When Rey first surveys the marble, she does so with her usual critical eye: Carrara Bianco, a pure, hazy white, veined with delicate brush-strokes of the faintest grey throughout. The block is massive, standing over two meters tall and a little under a meter square footprint; in the center of her home studio space it stands, a formidable monolith, but Rey brushes her hands across it, refusing to be intimidated. Considering.
Every piece of stone is alive. Every piece has a shape just waiting to be revealed. And it is her job to release that beauty within.
Her hands—along with the saws, chisels, hammers, and assorted power tools which have helped her on the way—were to be the conduit from the image she now held in her mind, to what would become its final form.
Rey Galene was already making some waves in the art world for her distinctive blend of classical and strong, modern style. She had just received the marble, as well as the down payment, for the sculpture that she hoped would catapult her into a new echelon of success in the art world. Commissioned by none other than famed art collector James Snoke, this marble was going to be a life-sized statue of a Roman god, a nude. He’s going to stand in the foyer of Snoke’s grand home, which boasts one of the largest collections of sculpture both new old, modern and contemporary; it’s a high honor to be commissioned, something that has the potential to get her noticed, to push her star on the rise.
And Rey feels that the figure is already living and breathing inside the stone. All she had to do was let it out.
In the weeks prior to the marble’s delivery, Rey had worked her idea for the shape in clay as a guide. For her, the body always came first, the pose, the posture. The features always seemed to reveal themselves under her tools, a risky but intuitive process that meant her original clay work was relatively smooth and featureless. An abstraction, a suggestion. But that’s the way Rey has always worked, using some strange inspiration to guide her hands in the moment, and give her pieces humanity and personality.
Now, with the stone in front of her, she starts marking and measuring, in order to cut away the bigger slices that rough out the shape. More than ready for the challenge, Rey puts in her headphones, cranks up the music, and fires up the saw.
The process of pitching is rather cathartic, all things considered. Nothing quite like cutting big rocks with power tools for getting all of her latent aggression out. Pitching feels like control, like creation. As violent as it can be, it’s a meditative process, the contrast of the emergent beauty of form and the aggressive music in her ears, the searing, heavy saws and with the increasingly delicate chisels.
Rey returns to study the clay model, and begins refining the stone down even further, bit by bit, section by section. She transfers measurements, checks and double checks. As she works, the form of him begins to emerge. A leg, and arm, a hand. The musculature of a torso, the shape of a foot, the lines of his sturdy calves, his thighs.
It takes her months to finish the piece, working nearly every day, sleeping on the couch in her studio most nights, falling asleep with her headphones on, the glint of pale marble the last thing her tired eyes survey. It’s a terrible habit, and she has a perfectly good bed upstairs in her loft, but Rey does it anyway. Something about being close to her work, eating, sleeping, and breathing her creation… not literally, of course; she’s not a moron, she wears a respirator.
And when it’s finished, or nearly so, Rey steps back from it, awestruck for the first time by what she’s made.
His form had been beautiful when he’d been fashioned of clay. Over six feet tall and exquisitely male, his body had been a compromise between the artistic, perfect nudes of ancient statuary, and Rey’s own style and sensibility; she’d formed a man who was untouchably beautiful, yet imperfect, human. The symmetry of his body, the strong breadth of his shoulders and the solidity of his torso all spoke of a figure of war, of pure martial power.
But his face…
Rey stares at the statue’s finished face, wondering at it. Her first, somewhat narcissistic thought was this: Could my hands have made such beauty? Of course they had, but… the marble had given life to the sculpture, transmuting it from shape to substance, through some unknown, alchemical process. It wasn’t just from the sculptor’s work. Not really. The veins that ran throughout the marble, imperfections, all of it shone through on the surface of the statue’s skin, dappling him in beauty marks. It , not him , Rey amends. It was marble, had always been marble, and would always be marble.
But she’s pleased with her work—more than pleased. Standing before him makes something new and heady thrill in her veins. She feels proud, elated, connected with the piece in a way that no other sculpture, no prior piece of work, had made her feel.
Only one feature of the sculpture gives her pause. There had been one particularly dark vein of coloration striping through the massive piece, a flaw in anyone else’s eyes. But Rey quite likes it. The placement of the vein had ended up running from just above the man’s right eyebrow, striping across the cheek and down his neck. It curled over his clavicle, like a wicked-looking scar. Rey considers this, and thinks that it might add to the appeal of it, if Mr. Snoke had wanted a sculpture of a war god. Didn’t gods of war bear marks from their battles?
The pose she had chosen for him, a fairly traditional contrapposto, made it feel as if he was just about to take a bold step forward. His right hand, curled as if reaching for the hilt of a weapon, and his left, raised, as if beckoning… join me , he seemed to say.
And yet somehow, Rey had given him the face of a poet. It was no secret that she liked carving faces, interesting faces, most of all. That had become part of her style. This one was no exception: Long waves of hair, brushed back to reveal an almost sensitive face, with a strong nose, full mouth, and an angled jaw. This warrior, Rey decides, did not want to fight. He must’ve been compelled to do so, perhaps to avenge one he had lost, or sworn to protect someone, or…
Rey laughs at her wayward imagination, and shakes her head. She needed to get out more. Stop talking to statues, and start talking to humans again.
Rey starts reconnecting with her long-suffering social circle, who love her enough to understand that sometimes she becomes a subterranean cave person who cloisters herself with her stone and industrial music for weeks on end and emerges only for grocery runs. Slowly, she eases back into something resembling a normal life. She meets people for brunch, and goes over for movie nights, to catch up on the ones she hadn’t seen, that have already come out on DVD. She goes to barbeques, block parties.
It’s wonderful to be back around her people, really. Coming home is nice, too. Her space feels warmer, cozier, safer. Seeing the sculpture there waiting for her—not waiting for her ; that would be like saying her… kettle is waiting for her, or her couch. But it’s nice, coming back home.
In her heart, Rey knows that the work on the sculpture is complete. Every time she bustles around her studio, cleaning up the scraps and dust, she pauses and turns and look at him… it. Sometimes, she finds herself with hammer and chisel in hand, waiting to strike, to adjust, to fine-tune. But there aren’t any improvements to be made.
He’s perfect. So why does she look for flaws to repair, instead of glorying in her creation?
It was just… if she truly is done, then it will have to be delivered to Mr. Snoke. Rey can’t bring herself to make that call. And he hadn’t been exactly pestering her, so…
The sculpture stays where it is.
And Rey tries her best to—as her best friend, Finn, puts it—get a life.
She hangs out with Finn’s friends, goes to clubs, mingles, and tries to dance. She—after more than a few drinks—puts a Tinder profile up, with a few cute snaps that Finn had taken of her at the aforementioned clubs. She even goes on a few dates, with a Chad who offers (what a gentleman) to teach her how to use a power drill, and a Jeff who tells her—twice—that she was pretty enough to model for him, and would she like to come to his apartment so he could take some portfolio shots?
Rey always goes home alone.
“Hello, Kylo,” Rey says, tossing her keys onto the table and shutting her studio door behind her, after another pointless date with another useless, worthless guy.
The marble, as always, says nothing in reply. She smiles anyway.
The nickname, Kylo, had come after Rey had finished her deep-cleaning of her studio. She’d found the original tag that had been on the piece of marble, read the curious string of letters and numbers, and formed it into a name. # KYL0-R3N had become Kylo Ren.
“You wouldn’t believe the idiot that met me for dinner tonight,” Rey says, tugging off her jacket and throwing it onto a work table. “A right wanker, if you ask me. That’s the last one; I don’t even care if Finn vouches for him, I’m not doing any more blind dates.”
The marble listens patiently; so nice of him to be such a positive, encouraging, active listener.
Rey smiles at him from over her shoulder, fumbling to reach the zipper of her dress. “You know, I’m starting to think that you’re actually the perfect man. You never try to correct me, teach me things I already know, or give me advice when I don’t ask for it.”
She tugs the zipper down with an ungainly little shuffle and leap; all in all, the cocktail dress she’d picked up for tonight was cute, and flattering, but Rey searches her floordrobe for her pajamas anyway. The dress joins the jacket; she’ll clean up later. Maybe.
“You never ask me for pictures of my feet, or tell me it’s so wonderful to see a girl with an appetite…”
She unhooks her stupid push-up bra and throws it off into a corner, sighing in relief. Her misguided attempt at boosting what nature had given her had been another mistake; Rey might just burn the damn thing, because, ugh . No more of that; her dates would accept her for who she was, or not at all. Or she’d just give up blind dates altogether.
“You’re perfect, Kylo,” Rey says, stepping closer to her creation, as nude, now, as he was. She touches him gently, running a hand up the smooth line of his muscular thigh, eyes dipping down to stare at what was between his legs. Why had she gone out of her way to make him so… proportional? He was thick everywhere, waist and thighs and forearms and cock. The short-trimmed curls of hair were merely suggested over the rest of him, but what a significant rest of him there was. Proportion was, after all, an important part of classical sculpture, wasn’t it?
Rey sighs. Mr. Snoke would take one look at him and think her a pervert. Either that, or he’d be appreciative of it, which probably made him a pervert, too. But it wasn’t entirely her fault, anyway; so what if a very long, very dry spell had evoked a certain… wishful reaction in her artistic output? Rey surveys the appendage in question, blushing a little. Her hand is still on his thigh, close but not touching it.
Why was she being so weird tonight? Rey slides her hand up a little higher, the cool of the white marble warming ever so slightly under her touch. It feels personal, to touch the statue there, even though her hands had carved it. When she’d been working it, it had been with a critical, impersonal eye. Now… The light was low in her studio; the exposed rafters, the wide worktables, the racks of her tools neatly lined up on the far wall, all cast in shadow. And when she looks up, into Kylo’s face, she could almost—
Two drinks and a bad date should not have affected her so much.
He is a piece of stone, shaped and formed, but stone all the same. A stone cock can’t do it for her.
Rey knows that she ought to head up to her loft, where her proper bed was resting, but instead, she stays downstairs. Tugging on her pajamas and snuggling under one of her slightly-dusty blankets, sleep finds her slowly.
Maybe it would… freak someone else out, having a figure of a tall, naked man lurking in the shadows of their living space. But to Rey, it’s comforting. Even with the figure turned away from her, she feels protected, guarded.
With the statue in her space, somehow, Rey feels a little less alone.
That night, the dreams begin.
Rey drifts away. From the everyday world, the feel of the rough texture of her sofa cushion on her cheek fades to the lush warmth of the sun, and in her dream, she opens her eyes.
She is standing in an arena of some type, a ring of elegant arches carved from pale stone, pure, cloudless blue of the sky overhead. But her gaze is transfixed by the figure before her. Sand crunches beneath her bare feet as she walks towards him, and her limbs move softly, slowly, as if through warmed honey instead of sunlight and air.
Rey feels no fear.
Why should she fear him? In the very back of her mind, Rey knows that this was nothing more than a dream, which means she’s in control, which means that nothing here can harm her. She’s had these dreams before, as a child, but they’d stopped. At least she’s familiar with it, this lucid dreaming, and so she relaxes, and eases into the story, expecting it to unfold as they once did. The figure turns as she reaches for him, as if hearing her soft footfalls, and gazes upon her. Lit as he is by the sun, his skin seems to shift from pale to marble to gold. Imbued with life, vigor and health. Muscles moving under warm-looking skin.
The crowd cheers for him, but when she looks up, the seats are empty.
Rey turns her gaze to his face, and smiles.
His face, his sweet face—she knows him. These are the features, formed by her own hand: sensitive, sweet, angular, warm. His eyes connect with hers, but for the life of her, she cannot discern their true color. Only that his gaze brushes across her body like a lover’s caress.
“You made me,” he says, mouth unmoving, and yet his voice is low and soft, urgent, resonant in her thoughts. “You formed me as you wished. Now, what will you have of me?”
“Everything,” Dream-Rey hears herself say. Or speak. Or think
But it doesn’t matter.
He hesitates, then takes a step towards her. The dream shifts, moving them from the arena, open and exposed, to a private, curtained room; Now, Rey stands with him before a warm and comforting fire. A glass vial appears in the man’s hands, filled with liquid that looks like captured sunlight. Oil, Rey’s mind provides. He takes the stopper from the vial, and Rey knows to cup her hands them, so he might pour a small measure of the oil into her palms.
Small drips of the oil spill to the floor, but there are no consequences in a dream like this. No reprimand. Rey simply smiles, and warms what was left of the liquid between her palms. At the thought of touching his skin, her body comes alive. Shy at first, her touch grows bolder as her hands explore his form. They leave a trail of slick warmth behind them, his skin glowing at her every caress.
Her champion watches as she rubbed the oil into his skin. He’s pleased with her; she warms under his gaze. His broad chest, his solid torso, his sculpted arms, the vault of muscle that forms his back, Rey anoints him everywhere. Her hands, still sticky with oil that never seems to run out, trail downward, and she becomes aware of his nudity. Her hands sweep lower, across the crests of his sturdy hips, to the—
Rey’s sudden, jarring ringtone tugs her out of the dream with the sudden shock of an ice-bath.
“Shit,” she mutters, and nearly falls off the couch as she tries to reach for it; the phone’s still in the pocket of her jeans, on the floor.
By the time she manages a ‘hello,’ and had the phone to her ear, the dream has faded. No more sun-warmed skin, no caressing.
It had been a nice dream, though. Wonderful, really. But just a dream.
The call had been a wrong number. Rey tries not to curse it as she stands up, the very last moments of the dream dissipating before her searching thoughts. Oh well. She surveys her statue, and tries to recall what glimpses of the dream that she could. Yet again, that dry spell, and her imagination…
Well, there was nothing for it.
Still, though… she was awake, and it seemed like a waste of the day, laying back down on her sagging couch and dozing like a lazy cat in the sunlight. She has things to do. Responsible, adulting… things.
Rey spends the rest of the morning doing everything she can think of instead of calling Mr. Snoke.
She vacuums her shop, organizes her tools, and takes out the garbage. Then, she makes a grocery list, and tries to clean out her freezer, where she finds a week’s worth of frozen meals, well-intentioned yet now frostbitten and utterly unappetizing, despite the fact that she had roasted the veggies and packed everything away in neat plastic containers. So much for meal-prep and healthy eating.
After that, Rey organizes her takeout menu drawer, which is a perfectly normal and reasonable thing for a functional adult to have, thank you very much. She then dials in an order from her favorite Italian place, and goes to go run a load of dishes before it arrives.
All the while, though, the fact that she still isn’t calling Mr. Snoke hangs in her mind like a dead fish in the trash can, perfuming the air with anxiety.
Rey takes a shower, throwing on clean clothing in time to go answer the door and bring her meal inside. Then, sitting on the couch, she chows down on her lasagna while checking her social media. There were still some editing to do before she could post the photos of this new piece for her website portfolio. And, of course, the buyer had to take delivery, first...
Rey glances at her phone, guiltily.
She’d call Mr. Snoke... eventually. It would all work out.
Two and a half weeks somehow slip by. Rey’s guilt compounds, but not high enough to drive her to actually do something about it. It’s just… even though she knows she’s finished, that there’s no more improvement, no adjustments, no polishing left to do on Kylo, Rey can’t bring herself to do it.
In the back of her mind, she had hoped that Mr. Snoke just took her to be a temperamental artist, the kind of genius introvert who wasn’t super great at giving regular updates. It’s not really true at all. Usually, Rey was much more enthused about showing off her work. She’s much more eager for praise, too.
This one is… he’s different.
Some of it, perhaps, might just be her pride in her work.
But most of it (if she’s completely honest with herself) has to do with the fact that every single night, since that first night, the same man has been visiting her in her dreams.
They begin to change setting and shape, but certain things remain the same: His sun-warmed skin, smooth and firm over solid musculature. The way his body moves for her, the way his mouth softly parts when she caresses him. His face, his expressions...
But each night, the dream has been subtly… changing.
One night, he’d been a warrior, deep in a murky forest at the edge of a bog, and she had crouched down before him, feeling up the trunks of his legs, back around his firm calves, to his thighs, and then a pert ass that made her groan in frustration when the morning light had hit her face and woken her. A few nights after that, she’d marveled at the gift of his broad shoulders after he’d removed his ornate gold and silver plate armor, working her oiled hands into the knots of muscle there, feeling a purr like the rumble of a wild creature beneath her hands, then realized that it was nothing more than her phone, on silent, buzzing for her attention.
Every night, for two and a half weeks, Rey has caressed a man whose eyes she still cannot see. A man who wears the face of her sculpture, the sculpture who is still stone in her studio, and nothing more. Sometimes he is her gladiator. Sometimes, a knight. Still other times he appears to her in long black robes, some kind of priest, perhaps—but not quite.
When he gazes down at her, she feels adored, precious, sublime. In the dreams, there’s no fear or strangeness. Across dozens of lifetimes, he knows her, and she knows him, and they are one. Each time, no matter what the setting is, what role he is playing or how he is dressed, he strips himself away for her. Making himself bare for her approval, for her touch. One time, the black priestlike robes fall to the fur-covered floor of a small and cozy room, and he covers her with his body, and the dream is frustratingly vague but she knows, she just knows, that she’s feeling more than just the weight of him atop her. She wants to feel him inside.
After eighteen days of this, Rey begins to wonder. Is this what going crazy feels like?
Rey does her best to shake off the recurring dreams. She even googles them, and becomes frustrated, because while there’s all sorts of information about recurring nightmares, she can find only a handful of sites about recurring pleasurable dreams, dreams that leave her body warm and pliant, made her feel so wet and needy, and so goddamn frustrated when she inevitably wakes up…
On principle, Rey refuses to masturbate in the mornings, after the dreams. No matter how intense they are, she resists the urge. It’s a dumb principle, but it’s a tiny little measure of control over her unhinged psyche. There has to be a logical explanation for all of this. Maybe it was just her mind, so familiar with the shape of him, from having made him. Maybe it was the fact that she hadn’t had a good shag since the cretaceous period.
Rey still doesn’t call Mr. Snoke.
Tomorrow, she thinks to herself, before sleep tugged her back to sun-lit pleasure, before morning brought her frustration, and lonely yearning.
I’ll call tomorrow.
One morning, Rey notices that Mr. Snoke’s official gallery account has liked one of her instagram photos. Not one of the ones for her business, oh no. It’s a candid, on her personal account, which she’d been sure she’d locked but might have accidentally taken off private… Rey sees the name of the gallery— First Order Fine Art—and scrolls back up at the photo, feeling something sink to the pit of her stomach. It’s a snap with Finn, Rose, and Poe, when they’d all gone out to celebrate Finn and Rose’s engagement. Rey had been wearing a little sequin dress, holding a drink, grinning. A cute shot, really, but very definitely evidence that she wasn’t holed-up, hard at work on a difficult commission any longer. Her deception by omission had been unveiled; Mr. Snoke calls her within the hour, his ancient voice wheezing across the line like a transmission from an entirely different era.
“Well? Is it finished?”
“It’s complete,” Rey says, but the truth feels like she’s disgorging shards of glass. “It’s finished.”
“I’ll send a truck for pick-up in three days,” Mr. Snoke’s withered voice answers, all smug and self-satisfied. “I’m sure your work is beyond compare. It will be a fine addition to my exhibit. You’ll have a check for the remainder of the payment, as we agreed.”
When he ends the call, Rey feels her gut twist, as if she’s going to be sick. Her eyes, riveted to her work, have already begun to fill with tears.
“Kylo,” she whispers, even though she knows she’s talking to nothing in the dead air. “I’m so sorry. I don’t have any other choice.”
That night, Rey can barely sleep. This feels wrong, and she feels nauseous and distressed, like someone had forced her into some dark bargain, when it was only a simple business transaction—the same business transaction she’d agreed to months ago.
It was just an object, a shape, a thing.
Instead, it feels like she was tearing part of her heart out.
In the darkness, the pale white marble is nearly radiant, although she knows it’s only a trick of the light. The moon, shining in from her skylight, illuminates it; The ripple of a passing cloud makes the musculature of the sculpture almost move. Imbued it with a pantomime soul.
Rey sobs, and closes her eyes.
Her thoughts tug her back to the very first dream. Back to the only words her champion, her warrior, her knight had ever spoken. Back to the question he had asked, for which she had provided no reply.
You made me. You formed me as you wished. Now, what will you have of me?
This , Rey answers, and her hands slip down between her legs, finding where she was wet and wanting. I want this. I want you.
The pleasure, the need, it’s there even before her hands make contact with her needy clit. She’s wet, achingly wet, and she has to force herself to spiral around her clit, tease herself out just a little longer so that the fantasy has time to form in her mind. The man, the fire—the vial of oil. The armor and the robes and the touch of him. Skin against skin. In her thoughts she finally touches him there, feels the twitch of interest as his cock fills and thickens. In the disjointed, surreal way of dreams and fantasies, she immediately shifts to being on her back beneath him. Poised above her, the moment of his entry. Rey, on her back in reality and in her dreams, spreads her thighs wider as if to accommodate the solidity of his torso. He’s so big—everywhere. It’s a tight fit. She slips her left hand down, tries to make her own two fingers feel as good as she can only imagine her dream lover would feel. It’s not nearly enough, but Rey can’t stop herself.
He would feel so good. So right, stretching her, filling her…
It’s… she isn’t doing this because she’s in love with a statue; that would be crazy. It’s just that the dreams are so… they’re so real, so vibrant, and he’s the singular constant, swirling through un-lived lifetimes where he asks her, every time: What will you have of me?
This is normal, she thinks. This is fine. This is just her way of calming herself down, so sleep can overtake her. And then: More dreams. He’ll visit her again tonight, as long as he’s here with her, in her studio.
But after he leaves…
Don’t leave me, Rey thinks, pleasure twining around melancholy as she brings herself higher. Stay, please.
And the image just… clicks.
Skin warm in the sunlight. Face tilted towards hers, hand outstretched. He’s standing in the same pose that she has given him, but he takes a step forward, then another, then another.
Rey cries out, clenching her thighs, her left hand flat on her belly; she presses down, imagining that it is his weight atop her, not just her blankets.
In her fantasy, he smiles at her. Eyes squeezed shut, Rey chases him across the desert of her imagination.
Stay with me , she begs. Please, don’t leave me .
He smiles at her. Rey’s hand moves, faster and faster, like she’s fighting with her own climax, begging her body to obey. His body, glistening with oil. Her hands have touched every inch of him, and yet none at all, because he’s nothing, he’s—
Her eyes open; The statue, she sees it when she turns her head, laying there on the couch. The same static view greets her that has always been, and she lets out a noise of grief and strangled pleasure, and closes her eyes.
Please, please, she begs.
Then—gasping, as her climax hits her like a cave-in. It feels like the ground shakes beneath her, and through the haze of fierce pleasure, Rey hears a loud thunk. Just the wind, she thinks distantly, as she catches her breath. The loose screen door, on the back of her shop.
Slowly, she yawns, and stretches.
As usual, afterwards, she’s drowsy. Rey floats back down, eyes closed, still alone, and panting, with wet fingers and the same ache of unfulfilled melancholy in her veins. Maybe she should stop sleeping on her couch, and go upstairs to the real bed in the loft. Rey resigns herself to either moving now and harshing her nice, soft buzz, or having a sore back, yet again, when she falls asleep on her couch.
She opens her eyes.
It’s late, and her studio is dark.
She scans across the familiar topography of her work tables and her tool racks twice, before a sudden spike of fear jolts through her.
The statue is gone.
Rey scrambles up off of the couch, senses on high alert, distress pumping through her veins. It’s gone. It doesn’t make sense, but—
There, curled up on his side, his skin as pale as marble, is a man.
He has black hair. Wavy and—
The line of his side, his flank, she knows it, she’s—
Rey feels the edges of her vision start to narrow.
She takes one step forward, just as the figure on the ground stirs, groaning softly, as if waking from a dream.
She takes another step, feels her knees buckle as the shock hits her. Another step, and the whole world fades to black.
Rey awakens slowly, like surfacing from a sleep as thick as treacle. Her back is sore, cramped and protesting with every movement, tugging her upwards with sharp spikes of pain. Her first conscious thought is: I have a perfectly lovely mattress upstairs, why on earth do I keep falling asleep on this couch?
Her eyes open.
Oh. Right. The statue.
Rey surveys her creation, still curled up on her side. He’s still there, like usual. Nothing is out of place. At first, she can’t quite tell what it is that’s made her feel so out-of-sorts this morning; it’s raining, and her place is a little cold, but—
It hits her. Last night, her sleep had been utterly dark, and dreamless, for the first time in almost three weeks. The only rubbing she’d done had been on herself. Rey rolls to her back—and immediately regrets the movement, as the base of her head starts throbbing in protest. What the hell?
Slowly, she moves her hand up to prod at a particularly tender spot on the back of her head. It feels like she’s been hit with a cast-iron pan, or something. Had she fallen off of the couch in the middle of the night, and hit her head? That seems to be the only logical explanation. The floors here are concrete, and that would explain the lump, and the pain. She tries it again, and winces. It must not have been that memorable, she thinks, falling out of bed and hitting her head—or else it was entirely too memorable, and she’s got amnesia or something.
Rey lays on her couch a little longer, waiting for her head to clear; She looks around her room, noting that it isn’t extremely likely that she’s been knocked out cold for longer than a day. For one, her plants would’ve grown like mad, and for another, Finn or Rose would’ve come by to check on her if she hadn’t answered their texts. She waits until she can finally get up, and shamble to the freezer for a bag of frozen mixed peas and corn. Rey hopes that she isn’t concussed, and after a few minutes, with the application of something cold on the spot, the pain goes down.
Everything seems to be normal.
Of course, when she mentions what happened to Finn, when he calls later, and invites her out to brunch, Finn immediately insists that they head by urgent care and make sure she really isn’t concussed.
Which is how Rey ends up sitting in a too-bright doctor’s office, getting her bruise prodded and a flashlight shone into her eyes.
She’s fine. Completely fine.
“I’ve got a hard head, Finn,’ she says, teasing him about it at dinner that night, when he invites her over. “It takes more than a concrete floor to knock me out.”
“You have got to be more careful, though,” Finn replies. “You’re all alone over there, and if something happened—”
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Rey reassures him.
Poe passes her the mashed potatoes. He resolutely does not comment, but his eyes dart between the pair of them.
Rey notices. She sighs. This thing that Poe, Rose, and Finn have… it’s sweet and tender and lovely, if a bit unusual. And here, Rey can hardly find one person to stay, and love her like that. They all have each other, and she has… nothing.
“Thank you, though. For taking me in, and… for dinner. For everything.”
“Of course,” Poe says, patting the back of her hand with his. “You’re our friend, we wouldn’t let anything happen to you.”
Rey feels grateful. She has two glasses of red wine, and she eats her fill of their delicious cooking, and she comes home and doesn’t think about the statue or Mr. Snoke or anything upsetting at all, for the first time in a very long time. Her head feels completely normal, the bump gone down flat. She goes up to her real bed for once, puts on nice, clean pajamas, brushes her hair out and brushes her teeth. Rey slips between her sheets. The wine has made her feel loose-limbed and content, the way red wine tends to feel.
Sleep finds her quickly and blankets over her deeply.
But even then, when she hears the clatter from downstairs, followed by the sound of a grunt of pain, Rey wakes, instantly, and knows that someone is inside her studio.
There’s a baseball bat under her bed. Finn had teased her about it, said she could just as well use one of her power tools, or hammer-and-chisel any intruder to death, but those are all downstairs. And she’s upstairs.
And there’s someone in her studio.
Rey feels all of her muscles tense up, adrenaline rushing through her veins, priming her to move, to fight, to run, she doesn’t know—priming her to do something. She hastily runs through the contents of her studio, deciding what could be of value, what might be appealing to a thief. Obviously, the power tools, all of her equipment, that would all fetch a pretty price at a pawn shop, even if some of it is more specialized than the average handyman might need… She has a laptop downstairs as well, but no huge television… There’s a jar of change on the counter that divides her workspace from her little kitchen…
Panicked, on high alert, her thoughts race away from her like frightened hares running from the sound of a hunting dog, jumping from items of value to options for defending herself.
Her hand curls around the bat, and she holds it to her chest, knuckles white and palms sweaty in the darkness.
The loft, where she sleeps, is little more than a queen-size mattress and a space for a dresser and nightstand; it has a half wall over which she can peer down to the main work area. This is what she decides to do, to get a look at what’s actually going on downstairs. Is it one thief, or two, or more? Rey crawls over to the edge and straightens up as quietly as she can, listening to the shuffling footsteps downstairs.
Is he drunk?
That’s her first thought, when she sees him. He has dark hair, broad shoulders, and he’s—he’s nude, he’s super nude, completely starkers.
There’s a naked man trying to burglarize her home.
Change of plans, Rey thinks. He’s probably drunk, or tweaking, and Rey has read way too many stories on Reddit about how meth gives people super-strength, or something, to try and grapple with that in the middle of the night. She fumbles around for her phone, only to realize… it’s downstairs.
Right there, on one of her work tables.
The man shuffles around the studio a bit more, steps hesitant, as if he’s just become acquainted with the very concept of legs. He groans, as if in pain—then bangs his shin on the edge of her coffee table, letting out a word that must be a curse, but it’s in a language Rey doesn’t recognize.
Half-mesmerized, half-terrified, Rey scans the rest of her studio, looking to see if it’s just one naked tweaker, or more—and then she sees it.
The marble base of her sculpture.
Just the base. Just a solid, low, empty square of stone.
And there’s nothing on it.
Rey lets out a soft scream of shock, and hastily clamps her hand over her mouth. It’s not quick enough.
The dark-haired man looks up, and his eyes connect with hers.
“Y-you can’t be…” Rey says, perched on the edge of her stairs, baseball bat still held tightly in her hand. “You’re not real. You can’t be real, this is—”
“I’m as real as you are,” the man says, and his voice—a low, distinctive purr of a voice, fucking hell, she knows that voice. That voice has been her lullaby, her nighttime companion. She's dreamed his voice, never seen his mouth move to form it but now she can and she's not awake, she can't be, this must be a dream.
How can this be happening?
“You called me here,” he says, taking a hesitant step towards her. “You formed me—”
“You’re not real,” Rey says, shaking her head as if that’s somehow going to help. She pinches the inside of her thigh, tries to make herself wake up; this is so much more vivid, so much more lucid than what she's ever experienced.
He just looks back at her, head tilted a bit, in confusion. “I’m… You called me. And I came. But where is this place, this isn’t— the forest, we...”
“I’m just going to close my eyes,” Rey says, trying for reasonable and ending up sounding three-fourths of the way to totally off the rails. “And when I open them, this will all be back to normal. I did have a head injury and this is probably just a side effect.”
She closes her eyes, but cannot keep them shut for longer than a second. She just can’t.
When her eyes snap back open, he is still watching her. Curious, concerned.
And her voice shakes when she tries to speak again. “You’re… really here.”
“Kylo…” She says his name on an exhale, a whimper, a plea. Kylo, make this all make sense.
He smiles at her, a soft, tentative smile, but there’s a frown between his brows. As if he’s hearing the name for the first time. As if he was expecting something else. But he still answers her: “Yes.”
“I… I think I need to sit down.”
Rey does so, sitting down on the top step of her narrow loft staircase, hiding behind the half-high wall that forms the handrail on her left side. She leans against the wall to her right, pressing her forehead against the cool, rough brick.
This is crazy. I’m going crazy.
When she opens her eyes, she realizes—Kylo has climbed the stairs, and is now standing a few steps lower than her. She yelps and straightens up. He’s looking down at her with warmth and concern in his deep eyes, but Rey is eye-level with his penis and… it’s definitely a penis, that’s for sure what it is. Even soft he’s as sizable as she’d carved him to be. Thick and uncut, under a dark thatch of hair that trails up just a bit to his belly button, up his flat, toned torso.
He looks like… well, he looks like he’s carved out of marble.
He is. He was. He should be.
“Jesus…” Rey mutters.
“Are you alright?” Kylo says. “I didn’t mean to frighten you, but I heard your call in the forest... and then I was… here…. Where are we?”
“You’re in my house,” Rey says, her voice a little faint; there are no forests anywhere near where she lives, although he’s been in one with him, in her dreams, but... “But you can’t be real, you’re something I carved, I made you, how can you be here?”
Thankfully—or tragically, depending on your perspective on being face-first with a very sizable penis—Kylo crouches down, bringing himself closer to eye-level with Rey. She can see now that the dark vein in the stone has become a distinctive scar in the very same place on his face. All of the dappling of spots and marks, too, are beauty marks, moles, on his pale skin. She wants to touch him, or maybe run and hide under her pillow until the world rights itself again. Or maybe just… fling herself into the surface of the sun.
“I’m here,” he says, softly, “because you called me. At least, I think I am. Something about… Your desire, it brought me to you.”
Rey’s mouth suddenly becomes very, very dry. Her eyes bore into his, and… they’re dark, she realizes. All those dreams, all those nights, when she couldn’t see his eyes. Now she can, and they’re beautiful. Sweet, honey-brown. Even in the darkness, Rey can see how beautiful they are.
Whatever she wants, she could have; that thought frightens her, startles her, arouses her. The very thought of one of her creations coming alive—this creation specifically—is tantalizing.
And his body, still nude and wholly bared to her, it’s almost too much to process, having him this close. When he’d been stone, she could run her hands over him, touch him where she liked. Now, her hands curl around the baseball bat, and she swallows to try and bring moisture back to her parched mouth. She glances down at his cock once more, shameless, intrigued, hopeless; how can she not stare at it?
Then, she looks back up at his expectant gaze, and clears her throat.
“Let’s… get you a pair of pants.”
So, it’s somewhere around three in the morning, and there’s a big, tall, broad former statue in my kitchen, Rey thinks. This is fine. I’m fine.
Everything is fine.
Rey is making tea, waiting for her kettle to heat up as the water steams and edges towards boiling in the metal carafe. She feels like the kettle: Solid on the outside, ready to boil over on the inside. None of this is helped by the sight of Kylo Ren, flesh and blood and lovely dark eyes and soft-looking, thick dark hair, standing in her kitchen, towering at least a foot over her, as fully proportional as his statue had been.
She’d found him a t-shirt from a fun run that Rose had conned her into attempting, and a pair of oversized (on Rey) gray sweatpants, both of which do absolutely nothing to conceal the breadth of him and his beautiful, perfect body. The t-shirt is lurid green, with a cartoon turkey on it, and it stretches across his torso like a guilty teenager stretching the truth. The gray sweatpants are no better. They hug his every lean line and curve, revealing the bulge between his legs that Rey will never in a million years forget the shape of, not if she loses her memories and has to be left in a memory-care ward. She will remember that dick if she forgets her own name.
But Rey is making tea instead, because that’s what she does when she’s nervous, or upset, or scared. She makes tea. Tea makes everything better.
“Hmm?” Kylo answers her, attentive, as if she’s called his name.
Rey blushes, deeply. “I mean… do you want honey, in your tea?”
“Is that how you like it?”
“I… like it lots of different ways…” Rey stammers.
She picks up the honey jar, and flips the cap open. But her attempt to squeeze it into his mug ends up spilling over, because her hands are shaking so much. Honey hits on the edge of the mug, dripping onto the counter, and Rey makes a distressed noise, swiping at the mess with her fingers.
“Damn it,” she mutters—but Kylo is there, grasping her hand in his larger one, bringing her honey-smeared fingers to his mouth.
“Oh,” Rey says, her eyes locking with his.
It’s all she can say, really. The last vestiges of control slip away the moment his warm mouth closes over her digits. With a swipe of his tongue, he cleans the sticky sweetness from her, plush mouth suckling gently on her now-oversensitive skin.
Rey feels herself grow weak in the knees.
“Y-you don’t have to…” she starts to say, but he pulls her hand back gently with one last lick.
“I want to; it tastes so good.” Kylo’s dark eyes are roving her body, and Rey can’t comprehend how his look can make her own pajamas—a pair of loose red-and-black plaid pajama shorts and a cream-colored loose t-shirt with a sleepy cloud on it—feel like the most expensive lingerie in the world. Her hand is still in his; his hold is loose, and she could slip it out if she wanted, but… she doesn’t want.
“You’re really here,” she says, breathless, aroused. “You’re real.”
“I am,” he says.
“And you’re here,” she says, stupidly stating the obvious, because it doesn’t feel obvious, it feels absurd.
“Yes,” his mouth forms the words even as his tongue licks along her fingertips, making Rey whimper with need that pulses between her legs.
She hadn’t even considered that her fingers might be sexual, but then again, she’s got a living statue in her kitchen so… it’s not like it’s the craziest concept, in the grand scheme of things.
Rey does not pull her hand away.
Gently, Kylo takes her hand and turns it over, pressing kisses gently but surely on the pulse point of her inner wrist. She’s shaking, trembling. His other hand, fuck it, his whole arm goes around her, as if sensing her imminent collapse, and Rey whimpers the moment she feels it solidity. The warmth from his skin, his mouth, his eyes—it’s all too much.
And not enough.
Maybe this is a dream. Maybe it’s a hallucination, brought on by the combo of her pain meds from earlier and those two ill-advised glasses of wine.
Rey doesn’t care.
“I need you,” she says, barely coherent enough to process how whimpery and desperate she sounds.
In response, Kylo pulls her flush against his rock-solid— okay, that’s enough, Rey thinks—body. And she feels the stirring of his cock against her belly, he’s so tall, so firm and perfect and warm against her, and it’s been ages, really, since anyone has just held her like this.
Ages, since anyone has kissed her, pressed his lips to her fluttering pulse, finding the tender juncture of neck and shoulder, nipped so gently there, or sent sparks skittering down across her skin. Maybe she’s never felt that way before, ever. It’s like her whole body has been born anew, a thing created just for him, instead of the other way around.
“I need you,” Rey says again, or maybe just thinks it. Maybe she moans, she can’t even be sure of anything, anymore. With kisses like that, vocabulary is in short supply. Reality itself is slipping from her hands, sliding through like oil onto the sand.
All she knows is that somehow, Kylo sweeps her up into his arms and turns, heading for the stairs. Carrying her up to her bed.
Kylo lays her down on her bed, pushing aside her rumpled sheets, and crouching over her, his hands on the piece of skin where her shirt has pushed up and her shorts have begun to slide down. He’s like a man on a mission, and Rey’s too stunned and horny and needy to try and slow things down.
If this is a dream… then Rey no longer hopes she'll wake up. Not yet, anyway.
“Can I—?” he says, tugging on the waistband of her pajama shorts, and Rey nods enthusiastically, lifting her hips so she can help him take them off.
He buries his face between her legs, arms coming up and around her thighs to hold her in place, right where he wants her. Rey gasps and cries out the moment his mouth descends on her, full lips suckling wide on her outer labia, kissing her there like no one ever has before. He moans, like he loves the way she tastes, and Rey’s arousal increases by approximately 786%, give or take a half a percent. It’s so hot. Her hands find his hair, and it’s just as thick and soft and lovely as she had imagined.
His tongue laps at the seam of her lips, splitting her, tasting her.
He doesn’t give her time to think, or beg, or be self-conscious. He doesn’t even need to use his hands, just his mouth, that fucking magical mouth. It’s like he knows her, like he responds to every little gasp and buck and writhe, every movement of her body. He was made for her, Rey keeps thinking; of course he knows. He rises to his sculptor's hand, and knows it, and loves it. Wants to show her, to please her. Deep, slow suckling at her clit, then circling with his tongue, then long, broad licks; it’s like he’s learning her body, memorizing every single response and noise and incoherent slur of pleasure and praise. Finally, he finds the right movements, nuzzling in deeper and returning to that pulse of his lips and tongue around her clit until Rey comes, gasping and crying out loudly into the darkness, her hands tangled in his hair.
When he relents, after several long, drawn-out minutes of slow pleasure, Rey feels as if her body has been turned into that warm honey, and she’s spilled out everywhere. His chin and mouth are wet when he backs off, pressing reverent kisses into the tender skin of her thighs. Rey can’t stop gasping, making sharp noises every inhale, soft lazy ones with every exhale. Her body feels soft and pliant, sleepy and sated.
“Did you like that?” he asks her, utterly unnecessarily; Rey laughs, a pleasure-warm chuckle, and opens her arms.
“Yes,” she says. “Yes, I did like it.”
He nuzzles at her cleft once more, and Rey squirms a little, over-sensitive but pleased at his attentions. So far, if this is a dream, Rey is utterly delighted not to have woken up quite yet. She makes a soft, eager noise, and in the darkness, Kylo looks up at her.
Crawling further up her body, he falls into her embrace, careful to lay beside her so as not to crush her with his weight.
Rey realizes, somewhat hazily, that he still has his clothing on—her clothing, whatever. The t-shirt strains under his muscles when she wraps her arms around him and caresses up and down his spine, eliciting a deep, contented purr. But the sweatpants… Rey can feel him, now, how he is hard and eager, hips rutting just once against her thigh as he wraps his limbs around her.
“What about you?” she says.
Kylo makes a low growl, and flexes his hips, almost experimentally, against her. Rey shivers, not only from the feel of his big, powerful body in her arms, but also from the cool air on her wet cunt.
“I want what you want,” he says at last; Rey can feel the words rumble in his chest, and through hers. It feels like she’s just been hit by a sex freight train and they haven’t even done it yet. She very, very much wants to do it—especially if this is just a dream. It feels right, feels good, to jump on that as soon as possible.
But she’s so tired.
“Sleep,” he says, and he kisses her neck again, right at her collarbone. Rey moves against him, eager for more, but deeply weary.
“Sleep,” he says again, a soft whisper on her skin.
Rey closes her eyes, and obeys.
It’s barely morning when Rey awakens. She can just see, through the skylight, the faintest trails of dawn outside. She smiles, shivers a little, and rolls towards the memory of where her lover’s body had been.
All she finds is…
Rey opens her eyes, and sits up in bed, lifting up the lime-green t-shirt and grey sweatpants, her mind awash with confusion that, thankfully, isn’t due to head trauma this time.
What the hell…
Carefully, she gets to her feet; she’s wearing only her pajama top, with no bottoms, and her cunt throbs just a little at the memory of his mouth. The presence of the clothes in her bed suggests that, no, it hadn’t been a dream. But that meant he had taken everything off, and, what, gone downstairs?
Rey doesn’t understand.
But then, as she looks back over the balcony, she does.
The statue is there.
Back to cold marble, frozen in the same place as before. Rey stands there, staring, before tugging on his discarded sweatpants, tightening up the oversized waistband, and nearly sliding her way down the stairs to examine it.
How can this be?
What the hell is going on?
Her hands trace his form once more, sweeping down from his pectorals to the flat, muscular abdomen. His pose, the very same pose. His eyes, facing forward. His hand, reaching.
His mouth, just as soft and plush and wonderful—but marble, stone, very much not alive.
“What are you?” Rey asks, to the statue.
The statue, naturally, does not reply.
Okay, she thinks. Okay. Be reasonable. There are only a few possibilities for what happened last night.
Rey stands in her shower, lathering up her hair and turning the whole experience over in her mind like a toddler trying to understand a TED talk on astrophysics given by Lightning McQueen in Albanian. She’s even too distracted to appreciate the consistently great water pressure and high temperature in her shower, which is a definite sign of how fucking weird things are.
There are two possibilities, really, when she breaks it down into some semblance of logical analysis.
Either what happened last night was real, or it wasn’t.
Either her statue really did come alive—somehow—and eat her out like she was an all-you-can-eat pussy buffet, or he didn’t.
If he had—Rey doesn’t want to even try to explain that, so she switches over to the mental column marked ‘Dreamed It’ and goes down the list there. It could’ve been a reaction to pain medication, or to wine, or just a general sense of exhaustion. She could be dealing with some kind of real, psychotic break—although, her mind replied, what a fucking way to go, right?
No. No. She shouldn’t even joke about something like that. She goes silly, absurd, because beneath it all is terror. Losing her mind is frightening. It can’t be true.
But if she was losing her mind, then why had she woken up so… sated, and content? Why had it felt so real? Her body still throbbed from the memory of his mouth, and she had vivid dreams, but never ones that vivid.
It just didn’t make sense.
After she’d walked around the statue, Rey had gone into her kitchen, seen the two mugs of now-cold tea, waiting there on the counter, just as she remembered. She had seen the spill of honey, and the bottle, still left on its side. The baseball bat had been on the counter, and his clothing had been on her bed.
Rey finishes her shower, emerging from the stall with no better answers than what she’d brought inside. The layout of her home—with the kitchen and bathroom bracketing either side of the front entryway, tucked underneath the loft upstairs, means that Rey has to go by the statue on her way back to get her clothing from her dresser. Her eyes seem to be glued on the white marble body, the pose exactly the same as it was before—hell, she can even see the carving marks, the lines that form the shape of his hair.
His lovely, thick, soft, dark hair.
And those eyes: Deep and sweet, like burnt caramel, warm amber.
Rey shivers, and wraps her towel more tightly around her body. Her hands ache to touch him once more. But he's stone. He isn't real.
He'd been so warm, so alive...
Impossible, and yet… there’s no other explanation.
Rey goes up the stairs, and gets dressed for the day. But as she’s puzzling over all of this, pulling on a pair of socks, a new thought occurs to her.
Mr. Snoke is coming to collect the statue.
Rey fumbles with her cell phone, checking the date she’d marked on her calendar, the date he’d set for pick-up.
I’ll send a truck for pick-up in three days, that’s what he had said. And there’s no way she’s going to call and cancel, and forfeit all of her payment, just because of some really intense dreams. Just because she had left the honey out, and the tea, and the baseball bat, that doesn’t mean someone actually had visited her last night. And just because there had been clothes in her bed when she’d woken up… she might’ve just had them cling to the sheets in the dryer, only found them now and her mind had filled in the rest.
Her mind searches for a rational explanation, but her heart feels disconnected with this logic.
This gives her three remaining days to… well, to have the statue, at the very least. To look on him and appreciate her work and… and maybe the dreams, or—whatever that had been. Are they going to go, when he does?
Like everything else, Rey has no answers.
Her plans had been set today to meet Rose, Paige, and Kaydel for a girls’ day, and there’s nothing at all to be gained by staying home and staring at a statue instead, so Rey goes. She knows how bummed Rose will be if she cancels, too, so, with a reluctant backwards glance at her statue, and after taking a quick minute to double-check the locks on her back garage door, Rey grabs her purse, hoodie, and shoes, and sits down near her front entryway, waiting for Rose’s cart to pull up on the curb.
She tugs her trainers on, and ties the laces.
Rose pulls up, after a minute or two of Rey playing on her phone, scrolling aimlessly through articles about things she immediately forgets. Her mind can't hold a thought at all.
When Rose honks twice, Rey jumps to her feet and grabs her keys from the hook by the door.
She’s determined to have a good time, find something in reality that reminds her of being awake, and alive.
it almost works.
She can’t sleep at all, though, after Rose drops her off that night. Rey had purposefully kept her drink count to one, despite the girls’ teasing comments. Rose, who had known that Rey hadn’t been feeling well the night before, lovingly told them to back off, and Rey was grateful for it… but she dared not tell them the real reason why she wanted to keep a clear head.
Rey had kicked off her shoes and hung up her purse when she’d come in, locking her front door and going over to the kettle to make more tea. The sight of the two cold mugs still sitting there makes her start a little, but she dumps them, throws away the bags, and readies a fresh pot of hot water, thinking.
Odds are, she’s mis-remembering the whole thing. But just in case she isn’t—and that’s a fucking huge if—Rey is going to be careful and thoughtful.
In her… dream, or fantasy, or vision, or whatever, the man hadn’t appeared until she’d been in bed. But Rey doesn’t want to go up to bed. So she fills her tea mug and drops in a black tea bag, with enough caffeine to ensure she isn’t likely to pass out on the couch. Then she takes the mug, and her laptop, over to the couch, and wraps herself up in the blanket there, glancing up on the marble, watching it like an eager puppy, waiting for her owner to come home for walkies.
The time, when she opens her laptop and looks, is just after ten pm. 10:18, to be precise. Rey makes a note of it, and pulls up Netflix, scrolling through her just-watched list and choosing something fun and inoffensive, something that isn’t too heavy, but will definitely keep her awake. It’s a period drama, and she’s on the second episode out of four; the strings of the theme begin, and soon enough, the stern mill owner is gazing down his long, distinctive nose at the lovely daughter of the disgraced minister…
Rey watches for five distracted minutes; the show is really quite good, and under any other circumstances, this would’ve been distracting enough, but tonight, it’s not in the slightest. She pauses the show, and pulls up a new tab on her browser.
What does she remember about last night?
She closes her eyes.
The marble. The movement of the shadows, passing in front of the moon, the—
Her eyes fly open, and she types a search into the browser’s address bar, expectant and eager as she waits for the page to load.
Moon rise , the search term says.
Rey clicks the link. And it all clicks into place.
He had awakened with the moon rise. According to the chart, the time she had woken up could have been the time that the moon had been rising on the horizon… but the moon had still been up when she’d found the clothes in the bed.
Rey looks at the chart and the time of tonight’s moon rise sears itself permanently into her brain.
It’s in about three hours.
Rey can wait.
If she’s wrong, then she’ll chalk it up to a very, very vivid dream. Possible concussion side-effects. She almost hopes she is wrong, because the rest of it is…
Rey starts a timer on her phone for five minutes before the page’s chart says moon rise will be for her area. Then she starts the show again, blows on her tea to cool it, and tries not to listen to the pounding of her racing, anxious heart.
The show is very good, but it doesn’t work at all as a suitable distraction. She watches the flicker of the images and processes nothing whatsoever about the plot.
And when her alarm goes off, Rey just about jumps out of her skin, slamming her hand down on the space bar to pause the show—now onto episode three.
She casts off her blanket, and sets down her mug, and walks in stocking feet to her statue.
He’s still the same.
Still cold stone, unyielding marble. Rey doesn’t dare touch him.
The seconds seem to tick by like hours, like lifetimes.
Three. Then two, then one.
Then, it’s down to breathless seconds. Rey’s hands itch to touch the stone, perhaps wanting to reassure herself, if this is all a strange echo of a dream, that she is safe, and sane. But she resists the urge. And waits.
Rey waits a little longer, something between relief and longing running through her veins.
And she’s just about to turn away from him, and head up to bed in resignation, when she hears the tiniest, faintest, subtlest of cracks.
Rey turns, wide-eyed, and looks up into the statue’s face.
It happens by degrees, then all at once: First, the skin of the marble shivers, like the air around a tuning fork being struck. It ripples, and little puffs of dust rise from it, little chips of marble scattering like falling stars, pinging to the concrete floor. Little chips, which cease to exist, the moment Rey glances down at them. Then, the chest expands, and Rey takes a step back, covering her mouth with her hands.
She can’t explain how it happens, only that one moment, she’s staring up into white, sightless eyes, and the next, warm brown ones are staring down at her.
Loving, human, real eyes.
He stretches, the muscles, now awakened, rippling under his pale-cream skin. The imperfections in the stone, just as she had known them to be placed in the weeks it had taken her to fashion him, now settle in like beauty marks.
Just like before.
He smiles at her, and he steps down from the base, and stands before her, alive.
This is real.
Rey lets out a sob, and finds that she doesn’t know whether to run to him, or away.
“You’re here,” he says—and Rey thinks, I should be the one saying that… but she can’t speak.
The marble—Kylo, her Kylo—raises his arms.
Without thinking, Rey walks into his embrace.
He feels so good. Like a lover, returned from a long journey. One her body knows, and welcomes. One who knows her, who desires her.
She has so many questions.
“How long do we have?” she asks him, as he arches his tall, strong body over hers, nipping at the exposed skin at her neck, nuzzling back the edge of her sweater to try and taste more of her skin.
“Until the sun rises,” he murmurs in reply.
Rey groans from desire and from the feel of his deep voice, rolling in waves through her body. She bends back for him and clings to him as he kisses her.
“Until daylight, I am yours,” he says.
“Then take me to bed,” she replies, flinging her arms around his neck, feeling him lift her and carry her as if she weighs nothing at all; her legs wrap around his waist, and she kisses him at last, tasting that plush, perfect mouth.
He kisses her like he knows her.
And the remainder of Rey’s abundant and twisting questions are thrown to the wayside; she doesn’t want to waste a second in his arms.
Upstairs, he stands before her, tugging at her clothing, until Rey smiles softly, and pushes him down to her bed with a hand on his waist. Her touch, a little cold, makes his abs flinch, makes him huff softly with unexpected laughter. Then he obeys her, and lays back, his body like a painting on her sprigged cotton sheets, long and sturdy. There’s just so much of him to look at. Rey is momentarily awestruck by the sight of him there, but as her eyes drift down to his cock, she remembers what they’re both waiting for, and she tugs the hem of her shirt up and over her head, throwing it somewhere in the darkness.
Underneath, the little lace bralette comes off, too. She can see his hips flex in response to seeing her breasts, and it makes her feel powerful, adored, desired, like nothing else and no other man has made her feel.
She shimmies out of her jeans, and straddles him on the bed, her hands going to his cock. It’s what they both want, Rey can just feel it; in her hands, his shaft pulses and twitches, as eager and alive as the rest of him. His hands clench at his sides, then grasp at her knees, trying to tug her forward.
Rey looks up at him, and sees the line of his jaw, his head tilted back, mouth pressed in a set line.
She looks back down; her hands barely circle his dick.
“We’ll… go slowly,” she says, mostly to herself, because not only has it been a while, she’s never even attempted to take a toy this size. Intellectually she knows he’ll fit, but she’s not really thinking intellectually in the present moment.
“Whatever you desire,” he answers, mostly on a groan.
His cock is perfect. Rey almost laughs at the thought. Generally speaking, genitals aren’t known for their picturesque beauty. Vulvas tend to be tidier, secret, hidden, especially demure in artwork and sculpture, but penises aren’t known for their beauty or perfection. Plenty of jokes have been made about how cocks look like were mostly made out of leftover wrinkly elbow skin, and most of the jokes are, frankly, justified… Rey has never had the occasion to really appreciate the beauty of a perfect dick.
“I am as you have made me,” he answers—Rey doesn’t want to think about whether he’s somehow read her thoughts, or whether she’s said them, part or all, out loud. She just knows that if she licks him, it will be that much longer before he’s in her, and that’s unbearable.
Rey pumps her hand over his shaft a few more times, across the red, wet head of him, catching on the foreskin, making it glide like silk with each of her movements.
“Okay,” she says, adjusting herself to straddle above him, pointing his cock where she throbs, needy and wet and empty. “Slowly, slow…”
He only pants for her, holding her hips but not moving her, despite the tension Rey can feel in his forearms. Rey lowers herself down onto him, making an obscene noise that she can’t help as he splits her wide.
“Fuck,” is all Rey can manage to say. She groans, and settles down fully, taking his cock impossibly deep. Her body stretches to accommodate him, and for a few long moments, it’s all she can do but hold onto his forearms and let her body adjust. But then, when the stretch turns into something deeper, something more urgent and wild, she tucks up her feet a little closer to his thighs, and that moves her on his dick, and he can’t help it, the noise he makes, too. He also clearly can’t help the buck of his hips, subtle but needy, or the way he worries his lower lip between his teeth.
He’s waiting for her, Rey realizes.
“It’s too—” she starts to say, but that’s not true, not entirely. He is a lot, but not too much.
She’s just overwhelmed. One experimental rise and fall atop him, and Rey already feels like her legs are going to give out.
“I need— ” Why can’t she speak?
Carefully, he sits up, hands caressing her bare back. He flips them over, staying inside of her as she wraps her legs around him, allows him to lower her down to her bed.
“Fuck me,” she begs. It’s not coy or sexy or teasing, it’s honest desperation.
If he doesn’t fuck the ever-loving shit out of her, Rey is probably going to cry, or explode, or both.
But, thankfully, he has no qualms about doing precisely what she’s asked.
The first thrust is amazing.
The second, a little harder, and it makes her eyes roll back.
The third, and Rey clings to his shoulders, and totally gives up any attempts at meeting him or participating in any useful way. She just lays there, spread wide for him, split open for him, as he fucks her with steady precision. His chest, pressed against hers. Her hands, curling into claws, desperate for warmth and sensation under every fingertip. Each thrust hits a spot inside of her that she knows she’s never hit with a vibrator, each little grind and circle of his hips pushes against her swollen, oversensitive clit.
It takes only a handful of thrusts more, until Rey is shuddering and gasping, the orgasm cresting over her. It’s undeniable, achingly powerful. She clings to him, cries out her pleasure into his skin, and he fucks her through it. It’s good, so fucking good. Rey feels like she’s still on the plateau, as if a second orgasm will just shake through her veins, but—
“You,” she groans, as his hips piston against hers, as his warm breath huffs on her neck and the muscles of his back bunch and move with exertion. “What about you? I need you, come for me, come in me, Kylo, I need you to come—”
It hits him by surprise, from the sound of his sudden gasp and high, needy groan. It’s like he isn’t expecting it—like it’s a gift. His hips stutter, and he drives in, so deep that Rey is convinced she could probably feel him rearranging her organs if she put her hand over her belly. He shakes apart as he comes, hands gripping her tightly, like he’s trying to fuse his body to hers and never let her go.
Rey feels warm tears slide down the sides of her temples, into her hair; yet again, the thought occurs to her that everyone looks universally ridiculous when they come, but this… he looks almost awestruck. Grateful. Overwhelmed.
Slowly, when the tremors in his arms become too much for him to hold himself up, Kylo rolls off of her and to the side, avoiding crushing her with his massive body.
Rey laughs out loud.
It takes him several long moments to catch his breath. Rey plays idly with his hair, pushes it off of his sweaty brow, trails her fingertips down his body in soft appreciation. When he does speak, his words surprise her.
Rey stills. Her hand, hovering over his flesh.
“Never felt that before,” he says. “Inside… being with… with you, inside you...”
Rey suddenly surfaces from her lust-haze, and her hand flattens itself across the proud curve of his biceps. She’s just… had that been his first time? She supposes it was—if he truly had been made flesh, made real, only one night ago. This is all so strange and wonderful, though. The moment stretches out, soft and lazy, pleasure-warm.
“What do you remember?” she finally asks him.
He nuzzles gently and sleepily against her neck. “The dreams… I fell asleep in the forest, but then, you were there, and… When it was cold, you would touch me, and then… I thought you were a dream. The only dream I ever… And then you… called to me.”
Rey, who remembers just what she’d been doing when she’d finally given in to her absurd desires, blushes a little. She tugs the blanket out from under her side, and draws it over them.
“I thought I dreamed you, too,” she whispers, cuddling him close. “I thought I was going mad, actually. Still not entirely convinced I’m not.”
He murmurs gently, wordlessly against her hair. Shamelessly emboldened, Rey tucks herself against him, long along the solid left side of his body, and her own left hand slides down, over his taut belly, his hip, his thigh, then moving up to feel his—
“You’re still hard,” she says.
“Yes?” her lover replies, lifting his head a little to look down at her in the moon-lit darkness.
Well, Rey thinks. This is brand new information.
“Do you…?” she swallows. “We could…”
“Whatever you desire,” is his low, solemn vow of an answer. Rey gives his impossibly hard, huge dick another squeeze that she hopes is reassuring—marble, she thinks; the man is made of marble—and allows him to lift her atop his thighs. Marble or no, she’s still slick with his fluids and hers, a little swollen, but worked open this time. Rey adjusts, and slides down on him, letting out a shaky, over-sensitive sigh.
“Let’s do that again,” she says.
So they do.
Rey coaxes his hands up, to hold her hips the way she likes.
She urges him on, tells him he’s good, so good, everything she’s ever wanted.
He looks at her like she’s a revelation—like she’s been formed for him, not—
“Can you come again, Kylo?” Rey practically babbles it, begging him, she needs to hear him. “I want it, I want you—”
“Yes,” he says, “anything, let me give you everything.”
Rey doesn’t really know what either of them are saying, only that she’s riding his cock urgently, desperately, like she hasn’t just had a world-breaking orgasm. Poised like this, straddling his hips, finding a rhythm that makes them both moan—Rey can’t think. Her brain has turned off. It’s like he’s inside her mind, as well as inside of her body; it’s like he knows what she wants before she does. Like her pleasure is fueling his desire—like he’s made precisely for her.
He brings her off again, then, when she tugs his hands frantically to her hips once more, he moves beneath her like some primal force, lifting her up with her legs wrapped around him.
Kylo takes her up against the wall, holding her like her weight is utterly inconsequential, like her pleasure is his singular focus. He grinds into her slowly, purposefully, watching her face until Rey has to look away from the intensity of his gaze. It would be so easy to slip away, forget everything, even him—but Rey craves the sound of his exultant pleasure, almost as much as she craves her own release.
And finally, finally, she coaxes him to let go.
It’s beautiful—just as beautiful as he is.
“How much more time do we have?”
Rey is dozing in his solid embrace, fighting off sleep. Her desire seems to be boundless—but her whole body aches now, well-used and sated beyond all belief.
Kylo is watching her, laying in her bed.
“A few more minutes,” he whispers. “I can feel the pull…”
“There’s so many things I want to ask you, Kylo.”
Rey sighs. She doesn’t know where to start. It’s like everything he is, every cell in his strange, impossible body is singing to her. She feels him, in her blood, in her bones. He is hers, and she is his. What does she truly need to know beyond that?
So many things. An uncountable number.
“When you’re… when you’re stone, can you see? Can you feel?” Rey asks, choosing one of her thousand questions almost at random.
He makes a thoughtful, contemplative noise. “Yes, but… it’s… indistinct. Cold.”
Then he turns, and looks down at her. How she loves his features, his sharp nose, his full mouth…
“I see you, though,” Kylo continues, voice soft. “When you are there. I can almost hear your voice.”
Rey nestles closer to him, wrapping her arms around him as if that could halt the inevitable return. “I don’t understand… how can I keep you? What can I do to make you stay?”
“I don’t know,” comes his honest reply. “I… I don’t even think I was alive, before you dreamed me into your world. Maybe this… maybe this is all we have.”
Rey tries to suppress a shudder. She can’t—won’t think about that.
“But I could be happy, if this was all I had been granted,” Kylo continues, his voice a purr of contentment and unconscious seduction. “I am happy, just like this. If you give me your nights, I will give you anything, anything you ask...”
“Please don’t leave me,” Rey whispers. Because that’s what she truly wants to ask.
Even though she knows that he cannot give it to her.
But when she holds him tight, the world around her tilts for a moment. There’s a sound that’s more like a feeling—a reverberation, the echo of a silent thunderclap.
In an instant, her arms are empty.
She gets to her feet, winces at the deep throb between her legs—carved out of marble indeed—and goes to look down over the edge of her balcony, down to the studio.
And the statue.
Just where she left him.
Rey covers her face with her hands, and stumbles back into her bed. Sleep hits her, and her dreams are formless, aching, and vanish with the first light of day.
Rey sleeps in past eleven the next day and wakes deeply disoriented and feeling like she’s been unconscious for weeks, not hours. The strange dream-state of last night now no longer frightens her, the way it once had. Maybe it’s because she can feel the echoes of their lovemaking, fierce and hard and perfect, in the cradle of her sore thighs this morning—
No. That had been real. There’s no earthly way she might have… wanked herself into this amount of post-sex soreness. Now she acknowledges it, the reality of the situation, the impossibility and yet the veracity. It's just that if this is all real, if she can no longer deny it, then there's a deeper, more terrible truth yet to come.
The statue, after all, has an owner.
And it isn't her.
She makes some eggs and toast and tea just because her stomach demands something, anything—but the entire time she stands in her kitchen, she can’t keep herself from looking at the statue every few seconds. Just to make sure it’s still there.
Rey eats her breakfast but doesn’t hardly taste it at all. When she puts her plate in the sink, and her mug on the counter, she gives in, at last, to the pull back to Kylo.
His body is so beautiful.
Rey caresses him shamelessly now—she’s had that perfect cock inside of her, although now it hangs thick and solid against his marble thigh. If he is in there, if he can hear her and see her, maybe he can feel her, too. Rey tries not to think about how awful it must be, trapped and frozen; she wants to make sure he knows he’s not alone.
“You made me feel so good, Kylo,” Rey says.
Her left hand is still on his cock, and her right, she slips into her underwear, between her legs.
“This is for you,” she whispers, swiping two fingers around her sodden, tender entrance, then bringing them up to smear across his beautiful mouth. “Will you let me taste you tonight?”
Her left hand works on his shaft; he can’t move for her, of course. Not like this. But maybe he can feel her touch, wherever he is. She crouches down on her haunches, leans forward, and licks at his cock. It doesn’t taste like skin, but—
Out of nowhere, someone rings her doorbell.
Rey just about falls to her face, catching herself just in time on the edge of Kylo’s base, narrowly avoiding the second concussion in a week, as she stands. She’s only in underwear and an oversized t-shirt, so whoever it is needs to either wait until she’s dressed or go the fuck away.
She tiptoes over to the front door, trying not to alert whoever it is that she’s there, in case she needs to pretend like she isn’t.
When she peers through the peephole, she lets out a sigh of relief.
Just a package being delivered.
Rey waits until the driver is back in the van, and then carefully cracks open the door to bring it inside. Just something she’d ordered a few weeks ago, Rey thinks, as she checks the label.
When she turns back, the statue immediately draws her attention once more. The joke about package delivery is right there on the tip of her tongue—as is the taste of dust, a memory of what she had just been doing. She’d… licked him. Rey feels ashamed of this, like she’d been outside of herself, out of control, surrendering to base desires. Licking stone like that.
He's real; whatever magic it is, whatever strangeness, it has brought him to her.
But she's made him for someone else. Someone who expects to take him. Rey can't easily take a statue in a car and leave town.
Taking the package upstairs, Rey forces herself to turn her back on the statue. She decides, after two steps, that she has to get out of the house, just to prove that she can. So she goes up, tosses the package on her bed, and goes to go dig out her running shorts, sports bra, and a t-shirt.
Rey ties her shoes, and takes her keys, and heads outside.
She runs, until her hips ache from something else. Until her lungs ache from breathing, not moaning. Until her face stings with the cold wind, and not from her tears.
Rey waits upstairs, in her bed, for moon rise that night.
This is the last night we have, she thinks, but the thought was terrifying, not reassuring.
She felt it—she knew in her body—when he changed once more. Rey closes her eyes and didn’t move, not pretending to be asleep, just… there. His footsteps are unmistakable. It feels like she's paralyzed.
Oh god, she thinks. That voice…
“You gave me just a taste of you, but I want more.” Her mattress moves, and she just knows that he is near. She can feel his body heat, the nearness of him. “And those other things you promised, Rey…”
Rey doesn’t resist when he rolls her over. But she doesn’t open her eyes, either.
“Love,” he says, with such heartbreaking sweetness. “You called me, and I came to you… why are you hiding from me? Are you… ashamed?”
“No,” she says— shouldn't answer the men in your head, Rey; they’ll just keep talking to you —”I’m… afraid.”
Her eyes fly open at this, and his face, his beautiful, familiar, lovely face greets her. He’s worried, perplexed, and… and fully nude, crawling over her body on the bed. His solid arms bracket her hips, and his dark hair falls across his brow.
“Then… of what?”
“I’m afraid of… of this,” Rey says, her words exhaling on a sigh as his mouth works a line of soft, steady kisses, all down the line of her right collarbone. “What happens, when it's over.”
He murmurs a soft, wordless reassurance at the center of her sternum, right over her heart, and then repeats the line of kisses, starting at the mirrored position near her left shoulder, down, down, down.
“Because it will be over,” Rey whimpers, more to herself than to him, because his kisses certain feel real, and his hair in her hands, that feels real as well. “And you'll go, and then what will I do...”
“You’re afraid to want what you want,” Kylo answers her. “Your body knows the truth, but your mind…”
“This doesn’t happen, alright?” Rey says, only a little hysterically, because frankly it’s hard to focus when the most perfect specimen of a man is licking his way around her pebbled nipples. “Statues… don’t come to life… They just don’t.”
“There’s more magic in our world than we know,” Kylo says, with a soft smile. “More things in heaven and on earth—”
“No, I’m being serious,” Rey says, as seriously as someone can be who’s halfway to coming just from the caress of a near-godly tongue on her tits. “This is wonderful, and you make me feel… like nothing, no-one ever has, but—”
“You’re afraid of what you feel,” Kylo says, tilting his head up, looking at her curiously. “You’re afraid to have the things you ask for.”
“Without your touch, I am stone,” he says, and his head dips down again, pressing more kisses down the center of her sternum, down to her belly. “I might not understand this either, but.. Don’t be afraid of me—or of what you feel. Of wanting.”
Rey closes her eyes, and lets the full-body shiver course through her. What’s the point in questioning this, she thinks to herself, as his hands grip her hips, breath warm on her mound. She parts her legs for him, and gives herself over to the heaven that is his mouth.
He’s hungry, after all. He’s never had such a glorious feast. And who would she be to deny him?
Her strange, unknowable lover takes her every way they can think of, that precious night, in those precious hours.
She feels him lift her, carry her, love her, bend her body every way he wishes; she urges him to take her, to find pleasure in her, to do whatever it is he wants. The love and trust in his gaze humbles her, even as his body brings her to heights the likes of which nothing in this world or out of it are likely to bring her again.
Rey weeps, at last, when she rides him, and he kisses away her tears.
The words she knows she needs to say lie leaden on her tongue. This man, this beautiful man, who has been formed for her every desire, who has vowed to never leave her—he can't stay forever. Even if his flesh is warm and sweet, even if his mouth is soft and the noises that rumble up from the base of his throat reverberate with pleasure and joy and surprise… Rey knows that this night will end as every other night has ended. He will return to his cold, lifeless state. And when the moonlight touches his marble skin once more, he’ll be alone.
She will be the one who has failed him. Left him.
“Shh,” he says, mistaking her tears for some other emotion. “No, don’t cry, don’t cry now, let me—”
“No,” Rey says, although her pleasure-drunk body could probably find space for yet one more climax, beneath his expert, custom-crafted touch. “Just… lay with me. Hold me. I need that, now.”
“We’ll have this,” Kylo answers, and folds his long body around hers, as instructed. “Isn’t this enough? Can this be enough?”
It won’t ever be.
But the truth catches in her throat.
She wants… she wants so much. She wants him forever. She wants him to be real . And she doesn’t know what magic it is, why it works, or when it will stop.
“When you go,” Rey manages, forcing herself to say something, anything, before their time is through. “Where do you return to?”
He sighs. Holds her close. “Darkness. I can’t see beyond my hands. I move and I… I can’t get anywhere.”
Rey winces; tears roll down her face. She has to think of something, anything, to stop what she’s put in motion. They can’t take him, they can’t.
“But then, I get to be here, with you,” he continues, voice low and sated and content and trusting. “Only this. This is what I want.”
Oh god, she thinks. What have I done?
The truck arrives, bright and early on a Saturday morning. Rey hears the deep rumble of its engine like the tolling of a death knell. Yet again, after falling asleep, limbs tangled with her strange, otherworldly lover, she wakes alone. Yet again, peering over the edge of her bedroom loft and looking down into the main studio area, she finds him, Kylo, frozen in white marble, looking precisely as she had made him. The hand, reaching out. The other, curling. The gaze, resolute.
She hadn’t meant to fall asleep.
She’d wanted so much to be there to witness it when whatever strange power it was pulled him back into that form. But she’d fallen asleep in his warm arms. And now she was here, frantic, scrambling.
Rey tugs on clothing as the truck engine outside rumbles and dies; she nearly trips on her way down the narrow staircase, rushing to her creation.
“Please,” she whispers, kissing his cold, still skin. “I don’t want you to go…”
He’s so much taller than her, and the addition of the plinth on which he stands means Rey can’t kiss his cheek. Instead, she settles for the side of his taut, muscular torso. This had been where she’d touched him last night. When he’d been atop her, inside of her. Rey caresses his hand, too, and prays to any and all gods who are listening to please give it warmth. Please, uncurl the carved fingers, let her feel his warmth just once more.
“Can you hear me, in there?” she whispers. “Kylo, if you can hear me, know that I will always, always—”
A knock sounds at her back door. The heavy tromp of boots; workers approaching.
A muffled voice. Laughter.
Rey pulls her hands away from the marble. She wipes them on her jeans.
She goes, and opens the door.
Mr. Snoke smiles down at her, his grin widening into a triumphant leer.
“Good morning,” he says. “May I come in?”
Rey stands aside and holds the door open as her client enters her studio. There’s two other workers waiting outside, and a moving truck backed up to the garage door. One worker is stout, and burly, and the other is sturdy, if a little leaner; they’re both wearing matching red t-shirts and bored expressions.
Mr. Snoke walks into her studio, and his gaze snaps immediately to the sculpture.
He owns it, Rey reminds herself, when instinct tells her to scratch his eyes out. Instead, she curls her hands into fists, nails biting at her tender palms, and she watches him approach, and circle the piece.
“Is it… to your liking?” Rey hears herself say.
The buyer makes a noncommittal grunt, one that Rey cannot interpret. Part of her — the part of her who was always an eager student, yearning to please, craving approval and praise — hopes that he can placate her fears with a word of approval. But those fears, they’re just a fragment of the racing terror within her veins. If he hates it, she can keep it. That’s the only option she’s thought of; she has no leverage, and no way to explain what it is she desires. Mr. Snoke’s hands reach to touch the marble, trailing down the scar that — not the scar, not in this form, just the darker vein of the pale white stone, the line the creases the statue’s cheek.
He turns to look at her, and frowns.
“What is this?
“N-natural variations in the stone,” Rey starts to say, hating the waver in her voice, begging the universe, any uncaring god that clearly isn’t listening to her, to strengthen her spine. “Each piece arrives… there are natural flaws, in any piece of — ”
“It is substandard quality stone,” Mr. Snoke cuts across her, turning back to the statue, a sneer deepening on his face. “I did not ask for a flawed piece. I asked for a perfect piece.”
“How was I to know what was inside the piece, until I cut into it?” Rey protests, coming around to face him, standing to the right of the statue. Outside, she can see the two workmen talking, smoking. They look like they’re here to move a piece of furniture. “Some would say… the natural variations are what give the piece its character.”
Mr. Snoke snorts with derision. “I did not ask you for character . I did not pay you for character.”
“So you… you don’t want it?” Rey asks.
She’s cashed his deposit check, used it to pay rent and buy food, but she’ll scratch out a loan somewhere, anywhere, if he asks for it back. Something like a glow of hope flickers in her chest.
If Mr. Snoke doesn’t want it, then she… then she can keep it. Keep him. Her midnight lover, her strange gift. The other half of her soul.
They can’t take him; she can’t bear it.
Mr. Snoke’s smile grows cold, and faintly cruel. “I contracted to purchase it from you, and so I shall. He’ll simply be… put in a place befitting his… quality.”
Rey knows this is meant to be an insult to her, the sculptor. In any other circumstance, in any other moment, that’s precisely what it would be to her. But instead, it fills her with something strange. Grief, she thinks. That this beautiful thing will never be seen and appreciated and loved. That his sightless eyes will remain fixed on some bleak wall, some dark and useless storage closet. She doesn’t cry for the insult to her work. She cries that Kylo is going to be taken from her, frozen, like this, forever. Because instinctively, she knows that whatever it is that brought him life won't be there when he is taken from her.
“Please,” she says, then clears her throat. “Please, if you… I’ll give you back your deposit, all of it. If he’s — if the piece isn’t to your liking, I can — ”
Mr. Snoke scoffs, and reaches inside his jacket, to the inner pocket; he withdraws a wallet. “Don’t be so theatrical. I’ll take him, as I said I would.”
He hands Rey a check. With shaking hands, she takes it. It’s like her brain is on autopilot.
A wrenching, grinding noise coming from her left makes her jump; it’s just her studio’s massive, old, garage door, being rolled up by one of the two workers.
She steps back as Mr. Snoke brushes past her, narrowly avoiding getting her feet stepped on. There’s nothing she can do; the statue belongs to him, now. Why can’t she speak? Why has a cold wash of fear sealed her mouth shut, frozen her limbs, rendered her utterly incapable of articulating her thoughts? What can she say that will make any sense at all? Please, don’t buy this statue, even though you’ve already given me thousands of dollars for it, because it comes alive at night and fucks me senseless and I love it? Rey can’t speak.
The workers move to strap the statue to a dolly. Mr. Snoke frets and scowls as they work.
Rey slowly backs up to the counter, feels it connect with the back of her thighs. Her feet are bare, and cold. Everything is cold.
“Don’t — ” she begins, but the workers scrape the stone across the floor.
“Careful, you blundering fools!” Mr. Snoke exclaims.
“Please,” Rey tries again, “Please, let me keep him…”
Mr. Snoke does hear this. He turns, and gives her a look. Or, more properly, gives the check in her hand a look. “Now isn’t the time to renegotiate a higher payment.”
That’s not what she meant at all. Why won’t they listen? Why can’t she —
One of the workers curses; the sound of the dolly’s wheels snaps, echoes through her studio like a gunshot.
Rey watches, horror-struck, as the statue lists sideways. She watches, frozen in time, as both of the workers slide around in an attempt to catch it. They do, but — the bottom corner of the marble base slides, connecting with her concrete floor.
The impact reverberates up through the statue with a sound like a dead body thrown into a frozen river. Rey can only watch, paralyzed with horror, as it shatters in their arms.
Mr. Snoke doesn’t even try to salvage the statue. They all know there is no salvaging. He just turns on Rey, rages at her.
The marble was weak! Flawed! Any fool could’ve seen—
Rey can’t hear him.
She can’t feel it, when he tears the check out of her clenched fist.
She can’t see it, when he and the workers leave, driving off in their truck, leaving the door to her studio space wide open.
All she can see, and feel, and touch, are the shattered shards of her creation. A pile of jagged stones on a cold concrete floor. All she can hear is the sound of her own weeping as she drapes her body across it.
Kylo is gone.
And both Rey and the marble are shattered.
She doesn’t get up.
She doesn’t move.
At some point, the tears stop coming, but only because her whole body has given up in grief-stricken weariness.
Sleep claims her. Deep and dreamless.
There is no sun-warmed gladiator there to welcome her. There is no knight, to lay down his sword at her feet. There is no forest, no soft moss to bear his body down.
No skin to caress, no promises.
Rey is alone.
Rey wakes, bleary-eyed, and pushes up from the pile of useless stones to look around the room. The clock on her microwave reads 11:48. It’s… before noon, still technically morning. This surprises her, the sense of utter disconnection from time and from reality itself. The only thing that feels real at all anymore is her body. She’s cramped and stiff and uncomfortable from having slept in such a strange position, but beyond that, her entire body feels weary and wrong. Her face is puffy, her lips chapped, her throat dry.
She cannot even bear to look at the stones.
Rey startles, though, when she scans across the room; there, propped up against the wall, hidden behind boards and other scrap pieces and some moving boxes, is the original clay sculpture, the mold of Kylo, before she had known him, formed him. But unfired clay cracks eventually, and it was never made to be permanent; it’s already starting to crumble.
It’s just not the same. It’s not him .
Rey stands in the middle of her room, and tries to think. How can she move on from this? How can she function?
Rey looks at her shop-vac, and bursts into tears again; she can’t just vacuum up the mess of her most beautiful creation. The thought of it is unbearable, unthinkable. Slowly, with shaking hands, she reaches down, and lifts up the piece of his face, shattered, bisected by the scar—no, the flaw in the stone. In her hands she cradles it, just the right side of his face, his proud nose, his full mouth, his right eye. The rest of it crumbles in her hands.
She holds it to her chest, feeling as dry as the dust that coats her floor.
Kylo, she thinks. Kylo, don’t leave me, don’t leave me.
There are no tears left inside of her. She is a desert, windswept and shattered and barren. But somehow, as she holds his face, she tilts it away from his chest for one last, painful look. And one single tear rolls down her nose, splashing on the corner of the statue’s carved, sightless eye. It looks as if he is crying too.
Rey stumbles to her staircase, makes her way back upstairs.
She lays down in their bed—no, in her bed—and places the fragment of Kylo’s beautiful face on the pillow beside her.
She doesn’t want to sleep. She doesn’t want to be awake, either.
Numb, she lays there, in an empty, cold bed, which does not warm up, no matter how she shivers. She is the marble now. Cold and unfeeling.
I’m so sorry, she thinks—the very last thoughts that pass across her mind, before a deep and unnatural sleep overtakes her.
She stands up in her loft, and looks around; for the first time in what feels like weeks, Rey realizes that her space is an utter disaster. There’s laundry everywhere, dirty dishes, and of course, the dust and debris rising in the air. Her face feels raw and her eyes feel swollen and painful, puffy from all of her crying.
This is wrong.
She’s an artist; she creates order and beauty from nature’s chaos. But it’s her own chaos that surrounds her. Like a switch being flipped, she all at once cannot bear the sight of it.
The cleaning gives her something to focus on, something to do with her body. Rey is grateful for it. Normally, when she cleans like this, she puts music on, but today doesn’t feel like a day for music. Instead, there’s a nature sounds playlist, one with the sounds of a gentle forest that she sometimes turns on when she can’t sleep…
Don’t think about it, she tells herself firmly.
Don’t think about sleep, or dreams, or things for which there are no clear-cut, rational explanations.
Maybe it never even happened.
She doesn't know anything anymore.
As she is on her hands and knees, scrubbing at her bathroom floor, she feels as if she is trying to scrub down through layers and layers of lies and self-deceit. She’s always been a lonely girl. Left to her own devices, she could manage—had managed, and survived, and thrived. But she’d been left to her own devices so often, the devices were taking wear, and she was tired of fixing them and trying to keep her life balanced. There was passion inside of her, and art, and the desperate need to express herself, to make a name for herself. But there were lies, and so much loneliness.
What better illusion for her mind to make than the perfect man, to satisfy her, to bring no baggage, no backstory, nothing but the tender need to please her?
Pathetic, she thinks. An imaginary friend, for a pathetic, lonely girl.
It sounds like Mr. Snoke’s voice in her mind.
And she hates the fact that there are tears running down her cheeks again, and her hands are soapy, too wet to wipe them without stinging in her eyes.
Rey looks up at her newly-scrubbed place, and knows that there is only one space left to clean.
The place she’s been avoiding this whole time.
She rises, and heads into the studio.
Rey organizes her tools first.
Sets all the chisels back in their drawer, coils up the cords for the power tools. Tidies the work tables.
The pile of pale white limbs and shattered dust by the door is the last thing she finds.
Gently, giving herself permission to grieve her work, she picks up each of the larger pieces. A leg, a foot, a hand.
Hands which had been so warm, fingers that had—
You have to stop.
There’s a bin out back for her shop refuse that gets picked up and crunched down fairly regularly, courtesy of a landscaper’s supply shop on the other side of town. Soon, this wretched mistake will be pebbles in someone’s yard, maybe edging the border around a tree or a pool or a garden.
That’s a… well, it’s not a nice thought. But it’s a better one than having his body strewn about her shop forever. It hurts, with each piece she moves. She kisses it, his hands, his fingers, as she puts him into the bin. She traces the lines of his muscles, the once-living skin of him, now shattered and dead. She cannot bring herself to weep, her body dry and desiccated.
At last, it’s over.
Rey surveys her clean shop and slowly loops the cord of the shop-vac up around her elbow and hand. Fine white dust rises in the air, caught in a shaft of light.
She needs a vacation.
The cabin she finds on the rental site is hours out of town, way up in the mountains, and is even more picturesque and perfect than the photos online suggested. It’s an A-frame structure, with a small living space and kitchen downstairs and a narrow, high-ceilinged sleeping loft above.
Rey puts her bag on the bed and takes a meander around the property, breathing in all of the cool, sweet, forest air. It had rained just before arriving, but she doesn’t mind; everything feels wet and smells mossy and lovely and green.
She’s missed the green.
And it feels good to get away from the place which may have been driving her crazy.
Booking this place had come in-between googling about the effects of inhaling various fumes and dusts she works with (frightening, yet inconclusive) and getting righteously pissed about the fact that Mr. Snoke had actually taken back his deposit check, meaning all of her weeks of work had been for nothing. She really doesn’t want to ever see his gross raisin face ever again, though, and it’s cheaper to rent this place for a week than it is to hire a lawyer.
Rey scans the trees, and sees the pathway that leads down to the lake. She wanders down there, picking up her sandals and dipping her toes in the icy-cold mountain runoff. It’ll be perfect for a brisk morning swim—assuming she can work up the courage to jump in deeper than her calves.
The property owner had told her about some of the other amenities—a sauna, a fire pit, a barbecue space with tables for common use, among the guests staying in the other cabins—and then had given her space.
Rey doesn’t much feel like socializing. But she’s been alone for so long, that first night, she wanders up towards where a cheery fire has been set, and finds a group of five girlfriends all down for a retreat that appears to mostly involve passing around a bottle of pretty good tequila and breaking out into Disney songs, as well as a snuggly pair of guys who were getting handsy even without the help of the tequila.
But she sits with them for a time, and laughs, and accepts a shot or too, and when the groups all break off for the evening, Rey heads back up to her own cabin with a pleasantly tipsy, but not drunk feeling.
When she goes into the A-frame, she’s happy.
As she gets herself a drink of water, she knows future-Rey will thank her for staying hydrated.
When she climbs the stairs to the loft, with the lights off downstairs and only the charmingly quirky chandelier overhead lit, the place looks magical. Tomorrow, she resolves, she is going to sit out on the front porch and paint and draw and sketch and do whatever the fuck she wants to do, because she can.
She moves aside her sketchbook and pencil bag, and her heart plummets.
There, at the bottom of the bag, is Kylo’s broken face.
Rey doesn’t know why she brought this one last piece with her. This was supposed to be a retreat, a getaway, something to take her far from the painful memories and the dreams. And yet at the last minute, almost in a daze, she’d saved this piece from the scrap, and taken it with her.
She gazes at it for several long moments, brushing her thumb across the surface of his mouth, the nose, the arch of one eyebrow. The other one splits right down the middle, the line carving away his cheek, his right jaw.
Beautiful, she thinks. Beautiful, and mine. And gone.
Rey stands up and walks to the porch door, sliding it open and stepping out into the cool night air. She sets the piece of lifeless stone on the little table, thinking that maybe he’ll…
He can’t see the stars, Rey chides herself, as her rational mind fights and struggles inside of her, searches for stability. He can’t see anything. He was a hallucination, a dream, a fantasy. I’m breaking with reality, I’m broken, I’m wrong…
Abruptly, she sets the stone down on the wooden table, and turns, and walks away.
As she lays in bed that night, looking up through a skylight in the roof that’s only partially obscured by pine needles, Rey exhales and inhales slowly, slowly. Maybe tonight she won’t have any dreams.
Maybe tonight she will.
She can’t decide which prospect thrills her, which terrifies her. Being alone, or being crazy.
Sleep fights her the more she grapples with this. But, at last, when she’s spent hours tossing and turning, she sinks into slumber.
And the dream that awaits her is unlike any she’s seen before.
She is walking in the forest.
The mossy loam is soft underfoot, no twigs to poke her bare feet, no rocks, just a gentle, carpet as she goes.
Deeper and deeper, the dream takes her. But she isn’t lost. Or afraid.
Each time she looks back, she can see the top of the A-frame. It’s like she’s walking on an endless treadmill that goes in every direction. Ambling along pathways.
There are no animals, no sounds. Everything is cool and quiet, and the light makes her feel like she’s somewhere in the space between light and dark. The edges of sunset, or perhaps the moment just before its rising.
The next time she looks down, Rey finds the piece of marble in her hands. She doesn’t remember taking it with her, but… this is a dream, her subconscious reminds her. So she walks on, holding the piece, looking for…
Hours pass or minutes. Time has no meaning in this space. But eventually, Rey comes to a clearing. The light still hasn’t changed, filtering down around her, through the opening in the trees above her, in a soft pale blue.
She sinks down to her knees, sets the stone fragment beside her, and begins to dig.
She digs, and digs, and digs. Scoops out handfuls of loose, damp earth, puts them to the other side. A shallow little grave, she thinks. Finally, she can lay the stone to rest.
When she places the marble fragment down in the dirt, her hands smudge against the pale white. For a moment, just a moment, it looks like skin.
Then she begins covering it back up.
The dirt falls over Kylo’s face, and then he’s covered completely, buried in the ground as she pats it down to smooth it. Rey sees her hands, in the dream, are dirty, but the ground looks undistributed. A deep rumble from below her knees shakes her, and as dawn pierces the sky, a shoot emerges. A little sapling. New and supple and reaching for the heavens. It grows and grows, a young sapling, a solid tree, an ancient monument, faster and faster.
And Rey wakes up.
It’s still dark out.
The light coming in has barely started to change.
Rey checks the clock on her phone, and groans. It’s not even three in the morning; she can’t have slept more than two or three hours, but she feels wide awake. Compelled by the dream to…
She sighs, and rolls to her side.
There’s just no point in fighting this, is there?
Rey gets up and finds the fragment exactly where she left it outside on the table.
She takes it downstairs, and pulls on her shoes, and walks out into the forest.
In the dream, she’d walked a long time, but in reality, it’s cold outside, and her breath fogs in front of her face. She doesn’t want to lose sight of the cabin, either. But there is something like a little clearing, and Rey figures one spot in the ground is as good as any other, and sits down to begin to dig.
Immediately, her pajama pants start absorbing the dew on the ground, the wet of the earth. The ground is packed here, much harder to dig than in her dream. Rey settles for a shallow little grave, and places the fragment in it with a sorrowful sort of release.
There, she thinks.
Enough. It’s over.
She sits there for a while, waits as the sky overhead changes. It’s cold as hell out here, though, and eventually, when nothing at all emerges from the ground (of course it won’t; that’s not how these things work, but then again statues don’t come to life, either, so…) she gets back up, and walks back to her cabin.
Inside, Rey changes out of her dirt-streaked pajamas and takes a hot shower. It’s much earlier than she normally wakes, but despite being low on sleep it feels like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders. Maybe this is the end of it. That thought does make her sad, but she can move on from it, now. Whatever it was.
She makes breakfast, just a toasted bagel with some cream cheese, and sits down in front of the little gas fireplace to do some sketching. But not five minutes passes before Rey hears something at the cabin’s front door.
Something—a huge and heavy something—collapsing, right onto her front porch.
She stills, and listens, senses on high alert, heart racing.
Then, slowly and tentatively, Rey stands.
But what’s awaiting her on the other side of the doorway isn’t what—or who—she expects at all.