A word of warning: Story's rated M, as always. By now long-term readers should be familiar with what that entails (violence, mature themes, etc.). For new readers: the tags on my stories are accurate, and my stories are dark. Here's your only warning.

Disclaimer: This fanwork is intended for personal, non-commercial use only. All creative works off which this fanwork are based are the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended.

A/N: Revised October 15, 2016


Kylo is a collection of memories.

He's made of fragments and ghosts – a little piece here, a little bit of something there – all stitched together with recollection and time, constructed akin to a puppet. A walking puppet he is, stuffed with straw. Always he's shambling towards whatever force is stronger: towards whatever master controls the strings. For Kylo Ren, that changes often.

First it's his father, and then it's not. Then it's Skywalker – His Father, Part II – and then it's the Order, and only the Order, because he feels like he's been backed into a corner. Caged animals claw at limbs, chewing through flesh when they have nowhere to turn, and Kylo's been chewing at his arms for quite some time now, until there's nothing left but the remnants of it. Such is the legacy of his family's dynasty: the family curse. When lives are handed down by fate, personal responsibility becomes a foreign concept. Personal anything is foreign to Kylo, except for the anger. He wishes it wasn't, but he never gets to choose. It's another grievance in a long list of grievances he's gotten used to.

Kylo was born into a legacy, and the shoes are too big for him. The shoes aren't his, but they took them anyways, and then they took his clothes away too. Time stripped him of everything, except for his fate, and so far he's gone through life like a man in an ill-fitting suit; uncomfortable in his own skin, and miserable. Always, he's drowning.

You had everything, they tell him, but he really didn't. He had it all in a technical sense, but those things he had were never really his. Not really a part of Kylo Ren. They were owned by ghosts – by the ghosts of his father, his uncle, his grandfather – and whenever someone speaks about him, it is always with an addendum. An addition to the base. Kylo, son of Han. Grandson of Vader, nephew of Luke. A promising Sith – and before that, a promising Jedi – but only because they'd run out of options. Beggars can't be choosers. No one loves Kylo for being Kylo, and he knows this.

Deep, deep down – so deep it lurks like a hallucination – Kylo thinks that being happy might be nice. Whenever the thought surfaces he shuns it, however, telling himself the emotion is stupid. When he's feeling irritable, Snoke punishes him for it. Powerful and vicious, they call Kylo, but also an idiot. It's what they whisper in the shadows, and that seems to be a common theme with him, this constant stabbing through the back. From Hux, from the Knights of Ren, from his own father. From the ghost of Vader, who hovers around his head. Kylo always sees his grandfather's ghost, but he's not sure if it's real or a figment anymore. For him the two usually intermingle, with small smatterings of truth and self-loathing thrown in here and there. Mom loved Kylo for being dad's son, and dad loved Ben, but no one accepted the old identity, and no one accepts the new one either. Supreme leader Snoke loves Kylo the Grandson, but it isn't love; it's the stripping of parts to make a machine. Kylo's aware of this, but he's desperate. He'll take what he can get.

Crick, crack. Bones are snapping between his teeth. Kylo's been hungry for a long, long time, now. He's starting to starve physically, too. He's hungry for love, even though he doesn't like to use the word, so when Snoke tells him to fetch Skywalker, and fetch him quick, Kylo jumps to the task like a good little minion. He does as he's bid, even though the thought of seeing his uncle makes him sick. Almost as sick as the thought of seeing his father.

Find the droid, they tell him, and he did, or at least he'd tried. He'd found the girl instead. It is only later, when he's plucking at the harp strings of her mind and she's plucking at his, that Kylo discovers she's hungry too. Starving and thirsty-like. She's familiar.

Kylo remembers Rey in an odd, vague sort of way, and he's consumed by the queerest sensation that they've met before. The scavenger's thin, all scrawny and uncomfortably small. When she bends certain ways he can see the indentation of her spine, and her cheeks are just a bit too hollow; the side-effects from a lifetime of scrounging. Desert scum, they'd called her, and he'd joined in on the fun, or at least stood to the side. She's beneath him, and she's got the warmest eyes, all calm and wide. Hazel colored, they are, but she's freezing beneath. No one came back for her, and it makes Kylo shudder. It makes him pine. He knows that feeling.

Then it clicks, and Vader save him, but he's never felt more frantic at seeing someone strapped to a chair in his life. It's akin to hysteria. When his panic flares, it takes everything he has to stop Snoke from prying. No, no. Never. Snoke's taken all, but he won't let him have this. That – that right there. That's Kylo's. She's his.

Time passes. The girl escapes, but not for long. When the world is melting he tells her about it; he says he knows her parents and where to find them, but it's a lie.

Even still it throws her off balance, enough to swipe the saber out of her hand and throw Rey across the ground with the force. She bounces like a ragdoll on impact, lying still, and it makes him panic. Her bones. Her bones. What if he broke them? He can't bear it.

Bring her back to me, Snoke demands as Kylo drags a trail of red across the snow. He scrabbles through the whiteness, black-clad fingers grabbing a small body and pulling it close. Powerful and vicious, they call him – just like his grandfather – but also dumb. Kylo's starving, gnawing through bones, and then he sees her. He sees her, water in the desert. He remembers. A ghost of his own.

Bring her back, Snoke says, but Kylo's gotten too close to the sun. He picks up the girl as Starkiller shakes. He's bleeding everywhere, staggering and limping.

REN, Snoke screams, but Kylo doesn't listen. He can't. He takes the girl and he runs.

The universe wails with grief behind him.

Author's Note

So I'm back-ish. I shouldn't be starting another story, but Star Wars has (once again) totally wrecked me, and I need to get it out of my system. Icarus is gonna be a mixture of canon and legends – of the Expanded Universe and the main series – so for those of you familiar with Star Wars lore, you'll find a lil' bit of everything mixed in here. Hopefully it won't get too confusing.

A note on updates: they will be sporadic. I have three other fanfics in the hopper, a comic coming out in the spring, and a novel that needs to get done by winter, so I'm strapped for time. That said, I'm aiming to finish this story before the next movie comes out. For those of you looking for quicker updates, I apologize profusely in advance. I'd love to update faster, but I know I can't manage it. A big thank you to EpitomyofShyness and Trebia for beta'ing.