Pax Tollitur

(Latin): "Peace is destroyed."



27 ABY

Every night before bed, I braided my hair to keep it healthy and strong. That night was no exception. Even in the wee hours of the morning, with all the younglings safety tucked away in their beds. Well, their beds being on the floor of my dormitory room.

I stepped through the tiny, scattered bodies with feather-light footsteps.

Master Luke didn't know that I often stayed up so late. After all, I hid my stash of training books under my mattress where he would never look. As I danced through the sleeping Padawans, I swung an imaginary saber in the patterns from the books. A swipe from Shii-Cho, a block from Soresu, and a stab from Ataru. Reaching the door safely, I looked back at the snoozing younglings with a triumphant smile.

In the bathroom, I tied my mahogany hair up with a ribbon and began to braid it. It was a time consuming process, best done when I didn't have any younglings hanging from my hip. Helping to raise those children was a blessing and a curse. As I wove my hair with my fingers, I couldn't help but recall my mother back on Chandrila. She would be proud of me, having accomplished so much by the age of eighteen.

After finishing my nightly routine, I quietly returned to the hallway. It was a short walk back to my room, but I didn't make it very far.


Practically leaping at the sudden voice, I whirled to find a familiar face behind me. I mentally kicked myself for not sensing his presence. "Ben," I gasped, pulling my shawl to cover the low neckline of my nightgown. "What are you doing up so late?"

Ben's brown eyes studied me, the dark circles under them alluding to his tiredness. "I could ask you the same question," he retorted with a smirk. "It's almost two in the morning."

"I lost track of time, reading," I lied easily, forcing a small smile.

Ben hummed in understanding, but his questioning gaze remained. "I can't sleep, so I'm going to go look at the stars," he said. "Join me?"

Master Luke's Jedi academy had been built on a hill overlooking emerald hills. At night, the view from the garden terrace was unbeatable—the most beautiful place on the entire campus. As we took a seat on one of the benches there, the stars and galaxies above filled the moonless sky with starlight.

"What's been keeping you awake?" I asked, glancing over at Ben. His gaze fixated on the stars above with tousled hair grazing his eyes. When he didn't reply, I grew concerned. "Something troubling you?"

Ben shifted on the stone bench, his long legs stretching out much farther than mine. Not only was he four years older than me, but also four years ahead in his training. His skill and demeanor rivaled Master Luke's.

"Lately, I've been struggling to control my emotions," he admitted. I nodded, reflecting on my own difficulty with the first rule of the Jedi Code: There is no emotion, there is peace. Ben continued, "I miss home."

"Me, too," I agreed. I watched my hands clasp together in my lap. "Once we're Jedi Masters, we can return to Chandrila whenever we like."

Ben let out a breath, shaking his head. "I don't think Luke will ever make me a Master."

My brow furrowed as Ben lowered his gaze to look at me. "You're one of the best Jedi Knights we have," I said. "What makes you say that?"

His eyes appeared nearly black in the darkness. When he spoke, his voice was guarded. "He doesn't trust me."

I shook my head. It was the first time I'd ever heard anyone question Master Luke. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. "I don't think that's true…," I said hesitantly.

"You only think that because you don't have to earn his trust, like I have to," Ben argued. His tone had become a bit aggressive. "You're the daughter of an Alliance hero. I'm the grandson of—" He paused, suddenly uncomfortable and looking away. "Someone very different."

Vader. The reason for his insomnia became clear then. Truth be told, I'd had no idea that Ben struggled with thoughts about his troubled bloodline.

"Ben…," I began quietly, speaking to his back. "You're also the son of an Alliance hero. Two of them." Ben said nothing; I wasn't even sure he was listening to me. "And you're his nephew," I added desperately.

"That's my point," Ben said, his voice trembling. "He knows the temptation of the Dark Side better than anyone."

Closing my eyes, I reached out with the Force to sense Ben's emotions. I felt his fear, like an oozing wound, before he steeled his mental barriers against me. Hesitantly, I reached out to place a hand on his back. "Fear is a path to the Dark Side," I reminded him. "Don't fear what's in the past."

"Don't speak of what you do not know," Ben said defensively. "You don't know anything about me."

The words hurt me, and I withdrew my hand. "That's not true," I said in a small voice. "I've known you since we were younglings. Our mothers were best friends."

When Ben turned to face me, his expression had softened. "I know," he said, shaking his head. "I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry."

Feeling relieved, I gave him a gentle smile. "It's alright." I wanted to change the subject to a happier one. "Remember we used to play together every day before Master Luke took you off world?"

As I spoke, Ben leaned forward on his knees. He looked back at me with a smile. "I remember," he said.

Putting a smile on his face thrilled me to no end. "We used to pretend that we were married, having adventures all across the Galaxy," I recalled. I couldn't help but picture the large tree we used to play in, our "spaceship," and the many sunny afternoons we had spent together.

"That's right," Ben laughed. His distant eyes seemed to be lost in memory as well. Then, he looked directly into my eyes. "We even kissed once."


The word bounced around in my mind as surprise rolled through me. "Really?" I breathed, tilting my head. "I don't remember that."

"I do." Ben's dark eyes watched me closely. I waited for him to say more, but he didn't.

The sudden tension in the air was palpable. I squared my shoulders as Ben straightened to his full height, looking down at me in the darkness. My heart rate picked up. I should be in bed, I thought.

"Kind of sad to think that it might have been the first and last kiss of our lives," Ben murmured.

"It is the Jedi way to not form attachments," I whispered. My rapid heart rate was beginning to affect my breathing, which came in shallow pants.

"It is," Ben agreed. When his fingers tilted my chin upwards, I froze in place. He then lowered his face, pressing his lips to mine. His lips were full and soft. A feeling of warmth pooled in my belly, spreading over me like a warm blanket.

"No!" I gasped, jerking my head away. I touched my fingers to tingling lips as my breaths came hard and fast. "No," I breathed, squeezing my eyes shut. There is no chaos, there is harmony.

As the silent moments stretched out, I couldn't look at him even if I tried. "We shouldn't have done that," I whispered.

"You're right." Ben placed a hand on my shoulder, warm and electric. "I'm sorry."

Even with my eyes closed, I felt on the brink of tears. My voice trembled. "If Master Luke finds out—"

"He won't, Pax."

I turned to face him with wide eyes. Ben's expression was serious as his eyes traveled between my own. "He won't find out," he repeated softly.

Standing abruptly, I opened my mouth to say goodnight, but the words wouldn't come. Ben stood too, standing close to me with his eyes searching my own. The intensity of his gaze reminded me of smoldering coals.

"Oh, Ben…"

Unable to control the impulse, I wrapped my arms around him. He returned the embrace, bringing our bodies closer than I ever thought possible. I felt his warm breath on my neck as I clutched at the clothing on his back. My mind filled to bursting with the thought of him as my blood rushed through my veins.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

"Let's never speak of this again," I said, pulling myself away.

Jaw clenching, Ben nodded wordlessly. He stayed in the garden as I made my way back into the academy, back down the hallway, and back into bed. I laid there wide awake until the sun began to rise.

With Kylo/Ben's arc finishing in ROS, I wanted to dive into the Ben Solo character a bit more. This first chapter is set a year before Ben's turn to the Dark Side. I kind of already have about 12 chaps planned out for this story, but reviews really help me write better and faster. Thanks! -Scarlet