Come and find me.
Their bond hasn’t been the same since Crait. Since she’d closed the ramp to the Falcon and left him with nothing but dust.
Sometimes, he’d swear he heard her voice. A stray word, a laugh, a sigh -- but by the time he turned toward the sound, it was gone again.
Come and find me.
He can’t admit to loneliness. Too dangerous to remember that he’d finally known what it felt like to not be alone.
Too painful to think about how that loss had felt.
Come and find me.
Taking on the title of Supreme Leader was costly. Some of the officers -- old Imperials who didn’t want some boy leading them -- had tried to unseat him.
They’d paid with their lives. Violently and publicly, the holofootage simulcast to the entire fleet.
Come and find me.
He wonders, at night when no one can see, where he would be if one of them had conceded.
But the thought of her hand against his own, the rush and swell of their connection like a tether in his mind, the hesitant wave of hope he’d felt -- it leaves him aching and trembling in the dark.
He wakes from restless sleep at the sound of her voice, and a vision of the desert.
He can almost see her standing in the corner of his room, watching him intently.
“Rey, what are you--” he starts, reaching out a hand, his heart racing; but she’s gone again.
There are many desert worlds in their galaxy, but the circumstances of their lives mean there’s one option.
No one questioned their destination. Hux’s derisive stare lasted only until he met his gaze; the General turned away rather than challenge him. He knows their respect for him is waning, that it would have done so even if he had not executed their comrades. But he’s running out of time.
She’d shown him towering rock walls, something he’d not seen in his visit to the planet, but the scan of the surface revealed the Plaintive Hand plateau and the valley around it could be the only fit.
The Silencer breaks atmo and he can already feel her there: a tug in his mind steering him along as their connection thrums expectantly. The humming of the engines falls away as the roar in his mind builds.
And then he sees her clearly in his mind, standing ready at the edge of the valley, saber in hand.
She must sense him, too, because she turns and runs.
“What does she think this is, Shah-tezh? I didn’t come here to play games.”
Don’t land, her voice says. Just keep flying.
“You’ll get killed,” he growls.
Not if you don’t hit me.
He can hear the humor in her voice, so he urges more from the TIE and races toward her.
Her feet pound at the sand, densely packed through this windswept valley, as she sprints -- but he quickly gains on her.
Steady breaths echo within him until he feels like he’s running, too.
Don’t. Land, she says as he closes on her, the tips of the wings getting ahead as the cockpit rushes forward and then--
She just... leaps out of the way. Soars through the air and dodges him completely. Had his eyes not been trained on her position he would never have even seen her jump.
Her elation bleeds through their connection like sunlight through a window, shaking him to his core.
That was incredible!
He glides the TIE to a halt, dropping his landing gear and practically running down the ramp, cape whipping in the wind. He steps hesitantly onto the sandy ground, looking around for her and seeing only desert.
The sound comes rushing back quickly -- an insistent metallic thud sounds behind him.
He wheels, and there she is: standing atop his Silencer, beaming and triumphant.
“I knew I could do it!" She leaps again, landing gently a few feet away.
“I would never have doubted you,” his eyes roam her face, trace the lines of her new gear. She looks good. Confident, comfortable. He glances to a leather armband around her bicep where he knows she has a scar from a bisento; her other hand comes to rest around it, almost self-consciously.
“I think...” she starts, stepping forward. She’s still looking at him elatedly, but there’s an edge to being so close that he thinks she must feel, too. “I think I missed you.”
Before he can stop himself, he says, “You left me.”
Her expression tightens for a moment. “I did what I thought I had to do, same as you did.”
The wind tears through the valley, stirring up little spiraling dust clouds and pulling at his cape. He swears the gusts themselves are pushing him toward her.
His heart beats so hard it feels like he might faint as he speaks: “I’m here now.”
She nods, extending a hand to him as she’d done before -- so long ago now it feels like a dream. “Come back with me, Ben. Please.”
Every dark and desperate memory comes crashing back at once, buckling his knees, and he falls to the sand. “I can’t. She -- Leia, my mother, everything I’ve done, she wouldn’t--”
“Ben,” Rey whispers, leaning down to him and pulling his gaze back to her, “Leia sent me here.”
His heart swoops. His mother... Rey’s not lying to him. She wouldn’t -- he’s not sure she could, with their connection, but she wouldn’t. Her face is as open and earnest as always.
But he worries. “You didn’t...”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she chides. “It was my idea. Now get up.” She offers her hand again, insistent, and pulls him to his feet. "Let’s go home.”