A/N – Sorry for the wait and short length, it really was intended to just be a small section at the end of the last chapter. I was camping for a week was worried about bringing my computer out into the woods.
Hope you enjoy this conclusion, I honestly am not sure if this will be the last of my Reylo stories. I have one more planned that I think readers would be more interested in… discussing marriage and family 😉 The passion for writing is still there but my summer is getting busy. I'm writing when I can but that time is limited. Hope to see you all in the future!
Chapter 7 - Never Again
Rey sat quietly atop that familiar stiff mattress. A few feet away stood Ben, cross armed and attentive as he stared blankly at the med-droid. His expression changed more than once from confusion to amusement.
"I only meant to rip out the battery," she tried.
"You've completely fried the central hub," Ben half-scolded.
"Maybe he should have minded his own business," Rey argued playfully. Ben merely smirked in amusement.
"Caring for injured patients was his. business." Ben shook his head, but not without a light chuckle.
"If you hadn't been avoiding me, we'd still have a droid," Rey tried to joke, however her smile faded with Ben's twitch. His expression twisted in pain and Rey's mind raced to understand what she had said wrong.
"I didn't think you wanted me here," he whispered a moment later. Rey couldn't help but tense before reaching for his arm, relieved when Ben untangled his stiff limbs and stepped closer to place himself within her reach.
"I'll always want you here. Even when I'm angry," she promised. Even after spending the majority of the past hour whispering apologies against each other's lips, Rey felt compelled to say it again. "I'm sorry, Ben."
Ben shook his head. Lifting her hand to land gently against his mouth where he placed two feather-lite kisses at her knuckles. "Me too."
Rey's shoulders relaxed at the swift resolution and closed her eyes to savor the moment when Ben leaned forward. He kissed her forehead and she felt herself falling back with his gentle press. When her head was settled against the pillow, she opened them to find him pulling away.
"Lie still," he ordered lightly before turning from the bed. He stepped around the ruined droid and just as he had three days prior gathered an array of supplies. Rey nestled into her blanket, already chilled by the ship's cold temperature. Feeling a swell of gratitude when she noticed the spare blankets that Ben gathered before returning to her side. He left them in a heap at her feet before dumping supplies on the bed.
Rey practically sighed in relief as he administered a strong pain reliever, slumping as deeply into the bedding as she could possibly go.
"Finally," she whispered contently.
"Has no one done this for you?" Ben asked with a stiff edge to his tone. Rey nodded to the droid.
"He was stingy," she replied. Her answer doing nothing to quell the spark rising within his iris.
"Probably running on outdated charts," he stated darkly while sifting through a data pad at her nightstand. Before his rage could escalate, Rey clasped a hand above his knuckles. Running a soothing stroke of her thumb along his fingers.
"It's fine, Ben. I'm used to enduring, medicine on Jakku was too costly for any scavenger to afford."
"That's supposed to make me feel better?" Ben tried and failed to smile.
"Yes, now give me my blankets," she smiled before reaching for the lump at the end of her bed. Ben, however, pushed gently against her shoulder.
"Bandage first," he said.
"What?" Rey flinched. "Why?"
"It will get infected." Ben looked to her strangely then down to the clearly warn bacta. Rey didn't even realize she had been staring with wide eyes when he pointed, "you did destroy the droid, sweetheart."
"I know," she whispered nervously while Ben continued to watch her.
A part of her knew it was foolish to act so prudent, pushing her to welcome his care. The other, clung frighteningly to her knowledge of desert law that Jakku had engrained in her long ago. Clothes, or lack thereof, had intentions. Intentions that Rey was not prepared for.
"What's wrong?" he asked when she refused to explain her odd behavior.
"Nothing, it's fine." Rey tried to insist. Bringing an arm to the very top of her bandage to preserve what little she could of her modesty. The action did not go unnoticed when Ben flinched once again, eyes glancing away for a moment as he appeared to wrestle for words, and then he turned away to grasp the new bacta.
"Logically," he began. Keeping his eyes focused at his hands once he began tearing at the edges of her wrappings. "I should be offended that you fear I intend to take advantage of your injury."
Rey looked to him in surprise, too flabbergasted by the hurt beneath his failed jest to respond.
"Have I given you reason to distrust my intentions?" Ben asked.
"I do trust you," she promised. Focusing her reddened face on the ceiling. "I'm just not used to…"
Any of this, she wished to say. Being cared for. Being seen.
Apparently, the words were translated through her expression as Ben nodded. If he had been surprised it didn't show. Instead, he carefully began to slip the final remnants of the bandage from underneath her tunic.
"I have no desire to do anything that would make you uncomfortable," he stated a bit firmly.
"I know," she whispered. Embarrassed, yet thankful to hear his promise aloud.
"If Tico wasn't three drinks in, I would entrust you to her," he stated softly.
"Rose?" Rey tried to smirk, thankful for the distraction. "She's never one to overindulge."
"Says everyone that grossly underestimates wookie concoctions," Ben managed a scoff. Rey couldn't help but smile.
"My father. I was just a boy," Ben shrugged. He placed the new bandage atop her abdomen, securing what he could before surprising her by leaving it in her hands. "Finish up."
Rey watched him turn, grasping remnants of packaging to discard as she finished the wrappings around her breasts. She quickly fumbled with the ends, trying to replicate the technique that the droid had tied so perfectly. When the task was complete and Ben returned to her side, she couldn't help but wonder why she had been worried in the first place.
"Better," Rey confirmed with a sigh.
"Good. Eat this before you go to sleep," Ben ordered while placing a bowl in her grasp. While her stomach grumbled in thanks, Rey narrowed her eyes playfully.
"You're being bossy again," she reminded. Taking a spoonful of reheated soup.
He flinched cautiously but relaxed when noticing her smile.
"Tell you what sweetheart, when I end up in a medical bay, I will obey any ridiculous command you make of me."
"When? Not if?" she smirked for taking another bite. Ben merely scoffed.
"With how reckless you are?"
"I am not," she argued weakly, pushing the bowl back into his hands when her stomach was filled. He placed it aside before finally pulling the blankets up to cover her body.
"I do not intend to let it be you who suffers in this bed again," he stated before lowering himself to place a kiss at her forehead. "Get some sleep."
He began to twist away, intending to leave when an arm reached on instinct. Her small hand halting his massive body with a simple grasp at his wrist and Ben turned to watch her in question.
"Don't leave," she begged.
"I'll be in other room," Ben replied. Rey merely tugged again, unsatisfied by his promise. He hesitated for a moment, but she refused to release him until his knee was pressed against the edge of the bed. Rey pulled once more and Ben finally relented, slowly and robotically moving with her tugs until he was lying beside her. She turned to curl in on herself, relying on his warm body to guard her from the vent behind. She half-wondered if he was still wearing an expression of terror by the time she closed her eyes. With his hesitant arm remaining stiff around her, she begged once more.
"Don't leave," she whispered tiredly. His body relaxed and she was immediately enveloped by heat of his body folding around her. With his arm tightening around her at last, she heard one final promise.
Ben was aware of few things when he first began to wake. There was an ache in his arm from being used as a pillow and a crink in his neck from the awkward fit on that small medical bed. However, there was also a peace that he had never been granted before.
Against his neck was a soft rythmic puff of breath. When he finally opened his eyes to see Rey curled against him Ben tightened an arm around her. Smirking quietly at the mound of blankets surrounding her. Rey squirmed at the movement, curling even deeper into her nest.
Ben close his eyes and tucked his chin to rest at the tip of her head. Offering a silent prayer of gratitude that the force had allowed this moment after their time apart. Thankful that for one moment, all seemed perfect.
And then, there was a scutter of movement as shoes scraped the ground. Ben's eyes shot open but closed almost instantly as he grimaced at the two figures drawing closer.
"Kriff," Ben grumbled tiredly.
Lando merely chuckled before nudging Chewie's furry arm.
"Told you I caught him pining."
Fanfiction_net commenters… you kept this story moving. Thank you so much for the support and conversations!
Review Replies – I have posted the replies from last chapter if anyone missed that.
RedPandaJoy – You are just too kind! I am very glad that you like my writing so much. Thank you very much for reading and for your continued support! Hope you like the conclusion!
Maushaushase – Thank you very much! I tend to agree with everything you said there, I have a hard time seeing Ben being the "bad guy" (for lack of better word here) in this situation, but I understand that it could be read multiple ways. However I am relieved to read your notes here, because everything you stated was what I was trying to portray so thank you for sharing! It's sometimes difficult to "erase" what I know when writing to put myself in the reader's position. Thank you so much for reading and leaving your thoughts!
BrokenMentality – I am so glad that you enjoyed the latest chapter and especially the kiss! Thank you so much for reading and leaving your thoughts!
Pam48 – I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter! Gotta love a reunion! Thanks so much for reading!
Reyoflight – I'm very glad you enjoyed the chapter! Wow thank you so much for the compliments! Hope you enjoyed the conclusion and thank you for reading!
Stepanka hanusova86 – Aww I am so glad that you enjoyed the chapter! I hope you like the conclusion and thanks for reading!
VampwolfWarrior – I can tell you're very passionate about the characters! That's awesome! You have very fair criticism. I'm going to try and organize my response based on your middle three paragraphs.
I don't think Ben is trying to prioritize his feelings over Rey. He wanted to be in that room with her, but genuinely believes that she doesn't want him to be. He's not trying to be manipulative, he's not trying to make her pity him, he thinks he's doing what she wants him to do. To stay away. It's what he's always known, people who he thought loved him eventually turn away from him. I think he'd relapse into this mindset after they fought for the first time. So, he believes that Rey no longer wants him, she has friends that she'd prefer to take care of her, and he is back to having no one. This is why he's hyper focused on his own turmoil. For him, Rey's out of danger and he assumes her friends are keeping her comfortable. As for his apologies, I intended them to be genuine, so maybe I'll revisit that to try and give that more clarity. I meant to imply that he was whispering apologies left-and-right the same time Rey is saying hers. I am curious to hear if your opinions on that changed after this chapter at all?
As for Rey, from what I've analyzed she is no stranger to manipulation given how she grew up and I don't think she tolerates it. At all. So, from her perspective here, I think she would genuinely realize that this isn't what Ben was trying to do. She did at first, which is why she put up such an argument but then realizes she overreacted and that she treated Ben poorly in this scenario. Plus, knowing Ben's background she comes to understand why he had gotten so passionate when she refused to listen. If she thought Ben was really trying to control her, I wouldn't have written her this way. Rey is no push over, but she is forgiving. When she recognizes Ben's true fears and motives, she forgives him for his careless words but understands that she assumed incorrectly that he was trying to tell her what to do.
Ben could definitely use some counseling! I think there's certainly room for them to discuss this argument in the future and I think they'd both have regrets over the encounter. I agree, his words weren't okay but in my opinion neither were Rey's actions. I don't personally think Ben did anything wrong here other than his ill choice of words and shouting, but that seems to be getting into a real-life social standards discussion rather than one about Star Wars.
Hope this made some sense, this is simply my perspective and what my thoughts were when writing. In no way did I intend this as argumentative, so I hope it doesn't read that way! I love having conversations like this!