Rey's hands swept over the smooth marble walls. The room was cavernous, with vaulted ceilings and lavish furnishings. It was starkly more luxurious than her previous quarters yet she was told it was one of the more modest rooms in the upper levels of Pluma factory. She approached the walled windows, looking over at the murky city and darkening sky. She couldn't imagine someone actually enjoying the view and for the first time in over a year, she actually missed Jakku. The nights were cold and hunger was ever-present but the night skies were always beautiful. Every glittering jewel shone in a nebulous tapestry, but here on Corellia, they were hidden. Turning her back to the window she reached down into her pocket for her comlink.
"Rey! How are you? Where are you? You told Poe you were with Devron hours ago and then nothing."
She remembered the message she was able to sneak him. Despite only being with Devron for a few hours she was inundated with procedural codes and training activities by the upper-level staff. She also had to be taught how to handle the computer systems and memorise the building layout. Her mind tried to absorb as much as possible, leaving her worn out.
"I'm sorry things got really busy. Devron has me working as his personal mechanic. I'm supposed to be working and living on the upper floors now."
"What!? So you're like with him and whatnot."
Rey gave a small chuckle, her body relaxing, "not all the time. As you can imagine he's very busy but yes I have direct access to him."
"This is unbelievable. You can uncover more information, and you'll have so much more space and comfort."
She grimaced, sliding down to the floor, "actually I kinda prefer being on the lower floors."
"What!? You can finally enjoy yourself, no more Canay and no more food rations and no more one-minute cold showers. It's practically paradise up there, they even filter the air so no more smoke and gas."
Her grip tightened on the com-link, "Yeah, but… it's lonely," her words were whispered, emotions raw.
Rose was silent as she took in the gravity of Rey's words. Rey would never admit to it but her friend had been almost clingy since the attack at Wanten Casino. It reminded her of how she acted after her sister died, clinging to Finn. It broke her heart seeing how Rey had retreated into herself after taking a year to be fully open to others.
"Listen, Rey, you are one of the most amazing people I know. You're gonna rock the world of those high society people, and I promise both me and Poe will always be there for you. If you wanna eat sludge with me in the cafeteria or spend an hour trying to scrub grease from your fingertips then I'll be right there with you."
Rey's heart both soared and fell, she needed their support, her soul feeling withered without it… but if they knew. She tried to bury it but she could still remember the feeling of holding life in her grip, on the cusp of strangling it.
"Thanks, Rose, you're the greatest," her voice was soft. "I'll try to visit you before 'lights off. Let me know when Poe finishes his shift so I can report to him."
"You got it, but just so you know I'm taking your blanket."
Rey smiled, her mind lighter, curling out from her enclave she explored her room, inspecting every inch. She didn't expect to find any hidden devices but Poe told her to always check regardless. She came into the bathroom, a large tub sat in the centre, large enough to swim in. She looked at it almost puzzled. She'd never taken a bath before, even showering was a new phenomenon to her. Growing up she was used to a quick scrub with a basin. Turning from the giant bowl she inspected the cabinet. Opening it, a jar of ointment toppled out falling towards her head, she raised her arm catching it mid-air… but it didn't touch her hand.
Rey gasped and it fell to the ground glass shattering. She had used the force without even realising it. Her mind rolled, she should be glad her powers were getting stronger but a small part of her trembled with fear. She shook her head, turning on the faucet to splash her face. Calm yourself.
She shoved her thoughts to the back of her mind. She opened the cabinet again. It was practically overflowing with medical supplies, some she recognised from the Resistance infirmaries. She wondered whether it was Devron who requested it. Sighing, she plucked a box from the shelf before shedding her clothes. Once completely bare and she observed her reflection in the mirrored wall. She looked the same if slightly paler, the sun never seemed to pierce the clouds and smogs of Corellia. Her wounds were healing rapidly thanks to the bacta and soon they would fade into nothingness. Hopefully, then she could finally forget about the entire incident.
Her mind tingled and Rey's heart stopped.
Kylo scrolled through the ship logs stifling a groan as he looked at the ever-increasing intake of medical supplies. He would have to open some new infirmaries and upgrade the training rooms. A small smile graced his lips which startled a nearby officer. It was not long ago he'd be right there with them trashing the place up. He understood how some of the brass felt now that it was him signing the bill.
Platoon D1219, mission AP-05 successful. 38 injured 4 dead. Next deployment in 19 hours.
Kylo paused, his mind shifting, "CT-7567, why is Platoon D1219, leaving tomorrow?"
The officer in question almost fell, both at the fact she was being spoken to by the Supreme Leader and that he knew his name.
"Er…Gen-General Verge, General Gree, General Gallus, and General Dagor requested they be sent to Pomdak to annihilate the civil uprising."
His brow furrowed and CT trembled in apprehension. "That's too soon. They will need another week to recover before being deployed again, the uprising is of no dire consequence." Kylo wrote up the order on his datapad before holding it out to her. "Deliver this message personally to the generals and the platoon leader, I want there to be no mistakes."
As CT reached for it Kylo sensed her fear spiking. He held it back.
"Make sure to tell the Commander that if you do not return with his affirmative response then I will be severely displeased."
CT's eyes widen, the smallest smile graced her lips but it trembled as if her face had never made such an expression before. She bowed before darting out of the council room. Feeling the tension rise around him Kylo glanced around the room noticing all eyes were on him. Bewilderment and awe were in their gaze yet a soon as he looked at them they turned away; hurrying to complete their duties.
His neck grew hot and he shifted in his seat before rising. Officers immediately stood to attention awaiting any orders but he waved them off, heading to his private quarters. Chucking off his outer robes off he examined his reflection. A large body with a too-large nose and too large ears. He narrowed his brow before relaxing his face, then tried to smile yet it looked almost like a snarl.
Sighing he turned away from himself. For the first time, he wondered how people saw him. He knew he easily intimidated others and was glad for it, even before he joined Snoke he knew how cruel the world could be. But his mother was beautiful, most beautiful when she lifted others up and people loved her for it, willing to follow her into the afterlife, many did. He looked at his hand, at the many scars that littered him; scars that Rey loving traced them with rough fingertips. The air trembled and almost as if he had summoned her, she appeared before him.
His heart pounded, then stopped.
Bruises in the shape of fingerprints littered her chest and hips. Scars like claw marks stretched along her inner thighs.
"Rey?" Kylo choked, unable to breathe.
"No!" She fell to the ground wrapping her arms around her body. "Don't look at me! Don't look at me!"
His body began to shake as tears fell from her beloved eyes, sobs raking her body. His legs gave out beneath him. Kill. He had to kill. He needed to kill. He would tear apart the ones that hurt her. He would render them apart. He would hear their scream and make them bleed. But who? He didn't know who hurt her because he wasn't with her. The ground cracked beneath him, the room vibrating with the force. A roar was trapped in his throat and his body strained with the need to destroy yet amidst the fury he could hear her cries; her precious face twisted in pain.
He crawled towards her on his hands and knees. With arms that were built for death, he enfolded her gently into his embrace. He whispered softly to her, even as she pushed at him, even as she continued to scream at him to look away.
"Rey, please, please my Love."
"Do-don't, don't look at me. Don't touch me." Her words came out muffled, her tears wetting his chest. This wasn't like anytime before when he saw her bare, it wasn't embarrassment, it was loathing and resentment, and he hated it. It filled his lungs, his stomach, and mind. Every heartbeat was painful.
"I'm sorry Rey."
She sobbed harder, feeling more wretched. She pushed at him despite wanting to be closer. Rey hated herself and he should hate her too. All the memories from that night rose up, flooding her mind and spilling from her eyes. The walls she had built for herself crumbled before him, revealing how weak and ugly she was. She became angry at him for seeing the truth.
"Why? Why can't you just leave me alone."
He held her tighter, his eyes growing wet, "you know I could never do that."
"You don't know what it was like."
"No, I don't, and I'm so sorry that you do. I know what it feels like to be angry at your own powerlessness." He had the urge to beg her to come to him, to join his side but it was selfish. He knew hiding her under his protection wouldn't heal the wounds on her heart. He whispered softly to her, "it's okay my love, it's okay to be angry and sad."
She shook her head, her eyes swelling and her face hot. If he knew the real truth it would repulse him. He saw her as an angel but she was a fraud, an emissary of light who was filled with darkness. An arrogant part of her always believed she could pull him out from the dark but she was just as lost and conflicted. She feared she would drag him down into desolation.
"It's not, nothing's right, everything's ruined."
"Don't say that, you're perfect Rey, I love you, I love everything about you."
"Yes, this," Kylo bit out. "Every caress, every scar, every smile, every tear. Fucking everything, I'll take it, I'll take anything you give me. Your pain, your despair, your hate."
Through bleary eyes she touched his face, the scar she carved into him, which he adorned. He pressed his face into her palm before kissing her face, her brow, her cheeks, her lips. Every inch he could touch, he cherished, tasting the salt of her agony on his lips.
Rey cried until she lay in an exhausted heap on his lap, all the while Kylo continued to hold her and kiss her, telling her over and over again that he loved her. She stopped trying to push him away long ago and clung to him, half-awake and trembling.
"Rey," Kylo whispered as he ran his hand across her hot cheek, "did it… how far did it…"
"Not as far as you think," her voice was a whisper, her mind tired.
His heart twisted, whatever happened still destroyed her and it destroyed him. He kissed her again but she melted from his embrace, their bond growing quiet. Now there was nothing left but his fury.
War hardened soldiers and Generals alike shuddered, desperate to avoid the Supreme Leader who seemed like cruelty incarnate. Whatever benevolence they had been graced with was gone and in its place was a never-ending coldness.
They shifted in their seats. So many of them had gone missing. Generals, commanders, directors, those who recently visited the Supreme Leader's quarters were never heard from again. Those who he had appointed, that he raised to positions of power and glory were no longer seen. The whispers among them were filled with excitement, the Supreme Leader was turning back to the old ways. But the being before them reminded them how easily they could die even when they were prosperous.
"Uh- the excursion through Hutt Space has been successful. We've secured 3 planets and have experienced minimal resistance from the surrounding Crime lords." The major quickly sat down passing the Supreme Leader's attention to another unfortunate soul.
Everyone knew the Jedi killer was on the hunt, he already destroyed numerous battle droids in the last few hours, it was only a matter of time before he started playing with warmer targets. No one, from a common foot soldier to a grand marshal would be safe.
The current speaker wiped his sweaty brow, trying desperately to get through his report. "The populace seems to be a mixture of various species. Hutts, Toydarians and Niktos, there's also a large amount of Twi'Leks but there are some human immigrants which can supply us with new recruits."
Voices rose and fell, each quickly describing their reports and plans as they kept their eyes steadfastly turned away from the Supreme Leader. Kylo took in their trembling forms, their shifting gaze, and erratic beating hearts. The sound was so alluring and barbaric that it beckoned him into hunting. As the meeting drew to a close there seemed to be a growing urgency as each was eager to exist first. He felt a shift in beat. Kylo's gaze slid across the room, landing on General Gree the smallest man at the table. He had no discerning qualities, blending perfectly into the background. Yet his heart was drumming with excitement.
Kylo didn't hesitate to delve into his mind, his prey didn't even notice his presence as he shifted through his conscious. Kylo felt soft flesh beneath his palm, his back tensed and his legs shook. A round face entered his mind, pink skin awash in tears as he pierced her. She was screaming and his hand clamped over her neck almost suffocating her but he could still hear it. Don't hurt me. Kylo slammed his hand on the table, metal warped before splitting.
"Oh my Gods!" "Someone save us!"
He took no heed of the others who scrambled for the exit as he dragged his prey across the table with the force. His face was red, eyes tearing as he struggled to breathe.
"You think you have the right to take whatever you want? Wearing First Order regalia as you brutalised them?"
His prey pleaded, thoughts a spiraling mess of desperation, but there was death in the Supreme Leader's eyes and with a clench of his fist his neck snapped. Not enough, not nearly enough. He could hear the screaming of countless women, their faces blending until he saw his beloved Rey, bruises covering her body.
He turned to the exit and slammed into a beast, one larger than him. Snarling he drove his fist into Arbelo's stomach, he granted taking in the full force before throwing Kylo back into the room. They grappled with each other, knuckles swelling as they tore the room apart. From an outside glance, most would predict Arbelo to win but Kylo's fury was all-consuming, taking out his anger on his fellow knight headless of the damage he was taking. Panting he stepped away from Arbelo who kneeled on the floor spitting blood. Kylo didn't spare him a glance as he turned back to the exit, but he was blocked by Arden and Rance. Behind him, Asha and her unit carried the dead General out of the room while Sunri helped Arbelo.
"Out of my way."
Rance stepped forward, "If you still want to fight then I'm ready to go"
He snarled, "why do you even care? You're the one that hates them most of all."
"Of course I do, but I care about you. I am not going to let you do something you'll regret."
"Regret? I already regret this entire fucking parade. Bringing order to the galaxy while raping and enslaving people. This whole excursion through Hutt Space was supposed to end that! Instead, my own people are paying criminals, feeding all this filth in this galaxy."
"What do you expect Kylo?" Arden's voice was hard, "these are the methods of the First Order dating back to the Galactic Empire. We make the people suffer then come in to 'save' them. That's how we've gained so much control. You can't expect things to change overnight."
"It hasn't been a night, it's been over a year. I am the Supreme, I am responsible for every action taken by every soldier. Don't you realise that those people were hurt because of me?"
"My gods," Rance snapped, "it's times like these that remind me that you're a Skywalker."
"Rance!" Arbelo growled, glaring at the knight despite his heavy injuries.
"No, I've had enough of this. You think the fate of the galaxy depends on you. There are quadrillions of beings out there, some of whom have never even heard of the First Order. The world can't and doesn't change just because one person wants it to and yet ever since you became the Supreme Leader you kept us on the sidelines."
Kylo glared, "I've done everything I can to keep us safe, to make sure no one can use us as Snoke did."
"We don't need to be kept safe!" Sunri cried, still holding Arbelo's massive body with his small frame. "You think we didn't notice, you kept giving us trivial missions, it's only now when we might have a coup on our hands that you called us back. We are not children Kylo, we are Knights."
"I know that!" Kylo roared his power lashed out causing a wall to crack with the force. But they didn't even flinch.
"Really? then let me ask you one question if it weren't for the investigation and the new guards, would you have sent out the Allya Unit instead of Zendor and Savyn?"
Kylo was silent, eyes stormy, "I know you are all capable, I've never thought otherwise. I control the First Order but can't even keep a handful of poor civilians safe."
"You don't have to have everything yourself, you can send one of us," Rance announced. "Send me."