Her life peacefully laced together with the assurance in the firm touch of his lips. Ben Solo even smiled at her when they parted, bright and beaming and ardent. Then as suddenly as the rough callous of life had been smoothed, each trial accomplished, each objective reached, his smile dimmed.
His hands which held her so close to his chest slipped from her waist, his soft hair slipping from between her fingers. Blood seeped into her gauzy fabric wrapping her torso from the cuts on his fingers climbing back to her. All of the damage of their broken bodies demanding across the bond, yanked taunt, then terribly snapped.
His grip gone dangerously slack and her face crumpled, her chest ached for breath she couldn’t pull in as his chest stopped moving.
Rey watched wide-eyed and panicked as he laid back on the stone floor. The force buzzed in her ears as the outline of him, the Jedi killer and resurrector, turned transparent.
“No, no,” she begged, grasping at the wellspring of the force and trying to push it toward Ben. Her fingers clutched his loose tunic, holding on to the only one who understood her struggle and supported her rather than feared her. Ben; her balance, her dyad. More of him began to fade and she closed her eyes against the inevitable.
She wouldn’t let this happen. She wouldn’t let Ben be taken from her, the way he had been taken from his mother, father, uncle, and so many other relationships stronger than the ties of Skywalker blood. Ben was a promise to her that she wouldn’t be alone, that they wouldn’t be alone. This was another injustice that she would right. She had to, for Ben.
Ben’s defiance may rattle the stars, but what of Rey’s? The force shudders and her resolve deepens.
“No,” Rey snarled. The force paused and began to lash again as power seeped from him, a wild thing to wrangle, too much responsibility for one person.
She felt a gentle hands grip her shoulders, one of a princess. The touch comforting and familiar, one Rey felt with each failed attempt to meditate and reach out. She knew what she must do.
“Be with him,” Rey murmured at first, finding her posturing and spreading her bleeding knuckles across his chest. She felt the eyes of the galaxy turn toward her, blinking as lazily as a lothcat, interest quelling in what she what do next.
“Be with him,” Rey said again.
If she was given this awful power then this moment was the reason why. The air crackled, the taste of ozone burned her tongue. Pieces of the force that had been used by the Sith, now unleashed by her hand, a nexus she could pull from.
“Be with him,” Rey pleaded, louder now.
She looked toward the open sky, past the devastated destroyers falling graceful in their unwanted descent. Soft whispers brushed her, quiet encouragements that had never been given to Ben. Each voice he deserved to hear and never received. The guidance that could have changed his path, could have molded him into something beautiful and unstoppable rather than raw and untamed. People who hadn’t protected Ben from her grandfather, his grandfather who sulked in the force for too long. Their voices grew louder, shaded with remorse to the boy they turned a blind eye from, whose power intimidated them too much to help.
“BE WITH HIM,” Rey screamed in anguish, her throat ravaged with the demand. Tears cleaned the slope of her cheeks from the carnage Ben had saved her from
Her posture broke, grief curving her spine over him. She didn’t notice the shift under her fingers while she yanked the force into submission. Rey’s newfound strength was waning. Her voice cracked and sobbed into his neck, “Please, be with him.”
“My last words were almost just ‘ow,’ how embarrassing would that have been?” Ben mumbled beneath her with a cough.
“I’m here, you saved me,” he whispered softly.
Rey lunged, wrapping her arms around his neck. Carefully, she leaned back on her elbows above him with the uncertainty that perhaps this constantly misunderstood boy did not wish to be saved. Her toothy grin faltered to shape apologies for the many trails.
He had the strength to sit up as if the hands of a thousand were helping him, his arms to busy crushing her to his chest. Tenderly, he brushed the hair off of her blood-caked temple. The smile that hand brightens the entire cave ghosts at the corner of his lips. This time his fingers curled around the nape of her neck and pulled her to him. This kiss a promise rather than goodbye. Noses bumping into each other, it’s just as awkward and too enthusiastic to point it out to each other. They have time to figure it out.
Ben shifts, kissing her again, pulling a ragged gasp as he teased her with a drag of his lower lip. Rey laughed lightly, an impossible blush painted across her cheekbones and pressed her forehead to his. The touch would never not feel like absolution.
“We saved each other,” she murmured.
Rey’s gaze heated as if flint had been struck against her iron will. “Why did you do that?”
Ben’s brow furrowed as if he never considered doing otherwise.
“There was this terrible wound in the force without you, I felt it as I was climbing back here, but I didn’t want to believe what I already knew,” he paused as his breath shuddered. “You were… I couldn’t heal you the way you showed me, there was nothing broken, nothing to pull back together. So I-- It was a transfer of my lifeforce to you, it was all I had, all I had left I gave to you.”
Ben swallowed through the thick burn of tears in the back of his throat and continued, “I thought that way you would never be alone again.”
Rey laced their hands together and pressed another kiss to the corner of his mouth. Ben’s head turned to chase her lips with his own but she pulled away too quickly. She shyly brushed his hair back, fingers shifting lower to cup his face and bit her lip.
“We never have to be alone again,” Rey repeats with an awe-struck tone.
Ben glanced up, eyes flickering to her as if he’s reluctant to look away from her, checking to be sure she should stay, back to the chaos above them.
“Looks like you had a hand in saving more than just me. Thank you.”
“You did as a jedi what I never would have accomplished as emperor, supreme leader, or any other imperial title.”
“I might have had a hand in it, but your mother was the force that drove all of us,” she said with a grin. “Come back with me, to the Resistance, it’s what she would want.”
Blue shined brighter in her peripheral, a calmer hue than the sith cave, just as the firm grip on her shoulder faded away.
The Resistance base was lively with celebration and sorrow. Each thankful that they were alive and to those who weren’t, their sacrifice to make the galaxy a better place. Ben hung back with hunched shoulders, aware of every inch of his frame and confronted with his actions once more. His drive was placed in a single person rather than the galaxy at large. Both incredibly selfish and lucky that Rey had the interest of others at heart and saved them all, including him, in the end.
“Commander Rose Tico.”
Ben’s head whipped around with the thought that he was finally going to get arrested for what he was sure was a parsec worth of war crimes. Instead, he slipped his hand to shake Rose’s without ceremony, her grip near breaking around his damaged knuckles.
“Han’s kid?” she clarified, “I worked with him for a bit when I was just an engineer. His suggestions were usually either dicey or illegal, but they always worked. He kept a baby photo of you in his pocket. Nice to finally meet you, Ben.”
The muscle in Ben’s jaw jumped to keep himself composed then he nodded, “Sounds like him.”
“Come with me, I’m looking for someone.”
“I already found mine,” Ben said and gestured over to Rey still tightly embraced by her friends.
Realized dawed quickly on Rose and she laughed. She thought that Skywalkers’ impeccable posture ran in the family, but she was allowed to be wrong every once in a while. Rose shook her head and tugged on his hand again.
Finn pulled Rose into their circle with a kiss to her temple. Poe clapped Ben on the shoulder before weaving him into the group between him and Rey.
“Good to see you here, buddy.”
Rey tucked herself into his side, only mildly possessive with a single warning look to Finn. Rose pinched him when he first opened his mouth and Ben braced himself for whatever he deserved next.
“Sorry for your loss,” he said, equally painful, “Leia meant everything to us.”
“No one is ever truly gone,” Ben said genuinely, but the group still held onto what they still had more tightly than before.
Jannah and Lando approached, their heads bowed to each other talking in quiet, serious tones. Ben looked up first, kissing Rey’s forehead before he stepped around her.
“Uncle Lando,” Ben grinned, “thanks for the blaster.”
“You Solo’s need at least one to get yourself out of the trouble you bring onto yourselves,” Lando said light and knowing as hugged his nephew tightly.
“What’s next?” Poe asked.
“Sometimes lineage and last names aren’t important, but to some they are everything and I’m going to help them find their families,” Lando declared, shaking Jannah’s shoulder gently.
Rose smiled, “Paige would like that, this galaxy is too big to be alone in.”
Rey squeezed Ben’s fingers and took a deep breath.
“We’ll help,” Ben said not looking away from Rey before addressing the rest of them, “I can get the stormtrooper’s records.”
“Then stop smiling,” Ben murmured to Rey, but she only smiles wider and his life is better for it.
“You’re so lucky you aren’t sensitive,” Finn mutters to Rose, “their force signatures are unbearable.”
“Are you okay being here?”
“What do you mean?”
Ben looked over the desolate landscape and back to his wife.
“It’s not too much like Jakku?”
“I’m fine,” Rey rolled her eyes, but tension released between her shoulders with his concern, “Are you asking for me or for your inevitable sunburn?”
Ben muttered something under his breath about the mouth on her and something else about her perfect skin, then threaded his fingers into her own. Rey reached up on her tiptoes and with the help of pulling his shoulder down, she pressed a kiss to his cheek.
“We don’t have a lot of time.”
BB-8 beeps mournfully about the sand somewhere about their feet. Rey patted it’s round head with some reassurance, straightening its wayward antenna.
Luke’s family farm was abandoned, blown over with decades of sand and memories. Together they picked the property apart before they found a respectful resting place for the Skywalker twins. Rey wrapped their sabers in a protective cloth just incase some scavenger comes along looking guidance.
“Anakin would hate that his saber was going into the sand,” Ben muttered but didn’t make a move to stop her.
“Then he should have spoken to his grandson once whenever he tried to reach out,” Rey replied ruefully.
“You’re a menace.”
The sabers disappeared beneath the ground when there were no bodies to bury, each of the Skywalkers returning back to the force that guided them.
“Who are you?” a local called out.
“I’m Rey,” his wife said back, too friendly where Ben tensed.
“Rey who? I haven’t seen anyone out here in a long time.”
Ben looked to the shifting horizon, shimmering in the late heat of the day to a glimmer of proudful blue.
“Skywalker,” Ben said, letting the name dance across the baritone of his voice. A sensation of rightness sunk into his marrow, a belonging locked into place, something he had only ever felt next to Rey.
“I thought we were going with Solo,” Rey muttered.
“It felt like a fitting tribute,” Ben said into her hair as he wrapped his arms around her, “Besides, I have a lot of last names, a few castles and villas too.”
“I get it, you’re a prince,” she teased with a full grin.
The local grunts, unimpressed, and moves on. The newlyweds are left together on their heritage property in a moment of peace before their next adventure. The suns moved closer together, stars locked in a blazing, orbital dance.
Ben went rigid next to her, Rey looked up and was surprised by the tear racing down her husband’s cheek.
Ben looked toward Rey’s sudden concern, not feeling of the tears with how he only has eyes for his wife and the sunset splashed around her features.
“I’ve just never seen a binary sunset before.”