A/N: I do not own Star Wars. I apologize for the long absence, but I'm back with a one-shot story for the Rise of Skywalker.
Do What I Could Not
With much effort, grunting, and groaning, Ben Solo climbs back up to the throne room.
It is deathly quiet, now. On his way up, the former Supreme Leader of the First Order could hear the sounds of battle, of lightning shooting into the sky- and of an old man's howls of pain.
And through it all, a voice echoes in his mind- soft, feminine, and so familiar to him.
Be with me. Be with me.
Rey. The Scavenger. Palpatine's grand-daughter.
Rey is easy to spot. In the darkness of the destroyed throne room, Rey's pure white attire is easy to spot. From Ben's perspective, she looks like an angel.
Except… this angel is dead. Ben can feel it through the Force, the bond that connects the pair to one another is broken. It is the same brokenness that Ben felt when Han died. When Leia died.
And now Rey is gone, too.
Ben cradles Rey in his arms, and in typical Solo fashion, makes a snap decision.
Ben takes Rey's cold, lifeless hand in his, supporting her torso with his other hand, and prepares to do for her what she had done for him on the wreckage of the Death Star II-
But a ghostly blue hand grabs his wrist.
"Wait, Ben Solo."
Ben snaps up, and looks the figure in the eye- only to be met with the piercing blue gaze of his grandfather.
Anakin Skywalker himself.
Anakin is young, Ben notes- he looks younger than Ben himself does.
"I look like this on purpose, Ben. Perks of being a ghost."
"Grandfather…" Ben trails off. "Why did you stop me?"
"I know what you are about to do," Anakin says. "But the effort will kill you if you do this."
"I have to," Ben says, looking down to his dead other half. "She means too much to me."
Anakin smiles. It's a small upturn of the lips, but a smile all the same. "There was a time where I thought as you do."
Ben can hear echoes, now, of a time long past.
"Ani… I'm pregnant."
"I was thinking of going back to Naboo… have our baby in the Lake Country…"
Anakin chuckles to himself. It is the dry sort of chuckle, devoid of any mirth or happiness.
"I… was afraid. I was seeing things- visions of a future, though I'm certain Palpatine was behind it…"
"What did you see?" Ben asks.
Grief, grief so potent it washes over Ben in waves, emanates from the ghost of his grandfather.
"She would give birth to our child… and die. I couldn't let it happen, so I turned to the one man who I thought could help me…"
Ben nods in understanding. "Palpatine."
Anakin smiles. "Exactly. He promised me the knowledge I sought… knowledge the Jedi denied to me. I'm not even sure they ever had it themselves.
"I did…. Horrible things…"
More echoes, now.
"You're going down a path I can't follow!"
"Obi-Wan… there's good in him… still…"
Anakin's shoulders sag, and the ghost looks far older than his youthful appearance would suggest.
"Even after all of that, Padmé still believed there was good in me. Tell me, Ben Solo- did this scavenger think there was good in you?"
Ben closes his eyes, and thinks back to a conversation aboard a turbolift.
"You will not bow before Snoke."
"Yes," Ben says with certainty. "Yes, she did."
Anakin nods. "Then listen very carefully, grandson. You must open yourself up to the Force nearly completely. I will channel the energy though you- you must send it into Rey. I do not know if this will work, but if it does? Then you will finally have done something I could not. You are afraid, grandson, and understandably so. Let go of that fear, and have faith in the Force."
"I will," Ben says, closing his eyes again.
"Breathe," Anakin instructs. "Just… breathe."
Ben's frantic heartbeat slows to a steady pulse, and his breathing does the same, goes from short pants to a steady, regular cadence.
"Now… reach out," Anakin says. "What do you see?"
"I see… life… energy… it flows into me… through me… into her…"
"Keep going, Ben. Do not stop!"
Time becomes quite irrelevant as more and more energy flows through Ben and into Rey, until, with a gasp, the young scavenger awakens.
Ben smiles, genuinely smiles, for the first time in years, as Rey turns, looks him in the eye, and slowly, understanding of what he has done dawns on her.
Then, before Ben can understand what is happening, Rey is kissing him, and quite fiercely, too. Ben kisses her back with equal fervor, and as they pull apart, Ben can feel himself fading.
"Ah ah ah…" Anakin wags a finger, before reaching out and touching Ben on the forehead, stopping Ben from dying. "I'll not have my grandson die on my watch- not after he came to his senses and finally kriffing kissed a girl!"
Rey and Ben blush, as Anakin simply smiles roguishly. "Now go, you two lovebirds. May the Force be with you."
Several days later
The old freighter groans as it makes a final descent over the sandy wastes of this desert planet. There is a slight thud as the landing gear touches the ground. This landing, however, is not rough like the others before it, for the Millennium Falcon's current pilot is skilled with piloting in general- and this ship in particular.
Chewbacca gets up from his seat and leans back to let his old bones pop back into place. Letting out a satisfied sound, the old Wookiee trudges back into the main area where two people sit in meditation.
Ben Solo and Rey. Two, who are now one. In front of Rey, various parts come together around a bright yellow crystal, snapping into places they were destined to occupy. The completed saber hovers horizontally in midair, and the young Jedi opens her eyes and smiles at her creation.
Across from her, Ben Solo still meditates. Two lightsabers hang in midair. One of these belonged to his uncle Luke, and his father Anakin before him. The other belonged to his mother, Leia.
Both sabers come apart, individual parts breaking off and floating away, as the two bright blue crystals at their centers come together and fuse, forming a larger one. Then, various pieces come back together, snapping into place much like Rey's new lightsaber moments before. The completed hilt falls gently into Ben Solo's waiting hand. He presses the button, and a single blue blade erupts from the hilt, humming steadily.
The young couple descends down the ramp of the Falcon, surveying the buildings before them. This was the Lars' moisture farm, where a young boy was raised until he left on a grand adventure.
Now, all these years later, that boy's nephew- and the woman who loves him- return. Three ghosts stand waiting. The Skywalkers- Anakin, Luke, and Leia.
Ben Solo and Rey kneel in the sand, their sabers floating in the air, before Luke Skywalker takes one from the air, igniting it.
"Excellent work, nephew," he says with a smile, before holding the blade of the saber near Ben's shoulder, before moving it to the other shoulder. "Arise, Ben Solo, Jedi Knight. May the Force be with you."
Luke turns to Rey now, taking her new saber and igniting it. "Yellow- a unique color for a unique student." He smiles, before knighting her too. "Arise, Rey…"
"…Skywalker," the scavenger says, realizing what Luke is doing. "Rey Skywalker."
Luke nods. "Arise, Rey Skywalker, Jedi Knight. May the Force be with you."
And with that, the three ghosts fade away, Leia waving to Ben with a proud smile on her face as she goes. The two newly-minted Jedi look around, before Ben kisses Rey, smirking roguishly.
"First one on the Falcon gets to fly it!" And with that, he takes off at a sprint.
"BEN!" Rey shouts in exasperation, before sprinting after him. "Wait up!"
Moments later, the old freighter takes off, course laid in for a new adventure in a galaxy far, far away.
I do get why Ben Solo (SPOILER ALERT) had to die. The ultimate rejection of the Darkness would be to selflessly give yourself away for someone else- but I wanted to see if there was a way for Ben Solo to live. Be sure to leave a Review down below, and may the Force be with you!