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Maz's Tavern was the place Rey had spent her Saturday nights for the last— more years then she should, legally speaking. She wanted to savor her last night as an idle observer, to be obnoxious when the ball whooshed against the net. Hungover or not, she had a flight tomorrow.

Her foot bounced on the brass bar under the seedy counter littered with coasters and peanut shells as she waited for the commercials to end. Maz catered to the only crowd in the city who held appropriate respect for football, a steady group of fans wearing every jersey. A rerun of her favorite Resistance United championship was in its second half, the clock ticking down. Soon, Poe Dameron would rush forward, feinting right, ducking left, and pulling back for an unexpected shot.

Rey brought the shot glass to her lips, tequila stinging her nose, then tipped her head back as the bar cheered. She rolled her tongue against the roof of her mouth right as Maz boomed, "Ben Solo!"

Her mind was light and nebulous, easier on a night where the score was only 3-1, but clear enough to hear the chatter pause before ratcheting back up to its regular dull roar. The music was gaudy under the smooth articulation of the announcers dissecting the play by play. She licked salt off her hand just as someone sat in the recently emptied beside her, his broad frame nearly blocked whatever that asshat down the bar was saying.

Nearly, Rey had to crane around whoever was in her way, pulling her knee onto the hard, wooden stool to lean onto the bar.

"Sorry, excuse me, I just need to—." She placed a hand on his shoulder for leverage, too focused to catch his surprised look as she hefted herself onto both knees to bark, "Hey! Don't talk shit like that in an Italian jersey. They haven't even made it past the group stage in the last couple of World Cups."

"Little girl, don't pretend you know what you're talking about," the man shot back, words slick with chauvinism.

"Maz," She growled and held out her shot glass.

"She can handle herself, Ben." The owner reassured the man she now bodily rested on with a small chuckle; he was very firm against her sternum. A large, warm hand came to steady her waist as she needed both of hers to take the shot and dust salt on the junction between her thumb and forefinger. If she sprinkled any in his dark, wavy hair she would apologize, but first—

"Listen, fucker; you can't come after my boy like that. He's one of the best players in the world even with his torn ACL, and the reason United States qualified for FIFA." Rey couldn't seem to remember what the weasel said to ignite this righteous fury, but of course, it was about Kylo Ren, again.

"Kylo Ren is a punk ass bitch, he's abusive to his—" The sentence ended with her stranger's beer bottle shattered against his feet. Rey would apologize for that too, even buy him a new one for the support of his immensely large hands on her waist. She could feel Maz roll her eyes behind the bar as she crossed her arms over her chest and waited to see what type of property damage Rey would cause this time.

"Say what you want about the First Order Premier League," she snapped back and jabbed a finger from the hand that held her empty shot glass. Her broad stranger snorted beneath her. Now that she noticed, he smelled really good against the stale beer, "Courscant City and Snoke can choke, but Kylo Ren's done nothing wrong. He yells at his team to get them to move their ass, though clearly, you've never heard proper motivation in your life."

The man who irked her into this current frenzy ran a hand over his flat stomach in a sudden bout of self-consciousness.

Rey looked down at the other one, the one supporting her— Ben. She hadn't expected shocked bourbon-colored stare and full, parted lips. "Wow, you're pretty. I promise I'm almost done up here, as soon as he—"

"You're just saying that because you want to fuck him," comes the last argument men always tried once they run out of valid options, and loud enough for the entire bar to hear. Rey's head snapped up.

"Of course, I want to fuck him. He's a six-three slab of conditioned muscle, and I would climb him like a tree." She pronounced and scrambled off her stool. Maz laughed so hard that she nearly wheezed for breath, and pointed at the slack look on Ben's face. Rey noticed without thought and continued to push into the man's space, "You're just mad that I don't want to fuck you."

"You're just a little slu—"

His was the first nose Rey broke that evening.

 

"You look familiar," Rey told Ben as she held an ice pack to her temple. He kept his eyes down as he wrapped another band-aid around her knuckle — a small, rumbling laugh in his chest as he continued his diligent work.

"You don't say," he muttered, shaking his head.

"But, I've never seen you around here," she continued and watched how his dark curls shifted. Rey wanted to touch them so desperately her palms tingled with the urge.

"I'm visiting my parents," he said quietly, glancing up at her from where he hunched over with her hand in his lap. Maz's first aid kid spilled over the neat container, several open wrappers littering the surface.

"It must have been nice to grow up in Chandrila."

His jaw tensed, accenting a small dimple on his chin under the sparse facial hair and the line of his cheekbone, an odd gesture, which made Rey thought maybe drop the subject. Instead, she turned to where Maz had just locked the front doors after kicking everyone out. Cheeks flushed, Rey croaked, "Sorry, about the glass, and the broken chair, and that one light up there--"

"It's fine, child," She waved her off her worries, kissing the younger woman on the cheek, "Just take care of yourself."

Maz went about closing the bar as Rey sipped water to clear the last lingering figments of tequila and adrenaline. Ben placed his forearms on the bar in front of him, lacing his fingers together when she noticed the bruising. Momentarily distracted by how it took all her bandaged fingers to cup only one of his hands, she went about to examine each knuckle.

"That's not from tonight."

He didn't seem willing to offer any other explanation, but his hand relaxed in hers.

"Do you… box?" She asked. He hissed when she pressed her thumb just so but kept his hand between hers, "You're not wrapping your hands properly. I could help you."

"I don't need my hands for my profession." He said quietly, looking at her and away again, running his other hand through his hair.

Rey chewed on her lip for a moment, "I owe you a beer."

"I'm afraid the bartender left." He tried with a natural smile and looked out of the corner of his eye at her. That was true; Maz departed with teary eyes and dismissing Rey's latest pricey carnage as a going away gift.

"My apartment is around the corner, though, the only thing left in my fridge is a pack of blue moons and an orange."

The tip of his ear was pink when she threaded her fingers through his hair, her thumb running along his cheekbone, over a beauty mark there. She pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth, and then, against his lips, she whispered, "I'm Rey."

 

Her keys fell out of her hand when her back hit the door, her legs wrapped around his waist. Ben groaned into her mouth when he ground his hips into hers, hands tightening on her thighs as she sighed. He kissed her slowly, indulgent as if he was as aware as she was that morning was coming, and he didn't want to rush this. Ben kissed her like no one ever had as if he was doing his damnedest to memorize how she tasted, how her tongue felt against his, how her lip felt between his teeth.

She tapped his shoulder, gesturing behind him, "bed, now."

He didn't bother putting her down, just pulling her closer as he stepped away from the door in long strides, stopped to get his shoes off. She kissed and nipped up the column of his throat, leaving pink, dappled skin over his pulse.

Her moan fanned out over his neck when he pressed his cock against the seam of her jeans. She pressed her clit harder against him in encouragement. A small shift when Rey unhooked her ankles made him put her down slowly, crowding her against the wall again. The back of his hand skimmed over the line of her bicep made her shiver even as he pulled back.

"I'm clean."

"Me too. I have a condom somewhere," Rey said against his chest as she stepped away from the wall, "you don't need it yet."

A button may have popped off his shirt, lost beneath her bed before she could push it off his shoulders. She paused to run her hands down the smooth plane of his stomach, reveling in how muscle tensed under her palms, before unbuttoning his jeans, pushing them down his firm thighs so he could kick them off.

Rey let her fingers trail over the waistband of his— "oh, I wasn't expecting you to be—"

"Are you kidding? I've been half-hard since I watched you lick salt off your hand."

He sat heavily on the edge of her mattress as if his knees gave out from under him. There was that same look from the bar, the one where he looked up at her with saturated awe and wonder. Rough palms dragged up her thighs as Rey slowly moved to kneel between his knees.

"Is this okay?" She asked as she tugged at his waistband again. Ben kissed her in response, languid and panting as she works him free wraps her hands around his shaft. Somehow, she is still surprised by the weight and length of him; surely, he can feel how wet her mouth has become under his lips. Rey thinks she should be embarrassed by it. Instead, she kisses him deeper, let him taste how desperate she wants him inside her. She wants— all of him.

Maybe in a better light or if Rey was a more patient person, she would take a moment to admire him before the tang of pre-cum spread over her tongue. How his hands gently gathered her hair and how his cock is the same flushed pink as his cheekbones. Her lips barely brushed her hand at the base of his cock, only just on the verge of choking when Ben's fingers tightened in her hair, holding her there for just a moment. The groan in his throat as she looked up at him was the filthiest thing she's ever heard. That is until she pressed her tongue against him, cheeks hollowing.

"Fuck, Rey," he grunted, words nearly lost in the deep timbre. There was a slight tremble at the nape of her neck as he let her move. She placed a hand on his sternum and pushed him into the mattress. The slightly different angle allowed her to take him a little deeper until his breathing is ragged, peppered with soundless moans through parted lips. Her small hums made his hips jerk off the bed.

"You taste really good," she murmured. Rey's heartbeat is in her ears and core, and she knows it's not the cleanest act. There's saliva dripping down her chin when Ben sits up and tilts her face up to him. One hand cradled her jaw as the pads of his fingers brush over her lips, and he made a small sound of muted surprise and approval when her tongue darted out to lick them.

"I've never met anyone with a mouth like yours," He tells her with a slowly building smile. The praise is a small thing, but the appreciation still singes her nerves, leaving a mild ache in her chest as he helps her feet.

Ben's hands span her waist, and he stares blatantly at her naked skin when she tugged her shirt off.

"What the hell—"

Rey flushes and looks toward the ceiling, wanting to step away, "Sorry, I know fencing doesn't leave me with the most feminine body—"

"Shut the fuck up." He growled and unbuttoned her jeans. She gasped, still speechless, as Ben shoved the rough fabric down her sensitive thighs. Immediately, her hands wove through his hair when he leaned forward to press a kiss above her navel, busy with peeling her underwear off. Heat coiled and bunched under each nip of his teeth. "Rey, you're the hottest thing I've ever seen."

Dark eyes devoured her reaction as two fingers brush against her, met with a demure, and measured rock of her hips. "You're so fucking wet for me."

Rey's knees tremble as she reached behind her to unclasp her bra. One light-blue strap still hooked on her elbow when Ben surged forward to take one dusky pink nipple into his mouth, licking at pebbled skin and took it lightly between his teeth. Rey whimpered when he stopped to lean back on his elbows.

"Come here, sweetheart."

On his back now, Ben watched as Rey moves to straddle him, dragging her clit against him with a sigh.

"That's not what I meant, come here."

He accentuates his demand with a tug at her hips.

"Oh, yes— fuck, yes."

Rey could come from the image alone, of his dark hair fanned out over her bed and hungry gaze on her. That's before he spread her legs further and nudged his nose against her. She couldn't help but close her eyes at the first swipe of his tongue, content with how the breath rushed from her chest.

"Ben," she breathed.

"You're so quiet, baby, there's a moan in your throat, and I want it out." His lower lip brushed against her, sending a new spike of heat through her. "Tell me what you need, sweetheart."

"Don't stop," Rey whispered, then louder, with her hands in his hair, "please, don't stop."

Bucking into his groan, Rey cried out as he sucked on her clit. Legs quivered where they boxed in his biceps as he slowly worked her to her first orgasm, her head falling back as sweet tension suddenly released. Shaking, she somehow supported herself on her hands and knees as he shifted from underneath her.

"Are you on birth control?" he asks as his hands cover her ass, pulling her hips higher.

"Yes, yes, Ben, please— fuck me."

Rey's spine arched as she pressed her chest into the mattress, gripping the sheets, needy, and overwhelmed by anticipation. There was complete silence only punctured by the staccato of their heartbeats until Ben rested his forehead between her shoulder blades.

"You are so tight, God, Rey, how are you real."

His withdrawal made her groan, missing the fullness already, agonizingly aware of every inch of him being the best thing she has ever felt. His pace built with tender degrees, easing her into the perfect rhythm that made her eyes roll back. As much as she wanted only to take, she couldn't stop pushing back against him and wishing him harder, faster, for his control break with how amazing she felt wrapped around his cock.

Rey felt the climb back to her orgasm marked by wetness racing down the inside of her thigh. Everything muscle clenched when his hand snaked over her ribs, between her breasts, and wrapped around her throat. Ben pulled her up against his chest.

"Look at me. I want to see you face when you come on my cock."

It was a challenge to keep her eyes open when every other snap of his hips made her lashes flutter. She rubbed tightening circles over her clit as his hand came to her mouth to trace the moan on her lips.

Ben held her jaw, so she could properly suck his fingers and letting her lean heavily onto his shoulder as she came with his hand tight around her throat. Light-headed, Rey mewled around the weight on her tongue, her mind hazy as he followed her.

She feels him whisper into her neck.

"I think I was made for you."

 

"Ben," Rey said from where she kneeled beside the bed, pushing his mussed hair before she could help herself. The gesture felt too intimate and full of affection after just one night together. "I have a flight to catch."

"Stay with me," He said with his eyes still closed in a sleep scratched voice.

"I'm already late." She pressed a kiss to his temple and stood. There was nothing in her empty apartment, but she managed to find a scrap of paper, leaving her number last minute, putting a small flower beneath it, and tucking it under his hand. "I think we will meet again, small world and all that."

He hummed, the corner of his mouth tugging into a sleepy smile that made her chest ache as she left.

 

Ben Solo had woken to an empty apartment, not only of the radiant girl he still had the taste of but of furniture, photos, anything that indicated that someone lived there. Blank walls still held the outlines of missing frames, and the faint gray residue of candle smoke stains the crown molding.

There was no nightstand for a cheeky note or the sound of running water of an early riser in the shower.

Sitting on the edge of the bed came with a familiar phantom ache that hollowed out his chest, echoing through old neglect. An emptiness scavenged further with the memory of taut thighs under his palms, hazy and fading like the lingering jasmine scent in the air.

His headache becomes more prominent as he reorients himself. The stale beer sits on his tongue— a different tang than what he remembers— and his skin is sticky with old sweat as he pushed himself off the mattress. All six feet of his frame wanted to buckle under the weight of his hangover as he shuffled to find his clothes. He ran a hand over his face as he picked up his jeans. A piece of paper fluttered to the ground. He guessed he left a receipt from his pocket. Ben grinned without humor and left it as evidence he was ever there.

At his parents' house, Han pats him on the shoulder and hands his son a cup of coffee.

"You going to see them again?"

Stay with me.

"I don't think so," Ben mutters against the rim of his cup.

 

His knee was knotted, tension refused to release with each mile of his conditioning for the World Cup. The new physical therapist wasn't starting until tomorrow with his appointment careful filed to be their first. Snoke would tell him to run through the pain, to channel it until a fury burns it away and victory was his

Words were cheaper than each extra set of stretching demanded from his numerous physicians.

"Looking hot there, Solo," his co-captain quipped on his way to the locker room.

"Fuck off, Poe," Ben grumbled and readjusted his back on the cold linoleum floor, ankles crossed and planted for his wall slides, one leg applying pressure downward to bend his knee. Awkward and relieving, but mostly annoying.

Fingers curled and flexed at his sides, staring firmly at the ceiling and counting each breath exhaled through his nose. The rise and fall of his chest staggered when he remembered how perfectly Rey had settled and tensed over him. Her firm calf's boxed in his biceps—

Ben sat up sharply with an ache tightening around his spine before he quickly rolled over into an unnecessary cobra pose to relieve the pressure on his lower back. He hissed softly as his erection was pressed against the unforgiving floor through the thin fabric of his shorts.

The first thirty-second count passed and he desperately thought of each mistake at practice to erase toned, golden skin from his mind. Finally, he was able to roll back over with a huff.

Rey vexed him. She showed up one evening like a hail storm, puncturing the fragile walls he kept himself surrounded with. Fell in love with her the moment she pushed him down onto the mattress.

Love was a stretch, Ben admitted to himself, but he had grown worryingly obsessed with her memory. Then she vanished and took his dignity with her. Worse of all, Uncle Luke pitied his kicked puppy charade that followed each break-up. Something Luke had stopped vocalizing when Ben was fifteen and gangly.

"From one twink to another—"

"I hate this family."

As an adult it was much worse, Luke was going easy on him and started calling practices an hour early when he fell, legs tangled with a teammate. His knuckles still burned where he punched the faux turf at Luke's call.

The ice bath did nothing to quell the fury deep in his gut but refreshed his mind. Each muscle tensed and loosened as he acclimated to the chilled water. His hands gripped the sides of the metal tub with a sudden grin. The new physical therapist would probably frown on cold therapy, but until they showed up, he can have interns bring him ice packs on the field. Luke had scoffed until pacing for ten minutes beside the field with ice wrapped around his knee had brought his temper down and made him at least bearable to be around.

The idea of a new physical therapist annoyed him, forced him to let another person be intimately aware of each broken part of his body. Switching between leagues was one thing, but a fresh graduate would mean not cutting corners or looking the other way when his sprinting turned to a limp as he left the field. It meant genuine concern and pestering, the combination has made him made at least two cry in the past.

He thought of Rey holding his battered hands in her own as she examined his knuckles and for once not being irritated with the process.

You're wrapping your hands wrong. I could help you.

The cold sunk deeper as he huffed. Ben didn't wrap his hands at all, not when his punching bag the same oily gray as his full-time coach. Water sloshed as he hauled himself out, rivulets coursed down each shivering muscle.

 

The next week left Rey lonely and frustrated. Ben never called. Boxes stacked, unpacked. Coach Luke Skywalker of the United States Men's National Soccer Team gave her a personal tour of the facility, introducing her to the other physical therapists she would be working with, her new office just off the field. Her new assistants had already neatly organized her files before her arrival. Rey's mouth went dry when her gaze landed on Ren, K. They had an appointment today after practice to check on his ACL. Courscant City had run him ragged, but she hoped the damage wasn't too severe, that she could start making things right before the first round.

"This is my favorite view," Luke said beside her as they walked out on the field. Massive twin awnings arched over the seats like wings, framing the Californian sun still low in the morning. She frowned at the FieldTurf parting under her feet, making a mental note to keep burn cream in stock for when a player slides across artificial grass. It was a beautiful, bright color that always makes her heart race nonetheless.

The men's team was current running drills with the two captains watching over. Poe Dameron was turned sideways, talking up to— holy fuck, she was about to come face to face with Kylo Ren. Guilt licked up her spine at the sudden excitement when all she could think of was how Ben had nicer hair.

She tucked her hair behind her ears, half-listening to Luke talk about the semantics of the stadium, more focused on how Kylo's shoulder shifted as he brought his hands to his face. He was much broader in person, with toned legs, each inch defined even while standing.

"Move your ass!" he shouted, tugging his dark hair into a sloppy bun she had seen so many times on tv.

"Captains, meet your new physical therapist," Luke said as they neared just as Kylo pulled his shirt up to wipe the sweat from his brow, turning toward them.

Wait— Rey's entire brain short-circuited, knowing every line and dip of his stomach, having felt the hot skin under her mouth. Clean-shaven, his full mouth parted when his eyes found her.

"Ben?" she asked quietly. Kylo's entire demeanor shifted into something soft and smiling. The harsh lines of his face gone. Then they're both laughing in disbelief, Luke's spine jerked straight next to her at the noise as Ben stepped away from Poe's confused expression.

He gathered her into his arms, whispering against her hair in a moment of complete shell-shocked unprofessionalism.

"Small world, sweetheart."