Two as One

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker DELETED ENDING

By Iyan Sommerset

She was dead.

And yet here she was. The cold, bleak, emptiness of eternity slowly receded as she felt life fill her body once more. As she felt The Force filling every inch of her body. It was a familiar feeling, like waking up from a long night's slumber or returning home after an extended journey.

Everything was happening so fast.

It took a while for her senses to catch up. There was rumbling all around. The sound of rocks falling, of ancient statues crumbling into dust, of the entire world shaking. It was a cacophony of chaos that her reborn hearing could barely discern. There was a pressure on her midsection, a certain kind of warmth emanating from a spot a few inches below her navel. Right where his hand was still precariously placed.

And there he was. Her savior. She willed herself up with all her might to face him. No words were exchanged between the two. None were needed. She felt herself smiling as she reached up and touched his cheek with her hand, brushing his dark brown locks aside with her thumb. The scar that previously ran from his cheek to his eye had all but disappeared, a scar that she had given him herself, in what seemed like a lifetime ago.

It was all instinct. Rey pulled her companion into her lips as years of feelings exploded from her. From the way he rushed in with his lips, it appeared that the feeling was mutual. The young woman had never kissed another person before, not like this. And yet it felt somewhat wrong. Perhaps it was because of her very recent demise and rebirth, but it was a strange feeling, much like touching a ghost. His flesh felt warm and cold at the same time, as if it were there and yet not there at all.

But something was wrong. Her savior slowly fell backwards, a reversal of her own rise mere moments before.

Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, heir to the Skywalker legacy, faded into nothingness. Rey screamed words that she herself couldn't hear as tremors in the Force assaulted her spirit. Somewhere, far away, her master had joined the living Force. Grief rapidly filled her as she fell forward onto rough stone, where only moments before she had given her heart and soul.

And yet in her despair, a tiny spark remained, a realization that this was something different. Unlike Han, unlike Luke, unlike Leia, unlike even the Emperor, she felt no tremor in The Force when Ben faded away. In fact, the feeling that she felt when he did so was not entirely unfamiliar to her. She had felt it once before, what seemed like a lifetime ago. On Crait. Just before the passing of the legendary Luke Skywalker. The way Ben's body had simply disappeared into nothingness reminded her of the way that Master Luke had simply vanished after his duel with then-Kylo Ren.

When it was revealed that the Jedi master had not been there at all, not in body. Upon further reading, she discovered much later that the Jedi texts had a name for that technique. Force projection. The casting of an illusory image designed to project one's presence across a distance. It had taken Master Luke all his will and energy to do what he did from across the galaxy.

Rey wiped away her tears and reached out with the Force. Despite the death of the Emperor, the cavern still resonated with the dark side. A fact that made it easier to pinpoint the slowly fading presence of light somewhere behind her. Beneath her. In the pit.

Quickly, the last Jedi forced herself to her feet and shambled to the edge of the deep fissure. Her body, still weak from having been recently deceased, wouldn't be able to survive the climb down. And yet she had to try.

An old, rasping voice echoed in the back of her mind. 'There is no try. There is only do, or do not.' Rey looked down into the chasm and jumped. It took all of her will and focus to slow herself down with the Force, landing with a significant thud on the hard rocky bottom.

There, just a ways off from where she had landed, lay Ben Solo. His body was lying down, supine on his back, eyes closed as if he had been cast by the Emperor minutes ago. He must have sensed her presence through the Force, or heard her ungraceful arrival as he lifted his head and opened his eyes.

"No!" He shouted, his eyes wide with surprise. Rey felt a slight force push as he weakly tried to send her back up to no avail. "I'm supposed to be dead!" He shouted as she hobbled to him and cradled his head on her lap.

"You're not getting rid of me that easily," she said as she closed her eyes and placed her hand palm down over his heart. She reached out with the Force, fearing the worst. Miraculously, the former Jedi seemed fine, even after what must have been an incredibly difficult force projection stunt. One that had ultimately taxed and caused the death of the Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. But then again, Ben only had to project his essence a few dozen meters up instead of half a galaxy away.

"Leave me!" He pleaded amongst the growing rumbling around them. Rocks from above, some as big as her head, were falling into the crevasse from above. Without the Emperor, the entire cavern complex felt like it was about to collapse in on itself.

Rey shook her head. It took all her strength to pull him up to a sitting position. "I've come to save you."

"You already have, Rey." Ben cupped his hand over hers and pressed it against his chest. She could feel the weakening of his voice along with his increasingly labored breaths. "You already have."

With those words, Ben Solo drifted into unconsciousness. Rey grit her teeth as the tears welled up behind her eyes. She reached out with the Force. He was alive. Weak, but still alive. This was no time for sorrow, not yet. The Jedi looked up at the long climb up. No, there was no try.

She had no idea how long it had taken to climb up the fissure, her would-be savior slung unconscious over her back. It mattered not. The Force was with her. With him. With them. It had brought them together, and it would have been a cruel twist of fate if it had decided at the last second to tear them apart. But the Force was no stranger to irony. The Force had a will of its own. And apparently, it had decided that it was not yet Ben Solo's time.

Ben was already strapped securely behind the pilot's seat in Luke Skywalker's old T-65B X-wing when he came to. "You can't bring me with you. They'll kill me, you know." He almost startled Rey while she was in the process of bringing the aging starfighter up into the atmosphere above Exegol. Around them, most of the Star Destroyers of the Sith Eternal fleet had been grounded. Resistance and republic ships of varying makes, models, and sizes flew around victorious amidst the mopping up efforts.

Rey looked back and smiled weakly, her eyes glazed over with unsprung tears of joy. "Ben!" She reached back and squeezed his hand. "I'll tell them. I'll tell them you helped me. I'll tell them what you did."

"It won't matter," he said. His voice was fuller, deeper, almost echoing in the cramped starfighter cockpit. "You know that."

"You don't know that," his companion countered. Rey shook her head and yet knew he was right. Kylo Ren was dead, and yet Ben Solo could not go back. Too many people knew. Finn, Poe, the survivors of Crait. Who knows who else they told? There was no going back. Not yet. Not now. Not for a while. Maybe not ever.

The flight back to the Ajara system where the resistance headquarters was located was quite eventful, even within the cramped confines of the X-wing's one-man cockpit. The Force always found a way. And so did love.

Rey was awakened by the strong constricting sensation around her midsection. She managed to open her eyes just in time for the gas giant Ajara to appear in the distance as their ship came out of hyperspace. She looked down and felt a certain kind of warmth as she felt Ben's arms tighten around her chest. It took a few minutes of dead silence, drifting in space, for her to realize why he had been hugging her tight.

Up ahead, a green and grey pinprick growing in the distance, was the planet-moon that the resistance had chosen for its home base. Ajan Kloss loomed, slowly growing larger as the ship slowly headed towards the green marble. Around them, pinpricks of light manifested into various shapes and sizes as ships of the coalition dropped out of hyperspace in a patternless stutter. Hammerhead corvettes were joined by ancient Venator Star Destroyers, accompanied by various starfighters and other smaller craft. In the far distance, on one of the perpendiculars of the planet's gravity well, Ben even spied what looked like an Interdictor cruiser with three of its four gravity well domes missing. A VCX-100 light freighter briefly crossed their path before zooming towards the moon. It looked like half the galaxy had come to celebrate. And that meant that the man who used to be Kylo Ren could not be here.

"Ben," Rey rubbed the side of his thigh, the black course fabric riding with her palm against his skin.

"Hey yourself," he reached down and wiped several strands of stray brown hair from her forehead.

Rey looked at those eyes, that long aquiline nose, those lips that hours before had been on her flesh. She wanted him more than ever, and yet as more ships appeared around them, had to give way to responsibility. She nudged her elbow against his thigh. "You're sitting on the controls." She frowned at him, half playfully.

"Oh, sorry." He apologized, poked her in the cheek with an outstretched finger, and squeezed back into his spot behind the single pilot seat.

His companion gave him a parting slap on his behind before taking manual control of the X-wing. Beneath and around them, the verdant jungles of Ajan Kloss came into view. As they descended into the atmosphere, Ben could make out scattered clearings where small ships were landing in. The ace pilot could partially make out small structures, carefully hidden from view from prying eyes and sensors.

"I have to go." Ben's deep, soulful voice broke the silence. He noticed Rey's flight path on the navicomputer, taking them away from the main base, skimming along the outskirts of habitation. She had already made her decision, despite her vocal sentiment.

"I can't understand why you just won't trust me," Rey repeated as she adjusted a few switches on the console. This would have been so much easier with an astromech droid. But she wasn't even sure the conduits and links worked from being underwater for the better part of two decades. She knew it wouldn't work, that what she was asking was impossible. But she couldn't bear to part with the one person that could stand in the way of the loneliness that she had felt all her life. "Give me a chance to defend you."

Ben was half-standing as he visually scanned their surroundings for a ship to accost. "For the galaxy to be at peace, Kylo Ren must remain dead." He stated that as matter-of-fact.

Rey knew there was no reasoning out of this, not that that stopped her from trying. "Kylo Ren died on Endor. Finn saw. He'll-"

She felt a warm hand on the back of her neck. "And so must Ben Solo." Tiny goosebumps erupted on her arm while shivers crawled down her spine as he ran his hand up and down the back of her neck. It was a fleeting reminder of what had happened between them just a while ago, something that may not happen for a long time. "At least for now."

"Please don't do this." It was the request of a scared little girl, a request that had to be made, a request that had to be denied.

"There," Ben pointed to a clearing in the trees. "Can you put me down near that ship?" There, among the thick and lush greenery of the jungles of Ajan Kloss, was a tiny clearing with space to land their borrowed starfighter. Though some twist of fate, there was another ship, an even more antiquated Z-95 Headhunter, conveniently parked in the clearing. Its outer skin was rife with scratches and burn marks, most of them looking older than the fighting on Exegol. The venerable craft must have been in service for decades, maybe even dating back to the Clone Wars. Most of them were probably too old to have had a hyperdrive installed but Ben figured it had just come from Exegol so this one must have had a retrofit. The craft's canopy was popped open as if its pilot had just left. And yet there was no one around. The former Jedi shook his head and smiled inwardly. The Force always finds a way.

Through their bond, he could feel the reluctance in his companion as she steered and landed the x-wing beside the other craft. An audible hiss broke the silence as the cockpit depressurized before she popped the canopy open.

Ben planted a kiss on the top of her head, right between two of her three knots, before leaping to the ground in a force-assisted landing. He was about to take a step towards the antique starfighter when he felt her jump down behind him.

"Please don't leave me alone." Her whispered words were almost lost amongst the vibrant jungle sounds. All around them, insects and birds went about their lives, oblivious to the wars of men above their home. Ben felt a tight grip on his arm that pulled him back and spun him around.

"Rey," he looked down into her eyes as he cupped her face in his hands. "I have to go," he stroked his thumb across her rosy cheek, wiping a single tear into a strand of loose hair towards the side of her face. "Just for a while."

"I just found you!" She grimaced as she pressed the side of her face into his chest, her voice cracking before being lost in the thin fabric of his tunic. Inches away from her eyes, she could spy the hole in his black undershirt where she had stabbed him with Kylo Ren's lightsaber a lifetime ago. Her arms clenched tight around his thick midsection as she sought to draw him against her, into her, where she could never lose him again. "I found you," she repeated, whispering into his flesh.

"You did, didn't you?" Ben drew her up and into his lips. Once more, the lovers kissed, losing themselves in each other. The sounds of the jungle, the low whine of the X-wing's idling engines, the drone of ships above, all disappeared as the couple found each other though the Force.

The comms on her X-wing blared from above them. "Call sign Red Five, is your fighter in trouble? You've been flying around. We're sending a shuttle to check on you." Rey looked up into Ben's soft brown eyes and saw a reluctant resolve. It reminded the former junk scavenger of the brief time she had known his father. It seemed like that stubborn look ran in the family. It was time to go.

After what seemed like eternity, Rey could feel Ben pushing her away, slowly and softly. "And you'll find me again. I promise."


Ben made the short run to the Z-95 Headhunter conveniently parked in the clearing. He climbed into the cockpit as swiftly as he could and fired up the engines. The former Jedi seemed deep in thought while his pilot instincts went through preparing the starfighter for flight. There was a lot to do for the man formerly known as Kylo Ren. There was quite a lot to do for the last heir of the Skywalker legacy.

Legacy. He stared at the monochrome navicomputer screen for a while, showing all the hyperspace routes that had been input by its previous owner. An older ship, the Headhunter didn't even have a provision for an astromech droid. All navigation was handled by its pilot. He thought of places to be, places to hide, places to do other things.

He looked down towards the woman that now owned his heart, the woman that now owned a piece of his soul. "I'm a Skywalker," he said cryptically. Ben Solo punched coordinates into the navicomputer as a flash of brilliance gave him an idea where to go. "Find me where this all began."

"Ben!" Rey shouted, wondering what his words meant. She resisted the urge to hold the ship down, to anchor it to the mossy ground through sheer force of will.

As the Z-95 rose into the air, her companion held his hand palm outwards against the slowly-closing transparisteel canopy. This could be the last time the fledgling lovers ever saw each other, a sentiment that Rey felt pressing against her chest. This could be it. Rey shouted at the top of her lungs, letting the Force carry her words over the rustling of the leaves and the high-pitched whine of the starfighter's engines.

"I love you."

His reply remained ringing in the air around the forest long after his craft disappeared amongst the stars above, leaving the last Jedi standing alone in the clearing, staring up into the heavens that had just taken her heart.

"I know."

The Lars moisture farm looked pretty much like a typical moisture farm. Rey had seen several of them in her time on Jakku. She had even salvaged junk and supplied from a few abandoned ones. She recognized the dome-shaped buildings, the mechanical spires of the vaporators, even the power units were familiar somewhat.

It seems like no matter where in the galaxy she went, her past came back to haunt her. But it wasn't her past she was here on this godforsaken planet for.

She had left the X-wing at the spaceport in Anchorhead. No one had batted an eye at the antiquated starfighter or its nondescript pilot at all. Far removed from happenings near the galactic core, Tatooine was a place where nobody cared who you were, as long as your coin – or your aim - was good.

It didn't take much effort for Rey to track down the abandoned moisture farm. Out on the edge of the Great Dune Sea, the place appeared abandoned. Sand had partially or wholly covered most of the structures, and none of the vaporators appeared functional. It was as if nobody had been there for decades.

There were signs of habitation however. One of the domiciles appeared cleaner than the others. There were a few sets of tracks leading to and from that area. Most notable of all was the swoop bike parked in a pit near the domicile.

The old woman's question hung heavy in the dry and arid desert air.

The scavenger from Jakku paused and thought more about the question than any other person would have. "Rey," she answered almost on instinct. The question set the former scavenger aback. It was a question that wasn't typically asked of her. 'Nobody.' She used to be a nobody. But with the revelations of her lineage, she now knew that was not the case. It was worse.

She thought of the legacy that her bloodline entailed. A legacy of conquest, of tyranny, of darkness. The very same darkness that called to her still from the depths of her soul. A darkness that would be with her until her last, dying breath.

Rey looked to the distance like the lost child she once was and silently asked the Force for guidance.

The Force answered. There, beyond, between, and within the sandy dunes of the Great Dune Sea, were the ghosts of the past. The last two Jedi masters, the children of Anakin Skywalker, looked upon their pupil from the great beyond.

And along with their ghostly visages, Rey realized that there was another legacy that she, for better or for worse, was the heir to. There was only one way this would go.

"Rey Skywalker."

She stood there, the same way this all began. With a lone girl and a ball of an astromech droid, standing in a sea of sand. Off in the distance, the twin suns of Tatooine bathed the landscape in hues of crimson and gold.

"Rey Skywalker, huh?" She felt the presence even before he slid his arm around her waist and rested his cheek on her left temple from behind.

BB-8 made a bunch of whistling alarms as the spherical droid rolled away from the figure that had embraced her.

"It's ok, BB. He's a friend now." Rey gestured to the droid while simultaneously reaching up with her left hand to stroke the newcomer's cheek.

She twisted in place to come face to face with the man who had brought her back, who she in turn had brought back from the brink of eternal darkness. The man who owned her heart.

"You said it yourself. Ben Solo must remain dead," she smiled and traced a finger down from his eye to his cheek, following the contour of a scar that had belonged to someone else. "And we can't just be Rey and Ben nobody."

"What about P-"

"Don't say it."

"Just kidding," he smiled. "Skywalker is fine."

She looked back at the partially buried domicile behind them. "Are you sure about that?"

"It's." Ben paused. His gaze panned over the remains of the old Lars Moisture Farm. Despite his Uncle's stories about his childhood here over thirty-some-odd years ago, this was the first time the former Jedi had ever been to the place. "It feels right.

"You really think their sabers belong here?" Rey looked at the shallow depression in the sand where she had buried her masters' lightsabers.

"Uncle once told me how much he wanted to leave this dustball," Ben said. "I never really paid attention until a recent conversation I once had." He declined to offer any more details, not that Rey noticed. She didn't need to know that she wasn't the only one communing with the ghosts of the dead. Not yet. "But yes. I'm fairly certain this is what they would have wanted."

The former Jedi reached out with his hand towards the spot where the lightsabers had been buried. He felt out with the Force, finding those tendrils of memories that he had been told would be there.

Rey stepped backwards in astonishment as the sand slowly receded, outwards and away from the burial site. She could feel Ben's will through the Force as he uncovered three stone markers right beside where she had sunk the lightsabers. Slowly, sand particles flew off the markers, revealing words long buried under the desert sand.

'Owen Lars'

'Beru Whitesun Lars'

'Cliegg Lars'

"Ben?" She turned to her companion. He wasn't finished. Ben Solo felt for something else. There, on the other side, another marker, much larger, slowly emerged. It was much older than the others. Rey struggled to make out the words on that one.

'Shmi Skywalker Lars. Wife. Mother.'

She felt shivers as she read the name and the epithet.

Ben pressed his lips tight and struggled to contain himself. The lightsaber, forged by a young boy over half a century ago, a lightsaber that fell into the care of a good friend and then entrusted into the hands of a lost son, had come full circle.

'Thank you,' a familiar voice spoke to him through the Force. Beside him, despite her heavy presence in the Force, his companion showed no signs of having heard it.

Anakin Skywalker had finally come home.

"So. Yellow."

"Yes. Yellow."

Ben looked in amazement at the lightsaber in his hands. He noticed the handle was haphazardly constructed mostly from the scrap metal staff that Rey used to carry around with her all the time.

From the focusing ring, emanated a blade of bright ochre, like a ray of golden sunlight captured in a metal sconce. But there was something odd with the way the blade hummed. Reaching out with the Force, Ben could feel not one, but two presences in the hilt. Both of them familiar, but one significantly more than the other. He flicked the switch, cutting off power to the energy blade and looked at its creator. "So you went all the way to Endor." He smiled and shook his head as he inspected the lightsaber.


"Just to get my old lightsaber."

"Yes," Rey smiled a somewhat guilty smile. Ben tried to ignore how adorable she looked leaning backwards and smiling like a little girl. "But just for the kyber crystal," she clarified.

"And you paired it with my uncle's." Ben lifted the device, noticing a slight heft to it that wasn't clear from it physical appearance. There was some mechanism there that allowed two crystals to share the same emitter and be part of the same blade. Probably another ancient design similar to his cross-guard saber. He thumbed the activator again and paid closer attention this time. A minute flash of green and red appeared before melding together into the golden yellow blade.

But there, upon closer inspection, Ben could see the faint tendrils emanating from his red crystal interwoven with tiny beams of energy spewing forth from his uncle's green one. Dark side energy from the cracked kyber was being countered, neutralized, perhaps even augmented, by the positive force of Luke Skywalker's crystal.

Push and pull. Yin and yang. Light and dark. Balance. Much like its wielder.

Ben shut the device off and handed it to its rightful owner. "Yellow," he repeated with a smile.

Rey took her lightsaber and looked down at it in her hands. Looking at it, she was reminded of the legacy that she carried in her blood, and the one that she bore in her heart. "It feels right. Like, a way to reconcile my light and dark sides." She hung the device on her belt, beside her holstered blaster.

"I know what you mean." Ben said.

"Which reminds me, when are you building a new one?"

"When the time is right. I want to do it right this time. Besides," he smirked. The raised-eyebrow, half-smile on his face reminded Rey of someone else, someone she met a lifetime ago. "This should do for a while." He waved his Blastech DL-44 heavy blaster in the air. The antique weapon coincidentally belonged to that very same person, Rey realized.

"That's not the Jedi way," Rey tried her best at a deep, half-mocking tone. She wasn't quite sure who exactly she was quoting but it felt like the right thing to poke him with.

Ben twirled the blaster around his index finger before shoving it into the holster underneath his left arm. "I'm no Jedi," he replied and pointed at her with his now-free finger. "And neither are you," he added. "Not entirely. Not anymore."

"What are we?" Rey took a few steps up a ridge that defined the boundaries of the Lars moisture farm. The very same ridge that decades ago, a young man looked longingly upon the very same double sunset that greeted the couple now, wishing for the same direction of destiny that they now wondered about.

"Rey and Ben Skywalker," he said softly. She felt an arm around her back as her companion joined her on the ridge. In the distance, the twin suns of Tatooine looked down on them like a pair of crimson and golden eyes. "Anything more than that, only the Force knows."

Rey felt her lover embrace her from behind. She took his left hand and gave it a long kiss, as she guided his right down to her slightly bulging belly. "You think he'll be a Jedi?" She asked, rubbing her hand over her midsection, tracing the bump that she had just noticed that morning.

"The Force is strong in my family. My grandfather had it. My uncle and my mother had it. I have it." Ben Solo Skywalker closed his eyes and felt his lover's hand through the Force, and felt beneath and beyond it. A smile crept onto his lips as he kissed the top of Rey's head. "My daughter will have it."

The couple locked lips once more in consummation of a union that the galaxy had sought to sunder. Like generations before, a forbidden union made possible through the will of The Force. A union that persisted through the sheer stubbornness of the human heart. Rey and Ben Skywalker united as two halves of a single soul, alone in a sea of sand. With nothing but their hopes, their dreams, and the future ahead of them.

And above the lovers, the stars of a war-torn galaxy shone down upon them without judgement or condemnation. Tiny pinpricks of light silently heralding the dawn of a new age, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….