Author's Note: This is my very first Reylo. I'm sure I will return to my HP fiction world sometime, hopefully soon, but in the meantime, Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and Rey are taking up all the space in the room.
Alpha reader love: All_the_Feels, SheLitaFire, and SSC (Great Reylo authors for your consideration!)
Beta love: Ianthe (MCU author - you should check her out on AO3 if that's your jam!)
1 Standard Month Post-Crait
Unbelievable. Absolutely effing unbelievable. She thought they might have had something. But when he found out about the connection with Ben - Rey shook her head to clear that thought - not Ben, Kylo Ren, he'd fled and took everyone with him, leaving her alone on Dantooine. Even Finn had left. She thought he might stay, but in the end, his loyalty was to the Resistance, Rose, and Poe, not to the scavenger who had a Force Bond with a man who had almost killed him. Apparently, she was the type of person that deserved to be abandoned.
That was really the only word for it - fled. He ran away. It's not like she would have ever done anything to put him or the Resistance at risk, at least not on purpose.
To be fair, since the General had passed away unexpectedly - she laughed bitterly at that understatement - since the General had been murdered in her sleep by the First Order, Poe was the only ranking officer left in the crippled Resistance. Her heart ached at the loss of the funny, incomparable, indomitable woman known to the galaxy as Princess Leia, even though she preferred the title of General.
But she wasn't in the mood to be fair.
Poe had flirted with her, kissed her, made her think that perhaps there could be something else between them, something that would take her mind off the dark, brooding, Ben Solo. Those fleeting few moments had been a balm to her battered soul. He thought she was worthy and important, somebody, someone with a place in the story. But then the unthinkable had happened, and he'd found out her secret. And when he'd left, he'd taken her first friend with him. She'd never forget the look of utter betrayal and confusion on Finn's face when he'd realized that she had this unpredictable connection with Ben - Kylo! When would she learn? He was Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader and the Master of the Knights of Ren, whoever the hell they were. She only knew of them through a fleeting thought she'd experienced when Kylo was having a particularly emotional experience. She thought he'd been addressing an underling when he demanded that his Knights of Ren be brought to him immediately for a special mission. There was a sinking feeling in her stomach as she thought of what that special mission might be. She discounted the dreams because that's all they were - dreams. After that incident, she'd tried to consciously block out the connection to the Supreme Leader, and she'd been largely successful. But she had a feeling that it would never, ever disappear entirely.
So here she was - alone, again. At least she had water and food. The fleeing Resistance didn't leave a forwarding address, but they had left her a few broken down A-wings and two X-wings. Her gaze sharpened as she looked at the forlorn little fleet. For the first time since they'd all deserted her, a smile cracked her face. She had a project now. She could fix almost anything, and if she succeeded, she had her own spaceship.
She could go anywhere.
But not Jakku. There was nothing for her there.
Thousands of light years away
Aboard the Absolution
"The three of you will find her, and you will bring her to me - unharmed." Kylo Ren, Supreme Leader, leaned back in his throne, a ridiculous contraption really. He vowed to be rid of it as soon as practicable.
"Unharmed, sir?" His First Knight asked.
"You are not to so much as singe the hair on her head. She will answer to me for her crimes, no one else."
"But if she is as strong as she seems…" the knight's voice trailed off at Kylo's glare. The Knights had been with him since the incident at the Jedi training temple, and they were the only ones allowed to question his orders. But just because he had no intention of harming them, it did not mean that he was going to change his instructions.
"That is not my problem. She is to be brought to me unscathed." He did not bother to drop his hand to his lightsaber; they all knew he was quite serious. He turned to the other three knights. "You will determine who is responsible for the death of Leia Organa-Solo. Anyone associated with this unauthorized action is to be granted no quarter, but their leader is to be taken alive. He will answer to me." He looked at each of them, impressing upon them the importance of their task before he spoke to the group as a whole. He knew in his heart that the First Order had been responsible for his mother's death, and he wanted to ensure that all those who were involved paid for it. "You have your orders. Go now."
Only when they'd left did he stand up and walk to the viewing window. They were in orbit above Jakku. Even from orbit, the planet was a desolate wasteland. He'd heard legends that it had once been a verdant paradise. Arms crossed behind him, legs shoulder-width apart he stared at the desert planet. The doors to his throne room opened with a hiss, and he braced himself for the confrontation with his insufferable second in command, Armitage Hux.
"What do you want, Hux?"
"Supreme Leader." The edge of insolence in the tone was just slight enough to ignore, but Kylo's hand twitched with his unspoken desire to end this odius weasel. Pity that he was useful. "We have word that the pitiful Resistance is on Kessel. We have sent out ships to scout with orders to destroy the rebels where they are."
"Tell me. What makes you think they are on Kessel?"
"We have an excellent spy network. I'm confident that we will crush them," Hux hesitated, "this time."
Kylo didn't react to the implied criticism. Hux was right; his actions had allowed the Resistance to escape on Crait. But Kylo knew the Resistance wasn't on Kessel. "Tell me, are they hiding with the ruling family in the South or in the mines of the North?"
"I won't have my network questioned, Ren!"
Kylo turned to face him. "I will question what I wish to question, Hux," his voice deceptively mild. "But General, the civilian population of Kessel is not to be harmed in your futile search for this tiny group of rebels."
Kylo's hand lifted and he squeezed his fingers together - "I said, General, that civilians are not to be harmed. I trust that I am clear."
"As you wish." Hux gasped as he clawed at the invisible fingers at his throat while his knees folded and he sank in an undignified heap on the floor.
"Excellent." Kylo released him with a flick of his fingers. "Now get out of my sight." As Hux staggered to his feet and stalked away, the new Supreme Leader contemplated the stiff set of his general's shoulders. How he hated the obsequious toad; that man would take the first chance he got to attempt to wrest control of the First Order from him. As the doors closed behind Hux, Kylo turned to stare at Jakku again. He had more important concerns than the First Order.
Rey must be found.
He'd only had a few flashes of her since she'd closed the door on the Falcon. But he hadn't tried to connect, either. He'd tried to shut her off entirely, but it didn't work. He still caught fleeting glimpses of her, especially when she was upset. Unless the dreams counted. He'd been asleep when it happened, when his mother had died, and he'd reached out for Rey in his sleep. She'd been there, furious. She'd screamed at him, demanding to know how he could have ordered his mother's death. Except he hadn't - that was another loose end to tie off. His knights would not fail him.
So many regrets.
He suspected that someone in the First Order was responsible for his mother's death, but he couldn't storm though the ranks, ripping answers from minds. He'd have to leave it to the Knights. He'd wanted to do it, though. He'd wanted to strap each and every officer remaining alive to an interrogation chair and burrow into their minds until he found the ones responsible. But something stopped him. And it wasn't just that if he did it, it would precipitate a civil war that the First Order could not afford at this time. The Resistance stunt that had ripped the Supremacy in half had taken out most of the fleet, including the Finalizer. They were left with only four of forty Resurgent-class star destroyers. The Absolution, thanks to its position at the far end of the formation and furthest away from the impact, had only sustained superficial damage that they were able to repair mid-flight.
He decided to reach out to Rey. Perhaps he'd be able to ascertain something about her surroundings if she answered him. Time and space seemed to warp around him.
"I'm busy, Kylo." Rey didn't turn around. He could see that she had a wrench in her hand and that she was bent over what he had to assume was some sort of transport.
"Why didn't you do it?" he asked.
"Do what?" she responded as she continued to turn the wrench in her hand.
"Kill me when you had the chance."
The wrench stilled. She tossed it aside, and it made a clang as if it had landed in a toolbox. She dragged a towel off her shoulder and wiped her hands on it. "I should have."
"Yes, you should have. It would have been kinder." He changed the subject abruptly. "Where is the lightsaber?"
"You broke the lightsaber?"
"No. We did. But I want to repair it."
"Let me see it."
"Why should I have killed you?"
He sent her a sharp glance and answered her question with his own. "Where are you?"
"I'm not going to tell you that."
"Where are your friends?"
"Gone. I'm alone."
Kylo's hands clenched into fists. The traitors, murderers, and thieves had left her by herself. "You are not alone."
"Yes, I am."
Rey threw the towel into the tool bin. She should have known Ben wasn't going to leave her in peace. He seemed like he cared at the end of their conversation. She shrugged. That was his problem; she wasn't going to be involved with Supreme Leader Kylo Ren any further.
She turned her attention back to the small ship. This A-wing was indeed repairable, but she had to hope that the spare parts from the other grounded space ships would provide all the needed parts for her to make it space worthy again.
Back to scavenging, her first job, and perhaps what she was best at, since it turned out she wasn't as successful at saving a man's soul as she'd wanted to be.
"Ben, why did you have to go that way?" she asked aloud. Her response was only the whistling of the wind through the tall trees. She grimaced. Apparently, she still wanted to save that particular man's soul.
Her stomach growled, reminding her that she hadn't eaten since breakfast this morning. The Resistance had left her enough food packages to last her for months as long as she was frugal with them. No matter what, she wouldn't starve.
Finn's voice interrupted Poe's reverie. He turned to face the man who'd saved him from the Finalizer. "Yeah."
"We need to go back and get Rey."
Poe stared blankly at Finn. "We can't. She's got a direct line to Kylo Ren; she can lead him right to us."
"She won't. She'd never do that to us."
"Not on purpose, no. But she might not mean to. If he can see her, he can probably see her surroundings; we can't take that chance, buddy."
"We should have at least left a droid with her," Finn protested.
"Which one? 3PO was destroyed when Leia was -" he swallowed and blinked rapidly "- killed. Artoo is on board the Falcon with Chewie, and we need BB8. And most of our droids were on board the Raddus. It's not like we have a lot of choices."
"Then take me back."
"What?" Poe asked, incredulous.
"She's my friend. Take me back to her. I'll ask Rose to come with us."
"I can't do that." Poe answered through clenched teeth.
"Look around you, Finn!" His arm waved, encompassing the small base. "We're down to twenty people! I can't spare you or Rose."
Finn narrowed his eyes. "And whose fault is that?" He performed a perfect about-face and stalked from the room, disgusted with the decision.
Kylo stared at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to come. He'd spent the rest of his day dealing with bureaucracy. The Supreme Leader job was not one he had wanted for himself. He remembered as a child always wanting to fly with his father, and he cherished the times that Han had been on-planet and willing to take him onboard the Falcon. His earliest attempts at piloting had been aboard that hunk of junk.
His father. The memory of that worn face, wrinkled with age and worry, haunted him. His father had tried to save him. But how could he? The stain of that sin would haunt him until he died.
And Luke - when he'd ignited that lightsaber on Crait, Kylo had been convinced that Rey had given it to him. She had betrayed him totally. But he'd been wrong. Luke wasn't even there. Luke had killed himself in an attempt to let his mother and the rest of the Resistance escape, but Kylo could still feel his Force signature. No, Luke wasn't done with him yet.
But Snoke was well and truly gone. Kylo felt no regret for slicing him in half. Where he'd once always felt Snoke whispering in his brain, there was nothing. It had taken some time for him to realize that he wasn't feeling so conflicted. If he was being honest with himself, if he hadn't been in such a state of shock after killing Snoke and destroying the Praetorian Guards, he would have spoken differently to Rey, and he might have even left with her. His only regret from that day was losing her.
As sleep claimed him, two things solidified for him: he had killed all of his father figures, and despite those stains on his soul, he had to get her back. She was his beacon in the dark.
Rey moved carefully in her hammock. It swayed more than the one she was used to on Jakku. It was hard to believe that her life had changed so much since she'd left that planet mere weeks ago. In that time, she realized, that she had officially passed into her twentieth year, she had unburied repressed memories of being sold by her parents, she had met a legend who had eventually proven himself worthy of the name, she had met her very first real friend, and she had tangled with Kylo Ren and survived.
If she was being honest, she had survived, but she hadn't survived heart-whole. She was still reeling from his betrayal. Not only had he chosen to stay with the First Order, but he had his mother killed.
How could she even possibly talk to him? As she fell asleep, she vowed to forget him, to ignore his pull, his ability to make her feel as though the darkness within her wasn't evil.
They were in a darkened room with curved obsidian walls, facing one another from across the space. Kylo spoke first.
"I didn't do it, you know." He voice was soft, much as it was when he told her to let the past die the first time.
"Didn't do what?"
"I didn't have my mother killed. I would never do that."
"I don't believe you," she spat out.
His eyes and tone were still gentle; "I've never lied to you."
"Think back. When have I ever lied to you?" He walked closer to her, much as she had to him in the elevator on the Supremacy.
She blinked, trying to keep from staring at his lips. "You said…" Her voice trailed off as she turned her head to look at something, anything, aside from his face. "Never. You've never lied to me."
He reached up and gently tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear as his eyes devoured her face. His lips quirked up slightly at the ends as he saw the tremor she tried to control at his touch. "And I never will."
Abruptly, he dropped his hand. "So, your friends left you. Why? Aren't you some sort of hero to them? You should be."
"They found out about my connection to you."
"How careless of you to tell them."
"Oh, then how did they know?"
She sighed. "I was talking to Chewie -"
"Chewbacca? That great hairball knows?"
She sighed. "Yes. Who do you think piloted the Falcon to send me to you, only for you to betray me?"
"I didn't -" He sighed. "Let's come back to that. Why does Chewie know? And where is Chewie? He'd never leave you alone."
Rey sighed. Chewie would have stayed with her, but he was already off-planet. He'd been away from home and taken a quick trip to visit his family before the news broke. She hadn't had the heart to send him a message that would cut short his time with his mate and child. But she couldn't tell Kylo that. For all she knew, he'd send First Order goons to kill him, and she wouldn't, couldn't have Chewie's death on her hands. "I had to explain to him before he'd agree to help me go to you on the Supremacy. And then afterward, I had to talk to someone. And he's not here right now." She hoped Kylo wouldn't push for more details.
"So Chewie betrayed you?"
Rey compressed her lips. "Of course not! BB8 -"
"Ah, the droid you care so much about - "
"I'd get through this faster if you'd stop interrupting." She crossed her arms over her chest, hip cocked out, the very picture of impatience.
"Of course. Pardon me. Go on - the droid you turned down months worth of food for betrayed you."
"It wasn't like that! Poe is his master. He's programmed to -" Rey sighed. "When Poe found out, he confronted me, demanded answers." Her hand brushed across her lips, as if in memory. "And I told them the truth. So they left me."
He stalked across the room to where she had retreated to brace herself on the curved wall and slammed his hand to it beside her head.
"You think there was something between the two of you?"
Rey glared up at him and turned to move away from his presence. His other hand slammed to the wall on the other side, leaving her trapped unless she went through him, which she was willing to do, if it came to that. "That's none of your business."
"Oh, Rey, but it is my business. You still don't understand - we are it for each other. There is no one else."
She turned her head, rapidly blinking back tears.
"No one will be able to forgive this connection. Don't you see? As it grows, and it will grow," his voice deepened and his gaze sharpened, "we will soon be able to sense each other and what we are doing. Do you really want to be in my head when I kiss someone else?" Rey shook her head, trying to clear the image of him with his hands buried in another woman's hair, holding her head immobile as he devoured her lips, much as she had imagined their first kiss would be. "Do you think that I will sit still for you kissing Poe Dameron?"
"No, you know. And now, Rey, let me assure you, I'll know if he dares to touch you again. And he can't be the third party, either." His eyes raked over her face. "He would not have left you if he could have borne it." He leaned closer and with just a hairbreadth between their lips he whispered, "but he left you alone, unprotected, and that I cannot stand."
"No!" Rey threw her arms out, knocking his down. "You'll leave my friends alone!"
Gasping for air, she sat up in the hammock as it swayed almost uncontrollably. "It was just a dream. It was only a dream." By the Force, she hoped it was only a dream.
Kylo's eyes snapped open at that same moment. He had reached another conclusion that night - it wasn't only a dream.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, please let me know and drop a review. Authors love to hear from our readers and it is a fantastic motivation for us!