well, if I had any you know I would,” Rey sighed, tucking the phone in between her cheek and shoulder while she dug her camera out of her side bag “It’s not looking good and I feel like garbage, but I might have to call Finn.”

 

“Shit.” Her boyfriend cursed on the other line. “That bad? No ETA at all?”

 

“No. And if the man I just witnessed yelling at the agent is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like any change in the foreseeable future.” Rey brings her phone to the other side of her head and tucks it closer while she turns her camera on.

 

She needed to do something with her hands, like she often did when things were not going her way. She could barely sit still, her left leg already bouncing before she even noticed.

 

“Well, I can always come and get you.” Poe joked. “Let me just fire ole’ red up and I’ll be there in no time.”

 

 

Rey smiles into the phone, “If a commercial flight isn’t willing to fly, I’m not sure a green pilot with barely 4 hours of training should.”

 

 

“Ouch babe, right where it hurts.”

 

They chat for a few more minutes, Poe trying his best to calm the situation. Rey’s mind begins to wander while Poe continues talking, her eyes trailing to hallway where lit up ads stood in a row.

 

‘Wild Adventures’ catches her eye with a small aircraft that she had flown in with Poe and his instructor. The ad promised adventure for a price and that there wasn’t a flight the plane couldn’t take.

 

An idea begins to form in her mind and in a way, she knows it to be hasty and choppy at best. But all she thinks about is Finn’s crumpled face as he tells her it was okay that she missed his wedding due to poor planning, and the need to accomplish something with her career. And he would too, because that's the type of friend Finn is. 

 

Poe must have realized he’d lost her in his trail of words because he started laughing. “Something catch your eye?”

 

 

“I think I might have found my way out of here...”

 

 

-

 

 

Rey quickly says her goodbyes and hangs up the phone, and immediately dials the number on the ad.

 

A voice, low and gruff, answered. He seemed confused as to why someone was calling him during the winter months and not the summer, but he listened to her beg for a few minutes before chuckling and telling her he could fly through anything.

 

Especially a storm he was sure the weather men knew nothing about.

 

“Listen lady, I flew through a storm in ’03 that has nothing on what these guys are talking about. You got somewhere to be? I’ll get you there.”

 

Rey feels relief surge through her. “Thank you, you have no idea how much this means, thank you so-“

 

“For a price of course.” She hears the man suck on his teeth while he contemplated. “I could get you there for 2 thou.”

 

The relief she felt for a second instantly deteriorated. Two thousand for one ride? There was no way she had two thousand just sitting around, especially after her last-minute plane ticket to even get up here. She could ask Poe to e-transfer her… she felt her gut twist, she already owed her boyfriend so much money that it made her pride bruise at just the thought of asking for more.

 

“O-Okay. Two thousand.” Rey chewed on her bottom lip. “Sure, I can do that. Where are you?”

 

“Just around the corner little lady, I’ve got big blue parked just around the corner. I can get there in about half an hour, just look the signs, you can’t miss me.”

 

“Okay, I’ll see you then.”

 

Rey pulls the phone away and presses the red circle to end the call. She brought her hand back up to her forehead and tapped her fingers. Where was she going to get two thousand dollars? Sighing, she pulls her phone back out to tap into her banking app when she saw movement in the corner of her eye.

 

It was the man who had yelled at the ticket agent earlier. He was stalking his way towards the bathroom, trailing his luggage behind him. He wore dark jacket, looked to be made from some sort of fancy material that she was sure he didn’t pick up from the thrift store like hers. A scarf, worth more than she probably made in a few days, was wrapped around his neck, its one end trailing down behind his back.

 

Her eyes trailed down his arm to the hand that held the wheeled bag’s handle and noticed the watch that shimmered. There was a man that could afford two thousand dollars for a plane ride.

 

She makes her decision with Finn in mind.

 

“Excuse me!” She yells, beginning to jog after him, her own wheeled bag squealing behind her. “Excuse me!”

 

The man must have realized she was yelling for him as he stops just before entering the men’s restroom. He turns around, no doubt trying to find out who was yelling when he spots her.

 

The first thing Rey notices when she sees him up close is that he’s so big. From his broad shoulders to his large hands, the man carries himself well. His face is handsome in a way that Rey normally wouldn’t consider handsome. A prominent nose, large brown eyes and moles dusted throughout.

 

Rey swallows after she comes to a stop in front of him. “Hi, hello, I’m uh Rey,”

 

Rey points behind her towards the customer service agent’s desk. “I think you and I are in a similar situation…”

 

The man’s brows furrow together, “You mean being stuck in a small airport?”

 

Rey nods. “Yes, I’m really sorry, I promise I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I couldn’t help but overhear you with the agent and I think you’re in need of a way out of here and quickly and I’ve found a ride, problem is it’s uh…”

 

Rey chews the inside of her cheek, her pride flamed. “Problem is I can’t afford it myself and was wondering, if you’re going where I’m going… Well, I was wondering if you want to go in with me.”

 

The man raises a brow, “A ride?” he asks apprehensively.

 

“Yes,” Rey nods “A ride.”

 

“Like a bus? I just called Greyhound and they’re not running either. Where you heading?”

 

“Vancouver. My best friend is getting married tomorrow and I’m in the wedding party and need to be there on time.”

 

The man looks beyond Rey’s shoulder and towards the flight status board. It’s another beat before he looks back down to Rey and nods. “My layover is in Vancouver. If you have a way to get me there, I’ll pay what I have to.”

 

Rey smiles.

 

 

-

 

 

For all the fuss the airport was putting about the impending storm, a stranger would have no idea it was even happening. The sun was shining and hot outside, striking glares off the dry snow that surrounded the runways around the airport.

 

Rey brings a hand up as a visor to look towards one of the mountain surrounding them. There, in the far distance, was a grey cloud. She’d seen worse.

 

The man she’d met in the airport continues past her, nose into his phone as he tries to find the port the man had told Rey to go. Rey pulls her jacket closer to her body before re-adjusting her fleece hat, her ears feeling a bit of a sting from the cold.

 

She stops to look at his phone to confirm they’re going in the proper direction before she hears a dog barking in the distance. Both look up to the sound and see a tri coloured, medium size dog barking at them from in front of what looks like a large garage with it’s door open.

 

A man emerges outside, clad in a blue jumpsuit, and waves over to them.

 

“I guess that’s him.” Rey mumbles to herself before she begins walking over to him.

 

She hears the man behind her begin walking with her. They make it to the man in just under a minute and Rey smiles. “Hi, I’m Rey, I believe we spoke on the phone earlier.” She reaches her hand out the pilot.

 

He takes it and gives a shake, “Well if I’d known I’d be flying the Queen of England, I would’ve dressed a bit more appropriately.” He motions to his blue jumpsuit, stained in grease and oil.

 

Rey laughs softly. “Well, if I’m the Queen, lets hope we can ride in style.”

 

The man chuckles, “Don’t get your hopes up too high your highness, she ain’t pretty but she’ll get the job done.” He nods over to the man behind Rey, “This you husband?”

 

Rey flushes. “Oh, no this is… uh…” She looks over to her airport find and shakes her head, “You know I didn’t even get your name…”

 

“Kylo.” He reaches forward with an open hand to the pilot, who responds by clasping his. “Kylo Ren.”

 

If the pilot finds the name as odd as Rey does, he doesn’t say anything. Instead he pulls his hand away and says, “My names Wexely, but most call me Snap.”

 

Snap turns to walk away and leads both Rey and Kylo into the bunker where a small aircraft stands. The dog, a small cross breed, jumps up and down between the three and Rey notices Kylo flinch, trying to keep away from the animal.

 

He stops in front of the small aircraft and Rey immediately feels doubt creep up. This small thing was supposed to get her home safely? It didn’t even look like it would make it up in the sky… but she sees Finn’s face flash before her. She couldn’t let him down.

 

“Alright, so to Vancouver for two? I’ll be needing $3000.”

 

This snaps her out of her thoughts. “$3000? I’m sorry you said $2000 earlier.”

 

Snap smiles, “That’s when it was just you. Take it or leave it sprout.”

 

Rey grinds her teeth and just as she’s about to tell him to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, Kylo steps ahead, having already taken out his wallet. “Do you take credit?”

 

 

-

 

 

It does make it up to the sky.

 

Rey’s not sure how, but they’re up there. She sits in the small leather chair, her bags nestled between her feet.

 

Snap sits up front in the pilot’s chair with his dog, Baby as he lovingly calls its, sits to in co-pilots chair.

 

Kylo sits to her right.

 

Well, tries to.

 

When they had first boarded the flight, Rey had to bite her cheek to keep from laughing as she watched Kylo try to fold his bulky frame into the small space. It took him a few times before he was comfortable and then a few more times to shuffle with his luggage before Rey feels pity and helps him nestle his own bags between his feet.

 

To his credit, Snap seems like a great pilot and someone Poe would instantly forge a connection with. Rey’s sure they would nerd out about the plane and begin talking in their own private language while they compared notes.

 

They’re only in the air for roughly twenty minutes before she reaches down and pulls out her camera from her bag. The view up here is breath-taking, almost as if they’re in a National Geographic photo.

 

The snow is bright, the mountains are high. The sky to her left is so blue, she’s not sure she’s seen such a shade.

 

She begins taking photos.

 

Rey’s not sure how long she’s taking photos before she hears Kylo ask her a question.

 

Shaking her head and looks back over to him, “I’m sorry, what was that?”

 

Kylo sits beside her, holding his phone. “Did you manage to tell anyone that we found a way?”

 

Rey nods, “I sent my boyfriend a text before leaving the airport. Hadn’t heard anything but let him know I should be landing in Vancouver in a couple hours.”

 

“Alright.” Kylo says, placing his phone back in his jacket pocket

 

He seems nervous, Rey thinks to herself as she watches him wipe his palms on his jeans. 

 

“You alright?” She asks.

 

Kylo nods, “Yeah I’m fine. It’s just uh, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a plane this small.”

 

“Oh yeah? Do you take ‘Wild Adventures’ a lot?” Rey asks, quoting the company name with a smile.

 

Kylo shakes his head, “Nah, but my dad’s a pilot. I used to go up with him every once in awhile when I was kid… but that was fifteen-twenty years ago. They seem smaller now.”

 

Rey smiles before bringing her camera up to her face to snap a photo of the man beside her.

 

Kylo scowls when she finishes taking the photo and Rey offers him a sheepish smile. “Sorry, I take photos when I’m nervous.”

 

Kylo doesn’t respond, instead he turns his head away from her and towards the front of the plane. “Any idea when we’ll land?” He asks.

 

Snap turns to look over to Kylo. “Not too long I suppose, I’ve radioed YVR with an ETA of about 14:00. We’ll get you there don’t worry, won’t we Baby?”
The dog beside him barks.

 

It another half an hour before the skies begin turning dark and Rey feels the plane shift against the wind in a way she’s not sure a plane should be.

 

Someone radios over the line and Snap assures them all is well and everything is fine.

 

The pilot looks over towards Kylo after he finishes radioing “So, tell what’s got you in such a hurry to get to Vancouver, I understand the Queen has a wedding but what about you Mister? You got a wedding too?”

 

Kylo has his left hand holding onto the side of the plane and his other hand curling tight around the leather seat. “I have a surgery I need to perform on a patient.”

 

“Oh!” Snap looks back over to Kylo. “A surgery? The Queen and a hot shot doctor on my flight? We made it baby!”

 

Kylo doesn’t laugh.

 

Another large gust of wind hits the plane and hustles the plane briefly. Rey gasps and holds on the seat while Snap looks over to them, “Buckle up kids it’s about to get a little wild here.”

 

She’s not sure how long this goes on for before the plane settles down and there’s a brief pause from the wind. Snap laughs and reaches out to pet his dog, “We’re good aren’t we Baby? See nothing to worry about.”

 

He’s looking over to Kylo and Rey when another gust of wind hits them from the side. This one hits hard enough that Baby flies out of her chair, hitting some buttons before landing hard on the ground.

 

“Oh shit!” Snap exclaims, grabbing the controls with both hands.

 

“What’s going on!?” Kylo demands from the back, holding onto the sides of his seats with both hands.

 

“It’s fine, everything’s fine.” Snap yells, reaching over to flick a couple switches that Baby had hit before landing down.

 

Baby justles her way away from the front of the plane and squeezes in between Rey’s legs and her bag, whining loudly.

 

“Jesus.” Rey hears Kylo mumble beside her as the plane gives another jostle.

 

It’s another minute before all seems well enough for Snap to give a loud whoop.

 

It’s seconds after that something hits the front window and the plane begins to spin uncontrollably.

 

Seconds drag on for minutes, minutes drag on for hours and so forth as Rey feels the plane spin out of control. She can’t hear anything except for the loud wind screaming around them, save for maybe the plane’s controls beeping.

 

Her last thought before the darkness is of her sweet friend Finn’s face, smiling down to his fiancé Rose, beautiful in her wedding gown Rey had helped pick out just months prior.

 

Then, darkness and silence.

Chapter Text

                The first thing Kylo is aware of is the dull ache on the left side of his torso and as soon as his brain acknowledges the pain, it blossoms throughout, reaching all the up to his lungs.

               

Kylo groans and opens his eyes.

 

                He’s alive and still sitting in his seat, the belt digging harshly into his waist. His hands, so cold and almost numb, try to unlatch the buckle. It takes him a few tries before he pulls away and closes his eyes.

 

                Panic is beginning to set in. He needs to calm down before shock takes a hold of his body and he’s unable to do anything but make it worse. He can hear one of his instructors from medical school tell him in a stern voice ‘once shock kicks in, you’re in for a shit show.’

 

                He must calm down.

 

                Keeping his eyes closed, he draws in deep breaths. Each breath brings a bit of sting that he still feels on his left side, but he keeps breathing. In and out, in and out. He thinks of his Uncle Luke, taking long deep breaths while trying to teach Kylo some ridiculous yoga move.

 

                A few moments pass before he feels he can take control.

 

                Kylo opens his eyes and reaches to unlatch the buckle. His fingers are numb and the doctor in him acknowledges that he needs gloves and he needs them now.

 

                Once the buckle finally comes free, he reaches down to his sweater and pulls up. There’s a small gash on his left side, but nothing alarming. He won’t bleed out, in fact it already looks as if his body has begun the healing process.

 

                Until he looks further on his torso and up his chest. Bruises are beginning to litter themselves along his chest, dark splotches almost looking like paint. Internal bleeding? Maybe. He’d find out soon anyway.

 

                His sweater falls as he lets go and looks around his surroundings. He’s still in the plane, the front of the plane’s windshield is smashed, cracks dancing throughout, and pieces look to be missing. His eyes move to the pilot’s seat and he sees the man, Snap, slouched forward. He’s not breathing.

 

                Kylo lets out a long breath before looking to his left where the woman, Rey with her face bloodied, sits unconscious. He reached forward to assess her body.

 

                He places one hand in front of her nose and the other garbs her wrists and lightly squeezes. A heartbeat, and his other hands feels her breathing.

 

                She’s alive.

 

                He immediately becomes Dr. Ren and begins to over look her body, checking to see where her injuries are. Her top half is fine, bruised, a possible broken or sprained rib. It’s when he gets to her legs that he realizes she’s wounded and bleeding.

 

                Despite surviving a plane crash he finds himself moving fast and steady, as if he’s in the very same operating room that he’s spends so much time in. He moves with a mission, he needs to stop the bleeding and clean the wound out.

 

                Kylo turns around to assess the rest of his surroundings.

 

                The end of the plane is not there, broken is half and fallen somewhere else.

 

                He slouches down and makes his way out of the plane, wincing as he goes to stand up straight once out.

 

                They’re on a side of a mountain, surrounded by visuals that he is sure is on some sort of Alaskan post card. High ridges are all around, the snow almost blinding from the sun’s rays.

 

                Kylo reaches down and grabs a handful of snow, he came out for a reason, and he goes back into the plane and crawls back towards Rey.

 

                Once he reaches her body he goes to undo the button on her jeans. He pulls them down gently, going as slow as possible once the fabric reaches her wound. He peels the jeans down a bit further before taking the snow and packing it into the wound.

 

                Reaching back, he pulls his undershirt, a white tank, and manages to rip a strip away from his shirt. He brings it back to Rey and ties it around her thigh and over gash.

 

                Once satisfied he tries to pull her pants back up as gently as humanly possible, and it’s hard, but he gets it back up by leaning her body forward to tuck it up and over her behind. He lays her back down on her seat and leans her against her window.

 

                He’ll have to dig around the plane for emergency items, hopefully a blanket that he can wrap around her to keep her body temperature warm.

 

                Kylo jumps a little when he hears a loud whine come from the cockpit and when he turns to look he sees the dog, baby he sure Snap called him, pop its head up from the front.

 

                Kylo can’t help but laugh a little as he makes his way up to the front. He reaches out to the dog, who lays still. He runs his hands along the dog’s body, checking the dog’s ribs and legs. Nothing jumps out as alarming to Kylo, so he assumes the dog is okay, if not just a bit shaken up.

 

                It’s when Kylo looks to his left that he truly sees the damage done to Snap.

 

                Bits and pieces of shards of glass broken the cockpit’s windshield (smashed to pieces, one of which was responsible for the laceration on the side of his head) crashing are scattered throughout his face, dried blood encircling the glass.

 

                Despite being in the medical field and being head surgeon for countless surgeries, Kylo grimaces and turns to look away from the sight.

 

                He pulls himself back to sit in his seat while bringing a hand to his mouth to tap his fist against his chin, a move he hasn’t done in ages, a comforting act he did as a child.

 

                What was next? What did he need to do?

 

                He tries to think of what his father taught him as a child going on flights with him. Make sure people knew where you were going? He sent a text to his co-worker, Hux, but he’s not sure that its gone through.

 

                His phone.

 

                Kylo pats his jacket and feels the all familiar weight in his inside pocket. He pulls it out and save for the small crack on the screen, it’s more than fine.

 

                With no service.

 

                Kylo groans and goes to stand up, holding the phone ahead of him to try to find a signal. He finds himself outside once more, eyes squinting from the sun’s harsh reflection on the snow.

 

                He doesn’t know how long he’s outside, trying desperately to find a signal, holding his phone out as far as it could, before he realizes it’s useless. He wouldn’t get anything out here, in the middle of nowhere.

               

                He can almost hear Hux’s smug voice as he tells him “You know that doesn’t work right?”

                He screams and begins to kick the snow around him, dust flying up in the air.

 

                “How the FUCK did I get here?!” He yells, pulling his head back and screams into the air once more.

 

                Despite how childish it must seem, it feels good. It unleashes the pent-up anxiety of the situation and brings a sort of peace around him.

 

                Once it’s over, he stops and breaths heavily. He brings both his hands up and runs them through his hair. He can see his breaths pop out of him while he breathes heavily. What do I do?

 

                What do I do?

 

                He thinks of his father’s face, younger than the last time he saw him, telling him to look for small black box, the beacon he used to call it…

 

                Would this aircraft carry it? Kylo thinks to himself while he looks at the front of the small jet, the back end torn off. Most smaller aircrafts didn’t carry one due to the added weight, Han only started adding one after he was born and at the insistence of his mother.

 

                He doesn’t remember the technical term of the black box, but he remembers it was usually place at the back of the jet and he couldn’t see it anywhere around them.

 

                Kylo begins to feel doubt seep in.

 

                He walks back to the front of the plane and crouches down to enter, he needs to find the emergency kit and think on his next move.

 

                He manages to find the kit, silently thanking Snap for being at least somewhat responsible as he tucks an emergency blanket around Rey’s body. He checks her pulse one more time before going back to the kit. It’s basic, not holding the items he really wished it held (a satellite phone, more than the two flares and the questionable flare gun beside them.)

 

                Not a lot, but enough he supposes.

 

                Kylo continues searching through the air craft and he manages to find a random tarp, two blankets (holes littered throughout), an expired fire extinguished, two more bottles of water and a piece of rope and finally, a flashlight freebie you randomly got as a gift with a case of beer. 

 

                The dog gives another whine and Kylo grabs a bottle of water. He turns to walk back towards the front of the plane, untwisted the cap. He stops in front of the dog, trying his hardest to ignore the dead body beside him, and reaches down

 

                He cups his hand and tilts the bottle towards his palm allowing the water to drop down into it before bringing it over to the dog. The dog tilts their head up and drinks while Kylo pours more water down.

 

                After a moment the dog lays its head back down and Kylo places the cap back on the bottle.

 

                He brings his gaze to his left and realizes he’ll need to do something with Snap’s body.

 

                So, he does.

 

                He first goes outside and begins to dig a whole in the sand, first using his hands before realizing what a mistake that would be. Frost bite is not something he really wants to experience first-hand.

 

                Kylo stalks back to the plane and looks around, desperately trying to find something that could help him dig. His eyes settle on a piece of plane that must had broken off on impact about three feet away.

 

                He digs.

 

                Eventually he digs a whole big enough and wide enough for Snap’s body. He wraps him in one of the torn blanket, hoping he won’t regret using the piece of fabric, but he couldn’t just place in him the grave with nothing, the man needed something.

 

                For what? The doctor in him questions, he won’t be going anywhere.

 

                Kylo supposes it’s his mother in him that think it’s best he be buried in something he’s familiar and comfortable in.

 

                It’s at least another hour when the job is finally done, Snap buried away, deep in the snow. Kylo feels fatigue wash over him and he takes deep long breaths. He should say something, something in memory of the man he just buried. But he’s exhausted, his body drained.

 

                Before he goes back into the plane he grabs the tarp, unrolling it. He goes to the end of the plane and holds it up, his eyes looking for something to hold it up and have it act as a shield from the frigid air from outside.

 

                He manages to find a couple shards of the plan sticking out, stabbing holes in the tarp. It probably won’t hold but he’s too tired to care at this point, the tarp is up and that’s all that matters right now.

 

                He makes his way back to his seat in the plane, flumping himself down. His body is exhausted, he can feel the adrenaline wearing off, his bones feel tired and his whole entire torso aches.

 

                But he waits another moment, reaching forward and towards Rey. He places his hand on her neck, checking her pulse. It’s steady. She’s alive.

 

                Kylo leans back into his seat and closes his eyes, when he wakes he will check on her leg, but now he hears his body’s cry for rest and he listens.

Chapter Text

3

 

                Rey can feel a weight on her knees, it is not heavy but it’s there. She feels it shift and can faintly hear a soft beat to the side.

 

                She thinks of the dog she lived with at one of her foster family’s homes growing up. She can’t remember its name, but can remember the sound of it’s tail, hitting the floor while it sat and stared up at her, silently begging for a piece of her sandwich.

 

                “Dog, go.” Rey hears a voice command. “Go lie down, leave her alone.”

 

                Rey’s eyebrows furrow together, is she back at this house? Is the dog asking for a bite of her sandwich? If she recalls correctly, the dog was never allowed a bite, but she always saved her last bite for him.

 

                It’s then that she feels the pain in her leg, the side of her face, and then she feels it everywhere.

 

                Rey lets out a groan, moving her head from side to side as her body registers its pain. Her left leg is throbbing and feels wet. Her entire rib cage feels as its held tightly in a giant’s fist, squeezing as tight as it can with every breath, and her head… she’s never experienced a head ache quite like this.

 

                Her breathing begins to pick up, and her body fully begins to shake. She tries to open her eyes but her left eye is swollen shut, and for some reason this is what causes her body to go overboard.

 

                Rey feels herself about to start hyper-ventilating with she hears some shuffling from behind her and then hands start rubbing her arms.

 

                “Rey, Rey look at me.” The same voice that ordered the dog to leave her alone demands. “You need to look at me and breathe slowly.”

 

                Rey opens her eyes and sees the man from the airport. He has a few cuts along his mouth and what looks like a small slit on the side of his cheek, held together with butterfly band-aids. Dark circles, prominent on his already pale face, lay beneath his eyes.

 

                “Do you remember anything?” He asks, bringing a hand up to her forehead and pressing down.

 

                It’s then that Rey realized she is bundled with an emergency blanket on top of another blanket (if you could call it that, almost looked like a ratty towel her foster dad, Unkar Plutt, was too cheap to replace.) She has her hat that she packed in her carry on before boarding on her head and her coat is done up.

 

                “My leg…” She whispers, feeling it throb beneath the blanket. “My leg!”

 

                “You had a piece of plane cut you. You’re alright, but I need you to try not moving it okay? I don’t have a lot of options for bandages right now.”

 

                “A piece of plane?” She asks out-loud. “Are you- are you alright?”

 

                He looks almost surprise at her asking for it takes him a beat before he responds, “I’m alright, a couple of sprained ribs and small knick on my face and hip. But I’ll live, I got lucky.”

 

                “The Pilot?” Rey asks, whispering.

 

                “I buried him yesterday.” Kylo answers leaning away from her and back in his seat. “It’s been a little over 32 hours, I’m sure they’re on their way.”

 

                They…

 

                “Oh Poe...” Rey mumbles, her eyes stinging with tears. He was probably worried sick, scared and pacing back and forth in their apartment, or fighting his instruction to fly himself.

 

                It’s when her mind goes to Finn and Rose that Rey truly feels the gulp of grief pour through. She begins to cry, and she cries hard, thinking of her sweet friends, worried about her and her safety when it was supposed to be such a special time for them.

 

                Rey is not sure how long she’s crying before she hears Kylo shuffling beside her.

 

                “Here.” She looks over to Kylo and sees that he has a mug (the enamel ones she once collected from thrift stores) and he brings it to her mouth, encouraging her to drink.

 

                Her throat is raw and dry, but she swallows the water.

 

                When he pulls the mug away and turns away from her, she takes in her surroundings. The plane is cast in an orange glow from a fire Kylo had lit behind her. The most of the plane’s walls are torn away on the one side, it’s insulation dangling free. She faces the front of the plane and sees it’s windshield crushed, pieces missing and pressed against the snow.

 

                The dog sits in front of her, its eyes dark and steady on her as if personally assessing that she was alright. Her head feels heavy and before she knows it, it’s gone dark again.

 

-

 

                It feels as if it’s hours later when she gains consciousness again. Kylo is beside her in his seat once more, bundle with his coat done up, his scarf wrapped tightly around him and a hat on his head that she was sure belonged to Snap. Baby has somehow squeezed itself between Kylo’s long legs, huddling towards him for warmth while they try to rest.

               

                “Ky-Kylo…” Rey’s voice croaks. That was his name right? She questions when he doesn’t wake up.

               

                It’s only when a harsh gust of wind bursts through, causing the tarp to flap inside, knocking over some items, that Kylo’s eyes snap open.

 

                He looks wild, his dark eyes darting around while his brain catches up and alerts that there is no impending danger.

               

                “W-water.” Rey whispers and Kylo snaps his eyes up to her.

               

                Kylo nods, shifting his body forward and reaching behind his seat. He pulls out the same enameled mug and then leans back over to her, large enough that he barely moves his body

 

                He holds the mug up as she drinks greedily. Once the mug is empty she pulls her head away and closes her eyes.

 

                “Advil.” She says softly. “I had advil in my carry-on.”

               

                “Yes, you did.” Kylo moves and makes his way near the missing rear of the plane and behind Rey’s seat. She can hear him unzip her carry-on and move some stuff around.

               

                He moves back to her with an advil bottle in his hand. He struggles opening the bottle with his gloves on, frustration evident with his body language. Kylo takes a deep breath and then tries to open the bottle once more, this time succeeding.

 

                He pops a pill out and passes it over to her, hovering just before her mouth.

 

                “Do you need water?” Kylo asks.

 

                Rey nods and sees him pick up the mug once more. He leaves once again and returns with a mug full of packed snow. “You’ll have to suck on this until I melt some more.”

               

                Rey takes a mouth full of snow with the advil, everything feels gritty in her mouth, but she manages to get the pill down with no trouble.

               

                 “What hour are we at?” She asks.

 

                “38.” Kylo responds, leaning back into his seat. “They have to be on their way now.”

 

                Rey nods. They have to be.

               

                Kylo reaches back up and grabs a piece of insulation behind him and throws it into the make-shift fire pit he had made from the safety kit tin packaging. The fire flares up and causes a tint of orange to be painted throughout the craft.

               

                He’s moving again, Rey hearing him while she tries to steady her breathing and calm herself, panic fluttering against her rib cage like a butterfly. She needed to have a clear head to think of a plan…

 

                Kylo appears before her with a handful of what looks to be pieces of the plane, three shorter poles included.

               

                “I’m going to take the blanket off for a minute alright?” He asks, placing his stuff down beside him.

 

                Rey nods and he removes the blankets. His hands go to her left lower thigh and he runs a thumb over a spot. Once he appears satisfied, he brings up one of the poles and aligns it against her leg. He reaches over and grabs a rope and then another pole and aligns it to the other side of her thigh, wrapping a portion of the rope behind her leg.

 

                Rey realizes what he is trying to accomplish, and she reaches over to grab a hold of the pole on the left, wincing with pain, but holding it in place.

               

                Kylo hurries, reaching over to grab the third pole and hold, working in an awkward manner he manages to wrap the rope around her leg with the poles in place. He ties the end of the rope.

 

                “Won’t we need that?” Rey asks when he’s done.

 

                He shrugs. “Hopefully not. I’m banking on the rescue team arriving any minute.”

               

                Kylo leans back to look at the work and shakes his head, “It won’t work if you move it too much, the ropes too thin. I’ll help you if you have to move okay?”

 

                Rey nods and Kylo moves to stand up, moving away from her and back around the seat. “You told someone right? Your wife knows you’re out here?”

 

                She can almost feel Kylo tense up from behind her and he’s still for a couple seconds before he regains himself and goes back to what he was doing. “I don’t have a wife, but I did tell someone.”

 

                “Okay, so we both told someone and I’m sure the pilot sent over a flight plan. They have to be here soon.” Rey responds, trying to assure herself more than anything.

 

                Except more hours swing by and Rey is beginning to lose hope. She tries to tell herself that they will be there within the next half an hour, that in the next 30 minutes she will hear a helicopter land outside the plane and Finn and Rose and Poe will be there, waiting for her, smothering her with hugs and she’ll be able to eat a real meal and sleep in a real bed…

 

                Only, it doesn’t happen. More hours tick by and the sun is up and the snow around them is blinding before it settles down and darkness takes over.

 

                Kylo for the most part keeps to himself, only really talking with her to see if she needs help to go to the bathroom. The first time he helped her, Rey was mortified and tried a few times herself to shuffle down to the edge of her seat to hover over the bedpan he’d somehow made from a random item he’d found on the plane.

 

                She was especially mortified when he made a comment that her urine looked healthy as he walked by to empty it outside.

 

                “Great, thanks. At least I have that going for me.” She said, turning her head away from him in embarrassment.

 

                “Everyone pees.” He says, coming back towards her. Kylo finds his suitcase and opens it up to dig through and pulls out a protein bar he’d opened before. He rips a portion of the bar off and splits that small portion in half.

 

                Kylo pops his piece in his mouth and then reaches the other half over to Rey, who reaches out and grabs it herself. Under normal circumstances, she’d think it stale and overbearing with the harsh after taste a protein bar usually left in her mouth, but today, out here surrounded by mountains and snow, and no guarantee that she’ll make it out alive, well today it tastes like turkey dinner with potatoes smothered in gravy.

 

                Rey makes the mistake of thinking of food and her stomach gives growl. She shuffles away closer to her side of the plane, trying hard not to think about it being so empty and how she’s barely eaten anything in three days.

 

                She can hear Kylo attend to the fire behind her and hears him swear under his breath. “I’m running out of insulation to burn. We can tear your side off but then we run the risk of the cold.”

               

                “Well, I’d think we run that risk no matter what.” Rey responds, turning back to try to look at him. “But if you want, bring me my bag, the small one. I’ve got some stuff in there.”

 

                He brings her bag over and she unzips it. Her camera and equipment sit in there, surviving the crash. She can’t but smile before she pulls out a portfolio. Inside are a group of sample photos she’d brought to show the local exhibit, wondering if they’d want to hang some.

 

                She’d never made it there, too busy and worried about getting in and out on time. She smiles sadly while opening the folder open, handing one over to Kylo. “Here, these will do.”

 

                She watches Kylo take the photo and stares down at it. It’s one of her favourites, a small boy she’d seen at the side of the road, standing on a fence while his father wrangled up the cattle from horseback. It was a scene straight out of an old Western and she’d been quite proud of it.

               

                Rey watches Kylo throw it into the fire, and watches it bubble and burn away to nothing to help feed the flames.

 

                She swallows then moves to grab another. She pulls out a photo of Finn and Rose she’d captured just last spring. Finn is holding on to Rose while Rose is looking up to Finn and they both have goofy lovey expressions on their face while they stand together in love and surrounded by cherry blossoms.

 

                Her heart aches and she feels the tears spring to her eyes as she passes it over to Kylo to burn.

 

                He grabs the photo and looks up to her and she realizes then just what a lovely shade of brown they are, wide and almost caring. “You have a digital copy?” He asks.

 

                Rey nods silently then watches him toss it in the fire. She can’t but wonder if this will be the last time she sees Finn’s face.

 

                She passes him a few more photos to burn while he digs through his own coat, grabbing random receipts he’d stuffed in his pockets, throwing them in to burn.

 

                He leans back against the plane and while still staring into the fire, says “Those photos were good.”

 

                “Thank you.” She mumbles in return.

 

                Silence drifts among them, the wind the only noise that dances between them.

               

They both get lost in their own thoughts.

Chapter Text

 

 

                “We should think about moving.” Rey says a day later, tossing an almond into her mouth.

 

                Kylo scoffs before he takes a sip of his water he has in their shared mug. “We need to stay here. They will find us here.”

 

                Rey shakes her head. “Kylo, it’s been almost 5 days. We’re down to our last individual almonds, we need to move.”

 

                “We can’t move Rey. I’m not sure if you remember, but you’ve got a bunged leg and where they hell can we even go? There is nothing around us.”

 

                “You don’t know that… There could be a road-“

 

                “Rey, trust me, I’ve been out there, we are surrounded by nothing but mountains.” Kylo can feel the frustration build up in his chest. Why wouldn’t she listen to him? Believe him? Does she think him stupid enough to just sit here if he’d have a chance to find help?

 

                “We need to move, we can’t just sit here. We’ll die.”

 

                Kylo closes his eyes and counts to ten in his head, just like his therapist said he should do whenever he felt the need to break something.

               

                “We have to stay here.” He responds through clenched teeth.

                “Kylo, we have to-“

 

                Kylo doesn’t let her respond, instead he pushes himself up and moves to leave outside the plane. He can’t have this conversation right now, there’s absolutely no way that they could even think about leaving the plane.

 

                The cold hits him in the lungs and the wind stings his face. He feels his eyes begin to water while he takes deep breaths, feeling the frigid air down and deep. He takes a few steps away from the plane when he hears Rey behind him.

 

                She’s leaning heavily on the frame of the plane and most, if not all, of her weight is on her right leg. Kylo turns to look at her and sees her face flushed and sweat on her brows. He had noticed she was gaining strength back in her leg, but it clearly wasn’t enough to move around so much.

 

                “Kylo, you have to listen to me. This might be our only way of survival!”

 

                Does this woman ever give up? He thinks to himself, she’s stubborn.

 

                “You can’t see yourself, but I can tell you that there is no way you’ll make it more than a couple feet on that.” He motions to her left leg and sees it quivering slightly.

 

                “We’re down to the threes now Kylo.” She explains, hand clutching the sides of the plane where she had thrown the tarp over. “Three weeks without food, three days without water and… three minutes without air.”

 

                Kylo shakes his head and goes to respond when he hears something. It sounds like the jets of planes he’d watch while laying down in the field near the estate he’d grown up in. He’d lay there for hours at times, watching the planes in the sky, leaving streams behind them. The sounds of their jets surrounding him

 

                The sounds of their jets…

 

                Kylo looks up to the sky and sure enough, the far distance, high and above, is a jet leaving a stream of clouds behind it

 

                “Oh my god!” Rey exclaims and Kylo moves fast towards the plane.

 

                “Get me the flare gun! The flare gun!” He yells while Rey falls back, reaching for the gun. She tosses it over to him and he runs back out, Baby hot on his heels, running and barking in a circle of excitement.

 

                Kylo aims the gun and pulls the trigger. A bright orange flare shoots out, leaving behind it a trial of orange cloud, higher and higher, but Kylo then realizes, not high enough.

 

                “Help!” He can hear Rey yell behind him. “Help!”

 

                “They can’t hear you!” Kylo yells over to her, shaking his head. Disappointment and dread filling his spirit. “They can’t hear you!”

 

                “Yes! I know that!” Rey exclaims, leaning her entire body against the plane. “It’s just what you do!”

               

                Kylo runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head. He feels his pent-up rage and frustration begin to bubble over and before he knows it, he’s blindly kicking the snow around him, yelling profanities that would make his own father blush (and that’s saying a lot.)

 

                He doesn’t stop until he feels Rey grab his arm. Kylo first looks down to her gloved hand, and then up to her face.

 

                “Kylo. We have to move.” She says, staring right into his eyes. “We will die out here if we don’t move.”

 

                Kylo’s breathing heavy after his tantrum, his heart beating erratically, but he can’t take his eyes off her own hazel. She’s stubborn, he decides. Very, very stubborn and he’s not sure why it’s taken him this long to realizes as the woman literally went out of her way to hire a charter plane down to her friends wedding because there was no way in hell she was going to miss it.

 

                He takes a deep breath and looks away. In a way he knows she’s right, they’re sitting ducks out here. He could very well die up here, the plane acting as his tomb. If they’d found the beacon, if they had known where they had crashed they would already be here.

 

                “I’ll go with or without you.”

 

                Kylo looks back to Rey and knows she would too.

 

                “Just…” he shakes his head, “just let me look around a little bit. I’ll climb just up there and see if I can see a road or something okay?”

 

                He can see her register his words and her face breaks out in a small smile. “Alright, good.” She says before turning around and limping her way back to the plane.

 

                She comes right back out with her camera in her hands. “Take this please. You can use its lens to zoom around for a better view around.”

 

                Rey moves the camera into his hands and holds it there. Kylo brings his gaze up to her face and he sees her bite her lower lip.

               

                “Listen,” She looks down to their hands and then back up to his face. “It’s alright if you don’t come back.”

 

                It takes Kylo a few seconds to realize exactly what she’s saying. She’s giving him permission to leave her behind if he sees a way out, she’s giving him permission to rescue himself.

 

                She’s allowing him to leave without her.

                Kylo inhales sharply through his nose, first unsure of how to respond. He’s never met anyone like her before and he’s not well versed in words at the best of times.

 

                Instead, he moves one his hands and places it over hers and shakes his head gently.

 

                “I’ll come back.”

 

 

-

 

                Rey watches Kylo as he walks away from her.

 

                She waits until he’s nothing but a speck in the snow and watches as he disappears and begins his trek up the mountain.

 

                Letting out a long deep breath, she turns back and makes her way back into the plane, waiting for Baby to follow in after her before pulling the tarp down.            

 

                She hobbles her way back to lay down near her seat and somehow manages to lay back down. Rey leans back against the interior of the plane, taking long breaths through the pain that is shooting up and down her left leg.

 

                Rey didn’t want to admit it, but even just those few minutes on her legs wore her out. Her left upper thigh throbbed around her laceration, she could feel a thing film of sweat wash over her body despite being surrounded by colder temperatures and snow.

 

                Things were not looking good for her, and despite trying to keep a positive attitude through whatever life had thrown at her (and life had thrown a lot of shit at her) she was having a challenging time finding positivity in this situation.

 

                Baby came up to her and placed its head on her thigh, the dog’s big brown eyes looking back up to her almost as if asking what the plan was.

 

                She had to convince Kylo that they had to move, that was her first step. Rey was raised counting on her gut and its reactions to certain events and every fiber in her being was telling her that they had to move, and they had to move soon.

 

                But the man was so stubborn, more stubborn than any man or woman she’d ever met. He wouldn’t budge, scoffed every time Rey brought it up, not even considering other options than just sitting in the plane and waiting.

 

                Rey shook her head and then looked over to her side where she noticed Kylo’s carry on bag. She chewed her bottom lip, maybe he had something in there that could help her change his mind. Maybe he had a photo of a girlfriend, or a family member she could look at, something to give her ammo to have him at least consider doing this.

 

                She’d never do such a thing out in the real world, digging through someone’s personal items seemed so far fetched and rude to even think about, but this wasn’t the real world was it? This was about surviving and making it out alive, and Rey knew deep down she wouldn’t make it very far without him,

 

                Rey pulls the bag over to her and unzips it. She begins to dig through the bags items, nothing of huge importance spring out to her. There’s a book, some chewing gum, his wallet, a small grey handheld recording device.

 

                Rey pulls it out and looks it over before putting it to the side to open his wallet. There’s nothing of huge importance, his debit and credit cards, a couple twenties, and his driver’s license.

 

                She pulls it out and immediately furrows her brows.

 

                His license doesn’t state Kylo Ren beside the awkward photo…

 

                Instead it says ‘Benjamin Oragana-Solo’

 

-

 

 

                It’s takes everything in Kylo not to turn back around and to tell Rey to forget it. He’s not going to take another step, he’s not going to risk his life to climb further up this fucking mountain just to find out they’re literally in the middle of no where (he knows for a fact they’re literally in the middle of no where.)

 

                But, despite it all, he continues making his way up the side of the mountain.

 

                He’s not sure why, under any normal circumstance he’d tell the person to fuck off and to look themselves. He wouldn’t even consider it.

 

                Maybe it’s because of her complete and utter faith that they have to move that spurs him on, or it’s the fact that she was willing to allow him to leave her there for the benefit of his own safety if he found it.

 

                Kylo had never met anyone who was so self-less.

 

                His mind immediately thinks of those he surrounded himself with. His parents, who always seemed to put their own needs and wants before him, his Uncle Luke shaking his head in disappointment every time Kylo would argue with Han or Leia.

 

                Even Snoke, who would often make him feel worthless and unworthy of support, despite Kylo giving everything he had to his craft and education in medicine.

 

                The surgery room was the only area in his life where he felt complete and worthy. He felt accomplished every time a patient survived, every time he was able to fix a wrong. His hands were his tools, his mind was his weapon.

 

                Of course, there were some who didn’t survive and those were the times Snoke would take him in his office and reprimand him, asking him why he spent so much time taking him under his wing to only fail and disappoint him.

 

                Rey wouldn’t be like that, he thinks to himself.

 

                Kylo shakes his head, he barely knows this woman but for he already knows she’s not like that.

 

                He’s not sure how much time passes before he finally finds himself high on a ridge with a complete 360-degree view.

 

                It’s breath-taking.

 

                It’s enough for him to suck in a breath and, for a moment, forget that he’s just survived a plane crash and to forget he’s lost and his chances of survival are so low.

 

                Minutes past and he finishes taking in the view, the mission back on track.

 

                His eyes scan the horizons and every angle. When he’s sure he can’t see anything, he turns on Rey’s camera and zooms out the lens, moving the camera slowly, making sure he won’t miss a thing.

 

                And it’s just like he thought, nothing.

 

                They are surrounded by nothing but forest and rolling mountains. There are no roads, there are no towns or villages, not even middle of nowhere mill.

 

                Nothing but snow and terrains and trees.

 

                Kylo sighs and feels a small part of him disappointed, despite knowing his bones they were alone. Maybe Rey’s positive vibes were catching on to him.

 

                Turning off the camera, he turns and makes his way back down.

 

                The journey down doesn’t take near as long as the trek up and before he knows it he can just see the broken plane off in the distance.

               

                And then he hears the dog yelp and Rey’s screams.

 

 

-

 

 

                Rey manages to find a piece granola bar, flat and forgotten, at the bottom of his bag and stuck in between magazine pages. She finds it funny at first, Kylo (Ben?) didn’t seem like the type of guy to carry around expired or smushed food.

 

                She brings the magazine up to her face and carefully begins to peel the piece off the magazine, taking more of the paper with it than granola bar. When it’s finally removed she brings it up to her face and then notices Baby staring intently at it, its tail wagging.

 

                Rey breaks a piece off, and makes sure there’s no paper strangling on it, before tossing it towards Baby who happily grabs it mid air and seems to all but swallow it in one go.

 

                Rey laughs softly before tucking the granola bar back into the bag, making note to tell Kylo about it and they can split it before things get grim. Maybe it’d make a decent last meal?

 

                She sighs and then spots the recorder to the side. She picks the small grey device up and looks at it. There’s nothing labelled on the machine, nothing of any importance that calls out to her.

 

                He did mention that he was a surgeon, maybe this was just a portable way for him to listen to his notes on his patients? She’d seen people before who preferred to talk on a portable recorder rather than take notes or type it out on a phone or a computer.

 

                What the hell? She thinks to herself, she’s already discovered his alias and knows he comes stands at a whopping 1.89 meters, weighs 76 kg (that can’t be right Rey thinks, the man looks like a brick house) and has brown eyes and black hair and judging by this photo, obnoxious ears.

 

                She presses play.

 

                A woman’s voice fills the plane, deep and throaty.

 

                “Ben…” It starts

 

                “I’m sorry it’s come to this Ben. I just don’t know what to do anymore, I keep trying and trying but I can’t keep up it seems. You’ve made your choice and I just have to accept it I guess. Just know that I love you, despite everything, I love you.”

 

                Rey immediately feels that she’s invaded too much of his privacy and presses stop.

 

                Who was that woman? She asks herself, placing the recorder back into his bag. Was she an ex? Did he have an ex-wife? A girlfriend? She remembers asking him on the flight if he had told his wife and he’d told her that he didn’t have one.

 

                Either way, she didn’t sound happy. Nothing but grief was evident in her voice.

 

                Once she places the bag back down beside her she notices Baby stand up and give a low growl bunching it’s fur high up on its shoulders. The dog is shaking, its body crouching low.

 

                “Baby?” Rey asks, moving to sit up. “What’s wrong?”

 

                A figure pushes its head in and under the tarp.

 

                A cougar.

 

                Rey gasps and immediately recoils back, shuffling her body away from the animal. Her mind begins to panic and she’s unsure of what to do.

 

                The cougar comes in closer, sniffing around before it lands it’s gaze on Rey. She visibly notices the animal sniff and curl its meaty lips back around its teach.

 

                “Oh shit, oh shit..” Rey is mumbling to herself, hands thrashing around her to try to find a weapon.

 

                It’s too late, the cougar aims to pounce.

 

                But it’s Baby who reaches it before.

 

                Rey watches in shock as Baby, the medium sized mutt, places itself directly in danger and goes to bite the cougars neck, holding on with all its weight, trying its hardest to shake it.

 

                The cougar screeches and shuffles back out of the plane, Baby still holding on to it’s neck.

 

                This is buys Rey time. She springs into action and shuffles around once more, trying to find something and then her gaze lands on the flare gun she’d brought back in with her. Where’s the second flare?! She thinks to herself, where is it?!

 

                She hears the dog yelp in pain outside and the cougar roar before both are silent, a splash on blood marks the window beside her.

 

                “Oh shit.” Rey whispers before frantically moving these around to try to find the second flare.

 

                She hears a bang above her and realizes the cougar is on top of the plane and stalking its way down to the end near the opening.

 

                Rey spots the second flare, tucked in behind the safety kit.

 

                Rey lurches forward to it as the cougar stalks back into the plane.

 

                It’s close enough for Rey to smell the damp fur on it and the see the fresh blood around its mouths, dripping and wet.

 

                It moves to leap.

 

                Rey’s not one to believe in miracles, but it’s an idea she’s going to have to revisit after she pulls the trigger and sees the cougar fall limp to the ground, the hole in it’s head steaming with blood oozing out.

 

                The plane fills with a heavy air and she starts gasping in between, eyes springing to her eyes, shock hitting that she’d just almost been attacked by such a large creature and she’d made it.

 

                Rey isn’t aware that she’s still screaming in between her gasps until Ben (Kylo?!) comes rushing in through the tarp, barely crouching his head in time. His eyes are frantic as he takes in the scene before him.

 

                Rey feels her chest move up and down in rapid motions and the tears are hot on her face. She’s gasping for breath and Kylo moves over the cougar’s body and kneels in front of her.

 

                “Hey, hey.” He’s whispering, running his hands up and down her arms trying to calm her down. “You need to slow down you’re breathing.”

 

                Rey’s nodding and she tries her hardest to steady her breathing, but she still feels her lips quivering. It’s a few moments of trying before she whispers, “Where’s the dog?”

                                               

                Kylo looks confused for a moment, and he’s no doubt asking himself why she’s so worried about the dog after this whole incident.

 

                He turns to look over his shoulder and Rey follows his gaze. Baby is standing near the entrance, left paw held up with a splash of red on it.

 

                Rey feels another round of tears as she whispers for Baby to come to her. She watches the dog limp towards her and Rey throws her arms around the dog, sobbing into it’s fur.

 

               

 

-

 

 

                It’s hours later when Rey is nibbling on a piece of cougar meat and thinks to herself that it’s not all that bad, gamey yes, but it’s not bad for a piece of protein without seasoning.

 

                Kylo sits beside her, tearing into another piece in front of the fire. He’s chewing on a chunk while he tears apart another and reaches it over for Baby to eat.

 

                He’d managed to drag the carcass outside and rip apart of some the animal’s meat with a knife he had randomly found going through more of Snap’s stuff.

 

                “Where?” She’d ask when he took it out.

               

                He shrugged, “I must have missed it. It was hiding in the crease of the safety kit.”

 

                Rey rolled her eyes, “What a thing to miss.”

 

                She wasn’t complaining though, she was eating, and it was meat.

 

                Rey leans her head back on the interior of the plane, still watching Kylo and he took another piece of meat of the ground. He tore the piece in half and moved his body to lean towards her.

 

                She took the piece of meat and brought it to her mouth. She chewed and watched as he popped the piece in his mouth, taking his time, staring into the fire.

 

                “Kylo.” Rey says, and he turns away from the fire to look over to her. “We have to move.”

 

                Kylo holds her gaze for a beat before he nods.

 

                They move in the morning.

Chapter Text

5.

 

 

                It’s not lost on Rey that it takes her surviving a plane crash to really and truly admire nature. She’s flown all over the world, taken photographs in the furthest corners of the planet, but it’s only now, when she’s somehow survived falling from the sky in a metal tube, that her breath is really taken away by it’s sight.

 

                Rey stands still with her right hand up, acting as a visor while she takes in her surroundings. The snow is still so deep, and she struggles through it with her leg, but the nature around them is silent and untouched by man, and Rey wonders if this is what the planet is supposed to look like.

 

                “Dog! Stay!” She hears Kylo yell, a few paces ahead of her and she turns to look to see Baby, flicking snow in the air with its snout, apparently already forgotten that it had just survived a fight with a bloody cougar.

 

                Baby continues running through the snow, the limp still apparent, as it heads in the direction of the treeline they were walking towards.

 

                “Baby!” Kylo hollars, hands cupped in front of his face.

 

                “I didn’t think you cared.” Rey says as she makes her way towards him. “I was thinking you’d suggest we eat the dog next.”

 

                Kylo shakes his head, “I could eat a lot of things, but I don’t think I could do dog.”

               

                Rey laughs as she comes to stop beside him, Baby stops as well, looking over to them as if asking if they were coming.

 

                Rey inhales sharply as a lightning bolt of pain shoots up her leg. She grimaces and immediately grabs onto to Kylo’s shoulder.

 

                Kylo doesn’t waste anytime and leans down, running his hands over her leg. She winces when his hands brush her thigh.

 

                “We have to rest. Your putting too much pressure on your leg.”

 

                Rey bites her inner cheek to keep herself in line. “I’m fine.”

 

                “Rey, you need to rest.”

 

                “I’m fine.” Rey says again, although not moving. “We have to keep moving.”

 

                “If we keep moving you won’t be able to move anymore.”

               

                Rey shakes her, “Just until we get into the trees. We’ll have a higher chance of finding somewhere to rest for the night.”

               

                Kylo looks from her and back to the treeline then back to her. He shakes his head and moves her hand from his shoulder and up around his neck so some of her weight is lifted from her left leg.

 

                They go back to walking and don’t speak to each for a few minutes, their steady breathing the only sound between them until Rey asks;

 

                “Why did you have to go to Vancouver?”

 

                “I had a layover there. I needed to get back to Toronto.”

 

                “Oh, you’re from the East Coast?” Rey asks, looking over to him. She remembers his drivers license and tries to hide the fact that she’d known he was from Ontario.

 

                “Yeah, I’m originally from Ottawa but moved to go to school.” He’s still helping walk, taking on most of her weight.

               

                “I heard you mentioned you had a surgery.”

 

                Kylo nods, “Yes. A patient of mine, he’d been booked for 7 months and now he’s probably going to have to wait another 7, if he makes it.”

 

                Rey frowns. “What sort of surgery?”

 

                “Cardiology.” Kylo replies.

 

                “Oh, you’re a heart doctor?”

 

                “Yes.”

 

                Rey stops and pulls her head back to look at him, “Wait, how old are you? I thought most cardiologists were old farts in their fifties.”

 

                Kylo scoffs, “I’m 35.”

 

                 “Oh, so another 15 years and you’ll fit in with the rest of them.”

 

                He ignores that and asks, “What about you?”

 

                “I’m 27.” Rey responds, still leaning heavily on him while they walk.

 

                “When did you come to Canada?”

 

                Rey pulls away and makes a face. “Oh, 19 I figure? I was just about to turn 20.”

 

                “And what made you want to come here?”

 

                “Finn.” She says, her voice soft. “I’d met him online and we became fast friends. My life wasn’t amazing in London and I made it my mission to get out and come be with him. And no, before you ask it wasn’t anything like that. Finn was my first true and honest friend and family, I just needed to be with him.”

 

                “And your parents didn’t mind?”

 

                “No.” She says, shaking her head. “No, they didn’t mind.”

 

                Rey desperately hopes he doesn’t ask any questions about her family or her parents. It’s a topic she doesn’t ever want to visit again, and would rather they concentrate on the task at hand; survival.

 

                Rey thanks her lucky stars when he doesn’t inquire.

 

 

-

 

 

                Rey’s not sure how long they’ve been walking, but the sun is dangerously low before Kylo speaks up.

 

                “We need to find shelter. We’ll freeze out here during the night.”

 

                Rey doesn’t argue. She’s seen what the cold can do in a desert climate after being assigned on a project in the deep desert a few years back. She doesn’t want to imagine what the cold will do to someone so far up here.

 

                The sun is due to be down soon by the time they come across an entrance to a cave. Rey’s leg is throbbing, and she has a tough time concentrating on anything else but the pain that’s beating in her leg.

 

                Kylo helps her sit down outside the cave’s entrance. “I’m just going to go in and look. This could be another cougar’s den for all we know, or with our luck, there’s probably a grizzly in there hibernating.”

 

                “Well, at least we’ll be warm.” Rey replies, leaning against the rock formation behind her. “Nice and warm before it wakes and eats us.”

 

                Kylo doesn’t say anything in return but Rey sees a smile on his face before he enters the cave.

 

                She’s not sure how long he’s in there before he’s back out and helping her wobble her way into the cave as well. He sits her back down and immediately gets to work, prepping an area Rey hopes is dry enough to prep a fire from the insulation and pieces of seat cushion they’d stuffed in their bags before leaving.

 

                “Isn’t this stuff really flammable?” Rey remembers Kylo asking while Rey tore the fabric away to gather the seat’s insides.

 

                “Isn’t that the point?” She replied.

 

                He had made a face of concern before following her lead and grabbing and tearing away handfuls of the fabric.

 

                Kylo didn’t seem to care at this point, grabbing a handful of the fabric and trying desperately to light a fire with the lighter he’d found on Snap’s body, having to shake the lighter to get a proper flame.

 

                Baby twirls in a few circles beside her before finding the perfect position and lays down, placing its head on Rey’s lap, their big brown eyes staring up at Rey’s face as if asking if it was time to eat yet.

               

                “I’d like to look at your leg. You were on it a lot today.”

 

                Kylo’s suddenly kneeling in front of her, a very small fire behind him. His face is so close that Rey can almost count the moles that flicker here and there along his jaw and cheeks. Its when he’s up this close that Rey can truly admit to herself that his eyes remind her of a rich chocolate, so soft and comforting.

 

                Rey nods and shuffles herself up while Kylo reaches to untie her leg binds. Once he’s done he moves to help her lower her pants. It’s uncomfortable and its awkward, but Kylo has his Doctor hat on and focuses only on the task at hand.

 

                He seems somewhat satisfied with what he sees, running his finger along the wound on her thigh. It has closed and looks to be healing to Rey, but then again, she has no real idea.

 

                Kylo covers it back up and moves to help her shimmy her pants back up. Once they’re up and over her rump she can’t help but joke;

 

                “So, you do this with all the ladies you bring into deep dark caves?”

 

                Kylo smirks and looks over to Rey, “Just the ones I survive a horrific experience with.”

 

                He gets up to leave the cave, citing that he needs to at least try to find something dry to help keep the fire. There seems to be small bit of luck thrown their way Rey decides, when he returns with some small bits and pieces of wood to burn.

 

                Once satisfied he brings one of their bags over and sits down beside her. He pulls out the emergency blanket first, placing it on both of their laps, and then it’s followed with the fabric blanket. Rey takes a corner and places some of the blanket around Baby.

 

                Kylo pulls out one of his spare socks they’d found in his luggage and stuffed it full of some cougar meat. He pulls out a small piece, bare the size of her pinky and breaks it to an even smaller piece.

 

                Moving his hand, he offers her a piece and she takes it while he quickly pops his in his mouth. Rey takes her time with hers, taking small nibbles, trying her best not to inhale it

               

                She’s known hunger before. The hallow feeling in your stomach, the hot bile rising in your throat while your body just craves for something.

 

                Rey had never thought she’d find herself with the same feeling again. She’d made a promise to herself once she landed in Canada that she would never know hunger again (perhaps not as dramatic as Scarlett O’Hara) but it was a promise she intended to keep.

 

                “What’s your favourite meal?” She finds herself asking.

 

                “I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure you don’t talk about food when you’re half way to starving and all you have left is mountain lion and almonds.” Kylo responds, shaking his head.

 

                Rey nudges his shoulder with her own, “Is this a written rule in the how to survive a plane crash in the middle of a snowy forest?”

 

                “I think it’s the number one rule if I recall correctly.”

 

                “Well, I am a rule breaker, so I’ll go first.” Rey pursed her lips together in thought before smiling. “Sweet potato fries with chipotle dip.”

 

                Kylo made a face. “Sweet potato fries? You’re telling me, in all honesty, that your last meal would consist of sweet potato fries?”

 

                “And a side of chipotle mayo.”  Rey replied. “You seem like a T-bone steak kind of guy.”

 

                Kylo purses his lips almost as if he’s unsure if he wants to play the game. He bites, “Medium rare with garlic butter and a scoop my of mother’s mashed potatoes.”

               

                Rey tilts her head back and laughs, “How did I guess that?”

               

                Rey looks over to Kylo and shakes her head, “I take it your mother was a decent cook?”

 

                She wants to kick herself for asking immediately after Kylo’s face almost darkens. He’s not looking at her, instead looking to the fire in front of them, but he doesn’t say anything and Rey’s anxiety floods over her, knowing she asked the wrong thing.

 

                Clearly the conversation is over, so Rey turns away from him and tries to shuffle herself down, so she could try to rest. She pretends that it’s a 5-star hotel bed she’s on and not the bottom of a cave.

 

                “She is.” She hears Kylo whisper.

 

                Rey looks up to Kylo and sees that he’s staring down at the fire with an intensity. He breaks his gaze and looks down to her.

 

                “My mother, I mean.” He says. “She’s a good cook.”

 

                Rey blinks a few times before speaking, “Did she cook for you a lot?”

 

                Kylo moves his gaze back to the fire and shrugs. “When she was around. She’s a politician and her career took her away from home most of the time, but when she was around, she cooked.

 

                She used to make this spaghetti sauce that her father used to make. It would simmer for days before we could eat it, just a mish mash of assorted meat and veggies.”

 

                Rey must have made a sour face at the thought for Kylo laughed softly. “Yeah, I know it sounds sort of gross and unsanitary. My grandfather and his mother didn’t have a lot of money, so they would try to make things last and ended up creating a lot of unique recipes.”

 

               

 

                Silence drifted back among them and Kylo stared at the fire, deep in thought.

 

                “Has it been awhile since you’ve eaten your mom’s cooking?” Rey asked, her voice soft.

 

                Kylo inhaled and nodded. “Y-yeah. You could say it’s been awhile.”

 

                Kylo brings his lips together and looks away from the fire and to the dirty rock they’re laying on. Rey can see that his hands are trembling slightly as he brings them into fists.

 

                “I haven’t seen mine in awhile too.” Rey whispers.

 

                She’s not sure why she tells him this. She hasn’t seen or heard from her parents since she was 5, taken away from them with the ministry after countless calls of drug use and drunken spats. They never did try to get her back.

 

                Maybe it’s because she can relate to the feeling that she’s sure is washing over him. Guilt, anger, sadness. The feeling of being unwanted?

 

                He brings his gaze down to hers and holds it for a beat before he too begins to shuffle his body down to lay beside her.

 

                The last thing Rey remembers before falling asleep is Ben’s steady breathing.

Chapter Text

 

It’s Kylo who wakes first.

 

They’re both facing each other, each on their sides, cuddled so close that Kylo can feel Rey’s soft breaths on his face.

 

He’s so close that he could begin counting the dusting of freckles on her face, or her eyelashes, but he finds himself staring at her pretty pout, moving with each breath she takes in her sleep. He notices her cheekbones, sharp and defined. His gaze travels down to her neck, so long.

 

Kylo stops before his thoughts become too dangerous. They’re traveling on adrenaline, having just survived a horrific experience and Kylo is distracted that his survival mate is pretty? There wasn’t any time for that.

 

But those freckles, that pout, her neck…

 

Kylo groans and rolls away from her. He’s only a man and it’s been a long, long time since he’s been so close to a woman, plane crash or not.

 

He feels ridiculous for even entertaining such a thought.

 

His movements wake Rey up, her eyes fluttering open. It takes her a moment to gather her surroundings before she focuses in on him and a small smile flutters on her face.

 

“Morning.”

 

He moves without saying anything and begins to shuffle their items back together. “We have to get moving if we want to make any progress today. The sun sets early and we need all the light we can get.”

 

Kylo ignores the look flash of confusion that graces her features and concentrates everything he has on packing their stuff in silence.

 

Rey begins to move herself, gathering what she can around her.

 

They move in complete silence. Whatever passed between them last night is gone, they’re back on their mission: survival.

 

“I’m going to go and look out to see if I can see anything with my camera.” Rey announces.

 

Kylo raises an eyebrow and questions, “You sure? I can go and look, you can rest that leg. It’ll be a long day.”

 

Rey waves her hand, “I need to stretch it out and get it moving. I’ll be right back.”

She begins her trek out of the cave, leaning most of her weight on her good leg, limping off her left. “I’ll bring you back a double-double.” She jokingly announces before she rounds the corner and is gone out of his sight.

 

Kylo releases a breath he wasn’t aware he was holding in before going back to load everything up, his thoughts and emotions racing. Will they find anything today? Will his cell phone pick up a signal? What if they come across some sort of predator again?

 

He shoves some items aggressively together. They need to find something, and fast.

 

Rey comes back just as he’s finishing, her face flushed. “You have to come out here and see this.”

 

Kylo stands up and follows her out, holding his arm out for her to grab on to. She immediately leans into his body and points up ahead, “Take my camera and zoom in on the point where those two mountains meet. I see something flashing, but I don’t know if it’s my eyes playing tricks on me.”

 

Rey passes her camera over to Kylo and he pulls it up to his face, zooming in as far as the lens go. He feels Rey place a hand on the lens and gently points it in the direction she’s referring to. It takes a few glances with the lens before something shines, a reflection off the sun.

 

He pulls the camera away from his face with a frown. He looks down to Rey, who’s still looking down at the vision. Kylo brings the camera back up to his face and finds the reflection once again.

 

Bringing the camera back down, he looks down to Rey and she looks up to him. Their eyes lock before he gives a small nod and a smile breaks across Rey’s face.

 

It’s the first time since the crash that he feels a flicker of hope.

 

And it’s found in her smile.

 

-

 

“You know, it could have been anything.” Rey says, hours later, holding on to him as they make their way through the snow and towards their destination.

 

Her leg is throbbing, her back is aching, and today seems to be colder than the others since the crash, but still, she has a spark of hope in her chest that is pushing her forward.

 

“Well, we won’t know until we get there will we?” Kylo responds, his face flush from the cold.

 

“I do believe that is the most encouraging thing you’ve said this entire trip.”

 

Kylo doesn’t say anything in return, instead he focuses on walking and Rey can almost see his mind racing at the possibilities as to what they saw reflected to them.

 

“What do you think it is?” Rey asks.

 

Kylo shrugs, “We’ll see when we get there.”

 

“What if it’s a Starbucks? I could go for an tea right about now.” Rey replies.

 

Kylo scoffs, “I could probably go for something a little stronger than tea.” He stops and looks around, thinking to himself for a minute before nodding. “Yeah, a scotch would be nice.”

 

Rey looks over to him and nods, “I’m not much of a Scotch person; a bit too fancy for me. But, I completely agree, something strong and hot would be nice. Get me warm and help me forget that I’m stranded in the middle of nowhere.”

 

Smiling, he nods. “Yes, next time we get in a crash and survive, let’s make sure it’s during Summer next, okay?”

 

A laugh escapes her, she hadn’t expected that.

 

Kylo’s eyes crinkle when he smiles back. Kylo then starts to walk again, a few steps ahead of Rey, who limps behind him. The dog stays back with Rey, moving in a steady pace with her, panting.

 

“Where did you go to school?” Rey finds herself asking, hours later.

 

Kylo’s walking a half a step in front of her,  she can see puffs of his breath. “University of Toronto. You?”

 

“UBC. West Coast.” Rey feels another shot of pain in her kneecap, she grits her teeth. “God, if I ever complain about any sort of pain again, please remind me of this leg.”

 

Kylo chuckles, “I’ll be sure to remind you of the time we had to walk down a couple mountains.”

 

The hours begin to blur together again, as they walk through the snow. To help keep their minds focused, they talk about their lives, Kylo tells Rey of the time he fell down a tree in his backyard and broke his leg. “I never thought of being a doctor until then.

 

My family has a lot of ties with medicine. My uncle was a top surgeon, a reputation he worked hard to attain.”

 

Kylo pauses. He’s not sure why he feels the need to tell Rey about his family, but he continues, “My grandfather, Luke and my mother’s dad, was a surgeon too. He won awards, climbed to the top of his department and eventually ran his floor.

 

He lost it all when my grandmother died. Started drinking, losing money. He started dealing with pharmaceutical drugs, abusing his license. Then, one day, he operated on a young woman, a mother of three, and ended up killing her during surgery. His alcohol level was through the roof and they convicted him. Lost his license, lost everything.”

 

“I’m sorry.” He hears Rey whisper from behind him.

 

“I was an angry kid,” He continues, “Impressionable. My mom was adopted and never talked about her birth family and when I found out it made me angry. Not because she kept it a secret, but how I found out. I met a man in school, he said he knew a man and that I reminded him of him.

 

He told me all about his accomplishments, how he achieved things no other surgeon could. How hard of a worker he was, how far he advanced his career, how talented he was. I began to worship this guy, a guy I’d never even met. Snoke painted this picture and then I found out he was my maternal grandfather. And how dare she keep this man away from me? I felt an immediate kinship with him, and that pushed me further. I worked harder, slaved for Snoke, looking for that validation I never got from my own dad. and then it just sort of spiraled, I started doing things, things I’m not proud of and all because I thought I could get away with it because my grandpa did, and it made Snoke happy. I could get that position I wanted, I could get the money I wanted, the reputation was mine to claim.”

 

Kylo stops walking and shakes his head. “I’m rambling now.”

 

He turns to look over to Rey, who’s also stopped and sees her brows furrowed. “Did you?” She asks, “Did you get that position you wanted?”

 

Kylo shrugs, “It doesn’t matter now does it?”

 

He feels Rey place a hand on his arm. “You know you’re not your grandfather, right? You’re you. You’re the owner of your own story. Don’t forget that.”

 

Kylo looks down to her, her hazel eyes stare back at his. He wants to tell her to tell that to his father, his mother, his uncle, everyone in his life. But instead he says nothing, just nods and turns away to continue on their trek. Rey keeps her hand in place, leaning some of her weight on his arm.

 

More hours pass and Rey’s in the middle of telling him the story of how she once found an abused stray cat and brought him back to health (“I’ve always had a knack for trying to help I suppose.”) when he hears running water. A feeling of dread sets in his stomach as they continue towards the sound.

 

They eventually stumble upon the dead end. A steep edge, rigid rocks below with a river so wide, stands between them and their destination.

 

“No.” Rey mumbles, taking a step forward. She looks below, a drop of at least 50 feet to the bottom.

 

“We have to go around.” Kylo finally speaks up.

 

Rey shakes her head, “No there has to be a way a way down. I think if we can climb down we should be able to follow it.”

 

Kylo’s struck with disbelief that she would even think of attempting to climb down the embankment before them. “What?” He finds himself asking.

 

“We’ll lose too much time if we go around. We have to go down.”

 

“Go down? Did you forget about your leg? There’s no way you’ll make it down there. We go down there and we die.”

 

Rey shakes her head, her voice rising “No, no, if we go around we’ll lose time. We can’t go around.”

 

Kylo feels his frustration begin to bubble and he begins shaking his head and clenching his fists. “Rey, listen to me. You cannot make it down there. I cannot carry you down there, it’s not happening.”

 

“Kylo, if you’d just listen to me-”

 

“Listen to you?!” Kylo yells, cutting her off. “Like when I listened to you back at the airport?!”

 

Rey’s face flushes. “And what is that supposed to mean?”

 

“It’s means I’ve been listening to you this entire time and look where it’s got me. We’re not going down there and that’s final. We go back and go around.”

 

“Oh, so you think this is all my fault?” Rey accuses, stepping towards him, eyes flashing with anger.

 

“That’s not what I said-”

 

“But that’s what you’re implying.”

 

Kylo sighs, “Rey. Just listen to me, we need to go around.”

 

“No! You listen to me jackass.” Rey brings a hand up, raising her finger in his face. “It’s me and you down here, ok? Me and you and the damn dog. I’m scared out of my mind, your scared. We’re doing what we can to survive, but you do not, absolutely do not get to accuse me of being at fault for any of this, do you hear me?”

 

Kylo brings a hand up to hers and moves it to the side, away and out of his face. “I’ve listened to you since the beginning. Since the top of that mountain, I’ve followed you down, we’ve been making reckless decisions from the beginning and I’m not going to allow you to make another. Now listen to me, we’re going to back trek and go around and find another way.

 

“My decisions haven’t been reckless.” Rey replies, “I’ve followed my instincts and so far we’ve made it, right? If we stayed up there like you wanted, we’d be dead by now.”

 

“You don’t know that.”

 

“Yes, yes I do.” Rey replies. She’s looking up to him, eyes searching his face. “Do you even think we’ll make it? Do you even believe we’ll get out of here alive?”

 

“None of that hardly matters right now.”

 

“Answer me.” Rey says through clenched teeth.

 

“Fine, you want to know what my instincts are telling me? My instincts are telling me we’re going to die up here, that we’re not going to make it. That I’m going to die up here, because I listened to a stranger in the airport.”

 

A flash of emotion runs through Rey’s face and Kylo’s not sure if its guilt or resentment, but he continues, “But we have a choice right now, Rey. We’re alive right now, and in this moment we can continue on being risky, or swallow our pride and listen to logic.”

 

Rey’s lips are in a thin line and she stares at him. Her eyes drift down to the snowy ground before she looks down the edge. Her lower lip trembles for a second before she nods.

 

Kylo moves around her and continues back up, not stopping, even when he hears her yell as loud as she can, “Fuck!”

 

The mountains echo it back to her.

 


-

 

They’re huddled together, hours later. Kylo’s found a spot that’s nestled between a tree’s roots that began lifting up from the ground, it’s not a lot but it will help shield them in. The dog lays in between them, another body struggling for warmth.

 

They haven’t spoken since their confrontation. The air between them is almost awkward, but neither make a move to say a word.

 

Dark is all around them and Kylo’s just about to drift into sleep before he hears Rey whisper, “I’m sorry.”

 

His teeth are near chattering together, his feet are freezing, his body is stiff from the cold. Still, he brings her in closer.

 

“I meant what I said earlier. It’s just me and you down here, Kylo. Me and you, and we have to rely on each other.” Her voice is hoarse from the cold. “I felt defeated when I saw that river, and almost put us in danger. I won’t let that happen again.”

 

He can feel a change in the air between them, an understanding. They need to listen to one another, trust each other in a way they’ve never trusted another soul before if they’re going to survive.

 

He’s not sure how to put all of this into words, but he knows that they both feel it. Instead, he tells her his name, his real name. A name he hasn’t given to another being in such a long time.

 

“Call me Ben.” He whispers, pulling her even closer.

Chapter Text

 

It’s an additional two days before they feel that their back on track towards their destination. Two days lost, trying to find their way down.

 

It’s different between the two of them now. They’re now both fully on the same page, learning from each other, listening to each other. They’re a team, a partnership now. It was them against the wilderness.



He’s softer now, Ben. Kylo seemed to hold her off at a bit of a distance, and Ben all but brings her in closer. He tells her stories of his past, his failures and his dreams and wishes. Opens up to her in a way she knows he hasn’t done in a long, long time.

 

And she returns it. The day after their fight, she tells them about the different foster homes she grew up in, and how she didn’t feel like she belonged in any of them.  She tells them how one family had tried, but she was already so broken and jaded that she pushed back.

 

She tells him about Plutt, the man that took children in for the money. How he worked her to the bone, barely fed her. Rey watches his eyes flash when she tells him how she broke her wrist one morning, and how he didn’t bring her to a doctor for two days.

 

Rey expects to feel anger at his pity, she normally did when she told the few people about her past (Finn listened, Poe yelled) but instead it feels cathartic, bearing her soul to him, on the side of a mountain she’s not sure she’ll survive on.

 

She falls asleep that night with tears in her eyes and his arms wrapped around her tight.

 

It’s the dog that eventually leads them down the right path and Rey mumbles a quick prayer up above, thanking whatever god that was listening, thankful that they had had the decency to at least give them a guardian with four paws.

 

The dog is walking beside Rey, and she notices that he’s favouring his front right paw, limping off of his left. “You too Baby?” Rey asks.

 

Her leg is throbbing, today the worse of all days. There’s a dull ache that never goes away, even when they stop for a breath. When she walks, oh when she walks. It feels like lightning shooting up her leg, sometimes so painful she gasps.

 

Rey’s been a survivor her entire life. She’s known hunger, she’s known loneliness, she’s known pain and abandonment, but this entire experience seems to be testing her, taking everything she’s been through and throwing it at her ten-fold.

 

Still, she tries. She grits her teeth, breathing heavy through the pain, knowing she can’t stop, she will not be responsible for losing even more time, they have a mission and a journey to complete and she will not let this bring her down.

 

She tries and tries before she can feel her calf muscle begin to cramp and shake. “Oh!” She gasps, falling forward, her leg spasming. She catches herself before landing completely in the snow, and she rolls herself forward and to a seated position, hands reaching out to her leg and holding on.

 

She has to rest her body screams at her; rest! rest!

 

Rey begins to push herself back up before Kylo is down kneeling before her. He grasps her calf, hands applying pressure.

 

Bens before her in seconds, kneeling. He grasps her calf, “Rey? Rey, what’s wrong?”

 

Tears are stinging in Rey’s eyes, the pain is causing her to almost gasp. She looks up to Kylo and shakes her head,. “I-I can’t, I need to stop for a minute. Please, just give me a minute.”

 

Ben nods and moves to sit down beside her. He takes a deep breath and looks around at their surroundings. Nothing has changed, white snow and great white trees are all around them.

 

“Jesus, If we weren’t fighting to not die, I’d say it was beautiful up here.” He says.

 

Rey, nose red and eyes still wet from crying, gives a chuckle. “Yeah, it’s really fucking beautiful up here.”

 

“Hey,” Ben turns to look at her. “Take my photo.”

 

Rey stares at him for a beat and chews her bottom lip. She hasn’t taken any photos of their journey, some weird superstition holds her from doing so. She’s barely turned it on, tried to preserve it’s battery, and the few times she has turned it on was to use the lens to zoom in on items ahead.

Rey finds herself reaching for her bag and pulling out her beloved camera. Its won her awards and jobs this camera. Maybe now it will take her mind off this awful experience, even if it’s for a few minutes.

 

The camera makes a little jingle, signaling its power has been turned on. She pulls it up to her face and Ben smiles in front of her.

 

He’s not typically handsome. Some of his teeth are crooked, and his lips are so full. He has dark moles sprinkled along his face, and his nose is long and strong. But his eyes, they’re wide and brown and full of something.

 

His features only stand out more with Winter’s harsh background behind him.

 

Rey feels that in that moment, she’s never seen something so beautiful.

 

She snaps the photo, and then another for good measure. She pulls away from him and begins to take photos of their surroundings, even one of the dog, who tilts his head as if to ask her, “really? now?”

 

Rey places the camera away from her face and on her lap when she sees Ben reach out for it. He shrugs when she doesn’t say anything, “Let me take one of you.”

 

Rey hesitates for a second before allowing Ben to take the camera. She reaches to rub the tears off her face, and move her hair a certain way when Ben shakes his head, “Don’t. Leave it, you look fine.”

 

Her faces blushes when she hears the camera shutter a few times. When he’s done he looks down to the its screen and smiles before passing the camera back to her.

 

She looks at the photo her captured. Her face is flushed, her eyes are shining and she looks extremely tired. She huffs, “Yeah, a real facebook profile picture that one is.”

 

Ben smiles, “I think I’ll get it blown up and hang it above my fireplace.”

 

“And scare off all of your guests?”

“What makes you think I have guests? I’ll stare at it while I drink my whiskey straight and think back to all the amazing times we had.”

 

Rey laughs while Ben moves to stand up. He has his back to her for a second, clearly looking down the path below before he turns around and reaches his hand out.  “C’mon, just a little further and we’ll rest some more.”

 

Rey takes it and grunts while he helps her stand. She clutches onto his arm, leaning most of her weight onto him and they continue on.

 

-

 

They eventually reach a plain, a break between the trees.

 

The dog goes running out and immediately slips, catching itself before completely falling.

 

Ben stops, “Stay here.” He tells Rey before taking a small step forward. He takes a few more before his own foot slides a bit. Ice.

 

They’ve reached a lake, frozen over with ice. They can go around, but Ben’s not sure how wide it is or where it even ends. They’ve got nowhere to go but straight.

 

He turns back to Rey, “Hold on to me. We’re going to take this one step at a time, ok?”

 

Rey, eyes wide, nods. “Alright.”

 

She holds onto his bag as he shuffles forward, and follows him. “Do you think the ice is thick enough?” She finds herself asking.

 

“I’m hoping it’s thick enough.”

 

Rey scoffs, “Not the answer I was really hoping for Ben.”

 

“Oh, well you know me, I’m full of hope and inspiration.” He retorts.

 

“Yes, I was thinking about getting a couple of your inspirational quotes tattooed on me when I got home, a true memorial for all of this.”

 

Ben laughs, “Make sure you get a great big one across your shoulder blades.”

 

“What should that one say? ‘We’re going to die up here’?”

 

“It might be funny one day.”

 

The keep moving and it’s only when Rey’s leg begins to shake again that she asks for another break. “Just a few minutes, it’s really buggered up today.”

 

They make their way to an abandoned log, stuck frozen. Ben helps Rey to sit down on the log, wincing the entire way. She takes a deep breath and blow out hot air, breathing her way through the pain.

 

“We bloody hell better be close to that starbucks.” She says, shaking her head. “I’m not sure how much longer I can go with this.”

 

Ben stands before her, holding onto her one hand. He’s looking beyond her, a tree line standing behind her. “We must be close to the shoreline. We have to be close to what we saw.”

 

Rey looks up and can see his mind working a mile a minute, his eyes searching. She looks behind her and at the trees. “Should we go and look in there?”

 

Ben looks down at Rey, her face pale with exhaustion. Her leg is trembling, the muscles contracting.  She doesn’t have much left in her today.

 

“I’ll go. Will you be alright? I’ll only be gone a few minutes.” He says, squeezing her hand.

 

They’d never parted ways since the cougar attack. She’s almost afraid to not have him near her, who knows what could happen, but she knows that her leg and her body needs rest.

 

She nods, silently.

 

Ben kneels down in front of her and takes his free hand to wrap around the back of her neck, bringing her forehead down to meet his. “I’ll be right back, ok?”

 

Rey nods again, “Don’t be too long.”

 

He kisses her forehead. “I’ll be back sweetheart, I promise.”

 

“A-alright. Take Baby with you. He’ll protect you.”

 

Ben rolls his eyes, “I’d rather him stay with you. He’ll alert you if anythings up.”

 

“Fine. But don’t be long.”

 

Ben nods and then moves around her and the log, shuffling his way to what he think is the shoreline. He makes his way into the trees, taking mindful steps.

The snow crunches beneath him, the trees sway from the breeze above, snow falling from it’s branches. There is nothing but wilderness around him.

 

He goes in deeper to the woods, hoping that he’ll find something . Instead, there’s nothing but him and the forest. A dead end.

 

Ben curses the only way his father taught him to before he turns back around and makes his way back to Rey.  

 

“Ben!” He can hear her yelling and he immediately begins to run towards her, fear striking deep in his chest. What was wrong? Was there an animal? Did something happen?

 

His chest is heaving when he breaks the tree line and stumbles onto the ice. He makes his way towards Rey, practically skating, before he sees the panic in her face.

 

“The dog! Baby! He took off, I can’t see him!”

 

The dog.

 

She’s panicking for the dog.

 

The fucking dog.

 

“You’re worried about the dog?” He asks, voice dry. He’s irritated.

 

“Yes,” Rey scowls. “Baby went off running down that way!” She points to her right. The tree line continues on along the shore and he can see a break in between the trees. “Right there! He ran in right there.”

 

He sighs and looks back down to Rey. “I suppose you want me to go and look for him?”

 

“If you don’t I bloody will!” She moves to stand up and he sees her grimace. He reaches out for her to place her back down on the log.

 

“Don’t move,” He says. “I’ll go and look, just don’t move okay?”

 

Rey nods. “Alright, I won’t move! Just find him!”

 

Ben resists rolling his eyes, of course she’s worked up over the dog. Of course he has to go and risk his life for the damn dog.

 

“I’ll be right back.” He tells Rey.

 

Ben moves away from her and continues down towards the direction Rey pointed. He shuffles his way until the tree line breaks and makes his way in.

 

“Dog!” He yells, cupping his hands in front of his face, “Baby!”

 

He continues his way further in, stopping every few steps to yell for the dog. It’s at least twenty minutes later before he hears barking. “Baby..”

 

Ben walks through the snow towards the sound and eventually finds the dog standing and barking in front of a run down cabin.

 

Ben’s breath hitches and he begins to runs towards the cabin, feeling a rush of adrenaline. “Hello!!” He yells, kicking snow up while he runs. “Hello! Is anyone here?!”

 

He rushes past Baby, who knips happily at him, following him up the steps and to the door. Ben bangs on the door, “hello! Hello!!” His voice is hoarse as he continues to bang on the door. “Is anyone here!? Please, is anyone here?”

 

Nothing but silence greets him, and he walks from the door to the small window next to it. He cups his hands on his face and brings his forehead down to the glass and peers in. It’s dark and he can’t really make anything out.

 

He brings his left hand and bangs on the window, “hello?!” He calls out.

 

No one answers.

 

Ben turns and walks down the steps and makes his way to the side of the cabin. It’s run down, the paint chipping away. He bangs his hands along the siding, “We need help!” He calls, running down the side.

 

He makes his way to the back and up around the other side before standing in front of the cabin again. It’s empty, no one is here. It could be abandoned, but it could also be shut down for the winter.

 

Ben remembers his father taking him and his mother to a cabin exactly like this one summer, his mother’s nose scrunching up at the sight.

 

“Are you sure this is safe Han?” He remembers her asking.

 

“Of course Princess, it’s fine. You wanted to get away from it all and Lando suggested this place, it’s an old poker buddies. Hardly uses it.”

 

“I can see why.”

 

Ben shakes his head at the memory and walks back up the door. His hand finds the handle and jingles it, the door is locked. Of course it’s locked.

 

He takes a step back and looks between the door and the window. This is prime shelter, a place for them to rest and find their bearings. There may be a map inside that tells them where they or, or better yet, a phone. He knows it would be a miracle, but for the first time in a long time he believes the chance at a miracle.

 

Ben has a choice.

 

Break down the door, use whatever energy he has left and barge it in, or break the windows glass, its close enough to the handle that he could probably open it, but he then chances sacrificing his hand to glass and cuts.

 

He has a choice, and either way he’s getting in.

 

He makes his move.



-



Rey brings her hands up onto her arms and begins to rub them. The cold is really getting to her while she sits on the frozen lake. Her breath is coming out as visible steam with each breath she takes, her lips are becoming chapped, she licks her lips, a sad attempt to find some sort of moisture.

 

“God that fucking dog.” She mumbles to herself, feeling a bout of anxiety nestle in her stomach. Of course the dog had to run away, leaving her exposed while she begged Ben to go and find him.

 

She couldn’t bare the idea of leaving the dog alone out there, leaving him behind while he did so much for Ben and herself just seemed like the wrong thing to do. He saved her for Christ’s sake, she couldn’t repay him with that.

 

Alone with her thoughts, she leans back and closes her eyes while she takes a deep breath.

 

She’s alone in her own thoughts for a few minutes before the shifts and a stream of wind picks up, the trees behind her sway.

 

Another gust of wind comes and some of the snow picks up off the lake, and she physically feels the log shifts below her. The ice beneath creaks and she grasps the log with a gasp.

 

“No, no..” She mumbles, looking around her as the wind picks up, blowing harder. She’s sure it’s not the wind shifting the log, or else she’d be on her ass, but maybe there’s a current beneath them? Moving? Are they below a river? a creek?

 

Did rivers run into lakes? No, it was the ocean right?

 

Jesus Rey, She thinks to herself, Don’t bother with that. Get off the lake.

 

She moves to stand up slowly, the ice making a creaking sound with each movement. “Just breathe…” She tells herself, slowly shifting away from the log.

 

It’s at that moment that she sees Ben come sliding out onto the ice from the shoreline. She seems him look over to her and sees his face brighten up. He’s smiling.

 

“Rey! I found it!” He exclaims, moving towards her.

 

Rey shifts her left foot and before she can even ask him what he’s found, the ice breaks beneath her and she falls down into the water below.

 

Her instincts tell her to kick and move her arms. Her hands reach out for the ice that surrounds her and she tries desperately to cling to around her, inhaling mouthfuls of the freezing water.

 

Rey’s lungs are screaming, her entire body begins shaking and panic is setting in. She’s whipping around, trying desperately to hold onto something.

 

“Rey! Rey!” Ben is before her in an instant, reaching out for her. She feels him cup beneath her shoulders, cupping her armpits and grunting as he uses whatever strength he has left to pull her out.

 

The ice is cracking beneath the weight of them both and he begins to drag her off the ice as fast as he could towards the shoreline. She’s struggling to breathe, she can feel a heavy weight on her lungs.

 

Then, again, it’s dark.

Chapter Text

“No, no no” Ben is chanting as he pulls Rey further into the treeline, not wanting to move until he’s sure that they’re both safe from the ice.

 

He stops and looks down to her, fear striking his heart at her blue lips. She’s passed out.

 

Ben takes a split second to slip into Doctor mode, pushing the panic to the side. He kneels down before Rey and immediately begins chest compressions.

 

“One, two, three, four,” He mumbles to himself, then stops to pinch her nose and bring his lips to hers,  blowing as hard as he can into her mouth. He stops and moves back to chest compressions. “One, two, three four.”

 

He repeats this a few more times before Rey’s chest shakes and water begins to spit out of her mouth. He rolls her onto her side and pats her back, watching water and vomit pour out of her nose and mouth.

 

She’s gasping for breath, her teeth chattering, lips still dark.

 

He has to get her warm and fast, or he’ll lose her to hypothermia. Ben has to take her to the cabin and he has to take her now.

 

He slips an arm beneath her neck and another beneath her knees. With a grunt and nothing but adrenaline powering him at this point, he lifts her up and cradles her into his arms.

 

“Stay Rey, please stay.” He’s mumbling, making his way towards what he hopes is the cabin.  HIs arms are shaking with her weight in them, and his knees are growing weak, but he pulls through. He has to.

 

He finally sees the cabin in sight and that gives him the extra boost of energy he needs. He begins to move faster, cradling her close.

 

The door of the cabin is still open, he’d must have left it open in his hurry to go back to her to show her what he’d found. He didn’t think he’d be bringing her like this in his arms, fighting for her life again.

 

Ben bursts through the door and immediately makes his way to the far right corner of the building, where a single double bed lay. It’s been a long time since the cabin had been in use and it shows when he places her on the bed, dust springing up from the blanket.

 

“Rey?” Ben asks, clasping a hand around one of her delicate wrists, finding her pulse. It’s there, but faint.

 

Step one: remove the wet clothing, it’s the fastest way for the body to for the body to increase it’s inner temperature.

 

He begins with her pants, undoing the button of her jeans and pulling the zipper down. Using both hands, he pulls them down her legs, wincing at the sight of her damaged leg. Bruises are littered through, it’s red and angry and the wound still fresh.

 

Her jeans get stuck at her boots and he curses at himself. His personal emotions are conflicting with his actions and it’s causing him to make small mistakes. He needs to calm down and breathe, take one action at a time.

 

When he feels he has a grip, Ben moves to her feet and begins to untie her boots, taking one off at a time, her socks following.

 

He removes the her jeans and hesitates at the sight of her blue panties. Shaking his head, he moves to the top of her body, zipping down her jacket, taking one arm out at a time. Then comes her sweater and her top below, leaving her only in her bra and underwear.

 

Ben moves to to the top of the bed, whipping down the dust filled blanket, using an arm to lift Rey up to remove the blanket below her and then brings it back up, wrapping her in it. He then moves to take off his own jacket, draping it across her chest, a sad attempt at another layer.

 

Now he needs to find another heat source to warm the place up. He looks around the cabin and sees a fireplace across the other side of the cabin and he quickly moves to it, opening its front gate. It’s dirty and filthy and nothing is in it for him to burn.

 

He goes back to Rey’s bag and looks through, everything is soaked. Their pathetic firestarter they’d taken from the plane’s seats is soaked, they will not be able to use it until it dries.

 

Ben stands up and runs his hands through his hair, holding it at the base of his skull. Panic is setting in and he’s finding it hard to get a grip. His eyes drift back to Rey, laying on the bed, shivering. He has to get this place heated.

 

His dark eyes search the cabin. There’s not much in there, some photos hang on the walls, hung in frames straight from the 90’s, floating shelves hold some mugs, chipped from old age. Still nothing to burn.

 

Finally he looks back to the bed and there’s a small table with a drawer beside it. He pulls it open and there lies a red book, a journal of some sort. He takes it out, opens the first page and begins tearing the pages out, crumpling them in his hands.

 

He tosses the pages into the fireplace, they will be good starters but he’ll need wood to help keep it burning.

Ben moves back to the the small kitchenette, taking the mugs off the floating shelves. He then grasps both ends of the shelves and tries to tear if off the wall. They’re smaller, maybe two feet long by a foot wide. That with the building being older, it’s almost laughable at how easy it is to remove them.

 

Ben makes the fire, starting it with the pages he’d torn out from the journal and adding a chunk of one of the shelves he’d stuffed in past the grate, a chunk of it still hanging out.

 

Heavy smoke blows out but quickly dies down, the whole in the window he’d smashed to get in helps air the cabin out.

 

Ben walks back to the bed and runs a hand on Rey’s forehead, still no real change.

 

“Fuck.” He curses under his breath, looking back towards the fire. He needs to get her closer to the fire. Ben goes to the end of the bed and with what little energy he has left he begins to pull it closer to the fireplace.

 

Once he’s satisfied with the distance, he goes back to Rey and kneels before her. Ben brings a hand to her forehead once more and strokes her face. “Please wake up Rey, please.”

 

His exhaustion is now getting to him and he feels his body become heavier by the second. He reaches with his other hand beneath his jacket and the blanket. He hand blindly reaches for one of hers, grasping it tightly.

 

It’s strange, he’s survived a plane crash, spent the last 7 days in the wilderness, battling his way down from the top of a mountain, and this was the first and true time he felt truly afraid. Watching Rey fall down into the water almost made his heart stop.

 

She’s become incredibly important to him in such a short time, and he supposes surviving something so traumatic would do that to two souls. No one knows what he’s going through more than her, and no one will ever understand more than her.

 

He brings her hand out and lays a presses his lips to the top. “Get warm sweetheart,” He whispers, “Come back to me.”

 

-

 

Ben’s added another bit of shelf to the fire and gone outside to collect more wood, bark, branches, anything really to keep the heat in the cabin.

 

He comes back in,shivering from the cold and lack of coat. Laying down an extra stack of burning material down by the fireplace, he moves back to Rey and lays a hand on her forehead.

 

She’s covered in a thin layer of sweat and her lips are trembling. No improvement.

 

He sighs and reaches back, she’ll need more warmth and he’s the last thing that will be able to give it to her.

 

Ben, large and awkward at the best of times, shuffles over her body and tries to squeeze in between her and the  cabin’s wall, a feat he’d be proud of at a different time.

 

He squirms down the bed to try to level himself with her, his face lays directly near Rey’s. Opening a bit of the blanket he nestles in, wrapping an arm around her middle and pulling her in close.

 

Ben was never a religious man, but he finds himself whispering a prayer as he nestles in closer to Rey.

 

wake up.

 

-

 

It’s Ben stomach that wakes him up. He’s not sure how much time has passed but it’s dark outside and the cabin is coated in an orange glow. He looks up and sees that the fire needs more brush to keep it fueled.

 

Looking back down to Rey at his side, he reaches down and feels her cheeks. Warm, but no real change. He frowns but moves away from her.

 

He’s searched the cabin and found a couple cans of expired beans and a near empty flat of tomato soup. 5 cans in total, Ben can make this work for them.

 

He had just finished emptying some contents of the expired beans into a beat up pot, warming it on the stove when he hears shuffling from the bed.

 

He stands up quickly and makes his way over to the bed, watching Rey move her head back and forth, her breathing hoarse.

 

“P-P…” She stammers, “P-P.”

 

Ben feels instant shame at the flash of jealousy that runs through him. He immediately scolds himself, Of course she’d be whispering for Poe, he was her partner in the real world. He was hers out there, not in here.

 

He runs his hand back on her forehead and runs it holds it on her forehead once again. She doesn’t feel as hot, and it’s a good sign. She’s returning back to a normal core temperature.

 

“B-b..” Rey begins to mumble, moving her head to the side and closer to him.

 

Ben kneels down, his face close.

 

“Ben.” Rey whimpers, her voice coarse and thick. “Ben.”

 

He reaches for her hand and almost jumps when her eyes flash open. Her iris’ are dilated, the hazel barely showing as they jump around, scanning her surroundings. Confusion written all over her face.

 

She moves to sit up and Ben reaches across her chest to try to keep her down. “Shh, easy sweetheart, you can’t sit up, lay back down.”

 

Rey’s gaze finally lands on him and her brows furrow. “Ben?”

 

“I’ve got you, you’ve got to lay back down.”

 

Rey nods and flops her head back down, taking deep breaths. Ben takes this moment to go back to the pot on stove. He removes it and brings it back down towards Rey. He places it on the ground and then reaches for a cup of watered down snow he’d brought in earlier and placed on the table beside Rey.

 

Ben reaches a hand down beneath her neck to help support and lift it up, while the other brings the cup to her lips. She takes a small sip, and then another before pulling away and coughing.

 

“Where are we?” She whispers, her voice cracking near the end of her question.

 

“We’re at the Starbucks.” Ben replies, placing the cup down back on the tableside. “This is what we saw with your camera.”

 

“What?” Rey asks, looking around. “Are you sure?”

 

She starts a coughing fit and Ben grabs the water again. Helping her drink, he explains, “Take a minute before you talk. But, yes, the roof on top of this is metal and that’s what we saw reflecting.”

 

Ben helps her lay back down and she takes another deep breath, trying to steady her breathing. She brings both of her hands up to her face and lays her palms down on each cheek, closing her eyes. It’s obvious she is exhausted and trying to gather her surroundings and what exactly happened to her body.

 

“I feel like my chest has been hit by a truck.” She says, voice cracking again.

 

“I had to do chest compressions, that and the water you inhaled probably isn’t helping.” Ben replies.

 

Rey removes her hands and looks to her side at him. “How long have I been out?”




He feels her hand reach out and gently caress his left cheek. Ben closes his eyes and leans into it, feeling his eyes get wet for the first time. All the stress from today, and since the crash really, are bubbling to the surface now.

 

“Hey… you saved me. Again.” Rey says, her voice barely a whisper. “I’m alright because of you.”

 

Ben opens his eyes and looks down to her, and he sees that her’s are also misty. He resists the instinct to kiss her palm.

 

Her brows furrow, and she pulls her hand away, as if realizing something.

 

“Where’s Baby?”

 

Ben shakes his head and chuckles. “He’s sitting right in front of the fire. Probably waiting for the beans.”

 

Rey raises her head to look down past her feet, and there Baby lays, belly facing towards the fireplace and as if he senses her watching, he swats his tail on the floor twice and raises his head. When he sees Rey is looking at him he moves to stand up and limp his way over to Ben and Rey.

 

Baby lays his head at the end of the bed, his deep brown eyes staring at Rey. Rey laughs softly and reaches her hand out to him, Baby promptly squeezing in front of Ben to get some pets.

 

Ben is also laughing as he leans back and grabs the pot of beans before Baby tramples them over. He leans back, using his free hand to block the attack of Baby’s tail that’s wagging back and forth, happy that Rey is back up.

 

After a moment, Ben leans back completely and moves to stand up. He goes to place the beans on the makeshift counter on the other end of the counter, grabbing another empty cup. He tilts the pot over the cup and empties some of its contents.

 

Ben grabs the cup and leaves the pot, moving back towards Rey. When he’s back at Rey’s side, he nudges Baby gently. Baby moves away and sits down obediently while Ben kneels back down in front of Rey.

 

“Beans?” Rey asks.

 

Ben nods. “Top gourmet chef Solo.” He  tilts the mug to show her. “You don’t want to know when it expired.”

 

Rey makes a face at the cup but then nods, moving to sit up. Ben places the mug down on the table side to help until she’s completely sitting up. “Actually, I wonder if you should eat right now…” He questions out loud.

 

Rey scoffs, “You’re the doctor, aren’t you?”

 

Ben smiles, “Are you hungry?”

 

If she hasn’t just almost died drowning, she would have laughed, considering she hasn’t really had any proper or solid in her stomach in so long. But in reality, her stomach just hurts to much and the very idea of eating at this moment makes her feel sick.

 

Ben takes her silence as her answer and takes the cup to his own lips, taking a small nibble. He pulls the mug away, making a sour face. He doesn’t speak for a few seconds after swallowing and then, “well, I’ve had worst.”

 

A smile cracks on Rey’s face and she laughs.

 

Exhaustion must blanket her for suddenly she closes her eyes and takes another deep breath. She shakes her head and opens her eyes, turning to look at him.

 

“Will you come up here?” She asks.

 

It takes a second for Ben to process what she asked before he nods, placing the mug of baked beans beside her cup of snow water. He leans over her, careful not to crush her and moves to lay down beside her.  

 

It’s a little more awkward doing this a second time, but now that she’s up and able to move a bit, it’s a bit easier. Ben shuffles his large frame down, his feet dangling off the end, and turns to face her on his side.

 

Rey reaches both her hands out for his arm and draps it across her torso, moving her head so her face nestles in closer to his. He can feel her small breaths on his face again.

 

Rey has her eyes closed but a small smile appears back on her face. Her pert nose is still a bit red and her skin is a bit flushed, causing her freckles to appear darker.

 

“Thank you.” She says.

 

“It’s me and you up here.” He replies, snaking his arm closer on her torso. “I know you would do the same. I’ve got you and you’ve got me.”

 

Rey opens her eyes at his words and they hold each other’s gaze. Ben then leans forward and presses a kiss to her forehead. “Sleep.” He commands.

 

Rey sighs and nods, snuggling in closer.

 

It’s quiet for a beat, nothing but the crackling of the fire can be heard before Rey asks. “We can almost pretend that we’ve chosen this place on purpose, can’t we? We’re on a vacation, you and I. Taking the dog out for a bit of a winter getaway.”

 

Ben smiles. “I’d hoped we’d pick somewhere a little more than this. Maybe Whistler next time. I know a guy.”

 

Her breathing becomes even and Ben realizes that she’s fallen back asleep, her body demanding more rest.

 

So, he does the same.

Chapter Text

9

 

It’s only been two nights, but they fall into a sort of routine down at the cabin.

 

Ben wakes up, tends to the fire, makes a small portion of beans or soup (which Rey notices Ben has to gag down, but she says nothing) goes outside to grab whatever he can to help keep the fire burning, (sometimes he comes with proper branches, other times it’s all sorts of pieces of wild forest debris that Rey’s not certain will burn.)

 

He helps her stretch her legs after, helping her balance and rubs her back when she winces from the pain. After he helps her stretch, they sit and rest and come up with a game plan.

 

“I think it's best if we stay here until you’re well enough to walk more.” Ben says, handing her a cup of melted snow.

 

He finds a map of British Columbia in the cabin, but there’s nothing indicating where exactly they are. They take turns, sitting down in front of the window and using the sun’s light, both trying to find out exactly where they are.

 

Rey is sitting in front of the fire with the map unfolded in front of her. She’s studying it, her brows furrowed together, trying desperately to pinpoint where they might be.

 

She can see the airport where they left and can sort of pinpoint the direction Snap may have taken, but beyond that, nothing. She’s tried searching for lakes for a minute before realizing what a daunting task that was. Apparently Northern BC had a ton of lakes and bodies of water that she had no idea about and it was almost impossible to find where they were now.

 

Rey moves the map away from her and places it down to her left before grabbing the mug from Ben. She takes a sip, her throat still a bit sore from her ordeal just a two days ago. “I agree, but Ben, we can’t be here for too long.”

 

Ben moved to sit down in front of her, closer to the fire, with his own mug. “I know that, but you need to rest a bit more. Work on the leg, and once it’s healed we can move.”

 

“Healed?” Rey asks, cocking an eyebrow. “You know it won’t be completely and fully healed for awhile, and without any sort of medicine? Forget it.”

 

“You have to do the best you can right now, and that means rest.” Ben replies.

 

Rey resists the urge to roll her eyes. “I’ll rest as much as I can, but we have to keep moving. Who knows when the next time someone will even come up here? Spring? Summer? We can’t sit still too long.”

 

“I know that Rey, but you need to rest the leg. You won’t be able to do much out there.”

 

His bedside manners are frank, but he has a point.   

 

She knows that she’ll only slow them down, and she knows that she won’t be able to keep up or cover as much land as he would. She’d be a burden, an unnecessary stress for him, an additional worry.

 

“You should go on without me.” Rey decides.

 

Ben is almost glaring at her, offended that she would even mention or think of such a thing. “I’m not leaving you, Rey.”

 

“Ben, listen-”

 

“No.” He cuts her off, “absolutely not. Don’t mention it again.”

 

Rey shakes her head, “No, you can’t cut me off. Listen to me. I can barely move around in here without you helping me hobble, and that’s just two or three feet! At most! Can you just imagine me out there? It’s risky. I can stay here, rest and wait. Then, when you find help, you can tell them where I am and they can come and get me.”

 

Ben is silent, and Rey continues on, “You know I’m right Ben. You know I won’t make it out there.”

 

Shaking his head, Ben moves to stand up and walks around her. “I’m going to get some more wood.” is all he says, before leaving the cabin. Rey’s surprised he doesn’t slam the door.

 

She sighs and tilts her mug of water back up to her lips. The man is so stubborn it’s frustrating. She’s just looking out for him the same way he’s been looking out for her, the same way he’s rescued her. If anything were to happen to Ben because of her, it would shatter her.

 

Finishing her mug, she awkwardly helps herself to a standing position, wincing once at the pain in her knee. “bloody hell.” she mumbles to herself, limping towards the bed.

 

Placing her mug on the nightstand, she all but throws herself down on the bed. Rey brings a hand and runs it through her hair, feeling the grease. She grimaces, oh what she would do for a bath.

 

She’s just about to lay down on the bed when she spies Ben’s pack at the end of the bed. Memories of the voice recorder come floating back to her and she nibbles on her bottom lip. Maybe if she listens, she can find out who they are and use it as motivation for Ben to continue on.

 

You’re being ridiculous .

 

But what if it works? She doesn’t Ben to hinder himself because of her, she wants him to survive. Find the woman on the recording and live.

 

“Fuck it.” She says and reaches down for the bag. She has to lean quite far, but she’s able to pull it up. The recorder lays near the top, he must have listened to it recently. She pulls out the device, turns the volume dial as low as it will go and presses play.

 

 “ Hi Ben, it’s me. Just calling to let you know that I’m thinking of you. Especially after these last few days. I know it’s been tough, and it’s been hard for all of us, but I just need you to know that it’s not your fault. I know you’re out there, thinking it is, and don’t deny it, because I know you, Ben. I know you. This isn’t your fault.”

 

“Hi Ben, me again. I just wanted to let you know that I saw a dog that looked just like Chewie today and ti just made me smile. I just had to tell you, anyway, I love you.”

 

“Ben, please call me. I just need to hear your voice.”

 

“Ben, please”

 

I’m sorry it’s come to this Ben. I just don’t know what to do anymore, I keep trying and trying but I can’t keep up it seems. You’ve made your choice and I just have to accept it I guess. Just know that I love you, despite everything, I love you.”

 

“What are you doing?”

 

Rey just about jumps off the bed at the sudden intrusion. She was so engrossed listening to the recording that she didn’t even hear Ben climb the steps to enter the cabin.

 

He’s standing in the doorway, his large frame blocking out most of the light. He’s got some more branches in his arms, and his nose is tinted pink from the cold outside.

 

“Ben, I-” Rey starts, fumbling with the recorder, almost dropping it.

 

Ben drops the branches and they land with a loud thud and takes the two steps (his legs are so long, they cover a lot of ground) and he snatches the recorder out of her hands. He presses the stop button and turns away from her. “This was in my bag. Why were you in my bag?”

 

“Ben, listen, I didn’t mean to listen to the whole thing I just thought-”

 

“Oh you thought?!” Ben whirls around, anger evident in his posture and facial expressions. “Please tell what you were thinking when you decided to go through my stuff and listen to this?!”

 

Rey feels her eyes sting, she’s uncomfortable. I shouldn’t have listened to it. You’re a fool Rey.

 

“Please tell me what right you think you had to listen to this?!” Ben yells.

 

“I thought that if I were to listen to that, I can find out who the woman’s voice was and convince you to go!”

 

Ben recoils. “What?” He asks.

 

Rey straightens her back. “I figured, if I found out who was on the recorder, I could use her as motivation for you to move on. Go and find help.”

 

Ben’s shoulders sag and he shakes his head. He brings a hand up to his hair and runs it through, turning away from her. He sighs.

 

There’s tension between them now, and Rey regrets even thinking about looking for the recorder. What a stupid idea.

 

Ben pockets the recorder and moves to collect the branches he’d dropped. He moves and stacks them neatly by the fire. Once he’s finished he looks down over to Rey, “I’m just going to go outside for a bit.”

 

Rey doesn’t respond.

 

He leaves, and she hears Baby barking outside.



-

 

Rey feels like trash. Her body is aching, her lungs still hurt and her emotions are all over the place.

 

There’s immense guilt at going through Ben’s things and she feels incredibly stupid. She feels as if she’s betrayed his trust and she knows that while he had the chance to go through her stuff, he didn’t.

 

Speaking of her stuff, her camera is toast. It makes Rey sad, considering it was a first real purchase she’d made for herself, all those years ago. She think she can save the memory card, but she’s unsure.

 

She’s laying on the bed, toying the memory card in between her fingers when Ben finally comes back inside.

 

He doesn’t say anything to her when he comes in, instead he moves to the their open can of beans and begins to distribute their remaining quarter they had left. Once he’s done with that he walks over to her and holds her mugged portion to her.

 

Rey sits up and takes it, mumbling a quick thank you.

 

He doesn’t reply, instead turns around and takes a step back towards the fire. Rey watches him, from the corner of her eye, choke down the beans. He’s silent after he finishes, staring at the fire.

 

Rey looks back to her mug and takes a tentative sip of the beans. They’re expired, they taste a little sour, but it’s food and she will not complain. It’s fuel.

 

“Her name is Leia.” Ben starts.

 

Rey looks over to him, watches as he turns to face her.

 

“And she’s my mother.”

 

She places the mug of beans in between her hands. “Your mother?”

 

Ben nods. He walks over to the bed and sits down beside her, the bed’s frame creaking a bit beneath his weight. “Those recordings are voicemails that she left on my phone. After uh.. after my father died.”

 

The guilt Rey felt really instantly triples. She’s an ass.

 

“Ben, I’m so sorry.” She moves to say and Ben lifts his hand.

 

“She left those because I wouldn’t return her calls. My dad died and I was too much of a coward to face her after. I stopped talking to them when I finished my schooling, Snoke got in my ear and told me that they didn’t do anything for me. That they would take me off of my course, distract me. So I stopped talking  to them, and it broke my mother’s heart. My dad was… well, my dad was my dad about it. He tried calling a few times, even showed up to the hospital I worked at.

 

And you want to know what I did? I had security escort him out. That was the last time I ever saw him.”

 

Ben takes a shaky exhale, it must be the first time he’s talked about this to anyone. Rey is patience and lets him finish.

 

“Then Luke called me one day and I hung up before he could even finish talking. Then my mom called and left a message. Han died. And the funny part? He died of a heart attack.”

 

Ben’s eyes are watering now and he chuckles. “My father died of a heart attack and his prodigal heart surgeon son, couldn’t save him. Sometimes I think that maybe that’s why he showed up at the hospital. He told me it was to call my mother, but maybe he wanted me to look? Maybe he felt something was wrong and wanted his son to take a look.

 

I didn’t. I had him removed and he died. What if he died because I removed him? And Leia, she called and called and called. And what did I do? I was too scared and didn’t even go to his funeral. I didn’t go to my father’s funeral, because I didn’t want to face my past.”

He takes a deep breath and continues, “I dropped out from under Snoke and that almost ruined my career. I switched hospitals, got a new apartment, a new number, and just tried to move on. But I could never call Leia back. Instead, I just recorded the messages she left on my old phone and now, like a child, when I’m scared or nervous, I’ll play them. And think of all the things I would have done differently.

 

I’d see Han, I’d ran a scan and see what’s going on, get him on the proper diet and plan, reschedule visits. I’d tell him I l-loved him.” His voice cracks and he takes another shaky breath.

 

“And I’d call Leia, my mom. I’d call her and listen to her while she would tell me to go on dates, have babies, I’d go and visit and eat her Sunday dinners. Hell, I’d call my uncle and tell him thank you.”

 

“And I’d tell them all that I loved them. All of them, and that I was sorry.”

 

Rey has tears streaming down her face at his story, her heart breaking into pieces at his confession. She wants to grovel on her knees and beg for forgiveness, tell him that she’s sorry and that he deserves everything on this planet and that it’s not his fault and that everything’s going to be okay.

 

But she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t know that everything will be okay, hell, she doesn’t know what tonight will bring, let alone anything beyond right now, this very moment. But she has to let him know that he’s appreciated.

 

So she tells him that.

 

“I can’t guarantee what tomorrow will bring, I can’t guarantee that we’ll even survive this. But I want you to know, that they love you. You’re loved.”

 

Ben doesn’t reply, instead he interlocks their fingers together and holds on.

 

They sit in silence for a handful of minutes before Rey tugs on his hand. “Come to bed, Ben.”

 

-

 

She falls asleep first and wakes up up first. The fire is still going, Ben must have gotten up at some point to add more wood, and Baby lays in front of it, soaking up it’s heat.

 

Rey moves to stretch, almost sighing at the relief that she feels in her leg. Her movements must alert Ben, because he too begins stirring beside her.

 

“Good morning.” She greets when he opens his eyes.

 

“Morning.” He replies, moving to stretch his arms above his head, and turning his neck to the right and then to the left. “How are you feeling?” He asks when he’s done.

 

“Fine. I feel fine.” Rey nods.

 

“Good.” Ben says and Rey moves to sit up, allowing Ben to move around her and begin his day. He attends to the fire while Rey limps over to the small kitchen area, grabbing another can. She fusses with the old can opener before grabbing the mugs they’d left behind last night.

 

After they eat Ben begins to help her stretch, his touch gentle on her legs. She acutely aware of his touch this morning, feeling an almost burn as he runs his hands up to her thighs and applies a bit of pressure.

 

“Can you point your toes up to the ceiling for me?” He asks, his eyes on her thigh, Doctor Ben.

 

He looks up to her face after she doesn’t do it.

 

Their gazes meet and the air around them becomes thick. She’s staring at his lips, chapped, but so full. She wonders what it would be like to kiss them.

 

Her eyes drift back up to meet his and it’s decided then.

 

She’s not sure who moves first, but she’s definitely aware that they’re lips are meeting in a heated frenzy. His lips are so soft and full and feel like pillows brushing against her own, she nips at his bottom lip and this causes him to moan.

 

One of his hands is behind her head and Rey’s vaguely aware that it’s so big and wide that he can almost cradle her entire head in his palms.

 

Rey begins to lean back, and Ben follows. He moves his lips away from her own and begins raining kisses along her jaw and then down her neck, hitting a sensitive spot below her ear. He’s running his other hand up and down her arm, while he trails kisses up and down her neck.

 

It’s Rey who reaches down to the hem of her shirt, pulling back for a split second to bring up and above her head. Ben watches her chest, her blue bra is so dirty but he doesn’t seem to care or even notice when she reaches behind her back and unclasps it.

 

He’s on her breasts instantly, using one hand to palm one and his mouth is on the other. Rey moans, her head moving back. It feels incredible.

 

Ben switches to the other, giving it just as much attention as the other. Rey takes this moment to fall down to the bed and he then moves his lips away and begins to kiss down her stomach, leaving a trail all the way past down her belly button.

 

His hands then begin to work at her jeans, his large fingers undoing the button and zipper. He pauses and Rey brings her head up to look down at him.

 

Ben’s looking down at her, almost questioning if he should continue.

 

Rey nods.

 

Her jeans are off a second later. He pauses and places a soft kiss near her injury she’d received on the plane. He then trails back up her thighs and to her core, still covered in her blue panties.  

 

She’s suddenly self-conscious. She’s been out in the wilderness, trying to survive and hasn’t showered or properly cleaned herself in weeks (save for a few times she’s tried to  rinse herself with dirty snow) and she moves her thighs together, wanting to bring him up and away.

 

But he doesn’t move. Instead he nuzzles her core with his mouth and large nose, then brings his hands up and gently slides her panties down. If anything bothers Ben, he doesn’t show it. In fact, it’s almost the opposite. He moves closer.

 

He brings his right hand up and with a finger, he slides down her folds and back up. She’s soaked. He brings another finger and spreads her open, finding her clit at the top. He places his two fingers along her bud and begins to work it, inserting his thumb in her.

 

Her moans fill the cabin and Rey slumps back down on the bed and closes her eyes while he works her. His fingers are magic and it’s working wonders on her. He’s moved his fingers away from her clit and inserts them in her, bringing his mouth down to her center.

 

It’s only moments before Rey’s pushed over the edge, she yells his name when her vision almost goes white, her thighs tightening around his head.

 

After catching her breath, Rey reaches for him to bring him up to her. She kisses him, tasting herself, but she doesn’t mind. She wants him to feel good to, so she tries to shuffle herself up further on the bed and lay down straight, bringing him on top of her.

 

Of course, with his size and her injury, this is harder than she anticipated. But they make it work and eventually he’s braced himself on top of her, kissing her as if he were going to die tomorrow. He somehow manages to take off his tops, she helps him with him bottoms and boxers, and then he’s back on her once again.

 

Rey reaches down and clasps onto him. He’s so hard and his skin is velvety soft. She works him up and down while he gasps before lining him up to her center.

 

He slides in and it almost feels like home.

 

She meets his thrusts as well as she can, ignoring the protest of her injured leg. He feels amazing, filling her and stretching her. Rey has her arms clasped around his shoulders, holding on and placing kisses along his throat.

 

When it’s all over and she’s wrapped up in his arms, looking up into his eyes, Rey realizes just how deep she really is with him. It’s in this moment that Rey decides that no matter what, he has to survive, and she will do whatever she can to make it happen.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Their days continue. They eat, drink their snow water, make love a few more times, once by the fire, others in the bed.

 

It’s three days later that Rey removes herself from his arms and decides now is the time. He has to continue on, find help. They will die out here if he doesn’t.

 

“Ben.” She says while he sits up, his chest, wide and pale, glistening in sweat. He runs a hand through his hair, but he doesn’t say anything.

 

“Ben.” Rey says again. She’s naked and looks over her shoulder. Her hair must be a mess, she can feel the tangles without even touching it.

 

“You have to go and get help.”

 

“Rey, I’m not doing this again.” Ben replies, his body becoming tense. He’s becoming frustrated. She’s ruined their sweet moment.

 

“Ben, you have to listen to me.” Rey reaches down to her discarded shirt and moves to put it on, forgoing her bra. She turns her body, still sitting, to face him. “Do you want me to die?” She asks.

 

“What?” He asks, voice clearly upset. “How could you even ask me that?”

 

“Because that’s what will happen if I go out there with you. I will die, and then hold you back and you will die.”

 

“Rey, you don’t know.” He begins to protest.

 

“Yes, yes I do.” Tears are beginning to form in her eyes. “I can’t let that happen. Not for you and not for me. And my best chance to make it out of here alive, is with you out there continuing on.”

 

She moves and places a hand on his chest, over where his heart is. “I want us to survive this Ben, and you’re our best hope out there.

 

“So, I’m going to ask you again. Do you want me to survive?”

 

Rey knows it’s a terrible card for her to play, but she’s so desperate. He needs to continue on and she’s willing to do anything for him to do it.

 

She holds his gaze and emotions flash through his face. His lips are in a thin line and after a few minutes of silence he finally nods his head. “I want you to live.”

 

Rey moves forward, grabs his hand into hers and then tells him, “Then go and find help for us. For me.”

 

 

-

 

 

It’s decided that he’ll leave first thing in the morning.

 

They take their time with each other before going to bed. Rey tells him more memories of her childhood, opens up and bares her deepest vulnerabilities (“I think that’s why I latched on to Poe; I craved intimacy and feared abandonment.”) and tells him, despite finally being surrounded by her own self-picked family, a career and job she’s happy and making money, that she still feels alone.

 

“You’re not alone.” Ben says, sitting across from her in front of the fire.

 

Rey meets his gaze and holds it, then softly whispers, “Neither are you.”

 

They have sex, and it’s slow. Ben takes his time with her, telling her he’s just memorizing her freckles and all the marks on her body.

 

And then, the morning comes too fast.

 

They’re quiet while they pack Ben’s pack. She then helps him dress in all of the layers, taking her time while she zips up his coat. She goes on her tiptoes to place his forest green toque on the top of his head, then cradles his face in between her hands.

 

“You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.” She promises, before laying a gentle kiss on his lips.

 

Rey and Baby walk him to the door and watch while he takes the few steps down. The snow crunches beneath his feet and he turns to look at them.

 

“As soon as I find someone Rey, as soon as I find someone, I’ll be right back, ok?”

 

Rey wants to keep this memory locked away forever. How his eyes stare at her, his proud nose, his full lips.

 

Rey nods. “I know, Ben. I know.”

 

Ben keeps his gaze locked with hers for another 20 seconds or so before he painfully turns away and leaves.

 

 

-

 

 

This isn’t right.

 

He can feel how wrong it is, deep in his gut. He shouldn’t have left her, but she saw no other choice, and at the time, in that moment when she brought it up again, he agreed with her.

 

Looking back, he feels foolish.

 

With each step, each crunch of snow beneath his heavy foot, he fights the urge to turn back. It’s not right being out here on his own, leaving her behind. They’ve only had each other in this experience, and to not have her now, beside him, almost feels like he’s missing a limb.

 

Get ahold of yourself, Solo. He thinks to himself, feeling foolish. He’d only just met her. But Ben had become so attached to her in this short time, coming to rely on her on his journey for survival.

 

Turn around, turn around. He thinks to himself, but he fights the urge. Taking one conscious step after another, almost fighting his body from turning around.

 

Ben manages to walk for another 30 feet before he comes to a complete stop. He stands still, the air around him bitter and cold and he contemplates the choices and decisions ahead of him.

 

 

-

 

 

 

Rey’s chest heaves with a sob as she tries to bring Baby closer to her. His fur is damp beneath her face, but he doesn’t move. He allows her to hold on to him, crying into his neck, giving her arm a couple licks in between it all.

 

She’s going to die out here, she knows it and feels it in her bones, and she’ll die alone.

 

Rey felt foolish, watching Ben’s retreating form walk away from her. What was she doing? Did sending him away even guarantee his safety? She had to try.

 

When her tears finally stop, she releases Baby. The dog, so kind and gentle, wags his tail and then begins to lick her face, as if trying his hardest to comfort her.

 

A small laugh escapes her.

 

“Thank you, sweet boy.” Rey says, hands caressing his neck. “Thank you.”

 

Rey’s about to move and stand up to lie down when she hears it. She can hear some sort of movement outside of the cabin, and then the loud steps just outside the door.

 

She almost gasps when the door whips open and Ben’s comes running in.

 

“Ben?” Rey asks.

 

He stands before her before moving to kneel in front of her, pulling her into his arms. She clasps her own around his neck and begins to feel her eyes water again. He came back, and he was the first person to ever do so in her life. He came back, when no one else ever did.

 

They pull apart from each other after a beat and Ben’s eyes are searching her face before he leans his forehead against her. “I’m not leaving you. It’s me and you out here, me and you. If you’re staying, I’m staying. If I’m leaving, you’re leaving.”

 

Rey has her eyes closed while his words hit her. He’s right. It’s them against their circumstance and she knows, in her gut, that she was foolish to think that they'd do better apart from each other. 

 

“Okay,” She whispers. “Okay, Ben.”

 

 

_



 

 

They packed as much as they could in Rey’s bag. Ben manages to find a branch long enough for Rey to use as a walking stick and the next morning, they’re on their way.

 

After long deliberation, they decide to continue on in the same direction before they found the cabin. Rey brings the map, despite not knowing exactly where they, but she hopes it will somehow come into use (“Even if we have to just use it for a fire-starter.”)

 

It’s almost as if the cabin had spoiled them. They tire easier, taking more breaks than they had before they found the cabin.  They carry on for days, no real idea we’re they’re going or a general destination. They’re just looking for something.

 

They fall asleep, draped over the blanket they’d taken from the cabin, which had become soaked from the snow around them. Rey wakes up, only managing to maybe catch half an hour of sleep.

 

Ben’s shivering beside her, his body shaking beside her. “Ben?” She manages to ask, her voice hoarse and lips chapped. Panic begins to set in when he doesn’t respond right away and she starts to shake him vigorously.

 

He eventually opens his eyes and looks down to Rey. He’s even more pale, with large dark circles under his eyes, the tip of his nose is red and his lips are flaking.

 

When they move, Rey’s leg is on fire, she falls more often, only barely catching herself with the walking stick. Baby, who is also showing terrible signs of fatigue, nips are her gloved hands, almost begging her to continue on.

 

When they rest for another night, Ben checks his phone. it flashes at 5% with no signal.

 

Dread is beginning to settle between them and not for the first time, Ben thinks they’re going to die out here.

 

He wakes up the next day and finds Rey slipping away from him. They’d fallen asleep against a tree and Rey must have rolled in her sleep, and before he knows it she begins to fall over an embankment. Ben barely catches her, using whatever little energy he has left to hold on and hoist her back up.

 

Rey’s passed out through the whole ordeal, her body slowly giving up.

 

Ben manages to wake her and they continue on.

 

It’s hours later, and Ben has to consciously get his feet to move. He can’t feel his toes, his entire calf numb. He’s certain he’s developing frostbite on the tips of his fingers and ears, they’re almost too hot to touch.

 

They’re going to die out here.

 

Ben turns around to look at Rey. Her face is thinner, her hair that pokes out of her toque is matted and her eyes are bloodshot. He notices a wet spot on her pants and he wonders if she realizes she’s urinated herself. By the way she’s moaning, he assumes she hasn’t.

 

Ben tries to step forward to tell her, but his body doesn’t want to function right. He staggers backwards, just barely catching his footing before he slips and falls.

 

His hands catch his fall, just barely. Ben tries to stand up, his back screaming in pain. He moves his left foot back and hears a loud snap.

 

Ben looks down to his leg and sees large grey steel teeth, clamping onto his left leg.

 

He’s stepped into a hunter’s trap, and it’s grasping his leg.

 

It takes a few seconds for his brain to catch up before the pain blossoms, he starts to gasp, unaware of what to do, and all of his training and education leaving his tired mind.

 

His brain catches up again and his hands go to clasp the trap, trying to remove it. It’s useless, he wouldn’t be able to remove it even if he was healthy, nevermind as he struggles to even take his next breath.

 

Rey somehow kneels before him, her own hands pathetically try to release the snare. They pull away with Ben’s blood on her glove, she shakes her head.

 

“I’m going.” She rasps. “You stay here, it’s going to be okay. I’m going to find help. Stay here.”

 

As if I’ll move he wants to say, but then he realizes he’s gasping out loud, tears hot on his face.

 

Rey places her hands on either side of his face and looks at him with such a determination. “I’ll be back.” She promises, her voice hoarse and barely above a whisper.

 

Her figure limping away is the last thing he sees before the pain captures him and he passes out.

 



-

 

 

 

Rey’s not aware of her surroundings. She’s barely aware that she’s even breathing.

 

Every fiber in her body is begging her to stop moving, to just lay down and go to sleep, but a part of her brain reminds her of Ben, who lays broken, and she somehow manages to find the strength to keep moving.

 

Baby is walking ahead of her now and with a sudden bark, he takes off, running and kicking snow up behind him.

 

She continues on, following the direction that Baby barks.

 

Rey eventually comes across another embankment and manages to lower herself down and slides down the snow, her body screaming in agony at the movement.

 

When she finally lands, she finds she can’t get up. you have to move!! ben! ben!!

 

Her body is giving up, she can barely lift her hand.

 

Then, she sees it.

 

A light ahead.

 

It’s a large truck, idling in front of her A logging truck, she realizes, as she sees stacks of wood logs and chips ahead of her.

 

Something breaks inside of her and she begins to crawl towards it. “Ben!” Her voice is rasping, taking on arm ahead of her to drag herself forward. “Ben”

 

Baby is ahead of her, barking towards the truck. Then she sees a figure open the door and jump down.

Chapter Text

His throat is on fire.

 

His eyelids are heavy, his mouth is parched and his whole entire body feels as if he’d been hit by a truck.

 

He feels his lips twitch at the warm air and this is what causes him to pause. Where was he?

 

Slowly, Ben begins to open his eyes and closes them when the fluorescent lights above him shine  aggressively above him.

 

He moans and goes to move his arm up to shield his gaze, feeling the a trail of wires of some sort try to follow.

 

“Ben! Hold still!”

 

He moves to open his eyes again and can barely make a figure out in front of him. She’s leaning against the bed, hands on his arms, trying to bring them down.

 

Eventually his eyes focus and he for the first time in years, he sees his mother.

 

Her hair is greyer than he remembers, and she has wrinkles around her eyes and lips. Her hair is up in a bun and she looks absolutely terrified.

 

“Mom?” He asks, his throat burning in protest.

 

Leia moves her hands away from his arm and cradles his face in between them. “Hold still Ben, I need to get the nurse or doctor. Don’t move.”

 

He watches her move to a door and yell out for help. That’s when he realizes that he’s laying in a bed, attached to a cardiac machine, his heartbeat bleeping on the screen to his left. To his right is an IV, he assumes its for the dehydration.  

 

He’s in a hospital then. He’s saved.

 

Then, he thinks, Rey.

 

Where is Rey?!

 

Panic blossoms in his chest and he moves to sit up, seeing stars when he does so. “Rey. Where’s Rey?” He asks, his voice barely above a whisper.

 

A couple nurses come into the room and Leia steps to the side. They’re on him, trying to get him to lay back down but he begins to thrash, saying Rey’s name over and over again. Where is she? He has to find her. Is she alive? Did she make it.

 

He sees another nurse come in after a different yelled out a code. What did that code mean? He tries to remember.

 

Sedation he thinks the third nurses moves to give him something. Sedation.

 

 

-

 

 

The next time he wakes up, he’s alone and his room is dark, save for a small light on above a sink in the corner.  How long had he been out? He wonders, moving to sit up.

 

Ben’s body is aching, although not as bad as before. He even manages to shuffle to the side edge of the bed. He’s out of his wet clothes and in a hospital gown, white socks adorning his right foot, a walking boot is placed on his left. He sits on the side of his bed and calms his breathing. Once he’s calm, he’ll be able to stand up and look for Rey.

 

Ben removes his attachment to the the cardiac machine and it immediately beeps, a light goes off above his bed. He only has a few seconds before a nurse is notified.

 

The IV is still attached to his left arm, but he manages to move the tubes along with him and he stands up. His brain is foggy and it takes him another beat before he gathers his surroundings.

 

He barely makes it to the door, barely able to walk with the pain and walking boot on his leg, before a nurse and his mother are there. He moves to protest and say that he needs to find Rey before his mother cuts him off

 

“You’ll sit down before you make yourself pass out, Benjamin.” Her voice full of authority. “So help me God, you sit back down.”

 

And like he did when he was a small boy, he moves back to the bed and sits down, his body sighing in relief.

 

“I need to find Rey.” Ben mumbles, as a nurse moves to re-connect him to the cardiac machine for his vitals.

 

“You need to rest Doctor Solo.” The nurses replies, watching the screen.

 

“You hear that Doctor Solo?” Leia says, moving to stand in front of her son. She just comes up to the top of his head, despite him sitting down, he’s still so large. “You need to rest.”

 

Leia places her hands on his shoulders and looks down to him. “Your companion is fine. She’s in the next room and resting. Sleep Ben, and then I’ll take you to her.”

 

“No, mom, I need to see her now.” He feels like he’s seven again, asking his mother for another 15 minutes out of bed. She doesn’t get how important seeing Rey is. He needs to see her.

 

She’s studying his face, and then, and she must realize something for she finally nods. “Okay, Ben. Okay.”

 

Leia waits for the nurse to leave before she helps her son up. She helps remove the oximeter on his finger and pulls the IV pole around to stand beside him. She’s so small, his mother, but she leans beneath his right shoulder and helps him stumble out of the room.

 

A couple nurses come up to stop them from moving, but Leia shoots them a look. “Just give him a minute.” She all but barks.

 

Leia’s always had an air to her and she’s always been able to assert her authority. The nurses back off and allow her to help her son walk to the next room.

 

She moves to open the door to Rey’s room and then Ben sees her.

 

Rey lays on the bed, her face looking away from him and out of her window, where big fat snowflakes are falling outside. She has a couple of the hospital blankets wrapped up and around her, her hospital gown peeking up at the top.

 

Rey turns at the door being opened and her eyes go wide at the sight of Ben. Her face is bruised and there’s a large cut on her lip. A butterfly bandage holds together a lesion on her forehead and Ben swears he’s never seen anything so beautiful.

 

“Ben?” She asks.

 

Ben removes himself from his mother and manages to walk over to the other side of Rey’s bed. He leans down to her and she leans up into his arms. He almost moves to crush her closer to him, not feeling fully satisfied until she lived in him.

 

safe, safe, safe

 

Rey is safe.

 

Rey is alive.

 

Her shoulders are shaking and Ben notices that she’s crying. He pulls back and looks down at her. She’s alive. He’s alive.

 

They made it.

 

“Are you okay?” Ben asks, feeling a little foolish. “Are you hurt?”

 

Rey shakes her head, “I’m fine. I’m fine. They said I might have a limp with my leg for awhile, but I had good care up there. I’ll heal just fine. How are you? Your leg! The trap!”

 

Rey pulls away from him to look down at his feet and notices the boot. “How did they get the trap off?” She questions

 

“I don’t know, I haven’t talked to anyone. I had to see if you were okay…”

 

Rey laughs breathlessly. “Where’s baby?”

 

Leia coughs into her fist. “He’s with a veterinary clinic, down the road. I’ll be picking him up tomorrow.”

 

Rey opens her mouth to say something when Ben notices another figure enter the room. He stands beside his mother, at the door, a look of confusion on his face.

 

Rey pulls away from Ben and looks over her shoulder at the man, a soft sad smile breaking on her face. “Ben, this is Poe.”

 

Poe.

 

Poe takes a step towards them on the bed. He makes his way over towards Ben and holds his hand out. Ben stares down at it, unable to fully process what’s going on. The drugs are causing an additional layer of confusion to the situation.

 

He eventually gathers himself and clasps onto Poe’s hand, and then grunts in surprise when the smaller man pulls him into a hug. Poe pulls himself away after a second and holds Ben out at an arm's length. “You must be Ben Solo.”

 

Ben nods at the mention of his name from Poe’s lips and Poe smiles.

 

“I owe you my life.” Poe says. “You saved Rey.”

 

Ben can feel Leia’s eyes on him as Poe lets Ben go and moves back to the other side of the bed, opposite of Ben. He lays one hand on Rey’s shoulder and reaches down to clasp his hand around Rey’s.

 

“Thank you for saving her.” Poe says. “You have no idea how worried we’ve all been. Her friends, they’ve been a mess- I’ve been a mess. We had no idea where you guys crashed. We looked for days and days. I don’t know how you guys did it, but you did it and I owe you everything for bringing me back my Rey.”

 

His Rey.

 

“I’ll never be able to repay you. She’s told me everything you’ve done for her, and I’ll never be able to replay. You saved her, you saved us.” Poe’s rambling now, his eyes filling with tears. The man is grateful and it clearly shows.

 

Ben doesn’t feel grateful.

 

He feels tired, and his chest is suddenly heavy at the sight of Rey and Poe. He feels ridiculous and a shame so deep that he’s jealous. Rey was alive, there was no time for any of that. She was alive and that was what matters.

 

“It’s no problem,” Ben begins, lifting a shoulder in a shrug “We saved each other.” He says as if it really wasn't a big deal.

 

“No man, it’s everything. You helped us all, Finn and Rose are so relieved that our Rey is coming home. In one piece, we’ll never be able to thank you enough.”

 

Leia must realize the shift in the room. She moves to walk over to Ben and grabs hold of him, “Come on Ben, you need to rest. We’ll come talk after you rest ok?”

 

Ben nods, “yeah, okay. I’ll go and rest.” He looks down at Rey, whose eyes are filling with tears again.

 

She reaches out for his hand before he’s fully out of her reach. “Rest, Ben. We’ll talk tomorrow.”

 

Leia comes up to her son once again and takes his arm, wrapping it around her shoulders and helps guide him out of Rey’s room.

 

 

-

 

 

Ben learns that Rey stumbled upon a lumber yard after he’d gotten hurt. A man, a truck-driver, was just about to drive away with his load when a yellow lab mix dog came barrelling out of the tree line and a woman all but fell onto the icy road.

 

The man had radioed his crew after finding the woman sobbing in the road, crying and lips blue. He couldn’t make out what she was saying, until his co-worker should and mentioned that he thought she was saying ‘Ben.’

 

They found Ben 30 minutes later, leg still trapped in the snare, unconscious, but with a heartbeat. They radioed in help and a helicopter from the next town (2 hours away) came in to air lift them to help.

 

He was in a coma for four days. They called his mother as soon as they found his license and pinpointed next of kin. She flew out the next flight and stayed by his side the entire time.

 

The doctor who assessed him told him that he would never operate again. Frostbite had gotten to the tips of his fingers on his right hand, causing the nerve endings to numb and therefore his ring finger and pinky always seemed to tremble.

 

There was a damaged rib, but nothing of too much concern.

 

Although, his leg was badly badly damaged from the trap, it was miraculously not broken. The doctor almost seemed impressed about this while he told Ben he too would probably walk with a limp for the rest of his life.

 

It was almost a miracle that that was the only outcome of his injuries after surviving the mountain.

 

Ben asked about Rey and was met with confidentiality orders.

 

He and Rey eventually were able to sit and talk, but Poe sat near, never really letting Rey out of his sight. Ben couldn’t blame him, he didn’t want Rey out of his either.

 

They agreed to an interview with the Sun. They didn’t get into the nitty gritty details, just explained what they ate, what they drank, and where they peed (“They always only care about where humans defecate when shit like this happens.” Poe says after the interview.)

 

They sit awkwardly, side-by-side on a hospital bed, while a photographer snaps their photo.

 

They never mention the cabin, or what happened on the cabin.

 

It’s on the seventh day after he wakes that the Doctor tells Ben that he will be discharged. He’s to follow up with a physiotherapist to work on his walking and his hands as soon as he gets back home, work on gaining strength.

 

Leia is with him the entire time, listening and asking questions (“how long will he be on these medications?” She asks, as if her son wasn’t a doctor himself.) and getting things in order such as his tickets for home, having someone fill his fridge up with food and setting up further appointments from his doctor’s referrals. She’d even gone into town to pick him up some clothes to leave in.

 

“You know, we can drive back home if you don’t want to fly. I think everyone would understand.” Leia says to him after the doctor leaves.

 

The very idea of sitting in a car with Leia while they drive almost seven days, from BC to Ontario, almost makes him want to hurl. He’d rather get in another plane crash than even deal with that.

 

“No, mom, I’ll be fine. I’ll pop a valium.” He says, limping over to his bag.

 

There’s very few things he’d been able to salvage. His watch, passport, and wallet he’s able to keep, and it’s only because of sentimental value that he keeps his ticket from the airport.

 

He changes into a pair of sweats while Leia goes to get the dog from the clinic. He’d asked Rey if she wanted to keep him and he saw her hesitate and almost say yes before telling him that he’d need him more than her.

 

She was saying she knew he would be alone in all of the aftermath while she had Poe.

 

Ben’s just finished packing the rest of his items when Leia walks back into the room. She has a wheelchair in front of her and smug smile.

 

“Really? Is that really necessary?” Ben asks, voice dry, looking down at the empty wheelchair.  

 

“C’mon Ben, you can’t blame a mother for wanting to take the extra precautions. I almost lost you.”

 

Ben sighs and rolls his eyes. “Fine. But you’re not taking a photo.” He goes back to his bag (a bag his mother had bought with his clothes.) He stuffs in one last item before limping in the boot to go and sit down.

 

“Did you want to see Rey before you left?” Leia asks.

 

Did he want to see her? Of course he did, he wanted to be her presence for the rest of his life. He wanted to see her out in the real world, watch her laugh in the sun on a beach with a drink in her hand. He wanted to see her achieve more of her life’s goals.

 

But he couldn’t.

 

He wouldn’t go in there and face more heartbreak.

 

She’d become everything to him on that mountain, his own beacon of hope, and to watch her walk away with someone else devastated him, maturity be damned. He knew she had a life before she got on that plane, but he wasn’t ready to face it.

 

“I’d rather not.” He mumbles.

 

Leia crosses her arms and move to stand beside him. He looks up while she talks, “Listen. I know something traumatic happened to you. I know something happened up there, beside the crash, I know something happened with her.

 

Listen to me Ben, you’ll regret this. I’m telling you this as your mother and as a woman who’s lost her soul-mate. If you don’t go in there and talk to her, you’ll wonder for the rest of your life.”

 

Ben’s faced with another set of decisions. In a way, he knows Leia is right. He would regret not speaking to her right now, but in another way he knows he has to protect himself. He survived the mountain, and he wasn’t going to waste it on heartbreak.

 

“I’d like to go home now, Mom.”

 

Leia sighs, but doesn’t fight him.

 

She wheels him out of the hospital and down to the rental car. She helps him into the car, shoos Baby away from jumping to the front while the dog jumps wildly around, so excited to see a familiar face.

 

She even buckles him in, like she used to do all those years ago. Leia stops before him and places a kiss on his cheek.

 

Then she closes the door, walks to the driver’s side, gets in and then they’re off.

 

He’s going home.

Chapter Text

He left her.

 

He left her and didn’t even say goodbye.

 

The betrayal Rey feels is finding out her parents abandoned her. It’s the crash all over again, it’s the feeling of her heart, shattering into a thousand different pieces and she’s not even sure where to begin to pick them up.

 

She sobs into Poe’s arms while he comforts her, rubbing small circles on her back. Poe, a human so kind and decent, must know. He must know that things have shifted, but still, he’s there for her, holding her while she cries her emotions out.

 

He’d been there since she woke up, all those days ago. They called him as soon as they determined who she was. She’d given them his number in between bouts of consciousness. She’d said Finn at first, but then gave Poe’s number.

 

Poe came up with the next flight, fully prepared to help Rey anyway he could.

 

He was kind, good, decent. He loved her.

 

But she didn’t love him, not like she loved Ben.

 

She cried harder into his shoulder, until the tears dry up and there’s nothing left in her.

 

Except the need to move forward.

 

Her entire life she’s been faced with obstacles and at the end of them all she just wanted it to be done with. Move on, face the next one and so on. She didn’t like sitting on a problem too long. If she couldn’t find a solution, she wanted to move along.

 

But Rey knew that she wouldn’t never be able to move on and she would struggle to find a solution for this. There was no coming back from this.

 

The doctor came in after her bout of tears and let her know that she would be allowed to go home. Her vitals were fine, despite her spirit becoming so broken down.

 

“I don’t know what you guys did up there, but it’s almost a miracle that you’re walking away with nothing.” He said, smiling while looking over her chart.

 

It didn’t feel like she was walking away with nothing. It felt like she was walking away from this experience with a hole in her chest, a wound she knows would never really fully heal.

 

Poe’s still rubbing circles on her lower back, a trait he’d done from the beginning after one night of having too many glasses of wine on their third date. He said it helped calm him down, distract him from stress. She never really minded before, but tonight she almost wished he would stop.

 

“I think it’s best that you attend therapy. I mentioned this to Ben’s mother, and I’ll mention this to you both. What you experienced was extremely traumatic and I think it’s best suited that you find someone you can talk to. PTSD is no laughing matter and can affect anyone.” The doctor says, looking at Rey.

 

She nods, mute. She wants him to leave so she can lick her wounds as best as she can and continue on with her life.

 

“All the best to you, Rey.” He finishes, leaving with the nurse following.

 

 

-

 

 

Rey doesn’t want to fly and Poe’s all too happy to agree. He drives them home in a rental car, only stopping for a few pee breaks and to grab grub.

 

The sun is just about to rise when they pull up to their shared apartment complex. Rey thinks that she should feel happy, relieved to see her home.

 

Instead, she’s tired. She wants to close her eyes and sleep.

 

“Finn and Rose wanted to be here when you got home. I told them to drop by in the afternoon, is that okay?” Poe asks, sitting beside her in the driver’s seat.

 

Rey manages a smile. “Yes, that’s fine.”

 

“Okay.” Poe nods, “Okay.”

 

He helps her up to their apartment, opening the door. He leads her to their bedroom, pulls the covers back from their bed, then helps her lay down. He tucks her in, and then places a gentle kiss on her forehead before turning around to go back downstairs to grab their items.

 

When Rey hears the door click shut, she allows a few tears to fall.

 

She should be happy, she’s home. She’s survived .

 

It’s when she’s falling asleep that she realizes that she has no way to contact Ben. He didn’t leave her an email, or his number and this is what causes her to break and sob into her pillow.

 

Poe finds her like this when he comes back up, and he begins to rub her lower back again.

 

Rey finally finds sleep.



 

-

 

 

True to their word, Finn and Rose show up to the apartment a little after noon. Rose is holding a bouquet of well, roses,  and Finn has tears streaming down his face, pulling Rey into a hug so tight she has to tell him to loosen up.

 

“I did just survive a plane crash, you know.” Rey jokes and Finn laughs, loosening his grip.

 

“I’m never letting you go again, Peanut.” Finn promises. “Never again.”

 

Rey finds out they postponed the wedding once they got word that Rey was missing. Instead, the three of them huddled together at the police station, filing reports. They went all over town, figuring out their next steps and Rose even mentions that they had to hold Poe back from getting in a plane and flying out there himself to look for her.

 

“It was crazy Rey. I thought everyone was losing it, I can’t even imagine what you were feeling.” Rose says later, while they’re all sitting on Poe’s sectional, sipping on tea that Poe had steeped.

 

“Rey, what happened?”Finn asks, leaning forward towards her. “How did you survive?”

 

Rey’s not sure how to answer. Her grip tightens on her mug and she sighs. “It was difficult. I was stuck in the plane itself for a few days, passed out. Ben, he, uh.. helped heal me while we were up there.”

 

“Ben! That was the guys name!” Rose exclaims, slapping Finn on his shoulder. “Sorry, we had forgot and were trying to remember. We saw your photo in the newspaper, dude is huge. Was he a big mountain expert? Is that how you guys made it down?”

 

It’s at this moment that Rey knows she’ll never be able to explain to anyone her experience and how Ben helped her.

 

Yes, she could sit and say they walked down the mountain, eating random berries, cougar meat (that in itself was a story) making fires, and eventually finding the cabin. But they wouldn’t get it.

 

They wouldn’t understand how Ben became so important to her up on that mountain, how the fact that his presence away from her has left a hole in soul, how much she grew to lo-

 

She won’t finish that thought.

 

Instead, she tells them exactly what they want to hear. They walked for days, slept when they could, peed when they had too, and just kept walking before they almost died and she stumbled upon the lumber yard.

 

They nod in sympathy, reach out to rub her hands for comfort when they feel she needs it. They listen but Rey knows that they don’t understand the way she wants them too, they way she knows Ben does.

 

But she relishes in their company. Finn has been such a support system in her life and she’s forgotten how much she’s missed him, and Rose too.

 

After she tells her tale, she asks about their wedding. It’s almost comical, how they go from such a sad and dreary topic to something like a wedding.

 

“Well,” Rose begins, “We were hoping, when you were up to it, that we have a small ceremony at Paige’s farm. Only when you’re up for it though, we don’t want to force you. It would mean alot to the both of us if you were there Rey.”

 

Rey smiles, “Of course. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 

“She’ll start speaking with a therapist soon.” Poe interrupts and Rey feels a thrill of anger pass through her. What was he going on about? “As soon as the shrink gives the okay, everything will be back to normal.”

 

“Normal?” Rey asks, her frustration evident in her voice. “Poe, nothing will ever be fully normal again.”

 

The tension shifts and Rey notices Finn and Rose move in their seats, fast becoming uncomfortable.

 

Poe notices too and shakes his head, “That’s not what I meant, love. I’m sorry. I’m just tired and I feel like you need some more rest.”

 

“Don’t presume to tell me what I do or don’t need, Poe.” Rey replies, voice cool.

 

Finn moves to stand up and Rose pulls him back down. “We should go.” She says.

 

Rey flushes with embarrassment. She looks over to her friends and shakes her head, “I’m sorry you guys. I’m just tired. I need to sleep.”

 

Finn is nodding, “yes of course Peanut. Call me if you need anything at anytime. I mean it.”

 

Rey nods and Finn moves in to hug her. Once he releases her, Rose pulls her in for another. “Anytime Rey, we mean it. Even if it’s 2 or 3 in the morning, just let us know.”

 

“Thank you.” Rey says, letting Rose go. “I love you guys.”

 

“We love you too, Peanut.” Finn says.

 

Rey walks them to the door, hugging each of them one last time and promises to call them tomorrow.

 

Rey doesn’t bother speaking to Poe once they’ve left. Instead she turns on her feet and makes her way to their bedroom, shrugging his hand he pulls out off of her shoulder as she walks by. She slams their bedroom door and goes to lock it.

 

 

-

 

 

It’s difficult, trying to go back to her life.

 

She calls her work, they tell her to take the time she needs, they say they’re thinking of her and sending her lots of love, but they end the phone call asking if she got the photos of the caribou, the whole reason of her trip in the first place.

 

Rey goes through the motions of her day. She wakes up, eats breakfast with Poe, takes him to work, and then walks the sea wall after. She’ll usually stop for a coffee on her way home or her therapists office.

 

Her therapist, Dr. Amilyn Holdo, is kind and patient. Rey barely spoke two words at her first session, instead she sat in her chair and cried.

 

She’s cried a lot recently.

 

“It’s perfectly normal to cry, Rey.” Amilyn says at one of her sessions, somewhat comfortable after seeing her so many times and after Rey’s complained that she’s tired of crying. “What’s that quote by that movie actor? It shows that we’re alive. It’s true, we’ve all been crying since birth. It’s a release.”

 

Rey moves her piece of tissue up to the corner of her eye and dabs. “I just feel like that that’s all I’ve been doing since I’ve gotten off the damn mountain. I can’t remember a day where my eyes were dry the entire day.”

 

“Rey, there’s no handbook for people who survived what you survived.” Amilyn says, looking over her glasses and to Rey. “If there were, I’d have you read it the first day you came in. Hell, I would have probably sent it over to the hospital you were at.”

 

This pulls a soft laugh from Rey, who takes the tissue and curls it in her hand. “God, wouldn’t that be something. A survivor’s handbook at surviving. Someone should get on that.”

 

Amilyn smiles, flipping a page on her notebook. “Tell me Rey, are you managing to find sleep?”

 

Rey continues on with her appointment, telling Amilyn that she’s able to find sleep but struggles to find peace. They go back and forth for the remainder of her appointment and when it’s over and Rey’s shrugging on her jacket, Amilyn asks,

 

“Have you talked with Ben since coming home?”

 

She hasn’t. It’s been almost 90 days since they’ve been rescued and it’s been radio silence from Ben’s end. She tried to find him on social media, finding an empty facebook profile with a photo that wasn’t even his. She finds his name on RatemyMd’s website, but other than that, nothing at all.

 

Rey’s found his hospital listings online and had the number dialled in on her phone, her thumb hovering over the green call button. She never finds the courage to press it.

 

“Uhm, no.” Rey simply says, looking to her side and out the window. “We haven’t had the chance to chat.”

 

“I really think that that might help, reaching out and talking with him. Check in on him. After all, he’s the only other person on this planet that understands what you went through.”

 

Rey almost laughs but manages to keep it in. “Yes, you’re right. I’ll do what I can.”

 

 

-




On the 200th day after their rescue, Rey decides to try to look at the memory card from the crash. She’s powered on Poe’s laptop and her hands tremble a little while she moves to push it in the slot.

 

Once it clicks it’s place in, a folder opens up on the screen.

 

The first half of the memory card are of her trip, ones that she’s been meaning to send to the magazine but never found the courage to open (they’ve long since stopped asking for them, after Poe got off the phone with them one evening.)

 

They load slowly, taking half a second while she scrolls down. Rey stops when she sees the second to last photo she’d taken before getting on the plane, finding an ounce of courage to scroll down one more row.

 

The first row are photos she’d taken after the crash, of the mountains around that surrounded them, trying to find their bearings those first few days she’d come through. She clicks through slowly, taking in each image.

 

There’s one that fairly zoomed in and has a finger crossing the top right corner. Must have been Ben’s, perhaps he’d accidentally taken it when he went up on one of the terrains on the day of the cougar attack.  

 

She continues on. There’s much left, taking photos hadn’t been her main priority high up there.

 

Rey’s fine until she lands on the photo she’d taken of Ben, on the day she cried for a rest. He’s looking at her, a crooked smile on his face.

 

This is what breaks her. She feels her chest rip open and the flood gates begin again (God Rey, you really need to get ahold of yourself.)

 

When the tears finally subside and she feels strong enough to look at the photos again, she comes up with a plan.



 

-

 

 

Rey’s standing in front of her therapist’s office, a manila envelope in her hand. She spots a red mailbox just a block down and makes her way to it, stuffing the envelope in it.

 

She pauses once she closes the gate to the box. She looks up to the sky and closes her eyes, taking a moment to comprehend what she’s done.

 

It’s beyond her control now, and the ball is fully in Ben’s court.

 

She turns to walk into Amilyn’s office.

Chapter Text

It’s funny, Ben thinks to himself, if he didn’t know any better and didn’t personally experience it, you’d think he’d never just survived a plane crash and a month stranded in the wilderness.

 

His life moves almost comically back to normal.

 

The hospital offers Ben a different position, now that he can’t perform surgeries. He’s a consultant at their trauma wing, offering insights and ideas for how best to proceed forward with their patients.

 

It’s not where Ben had imagined he’d be, but he feels he belongs nonetheless.

 

Some things have changed, despite things feeling relatively normal. His mother comes for dinner twice a week, bringing meals large enough to feed a family of four, she nags at him to start seeing a therapist these nights, or a counselor. He shrugs her off when she asks if he’s finally sleeping.

 

And of course, there’s Baby. He’d found out that he was a young dog, a puppy really. Just over a year. He’d decided to reach out to Snap’s family after everything had somewhat settled down, and he finds out that Baby is the runt of the litter, a small puppy born, of eight, from Snap’s previous dog, and he’s affectionately known as BB8.

 

He’s thankful when they decline taking him back, offering their blessings to keep him.

 

Ben walks BB8 twice every day, once in the morning and again in the evening. He eventually turns these walks into runs, stopping at his local parks to do push ups and various other exercises. He suspects he looks a little crazy, breaking out into a work out in the middle of a park, but he does it anyway.

 

Eventually he finds a gym and almost laughs when he finds out there's a doggy daycare next door to it.

 

Then his life becomes scheduled. He works at the trauma clinic, Monday to Fridays, bringing BB8 with him after he finds that he brings the a sense of calm to his clients. He takes BB8 for a run every morning, and stops at the gym after work. He attends an all male support group on Saturday evenings, and goes for coffee with them after.

 

Ben spends Sundays with his mother, driving up to her place in the morning, spending the entire day helping with random chores throughout the house, or simply just watching tv. Once a month they walk down to the cemetery, bringing flowers to Han’s gravestone.

 

He doesn’t say anything the first time they arrive. He hangs out behind his mother, watches as she lays down some flowers and pats the cold stone. She sits down and simply closes her eyes, basking in the sunlight, a hand on her late husband’s tombstone.

 

The second time they come around, Leia hangs behind while he takes a few steps up to Han’s grave. Han Solo, Beloved Husband, Father, and Friend.

 

He collapses in front of the stone, sobs shaking his heavy chest. The stone is cold beneath his hands.

 

Leia never mentions Rey, save for one evening, many months after his rescue. She casually drops that her good friend Amilyn has taken Rey on as her client. “I asked how she was doing and Amilyn gave me the confidentiality speech they all preach about. She finally broke down to let me know that she seems to be doing okay, in case you were wondering.”

 

Ben’s standing at his sink, rinsing a few dishes and loading them into his machine to the left. “That’s good.” He says, not really sure how to express the wound on his heart that always seems to rip open at even the thought of Rey.

 

“She also said that Rey’s moved out of her apartment with that fellow. She’s a teacher at a local college now, teaching photography classes.”

 

This causes Ben to pause what he’s doing. She’s moved out on her own? Away from Poe?

 

“Ben, I think you should call her, Amilyn mentioned she was asking about you and-”

 

“It’s not a good idea, Mom.” Ben cuts her off, going back to the dishes. He hears Leia move to walk over to him and he’s about to snap and tell her to knock it off when she stops moving.

 

She must pick up on the energy, for she goes back to packing leftovers from their dinner, not mentioning Rey again.

 

 



-

 

 

 

“Oh, Doctor Ren! er, uh Doctor Solo?”

 

Ben’s on his way out of the building, holding onto BB8’s leash, having just finished leading a support class. He’s stopped by the front reception, a unit clerk holding an envelope out for him.

 

He walks up to the front desk, grasping the envelope. “It’s Solo now, but just Ben is fine.”

 

The unit clerk smiles, “Alright, Ben. This came in for your a couple weeks ago, delivered to the wrong wing, we all thought you were Kylo Ren this entire time, no one knew who Ben Solo was. We were just about to send it back to sender but Cynthia mentioned you were going by Solo now.”

 

Ben gives her a nervous smile and then takes note of the name scribbled at the top left corner: Rey J.

 

He almost drops the envelope but manages to catch himself in time. He looks over to the unit clerk, Alyssa, her name tag reads. “Thanks Alyssa.”

 

“You’re welcome Doctor Solo.”

 

Ben somehow manages to make it to his vehicle without crumbling the envelope from nerves. He opens the back door for BB8 to jump in before he all but leaps into the front driver’s seat.

 

His hands still tremble from the accident, but Ben knows they’re for a different reason altogether now. He finally tears the envelope open.

 

He tilts it upside down and catches the photos that come out. The first photo is of the mountain from where they first crashed. Snow is everywhere, peeks of the mountain’s brown terrain popping out, draped in the blue sky background.

 

There’s a couple more of the mountains she’d managed to take. Then, one of BB8, staring up at the camera, head tilted to the side. He smiles.

 

He turns the photo over and finds one of him, staring back at him. He looks sicks and exhausted, but he’s smiling. Ben feels his heart rate pick up when he moves it, preparing to look at the next.

 

It’s the photo of Rey he snapped while they made their way down from the crash, just before finding the cabin.

 

She’s looking up towards him, her eyes are puffy and trimmed red, her nose tinted pink from the cold, and her lips look swollen.

 

She’s so beautiful.

 

Ben runs fingers down the image, as if he could really feel her through the photo.

 

He notices there’s a piece of paper behind the Rey photo. He pulls it out to the front of Rey’s photo and there’s a number scribbled on the middle of the page and a note just below:

 

Call me. Please. Rey

 

Ben looks away from the note and out the window to his left. A mix of emotions runs through him simultaneously and he isn’t sure what he wants to do.

 

He places the photos and note down on the passenger’s side of the car, turns on his vehicle and moves to drive home.

 

 

-

 

 

It’s late in the night, just shy of 1 am, staring at his cell phone that sits on his coffee table, almost taunting him.

 

He’s holding a glass of whiskey in his head, his second of the evening. He takes small drinks in between his stares.

 

It’s another five minutes before he shoots the rest of his whiskey and places the glass next to his phone, grabbing his phone right away. Ben enters in his passcode and opens the call screen.

 

It takes him a little longer to dial these days, his fingers slow, But Ben forces himself to dial quickly. He doesn’t want to chicken out again for the millionth time.

 

It begins to ring, over and over, and just as Ben starts to move his phone away to hang up, a voice answers;

 

“Hello?”

 

Ben freezes. Her voice sounded the same. Of course it sounds the same doofus, he thinks to himself. Say something.

 

“uh, yes, hi, H-hello.”   Nice one, Solo.

 

“Ben?” He can hear shuffling from her end. “Ben is that you?”

 

“Yeah, yeah it’s me.” He replies, leaning back into his armchair.

 

“Oh god, I didn’t think,” Rey stutters a bit before she calms herself down. “Right, I’m sorry. I just didn’t think you were going to call.”

 

He almost asks why, but then he remembers he’s really just ghosted her at this point.

 

“I got your pictures today.” He finally says. “There nurses didn’t know who Ben Solo was, that’s why it took so long.”

 

“Oh, I didn’t even think of that.” Rey replies, he can hear more shuffling on her end of the line.

 

There’s another awkward, silent pause between them. He wants to hang up, apologize for even dialing her number in his phone. He needs to hang up.

 

“Rey I-” He begins.

 

Rey cuts him off, “A journalist from Macleans contacted me. They’d like to do a story on us.”

 

It’s not the first time he’s been told someone wanted to run a story on their survival. He’d declined every request, not ready to even think of seeing Rey face-to-face or to talk to her.

 

“I told them I wouldn’t do it without you.” Rey says, “I won’t do it without you. It’s our story Ben, not just mine.”

 

He understands, he wouldn’t think to do it without her either.

 

There’s another pause while Ben thinks of what to say next. He’s not quite sure he’s ready to face everything again, but there’s another part of him that thinks it would be good, cathartic even, to release everything and have his story told. But seeing Rey was never in the picture.

 

He was fully ready to remove her from every aspect of his life. Let her live her life, grow in further love with Poe. Get married, have babies, heal from the crash emotionally and physically, live a life worth living. 

 

“I’d like to see you.” Rey says, her voice soft and full of emotion. “I’d really like to see you, Ben.”

 

Her voice is quivering and he can almost see the tears building in her eyes. She’s laying herself out there for him, vulnerable with emotion. She wants to see him, he can hear the truth in her voice.

 

How can he deny her?

 

“When?” Ben asks.

 

Rey tells him further details, that the reporter is willing to meet them anywhere and whenever, that they’d like to take photos, maybe even do an interview on camera as well to release to news stations across the country.

 

They decide that he will fly out to the West Coast after Rey admits she’s not quite ready to get on a plane. She feels bad and tells him that she will try if he’s not either, but Ben is surprisingly okay with the thought. He took the flight home with ease, didn’t even grab the ativan the doctor prescribed when he was released. He’d always been one to hide from his fears, but the survival ordeal changed him. Life was too short to let flights control him.

 

He doesn’t tell her this, she has to find out on her own.

 

“It was nice to hear your voice Ben.” Rey says after they finish planning. “It was really nice.”

 

“Yeah, you too.” He replies.

 

He thinks about asking her how she has been really . How has she been holding up? How therapy was going, if she wanted him to bring the dog. But instead he tells her, “I’ll see you next week.”

 

“Alright. Safe travels, Hopefully it’s a larger plane.”

 

Ben laughs. “Thank you.”

 

“Goodbye, Ben.”

 

“Goodnight, Rey.”

Chapter Text



They’ve decided to meet for lunch the day he lands and the day before their interview. They don’t want their reunion to be in front of strangers, or filmed on a camera. 

 

Rey suggests an old favourite of hers downtown. It’s a few blocks from his hotel and short bus ride from her place. 

Except the short bus ride to the restaurant feels anything but short. Her stomach is knots, she feels like she’s about to vomit and time seems to be dragging on. Rey’s pulled her phone out at least 50 times by now and has looked out the windows absolutely more than necessary. 

 

She’s a complete bundle of nerves by the time her stop rolls up. She’s almost running to the doors and jumping in between the people piling out. 

 

Rey forces herself to take a few deep breaths before entering the restaurant. 

 

The lights are dimmed, most of the restaurant is lit by natural light pouring in from the windows, the decor is simple and casual, the menu doesn’t specialize in any sort of type of food, a random mix of all sorts of dishes.

 

Rey’s eyes scan the restaurant, looking for a familiar figure. Her heart almost leaps into her throat when she his large frame, facing away from her, hunched over what she assumes is the menu. 

 

She has to tell herself out loud to move, to walk down towards him. It was a second before her brain caught up and she was able to move her legs and walk down to where he was sitting.

 

Her steps slowed down when she was close and he must have sensed her. He looked up from the menu and met her gaze.

 

He looked good, healthy. He’d certainly filled out since the last time she’d seen him (he’s been starving and surviving off expired beans, almonds and mountain lion) his shoulders were broad, and his whole body looked thicker. The blue button down he’s wearing looks like it’s straining trying to keep him contained.

 

 She must have taken him by surprise, for he takes an extra second to move. He stands up and pulls her into his arms.

 

“Hi.” He greets, releasing her.

 

“Hey.” She greets back, her body and heart racing. “I’m sorry if you were waiting long.”

 

Ben shakes his head, “No, not long. I uh, got you water. I didn’t know if you wanted anything else.” He motions towards the table, where two glasses of waters sit, one half gone, both covered in condensation from the ice.

 

“No, water is fine.” Rey nods, moving to sit at the other side of the table.

 

Rey takes her seat out and sits down, Ben moving back to sit in his seat as well. Once both seated, they looked at one another and take each other in.

 

It takes a moment under Ben’s gaze before Rey starts to feel self conscious. She reaches up to her hair and tucks a strand  back behind her left ear. She’d just cut it shorter than it was when she’d last seen him.

 

Ben looks down and away, back to his menu. He clears his throat before asking, “Any recommendations?”

 

“Well, it’s hardly mountain lion, but their burgers are really good.” Rey finds herself joking, grabbing her own menu and opening it up.

 

Ben chuckles softly, peeking up from his menu. “Well, I guess I’ll give it a go. Nothing’s really lived up to mountain lion though.”

 

“Well, really what can? Gamey and stringy with a side of fur?” 

 

Ben doesn’t respond, but shoots her a quick smile, and looks back down to his menu. 

 

The waitress comes a moment later, after Rey and Ben both have time to select a meal from the menu. She takes their orders, and then takes the menus away from them, turning away and leaving them both alone together once again.

It’s awkward. It’s like they don’t know how to take the first steps in communicating unless they’re stranded in the middle of the woods with no food or water. 

 

She asks how his flight was and a proper mannered conversation starts. He asks how her how her week has been since he last talked with her, she fills him in that she’s teacher at a local college part time and has enrolled in a couple courses. She plans on becoming a counsellor.

 

Ben, in turn, tells her about his day-to-day. He shows her his ring finger and pinky, both slightly shaking. Ben tells her he doesn’t miss operating, but she can see it in his eyes, that far-away look he’d get when they were stranded up there, telling her stories of his family. 

 

Rey asks about the dog to change the subject. He can’t help but smile as he tells her about his antics and how well he does at the hospital. 

 

“I was going to bring him,” Ben says, “But my mom didn’t want to put him on the plane. Her son who survived a plane crash, sure? But that dog? No, not the dog.”

 

They laugh at his joke, when in truth, it was Ben that was nervous about bringing the dog. 

 

The waitress brings their food over and they begin to talk about their upcoming interview. They plan out who will talk about what, and what they choose to keep to themselves. It’s obvious that the cabin will be kept between them, neither need to say it out loud.  

 

They finish their meal a lot faster than Rey was hoping. She doesn’t want to leave just yet, she finds peace and comfort, a feeling she hasn’t felt in such a long, long time, sitting here with him in this restaurant. His energy soothes her.

 

Rey shuffles a little in her seat, nibbles on her lower lip before sighing. 

 

“I left Poe.” She confesses and Ben stills.

 

“I left him. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Poe is such a great man, a decent man, and he tried. But whatever we had before that flight was gone.”

 

The tension is back and Rey feels her anxiety coil deep in her belly.

 

“I thought about calling you.” Ben says, breaking the silence, voice full of emotion. 

 

Rey looks over to him and watches as he struggles to speak, looking almost everywhere but her. She watches him lick his lips and watches his adam’s apple bob. He’s nervous.

 

“I’m sorry for leaving and not saying goodbye.” He finally says, looking over to her. “I was going to. I had a moment, where I just thought, Ben you have to. You opened up to me on that mountain and I knew that you’ve had people just leave you.

 

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t go in there and see you and just forget everything that we’d been through. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel real. What happened, from the crash to everything else. The Cabin.  I would have thought I dreamt it if I didn’t have my mom calling me every morning and night to check in on me, making sure I’m sleeping and eating.” 

 

The conversation is moving too fast for Rey. A bundle of emotions is about to explode in her chest and she’s unsure of how to move forward with everything. She’d just sat down and he’s already opening up like this. 

 

But Rey can’t find herself to turn away from him. Holding his gaze, she listens to him continue.

 

“You know it’s almost funny, I had just survived a plane crash and we barely made it off that mountain alive. But what hurt me the most? Was seeing you with Poe. I walked out of that hospital more upset that I’d lost you and then realizing you were never really mine to begin with and that cut me more, hurt me more, than that damn mountain ever could.”

 

She sees his eyes are glossy, his hands are clenched into fists, and he takes a small, shallow breath. He’s hurting.

 

Without giving it too much thought, she reaches out to grasp on of his hands. He immediately clasps back, his hand dwarfing hers in size.

 

Rey’s never been good at words. She’d been told this her entire life, but she tries her hardest to convey what she had been feeling all this time.

 

“You left me, Ben.” She hates how her voice shakes, emotion causing it to waver and crack. “After everything we had been through, you left me. I felt like I lost a part of myself with you going and to hear nothing but silence from you? It’s been a long, long time since I’ve felt that broken and sad. 

 

It took me a bit to admit it to myself, but Ben,  I loved you on that mountain. I decided to tell myself that it wouldn’t work down here, not in the real world, just to make myself feel better about you leaving me and not even bothering to contact me. We wouldn’t know how to be together down here. I needed to try to move on, away from the mountain. Away from you. Survive down here. But nothing is the same, everything has changed. You’ve changed me and I can’t escape you, even if I wanted to. You are a part of me forever now, and there’s no changing that.”

 

She feels a few tears trail down her cheeks. 

 

His eyes glossy, and she can see a slight tremble in his lips.

 

Then she sees the waitress hovering a few feet behind Ben, and then she notices a couple to her far right staring.

 

Rey releases Ben’s hand and takes a deep breath. They’re not alone on the side of a mountain. Instead they’re in the real world, surrounded by people, people who would not understand a single thing they’ve gone through together. 

 

Ben immediately notices her change in demeanor and turns to look at the waitress. She turns around to go and help another table and Rey notices the couple staring across the restaurant avert their gazes.

 

Ben brings a fist up and coughs, then clears his throat. 

 

Rey’s hands are clenched on her lap, so tight she’s sure her nails have cut into her palms.

 

“How do we move on from this?” Ben asks, his voice just above a whisper. 

 

Rey stares at him, taking in the colour of his eyes, the constellation of moles and marks on his face, the way his ears are poking out from beneath his hair.

 

She remembers how he stared at her in the cabin, after the first time they had sex. Rey recalls thinking that no man had ever looked at her the way Ben did, holding her in his arms. Rey thought she could read every emotion in those eyes, so deep and soulful. 

 

He held her tight that night, kissing her lips softly, telling her how beautiful she was, despite being stranded out in the wilderness, not sure if she was even going to live the next few days. It was in those moments that Rey felt that she truly knew what love was. That this was it, this was what they wrote about in songs, in novels, in life. This was their truth.

 

She was silly to even think that there was a chance to move on from that. 

 

All Rey ever wanted in life was just to find her place in the world. She felt lost the moment her parents left her all those years ago. Felt it when she was being worked to the bone for food while living with her foster parent, felt it crashing down on the plane and making her way down.

 

Only, it was different this time. She had someone with her, someone just as lonely, someone just as scared, and in this, she found her own truth. Her belonging. 

 

They never had a chance of moving on. 

 

Not from this.

 

She’s not aware that she spoke this outloud, not until Ben nods in agreement. 

 

“Together, then.” He finally says, holding her gaze.

 

“Together.” She agrees.



 

-



 

Their plates and glasses are taken away and Rey feels panic wash over her. She’s not ready to leave him, not ready to have him out of her sight. 

 

Ben senses her discomfort and reaches across the table to take her hands and starts rubbing small circles on both with his thumbs. He only lets go, and it’s only with one, while he pays the waitress. 

 

Their hands remained linked while they stand, and stay linked when they leave.

 

It’s not spoken, but Rey knows he’s not leaving her. Not today, or tomorrow. Or ever. 

 

She takes him through-out her city, treating him like a tourist, although she knows he’s probably been here a hundred times. 

 

They walk all over, stopping in small random shops before Rey takes him on the SkyTrain and down towards her favourite beach. She has a small spot she usually sits at, nestled to the side. 

 

Rey and Ben sit down and watch the ocean’s tide move out, leaving them exposed to the beach and smell. She catches Ben taking a long deep breath and she smiles.

 

Here they sit and learn more. Here they sit and function in the real world, until, eventually, they decide to leave. 

 

Rey buys them dinner at one of her favourite Indian spots, taking it to-go. She doesn’t bother asking, but takes them back to her small one bedroom apartment, which feels even smaller with Ben’s large hulking form in it.

 

Rey puts on some soft music in the background and takes their food to her couch while Ben moves to use the washroom. She’s setting some utensils on her small coffee table when she hears his steps come up from behind her.

 

She turns to face him, looking up to his eyes. Ben always wore his emotions on his face, and this time she drinks everything in. 

 

There’s a beat of silence before she hears Ben take a deep breath and then he’s reaching down, taking her own lips with his. 

 

Rey’s first thought, when his lips capture hers, is that it’s been too long . His kisses are soft, eventually evolving to a need that they both feel to their cores.

 

She runs her hands up his arms and onto his shoulders, then back down to begin unbuttoning his shirt. Once it’s done, she runs her hands up his stomach and chest, feeling his hands paw at the bottom of her own. She only releases her hold on him to allow him to take off her own top, then her bra.

 

Rey removes his shirt completely while he takes one of her nipples in his mouth. Sucking and gently nibbling one and then the other, then trailing kisses down her torso, his hands working the button at the top of her jeans.

 

He slides them off her and helps her step out of them, then his hands run back up her legs, her thighs, then gently cusp her ass, still clad in her panties. 

 

Ben’s face is so close to being buried between her legs, she can feel his breath. She’s soaked, each breath giving her a small jolt of pleasure.

 

She feels his finger reach between the fabric and her cunt, pulling her panties to the side, he buries his face in and begins to eat like a man starved, suckling at the bundles of nerves.

 

He makes her see stars in a matter of minutes, then he peels the fabric completely off her. Ben reaches down and picks her up, cradling her close, nuzzling his nose in her hair. “Where?” He asks.

 

She tells him where her bedroom is, and snuggles in closer to his chest. She can hear his heart beating fast.

 

Ben lays her down on her bed once he enters. Takes off his jeans and boxers, his cock bouncing when released. 

 

He is beautiful Rey thinks.

 

Ben moves forward, capturing one of her feet into his hands and brings it to his lips, placing a small kiss to the top, then his hands reach down to grasp her hips, his hands large enough to wrap around her. He pulls her forward and closer to him, then his reaches with his thumb to begin rubbing her clit, making her toes curl.

 

Ben is in her a second later and Rey’s a fool to ever think she could move on from this.

 

She’s so full and stretched to that impossible pleasurable range. He pinches her nipples, rubs her clit, moves in her in a way that makes her delirious with pleasure and it’s only moments before she peaks again.

 

Ben moves to hover closer to her, capturing her lips with his own. He cups her face, nuzzling his nose against hers, breathing heavy with each thrust of his cock. 

 

He moans her name like a prayer when he cums, and she feels it, deep and hot and heavy in her body. 

 

He peppers her face with soft kisses while he grows soft, then pulls out and moves to cradle her from his side, pulling her body close, wrapping his arms tight around her. 

 

Rey is just seconds away from sleep taking her before she hears him mumble, “never again.”

 

She agrees.



 

-




 

The next day has her nerves so tight in her stomach that she almost wants to cancel the interview. 

 

They make their way to the hotel, hand in hand, and then to the conference room where it will be held. A room full of strangers and Rey feels her heart rate pick up, Ben holds tighter.

 

He continues holding it while they mic both of them up, told they’ll do a small tv interview and then a more in-depth interview for the magazine.

 

“It doesn’t have to be here this entire time, we can go for a walk if you guys want. Whatever will make you comfortable.” The interviewer, Todd, says to them.

 

“Alright, alright.” Ben says, his voice a little harsh while leaning back to let a woman finish applying the mic. 

 

Rey had been caught up in her own nerves that she didn’t notice how nervous Ben must have been. She notices his left hand shaking a little more than usual. 

 

She squeezes his hand and he turns to look at her. She manages a small smile, then brings his hand up to her lips, pressing a small kiss to his hand.

 

It’ll be okay.

 

They continue looking at each other while the ladies finish applying last bit of wires and mics. 



 

-




 

They rely heavily on each other, even down here in the real world. From the way Ben looks down at her, or how Rey holds onto his hand, rubbing small, gentle circles on his own; there’s a constant link and connection between the two.

 

It’s hard not bombard them with a million questions; what did you eat? what did you drink? did you think of other options? Why not stay in the plane? For help?

 

But, the truth is, I can ask them all the questions and more, until I’m blue in the face, but it’s clear that it’s something that both you and I will not never understand. 

 

What happened on that mountain clearly brought them closer and it became something more. It’s strange, you’re whole life you’re told soulmates are real, that the Disney princesses and princes are true love but then you grow up and find out it’s not so black and white. 

 

But then you meet people like Ben and Rey and you just can’t help but wonder after all.

 

 

-



 

It feels as if a weight was lifted from her shoulders when they’re done. They’re promised that their story will be told as Rey and Ben told them, promising copies of the magazine and a copy of the interview that will air on W5 in the coming months. 

 

“Just in time for winter!” A cameraman jokes, but his smile is wiped away when Ben throws him a look.

 

 In her old life Rey might have said something to the man, how incredibly inappropriate his comment was. Now, she knows better than to waste her precious energy.

 

They leave together, Ben sighing loudly when they leave the building, taking a deep breath. He has his hands placed on his hips and he takes in his surroundings.

 

Cars are jammed back on the roads, they are people all around them, all lost in their own world, not a care around them, shuffling their way through their day.

 

Rey takes it all in, watching the people around them. Not aware that two plane crash survivors just finished baring their souls to strangers.

 

Her gaze finally lands on Ben, who’s also watching the bodies swarming around them, taking in all of the city’s chaos.

 

“Ben?” She finds herself asking.

 

Ben turns to look down towards her, a piece of his dark hair falling in front of his eyes. 

 

Rey takes a small step towards him and reaches for his left hand, pulling it up to her lips, she presses a soft kiss. When she pulls away, she keeps ahold of his hand and reaches up to his face with her other, gently brushing the lone strand away. 

 

He’s staring down at her, eyes searching. So many things left unsaid lies between them. They’ve begun their journeys to heal as individuals but Ben would be a fool to think they would not ever begin to heal together. They’re a unit now, two halves of a whole, and in order for them to move forward, they’ll need each other.

 

“Together.” He promises, reaching down to kiss her forehead.

 

They hold each other for a moment, before Ben reaches around and, still holding her hand, leads her away. To her house, to his, and to their future.

 

-

 

Q: And where did you guys find that survival? That instinct seems to be buried so deep in our persona, and we never have to really use it. Most days we’re just trying to survive our 9-5, our big next meeting. Not a plane crash.

They’re quiet for a minute, taking each other in.

Rey: “I had him, and he had me.” 

 

And there’s no better way to describe it more than that.