Ben Solo makes it all the way to twenty-nine years old without a hint of trouble, or an appearance, from his wisdom teeth. But when they pop up and start causing problems, he’s forced to accept that something has to be done about them.
Rey—who had hers out a year before with very little problems and a quick, easy recovery—promises that she’ll hold his hand, and take very good care of him, and make him any kind of pudding that comes in a packet and involves nothing more complex than mixing with hot water. He’s the chef; she’s normally on the receiving end of his culinary attentions. And as much as she hates being vulnerable or sick, it becomes immediately apparent that Ben… Ben hates it so much more.
“I want to be out for it,” he says, before calling the clinic to make his appointment. “Completely out. I know it’s a bit more expensive, but I just can’t fucking hear any… crunching , or shit…”
Rey’s specific traumas are in a distinctly different category; dental stuff doesn’t bother her the way it clearly bugs him.
She nods. “I’ll drive you. It’ll be fine.”
He makes the call.
The day of the appointment arrives. Ben is up early, way before his alarm, and the sound of the shower through the closed bathroom door wakes Rey. She frowns, just a little, as she searches for his warmth in the bed beside her—normally, Ben is a cuddler in the mornings, holding her close or nuzzling up against her neck or prodding her from behind, still half-asleep and all eager—before her brain catches up with the rest of her.
She slips off of the bed, goes into the bathroom, drops her camisole and pajama shorts on the tile floor and slides the curtain to the side, startling him.
“Hey,” he says. “Sorry if I…”
Ben’s voice trails off.
He’s just standing there, the stream of hot water plastering his long hair down to his skull, looking at Rey with doleful eyes. And she could say something teasing, something like: You’re using all the hot water before I can even get my turn. Or she could try and reassure him. It’s going to be fine.
Instead, she holds him; his big warm body melts into hers, softening.
Well, most of him softens.
Some of him doesn’t.
They manage, somehow, to be early to his appointment. Ben fills out an absolute novella of paperwork, personal health history, release forms, insurance forms, alternating between holding the clipboard in his hands and trying to balance it on his knee. At last, they call him back, and Rey pecks him on the cheek and smiles at him, and tells him she’ll be here as soon as he’s out.
Ben, who had been looking slightly more comforted since the morning’s shower shenanigans, nods. He goes back with the dental assistant who’s come to fetch him, a gorgeously tall woman in charcoal-gray scrubs who has waist-length braids, black tipped with a crimson ombre. And Rey sighs a little, and pulls a paperback from her purse, switching from one of the waiting room’s hard chairs to the lone couch in the corner, by the window.
“He’s out now,” the same assistant says, coming back out from the door to the procedure rooms about an hour later. “We’ve moved him to the recovery area so the sedation can wear off.”
Rey instantly closes her book, forgetting her place in it and standing up so hastily it very nearly falls off of her lap. “Can I see him?”
“Sure,” the assistant says. “Just get your things and I’ll walk you on back.”
Rey nods, and puts her things back together hastily. It wasn’t that she wasn’t able to acknowledge her own slight nerves before now, it was more that she’d tamped them down, trying to be his support, because he was the one who was going to actually be dealing with the pain and recovery. But now that he’s out, she feels fluttery and expectant, eager to see him.
Eager to hold his hand and tell him he’ll be okay, and she’ll take good care of him.
“How’d things go?” she asks the assistant as she hoists the strap of her purse up over her shoulder. “Everything fine?”
“Oh, yeah,” the assistant replies, leading Rey back through the doorway and along a hall that’s lined on either side with individual exam rooms or procedure rooms; some of the doors are open, and some are closed. Rey can hear the faint whirring of a tool or drill behind one as she passes. The carpet is low-pile, and muffles their footsteps as they go. At last, Rey arrives in a small, cozy room, the lights a little dimmed. There are two beds—not real ones, but narrow ones, made of a kind of vinyl that’s mint-green and probably easy to wipe clean. The one on the left is empty, but Ben is stretched out on the one on the right, comically long and obviously loose-limbed and relaxed.
When he sees her, he grins.
“Hey,” Rey says, sitting down on the chair nearby and taking his hand in hers. She can see a bit of medical tape and a piece of gauze there, covering over where his IV must’ve been placed. “How are you feeling?”
Ben looks… he looks soft . And, yes, his cheeks are puffy, mouth full of cotton wads, and his lips look a little cracked and dry, but he’s smiling, a lazy sort of smile. And there’s a warmth and sweetness to his eyes that makes Rey want to kiss him regardless of the faint trace of dried blood and drool on his bottom lip and chin.
“Feeling…” he starts to say, but then he grins. “Wow you’re... so pretty? Do you... are you single?”
Oh no , Rey thinks. This is… this is worse than bad. This is funny.
She shouldn’t laugh. She really shouldn’t. It just that Ben, the love of her life, the absolute rock of her world who means more to her than anyone, is absolutely mooning at her right now, looking at her like he doesn’t know her at all, but very much wants to.
The assistant has already departed; Rey glances back and sees that the two of them are alone now. But hopefully, the anesthesia will wear off soon.
Not, like, very soon. Because this is kind of entertaining.
And Ben is still blinking at her, those long dark lashes fluttering like he’s either got something in his eye, or is auditioning for the role of Scarlett O’Hara.
“No,” Rey says, keeping her shit together as best she can. “I’m married.”
Ben’s face falls. His head thumps back on the crinkly pillow. “Aww. But you’re so pretty? ”
“Thank you,” Rey says. She really shouldn’t laugh—coming off of sedation is no joke, especially given how nervous Ben had been to get his wisdom teeth out. But she’d had no clue he was going to go full “Ben after dentist” on her.
“Pretty pretty pretty,” Ben is softly singing.
He’s got a really nice voice, warm if untrained; he sings sometimes in the shower, but Rey is sure she’s the only person on the planet who’s heard him.
“Pretty eyes,” Ben slurs, his head rolling to the side as dimples appear beside his wide grin. “Pretty hair. Pretty smile. What a lucky guy your husband is.”
Then his eyes go wide, and before Rey can even reply that, yes, he is, he adds: “or wife, shit... d’n wanna be rude...”
Rey stifles a laugh at this. “No, he’s a very lucky man. Wonderful and sweet.”
“I bet he has a big dick,” Ben says, looking her right in the eye, his gaze forthright and utterly unashamed. “You... you deserve that.”
“Thank you,” Rey replies, as seriously as she can manage.
How gracious of him, she thinks; how accurate.
Ben closes his eyes and appears to doze after this. Rey wipes her hand down her face and feels silent laughter shake her whole body. The urge to get out her phone and record this is almost overwhelming.
From the recovery bed, Ben snores.
He doesn’t normally snore at home, Rey thinks. as she takes in the soft line of his features, the way his dark lashes lay on his cheeks. That’s just one of the many things she adores about him. He sleeps on his side at home, so maybe this is just something to do with being on his back now.
He looks so innocent, so much younger and less troubled when he sleeps. She knows better.
She knows his filthy mouth, when he gets turned on. She knows the way he likes to watch her, likes to tease her until she’s writhing beneath him. She knows how he likes to be teased, what he sounds like when he whimpers and begs.
To distract herself, Rey glances down at the back of Ben’s hand, smoothing down the curling-up edge of tape and feeling his warm skin. Ben snorks and snurks a bit, and when she looks back up, he’s blinking big, bleary eyes at her.
“Wow,” he says. “You’re really pretty...”
“Thank you,” Rey says. “How are you feeling?”
Ben scrunches up his face and makes a surprisingly adorable whimpering groan. “Stuff in my mouth... don’t like it...”
His big hand goes up to his mouth, like he wants to prod at it or try and take it out, and Rey hastily stills the other hand, the one she’s not already holding. “No, sweetheart, you have to leave those in for now.”
“Sweetheart?” His entire face brightens, gauze forgotten. “I bet you say that to all your patients.”
Patients? He thinks I’m his nurse...
“No,” Rey laughs. “Just you.”
He turns his hand over; she feels his fingers gently twine with hers. “Make a guy feel special... that’s nice. Y’agoodnurse...”
Ben’s eyes close.
“You’re so beautiful,” he murmurs, drifting in and out of awareness. His hand squeezes hers. “I like it, you staying.”
“Of course I’ll stay,” Rey says, voice unexpectedly choked up. “I’ll stay right here until you’re ready to go home. I promised I would.”
He smiles at this, dreamily. “You’re so pretty. I wish I could take you home with me. I’d make you... really good dinner. Do you like food?”
“I do like food,” Rey tells him. He’s still holding onto her hand, gently stroking the back with his thumb as his eyes flutter shut. “But I get to take care of you for a bit, okay?”
“Okay,” he says, nodding, choosing his words slowly and carefully, forming them around the wads of cotton still stuck in his cheeks. “Sounds good. You take care of me and then I can take care of you.”
“Deal,” Rey says.
He starts wiggling her hand around at this, something like a handshake and a dying fish. “Secret handshake. Deal’s a deal. No takebacks—wow, you are so pretty. Your face is so nice. What’s your name?”
“Rey.” She smiles.
“Pretty name.” He grins. “Reyyyyyyyy.”
Then his expression grows serious. “Rey... I don’t think I can drive home. Can you stay a little longer?”
“It’s all right,” she says, “I’m driving us home, all you need to do is rest.”
“Us???” His eyes grow wide. “You wanna come home with me? Is that allowed?”
“Of course it is!” Rey laughs—but Ben’s eyes fill with tears. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t want you to lose your job,” he manages, through the wads of spit- and blood-soaked cotton. “You should stay here, I’ll... I’ll be okay.”
“I won’t lose my job,” Rey assures him. “I promise. Are you ready to go home?”
“Do we... do we live together?” he asks her, incredulous and hopeful.
“Yes, Ben.” God, she thinks, he’s too sweet, she can’t take it.
“Does your husband know?”
Rey pats his hand. “He knows.”
“Is he nice to you?” Ben asks her, practically doe-eyed as he blinks his tear-spiked lashes in her general direction. “You deserve to be treated nice—what’s his name?”
“His name is Benjamin.”
Ben’s eyes grow even wider. “Rey, it’s gonna be so confusing with us both there...”
“Ben, sweetheart, you’re—“
“What if I used a... a new name?” he says, trying to sit up and mostly succeeding at just looking more hunched-over and determined. “I would change my name if you—“
“Just wait, Ben, I’m not sure you’re ready to sit up yet.”
Ben stills, and lifts his hand to lay a finger gently across her lips. “Shh. I’m Kylo Ren now.”
“Okay... Kylo Ren.” Rey scoots one of his heavy arms up and over her shoulders so she can support him and keep from swaying over to one side and flopping back down on the bed. “Are you sure you’re ready to go home? We could wait a little longer, make sure you’re really woken up.”
He swings his legs over the edge of the bed, putting his feet down flat on the floor with a decisive thump. Then, he looks at her. “I really wish I could kiss you...”
His expression is so earnest, but unfortunately the drool and gauze isn’t really adding to the appeal. Rey gently pats him on the chest. “That’s not the best idea, Kylo Ren.”
“Right,” he says, seriously, “your husband. I’m sorry.”
At this, an actual nurse appears. She’s young and cheery, blonde hair swept back in a high bundle of curls.
“How are we feeling?” she asks them, looking from Ben to Rey. “Any questions, concerns?”
“I had mine out last year,” Rey explains. “I think I remember most of it.”
The nurse nods. “Well, just in case, here’s a packet of instructions, anything to look out for during the recovery period.”
Rey thanks her softly as she takes the paperwork. She glances down at it, and then tucks it into her purse for reading later, if the need arises.”
“Okay, Ben!” the nurse says, her voice bright and encouraging. “Looks like you’re cleared to go, just take it easy out to the elevator.”
Ben looks up at her, his expression serious, determined. “I’m Kylo Ren now—“
“That sounds great,” Rey says, over him. “And the disorientation, that wears off...?”
The nurse laughs. “Oh, yeah.”
“You’ll be better in no time,” the nurse says to Ben, who still seems to be surprising his declaration of a new name. “Just follow the instructions we provided your wife and don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.”
Ben looks at Rey. His expression softens.
Rey pats him on the chest again. The nurse smiles, and turns back to her clipboard. "I just need you to sign this discharge paperwork..."
"REY!" Ben whispers, loud enough for the whole waiting room to hear: "SHE THINKS I'M YOUR HUSBAND."
The nurse gives him a very patient look, and Rey blushes, mortified, as she signs his paperwork.
"MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE WE HAVE THE SAME NAME," Ben continues. "BUT I'M KYLO REN NOW, DID SHE WRITE THAT DOWN?"
"No straws for the first 24 hours, Kylo," the nurse says.
Ben nods, seriously, and stands on unsteady feet, clearly trying to be considerate and not crush Rey, but still not fully balanced. The nurse walks them out to the lobby, and somehow,
Somehow, Rey and Kylo-Ben manage to make it to the elevators, and down to the parking level without him tripping. Hopefully, all of this will be as fuzzy to Ben when he's fully conscious as his real life is to him now.
Rey gets him into their car.
Ben conks out again, slumped against the window, as Rey drives them home.
He sleeps the whole way.
When they get home, Rey helps him up the stairs, and gets him inside and into bed.
At no point does he notice their wedding photos on the mantle.
He hums as he falls asleep, though... a song that he chose to be played at their wedding.
And Rey figures he's had enough excitement for one afternoon, so she slips his shoes off, leaves the bedroom door open, and goes out to make some tea. She feels amused and relieved in equal measures;
Twenty minutes later, she's curled up under a blanket on the couch, perched in a spot with a view into their bedroom, when she sees Ben's legs move, and hears him wake.
He calls out to her: "Rey?"
She sets her mug down and gets up from the couch, peeking her head around the doorway to their bedroom. Wondering whether she's going to meet her husband, Ben, or the mysterious Kylo Ren.
From his spot flat on the bed, Ben looks up at her. "I feel like shit."
"I think it's time for your next dose of pain pills," she says. "I'll go get them..."
"Thank you," Ben groans. "I'm sorry to be so... useless."
"It's okay," she says. "You're cute when you're helpless."
Ben lets out a groan and then grimaces as he rubs his jaw.
When she comes back with his pills, a glass of water, and a mug of warm-ish, not hot, tea, he sits up in bed and thanks her for the dosage. Taking out the gauze is... disgusting. He swallows the pills, and lets out a sigh.
Then, he looks at her. "Did I... say anything weird?"
Rey shrugs. "Not really. You hit on me. I think you thought I was your nurse. You kept saying I was pretty."
Ben blushes at this. "Well, you are pretty. You're beautiful. I hope I didn't say anything inappropriate though."
She shakes her head. "You didn't."
He rumbles a contented noise and exhales a sigh. His hand reaches for her hand and his thumb swipes across the back in a comfortable, familiar motion.
Then, he stills and looks at her. "Did I... did I try to say my name was Kyle?"