Beta Love: Ianthe & ISeeAnIsland
Thanks for reading! This is a short one, but I hope you enjoy it regardless.
A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy
Mos Eisley Spaceport
Ben sat motionless, waiting on the shuttle to finish final landing procedures. His new aide de camp looked slightly green at the mild turbulence they'd experienced on the final approach. She was a true spacer - her pallid skin gave away her lack of time outdoors. Given her apparent age, she was one of the child recruits of the First Order, so she'd never called any planet home, not really. Space and military space ships were her home. Rey was different - she embodied life. Her skin glowed with good health, muscles toned from constant exercise. A bit too thin as a result of poor rations. But she was clearly at home in a cockpit and on planet. Ben had been that way once, and when he was being honest with himself, he missed living on a planet with seasons, rain, wind and greenery. Rey had never had that - her planet was a desert, and it was a harsh existence, one no child should have to suffer.
Perhaps a visit to Jakku was in order. There were people on that planet who needed to answer for their neglect of the young Rey.
But first - he needed to see her, to ask one more time for her help. Anakin had told him to find his other half, and he knew exactly who that was. Who was he kidding? He'd ask, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. If he had to kidnap her again -
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"You can run, but you can't hide."
"I'm not hiding. I'm in docking bay fourteen."
The shuttle touched down with a gentle bump, and the back hatch opened with a hiss.
"Lieutenant, you're with me." He stood and strode down the ramp onto the dusty surface of Tatooine. The platoon leader of the detachment of stormtroopers met him at the foot of the ramp.
"Sir, we have swept the area. There appears to be no immediate threat."
Ben reached out with his feelings, instantly recognizing Rey close by. There were no other bright lights in the Force within range. But there was a familiar presence further way. No matter. He'd deal with that threat if it materialized.
"Leave a six-man squad with the shuttle. It takes off only on my authority. The rest of you - follow me." He strode through the space dock onto the streets of Mos Eisley. They were sparsely populated. Unfalteringly, he took a left and followed the path - Rey's Force signature was unmoving. Without even consulting the numbers, he knew when he arrived at her dock. He glanced up. Number 27. The little liar. He felt her amusement tickling through their bond.
"Surround this port. Do not let anyone leave. But under no circumstances is anyone exiting this port to be harmed. Set your weapons to stun." He looked at each of the troopers in turn. "Are we clear?"
The blank masks nodded. "Yes, sir."
Signaling Lieutenant Sol to follow him, he strode into the open area housing a small, battered A-wing fighter. He could see her legs on the other side as she rummaged through a cargo hold.
Ben spoke first. "You said 14."
"So I did. Call it a test."
"Are you coming with me quietly?"
Rey's head popped up and she observed him in his mask for the first time since Starkiller. "I really hate that mask."
At the door, slightly behind and to the left of the Supreme Leader, Charity's mind boggled at Rey's audacity, but she managed to keep her face impassive.
"Regardless, Rey of Jakku, you need to come with me."
Charity's clenched her jaw. It was that or have it drop open in total shock. This was Rey of Jakku? The criminal that had murdered the first Supreme Leader and taken on all the Praetorian Guards? She was tiny, likely underfed, but wiry. She watched as Rey circled the A-wing to approach them. Charity's jaw snapped closed as she struggled to regain her equilibrium.
"Who is this?"
Charity started, realizing that Rey was referring to her. What was that emotion in her voice? Anger? No. No, that was jealousy. Surely she didn't think that Kylo Ren was interested in her, an unimportant cog in the wheels of the First Order? And why would Rey care? Regardless, this scavenger was clearly unintimidated by the Supreme Leader as she stopped within arm's reach of him.
"Lieutenant Sol is my assistant." Kylo Ren's gloved hand came up and stroked down Rey's cheek softly. "You have nothing to worry about, Rey. She's no threat to you." His voice was soft through the voice modulator.
"I'm not jealous!"
"I didn't say you were."
"Well, I'm certainly not afraid of a First Order lackey, Ben."
Ben? His name was Kylo Ren. Charity felt like the world had spun on its axis. How could this scavenger be so casual with the Supreme Leader? Did she not realize what he was capable of?
"You shouldn't be. You know I'll destroy worlds before I harm a hair on your head, and I will regret nothing."
With that softly spoken statement, Charity gave up the fight to remain impassive. She watched the interchange with mouth agape. When he'd said he had business on the surface, this was not what she had expected. The Supreme Leader appeared to be romantically involved with the woman responsible for the death of Snoke. And then it hit her. The new Supreme Leader had usurped the old. And he'd done it for this little slip of a girl.
Ben felt the shock from the woman at his side, but he dismissed it as unimportant. What really mattered was the woman in front of him. The conversation he needed to have with her was urgent, but private. How to get her to cooperate? He reached up and pressed the release buttons on either side of this mask. With a hiss, it opened. Without it, the world was clearer, and he met Rey's gaze unflinchingly. He handed the mask off to the stunned Lieutenant without breaking eye contact with Rey. Deliberately, he pulled at the fingers of his gloves to take them off, leaving his hands bare.
"Come with me. Join me." He held out his hand. "Please."
Rey's eyes dropped to his naked hand and she stared for a moment. Then, she looked back up at him and blinked.
"Please." He stretched his hand out slightly further.
Her lips trembled, and she wordlessly stretched her hand out to meet his. When their fingers touched, she gasped softly. Finally. This was how it was supposed to be. They were supposed to be together.
Ben did not dare believe that she had done it. He curled his fingers, drawing her ever so slightly closer to him. "Thank you."
Rey thought for a moment that Ben was going to draw her hand to his lips to kiss the back of her hand, but instead, he pulled her closer and tucked her hand into the crook of his elbow and covered it with his opposite hand. "Let's go."
"Rey, we have to go."
"No, you don't understand. I can't just leave."
"We have to go," he insisted.
Rey looked shot the silent Lieutenant a glance. "There are things I need."
"What could you possibly -" He stopped and released her. The Force was pushing at him, telling him that urgency was paramount. But if Rey said that she needed something, there was no doubt that she did. "Go. Get it. Quickly." She ran to her ship to retrieve whatever was so important. No sooner had she leaned over to rummage through the cargo hold than a sonic boom echoed through the sky. "Damn." Ben held his hand out to Sol, and she wordlessly handed him his helmet which he slammed on his head. When he looked up the read-out indicated that his concerns were warranted.
The Resolution, and Hux, had arrived.
AN: Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed the chapter, I'd enjoy a review! See you next time!