Rey wakes to the slamming of a car door.
She jerks into a sitting position, heart beating quickly as she's jolted from her dreams. She'd slept so deeply that her hair is sticking to her forehead with sweat. Her room is stuffy and, groaning, Rey forces herself out of bed to open the window.
The October air is cool and crisp, ruffling her sweaty hair. There used to be a time when Rey would have enjoyed something so simple.
She can't quite remember the last time she truly enjoyed anything.
Two men climb out of a sleek van with blacked out windows. They're Brendol Hux and his awful son, the redhead who leers at Rey whenever he comes to the Palpatine house.
She vaguely recalls grandfather telling her that he was receiving a special gift today while they were eating dinner the night before. She's overslept then, if the Huxes are already here. She won't have time to shower and look presentable in the spare minutes she has to get downstairs to the foyer. Grandfather had requested she be there when he received his gift. Probably to show off.
There's a tendril of panic that curls up her spin; it always does when she realizes that she's about to disappoint her grandfather. He is not a kind man when he is pleased with her, much less when he is displeased.
Rey rushes about her room throwing on clothes as quickly as possible. On her way to the bathroom connected to her room she pauses once more by the window. A third man she doesn't recognize has gotten out of the van, bigger than both Brendol and his son. Rey wonders how big grandfather's gift is, if it requires three grown men to carry it inside.
Grandfather is disappointed as soon as he sees her, and even though Rey expected it she feels her heart sink.
"You look as if you just rolled out of bed, which of course I'm sure you did," the ancient man bites out. Even though his bowed back has him hunching over his walking stick, Rey's grandfather still seems miles taller than her. "You'll embarrass me in front of—Brendol!"
The older Hux has graying hair, and Rey suspects it used to be as red as his son's when he was young. He moves through the front door with a broad smile for grandfather, Armitage right behind him.
The third man trails after them both, politely closing the door behind him before coming to a stop in the middle of the foyer with the Huxes.
Rey takes him in, not really paying attention to the conversation grandfather and Brendol start to have. The third man is striking despite how casually he's dressed, but neither he nor the other two men are carrying anything. Rey furrows her eyebrows, wondering where the gift—
The third man turns, steps forward and shakes grandfather's hand. That's when Rey notices it. The small ring of LED light on the third man's right temple. It swirls yellow as he steps back into place after introducing himself, as he processes the information of his new environment. Of his new owner.
The third man is not a man at all.
"You bought an android?" Rey blurts out, and suddenly all eyes in the room swerve to her.
"Of course not." Grandfather sounds appalled that she could even ask. He gives her a cold, cold look. Rey's cheeks heat in embarrassment as Armitage Hux smirks at her.
Palpatine turns back to Brendol. "It is not beautiful like your other models."
Rey is taken aback at this; it's such a rude thing to say so openly, but the android doesn't react at all. He continues to watch grandfather with calm attentiveness.
"It is unique, not based on any pre-existing human model." The older Hux falters a little at Palpatine's unimpressed look. "I created it's face myself."
"Well, it is ugly." Grandfather's upper lip curls in slight distaste.
Rey is not like him in most ways, but she and grandfather do share the quality of saying unexpected things at unexpected times.
"I think he's lovely." Once again all eyes on the room are on her, including the android's. He tilts his head a little, as if he is processing her for the first time.
Palpatine snorts, but his lack of amusement is clear. "If you want to fuck a piece of plastic, Rachel, I'm sure the local sex store can accomodate you."
Rey sucks in a sharp breath at both the barb and the use of her "real name", the foyer going deadly quiet until Brendol begins to speak again.
"It can do everything the latest FN-2187 model can do, and more. It's three times as strong as your average man, it knows over two-thousand languages…"
Rey stops paying attention to what the older Hux is saying. The android is still watching her, but she can't bear to meet his alert stare. There's an awful prick of angry tears as she dwells on her grandfather's crude comment, but she manages to fight them back with a steadying breath.
She was homeless three years ago, sixteen and dirty and hungry. But Maz and Chewie and Rose and old Ben, who worked at the local bar and would feed her sometimes, were her friends. And they cared about her, but even better than that they respected her.
Three years ago, if someone had spoken to her like grandfather just did, she would have punched them in the face. She would've punched them, then she would've gone to the fire escape she'd sleep in sometimes, if the stars were out and bright. Rey might not have had a home then, but she had loved herself.
Now she has a mini-fridge in her own bedroom and a mansion to live in, all because an old, rich man claiming to be her grandfather "finally found her". She has a home now, far away from Jakku County and it's gritty hardness. And yet Rey is more alone than she's ever been. Her home isn't so much a home as it is a shell of something that could be beautiful but very much is not.
It hurts too much to try to love anything anymore.
Grandfather Palpatine steps forward and starts prodding at the android with his ornate walking stick, lips pressed into a thin line as he inspects his gift. The android is back to watching grandfather now, the light on his forehead still turning yellow.
"And it truly is a unique model?" Palpatine finally says, and both Brendol and his son look a bit relieved. It seems as if grandfather is going to accept their guilt.
Brendol nods vigorously. "Of course. After your sizeable contribution to our company we could only give you the best HuxTech has to offer."
Grandfather is quiet for a moment as he circles around the android one last time. He finally gives a single nod of approval. "Very well."
The men begin to talk the finalities, and Rey opens and closes her mouth several times, debating whether or not it's worth it to speak again while grandfather is conducting business. The android seems to notice her uncertainty, gaze swiveling back to her. His eyes are brown, Rey notes.
She takes a deep breath, deciding, before asking, "What's his name?"
At that, all three of the human men laugh at her.
"It doesn't have one," Armitage supplies, speaking to her as if she is a stupid child. "It is model KR-400. It is a machine."
Rey stays in her room for most of the day after the android is delivered, lounging on her bed and trying to concentrate on her studies unsuccessfully. For dinner, she makes a sandwich out of the bread and peanut butter she keeps under her bed - an old habit. Grandfather doesn't seem to be angry that she skipped out on coming downstairs to eat with him, a small mercy.
But she does eventually leave her room, late at night when most of the house is dark, to get laundry out of the dryer. It's technically from the day before and she had forgotten about it. She tiptoes out of her bedroom and down the stairs, careful to make as little noise as possible. Waking grandfather after he's already fallen asleep for the night…
Rey has been punished for less.
She moves quietly toward the back of the house where the laundry room is located, and is surprised to find the light on and the android in the room. He's wide awake and alert and hulking, now that Rey is getting a good look at him outside of the main foyer. He's folding her clean laundry, she realizes with a start, large hands handling her—
"Um!" She darts forward and snatches a lacier pair of underwear out of his hands. She promptly hides it behind her back, which makes no sense considering the android has already seen and touched them.
She gestures with a jerk of her head toward the basket of half-folded clothes. "I, uh, can fold my own delicates, thanks."
The android stares down at her, unblinking. "Doing the laundry is part of the service list your grandfather provided."
Rey gapes because—because she's never heard him speak before but his voice is just as lovely as the rest of him, she immediately decides. Deep, and comforting. It reminds her of something, evokes a feeling she maybe felt long ago. So long ago it could even be from a dream.
"But if you wish for me to not wash, dry, and fold your bras and lingerie and—"
"Yeah, yeah, um, I wish for that!" Rey laughs nervously, quickly grabbing the laundry basket with the rest of her delicates from where it's sitting on top of the dryer. "No one needs to see my period stained underwear but me."
She instantly wishes for death.
The android stares at her for a long moment, the light on his temple ever yellow, before his eyes flick to the ceiling then back to her. "The vast majority of human women have period stained underwear, according to a survey conducted by—"
"We don't have to have this conversation," Rey smoothly interrupts.
"Very well." The android's mouth curves a little into a polite smile. "It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance, Rey. I look forward to serving your grandfather as well as yourself. Would you like me to escort you back to your bedroom?"
Rey stares at him.
The android stares back.
"I did not mean that sexually," he clarifies matter-of-factly.
"Okay. Well." Rey clears her throat. "No thank you, um…" She shakes her head, flustered. "What's your name?"
The android tilts his head at her. On a human the look would be a curious one. But on him it is slightly other, as if he is simply processing information he wasn't expecting to receive. "Perhaps you did not hear earlier, but I do not have a name. My model number is KR-400."
"Many androids have names," Rey argues.
"And many more do not. We are machines."
"Fine," Rey snaps. Something about his tone makes her feel prickly. She turns and strides a few paces out of the laundry room before turning back sharply. "You not having a name is fucking stupid."
The android frowns slightly, the light on his temple still spinning yellow. Processing, always fucking processing.
"I'm going to call you—I'm going to call you Ben." She thinks of kindly old Ben who'd give her spare change and sing her songs, back when she didn't have a home. It'll do.
The android—Ben—watches her closely for a long time before he nods ever so slowly. "Ben," he repeats, confirming in that deep voice of his.
"Is that okay?" Rey asks, realizing that maybe she's being incredibly rude by picking out his own name for him.
Rey nods, shoulders relaxing a little as she backs a few more steps into the darkness of the rest of the house. "Goodnight then, Ben."
And the light on his temple flickers blue.
The world is fucking garbage so this is my kind of sort of monster fic for Spooky Season! All the lore is being pulled straight from Detroit: Become Human, which is a fucking incredible narrative game I encourage you all to check out.
If you're liking this so far, please make sure to drop a comment and let me know! Feedback keeps this fanfic author thriving ^.^