AN: Thank you everyone for reading! I have up until Chapter 39 uploaded on Archive of our own if you would like to continue there. : )

Enjoy!


"I don't like the idea of leaving Mandalore, there's been so many reported attacks of Vong here." Rey said without thinking still shaking from her encounter.

"I am to take you to Concordia, show you off as my bride and hopefully put an end to any more objections by Mandalorians." Kylo burst out, startling Rey in the small enclosure. He most certainly meant to lump her in the term 'Mandalorians.'

"I think from what you've seen I can be more use to you then just being 'shown off.'" Rey replied, fists clenched by her sides.

"Oh I am very much aware. What you don't seem to realize is how much of a target that puts on your back!" Kylo spun to face her then, looming over, rising up to her challenge.

"I welcome any challenge that poses a threat to Mandalore and the people I care about!"

"You think that statement makes you look courageous? It only reveals how naive, how inexperienced you are." He shot back, looking down on her.

Rey pushed herself further into his space.

"Then enlighten me, I will go to Concordia with you - "

He scoffed.

"On the basis that you help me."

Rey watched slowly as he stiffened. She had not noticed how close they were standing until he took a step back. He did not expect her to ask for help.

"You are right, I am naive when it comes to the force. I don't know anyone and have not met anyone who can do what I can do, except you. I need help."

Rey had deliberated over this question she had been thinking on for days. She had never been sure how to approach the topic. No better time than like the present. Kylo Ren was on edge and Rey understood why, phantom pins and needles crawling up her arms in reminder. As if she could forget.

Suddenly her temples began to throb and his presence filled her mind.

You'll have to become better at blocking your mind.

Rey gritted her teeth as his voice shoved its way into her thoughts. His presence felt like a wave, each crest a painful throb.

She felt him, her mind drifting to the tent. The feel of his gloved hands against the soft skin of her cheeks. The brush of his hair against her forehead as he leaned down to...

Embracing his presence, instead of pushing back against the wave, she pictured it moving in the opposite direction, giving her enough momentum to surge forward, into Kylo's mind.

Enough!

Rey gasped, her eyes flying open.

"Enough" he swallowed, this time speaking the word out loud.

"Remove the mask." She asked, insisted, her thoughts still on the day he had shown her a part of himself that no one else had seen. Rey had not only surged forward into his mind, but she had stepped closer. Like the opposite ends of a magnet, repelling his back against the wall of the elevator.

Rey held her breath, watching as his gloved hands reached up to his mask. She swallowed as he pulled it away. Kylo's arms dropped to his sides, the helmet held loosely in his left hand.

Rey felt greedy as her eyes roved over his face. Hair around his head in waves, eyes glistening.

"You're afraid," Rey whispered, astonished. The emotional residue still resting in her thoughts, left over from the second she had flew into his mind. He hadn't even fought her.

His breath shuttered, lips trembling as that same breath left his mouth.

The lift came to a halt, Kylo did not waste time to put his mask back on as the door soundlessly slid open.

Kylo turned, and fled.

Rey exited the lift, about to follow until a voice from behind stopped her.

"Lovers quarrel?"

Rey steeled herself before turning around, "Hardly," She bit out. Rey was used to arrogant, trigger happy soldiers, raised on Mandalore, she grew up with them.

"I'd like to see you fight without the help from Kylo." Cardo commented, leaning against the adjacent wall.

"You'll have plenty of opportunities to see me fight, on the battlefield." Rey countered, walking past him and down the hall, not interested in his reply or his bating.


She was so different then what he was used to, had witnessed.

Begrudgingly, his thoughts drifted to Leia and Han, the many fights, arguments he had seen. Hardly any of them ending in a compromise. Almost always ending in stewed silence and repressed anger and resentment.

I need help.

The statement rang in his head.

Snoke demanded his cooperation.

Luke had required his obedience.

Upon entering Luke's tutelage, the force, the drills had always come easy to Kylo. The other students often viewed his quiet direction, his isolated pursuits in the archives, as arrogance. His fellow students had never been forthcoming, wanting to be like him, not learn from him, certainly not to get to know him.

That fact had only fueled his anger. In his name, in his lineage.

Kylo had never had an equal, no one to match him mentally during those drills in mediation, or physically, in the dueling ring.

He had not meant for Rey to see his thoughts so readily, but then again he had not expected her to see them so easily. Kylo had not realized he had wanted her to.


Rey strapped herself in, taking a seat alone in Kylo Ren's command shuttle. She fidgeted in her seat, watching his Knights in her periphery as they did the same.

One chose to sit next to her, he had been silent in his approach.

Ap'Lek, the knights spymaster.

Rey half expected him to spark conversation but he remained silent the whole decent to Concordia and for that, she was grateful.

Rey stepped in front of Kylo while everyone was stepping down the ramp to exit the shuttle.

"I did not realize we would be taking this much fanfare." Rey's eyes following the Knights and stormtroopers as they exited.

Kylo bristled, "I don't wish to stay here long. We will secure any threat by talking with your people and then we will make our way back to the Supremacy."

Rey stepped closer, lowering her voice. "I don't see my people being very forthcoming about all this." She implored, waving her hands to his ship, the knights, the troopers.

"This is why I've brought you."

Rey swallowed, a feeling like trepidation rising up her throat.

"Let's go." Kylo did not wait for her to follow.

Rey looked down, self consciously tugging at her trousers. It had felt like a good decision at the time to turn down the heavy gown that had been laid out for her to wear. Now she was having second thoughts. She didn't feel like she was supposed to be here, standing next to Kylo. Expected to stand there with the First Order and convince her people the tyrannical faction was here to help.

Rey stepped off the shuttle, eyes running to the sprawling mountains and cliffs surrounding the outpost. She took a deep breath and hurried to join Kylo and his knights.

"Kylo." His name burst forth from her lips, he twisted his body to the side in order to face her.

"Ask them to stay here. Let them be shown as protection and support but meet Xi Huus just with me."

Rey held her breath, she couldn't help the feeling that this was a crucial decision. Beviin had stated she would be seen as an equal. Merdit commented that she could have a sway over their people and the First Order. She may be bound to someone she herself did not choose, but she would not squander this opportunity.

Rey let out a loose breath, focusing. Remembering his test in the lift.

Please.

Kylo's hands clenched and then relaxed next to his sides. His mind had been open, at least to her.

Without answering, Kylo moved past her to the six figures all standing together, eyeing her and him.

Rey heard a couple of scoffs but no one commented, she imagined Kylo's patience was running thin.

"Let's go" he muttered to her after he had made his way back to where she was waiting, his gate wide, long legs swallowing up the distance between her and him. She was waiting, just about to climb the stairs into the main outposts building.

"Thank you" Rey called, turning her head to look at him as they walked.

Two commandos stood at the top of the stairs, escorts. They lead them silently down the corridors into a larger chamber.


"When I heard Beviin's daughter had bound herself to Snoke's lap dog I didn't want to believe it." A middle aged woman sat behind a long table, she was clearly in the middle of her meal.

Rey felt Kylo bristle beside her.

"I accepted the terms in order to help our people." Rey spoke up quickly, stepping forward, emphasizing the word 'our'.

Xi hummed, a hand coming up to rest underneath her chin, her eyes assessing Rey.

The other half remember a time when their voices were heard throughout the galaxy, when Mandalorians were honored warriors, who lived by the code. Beviins voice rang in Rey's ears.

"We've come here to help, in any capacity that we can. You've heard of the Vong attacks on Mandalore. We are here to make sure your territory remains secure." Rey continued.

"You mean to say, that the beskar remains secure." She drawled, a single eyebrow arching. "Whose to say we need your help. After all, I don't trust the First Order for shit."

Rey felt a ringing in her ears, the room silenced as if encased in a vacuum. The glass on the Matriarch's table shattered. Rey spun, back towards the table and face turned up towards Kylo. His hands were clenched in fists next to his sides. She could picture his face now, jaw stiff, eyebrows set, his lips in a thin, firm line.

Rey laid her hand, very discreetly, against his left arm. Her body placement blocking the gesture from view. She could feel the hard tendons in his forearm, tense.

"Don't take the bait," Rey whispered so softly, only he could hear. She stepped closer, into his space, so close she could feel his body heat, imploring him to calm down.

The only indication that he heard or even listened to Rey was the release of his clenched fists, the muscles in his arm going slack. Rey found herself taking a deep breath along with him, it helped settle her nerves.

"If that's the way you prefer it, we are here to make sure the beksar mine's are secure. You may or may not offer us any additional commandos upon our inspection but we are more than capable without." She called out, face remaining upturned to Kylo, back facing the Matriarch.

Rey had heard of Xi Huus before, even caught a glimpse of her on Mandalore. Rey had never had purpose nor standing to attend the meetings she was included in the great hall but she had certainly been privy to people's opinions.

Xi was headstrong and not at all trusting, which Rey couldn't blame her, this outpost on Concordia was one of the few. The moon was isolated and held only one purpose. The mining of beksar. It took a person of her temperament to be out here and not only survive but thrive. Rey didn't mind rising up to meet her, she left then knowing how to deal with her in the future.

For now, she had a job to do.


Rey fell back on the ground with a gasp, anger, and trepidation boiling in her veins.

She jumped to her feet and charged forward, her staff pointed towards her opponent.

Before she could make contact, the opposing staff rammed against her diaphragm, stealing her breath and probably bruising another rib. The pain caused her to collapse once more.

"Please stop!" Rey cried through her teeth, her jaw sore from clenching them so hard.

"Ah but you see, your opponent won't stop, your enemy won't stop."

Tears built behind her eyes, blurring her vision, her breath coming out in harsh pants.

"Now stand."

Rey brought one foot flat on the ground, bracing one hand against her thigh as she lifted the other, standing straight.

"You must think in absolutes, your enemy will have no pity, your opponent won't be fair. Think of your mother."

"No!" Rey cried, lunging.

Beviin inched closer, staff raised in a defensive posture.

"I can't believe that." Rey insisted, her staff arching down to meet him.

Beviin chuckled, "How little you know."

" I know if I let my mother's death rule my life I won't have one!"

Such wise words from a child who had already seen too much.

Beviin's traditionalist Mandalorian training was total war, he believed in no quarter. Do what needs to be done, to win.

Rey already knew that wasn't the way she wanted to live her life.

"You took me," She blocked, "You showed me kindness," she lunged. "Despite the ferocity you show on the battlefield!" She implored, landing a hit, finally disarming him, knocking the staff out of his grip.


Rey felt him stewing beside her as they left the main audience chamber, the two escorts leading them back outside. The commandos stopped at the main entrance resuming their sentry duties. Before they met up with the knights, Kylo pulled her into an enclave.

He started to talk around his mask, "You think I am easily manipulated," he ground out, voice heavily modulated, moving into her space. "You think I will let you control -"

She cut him off, resuming contact, but instead of resting a hand on his arm, she pressed it against his chest. Not enough to push him away but to ground him.

"Ren," she started.

"I did not say those things in the audience chamber," She started softly. Knowing he was projecting his anger onto her, his anger towards Xi Huus.

"Take your helmet off." She murmured, their close proximity not requiring her to speak louder.

Kylo exhaled, the sound loud and modulated, before straightening back to his full height. He had stooped closer to her during the time she had been talking to him, touching him.

Kylo's hands lifted and he pulled off the helmet.

"I am on your side."

His dark eyes immediately dropped down to meet hers, swallowing. He adopted a look of disbelief, eyebrows arching slowly.

"You brought me here, these are my people, let me help you."

"And when the First Order comes to take your resources, what then? Will you stand with me?" His voice was husky and deep, making their proximity feel much more intimate.

Her gaze traveled over his eyes, now solely intent on her. His head had leaned down closer, making it easier to see the freckles on his face, the dark circles under his eyes.

"I made a vow, and so did you. The First Order may take the beskar but in doing so they agreed in helping us against the Vong."

"Us?" He questioned, invading her space.

"My people." Rey suddenly had a harder time breathing.

Rey sucked in air through her nose with a sharp inhale as his mouth slanted over hers.

She felt the press of his lips against hers, his nose against her cheek, his forehead against hers. This kiss was different from their first, this time Rey made sure to card her fingers through his hair. It was just as soft as it looked. Kylo's hands were like weights, resting on her hips. Rey found out that she quite liked them there, his thumbs pressing against her hip bones, pulling her body closer to his. She heard and felt the loud clatter of his helmet falling at their feet.

Rey pulled back at the loud sound it made as it landed on the ground, her hands resting against his cheeks.

Kylo had pulled her so close to him, his foot had slipped between hers, his hands resting on her lower back, face stooped low, forehead pressing against her temple, hair tickling her chin as they shared each other's breath.

The distant chatter of troopers caught Rey's ears, time and space returned to her and she realized again, where they were, what they were supposed to be doing. She stepped out of his embrace, pulling away from his arms, carefully detangling her legs from his.

Rey walked away from him without looking back.

With heart racing and palms sweaty, she passed the Knights without a word, climbing up and into the shuttle to don her armor and most specifically her helmet.

It appears they would both be hiding behind a mask.


"This should be fun," Cardo chuffed. "Did you restock your bactapads Ushar?"

"Bacta patches ," Ushar grunted, readjusting his helm along with his vibroblade.

"My mistake." Cardo chuckled, stepping past Rey, his heavy footsteps causing the ground very near her feet to vibrate.

Rey's eyes were not on the Knights however, they landed on their leader.

His mask in place, back facing her and cape hung heavily behind him, her eyes traced over his wide shoulders.

She swallowed, slowly approaching the outcrop on which he stood.

The shuttle had placed them a kilometer before the first mine on their list, closest to the outpost. Concordia was more mountainous than Mandalore, this mine was on the cliff-edge of the adjacent mountain range.

"This looks...abandoned." Kylo's voice subdued, he was searching.

"I can't...feel them." Rey wanted to cringe at her choice of words but she didn't know how to describe it.

"The Vong are cut off from the force, you can't." A simple reply.

Rey felt more than saw Kylo turn and take a step towards her.

"You cannot sense the Vong...but, reach out…tell me what you see."

"Oh, um…"Rey rolled her eyes at her stupid rambling, she had asked for help she just wasn't expecting it here...now.

"Close your eyes, Rey."

"How did you -" She didn't finish, her eyes slipped closed, the way he said her name repeating itself in her head. She felt him at that moment, the soft caress, a whisper, her mouth went dry.

Rey's head lowered slightly as she felt something else, something like a weight, a dark presence, like thick oil leaking through the cracks she had opened in her mind. Her eyebrows furrowed.

Her ears perked and her head tilted to the side at approaching footsteps, eyes flying open.

"The Knights! They are, they can - "

"They are force sensitive only, they can sense it, but cannot wield it, control it, like you and I can." She quite liked the tone his voice took on, soft, informative.

"That day, in the field, the battle - when they said - "

"Yes, they had sensed your power."

Rey took in a deep breath, thinking back.

"How long have you - known?" She asked.

Kylo took a step back, straightening. This is how he separated himself, she thought. Rey wasn't looking forward to his answer, he was distancing himself, he knew she would not like it.

"Since, the mines." He answered, his voice detached and distant beneath the mask, turning back to regroup.

He'd known all along.

Rey's eyes roamed over the beautiful landscape, not registering the vista at all. Suddenly, Beviin's setup, Snoke's uncompromising interest, Kylo's agreement.

It all made sense.

Rey

Kylo's voice startled her out of her thoughts, her head lifted to meet his and the Knight's, all collectively looking at the ground under her feet.

Slight cracks had spider-webbed out beneath her. She suddenly realized her forearms ached due to the force in which she had been clenching her fists, she relaxed her hands, the pain disappears.

"I - " cutting herself off, she turned and made her way towards the mine, towards their real objective.

Rey had agreed to do this for her people. She agreed. She wouldn't focus on anything else. She couldn't.

Anger had already started to slither up her throat, the strength choking her. Rey desperately tried to keep it at bay. She tried desperately to temper her thoughts, sealing off her feelings. Instinctively aware that's what fueled the power inside her.

Kylo followed after her, pausing only briefly, to peer at the fissures she had made in the ground.


AN: The flashback only appears in the middle of this chapter due to my linking two chapters together. Please leave a review and let me know what you think!