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Masquerade!

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It was impossible to tell, that was the whole point.

The masks, the large capes, the billowing skirts: this was all to hide. So they could find without being known.

So where the hell was she?

Ben knew she was here. He could never explain how, but he always knew when she was near him. However, the swirling fabric of the couples surrounding him seemed specially designed to hide her. His towering form allowed him a mostly unobstructed view of the grand ballroom, but he still couldn’t see her. Surely, her dark clothing and tiny frame would stand out in a brightly colored room such as this? He frantically scanned, but saw nothing.

Then he saw a dark corner flap outside the high window. And he knew.

As nonchalantly as he could, he fought just way to the door leading to the terrace, and saw her leaning against the railing, looking out over the city lights. He turned away, afraid to disturb her.

She would have no official identity, Ben knew. Members of the highest class didn’t have any sort of legal identity at all: being an individual was a lie to detract from the collective good. However, if she had a name, Ben would cut off his own chipped arm to know it.

“Are you going to stand there staring all night?”

The questioned shocked him. The voice had come from her. He straightened his tie reflexively as he walked toward her, and adopted his practiced, haughty air.

“I shall do what I please, madam.”

He turned to find no one.

———

Rey knew it wouldn’t end well.

This cat-and-mouse ballet they were creating, through the throng of whirling skirts and harlequin faces. And yet, it had to be done. She had to lead him away, so he could see her, so he could truly see her.

Rey has watched these masques from the kitchens every day since she was a tiny lass. Maz, her mother, was the head cook of the palace, and Rey had always owned the palace hallways and servant’s areas. However, her greatest dream was coming true tonight: she would truly get to live like the kind leaders she had served all her life.

And she would finally have him.

Ben, sweet and shy Ben, has always been so kind to her. They had spent many evenings as children and young teens talking long into the night about everything and nothing.

Then, King Snoke of Western Exegol had attacked, and Grand Leader Han Solo had died in the battle.

And that was the end of everything Rey had lived her life for.

For that was when she lost Ben.

And now, she would win him back. Even if it was by trickery and deceit. Besides, what else was a masque for?

————

Ben frantically ran toward the voice, so hauntingly beautiful and yet familiar to him. He had to know, he had to find her. His mind was consumed with such determination, that it surprised even himself.

What was this angel doing to him?

Every single inquiry he had sent our about new young women in the sector came up empty, but that didn’t stop him from looking every time. It had been a month-and three masques- since he first saw her, and she had completely overtaken his life. He couldn’t understand it, but there was something about this stranger that had him standing awkwardly in the middle of a crowded dance floor, frantically scanning for a glimpse of this stranger.

He felt a hand around his waist.

His arm reflexively reaches for the waist of his partner, as they spun together to match the spinning dresses around them. His muscles carried him through the motions of the dance around him, while his mind was imploding as her silver mask and shining amber eyes pierced his soul with desire.

HER.

They whirled together, two glimmering sparkles waltzing through the ballroom. No one else was there, only they two. They stared into each other’s souls, and the world faded away.

The music tinkled to a close, and they broke apart with a tearing of hearts.

His angel curtsied low as he bowed mechanically. Then he heard her whisper the one thing he’d most wanted to hear in the world:

“My name is Rey.”