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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.”

“Why?” 

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.

Chapter Text

Ben still hadn’t told his mother, Finn, or anyone else about what had happened with Rey. He was afraid of what this strange bond meant, he was afraid that being connected to Rey was proof his fate was darkness, just like hers was. He couldn’t tell his friends, his battle comrades, that his mind and soul were linked to the Supreme Leader’s mentee. 

If he’d asked his mother or his master, Luke would have reasoned this didn’t mean Ben was like Rey, it meant the exact opposite. Balance in the Force. Powerful light, powerful darkness.

But Ben didn’t ask.

After their second connection, when Rey vanished and left Ben alone in the pouring rain holding his chest expecting to see her blade piercing it, he realized he needed to contain their bond even if he didn’t understand it. Ben meditated endlessly, focusing on building walls around him, protecting himself, guarding his mind, his energy. A few days passed and his efforts proved to be successful, he hadn’t seen or felt Rey in the Force for a while. That changed one night as he meditated on his bed. 

His eyes were closed, but he felt the Force changing around him, echoing and then suddenly, she was there, standing on the other side of his room, staring at him. 

He jumped to his feet, grabbing the lightsaber from his nightstand. “Stay away,” Ben hissed. 

Rey, who seemed less than fazed by the reception, smiled. She looked at him for another second before turning around herself slowly, the black cloak flowing away from her body and showing the red dress underneath. He just stared.

“This is hardly battle attire, starlight. I’m not armed,” she said in a low, almost soothing voice, clarifying she’s done that so Ben could see.

His eyes ran through her body strategically, trying to make sure she was telling the truth.  The dress was tight around Rey’s bust and waist, no way to hide anything there, moving freely only from her hips down. If anything was under the long skirt, he would have time before she reached for it, Ben concluded.

“Why do you keep calling me that?” he asked after finishing his inspection.

She held her hands in front of her body, posture exuding power just from standing there in that red dress that looked like it was made for her body. He swallowed dry.

“Because that’s what you feel like in the Force, pure starlight… brilliant yet calm, soothing and gentle.” 

Ben huffed. “What should I call you, then? Your presence is sour, unsettling and gruesome.”

Rey chuckled and he found it way more pleasant that what he would have liked. “Charming, Solo.” 

A silence fell between them again, so Rey stepped closer. His blade shone blue after the first step as a warning for her and her sinful red dress to stay where they were. “I thought I’d told you to stay away from me, monster,” he hissed. 

She rolled her eyes and undid the clasp that kept the cloak on her shoulders, removing it and placing it over a chair beyond his sight. He almost cursed under his breath, because he could see even more of the damn dress then, the sleeves fitted down to her delicate wrists, the wide collar leaving her freckled neck well exposed. Not that it mattered, he reminded himself, she may look beautiful, but he wouldn’t forget what she was capable of. 

“See?” Rey asked, but when Ben just stared in confusion she rested both hands just below her breasts, sliding them down her body slowly until they held her hips. 

“What are you doing?” His eyes were slightly widened.

“Showing you I’m unarmed,” she lied with naturality. “You shouldn’t be afraid of me getting closer.”

Ben huffed. “Because you’ve never tried to kill me before,” he said, using irony to hide how affected he was by her presence in the stupidly-flattering-around-her-every-curve red dress

“I was upset then, I had just seen the scar you left me.” 

“And in the short days that have passed since then you’ve started to love it,” he said, once again, ironically, thinking she was setting a trap to kill him. Little did Ben know he was already falling for an entirely different trap.

“I was upset at first, yes, but then I realized the scar didn’t make my body any less than what it was before,” she shrugged, implying she had overcome the problem, “I guarantee I only heard praises from the women who got to worship me yesterday,” she said with a casual tone and Ben immediately blushed to the statement.

He was not mad to the point of responding to that and risking her going further into the subject, so he remained silent, keeping his eyes to her face. Rey didn’t miss how red Ben’s cheeks were.

“Didn’t you find it strange that it took much longer for us to connect again?” Rey asked after a while, conversational. “I wonder how the bond works.” 

“I don’t know how it works yet, but I guarantee I’m trying my best to shut it off.” Ben’s tone made it clear he hated it, feared it, wanted to get rid of it. 

She blinked a couple of times. “The reason it took so long for us to meet again is that you’ve been trying to block the connection?”

“Can you blame me for not wanting to have the displeasure of seeing you? I hate it, snake, and I’ll find a way to cut this connection the Force has created.”

She then laughed, maroon lips stretching around her wide smile. “You petty man, you think you can control the Force? You’re a fool, you’re asking for failure!” 

“I managed to keep you away for five days, didn’t I?” he said through gritted teeth, annoyed by her mocking.

Rey leaned forward, eyes sparkling with delight. “And yet, I feel you even stronger now than I did before, starlight,” she whispered.

“That’s not true,” he growled. 

She chuckled but the sound was lower, echoed. Ben thanked the Force, it had started pulling them apart. “You know I’m not lying because you feel it too. Try as hard and as much as you want, but I’ll see you again soon.”

She didn’t get to hear his answer, Ben vanished before then, but she smiled to herself regardless, pleased with how the connection went. He’d looked at her, his eyes had explored her body, and that was enough for now.

Three more days passed and Rey used them to fully recover. She slept the most she could, resisted the need to be naked under (or on top of) someone, went to the infirmary every day to do a round of healing fluids and, however hard it had proven to be, did not set foot into any training rooms. By the end of the third day Rey felt like herself again and knowing she was well enough to use her lightsaber the next day, she practically danced on the way to her bedroom. 

She was loosening the lacing detail of her shirt, fingers pulling the strings with no particular rush, when she felt the air around her change. Rey smirked, hands abandoning the task even if her torso was already practically bare, and turned around to see Ben. 

She did see him, but unlike she expected, the Jedi lying in her bed, face peaceful as he slept. She pouted, stepping forward and standing beside him. Rey could kill him then if she had wanted to, he could have never seen it coming, but she already had other plans for him. She would turn Ben Solo for her master.

Rey allowed herself to sit next to Ben to look at him more closely, it was her bed after all. 

She realized then as she looked at him, she desired him in more than one way, the body she imagined would be sturdy under the flowy clothing he always wore, the power she could feel so brilliant and alluring in the Force, those lips that looked so soft… 

Rey’s hand hovered over his broad chest, reveling in the energy emanating from him even if it was so bright it almost burned her. It was enjoyable because however much Ben was made of light, she could still feel there was darkness inside him. It was hidden, contained, but still there. 

Ben stirred in his sleep and Rey smirked, leaning over him to brush her lips to his ear. “Wake up, starlight, I want company,” she murmured while her finger gently teased the exposed line of his neck.

His eyes shot open, scared when he noticed he wasn’t alone and gasping when he realized Rey was there everywhere, body practically on top of his. Ben was lying down one second and sitting up against the wall on the other, trying to get the most distance he could from her.

“What- what do you think you’re doing?” he asked with wide eyes, panting, still feeling the warmth of her breath brushing against his ear. 

Rey crossed one leg over the other, casually leaning back on her arm. “Right now or in my life as a whole?” 

It was obvious he wasn’t being taken seriously, but that didn’t really matter, he was still too startled to care. “You’re insane.” 

Ben recovered enough to look at other things that were not her smug smile, but his eyes immediately looked at the ceiling on top of his head, ears warming. Rey tipped her head, a smile threatening to crawl up her lips. 

“Cover yourself up,” he choked out.

Rey looked down at herself, remembering her shirt was all the way open in the middle, front uncovered. She looked at Ben again and raised a brow. “Does this bother you?”

“Yes,” he responded without a second of hesitation, eyes still trained to the ceiling. “Yes, it does. Make yourself decent.” 

Rey threw her head back to laugh, that was hilarious. “Decent,” she said in obvious mockery, “Can’t resist me now you’ve seen a bit of my skin? I wasn’t aware the Jedi are celibate.” 

Ben looked back up at Rey, but made sure his eyes remained fixed to hers. “I don’t get your intentions, Ren, if you wanted to kill me you would have done it just now as I slept. Did you spare me for entertainment? To torment me a while longer?” His voice was deep, serious.

Ben waited for an answer, but before she could come up with one the Force took her away. Ben could breathe again and he was more grateful than ever for the benevolence of the Force, it had made the connection short that time.

Hesitantly, after making sure Rey was really gone, Ben slid back into his sheets, closing his eyes and waiting for sleep to come. It claimed him faster than what he expected and he was grateful for it, hoping the Force wouldn’t bring them together again anytime soon.

The next day he did his usual tasks at the base and when he had some free time, he went to spend it with his friends. Poe, Rose and BB-8 were midst a heated discussion about something Finn couldn’t make sense out of, but he was annoyed when the droid emitted a sequence of rapid, angry-sounding beeps and Ben laughed next to him at the response. Apparently, he was the only one lost in that conversation.

Finn turned to his best friend and asked, “Can I speak with you?” Poe shouted something, pointing his finger right at the droid’s antenna. “Privately,” he added, rolling his eyes.

Ben nodded, standing up. “Of course. Is everything alright?” 

Finn made sure Poe couldn’t hear him. Ben noticed. “I have something to tell you.” 

Thinking he was looking to Rose’s direction and knowing full well he’d seen some flirting happening between them his eyes widened. “Oh, Finn, what did you do?”

Finn looked to where Ben was looking and flushed. “No, not that! Just- listen,” he took a deep breath, “You know I don’t hide anything from you.” I can’t say the same anymore. “I… I’ve been noticing some- changes in me.” 

Ben stopped. Then his eyes ran through Finn’s body from head to toe. “What kind of changes?” he asked, clearly afraid of the answer. 

Finn pushed Ben’s shoulder. “Not those kinds of changes, laserbrain! It’s- I- I think I might be sensitive to the Force.” 

Ben’s eyes widened, then he smiled. “Really? But that’s a good thing, Finn. Why are you hiding it from Poe?” 

Finn chewed on his lip. “An ex-stormtrooper who turns out to be Force-sensitive? What if he thinks this has something to do with the dark side? What if he thinks his boyfriend is going to turn… again.” 

Ben’s smile became even kinder. “You were never on the dark side to begin with, Finn, that life was chosen for you, I know that and Poe knows that too.”

“I’m afraid he’ll fear me, push me away.” 

“That’s nonsense. If he does that, send him my way, I’ll kick his ass.” 

“Don’t say that, you’re a Jedi knight, you would kill him,” Finn murmured, a smile teasing the corner of his lips.

Ben shrugged. “So he better not be an asshole to my best friend.”

Finn smiled then, relieved. “Thank you, Ben… I’ll talk to him.” 

“Do that.” Ben made a pause, thinking. “You know, if you’re Force-sensitive a lightsaber is more than just a glowing stick to you, you could benefit from learning how to use it, start to train your Force-influenced reflexes.”

“It’s too early for that.” 

Ben reached on his belt for his lightsaber and offered it to Finn, who took a step back like he was being offered the plague. Ben laughed.

“Are you scared of it? It’s just a fancy sword!” Ben said, taking a step forward. Finn started to laugh too, shaking his head no.

“No, Ben!” Finn laughed even harder when Ben ignited it, the blue blade beaming steady and proud.

“What are you two doing?” Rose asked from the side, confused. 

Ben swayed the weapon playfully on his sides, the saber emitting soft zooming sounds. “Come on, just try it.” 

Finn shook his head no and Ben chuckled, taking his finger off the button so the blade would disappear. 

“We can buy pieces and build one for your birthday.” 

Finn threw an arm around Ben’s shoulder. “Shut up,” he murmured.

Ben was about to respond with something witty when he heard more lightsaber sounds in the distance. He frowned, knowing there were not many others at the base who had sabers and the ones that did, didn’t usually train inside the buildings, there were spaces outside for that purpose.

“Is there something wrong?” Finn asked, noticing his friend’s expression.

Ben snapped back into reality. “No, let me just- I’ll be right back,” he said, leaving his confused friend behind and focusing on following the sounds. 

They started to get louder as he got closer, and then he felt it. Her focus, her energy, her competitiveness. Her.

Ben turned a corner and to no one’s surprise, saw Rey, face red and sweaty, fighting someone he couldn’t see, lightsaber moving rapidly. He could tell it was a friendly match, she wasn’t screaming nearly as much as she did when they fought, she didn’t feel nearly as furious. 

Rey was skillful, not that he didn’t know that already, but looking from outside without having to worry about being killed by her, Ben had the opportunity to admire her prowess with the saber. She was a passionate fighter, whole body and soul engaged on the duel, the weapon and her moving as one. 

Rey gave a final scream to accompany the blow that took her opponent down and the moment he saw the smile that spread across her face, he thought it was just as deadly. She said something to someone he could not see and proving she had been aware of Ben’s presence the whole time, turned right to his direction, eyes finding his.

Ben felt his breathing falter slightly, but he pulled himself together as Rey came his way, choosing to ignore the way his head felt it was adequate to tell him she looked particularly good like that, with victory painted across her features.

“Learned something?” she said, not getting too close, wanting to avoid the complaints she knew he would make.

Ben snorted. “Do I need to remind you who won our last duel?”

“You know why you won, Solo. I got distracted by the bond and you took advantage of my moment of weakness.”

Ben then laughed. “You think too highly of yourself, I would have won either way.” 

Rey huffed. “I disagree, but if we were to meet we could settle this matter.” 

“Thank you, but I decline your obvious trap.” 

Rey smiled. “Afraid, are you, Jedi?” 

Ben smiled back without even realizing, something about Rey drawing him in. “No, Ren. I just find battling someone who uses a weapon like yours too demanding, I would rather not put myself through it if I don’t have to.” Rey looked down at her lightsaber, not quite understanding what Ben had meant. “The double-bladed saber,” he clarified.

“Oh. Yes, wielding one is quite demanding too.”

“Why do you still use it, then?” Ben asked, undeniably interested. 

Rey smiled. “It moves beautifully, it suits its owner.” 

It truly does, he bit the response before it dared to come out. Ben realized then how comfortable he’d gotten and that was unacceptable, that was probably part of some plan she had. He opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted.

“What are you doing?” Finn asked, walking in on his friend standing in the middle of an empty hallway, talking to himself. 

“Nothing, I- I’m on my way to my room, I need to rest for a bit,” Ben lied. 

Finn raised a brow. “Yes, you’re acting weird, I think you’re tired.” 

Ben smiled and nodded, ignoring Rey as he walked past her and made way to his room. It was troubling to still feel the presence of her on the back of his mind even if he’d walked away, but he had no control over when she would come and go. The bond was still open and it would remain that way for as long as the Force willed it so. Still, he felt unsettled by Rey’s darkness lurking on the back of his mind, so he sat on his bed and started to meditate, hoping that would help. 

It didn’t, Rey was close, he could feel her, presence solid and clear in the Force, so Ben sighed in frustration and opened his eyes. His mouth fell open and a soft gasp escaped it when he saw Rey again.

Her outfit was on the floor and she stood in her undergarments, facing a mirror as her fingers worked the hair out from the three buns she was so fond of wearing. It was almost as if she hadn’t noticed him there, but Ben knew that was not true, she knew he was there and she knew he was looking. 

He was looking. Looking at the arch of her back as she leaned closer to the mirror, the sweat running down her neck, the swell of her breast under the fabric covering them. She was breathtaking, her body was beautiful and Ben felt his heart race. 

“What are you doing, Ren?” Ben hissed through his dry lips.

“Getting ready to shower, I have obligations I can’t tend to in this state,” she whispered casually as she took the last bun off, brushing her fingers through the now free strands, the hair falling in waves on her shoulders. 

Even if she was the one wearing barely any clothes, Ben was the one that felt vulnerable,  feeling her efforts to disarm him being successful. Rey was getting under his skin and he couldn’t have that, she was trying to play some sort of game with him and he wouldn’t allow it. 

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” He got up and for the first time, deliberately stepped closer to Rey, holding her gaze. “I’m no idiot, Ren. You want something from me.” His voice was steady, strong, and he was determined even if she stood so close he could feel the heat coming from her exposed body. 

Rey didn’t say anything, just looked up at him, a sly smile spreading across her crimson tainted lips. 

“Tell me,” he hissed.  

“I want you to join me,” Rey said at last. 

Ben frowned. “Join you? Join you where?”

“Join me and the First Order, Ben,” Rey said, her voice low, breathy, inviting. “Join the dark side and allow yourself to be all you know you can be, free yourself from the roles chosen for you.” 

Ben’s mouth fell open as his mind processed the words. “Join the First Order… My family's whole life has been dedicated to fighting the darkness, Ren. The Sith, the Empire and your Order. I have Skywalker blood, don’t forget what that means.”

Rey smiled. “That means darkness is tempting to you, Skywalker. It means the legacy of your grandfather looms over your head.” 

Ben huffed, turning around from her. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Rey smiled and stepped closer, hand finding its way to Ben’s back, between his shoulder blades. He stiffened at the touch, not expecting it. “I know what I feel, Ben,” she whispered and her fingers started letting themselves known, running freely on his back, getting familiar with the expanse of it. “And what I feel is that you’re constantly tempted by darkness. You’re conflicted, you wonder about what you could achieve if you turned.”

His breathing was labored and shockingly, Rey’s touch had nothing to do with it. His eyes were wide as he heard the words he never expected to, his deepest secret being said out loud. 

Her hands rested low on his back and she leaned in closer, lips touching the soft material of his shirt. “Come to the dark side, Ben, I can help you find where you belong…” she whispered and he got goosebumps when he felt the heat coming from her mouth even through the fabric. “I will help you, Snoke will help you.” 

Hearing Snoke’s name sobered Ben up better than anything else could and he straightened himself up again, remembering what Rey didn’t know

He turned back around to face Rey, her hand sliding to his chest and staying like there was no other place it could ever be. He let her, focused on something else. “You think Snoke could help me find myself? Like he helped you?”

Rey nodded, eyes locked on his. “Yes, he’ll help you find your truth, your purpose, as he helped me.”

Ben smiled, but it looked bitter. “So he has told you the truth about your past? The truth of where you come from?” 

The whole mask she had on, the character wearing her face and body, seemed to shatter at that moment. “What do you mean?” she asked, seductive tone gone.

“Did Snoke tell you who your parents were? What he did to them before taking you?” 

Her hand fell from his chest and she took a step back. “What are you talking about? He- he doesn’t know who my parents are, I was left behind by them.” 

He shook his head. “I know you doubt the story he has told you… part of you always has, but you wanted to believe him, you chose to because the alternative was too hard to consider.”

Her mouth started to feel dry. “What do you know, Solo?” 

“I know who your parents are.” 

She got closer again, eyes filled with both determination and desperation. “Tell me,” she hissed, mind overtaken by her insecurities. 

Ben knew he was going against his mother’s orders, but now he had gotten the confirmation Rey didn’t know anything about her past maybe finding out could make her abandon Snoke’s side. “Don’t you ever wonder why you’re so powerful? Did you really think there was nothing in your past to explain it, Ren?” 

She grabbed the front of his shirt and he felt her rage swell in their bond, that mighty strength he had once been so afraid of. That he was still afraid of. “Tell me,” she repeated, equally an order and a plea.

“Snoke killed your parents and stole you once he felt your power, your potential for darkness. He knew he could train you and use you as his weapon.”

Her hands tightened around his collar. “Liar.” 

Ben huffed. “He succeeded, didn’t he? Snoke is your master, you serve him even if I suspect the Force grants you more power than it does him.” 

Rey huffed, face torn between showing her doubt and her scorn. “You’re trying to make me rebel by creating this story, you want to turn me against the Supreme Leader, but I’m no traitor, Solo,” she grunted. “He was good to me, I grew up fed and happy.”

He leaned close to her face, for once fearless of the proximity. “Ask him, Ren. You may feel my doubts but I feel all of yours too, I know you don’t believe the story you’ve been told by your master.” She didn’t respond, she couldn’t. “He hid your past from you so he could control you, he’s afraid of the greatness you could achieve if you knew where you come from.” 

She held him close, breathing mixing in the short space between them. “If you’re so sure, tell me so I can confront him, tell me where I come from.”

Ben could hear his mother’s voice, but he chose to ignore it. “Part of you has always known you come from greatness… the granddaughter of a Sith Master, Rey Palpatine.” 

Her hand unraveled from his clothes and she took a step back, like she needed distance from the truth.

“You’re lying.” 

Ben smiled, confident. “Am I? Ask the one you trust, the one who slaughtered your parents and stole your future. Ask him, Rey Palpatine.” 

As the name left his lips again a chill went down Rey’s spine, something that went beyond wishing that was true, something deep down in her core that knew it was. 

When Ben disappeared Rey was left with her hands shaking, heart pounding in her ears. She sat down on the floor, too dizzy to stand up, and as she squeezed her head between her hands images started flashing her mind. Snoke constantly telling her she would be nothing without him, always reminding her who she owed everything to. 

Rey was one of the best warriors in the First Order and yet Snoke had always said she was a nobody, he mocked her wish to be the Master of the Knights of Ren. The Supreme Leader had never honored her with a general title even if her leadership skills were known across the galaxy, even if she was more than capable. Snoke always allowed her access to power, but never enough that she could reach her full potential. 

He kept her controlled, chained. Rey’s hands clawed around her neck, almost as if she wanted to rip the imaginary leash off, struggling for breath, eyes burning with unshed tears.

The next few hours felt like a hazy dream. Rey put back the dirty training clothes she’d just removed, hair flying wildly behind her as she made her way to Snoke, her appearance the least important thing in the face of her anger. 

She’d spit the truth on her master’s face and she’d watched as he laughed at the accusation, calling her a fool and a naive child for thinking she was anything more than worthless junk, abandoned in the desert by the ones that should love her. 

Snoke reminded Rey once again she was nothing, he’d mocked her and thrown her out of the room for wasting his time with that ridiculous fairy tale. 

By the time Rey was staring at her reflection in the mirror of her room again, she’d never been more certain of who she was. Snoke could have spent hours ridiculing her, but there was nothing that could erase the surprise she had seen in his eyes, the fear emanating from his body, the face of a liar being caught in the act.

She’d bowed her head to the Supreme Leader, apologized for doubting him, for questioning him. She’d sworn loyalty to him at the same time she planned her revenge. 

Rey was a Palpatine, powerful, unstoppable, and she wanted to unleash hell on the one that had ever made her feel any less than the royalty she was.

--

Rey was in his room again, in front of him as he kneeled at her feet. She looked exactly as she had the last time Ben had seen her, body exposed, proud and perfect, hair damp with sweat and falling in waves around her face. However, at that time, he got to touch her. 

She whimpered softly as Ben’s cold hands wrapped around the small of her waist and the noise made him shiver, looking at the one standing with what could only be described as worship. He leaned in, curious fingers tracing muscles of her stomach until they reached the scar he’d left her, the one he had pretended not to see when she was there last, his mark on her. They were looking into each other’s eyes and Rey was greedy, sliding her hand on Ben’s hair as she pulled him closer. Ben parted his lips and kissed the scar, finally tasting her skin, and she fisted her hand, making that wonderful noise again. 

“Ben,” she called in a breath.

Ben sat on his bed, panting, eyes going wide as the dream came back to him. He gasped. 

“No, no, no,” he cried, praying the dream would undo itself, wishing the memories of it would disappear. Ben ached between his legs, wanting release, wanting to be touched, wanting her to touch him. “No, not Rey Ren, no.” 

The more he remembered the dream the more it hurt, the more real it felt, her face engraved behind his eyes like a vision, her voice an echo on his mind.

“I was on my knees,” Ben said to the empty room around him. He knew what that meant, him surrendering, submitting, giving in to what she wants.

He peeked under the covers and growled at the sight of his tented shorts as if he wanted to scare the culprit back to its rightful place. It did not work. 

Ben got up and saw it was still dark outside his window, it was the middle of the night. He peeled his shorts off, ignoring how the wetness made the fabric cling to his skin, and went into the freshers, turning the water to the coldest setting and forcing himself to step inside. That was how he would solve that problem, that was the only way he would allow himself to solve that problem. 

He shivered as the cold water ran down his back, closing his eyes to push through it. The images came back, his hands wrapped around Rey’s small waist, her lust-filled eyes looking down at him, her hand fisted in his hair, wanting more, asking for it. Ben grunted, facing the icy water and letting it solve his problem. 

Maybe it was time to tell someone about this connection he and Rey had, he was not dealing well with it, she was messing with his head. He decided to tell Finn in the morning, he was a good listener, talking to him would help.

Ben kept murmuring to himself as he bathed, cursing his head, his body, his dreams, Rey, the First Order and whoever else he thought had blame in what had just happened. He wrapped his towel around his waist, body shivering from head to toe from the cold, and stepped back into his room. 

“Oh, by the Holy Stars!” he exclaimed loudly when he saw Rey sitting by his window. “What are you doing here, Ren? What?” His voice broke. 

Rey looked at him and raised an amused brow. “What’s the matter, starlight?” she asked casually, eyes taking the liberty to run down his exposed front, smiling at the realization that his body was just as she had imagined. She wondered if he would taste as she had imagined too. “Not happy to see me?”

He noticed her stare, grabbing the shirt he had been wearing before and putting it on as quickly as he could. Rey had a smug smile on her lips and he almost hissed at her like a wounded animal. 

“I’m never happy to see you.”

Her smile was still there as he hid behind a wall to put the rest of his clothes on, since she couldn’t see any of his surroundings and just got to sit and watch him strip himself bare to her without knowing. The rest of him was just as pleasant and what he had below his waist… was mouth-watering. She knew how much he would stretch her and the thought made warmth shoot down her body. “Don’t hurt my feelings, Ben.” 

“You don’t have those,” he murmured as he climbed back into the warm bed, oblivious to the fact she had just seen him whole. 

She cleared her throat from the desire and smiled. “Your face is still swollen from sleep, did you have a nightmare and jumped out of bed to take a shower?”

No. “Yes.” 

“Was I in it?” she asked, smile widening. 

He hesitated. “Yes.”

“What was it about?” 

“None of your business.” He rolled away from her, but realized that had been a mistake when Rey got up from the floor and came closer. 

“I have the right to know if I was in it.” When he turned around she was right next to his bed, looking down at him just like she had in the dream and his brain shouted danger, telling him to get up immediately. 

He did, but it was no better seeing her face that close, her plump lips, sly smile, always so tempting. 

“So? Tell me,” she insisted when Ben didn’t say anything. 

“I told you, Ren, none of your business.” He found something to focus on the wall behind Rey to avoid having to look at her. “You should leave.”

She tipped her head. “You know I can’t, Ben, the Force decides how long we have.” 

Ben noticed how stupid he had just sounded, searching his brain for something better to offer. He then remembered there were actually many important things to talk to Rey about.

“Have you spoken to your master yet?” 

She didn’t seem surprised by the change of subject, almost as if she expected it to come up eventually. “I have.”

Ben huffed, disapproving. “And yet, he is still your master. I’m surprised, Ren, I have to say.”

She then smiled. “There are certain things that require planning, Solo.” 

“Like what?” 

Like killing the Supreme Leader and taking over the First Order. She leaned into him and her sly smile was back. “None of your business,” he mimicked him. 

He couldn’t even laugh, panicking about the short distance, his head spinning from it. She noticed the way he stiffened, tight fists glued to the sides of his body. Her hand went to his in a reflex, fingertip brushing against his forearm ever so slightly, like she was afraid of his reaction if she actually touched him properly.

“Why are you so tense?” she asked in a whisper, looking down to see where they were touching. “I thought I had made it clear I have no interest in killing you. Why are you afraid, starlight?”

Ben let out a struggled breath. “I’m not afraid, Rey.” 

She was surprised to be called by her name so casually, Ben wouldn’t use it if not to prove a point. In an instinct more than anything, she looked on the Force for him, for his emotions. 

Her eyes traveled up until they found his again, feathery touch on his arm becoming a solid one, wanting to be noticed. “You long for me.” 

There was undeniable triumph hidden in her voice, something that just made it clear to Ben a plan to seduce him existed and she’d been successful at it. It was true, her plan had been and still was to seduce him, but she wasn’t doing it for Snoke anymore, she was doing it for herself. 

Rey would take over the First Order, but she wanted Ben by her side as she did so, she wanted to broadcast him across the galaxy as a way to prove that no one, not even the Resistance’s hero, could resist bowing down to her cause. 

Ben huffed, then pulled his arm away from her. “You’re out of your mind.” 

Rey then smiled, hand becoming bold as she reached for Ben’s face. She felt real, there, and he couldn’t breathe as she pulled his face closer, touch gentle and delicate. He should pull away, he should stop her… but he didn’t want to. 

“I want you too,” she whispered, looking into his eyes. “I want to give my body to you, I want to taste you.” 

Her breath fanned his lips, and Ben’s head spun, hands reaching for her before he could stop them. “Rey.” 

Ben couldn’t help to lean in, he ached for her, he needed the distance between them to end. He felt the brush of her lips against his, but before he could taste her Rey disappeared into thin air, taken away from him by the Force. 

He was breathing heavily, heart racing, and his eyes widened when he realized what he had almost done. He took a step back even if she wasn’t there anymore. 

“What have I done,” Ben murmured, licking his dry lips. The lips that he had almost pressed against Rey’s.

He left his room still in his pajamas and let his muscle memory take him where he needed to be. He didn’t knock as he let himself in, knowing Finn never remembered to lock the door, almost scaring his friend to death as he did so.

His friends, actually, as Poe and Rose had both been sleeping in Finn’s arms.

Ben blushed furiously and turned around. “Oh my, I’m so sorry.” So Finn had been flirting with Rose. 

“What’s wrong with you? You don’t storm into someone’s room like this in the middle of the night, Ben!” Poe said, hand over his bare chest as he caught his breath.

“You almost scared me to death,” Ben heard Rose say.

“I’m sorry,” Ben squealed. “But I didn’t expect you to be here to be scared by me!” 

The three exchanged looks. “We can explain,” Poe said.

“Please, do not,” Ben said, eyes still at the door. 

“We’re… more covered now, you can turn around,” Finn said. 

“I think I would rather just go,” Ben said, ears burning up. “We can talk in the morning.” 

“Is there something wrong?” 

Ben then remembered what had just happened. “Yes, something is very wrong. Very very wrong, but we can talk about it later.”

He reached for the door, but before he could open it he had someone hold him back. He turned around and saw Finn first, thankfully fully clothed, Poe and Rose sitting on the bed, also fully clothed, looking at him with worried eyes. 

“What happened?” Finn asked in that comforting voice that made Ben want to cry.

He glanced between his friends then started vomiting his words, not even taking a moment to breathe as he told them all about the Force bond that had been created upon him and Rey touching, who she really was, their conversations and the fact they had almost kissed moment before. He left out the part he’d dreamed about Rey and the fact she only tried to kiss him once she sensed his longing in the bond. He couldn’t deal with his friend’s disappointment in knowing how weak he was being.

When Ben finished he was panting and his friend’s mouths gaped. “Why didn’t you tell us about this before?” Finn asked. 

“I don’t know! I thought I could handle it, use it to our favor.”

“Does General Organa know about this?” Poe asked. 

“No. She was the one that told me Rey is a Palpatine, but she doesn’t know the Force is connecting us… or anything that has happened ever since, she doesn’t know I told Rey who she is.” 

“I can’t believe you kissed Rey Ren,” Rose said, eyes wide in surprise. “I mean, she is gorgeous, but she’s Rey Ren.”

Ben cheeks burned. “I did not kiss her! The Force pulled us apart before then.” Rose raised a brow, like that didn’t matter, and Ben sighed. “What do I do?” 

“Don’t kiss Emperor’s Palpatine granddaughter?” Poe suggested.

Ben glared. “About the bond. It just seems to be getting stronger every day despite my efforts to close it.”

“Ben, we don’t know the Force as you do, if you don’t know, how could we?” Finn asked. There was a short moment of silence. “Maybe you could try and bring her to the light.” 

“It’s Rey Ren, Finn,” Poe said as if that alone was a very strong argument. “And she’s also a Palpatine. That woman is made of darkness.”

Ben shook his head. “She’s not, she feels the pull to the light, I know she’s been conflicted before.” 

Finn raised his arms. “See? No one is entirely made of light or darkness. If Ben reached for the light in her, she could turn.” 

Thankfully, they did not ask Ben if he also felt the pull to the darkness. He would have lied. 

Poe seemed unsure. “How would Ben do that?” 

The three looked at Ben, waiting for him to provide an answer. He sighed. “I don’t know… Rey seems to still want to serve Snoke even after what he’d done, she’s loyal to him, to the First Order.” Ben didn’t know yet just how wrong he was, no idea of Rey’s plans. “Even if I sense light in her, I have no idea of how to make her want to follow it.” 

“Maybe for you, she would,” Rose said after a short moment of silence. 

Ben frowned so deeply his brows almost touched. “For me? The woman tried to kill me not even two weeks ago.”

“Well, she tried to kiss you just now, so she doesn’t hate you as much as you might think.” Rose made her point.

“Because it’s her game, she wants to make him vulnerable, that’s how she plans on trying to turn him,” Poe said, eyes sending sparks in his… girlfriend’s? way. Ben still didn’t know what to call them. “At least we know Ben won’t cave, so that’s a relief.” 

Ben remained silent. Poe mistook it for tiredness. 

“We can talk more about this later, you’ve been through enough tonight.” 

Ben nodded, just wanting to be alone again. “I’ll try to get some sleep.” 

Ben managed to sleep, but he woke up again only a few hours later, aching, desire burning inside him like wildfire, tormented by another wonderful nightmare of his enemy’s hands lighting up his body. He felt in a haze, so drunk with want he couldn’t stop his hand from running down his body, eyes closed as he tried to make himself believe they belonged to her. 

He imagined her mouth wrapped around him, eyes looking up at his, her own hands between her legs as she moaned around him. He was panting, her name slipping from his lips with the praises he wanted to give her for taking him well, for being so damn beautiful, for letting him fuck into her perfect mouth. 

“Fuck, Rey,” he moaned when he started getting close, rhythm becoming faster as he desperately chased pleasure. “Rey, Rey.

When he came, it was her scent that inebriated his mind, her body he imagined bare for him, her smug smile stretched around his cock, swallowing his release.

Ben knew there was no denying anymore Rey Ren would be his downfall.

Chapter Text

It had been two days since Ben last saw Rey and he couldn’t be more relieved it was taking longer than usual for the Force to connect them. After their midnight (very) close call and his secret escapade after, he had no idea of what his reaction would be when he saw Rey again.

He tried not to think much about it, just focused on meditating the most he could, thinking about his master’s teachings, reconnecting with the Force inside him, letting the light shine to its brightest. Still, on the back of his mind were the memories of Rey, like they’d found a comfortable spot there and were determined to not leave any time soon. He tried his best to ignore them. 

One night he was sitting on the edge of a precipice, watching the sunset of the planet he’d found while flying across the stars to clear his mind, when he felt the Force change around him, echoes appearing, echoes of her. 

Before he even saw Rey, he stood up and walked away from the edge. Ben was aware she couldn’t see his surroundings, but one could never be too careful.

He saw her smile before anything else and it was almost too easy to forget how evil that woman was when she looked like she was about to outshine the setting suns. However, it was easy to remember she didn’t belong to his life, dressed in a clean-cut black suit obviously made just for her body, the First Order insignia proudly displayed on her shoulder. 

“I missed you, starlight,” she said in that pleasantly accented voice. 

Ben showed no reaction, changing the subject before it even began. “This bond is a threat to the First Order just as it is to the Resistance, I don’t understand how come you’ve never tried to shut it down.” 

She tipped her head, curiosity in her eyes. “You fear I find your location.” It wasn’t a question. 

Ben huffed, like that was obvious. “I’m aware the minute you found out you would send troops to attack our base, kill as much of my people you could, and that would be my fault.” 

Rey made a small pause. “I would never attack somewhere I know you’re on. I wouldn’t want to hurt you, Ben.”

Ben gritted his teeth. “Just stop it, Ren. I’m not an idiot, I know this is a game to you, don’t try to pretend you care about my life,” he hissed. “You care about my power and how you could use it if I turned.” 

Rey held her gloved hands in front of her body, voice calm and steady. “That’s not true. I care about your power, yes, but I also care about your life.”

Ben felt uneasy, Rey’s eyes were too truthful, too gentle. He remembered the dream he’d had that night, the one he’d been trying to ignore, the one that felt real like a vision.

Rey kissed him with a smile on her lips, holding his face softly, lovingly. The look on her eyes didn’t belong to Rey Ren or Rey Palpatine, it belonged to who Ben imagined she could one day become if she chose the light. 

How could that possibly be a vision when he was the one being tempted by darkness?

It couldn’t, it wasn’t, it was just his mind betraying his words and wishing for an impossible future. 

Rey felt the conflict in him, of his feelings about her and she knew she could use it in her favor. She stepped closer, not stopping until they were face to face. 

“I care about you deeply, Ben.”

Ben scoffed, seeing right through Rey the moment she tried to manipulate him. “You don’t even care about yourself, Ren. How could you care for me?” 

She frowned, genuinely confused. “What do you mean?” 

His face had disgust painted all over it. “You kneel before someone who stole you from your past and groomed you into a deadly weapon… a disposable one. How could you possibly care for me if you do not even stand up for yourself?” 

“Careful with your words, Solo,” Rey growled, not enjoying that Ben was saying everything she didn’t want to hear, all she knew was true. 

Rey had been planning to kill Snoke, but every passing day it seemed more impossible to complete the task, she didn’t feel capable of facing his power. He was the Supreme Leader of the First Order and she, as he had put it, was nothing. Besides, it was comfortable where she was, pretending she didn’t know anything, living the only life she knew how.

Ben, on the other hand, was perfectly aware he was poking a very skilled fighter with a short stick, but he was much more comfortable with dealing with that until she disappeared than Rey giving him more reasons to dream about her. 

Ben huffed, disgusted. “Or what? You’ll kill me and offer my body as a present to the man who killed your parents? Your captor?” 

Anger grew so strong and so fast in the bond it bled into Ben, almost clouding his judgment. He fought it, knowing giving into anger led to the dark side, focusing on keeping his thoughts clear. It was still there, though, stored away just like the rest he didn’t allow himself to feel.

Rey leaned in, obviously consumed by the darkness Ben was fighting. “You don’t know anything about me, Jedi.”

“I know the Supreme Leader keeps you on a leash like you’re a guard dog. You serve that monster even though I know you are not one.”

Ben’s words seemed to have escaped his lips without his permission, but he knew it was too late to take them back. Rey looked at Ben like he was an indecipherable book, written in a language she’d never even heard of. Did he truly believe she was more than the actions she hid behind? She never had anyone showing the least of compassion for her, she’d only known judgment. 

“If you don’t think I’m a monster, you don’t know me well enough, Solo,” she spat the bitter words, so used to being called a monster she assumed there was nothing else she could be.

His eyes went unbelievably soft and somehow, she was more bothered by his pity than his hatred. “I feel the light in you, Rey, you’re the one that pretends it doesn’t exist for the sake of pleasing Snoke.” 

She forced a smile. “Again, Solo, you don’t know as much as you think about me.” 

Ben nodded. “That may be true… but I do know you’re a coward,” he leaned closer to her, “All you do is hide.”

Rey took a step back from Ben, as if his words had physically wounded her. She looked away from him, hoping he wouldn’t see past her facade, hoping he wouldn’t know she believed what he’d heard and that hurt her. 

Rey disappeared soon after and all Ben was left with was guilt even though he couldn’t find the reason behind it. Rey was his enemy, she meant nothing to him, why was he upset about hurting her feelings?

He shook his head and made way back into his ship, sitting at the pilot’s seat and looking at the absurd number of buttons in front of him. He didn’t really have any intentions of taking off, just staring and letting his mind drift, thinking about the look Rey had in her eyes, thinking about how much he hated having been the one who caused it. 

He groaned, burying his face on his hands. He shouldn’t be thinking about it, he shouldn’t care… except he did. He cared a lot.

Ben stayed in his self-loathing and regret-filled state until he saw a light flashing blue the panel in front of him, the communicator of the ship. He cleared his throat, noticing by the dryness of it he’d been silent for longer than what he thought, and let the call come through. 

“Ben?” It was Finn. He sounded nervous. 

“Hi, I’m here. Is everything alright?”

“Where are you?” 

Ben frowned at his friend’s tone. “Some planet, came to clear my thoughts and meditate. What’s wrong, Finn?” 

“Oh, thank the Force! I thought you had something to do with this!” 

Ben’s frown deepened. “Something to do with what? You’re not making any sense.”

“Rey.” Ben froze with the mention of her name. “Rey has started a mutiny in the Supremacy, she- she killed Snoke!” 

Ben’s heart skipped a beat. “What?! That’s not possible, I spoke to her through our bond just minutes ago! How do you even know about this?” 

“You connected to her again and didn’t tell me?” 

“Finn!”

“Right, later. General Organa has a spy on the First Order and he sent the message about it just now. You were gone! I thought you had something to do with this!” 

Ben squeezed his temples. “I said things to her, awful things, I- this is my fault, I pushed her to do this.” 

Finn stopped for a moment. “Ben, what’s that tone?” 

“It’s my fault she did this… she could die because of me.” 

“So?! It’s Rey Ren, Ben. Listen, whatever you’re thinking of doing-” Ben turned off the call.

He needed to find Rey, it didn’t matter if she was aboard a First Order ship filled with people who would kill him on sight, he needed to get to her, to make sure she wouldn’t get herself killed because of him.

Ben closed his eyes and reached into the Force, looked for her, called to her. 

It didn’t work, but Ben knew he wasn’t giving in all he could. He had to stop resisting his and Rey’s bond, he had to open it up completely. 

So he did, letting it invade him, the thoughts of her, of them, her energy, her soul, everything that could bring them closer together.

He took a deep breath and when he opened his eyes again he knew exactly where to go, putting in the coordinates and taking off, jumping to lightspeed soon after. When he arrived at the destination, Ben gasped, the reality of what he was doing hitting him once he saw the Mega Star Destroyer right in front of his eyes in all of its daunting glory. 

He swallowed back his fear when he started to feel her stronger. He felt Rey, he was close, he needed to get to her. 

“What do I do,” he murmured to himself, then an idea hit him. He could turn himself in, be taken as a prisoner. “Good enough.” 

Ben ignored the voice in his head, who sounded exactly like Finn’s, and did just that. He didn’t know how, but before he knew it he was in handcuffs with two stormtroopers dragging him across an unknown corridor. There was screaming everywhere, noises of fighting, things breaking, blasters shots zooming left and right. Still no sign of Rey.

Ben had said he was a Resistance pilot and the ones who had first seen him believed the story, but it was a matter of time before he got recognized, he needed to act fast. 

Once they got to the cell Ben cleared his throat. 

“You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open,” he said, voice loud and clear. It was not his first time doing that trick, so as soon as he finished speaking, the stormtroopers straightened their backs. 

“We will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open,” one of them said before releasing Ben. 

Ben waited until they left before he stepped out of the cell, looking around him for some clue of where Rey could be. Adrenaline was rushing through his body, his heartbeat loud in his ear as he ran along the corridors of the Supremacy. He bit back a smile, he shouldn’t be enjoying the experience that much.

He encountered a worker on his way, running away from some conflict on the end of the corridor, where Ben was heading to. 

The man looked straight at Ben. Then at Ben’s lightsaber.

“Hey, you’re Ben Solo!” 

“You’re tall,” was Ben’s response. The man frowned. “You’ll strip out of your uniform and give it to me,” he said in the same voice he had before the guy reached for his commlink.

“I’ll strip out of my uniform and give it to you.”

Disguised in his brand new First Order uniform, Ben continued his quest, running along the corridors in the search of Rey. He felt her strongly, close, but still, he hadn’t spotted her anywhere.

As he ran past a door, he heard silence inside the room. Silence was odd, so he peeked inside. 

His heart skipped a beat when he saw Rey. Snoke was dead at her feet, same as the eight Praetorian guards scattered around the room. Her clothes were torn and burnt in various places, but what made Ben feel dizzy was that she was clearly unconscious, draped over her arms on her former master’s throne.

Ben ran toward her, careful not to trip over the guards she’d slayed, stopping for a moment in front of the Snoke (‘s superior half, since Rey had apparently sliced him in two) to take the reality in. He was dead, the Supreme Leader was gone. He startled when Rey made a soft grunting noise next to him, eyebrows furrowing even if unconscious. Pain, she was in pain. 

“Ren,” Ben called, voice a tone higher than usual. “Ren, can you hear me?” 

He leaned forward, hands hovering in the air for a second before he placed it over her shoulder. 

“Ren?” Ben shook her lightly, but she didn’t respond, body pliant under his hand. 

Rey had given everything she had in that fight, she used all her ability and all the strength the Force allowed her to have to take the Supreme Leader and his guardians down. She was drained, exhausted, and Ben could barely feel her in the Force. She was slipping away from him.

“Rey,” Ben whispered, throat tightening at the mere thought of losing her.

The next second Ben had reached under her body and effortlessly held it up so he could slide himself on the throne underneath her, cradling her to his chest as he thought about what he should do. She felt small under his embrace, lighter than what he expected from someone so strong and her breathing was shallow against his neck, slow, unnatural.

Slipping away.

Ben knew he couldn’t just leave Rey there weak and vulnerable to anyone who walked in, so he pulled her away from him and rested her back against one of his arms, body draped over his thighs. The way she was so limp against him made his stomach turn, he hated it.

Ben slid his hand over Rey’s stomach and closed his eyes, focusing on finding the Force that lived inside her, so weakened, and working on mending it back to its original state. He thought of her vibrant energy, her unstoppable strength, her beautiful bright smile. He thought about healing, but most of all, he thought about bringing her back to him. 

“Don’t do this, Rey,” he whispered without even realizing the weight of his words, letting his very soul embrace hers through their bond that was now completely open. 

He felt a hand cover his, warm and gentle, and when he opened his eyes, Rey was looking at him. 

Ben tipped his head back and let out a sigh of relief, body still wrapped around hers protectively, undeniably comforted by the weight of her hand on top of his.

She looked at Ben’s face, so close to hers, before it wandered down the part of his body she could see. Her eyes stopped at his shoulder where the symbol of her Order was at the show. She was confused only for a moment before her mind realized that wasn’t a Force bond.

“Broke into my ship to pay me a visit, starlight?” 

He opened his eyes to glare at her. “What have you done, Ren?”

She looked at Ben through her lashes. “I killed Supreme Leader Snoke.” 

Ben looked over her shoulder where Snoke’s body lied at his feet. If he reached his foot any further he could touch it with his toe. “I can see that. Have you lost your mind? You could have died!” 

Rey then smiled, almost blinding him with sunshine. “You came to my rescue,” she said, not really a question as it was an affirmation. “You worried about me.” 

He shook his head no, ignoring the way his ears burned. “I thought this was a suicide mission, and I will be the one to kill you one day.” 

She smiled even wider, knowing there was no truth to her words. Feeling it. “Thank you, Ben,” she said, voice sweet and kind, more like the woman in his dream he’d ever seen. 

He narrowed his eyes. “Don’t think this means anything, Ren.”

She threw her head back to laugh, his arms around her tightening to keep her from falling. She raised an arm and threw it on the back of his neck and the proximity that created made Ben’s ears feel even warmer. “That you, the hero of the Resistance, accepted the danger of entering the Supremacy, the capital to the First Order, to come to my rescue even though we’re enemies? I wouldn’t dare,” she said ironically. 

He had no coherent answer he could provide to explain himself, so he thought it was best to remove himself from the conversation altogether. Ben nudged her off his lap, hoping she didn’t notice him shiver as her hand brushed the back of his neck, leaving Rey alone in the throne. 

He glanced around the room then back at her, legs crossed and leaning on her hand casually like she hadn’t just killed her master and his eight very skilled personal guards.

“You killed Snoke… how?” The question felt stupid leaving his lips, but Rey was stronger even than what he’d presumed and he couldn’t hide his shock.

“I just had to get close enough, he never expected anything like this from me. He thought I was weak,” she glanced at her feet, where his body lied, “I guess no one will make the same assumption.”

Ben sighed, squeezing between his eyes. It was the first time since he’d entered that ship that he felt he could breathe. Rey was alive and the Supreme Leader of the First Order was dead. Things would get better from then on, they had to.

“The clothes suit you, Solo.” She broke the silence, wiggling her finger in his general direction. There was a hint of an amused smile on her lips, enjoying seeing him in a First Order uniform.

Ben huffed and rolled his eyes. “There is nothing about this that suits me, Ren.” 

She got up and took a short step forward, shortening the distance he’d put between them. “That’s not true,” Rey whispered, her hand brushing up his sleeve, stopping over the First Order insignia embroidered on his chest. “This is who you are meant to be.” 

Ben held her wrist and pulled it away from him. “This is an echo of an order that is soon to be gone forever.”

Rey then laughed, clearly amused by the statement. “The Supreme Leader is dead, Solo. Long live the Supreme Leader.”

His eyes widened when he understood what she meant. Something inside him broke. “Don't… don’t do this, Ren. Please don't go this way.”

“I’m the child of darkness, Ben, a Palpatine. This throne is my birthright, it’s my destiny.” 

He shook his head. “No, your bloodline doesn’t define you. You choose your destiny, you choose who you are going to be.” 

“Exactly. I’ve made my choice, this is who I am. I’m Rey Palpatine, soon to be the new Supreme Leader of the First Order.” 

Ben shook his head again, voice threaded with despair. “You could leave this behind and come with me, follow the part of you that craves light. I can feel it, I know it exists.” 

She smiled and nodded, knowing there was no use in denying there was a part of her that called for light. Her hands traveled up his chest and she looked impossibly deep into his eyes. “And I know, my starlight, your blood lusts for darkness,” she whispered. “Stay and rule the First Order with me.” 

His heart jumped at the prospect, part of him wanting to sit upon that throne, cave into the unimaginable power it would grant him. She knew it, she felt it.

“The sovereignty of a Palpatine and a Skywalker would never be questioned, we could have whatever we wished. Stay.” 

Rey was being genuine, she wanted him to stay, she wanted to rule by his side. He could feel it in the Force, he was wanted, needed.

“I can’t,” Ben choked, hands holding her hips with the intention of pushing her away, but ending up just pulling her closer to him. 

Rey’s hand slid to the side of Ben’s face and he did nothing to stop her. “If you stayed we could rule the galaxy together, more power in our hands than we could ever imagine,” she whispered, leaning into him, her lips brushing against his, “I would be your empress, Ben, yours. Be with me, stay with me.” 

Ben was the one to end the distance between them, failing to resist and giving himself to Rey. They kissed like they had dueled, intensely, fiercely, giving all they had to it, desperate to sate the thirst they had of each other. Rey tasted like blood and power, and Ben was addicted immediately, hands tight around her body as he let her consume him. 

Rey felt him in the Force like she had never before and she was inebriated by it, by him, body screaming with want, she wanted all Ben could give her.

Suddenly, Ben pushed her away from him, taking two steps back as if he was afraid he couldn’t control himself if he kissed her for even another second. He was panting, shaking from holding himself back, and he shook his head again. 

“No,” he said firmly, fire of desire in his eyes being mistaken by determination. 

He took another step back, Rey not following him. He could hear voices coming their way, he needed to leave, Rey presented a danger to him, she tempted him in every way. He turned his back and started to walk away, his body screaming with indignation, wanting her more than anything. 

As he glanced back one last time before leaving the room, he saw the Supreme Leader sitting on her throne, fingers cleaning the red tint Ben had smeared outside the lines of her lips as she waited to claim her new kingdom.

--

It was difficult trying to forget about Rey when she was all everyone in the Resistance’s base talked about. He guessed killing Snoke, announcing to the entire galaxy the Palpatine legacy lived in her and taking over the First Order on the same day was impactful.

Finn was the worst of all. Ever since Ben came home in a First Order uniform he had been insisting his best friend tell him what happened, why it happened, how it happened. Ben was tired of lying and making up stories, so he just hid in his room the most he could. 

Only one day passed before Ben felt it again, her tingling in his blood, the Force whispering in his ear. He tried to make himself calmer by remembering she would disappear eventually, he just had to hold on for as long as that took.

She looked as she always did, hair up in three buns, black suit belted at the waist, crimson lips, and he hated himself for wanting to smear it again with his own. Rey wasn’t alone, giving orders to someone he couldn’t see, but when she felt Ben, she dismissed them.

“You didn’t have to send them away, the Force should take you sooner than later.” 

Rey just looked at him. “I want to.” A brief pause, then a small smile crawled up her lips. “Besides, seeing you just sitting next to Hux in my command room is distracting.”

Ben huffed. “I know what you mean, seeing you in the corridors of the Resistance base is quite odd too.”

Rey chuckled and he was delighted by the sound, but it soon died and silence dragged between them, heavy.

“I’ve been thinking about you.” 

He ached, wanting to answer he’d been thinking about her too, but he kept his face neutral. “Don’t you have enough to think about already, Supreme Leader?”

She smiled even if his tone had a tone of bitterness to it. “Being a leader is as natural as breathing to me, I can do it well enough that I’m left with time to think about what I want to.” 

“So you’re choosing to think about me?” he asked, tone ironic as if he was implying Rey only said that because she thought that was what he wanted to hear.

“Sometimes,” she answered honestly. “And other times, like yesterday when we touched-” kissed, “I couldn’t get you off my head, the vision I saw playing over and over again.” 

He froze. So she had visions of him. “Why would you have visions of my future, Ren?”

“I can’t say I understand this connection we share, but I know it’s special in many ways.” She paused. “When you kissed me I saw your future, Ben, just the shape of it, but solid and clear… I saw what’s to come for you.”

Ben felt his cheeks warm at the mention of the kiss, even more so in the way she’d put it. You kissed me. “I don’t believe you,” he grunted. 

She shrugged. “That doesn’t mean I’m not telling the truth.” 

He narrowed his eyes at her, trying to figure her out, but he should know by then he couldn’t. Ben averted his eyes, looking to the window behind her, to the stars. He was ignoring her, buying time before the force took her away.

“I can show you, if you’d like.” His eyes shot back at her and it was undeniable a part of him was curious. But a bigger part was skeptical. 

“No, Ren, I don’t want to see images you probably created to manipulate me.”

Rey looked at Ben for a moment, thoughtful. “I don’t understand why you resist me so much when it’s clear you don’t want to.” 

“Because it’s what I have to do,” he answered in a heartbeat, having given himself the same justification. “It’s what I need to do. Giving into you is giving into darkness and that’s something I could never, will never do.” 

Rey felt his words were true, Ben might crave darkness, but his duty to light still reigned over it, he still had every intention to resist her. She just had to find a way to change that balance. 

She felt him fading in the Force, clear presence starting to blur. Rey smiled. “If you’re so sure of your future you wouldn’t mind seeing my vision. Or are you afraid seeing the greatness you’re destined to might tempt you into giving in sooner?”

Ben opened his mouth to reply, but she was gone already. He still cussed her, throwing himself on his bed and closing his eyes, hoping sleep would claim him soon so he wouldn’t have to think about her anymore. 

It didn’t work, Rey’s voice still played in his head over and over, curiosity making his imagination run wild, trying to guess what she’d seen in her vision, if there really was one.

The next day the damn vision was still all Ben could think about, a huge distraction that ended up resulting in him getting injured during training. It was nothing serious, a bruise on his arm and a small cut to his cheek that he didn’t even bother to cover with a bacta patch. 

“Ignoring me now, starlight?” Rey asked and Ben summoned the lightsaber to his hand out of habit. Rey deducted by his reaction he had not realized she was there. 

“You scared me, Ren,” he murmured, taking a deep breath and sitting on his bed again, letting the weapon fall on his pillow. 

“You were quite distracted, there… thinking about something important?” she asked. Her tone sounded all too knowing. 

Ben shook his head. “Nothing that concerns you.”

She tipped her head, then started to come his way. She wore a grey dress that day, the length unusually short for her, just above her knees. Complimenting it were high heels, something he’d never thought he would see her wear, always too ready for battle. He wondered where she had been dressed like that, but he reminded himself it was none of his business. 

“I assume by the way you’re sitting, you’re in your bed,” she said, standing just in front of him. 

“You would be correct.” 

Rey hummed, then looked on either side of him before pointing to his right, close to where he’d thrown his lightsaber. “May I sit?”

“I don’t believe my answer will influence your intentions to still do it whatsoever.”

Rey smiled, he was right. She analyzed it for a moment more then sat on the surface, delighted by how soft it was, crossing one leg over the other on the edge. Ben made a physical effort to not look at her bare legs, staring at her face the entire time. 

“I feel your emotions, you’re conflicted, you want to know about the vision,” Rey said after a brief pause. 

Ben glared at her. “I don’t.” 

Rey huffed, then looked down almost as if she could see the surface underneath her, gloved hands exploring it. The gloves were different too, he noticed then, not her usual leather but rather a soft and fragile see-through material that rose all the way to her elbows. He was curious once again on where she’d been. 

“You do,” Rey said. “I could show you.” Her eyes found his. 

“I’ve told you, Ren, I would never believe anything you showed me.” 

Rey smiled. “If you know it’s a lie, what’s the problem of seeing it then?” He had no response at the ready, so she continued, “Afraid to feel tempted?” 

“No.” It didn’t sound convincing anymore.

“So what’s the problem, Solo? Let me show you.” 

Ben didn’t say anything, he wanted to see it, he wanted to know even if he would tell himself it was a lie. Rey took his silence as permission and slowly started to slide her soft gloves off, as if not to scare him into changing his mind. 

He didn’t and Rey climbed onto the bed, sitting on her calves in front of him. She offered her hands, palms up, to Ben and looked to his face, waiting for him to take them. All he could see were Rey’s round, inviting eyes and he was conflicted, but deep inside he knew there was no use in resisting if he would cave eventually. Hesitantly, he lifted his hands, hovering over hers as if he was giving himself a last chance to back up. Rey didn’t end the distance, she waited until Ben decided to do it himself, eyes staring into his with something he couldn’t decipher. 

His touch was soft, delicate, afraid, but Rey still smiled with the same satisfaction as if he had clasped their hands together. She knew better than to waste time, so she closed her eyes and looked for the vision she’d had, in all its truth, before she showed to him through the Force. 

The man in the vision wore his face, but Ben couldn’t say he recognized him. He was stoic in the way he presented himself, chin held high and confident as he marched into battle, long black cape dragging behind him. His saber gleamed red like the blood he was spilling and as he fought, Ben felt how taken by anger he was, the emotion controlling him, darkness like he’d never experienced tingling in his core. 

The moment disappeared in white smoke and when the vision took shape again, Ben was standing in front of a group that bowed to him, recognizing him as their leader as they chanted a name that didn’t belong to him. Kylo Ren, the new master of the Knights of Ren, relished in the power he was being given and smiled, greed finally satisfied.

The moment vanished again and when Ben could make sense of the new one, he saw himself on the throne that belonged to Rey, but it was clear he had not stolen it, because she sat in it with him. The woman’s eyes were as wild as her soul and when she leaned into him, lust was all he could see, all he could feel as they feasted on each other. 

She moaned his new name in worship, his hands going where they wanted to, touching her body as if he was claiming it as his own as she did the exact same. They belonged to each other. There was darkness, there was pleasure, there was power, and he loved every last bit of it.

When Ben opened his eyes Rey was the only thing he could see and darkness the only thing he could feel. His heart was beating fast and desired burned so hot in his body he didn’t remember ever wanting anything more like he wanted Rey at that moment, to have her, to let her consume him, break him, own him. 

What Rey saw in Ben’s eyes was hunger, a need for her that was desperate like she’d never seen. She smiled, relishing on feeling so wanted, Ben’s desperation burning inside her too.

Rey stood higher on her knees and her hand went to Ben’s chin, lifting his face up to look at her.

She leaned down, lips brushing together and Rey could feel he was tearing himself apart to hold back. “You’ll be mine, Kylo,” she whispered the name he was yet to claim and ended the distance between them.

The moment their lips met all Ben’s self-control broke loose, hands grabbing the back of Rey’s thighs to pull her into his lap effortlessly. She went gladly, fisting a hand in his hair and keeping the pace of the kiss like they needed, fast, violent, a battle they both wanted to win. She was surprised when Ben’s hands unceremoniously lifted her dress up to her thighs, but she was glad for being able to spread her legs wider, feeling the hardness growing under her. Rey rubbed herself on him and Ben moaned sweetly into her mouth, hands squeezing her tight enough that she would see marks later, but that was exactly what she wanted. 

Her hands pulled on his hair, his hands squeezed her thighs and there was no thinking anymore, there was only him and her, their bond and their greed for each other. To her surprise, his hands ventured further into dress and pulled it even higher, the fabric gathering around the small of her waist. Ben wasn’t what she expected and Rey couldn’t be more satisfied to see him at the mercy of his desires, hands seeming to want to get to know every plane of her skin, spreading, squeezing and touching all they could. 

Rey rode into him again, creating that maddening friction and Ben made another pitiful noise at the back of his throat, whining, begging. She pushed him down on the bed and obliged to his silent request, hand trailing down his body as her lips moved to his neck.

Her fingers were curious, spreading at his chest, then trailing down to his stomach, that fluttered at her touch even if his shirt covered it. She smiled against the curve of his neck, enjoying to see how little it took for his body to react to her, tongue darting out to taste his skin and making Ben gasp. 

Ben couldn’t do much other than lie there and let that supernova in the shape of a woman do what she wanted, the way she took control over the situation exactly what he needed then. Her breath was hot on his neck and when she slid her hand under his shirt, the touch lit him on fire too, grasp on her thigh becoming painfully strong.

“You’re so desperate for my touch,” she breathed against his skin, kissing her way up to end up nibbling on his earlobe. “I bet I could make you come just from pressing on you like this.” Her hand covered his aching cock, lightly palming over his pants and Ben almost choked.

“Rey,” he whined, her voice in his ear making him see white. 

She pressed a little harder and he bucked her hips into her hand. “You’re so hard, so ready, so needy… this cock was made for me, wasn’t it, my starlight?” The nickname sounded possessive on her lips and he couldn’t be more thankful, he felt like he belonged to her.

“Fuck this sinful mouth of yours,” he whined the complaint, almost frustrated by how much be wanted her.

Rey chuckled against his skin, licking a strip along the column of his neck as her hand wrapped around the shape of him. “Oh, but I’ve barely even said anything… nothing about how I want to taste you in my tongue, lick all this wetness I feel in the fabric of your pants.” She squeezed her hand and he saw stars. “Nothing about how good it would feel to have you buried inside me, stretching me open, claiming me,” she breathed on his ear, hand moving up and down him.

Ben was certain he would explode into a fine cloud of dust at any second. “Shut up,” he hissed, a hand climbing from her thighs to fist into her hair, forcing their lips to meet each other again.

Rey was surprised by his intensity then, Ben taking some control to himself and showing her he actually had those instincts. Something to explore in the future, she thought.

He was drunk on her, the taste of her addictive, the need for her body a desperate one. He couldn’t stop, didn’t want to, he wanted to have all of her she allowed him to. 

However, stopping wasn’t his decision at that particular time, because the Force started pulling them apart. Ben didn’t even realize it before he was left by himself, aching, panting, the weight of Rey’s body gone and her heat replaced by cold air. 

It was almost as if he couldn’t move, his eyes stuck to the place he was blankly staring, every part of his being screaming for her, her energy, her body. At some point, his mind finally decided to take control back and reminded him that wasn’t supposed to have happened. 

Ben felt there was a part of him that craved darkness, so strong at times it was like his blood was roaring in his veins, but he fought it, repressed it because it was the right thing to do. When Rey showed him the vision his reason clouded, that part of him speaking above all else and taking over his senses, letting him have what he denied himself. For a passing moment, Ben had his guard torn down, left with no way to hold himself back, giving in to what part of him wanted. 

Alone and back to himself, light flooding his body and demanding to be heard, Ben knew he had to fight harder against the darkness, because he had just found out there was only one thing he wanted more than a future as Kylo, and that was a future with Rey. 

--

Ben couldn’t stop seeing it, the dream he’d had that night, a dream of her. It wasn’t anything more than him watching her train from a distance, no words traded between them at all, but Ben didn’t need them to understand what was happening was completely different from the reality. Rey was in the training room of the Resistance base and she was laughing loudly as she swayed the lightsaber, everything about her different from what he remembered.

When she brought the blade next to her face, she was bathed not in red but blue, her playful eyes reflecting it.

Everything was different, including the way Ben felt about her, something much deeper than desire, something new and beautiful and terrifying. 

The absurd circumstance of Rey training in the Resistance base made it clear it was just a dream, but Ben wished there could be a version of reality where she had given up the past that had been chosen for her by Snoke and followed the small part inside her that called for light.

“What are you thinking about?” Finn’s voice tore him from his thoughts. Ben thought he remembered having seen Finn in the dream too and the thought of his best friend cracking jokes with Rey, the one who called him traitor, amused him from how ridiculous it was. 

“Nothing,” he answered, clearing his throat after, avoiding the unforbidden smile.

Finn narrowed his eyes. “You’ve been acting weird since you came back from… you know.” 

Ben sighed. “Finn, I don’t want to talk about what happened,” he repeated for what felt like the hundredth time. 

“I got that, but I need to understand what compelled you to go to the Supremacy to help Rey Ren, of all people.” 

Ben shushed him, looking around to see if anyone had heard what he’d said. “Finn, drop it, please.” 

“I can’t, Ben! This is scary, I feel like you’re hiding everything from me these days!” 

Ben felt guilty and he wanted to tell his best friend what was going on, but he knew Finn wouldn’t understand. He could handle it on his own, he had to. 

Ben looked at Finn and held his shoulders, looking into his eyes. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got this.” 

Finn said something as a reply, but Ben didn’t hear it, distracted when he felt her through the Force. He didn’t know what he said to Finn, something about needing to pee maybe, but he walked away without his friend asking any further questions. Ben’s heart started to race, her stronger presence making him nervous, and rushed into a storage room, closing the door behind him and leaning against it. 

It was stupid thinking hiding in a dim-lit room would prevent her from seeing him, but Ben’s mind had no other strategy to offer. He took a deep breath, focusing on calming himself. It was just Rey, he could handle her, he could tell her to leave him alone. 

When Ben saw Rey, he felt his stupid heart skip a beat. She looked different, wet hair not in the buns but falling on her shoulders, dripping on the thin fabric of her already soaked undergarment. She was bathing somewhere, a lake, a pond, he couldn’t know, but the water had washed away the red from her lips and the black from her eyes, face bare and clean, something he’d never seen before.

She stood when she saw him, a smile spreading across her lips, and Ben wondered what was about that woman that bewitched him so much. 

“Hey, starlight,” Rey said in a whisper and every part of him urged him to reach and touch her. No. He held his hands firmly on his sides. 

When he didn’t reply she stepped closer until they stood right in front of each other, looking up expectantly. Ben had never noticed her eyes before, they were a unique hazel-like color, speckles of green in the warm brown, so compelling, so perfect, like the rest of her. No. He looked away. 

“How have you been?” she asked in the same low none, hand reaching to his chest, lightly tracing his collarbone with the tip of her finger. His breathing caught. 

No. He took a step back from her, whose hand stood hovering in the air for a moment before it returned to her side. “Busy,” he answered with a firm voice, cold. 

Rey noticed he, even after what happened in their last encounter, had decided to keep trying to push her away. She couldn’t say she wasn’t surprised, Rey had never invested in a man or woman who hadn’t fallen at her feet with the snap of her fingers, grateful for earning her interest. Ben was a challenge indeed, he’d tasted her and yet, he managed to resist.

“Yes, I hear you joined your troops on Ando yesterday,” she said, conversational, turning around from Ben and walking slowly back into the warm water until her calves were immersed in it. 

She reached down to wet her fingers again and the view of her bent over, back arched, barely anything covering the body he’d been trying to ignore since she’d appeared to him, was enough to make Ben’s mouth feel dry.

“I’m afraid that still didn’t keep us from conquering the planet,” Rey said, turning back to face him. 

Ben squeezed his fists tighter on his sides as he looked at her. With the rigorous training he assumed she did with the Knights of Ren, it was no surprise Rey was lean, shoulders wide and strong, defined muscles showing on her legs and stomach. She was beautiful, so beautiful, and Ben found himself envious of the water that ran down her curves, touching the skin he knew was warm, sliding over the scar he’d given her, covering the lips he knew tasted like they were made for him.

No? Ben asked himself, wanting to step closer to her, touch her, kiss her. No, his mind told him, unwavering, feet rooting on the ground under him. 

Rey smiled, noticing the hunger in his eyes and tipped her head. “Surrendering would be sweeter than this restrain, Kylo.”

His eyes shot up to hers. “That’s not my name,” he hissed. Ben much preferred the annoyance than the desire, so he took advantage of the feeling that filled him.

Her smile widened. “It will be, one day.” 

“Never,” he grunted, eyes sharp, certain. “I will not surrender to you, Ren. Never.”

Rey laughed, clearly amused by the statement. “You know that’s not true, I can feel how much you want me. You think you can resist your urges forever?” 

He didn’t answer, praying the Force would be benevolent and take her away from him, relieve him of this torment. He found the Force didn’t have any empathy and neither did Rey, who with that confident and smug grin started to slide her fingers under the soaked fabric of her breast band.

He swallowed the lump in his throat, ignored the heat coiling low in his stomach. “Rey,” he said in a warning tone. 

She pretended not to hear as she slid the breast band off and gave him the view of her bare from the waist up, more perfect than he could have ever imagined in any of his forbidden dreams. Her breasts were small, but he reckoned being able to hold them entirely in his large hands would be beyond satisfying. 

“Rey,” he whined then, willing himself to look away but finding the task impossible, watching her run the tip of her fingers around the shape of her breasts until she shivered, nipples hardening, wanting attention. He imagined if they would act that weird with his lips around them. 

“There is nothing keeping you from touching me, Ben,” she said in a breathy tone as if she could read his mind. “I’ll let you have me.” 

No. “No.” 

One of her fingers flickered over her nipple and she let out a soft noise that traveled straight to his aching, hard, already leaking cock. He held himself from touching it, alleviate that desperate need.

Yes… No. “No. Stop, Rey, this is not going to work,” he said, voice stronger.  

Her smile was still present as her hands left the swell of her breasts to slide down her stomach, finger tracing her scar down, down, down. 

Yes, please, yes. 

Her hand probed inside her underwear and he could see the shape of her fingers sliding between her folds, another maddening noise rumbling deep in her throat. His own hands were shaking, head spinning with want, to kneel, to touch, to taste. Yes, go to her, take her, feel her.

As his head screamed him to move toward her, he forced his lips to part. “This is not going to work, Rey. I don’t want you.”

She had to hold herself back from laughing. He was digging his nails so deep in his palms he could bleed, devouring her with his eyes, veins popping on his neck with the strain he was making to keep himself contained but he did not want her.

Her hand slid out from inside her underwear and every part of him screamed against it, but not for too long, complaints changing into sirens of danger Rey started to walk towards him. She had started to feel him fading in the Force, but she took her last moments to her advantage. 

Ben saw her hand reaching for his face, but he thought standing perfectly still was the safest option, not trusting himself to any movement. He realized he had been terribly wrong when her thumb smeared some of her wetness across his bottom lip. “Liar,” she whispered just before the Force took her away, leaving Ben alone with the taste of her on his lips.

Chapter Text

Darkness was singing in Ben’s blood and it felt like nothing else he’d ever experienced. It felt like being complete, like his every need was being met, like everything he’d always forbade himself from dreaming about. 

He was more powerful than he ever thought possible, the entire galaxy at his mercy. Well, their mercy.

By his side stood his empress, holding her lightsaber as she fought with him and their troops. Being with Rey, fighting with her, wasn’t something he could describe or compare to anything else, they shared so much through their bond it was like they were one in their power, something out of the legends. 

When the last enemy fell to Ben’s feet he ran to his empress, looking her up and down worryingly before holding her, kissing her with the relief of knowing she was still there, still his. Rey was the only thing he had always wanted more than power, he needed her, he loved her. 

She loved him too and that feeling fed the light that still existed amidst both their darkness. 

It was the only thing that could assure the light to triumph in the end.

He remembered that’s why he’d chosen to fall in darkness in the first place.

Ben stared at the ceiling, unable to move, unable to breathe. 

Chosen to fall? Chosen to?

Ben immediately told himself that had to be a dream, that couldn’t be a vision like the one Rey had… even if giving in to darkness so they could emerge into the light together in the future would put meaning to what she’d seen, to his future on the dark side as Kylo Ren. 

No. It was dangerous to go down that path, it had just been a dream, a nightmare, and what Rey had shown him was an illusion, a trick. His mind was toying with him. She was toying with him. 

Ben let out a breath and sat up, realizing he was drenched in sweat, shirt clinging uncomfortably to his back, messy hair stamped to his forehead. He pushed it back and got up, making his way to the freshers. 

As the water covered his body, he found his mind going down that dangerous path again, wondering if his fate was to give into darkness so one day Rey would come back with him to the light, effectively defeating the First Order in the process. If true, wouldn’t he be making an honorable sacrifice? Himself, his light, for his cause?

He grunted, or whined, or both, closing his eyes. He wondered why he had been chosen to carry the burden of being the face of the Rebellion, painted as the perfect Jedi, the hope to the galaxy. He was not perfect, he had many flaws, he was in eternal fear of people finally figuring that out. Most times he would catch himself wishing everything could be different, his fate, his title as a Jedi… with Rey it would be different, his past would be left behind so he could emerge as someone else entirely. 

He grunted again at the thought and turned to face the water. He froze when he heard a noise behind him. Was someone in his room? He was alarmed only for a moment before he felt her, relaxing when he realized that was not an attack, it was a Force bond.

The calm only lasted for a moment, however, because when he heard the noises she was making every part of him stiffened again. He took a step back, holding his breath, but then suddenly she was there in the space with him and there was no thinking anymore.

It would be disturbing enough that she was completely naked, but the realization she wasn’t alone felt worse than what he anticipated. 

To his dismay, the bond allowed Ben to see more than Rey, curves of the person she was with, shadows, solid shapes, much more than a whisper of their body, maybe because of how much energy she was dedicating to him. Him, it was a man. He did not seem as tall as Ben was, but he was still tall enough that Rey had to crane her neck to kiss him. 

His hands… his hands were fast, greedy and everywhere on her, grabbing her curves with such aggressiveness marks bloomed on her skin on their way. He was marking her and she was letting him.

Ben felt something burn in his chest, something destructive, possessive, that screamed that what he was seeing was not right. He had ignored and pushed a similar feeling down when Rey told him women had worshiped her body, but this was hard to ignore when it was unraveling right in front of his eyes. Rey was giving herself to someone else and Ben hated it, green, ugly, putrid jealousy taking over his entire body.

He should look away, but something was keeping him from it, a twisted feeling that forbade him from closing his eyes, something that wanted Ben to see. 

Wanted to see his mouth covering her neck, wanted to see her arching beautifully into him, wanted to hear the noises of desire he earned from her, wanted to see someone do to Rey what he denied himself of doing. 

She leaned on the wall behind her and hooked a leg on his hip, letting the man come impossibly closer before his lips found her skin again, not once looking into each other’s eyes. Ben couldn’t see him entirely, but he could see the lack of intimacy between them in the otherwise very intimate act, it was almost instinctual, detached, violent. Ben knew it would be different between him and her, he knew it would be more than just needing pleasure, it would be needing each other. 

The man tried to catch her lips and something like victory bloomed in Ben’s chest when he saw her turning away, not wanting to taste him, denying the man something Rey had allowed him. The satisfaction didn’t last long because when the man reached between their bodies to guide himself inside her, she let him.

Then Rey’s lips parted with a soft gasp of pleasure and her eyes found Ben’s.

It was like coming alive and coming apart at the same moment, like desperately needing to breathe and being impossibly full of too much air at the same time, the strangeness of being completely apart from the moment but suddenly a vital part of it confusing. The way Rey only looked at Ben even as the man moved inside her made it feel like she was excluding him from the moment, turning it into something theirs.

But it wasn’t, it couldn’t be when Ben felt Rey’s pleasure in the bond but the only thing he was getting was jealousy and a terrible ache between his legs. 

Ben could barely stand seeing her like this, in the arms of someone else, and yet he didn’t look away. He stood there as Rey took from the man and let him take from her, he watched as his hands bruised her smooth skin, pulled her wet hair and gave her the pleasure he wanted to give her.

Rey still looked at Ben, not looking away for a second, her small smile making it clear she knew she was driving him crazy, turning him possessive, knowing against the Jedi code he had vowed to follow there was no longer harmony on his mind, only chaos, no serenity, only passion. She felt Ben’s hatred for the man, his anger and want for revenge bringing him closer to darkness, closer to her, and that gave her more pleasure than anything else. 

Rey let those feelings take over her, gasps turning into low moans as she got closer to the edge, eying Ben’s naked body and using that to chase release, as she had already realized the man on her arms didn’t have what she needed. Ben did. 

Rey bit her lips and imagined being full of him, feeling his touch, the warmth of his lips and soon the pleasure overflowed, the way her eyes never left Ben’s making it clear that was for him.

Rey disappeared immediately after that, but Ben still remained stuffed full of her, every emotion she’d brought lingering even though the bond had closed. He sank to the floor and his hands started to shake, body unfamiliar with all the darkness he had allowed to grow inside him.

--

All the battles fought in the previous 3 years had come down to that moment, the moment Ben and the Supreme Leader would duel, the duel that would decide who would run the galaxy, the Resistance or the First Order, the duel of the fates. 

“Keep going! Don’t stop until the Supreme Leader is dead. Find him!” someone ordered, but Ben knew the Resistance’s troops were already outnumbered, they would lose, they needed a better plan than to run straight to their deaths. His mother would never allow this, she would say to protect what little was left of the Resistance and build it up again… but Leia wasn’t there. "The Supreme Leader was spotted! He’s hiding north, go!” 

He. He? 

The memory hit Ben in the face. Yes, he, Armitage Hux, the man that was supposed to be the spy for the Resistance, but ended up betraying the movement for power. He had managed to win over Rey’s trust and kill her one night as she slept, taking over her post as the Supreme Leader. 

She had asked Ben to rule the First Order with her and he had said no, he had sworn allegiance to the Resistance, he had closed their bond and he wasn’t there to see Hux comforting Rey, who turned more vulnerable than what he could ever imagine by his abandonment. Ben blamed himself until even 3 years after her death… If he had said yes she might still be alive.

Ben remembered the exact moment he felt Rey gone. He’d been empty ever since.

“Finn!” Ben screamed once he saw his friend on the floor. When he ran closer, he saw Poe and Rose laying beside him, covered in blood, dead. His friends were dead. 

Ben felt tears in his eyes and stumbled back, choking on a sob. 

Rey was gone. His parents had died earlier that day protecting each other on the attack of their base. Now, his friends were gone, dead just like his last troop was about to be.

He had lost everything, everyone.

When Ben opened his eyes he was shaking. He was afraid of what he’d seen, terrified, and at that moment he gave himself to it, not caring it could just be a nightmare or that the Jedi code always reminded him he was not supposed to allow himself to feel fear.

He shouldn’t barge into Finn’s room again and worry him even more, even though he desperately wanted to see his best friend. Was that what the future had in store for Finn, Rose and Poe in the Resistance? Everyone would eventually just die for the cause and he would be left alone? Even Rey, who was on the other side of the fight, would be gone, betrayed by someone she thought she could trust.

Rey. Even the mere idea of her being dead, beyond his reach forever… Ben realized then just how much he’d gotten attached to her, how connected he felt to her, how he needed her alive, it didn’t matter if they were enemies or not. Turning to the dark side didn’t seem that much of a sacrifice then if it meant he could at least save Rey.

He was calling to her, then, he knew it. He was begging the Force to bring her to him, to let him see her, make sure she was alright. He thought of her, her smile, her face, her energy, her darkness, anything that could bring her closer.

“Please, please,” he murmured, eyes pressed tight as he concentrated, as he tried to bend the Force to his wishes. He felt like a fool, but maybe it would work. Maybe the Force would be benevolent. 

He begged and begged for what it seemed to be forever, heart aching with the desperate need he had to feel her, to wipe his senses from what the vision had given him, the feeling of nothing. Empty, cold, lonely nothing.

“Ben?” 

His heart flipped on his chest and when he saw her, felt her, Ben struggled out a breath, not caring what it would look like before he threw himself on the bed and pulled her still half-asleep form into his arms. 

Rey was not quite certain she had woken up yet, maybe that was a dream, because she could think of absolutely no explanation for Ben to be holding her, hands threading in her hair gently, caringly, after what had happened in their last few encounters. 

Ben felt real, heavy on top of her, his breathing warm on the curve of her neck, so she decided to enjoy the dream, wrapping her arms around his neck lazily. As time passed and it didn’t end, Rey started wrapping her head around the fact that that was not a dream. 

“Starlight, what-” she tried with a hoarse voice, but he pulled her closer. “Solo, are you alright?”

He let out a struggled breath, shaking his head, still focusing on feeling her. “Don’t- just- please.” 

“Please what?” She had a deep frown, feeling his rushing emotions, so much fear, so much loss.

“Stay,” he said in a breath. “Please, stay.”

After a few seconds to process what she’d heard, Rey’s fingers went to his hair, threading through the soft strands, for once not calculating her every move to get a reaction out of him. This was just Rey, no character, no mask, no plan, just worried about what had happened to make Ben that distressed.

“I’ll try,” she answered in a whisper, knowing it was up to the Force to keep her there.

The answer took a while, so long so she wasn’t expecting one anymore. “Thank you.”

Rey was more awake then, but still, it felt like a dream to have Ben holding her like this, face buried on the curve of her neck, shaking. He was shaking so much. She held his shoulders, attempting to push him away to look at her.

“Ben, what is going on? This is so confusing.” 

Ben leaned away, propping himself on his elbows to look down at Rey, not expecting to feel that full just from it. Her face was slightly swollen from sleep, her chestnut hair around his pillow, her brows furrowed in what looked like genuine worry. Losing this woman would kill him. 

His hand came to hold the side of her face, thumb brushing lightly over her cheekbone, almost as if he was afraid that touching her with any more strength would cause him to discover she wasn’t real, that she wasn’t there. 

Rey stayed perfectly still, not knowing how to react to what was passing. There were many things she had expected from Ben, maybe desire, lust or passion, nothing like this caring, warm and gentle, look on his eyes. No one had ever looked at her like this before and she didn’t know what to do with it. 

Ben seemed bewitched as he leaned down, pressing a soft, long kiss to her cheek. “You’re so beautiful, Rey,” he whispered against her skin and that took her by surprise. He moved to press another kiss just under her eye. “In so many ways.” 

Rey couldn’t reply if she tried, she didn’t even believe that was happening, her brain struggling to keep up.

“What you do to me, I can’t explain it,” another feather-like kiss on the bridge of her nose, “I don’t want to lose you… I can’t.” Their lips brushed against each other, but all the eagerness they had experienced before, all the lust, all that should make it impossible for them to be that close without kissing the air out of each other’s lungs, seemed lost in that blissful, impossible moment. 

“I’m… I’m right here,” she replied dumbly, looking into his eyes like she just didn’t understand.

He shook his head no. “You’re not, but that’s not what I meant… I don’t want to lose you, but I also don’t want to lose myself,” he confessed against her lips. 

Rey’s hand slid from Ben’s neck to his shoulders, fingers holding him gently. “I don’t understand,” she admitted, confused eyes searching his for some explanation. 

“I know… but I don’t want you to, at least for tonight. I need,” his voice broke, “I need one more night if I’m going to do this.” 

If I’m going to give into darkness, if I’m going to accept to rule the galaxy as your emperor, if I’m going to betray my friends and my family to stay by your side. 

He fell silent, hands still caressing her cheek, so enthralled by seeing her up close he forgot his want to end the distance between their lips. He had never had the chance to properly see before then, maybe because of the products she often applied to her face, but freckles painted Rey’s skin, dotted along the bridge of her nose and spreading across her forehead. Her lips were not too full or too thin, the slightly rounded arch softening the other strong lines of her face like her jaw and cheekbones, a perfect balance. Perfect.

Ben studied her features, but already having enough chances to look at his appearance as he slept, Rey chose to focus on the turmoil inside him.

“You’re afraid,” she murmured when the emotion spoke louder than the rest. “Still afraid of me? I can only imagine how troubling it must be to stand this close, then,” she whispered, the tone hiding a joke.

Ben’s eyes came back to hers and he huffed a laugh, brushing a single stray hair off her eyes. Rey felt her heart jump at that, an odd reaction, considering that when she was climbing him like a tree a few days before then it had remained awfully calm. “Still afraid of you, yes, but not in the way you might think.” 

“So mysterious today, starlight,” she said, the smug smile he knew appearing on her lips, the nickname coming back. “Is this a game? Should I guess what you’re trying to say?” 

He rolled his eyes, back to the Rey he knew it was. Ben pulled away, sitting beside her, and she followed almost in an instinct, needing to keep the distance short. 

“No games, Ren.” 

She raised a brow, unsure, holding herself from asking him to hold her again. “Is that so?”

He nodded. “Just lost my mind for a moment there,” Ben said in a perfect imitation of the irony she was so fond of using.

She huffed, a smile twitching on the corner of her lips. “Oh, really?”

He nodded. “Yes, I thought I was seeing someone else, a friend.” 

She knew he was lying, she could feel it, but she ignored it. “The traitor? FN-2187?”

“His name is Finn, Ren.” 

She waved her hand, dismissing it, before pulling the covers up to her shoulders and leaning on the wall behind her. She should be doing something, seducing him, playing her game, but it was the middle of the night, she felt tired and simply didn’t want to. Rey almost frowned at herself when she realized what she wanted was to sit there and talk to Ben. It had been a while since she had wanted to do that with anyone. 

“Traitor suits him just fine, I don’t really feel like making the effort to remember his name.”

He laughed then and she found herself smiling with satisfaction. “Is remembering the name Finn hard? Stars, I’m glad you don’t have an important job, say rule an Order.” 

Her smile widened when she realized he was teasing her. “I dedicate all the space in my mind to be good at said job. Besides, I’ve seen more of FN-2187 than I would like, it’s better to not get any new information.” 

Ben tipped his head. “What do you mean?” 

“Have you ever been inside someone’s head?” She paused. “Apart from mine.” 

“Yes… but it has been a long time, I was a child, not sure of what I was doing, my father made me angry and I did it to get revenge.” He stopped for a moment, then he remembered the scene he’d seen by accident, a scene no child should ever see their parents taking part in. “I think I understand what you meant.” 

She saw the twist of his nose and mirrored it. “Precisely. The mind has layers in a way, some things are kept at the surface, others are hidden deeper where no one can see. Well, FN-2187’s boyfriend… just kept all of that at the surface. I saw a lot.” 

Ben felt his cheeks redden and he held himself from giggling, knowing that would be just ridiculous, they were adults. “If it makes you feel any better, Finn forgets to lock his door often… I’ve walked in on some things I would rather forget too.”

They shared a laugh and Ben realized it was the first time to have that happen. He could get used to it.

Ben cleared his throat after it died, silence stretching. He looked down at his fingers, resting on his lap. “Can I ask you something?” 

She tipped her head. “Of course, starlight.” 

“Have you ever thought about why you were born with such an important part to play in the fate of the galaxy? In the war?”

She stopped to consider it for a moment. “Not really, no,” she admitted. “What I did often wonder about why I was so strong with the Force if I came from nothing, but now I know that’s not the case.”

“So you never wondered where was your place in all of this?” 

There was a small, faint smile on Rey’s lips. “I’ve always known where I belong, Ben.” 

He frowned, looking up at her again. “I’ve been inside your head, Ren, I know that’s not entirely true.” 

She sighed, compromising. “I’ve wondered if I was on the right side of the fight, yes,” Rey admitted feeling the pull to the light with naturality, knowing Ben knew very well it existed. “But my part here has always been clear as day to me. I’m a leader and I’m a fighter, no questions about that.” 

He stopped, briefly. “So you’ve reached the conclusion you’re on the right side of the fight?” 

She chuckled. “Of course, Ben, why else would I sacrifice so much of my life for it?” Money? Tyranny? Power? She looked at him as if she could read his thoughts. “For power, yes, of course, but I do believe in the First Order. I believe the galaxy needs to be ruled or else it eventually crumble, fall into chaos and desolation.”

Ben stared at her for a moment, finding it hard to believe that Rey didn’t see what was so clear to him. The First Order wanted a dictatorship, they wanted to rule with an iron fist, to end anyone who disagreed with them. That was against what Ben believed in. He believed in freedom and balance… but what if he believed in order? Would that make him evil as well?

The more Ben knew of Rey the more he realized Rey wasn’t really the evil monster he thought her to be, she was just a woman with great power who thought she was doing the best thing. Turning evil into good is considerably harder to alter than opinions. Opinions, like people, can change.

“You could find power in the light,” Ben said at last. 

Rey realized then why he had asked, what he was thinking about, he thought she could come to the light. “Not like I find in the dark side,” she answered what she thought to be true. 

He frowned, then leaned closer to her. “That’s not true, Rey. The dark side is quicker, easier, more seductive, but not stronger. You try to enslave the Force, bend it to your will, but we have it as our ally… and it’s a powerful one. You could find power in the light as you do in the darkness.”

Ben believed in every word he’d just told her, even if the easier path of the darkness tempted him tremendously, and that’s how he knew he’d struck a chord with Rey, she felt the truth in his speech.

She looked at his eyes for a moment before her face shifted. The mask, Ben recognized it immediately as it went on. “That’s what the Jedi say to convince themselves what they do is right, this illusion that denying yourself from power is what makes you good. Power is there for anyone who is worthy enough to go and take it.” 

Ben chuckled, a genuine smile spreading as his master’s words from when he was just starting his Jedi training came back to him. “Impressive, every word in that sentence was wrong.”

Rey laughed at his bluntness, hand reaching for his face, patting his cheek playfully. “That’s rude, Jedi.” 

The touch lingered for a moment too long, fingers brushing on his jaw before falling to his lap, hand on top of his. For the first time since he’d met Rey, Ben didn’t feel threatened by her touch, he didn’t feel danger, or like she was trying to do something that would hurt him, change him. It was just a touch, something innocent compared to what had transpired between them before.

So why did he still feel so affected? Why did his heart skip a beat? Why did his skin feel warm where she was touching?

The Force shifted quickly and Rey was taken away from him before he could dwell further on his doubts.

With his head spinning after what he’d experienced that night, from the vision to that last touch, Ben laid back in his bed and tried to think what he should do. 

He needed time to think, to make his choices, to make sense of the mess inside him.

Starting from that very moment he focused on closing off their bond, knowing from the vision it was possible. Ben needed as much time as he could buy himself, at least until he was at peace with a decision. Even if that decision was to give himself to Rey and to darkness.

--

His father had come back to base after a long time away and Ben was happy to be present at the moment he and his mother reunited, always amused by the reception Han would get.

Leia slapped Han’s face so hard Ben wondered how his head didn’t roll off his shoulders. “Why didn’t you answer the messages we sent?” 

Han placed a hand over his throbbing cheek. “Nice to see you too, honey.” She glared. “There was a problem with our communicators, someone shot at us, a few things blew up, it’s a long story… Chewie and I didn’t know how to fix it, so we finished up what we had to and came back.” 

Rose, who was watching the scene from a closer distance, took a step closer. “I can take a look at it if you’d like.” 

Han smiled at her and nodded. “Sure, kid, that sounds good.” Rose walked away with an amused smile on her lips, holding herself back from laughing as her eyes crossed Ben’s on her way. “See, that’s the kindness I was hoping for, you could be less confrontational, princess.” He used the nostalgic nickname he knew she liked, even though she pretended not to.

Leia rolled her eyes before wrapping her arms around her husband’s neck. “You knew about that before you married me. Deal with it,” she murmured against his shoulder, voice filled with relief. 

Han smiled against her hair, closing his eyes briefly to take her in before he asked, “Where is my son?” 

Ben took that as his queue. “I was waiting until it was safe.” 

Han turned to Ben, smile wide as he threw an arm over his shoulder and pulled him into a tight hug. “I missed you, son.” 

Ben reached for his mother, pulling her closer to them, the position possibly awkward considering how few times the three of them had actually done that, but it wasn’t. Ben loved his parents dearly and even if they didn’t always see eye to eye, they were always there for him. 

“I know,” Ben murmured, aware Han knew his heart, he’d missed him too. “I was wondering if we could talk,” he pushed the words out before he regretted them, glancing to his mother hoping she would understand she meant alone.

Han nodded, kissing the top of Leia’s head before she turned around and gave them some privacy. 

“Did you fight with your mother again?” Han asked, knowing them well enough to recognize something was strange after even that short interaction. 

“I did.” 

“And you want me to clean your mess,” Han assumed. “Look, kid, I have enough on my plate as it is, if you can’t tell by my face.” Ben looked at the comical red mark in the shape of his mother’s fingers blooming on his skin.

Ben smiled faintly. “No, it’s- it’s not that. I need your help. I can’t be mom, it has to be you.” 

Han frowned. There was nothing he could do that Leia couldn’t do better. “Why?” 

Ben lowered his head. “Because mother is strong with the Force… Rey would sense her.” 

Han stopped and looked at his son, confusion clear on his face before Ben told him all that had been happening. He needed his father by his side if this plan he’d come up with was going to work, that’s why he’d shut the bond down until Han returned.

--

Ben chewed on his lip, going over his plan once again. There was too much that could go wrong, but he knew he still had to try. At least now his father knew and supported him, even if he knew his mother would disapprove once she found out.

Leia would never agree to let her son willingly give into the dark side. 

Ben could feel something tingling inside that told him it was time, even if he didn’t feel ready yet. He knew he didn’t have a choice anymore, he was exhausted, he couldn’t hold off the bond any longer. 

Ben knew the moment he let go she would come to him, so after taking a deep breath, he did and waited. 

Faster even than what he had expected, after only a few seconds she was there. 

When Rey saw him, she rose to her feet, dismissing whoever was with her with a wave of her hand before going to Ben, stopping only when they were face to face, eyes scanning him with… worry? Had she worried about him?

“What happened, Ben? It has been a week, I could barely feel you, I thought-” She stopped, fists balled at her sides like she was holding back from slapping him in the face. Or hugging him. “You look terrible.” 

Ben looked paler than usual, deep bags under his eyes from staying up most of the time holding off the bond.

He swallowed back his nerves, knowing then more than ever he had to control himself. “I was injured, an accident at the base.” 

Her eyes widened. “What? What happened? Are you alright?” 

He was genuinely surprised at Rey’s reaction, having her worried was never a part of the plan, he just needed something to justify his absence. “I am, yes, it was a stupid fight. This person just- nevermind. I don’t like Bacta tanks so I had to take the traditional route to heal, sleeping most of the time these last few days.” 

“That’s why I couldn’t feel you,” she whispered in understanding and it took control of every fiber of Ben’s being to not celebrate that she’d reached the conclusion he wanted her to. “Who did you fight with?”

“I don’t want to talk about what happened, Ren.” 

Against every Jedi instinct Ben had in his body, he allowed his repressed fears and insecurities, which he had tons of just repressed and ready, to take over him and their bond. Rey felt it immediately, assuming however had crossed Ben’s way had made him incredibly upset. Anger led to the dark side, so she couldn’t help to be grateful to this stranger, they had unintentionally helped her in her quest to turn Ben.

“That’s fine,” she said, carefully reaching for his face until she held it, their eyes finding each other. “Ben, I know you feel it… you’ve fallen on the path that leads to me, to the darkness.” 

Ben avoided her eyes, answering what he knew she expected, “No.” 

She stepped closer, hand sliding to the back of his neck. “Yes, you have. You can’t lie to me, I feel your anger, I remember the jealousy you felt of the man who I was with that night.” 

At the mention of the man, Ben felt the feeling, green and corruptive come back, but he didn’t try to hold back either. He needed her to feel it even at the cost of almost unbearable temptation.

“You hated him, Ben. Hate,” she said, pulling him closer until their eyes met again. “This is not me tricking you, these are things you feel and shouldn’t if you were to keep your path in the light. Your mere attachment to me has changed your destiny.” 

Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.

Ben remembered Luke telling him the words he’d learned from his own master and he knew he was going against his teachings, he was breaking his code.

“It may have, but you have become fond of me too, Ren,” he reminded her, feeling it even then in their bond. Rey wanted him back, needed him as much as he needed her.

She nodded at the truth of his words, pulling him closer. “Yes, I have,” she admitted it, knowing he would feel the lie of his words if she were to tell it. “I didn’t plan for it, for the attachment, any of it… but things have changed. I cannot deny wanting a future with you in it.” 

Ben smiled against his better judgment, letting himself feel the satisfaction of what he had never allowed himself to have. “The Supreme Leader and the Jedi, how dysfunctional of us.”

“You won’t be a Jedi for much longer,” she whispered against his lips.

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose. Fear is the path to the dark side.

And Ben feared losing Rey, he was aware being with her would be giving up his path as a Jedi. A path he didn’t choose, a path he knew he didn’t want anymore. “No, I won’t,” he answered truthfully before claiming her lips in a fiery kiss.

Ben wanted all that Rey would give him, so as he threw her on his bed and climbed on top of her, he let his greed take over him. Rey was as surprised as she was wanting, letting Ben kiss her with all the desperation he felt, her body responding to his touch like it was made for him. His body seemed made for Rey too, because he’d never felt anything quite as powerful as his need for her. 

Her hands were fisted in his hair, legs parting so he could fall between them and Ben grunted with the proximity, arms shaking as he held his weight up. His head was spinning as his mouth burned on hers, her taste as intoxicating as the feel of her that close, his mind, her power, her body. 

His hand slid under her shirt and his mouth dropped to her neck, biting and sucking marks as his fingers traced the scar he’d left on her stomach. As he pulled away and saw the purple blooming on her pale skin he felt a sick and twisted satisfaction. Mine, something inside Ben hissed, as if the marks made Rey his the way he already felt he was hers.

He came back to leaving kisses along her face and neck, biting the skin here and there just to feel her shiver under him. “I want to be with you,” he whispered as he nibbled on a maddening spot just below her ear. “I want to meet you and do this properly without the threat of the Force stealing you from me.” 

Her eyes opened to look at him, breathing fast, almost losing her words with the feel of his hands wrapping around her bare waist. “Tomorrow?” 

He shook his head, leaning to grab her smudged lips with his own. “Now, Rey,” he grunted, rutting against her so he could feel the urgency of his want. “I need you now.” 

Rey almost whimpered as she was kissed again, finding her control was thin when it came to Ben, because she didn’t even question his request. Rey changed their positions so she would be on top, straddling his hips to catch her breath. He looked like the most beautiful mess, hair ruffled from her hands, eyes glazed with desire, running through her clothed body as if he wanted to rip her uniform apart to look at what was under it.

“Stars, you’re beautiful,” he murmured, large hands wrapping around her small waist to cover them almost completely, pressing her down onto his hard cock, the friction not nearly enough with that many layers of clothes. “I’ve never wanted anyone as I want you, Rey.” 

She smiled and leaned down seductively, arching her back into him until Ben’s eyes grew even darker. “Good thing I’m yours, then.”

She kissed him that time, lips urgent and demanding, but as Ben’s hands started to tear her shirt off, she stopped him, remembering where she was. On the empty bridge of her ship, her command crew standing just outside the doors as she kissed the breath off Ben Solo’s lungs on top of some important-looking buttons.

Ben looked up at her questioning, but his hands retreated as she pushed them away, falling to his sides and waiting.

Rey licked her lips as he saw him lying beneath her, so willing, ready to be devoured, exactly what her hunger asked for. She reached for his hands to place them on top of her thighs, sitting up and putting a cruel distance between their chests. Ben was breathless, watching Rey as if she was a goddess from an ancient myth, wanting desperately to touch more of her. He didn’t, he only took only what she allowed him to, never more. 

“This is how we’ll do this, starlight,” she began after what felt like forever to him, rocking her hips against his. Ben sucked in a breath, hands squeezing her thighs. “The First Order has a hidden base on the moon of Avirandel.” 

Ben’s lips parted when she rubbed against him again and again, building a slow, sensual rhythm, trying to focus past the delicious sensation. “Alderaan System?” His mind seemed to want to help him, supplying some information he knew of his mother’s first home.

Rey smiled, circling her hips and he moaned low in his throat. “Yes, my starlight, exactly. We’ll meet there in two hours.” 

Ben nodded in agreement and grabbed Rey’s hand, pulling her down to kiss him again, he had the information he needed. The way she moved against him was quickly becoming Ben’s favorite thing, hips going up to meet hers, moaning in her mouth. 

“I hope you move just like this when you’re buried inside me,” she murmured against his lips and curse her filthy mouth once again, almost making him lose his mind. 

“Rey,” he grunted, almost a warning, before sealing their lips again. She smiled into the kiss, undoubtedly enjoying the moment she’d thought so much about, the moment he finally gave himself to her in soul just as he had already done his body.

They kissed and kissed and kissed until he felt the echo of the Force becoming stronger. They parted, looking into each other’s eyes. 

“I’ll see you soon,” he whispered, holding her face and setting a final kiss on her lips. Her answer was a smile and suddenly, her weight was lifted from his body, disappearing into the air. 

He let out a struggled breath and covered his face, trying to calm his heart and will her intoxicating scent away from his senses. 

Darkness was tingling in his blood, louder than it had ever been, and his light was warning him he was headed into a dangerous path. It was hard to fight it, but even more not to, letting them consume him. He needed the darkness if this plan was going to work. 

He hurried to his feet and into the freshers, leaning his head at the cold tiles as he tried to convince himself he could do this. 

He could do this.

He would do this. 

“I can’t do this,” he choked when he felt his hands shaking with the satisfaction the darkness brought. 

There was no other way now, he had to finish what he started, no matter the cost. He closed his eyes and tried to calm down.

No matter the cost.

--

Hux had been persistent on knowing where the Supreme Leader was going, finding it odd how she’d ordered everyone off the bridge so suddenly with a worried expression, then left it announcing she was leaving the ship for the rest of the day. He stopped asking only when she used the Force to choke him into silence, letting him fall at her feet and sneering to all listening if they had any other questions. No one dared to say anything after that.

On the way to Avirandel Rey didn’t manage to keep the smile off her lips, glad being a pilot was second nature to her, or else she would have ended up in another star system. 

She didn’t, she ended up right where she wanted to be, inside the empty base with her heart beating a little too loud in her ears as she waited for Ben. 

If Rey had had any worries about Ben’s true intentions, afraid to be betrayed by him, it disappeared as she felt him close in the Force. There was his familiar essence, the energy she’d grown so used to, but there was also darkness, new, loud, singing and calling to hers. That couldn’t be faked. 

She didn’t go looking for him, she knew he would know where to find her even if he’d never been to that place before. All he needed was to feel her and follow her through their bond, that mysterious connection they held that it was unique to any other in the galaxy, the bond that was like a prophecy, as if it was fate that they would end up in each other’s arms. 

His darkness called to hers and she didn’t have to wait long before he was there, standing in front of her.

The blade of Ben’s lightsaber disappeared when they stood on opposite ends of the long corridor, throwing the hilt into the ground beside him as he kept his eyes trained on her. He was showing him this wasn’t a trap, that he trusted to be unarmed around her, that he would not hurt her. She felt his feelings in their bond, showing her his intentions, his lust, his passion, his need. She couldn’t see past his want for her, it was the only thing occupying his mind. 

Rey made her way to him at the same pace he ran to her, meeting halfway in a desperately needed kiss.

It was simultaneously exactly the same and completely different from having him in the bond, because there was no Force to pull them apart anymore. He was fully and truly hers. 

He pushed her against the wall and her legs came to wrap around his waist, feeling his urgent lips on her neck. 

“You’re here,” she said between breaths and he looked up at her. “You’re mine.” 

He pressed against her even stronger then and it was like everything around them ceased to exist, like he and that moment were the only things that mattered in the whole galaxy. His lips burned against hers again and Rey got lost in Ben, his lust that was somehow bigger than her own, his darkness unleashed, raw, bare, lacing around hers like it had always been there. That was where she belonged, in his arms, lost inside him.

Rey’s hands were demanding, pulling his shirt off, and she thought she saw hesitation for a breath of a moment, but it disappeared as her hands fell onto his bare chest.

She caught him into another kiss and unlaced her legs from around Ben’s waist, standing on her own again just so she could push him into a nearby room. Ben didn’t notice, he couldn’t sense anything past her lips, but he did when he was pushed down into the surface of a bed. 

He opened his eyes, he was in a room, mostly white and impeccably clean, but then Rey was in front of him again and nothing else mattered. She took her shirt and breast band off in one go, straddling him as she had earlier and sitting up so he could look at her, gloriously nude.

“Rey,” he whined as if she was making existing impossibly hard for him. 

She feasted on the devotion in Ben’s eyes, rough hands gentle as they held her sides and brushed up her stomach delicately, making her shiver. 

“The first time I saw you like this it took all I had to hold myself from touching you,” he said as his palms pressed on the sides of her breast, teasing her, feeling her skin warm under his fingers. “I wanted to touch you like you were touching yourself.” The memory made his cock twitch under her.

His thumb brushed on her hardened nipple, setting small circles and Rey threw her head back as her lips parted, letting small noises of pleasure pass.

“Because, fuck, look at you,” Ben said, eyes torn between looking at her breast and the blissful expression on her face. “Fucking perfect, Rey, everything I could ever dream of.” 

He sat to meet her, one hand going to the base of her back to keep her steady as his lips began to kiss under her collarbones, hot, open-mouthed kisses that made her spread her legs even wider, melting into him. 

“I’ve wanted this more than anything,” he confessed, the unplanned words leaving his lips as they came, kissing down until they reached where his fingers were. He swirled his tongue around her nipple and Rey bucked her hips into him in a reflex, moaning low in her throat. “Pleasuring you like this.” He wrapped his lips around it and sucked gently. 

Rey had a hand on his shoulder as support and the other buried on his hair, pulling softly to show approval, gasping when the warmth of his mouth moved to the next nipple. 

“Ben,” she moaned, driving her hips into his again as he grunted in response. 

When they kissed again it was more mellow, Rey seemed dazed and Ben looked like he was struggling, conflict tearing him apart. Rey didn’t notice yet. 

“You feel so good,” she murmured against his mouth. “In the bond- darkness is singing in your blood- you’ve given yourself to it. You’ve made your decision, you chose the First Order.” 

As soon as Rey finished speaking, she saw it again, hesitation. Then she felt it in their bond, his conflict, his dread, his guilt. 

“Ben, what is going on?” Rey asked, leaning away slightly. 

“I didn’t choose the First Order, I chose you.”

She didn’t see him reaching into his pocket with a shaky hand, she only felt the prick of something on her back, then the warmth spreading up and taking her body in less than a second.

Rey stiffened, eyes going wide as she realized what had happened, what Ben had done, but by then she found she already couldn’t move.

The last thing Rey remembered before she was completely dragged under the effect of the soporific was Ben covering her up and lifting her in his arms, whispering an I’m so sorry before taking her into a ship, his ship.

Before unconsciousness took her prisoner she realized Ben had never truly planned to come with her to the First Order. He was taking her back to the Resistance base with him.

Chapter Text

“Kid, are you good?” Ben heard his father’s voice, but he couldn’t reply. “Ben,” Han called again, loud, demanding. “Are we all set?” 

Ben looked at Rey again, unconscious in one of the bunks in the Falcon, then back at his father. “Yes,” he whispered back. 

Han nodded and hurried back into the cockpit, but Ben couldn’t move, staring at what was in his hand, his stomach revolting at the sight of it. He could only imagine the utter disappointment Rey would feel when she woke up and found herself wearing the special restraints he’d gotten for her. They would make it impossible for her to reach into the Force, to use its power, to feel it at all, and Ben could think of no worse thing, no bigger betrayal, he could ever do to Rey.

He pressed his eyes shut, telling himself he was doing the right thing as he grabbed the two smaller strips and placed them around Rey’s wrists. It looked like common fabric, but as he closed the clasp the device morphed in length and shape to her adjust to the small width of her delicate wrist. He had tried them on himself before leaving the base, he knew they felt just like common pieces of cloth on her body, but it would be impossible to take it off.

He swallowed dry, hovering over her body as he placed the final piece around her neck, the unusual object snuggling tightly against her skin. Ben looked at her face, sleeping soundly, and grimaced, disgusted at himself.

“I’m so sorry, Rey. I hope you can forgive me,” he whispered even if she couldn’t hear him, before he walked away, burying his face on his hands and trying to stop shaking. There was only the hum of the Falcon’s engine in his ears, familiar and calming, but it did nothing to help him then. 

His heart was racing, he was confused, upset, overwhelmed, it was too much.

“Dad, I- almost didn’t stop, I- thought I wouldn’t stop,” Ben confessed with a broken voice, staring only at the ground beneath his feet.

A long stop. “But you did.” 

Ben felt tears in his eyes. “I delved in a lot further than what I should have, I wanted to keep going, dad,” his throat started to burn, the reality of his actions sinking in, “I didn’t want just her, I wanted the darkness. I feel it so intensely now, roaring in my blood, there is no escaping it anymore. This was a mistake, I’m falling, I-” 

Ben stopped his rambling when hands held his face and his father’s eyes pierced into his. 

“You asked me to come because you knew this would happen- look at me,” Han commanded, tightening his hold and not letting his son avoid his eyes. “You asked me to come because you know there is no way I’m losing you- to anything, anyone, even more so to darkness. I’m not coming home alone tonight. Remember who you are, Ben.” 

“I don’t know who I am,” Ben choked and Han’s hands fell to his son’s shoulders. “I’m being- I’m being torn apart.”

“Oh, son.” Han’s eyes softened. “That’s because you see everything in black and white, you’ve always been this way since you were a kid. You don’t have to choose between good or evil, right or wrong, Jedi or Sith. You told me you don’t want to be a part of the Jedi Order anymore, and even though Luke will want to kill you,” Han huffed out a laugh, “that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Not being a Jedi doesn’t mean you’re a bad man, Ben, that’s nonsense.”

Relief filled Ben and more than ever, he was grateful for trusting his father with what he’d been going through. The Solos were not similar in many ways, but the love they had for each other was always grounding to Ben. Someone had once told him he had almost too much of his father’s heart in him, and that couldn’t be truer.

“You know your place, kid, that’s fighting with me, your mother, your friends and,” Han glanced behind his son’s shoulder, “with her, one day… I hope.” 

Ben glanced at Rey again. “Do you think I can do it? Do you think I can turn her?” 

“Wouldn’t have agreed to this mad plan if I didn’t think you could,” Han said, then let out a sigh. “It will be hard once we get back to the base, I’ve told you this, but if you believe you can do it, it’s worth it.” 

Ben sank into the chair, next to the bunk Rey was in, and Han took that as his cue to get back to the cockpit, there was only so long he trusted the ship to be on autopilot. Also, there was only so much he could handle seeing Rey that ruffled, hair falling out of her buns and shirt put inside out by Ben in is his hurry, still wrapping his head around the fact his son had something going on with the Supreme Leader of the First Order.

Han also had to prepare his cheek for the slap he was sure was coming from his lovely wife once she found out about everything. Not long then, they were almost there. 

Ben was taking deep breaths, focusing in his light and trying not to blame himself for the darkness. Balance, Ben, that’s what the Force is about. 

He realized he’d been lost in thought for longer than what he’d imagined when his father was standing in front of him again, telling him they had arrived. 

Ben swallowed dry and got up, getting ready to walk out into the Resistance’s base with the enemy cradled in his arms.

--

When Rey started to come to, the first thing she noticed was her thirst. She was incredibly thirsty. She groaned and turned, reaching her arm to the left, where she always kept a glass of water. 

When her hand grabbed at nothing, she opened her eyes to check why her nightstand was so far away.

It all came crashing down at once at the sight of bars, bars that were keeping her inside of what was obviously a cell. Her memory soon followed and she remembered everything. She’d met Ben at the First Order base in the moon of Avirandel, they had kissed passionately, they had touched, she’d felt his darkness meeting hers… but clearly he had tricked her, because Ben was nowhere to be seen and Rey was his prisoner. 

Rey sat down, holding her head when the room spun around her, before getting to her feet. She couldn’t sustain herself for too long, tripping and falling to the ground, knocking something on her way. There was a ringing in her ear, sharp, loud, muffling the voices she could hear screaming in the distance. Rey’s hands were planted at the ground in front of her to keep herself steady, and that’s when she saw it. 

Her fingers trailed along the edge of the odd cloth bracelet on her wrist, trying to make sense of it, hand going to the one wrapped around her neck after, pulling to tear it off only to realize she couldn’t. Obviously, they were restraints, tied around her wrists and neck like an animal. Her hands fell again, needing to claw the ground to keep herself upright. The room spun again and she closed her eyes. 

When the ringing started to dull, Rey could hear someone calling her. She stared up through her lashes to find Ben on the other side of the bars, a look in his eyes she couldn’t make sense of. 

She didn’t care, feeling the rage take her, fast and blinding.

“What-” Her voice was hoarse and broken, but she pushed through. “What did you do to me?”

Rey thought she saw something like guilt flick on his features, but it was gone quickly. “It was just a Somatoll dart, I hear it’s normal to feel dizzy afterward.”

She looked down again, pressing her eyes shut. “A Somatoll dart…” She let out a struggled breath and hissed, “are you out of your mind? I’m human, Ben, Somatoll is too strong for our species, I could have-” Rey stopped talking when her elbow bucked, the hand bracing her just before her face met the ground. She looked up at him again, eyes burning with anger and betrayal. So much disappointment.

“You should feel better in a couple of hours,” Ben said, tone awfully neutral. She reached into their connection almost in instinct, but she felt… almost like he wasn’t even there. Was he blocking her again? “I made sure it was a safe amount.”

Rey rested her forehead on her arm, tired of holding her head up, face centimeters away from the ground. She felt beyond humiliated. “Oh, thank you. That makes me feel much better,” she said in a flat tone.

“I’m sorry, Rey.” 

She raised her eyes, shooting fire through them. “You’re sorry?” Her rage made her stronger, and she got to her feet again, swaying slightly as she took a few steps forward and clenched the bars.

She glared at Ben and tried to push him against the wall with the Force. 

Her face fell in realization when he stayed put, feeling like she was naked in the worst way possible, bare of defenses. “You’ve- you’ve cut me off from the Force.” She could handle being a prisoner, being trapped, tortured even, but that was too upsetting for her. Rey was dizzy, scared and her delirious and vulnerable mind wondered if it was permanent, terrified of the prospect of not having the Force anymore.

“It’s the restraints,” he lightly touched his neck and wrists, “As long as you wear them, you won’t be able to reach into the Force.” Ben’s face was completely blank, no emotion she could read, and that just made fire come up her throat.

Rey’s hands clenched on the bars. “You can’t do this to me, Solo. I can’t die like this, inside a cage like an animal.” 

He frowned. “Die? You’re not here to die.” 

“Liar! Why else would you bring me here?” she screamed. “Why should I believe a word you say? You lied to me, I trusted you-” 

Rey stopped talking when another wave of dizziness hit her and the next thing she knew, she was on her knees. She’d never felt so humiliated, prisoner to someone who betrayed her. Someone that, for a moment, she thought she could trust.

“I trusted you too, Rey, and you lied to me. You showed me visions that weren’t real, I know that.” 

She managed to lift her head up. “I didn’t lie, I never lied to you. Everything I said to you, everything I showed you, was real.”

“I saw different things,” Ben said, hands squeezing into fists, looking like he was making an effort to not come closer. “I know you lied, I- I saw different things, I saw you at the base.” 

Rey rested her forehead against the bars. Their choices shaped their future and Ben had made a very important one. Rey couldn’t believe how foolish she had been, he’d seen the future where he betrayed her, he had planned it and she fell for it.

“Leave.” She wasn’t looking up, but she didn’t hear any movement. “I know you’re not the one that’s going to torture me for information, so leave so they can come. I won’t say anything, but I would much rather face torture than you, right now.”  

Still no movement, so Rey raised her head, swallowing up the next words she was about to hiss when she saw there was someone else behind Ben.

Leia walked into the room and Rey couldn’t tear her gaze off of her, following her every step until she stood by her son. 

“I’ve told your treacherous son, now I’ll tell you. If you intend on torturing me into talking about the secrets of my Order, don’t bother. I won’t tell you anything.” 

Leia just stared, holding her hands together in front of her body, posture strong and unwavering. Rey almost couldn’t bear being looked down like that, but she found there was no strength left in her body to stand.

“Or maybe you intend on keeping me caged to serve as an encouragement to the fighters of your cause?”

Rey’s stomach turned when her answer was silence was again. She felt out of control, she didn’t know what to do with her emotions. She was vulnerable, she knew no one would come for her, no one ever did. She was alone once again, defeated, abandoned. 

“I can’t live like this, I can’t live locked in a cage, without the Force, without my freedom, I would rather die,” she continued, feeling her throat burn, her eyes sting. Still, Leia just stared and that tipped Rey over the edge. “Say something!”

Leia took a step forward and if Rey reached, she would be able to touch her. But she didn’t. Leia kneeled and Rey froze, eyes widening, leaning away in an instinct, as if she was expecting Leia to hurt her somehow. 

“Rest for now, Rey. I’ll have someone bring you water and food to replenish your strength. Once you sleep the effects of the drug off we’ll have a real talk.” 

That woman was her enemy and she had her captive, even if Rey couldn’t hear any gloating or victory in her voice, she wasn’t foolish enough to think that was real kindness. Leia probably hated her.

“Leia, I’m the Supreme Leader of the First Order. Don’t expect me to believe your lies, you know how this would go if it was the other way around and you were my prisoner. You want something from me, tell me what it is.” 

Rey knew she was a prisoner, she knew she was in no place to make demands, but she was scared, confused, and attacking seemed like a good way of defense.

Leia’s expression didn’t falter. “I want you to rest,” she repeated. 

Leia stood to her full height again and Rey was choked up with so much she wished to say. There was so much frustration boiling up inside her, she felt so helpless, so weak, so goddamn dizzy.

Rey felt her trembling arm finally give in and once again she saw the ground getting closer. She thought she’d seen Ben pull out his hand and keep her from hitting her head on the floor with the Force, but she couldn’t be sure before darkness claimed her again.

--

“Fine, I’m- I’m in,” Rose said after taking a deep breath. Poe shot her a look like she was crazy.

“You’re in?” Poe checked if he’d heard right. Rose nodded. 

“He’s our friend and he needs us.” Finn stayed silent through the interaction, lost in thought. “Besides, what Ben is asking makes perfect sense to me. I believe that's how we're gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”

Poe’s eyes widened, looking at Ben, then at Rose, then at Ben again before settling at Rose. “It- You- I- No,” he said, at last, crossing his arms over his chest. 

Ben grunted, then rubbed between his eyes. “You’re difficult. Really difficult. You’re a difficult man, Poe.” 

Poe’s eyes went even wider and he got up. “Ben, this is not me being difficult. This is madness! Just madness, what you’re thinking cannot be done-” 

“It can, I’m telling you, I felt the light in her. I felt it, Poe!” Ben repeated for the thousandth time.

“I don’t believe you.” 

Ben grunted again, then an idea hit him. “I can show you if you let me.” 

Poe took a step back when he realized what Ben had meant. “No, I’ve had enough of her getting inside my head, I don’t need that from you too.” 

“So I guess you’ll have to take my word for it.” 

“I don’t have to take anything, Ben,” Poe said stubbornly. 

“Poe, this is worth the shot,” Finn said. 

“Yes… people change,” Rose said, supporting Finn. 

Poe then got up, towering over both. “You know, I can understand Finn supporting this because he tries to see the best in people… but you, Rose, you’ve seen the worst. Rey was one of the people who brought you the worst.”

When Finn understood Poe was talking about Paige, his eyes widened. He stood up and frowned at his boyfriend. “What the hell, Poe?” 

“Am I wrong? That woman is responsible too, she is part of the Order that killed Paige.”

Finn’s eyes grew even wider, but before he replied, Rose stood up, eyes full of fire, sparkling with unshed tears. “We are the good guys, Poe, and the good guys try to do the right thing, even if the right thing is not always the easy thing. Rey was raised into the First Order, she was groomed by Snoke since she was a baby and even so Ben feels light inside her. She deserves a chance to show she’s more than the monster Snoke raised her to be.” 

Ben listened in silence, the last thing he thought appropriate was for him to say anything, but he had to admire Rose’s strength. Nothing about that must be easy for her, and yet she’d been the first to say she supported Ben’s idea, going as far as to say she wanted to help. She’d lost her beloved sister to an Order Rey was a part of, and yet Rose was willing to look over that and forgive Rey.

“Paige died for the Resistance, Poe, don’t ever forget it. If Rey turns and fights by our side, I will be helping the cause my sister believed in so much she was willing to die for.” 

Poe looked at Rose for another moment, conflicted, before he sighed. “I need to take a walk,” he announced, leaving the other three alone in the room, slamming the door behind him.

Ben bit his lip, pressing his eyes shut. “I’m sorry I’m putting you through this, I know it’s not fair.”

Finn huffed and Ben opened his eyes to look at him. “This is war, Ben… war is never fair. Or easy.” 

Rose took a step forward, placing a hand on Ben’s shoulder. “At least we get to fight it together.” Finn nodded and Ben smiled, wondering what he’d done to deserve such amazing people in his life. “We’ll turn Poe around.”

-- 

Rey’s eyes snapped to the door once she heard his voice in the distance. It was still odd not feeling him anymore, but she guessed she had other things to mourn the loss of. Like her freedom. 

She returned to chewing on the last piece of Jogan fruit she’d been given as she watched Ben come into her line of vision, staring at him until it went down her throat, licking her fingers clean after. 

Rey had had time to process her anger, but seeing Ben still left a bitter taste on her tongue. She swallowed that back too.

“What’s the play here, Solo? It’s been a day and no torture, I don’t get it.” 

“No one is going to torture you, Rey.” 

She raised a brow, leaning back on her arm and crossing one leg over the other, looking relaxed even if she was anything but. Rey saw his eyes running up and down her body, taking in her armed posture. “Really?” she asked with a tone that made it clear she didn’t believe that for a second. 

“Really.” 

“I don’t believe you.” 

He shrugged, but didn’t respond. They stared at each other for a while longer until Ben sat on the ground, leaning back on the wall opposite to her cell. 

She realized he was waiting for her to say something, and even though all Rey wanted was to call him some names or choke the life out of him with her bare hands, she opted for getting useful information. “How did you trick my senses? I’m not easy to deceive, I could swear the darkness I felt was real.” 

“It was real,” he paused, “It is real. I didn’t trick you in that way, everything you felt, my pull to darkness, was real.” 

She frowned, processing the affirmation and choosing between the many questions she had. “No Jedi feels darkness like that.” 

Ben huffed, a hint of a smile appearing on his lips. “Well, I’m no Jedi.” She didn’t try to hide her surprise, eyes widening. “I told you I wouldn’t be one for much longer, that was also true.”

“You renounced the Jedi Order?” Rey asked, anger dissipating to give place to her shock.

“Yes, but not officially… not yet, anyway. I will soon.” 

Rey felt even more confused. “I don’t get it, Ben. If you’ve renounced the Jedi and are turning to the dark side, why am I here? Why are you not at the First Order with me?” 

“I never said I’m going to the dark side, Rey. What I said was that I don’t want to be a Jedi anymore. That doesn’t mean I’m renouncing my light to take on the darkness or that I will stop fighting for the Resistance. It means I want to be just me for a while, no rules that try to shape me to be something I’m obviously not.”

After he finished Rey frowned. “There- there is no such thing, Ben.” 

He laughed, open, sincere, he expected that answer. “Yeah? Why not?”

“Because if you’re not a Jedi anymore it’s obviously because the darkness in you is demanding to be heard.” 

Ben stretched out his legs, not looking nervous. “Well, is every Force-sensitive being in the galaxy who fights using the light a Jedi?” 

“No, but-” 

“So why do I have to be a Jedi? Why can’t I just be some guy who is strong with the Force and fights for the Resistance?” 

She stopped, then her eyes scanned his face, letting a small huff. Always so intriguing, her starlight. “I guess you can.” 

“I guess I can,” Ben repeated, a satisfied smile on his lips. 

“So what, you’re embracing both light and darkness?” 

He tipped his head from side to side, implying she was there, but not quite. “I can’t be a Jedi with all the darkness inside me, so I won’t, but that doesn’t mean I’ll succumb to the darkness. I believe in the Resistance and I believe in the light, so I’ll keep fighting for it… Balance, Rey. I’m choosing to believe in balance.” 

She didn’t realize she was smiling, but she nodded in understanding. “Fair enough, starlight. I still have to say I’m disappointed, I thought we would rule the galaxy together.” 

Ben shrugged, the small smile on his lips saying he was sorry to disappoint. “I don’t want that responsibility.”

She sighed, dramatically, not knowing at what point she stopped being upset and fell into the comfort of talking to Ben. “I guess I’ll have to do it on my own when I break out of here.” 

“How will you do that exactly?” 

“Once you get this thing off of me,” Rey said casually, pointing to her neck. 

Ben huffed at the assumption. “Well, I am one of the very few people on the base who can take it off. But I won’t.” 

Rey narrowed her eyes at him, thinking about it for a moment. “Only Force Sensitives can take it off?” she guessed and when Ben nodded, she smiled. “Good to know.” 

“You’re not leaving, Rey.” 

“You can’t tell me what to do, I’m not staying here in your cage forever, Solo,” she hissed, some of her anger seeping back through. She controlled it quickly enough, clearing her throat. “Have you come to finally tell me what the Resistance wants from me?” 

“I came to see if you’re alright, Rey.” 

She huffed, trying to hide the squeeze her heart gave at the words. “Right, Solo. You came to lie then.” 

Ben bit his lip, looking conflicted, like he wanted to say something. He debated some more before he whispered, “I couldn’t go to the dark side, Rey. Even for you.” 

Rey’s chest felt tight. “I never asked you to turn for me.” 

“Now look who’s lying.” 

Rey hesitated. “Maybe I did ask.” 

He nodded. “You did, but- I couldn’t do it. I’m not the perfect Jedi everyone assumed I was… but I’m also not Kylo Ren. I couldn’t do it.” 

“So the alternative was betraying me and taking me as your prisoner?” 

Ben sighed, leaning away from the wall. “We’re not keeping you here forever, Rey, but you would have killed me if I hadn’t taken some- precautions.” 

“I would,” she agreed immediately, knowing exactly what he was referring to. “So what, you’re waiting for me to calm down?” 

“That too.” 

Rey grunted, rubbing between her eyes. “Just tell me, Solo, you owe me that much, tell me why didn’t you just kill me, tell me why you brought me here.” 

“I would never hurt you.” 

“Stop lying!” Her voice went up, but once again she controlled herself. Rey was surprised at how calm she was managing to keep herself since she’d gotten at the Resistance. She should be furious, but more often than not she found herself able to keep a level head. “Tell me why I’m here,” she demanded in a calmer voice, letting out a breath. 

“Because there is light in you and I want to help you listen to it.” 

Rey’s eyes widened and she stood up. “Help me? You think this is helping me?

“I know you don’t see it like that right now, but-”

“There is no light or darkness right now, Ben! There is just this- unnerving silence and numbness! Because You stole the Force from me!” Rey said, losing her calm again, hugging her body as if her words had physically hurt.

“I didn’t steal anything, Rey!” He got up too, stepping closer to the bars. “You’ve told me before that you think you’re on the right side of the fight. This is my attempt to prove you wrong. I want you to see you should be at this side of the fight, with the Resistance.” With me.  

“You have no right to try to make choices for me, Ben!” Rey’s voice went higher than what she would have liked. 

“Absolutely, I don’t, but tell me, Rey, what’s the alternative?” They stood within arms reach of each other, Ben’s eyes searching for hers until they were staring into each other’s souls. “Being enemies in this war, fighting and tearing each other apart until one of us manages to kill the other? Is that what you want?” 

“Don’t- don’t you dare fucking do this, Ben. Don’t pretend this is about us.” Rey felt like a fool, so weak, telling a man to not toy with her emotions. She was better than that, but she couldn’t keep the words from coming. “You can’t use what you felt in me to manipulate me into doing what you want, that’s not- that’s not fair.” 

“I’m- I’m not manipulating you, are you not listening to me?” Ben asked, outraged at the accusation. “I’m telling you I can’t do this. If it would come down to it, I wouldn’t be able to kill you, Rey. I need you.” They both held their breath at the words before Ben continued, trying to correct himself, “I need you to at least try to get on my side, so we can fight this war together.” 

Rey didn’t believe him and she didn’t trust herself enough to say anything that would make her seem any more vulnerable. Ben would use her weaknesses against her, like everyone else always did.

“Everything I felt since we met has been real. Everything, Rey,” Ben murmured, eyes brimming with emotion. “Fate has not been kind by making us enemies, but I’m not giving up on you.” With that, Ben turned around and left.

Ben’s last words scared Rey more than anything else he could have said, because even if she didn’t believe his words completely, they sparked something inside her she couldn’t recognize or control. She couldn’t believe she was wanted, needed, appreciated, because that would make her vulnerable. Rey was terrified of being hurt further by Ben, she didn’t think she could take it. 

--

Rey was so bored she was about to ask one of the guards outside the cell to torture her, just to change things up a bit. 

She’d met no torture, no questioning, no nothing since she’d gotten there. She didn’t understand what was the Resistance’s strategy, why they were just keeping her captive, well-fed and with every basic need met. She’d had clean clothes delivered to her, something white and in a fabric way too comfortable to look good, books at her disposal, and reasonably good treatment from every guard and person who eventually came in contact with her. If it weren’t for the restraints she’d grown to loathe and the small confined space, that could count as a retreat of some sort, something a stupid Jedi would willingly put himself through to meditate, clear his head of dark thoughts, or whatever nonsense they did.

Ben hadn’t been there in two days. Rey wouldn’t admit even to herself, but she found his absence much more difficult to deal with than her boredom, she was used to seeing him often, feeling him often.

If she were a prisoner of the First Order she would be dead by now, the moment she gave the information they needed. However, the Resistance didn’t seem to want information from her… she had no idea what they wanted from her. 

She heard voices mumbling in the distance and put her book down. She walked to the bars and slid her arms out, leaning against it. “Evan, dear!” she called and the voices halted. “I know you can hear me, darling,” she teased and heard a huff in the distance. 

Soon enough, as she predicted, the guard that had her morning shifts appeared in her line of vision. “I told you already, that’s not my name.”

Rey clicked her tongue, a smile crawling up her lips even if he remained serious in front of her. A tough nut to crack, that Evan, but he provided more entertainment than the afternoon and night guards, at least, who pretended not to hear her and sent flaring glares in her direction, obviously not pleased by having to watch her.

“You wouldn’t give me your real name, so I had to get creative. So, I was wondering-” she stopped mid explaining herself when she noticed the guard was not alone. “Oh, Evan brought a friend today! Marvelous,” she looked the woman up and down, tipping her head as her smile widened, “Is she your girlfriend? Very pretty, Evan, but too much for you, I must say.” 

The woman gave the guard a knowing look and he smiled smugly at her, almost as if they were communicating through it. “Will you be fine alone?” 

The woman nodded, shaking a small device in her hand Rey hadn’t noted until then. “I’ll use it if she tries something funny.” Stun gun, Rey assumed, she shouldn’t piss that one off. Also, it was not as if Rey could do anything, trapped behind bars without the aid of the Force.

The guard nodded, turned around and left, the two women standing by themselves. Rey didn’t lose any time letting any awkward silences stretch. “I was being serious, you’re too much for Evan,” Rey said casually, pointing up and down the other woman’s body, obviously pleased with what she was seeing. 

She was shorter than Rey, her eyes straight, face round and soft, two cute low buns on each side of her head and in a grey jumpsuit that made her look even smaller. Rey wasn’t fooled by cute, however, because the woman looked ready to use that stun gun or the much larger and much deadlier-looking one in her thigh holster if she had to.

“I’m not Jake’s girlfriend,” Rose corrected, a small amused smile on her lips. 

“Good, because that would be a waste.” 

Rose wanted to laugh, Ben had mentioned some things about Rey’s personality, like her natural flirty nature, but she thought that was reserved to him. She was wrong. “I’m Rose, I’m a friend of Ben’s.” 

Rey felt something flip on her stomach at the mention of his name, but she forced her smile to remain high on her lips. “Nice to meet you, Rose, I’m Rey.” 

Rose chuckled, and goodness she really was cute. “I think I might have heard of you once or twice before,” she said sarcastically. 

Rey’s smile widened, she liked that one. “So, what do I owe this visit, lovely Rose?”

“Curiosity,” Rose said and Rey was not sure she believed it. “You’re the talk of the base, I’m sure you know.” 

“I didn’t.” 

Rose settled in a chair a few steps away from Rey, who was still draped over the bars. “Well, you are. I also know almost no one is allowed in here, so I thought you would be needing someone to talk to… you know, someone as pretty as me,” she deadpanned, smiling in satisfaction when Rey laughed. 

“That I am.” Rey looked her up and down again. “Gunner?” she guessed, since Rose wasn’t wearing a uniform.

Rose shook her head. “Maintenance worker. My sister was a gunner.” 

Rey hummed in acknowledgment, not missing the way Rose’s face twitched when she mentioned the sister. Dead, Rey assumed immediately. “How long have you… been here?” 

“At the Resistance? Not long, a little over two years. I thought my stay would be temporary, but I ended up settling, making friends… connections.” 

Rey didn’t miss the way Rose’s voice changed in the last word. “Ah. So you do have a boyfriend.” 

Rose scrunched up her nose. “It’s a little bit more complicated than that.” 

“How so?” Rey asked, casual. 

Rose stopped for a moment, thinking about how to phrase herself. “It’s not the most traditional of relationships… I kind of came in between something already in… progress.”

Rey gasped, faking surprise. “Two boyfriends? Breaking my heart over here, Rose, I thought I had a shot.”

“Not so much,” Rose broke the news, watching Rey wipe out a fake tear. “Didn’t think I was much of your type, I believe I’ve heard somewhere you like women with long hair, warriors.” 

Rey’s laugh was genuine, then. “Are there talks around the galaxy about what kind of women I fancy?” 

“Oh, absolutely,” Rose answered with no hesitation. “Men too. You would think people would have other things to worry about considering the war and everything.” 

Rey huffed. “You would… but I guess we’re both wrong. I don’t really mind if people talk about me, if I’m honest.” 

Rose tipped her head. “Really? I thought you would- kill anyone who dared speaking something so personal about you.” 

Rey chuckled at the assumption. “Most of the things are said to my back and I honestly don’t have the time to hunt down petty men, mostly, who try to make me look less than what I am for being a woman who enjoys sex. I have an Order to rule.”

Rose was all about woman power, but she wasn’t about to openly support Rey Ren like that, so she just hummed in acknowledgment. “Have you always felt like that? Even before becoming the Supreme Leader?” 

“Always, yes, I grew up around men of power, there is no use in arguing with them. I had to become more than them so none of their claims mattered.” 

Rose hummed again. “I see.” Even without the Force, her uniform and behind bars, Rose felt Rey’s strength, her power, her intensity.

Silence fell between them again and Rey narrowed her eyes, tipping her head. “Why are you really here, lovely Rose?” 

“I’ve told you, curiosity. You’re the Supreme Leader of the First Order and the woman who almost dragged one of the most unwavering men I know to the dark side. I think it’s fair that I was intrigued, don’t you?”

Rey’s gaze didn’t change. “Yes, but there’s something else,” she insisted. With or without the Force, Rey was awfully intuitive. 

Rose stared at Rey for a moment, almost questioning if she should say anything. She believed honesty would be appreciated, so she did. “I always imagined you as a terrifying monster, a creature who just wears human skin and lives to destroy lives. I wanted to see you with my own eyes.” 

“Oh.” Rey didn’t expect that, but when she heard it, some things clicked. “Did I destroy your life?” 

Rose didn’t tear her gaze from Rey. “I don’t think you personally, at least I hope not. But your Order took someone from me, someone important.” 

Rey didn’t even hesitate. “Your sister.” 

Rose almost flinched. “Yes, she died during the attack to the Fulminatrix.” 

Rey remembered that day, even though she hadn’t thought much about any lives lost on either side of the battle. She wondered if that was why Rose was there, to avenge her sister, but she quickly discarded the idea, it didn’t seem like the case, she would have done it already. Same as everything else since she’d gotten to the Resistance’s base, Rose’s presence didn’t make any sense to Rey. 

“Am I the monster you expected?” Rey asked, surprising even herself by how low it had come out. 

Rose got up and Rey could see her eyes were watery. A pang of guilt Rey didn’t expect hit her, aching in her chest, twisting in her stomach. She didn’t know Rose, but the First Order had killed someone she loved dearly… and Rey didn’t even think about any lives lost that day. 

She wondered how many others lost their loved ones during that battle.

“I don’t know,” Rose answered truthfully. “I hope you’re not.” 

Rose gave Rey one last look, one last smile before she left. Rey stared into nothing for a while, something about the conversation she had with Rose stirring deep inside her, bringing up feelings she wasn’t too familiar with: guilt and regret. 

She barely knew Rose, but she knew the pain she saw in her eyes. Rey regretted ever contributing to give anyone that sort of pain. 

She couldn’t believe she didn’t think about the lives lost that day.

--

Rey was anxious, fidgeting, overthinking. It didn’t help that she hadn’t slept that night, too troubled by the conversation she’d had with Rose. Rey was angry, she didn’t understand the turmoil of emotions running through her, everything was new and she was locked in that cell, away from everything she knew. Away from the ship she called home even though it never felt like one, from leadership, from training, from the Force, who had been the only grounding thing she’d known ever since she was a girl. She’d been trying to keep calm, waiting until the Resistance showed their hand, but it had been five days since she’d arrived and her patience was wearing thin. 

Rey was no stranger to being alone, but she had never felt quite that isolated, locked away with only her thoughts to torment her. Because they were tormenting her, she was confused, conflicted and being patient was becoming harder by the minute. 

Rey lowered the book in her hands and got up, standing in the center of her cell as she scanned it. She stepped closer to the bookcase, eying it up and down before she pouted, noticing it was drilled into the wall. If she had the Force with her, that would be no problem, but the situation asked for some creativity. 

The way Rey saw it, grabbing the chair and banging the shelves off the wall was innovative. The guard had come in screaming at her after the second bang, but she paid him no mind, continuing until she succeeded, stepping away as the bookshelf tumbled forward. The outburst did wonders to relieve her anger, she realized as a laugh rumbled in her chest.

“What are you doing, I asked?” the guard inquired and some part of Rey was satisfied she had annoyed the rudest of her guards.

“Nothing that concerns you, go back to your important job,” Rey said between deep breaths, pulling at the back of the bookshelf with full force, stumbling back a few steps when a piece came off in her hand.

She looked at it, the length was perfect, almost her height, and even if the wood-like material dug into her palms uncomfortably as she held it, it was as good as she would get. Rey banged the edge of it against the ground with full force and smiled smugly when she heard the guard gasp, afraid of her even if she was behind bars. Sturdy, that thing, didn’t even chip a piece. 

She swayed the improvised staff on her sides, closing her eyes and letting her fighting instincts take over. There was only so much she could do in that small space, but it felt amazing to move again, the sweat sliding down her temples and chest, heart beating a little faster. Without the Force to guide her, it was impossible to keep her eyes closed for too long, starting to knock things over. 

Rey looked around to the mess she’d made and started to laugh, taking a few steps back until her back hit the wall, sliding to the cold floor after. She let her rustic weapon fall to her side and wiped some of the sweat off her face. She let her body cool, only noticing the small cut on her hand when red spots started to appear on her white pants. She inspected her palm and pulled the splinter off, for once appreciating the pain. At least it wasn’t the nothingness that was starting to drive her crazy. 

She should shower, but she found she was too tired to do so, leaning her head back and letting sleep claim her as it was. 

Rey didn’t know for how long she stayed like that, but suddenly she felt a brush against her forehead bring her up from the depths of sleep. The delicate touch went down her arms to hold her hands and when Rey realized she wasn’t dreaming, that someone she didn’t know who was touching her, her eyes shot open, heart leaping to her mouth. 

“Easy, I’m just checking on you,” Leia murmured, kneeling in front of Rey, hand cradled between hers as she inspected it.

It took a moment for Rey to realize she was in fact still inside her cell, but only that time general Leia Organa was inside it with her as at least 7 very worried-looking guards stood outside the bars, hands over their guns, obviously stressed over the situation. 

Rey looked back at Leia’s face, then cleared her throat. “Aren’t you worried about giving one of your men a heart attack?”

Leia huffed, eyes never leaving the task, careful hands crawling up Rey’s arm, checking for more cuts. There was so much care in her touch, so much gentleness, Rey was unfamiliar with anything like it. “I’m the one that’s locked inside a cell with a highly-skilled fighter, they should have no reason to be stressed,” she said casually. “Care to explain what happened?” 

“I wanted something-” She stopped mid-speech when Leia’s hand lifted to her face, but once again the touch was delicate, only the brush of a finger along her cheek. “I wanted something to practice with,” Rey tried again, voice lower that time. She didn’t know what was about Leia that disarmed her so much. She wasn’t afraid of the general, Rey wasn’t afraid of anyone… It was just something about Leia. “So I broke down the bookcase to make something like a staff, the one I had before I was allowed a saber as a girl.” 

“There is blood on your face,” Leia said, distractedly, before her hand fell. “You could have asked, Rey, we would have given you something. You didn’t have to-” She glanced around the room and Rey felt her cheeks warm, embarrassed of her actions. Once again, an odd reaction for her, who was known for being reckless.

“You’re telling me I should have asked for a weapon?” Rey asked, finding in herself to seem confused despite the bizarre situation. “Leia, I’m your- I’m your enemy and your prisoner,” she reminded her, looking dumbfounded.

Leia looked at Rey and laughed, standing up after. “Thank you for the reminder. Now come on.” 

Rey frowned. “Come? Come where?” 

Leia waited until Rey stood by her. “I’m taking you to another cell, one that you didn’t tear to the ground.” 

Rey stared at her like Leia was completely out of her mind. Was that woman just going to escort her calmly, without physical restraints and not heavily sedated to another cell? Was she not afraid of Rey trying something, hurting her? Taking her hostage until she was promised to be released? 

Apparently not, because she ordered a guard to open the cell and all others to step back so they could come through. 

“Let’s go, I don’t have all day,” Leia said when Rey didn’t move, but there was no bite to her words. 

Rey wasn’t sure who was more insane, Leia or her, because she actually followed, not planning on acting on any ideas she’d had, aware the outcome would not favor her at all. It was their base, their home, she was the odd one out, alone, outnumbered and without any aid of the Force.

Rey followed in silence, staring at Leia all the way as if she hoped to understand what the woman was thinking. Leia stepped inside the new cell first, making way for Rey after. 

She reached for a little box in the corner. “Come here,” Leia ordered. 

Rey went to her and Leia grabbed her hand, cut palm facing up, and put a bacta patch over it.

Rey swallowed dry, a weight settling on her chest.

Rey knew violence. She could handle violence, she was good at fighting back, protecting herself. Rey didn’t know how to handle kindness.

“Why- why are you doing this?” Rey asked, stuttering. She realized then her eyes were burning, her throat felt tight. 

“Doing what?” Leia asked, fingers smoothing the patch over her torn skin to make sure it wouldn’t fall. Rey’s throat felt even tighter.

“This- this doesn’t make any sense, Leia. I’m the Supreme Leader, I’m your enemy. Why- why haven’t you ordered me-” 

“Dead?” Leia completed and Rey nodded. 

Leia smiled, faintly. She looked up at Rey’s eyes and something she saw made Leia’s face go impossibly soft. 

Rey wondered what she was seeing… who she was seeing. 

“Look at you,” Leia whispered, eyes full of sympathy. Rey could barely take it, a single look tearing into her core and twisting it. “You’re only a girl, Rey. Barely over 20.” 

“And yet I’ve done more horrible things than some people do in an entire lifetime,” Rey choked, her own voice breaking in a foreign affected way.

“Yes. Yes, you have,” Leia said firmly, looking deep into her eyes, not excusing her for a second. “There is no erasing the past, no undoing your wrongs, you know that. But who you will be for the next 20, 40 years of your life… that, Rey, that is your choice to make.” 

Your choice to make. 

She realized then she had never been given a choice, just orders, following the path that was laid in front of her. Serve the First Order, that was her duty, that was her destiny. 

“Don’t break this cell for parts,” Leia said. “I’ll see what I can do, maybe there is something appropriate I can give you to practice.” 

Leia stepped away from Rey, who was still too shaken to say something. Leia overwhelmed her with so little, surprised her with every word. 

The general closed the cell and took a last look at Rey over the bars. “There is also another reason why I could never order you dead.” Rey looked at Leia, waiting for her to continue. “I fear my son would never forgive me.” 

With that, Leia left. Left Rey alone, a knot deep in her throat, her eyes stinging and burning. She looked down at her hand, at the patch covering her skin, healing it. The next thing she knew her vision blurred. 

Tears rolled down her face without Rey being able to stop them and soon enough, she had sunk to the ground, shoulders heaving as she sobbed, her head heavy, spinning with confusion, doubt, so much fear. 

Rey was terrified, because moments before with Leia, when she knew she could at least try to escape, she found herself not wanting to. 

In a single week as a prisoner to the Resistance she had encountered more empathy than in her entire life in the First Order. Rey was being seen by people, but surprisingly enough, they didn’t seem to be seeing the monster she thought herself to be.

Chapter Text

For once, Ben followed his parent’s advice. He’d gone to find Luke and informed him of his intentions of no longer being a Jedi, having to deal with both the disappointment of his master and the worry of his uncle. It had been hard, as expected, but he found following his mother’s request to stay away from Rey for a while to be far worse.

Still, Ben listened, but when Rey broke down her cell in what he assumed was a fit of rage, he couldn't stay away for any longer. Leia had intervened last minute, arguing she should be the one to go, and Ben hesitantly backed away. His mother insisted she and Rey had just talked, but Ben knew there had to be something else, considering Leia came back from the encounter encouraging him to go to Rey. 

Ben's heart was pounding as he made his way to her cell, somehow nervous about seeing Rey, not knowing what he would say, how to justify his absence. She probably thought he was either hiding from her, afraid of her rage or abandoning her, which didn’t make any logical sense considering he hardly believed Rey considered him even as a friend, but he couldn’t help the feeling. 

When he got to her new cell, Ben found Rey sleeping on the bed, curled around herself, back turned to him. He wished he could see her face, that she knew he was there… but he wished more than anything to feel her in the Force again. Ben didn’t know just how much he would miss it when he had to put those damn restraints on her.

He sat on the chair outside Rey’s cell, deciding to stay just a while longer, strangely comforted just by her presence. Ben watched the steady rise and fall of her shoulders, the messy brown hair spread on the pillow, the way her hand rested gently on her hip, gripping the blanket that covered her.

Ben didn’t feel himself falling asleep, but he was startled awake by the call of his name. The first thing he saw was a pair of hazel eyes staring at him in a way that made his heart leap. 

“Hi,” Ben said dumbly. 

Rey tipped her head. “Hi,” she answered in a hoarse voice, just out of sleep herself. His chest tightened, how he had missed her voice. “What are you doing here at this time?” 

He noticed the quiet around him, a silence that went beyond the corridor he was in, it was late. “I came earlier, after my mother left, but you were already asleep.” 

“So you stayed.” Ben nodded and Rey narrowed her eyes for a moment before a smug, very familiar expression appeared on her features. “Missing our midnight encounters, starlight?” 

He was surprised to get her harmless and familiar sarcasm instead of cold silence or a cruel monologue about how he was a horrible human being.

Ben huffed, smiling. “Not really. You were a very inconvenient visitor.” 

She hummed, not really disagreeing. Rey grabbed her glass of water and Ben watched her drink in silence. “I met Rose,” she said after a while, sitting back on her bed.

“I know.” 

Silence fell again. Rey stared at him, face oddly neutral. 

“You’re afraid of my anger,” she said, not accusing, but rather pointing the fact. 

Ben was surprised by the sudden change of topic. “I’m not,” he said, neither lying or elaborating. He wasn’t afraid of her anger, he was afraid of hearing how upset and disappointed she was at him, at his betrayal.

Rey’s eyes narrowed then, as if she was trying to figure Ben out, but didn’t say anything like a reply. Ben was waiting for it, for her to start trying to hurt him with words as he did with his actions, for Rey to say how disappointed she was, how much she hated him, how she would never forgive him. Ben was prepared for all of it, even if dreading the prospect, he didn’t expect Rey, of all people, to forgive him. It was surprising enough she hadn’t poured all her hatred after catching sight of him.

Ben was surprised when she spoke. No rage, no bitter tone. “I didn’t know you had it in you to resist the darkness,” she said and he saw honesty in her face, just trying to understand. “You told me what you felt was real, so I assume you gave in to darkness so I could feel it and trust you, then you pulled back from either.”

“I didn’t know I had it in me either,” he admitted. “But I had to. I’m coming to learn darkness is addictive, you have just a little and you crave for more. I only indulge myself so much, to where I know I’ve reached a balance with my light and I’m not just hopelessly falling into it.” 

Rey stopped, looking like she was considering his words for a while. “I’ve never tried to hold back. Darkness has always felt right to me, it has always given me what I need.” 

Ben thought back to the exercises he had been doing, trying to perform the same task reaching for either side of the Force, to just how tempting darkness was. “Doesn’t it get tiring sometimes? Everything is so- intense with the dark side. Indulging in light is comforting, it brings security, it’s less anxiety-inducing.”

Rey smiled. “I wouldn’t know, starlight, I’ve never let the light have its way with me.” 

Her voice was amused, her face relaxed. Ben could only stare, confusion obvious in his features. Rey saw right through him. 

“You’re wondering why I haven’t spat any poison at you yet.”

“In my place, wouldn’t you be surprised?” he asked with no hesitation.

“Absolutely.” 

“So my surprise is understandable.” 

“Yes.” 

Ben stared at Rey and by the look in her eye, the small smile on her lips, he knew she was waiting for him to ask, so he got it over with. “So why are you not upset?” 

“Never said I wasn’t. I am. I’ve never been so disrespected in my entire life.”

“So why?” Ben asked, utterly confused.

“How would that help me in this scenario?” Rey motioned around her, trapped, imprisoned. “Besides, you’ve said it yourself, everything is too intense with the dark side. Maybe I got lost in it, let the darkness control me instead of controlling it.” Ben had to physically force his jaw not to drop at the implications of what Rey was saying. Was she admitting she got too deep into the darkness? Did that mean she was trying to change it? “I’ve been raised learning to give in to every impulse I have, every urge of my power.” 

Ben thought that was an awful way to teach anyone anything, to do what they want how they wanted it without thinking about consequences. Then again, Rey hadn’t had any parental figures, just a man who was interested in using her to his favor.

“I realized I don't know who I am without the shadow of darkness that always followed me in the Force.” Her face was peaceful as she said it, but he suspected that didn’t reflect how she truly felt. Ben had been through what she was going through, he knew Rey was just putting on a mask.

Ben got up, walking closer to the bars, eyes sparkling with hope. “I could help you figure that out.” 

She stared deep into his eyes for a beat, then another. “I don’t trust you,” she said, not trying to hurt him, just telling him her honest truth.

The words, even if not completely unexpected, still cut through Ben's chest. “I’ll try to change that,” he said, swallowing back his pride. 

Rey frowned, looking genuinely confused. “What do you care if you have my trust or not?” 

That hurt Ben even more, finding there was something terribly unsettling about Rey thinking he did not care for her at all. “Don’t say that, Rey. I-” he hesitated, “I told you everything I felt since we met has been real.” Saying it again was embarrassing, but the idea of her not knowing felt worse, much worse. 

Rey stared at him so more, before she lowered her gaze to her hands. She cleared her throat. “It’s the middle of the night. I should rest, I have a big day tomorrow, many activities to tend in my cell,” she said, some of her sarcasm there, but not completely, overpowered by something stronger. 

Ben pushed back the part of him that wanted him to stay and respected her unspoken request. “Goodnight, Rey,” he whispered. 

She listened to Ben's steps as he walked away and pressed her eyes tight together, biting her lip in an attempt to keep her tears at bay. 

Hope was a funny thing, even the smallest spark could light up a huge fire. Rey realized with dread one was already burning hot in her chest, wanting to believe for once someone wasn't lying to her.

--

Rey was in her bed, throwing a little paper ball into the air and waiting for it to come back into her hand over and over, all the while talking to her guard. Or rather being ignored by him. 

“Evan, dear, how about your favorite holodrama? Will you tell me that?” Rey was met with silence again, not really waiting for anything different. She wasn’t striking for conversation, she was just filling the silence. “Oh, I know, Evan, you could tell me about your favorite-”

“His name is Jake.” Rey's head snapped to look at the voice. 

Ben smiled faintly at the scene of Rey flinching as the ball she had been playing with fell on her face, sort of endeared by it. Rey sat down, narrowing her eyes at Ben as a warning to not mock her. His smile only widened. 

“I'm aware, but I'm in need of entertainment and him coming up to the cell to correct me with his face all red qualifies.” 

Ben chuckled, shaking his head. “I wonder why he’s always miserable when I see him before his shift.” 

Rey gasped, acting fake hurt. “Evan, you don’t like me?” she asked loudly enough for the guard to hear. 

She didn’t expect any answer, but when she heard a grunt, she laughed. Rey got up and went to the bars. “Evan, I thought we- Solo, what’s that?” Rey stopped mid-sentence when she noticed what was in Ben's hand. 

It was undeniably a staff, a dark textured metal similar to the black ones she had as a child. Her heart leaped at the thought that Leia’s promise had been true, that the staff could be for her. 

Ben looked at the weapon then back at her. “Mother told me the reason you destroyed your cell was to get something like this to practice with.” 

“It was.” 

“She got one made for you.” 

Rey’s heart sang in her chest and she clenched the bars in her hands, holding herself from asking for it. “I can’t believe she’s allowing her prisoner a weapon. I don’t know if I should call her crazy or thank her.”

Ben huffed. “This is not staying with you in the cell, mother is not that senseless.”

Rey visibly deflated, but she couldn’t say anything before Ben stepped closer to the bars and started unlocking her cell. Rey’s heart rate skyrocketed as Ben took a hesitant, small step into her cell, holding her breath. She couldn’t help but wonder if the Skywalkers would ever stop making a habit of increasing her chances to be a flight risk.

“The rules for you not to lose this privilege are simple,” Ben started, voice steady, clearly practiced. She didn’t miss the way his knuckles were turning white around the staff. “I have to be with you at all times because if you try anything funny, I’m responsible for doing whatever it takes to bring you back here. Your restraints stay on at all times and if you use the staff outside the training space or hurt anyone while we’re out, you’ll not be granted this privilege again. If you try to escape, you’ll not be granted this privilege again.” 

Rey’s head was still spinning after hearing out and training space. “I’m not sure I understand.” 

“You’re being granted training privileges. Time outside of your cell to practice with me.” 

Rey looked at Ben’s face for the indication of a joke, when she didn’t find one she took a step closer to him, the fire of hope burning as ardent as ever. “Are you serious?” 

Ben nodded. “If you’re ready we can go now.” 

Rey blinked a couple of times. “If I’m- yes! Of course I’m ready to leave this goddamn place!”

Ben huffed, a small smile on the corner of his lips. “Okay.” 

He stepped to the side to show he wanted Rey to walk out of the cell and after another moment of assessing his expression, she took a hesitant step forward, then another, another, until she stood right in front of him. 

Ben moved the staff in front of her, blocking her way. She looked at him in question. 

“The restraints cut you from the Force, but remember I can reach into it just fine. Don’t break the rules, don’t make me hurt you, because I will if I have to,” he warned, eyes dark and serious. 

Ben had gone into a world of trouble to convince the high ups at the Resistance to go through with this, to let Rey out of the cell and walk around the base. He knew if this was going to work, the plan to turn her to their side, she had to get to know the cause, the people. It was mad and never done before, but Ben had given them his word to never leave her side and do whatever it would take to contain her if a situation arose, so they allowed it.

Rey smirked. “You look so sexy when you’re serious.” 

Ben rolled his eyes and huffed, raising the staff so Rey could pass. He was encouraged by the fact she didn’t try to run as soon as she was out of the cell, waiting for him to follow and walking calmly by his side. 

When Rey passed by her guard, she winked at him. “See you later, Evan.” 

She didn’t miss the way his eyes widened when he realized she was leaving with Ben. So not many people knew about it, she noted.

“Was this your idea?” Rey asked as they walked along an unfamiliar corridor. She was met only with silence. “I’ll take that as a yes, no one in their right minds would just let their prisoners wander around like this.” 

They stepped outside and Rey closed her eyes for a moment to take in the breeze, brushing against her cheek, the two moons high in the sky. Rey only came down from her bliss when she heard some gasps around her, finding many wide eyes staring at her, clearly shocked by her presence. 

She couldn’t say she didn’t like the attention. 

“Where are we going?” Rey asked, holding herself from waving at the people gawking at her. 

“There,” Ben pointed. 

Rey followed his eyes until she saw it, a space wide and surrounded by tall trees, nothing modern like the training rooms in her ship, but clearly more pleasant under the gleam of the moons and the cold breeze of the night. There were people there already, Rey could hear the soft zooming of lightsabers as they approached, but they soon stopped when she and Ben got there. 

More staring, but Ben kept walking, stopping when they were in a vacant spot in the training space. Only then he offered Rey the staff.

Rey hesitantly wrapped her hands around the weapon, her heart singing in contentment when Ben let go of it and she felt the full weight of it. It was heavy and it looked very sturdy, she was pleased.

Before she could ask any questions, she heard the noise of a lightsaber igniting next to her. There was a slight moment of panic when she saw Ben holding his weapon, knowing it was much more powerful than hers and it could cut right through the metal. 

Her eyes widened. “Ben-”

Then he swung the saber in her direction and in a reflex, she raised the weapon in her hand to defend herself even knowing it was useless, gasping in terror as she expected the pain of the blade once it cut through the staff. To her surprise, the metal hissed against the saber blade but did not fall apart under it, holding its attack. 

She growled when she saw Ben’s satisfied smile, pushing him away. 

“What kind of metal is strong enough to hold a strike of a lightsaber?” Rey asked in awe, looking down at the place where Ben’s blade had met the weapon to find it perfectly intact. 

“Mandalorian steel,” Ben said, clearly still satisfied about scaring the life out of her just moments before. “I needed something to rival my weapon.” 

“I have a lightsaber too, Solo.” Anger bubbled in her chest as she remembered it. “Did you- did you leave my saber in Avirandel?” she hissed.

He frowned. “Of course not. It's somewhere safe here, but I can’t trust you with it yet.”

Before Rey could reply he swung the saber against her again and Rey’s battle reflexes proved to still be flawless when even without the aid of the Force, she held the attack once again. 

“Are you trying to kill me?” Rey asked, eyes wide as if she was genuinely wondering.

Ben smiled. “Hardly, since I gave you a weapon to defend yourself. Was it not for this that you destroyed your cell for? A chance to practice?” 

Rey smiled at the challenge and took a breath, settling her fingers tightly around the staff as she twirled around herself to get rid of his blade before striking him with the staff. 

The weapon was not too different in length from her double-bladed lightsaber, but the fact it was much heavier and she didn’t have the Force to help put her in terrible disadvantage to Ben, who was very familiar with his weapon. 

She fell to her knees with his next attack, Ben holding the lightsaber so close to her cheek she held her breath in fear. When Rey looked up at him she noticed he was smiling, lowering his weapon and offering her a hand. She huffed, slapping it away and using the staff to help her get up. 

“You’re out of practice, Ren,” Ben said playfully. 

She huffed, circling him as she swung the staff at her sides. “Take the damn cuffs off, give me my saber and we’ll see who’s out of practice, Solo.” 

She attacked him from the back, but to someone so in tune with the Force it was easy dodging it before striking her again, weapons clashing again and again. Rey was on the ground again in no time, Ben’s blue blade annoyingly close to her nose. She leaned back on her arms, breathing heavily as she looked up at his smug face. 

“You’re enjoying this,” she accused, brushing the hair off her face. It had fallen out of the single bun she’d made that morning and it had been flying wildly, tickling her shoulder blades. It was longer than what she would have liked, but in her defense, she had been too busy with being the Supreme Leader then being held prisoner to find time to cut it.

Ben smiled, pulling the weapon away from her again. “Of course I am, this is payback for the torment you caused me through the bond.” 

He offered the hand again, but that time she took it, being pulled rather abruptly to her feet. He steadied Rey with a hand on her shoulder when she slanted forward, but the touch didn’t linger any longer than it should. 

Their eyes met briefly and Rey realized they hadn’t been that close since Avirandel. She’d missed it. 

“Ready?” Ben asked, taking a step back and lowering his stance. 

She shook away the thoughts in her head and smirked, rotating the staff with a flourish between her hands and above her head like she was dancing. 

Ben laughed. “What are you doing?” 

Her smile widened then, lowering it with full force in his direction. “Distracting my opponent.” 

Ben had just enough time to block the blow that would definitely break one of his ribs and before he could say anything, another one came for his cheekbone. 

“Shit,” he said, jumping back and feeling the puff of wind the weapon created as it almost hit his face. 

Rey smiled with accomplishment, every victory was grand considering she was at a disadvantage to Ben at that moment. He was working up a sweat and she was grateful for that too, happy to be giving him a hard time. 

“You’re out of practice, Solo,” Rey mimicked his words and she heard a few people huffing laughs behind her. They had an audience, she remembered then, the ones who had been training before they got there.

Rey loved an audience. She swung the weapon again, screaming while at it, but he deflected the attack and she felt the heat of the blade by her chest. He could have killed her more than 20 times by then, she reckoned, So Rey made a mental note to pay back one day by putting Ben on his butt in battle just as many times.

They kept going until Rey asked for a break, her arms feeling too sore to hold back another one of his blows. She walked to the edge of the training ground, leaning back against a tree and catching her breath. 

Ben followed, standing a few steps away, handing her a bottle of water. She muttered a thank you before drinking half of it in one go.

“These people are supposed to hate your guts and like me,” Ben murmured to Rey, glancing at the people on the other side of the field, eying them curiously. “But they seemed to enjoy it when you got close to hurting me,” he commented almost in awe. 

Rey huffed an amused laugh, wiping the sweat off her forehead with her not-so-white-anymore shirt. “Trouble in Resistance paradise?” she joked and he rolled his eyes. “It’s nothing to do with them not hating me enough or not liking you. I think they just had never seen anyone fight as well as you before.”

“So you mean they were just that impressed with you?” Ben asked with an amused voice. 

Rey laughed. “Impressed I didn’t lose to their holoposter boy in the first 10 seconds of our duel, probably.” 

“We have good fighters here, Ren.” 

“Fighters as good as you?” 

He considered, before huffing. “No, not like me.”

“Fighters as good as me?” she asked with a sly smile.

Ben then laughed, taking another sip of his water. “Alright, alright.” 

Rey was attentively watching the bob of his throat, but she grimaced back to focus when a drop of sweat glided from her temple down her neck, absorbed by the fabric-like object around her neck. She slid a finger under it to pull the wet cloth away from her skin, hating the feeling of it clinging her neck, but there was no escaping it, every time she went into the freshers she faced the same problem. 

Rey sighed in frustration and let her hand fall back to her lap, surprised to find Ben looking at her when she glanced up. He avoided her eyes immediately and Rey thought she’d seen his face twist, almost as if he was bothered to see her uncomfortable. 

“Another round?” she suggested.

“I have to take you back now.” 

Rey felt herself deflate, but she recovered quickly, standing up. “Let’s go, then.” 

Ben eyed her for a moment as if he was surprised she didn’t resist, before nodding and leading the way. Just as they were about to leave the training grounds he turned to face her.

“The staff. You’re not allowed to carry it out of here,” he reminded her, arm out and palm up. 

Rey felt her hand tighten around it, resisting it in a reflex, she didn’t want him to take that away as well. 

Ben must have seen it in her expression. “I will give it back the next time we come to practice,” he said softly. 

“And when will that be?” she demanded. 

“In two days.” He paused. “I promise.”

That was not that bad, so Rey glanced at it once more before she sighed, handing it to him. Everything about it was hard, not fighting to keep it, not screaming at Ben that he had no right, not letting her anger get the best of her. But she did, because she had been exercising her control and Ben was practically begging her with those round, expecting eyes. 

“I promise I’ll keep it safe for you.” Rey didn’t see his face as he said it, but she was sure Ben hadn’t intended to sound that soft. 

Rey followed him back to the cell in silence and she thought she’d seen Ben's face twist again at the sight of her behind bars. 

“I’ll see you in a few days,” Ben murmured and offered her a smile, which she mirrored, before he left.

Alone once again Rey sat in her bed, feeling her heart beating slightly faster than usual and the smile linger for a long time after Ben left.

--

Ben was staring at his mother like he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. 

“I’m sorry,” Leia said at last. “Maybe in a few months, we could try again-” 

His eyes widened. “A few months? No.” 

“No?” she asked, furrowing her brows. Han’s eyes bounced between the two, not daring to interrupt.

“No,” he declared with a nod. “We need to be sensible about this, things are going well with her, really well. I think we have a chance, but if I just abandon her there, locked in the cell-” 

“She’s a prisoner, Ben, what you gave her was a privilege. Now we’re taking it away because it didn’t work.” 

“It did work, it is working!” Ben raised his voice. "We’re offering Rey kindness instead of harsh punishment and it’s working, it’s changing her… and she is no common prisoner, mother, you know that. She’s the best chance we have right now to beat the First Order, since your spy turned on you and took Rey’s place as Supreme Leader when he was supposed to be on the side of the Resistance.” 

Leia’s eyes narrowed, dangerously so. Han grimaced, knowing the look. “I cannot see the future, Ben, I could not know Armitage would betray the Resistance.”

Ben sighed. “I know, I just- I can’t take this away from her, she’s been so surprising, so cooperative. I’m afraid this will make her fall back into her old ways… I can’t do this to her.”

“It’s not your doing, Ben,” Han said, finally. “She won’t blame you, kid. Your mother is right, some people did not react well to seeing her walking around the base with you, we need to let the dust settle.”

“Even for your own safety, imagine if you get distracted and someone attacks you?”

Ben felt his hand fist just with the prospect of someone trying to hurt Rey. He would never let it. “For this to work, she needs to be out of the cell or else she’ll lose her mind. Rey wasn't made to stay in one place.” 

“I want this to work as much as you do, I’ve seen how open Rey is and I believe this idea to turn her could work, I really do, but not at the price of causing an uprising at the base. We need to be sensible around this, we need to wait for the rumors to die down.” 

Ben’s eyes widened. “Oh, so that's the problem? The rumors? Does it bother you what they are talking about me?” 

“Of course it does, you’re my son,” Leia hissed. Han suck his bottom lip into his mouth. “Of course it bothers me that all people can talk about is that you giving up your Jedi title was the first step on your journey to the dark side.”

Ben then huffed. “Yeah? Are you concerned because of how hard it is for me to have my battle companions whispering behind my back or are you concerned for your image as their general?” he asked accusingly.

“Of course I’m worried about you, I don’t care what they say-” 

“You think there is truth to their words. After all I’ve said, about believing in balance, about my allegiance to the Resistance, you still think I’m going to the dark side.” 

Leia wanted to reply, but she knew how stubborn her son was, there was no point in arguing. “I did not say that, don’t put words into my mouth. It’s a matter of priority. Right now the priority is appeasing our allies, then you can go on with the plan. Right now you’re under my orders, she is not to leave her cell again until I say so.” 

Leia’s voice was firm and Ben held himself from rolling his eyes, getting up and leaving, it was clear his mother was already done with that conversation too. He didn’t know where he was going, he just needed to clear his head for a while. He wanted to talk to Finn, but he found him sitting with Poe, who was not on speaking terms with him yet. 

Ben turned around and started to walk again, looking for something that could make him feel better. That’s how he found himself on the way to the cell blocks. 

When Rey saw him, she smiled, and that alone made him feel better. “I was starting to think you wouldn’t come, starlight.”

He offered a small smile and immediately her eyes changed, glancing up and down his body, taking in everything from his expression to his stance. 

“Is everything alright?” 

Ben cleared his throat. “Yes, sure, I just- it’s I-” Rey tipped her head. 

“What is it, Solo?” 

Ben then forced a smile, shaking his head. “Nothing. Are you ready for practice?” 

Ben could only imagine how upset his mother would be at him, but it wouldn’t be the first time he disobeyed one of her orders as a general.

Rey then smiled, relaxing. “Don’t I look extremely ready?” she asked, bouncing up and twirling around herself. Her hair flew around her, a mess around her face. Ben liked seeing her like this, with a smile on her face. 

Rey sighed when the hair tickled her shoulders, not used to the feeling of it so long, there was just so much of it. She walked to the mirror and put it up, making sure it was out of her way before turning around. She didn’t expect Ben to be looking so intently at her, but she smirked, suddenly confident. 

Ben huffed and averted his eyes. “Come on.” 

Rey went to the door and waited until he opened it, smile widening as she stepped out. “Where is my staff?” 

Ben realized he didn’t have it with him, of course, it was never his intention to take her training that evening. “A storage place. We’ll get it before we head to the training space.” 

Rey hummed and nodded, following Ben into an elevator. They walked the Resistance’s corridors together and Rey was so curious about all of it she was silent as they went, eyes exploring everything. Ben glanced at her occasionally, smiling at her wide, curious eyes. 

They reached a room at the end of a corridor, Ben placing his finger on a holopad to identify himself before the door beeped and opened to them. 

“Look at you, important guy,” Rey murmured, teasing. 

Ben huffed. “This is just a storage room, Rey.” 

“That not everyone can enter, apparently.” 

Ben let her in, closing the door behind them. It wasn’t too big of a space, but there were high shelves on the walls, organized by labels. Ben walked to one that read “Palpatine Ren, Rey”, which she considered quite excessive since she didn’t even use both names, and reached for the staff that lied there. 

Rey focused on something else, right under a black-clothed material she recognized as the outfit she wore in Avirandel. “My saber.” 

Ben turned around to face her. “I told you it was here, somewhere safe.” He stepped closer, staff in hand.

“It’s taking tremendous effort for me to not attack you right now and try to grab it.” 

Ben laughed at her honesty. “We can go, now.” 

Rey glanced at her belongings, then back at Ben. “Let me practice with it.” 

“I can’t do that, Rey.” 

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on, starlight! One round against you, if I earn it.” He stopped, clearly considering, so she pressed, “I won’t try anything funny, I just miss it, you can understand it better than anyone. Please.” 

Ben looked at Rey, at her round, pleading eyes. “Fine,” he said and exhaled, reaching back and grabbing her saber, hooking next to his own at his belt. She was smiling widely then, satisfied, and it made him want to smile too. “Now, let's go.”

“Is trying to get my clothes back too pushing my luck?”

Ben chuckled. “Definitely.”

She sighed heavily, turning her eyes. “You should at least have the decency to give me something black to wear, white doesn’t suit me.” 

“I don’t believe the choice of clothing has ever been a problem with our prisoners before.” 

“Well, you’ve never had me as your prisoner before. At the First Order we have better taste, you know, the uniform is very flattering.” 

Ben huffed, smile widening without his permission. “I can proudly say that here at the Resistance, we don’t care about that in the slightest bit.”

“I can see! Look at you,” Rey said, reaching to hold one of the fabric pieces that hung loosely from his shirt, disapprovingly.

He slapped her hand away with his free one. “That’s rude, I should take you back to your cell.” 

Rey laughed, reaching for Ben’s shoulders and smoothing the fabric there. “Now, now, no need to get all worked up.” 

Ben shook his head, but didn't push her away again. Rey’s hands ended up resting on his chest and when their eyes find each other again, the laughter died. 

“Your heart is beating really fast,” Rey murmured, feeling the erratic rhythm under her fingers. 

“I know,” Ben admitted softly, eyes traveling down to her lips, remembering how soft they felt against his. 

Neither of them knew what was happening, neither of them understood it, but something strong and powerful seemed to make sure they always ended up like this, yearning for each other. They hadn’t planned for any of this. For her, it had been about seducing him for his power, to him it had been about bringing her to his side of the fight… it wasn’t supposed to be about being with each other and yet, whenever they were alone, that’s all they could think about. 

Rey’s hand slid up Ben’s neck, threading into his hair, holding her breath in anticipation as she pulled him down to her. His eyes fluttered shut.

That’s when the door opened and Rey and Ben took a step away from each other. 

Rey saw a blonde woman step inside, apparently oblivious to their presence, murmuring to herself as she walked to a particular shelf, inspecting it. Ben cleared his throat to announce himself and the woman turned around, eyes wide. 

“By the Force, Solo, you nearly scared the life out of me!” the woman said and Rey realized she had reached for her blaster. 

Ben smiled. “Sorry, Connix, I was trying to avoid you turning around, seeing her,” he motioned Rey with his head, “and shooting her as you almost did me.” 

Kaydel glanced between the two, eyes lingering on Rey. She smirked. “Look who it is.” 

Rey cocked her head, crossing her arms over her chest defiantly. She was used to always making herself look as strong as she could. “Have you been wanting to meet me, gorgeous?”

Kaydel stared, then she snorted, stepping closer until they stood face to face. She was shorter compared to Rey, but no less intimidating because of it. “I’ve been wanting to kill you, Ren, that’s quite different.” 

Rey pouted, obviously mocking. “No success, then, I’m afraid.”  

Kaydel looked at Ben, then back at Rey. She leaned in. “Yet,” she whispered, turning around and going back to her shelf. 

Rey looked at Ben, an amused smile on her lips. “I like her,” she announced, not caring Kaydel would hear.

Ben chuckled, leading Rey out of the room. “It’s safe to say the feeling is not mutual.” 

“Give her time. Connix, is it?”

“Lieutenant Connix to you,” Kaydel said, not turning around to look at Rey. She heard the smile in her voice regardless.

“Good luck with your task, lieutenant,” Rey said just as she and Ben left, hearing Kaydel snort.

Ben glanced at Rey, at her nonchalant smirk, then shook his head. He wondered how she managed to keep her spirits high all the time. He wondered when he had started to admire her for it. Rey was distracted by her surroundings, curious about her enemy’s base, not noticing the way Ben was looking at her. When they reached the training space, she noticed a lot of people had followed, some familiar faces appearing on the crowd. 

“FN-2187!” Rey said cheerfully, a smile growing on her lips as she pointed to Finn. 

Finn stepped forward, narrowing his eyes. “That’s not my name, Ren.” 

Rey kept smiling. “Would you prefer I called you traitor?” 

Finn looked at his best friend, who looked just a bit too tense beside Rey. “Can I fight her?” 

Ben glanced between the two. “I don’t think that’s the best idea, Finn.” 

Rey rolled her eyes, reaching for the staff in Ben’s hand. “Don’t be so stiff, starlight. You said I’m not allowed to leave your side, so just stay close as I humiliate the traitor in front of his friends,” she said casually. Ben knew Rey said what she needed to get what she wanted, a reaction out of Finn.

“Give me a weapon,” Finn hissed in Ben’s direction and just like that, he knew Rey had succeeded. He glanced down, to his best friend’s belt. “Your lightsaber.” 

Ben shook his head immediately. “No, you haven’t practiced much with it yet.” You’ll hurt her.

Finn took a step forward. “I’ve practiced enough.” 

Rey crossed her arms over her chest, a smug smile painting her lips. “Oh, is the traitor Force-sensitive? Let him, Solo, I can teach him a thing or two.” 

Ben was aware of the many people watching them, hearing the conversation, and he knew what it would look like to them if he denied Finn’s request to duel with Rey, that he was afraid of her getting hurt, that he was protecting her. Ben swallowed back his fear and handed Finn his lightsaber, giving him a look that conveyed a message, be careful or you won’t hear the end of it.

As soon as her opponent had his weapon shining blue, Rey started to sway hers on her side, circling Finn, teasing him. “So, traitor! Lesson first, humiliation after, agreed?” 

Finn rolled his eyes, zeroing in on Rey and using all his strength to hit her. The move was predictable and sloppy, Rey having no problem to dodge it. Ben clenched his fists on his sides regardless, holding his breath.

“This is not a metal sword, don’t treat it as one,” Rey deflected two other attacks effortlessly, “feel its Force, like you feel everything else around you,” she said calmly, as if teaching someone as they tried to injure you was the best method. That’s how she’d learned, anyway.

Finn ignored what Rey said and attacked again, failing and receiving a blow to his side. It wasn’t strong, Rey hadn't tried to hurt him and Finn noticed, giving her the benefit of the doubt and looking into her eyes. 

Rey realized the exact moment Finn started to listen to her. “Breathe. Focus. The same Force that flows through you, flows through your weapon, let it guide you. Feel the danger, it's loud, prevent it from getting to you.” 

Rey was the one to attack that time, but Finn was focused, lifting his weapon to stop hers. He smirked, satisfied with himself.

“Better,” Rey acknowledged. “You’re a natural, traitor! I would have trained you better if I knew.” 

“I had forgotten how much you talk, Ren,” Finn hissed. 

Rey smiled. “One of my many,” she deflected yet another attack, “qualities.”

Rey’s hair had fallen from the ponytail, cheeks starting to flush from the effort of the fight, but still, her breathing was calm, her eyes focused. The hair clearly upset her, having to brush it back to get it out of the way was obviously distracting.

“You’re still relying on your physical strength.” 

“It’s what I’ve done all my life,” Finn said.

“That isn’t effective, let me show you. Strike me as hard as you can,” Rey said, lowering her stance and preparing to take it. 

Finn didn’t waste any time in obeying, both hands on the hilt of the saber as he prepared to give her the strongest blow yet. With even more ease than before, Rey avoided the attack, guiding the blade to the ground before twisting the edge of the staff, making the lightsaber fly from Finn’s hand. 

Rey leaned down calmly and grabbed the saber's hilt, lifting it up in one hand as the staff remained on the other. “See?” 

Finn had no idea how Rey was so collected when he was panting, but he hurried on getting the lightsaber back, knowing it wasn’t prudent to let her have it. 

Rey noticed and found it funny, igniting the lightsaber. “Scared, traitor?” she asked, the blade casting a blue sheen on her face as she played with it, then pretended to make herself ready for battle. 

“No, but I need it back,” Finn said, offering his palm, making a come motion.

Rey glanced down at his hand, then back at his face. “In a second.” 

When she dropped the staff she heard many gasps around her, their audience assuming that’s when Rey would attack her unarmed opponent. Rey raised a brow before moving the saber behind her back, one hand fisting her strands together by the ends before letting the blade cut through them in a precise movement, slicing the hair that had been bothering her short.

Rey didn’t even look at the cut strands in her hand before she let them fall to the floor, busy carding her hand through her new hair, smiling with satisfaction and accomplishment at her doing. One less thing to worry about.

Rey laughed when she saw the expression on Finn’s face, his jaw slack and his eyes wide. She retreated the blade and handed him Ben’s weapon back. “Now you can have it.” 

“You’re crazy,” Finn whispered, hand not closing around the lightsaber just yet, staring at Rey like she’d grown a new head.

With both hands free she played with her hair, enjoying the feeling of it so light, she never had it quite that short before, her neck fully exposed to the chilly wind. Rey looked at Ben to find him shaking his head at her, a small smile on his lips as if he found her behavior funny. 

She leaned down to grab the staff and continue training with Finn, but just as she got up, an unknown voice screamed from the crowd. “So no one is actually going to do anything? She just gets to do whatever she wants here?!”

“Yeah, she’s supposed to be a prisoner, what is she even doing walking around our base?” Another voice screamed. “She could attack us at any second!”

One person started screaming after the other and suddenly, the crowd was divided in two, people who found it absurd Rey was allowed so much freedom after everything she’s done and people who were defending her, believers that she deserved a second chance. Rey was frozen as she watched chaos unravel around her, people screaming at the face of their friends, pointing their fingers at each other, then at her, judging her character. 

Suddenly, someone stepped forward from the crowd and Rey paled when she realized they were holding a blaster, and it was pointed at her. “She doesn’t deserve a second chance,” the man growled. 

Ben had been arguing with someone, but he dropped the conversation to jump between the crowd and Rey, shielding her body with his. “You don’t get to judge her,” he told the man, the tremor in his voice betraying the calm he was trying to portray.

“So who does, Solo? Because your judgment is clearly clouded,” he replied, the tone in his voice accusative. 

Ben took a step forward, eyes sharp and dangerous. “I’m the one the brought her here, I’m the one who has been trying to show her why she should join us. I certainly have more say in this than you do.” 

“She should be paying for what she’d done! The Resistance base is not a place for her to have a vacation at!” A voice screamed from the back, supporters screaming the same behind. 

“She should pay!”

“Solo is a traitor, he’s going to the dark side for her!”

When the first person tried to get closer to Ben, Rey’s instincts sprung into action, snatching the lightsaber from Ben's belt and standing by him. When the blade shone red in Rey’s hand, people halted at the sight, smart enough to know that Rey Palpatine (worth mentioning even if still excessive) Ren holding a lightsaber meant danger. With the Force or not, she would still do what she needed to keep those she cared about safe.

Rey noticed some people walking out of the crowd and standing in front of her and Ben, showing their support. Among them were some familiar faces like Rose, Finn and, strangely enough, the blonde girl they’d just met in the storage place and said she wished Rey was dead, lieutenant Connix.

Ben felt a flutter in his stomach when he saw Poe push people out of his way and come to stand just in front of him, protecting him.

“Some of you, like Finn and the many ex troopers that joined us after him, also used to fight for the First Order before they realized they were on the wrong side,” Poe said to the crowd in front of them.

Seeing Poe finally standing by him after days of not talking to each other made Ben so happy he could cry, he really thought his friend would never turn around.

“Yeah, but none of us ruled the First Order. She did!” A voice screamed from the other side and other murmurs supported it. 

“So? We never stopped anyone from fighting with the Resistance because of things they did in their past,” Kaydel said. “Our battle companions are the ones who believe us and our message.”

Rose stepped forward. “It's a matter of finding your place on the right side of this war, sooner or later. Most of you have never been on the side of the First Order, but that doesn’t make you more entitled to your place here than someone who used to and left to come to us. You don’t get to condemn someone else’s past, you don’t know anything about their life.”

Rey felt a knot in her throat, looking around and seeing many people who didn’t even know her standing on their side, challenging their own battle companions for her right to have a second chance.

“She didn’t choose to leave the First Order. She’s here as a prisoner!” 

“Yes, but how many of us were lost before we found the Resistance?” someone on their side asked. “How many people ended up here out of convenience or lack of options until they started to believe what we fight for? What makes Rey an exception? She deserves a chance.” 

Rey stared at the unknown girl in disbelief, then at the other people on their side agreeing. Maybe she had hurt these strangers in the past, maybe she’d been responsible for the loss of someone they loved, like Rose, but they were still choosing to fight for her second chance. They still forgave her, even if she was a monster.

She didn’t know if it was a sense of gratitude for their words or wishing one day to reach that level of empathy for someone that should be their enemy, but Rey realized at that moment she wanted to earn her place among those people. She wanted to belong there, at the Resistance.

Rey swallowed the bundle of emotions coming up her throat and stepped forward until she reached the front, staring at the crowd who stood against her. Her heart was beating fast in her chest, excited and terrified of the new decision she had just made.

“I know there is no erasing the things I’ve done in the past or hiding where the power in my blood comes from, but your mistake is thinking I want to,” Rey said, voice steady even though she knew people could probably see the lightsaber trembling in her hand. “I’m not asking you to forget who I was, I’m asking for a chance to show you who I want to be.” 

There was silence, staring, then murmurs. Rey could feel the rejection coming and somehow, she expected it to hurt more than any other she’d ever had. Maybe she had grown to want that more than what she'd realized. 

“I wish I could believe you,” a woman in the front said, staring deep into Rey’s eyes, “but you’re a Palpatine, you carry the legacy of the Sith, the Empire, and the First Order. I could never trust someone like you.” 

“Me neither,” someone else added, followed by another few. 

Rey felt a bitter taste in her tongue, a sinking feeling in her stomach and she found herself speechless. She couldn't argue, she didn’t think she deserved a second chance... she just hoped to be given one anyway.

“I could.” 

The voice came from far behind the crowd and when Rey looked at the source, her heart skipped a beat. 

Leia walked through the crowd until she was looking into Rey's eyes. “I can,” Leia whispered just for her, a promise, making her eyes sting. The general smiled faintly at her, then turned to the crowd. “I know more than anyone our bloodline doesn’t define us. It didn’t define me, it doesn’t have to define Rey.” 

No one dared to go against the general, at least not to her face, so there was only respectful silence as Leia spoke. 

The woman turned back to Rey, fully aware it was important to do this in front of everyone and not behind closed doors. Leia stepped closer. 

“If you were no longer our prisoner, would you consider joining the Resistance?” Leia asked, loud and clear. “Would you fight against the iron fist of the First Order by our side? Would you kill people who were once your battle companions?”

Rey’s heart was beating loud in her ears. She knew what she wanted, deep down she’d always known, but it was harder said than done. She gave the answer that felt true to what she believed in, as she always did.

“I want to earn my place here and I can promise I will risk my life to protect the people who go into battle with me for the Resistance.” Rey hesitated, steadying her breath, pushing the rest of the words even though she knew they could be terribly mistaken, “but I made the mistake of thinking I had to kill everyone who presented themselves as my enemies in the past and- I don’t intend to do it again. When, or if, such a time presents itself, it seems fair to me the people in the First Order who want a second chance, like me, should get one.”

Rey realized what she preached before was the genocide of the people of the Resistance because she did not agree with their beliefs, and growing and moving on from that, she knew she should not condone the genocide of any other Order again. People can change, can grow, and she had known many people in the First Order that yearned for a different fate. If she deserved another chance, so did they. 

“I will not do the same here I was doing there, killing whoever stands in my way. It needs to be different… this war, it needs to mean something.”

Surprisingly, it was at that time, when she stood up for the rights of the Resistance’s enemies, that the crowd that stood against her seemed shocked for the first time. Even more surprising was the fact they seemed to not have misunderstood her.

If Rey were to turn around, she would have seen Ben wearing the same surprise on his face. He hoped to see the woman of his visions someday, an ally of the truth, advocate for life, brave almost in a heroic way… but he hadn’t expected to see her so soon. 

But Rey didn’t turn around, because something caught her attention on the horizon. Her smile faded and her heart skipped a beat as more and more First Order spaceships appeared in the sky, coming from lightspeed into the atmosphere.

It all moved slower from then on, Rey’s scream of warning, the surprised gasps from the people gathered around them, the first explosion amongst the crowd. 

Rey was thrown by the explosion, who had probably targeted her, gleaming red like a point your weapons at me sign, ears ringing as her body flew and hit the ground. Moments later she felt arms around her, helping her up, and that was enough to sober Rey up, time going back to its normal pace as she stared at the face of the men who were helping her. 

“Are you alright?” Finn screamed at Rey’s face, steadying her by her shoulders, eyes wide. Poe was behind, screaming Rose’s name as he searched for her.

Rey looked around, people were screaming, running for cover. The base was under attack, but what worried her the most was she couldn’t see Ben. Panic settled deep at her core at the thought he’d gotten hit.

She looked back at the man in front of her. “Take these off.” Rey extended her restraints covered wrists, looking down at them, then back at his face. “You’re Force-sensitive, you can take them off. I need the Force to fight.” 

“Rey, I can’t-” 

Rey let out a single breath of air, still managing to keep herself calm. “I know how this looks, but you have to believe me when I say this is my fight too.” Finn was obviously conflicted, fearing he was going to deliver Rey back to the throne of the First Order. “Finn,” she called and his eyes went to hers, widening slightly at the mention of his name. “I know you’ve seen my worst, let me show you there is more to me. Please.”

Finn stared into Rey’s eyes and he hoped the sincerity he was seeing was real, he hoped this was not another case of him trying to see the best in everyone. He reached for the restraints and removed them before he could regret the decision.

The Force didn’t seep back into Rey gradually, smoothly, it came back all at once, pushing the air off her lungs, making every part of her body tremble with energy, power

She was panting, shaking, all her emotions coming to the surface before she pushed it all down and reached out her arm. Rey closed her eyes and mentalized exactly what she needed, using the Force as natural as breathing to her, imagining the shape of what she wanted, the color, the energy. 

When her lightsaber flung back into her hand it was like being complete again, the red sizzling of the blade making her heart skip a beat now she could feel it. Rey gripped her weapon tightly, not wasting a second before she ran into the line of fire, heart beating fast, hair flying behind her, white clothes picking up all the dust the explosions had put in the air. She didn't notice any of it, she didn’t care. 

There was only one thought on her mind.

“Ben!”

Chapter Text

A loud noise startled Ben awake, and his eyes shot open to face a confusing mess. There was a dense cloud of smoke above his head, but beyond it, he could see the sky… a fleet, TIE fighters, a Star Destroyer. The First Order had found the Resistance base, they were under attack.

A rough tug on his leg called his attention and when Ben looked down at himself he saw Rose, blood running from a cut on her head, but still trying to drag his heavy body to a safe place, refusing to leave him behind. He stood quickly, Rose immediately ducking under his arm to support him as he swayed from side to side, vision going dark. 

“Are you okay?” she screamed. 

Ben brought a hand to his face. “Yes- yes.” 

When his vision returned he saw people running, screaming, hurrying into ships to be able to fight back, or maybe fly to safety, he wasn't sure.

“Rose- Rose, where are the others?”

Rose was panting, eyes wide and afraid. “I saw Leia and Han with Kaydel and- Poe with Finn running that way-” 

“And Rey?” Ben’s heart sank when his friend just stared back at him. He took a step forward. “Rose, and Rey?” he pressed. 

“I don’t know, Ben, I’m sorry, I-” 

Ben didn’t listen to the rest of the sentence, having run off before Rose could finish. He could barely hear his own voice screaming, the sound of war bursting in his ears, but in a slight moment of silence, he realized it was calling for her. Panic grew in his chest at the thought of Rey being gone, of that one vision coming true where she had been dead, their bond just a bitter memory left behind, dullness filling the rest of his days. He had to find her. 

Behind the cloud of dust, he saw a group of stormtroopers coming his way, pointing their blasters at him. Thankfully, stormtroopers’ aim was known for being terrible.

The blade of Ben’s lightsaber ignited just in time to keep himself from being hit on the shoulder and he ran charged toward the ones attacking him, taking them down easily with graceful swings of his weapon. As the last trooper fell by his feet, Ben was frozen by a sudden shift in the Force, lips parting as he felt her.

He turned around and his heart skipped a beat at the sight of Rey, fighting, taking down several opponents with her lightsaber. She moved like a goddess, a mythical creature, movements sharp and precise as every single enemy fell victim to her blades. 

Ben started running in her direction, heart pounding, legs burning, reaching her by the time the last trooper tumbled to the ground. When Rey turned around her eyes widened with surprise and relief. 

They whispered each other’s names as if they were saying the most sacred prayer and Ben ended the distance between them, wrapping his free arm around her middle and crushing her body against his. Ben’s face buried in her hair, his eyes fell closed and it was like everything else ceased to exist, like they were the only thing that mattered. His hand came to cup the side of her neck, looking into her eyes. Ben wanted to ask if she was okay, if she was hurt, but as those beautiful hazel eyes stared into his, he did the only thing he could think of. 

Ben leaned in and kissed Rey, lips parting and fitting perfectly like they had been made for hers. It was nothing like the other kisses they had shared before, where the lust inebriated their senses and instinct forced them to move. This was belonging, this was balance, gratitude, love. 

Ben rested his forehead against Rey’s, panting lightly as he looked at her, relief all he could feel. “Are you alright?” 

Rey looked stunned, eyes fluttering open and staring into his with genuine surprise, lightsaber almost slipping from her grasp. “Yes,” she whispered before leaning in again, catching his lips a second time. 

The kiss would have lasted forever if it were up to them, but the Force reminded them with an almost obnoxious scream where they were, their hands lifting at the same time to stop the blaster bolt coming in their direction. They exchanged a look, a smile, and with a wave of Rey’s hand, she sent the bolt flying into another direction. Without even questioning, like it was the most primordial instinct in their bodies to trust each other, both halves of the Force Dyad raised their lightsabers and turned their backs on each other to fight side by side for the first time.

Rey had never felt anything like it, like her power was being amplified by someone else’s, like everything she was resonated with everything Ben was. It was strange how familiar it all was, like she’d always known how to use that power, an impulse that had always been inside her waiting to awake at that moment, to move together with him, protect him.

“Ben!” Finn screamed from somewhere far away. “We have to go, there’s too many of them!” 

Ben glanced at Finn’s direction and followed where he was pointing, to Resistance transports leaving the planet's atmosphere, escaping safely. Before he could despair he felt his mother in one of them, safe. Well, if the general had given the evacuating order, he might as well listen for once. 

“Go, we’ll cover for you!” Rey screamed before Ben could. Finn looked at her and for a brief moment, they exchanged a glance, then a nod, and Finn recognized that was her way of thanking him for having trusted her earlier.

Stay close to me.

Ben frowned when he heard Rey's voice in his head, but he didn’t have time to think about why that was, new enemies coming their way and demanding his full attention. Ben felt his heart beating loudly in his ears as he confronted them, panting, he was starting to get tired. 

Rey was in better shape, making sure the stormtroopers weren't looking anywhere but her and Ben, feeling it in the Force when Finn made it to the transport, heading to safety. Just as Rey turned to ask Ben if he had felt it, she was distracted by something else. 

A hint of desperation twisted in her gut and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. 

“Ben! The Knights of Ren are here, we have to-” 

“Rey!” Ben yelled, eyes widening when he saw a dark figure behind her, the knight getting ready to strike. 

Rey turned around just in time to hold the attack, saber sizzling against the enemy’s weapon before she twisted the blade and sent him flying back with the Force. Ben sighed in relief, but it didn’t last for long, realizing they had been ambushed in the meantime, four knights around him and an overpowering six around her, hunters circling their prey.

“Snoke was right about you after all,” one of the masked men said to Rey, the disgust in his voice evident even through his mask, “you’re weak. The rumors are true, you turned, what a disappointment.” 

Rey huffed at the offense, swaying her lightsaber playfully at her sides, looking casual as the circle closed in around her. “Somehow I just knew you would be the one to give a speech if we ever met again, Ushar.” 

“A disgrace to our Order,” Ushar hissed, clutching the weapon in his hand. “Have you no shame? Betraying the movement for a Jedi just because he lies with you. Pathetic.”

Ben gritted his teeth, rage swelling in his chest from hearing someone talk to Rey like that. She, however, didn’t seem that bothered, pouting ironically. “I’m hurt by your words, Ushar, since your opinion just matters so much to me. I have to say I’m flattered so many of you came to officialize my demotion from the Knights of Ren… I assume that’s why you came in numbers to this meeting, of course, not because you’re afraid of me and the Jedi I lie with.” Rey pointed at Ben with one of the blades of her saber.

“This is not a demotion meeting, Ren,” the armored warrior stepped forward and Ben held himself from reacting and making the tension snap. He focused his full attention on the knights around him, feeling their attack was about to start. “Here are all the Knights that wanted to be present to see yours and the Jedi's execution.”

Rey huffed, raising her weapon. “From someone who has tried and failed to kill him in the past, good luck.” 

It seemed the time for talking was over, because just as Rey finished speaking, the fighting began.

Ben tried to be as efficient as possible with his movements, but the opponents showed themselves to be more powerful than what he presumed, the duel difficult and tiring. He swung his saber and managed to kill the first knight, stirring more anger inside his companions. Ben could feel them, they were strong with the dark side.

Hearing Rey’s screams and grunts behind him, Ben was reassured, knowing as long as they were there, she should be fine, fighting, resisting.

“It will be my pleasure to kill you, scum,” the armored knight grunted at Ben. He used the moment to slash the saber across his middle.

“Rebel Scum,” Ben murmured as the man fell at his feet. 

With that, there were only two left, the odds starting to favor him. That’s, however, when he noticed the silence. 

He looked to the side and saw Rey had taken down all five or her opponents but one. One was all it took, because he had his body hunched on top of hers, the arm around her middle pressing her back to his front as the other held a sharp blade to her neck. Her saber wasn’t in her hands and she looked half out of it already, exhausted.

“Rey!”

Ben knew the consequences of making himself vulnerable, it could cost him his life, but as her already dazed eyes found his, he realized it didn’t matter. Ben threw the saber on his hand, his only weapon, to Rey.

The last thing Ben saw before something painful pierced through his body was Rey successfully killing the last Knight with his saber and calling his name in despair as he fell to his knees.

-- 

It was like there was a heavy weight distributed on top of Ben’s body, forcing him down on the surface below him. Thankfully, it was soft, made the pain he was in feel less cutting. 

Ben felt Rey just as he opened his eyes, immediately starting to look around the unknown place for her. She was lying right next to him, fast asleep, chest rising and falling steadily. He noticed there were dark circles under her eyes, purple bruises on the apple of her cheeks and a deep cut on her lip. 

Ben frowned, lifting his hand to inspect Rey’s wounds closer, but was greeted with a sharp pain on his middle that made him grunt and stop the movement. 

Rey opened her eyes at the noise, a small smile spreading across her lips once she saw Ben. “You’re awake.” He nodded, swallowing and grimacing as he tasted blood on his mouth. “Feeling like you’ve been hit by a speeder?”

Ben softly huffed a laugh. “Yes.”

“I transferred some life Force to you, enough to close the wound and guarantee you'd be fine, but I couldn't heal you completely... I’m not in prime shape myself,” Rey said with a sarcastic tone. The fight had left her exhausted already, but having to transfer life Force to Ben after that really took a toll on Rey. 

Ben frowned at that. “Why would you do that? You look pretty hurt too.”

Rey rolled her eyes, sitting down with only a little bit of strain. “I didn’t have a sharp object go through my body, Solo, you did. I just have a scratch or two.” She brushed a hand on her shoulder, nonchalantly. 

Ben sighed, then his hands went to the hem of his shirt, lifting it to his chest. He suspected the red scar on his stomach had a matching set on his back, but Rey had done a good job, for something that had gone through him, he felt surprisingly fine. 

Ben looked around and recognized the place, at last, they were in one of the Resistance's transports, laying over a pile of blankets Rey had probably put down on the floor. He looked back at her. 

“There are medical kits over there,” Ben said, pointing to a small drawer on the other side of the ship.

Rey got up to go where Ben had pointed, making an effort to not look as broken as she felt. Ben still noticed, it was hard not to when she was swaying lightly on her feet, slumping on her knees next to him when she came back.

Rey wasted no time, opening the box and looking through it until she found the Bacta patches, grabbing them. Ben didn't even have the chance to reach for it, Rey was already applying the biggest patch on top of his wound and smoothing it with her fingers. 

Ben stared at Rey’s concentrated face, felt the warmth of her delicate touch on his ruined skin and it made something grow inside him, immense gratitude. When she reached for another one, he held her wrist.

“Put some on you too,” Ben murmured, looking into her eyes. Rey shook her head, about to argue when he insisted, “Rey, put a few on you too. On your lip and your arm.” 

She rolled her eyes and with a smug smile placed the smallest patches on the kit on her cheek and lip, tapping her fingers on top of it a few times for good measure. 

Ben huffed in amusement at her spiteful spirit. “Another one,” he reached his finger to brush on the torn fabric of her shirt that was tainted red with her blood, “here.”

Rey sighed in obvious annoyance but obeyed, ripping the rest of the torn sleeve off and quite literally slapping the patch on her skin, showing none of the care for herself that she had had with Ben. 

“Happy?” 

“Yes.” A slight pause. “How did we escape?” 

Rey crossed her legs, knee accidentally brushing against Ben’s leg. She wondered why all of a sudden she felt nervous at the proximity. “I took down the last three knights, carried you into the transport and brought us to this planet, since I don’t know where the Resistance headed to.” 

Ben thought that was overly simplifying it, but he knew better than to doubt her power. “How did you carry me?” he chose to ask, since she was half his size.

Rey seemed amused by the question. “With the Force, Ben,” she answered, obviously biting back a smile. “This might be news to you, but I'm strong with it.”

Ben rolled his eyes. “And where are we?” 

“Some jungle planet,” Rey answered, looking outside the window. It was dark, night time, but cloaked amongst the trees where they were she felt safe. “I didn’t see civilization anywhere around where I landed.”

Ben nodded, then looked at her some more, expression as if he was lost in thought. “Thank you for saving my life.” 

She smiled faintly. “You’ve saved mine once before too, starlight.” 

“I guess we’re even, now.” 

“I guess so.” 

Silence fell between them and Rey averted her eyes, laying back down beside Ben and staring at the faint ceiling lights. When, eventually, she looked at him again, he found his eyes already on her. 

“What?” she asked in a whisper. Ben didn’t answer, just shook his head faintly, dismissing it. Rey looked up again. “We should rest.” 

Rey heard Ben hum in agreement and closed her eyes, letting herself relax now she knew Ben was fine.

Just before Rey fell asleep, she felt the warmth of Ben’s hand enveloping hers. She smiled and let her fingers tighten around his, heart beating so fast she could only hope he wouldn’t hear it. 

--

Rey stirred slightly when a loud thundering noise echoed in the distance, bringing her closer to awareness. She was so comfortable, the constant noise of pouring rain immediately relaxing every part of her body, which was resting against something deliciously warm and soft. 

Unconsciously, she nuzzled her face of the softness, hand splaying across the wide, warm plane, letting out a content sigh. The thundering noise repeated itself and her eyes fluttered open, realizing it was exactly that, thunder. 

Another thing she realized was her body was latched onto Ben’s, the soft, comfortable softness of his chest under her head. Rey didn’t want to move at all, but that constant water noise and the fact she had been sleeping for a long time made her desperate for a run to the freshers. 

She leaned away from Ben as gently as she could and got up, looking around and realizing there wasn’t a fresher in the transport. Rey whined, crossing her legs together and biting her lips. She had no time to think of an option, so she tiptoed to the door that led outside and opened it, stepping down the ramp.

Rey didn’t even think about the fact the rain would be cold until she was under it, more worried about finding a place to relieve herself. Luckily, she had landed the transport near a pond, so she started peeling off the layers of her ruined clothes as she walked to it.

She welcomed the cold water gladly, realizing only after she was inside that bathing into a body of water in the middle of a thunderstorm wasn’t the smartest idea. Rey huffed, if she hadn’t died on her duel with Snoke, then later his praetorian guards or the Knights of Ren, she doubted the Force would have her go struck by lightning.

A thought occurred to her. “As a Palpatine blood I must have some Force lightning powers I never discovered… oh, then maybe I would just absorb lightning if it hit me,” she whispered to herself in wonder, then broke down laughing from how ridiculous that sounded. 

Rey leaned her head back into the water as the rain poured down on her, letting the laughter shake her body.

“There you are,” Ben said, having followed the sound to her.

Rey held her breath, a hand going to up protectively, then relaxing once she saw it was only Ben. “You’re up, walking. Are you feeling alright?” There was a slight hint of worry to her voice.

“Yes, no wonder people used to call Bacta magic.” He smiled faintly, reassuring her.

Rey chuckled. “That and the fact it’s getting dark again, we slept through the entire day.” 

Ben smiled, ignoring how the sight of her bare shoulders made his mouth dry, sitting on a rock just by the pond. “That explains why I’m so hungry,” he said, brushing his soaked hair away from his face. 

Rey followed the movement, slightly distracted by the raindrops sliding down his neck. “I’m ravenous, do you know if there is anything on the transport we can eat?”

“Probably some ration bars, if not, we’ll hunt, I think I saw something that looked like Porgs’ nests.” 

Rey raised a single brow. “I grew up inside the Supremacy, I do not know how to hunt.” 

Ben bit his lip to hold a smile at her appalled expression. “I can hunt.”

She narrowed her eyes and folded her arms over her chest. She was suddenly aware of how bare she was underwater, wondering if Ben had noticed. From the way his eyes were visibly locked on her face, not daring to trail any further down, she assumed he had. “Congratulations, I expect proof of that bold statement soon.” 

He chuckled at her tone, already familiar with the playful color behind it. At that moment a flash of lightning pierced the sky, both looking up to see it. Ben closed his eyes, feeling the rain tickle his body as it covered him, pleased with it. 

“You make a habit out of this, don’t you?” Rey’s voice interrupted him and Ben looked at her again. “Sitting out in the rain.” 

“What makes you say that?” 

“The first time we connected through the Force, you were under pouring rain.” 

“Oh. That’s true, I was. I like the feel of the rain, it’s calming.” 

Rey hummed, nodding, then seemed lost in thought. “I tried to kill you that night,” she murmured, mainly to herself.

Ben huffed. “I remember.” 

She looked deep into his eyes, the conflict clear in her gaze. “I’m glad I failed.”

Ben knew what Rey meant by that, that she was sorry, maybe that she regretted it. He smiled at her and hopefully that was enough to convey the ease she was seeking. 

Another lightning lit up the sky and they looked at it, silence stretching until Ben murmured, “Do you think you would absorb the energy of the lightning if it hit you?” 

Rey looked back at Ben for one second, two, before she exploded in laughter again. 

“Is that offensive?” Ben asked, slightly concerned.

Her face had flushed, the moonlight making it possible for him to see the red tint on her cheeks. “No- ah. No, it isn’t. I was thinking about that before you found me.”

Ben then laughed, more comfortable. “Any verdict?”

“Only that I’m not willing to test the theory.” 

“Fair enough, I wouldn’t either.”

They continued to laugh together, the sound louder than the rain, that had started to thin slightly. Ben held his stomach and closed his eyes, trying to stop laughing so it wouldn’t feel like a blade was still cutting through his body. When he succeeded, he took a deep breath and opened his eyes again, meeting Rey’s bright smile. His heart filled with warmth at the sight and he wondered when was the last time he felt that happy, content, complete.

Being with Rey had felt right even when it was still complicated. When they had connected for the first time, Ben tried to not think about the fact that having himself blend with Rey in their bond felt like finally belonging to something. He knew now he already belonged to her. 

Rey reached her arm to Ben, smile still wide and high, no idea of what was going through his head. “Join me.” 

Ben smiled back, sliding off his shirt, and after a second thought, his pants, slipping inside the water. It was cold, but he suspected that wasn’t the reason why his body tensed. 

He knew he had to say or do something or else Rey would notice. Ben swam closer, stopping right in front of Rey, lifting his hand gently to her face. 

“Ouch,” Rey complained when Ben peeled the Bacta patch from her lip. The cut was completely gone.

Ben huffed, then pulled the one from her cheek, getting the same reaction. “You’re overreacting. That did not hurt.” 

Rey frowned. “It did! It hurt!” 

Ben’s thumb then gently brushed her cheek, soothing the burn. They had been much closer before, but even licking inside his mouth as they devoured each other didn’t feel as intimate to Rey as that moment, where they looked into each other's eyes as Ben held her face.

“Better?” Ben whispered, pulling her closer until their bodies were just about to touch, fingers trailing to wrap behind her thin neck. Their smiles were gone.

Rey’s hands found Ben’s curves under the water, brushing up until they emerged from it, resting on his shoulders. “Much,” she whispered, before leaning in and taking his lips again. 

The kiss was like their last, made the whole galaxy stop for a second as they took each other in. She pressed her front against Ben’s and when he gasped at the feeling of her bare skin against his, Rey slipped her tongue into his mouth. His hands started exploring her body, sliding down her back, squeezing the small of her waist, liking how small everything about her was compared to him. 

His hands went to the back of her thighs, pulling her legs to wrap around him, needing Rey closer. He could feel the warmth of her center against his stomach and he grunted again, realizing she was completely naked under the water. Ben felt dizzy, it was like that woman was designed to drive him crazy. 

Rey’s hands were in Ben’s hair, eyes shut tight as if she needed to concentrate to be able to handle everything he provoked in her. The water was cold, but everything about Ben was warm, perfect, and she drew him closer, rubbing against him in search of something more. 

She moaned into his mouth and his hands tightened around her hips, encouraging the movement. He broke the kiss to trail kisses down Rey’s neck, licking her collarbones until he was faced with her breasts. Ben had seen them before, but with her hardened nipples right before his eyes, cold water curving around her shape, he had to lean in and take her into his mouth again. 

Rey threw her head back, biting her lips as she indulged in the feeling of Ben’s warm tongue lapping on her tight skin and the pressure of his firm body rubbing her core. 

“Ben,” she moaned and he pulled her against him again, humming against her skin. 

He licked and sucked one nipple at a time, feeling Rey arch into him, approving, telling him not to stop. He didn’t, holding her close, letting her enjoy the friction even if he needed her much lower, where he was hard and wanting too. 

“Let me take you back,” Rey whispered. “I need to feel all of you.” 

Ben wanted that too, so he held her tighter against him as he walked out of the water. As much as Rey would love to be carried, she would rather Ben not strain himself, untangling her legs and searching for the ground. 

Rey chuckled into Ben’s mouth when he refused to let her put any distance between them when she was on her feet, pressing against her front.

“We’re not reaching the ship at this pace, starlight,” she said with a smile, panting against his lips.

He kissed her lips, her neck, her cheeks. “As long as I get to touch you, kiss you, I don’t care where we are.”

She smiled, holding his face as she indulged him in one last kiss, a press that denied him more. “Come on,” she whispered, gently pulling his hands from around her. 

Rey smirked as she turned her back on Ben, walking in front of him, knowing he would have a full view of her naked and wet body as she did so. She glanced over her shoulder to see Ben standing completely still. 

She turned back around, giving Ben a picture of her bare front, smiling confidently when she saw his lips part, in awe at the view. If Rey didn’t know she was stunning before, after receiving that look of worship from Ben she would never doubt it again. His eyes roamed over her breasts, following the scar down to her navel, to the swell of her hips, to end up where he desperately wanted to touch, taste.

“I thought the plan was touching, not looking,” Rey said after letting him stare for a few moments. His eyes found hers again, narrowing when he noticed she was teasing, knowing just how much he wanted her. 

“Looking is also part of the plan.” 

Rey rested a hand on her waist, then shrugged and turned around again, definitely swaying her hips more than she needed to as she walked. “I'll leave you to it, then.” 

She didn’t need to turn around to know he was following her, soon enough his hands were wrapping around her stomach, body crashing against hers making both stumble into the ship. She laughed, elbow going in an angle to hold his head as he started to leave kisses down her neck. 

“New plan?” 

He huffed. “No plan.” 

Ben spun her around and the laughter died as their lips found each other again, more intense, more desperate, Ben pushing Rey against the first surface he could reach. Without the water, he could feel more of her, as if everything had been dulled before. Now when he pressed against Rey, it was solid, present, more

Rey’s fingers hooked on the hem of Ben’s undergarment, pulling it down roughly then immediately wrapping her fingers around his length, needing to feel all of him. Ben grunted at the sensation, leaning his forehead against hers, looking down at the lewd scene. He didn’t consider Rey’s hand to be delicate, nothing about her was fragile, but there was no denying their size difference when her fingers weren’t even able to meet around his cock. Rey’s touch was not shy, it was firm, confident, the perfect flick of her wrist and brush of her thumb on the slit making Ben feel like he could pass out at any moment.

“Fuck, Rey,” Ben moaned, trying to avoid thrusting into her but failing, meeting her halfway. Rey felt warmth pooling low after hearing Ben saying her name like that, at the notion of having Ben fall apart because of her. “I’ve- imagined this so many times.”

“Was it ever this good?”

Ben could laugh. “I don’t think anything could ever feel as good as your touch.”

Rey got the answer she wanted, kissing Ben again. He felt good in her hand, heavy, big, the pulse between her legs getting more intense at the thought of having him all the way buried inside her. Rey pressed closer, the head of Ben’s cock bumping and smearing precum on her stomach.

Rey wanted to say something, but Ben’s lips were demanding, determined, and she couldn’t help but give in to his urgent pace. Soon enough they couldn’t even stop to breathe, there was only their bodies pressed against each other and the desire screaming in the bond. 

Rey pushed Ben to sit on the pile of blankets they had slept on the floor, straddling his hips and catching him in another time-stopping kiss. Ben’s hand slid down Rey’s spine, pulling her closer to him, arms wrapping firmly around her back as if he was afraid she would pull away. Rey craved more closeness, so she parted her legs wider until Ben’s cock was slotted in her folds, rocking against him.

Rey’s mouth went to Ben’s neck, kissing greedily as she created a rhythm, sliding up and down his cock, digging her nails into his shoulders. 

“Rey,” he called, hopeless, as she overwhelmed his senses more than he ever thought possible.

Rey sucked a mark on Ben’s neck, licking a strip on top of it before pulling away to look. Mine, something inside her uttered as she saw the red paint his skin, a satisfied smile growing on her lips. 

You look too smug thinking that.

Rey was startled at first when she heard his voice in her head clearly as if he had spoken it, but there were other more important things to worry about than the undiscovered wonders of their bond, like his lips catching hers again and the head of his cock brushing against her clit. 

Ben’s hand wandered up her arm until he felt the bump of the contraceptive chip under her skin, even if he had one himself and technically didn’t need to worry. His hand then trailed down her chest, fingers brushing her hardened nipple, then the scar he’d left her. 

Before he even realized, his lips were following the path, licking the swell of her breast then down to kiss the damaged skin underneath. 

“I’m sorry,” Ben whispered against her skin, pulling Rey higher on her knees so he could kiss all the way to the end of the scar, on the bottom of her stomach. He looked up at her. “I’m sorry I did this to you.” 

Rey threaded her fingers in and out of Ben’s damp hair. “Let the past die, Ben. I have.”

Ben kissed her scar again and again. “I’ll never hurt you again,” he murmured, then kissed her again.

Rey gasped when she felt the tip of him on her entrance, then pushing inside slowly. She knew he was big, so she made herself relax as he slid inside, letting Ben kiss every sound that slipped past her lips. 

Ben could feel her stretching to take him, the pressure threatening to drive him mad, but he focused on peppering kisses on Rey’s face, her neck, her chest, worshiping every part of her he could reach. “I’ll be by your side as long as you’ll have me. I’ll teach you about light and let you teach me about darkness. I’ll fight with you. I’ll be loyal to you.” 

Rey was taken by surprise by his words, but even more so by the way she reacted to them, moaning in response. She threw her head back and closed her eyes, feeling the burn of his lips on her body and letting the sound of his truth in their bond overwhelm her.

“Ben,” Rey moaned, rocking her hips against him.

He kissed up the column of her neck. “I’ll pleasure you. I’ll adore you. I won’t ever judge you.” He reached her lips, breathing hot and heavy, obviously making an effort into making a coherent speech. When Rey opened her eyes to look at him, he pressed their lips together, then murmured, “I’ll never leave you.” 

Rey closed her eyes again and kissed Ben deeply, wholeheartedly. His words were answers to her insecurities, her fears of loss, abandonment, betrayal, loneliness… Ben felt it all and made sure she knew that he would not bring any of those upon her.

Her hips had been rocking lightly, getting used to the intrusion, but it escalated fast after Ben’s speech, something inside her craving to give herself to him. There was no room for thinking, there was only their whimpers and moans of pleasure and the lust that threatened to swallow them whole. 

Rey overwhelmed Ben just by being herself, a goddess upon him, taking all of size inside, moaning his name, kissing his lips raw. 

“You look so good like this, Rey,” Ben said between breathy moans and kisses. “So perfect- so perfect fucking yourself- fuck!”

Rey dug her nails on Ben’s shoulders, riding him in earnest, feeling the sweat drip down her back. “You feel so good, Ben. I’m- so full.” 

Ben had his hands wrapped tightly around her hips, holding so he could thrust up and meet her movements. They both moaned again. “Everything- you’re everything I ever imagined, Rey. You’re everything.” 

He stopped babbling when Rey’s hot lips caught him again, her tongue greedy in his mouth, never stopping the movement. One of Ben’s hands slithered up her body to cup her breast, pinching her nipple and circling his thumb around it until it hardened for him. Rey groaned, breaking the kiss once she was breathless, glancing down to watch what he was doing to her. 

His hand covered one breast completely but Rey honestly didn’t mind the difference in their sizes, she loved how big Ben was, how safe she felt wrapped in his arms. Ben’s lips took over his hand, sucking her into his mouth, swirling his tongue around her nipple. 

Rey whimpered. “Fuck, Ben. Ah- that’s- fuck, Ben!” 

He started to notice Rey tensing up, her nails digging deeper into his shoulder, her cunt squeezing him tight. His lips left her nipple, kissing their way up to her ear. He nibbles just beneath it before whispering breathlessly, “You’re close, aren’t you? Show me, Rey. Show me how pretty you look fucking yourself on me like this. Show me how pretty you look coming on my cock.”

She felt his hand coming to press on her clit, applying steady pressure and she started to fall. It was too much, him stretching her close to her limit, the warm press of his sweaty body to hers, his voice so deep in her ear. She let go. 

“Ben. Oh- don’t stop, don’t-” 

She came with a scream of his name, Ben holding her tight and keeping her hips moving, her vision exploding in black and white. His finger kept moving in circles on her clit, overwhelming her, keeping the high going long enough for her body to start to shake. 

Ben held Rey against his chest, feeling her slump against him, her tight cunt getting even tighter, delicious pressure setting on his cock. He only removed his hand when Rey held his wrist. Her lips were on Ben’s soon, kissing him languidly, exhausted from the force of the orgasm, arms snaking around his neck. It slowed down for the moment as Rey came back to herself, Ben’s hands taking the opportunity to get familiar with the parts of her he didn’t know yet, sliding to touch everything he could reach. 

“I don’t think I could ever tire of hearing you scream my name as you come,” he whispered. “Everything about you is just beautiful. You’re the most beautiful woman in the galaxy, Rey.”

Rey managed a smile. “I know.” 

“Good,” Ben said honestly before sealing their lips again. 

He held Rey firmly as he changed their positions, lying her down and settling on top of her, cock still buried deep. Ben started to move again as soon as he could, thrusting hard but slow, feeling her squirm under him every time he did so. Ben placed a hand on her stomach, feeling the bulge of his cock through the skin, watching Rey gasp when he pressed down. 

She placed her hand on top of his. “That’s- yes.” 

Ben almost laughed. “I’ve got you,” he whispered and when he thrust again, the added pressure made Rey whimper. 

So he did it again and again, watching Rey break down in a mess of noises underneath him, cheeks flushed pretty pink, lips parted with her sighs and freckled breasts bouncing every time he slapped her body with his. The vision was orgasm inducing enough, but combined with the feeling of the drag of his cock inside her, Ben knew he wouldn’t last much longer. 

When Rey had come, it was the movement of Ben’s thumb on her clit that had sent her over the edge, but what was building then was something else. Ben’s thick cock was brushing on a spot deep inside her, something maddening and incredible she only experienced a handful of times before.

Ben watched Rey bite her lips, throw her head back, arching into him. “Ben, I’m- so close.” 

Keeping the rhythm steady, he finally let himself go, eyes never leaving Rey's face as he felt his own climax coming. 

“Fuck, Ben. Holy- Force, Ben. Ben.

He felt when she came, cunt gripping and fluttering around him, intensifying the pleasure in a way he didn’t know possible. The way their moans were filling the space, bodies sliding against each other, her presence inside his mind… it was the best thing Ben had ever experienced. 

They kissed as their bodies tingled and glowed, time passing differently as their pleasure overwhelmed them, as the bond showed them what the myth of the Force Dyad was truly about: belonging. Two souls that belonged to each other.

When they lied side by side on the blankets, Ben pulled Rey into his chest, their bodies still warm, but finally sated. He kissed the top of her head, fingers threading through the short strands. 

“I didn’t have the chance to tell you,” Ben whispered, breaking the silence. Rey looked up at him. “I like the hair.” 

She chuckled, a smile lighting up her face. “I haven’t seen it yet, I can feel it’s quite short.” 

He placed another kiss. “It’s beautiful.” 

“Thank you, starlight.”

Ben hummed in response and silence fell again, comfortable, almost as if they needed it to assimilate everything that had happened. 

“I meant everything I said before,” Ben murmured and Rey looked up again. “Every single word.”

I know, the answer came into his head, Rey’s way of showing she had felt his truth. 

His nose twisted. “It’s strange, hearing you inside my head.” 

“You think so? I’ve seen stranger things. I see it as a good thing, if you ever irritate me too much I can just chatter directly into your mind until you apologize.” 

Be huffed. “Lovely, you’ve weaponized the gifts of our bond already.”

“Gifts of the bond,” she echoed. “That's very poetic of you, Solo.” 

“We were bound mind and soul by the Force itself, Rey, we are poetic,” Ben argued. 

Rey hid her smile on Ben’s chest, something inside her satisfied upon hearing him talk of something that was theirs. “I guess so… the Force Dyad being a prophecy and all, I have to agree it is a pretty poetic story.” 

“Force Dyad? What’s that?” 

Rey sat up, looking down at Ben with a frown. “You don’t know what we are?” 

“What we are?” 

Rey huffed, like she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Ben, what we share, our connection, it’s been prophesied for generations. Some have even tried to fabricate something like it before, to fulfill the prophecy, but with no success. We are a Dyad in the Force, starlight, you and I, two that are one.” 

Ben sat down to properly look at Rey, draping some blankets over her shoulders to cover her up so he could at least try to concentrate on what she was saying. “Where did you learn about this?”

Her face hardened a bit and she averted her eyes. “Snoke, just before I killed him.” Ben sensed in her tone she didn’t want to elaborate on that end. 

“I’ve never heard of any of this, no tales, legends, nothing.” 

“The Sith made sure not a lot of people knew, they wanted the knowledge for themselves. The plan was for the Dyad to join in darkness, so the Sith could control their power. Our power.” She reached for Ben’s hand, placing her palm above his. Like this, they could almost feel what flowed between them. “It’s said to be like life itself, like no single being is capable of possessing.”

Ben held Rey’s hand in his, looking at them as he took the new information in. “Being of Skywalker blood, I thought there could be no bigger responsibility placed upon my shoulders,” he huffed, “and now I learn the woman I love and I are the most powerful beings in the galaxy. We need to keep this between us, putting the knowledge out there would just lead us to danger. Well, more danger, considering I’m Ben Solo and you’re Rey Palpatine.” 

When Ben didn’t hear a response he looked up at Rey, finding her staring at him, eyes slightly widened, lips parted. He frowned. “What is it? Oh, is it the name? I thought you’d said you don’t mind being called a Palpatine earlier.” 

She opened her mouth, preparing to say something, but then closed it. Ben’s frown deepened. “I- you- you love me?”

Realizing what he’d just said, Ben felt just as surprised as Rey for a moment. As the silent seconds passed and he thought about it, it became painfully obvious. He’d stormed into an enemy ship alone for her, he’d fought the most important people in his life so they would try to see Rey as he did, they shared a unique bond that allowed them to connect across the galaxy. “I do. I- of course I love you, Rey.”

He saw her sharp intake of breath, then her eyes growing watery. Rey didn’t know how to react, mainly because no one had ever said those words to her before. She responded the way she knew how, holding Ben’s face in her hands and bringing his lips to hers. 

Later that night, it was the way he whispered those same words in Rey’s ear over and over that made her fall apart underneath him.

--

Rey felt cold, the thing that had kept her warm through the night gone. She fluttered her eyes open, finding she was alone in the blankets. 

She was about to get up to look for Ben when she saw there were some berries next to her, carefully placed on top of some leaves. Rey smiled, grabbing a few and placing them into her mouth. They were very sweet and had just the right amount of sourness, so Rey kept on eating until she heard the door of the ship open. 

Ben was dressed in his torn clothes and held what she recognized as her own clothes in his hands. He came to kneel beside her, brushing his thumb on Rey’s chin to clean the juice running there before pressing his lips against hers. “Good morning.” 

“Good morning. Went berry hunting?” 

Ben huffed, placing a rebel strand of hair behind her ear. “Yes, I actually hunted something too, the meat is cooking over a fire outside.” Rey hummed in approval, her rumbling stomach asked for more than just berries. “I made contact with the Resistance earlier today.” 

“Yeah?” 

Ben nodded. “Yes, everyone made out okay, they gave me the coordinates to their new hiding. I told them we would make our way there later today.” He stopped briefly, taking in her expression. “I hope that’s okay.” 

“It’s okay,” she answered, popping another berry into her mouth. “Assuming I’m no longer their prisoner.” 

“Of course not, Rey… people saw you fighting for us, they saw your words were not just an act to win their trust.”

Rey chewed silently for a while, eyes unfocused. “Things have changed fast… it feels my entire life changed completely in a matter of days.” 

“In a good way?” 

“I’m not sure yet. I don’t know what waits for me at the Resistance, what fighting the war on this side will be like. I can’t guarantee I will stay, I’m just doing what feels right now, but it’s a lot of change… everything feels uncertain.” She looked at Ben and smiled faintly. “Except you. I don’t know my purpose or destiny, but I feel that as long as I’m with you, I’m on the right path.”

Ben leaned in, pressing a long kiss to Rey’s lips, hiding his smile. He intended to just let it be a gentle press, but then Rey let the blanket slid off her shoulders and crawled onto his lap. Her mouth tasted like the berries she’d been eating, sweet, tart, perfect. Ben groaned as her naked chest pressed onto him, her thighs parting around his hips and exposing her sex to him.

Rey pulled off Ben’s shirt, hands roaming through his bare chest, shoulders, neck, slowly appreciating the details that the passion of the previous night had made her miss. The statement was true for both, Ben was also able to pace himself, feel Rey properly, take her in. 

When his hand slid between them, cupping where she was warm and soft, Rey sighed into his mouth. 

“Let me taste you,” he murmured against her lips, a finger pumping into her tight heat. “I’ve been dying to put my mouth on you.”

Rey smirked, confident as ever as she got up from his lap and sat on one of the seats of the ship, crossing one leg over the other, striking a pose. She did a come motion with a single finger. “I’ll allow you.” 

Ben huffed out a laugh, standing on his knees in front of her and just taking in her beauty for a moment, wondering what he did to deserve touching someone like Rey. He then slid a hand on top of her thigh, slowly, reveling in the smoothness of her skin. She had fewer freckles there, he noted, pressing his lips to the ones he could see, setting open-mouthed kisses. 

Rey’s hand was threading in and out of Ben’s hair, a part of her swelling in satisfaction over having one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy on his knees for her, clearly enamored with every part she let him touch. 

His fingers slid where her thighs overlapped but didn’t make an effort to pull her legs apart.

“Open up for me, let me see you.”  

Rey felt the throb in her core get even stronger, doing what Ben had asked and spreading her legs wide for him. He licked his lip at the sight of her, all pink and visibly glistening for him. He pressed a kiss inside her thigh as a thank you, Rey shivering in response.

“Perfect, so perfect,” Ben whispered against her skin, almost in a daze, kisses starting to make their way up. 

Rey’s throat had gone dry, she was aching, she didn’t remember ever wanting someone’s touch so much. Ben didn’t seem in a rush, lingering with every kiss, as if he wanted to enjoy every second there, remember it all, his eyes moving between her cunt and her face in adoration.

She couldn’t hold back a moan when his lips finally got to where she wanted him, Ben licking a strip from her entrance to her clit, swirling his tongue there. He hummed, content, and Rey shuddered at the vibration.

“Ever since the day you touched yourself in front of me,” he said and the air puffing in her sensitive spot made Rey arch. “Then smeared your wetness on my lips, I couldn’t stop thinking about tasting you again.” 

He leaned in again, licking slowly, swirling his tongue as if he was kissing her deeply. Rey was sweating, mouth parting with her noises. She didn’t know what she had expected from him, but that hadn’t been it, her body was shaking.

Ben latched at her clit, starting to suck more vigorously. “Ah- Ben. Holy- stars. My- shit, Ben. Oh, my Force.”

He huffed in amusement but didn’t stop, looking up at her face and feeling his cock throb in his pants at the sight of her lips spilling nonsense words, nipples tight and flushed.

Ben gave her a break, going back to long licks, lapping all the arousal Rey’s body offered him. He wanted to tell her how pretty she was, how gorgeous her noises were, but he wouldn’t dare pull away, working her fast and then slow, almost giving what she needed then taking it away. 

Rey was sensitive, practically mewling, pulling his hair in hopes he would finally let her come, needing the release. 

“Ben- your fingers- I need-” 

Two fingers delved inside her immediately and Rey started to pant. She didn’t have particularly small hands, but two of her fingers had never made her feel quite as full as Ben’s. They definitely didn’t feel as good as his when Ben curled them like that. He didn’t stop, fingers and mouth working in a joined rhythm, the crescendo of noises coming from Rey pushing him to keep going. Rey came with a shout of his name, gasping for air as her vision became white and her head dizzy. 

Ben didn’t pull away, just slowed, licking at her mindlessly as her cunt squeezed his fingers so tight he couldn’t even move them. Rey pushed his head away so she could bring him to kiss her.

“You’re good at that,” she whispered hoarsely against his lips, legs coming to wrap lazily around his middle. “I wouldn’t have guessed.”

Ben huffed, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “You assumed that I rejected you in the past out of inexperience?”

“It was either that or you were mad, obviously.” 

“Or I just didn’t want you.”

Rey snorted, amused by the option. “Not possible.” 

“Not possible,” Ben agreed. “I’ve wanted you from the first time we fought in Endor. I had never seen so much power. You terrified me. And fascinated me.” Each word came between a kiss, bite or lick to her breasts and neck, seemingly never tired of tasting her.

Rey smirked, spreading her legs wider, an invitation. “Keep worshiping me, Solo, I like it.” 

Ben smiled and caught Rey in another kiss, getting rid of his clothes so he could finally get inside her.

The challenge that day was managing to stop riling each other up for another round long enough to fly the transport to the new Resistance base. 

Needless to say, they arrived later than was intended.

Chapter Text

When Rey spun around herself, the strands that had gotten loose from the braids that wrapped around her head tickled her cheek. That would have never happened before. Before, Rey made sure her hair was always perfectly secure on the three buns so nothing about her seemed disordered to anyone who crossed her path. 

But that was before, and a lot had changed since then. 

The change happened so gradually, at such a comfortable pace set by her, and only her, Rey didn’t even notice it happening. That was until for the second week in a row, she kept losing to Ben at practice. 

She grunted in frustration as Ben laughed, offering his hand to her. Rey slapped it away and stood up on her own, patting off the sand that had dirtied her black pants. Black, still, because Rey never changed her opinion on it being the most flattering color on her.

“I think there might be something wrong with my lightsaber,” Rey said, glaring when the statement made Ben laugh harder. 

He bit back the rest when a wave of rage hit him through their bond. “What makes you say that?” 

“For one, I keep losing to you.” 

“Have you considered I’m just- better?” 

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. Shush, Solo. We’ve been training with each other for over a year and now miraculously you’ve started to win all the time? No, no. There is something wrong with my lightsaber,” Rey declared, looking down at the weapon her hands, the blades sizzling red as they always had.

Ben tipped his head and decided there was more to her statement than pride, gently wrapping a hand around the hilt, right next to hers. When Rey let go of the saber Ben took a step back and swayed it on his sides, getting a feel of it. “You know your weapon far more intimately than I do, but to me, it feels the same as it always did.” He gave it back. 

Rey frowned at the thing as if that would help with anything. She sighed. “You’re right. It feels the same as it always has, but for some reason…” 

“For some reason?”

“I don’t feel in sync with it anymore.” 

Ben noticed how distressed Rey looked, staring at her weapon like it was making her incredibly frustrated. He pushed Rey’s hand down and she got the cue, turning off the blades so he could come closer. Ben pulled her to his chest, tucking her under his chin and running his hand through the loose part of Rey’s hair.

“I have no idea of what’s wrong,” Rey murmured into the fabric of Ben’s shirt. “Maybe it’s me.” 

The realization hit Ben so fast he wondered how he didn’t see it before. “Oh, of course! It’s you.” Rey pulled away, looking partially hurt and partially really angry. He hurried to clarify himself. “There is nothing wrong with you, I just don’t think that the Rey that built this lightsaber is the same Rey standing in front of me.” 

Rey did not look any less upset after his explanation. “I didn’t build my saber to begin with, it was made for me. I altered it to fit me as I grew older.” 

“Okay, maybe I expressed myself poorly. I was trying to make a point about the core of the saber.” 

“The Kyber? I cracked it by accident when I was making alterations a few years ago, but I wouldn’t have kept it if it still didn’t work perfectly fine. I’ve had it this way for a long time and it has never been a problem before, so if that’s the point you were going to make, it’s wrong.” 

Ben wanted to laugh at how stubborn Rey was, that was something that had never and would probably never change. “No, sweetheart, that was not the point I was going to make.” He set a kiss on her forehead. Ben didn’t know if it was the appearance of the rare nickname or the kiss, but Rey looked (slightly) less angry when he leaned back to explain. “I’m not sure if you know this, I only learned it because of my Jedi training, but Kyber crystals are attuned to the light side of the Force by nature, they resist darkness. So say a dark-sider wants a Kyber for their lightsaber, they need to use the Force to bend the crystal to their will, which makes it bleed and turn red. Corrupting the Kyber to dominate it, if you will.” 

“Okay.” She looked more receptive to Ben’s theory. 

“The Kyber in your lightsaber responds best to darkness, it expects it from you,” he said softly, trying to avoid her from closing up again, knowing Rey enough to predict her response to what he was saying. “If you’re not in sync with it, maybe it’s because you’re not giving it what it needs.”

Rey didn’t seem defensive as he had expected, but rather amused. “Are you saying the lightsaber is resisting me because I have forsaken darkness? Starlight, you know me better than anyone. You can feel the Force inside me, you know that’s not the case.”

“I didn’t say you have turned away from darkness completely, but… you’ve been growing in the light, Rey.” 

There was the defensiveness Ben was expecting to see. “Ben,” she said his name in the familiar way he knew as whatever you’re doing or saying, stop it.

Luckily, Ben was one of the only people in the galaxy who truly didn’t fear Rey. Not anymore, at least. “I know change frightens you and you don’t want to talk about this-” 

“You’re right, I don’t.” 

Ben huffed, pulling her closer once again, but that time taking his lips to hers, pressing a gentle kiss there. “I wasn’t going to suggest that we talk about it, I was going to suggest a solution to your problem.” 

“You may offer the solution, then, wise one.” He thought it was a positive thing Rey had only used a slight hint of sarcasm.

“Let’s get you a Kyber that hasn’t been corrupted. One that you actually chose yourself too. I went to Ilum as a youngling to harvest mine from the Crystal Cave, I could take you there.” 

Rey cringed and he tipped his head in question. “Well, Snoke had some- plans for Ilum, so I believe the First Order has had domain over it for a long time now.” 

“Plans?” 

She hesitated, then cleared her throat and said in a scarily casual tone, “Yes, something about using the planet’s core to power a system-destroying superweapon called Starkiller Base.” Ben looked absolutely horrified. “Don’t worry, I don’t believe Hux knew about this plan, Snoke was very secretive about it,” she huffed, “Even if he knew, I don’t think he would execute it properly, he’s truly a disgrace as a Supreme Leader.”

“Now, I feel better,” Ben said ironically. 

Rey patted his arm condescendingly. “That’s great, starlight.” Ben rolled his eyes. “Anyhow, want to go with Ilum with me tomorrow?” 

Ben smiled.

--

“No planet should ever be this cold,” Ben complained as they walked among the trees, arms wrapping around himself to try and retain some warmth.

Having grown up in a frigid spaceship, Rey was more than comfortable with the cold, pulling the wrap on her neck tighter and huffing a laugh. “Haven’t you been here before?”

“Doesn’t mean I liked it the first time.” 

Rey turned around and pouted, mocking. “Come here, sweet thing, I’ll warm you up,” she said, circling a complaining Ben to hug him from behind. Ben stopped his protests when her arms were around him, realizing he didn’t want to push her away even if it was to prove a point. “Better?”

His hands came to rest on top of her arms. “Much, actually.” 

“Glad to be of help.” 

Considering how much taller Ben was compared to Rey, walking behind him was difficult enough, but adding to that challenge was the fact they were in a forest covered in snow. They ended up stumbling and slipping more than they made progress to reach the cave.

 “Ah! This is not working, Rey, I’m going to end up on top of you,” Ben said after almost falling.

“And that’s suddenly a problem after all this time because…” 

Ben snorted and rolled his eyes, gently pulling her arms away. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

Rey didn't have to consider the idea she had for long, sliding the heavy cape off her shoulders and throwing it onto his before he could argue. She didn’t really mind being one layer down and the face Ben made when he realized how warm the fabric was made being a little bit colder worth it. 

“Won’t you be cold?” he asked, guilty, as Rey fastened the clasp of the cloak.

“I’m used to it, starlight. Besides, you know I like you like this.” 

Ben huffed, as he always did when she pointed out how good he looked in black. “I do.”

Rey winked and turned back around, going to the direction Ben had pointed to. They were talking casually, but the conversation stopped abruptly when they heard a few noises in the distance, hands coming to rest on their lightsabers. 

They gravitated closer in a reflex, ready to protect each other if they had to, looking around for the threat. The tense silence was filled with laughter when the source of the noise, a wandering animal, hopped by. 

Ben grabbed Rey’s gloved hand in his. Let’s go. She nodded and they hurried, thankfully reaching the cave without bumping into any trouble. Rey was about to make a snarky comment about Hux’s guarding of the planet, but the words died in her throat when she saw how beautiful the place was. 

It wasn’t pitch black as one would expect a cave to be, the rock walls bathed in light from the crystals, small white beams that were buried within. The Force was strong there too, tranquil and comforting like an embrace, and as Rey walked inside she brushed her fingers on the walls, feeling the energy buzzing under her fingers even through the glove. 

“What now?” Rey asked in a murmur, mesmerized by her surroundings. 

“Now let the Force guide you,” Ben said, standing a few steps back, letting Rey take her time. 

Rey walked further inside, looking up and around, truly fascinated. Needing something more, she brought a hand to her mouth, biting on the glove to remove it then spreading the uncovered palm on the wall. She took a content breath when she felt the buzzing energy under her bare skin and walked further until something told her to stop, her fingers brushing right on top of a beam of light.

Rey knew she had found what she was looking for, the Kyber was practically calling out for her from the other side, like the best music she’d ever heard. 

“Here.” She looked back at Ben. 

“Okay, now you mine it with this.” He came closer to offer her a tool.

Rey looked at how deep the beam seemed to be buried inside the rock, then back at Ben, raising her brow. She took her lightsaber from where it was clipped at her waist and ignited one of the blades, painting the walls red. “I think this will be faster.” 

“And only slightly unconventional.” Rey shrugged and Ben huffed a laugh, taking a step back. 

She was careful digging her blade into the stone and cutting a circle around the beaming crystal, leaving a safe distance to avoid damaging it or cracking it (again). Once that was done she pulled the big piece out, stumbling back from how heavy it was.

Ben offered the tool again. “Now you chip away the rock with this-” 

“Or I can do this,” Rey interrupted, taking the big rock piece and chucking it back at the wall, making it break into smaller pieces and fall to the floor. 

Rey ignored the irresponsible and reckless cries coming from Ben and smiled widely when she realized the crystal had broken free, lying on the ground. She kneeled to take a closer look, leaning in.

“It’s white? I didn’t expect it to be white.” 

Ben sighed in frustration when he noticed she had just ignored everything he had said, but since the Kyber seemed intact and Rey looked incredibly happy, he let it go. “It should take color once you touch it and claim it.” 

She looked up at him, hands planted on her knees like they were glued there. “If it becomes one of the common Jedi colors I will never hear the end of it from Finn.” 

Ben laughed. “Jedi colors?” 

“You know, blue and green just scream Jedi. If it turns out to be one of those Finn will never stop saying he thinks I should cave and let Luke train me.”

“He just says that because he knows it annoys you.”

“Still, I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.” 

Ben smiled and motioned to the beaming white crystal, lying on the ground. “Let’s see if you will.” 

Even if she had no reason to, Rey couldn’t help but feel nervous, just staring at the beaming white crystal for a while. Eventually, she let out a shaky breath and went for it, taking it between two fingers and bringing it to eye level. Rey realized upon touching it she didn’t care what color the crystal would turn out to be, the Force in its core instantly going in harmony with her own and reminding her of the reason why she had chosen it in the first place.

“Oh, that’s so unique. It’s going to look- incredible on the handle,” Rey said once she saw the color appear on the crystal, already picturing her blades glowing in the new shade. “Gold. For royalty.”

Ben couldn’t stop smiling. “And how does it feel like?” 

“Like it’s mine… or like it’s an extension of me.” Rey stood up, looking up from the stone to Ben’s face. “Thank you for suggesting we’d come.” 

Ben held Rey’s chin, tipping her lips upward so he could set a kiss there. “I’m glad you let me help.”

Rey stood high on her toes and wrapped her arms around Ben’s neck, sliding her tongue along his lips until he opened up for her, meeting in a deeper kiss. Ben’s hands came to her waist, pulling her closer to him, eyes falling shut to just focus on feeling her, tasting her. 

They parted after a short while and Rey left a kiss on the corner of Ben’s mouth, then on his chin, jawline, just below his ear, until she reached his neck, burying her face there and taking a deep breath, incredibly full of him. “I love you so much,” she whispered, not sure if she was telling Ben or reminding herself.

He couldn’t help the way his heart jumped or the smile that stretched his lips, as it always did on the rare occasions Rey managed to verbalize her feelings. Ben turned to place the softest lingering kiss on her temple. “I love you too.”

Ben felt her smile on his skin in response. After a moment Rey pulled away. “Let’s go, I want to make the exchange.” 

They found their way back into the ship without any unfortunate events, but that time Rey couldn’t help but comment on Hux’s carelessness, they hadn’t encountered a single stormtrooper, no guards, nothing.

“It sounds like you’re complaining that we’ve had no issues.” 

Rey huffed in amusement, grabbing the bag of instruments Ben had brought at her request and going into the room, turning it upside down on the bed. “I’m not. I just can’t miss an opportunity to point out Hux’s incompetence, that's all.” 

Ben watched as Rey carefully placed the Kyber and her lightsaber on one of the soft pillows, browsing through the small tools and not hesitating for a second before starting to disassemble her weapon. It made Ben smile, how excited she was about this even if she wouldn’t admit it, not willing to wait until they got back at the base to exchange the crystals. 

“I still don’t think it’s a good idea to just keep the ship on the planet, I’ll get us out of here.” 

“Keep it steady,” Rey ordered, not taking her eyes off her task.

Ben snorted and murmured back an ironic yes, Supreme Leader before he headed to the cockpit, considering a rocky takeoff just to annoy Rey, but deciding against it. He didn’t know how long he had been distracted by the passing stars before he was startled by some loud banging, followed by some sizzling and grating sounds. 

“Rey?” 

A pause, then loud panting. “Yeah?” 

“What’s that noise?”

“It’s nothing, don’t worry about it,” she responded, sounding short of breath. After another pause she continued, “Actually, can you come here a second?”

Ben immediately put the ship on autopilot and made his way to the room, stopping at the door when faced with the scene inside. Rey had taken most layers of her clothes off, left in her breast band and high-waisted pants, a light coat of sweat covering her forehead as she randomly stood in the middle of the room. The room, also, was in complete chaos, tools, pieces, ship equipment scattered all around the floor.

“What- Rey, what is all this?”

“There you are! I need your opinion, starlight.” 

Ben aimed the tip of his feet on the free spaces he could see on the ground so he could step closer to her. At the center of the bed, Rey’s lightsaber was completely disassembled, separated into pieces. 

“I thought you were just going to change the crystals. You took the whole thing apart.” 

“I did, yes, that’s why your help is needed.”

Ben sat on the bed (or curled himself to fit around the scattered junk) to inspect closer, realizing some pieces that used to have some detailing in red were gone. “Are you removing pieces? It will probably throw off your balance, the hilt will be shorter.” 

“I’m not removing them, I’m replacing them.” 

“With what?”

Unlike Ben, who had tiptoed around the mess, Rey kicked things aside with her feet and moved closer, showing Ben what she had in her hands. His eyes widened when he recognized the broken pieces of her dear training staff, looking up at her with shock.

“Holy stars. This is Mandalorian steel, Rey, how did you break this apart?!” 

Rey pointed to her sweaty, half-clothed figure. “With considerable effort. Now, what do you think of using these circular parts where the red detailing used to be? I think the gold blade will look better with the darker metal.”

Ben stared at her like he couldn't believe it, then laughed softly. “Show me the options.” 

Rey sat beside Ben on the bed and he helped her create a new design from the pieces she’d broken off. It came together nicely, and Rey knew immediately when they had made the right layout. 

“This, just like this. I like it.”

“It looks beautiful. It’ll suit you.” 

Rey didn’t even try to hide how much she’d liked the comment, Ben would know either way. “I know,” she said, leaning in and leaving a kiss on his shoulder.

--

Rey felt a hand covering her mouth, keeping her from making more noise, so naturally, she bit it. 

Ah! Do you want someone to find us?” Ben asked, breathless, halting his movements so he could glare at her. 

Rey smirked. “Coward. No one is going to find us.” 

She nudged him forward with the leg that was hitched on Ben’s hip, urging him on. Ben didn’t have much self-control when it came to Rey, so that’s all it took for him to cave and bury his face on the curve of Rey’s neck again. He kept going, every thrust sending Rey’s back against the wall behind her, tearing those pretty breathy noises Ben loved from her.

Ben watched Rey bite her red-tainted lips, head thrown back, sweat sliding down her throat to the collar of her dress. She held the hem of the dress higher so they could see Ben sliding in and out of her, and how lucky he felt to have that beautiful woman on his arms to love and worship.

“I’m starting to think- you want to be found, taking this- ah, Ben! Taking this long,” she said in what he recognized as an attempt at a teasing tone. 

Ben huffed and started to go faster, harder, grunting on her neck when he felt her squeezing around his cock, trying to push him over the edge. It worked. 

Rey felt the warmth of Ben spilling inside her, filling her up, and rested her forehead on his shoulder, letting him ride it out. She let go of the dress to wrap her arms around his back, hands brushing up and down lazily as Ben came down.

“Your dress, I don’t want to stain it,” Ben said between deep breaths.

“It’s fine, you won’t. We should get back, people must be looking for us.” 

He frowned. “We’re not done.” 

Her leg fell from his hip, the parts of the long dress that weren't trapped between them falling to the floor. “We can finish this later-” she started saying but Ben was already on his knees. 

He grabbed her leg again and threw it over his shoulder, pushing the dress back up. “I’m not risking getting your dress dirty,” he murmured with a smirk before his mouth took over where his cock had been, working his tongue in the way he knew she liked. 

Rey could argue or push him away, but they had gone that far, why stop now? She widened her legs and threaded her fingers on the loose part of his hair, meeting him halfway. When that pair of pretty eyes looked up at her she smiled. Force, she was lucky to have Ben.

He licked every bit that was trickling out of Rey, both his and hers, then sucked on her clit like he was on a mission, building a rhythm to get her to fall fast. Compliments, profanities, and his name mixed and spilled from her lips as she rode his face, not shy about it, knowing how sexy Ben found it when she just took what she wanted. 

Ben held her as Rey’s body shook, peppering kisses to the inside of her thighs when she pushed him away from her sensitive clit. After Rey felt stable enough, she let her leg slip from his shoulder to the floor. 

“See? Not a coward.” 

Rey huffed, lifting a hand to wipe Ben’s chin clean as he fixed his shirt, then smoothed the creases from her dress. When he looked to her face, Ben brought the back of his finger to delicately brush the corner of her lips, probably getting rid of a smudge. Her heart still sang when Ben touched her like that, gentle as if she was something precious to him. 

“I thought I had ruined your braid,” Rey murmured, holding Ben’s chin and tipping his head to see the braid that he had made on one side of his head to match hers. It looked the same, still tight to the scalp, no unwanted hairs flying out of it. “But I didn’t.” 

He smiled. “Good, your hair is still the same as well.” 

She grabbed Ben’s hand, locking their fingers and pulling him from the balcony toward the noise of laughter and conversation inside.

The first person they saw coming in was Poe. “Enjoying the view? I know we’ve been stationed here a while, but the view is- breathtaking.” 

Rey ignored what he was implying he'd heard and grabbed the drink in his hand, something purple and fizzy, finishing it for him. “Were you watching the door?” 

“Someone had to, with all that noise you were making you were bound to attract unwanted attention.”

Ben shot Rey an I told you so look and she rolled her eyes, shoving the empty glass back into Poe’s hand. “It’s my wedding, Dameron, I’ll do with my husband as I please.” 

“I would drink to that, but...” Poe glanced at his glass, then back at Rey, eyes filled with amusement.

Rey huffed a laugh, then patted her friend’s shoulder. “Thank you,” she said truthfully. 

“Someone had to look out for the wellbeing of the bride and groom.”

Ben wrapped an arm around Rey’s waist and another on Poe’s shoulder, walking along the corridors of the base back to where the celebration was being held. As soon as they reached the party, Rey got pulled from Ben's arms by a slightly intoxicated Kaydel, who offered him a smug triumphant smile and dragged her to the dance floor. 

Rey’s arrival was celebrated, people urging her on, screaming compliments as she danced. 

Rey was grand in every sense of the word. She was capable of great darkness, but she had also become unafraid of her growing light. Rey was constant change but she was also familiarity and comfort. She was bravery, beauty, power, endless potential. Ben loved her so much. 

Ben didn’t even realize he was grinning as he watched her dance, twirling around herself, laughing with their friends, full of life. Rey’s red lips were stretched around her wide smile, her black dress (which was stainless, thankfully) flowing and moving with her, beautiful as she’d always been. 

Then she was looking at Ben, her smile just for him, offering him her hand from far away. Ben took it and joined her, arms lacing around her middle and bringing her toward him. Somewhere in his mind he registered people were looking, but he couldn’t pay them too much attention when Rey was looking up at him like that, chin on his chest, stars in her eyes.

Ben leaned and pressed a kiss to Rey’s forehead, smiling against her skin when a voice in his head reminded him that he was kissing his wife, he was holding his wife.

“What are you smiling about?” 

“It’s my wedding day, am I not allowed to be happy?” 

Rey narrowed her eyes at him before huffing and resting her head against his chest, right over his heart, as they continued their dance. When the song was over Ben felt a tap on his shoulder and turned to see his parents standing right there. 

Ben raised a brow. “You want Rey for a dance, dad?”

Han huffed his amusement. “Of course not, your mother wants you for a dance so I’m gracing Rey with my presence until that’s done.” 

“Would a dance with me be so bad, old man?” Rey teased, a smirk on her lips that could rival his. 

“You know I don’t dance, kid.”

Han offered Rey his arm and she took it after giving Ben a warm look, walking to the side to watch him and Leia dance from a distance. 

Rey would never know what had happened to her own parents and the thought used to anguish her in the past, keep her from sleep, but thankfully the present was brighter.

The pain of what she could have had was still there, but it didn’t take from the comfort of the family she’d found, who were loyal and relentless on their task to be there for her, supporting her regardless of what she’d done in the past. Finn, who had once called her a master but later found his true place as Rey’s best friend. Poe, who had been Rey’s prisoner, but had become her confidant, her companion. Kaydel and Rose, who from the moment Rey joined the Resistance never once doubted her character. Leia and Han, who never held the fact Rey had tried to take their son away from them against her, always helping her on her journey to the light. 

Ben, the man the Force had tied Rey with in its mysterious wisdom, the one whose soul was an extension of her own, that she had chosen to fight by, to protect, to love, as long as they both lived.

The pain of the parents she’d lost would be there forever, but also would be the certainty of the family she’d found, and that was enough for Rey.

“Are you leaving tonight?” Han asked.

“Tomorrow. You know me, no drinking and flying.” 

“So responsible.” Han seemed amused. “Let’s see how that changes now you’re officially a Solo.” 

Rey laughed, happiness bubbling in her chest. She finally had a surname that wasn’t borrowed or inherited by someone she’d never met, she finally had a surname that truly belonged to her. 

Rey Solo. Who would have thought? 

“Give it time, it’s only been a few hours.” 

By the end of the celebration, most people were back in their rooms, sleeping with their stomachs full and their feet bruised from dancing, but there were still the ones that resisted. Poe had made a pun out of it.

Kaydel was still dancing even though there was no more music playing, but they suspected it was because the new girl, Jannah, was dancing with her. Rose and Poe had disappeared, and knowing his friends, he knew exactly what they were doing.

Ben was sitting on the floor, watching Rey and Finn stare deeply into each other’s eyes from a distance, almost holding their breaths. 

Finn blinked. 

“Yes!” Rey screamed, stumbling to her feet. She swayed to the side. “I win!” 

“I call,” Finn hiccuped, “for a rematch!”

Rey sighed, dramatically. Her cheeks were flushed. “Don’t you get tired of losing to me?”

“No. I want another game.” 

“Fine. What game?” 

Finn looked around himself, to the training room which was covered in wedding decorations, weapons shoved to a corner to give way to now mostly empty tables of food. He had an idea. “Battle game!” Finn walked in what he thought to be a straight line to the table behind him and grabbed one of the two objects there. He looked back at Rey with a playful smirk and dangled the shiny object in the air. She raised a single brow. 

“That’s mine.” 

Finn looked down at his own hand, surprised to notice he had grabbed Rey’s lightsaber instead of his own. He glanced back just in time to see his own weapon levitate from between the empty glasses carefully before flying directly into Rey’s hand.

With the polished and familiar sound, the blade shone blue in Rey’s hand, reflecting her playful eyes. 

“Let’s see what Skywalker has been teaching you.” 

Finn was usually responsible with his lightsaber, an elegant weapon from more civilized days, his master had told him, but he was not exactly sober, so he ignited Rey’s weapon and got ready. 

Somewhere in the back of Ben’s mind he was aware that might be a danger to that “game”, but Rey was smiling so wide, Finn was laughing so loud, Ben was so drunk, he decided to just enjoy it. 

Finn and Rey made snarky remarks, jokingly calling each other Supreme Leader and traitor between loud laughter and clashing lightsaber blades. Ben was happy looking at the man and woman he loved so deeply. He couldn't believe that feeling, that love he felt for Rey, had once terrified him in a dream. Weirdly, the dream had looked just like that. 

“You can’t do that! That’s cheating!” Finn said when Rey used the Force to make him lose his balance, then summoned her weapon to her hand and left him to fend for himself.

“Said who?” she asked, swaying the sabers on her sides with surprising dexterity for someone slurring through her words.

“Ben?” 

They both looked at him, expecting an answer. “I mean, you could have done what she did, just-” He flicked his hand and Finn stumbled the other way, nudged by the Force once again.

Finn gasped, outraged, struggling to find his footing. “Stop it!” 

“Rey wins,” Ben announced and the next second she was running toward him, arms wrapping around his neck. She aimed for his lips, but ended up kissing his cheek, his nose and his chin before getting it right.

Their friends cheered, whistling and shouting obscene jokes until Rey and Ben broke apart laughing. 

That night when Rey fell asleep in her lover’s arms, she tried to remember how things were before Ben, before the Resistance, before finally finding her family.

She tried to remember the life she had before, feeling like she didn’t belong to herself, how it felt to not be in control of her emotions, her power, her life. She tried to remember how it felt to not be safe, accepted, respected, loved. 

She couldn’t.