A/N: This piece is for the upcoming Reylo Anthology. The Anthology will be a collection of art and stories all based on myths and fairy tales. It will be published in September. This story is based on 'Pygmalion and Galatea' but you don't need to be familiar with the myth in order to follow the plot.
He's brushing her hair. He loves the feeling of the soft strands of her chestnut tresses as he works, gently untangling each snag until it lays like a sheet of gleaming silk. He keeps it down, always. He likes to run his hands through it, and she looks so lovely with it around her delicate shoulders. He never cared for the severe buns. He keeps the light in her chamber warm and soft, he does what he can to beat back the coldness of space. A simple white gown covers her from clavicle to ankle. She is perfect; he can watch her for hours. He has his mask off, as he always does when he's with her. He prefers that there be no barrier between them and he knows how much she hates his helmet. He misses looking into her eyes, but being able to be close to her like this makes it almost bearable. At least that's what he tells himself.
The medical droid says, "Sir, it's time for her nutrients." Kylo is frustrated at being interrupted but he steps back, and the droid begins her daily regimen, providing the sustenance and fluids needed to keep her alive and breathing.
He misses her fire, her fight. He misses her voice. He misses how she would turn every interaction into a struggle for dominance. He misses how she would win. He misses when her eyes would betray her, and he knew she didn't hate him. He misses her.
Though he treasures having her with him, Kylo Ren would do anything to change how this had happened, how she came to be his. His; silent, still, beautiful, perfect Rey.
Kylo is waiting, crouched, just like before. He already has his mask off in anticipation. Her face is bathed in the orange light of his interrogation room and she's in the chair. He finds he wants to touch her. But he controls himself and watches. He can be endlessly patient so long as he can gaze on her. This time it will be different. He won't frighten her, he won't invade her mind. They'll just talk and he will persuade her.
She's rousing; her eyes flutter and she jerks awake. He watches as she realizes where she is, sees as she starts to panic.
"No, Rey, you're safe." This is the first time he's said her name out loud.
"Safe," she scoffs.
"Yes. Safe, here. With me."
Her endless hazel eyes capture him. He forgets that he is the master here. He just wants her to soften.
"With you." Rey is cold in her scorn.
"Yes, with me. You have nothing to fear from me." There―that should help her see.
"You, who killed your father, almost crippled Finn, nearly killed me. I'm safe?" Her voice is harsh and her lips curl.
She just had to bring up Han Solo. "You don't understand."
"Oh I understand perfectly. You're a monster," she accuses, her eyes full of loathing.
This is not going as he had planned. "I can see why you might think that. But there is much you do not know."
"Really. So you didn't kill your own father?"
He stands and paces, running his fingers through his hair. He's so frustrated. Why won't she let him show her; why must she challenge him?
"You don't know what it was like, having him as a father." Unwelcome memories come for him, then. How, when he had been a boy, he had tried to so hard find his way to Han Solo, never understanding the caution, the distance. Kylo understands all too well now.
"Oh, he disappointed you? At least you had a father." Her contempt strikes at him.
"Did it ever occur to you that maybe you were lucky to have no one? No one to fail you? No one to disappoint you?" He's losing his temper now. It's all unravelling and he can't seem to pull the strings back together.
"Poor Ben Solo―daddy didn't love you enough?" she taunts.
"Do not use that name." It hurts. He's reminded intensely of when he had last been Ben Solo and he brushes it aside quickly.
"Why? It's yours. They gave it to you."
This is all going horribly wrong and he doesn't know what to do.
"This is not why we're here," he says, trying to regain authority.
"Oh, going to wander through my mind again?"
"No … no. I won't do that again."
"So you don't need the map any longer?"
"No, the Supreme Leader has different priorities now." He's so grateful he doesn't need to find Luke Skywalker any longer. He hopes he never has to see that man again.
"Why should I believe anything you have to say?" She's looking at him like he's less than nothing. He's unbalanced.
"Because I have never lied to you and I will never lie to you," Kylo promises.
"Fine. Why am I here?"
"Because you still need a teacher."
"And I suppose you're going to teach me? No thank you. I've seen what you have to offer and I'm not interested."
He slams the bulkhead and grinds out, "You have no idea what I'm offering you and you still just dismiss it?"
"What are you offering me, then? What can you possibly give me that I could ever want," she says, her eyes narrowing in disdain. For one awful moment he thinks she knows. Knows how he pines. Knows how he hopes.
"Power. Control. I know how you've suffered; wouldn't you like to be free of being beholden to others?" He remembers, oh how he remembers the terror of not being able to defend himself.
"You don't know me at all if you think I want power. What would I do with power? Control? Not at the price you've paid."
This causes him to pause. He had thought … he had thought that would sway her. That her difficult life of desperate scrabbling would have made her crave power over herself and others. It's the only thing that saved him. He realizes he must retreat. He needs to think. He turns on his heel and strides to the door.
"Wait, where are you going?" She sounds almost afraid.
"That's none of your concern."
"You're just going to leave me here, strapped to this thing?"
He hadn't thought of that. He just needs to get away, try to find a new tactic. He's failing so badly.
"I … I'll have you moved to a cell where you'll be more comfortable." Perhaps a concession will pacify her.
"Oh thank you very much," she says sarcastically.
"Fine, I'll leave you where you are."
"No! No … thank you, a cell would be better."
He nods sharply and leaves quickly, replacing his mask.
He's in his quarters, sitting with his elbows on his knees and his hands clasped against his chin. The room is dark with no adornments, nothing to indicate it belongs to Kylo Ren save the raptor-like mask placed on the low table in front of him. He's deep in thought, wondering what to do. She doesn't want power. She doesn't want what he'd wanted. He needs to comprehend her and he's not sure how. He just … needs her. Needs her to feel just a bit of the madness coursing through his blood. Ever since he'd seen her in the forest, held her in his arms …
Oh, that had been bliss like he'd never known. Her small form so warm and solid against him. He'd felt the firmness of her thighs against his fingers and the softness of her body against his chest. Something new and terrifying had stirred in him that day. A spark that rages in him now. Rey had stolen his reason and captured him utterly. He's certain he does not deserve her, but he can't keep the dreams at bay.
Now he is so close. He has her again and it is all going so badly. None of it as he'd imagined it. He thinks she might hate him and he's filled with fear and regret. He wonders, if he'd not killed Han Solo … but that is a dangerous train of thought and he shies away quickly.
Rey … what does he know about her? He knows her life was hard, that she was so unhappy. He knows she kept herself running on an ever-dimming hope. Hope that her family would return. He knows that she is fierce. He knows that she is curious. He knows that she's exceptionally angry with him. And suddenly he knows what he will do.
He's outside her cell, finding himself nervous. He's remembering this feeling. He had been 16 and that clever girl at the Academy had smiled at him shyly and he had wanted to talk to her. He had forgotten what it was like to be so unsure. He doesn't like it.
Kylo wonders if he should knock and then remembers himself. He is her master and she will do his bidding. He opens the door to find her pacing.
"Where have you been?" she asks furiously.
"I … what?"
"No one told me anything, just brought me here and left me. It's been hours and I don't know what to expect. Why am I here? What are you going to do with me?" Well, clearly she's not afraid of him.
He strides over to where she stands and looms over her. She steps back, fear flickering across her face. It should fill him with satisfaction to see her cower, but instead he takes a step back.
"You will come with me. Now," he orders through his mask.
"You are under the impression that you have a choice?" He advances on her again, using his considerable height to intimidate her. She shrinks from him and behind his mask he flinches. He must get through to her and for that he would prefer her cooperation, but he will force her submission if need be.
"You will come with me," he repeats.
She's silent, looking like a caged animal, her eyes flitting back and forth. "Where?" she whispers.
"You'll see." He wraps his hand around her arm and pulls her firmly from the cell. She shrugs off his hold defiantly but her eyes are very wary.
He's about to grab her again when she says, "I'll come, alright?" Her tone is grudging.
He walks her to the training room, a large, cavernous chamber with all manner of weapons and sparring droids lining the walls. Rey takes it all in and she seems bewildered.
"You're such a little spitfire, we're going to fight. See if you can best me again," he challenges.
"You want ... you want to fight?" she asks in confusion.
"Well, spar, really. I won't be putting a lightsaber in your hands if that's what you're thinking. A staff, if I remember correctly."
She narrows her eyes at him. "Maker, you really did see everything, didn't you?"
"Do not forget it."
"Well I saw things, too," she says recklessly.
He's on her in an instant, his chest nearly touching hers. He's looking down on her, his masked face hiding his fear. "You will not speak of that."
Her fire is back. "I will say whatever I want."
"No. You will not speak of that. Ever … please." He can't have her pushing him back to that place where he was powerless, before Snoke had lifted him up and given him his purpose.
He sees her face change. His entreaty has reached her. She steps back and turns from him. He only just keeps himself from reaching for her. What would she say if she knew how he burns?
He reaches up and removes his helmet, placing it on a narrow table. He walks to a collection of weapons and selects two staffs, throwing one to Rey. She catches it gracefully, testing the weight.
"We go to until one of us yields," he instructs.
"I'd much prefer to fight until you're incapacitated." She's glaring at him.
"That won't happen, my dear."
She raises an eyebrow at that. He sees her fire grow. Oh, she wants to hurt him now. Good.
She readies herself and he lunges first, hitting hard and firm. She deflects him easily enough, but he's holding back. Kylo lets her drive him back a few steps, sees her arrogance grow. She thinks she's besting him. He continues to deflect, never taking the openings she leaves him.
Then, when she has him almost to the wall, he pushes back, and suddenly she's scrambling as he strikes, hard, fast, relentless. She's stumbling backwards as he carefully lands each blow on her staff, not her. Never her. He has no wish to hurt her ever again. Strike, strike, strike, then she trips and lands on her back. He stands over her, his staff at her neck. "Yield."
Her eyes are wide with shock. She thought she'd beat him and he's dispatched her so easily.
He looks down on her and says, "I told you that you needed a teacher."
The droid has just finished her daily regimen and he's able to be alone with her again.
"Oh, Rey. You are so very lovely. All through the day all I can think of is how I wish to be back here with you. The days are so tedious now that you are here. I want so much to ..." He doesn't finish the thought that he wants to touch her everywhere. He's certain she would never allow it; would never want him as he wants her. There had been flashes, moments when he would wonder, but then he would remember that he is a stained and foul thing. He's holding her hand and stroking her cheek. She is still, but the medical droids keep the glow in her complexion.
"Today was particularly interminable. Hux does know how to go on and on. I wish I didn't have to deal with him. He's such a supercilious little lap dog. I don't know why Supreme Leader puts up with him."
He's playing with her hair, as he often does as he tells her of his day.
"There's something strange going on with the Stormtroopers. Phasma assures me that she has it under control, but I'm not so sure. Ever since FN-2187 defected there have been … issues. He's your friend, isn't he? You told me once that I'd nearly crippled him. I wish I'd asked you more. I find I'd like to know. I do miss you, Rey. Your voice, your thoughts. I wonder all of the time what you'd have to say if you could …" He sighs and fears that this is fruitless. She's been like this for almost two months. This is his Rey now, and he is content. For the most part. It is the lie he uses to keep from being ripped in two.
He notes the time and knows that he should go to bed. He looks at her longingly. How he would like to lie with her. Wrap her in his arms and sleep with her. But it is a step too far and he promises himself he won't take it. He doesn't know what she would want.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to perfection embodied, my beta Meaghan M/Juulna. She is now beta'ing two stories for me which means 3-4 chapters a week. She is a goddess and I am absolutely certain I am not worthy.
Thank you for reading! I hope you've enjoyed the beginning of my latest tale.