One of Rey’s first memories is of her running along the long corridors of the Supremacy, the new carer that had been assigned to her chasing right behind, begging her to stop between struggled breaths. She was not yet old enough to notice the terror in the man’s face, terrified of Supreme Leader Snoke’s reaction when he heard the 4-year-old girl had managed once again to escape her wing of the ship. Rey held a toy blaster in her hand and she was laughing so hard tears ran down her face, unaware that adventure would most likely also get that carer fired from his position. She was just a child, oblivious, happy, life was good to her.
Another early memory was of her standing so close to a glass window her breath had fogged it, watching what was happening on the other side with wide and amazed eyes, sparkling with admiration. Living her entire life in a First Order ship, Rey was no stranger to fighters and warriors, but the people she saw training were unlike any other she’d ever seen, they seemed sensitive to the Force just like her, they used it in their craft. She craned her neck to look up at Snoke, standing at his full height next to her, and asked who were they between little hops of innocent excitement. After the Supreme Leader told her about the great Knights of Ren, Rey requested to come to see them every day for the next month, a treat Snoke allowed. It was in his interest the child learned about the allies of the First Order, after all.
Rey’s most treasured memory, however, was of when she was allowed something she had always requested Snoke from the moment she began her fighting training at 12-years-old, her own lightsaber. He told her she had to earn having such a special weapon and from that moment on Rey worked herself, bettered herself, until the Supreme Leader deemed her worthy and granted the (dangerously persistent) request. She still remembered the first time she held it, the double-bladed lightsaber she had always dreamed of, and the feeling of the kyber crystal’s energy syncing with her own life Force. The weapon folded and everything, it was more than perfect, she cried once she was alone with it in her room.
Rey was grateful for having been saved by Snoke when she was a child, the life she had, serving the First Order, was everything she desired, it sated the urges of the dark Force inside her, it was where she belonged. She didn’t know who her parents were, but Snoke had told her she was left behind in a cot in the middle of the Jakku desert when he found her, attracted by the power he felt in her when he landed on the planet, so it didn’t matter. What mattered to Rey was what she saw was real, serving the First Order and helping her master in his goal to destroy the Resistance.
Rey’s master was the one she knew she could never betray. Snoke had given her a chance of a meaningful life, he’d helped her understand and tame the Force she was so strong with, he’d given her everything she needed to become one of the best fighters in the Order, he’d given her purpose. Rey was thankful and she was loyal to the Supreme Leader.
Rey walked up to her master’s throne, kneeling and bowing her head until he told her to rise. “You’ve asked for me, Supreme Leader?”
Snoke gestured her to approach. “I have. I need you to go to Endor.”
She frowned. “To join the troops you’ve sent earlier today? I thought it was a simple mission, find the runaway prisoner and bring him back so I can keep on questioning him.”
His voice hardened. “It was simple… until the Resistance decided to send heavily armed troops to the planet to rescue him. We didn’t give this pilot enough credit, he’s- something to them. Ben Solo is there.”
Ben Solo, the face of the Resistance, General Leia’s shining and perfect Jedi son. If he had joined their troops in Endor to rescue the pilot he must really be a bigger deal than what she thought.
Rey raised her brow, then nodded in understanding. “I’ll gather some backup and leave for Endor immediately.”
He rested his hands over his lap, voice as stern as ever. “Do not disappoint me.”
She bowed her head low in submission. “I’ll bring you the prisoner, master,” she promised.
He grunted something that she understood as being dismissed, turning around and leaving the throne room to follow the orders she’d been given.
The ride to Endor didn’t take that long and Rey used the time to make sure her hair was secure to her head and the crimson red tint on her lips wasn’t bleeding out of the lines, the casual nature of the actions showing just how relaxed she was with what was about to happen, grooming herself just to kill time before she went into battle.
Once her boots touched Endor’s ground, however, her relaxed expression became sharp and focused, yelling orders to the ‘troopers before she took her lightsaber and ignited it, walking to the very front and leading her army to where the fight was happening.
Being in battle was like breathing to Rey, she’s done it more times than she could remember, but the thrill she got from it seemed new every time. There was something about it she loved, being able to follow her instincts without holding back, letting all the pent up emotions out. It was almost therapeutic.
As the last man fell at Rey’s feet she stood up straight again, breathing heavily from the effort she’d made during the duel, looking around to maybe spot any clues to where the pilot was hiding. She stepped over the bodies around her without even looking twice at them, moving forward, stopping only when her senses told her to, the Force whispering a warning in her ear.
Rey turned just in time to raise her lightsaber, the higher blade clashing with another, her unstable red sizzling with an almost opposite steady blue. Her red-stained lips stretched into a smile when she looked to her attacker’s face, moving not to strike back, but to push him away to a suitable talking distance.
“We meet at last,” Rey said, lowering her weapon slightly, as if she was saying they should pause the fight for a moment to have a chat.
“And yet it feels too soon,” Ben said, saber still proud and ready for battle, bathing his face in blue.
Rey laughed, loud and pleasant. “Come on, Solo, you were raised by a princess, show some manners.”
“You don’t get to have an opinion on my manners, murderer,” Ben hissed from behind his blade, everything about him confrontational from his stance to his tone.
Rey laughed again, more contained, less sincere. The idea he’d somehow hurt her pride satisfied him. “The Resistance’s hero has a sharp tongue indeed. Your reputation precedes you.”
“I could say the same about you, you left a trail of bodies on your way.”
Rey shrugged, taking it as a compliment. “No one on this planet is as good a warrior as I am, I’m a member of the Knights of Ren, it’s expected that I win against anyone that is mad enough to challenge me.”
Ben huffed, finding the woman’s confidence amusing. “You overestimate yourself for someone that serves as Snoke’s personal bodyguard, you might as well be one of his disposable praetorian guards.”
Rey’s smile faltered, she didn’t like that. She hated when people undermined her, Rey knew how powerful she was, she was strong with the Force in a way only a few in the galaxy were, a skilled warrior and pilot, a fearless woman. She was more than Snoke’s bodyguard.
Even though she was annoyed, Rey still laughed. “Better than being the Resistance’s pet. How is it like not being free to have a life of your own, Jedi? The hope of the entire galaxy? You know you’re not up to their expectations.”
Ben chuckled, but his hand tightened around the hilt of his lightsaber. “Funny you think you know the first thing about me when we’ve never met before, Ren.” Her name left his lips threaded with anger, rage.
The woman smiled and he would think she was stunning if she wasn’t so terrible. “I know more than you might think, Ben Solo. I know you feel lonely more often than not at your base, that you feel like the Rebellion’s puppet, how you fear the legacy of your family…” she stopped and her smile widened, “I know you resent your father for his absence.”
Ben gritted his teeth, taking a step forward. “How do you know all this?”
Rey couldn’t contain her happiness from managing to stir the perfect hero’s emotions. “The pilot… Poe, is it? Yes, he dates your best friend, the traitor-”
“Don’t call Finn that,” he interrupted to hiss.
She waved her free hand, dismissing Ben’s anger. “That’s what FN-2187 is,” she said, just stating the fact before continuing, “The pilot is loyal to the Resistance, he would not give me the location of your base even if I was… very persuasive.”
Ben’s stomach turned with disgust, the troops hadn’t found Poe yet, but he could only imagine the things that woman had done to try and get information out of him.
“But after a few sessions. I succeeded in making him weak enough that I could access some of his memories before he ran away. I could see him and his traitor lover confiding about you, about how unsatisfied you seem with your life… how much they pity you.”
“You’re lying!” Ben screamed as soon as she finished. “You’re trying to get in my head, you witch!”
Rey’s true laughter returned then, open, sincere. “Am I, Ben?”
He noticed she was taking control of the situation, getting under his skin. Ben remembered all his master had taught him about the role of emotions in the battlefield, how they got in the way more often than not, and he took a deep breath to center himself, settle in his light. He succeeded, mind sharp once more before he looked at Rey, much shorter in size than him but not any less dangerous because of it.
“You’re stalling so your troops can get to Poe first,” Ben lowered his stance, wordlessly annunciating he was ready for battle, “But I’m not leaving Endor without him. If that means I have to kill you, let’s just get it done and over with.”
Rey raised the lightsaber to her eye-level, looking at Ben through the crimson gleam of her blades. Nothing about her said fear, there was only confidence, a twisted sense of excitement. “Come, Solo, and try your best to not become another body at my feet.”
Ben sprinted towards her, lowering his blade in full force to meet hers. She anticipated it, defended herself and attacked with just as much force.
Their fighting styles couldn’t be more different if they tried. Ben fought with direct and bold movements, nothing elaborate or acrobatic, but with open motions, elegance and extreme awareness of his own body. Rey, on the other hand, even though trained for just as long and very much skilled, preferred to rely on her instincts. One of the reasons Rey considered herself such a good fighter was that she was trained to mirror her opponent’s style, syncing with it until she found their weakness and made a fatal attack.
He spun around himself and swung the lightsaber to her face, movement which she blocked with the top blade of her weapon, smirking before she successfully hit his thigh with the bottom one. He screamed in pain and fell to his knees, and if she wanted to, she could have sunk the blade into his chest then and ended that fight. But she didn’t.
“Is that all Skywalker has taught you?” she shouted as a drop of sweat ran down her neck to the fabric of her fitted high collar. “You’re a disgrace to your order! Get up and fight like the Jedi you claim to be!”
Rey was enjoying putting the Resistance’s shining hope on his knees, humiliating him, she wanted him to fall apart before she killed him.
Ben looked up at her, the smile on her lips, and grunted, getting up and raising his weapon again. She moved to strike the lightsaber against him, but that time he anticipated it, dodging the blow and using the chance to attack her.
The blade grazed her shoulder, cutting through the leather of her garment as if it was nothing, and it was her time to feel pain. Rey touched her shoulder, not really expecting to see blood, before wrapping the palm around the hilt of her weapon again, wearing a smirk.
“Better,” Rey murmured under her breath, charging toward the Jedi again.
He managed to hit Rey again as they fought, but it was just another small cut, not so different from a few she had made to his skin already. She didn’t seem fazed by the pain at all, still mighty and powerful as Ben felt himself starting to get tired.
“Once I have the pilot in my hands again, I’ll find out the rest there is to know about you,” Rey said between breaths. “I’ll find all of your secrets, maybe that’s how I’ll take down the Resistance, through their favorite warrior.”
Ben slid the blade of his saber to Rey’s, halting when the hilts clashed, face centimeters from hers. “Poe is coming home with me,” he hissed. “You’re not touching him ever again.”
They had a moment of staring at each other up close, Ben slightly bent over Rey as she held her weapon with both hands to defend herself. That’s when his hand slipped and accidentally touched hers. The simple bush of his skin against hers shouldn’t have had changed anything, but somehow it made the Force shift around them, expanding, creating, connecting.
They both felt it immediately, he flooded by Rey’s darkness as she was dazed by Ben’s light, something strong, intimate and unexpected.
Rey was stunned by the unfamiliar light that filled her all at once, but Ben was no stranger to darkness, constantly tempted by it, so as she stood still to process what the Force was giving her, he took the opportunity to swing his weapon again. She didn’t defend himself and his blade did much more than gently graze her skin, slashing through her clothes again and cutting a huge gash across her stomach.
Rey gasped in surprise and her lightsaber fell to the ground, arms wrapping around herself as she met the pain, fierce and unforgiving.
Ben didn’t kill her at that moment of vulnerability and that, she reckons, was his first big mistake. If he expected Rey to faint, to run, to beg for mercy or surrender, he obviously hadn’t paid enough attention to the stories attached to her name.
The darkness drowned her at the same time her rage did and as Rey tasted her blood in her mouth, she summoned her lightsaber back to her hand with the Force. Rey screamed at the top of her lungs, not with pain but with fury, and Ben flew back with the blast of energy coming from her.
As if she wasn’t injured at all, Rey charged toward Ben, the expression on her face enough to terrify him, and he had just enough time to defend himself from the attack that followed. She was fast, swinging her blade over and over, trying to punish him for the audacity of threatening her life.
Ben saw the blood streaming from her stomach, the cauterization by the lightsaber blade not enough to hold the deep wound closed after her outburst, but the red on her face came only from the carefully applied tint on her lips and the explosion of her emotions. Inexplicably, he could feel them, her anger, her desire to kill, to destroy, he could feel her in the Force. She also felt his emotions, his light, but contrary to Ben, she didn’t waste time wondering about what was that connection, she just wanted to show him he should be that scared.
Ben had never seen anything like it, Rey’s rage seemed to be moving the Force around them, darkening it, everything becoming dim, eclipsed. She was obviously severely injured, he could see more of her than what he would like, but Rey fought as if she was whole, as if her blood wasn’t pooling at her feet, as if getting revenge on the man that had done that to her was a cause worth dying for.
Rey screamed as she attacked Ben, black everything that surrounded her, but she stopped when hands held her back, her troops had come to her aid. Ben would have stayed and fought, but they were coming from all sides and his own people called for him, telling him they had found Poe and were ready to leave.
Rey had to watch as Ben took at least fifteen of her ‘troopers down by himself before he got into a ship and fled the planet with the rescued pilot, jumping to lightspeed and disappearing from her sight.
She growled, folding over herself and holding her stomach as if only then she had started to feel pain. Rey let people help her, not having enough strength to tell them otherwise, and as she recognized the inside of her ship and felt a surface under her, she was dragged into unconsciousness.
When Rey woke up she was lying in an unfamiliar bed, a bright light blinding her vision for a moment. She squinted to accommodate it and when she could see again, she recognized the infirmary of the Supremacy ship.
“You have disappointed me,” Snoke said and she turned her head to look at her master. Rey didn’t respond, so he continued, “I went through your memories as you slept and watched the battle through your eyes,” he admitted to the intrusion with naturality. “You failed as a knight, Rey, you stopped in the middle of the fight for no reason and gave Solo the perfect opportunity to wound you.”
Rey was still waking up, but she remembered it all, she remembered being distracted by the Force, probably one of Ben’s tricks, before he took her down.
“I remember, master. I apologize for dishonoring my training.”
Rey tried to sit down, but she was met by a strong pain in her stomach. She looked down on herself to notice she was wrapped tight in bacta bandages, bare from the waist up if not for her breast band.
“You cannot leave the bed yet, foolish child.” Snoke’s voice was stern, not the slightest bit of concern in it, just disappointment. “Your body is weak, you are of no service to me like this.”
Rey couldn’t say anything back. She knew she was wrong, she had made a fool of herself, had embarrassed the Supreme Leader.
“Wait until you’ve healed enough before you go back to training. It’s obvious you still have a lot to learn,” Snoke said and Rey was not foolish enough to mistake his practicality as concern for her well being. He turned around and left the room before she could say anything.
Rey lied back down and closed her eyes, no energy to fight the tiredness that took her. She was in pain, she was weak, she felt humiliated.
Ben Solo had done that to her. Ben Solo would pay with his blood.
Finn hugged Ben with such a passion he couldn’t remember what it was like to be out of his best friend’s embrace. Ben smiled and patted Finn’s back, waiting until he wanted to step away.
“Thank you,” Finn said, looking so moved it made Ben’s heart full.
“For what? You were fighting down there too,” Ben reminded him, sitting back down on his seat, the aftermath of his duel with Rey finally kicking in and making his body sore.
Finn shook his head. “You fought her, you held her off until we found Poe.” He didn’t name Rey, one of his former masters, but Ben understood.
Ben sighed. “We all did what we had to get Poe back. Let’s get him home now.”
Finn thanked him once more in that sincere, wholesome way that made Ben feel lighter and happier, before he went back to where his boyfriend was, needing to stay by his side.
As soon as Ben found himself alone, it was like he was melting into the seat, he was exhausted. He closed his eyes and his mind took him back to the look of Rey’s eyes as she ran towards him after being wounded, the dark Force he felt in her. He felt her. He felt her so whole, so complete in her terrifying existence, it was like there was something connecting their very souls.
Ben opened his eyes and shook his head, straying from those thoughts and standing on his feet now the ship had landed. He left with the rest of his troop, no need for him to be at the front to receive a round of applause for his heroic doing, he was one of them.
Ben smiled at who smiled at him as he made his way to find the general even if his mind could only think about what he was going to say to his mother, the questions he would ask.
He knocked on the door and received permission to get inside, closing it behind him. Leia took one look at him and stood up, coming closer. She held her son’s arms and gently squeezed them, reading him with a look.
“What happened?” she asked, knowing something was wrong.
He didn’t know where to begin. “Poe is here, we brought him home.”
Leia smiled. “That’s good, that’s very good.”
The weight of her hands on Ben’s arms was enough to make him want to say everything on his mind. “Mother, something- happened. Something terrifying,” he admitted.
“What is it? You can tell me.”
His mouth was as dry as the Jakku desert. “I- I met Rey on Endor today, Rey Ren,” he clarified as if her name wasn’t well known across the galaxy as one of the most powerful warriors of the First Order. “Snoke sent her there as backup.”
Leia’s eyebrows furrowed. “He sent a Ren knight to get back a single runaway Resistance pilot? Seems rather excessive even for him.”
Ben shook his head. “She told me they didn’t get anything from him, Snoke probably wanted to keep pressuring Poe until he caved and gave out our location.”
The general smiled and it looked beautiful on her face. “Poe is one of our best.” Ben nodded, but didn’t say anything else. “What is it, son?”
Ben didn’t even hesitate, just waiting for her to say the words. “Ren and I fought and- mother, I have never seen anything like it.”
“A warrior as skilled as her?”
Ben shook his head. “No- I mean, she is an extraordinarily good fighter, but that was not what I meant.” He made a pause. “I injured her badly, I felt the blade cut deep in her skin.”
Leia raised her brows in surprise. “Did you kill her?”
Ben didn’t know how, but he knew she was alive, he felt it. “No, no. She is alive. I… what happened next was what scared me. With a wound of that size she shouldn’t even be able to stand for too long, but- I saw something shift in her.” Ben saw in Leia’s face he wasn’t being clear enough. “Mother, when she realized she was hurt she was taken by a type of wrath I had yet to see anyone show. She threw me back a few meters only with a scream, then held me on the ground with the Force and attacked me as if she wasn’t hurt at all.”
Leia’s expression was of worry. “It is not unheard of for people to find strength in the Force when they need it, but for you to be this impressed…”
“Rey is more powerful than what any of us realize. I swear I had never seen power like that, I had never felt darkness like that, not in Snoke, not in anyone.”
Something seemed to click inside Leia’s mind and her expression gained another layer of worry. Ben looked at her face and read it easily.
“What? I know you, that face is the face of someone hiding something.”
Leia stepped away from her son and turned around, pacing around the room silently before she faced Ben again. “Sit,” she murmured, pointing to the chair across hers on the table.
He did was he was told and waited for further explanation, staring into Leia’s pacing form.
“I’ve heard a rumor about this girl’s past once… there should be no reason for people to talk about her at all, even if she’s a good knight she’s just another person that works for Snoke.”
Ben nodded in agreement. “Still, what is the rumor?”
Leia hesitated some more, almost as if she wasn’t sure she should let her son know the story. “That Darth Sidious’ son got married after he ran away and had a child, a girl. The story says they were both murdered and the girl was stolen when she was still a baby.”
Ben’s limbs became numb. “Darth Sidious’ son…” he echoed, processing the information, his eyes widening after. “If Rey is this girl that would make her…”
Leia nodded. “That would make her the granddaughter of the Galactic Emperor. That would make Rey a Palpatine.”
Ben sank into his chair, silence stretching between the two as they took in the terrifying news. “How strong she is with the Force… this would explain it.”
Leia nodded, face still worried. “If it’s true what you felt when you met her, Ben, then yes.”
Ben got up and it was obvious he was scared. “Could this mean the return of the Sith Order? If Rey is the descendant of a Sith Master.”
Leia shook her head and got up, some calm returning to her. “The Sith Order was vanquished when my father, the last apprentice, killed his master. Palpatine is dead and so are the Sith.”
Ben didn’t know if Leia spoke of a place of certainty or if she just wished she was right. He thought it was best not to question.
“The girl does not know about her past, she does not know about the power in her blood. She thinks she comes from nothing, abandoned by her parents in the middle of the Jakku desert,” Leia said. “Snoke groomed her since she was a baby to serve him and the First Order, she believes that is her fate.”
“And if she found out about the truth?”
Leia thought about it for a moment. “It’s hard to tell… but I don’t believe she would serve the man who killed her parents and fed her lies her entire life.”
Ben looked deep into her mother’s eyes. “Maybe she would leave the First Order, abandon Snoke’s watch, make him vulnerable to an attack.”
Leia understood where her son was getting at. “Or maybe she would use the Palpatine name she is entitled to and would start a new order that would grow to become even more powerful,” she said, making it clear she was against Ben’s idea.
“Or maybe she would start to look for her true identity, who she is outside the First Order, in other places like the Resistance,” Ben insisted. “Maybe she could turn and come to the light side, join the Rebellion, help us defeat the man who deceived her.”
Leia shook her head firmly. “If you’re thinking about telling the girl about this, the answer is no. It’s too risky for Rey to be aware of how powerful she can become.”
“But mother…” I felt her in the Force, I know there is a spark of light inside of her, he would have said if he had had the chance.
“I am the general and I am your mother,” Leia said, sternly, eyes turning sharp and dominant. “And I say no. I forbid you from ever telling her, I forbid you from bringing this up again, it’s too dangerous.”
Ben was taken aback by his mother’s harsh words, forgetting all about telling her about the strange connection he’d felt with Rey, just wanting to cut the conversation short.
“As you wish, general.” The title tasted like poison on his tongue. “Now if you excuse me, I have just battled a Palpatine, I’m very tired,” he said between gritted teeth, turning around and leaving the room.
Ben was angry as he made his way to his own room, slamming the door behind him and leaning against it, taking deep breaths to calm himself. His eye caught a glimpse of his reflection in the mirror on the other side and he could see Rey’s blood staining the white of his clothes, the fabric he usually wrapped around his arms drenched in it. He took it all off, letting fall on the floor at his feet, but the red was smeared on his skin too.
Ben went into the refresher and let the water cover his body, rubbing her off of him, wanting to forget about Rey and the torment she was bringing him. He left when the water turned cold, finding some new clean clothes and putting them on, sitting on the floor by the window after.
He knew he shouldn’t sleep that furious, so the Jedi closed his eyes and thought about his master’s teachings, meditating to clear his mind as the sunlight caressed his face softly. Ben focused on the Force, embracing everything around him, living inside him too. He took deep breaths and his soul settled again, the anger dulling to almost nothing, the balance being restored.
Ben had a faint smile on his lips when he opened his eyes again, but it disappeared immediately when he noticed someone was lying on his bed. He rushed to his feet and his eyes widened when he recognized the intruder.
His mind calmed him, it was obvious that was an illusion, how could Rey Ren be possibly lying in his bed? Ben assumed then he’d fallen asleep whilst he was meditating and hesitantly, took a step closer to the illusion. Rey only wore some dark pants and a breast band, a bacta bandage wrapped tightly around her small waist, eyes closed as she slept. Her face was clean of the usual paints and powders she always made sure to apply to her skin and her hair was loose from the three buns she was known to wear, strands spread around his pillow. She looked sick, her complexion pale and dull, but even in that state, he thought her beautiful.
Ben shook his head, straying from that thought, Rey was the enemy, he was only dreaming about her because of all the trouble she was causing him, because of what he’d learned about her past. He rubbed his closed lids, whispering requests to his own head under his breath, asking for her to have vanished once he opened his eyes.
Rey heard murmurs in a deep voice, pulling her from the depths of sleep and bringing her to the surface. She felt the Force stronger around her and thinking Snoke had returned to see her, she forced her eyes open. Every part of her body seemed frozen as she saw the Resistance’s hero by her bed, inexplicably in the infirmary of the Supremacy, just itching his eyes casually. Her next reaction was to yell, looking around her for a weapon to defend herself, heart going to her throat.
Ben stumbled back on his own feet, eyes shooting open to stare at Rey’s face, seemingly just as scared as her.
“How did you get here?” she asked, trying to sit but unable to because of her wound, arm going around herself protectively.
Ben frowned, watching her thrash around on his sheets. “I should be asking you! This is my room!” he said, slight indignation in his tone, even dream Rey was annoyingly disrespectful.
Rey was confused, scared, vulnerable, with no weapon to protect herself and too weak to even stand up. “Guards!” she screamed, her last resort.
Two men ran inside the infirmary immediately, but as she opened her mouth to give them a command, she noticed Ben had vanished into thin air. One moment he was there, the other he wasn’t, gone in an instant. She lied back down, panting, arm wrapped tight around her middle. A hallucination from the healing liquids running into her bloodstream, that’s what had happened.
She looked at the men that had run to her rescue. “Leave, I thought I’d seen something, but I was mistaken.” They just looked at her as if she was crazy, so her eyes darkened. “I said, leave!”
No guard was crazy enough to not obey one of Rey’s orders, so the men vanished from her sight almost as quickly as Ben had. Rey worked on calming her breathing, closing her eyes again and in no time, she was dragged back to sleep.
That time, Rey slept for two whole days, waking up again when he felt something touch her stomach, the medical droid was going through his routine change of her bacta bandages. Rey blinked lazily, waiting until the droid was gone before she placed a hand over the new clean bandages. She didn’t feel pain, so she felt encouraged to sit, which she succeeded at with little effort.
Rey got up against the medical droid’s complaints, finding her strength was restored, she felt better. Rey reached for her cape that rested washed and waiting for her next to her bed and draped around her bare shoulders, leaving the infirmary and the protesting beeps of the droid behind. Finding her room was no challenge, she’d lived in the Supremacy for all her life, and as soon as she was alone again she faced a mirror.
She took off the cape, then the pants, underwear and breast band, left staring at her almost naked form, apart from the dressing wrapped around her middle. Rey hesitated before her fingers started to gently remove the bandages, waiting for the sting of pain. It didn’t come, but her face still twisted, her eyebrows still furrowed.
Ben had left a mighty, bold, deep scar that went from under her right breast to just below her bellybutton, a slash on her stomach that even if still pink and healing, would obviously never fully go away. Rey was a narcissistic woman to put it lightly, she was shamelessly in love with herself, found her body and curves bewitching and thought her face was beautiful like only a few others she’d ever seen. Needless to say, she didn’t like the imperfection in the otherwise flawless image, so she wrapped herself up again.
Rey turned away from her reflection, going to find some clothes to change into, choosing her preferred suit-like outfit, a cape coming from behind her shoulders and draping to the floor. After she got dressed, she fixed her hair in an unchallenging high ponytail and painted her lips the usual crimson red, looking at the mirror again.
She realized then there was nothing that damn Resistance hero could do to make her any less than what she was, naked or fully dressed. She was Rey Ren, elite warrior, child of the First Order, feared, powerful. The woman slid her hands down her body, feeling it, worshiping it. Yes, she was everything. He was nothing, soon to become just another fallen Jedi at her feet.
Rey left her room and made her way to the Knights’ of Ren wing of the ship, where they lived and practiced. She was in no shape to join them in training, but it would feel nice to go somewhere familiar, she didn’t want to see her master yet. As she walked she felt something odd, like she could hear an echo in the distance, an echo of rain falling.
She stopped walking and her hand gravitated towards her lightsaber in an instinct, there was no raining inside a spaceship, something was wrong. Rey looked ahead into the long, empty corridor, just waiting for something, she didn’t know what.
Ben walked into her line of vision and her breathing caught. He didn’t look at her, sitting by the window and looking out of it into the stars. Rey couldn’t quite believe her own eyes, thinking they were playing some trick on her.
He reached out his hand forward, palm up, as if he was waiting for something to fall on it. Rain, her mind helpfully supplied when she noticed Ben’s damp hair, light fabric clothing clinging to his skin, he was under the rain. But how could that be if she was seeing him on her ship, gazing through the window into the stars? She was so fascinated by the weird situation she forgot all about her need for revenge.
She didn’t move or spoke anything, but suddenly Ben’s back straightened and he turned his head around to look right into her eyes. He had felt her.
“Ren,” he whispered, voice filled with surprise. He stood up, looking at the fully dry woman standing right under pouring rain. They stared at each other for a moment, how their presence was completely out of place. “You’re not here,” he added before she could, reaching the same conclusion.
She felt him in the Force, so bright, made of pure starlight. “It’s the Force, it’s… connecting us.”
Rey remembered her need for revenge and stepped forward, moving slowly as if not to scare Ben away. He was alert all the same, analyzing her every movement with caution.
“I don’t know,” Rey whispered.
“There is far enough, snake,” he hissed when she got too close for his liking.
Rey smiled, amused by the nickname. “Come on, starlight boy, I’m a wounded woman, what could I ever do to you in this state?” her voice was full of disdain, satisfied with the nickname she’d given him. He looked Rey up and down and raised a brow, she looked well, as polished as ever, not a hair out of place, chin held high.
“You look perfectly fine to me,” Ben said, taking a step back when she took another one forward, hand hovering over his lightsaber.
Her smile didn’t disappear, but it shifted into something darker. “Should I show you the scar you left when you tried to kill me a few days ago? That should be enough evidence I’m not at my best at the moment.”
His shoulders relaxed and when Rey took a step forward, he didn’t take another one back. Oh, you stupid starlight boy.
“I can feel you,” he whispered, looking into her eyes. “I can feel your darkness in the Force.”
“I can feel you too. You’re annoyingly bright, starlight,” she said with a small smile, holding his gaze as she took another step forward.
She stood right in front of Ben, his face wet from the raindrops which were starting to soak the floor of her ship. Rey was curious about what was happening, why they were connected, but there was something she desired to get more than answers.
Rey raised her hand and slapped his face the stronger she could. Ben, even if a skilled Jedi, was too slow to escape her, face turning to the side as he accommodated to the pain, reminded then of how strong she was.
“So I can touch you,” Rey said casually, wiping the dampness she picked up from Ben’s cheek on the fabric of her jacket. He just stared at her, mouth slightly open in surprise, not knowing what to say. She smiled, glad he was too distracted to see her hand wrapping around the hilt of her lightsaber under her cape. “And if I can touch you, I can kill you,” she grunted, eyes darkening as she raised her weapon and ignited it.
The blade gleamed into the air as Ben disappeared, just as he had earlier that day, escaping the fatal blow out of pure luck. Rey growled as she turned around, looking for him and anger bubbled in her stomach when she realized she’d failed, he was gone. She screamed, swinging her saber at a nearby table repeatedly, destroying it to alleviate the frustration.
Her own body showed its limits, the effort making her dizzy and drained, forced to lean on the wall next to her to recover. As soon as Rey could see properly again she stomped her way to her master’s throne room, knowing there was a good chance of him being there.
She kneeled in front of the throne, waiting for her master to break the silence. “You came earlier than I expected. I thought you would hide for longer.” The implied message he thought she was a coward was there, but she chose to ignore it.
“No, master,” Rey said, used to submitting to the Supreme Leader since she was a child. “I came as soon as I was strong enough to stand.”
“How is your wound?”
“It’s nothing,” she replied, head still low.
“The mighty Rey Ren,” his voice hid something, disappointment, scorn, she didn’t know. “When I found you, left behind in the desert by your parents like you were nothing but another useless grain of sand, I saw what all masters live to see: raw, untamed power, the potential to one day put an end to the New Republic… later the Resistance. Now, I fear I was mistaken.”
She raised her eyes to look at her master, hurt covering her features. “I've given everything I have to you. I’ve lived my whole life to serve the First Order, the dark side.”
He got up, looking down at her. “And yet, it seems all the time and resources I’ve invested in you were a waste. I sent you to get back a pilot and you came back empty-handed and on the verge of death.”
Rey swallowed the rage coming up her throat. “It was the Jedi, master. Ben Solo.”
“Oh, I know. I’ve seen it,” he reminded her he’d invaded her memories. “But that’s no excuse. You were weak, you failed me, you failed the Knights of Ren, you were pathetic!”
She got up, fists balled as if she was considering attacking her master for his cruel words. The praetorian guards raised their weapons, ready to strike her down to protect the Supreme Leader if they had to. Snoke raised his hand to halt them.
“I promise I will kill him, master. I’ll kill Ben Solo so the First Order can destroy the Resistance.”
He laughed, loudly, obviously mocking. “You think taking Ben Solo’s life would bring the Resistance to its demise? Don’t be stupid, he’s only a man, the face of the cause. Killing the general’s son would only spark the fire of the Rebellion.”
There was silence as she stared at Snoke’s face. “What if I could turn him? Bring him to the dark side? That ought to demoralize the movement.”
Snoke laughed again. “What makes you think Ben Solo could ever be turned by you, naive child?”
She swallowed back the humiliation of being underrated once again. “Ever since our duel something happened between us. I can’t quite explain it, but Solo and I have become connected in the Force somehow, I can see him, talk to him, touch him even if he’s across the galaxy.”
Snoke seemed surprised. “A Force bond?” Rey frowned in confusion, but nodded, she supposed so.
Snoke’s mind went straight to the ancient prophecy that said there would be a dyad in the Force, a connection that would unite the chosen in the most intimate way possible, their emotions, fears… powers. He knew if the two individuals were to be together their abilities would amplify each other, strengthen each other in battle. If he had control over both ends of the dyad he might become powerful enough to destroy the Resistance, to take over the galaxy, even. He was drunk on the prospect immediately.
“I can feel Solo in the Force, master, and I know there is darkness in him, there is Vader in him. If I fed it, let the dark side seduce him, he might turn,” she gained confidence as the speech went on. Her eyes narrowed, voice bursting with self-assurance. “He would turn.”
Snoke then smiled. “I trust you will not disappoint me again.”
Rey bowed her head to her master. “I will bring Ben Solo to the dark side,” she said, certain she could make her words come true.
Snoke made way to his throne again, looking satisfied. “Use whatever tool you seem fit.”
Rey smirked, she knew just what route to take.