Rey walked among the stars.

They were with her here, and in this fragment of time she understood that they had always been with her—she simply could not hear them. But she could hear them now, as clear as the light embracing her, as strong as the purpose that had consumed her when she lifted her sabers and caught the emperor's lightning in their blades. Luke was there, and Leia was there, and—her parents. She felt their spirits caught in the vast web that was the Force, and their presence filled her with peace. At last she knew them. At last they were together.

The fabric of the Force rippled in the corner of her mind, like someone was tugging at a thread and trying to unravel it. Curious, Rey reached out, touching the thread with her power. Something stirred in her memory when she did, a presence she normally knew as blazing and volatile. But it was neither of those things now. It was certain, steadfast, a little desperate. It was trying to find her.


He had not come with her. Despite their connection, the fact that they were—what had he called it?—a diad in the Force, they had been separated. Dissatisfaction disturbed Rey's peace, and she surged forward, following the thread further, looking for him—

Her lungs expanded and breath rushed in, tainted by dust and smoke and death. But Rey could not taste it. She was still full of the starlight she had just chosen to leave behind. Her eyes blinked, her spirit settled in her body, and the world came into focus, the darkness of the grand Sith chamber fading away from the light of Ben Solo's face. She lay cradled in his arms.

Rey sat up, disbelief and shock still fizzling in her nervous system. She had seen the emperor cast Ben into a chasm—and yet here he was, holding her like she was the most precious thing he had ever known. He had done as she had showed him, and used his mastery of the Force to heal her, to bring her back to life.

Rey could not deny the bubble of joy building in her heart.

"Ben," she said. Because he was. Kylo Ren, the façade he had built to protect the vulnerable man within, was gone. Ben Solo, the one whose hand she'd long to take, was in front of her now.

She kissed him. The Force sang with excitement as their lips met. The connection between them was burning bright, humming with approval and happiness and correctness. They came together now not as adversaries, fighting fruitlessly what drew them towards each other, but as twin souls finally recognizing what lay between them.

They drew apart, and for the first time since she had known him—had she ever really known him?—Ben smiled. It was a smile that cracked the armor protecting her heart and let the truth flood in. It was a smile that showed the sky.

But then that same smile faded, and suddenly Ben slumped back, collapsing to the floor. Rey scrambled to her knees and bent over him, horror crystallizing in her veins. Bringing her back from beyond was no small feat—it could easily have spent the last of whatever energy he had left. She reached for him, half expecting for there to be nothing to hold onto, but her hands met flesh and bone. His eyes fluttered open, and he smiled again, much weaker this time.

"I'm all right," he said. "Or I will be, now that you're back."

He lifted his hand and touched her face. She pressed it closer, turning her face to kiss his palm. "I'm not going anywhere ever again," she said. "You rest now—I'll worry about getting us out of here."

Ben nodded, but halfway through the motion his head flopped to one side, surrendering to exhaustion. Just to be sure, Rey checked his pulse. It was quiet, but it was there. He would survive, as long as she could get him somewhere he would be safe, where he could recover.

She was unfathomably glad about that.