I fall, I fall
Deep within never
I call, I call
Baby come find me
I fall, I fall
Deep within never
I call, I call
Baby come find me.
Emile Hayne, Come Find Me (Feat Lykke Li, Romy)
She wasn't surprised when his was the first face she saw in the Force cave. She'd been expecting it. In some ways, he was her ultimate truth. But what she hadn't been expecting was how sad it made her feel, nor had she been expecting the insistent longing.
Except, it wasn't quite his face, not as she knew him now. This face was so young, unscarred. His eyes were a warm brown instead of dull, lifeless and dark. Even his pallor had been replaced by a shade that looked close to her own sun-drenched skin. This wasn't the man she knew, but someone before that point.
And she knew, true as anything, that if she were to destroy this boy-man, she'd save the galaxy a world of trouble. It'd be so simple. Ignite her 'saber, a quick cut along the seam of his throat, and watch the life as it dimmed from his warm gaze. She knew that she could not kill this Ben Solo, just as she couldn't kill Kylo Ren, but she wondered and the Force tempted her of a reality without him in it.
But it was blessedly silent.
And she was alone with her thoughts, finally.
And they were trouble free.
And then realization dawned on her as the light in her heart magnified, the world rippling through her entire being, crystallizing as pure feeling. Ben Solo had been nothing but trouble since the day he was born. They'd always been afraid there was too much Vader in him, but in reality, it had been his similarity to his parents that had pushed Ben away from the lights and into the waiting influence of Snoke. He was powerful in the Force but quick to anger and brash like both of his parents. He cared so much, too much. And love, which he was capable of, was an all-consuming, dark creature.
"Who are you?" the boy who was Ben asked as he sniffled.
"I'm Rey," she replied with a smile to the vision.
"Rey. Like a ray of light?" he asked. Rey wondered whether that was how he saw her now—a ray of light, bright and pulsing with the energy of the Force.
Like me, she could almost feel him think.
"Tell me what's wrong, Ben," Rey started. If she was going to be able to help her Ben, she needed to be able to understand him and through her vision, she hoped for clarity. A memory of Luke haunted her instead, even as the vision of Ben Solo stared at her expectantly.
"He sees in you a kindred spirit, Rey. You are all that he could have been, all that he rejected. You need to find that understanding within his mind and decide what to do next. The caves will help guide you, but it won't be easy. As much as he lets you in is as much as he'll be able to get into you." Luke had said this, even without knowing the magnitude of what went on between herself and Ren. If Master Luke knew what went on in her dreams and at the edges of her waking moments... the way they completed each other—she could only imagine how he'd react to the knowledge that she was having a harder and harder time resisting Kylo Ren's dark pull.
It was a dangerous game, but what other option did she have? They needed the information that Kylo Ren possessed about the First Order and they needed to sever the connection Snoke had with him, but to do that, she had to win his trust.
Win his trust, when you aren't even sure about where your place is? When you don't know what Master Luke is still keeping from you?
The sliver of doubt wormed its way into her mind before she could banish it. Little pieces of darkness, little pieces of fear and anger amplified by the power of the Force. She'd fallen into this so easily, into a life where it felt like she belonged, meeting the expectations of her new friends by going to find Luke Skywalker, but where did her story end?
The vision of young Ben Solo made a sniffling sound, distracting Rey from her thoughts. "Mom and dad were fighting again and I know it's because of me," he said in a very small voice as if he was used to having to speak softly.
How often were you expected to sit and be quiet, Ben? Be seen and not heard? During Senate meetings? While you grappled with the overwhelming feel of the Force?
"Why do you think that?" she asked, wondering whether this vision had anything useful to impart, of if it was just the Force picking apart pieces of her own consciousness.
"I broke a window with my—with the thing I'm not allowed to talk about," he whispered, answering her question.
"With your power?" Rey prompted gently. His power had manifested so young. She couldn't imagine how that would have been like, for either him or his parents, she had enough problems controlling the Force as an adult. And Luke had spoken of his bond with Leia, but the General was different about her powers. She relied on her gut and experience; the Force was incidental to her and something that tied her to the dark legacy of her father.
"When I get angry, things just happen. They don't think I'm normal. Dad hates me."
This broken little boy, loved and feared by his parents, had Kylo Ren once been like this, alone and afraid, with powers he neither understood nor could control? Rey was about to ask him more until another body moved through the vision.
Inanna... Her name washed over her like a gentle wave and suddenly she knew all about this girl and what she meant to the boy who would become Kylo Ren. Rey studied this ghostly apparition and if the visage of Ren's dead love closely matched her own, she pretended not to notice. History rewrote itself as memories of the present invaded her mind, and Rey knew that if he was constantly on her mind, it was likely the same for Kylo Ren. She'd never experienced a love like Ben Solo had for Inanna. It had started so pure and, had she not died, Rey wondered if it wouldn't have bloomed into something more, something that outlasted the feverish longing of youth.
The vision shifted as Ben held the limp body of Inanna in his arms, tears trailing over his pale face. "It'd be better off if I was dead, instead of her," the not quite Ben told her. His voice hadn't deepened to its current register, and it cracked with his emotions. Was the Force trying to twist her into doing something that felt contrary to her very nature? What did the Force want with her? What did it want with Kylo Ren?
The body in his arms flickered as if the Force was sensing a change in her, and what manifested in its place was her body. As Rey stared down at her own body, she felt no fear—just sadness. But it wasn't inevitable. It could be, but it didn't have to be.
"You're alive. I'm alive. Isn't that enough?" Rey wondered back as Ben gently placed the body on the ground before his gaze darkened, a shiver of power filling the room with his Force signature so strong that it pressed down on her body and caused a thrumming in her head. Eyes closed, Rey waited for the surge to pass before opening them again, and found herself staring up into the blackout gaze of Kylo Ren.
He sneered at her, all bravado. They were children playing games of war, never understanding the consequences of their words and actions until it was too late.
"It'll never be enough," his deep voice rasped. "I'm going to rule the galaxy. I'm going to eliminate all those who get in my way, the weak and the useless, all those who no longer serve a purpose. I am pure destruction. I will destroy you."
Rey considered his words. If she were to strike him down, what would that accomplish? Would it truly save the galaxy from Snoke and the First Order? She didn't think so, no. Snoke would have more than one acolyte in the dark arts and the First Order had bloomed under the blind eyes of the New Republic. They were strong. They were many. And they could not be brought down by killing one man.
But if that man were to strike from the inside?
"I'm in this to get what I want," the not quite Kylo Ren assured her. He wanted power, but more than that, he wanted her and the understanding she promised.
Like me. Kindred. Understanding.
Tendrils of his beliefs trailed through her mind before she taunted, "You want me." Rey edged closer to the vision before her. He was so tall. All muscle and sinew, his asymmetrical features blended into an arresting face, with ears that were too big for their head hidden by thick, dark waves of hair. He was beautiful. He was Ben Solo. And he was Kylo Ren.
"I will not kill you, Ben Solo, just as you will not rule the galaxy. I'm going to leave here in one piece and with my sanity intact and you're going to leave here and make the right decision."
The vision sneered down at her. "What could make you believe that?"
Rey stared up into his disbelieving eyes before her gaze trailed over the freckles on the face that was too much his father and not quite enough of his mother. "I believe, Ben Solo, because I've seen inside your head and you're not half as dark as you pretend to be, nor half as brave either. I believe because I have hope—in you." And with a quick motion, she grabbed at the lapels of his shirt and dragged him forward and against her lips.
Chaste and pure and full of everything she wished for him and everything she ever wished for herself. Hope was all she had. And as the vision disappeared, she couldn't be sure, but she thought she might have seen another smirk grace that face, and this time it was full of amusement and a little disbelief before it faded into nothingness. Rey shook her head and tried to get her bearings once more. The cave was dark without the eerie light of her vision, so she ignited her light once again. The Force had led her back to the beginning of the cave, so she decided to sit and meditate, waiting for the real Kylo Ren to either find his way back out again...
Or disappear under the burden of his own mind.
When he finally appeared, gone was the smug and self-assured man who'd parted ways with her. In his place was someone who looked dangerously close to the Ben Solo she'd defeated in the caves. He looked shaken and, if she had the courage, she'd have opened the link between them to see what he'd seen, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. For once, she kept her curiosity in check.
The look he gave her was wholly devoid of ego. He looked as if he'd had all the certainty he'd worked so hard to possessed, all the beliefs, the indoctrination, all of it—washed away in one terrible moment, leaving a great, despairing nothingness in its wake. He didn't approach her, just stood and stared as if she might somehow possess the information he needed as if she might be able to reassure him that, whatever it was he'd gone through, it wasn't right. It wasn't true.
But he seemed to remember who she was and what she stood for and then even that tenuous reassurance disappeared on another rolling wave of despair.
"It can't have been for nothing," he croaked, his voice sounding for all the galaxy as if he'd been screaming in terror. And maybe he had. Master Luke had said that Force visions had the capability to be terrifying, but what had he seen?
"What are you talking about, Ben?" Rey called, too fearful to cross over to where he stood when he was so emotional, but he surprised her by closing the distance between them and wrapping her in his arms, a squeak of surprise was crushed from her lungs as he held her tight.
He was shaking. Rey looked up into his feverish looking face. She'd thought the caves would be hard for him, but this was entirely unexpected.
"What's going on, Ben?" she asked, voice pitched low and soothing.
"The Force. My uncle. Everything. It won't be for nothing. I will not allow it."
Ren leaned in and threaded his fingers through her loose hair. Even through the leather of his gloves, she could feel the heat of his body, and Force be damned if she didn't want his touch.
"Ren, don't. This isn't right." She tried to rally herself enough to pull back, to sound brave and resolute, but her words came out as a whisper and Rey could only stand and stare as he looked down on her with a small smile that was not quite his own.
"I'm going to tell you the truth, Rey," his voice rumbled, too close for comfort. Close enough that she could feel his breath as it brushed against her skin.
"The truth?" she asked as he pulled her close, angling her head back so that she was still looking into his eyes.
"The whole truth. The truth about who you are and what happened to your parents."
"It doesn't matter. None of that matters now. I have to stop the First Order," she replied stubbornly.
Ren laughed, a choked harsh sound, and ignored her. "Luke Skywalker is only using you to get what he wants."
"And you wouldn't?" she countered. It felt like everyone was using her for something. Unkar Plutt for her skills as a scavenger, Han for her skills as a mechanic and a pilot, Leia for her skills as a Force-user...
Everyone except... Her mind offered.
Except me, Ren finished.
"I want you. That is wholly different. Luke hasn't been honest with you and I have always been honest with you."
It was true. Kylo Ren didn't lie to her—keep things from her? Obviously. But he never lied.
"Spit it out, Ben. What are you keeping from me?" she asked, annoyed.
"It's not what I'm keeping from you, but what Luke is keeping from you," he said.
Rey rolled her eyes. "And what is Master Luke keeping from me?"
The mood between them shifted, from antagonistic to something deeper, darker, as he stared down into her hazel eyes. She could tell he wasn't playing around anymore. He wanted her. Felt that it was integral to his own success that he had her, and he seemed to think that whatever secret he had was going to deliver her right into his arms. Rey took a shuddering breath to steady herself as his confidence and sense of rightness flowed into her through their bond.
His voice was soft and surprisingly devoid of emotion when he hit her with the full force of his truth, "Luke is the reason your parents never returned for you because he is the man who murdered them."
And all at once Rey knew that he was speaking the truth. Memories flooded her. Not her own, not Ren's either—stolen feelings and impressions from the Force as visions from the past, present and future overwhelmed her.
The Empire needs children... Scientists! Her parents were scientists for the Empire!
She saw her mother, petite and strong—like her—cut down by a white-blue blade. Her father, not Force-sensitive but on the wrong side of a never-ending galactic war, was tall and handsome. Not kind, but stern and resolute. But he loved her.
I'll come back for you, Sweetheart. I promise.
For so long she'd thought it was her father's voice—or a protector. And she wasn't entirely wrong, not her father, but another man who would keep her safe, who would mean more to her than anything in the entire galaxy...
And then, alone on Jakku. Force sensitive, but her power muted. Quieted. Hidden?
He looked upset to see me because I reminded him of the horrors of what he'd done and who'd been sacrificed in the name of a war that never seems to end.
A name: Lor San Tekka, another ghost from the past.
Left with a great, monstrous blob because of fear and...
To keep her out of the hands of the First Order. We don't know what's been done to her... how it will manifest in time...
Tears flooded Rey's eyes as she finally came to realize just how similar she and Ren really were. Both were powerful, gifted, strong—but a burden. Something to be feared and segregated kept away from polite company and society in case their powers manifested in ugly ways.
It's to keep you safe.
To train you.
You don't know your own strength, your power will overwhelm you...
I love you, but I'm not sure that staying here is best for you.
There's too much darkness.
Not enough light.
Excuses, some for Ben Solo and some for Rey the scavenger, but it didn't matter. The message was the same. They were unwanted. Until...
Rey shivered. She didn't belong to that fearsome creature any more than Ren did, but the power he represented was appealing. She could see that now, see how being wanted might come to supersede anything else Ben Solo had been feeling.
Grandfather. Scourge of the galaxy. Twisted and evil. There's too much Vader in him, always has been.
And yet, hadn't the New Republic been just as guilty of as many crimes? Crimes of inaction. Allowing insurgents to do their dirty work. So much blood. So many hands.
Finally, Rey came back to herself, eyes still locked with Kylo's. He'd seen it all, she was sure. Knew it all. And it felt good. Better than good, it felt right to have him inside her mind. Someone who understood. No, more than understood had felt it too. Had looked at her and seen power and potential and everything she could be, but instead of fear, there had only been anticipation and want in his gaze.
I want you. From that first moment until my last.
I don't know what I want anymore. She answered truthfully. She knew that the First Order was dark and evil, but what of the Resistance? Surely they weren't blameless in all of this? She realized now that she couldn't go back to Master Luke anymore. Not after what she'd learned. She'd never be able to look him in the eyes without the doubt and that was a dangerous step towards the dark side, but what to do now? And had he known all along what was to come once Kylo Ren came to the island?
"You know what to do," Ren told her aloud, his voice shocking some sense into her.
"I'm not interested in being one of Snoke's slaves," she hedged. She wanted Snoke dead. Wanted the darkness and the threat he represented gone from the galaxy.
"Then we are of the same mind," he replied. His hand gently threaded through her hair, little shivers of his Force powers flowing through her at his touch. It was heady and overwhelming, but she tried to keep herself from leaning into it.
"Together we can save the galaxy from Snoke."
"You want control, it's not the same thing. Power like that only does one thing."
"Then help me take back the galaxy, to give it the structure and order that it needs to survive," he suggested as if they were discussing what to make for dinner.
Three portions for him. One for me. One galactic empire for him. One lifetime of regret for me.
And yet, when he said the words, she couldn't deny how right they felt. As if the Force itself was pushing her in this very direction. Every moment of their meeting had felt familiar, but also like there was another piece of the puzzle that was missing. Something important—glaringly obvious.
Ren brushed his lips against her brow, distracting Rey from her thoughts.
"You know this is right. I can feel it."
Would she ever be able to hide anything from him again, would she want to? He was the only person who'd ever been wholly truthful with her, right from the start. He wanted her because she was powerful, that was true, but he also wanted her because...
I want you because you're important to me.
But why?... She didn't understand it, the way he looked at her like he knew her. She'd seen visions of him, impressions, but nothing tangible—not until recently.
How could I be important to him unless he already...?
A great cry resonated throughout the cave and brought Rey back to the moment and Ren's fierce gaze.
"Come with me." It wasn't a question and this time, she didn't resist.
Together, we will finish what my grandfather started.
A/N~Have you ever had your entire belief system ripped out from under you, one day realizing that everything you'd ever been taught to believe was a horrible lie that had been used to control you? That's how I imagine Ben Solo felt after finding out that his mother and father had hidden the truth of Vader from him, like everything he'd believed about his family was a lie and all that darkness had been there for a very good reason. I'm not an apologist, you don't have to do what your family expects you to do, but I am empathetic and I think it makes for super fun fucking fiction. I also love that Kylo Ren tells Rey the truth, right from the start. It might be a fucked up version of the truth, but it's the truth as he believes it to be. THAT IS IMPORTANT FOR HIS CHARACTER and will be helpful if there's an eventual redemption of sorts (ughhhhhhhh all the feels). Please, build on this Rian Johnson! PLEZ.
ANYWAYS. God. I feel like fucking Mean Girls can best sum this pairing up for me: I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS. While someone is yelling from the back that I don't even go here! Ugh. 1.5 years to go. I can so do this. Onwards and upwards! Or should I say downwards? When everyone thinks that the ends justify the means, who's good and who's bad? Let's explore the dark and sexy adventures between Kylo Ren the Problematic and Rey the Amazing.
Thank you, as always, for reading and reviewing. I love you all so much 3 Double thanks for Oblivionisathand for being awesome with the discourse (also, badass username).
I'll come back for you, Sweetheart. I promise –Quote from TFA Novelization by ADF, AKA NOT MINE. Twisted and Evil is said at some point in the OT by Obi-Wan Kensexy, so not me as well. Lyrics for Come Find Me belong to their respective owners (Emile Hayne).
I OWN ALL OF MY OWN MISTAKES! This is an exercise in insanity, thank you for coming along for the ride. Thank you for all the follows, comments, reads—I see it all and I love it all!