I was lost, I was lost
Crossed lines I shouldn't have crossed
I was lost, oh yeah
Sing it, please, please, please
Come back and sing to me, to me, me
Come on and sing it out, now, now
"In My Place" by Coldplay
Kylo Ren's anger is shifting.
It is still there, pulsing and coiling inside of him, but…
He can't bring himself to direct it at her anymore.
Rey is alive. Her light still hums softly in the back of his head, dimmed and weakened. But she is getting stronger each passing hour. He feels a flash of pride at her strength, but a stab of apprehension as well. He never wants to feel that level of terror again. If her light goes out in the back of his head forever, then a part of him also dies. He doesn't know why he knows this so firmly, but their link has etched itself inside his very bones. He feels a rush of echoing warmth from her, from wherever she is.
Why is the Force connecting us?
The Force has not always been his friend, but he has never doubted it. He would not start doing so now.
Besides, hadn't he told Rey to let the past die? And here he is, still clinging to the dead legacies of dead Masters and dead grandfathers. Let the past die. Kill it if you have to.
He'd murdered Snoke. What else could he kill?
Rey's leg aches for weeks, despite being patched up as best it could be. She walks around with a barely there limp and has taken to pouring over the ancient Jedi texts she smuggled from Ahch-To. One of the smaller editions holds passages upon passages on how to heal oneself using very specific Light techniques. But the language is dreadfully old-fashioned and difficult to interpret. Needless to say, Rey is not making much headway with her leg.
She has also scoured the Jedi texts for any mention of "Force-bonds" and found nothing.
But none of that matters anymore though, because, aside from her leg, she feels so much better. The color has returned to her cheeks. She devours every meal. She trains vigorously every day. Her arms and legs and middle are hardening with muscle and finally, finally she is sleeping. She sees him every night in her dreams now.
As she exits her quarters and makes her way to the mess hall so that she can start her day, Ben's shadow nudges her. She smiles, humming to herself, and lets her light answer in kind. And then he fades, but not abruptly like before. He recedes gently and slowly, and she knows that she can call him back so very easily.
But she doesn't.
The bond has grown sharper and more intense now that they've both hesitantly embraced it. At any moment she can reach out and feel what he's feeling, if he reciprocates. At any moment she can send a thought to him, can communicate with him, if he reciprocates. At any moment she can send him her own thoughts, her own feelings, if he reciprocates. And lately he's been reciprocating. A lot.
And so has Rey.
A slow but desperate determination is building up inside of her. There is still conflict in Ben Solo. She feels it potently now, whenever he reaches out to her. His confusion and bloodlust and loneliness fill her own head sometimes when he is not being careful.
Rey remembers her vision from so long ago, a future she had buried because it had been a supposed lie, a supposed poison leaked into her mind by Snoke. It is her and Ben standing side by side, her glowing with light, him shrouded with shadows. But her hand is clutched tightly in his. And they are at peace.
She clenches her fist, resolute. Snoke had been wrong. Snoke had lied.
Rey had just reached the mess hall, shoulders squared and ready for the day ahead of her, when General Organa steps into her path, Poe Dameron and a very guilty looking Finn flanking her.
"Rey." Leia Organa's tone is cheery and respectful, and Rey feels herself calm a little. Leia smiles. "Grab your breakfast and then come join us in the council room."
Rey swallows then nods quickly. "Of course." Leia turns away, Poe right behind her. Finn lingers.
"How could you?" she growls. She had trusted him, told him her biggest secret—
"I'm sorry Rey." And she can tell by the emotion in his tone that he really is. "But I'm scared for you."
She scowls and brushes roughly past him, ignoring the line for rations and following after Leia and Poe instead. Her heart is pounding at the upcoming confrontation—
And then Ben is there. Something is wrong. His shadow probes at her, relentlessly demanding an answer.
Rey resists the urge to groan out loud. Now is not the time. And then she gently pushes back against his him. He recedes, understanding she isn't in danger and with the smug air of someone knowing they're going to find out eventually.
Rey sucks in a deep breath, attempts to clear her mind as much as possible, and follows Leia and Poe into the private council chamber, Finn right behind her. General Organa sits at the head of the small table before noticing that Rey is already there. "No breakfast?" the General says, raising a concerned eyebrow.
"Not hungry," Rey grumbles, already feeling dread work its way up her spine. She has held onto this secret for so long, and part of her is loath to share it.
Leia doesn't look surprised. She gestures for Rey to sit down then says, "Finn, close the door would you?"
Finn obeys and Rey sits.
Leia gives her a long look that manages to be both curious and cautious. "Let's not cut corners here Rey. We all know why you're here. You can be honest with me. What's going on?"
And Rey, knowing there is no use in continuing to withhold the truth, sighs. "It all started back on Ahch-To—"
Finally finished telling her story from beginning to end, Rey is met with three equally stunned faces.
Finn and Poe both explode at the same time.
"You didn't tell me that he killed Snoke for you—"
"General, we need to get her off this base—"
"You're sure there's nothing in the texts—"
"I'm sorry Rey, but you're a complete and total liability—"
All General Organa has to do to shut up both men is raise her hand. Rey can't quite decipher the emotions rolling around on her face. Anger that Rey hadn't been honest until now? Hope that maybe they can get through this war after all?
"Poe," she says, eyes never leaving Rey's, "call Maz."
A few minutes later Maz Kanata blinks at them sleepily, her small eyes looking massive behind her multi-layered spectacles. "General Organa!" she exclaims when she stops blinking, all drowsiness gone. She sounds delighted. "How can I help you?"
Leia's answering smile is a little sad. "I was actually hoping you could tell Rey about your experience with the Force-bond you had."
The whole room quiets, and Rey, Finn, and Poe's eyes go wide.
Maz looks surprised for approximately two seconds before fixating her gaze on Rey. "Oh? What would you like to know?"
Rey's mouth opens and closes a few times, the months and months worth of unending questions she'd built up about this particular subject instantly leaving her mind.
Finn leans in and catches Maz's attention. "What is it?"
"It's exactly what it sounds like, you dummy. It's a bond through the Force, through two Force-sensitive individuals. They can feel each other's emotions, thoughts—"
Rey's brain has finally slowed down enough for her to form words. "Yes, but why does it start? How does it end? What does it mean?"
Maz is quiet for a moment. "There have been many debates about how one could start, but personally, I think it starts with two Force users feeling the exact same thing at the exact same time."
A memory hits Rey, sudden and unbidden.
Two lightsabers cross, snow falling all around them. Kylo Ren has her bent back as he pushes her toward the edge of a cliff. She can feel the heat and energy buzzing from both of their blades. Her foot slips a half inch. Her mind is going a thousand lightyears a minute, adrenaline and stress pumping through every part of her. Can't die must win fight have to save Finn. Kylo Ren grits his teeth and grunts and both of their arms are shaking and there's a feeling she gets as she continues pushing back against him, a feeling coming from somewhere deep inside of her, so small amongst the chaos of battle and yet so sincere—
I wish I didn't have to hurt you.
The room has gone quiet again. Rey clears her throat. "How do you make it…?" She trails off, suddenly feeling as if she has no more air to speak with.
But Maz Kanata didn't make it to be over a thousand years old by being stupid. "Stop it? You don't. One of you would have to die for the link to be severed. And then part of yourself dies with them. It'll be like an open wound inside your very being." A slight pause. "I should know."
Leia speaks up this time. "Can the bond be manipulated?"
The old pirate queen taps her chin thoughtfully. "Perhaps, if someone strong in the Dark Side sensed a Force bond, they could employ it to their whims. Not for very long, however. Soul-bonds are nearly impossible to corrupt. They come from the Light."
And then, completely unbidden, Rey's eyes fill with tears. Maz gives her a kind smile. "I told you once, Rey of Jakku, that the belonging you seek laid not behind you, but ahead." Then she snorts. "Bet you didn't think you'd find it with your enemy, huh?" Chuckling, she presses a button and her hologram form disappears.
Rey sniffs and subtly rubs at her eyes, embarrassed at being so emotional. Half of her wants to reach for Ben, to show him everything that she's just learned. The other half, the shy half that feels very young right now, wants to crawl in a giant hole and never come out.
General Organa stands and gestures toward the door. "Alright gentleman, out."
Neither of them protest. Finn gives Rey's shoulder a comforting squeeze on his way out, Poe a sad half-smile as they leave the room.
"I'm sorry," Rey croaks out, not able to meet the General's eye.
"For what?" Leia asks. She takes Rey's hands in hers and gives them a gentle squeeze. "When I woke up this morning my son was dead. And now, and now for the first time in a long time I feel hope. Hope for Ben." She leans forward. Her eyes… Rey notices how they soften like Ben's when they look at her. "He's tethered to a light now." The General stands and pulls Rey along with her, face beseeching. "He's tethered to you, Rey. You must go to him. You must try again—"
"No." And suddenly it's two years ago and Rey is remembering how he held his hand out to her, how he offered her everything. How tempted she had been. She might not have left with him, but she had failed to bring him to her side. He might still be conflicted, and everything inside her might demand that she seek him out, but she could not survive failure like that again. It would break her heart.
Leia's mouth firms a little, suddenly looking more like a General again and less like Ben's mother. "Rey, I know you must be daunted, but this could be what—"
"No." Rey's voice is small but steely. She drops the General's hands and takes a step toward the door, gesturing with a finger so that it swings open with the Force. "I'm sorry General. I can't. Even if you order me to… I just can't."
And then she leaves and heads straight for the Falcon, ignoring Finn, who had been waiting outside the door for her.
She spends the rest of the day bent over Anakin Skywalker's broken lightsaber. She still has no way to fix it. Just like she had no way to permanently fix Ben Solo.
Kylo Ren has convinced a whole squadron of TIE fighter pilots to desert.
It was taxing, of course, manipulating so many minds over such a small space of time. But the absence of Snoke's whispers and the presence of Rey's light has been making him stronger, making every vein in his body spark with power. His cheeks are no longer sunken and the dark circles under his eyes have faded. He eats his meals with renewed vigor. And he sleeps, he finally sleeps. Every night he dreams of her.
Right now Hux is furious. His perfectly slicked back hair starts to become undone as he runs about the command bridge, screaming for the traitors to be caught and hauled back for swift execution. The subordinates under him scurry to do his bidding.
And then Hux turns to Kylo. He opens his mouth as if to say something but then snaps it shut, thinking better of it. But there is something brewing in the General's intelligent gaze, something malicious and mutinous.
And then Kylo Ren realizes that there is less fear in the room. Far less then there should be. He watches the First Order admirals and commanders and captains scramble to obey Hux's frantic orders, their gazes constantly switching between their work and their furious General. Very few glance in the direction of Kylo Ren, and when they do it is with an air of scorn, not dread.
He might be the Supreme Leader, but there is no one in this room that he truly leads.
It bothers him less than it should.
I can feel the conflict inside of you.
Kylo Ren hears the words she'd spoken to him on that elevator, and he almost reaches for her in his head so that he can truly hear her voice but—
Shame twists inside of him. Deep shame. Here he stands, a throne upstairs that belongs to him and him only and he just…
Doesn't fucking care anymore. About ruling, about how the Resistance and thus her have managed to stay out of his grasp for nearly two years, about Vader and his legacy and—
He can feel the Light taking root inside of him again. It rests alongside the Darkness in him, both sides of the Force ebbing and flowing within him like gentle ocean waves. Never fully Dark but never fully Light. Balanced.
Kylo Ren just wants to start moving forward. And the only future ahead of him worth anything at all is alongside her.
Rey and Rose are deep in tech talk during some down time when Finn sprints up to them, chest heaving.
"What's with you?" Rose asks with a raised eyebrow, a hint of fondness and curiosity in her voice.
Finn bends over and puts his hands on his knees, attempting to catch his breath. "Someone…from within this First Order…is leaking plans…coordinates…weapon blueprints-"
Both young women are instantly on their feet as Finn launches into a more official explanation.
And Rey reaches for that shadow, pushing with all her might, demanding and ferocious. He answers quickly. What?
Rey concentrates, centers her breathing and then lets him look through her eyes, at Finn excitedly using his hands to speak "—we might have enough man power now to catch them off guard! We know when and where they're getting their supplies, and Poe wants to dispatch a team to go and—"
"How to we know this information is good?" Rose asks smartly. "It could easily be a trick."
Oh, the information is good. His voice is deep and soothing and pleased in her head, and Rey isn't sure she's ever heard genuine amusement come from him before.
"The info is good," she tells her friends curtly. They both hush up instantly, eyes going a little wide, as if they're realizing the implication of her words.
Rey turns and sprints away from the corridor, shouting for the General. She feels the last of her fear of failure slip away from her for good. I'm coming for you, her light sings at him through their link. Ben's amusement fades and he recedes, quiet. But Rey doesn't care and she doesn't reach back out for him. She's coming for Ben Solo and she will drag him out of there kicking and screaming if she has to.
She finally feels confident that he might let her. For sure this time.
Like hell Kylo Ren is going to allow her to board his ship when it's in this particular condition.
He needs to take care of some of the riffraff first.
He calls an emergency meeting with all the leadership of the First Order in the middle of a night cycle. All the higher ranks that served under Snoke, that pushed for Starkiller Base, that have personal stakes in the violence and horror the First Order has sewed across the galaxy this past decade, he summons them all.
The room is filled with the sour taste of irritation and misgivings, and it is Hux that speaks first. "Ren, what is the meaning of this? Have you considered the hour—"
Kylo breaks Hux's jaw and nose before lobbing off his head with his lightsaber. That's when the screaming starts.
Some try to fight back, and others rush for the door. He keeps them all locked inside this room with the Force.
Captain Phasma rushes up to him, her blows furious and harsh. He stops her with his right hand, his left holding several blaster bolts aloft. A flick of his wrist and the bolts go flying toward new marks. He locks onto the Captain's mind, squeezing with his right fist. "You will fall on your own blade." And Captain Phasma whirls her massive sword around and stabs herself with swift, brutal efficiency.
It's easy to pick the rest off one by one after that. He enjoys it. The Darkness is surging up all around him, fueling every final blow. But the Light is there too, never letting his vision get too red, reminding him that each death is serving a purpose. This doesn't seem like murder. Not to him. It seems like justice.
The Resistance shows up ready to make a final stand.
All they're met with is escape pods and shuttles streaming from the First Order's main ship.
"What the hell happened here?" Poe asks, he and everyone important within the Resistance ranks watching from the main command bridge. All heads swivel toward Rey. Everyone knows now.
Ben's shadow is small in the back of her head. And sluggish, as if he'd just gone through a massive spike of adrenaline and is coming back down. She nudges him and his sigh echoes all throughout her head. She gets pictures, clips of action. There is the powerful thrum of his lightsaber and shrieks of utter terror.
There is blood. On the walls the ceiling the floor the equipment—
And Rey reminds everyone in the Resistance as well as herself that even though she is mostly Light there is still Darkness inside her too. She tells them that Ben Solo has performed a coup and eradicated most of the First Order higher ups, including General Hux. The few leaders he didn't execute have abandoned ship, with the rest of the Army in confused shambles.
She delivers all this news with a satisfied smile.
The bridge is quiet for awhile until, ever the leader, Poe steps forward. "Should we try to rendezvous, then?" He is asking Rey, and she can sense his fear. His apprehension at the frightening, hulking, enigma of a man waiting for them on the other ship. When she reaches out briefly with the Force she can feel that everyone is afraid.
Everyone except her.
Kylo Ren feels how near she is. He is up in the Supreme Leader's throne room, a room he has barely used since coming into control. And after today he suspects that he'll never have need for it again. But still, it seems fitting for their reunion to be here. He sits at the foot of the throne, bicep bleeding and sleeve torn from a blaster, waiting.
They are communing with one another through the bond, her light and his shadow so deeply entrenched in the other that it is like he is walking down his own halls with her.
He watches through her gaze as she stops at the nearly destroyed command bridge. As she takes in the bodies, the dead faces frozen in petrified screams. He watches her speak to his mother, watches Leia Organa's face go pale at all the blood, at the smell of death. He's prepared to tell Rey that she'll probably have to defy orders and sneak away when—
My orders are to find you. Rey leaves the destruction of the bridge behind, following his Force signature toward the elevator. That room? Really?
He starts, not bothering to keep his surprise from her. Surely they wouldn't want her coming near him after everything he'd just done?
On the contrary. And she gives him a memory, and oh, it is his mother. "He's tethered to a light now. He's tethered to you, Rey. You must go to him."
As the elevator takes Rey up and up and up, bringing her ever closer to him, she floods his whole head with her light, with her warmth and her hope and everything that is good. And she shows him, finally, what she's learned about their bond.
Kylo Ren is bent over Rey, their lightsabers clashing as snow falls all around him. Hot blood trickles from his wounded side down his leg but he can't think about that now. He has to keep his focus straight. Win the fight take the lightsaber get off this base. His vision is going blurry as he pushes his strength into their locked blades, adrenaline and Dark power alone keeping him from passing out. But underneath all the stress of battle and the throbbing pain from his wound and oh god oh god oh god I've murdered my father, there is—
I wish I didn't have to hurt you.
When Rey finally steps into that red, red room she stops, suddenly frozen in place by that look he is giving her. A look that demands that she keep coming, how dare she stop moving—
She runs to him, suddenly overcome with how long they've been apart, with how long its been since she's seen his face in something beyond just thoughts and dreams and memories. He has his gloves off by the time she reaches him so that he can feel the soft skin of her neck and her cheeks and how her hair is so smooth—
He bends down to meet her and touches his forehead against hers, breathing her in.
Poe Dameron and General Leia stand at the entrance, both totally unnoticed. Poe had reached for his weapon out of sheer habit at seeing Kylo Ren, but Leia places her hand over his and squeezes firmly, shaking her head. The older woman can feel the hum of the Force here, powerful and potent and…
The scavenger girl suddenly throws her arms around her son's neck and Kylo Ren (or Ben or a mix of both) brings her close, pulling Rey off her feet a little in the process.
And Leia is able to put a name to it then, what she is feeling through the Force. Balance. And the General knows that there will be chaos and ramifications coming their way in the next month, week, day, hour…
But for now, there is peace.
First off, thank you everyone for your kind words about part one! Was really cool to hear from some of my old readers that have seen me through several fandoms and ships. I hope this delivered a satisfying conclusion! Writing Kylo brutally murdering the First Order leadership brought me more joy then perhaps it should have. Anyway, this is it for this story, but I have plenty more Reylo coming up, including a couple of one-shots and a WIP, god help me.
If you liked let me know!