X-posted on ao3 under the same title/username
Based on the tumblr post by coupdefoudreylo:
"Imagine Rey ignoring Benlo every time the force connects them? Like straight up pretending she can't see him, she can't hear him. Eventually Kylo believes that maybe it's true- she doesn't feel him there. Maybe this is the Force continuing to punish him. Let him see what it is he wants most without being able to do anything about it. Eventually he breaks down, shaking and crying as he watches her and says "I miss you," and Rey can't ignore him any longer."
When Rey was on Jakku she dealt with things that she didn't want to deal with by ignoring them (act like it's not happening and it's almost like it's not).
She was hungry? It doesn't matter unless she keeps scavenging to get food anyway.
It was hot? Too bad, staying inside wouldn't keep her fed.
Running low on water causing migraines and delusions? Just get more water. Somewhere. As long as she didn't dwell on the sandy taste stuck to the inside of her mouth.
She was lonely? Nothing to be done about that, she might as well act like she was fine. What was the alternative when she truly was alone with nobody to even pretend to fill that role? None that she could see.
So, when Rey decided she didn't want to deal with Kylo Ren anymore, she dealt with him the same way.
She shut the door on him when she was leaving Crait with the Resistance and without even consciously acknowledging it (because then she would have to admit she was giving up on him, and for some reason the thought of that didn't sit well in her stomach) she committed to shutting him out from then on.
The next time he appeared to her, she was in her quarters at the Resistance's new base (at least for the time being, they would likely be scrambling again soon so as not to be too trackable). She'd brought some of the Jedi texts from the Falcon to her room and was trying to decipher the old text, but it wasn't in a language she was familiar with, so what she did understand wasn't much.
And then, just when she was thinking of finding something else to do, he was there. It took all her willpower not to look up. Every time he showed up it was like someone was yelling for her to look at him. There was a strange draw she felt to him.
But she kept her eyes on the pages in front of her.
She didn't say anything.
"You're reading? Those would be Jedi texts then, wouldn't they? Have you had those since before…" before she went to him (it was a mistake). Before she tried to bring him back with her (she was a fool to think he would change so soon). Before he killed Snoke. Before they fought side by side, back to back (and how amazing it was to have someone defend her while expecting her to hold her own as well… to be an equal and a partner). Before he offered her the galaxy at the cost of everything she'd come to know away from Jakku (but now how much of that was gone too? Han, Luke was nothing like she imagined him to be). Before it all.
Yes, before all of that.
It was just a thought, but Rey mentally chided herself. If she was going to ignore him, even responding to him in her mind could be dangerous. Her face might react too much if she did that. Rey drew her attention back to the book as best she could. Was it just wishful thinking, or did those words seem like they said something about a laser sword?
Rey could practically hear Kylo frowning from across the space between them when she didn't answer him again. He stayed that way, frowning at her from across the room, watching her as she continued to look at the garbled language on the pages in front of her. "I know you can hear me. You're ignoring me now?" It was almost a question, more like he was pleading the information not to be true.
Even if she wanted to ignore him, she could still hear him. It was surprisingly more difficult to ignore him than the other things Rey had practice shutting out. A person was not the same as hunger or loneliness. Those were things that existed solely inside of her. She could control them. But him… she couldn't control anything he said to her. Rey focused more intently on the book in an attempt not to look up at him, not to react to him. There was one phrase Rey saw on the page that she thought she could understand… it was close enough to another language she knew, she thought it might be talking about lightsabers. The sword is an extension of the soul. Is that what it meant? Or was she reading it wrong?
Kylo stepped toward her until he was right in front of her, standing before where she sat on the edge of her bed. "Rey, don't do this." Rey flipped the page and ran her hand across the drawings depicted. It was the rough shape of a lightsaber. So, at least she was right about the topic. How was she going to learn from these books if she didn't understand the language?
Go away, Ben.
She couldn't help but think it. She just wanted him to leave (or so she told herself).
He knelt down in front of her so that his face was visible over the pages of her book and it's nearly impossible not to look at him. Rey took a sharp breath and she's not sure how she avoided his gaze when she could see the look he gave her in her peripherals.
How is it possible for someone to show so much genuine raw emotion on their face all the time? (Not all the time, Rey reminded herself. Was it just around her then? That somehow didn't help matters any).
She could sense he wanted to reach out. His hand moved toward her then stopped suddenly, he looked at his hand then at her and put it back down. Good, at least he was reading her right. She didn't want him to touch her (if only he had made a different choice then, or if she had, when they were together on the Supremacy. Things could be so different than they were now).
"Rey. You can ignore me all you want. It won't make this less real. It won't make me less real. I don't know why this keeps happening to us, but it's not just going to stop. Neither am I." Rey couldn't handle it. She wasn't looking at him, but she could see him anyway. She was sure her eyebrow was twitching or something. How was it possible that she hadn't reacted? That she somehow felt both nothing and so much at the words he was saying to her. And he was so close, too close.
Rey slammed the book in her hands closed and Kylo sat back a bit in surprise (could he see the book when she was holding it? Could he feel the wind of the pages as they shut? She wasn't looking at him so she couldn't tell if his hair moved or not from the action).
"Maybe I'll understand that better later," Rey said louder than she would have if Kylo hadn't been there too. She put her hand on her stomach and made a face. There was a clock on her bedside table. She could see the time when she glanced at it. It was late enough that she could get away with going to get dinner now (and getting away was exactly what she wanted to do just then). Rey stood mechanically and somehow, the path to the door was not blocked by Kylo's large frame, still knelt on the floor. He was still watching her, looking up at her and his eyes burned like a brilliant fire, stinging her as she walked away from him and left him there watching her leave.
The feeling of the bond left shortly after she closed the door to her rooms behind her. She fell back against the closed door and shut her eyes tightly. There were tears on her cheeks after a minute and she brought her hand to her cheeks in shock and wiped the drops away in disgust (but in her heart there was only sadness and regret. Why did it hurt so much to close him out? He didn't deserve her time, her attention. Why should she be upset? And yet she was).
Rey huffed and pushed away from the door and stalked toward the cafeteria on the base. Maybe she was delirious from hunger like she was sometimes on Jakku. She would feel better after she'd had something to eat (but the pang in her chest argued that food wasn't the issue).
Rey wasn't sure if it was easier or harder to ignore him now.
On the one hand, whenever he showed up now, at least she knew what to expect.
On the other, what she learned to expect became more and more painful over time (and not even the distance of time could save her because he just kept coming back when she thought she might be able to manage her traitorous emotions).
The next time he appeared in her world, she was with Poe talking about flying and for some reason that made it easier. There was someone else to engage with and it's not like she could talk to Kylo in front of Poe anyway without looking crazy. So, she just kept talking, keeping her voice as normal as she could.
It was different though. She didn't want to say all the same things, didn't want him to know all the things about her that she would tell the people around her. And of course, it doesn't help that Kylo would act like everything Rey said was directed at him. She knew he was just trying to get her attention.
Then he was gone, as suddenly as he appeared and Rey could breathe normally again, could talk normally again (but she was having a hard time ignoring the twinge in her chest and the way her stomach flipped uncomfortably and there was a bad taste in her mouth like she had when she would turn in parts when she was young, expecting large amounts of portions only to be given less than even a full portion. She felt an emptiness somewhere that she couldn't explain or fill for the rest of the day).
And maybe that feeling of emptiness stayed with her more than she would ever admit to anyone (was this the loneliness she had felt her whole life? It felt so much bigger now).
Rey kept going despite it all. The Resistance was doing good things, their numbers were starting to increase again. The barracks on the base started to fill up little by little and there were always new faces and people to meet.
And Rey found herself forcing herself out of her space more and more (and of course it wasn't because she was lonely, and it definitely wasn't because Kylo was that much easier to ignore if she wasn't alone). She was starting to feel like a part of the Resistance for real and it was a wonderful feeling.
Jessika and Rose seemed to have adopted her and if she wasn't with them she was with Finn or Poe or Kaydel. And if she wasn't with one of them, she was probably sleeping or practicing with the Force somewhere.
She found that if she meditated over the Jedi texts, the words would come to her even despite the strange language. In fact, the first pages of one of the books directly spoke of the abilities of the Force to understand languages and Rey found that within the course of a few days she was able to read the texts rather fluidly now. Trying to understand all the philosophy and teachings, though, was another story. Understanding what the words said and what they actually meant to tell her were entirely different.
But as Rey became more familiar with the texts, the less time she wanted to spend with them. It seemed that every time she relaxed and started to really understand something, that was the moment Kylo would show up and, inevitably, break her concentration (and remind her of the odd ache in her chest that she just wanted to forget).
She keeps reading, she starts to read a bit of it out loud, adding her own commentary, trying to understand what this was talking about. Force healing? How did you actually do that though?
"It's been almost two weeks. Are you mad at me? I won't apologize for asking you to come with me. I still wish you had."
(And in some moments, I wish I had too).
"Healing is a power of the Light, most highly regarded and difficult to perform unless the one performing is at the utmost calm." Rey didn't let it show that she heard him, just like always, she had the perfect façade.
He was quiet for a time, watching her, she knew, but not saying anything. Maybe he was listening to what she was reading, but somehow, she doubted that too.
"I am sorry though. Sorry about the pain it caused you to say the truth about your parents. I'm not sorry I did it though. You needed to say it. You won't admit it, not to me, but I know the truth: saying it out loud has set you free. Once you stop holding onto everything that hurts you, you won't feel that pain at all anymore."
Rey stumbled over the words in front of her and read the same sentence over again. Then she read it again because she knew she just read the words twice, but she had no idea what they just said. Why did Kylo have to talk to her like this? Why did he insist on telling her these things she didn't want to hear? (and so what if he was right? He had no right to tell her any of it. He had no right to make her feel this way.)
And then he was gone once again, and Rey finally looked to the place where he had been and she couldn't help that her arms reached out wishing he were still there (and if she wanted him to hold her, was there really something so wrong with that? When he was there she felt a little bit more whole and the emptiness in her chest didn't feel quite so empty). She felt the tears rolling down her face and the sobs wrack her body and she really couldn't help it. For a few minutes, she just let herself feel the emotions she had, and who cares if she was supposed to hate him? For some reason, every time she tried to push him out of the corner of her heart he inextricably wormed himself into, she would just end up caring more and wanting to talk to him when he was there. But she wouldn't talk to him. She wouldn't even look at him, just let her eyes slide right past (and maybe that was the worst part of it all because she hadn't looked into his eyes since Crait, and for some reason his eyes and the way he looked at her made her feel alive more than all the best food she'd had since leaving Jakku ever could.)
Weeks passed. The Resistance was beginning to bustle again. The First Order was moving and Leia was building battle plans; everyone was strategizing and there was an excitement that teetered on apprehension in the air all around her.
And for some reason, Rey found she enjoyed the feeling. It filled something empty inside her.
The preparation distracted her from the tumult of emotions inside her every time she saw Kylo.
He had been getting increasingly more frustrated with her ignoring him. Last time he appeared, she had been alone again, and she was repairing a blaster she found. He ended up losing his cool and yelling at her. It hurt maybe more than any other time he came to her. But not because of the yelling, because he wasn't really yelling at her. He was starting to wonder if she actually could still see and hear him. It was a shameful kind of pride she felt that she was ignoring him so well that he had to question if their connection was truly still two-sided. So he wasn't yelling at her so much as cursing the Force for showing her to him when she couldn't see him too.
Rey picked up a differently sized tool and adjusted one of the wires inside the gun careful not to position it wrong. The problem was in the core tech piece of the gun and she had to figure out how to remove it so she could fix it properly.
He was done yelling now, his voice softer now than it maybe ever had been, more pained than she could remember hearing it.
"You really can't hear me, then? I've begun to wonder these past few days, but you don't react. Ever. And you haven't since… since…"
Since Crait, since it all went down. Since you forced me to choose between the life I have with the Resistance and the galaxy with you (the love that I want so badly, but have never had).
Kylo (and really, this is Ben, this is her Ben) stepped closer to her, and she was infinitely glad in that moment that the desk she sat at faced the corner and he couldn't see her face even if he wanted to, just the side of it, and that was okay because the lights were dim too, so he really couldn't see her as long as she didn't react (as long as her breathing didn't change and this feeling in her gut didn't turn into tears that would leave her shaking like before).
"So I guess it's true." There was a bitter laugh that followed from his lips and Rey winced. Ben (this couldn't be Kylo, not when he was so vulnerable, not when he clearly cared so much) didn't notice the reaction, and Rey was both grateful and disappointed.
"The Force is punishing me. I went too far with…" Rey braced herself against the words as she continued to disassemble the gun. She knew what he was trying to say. There was a weight to his words and Rey knew.
He went too far when he killed Han.
Rey heard his broken sob and she had to close her eyes for a minute to hold back her own tears. She held her breath unconsciously.
"And now, because of all the… the shit I've done, the Force is punishing me by showing me you. You - Rey." His voice broke on her name, and she felt like she too was breaking. "Endlessly just seeing you, but you never see me. Maybe you can't even feel that I'm here at all." (But oh, she could and she was so sorry this was the road she had chosen - and she had chosen it for both of them because that's how these things worked between two people.) "I've burned all my bridges… even the Force, the power I thought I had, is mocking me, torturing me."
He shifted on the floor behind her where she assumed he sat, when he spoke again, his voice was closer and Rey thought he must have been reaching out for her, arms extended, pleading her and the Force to recognize him. But she couldn't (but oh she could and how she wished she had).
"Rey… Rey, please… Rey, if you can hear me…" But then he was gone and Rey spun around (finally - she was about to the whole time; how could she have been so heartless when they were both so alone without the other? When they could be so full if she would have just let herself be with him. If she had only gone with him when he asked her the first time. He wasn't the person she feared he was then, but she still couldn't imagine ruling the galaxy with him, so maybe it was better this way. She loved the people here in the Resistance and it was true that, although she wouldn't admit what she felt for Ben Solo even to herself, she still didn't want to leave the life she had built here).
He was gone, but she fell to the floor and curled up where he had been moments before and let the tears fall, and Rey wondered how many times she would cry over this man, this boy who had come to her countless times and begged her - begged her - just to look at him. Why was she doing this to herself? Because he was with the First Order? Because he stood with all the things she didn't want to stand for?
(But didn't he say it was time for it all to end, the Resistance as well as the First Order? But how could he even dream of accomplishing that? She couldn't see his vision, didn't know how to let herself believe he could do anything like that, change the entire galaxy. But, then again, she could barely believe some of the things she could do now, either. How her world had changed so quickly in these past weeks).
Rey laid there on the ground and sobbed until there were no tears left to fall, and then she stayed there and stared at the ceiling, the walls, anywhere and everywhere and absolutely nowhere. Just stared.
This emptiness was starting to take its toll on her. Maybe this wasn't a good idea, ignoring him when he was connected to her, but how could she stop now? Now that he thought she never heard any of it, that she couldn't feel him at all… she wasn't sure she could face him now that she'd caused him so much pain.
So instead, she just stared at the walls, hopeless and feeling awful wondering how she'd ever continue to pretend not to see and hear and feel and smell and… she was a goner, but she was in too deep and she couldn't stop now. (But now she wanted to stop, and the worst thing in the galaxy is to want what you cannot have, and Rey had decided she could not have Ben Solo - or Kylo Ren).
So just like when she was young and on Jakku and she wanted to avoid things, she began to ignore not only Ben when he appeared, but also the pain she felt when she missed him. She ignored the empty feeling, spending more time focused on the Jedi texts and Resistance operations. She ignored the pain in her chest when she thought about the pain she was causing both her and Ben by continuing this lie.
Ever since that night when he broke down on her, when he appeared now he wouldn't speak to her. Sometimes the first minute after he would appear it wouldn't be so bad, he would seem his normal self from before, but then he would look her way (and she was still avoiding looking at him as much as she hated it) and he would just watch her, eyes sullen, tortured. Lost. Heartbroken. It was as though he had given up believing that they were really connected at all and it hurt Rey more than she expected.
Finn started to get concerned and asked her if she was okay when her eyes started to have permanent gray bags under them from all the nights where her conflicted heart had kept her up until the sun.
"Yeah, Finn, I'm okay, really. Just everything going on lately and I guess I've been having a hard time sleeping." She wasn't sure she convinced him, and she didn't blame him, she was hardly acting like she was okay. But he let her be after that and though people around the base seemed to be trying to cheer her up, she didn't get much better.
It was another two weeks of Ben lingering in random moments just watching her. Sometimes when he would show up he'd be busy doing something too, but she could feel the way he would constantly glance over at her his gaze filled with so much longing that it hung in the air between them and she didn't have to be looking at him to know that he was feeling the same ache for her that she was for him. (And why was it that once again the loneliness in each of them matched perfectly?)
Another week passed and there was a mission that some of the Resistance fighters were going on. They'd gotten some intel on the First Order and suddenly Finn and Poe were both leaving and Jessika and Rose had been assigned to various tasks and Rey was supposed to be on the mission too, and she was excited to finally be doing something for the galaxy (and to distract her from her heart and the longing looks she received from Ben all the time it seemed).
But then Leia pulled her aside just before the mission.
"Rey," She sounded like she had bad news and Rey's smile faltered. No. What is it?
"General?" She was on guard now.
"I don't think this mission is a good idea for you right now. We need you here, there's something else I need you to do." Leia explained the task, but it just sounded like a reason to keep Rey on the base to her, and she wanted to argue but it's not as if she didn't somehow expect this. She hadn't been sleeping, she hadn't really been eating much and she'd been keeping to herself more and more these past few weeks. It wasn't hard to tell that she'd fallen into a bit of a depressive state. She couldn't be out on a dangerous mission like she was and everyone around her knew it too.
So Rey would stay on the planet, stay on the base while all of her friends would leave and risk their lives for the cause. For the Resistance. For what they believed in.
And Rey would be here still. With nothing but her loneliness and the ghost of a man Ben Solo had become in her everyday life as she ignored his existence and he watched her and probably tried to forget her.
When they were loading up the ships to go on their mission, Rey went with Finn and Poe to see them off. Finn gave her a big hug and told her to be safe. Rose was with them too, and she gave Finn a good luck kiss before he went to go load up his fighter. Rose went to her station too a minute later and it was just her and Poe left. She liked Poe as much as she liked Finn. They really had a great connection.
Rey loved the Resistance, she reminded herself. It was okay that she was lonely and that she didn't get to go on the mission with everyone else, she would be fine. She always had been fine with being alone before. It wasn't so different now. Besides, they would all be back.
"Hey, Rey, you sure you'll be okay?
"Yeah, you know me, I'm always fine, Poe."
Rey felt him then. Suddenly and Ben was there in the hanger somewhere too. Rey couldn't help it, that was the last straw and she felt a tear slip down her face (and really, it was Ben's fault more than anything else because it was his fault for not coming with her after she went to get him all that time ago and it's his fault now that everyone is leaving on this mission because they're going to fight the First Order and he is the First Order. And really maybe it's her fault too because she didn't go with him when he asked her to, and then she's been ignoring him probably for months now, but really what's the point in casting the blame anymore?)
"Hey, come here," Poe pulled her against his chest and wrapped his arms around her and held her tight, and she was glad for the comfort even as she imagined (not for the first time) what it would be like for another pair of arms to hold her like this. "We'll be back safe before you know it, and next time you'll be coming with us, too." Rey tried to compose herself, but Poe kept saying good things in her ear and just told her to let it out. So, she did until the final sirens sounded and he squeezed her tight and pulled away.
"I have to go now," He said, his arms still on her shoulders. "It'll be okay, Rey." Then Poe was gone and the TIEs all left the hanger, and to make things worse, Rey could still feel Ben, he was so close to her now, and she heard Ben just over her shoulder, his voice choked up and so soft.
"Rey… I miss you." And he started to reach out to her and she was about to lean into his touch but then he was gone too, and she was completely alone in the hanger.
Always so alone these days.
So, this is looking to be about 3 parts all together, but it may be more, idk yet. I would love reviews with any thoughts you have on this! Thank you for reading!