A/N: Firstly, I'm so sorry this is a few days late! I didn't intend to keep you guys waiting, but this past week has been pretty rough/busy, making it difficult to write comedy. But your encouragement and love is so appreciated, thank you guys for coming along on this journey! Hard to believe we're at the end already... I hope you enjoy the final chapter!
Hux drummed impatient fingers on the polished railing in the command center of Starkiller Base, his irritation plainly written across his pale, narrow face. A Resistance Inc. operative had sent an urgent private holo for Rey, and the new Chief Financial Officer was taking her sweet time arriving. Hux was itching to know the reason behind the unexpected communication, and he loathed having any Resistance employee, even in holo form, on the base for a millisecond longer than necessary.
He wrangled the metal bar in a white-fisted grip (Though technically all his grips were white-fisted, on account of the obscene pallor of his skin. They'd called him Cream Cheese Legs as a child because of it. Thankfully, all his childhood playmates had been disposed of, so the horrendous nickname had died with them. Now it was his deepest kept secret, Kylo would never let him forget it should he find out).
Hux blinked, cursing his revolting trip down memory lane. "What?" He snapped at the lieutenant.
"Sir, she's on her way." The officer spoke up from the lower level of the command center.
"Well, it's about time." The general grumbled, flexing his stiff fingers to restore the blood flow. "She's an excellent worker, but we haven't got all day. Who does she think she is, the bloody empress? Shameful."
Rey felt like her feet had been trapped in swamp slime as the lift dinged softly, indicating she'd arrived at the bridge. She leaned heavily against the lift walls, watching the lights blink with glazed eyes, but made no move to open the doors. A thousand thoughts zipped through her brain, and she couldn't help but think that the Force had just played her for a fool.
What was I thinking?
Starkiller held no place for her without Matt, but she also knew deep in her bones that she could never join the Resistance Inc. The very idea made her stomach churn, but she had been so angry, so zealous to make Kylo feel the rage she'd felt, that she had grasped at straws and only increased the mess she now found herself in. After the shock of kissing Matt and the knowledge of his firing, she'd only wanted to hurt Kylo, physically and mentally. So she'd played the odds, betting against the house in her need to take action, and she'd lost. Spectacularly.
Now the Force was sniggering in its sleeve at the ironic twist of things. Because the very man she'd defended, now appeared to be the same man she'd attacked. Kylo's half bloody and wide-eyed face haunted her mind's eye like an annoyingly persistent Force ghost.
No. No, no, no. Her eyes had seldom failed her before, but if what they told her was real…. No, it couldn't be true. There was absolutely no way in the galaxy that Kylo Ren could be….. Besides, if her eyes were telling the truth that her brain refused to accept, that meant reevaluating everything she thought she knew about Kylo….and Matt. But which was real? Who was real? Was their entire friendship a lie? Rey replayed the events of the past few weeks, painfully noting how things like unexplained outbursts and odd behavior lined up with this starting new theory.
Kriff. Kriffing kriff kriff. A frustrated scream threatened to escape her throat, and Rey clapped a hand over her mouth as the revelation- the truth-finally dawned on her in the light of harsh reality. This brought on an entirely new set of complications.
"Ack, of course you would make me fall in love with you in disguise!" She growled at the opposite wall. "Trick me into caring about you! And I bet your ego just couldn't take it when I preferred Matt to the real you."
But she needed to be absolutely sure, especially before she made anymore rash decisions. Rey grimaced at the awkward conversation with Han and Leia that awaited her on the bridge, rehearsing how she would explain that she actually wouldn't be accepting their offer, but had only done so in name in order to get revenge on their son who had fired the man she loved who had turned out to be the very same stuck up CEO who's face she had just carved with her lightsaber while defending the radar technician he'd pretended to be.
Loving Matt meant loving Kylo. But, loving Kylo also meant loving Matt. A hiccupping laugh (or sob, they were about the same at this point) broke free as she shook her head. "Why does everything about you have to be so complicated?" It's rather like a trademark characteristic. "Who are you, really?" She groaned into her hands. What if the person, names and hair color aside, the person she'd come to care about so wretchedly deeply was nothing more than a cruel trick of superb acting? A fanciful alter ego that only masked the real person beneath? Which was Kylo's true personality?
Her confusion was a tangible entity now, and she grabbed hold of it, allowing the swelling emotions to guide her to the Force, to centeredness. Papa, I'm so lost.
No one can call you lost if you're following the path of your own making.
The thought was quiet, but oh-so-familiar, prodding at the forefront of her mind. She'd heard that phrase said countless times in the past, by none other than….
Papa, is that you? She reached out with her mind, her breath catching.
Well, it certainly isn't Grand Moff Tarkin. The old prune, ruining my first Death Star. Rude.
"I've missed you so much!" This time the words were spoken aloud, and Rey became immensely grateful for the empty lift she'd sequestered herself in. Enough horror stories and urban legends already surrounded the Starkiller Mental Evaluation Ward, Gerald from the Sanitation Department had never been heard from again. Rey had no desire to be added to the patient list if someone spotted her rambling to herself in a lift. "Why haven't you talked to me before?"
I've tried to provide the standard mystic and vaguely helpful inspirational whisper here and there. Haven't you been listening?
"I guess I thought it was just the Force talking." Rey admitted sheepishly.
A distant chuckle. You have much to learn, but you have already come so far. I'm proud of you, Rey.
Rey's throat tightened and her voice grew husky. "Thank you Papa, that's all I ever wanted was to make you proud." She stared down at the grey tiled lift floor unhappily. "Though now I've gone and messed it all up."
It's not too late, now is the time to fulfill your destiny, and rise to the heights of Starkiller Base. Kylo has been a most excellent teacher. I approve your mutual attraction.
"Mutual?!" Rey sputtered a bit, but the word lacked conviction.
Search your feelings, Rey. You know it to be true.
Rey was silent, the painful wrenching of her heart proof that her grandfather spoke true (though technically his words weren't spoken, they were Force-whispered but details).
Also, if he lays one improper finger on you, I'll blast that spawn of Lord Vader into-
"Relax Papa, I don't think he'll be crossing me anytime soon." Rey soothed. "I kinda majorly cut his face." Her own face fell. "I hope he forgives me."
I saw that fight, good for you. He should thank you for it, scars increase Dark Side ability and intensify angst. Not as much as losing a limb, but still. Progress. You might think of getting a few scars of your own sometime.
"Emotional or physical?" Rey teased. "I suppose I should go talk to Kylo now." She hummed, brushing back wayward strands of hair with a long sigh.
Do it. Do it now. I'll be watching everything.
"Uh, that's a little uncomfortable."
An insistent thumping on the closed door of the lift shook her from her conversation with her dead grandfather. A flood of binary, sounding frazzled and stressed, floated through the door.
"Niney?" Rey punched the button and the doors slid open. "BB-8? What are you two doing here?"
/ Trying to repair the damage you and Kylo made / Niney tooted reprovingly.
/ By repair we mean the hole in Kylo's face / BB-8 explained cheerily, nuzzling her legs in greeting.
Rey pulled a face, guilt gnawing uncomfortably at her insides. "I didn't mean to hurt him that bad."
/ Yes, yes you did /
"Okay, yes I kinda did, but that's besides the point. Is he alright?"
/ Physically? Yes. Emotionally? Questionable / Niney reported, wheeling around Rey in circles. / So basically the same as always /
Rey chuckled despite herself. "I'm on my way, is he in his rooms?"
The droids bobbed in unison.
Rey exhaled, rubbing her hands together. "Wish me luck."
/ Rey /
She turned to face BB-9E, who rolled up to her feet. / Matt's-Kylo's-personality wasn't an act. I should know, I've had to put up with lovestruck Kylo being jealous of himself /
Rey's chest lurched, and she impulsively knelt down and threw her arms around the round droid. "Thank you." She turned and strode down the hallway and out of sight.
Niney turned to BB-8 in wonderment. / Is this what being appreciated feels like? /
/ Just wait until she gives you awesome processor upgrades /
/ Rey approval rating increasing by 113% /
The med droid had completed his work, and Niney had disappeared, leaving Kylo alone and seated glumly in a chair facing a large window that overlooked the snowy planet.
He still couldn't quite believe how terribly wrong everything had gone. Nor could he wrap his head around the fact that Rey was going to work for the Resistance. It had to be a bluff. Not that it mattered now, she hated him either way. He glared down at his covered abs. You failed me. Now what did he do?
"Grandfather, master of darkness and star-crossed love affairs, supreme authority on all sand matters, what should I do?" He asked miserably, directing the question to the burnt skeleton of Darth Vader's helmet that was prominently displayed on a nearby pedestal. A large 'DO NOT TOUCH OR FACE MY FURY' plaque neatly written in script hung below the helmet.
"I'm sorry for slicing your face open."
Rey. He stiffened, shoulders tensing at the unexpected visitor. His back was to the door and he kept his patched-up and unmasked face averted. "It's going to scar."
"I'm told scars increase Dark Side ability." Rey offered from behind, sounding closer than before.
"So am I supposed to thank you for making me more irresistible than I already am?" His voice was neutral and carefully measured.
Rey was silent, and Kylo heaved a resigned sigh.
"Fine. Thank you." He'd secretly been wanting more physical scars, and the sexy eye scar was especially potent. "I hope you'll be very happy with your new position." He added stiffly, determinedly gazing out the window and ignoring the movement in his peripheral vision.
"I never really meant to accept that offer." Rey stepped sideways to view his profile, trying to catch his eye, but still he stared straight ahead. His distinct look of relief didn't escape her notice, however.
"Then you may consider my well-wishes retracted. I didn't mean them anyways, I was actually hoping the Resistance would go bankrupt. Besides, you'd never throw your life away like that."
"I still can't work at Starkiller without the man that has become my best friend." Rey continued, smiling at his endearing bluntness. How had she missed all the similarities between the two personas? Granted, Kylo had done his best to hide them, but now they jumped out at her, glaringly obvious and awkward.
"Matt has been terminated. Fired. Cut. Let go. Can't you accept that?" Can't you accept me? His voice was weary and Rey silently took in the splotches of dried blood on his hands, which lay clenched into fists on his knees.
"No, I can't accept that." She paused, moving even closer. He twisted his face away. "Because I realized something about that man. He's not just a friend, you know."
"Let me guess, he's the love of your life, he completely understands you when no one else did because you connect on a spiritual level, and the two of you are made for each other. Right?" I'm not bitter, I'm not bitter, I'm not bit- Kriff, I am so bitter.
"Essentially." Rey knelt before Kylo to be on eye-level as she quietly surveyed his face. Broad, high cheekbones framed by dark wavy hair, full lips and brown eyes that stubbornly gazed past her own. A bacta strip split his face in stark contrast to his pale skin. Like he's been playing hide and seek with the sun his entire life. I like it.
"Well, then go chase after him and mangle his facial features while you profess your undying friendship." Kylo grumped.
"What do you think I'm doing right now?" She laughed softly, gauging his reaction. His eyes were the size of prog eyes, and he looked down at her in shock, processing the meaning of her words. "I realized I love that man."
Kylo's face was ashen. "Rey, I-"
She silenced him with kiss, and Kylo very nearly passed out then and there. Two in one day! This was even better than the day he'd found Darth Vader's helmet. He felt like he'd rocketed to another galaxy, and left his stomach behind.
Rey pulled away long enough to smile up at him. "It's you, Kylo. Or should I say Matt?"
He should start a tally system for the number of times she had knocked him speechless. He merely gaped at her, his vocal cords failing. Internally, he was screaming. Very loudly.
She loves me.
Rey loves me. Kylo.
"Yes, I know the truth now." She admitted, interrupting Kylo from his inner celebration. "I should have realized it sooner."
He shook his head dazedly, clearing his throat to jumpstart his voice. "No, no, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have lied to you, or flipped out on you so many times."
"Hey, being emotional is the way of the Dark Side." She reminded him, quoting his own words back to him as she pulled him to his feet. "It happens when you get caught up in restoring the galaxy to its rightful state."
"I have a new-found respect for what my employees do." Kylo agreed, snaking his arms around her. "It's not as easy as I presumed."
"And with a partner, I think you'll find it much easier to finish what Darth Vader, what both our grandfathers, started." A rueful expression crossed her face. "I'm sorry for making fun about Darth Vader, I didn't mean it. Everyone knows he was my grandfather's best and right hand man."
You beautiful Dark Side girl, you. "I love you." He replied simply, tugging her closer and into a fierce and fiery kiss. I could get used to this.
"I accept." Rey panted as they parted, chest rising rapidly.
"Wha-a-what?" Kylo stammered, entirely lost in the way her eyes were shining like the autumn sky on Corellia.
Rey smiled slyly. "I accept your offer of co-president of Starkiller."
"Vice president." He corrected, still half-disbelieving.
"How about junior president?"
"Co-president." Kylo agreed hastily, before she changed her mind. "You can handle negotiations with the Resistance then, since my parents-the source of my genetic material-seem to love you so much."
"I'm sure the finance department will thank me for the cut-down in slashed office chairs and ruined walls." She smirked up at him. "And I do believe we could negotiate a mutually beneficial partnership with the Resistance. I think the General will be more disposed to sell subsidiaries to us now."
"That's my empress." He laughed softly under his breath, falling silent as he cupped her face in his hands. "I was wrong to try and coerce you into a job. I do believe you've earned it, though. There's a lot to learn."
"Good thing I have a teacher to show me. So, what benefit packages come with this co-presidency promotion?" Rey teased, twining her arms around his neck and grinning mischievously.
"Oh, you get the whole package." Kylo assured her, gesturing to himself and his abs confidently. "And I can think of more than a few agreeable benefits." He dipped his head and claimed her mouth to illustrate his point.
"Well, now I know of one way to shut you up in a board meeting." Rey said rather breathlessly when they surfaced for air.
Kylo suddenly became serious, needing an answer for an issue that had been nagging at him since the revelation of Rey's feelings for him. "Rey, I have important question to ask you." He sucked in a deep preparatory breath. This was it. The moment of truth.
"Do you like the blonde wig better than my real hair?" He blurted out desperately. "I mean, if it's a huge deal, I can wear it now and then, though it is rather scratchy, and you would not believe the split ends it causes, and how hard it is to keep moisturiz-" He was violently distracted by the cool fingers Rey was currently running through his natural hair.
"I've always had a thing for brunettes." She confessed, earning a responding grin as Kylo gratefully tightened his grip on her waist.
"Goes both ways, I do believe." He paused, considering. "I guess I should make the bombshell announcement to rest of the employees that I'm not really Matt, and that they're going to love the new me." He brightened. "I'll give a speech!"
"I love the old and new you, awkwardness, emotional issues and all." Rey beamed playfully, an impish glint lighting her eyes. "Besides, we don't have to tell them right away. I believe I have a very important and urgent meeting with the CEO of Starkiller Base."
Kylo would have readily agreed had not his mouth been somewhat occupied.
If Rey and Kylo would have had any attention to spare, they would have noticed the two BB units peering into the room from the safety of the doorframe.
/ By the Maker, took them long enough! / Niney tooted warmly, doing an gleeful twirl. / Now it's time to write up Kylo's bill for my therapy sessions, he's got quite the tab /
/ The Empress and the CEO / BB-8 whistled in contentment. / So romantic my circuits are fritzing /
/ Good thing they have us to keep things lively /
BB-8 poked his sensor back into the room. / Don't humans need to breathe? I think they're forgetting to do so /
Niney looked inside again. / Maker, they won't have any faces left soon! We should save them, remind them to breath before they pass out. And I know just how to get Kylo's attention /
BB-8 nodded sagely. / One question first /
/ What? /
/ Is it true that Kylo Ren is shredded? /
Niney whipped out an extensor claw, eyeing Kylo's shirt meaningfully. / You can come see for yourself /
The two droids darted inside, sinfully unrepentant.
"What the- NINEY!"
/ Mission accomplished /
A/N: Aaaand that's a wrap, folks! I could not have done it without your amazing supportive words and readership! Feel free to say hello or drop a review anytime, I'm on Tumblr under earial13 and I love answering asks. :D You all have been the best, please let me know what you thought of the last chapter, it's been a blast writing for you guys! May the Force be with you all! Much love! Xx