Kylo Ren is at the resistance base.
Not as a prisoner, not as hostage, as a fucking guest, as an ally.
Rey is elbow deep in engine grease, trying to fix a damn X-wing that has seen far better days, as she fumes over recent events.
Apparently, he’d had a change of heart, defected, and come to mommy for help. Now he was here, actively advising the resistance. She could scream. He had such valuable information, the Powers That Be couldn’t just lock him up and throw away the key. Though that’s certainly what she would have done.
“What?” It comes out as a snarl.
“Try to calm yourself,” says Luke in his ever sensible voice. She had been so engrossed in fanning her ire against Kylo Ren she hadn’t noticed his approach or recognized his voice. "You're broadcasting so hard even non-force sensitive individuals are probably ducking for cover."
She takes a deep breath, but the anger doesn’t dissipate.
“I’m sorry, Luke.”
Luke’s gaze is assessing.
“I understand your anger towards him. Don't let it consume you." He pauses and looks away from her, reminiscing, "he was just a boy when he was taken. Snoke-"
"I know, okay. I know.”
She’s heard the stories, knows them well. He'd been taken at the age of fifteen, conditioned much in the same way Finn had. Groomed and brainwashed by a powerful force user. She could empathize with the young Ben Solo but never with Kylo Ren.
“We failed him, Rey. Leia, Han and I."
She doesn't know what to say to her master. Luke's pain is a dull ache that will never heal. Rey hates him even more, for making Luke and Leia carry the burdens of his sins.
"He's fully aware of his sins," Luke tells her.
She’s being an unabashed bitch. Sighing again, she tries to refocus. It might have worked, had Kylo Ren not passed close by, igniting her every nerve ending with undiluted hate. As always, he remains stoic under the glares and animosity she sends his way.
He pretends she doesn’t exist. As if their sabers hadn’t clashed. As if the scar that marked his face hadn’t been placed there by her. As if he hadn’t tried to recruit her, almost begged her to go to him, using the force in a darkly seductive form. As if he can’t sense her, seething and gnashing her teeth at him.
“How else should it be?” Luke questions her curiously.
Rey frowns at him and closes the ship’s hatch with a loud clang. She doesn’t know the answer. It’s a strange situation all around for everybody involved. It must be awkward for Luke too. Still, she’d seen Kylo Ren at least acknowledge his uncle with a nod. Rey received no such courtesy.
Rey had spent a ridiculous amount of time preparing herself to meet him. She’d told herself to be polite if she couldn’t be anything else. She had been nervous those first few days of his arrival, walking through the base expecting to bump into him at any time. When they finally did cross paths he had walked past her as if she didn’t exist.
The insult still stings viciously.
A few days later, unable to sleep, Rey meditates to connect with the force and touches another current altogether. It’s coiled and ready to strike. Pent up with no exit. The energy is familiar. She knows the feel and power of it very well. Kylo Ren is restless.
Curiosity thrums a heavy beat inside her. She slips out of her bed, silently as she can, so as not to wake her sleeping roommate. Taking her staff she lets the force guide her into the wilderness that surrounds the base.
It’s the middle of the night and it's pitch black, but a mile into her journey, she catches sight of a single light in the middle of the woods. She tries to dampen her own force signature which has suddenly spiked with awareness and nerves, and tries to quiet her approach as much as she can.
Rey finds him underneath a lamp that he’s jerry-rigged to a tree, and her inner mechanic winces at the shoddiness of it. A heavy canvas tarp is thrown over the rough terrain as a sort of mat on which he stands barefoot, practicing katas in loose fitting pants and no shirt.
He’s a big man, deceptively slim due to his height and the narrowness of his face. The planes of his back shift and tense as his movements flow from one kata to another. His chest is broad, lightly corded with muscle and shiny with sweat. A trail of hair starts just below his bellybutton and disappears into his low hanging pants.
“Go away little scavenger.”
Rey lets out a breath that she didn’t know she’d been holding. He moves into another form and she notices his bloody knuckles and wonders which tree has suffered his wrath. Instead of heeding his words Rey walks further into the clearing to stand at the very edge of the tarp, facing him to study his movements.
“What type of form is that?" She asks before she can stop herself. Luke has told her about other force users, other arts. He has shown her holograms and vids but she can't actually remember the particular type he's practicing.
He abandons his posture and stalks toward her.
Rey holds her ground, though she wonders if he can hear her heart beating.
“Leave me,” he says through gritted teeth. He bends slightly, his eyes locking menacingly on hers.
He’s agitated and barely hanging on. So much power barely contained in his large body. He’s practically vibrating with the need to release it. Rey raises her chin in defiance, she wasn't scared of him anymore. Besides, she'd knocked him on his ass when she had been untrained and terrified, no doubt she would fare better this time around.
He chuckles, a dark and humorless sound. "You'd like to think so."
She raises her staff and pushes at his chest. He steps back lightly on his feet, smirking at her. Rey's own energy is crackling wildly. Meditation has never suited her. She's much more accustomed to physicality. So with a matching smirk she plants her feet wide and prepares for a fight.
He circles around her, cold and calculating, making her feel like prey. Raising her staff in defense she prepares for his attack. When it comes it’s relentless and focused. Her bones jar at every blow she blocks. Gritting her teeth, she parries when she sees an opening, but he catches her staff in both his hands.
"You wouldn't last a minute against a Knight of Ren," he taunts.
"I seem to recall that I did just fine against their leader," she says proudly, hands gripping her staff tightly trying to reclaim it.
"I was trying not to harm you. If you recall I was trying to recruit you. I couldn’t do that if I killed you while you slashed around wildly. You were more likely to sever your own limbs that cause me any harm."
"That pretty scar on your face says otherwise."
Still struggling to recover her weapon from him, she's shocked as the staff goes flying out of her hands. Holding it at arm’s length he gazes upon it with obvious distaste. He drops it gracelessly on the tarp. "I was also injured."
She snorts at his excuses. For that is what they are. Some of what he is saying is true, but it doesn't deter her. She'd beat him. An untrained scavenger from a junk planet, who hadn't even known the force had existed, had beaten Kylo Ren.
But the pride dies instantly as he surges forward. She's instantly pressed against a tree, the bark digging uncomfortably against the front of her body. He’s got his hand on her throat and the other one twisting her arm behind her back. The grasp is forceful, but not painful. It is only meant to show how easily he could have overpowered her.
"Do not make the mistake of believing that you can best me, or any Knight of Ren at our full strength."
She struggles against him, reaching out to the force, but his energy comes down hard and heavy to keep her prone. "You've gotten better," he says. "But still not good enough."
She struggles angrily to him to push him away. Gasping, she stills instantly at the feel of him hard against her back.
"You can't possibly be this naïve," he tells her. He lets her go only to spin her around to face him. His hand remains at her throat, and her pulse batters a quick beat against it. "You must have felt how much I wanted to fuck you.”
To her utter mortification she feels her cheeks reddening. He's still there, against her stomach, burning her. She's not naïve, nor innocent, but his level of lewdness is not something she's had directed at her. Finn has always been gentle and kind, loving.
"Go back to your toy soldier then," he says mockingly.
"Go," he says again, and she realizes that he's no longer holding onto her.
She steps away angrily from him. Her face is still burning when he calls out to her.
"Scavenger," She turns back as he's throwing her staff toward her. Rey catches it deftly despite her jittery hands.
"Don't come back."
Nothing changes between them. Even though she hadn’t expected it to, the manner in which he continues to ignore her presence still rubs the wrong way. Especially, when she's so very aware of him . Everyone is connected to the force, Luke tells her, but it's his tragic mien that she detects the most.
She can't link to the force without bumping into his signature energy. Luke tries to teach her focus, tries to meditate with her to show her the way. But it's no use. It's always there, lingering ominously in her periphery, denser and more solid ever since their encounter.
Curious about the fighting technique he had been practicing, Rey spent the last few days researching martial arts during her free time. Today, she finally finds it. It’s a form of fighting developed by the Echani people. It's a form of combat that abandons all sorts of weapons, armor or reliance on the Force. The Echani culture believed that this form of fighting was a pure form of expression were words no longer mattered. The technique was highly ritualistic and controlled. Ill-suited for his frantic energy, Rey thinks as she reads further on her datapad.
A sudden spike in the force and then a flickering has her scrambling out of her bed and running toward the base's command center. It's the General, she's... she had faded for a moment. The ripples through the force are still coursing through her body. If she felt it, then her son must have too.
She sees him running toward the base, a dark stain against the beige background. He doesn't spare a glance at her- though this time she doesn't take offense- as his long legs eat up the distance at a faster pace than hers.
She is panting when she reaches the command center. The General is sitting down, a medical droid is taking her vitals as the people under her command surround her, shrouded in worried silence.
"I'm fine," she says, but her voice sounds weak and tired. The general makes to stand, but her legs fail and if it were not for her son she would have crumpled to the ground. She looks up at him gratefully, but shakes her head. It will not do for her people to see her in such a frail state.
He doesn't care, and gently, so very gently he picks her up and takes her away.
"Back to your stations," Major Ematt bellows to the group of stunned soldiers.
Rey walks back to her barracks, amazed that he could be gentle. That those massive hands of his could be used to cradle instead of choke. She understands it now, the reason for his defection from the First Order. The General, his mother, is fading away slowly.
Another night kept awake. Rey still hasn’t grown used to the warm humid weather at the base, so different than the cool desert nights in Jakku. Her bunkmate, Jessica, slumbers peacefully above her, making Rey even more desperate to sleep. Sitting up, she strikes a meditative pose and is instantly smacked with the feel of his desperate energy.
Now she won't be able to sleep for sure.
She scowls in the darkness. Huffing, she dresses quickly and heads toward the woods, this time leaving her staff behind. The moon is full and high, making the path easier to traverse than the previous time.
"I told you to keep away, little scavenger," he calls out as she steps into his clearing.
"Perhaps you should chain down that energy, give force sensitive individuals some peace."
He smirks at her as he rotates his bare shoulders and neck. "Not my fault if you seek me.You can only find me if you’re looking."
It strikes a chord within her. Hadn't Luke taught her something similar? But she can't block him. She’s not entirely sure she wants to. She's always been curious. Ever since he took off his helmet and showed her his face. A young face, determinedly cold, with eyes that burned harshly.
"Where's your stick?"
Rey grits her teeth at his jeering tone. His hair is limp with sweat and his hands are beaten bloody again. He stands shirtless before her again, no shoes, no weapons or armor, but he's cloaked in impenetrable self-loathing and hate. Rey wonders what lies beneath.
He bears her no malice, his intent toward her, despite their previous encounters had never been to harm, only to possess. He wants her in a way she doesn’t grasp. It’s such a foreign concept to be wanted like that. Her life in Jakku was testament of how much she wasn’t wanted.
With Finn she had first begun to feel loved, desired, valued. They had taught themselves to trust with shy kisses and wandering nervous hands. Finn loved her deeply, but their bond had been bred out of comfort and friendship, not want.
Others at the base had shown interest in her, their want a flimsy superficial thing that meant absolutely nothing to her. Kylo Ren’s want was different, sharp and often cloying, seeping into her bones no matter how much she tried to push it away.
Ever since he had arrived on base he had tried to dampen than want. Ignoring her presence, blocking her, depriving her from the intoxicating burn of his hunger. It comes as a shock that she wants it back.
"Teach me," she says impulsively, motioning to his stance.
It throws him off balance and she mentally cheers at her victory of changing his face from it’s usual state of stoniness to utter confusion, if even for a second.
He stands to his full height and stares down at her. Or tries to. She frowns back with equal vigor.
"You already have a teacher."
"Not in Echani martial arts."
"Scavenger-" but whatever he is going to say is interrupted by an array of punches directed at his face.
"Fuck," he curses loudly, dodging her fists. She kicks at his feet and he falls to one knee.
Exhilarated, Rey laughs as she feels him gearing up. He stands slowly, measuring. His eyes black orbs, flashing dangerously. She dances away from him, psyched and ready for him, imitating a fighting stance that she has seen on vids.
"Horrible form," he comments, eyes traveling from her feet to her face.
"Pfft, you're one to talk. You fight with no control, arms flinging wildly."
He blinks at her and frowns, mostly likely at her childish expression of dismissal rather than her mild insult .
"Come on," she goads him, "Shadows and trees don't make challenging opponents."
"They're certainly quieter."
"But a lot more boring."
"There is that," he says. His jaw flexes once, twice, and then releases a deep sigh. "Plant your feet wider, and try not to look so damn pleased. This isn't play time," he barks at her.
Their meetings are unscheduled and left to either of their moods.Usually, they meet at least once a week. Their timing depends on Jessica's sleep schedule and whatever time frame he's on. It could be smack in the middle of the night, or shortly after dusk.
Tonight she feels him early on, but can't go to him until she finishes her shift at the hangar. She makes her way easily to him, not needing to lock on to him for guidance but doing it regardless.
He's already started when she arrives. It's the norm. The bloody hands too. She doesn't comment on them, but she’s wondered about them countless times. He's not a talker- big shocker- so Rey fills the oftentimes uncomfortable silence with idle chatter, while he looks at her with imperial disdain.
Rey leans against a tree, following the strange grace he has as he finishes up his katas. He hasn't said or done anything like he did that first night. He was trying to scare her, she realizes, to keep her at bay. There's an undercurrent that's easily discernible. She's always felt it. Though it's not lust as he claims, not nearly as base as he wants her to believe. It's desire, a fascination toward her that makes her both uncomfortable and- yes, she must admit- curious.
Curious enough to come back night after night. For weeks now. Hand to hand combat had been a necessity and she picks up the art form quickly. He's not teaching her so much as sparring with her. He never intentionally harms her, though he could be less diplomatic than Luke in his criticisms. She had expected him to be harsh , but his blows, if they land, are more of a warning than anything else.
He beckons her with a motion of his chin.
"Well, hello to you too," Rey chirps at him.
He doesn't bat an eye. He still refuses to acknowledge her in public. She doesn't mind that much anymore. She doesn't understand it, but has sensed more than once that he would rather have her hate him. Her curiosity makes him feel ill at ease.
She steps forward, her blood already sizzling, looking forward to the fight. It's close quarters, no force, no weapons, and though he's bigger and stronger, she's quicker and more agile. Rather evenly matched, she thinks as he strikes first.
She dodges easily. She's become quite familiar with his offensive fighting style. Echani martial art’s premise is to observe and anticipate your opponent's moves. So she spends a lot of time assessing, gauging for tells in the form of flexing muscles and darting eyes.
"When are you going to fix that light?" she asks as she dodges another fist.
"Keep that defense strategy up, Scavenger, and I'll go back to the trees."
It's a threat he throws often but never fulfills.
"You wouldn't. You'd miss my eloquent conversation skills."
There, a slight jutting of his brow, confusion-and dare she hope-amusement? Irrevocably damaged, she wonders how much of him even remembers proper social behavior.
"Blathering on about Jessica, the ineptitude of certain pilots, and how much you hate meditation, is not a skill, it's a nuisance." They circle each other warily. He has learned that she's sneaky, keeping low, loosing ground, waiting patiently. She's learned that he likes to toy, to play, to keep her on her toes, primed and always anticipating his next attack.
"Ahh, you've been listening," Rey responds, unable to the prevent herself from teasing him. He makes it too easy. "How sweet."
He squints slightly in annoyance and momentarily drops his guard. Seeing an opening she brings her knee up to his groin. He catches her knee just as it's about to connect and pushes her back. Rey lets the momentum take her down. She stays down, laughing.
He'd looked so indignant. Granted, that wasn't a standard move. But, she's a scavenger at heart, a scrapper that uses every advantage she can get. He's staring at her, his annoyance more evident now, but he doesn't say anything. He merely gazes at her until his annoyance transforms into something else, something softer.
The laughter dies as she stares back into his dark eyes. His hair hangs over his face, longer now, and his lips, stiff full lips, remain in a firm line. But she can feel him and it's not altogether unpleasant. A tug low in her belly catches her by surprise.
"We're finished for tonight."
He turns back ignoring her protest. He'll remain here as she walks back to her barracks. It's a mystery if he sleeps at all.
"Goodnight," she says watching him settle down for meditation.
Her back is already turned when she hears a soft, "’Night."
Smiling she turns back. He's ignoring her again, his words blown away. But she uses the opportunity to study him without being hindered by the intensity of his eyes. The tug grows stronger as her eyes focus on his face, from the scar that should be ugly but she finds inexplicably compelling. Perhaps, because it’s her scar, her mark on him.
Shifting lower to the flat of his abdomen, to the tantalizing trail of hair that-
"You do realize I can feel you?" His eyes are still closed and his tone borders on boredom, but he swallows hard, his throat bobbing enticingly in his unease.
"What is it that you feel?"
Rey really wants to know. She wants to know so badly. All this time spent alone with him, and she's barely scratched the surface.
His eyes open to stare almost angrily at her.
Last night's sparring was a bitch, she thinks as she stretches her arms over her head, flexing her stiff muscles. It's a good sort of pain, deeply satisfying and earned. Also, she hasn't had a sleepless night since they started the whole thing. She drops dead every night as soon as she hits the pillow.
"That face of yours can only mean one thing; looks like you've been getting laid regularly," Jessica says approaching her at the hangar. It's her ship that Rey has been working on for the past hour.
"No, no,'" Rey stutters.
Jessica laughs, a deep, throaty sound that instantly draws a smile from Rey. "Don't worry. I won't tell," she says in a secretive voice. "But who is it? Is it Finn again?"
"Jessica," Rey tries to dampen the X-wing pilot’s enthusiasm. The other girl is friendly and kind, eager to share things ranging from what product to use on hair to the maneuverability of different resistance starships. It's a new experience for Rey, that of having a girlfriend. It’s actually quite daunting. "I haven't. It's not that, okay?"
The other girl looks at her intensely.
"But it's a boy?"
Technically she wouldn't call him a boy.Wasn't he in his thirties? Though judging by some of the male pilots, who were definitely in their thirties, age really wasn't a good indicator of male maturity.
"I knew it!" Jessica almost shrieks."Tell me, tell me, tell me!"
Rey laughs at Jessica’s rapt, interested face. The other girl joins in and the peals of laughter makes other people at the hangar turn their attention to them. It makes her laugh harder, and there's such joy in having a friend. A female that understands the tribulations of periods and the bane of having to squat when peeing in the fucking middle of nowhere with absolutely no cover, and a variety of other issues that neither Finn, Poe nor Chewbacca would ever even think about.
She catches a glimpse of him in the hangar, and to her surprise, he's staring right at her. The laughter dies in her throat. The moment is gone so fast she thinks she imagined it.
He passes by her as he always does, eyes straight, determinably ignoring her.
"Hmmm," Jessica says following him with her eyes. "If he wasn't such a damn evil prick I'd-"
She raises her eyebrows suggestively. "You know what they say about men with big feet-" she singsongs. "and big hands. and big noses."
Rey buries her face back into the guts of the X-wing. She doesn't want to think about that. She doesn't. She absolutely does not. "You still think he's evil?"
Jessica shrugs, "you can't just wipe away all that sin."
She feels the weight of that sin when they spar. No, he'll never be free of his misdeeds. No one ever is. But is he evil? Was he truly evil? She doesn't want to minimize his actions, his crimes, but being Snoke's puppet from an early age was bound to fuck anyone up.
He'd found the strength to leave, to betray his master. She’d often wondered about what the defining moment had been for him. Finn told her how he broke through the haze of the First Order conditioning. It couldn't have been easy, having to strip down the very identity that had been constructed for him.
There's darkness in him, no doubt, a hatred and violence he struggles with. But there's light in him too. The general had been right all along. She knows. She felt it too. Has always felt it.
She had thought it was a weakness, seeing the man behind the mask, behind the monster. She wanted to hate him completely, had wanted that light to flicker out once and for all so she wouldn't feel so damn conflicted. But it’s different now, and the light in him calls out to her more than ever.
"Anyway, I'm not talking about the contents, merely admiring the packaging," Jessica says, her eyebrows wagging knowingly. "I'd muss all that pretty hair-"
Rey stops listening. His appearance never having been a focal point for her, she's shocked at the realization that others might find him attractive. Not because she thinks him unappealing, but simply because his stony looks and gruff manner belong only to her. As do the width of his bare shoulders, his aquiline nose, his bloody beaten hands and the sadness in his eyes that he tries to hide with glares and snide remarks. They're all hers.
Dread starts pooling inside of her, a possessiveness she’ never experienced before blooms ugly and dark. Faceless women appear before her, taking his mouth and his dark hair in their hands. It surprises her how much it hurts, just the thought of it.
"Rather unfocused tonight, Scavenger."
"Sorry," she says. "Got a lot on my mind."
He lunges for her, but she predicts his move and slides away easily.
"Better," he says, nodding at her in acknowledgment.
A smile starts to form on her face and blooms into a wide grin. He makes an expression of disdain at her exuberance. "Must you?"
"I must," she says grinning wider for his benefit, relishing the deep sigh of resignation that he expels at having such an... what had he called her? Ewok for a pupil.
She uses his staged exasperation as an opportunity to try to slam her palm into his face. He doesn't block it as she had expected and either she's getting really good, or he is the one that's unfocused tonight. "Shit. oh, shit. I'm sorry. Shit."
Rey disregards the arm that gestures for her to keep away. She bats his hands away to gaze at his face. It'll bruise. Badly. "I'm so sorry."
"It's not nothing."
But he pushes the hands that are carefully assessing the damage they have caused away from his face. "Don't lose focus."
Rebuffed, she stands with hands still in the air. She lowers them slowly. "Just a minute, won't you allow yourself at least that?"
"I don't know what you mean," he says imperially.
His mulishness is evident in his stance, in the tensing of his shoulders. His lips are pursed tightly. "Little scavenger," he rasps out, "I've been patient so far, tolerating your clumsy attempts, but this fawning over an insignificant injury caused by a lucky strike on your part just demonstrates how unsuited you are-"
Rey takes a deep breath. "Stop talking, right now. It's you who's freaking about a sliver of intimacy." She can feel him, emotions roiling, wanting to lash out.
Frustrated beyond reason, a sound slips out of her, a deep heavy sound low in her chest, before charging at him. His eyes widen in surprise but there's no time to brace his body as she tackles him at the waist to bring him to the ground. He falls back with a heavy oomph as she knocks the wind out of him.
"Fuck," he's cursing at her, enraged. "What the fuck kind of technique is that!?"
"My name is Rey," she says above him. Her body firmly settled against his. Using the force she keeps him down, pinning his arms as best she can with both of hers, as he struggles to center himself.
"It's Rey," she repeats.
"I know what your name is," he says, stilling beneath her. "Do you know mine?"
She's never used his name, either one, always avoided calling out to him directly. Obviously, it hasn't escaped his notice. "I know it," she whispers.
"You'd be wrong."
He pushes against her, but she holds him with a steel she hadn't known she possessed. She looks down at him, gazing at the features of his face, taking them in one by one. He fidgets visibly under her scrutiny. Rey lowers herself, bending at the waist, so close their breaths mingle. He looks away and manages to sit up a little, making her hips slide down his body. He swallows hard but doesn't apologize for the obvious bulge pressing against her.
She presses down more firmly, swivels her hips experimentally. He makes another go at freedom but she pushes him flat on his back. It's an awkward position, him being so damn tall. "Jessica was talking about you the other day. She was saying..." she clears her throat. "It made me think of other girls, other girls..."
"You've got me pinned down with my cock between your legs, is this really the time for coyness?"
"Do you give to them what you feel for me?"
His response is instantaneous. He surges beneath her, knocking her completely off. "Lust. Irrational to say the least, but nothing more than a bodily urge, little scavenger." He goes to where he’s left his belongings, picking up his discarded shirt.
"Is that all?"
"Yes," he says, angrily pushing his arms through his shirt, readying to leave her.
"And if I were to sate my lust with another?"
His hands slow as he pulls the shirt down over his head. "It's your prerogative."
Rey nods. "You'd do nothing but brood, wouldn't you? You'd watch me but pretend you don't. Say nothing at the sight of me kissing and-"
"Oh, am I? Then let's get on with it. I'm willing."
He takes a step back at her words. Then he takes another one and another. Oh, he’s running scared. His façade of indifference slowly melting.
She gets up from where he had left her. "I know. I see it. I see you. You want more than that from me. You always have. You want to hold my hand, and kiss me good morning, and teach me everything you know, you want to see flourish, see me strong. What you want from me is sweeter and much more intimate than simple lust.”
He remains silent and distant.
"What scares you more? That I would refuse you or that I won't?"
"This ends tonight. I won't be coming back."
Rey takes a deep breath, centering herself, avoiding a certain vein in the force, to reach some kind of meditative state that Luke assures her she's capable of achieving. Jessica is a distraction, primping in the bathroom as she prepares for a night out.
Jessica is very perceptive. It's not the first time Rey has questioned whether she's force sensitive. The pilot denies any abilities having to do with the force, but Rey has her doubts.
"Nothing is wrong. Just trying to meditate."
"You've been trying to meditate for months. Morning, noon and night," Jessica comes out of the bathroom to peer down at her. "Did you break up with your secret boyfriend?"
Rey clenches her teeth. It's uncanny, really. She has to tell Luke about it, because the girl has potential. Not that he was her boyfriend, but the gist is there.
"I'm your friend, silly. I know you."
Rolling her eyes, Jessica sits down next to her. "I've seen that face before. It's called 'my guy did something really dumb and I'm not going to put up with that shit anymore.' Or 'my guy is so fucking stupid but he's still my guy,' not really sure what vibe I'm getting from you yet. Give me time."
It makes her laugh, Jessica always manages to make her laugh. "Neither. He's my guy. He's the one that's not sure if I'm his girl."
"He's an idiot then," she says patting her leg affectionately. "Let's go out tonight. I'll take your mind off that dumb fuck you call your guy."
“I can’t. Luke has me starting early tomorrow, and I want to make sure the Falcon is up to snuff before our mission in a few days.”
Nobody stands a chance against Jessica, and half an hour later they’re making their way to the base’s cantina. Jessica keeps a steady chatter that has Rey giggling in outrageous disbelief. Poe joins them soon after, swinging an arm over Jessica’s shoulder.
“Hey there, ladies!”
Jessica disengages, rolling her eyes at the flirtatious pilot. Poe turns to Rey next and she puts up her arms in defense, though the gesture is spoiled by her snickers.
“Leave the girl alone.”
“Ah, why should I?”
“Cuz, you’re a man-whore and she deserves better.”
“Don’t be jealous, Jess. There’s enough Poe to go around. ” Poe cajoles, once again vying for his colleagues’ attention.
Rey backs away from their interaction with a smiling face. Those two could go on forever. “I’ll wait for you-“
She senses him and she turns away from her friends to search for his form. He comes around the corner, too far for her to distinguish his features. But she feels him gazing right at her. Jessica bumps into her to get her moving. Rey watches him walk away, ignoring the laughing Jessica and Poe’s blatant attempts at flirting.
“Oh, shit. He’s your idiot?” Jessica asks as she turns to look at what is holding Rey’s attention.
“Who’s an idiot?” Poe asks, his handsome face furrowing in confusion.
“You,” Jessica snaps back.
“Yeah. He’s my idiot.”
“Oh, honey.” That’s all Jessica says. But it’s all she needs. There’s no judgment there, only empathy. She gives Rey a hug. “It’ll be ok.”
“What is going on?” Poe says, looking from Jessica to Rey.
“Nothing you’d understand,” Jessica tells the puzzled pilot, patting his check condescendingly.
Rey shakes her head at their antics. Definitely better than being back at the barracks trying not to think about him.
She doesn’t stay in the cantina long, leaving with Finn who also has an early morning. He walks her to her barracks, but instead of turning in for the night she grabs her tool kit and wanders out into the night.
The tarp is still there as is the light hanging sadly of a tree. She sets to work on the light, wiring it properly. Idiot, idiot, idiot, idiot she thinks as she screws the thing in, as it should have been from the beginning. She’s not entirely sure if she’s calling him an idiot or herself.
It’s only been a week. A short week. But she misses him beyond belief. She misses their sparring sessions and the faces he makes when he finds something that offends his sensibilities. She misses the dry comments and stony deliverance. She misses sensing his thoughts and foreseeing his moves. Feeling the force inside of him, the light in him, the way his want for her permeates his every action. Mostly, she just misses him.
Her breath catches when her senses once again get a hold of him. He steps through the trees to stand awkwardly before her. He’s not dressed for training, which makes her thinks coming here was nothing more than an impulse. He opens his mouth and then closes it with a snap.
“I thought you weren’t coming back here anymore.”
“I lied.” Uncharacteristically, he shoves his hand through his thick hair nervously. The bruise she had left on his face is fading now. “I’ve been here every night.”
Waiting for you.
He looks a little lost, so unlike the arrogant man he pretends to be. She half expects him to start shuffling his feet. Realizing that he has no clue how to proceed, she takes pity on him, and opens her arms. “Come here.”
He does so with surprising speed, picking her up so that her feet are left hanging and their faces are even. She wraps her arms around his shoulders eagerly. She kisses him first, and he responds with a tenderness that doesn't shock her at all.
Setting her down, he looks at her. She’s smiling up at him. “Must you?”
“I must. Really really must.”
The corner of his lip twitches. Too tempting to resist she dives in for a kiss and takes a nip of that plump bottom lip.
“You’re out of your mind, do you realize that? I’m barely tolerated here, and Finn and Poe, how do you think they’re going-“
“We’ll figure it out. Jessica knows. She’s fine with it.”
“I didn’t torture or almost kill Jessica,” he says, bending down to touch his forehead to hers.
Rey nods, “True. Very true, very complicated. But can we, you know, worry about this some other time? I’m not really interested in discussing my relationships with people you’ve harmed at this very moment. It puts a damper on the whole kissing thing.”
He gives her that look, the one that tells her he finds her odd but endearing which confuses the hell out of him. He kisses her again, softly. Once, twice
"Yes, Much. But don’t stop, Ben."
Oh crap. It's the first time she's called him by his name. He draws back and looks at her, thrown by the name she's called him. She senses his mixed emotions. A part of him is pleased and another doesn't think that name belongs to him anymore. "This is going to be a strange relationship if I can't call you by name. I mean, can you imagine? ‘Don't stop, You.’" She wrinkles her nose as his emotions continue to boil. "I'm not really a fan of the Kylo Ren. Too pretentious. Isn't it a title? That's just weird. But I guess if you're into that..."
Her blabbering stops as he lets out a disbelieving chuckle. He's looking at her as if she's the center of the galaxy. It makes her cheeks redden and the warmth that he's suddenly projecting spreads throughout her very soul. "What?" she asks self-consciously.
"You make me feel like Ben."
"I never met Ben. I know nothing of Kylo Ren except that he was a terrifying enigma with a light that couldn't be extinguished. He's gone now. But I do know you, whatever your name is."
"Ben," he affirms.
"Ben," she repeats with a smile.
He buries his face in her neck, breathes her in. She's swallowed by the intensity of his feelings. Has anyone ever felt like this for her? No , she thinks, not even Finn . In all honesty it scares her as much as it thrills her. The devastation that he could cause too horrible to even contemplate.
"I'll won't leave you, Rey. Never."
He seals the promise with sweet kisses on her neck and jaw. Her pulse jumps when he nips a spot right below her ear. He soothes the light sting with his tongue as his hands sneaks below her tunic to the bare skin of her back and bring her flush against him. She pulls him up by his thick hair and then locks her arms around his neck. "Kisses. Now."
She's on the tip of her toes, he's bending low, but somehow it’s perfect. He indulges her, and kisses her thoroughly, leaving her breathless and panting as he lowers his mouth to her neck again. His mouth traces a path to the swells of her breasts.
He wants to be considerate, only skimming his lips at the neckline of her tunic, but he wants her so much. The knowledge is a heady drug to her senses. It makes her head spin. She squirms against him, wanting more, much more. Kisses won’t even begin to fill the need in both of them. With her heart thundering loudly, she helps him along by taking his large hand and slipping it under her top to palm her breast.
Somehow she ends up backed up against a tree, she doesn't really care how, is only dimly aware of it as he thumbs her nipple. His hand travels lower, to the waistband of her pants. He dips in slowly gauging her reaction. Rey cants her hips up. The smirk he graces her with is absolutely wicked, and should not, but definitely does, make her tingle all over.
The smirk is replaced with a tortured grimace and a sound that sounds almost like a grunt when he slides into her folds to find her deliciously wet for him. "I've wanted you like this for so long," he says. To her disappointment his hand doesn't linger. "Shh," he says when a sound of distress escapes her throat. "I'll take care of you."
Grabbing the hem of her shirt he pulls it up over her head,and does the same to the scrap of material covering her breasts. Her hands dig into his hair when his mouth greedily attaches to her nipple. He goes to his knees before her, pulling down her bottoms and shoes with a patience that belies the urgency she knows he feels. His mouth drops lower to lick and kiss at the underside of her breasts, lower to the plane of her stomach and lower still to the juncture of her thighs.
"Oh," she gasps, when she feels the swipe of his tongue. "That's, t-t-that's new."
A puff of air brushes against her and she knows its amusement at her expense. His second laugh of the night. The snappy remark that had been at the tip of her tongue dies a quick death as he delves back in. He laves at her reverently, taking his time exploring her, learning her movements and the sounds that she makes when he laps just so.
Gently he picks her leg to place around his shoulder, opening her up further. A single digit enters her smoothly and she rises on her toes, tipping her hips against his mouth, her fingers clenching and unclenching against his hair. Another finger enters her as he sucks gently on her clit.
Her head falls back against the tree, she looks above to the starry night but can’t see a single star as her climax washes over her in deep heavy waves. He coaxes her through it, cupping her, a bit possessively, she thinks idly, letting all her weight fall onto him.
Waiting until he senses that her bones no longer feel so much like goo he turns her around placing her hands against the trunk of the tree. "You've done this before?" He sounds strained, and if it weren't for gooiness factor of her still trembling bones she would have certainly taken pride in causing it.
"I have. More than once," she tells him. Her hands slip down the rough bark but he catches and props her up with use of the force.
"More than once?" There it is again, that edge of his voice that is lined with something akin to playfulness. "Aren't you the expert?"
She lets herself fall completely limp, knowing he'll support her effortlessly.
"Don't be so sure," he tells her, "I'm rather short on control at the moment."
She listens as he removes his clothing, her heart ramping up at the sound of his belt hitting the ground. He kisses the back of her neck, repositioning her hips to his liking.
Her heavy lidded eyes snap wide open as he slides in to the hilt. She's full to the brim, it's more than physical, it is an all encompassing sensation that can't be described, can't be quantified. "Ben," she strangles out.
"I know. I feel it too," he says, sliding out, thrusting back in with a gentleness that she doesn't need, doesn't want.
"Ben." It's hard to form words, thoughts even, when he fits inside of her so exquisitely. She senses his restraint, that frantic craving that he's trying to rein in. "I can take whatever you have to give me. Please, I want you just as badly. Please."
He slams a little harder, a little deeper. Rey moans and pushes back, needing more. Taking a hold of her waist he bears down firmly. Everything narrows to the feel of him inside of her, the noises their bodies make and the grunts deep in his chest.
One of his hands clutches at hers, bringing it between their bodies where they are joined. Her fingers twitch at the sensation of his cock slipping between her fingers as he thrusts inside of her. His large hand is covering hers, guiding and doing wicked wicked things. It's a flash this time, quick and gritty and hard, and she can feel him coming inside of her causing more tremors, more unbelievable sensations.
They end up on the floor of the canvas tarp, naked and at least for her, mind completely blown. They're shoulder to shoulder, catching their breath and looking at the stars through the canopy of the forest. "Holy fuck," the words come out in wonder.
"I emphatically concur," he deadpans.
A snort comes up before she can push it back in. He's really quite adorkable.
"I don't want to know what that means," he tells her.
She turns on her side to slide the strands of hair that are covering his face. "You should really think about putting your hair up," she says. "Having all that hair flying around when we spar is too much of a distraction."
"It doesn't bother me."
"I meant for me."
She could almost swear that he blushes. But he clears his throat and goes back to looking at the sky. A-dork-a-ble.
"Ben?" she asks a while later, when he's almost dozing off.
"Why did you wait for me to come here? It's not like I've taken the trouble to hide my feelings from you."
With a resigned sigh he turns to looks at her steadily, as if he knew the peace he felt wouldn't last for long. She feels a bit guilty for drawing him out of it.
"You were obvious sometimes, yes. Confused mostly. And feeling something isn't necessarily enough to act on it. My parents, they loved each other but chose to be apart." He pauses. "I didn't want to force you into anything. I wanted to make sure you thought things through carefully. I wouldn't have blamed you if you never came back."
"What do you mean?"
"The reality of the situation is that this is a shit idea. If I were a better man I'd let you go. If I were stronger I'd have stayed away. I tried to keep away. But I’m-" he starts but is unable to finish. He laughs self-deprecatingly.
"I know the reality of the situation. You and Finn look at me like I survived alone in Jakku by batting my eyelashes and smiling prettily. I assure you that wasn't the case," she says testily.
"I never meant to imply otherwise."
"But you do. You think I'll run away screaming at the first sign of trouble." She pokes a finger on his chest. " I'll also remind you that it was me who couldn't stay away. You’ve deluded yourself into thinking that I don't even realize the path I've chosen. How rough it may get.”
"I think you're young-"
He blinks at her. "Point made."
She laughs burying her face against his chest. "You're being difficult for no reason. You've already promised you’d never leave."
"It was the lust talking," he tells her wryly, but ruins the effect by bringing an arm up to rest against her naked back.
The light is barely shining through the canopy of the forest when she wakens with the feel of his hands on her. He's kissing her shoulder, his hand working between her legs. "Best way to wake up. Ever."
"No," he disagrees, positioning his large body between the thighs she spreads eagerly for him. "Best way to wake up is by having your naked body all over mine."
He shoves in and her feet come to points on the ground. His large hand cups her bottom to lift her up as he thrusts. He takes his time. It's languorous sleepy loving that has her floating somewhere in the atmosphere before she really knows what's hit her.
When she floats back down, she's lying atop him, still joined, his heart beating a soft rhythm on her cheek. She smiles in deep satisfaction and starts to lull back to sleep.
"Rey, we have to go."
But she's so comfortable.
"It's morning. Late morning."
"Ugh," is all she can manage. She starts getting dressed sleepily. Yawning loudly, she looks bleary eyed at an already fully put together Ben Solo. Except for the hair, the hair is utter chaos. She ties her own tangled locks in one ponytail.
"Not yet," she says going over to where he waits for her.
She tunnels her fingers through his hair, trying to brush the tangles out. He picks her up, his arms just under butt, to allow her better access. Smiling she continues her task.
A throat is cleared loudly.
Ben drops her immediately. She winces, knowing who it is. She missed their training session at first light. Worried, he’d come looking for her.
Rey tries to act normal as she turns to face him. "Luke, hi. We were just, ah, practicing Echani martial arts," she says blurting the first thing that comes to mind.
Luke raises a sardonic eyebrow at the same time Ben tries to choke down a laugh.
"Not a form I'm familiar with," Luke says drily.
Ben's laughter comes in full force, a sharp bark of amusement. It she wasn't so embarrassed at having her mentor find her in a compromising situation, forgetting their training session and being completely unaware of his approaching presence, she might have taken the time to appreciate the sound of the first real laugh she's heard out of him.
Ben nods at Luke with a slight gesture of his chin and walks away. Just like that.
Rey grits her teeth and glares at his back, and finds nothing but amusement at her predicament.
"I'm going to pretend I witnessed nothing," Luke says, already walking away further into the woods.
Rey runs after Ben, catching up to his loping gait quickly enough. "I hate you."
"I hate you more," he tells her, his eyes filled with mirth.
"Why didn't you tell me he was coming?"
He shrugs. "I was testing your skills."
Rey gazes at him suspiciously. "You didn't notice him either!"
"Of course I did," he looks indignant, but he can't lie to her.
A smile spreads widely on her face.
"I wouldn't be smiling. A lapse like that could get us killed."
"I guess we'll have to limit ourselves to not to making love in the middle of a battle."
"I'll try to restrain myself," he tells her. "But the sight of you wielding a lightsaber might be my undoing."
"Look at you cracking jokes. Getting laid suits you."
They reach the threshold of the base. He stops abruptly. Before he can say anything Rey takes a hold of his hand and pulls him forward, leading him physically onto the base. He grumbles all the way but doesn't release her hand. And at the entrance of her barracks he pecks her lips without prompting.
A/N: Writing a non-agnst reylo fic is super hard.... tried my hardest.
For all the super fans out there, really sorry if I messed up the Echani martial arts form. I don’t know much about it except for a slight perusal on wookiepedia.
Title is a Norah Jones song title
A great many thanks for tovlerone who beta'd the my fic. :) Any mistakes found are mine, because I'm an impatient little thing that made changes but couldn't wait to post.