One Year Later
Ben turned as Heziah ran up the steep stone steps of Ahch-To, to the flat stone above which Ben mediated- enjoying one of the island’s rare sunny days. Ben sighed one last time, and slowly lowered himself- felt the grain of the warm stone under his palm. He knew what the boy was going to say -he’d felt it too- but Ben just smiled.
The boy boy pointed off to the horizon, and beamed a very rare smile indeed.
“Master Rey is here!”
He’s grown so much, Rey’s voice came, and Ben smiled all the deeper.
He has- in more than just the physical, Ben replied, “Yes she is. Go get the others, please.”
The boy was off.
Come here to me, my love.
The ramp came down, and Rey strode off, followed by R2D2, Jannah, and Chewbacca.
Ben stepped forward, and took her up in his arms. They sat for some time, foreheads pressed together.
They seldom went a day without feeling each other’s presence, but this -the touch- was still what Ben lived for.
A giant hand yanked him away, after a few moments more.
“Hey Uncle Chewie,” Ben choked out as the Wookie crushed him to his chest.
“Don’t kill him before I’ve gotten a hug,” Jannah called, and Chewie past him over. “How you doing, Dark Lord?”
“Hey Jannah,” he stepped back from her embrace, and smiled, “I’m good,” he turned, and motioned to the group of five over his shoulder. Rey currently had Finn and Heziah held close. “We’re all really good.”
Rey ran her fingertips slowly over Ben’s rippling abs- loving the way they still rose and fell with his panting. He stared up at the ceiling of their hut, grinning like an idiot and gasped when her touch strayed a little lower.
“You’re going to be the death of me,” he rumbled under her, and Rey lifted her face from his chest. Found his mouth with hers, and drank deep for some time, as her own heat and pleasure began to wane. The sweat between them grew cold, and Ben pulled the woolen blanket up over her shoulders before she could shiver. Rey nestled deeper into his warmth.
I love you.
The thought was both of theirs. She found her place under his chin again.
Don’t leave. Never leave again...
It wasn’t possible, with the state of Galactic affairs. Rey would come back, though- whenever possible. She always came back. The request wasn’t intended to be a serious, though, and neither was Rey’s response.
“Alright. I’ll stay right here, forever,” she murmured, I’m never leaving you.
He stroked her hair and began to imagine it.
Everyday like this, until we’re old and sage Jedi Masters…
Until the padawans make fun of how hunched we are... Until they call us wise.
Rey sighed, perfectly content.
Until our Masters tell us it's time...
Until we join the Force, as one.
Always as one... Until the very end.
A word from the author
If you had told me eights weeks ago that I would write my fastest novel, and upload it every day to AO3, I doubt I would have believed you. This has been an incredible experience, and I've been absolutely floored, countless times, by the stunning amount of warmth and encouragement from this community.
I want to say thank you, briefly, to my two best friends- without whom I never would have written this story.
Mandichan: thank you for being inconsolable that night we got out of TROS. If you hadn't insisted an ending where Ben survived was possible, I wouldn't have become obsessed with the idea of figuring out how.
Moo: thank you for suggesting this site, helping me edit, and being a constant source of support. I know I've been a terror to live with these past two months, and your patience, and willingness to indulge me makes you nothing shy of a saint.
You both have spent countless hours now listening to me go rabid over Star Wars, and your steadfast resolve to not shove a literal sock down my throat is appreciated, and far better than I deserve. I love you both dearly.
Finally, to the people who commented on my chapters here; thank you so much. Truly, I would have stopped weeks ago, if not for you. I’ve read every single comment, and enjoyed your guesses and commentary much more than I can express.
Thank you all, and may the Force be with you, always.