Weeks had passed since Crait, Rey had thrown herself into whatever she could helping get the Resistance into some sort of stable state. She refused to use the Force, meditate, or rest, but her energy reserves were running very thin, and everyone knew. "Rey.." Leia called gently behind her as she helped Finn repair some of the systems in the base they had taken refuge in. She closed her eyes and let out a quiet sigh. She knew where this was going. Leia was Force sensitive, she knew, and was probably aware of the exhaustion in her mind. Finn gave her a knowing look of pity before she turned and met Leia's gaze.
The older woman's stoic face gave no indication of emotion, but softened when she sighed and gave Rey a once-over. "Come with me." She said and turned to a nearby doorway. Rey followed reluctantly behind into a quiet hall until she found herself in Leias private room. The door behind her slid closed with a quiet whoosh and they were alone. Leia sat at the table on her balcony that overlooked the floral world around them and waved her hand to the opposite chair.
Rey quietly sat and looked out over the jungle around them fully taking it in for the first time since they had gotten here a few days ago. She nervously tangled her fingers together and made sure not to make eye contact with the woman across from her. Instead looking out at all the green she was surrounded by. Suddenly taken aback by how beautiful it was compared to the ugly desert climate Jakku offered. She heard Leia clear her throat quietly and hesitantly forced herself to meet her gaze.
"You've been very busy." she stated, and Rey could see she was searching her eyes for something. "I think it is time we talked about what happened when you were captured. Chewie refused to tell me anything and no one else here seems to know how the Supreme Leader of the First Order was murdered while you were aboard his ship, apparently while in the custody of my son." she ended firmly, but Rey heard the slight waver of her voice at the mention of Ben.
Rey licked her lips as her mouth went suddenly dry at the thought of that day. The day she had tried to purse from her mind since they had left Crait. She thought of several ways to begin the story of her connection with Ben, and what parts she should skip over before the other woman across the table gently leaned forward and grabbed her hand. "Rey, I don't know what has happened since you were with him but I can see that it's tearing you apart. You've worked yourself to the bone, barely eaten or slept. Please tell me what I can do to help you." she pleaded and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
The last few weeks of emotion that had been dammed up suddenly burst at the gentle gesture and Rey found tears streaming down her face. "I.. I thought I could save him." she sobbed and buried her face in her hands. The story of their connection, their meeting, and battle poured out of her before she had a chance to stop herself. She saw Leia straighten and attempt to hide her own emotions as the hope of her sons redemption was told to her.
"He asked you to join him?" she said barely above a whisper. "Yes. I begged him not to ask me, begged for another way but in the end there wasn't an option. We both reached for the saber at the same time and it exploded from the force of us both." She said and looked down at her hands. "That's when I escaped. He was still unconscious when I left him." she finished. "I see." Leia said and looked out over the jungle below them. They were both silent for a while, tying to comprehend everything that was just laid bare.
"So the bond is broken then? Snoke is dead." Leia stated firmly. Rey felt her stomach tumble at the thought of her last meeting with Ben. It had been after Snoke was long dead, and the connection was just as strong as before. "No." She said quietly and looked up at Leia's shocked face before quickly recounting their last meeting. She watched as Leia bit her lip and held her jaw with her hand. "That is why I cannot use the Force. Meditate, or do anything that may bring the connection back." Rey said firmly. "As long as I keep my connection to the Force under control then we cannot be connected. I don't even know what he would do if we were to speak again. He's not just angry with me, I felt it." She watched Leia's eyebrow raise with curiosity. "He's... he feels rejected by me. He let me get close and then I hurt him. The last thing could feel was his abandonment."
Leia sighed lamely. "Rey, you cannot continue like this. You're barely holding it together as it is. Is there anything we can do, anything I can do to help you?" she asked and felt her heart sink at the misery in the girls eyes. "I don't know." Rey said as she rubbed her face in her hands. "I don't know how much longer I can block the Force out, I'm afraid I'm running out of time. Sooner or later the connection will break through again and I don't know what will happen when he sees me." she said quietly a tear streaming down her face. "And the worst part is that I can't blame him for being angry." she said and her eyes widened at the statement she had just made. Leia only looked at her quizzically. "I.. I only mean that... with the connection, I was able to begin to understand him.. a little bit." she said attempting to better explain. "In his eyes he has only seen abandonment and mistrust. I was the exception to that, until I did exactly what his worst fears were." she bit her lip at her feeble attempt.
"This may prove to be the stupidest thing I've ever done." Leia said and she leaned back in her chair. "But I think you need to open your connection to the Force back up." she finished slowly and watched the shock register on Rey's face. She held her hand up cutting of whatever rebuttal she was about to receive. "I only mean this." She stated. "Your connection with him is more than this war. More than the light and dark side. If you both are still able to connect to each other it is because the Force wills it. Not because of whatever Snoke was taking credit for. And besides," She breathed a heavy sigh. "If you're correct, you will end up connecting with him again sooner or later and if that is to happen you need to be as strong as you possibly can. Physically, and in the Force. From now on I want you to start training, meditating, whatever you need to do to make sure you will be ready to face him again"
Rey sat back in her chair, unable to process what was just spoken. She knew deep down that Leia was right, and that preparing for the worst was the only thing she could do right now. Lamely she nodded her head and released some of the tension she was holding. Her body ached for meditation and sleep. "You are now formally relieved of any active duty. You are free to use your time to devote to training however you see fit." Leia said with a set jaw of determination. Rey nodded in response and got up to leave. "And Rey," Leia called from behind her. She turned back and met her eyes. "This 'connection' information will stay strictly between you and I." A curt nod and Rey was on her way back to her quarters. She crashed onto her bed and fell into a deep sleep. As painful as it was, talking about everything that had happened had helped to lift the weight that had been placed on her since shutting her connection off.
Slowly, carefully, she began to clear her mind. Just a small bit, to help clear her thoughts and aid in pulling her into the deep sleep she knew she needed. She suddenly felt the peace of the Force in her mind and settled down for the first time in weeks.