A Greater Force
Disclaimer: We don't own anything from any of the Star Wars franchise and we're not making any money from this fic
Summary: Set after Episode 7. Sometimes a greater force is needed to get one's life back on track
Warning(s): Spoilers for the entire Star Wars franchise and major spoilers for episode 7; spanking; AU; some violence
Authors: Hope1iz and BlackFox12
Despite his best friend's insistence to the contrary, Han wasn't as sure as Chewie that his son had been about to attack him. But he hadn't been able to stop the wookie from knocking Kylo Ren out and then throwing the boy over his shoulder, before roaring at Han to, "Get out NOW!"
Han sprinted towards the other two kids. "Let's go! Now!" He didn't want to be stuck in the base when it finally blew. Their best pilot was out there... and he would assume that Han would get Finn and Rey out, which meant he'd take the best shot he could.
Finn's expression was a bit shell-shocked, but he nodded and grabbed Rey's hand, ignoring her protest that she could still run, and pulled her out of the base after him.
Blaster in hand, Han ran alongside Chewie... checking they weren't going to run into any Stormtroopers who would try to kill them or take Kylo Ren. Han had promised Leia he would bring their son home.
It was a promise he intended to keep.
Meanwhile, Poe was lining up his shot. Confident that his friends would succeed in their mission, as soon as the shields were down, he was making his move and when his opening came available, he took it. "I got a hit! Hope you all are on your way out!"
"We're all out." Han had had to take a few shots, as well as Chewie, but fortunately, most of the Stormtroopers seemed distracted by the battle outside. "We'll meet you back at the base."
Finn had reached the Millennium Falcon ahead of Han and Chewie and paused long enough to make sure Han and Chewie were joining him.
"Let's get out of here, kids." Han led the way onto his ship.
Poe was racing away as the ship began to destruct. When he saw the Millennium Falcon racing away also, he quickly altered his flight pattern just enough to join up and fly beside them. "It's an honor flying with you, sir," he said through the link.
"You did a great job out there," Han responded, adding, with a trace of amusement, "Very much like your predecessor." He glanced around at the others... his best friend; his son (still unconscious) and the two new kids who had joined them. He didn't comment further on Finn's lie... although he still wasn't pleased about it. Han knew how much danger could be caused by claiming a skill one didn't have... and even though Finn's heart was in the right place, that kind of risk could kill others.
"Thank you, sir..." There was a slight hint of pleased pride in Poe's voice at Han's compliment. He wanted to ask what had taken so long; beyond fighting off the First Order's troops, Finn had made it sound as if it would be a piece of cake. His curiosity would wait, though- until all those in command were present for debriefing.
Kylo Ren had slowly come to in time to hear his father's compliment to the one who had destroyed everything. A flare of red hot anger surged through him. He chose to attribute it to the fact that he had failed in all his directives, rather than to jealousy that his father wouldn't ever be saying anything to him like that. He slowly began to gather the force around himself for one last attack, planning to take control of the Falcon long enough to send it flying into the ship following near it. If he couldn't succeed while living, then he'd succeed in dying.
He didn't account for Rey feeling the force disturbance and looking his way. "He's awake! And trying to take control of the ship!" she ground out through clenched teeth, as she tried to maintain control of the vessel and somehow block what he was doing with the force. She'd just discovered she was Force sensitive and had never trained...what should she do? What could she do? "Someone needs to break his concentration..." she blurted. "...I can't hold him off much longer..."
Han had already prepared himself for Kylo Ren fighting... doing whatever he could do bring them down and himself in the process. "Chewie, stay on track!" he barked out, before standing and walking quickly over to his son.
It was a small matter to lean over and lift the boy into his arms. Han had tried to be gentle... and according to Chewie, Kylo Ren had been about to take the next step towards the dark side.
With that thought in mind, Han carried his son from the cockpit.
His father carrying him was enough to break Kylo's concentration on the ship...and to focus it on Han. This was his opportunity to fulfill at least one of the objectives he'd been given. He had to prove that any connections to his past were not a hinderance.
The only problem being, they obviously were a hinderance. All he needed to do was use the force to choke his father...but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he began to struggle and fight, using hands, feet, knees, elbows, and teeth. He wasn't certain biting his father's arm was very effective or wise, but he was beyond caring at that moment.
Han adjusted his grip on Kylo, carrying him long enough to move to one of the other areas of the Millennium Falcon. He sat down on a bunk in the furthest part of the ship and placed his son across his lap before he set about baring Kylo, keeping his son tight against his stomach to still his struggles.
It took longer than Kylo would have liked to admit for him to realize what his father was doing, but as soon as he felt cold air against his backside, he began to squirm and buck in earnest, attempting to break free from Han's iron grip.
"No! You can't do this! I am an adult! I won't allow you to!" he cried out in false bravado. It was obvious, in the tone of his voice, he fully expected his father to continue and that he didn't have hope of stopping him.
Han could have responded verbally. There were all kinds of things he could have replied to his son... not least the fact that Kylo was still a boy... was his boy... and there was no question of Kylo 'allowing' this.
Lifting his hand, Han brought it down in the first swat. The swat was comparitively harder than the ones he'd given his son in the past. Not full force, but definitely harder than normal. He wanted to head off the struggles and attitude as fast as possible.
Kylo couldn't stop the yelp that escaped any more than he could stop himself from struggling to break free. His efforts increased after the first swat. It may have been many years since he'd been in this position, but Kylo could easily tell that his father was not going to go easy on him and this was going to hurt; he had to get away.
It never occurred to him to submit to his father, stop fighting and accept whatever verdict Han handed out. He had gone too far for too long and didn't expect leniency or mercy for good behavior. His only hope (as far as he could see) was to get away.
So long as Kylo wasn't actually using the Force to attempt to escape (and Han was reasonably sure he'd be able to tell if his son was), Han could hold him and stop his struggles fairly easily. Lifting his hand again, he delivered a second swat at the same force... and then a third and fourth just below the first two.
Kylo couldn't think; the swats, the shame at being controlled like a child, of being subdued and held in place and punished like he had been when a child, derailing his ability to plan. He struggled harder, but knew he'd never get out of his father's grip using physical strength. He had been using the Force for a very long time, though, for things he probably should not have been using it for. It didn't take any thought at all to reach out for it and turn it against his father.
Before Luke... Leia... Kylo... Han wouldn't have been able to defend himself against someone turning the Force on him. Since realising early on that his son took more after his mother and uncle than him, though, Han had done his best to understand... to defend himself against the tantrums and out-of-control uses of the Force.
This wasn't a whole lot different from then... and Han reacted in the exact same way. His arm tightened around Kylo and his other hand began swatting harder... this time in random spots; a few in the same place on one side, then one in another spot on the other side... a couple at the top of one thigh, before returning to the crest of his backside.
Kylo gasped at his father's response. He was about to react again, was going to choke the life from the man who subdued him so easily, but suddenly, his position, what he'd attempted to do and was planning to do, and memories from his childhood, brought on by the familiar experience of having his father warm his backside, hit and overwhelmed him all at once. And he couldn't do it. He couldn't kill his father. He just couldn't.
And then he thought of the fact that he almost had killed him; had nearly run his lightsaber through him. If he had succeeded, he wouldn't be in this position. If he had succeeded, he wouldn't have his father. He wouldn't have Han taking him in hand and...
Kylo choked out a tiny cry, suddenly feeling very confused and sorry for himself. He'd failed to kill his father, but couldn't feel upset at the fact; was glad he'd failed. Still...he'd failed.
He struggled to free himself one last time, then just gave up. His father wouldn't stop till he'd deemed it enough. It had been that way, for as long as Kylo could remember. Finally accepting that he was being punished, as a child, by his father, Kylo stopped his struggle and lay still over Han's knee, the only response to the very painful swatting whimpering and the occasional jerk from a particularly painful smack.
Han wanted nothing more than to stop and take Kylo into his arms... hold his son as if he could protect him from the bad things, both outside and within. But he forced himself to continue, even though he did lessen the force behind the smacks.
"I'm still your father. No matter what you've done... no matter what you were going to do... that hasn't changed."
Kylo tried not to listen, not wanting to hear Han's words. It didn't work, though. Between the smacks landing unerringly on his rear end and his father confirming his permanent place in his life, it was all too much and he couldn't not hear. "I was going to kill you!" he blurted, in an attempt to get Han to stop and give up on him.
"I know," Han responded, not changing the force or tempo of the swats. "Why do you think Chewie knocked you out? He saw it before I did. It doesn't change anything, kid. Your mother wants you home as much as I do," he added. "She asked me to bring you back. She didn't need to. I would have done it anyway."
"Nothing has changed..." Kylo warned. Just because he couldn't bring himself to commit patricide, it didn't mean he was suddenly on board with joining his father and mother's cause. He winced and gasped as his father continued the punishment. It had reached a point that it really didn't matter how hard the swats were; they were landing on super sensitive skin.
His bottom felt raw...even if he knew his father would never punish him that harshly unless given no choice, due to his stubbornness and questionable actions. Which...ok. Maybe his father would be that harsh this time. If trying to kill him wasn't cause to be as severe as possible, he didn't know what would be. It hurt that he might have pushed his father to that point. Despite his intentions not to be affected, he found his eyes tearing up and his throat feeling thick with regret and...he wasn't sure if it was guilt or remorse, but it was close enough to both to be a problem. He grunted and tried to stop the flow of his tears, but he knew he was failing badly. Again.
"It might not have changed for you," Han replied. "But I'm not going to let you continue down this path. I might not have experienced it firsthand, but I know the lure of the dark side. No matter how long it takes... no matter what it takes... I'm never going to leave you." He shifted his son forward and began focusing more swats to the areas between bottom and thighs.
Kylo tried to withstand the punishment. If he could hold out long enough, Han...his father might give up. It would leave Kylo free to return to his master and hopefully make up for all his spectacular failures today. So he grit his teeth and somehow managed not to whimper or whine when his father began to focus more on the area he would need to sit. It was close, though, and he found himself shaking his head and trying to argue with his father; not realizing how petulant and childish it made him. "Why won't you just leave me alone?! Let me go! You never seemed to care about staying with me before...just taking off!"
"I made mistakes," Han agreed. "But I'm not going anywhere now, Ben. I'm not leaving you alone. I'm not going to let you go."
Kylo might have been able to continue ignoring his father's words...pretend they were pretty lies...but the use of his given name, a name he had not heard in many years since he had begun on his path, somehow allowed the words to edge their way in and despite his desire to remain disconnected from while humiliating situation, it brought him down fast and low.
"You should..." he finally managed to force out. He didn't know how much longer this could continue; his father blistering his backside, while saying everything Kylo had wanted to hear for so long before he'd given up and thrown himself wholeheartedly into going after his grandfather's 'dream'.
Han had never been very good at doing what he 'should' do... but he didn't give voice to that; because if he'd ever been certain about anything, it was that he couldn't let his son go. He'd failed Ben... knew he was at least partially responsible for the path his son had taken. From the moment he'd picked up Ben... held him in his arms... Han knew he was through 'running'. He was through leaving his son to be abandoned and alone. And if that meant he'd be doing this for a lot longer? Well, Han was stubborn to a fault... it was a trait he shared with his wife. It wouldn't surprise him if Ben had inherited both sides of that as well.
"I'm not saying I've been a perfect father, but from this moment forward, Ben, I'm staying with you. You're mine, kid. My son. And I love you." It was never that easy for Han to say, but he thought... he knew... he needed to say it more; to show it in every way he could. "I always did. From the very first moment."
"No...no, you don't!" Ben protested waspishly, even as he began to buck, trying to dislodge himself from his father's grip. He didn't think he could take one more smack without breaking down into tears like a baby, but that wasn't the reason he fought. He wanted to believe his father was telling the truth. Wanted to believe it so badly- and he'd thought he was through with wanting his father's love and approval. He thought he'd got over wanting his father around; wanting him to step in and stop him from doing the things he really knew he shouldn't be doing, but was so hard to stop once he'd started. "You'll soon grow tired of me- of my behavior and decisions that don't mesh with what you or mother believe to be right...and you'll leave me again!" He might not be able to physically break free; for some reason he didn't want to examine, the thought of trying to use the force again, to harm his father, seemed horrid to him.
Han pulled his son in tight against his stomach. "No. Not any more." The promise rang true with all the sincerity there was in Han. "I'm not ever going to leave you again. I'm through doing that. I'm going to stick around, kid... for everything." The truth was, no matter how convinced Ben was that Han had been tired of him... it was never Ben; it was Han's own feelings of inadequacies as a father. He'd always felt Ben had been closer to Leia... now, though, he realised how much he'd failed his son. And even if Ben couldn't believe his words... Han was going to do everything to prove it through his actions.
Ben gave up arguing, giving one last attempt to break free; but it was obvious his heart wasn't in it. He was tiring of the struggle and was very close to giving up, only pride keeping him fighting to free himself.
Han didn't so much as loosen his hold on his son... but it wasn't just to restrain him. He hoped the contact would help him to get through to Ben... although he was going to do everything it took to make things right. Starting with being honest with Ben and hoping his son would respond. "It wasn't you, son. I was never leaving you... those were my failings. Not yours."
"You left because of what I did! Uncle Luke left because of what I did!" Ben ground out, his voice quivering with the effort to not give up and give control to his father, even if it was beginning to look like a very good idea by now.
Although Han hadn't stopped swatting, they served as an emphasis... a way to lower Ben's guards and keep them down while he tried to get through to his son. "And I should have stayed. I know you hurt, Ben. But this isn't a path you're going to walk alone anymore. I might not be a Jedi, but I'm still your father... and I'm going to fight for you," he promised.
"It...it hurts!" Ben barely refrained from ending his complaint with the honorific of 'daddy'. He wasn't a child any longer, despite how his father was dealing with him...although if anyone had been listening in, they would have thought him childish for whining about a spanking hurting. It wasn't just his sore backside he was speaking about; although if it looked as painful as it felt, he was sure his rear end was glowing bright red like a beacon. No...the words were actually more to do with his confusion than the spanking. His inability to kill his father would be seen as a weakness by his master. His inability not to want to believe his father's words made it difficult to ignore them. He truly couldn't ignore them any longer. If his backside hurt, it paled in comparison to how his heart was hurting at that moment. Somehow, he managed to work a hand free, but instead of attacking his father with it, he threw it back in scant protection of his bottom.
Han paused just long enough to move Ben's hand out of the way, holding it against the small of his back, before he resumed swatting, this time using a fraction more force. It was hard, though. All he wanted was to hold his son... but until the spanking did what it needed to, stopping would just give them more problems to deal with. "I know it does." His voice was sympathetic, rather than cruel or teasing. He understood Ben was talking about more than just the spanking.
"Please..." Ben's voice caught as he voiced the plea. "...What do I do to make you give up this foolishness?" What would he do if Han didn't give up on his plans to bring him home? To keep him close and presumably keep watch over him to make certain he didn't continue down the path he'd started on and that his master was insistent upon. What did he need to do to get his father to stop tormenting him with thoughts of being a family again...of his father caring enough to protect him from himself? What did he do to get his father to stop spanking him? Because the relentless smacking made it near impossible to think of anything beyond what his father was speaking on. And thinking on his father's words...he just didn't know what to do. "Why won't you stop?" he choked out.
"You need to understand that I'm not going to allow you to continue down this path," Han replied firmly. "That I will step in... and this will happen each and every time it needs to. Not because I want you to suffer, but because I know you can be so much better. This isn't foolishness. This is one of the ways I'm going to be here for you... where I should have been before, but I will always be from now on."
"You...you'll spank me again? If...if I...I..." For some reason, Han's promise to take him in hand again if needed, anytime needed, convinced him of his father's sincerity more than anything else. Growing up, Han had only stepped in a very few rare times...most of the time when he was punished, it was his mother who handled him. Han had always seemed reluctant to play disciplinarian; perhaps because of his past as a smuggler. The fact his father was not only disciplining him, but promising to do so again? Kylo believed him. And he believed that Han wanted to be there for him. And he had no clue how his father was going to help him out of the mess he'd made of his life. Slumping over his father's knee, Ben finally gave up fighting, a slight quiver when a smack landed the only evidence that he was still fully focused on his father. Tears poured from his eyes, even if they were silent. "...I'm sorry, daddy..." he finally whispered.
Han expelled his breath in a sigh that was more relief than anything else. Stopping the spanking with one final swat, he gathered Ben into his arms... holding him tight. Hearing his son crying and knowing that he was the cause of that pain was hard... but Han had meant everything he said. He was going to bring his son in hand when needed... but he was also going to be there for Ben from now on. His arms were tight around his son... it had been a long time since he'd been able to do this.
At first, Ben was reluctant to accept the comfort, still unsettled and uncertain about everything that had just occurred and everything his father had promised. It didn't take long for his need for comfort to override his confusion and pride, however, and he quickly squirmed around until he was able to wrap his own arms around his father's waist, hiding his face against the older man's chest. Every movement hurt and caused fresh tears to spring from his eyes, but he didn't care about the pain...and he didn't care about his pride. Looking and acting like a needy child mattered little when all he wanted was to feel his father holding onto him tightly.
Han tightened his arms around his son, wishing he could protect Ben from all of the pain his actions had wrought. He stroked his boy's head as he reiterated softly, "I love you. And nothing is ever going to change that."
"I don't know what to do..." Ben admitted softly. "I don't know how to...how to undo what I've already done..." He shuddered. "He expects me to kill you. To kill you and mother...to prove that I'm strong enough to not be tied to anyone...I don't want that now...but I don't know how to stand up against him..." He shivered and pressed closer still to his father. He'd made his decision, or it had been made for him- it didn't really matter. What mattered was he had made it and now that it had been made, he saw no reason not to give in to it wholeheartedly. His father had him now and...he didn't want to be anywhere else. He wanted his father to have him. "I... I am so sorry..."
"You can't undo everything." Han's voice was soft as he held onto his son. "But you can do better. You can become stronger. You can stand up to him... with help. You don't have to be alone, son. You have me and you have your mother. And I promise that isn't going to change. You don't have to battle the dark side alone."
Kylo nodded weakly, not ashamed to snuggle closer to his father for just a bit longer before he finally remembered that he was on his father's ship...and that at any moment, Chewbacca or one of the others who had been with his father might come into the area and see him sitting on his father's lap, punished bare backside visible to everyone. Sniffling slightly, he squirmed a bit until he was able to tug his breeches up at least most of the way; to get them completely up, he'd have to stand and he was loathe to move out of his father's arms just yet.
Han shifted enough so that he could help his son replace his clothing and then settled back with Ben in his arms, unwilling to let go of him anytime soon.
"Chewbacca was really mad at me..." Kylo noted softly. He snuggled closer, letting his head fall onto his father's shoulder. Han wasn't attempting to get away from the affection and seemed like he wanted to continue for as long as possible. This more than anything convinced Kylo that his father was serious about everything he'd said. "I...I tortured your new crewmen..." he admitted reluctantly. He had a feeling his father would expect him to apologize to the two younger members of the crew and he honestly didn't know how to do that. While he was sorry for almost killing his father- and extremely grateful Chewbacca had stopped him- he wasn't really all that sorry for what he'd done to Rey or Finn. He didn't know them well enough to care about them or care about what he'd done, beyond the fact his father would be disappointed in what he did. His father's disappointment bothered him somewhat, but still. He wasn't sorry for what he'd done to the other two. He thought maybe he should be, but maybe that was one of the things his father had plans to 'work' on.
While Ben spoke, Han gently stroked his hair, not attempting to move his son away from him and, in fact, holding him tighter. "I know," he replied, having seen the effects... at least on Rey. "For the time being, I think it's best you don't have much interaction with them... at least until you're a little more settled." He was reasonably sure that Ben didn't feel that sorry about what he'd done to them, so he thought that forcing the three of them together right now probably wasn't a good thing.
"Yes, sir..." It didn't take much thought at all to fall into a respectful stance toward his father. How could he not respect the man who had decided to 'save' him, despite the attempts made on his own life? Plus, Han's opinion was much the same as Kylo's. He didn't think he'd want to see or face the other two any time soon. Shifting again, he couldn't help but wince. Now that he was starting to feel more secure and settled with the decision that had been made, it was harder to ignore the pain in his posterior. "You've got a really strong hand, daddy..." His whisper was rueful.
Han pressed a kiss to the top of his son's head. "I doubt I would have been able to get through to you any other way," he replied. "And I meant what I said... if it has to happen again, it will. But I am never going to let you go."
Ben couldn't stop the whimper that escaped at those words...partly at the thought that there was no way he'd avoid going over his father's knee in the future and he could tell his father was serious. Most of his discomfort was due to realizing that his father was serious about staying as well; he was about to get the father he'd wanted, needed years before. He wasn't sure how to handle that. He ended up hiding his face against Han's chest again, his head under his father's chin. He also couldn't hold back a tiny sigh of relief and contentment that he didn't want to examine too closely.
It was one thing to admit to not wanting to hurt his father and that he couldn't escape without doing so. It was one thing to admit he believed his father's words and had accepted his judgment on what would happen in the future. It was something entirely different to admit, even to himself, that he wanted his father in his life and directing his future actions...that he wanted his father to stop him when necessary, even if it hurt.
Han just held onto his son as tight as he could without hurting him, gently stroking his hair. "I love you," he repeated. "And we're going to be a family... a true family. I'm sticking around for good and we'll figure out together how to get you off this path."
"Ok..." Ben whispered tiredly, the emotion of the last several hours and weariness from his initial struggle with his father catching up to him. "Is Momma gonna be mad?" he asked nervously.
"She's going to be happy to have you safely back," Han replied reassuringly, still continuing the gentle touch. He could tell his son was tired and wanted to encourage Ben to get some sleep.
"You really want me back...?" Ben's voice was close to a whisper, his father's touch easing him into relaxing in a way he hadn't in months. He hadn't realized how bone-tired he was, or how anxious he was because of constantly being in his master's presence.
"More than anything," Han said softly back. "No matter what. I love you. Your mother does, too." He pressed a kiss to the top of Ben's head... something else he hadn't done since his son was actually a child.
"...That makes me happy..." Ben admitted, his voice quieting. Soon, he was sound asleep, limp in his father's arms.
After the debrief (during which Han hadn't let go of his son, needing to keep Ben close to him), Han walked over to where Finn stood with Poe, keeping an arm wrapped around Ben as he then planned to join Leia, so the three of them could spend time together.
"Hey, kid." When Finn looked at him, Han added, "Next time? Don't lie about what you can do. People's lives depend on honesty."
Finn swallowed and nodded... though he couldn't really be unhappy about the end results, since they had succeeded in rescuing Rey.
Ben had felt decidedly out of place during the debriefing; hearing everything that had occurred from another person's perspective only showed how far away from his family and their values he had strayed. He didn't fight his father's grip, though- if Han wanted him with him during debriefing then he would submit to the embarrassment of having everyone stare at him, wondering exactly why he was there. It said something to his frame of mind that he didn't even think about spying for information that could be passed on to his 'master'.
Poe had watched Han and the young man that he could only gather was the old smuggler's son. It was none of his business. What was his business was the other young man who had thrown his lot in with rebels. Finn had lied about his abilities? It didn't surprise Poe all that much. The ex-trooper had lied about a great many things since making his break from those who would have used him as cannon fodder. But it was a very bad habit to get into and one that the younger man needed to be trained out of. Unfortunately, Finn was effectively an orphan, considering how he'd been taken as a child and raised as a trooper. That left few who could teach him better ways (or at least better timing and situations) for different actions. Poe felt an urge he'd never expected. He was about to 'adopt' a little brother. "Hey, Finn...let's walk and talk..." he said calmly, but seriously.
Surprised, Finn looked after Han as the smuggler walked away with his son... and then looked back at Poe, a bit hesitant before he nodded. "I see why they call you the best pilot," he commented, unable to hide the impressed note in his voice as he thought of seeing Poe in action. There were worse people he could have rescued.
"I'm only as good as my back up and assistants are..." Poe shrugged off the compliment, but was still smiling. "I couldn't have done any of what I did without your help and the help of Rey, Han and Chewbacca." His face grew serious again. "I know in some situations, lying is the only way to further the mission or save lives...but when you are giving information to a commanding officer so that they can plan how to carry out an objective, it is imperative that you be completely honest. Lying about a skill you didn't have could have cost you, and everyone with you, your lives. It could have doomed the mission and doomed everyone else counting on you to succeed in doing what you'd said you could do." Poe glanced at Finn, his eyes firm. "Things only turned out the way they did due to the quick thinking of your team members and your own ability to 'wing it'. It could have been so much worse."
Surprised, Finn glanced quickly at Poe's eyes, then looked away again as shame pricked at him. "I only did that because... I didn't think anyone else would go after Rey," he said. "She was a priority... she had to be a priority." But still... he felt ashamed, knowing that it hadn't been the only time he'd lied; knowing that he'd found it easier to be dishonest than admit the truth and have to explain the complicated things.
"You don't know that no one else would have gone after her. You didn't really give them a choice in the matter. I might have been able to understand it if they'd told you no; that she was on her own because they couldn't take time to go after her and you found a way to go anyway...without giving them the impression you were not only able to do what they needed you to do, but that you were going to do it. They could have formed different plans, but your lie gave them false information that they based an entire mission on..." Poe reiterated. He wanted Finn to realize it wasn't saving Rey he was upset about...it was the fact that he'd lied about his abilities; let those in charge base an entire plan of attack on the belief he'd be able to do what he said he could-and it could have spelled doom for the rebels and anyone associated with them...Rey included.
Feeling ashamed really wasn't something Finn was used to, but Poe managed to make him think of the things that could have gone wrong... which probably had as much to do with the fact that he'd begun looking up to the pilot ever since Poe had first named him. He swallowed. "I didn't... I thought I could help her. And be useful at the same time."
Poe relented somewhat, smiling at his younger friend. "You could and did help her. And you were useful. But you could have been more useful- and possibly helped her in a safer, better way...had you been truthful about your abilities."
"I'm... not used to being able to be truthful," Finn admitted, his stomach turning as he remembered all of the lies he'd told. Poe was the only one he'd been entirely truthful with.
"Yeah...I know. And I'm not saying there aren't occasions where a lie isn't necessary...but lying to the people who are planning the missions you're going on...who are depending on the truth from you in order to succeed? Isn't acceptable. And lying for any reason than to save your life or the life of someone else isn't really acceptable either. I'll help you, though. Until you are used to being able to be truthful..." Poe said calmly.
Surprised, Finn looked at Poe. "Help me... how?" He wasn't used to anyone helping him before he left his fellow Storm Troopers... He really didn't know what to make of how easily Poe had accepted him, except... he admired and respected Poe. Just like with Rey, it seemed that, from their first meeting, friendship had grown easily between them. And even though he thought Poe's opinion shouldn't matter so fast... it did. Finn's sense of shame just grew with every word spoken.
It hadn't taken Poe long to take a liking to the young ex-storm trooper...he'd saved his life and that formed attachments. But it wasn't the only reason he liked Finn; and if he was honest, his liking had moved into more of a caring feeling. He wanted to help Finn in whatever way Finn needed, if he was allowed. "I'll help you remember to tell the truth by holding you accountable when you don't tell the truth, as long as there isn't a very valid reason for not doing so. The way I will hold you accountable is by disciplining you if you lie." He kept his tone matter of fact, not wanting to make it sound like a huge deal, but also needing Finn to realize he was serious. He waited for Finn's reaction to that before telling him what form the discipline would take.
"You mean like... giving me extra shifts? One of the worst jobs?" Finn was honestly confused. He hadn't had many reasons to be disciplined, since the first time he'd actively done something he shouldn't was the first time he'd been in battle. And Poe wasn't actually his commanding officer... but Finn didn't point that out; mainly because he liked and respected Poe enough that, if he decided on a form of discipline, Finn wasn't sure it was in him to argue against it.
"No...those would be more official; and unless it was impossible to keep it just between us and whomever you lied to, I'd prefer it not be official. What I have in mind would be over fairly quickly, but it would be more personal and likely more painful," Poe said quietly, as he meant the conversation to just be between him and Finn. He didn't leave his friend guessing, though. "I would do to you what my older brother did to me when I had problems 'remembering' the proper way to act, since I look on you like a younger brother. I would spank you."
Finn stared at Poe, completely taken aback... by all that he'd just heard. He wasn't sure he knew what a spanking would entail... even though he thought it might be similar to beating. He couldn't remember ever hearing someone mention it in his hearing. "A..." He started to ask for clarification, before properly 'registering' the first half of what Poe had said. "You look on me like a younger brother?" He couldn't keep the note of hope out of his voice.
"Well, yeah." Poe quickly reaffirmed what he'd said. "I do. I kinda feel like I want to protect you and help you and well...I just feel a connection. I don't know if it is because you saved my life, or because of you being you, but I look on you like a younger brother."
Despite just talking about discipline... about punishment... Finn couldn't stop his smile. "I'm glad," he confessed, before adding, "I don't really remember being with a family. I don't know if I understand what you mean when you say you'll spank me..." He'd dropped his own voice, aware that he didn't want anyone else listening to what he was saying... it was bad enough that Han had probably already told the others he'd lied. He didn't need it spread around that he was going to be punished for it.
Poe nodded, gently taking Finn by the arm and leading him toward where the quarters were for everyone. "I hope you don't mind, but I arranged for you and I to share quarters. I'll explain there."
Finn went along with Poe without arguing or protesting. "I don't mind..." His voice was a little hesitant, though. He was determined not to attempt to fight Poe on this punishment... but he was concerned about exactly what it would entail. If it had been anyone else but Poe... he suspected he wouldn't be going along so calmly. The only explanation he had was that he had the same sort of feelings that Poe had towards him.
Poe hadn't wasted any time in leading Finn to their quarters. He'd taken him by the arm and led him to the bed, where he had sat down, tugging Finn down beside him. He'd then explained, in detail, exactly what would happen when he spanked Finn. Afterwards, he asked, quietly and calmly, "Do you understand? Do you have any questions or objections to make before I take care of you?"
Finn had listened with mixed feelings of relief and dread. Relief because it didn't seem like there was going to be any permanent or even long-lasting damage... dread because he'd never experienced this before and knew it would hurt... but had no idea how it would affect him emotionally, or if he'd be able to 'tough it out'. With Poe's question, he shook his head. "No, I... would just like it over with," he admitted, hoping it might help with the lingering sense of shame.
Poe smiled crookedly at that. He knew exactly how Finn felt and so he carefully tugged the young man over his lap before quickly divesting him of any material protection. "I think you understand why this is happening, so I won't repeat myself. When we're done here, it's over and forgiven. You begin fresh. Got it?" With that, he raised his hand and let it fall in a firm swat.
Finn started to voice a reply, but the swat took him by surprise and he jumped. Not sure where to put his hands so that he wouldn't reach back, he braced one on the bed and grasped Poe's ankle with the other.
Poe began to methodically cover his 'little brother's' backside with firm, consistent swats, forming a pattern going from top to just above upper thigh. "In a short amount of time, you've become very important to me..." he said seriously. "I don't want to lose you so soon- especially not because of something that doesn't need to happen if we have all the right information to deal with it."
Finn had been hurt in training before. Being a Storm Trooper and using a blaster didn't mean that he was only trained in the use of that weapon. But there was something different about this form of punishment... whether it was the repetitive nature of the spanking; or due to Poe's words. He knew he should respond to what his 'big brother' was saying... but he was afraid of what might come out of his mouth if he opened it.
"I never expected to gain a brother when the First Order captured me, but that is what I gained. And I will not lose you to your own weaknesses. I'll help you overcome them instead..." Poe reiterated, as he continued swatting.
The tears filling Finn's eyes took him by surprise. He couldn't remember someone ever caring about him as a person before... and while he knew Rey did, the way Poe was caring about him was... different. A quiet sob escaped Finn's lips.
Poe wasn't surprised that Finn had been affected so quickly. He knew the younger man had not had anyone care about him until he'd run from his position as a Storm Trooper. His commanding officers certainly hadn't cared. "You aren't alone anymore, Finn..." he promised, delivering six final swats to the younger man's sit spots before carefully placing his hand on Finn's back and rubbing in gentle circles. "I'm here and I'll take care of you as long as you need me..." His promise was sincere.
Finn tried to catch his breath as the spanking came to a halt, but it was hard. He wasn't used to this kind of care... wasn't used to anyone stepping in... and it was hard to try and force himself to stop crying... though he did start to lever himself up off Poe's lap.
Poe, uncertain as to what type or reaction he was about to get from Finn- would the younger man welcome comfort from him, or would he sock him in the jaw for overstepping his bounds?- helped Finn up, standing up with him, but kept his hand on the younger man's shoulder. He stood in such a way that it was obvious, if Finn wanted it, he was ready and willing to wrap his younger brother in a tight hug.
Almost automatically, Finn stepped closer to Poe. He wasn't used to the emotion or the pain from this kind of punishment, but after replacing his clothes, he leaned into the hug he could tell Poe was willing to offer.
Poe quickly wrapped his arms around Finn, holding onto him tightly. "I've got you, kid. We're a team now...you aren't going to be able to get rid of me..."
Finn wrapped his own arms tight around Poe in return. "Good. It kind of sucked when I thought you were swallowed by the sand," he admitted.
Poe couldn't help but chuckle at that. "Quite literally..." he gently teased. "So which bunk do you want? I arranged for us to share quarters but I want you to at least choose which side of the quarters you'd like..."
Kylo... 'Ben,' he thought in chagrin, 'I'll need to get used to my birth name again'... swallowed hard as his father led him from the debriefing to what appeared to be the private quarters of his father and mother. "I'm to stay in your quarters? Won't that be a bit crowded?" he asked, trying for a flippant tone but only managing to sound like a nervous child. He winced and looked toward the wall, not wanting to look at his father or mother in case his face looked as nervous as he sounded.
"I don't think keeping you close is something we're going to budge on," Leia said mildly. "Besides, when your father informed me he was bringing you home... I arranged to move to bigger quarters."
Han gently grasped Ben's shoulder and squeezed. "Once things are a bit more settled, maybe we can talk about your own space." He deliberately left it vague about how long that might be.
Ben did look at his parents at that. If he'd known he appeared more like the five-year-old who had snuck aboard the Millennium Falcon and hid in one of the smuggling compartments on one of his father's many trips for the Rebels so many years before, he might have kept looking at the wall. Despite his already thoroughly punished backside, it was obvious he believed he was going to be punished for everything he'd done. The thing was with Ben, he never looked that way unless he genuinely believed he deserved it (if he didn't believe he deserved it, it always came as a surprising shock when his mother or father did believe he deserved it.) On the walk back to the quarters, his father's hand firmly guiding...Ben had been given enough time to think of all the things he had done- and all of it was horrific. By rights, he deserved death. Punishment in the form of temporary pain and being humbled to the status of a child dependent on his parents for everything? That was very mild compared to what he knew he deserved.
Swallowing hard, he spoke in a more shaky voice than he wanted to admit. "They must have been rather small quarters before, considering your position. There is still only one room...and a bath. The other rooms must share a bathing area...?" At the moment, all he could see was a large bed, a dresser, a table that was doubling as a desk and a small couch.
"Meals are normally taken in one of the mess halls," Leia said. "There are other places we use as bases with bigger spaces... but this is one that's used more frequently and by more people." She didn't go into details about the other bases, or how many people stayed in this one. Although she loved her son, she was also aware of the path he'd taken. She couldn't give up that information until she was certain it wouldn't be passed to someone who'd hurt them with it.
Han moved and sat down on the bed, reaching out to draw Ben alongside him. "It's a bit of an adjustment." He squeezed Ben's shoulders and then draped his arm casually around his son... still keeping Ben close.
Ben nodded at his mother's words, understanding why she didn't go into greater detail and feeling a pang of regret at it; which surprised him, really. Just because he'd caved in to his father and had given up and followed Han home like a lost puppy didn't mean he'd completely given up his own ideals and beliefs...and those ideals and beliefs had clashed with his parents on more than one occasion. So why would he feel regret at the natural consequences of their difference of opinion? It was too confusing to think on and as soon as Han pulled him down to sit next to him on the bed, Kylo was too busy trying to keep his wince from showing or to keep from squirming in discomfort to worry about the fact that he felt badly about the fact his parents couldn't trust them with their lives, or the lives of the people around them. At least, that's what he told himself as he blinked his eyes, trying to clear the sudden moisture from them. He was still sore from the spanking, that's all. He certainly wasn't crying because his parents couldn't trust him.
Han squeezed Ben tight against his side, taking note of the look on his son's face and guessing at the source of it. He stroked his son's hair as he addressed both him and his wife. "Maybe, for tonight, we could eat in here," he suggested. They hadn't had a lot of chances to do that... and from the look on Leia's face as she nodded, he suspected she'd missed it as well.
Kylo...Ben... He shook his head and gave a tiny sigh, before giving both Han and Leia a look that was full of gratitude. He wasn't certain he'd be able to eat in the mess hall with everyone surrounding him. It was one thing to have your parents watching you squirm around because you hurt from a well- deserved spanking; it was quite another to have every single person in the resistance watching it and figuring out that he'd been brought so low so quickly. "Thank you..." he finally whispered, having to clear his throat a few times before his voice would cooperate.
Han gave his son another tight squeeze, shifting enough to allow Leia to walk over to the two of them. For all she hadn't told Ben very much, her hug was just as tight as Han's had been... her embrace demonstrating just how much she'd missed Ben; how glad she was to have him back with them.
As soon as his mother's arms were around him, Kylo...Ben...couldn't help but relax into her, holding onto her just as tightly. Feeling his father standing behind him, his arms still firmly around him, his mother's arms enveloping him from the front, the sudden sense of safety and belonging overwhelmed him and he started crying. "I'm sorry, Momma...Daddy...so sorry..."
Leia hugged Ben tight and pressed a kiss to his head. "I love you, Ben. We both do," she promised, reiterating Han's own words from before. "I'm glad you're back with us," she said softly.
Han only shifted enough to allow Leia to hug their son as well. He didn't let go of Ben... he wasn't sure he was ever going to want to let go of his son.
Ben huddled between his parents, cocooned safely in their arms. He didn't know why he was crying. Being held wasn't punishment; it was soothing and calming and, for the first time in years, he felt like he was where he belonged. He thought he should be angry. His father had stopped his plans and destroyed the base that was so very important to his master...had forced him to return with him...had taken all control from him and punished him in one of the more humbling ways that he could have been punished; because as painful as it was, it didn't harm him, but showed him exactly how out of control he truly was. His father had...had brought him home and shown forgiveness and acceptance when it wasn't deserved. He swallowed as he realized he didn't have any right to be angry at events. He snuggled closer to his mother, while reaching for one of his father's arms that was still wrapped so securely around him and holding on tightly. "I hope you don't regret bringing me back..." he finally muttered. "I don't think I can be good for you..."
"We're not going to regret it, kid," Han said seriously. "I meant what I said... we'll help you get off this path you're on. As a family. Because we both love you too much to allow you to continue like this." He stroked Ben's hair.
Ben nodded wearily, the day's events too much to think about any longer. He didn't want to think about the fact he had been about to stab his father through the heart before Chewbacca had stopped him. The thought hurt him now and caused fresh tears to start streaming down his face. "I'm sorry, daddy...I was gonna hurt you bad and I'm so sorry now..." He took a shuddering breath. "I don't think I can be good...but I wanna try..." he admitted hesitantly.
Han pressed a kiss to Ben's head. No matter how much it hurt to hear Chewie's words confirmed, he couldn't do anything but respond to the obvious pain his son was feeling. "I think... you can do anything you set your mind to," he said softly in his son's ear. He could have turned Luke's own words on his son... but he didn't. It was enough that Ben was willing to try. "I love you. You don't have to be sorry anymore." He could tell that Ben was worn down and he made eye contact with Leia over their son's head, to check if she thought they should try and persuade him to eat before encouraging him to sleep.
Ben leaned back into his father, still not able to meet his mother or his father's eyes, and stared at the ground, still feeling very guilty about what he'd planned to do and thankful he hadn't succeeded. He'd failed his master; had been a useless apprentice. He'd failed his parents; had been a horrible son. He'd failed himself; he hadn't truly wanted to kill his father, but had been more than willing to act on orders to do so...he felt sick to his stomach at the thought now. He didn't think any amount of punishment would ease the guilt he now felt. "I can't not be sorry..." he finally said softly, his own self-loathing evident in his voice.
Han moved closer to the bed, taking a seat once more and gently lifting his son onto the bed, with Leia joining on the other side. Whether by accident or design, the bed was in fact big enough for the three of them to sit comfortably... but Han had Ben close enough that his son might as well have been in his lap. "Nothing has made a difference to how we feel, son. You've made mistakes... but you've already taken the first step to putting them right."
Ben chose not to respond to his father's words. He wasn't sure what to say...especially since he wasn't sure he agreed with them. He looked around, trying to think of a way to change the subject on his setting things right. It was then he noticed how close he was to his father and he couldn't help himself. He only needed to shift a few inches and he was on his father's lap. He knew it made him childish and felt a bit pathetic needing such contact, but he'd been feeling vulnerable and out of sorts since he'd woken up on the Falcon; childish or not, sitting on his father's lap eased something inside him that he didn't want to examine too closely. Once comfortable, he reached over and took his mother's hand.
The situation felt familiar somehow and he was taken back in memory to a time when he actually was a child, his seven-year-old self, sitting on Leia's lap while holding his father's hand. Child Ben looked at his father eyes open wide and pouty lips quivering with unshed tears. "Momma spanked me, Daddy!" he announced with all the affronted emotion a young boy could muster. Ben smiled faintly as he remembered his father's response. Curious to see if his parents remembered that moment in time, he turned toward his mother, his eyes opening impossibly wide, his mouth turning down in a quivery lipped pout. "Daddy spanked me, Momma!" His voice was no less affronted than his seven-year-old self's had been...though with his size and age, it was more silly than serious. He waited to see how his parents responded.
Momentarily taken aback, Leia looked at Han, who was clearly trying to hold back laughter, and then at her son. A soft, affectionate smile spread across her face and she reached out to ruffle Ben's hair in the exact same way Han had those years ago. "I know. And no matter how much you deserved it, it doesn't change how much we love you."
At hearing his own words echoed back, Han couldn't help laughing. His arm had draped casually around Ben the moment his son had settled on his lap and he held his son against his stomach... almost as if he was trying to protect Ben.
Ben, hearing the same words said as had been said so many years before, when he hadn't yet started down the slippery slope of the path he had taken, felt something inside of him break...some last vestige of control he had maintained this long, tedious, emotional, exhausting day. But even if tears were streaming down his face quietly, he found himself smiling, slumping against his father in relief that maybe things would get better.
Unlike his seven-year-old self, who had huffed slightly at the words, Ben swallowed and said, somewhat sadly, "I really did deserve every swat he gave me...I..." He paused, not wanting to go back to thinking about what he'd almost done to his father...and not wanting to make his parents sad again, when he'd just got his father to laugh and his mother to smile. "...I love you both so much...I'd forgotten,but...I do. I love you..." He squeezed his mother's hand gently, then snuggled against his father, putting his head on Han's shoulder and, just like his child-memory, yawned, unable to keep his eyes open.
Han pressed a kiss to his son's cheek. "Sleep, son. We'll be here."
Leia reached over to stroke Ben's hair, her smile turning a bit sad, even if it was still full of love. "You're with us now, Ben. We can handle anything else," she promised.
Even just that morning, Ben wouldn't have been able to imagine falling asleep in his father's arms while his mother sat close by comforting him. Just that morning, he wouldn't have imagined that he'd readily take back his old identity, let alone accept his family's love, affection...discipline. For the first time in forever, he felt completely safe, so when his father told him to sleep...it was easy to obey. He stopped battling his eyes' bid to shut and within moments, he was breathing in the slow, peaceful rhythm of dream.