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Into the Woods

Chapter Text

I was a mess. My hair was falling out of the coil on top of my head and I’m sure there’s mascara smudged underneath my hazel eyes. They burned but I couldn’t decide if it was from stray mascara or the fact that I had been staring at the same coding line for the past 4.5 hours.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to write it correctly. Nothing worked and the harder I tried to fix it the more my frustration grew.

Come on Rey. It’s not like you spent 4 years of your life learning how to do this.

I sighed quietly and rubbed my face one last time, surely smearing what little makeup I had applied this morning completely off. Before giving it too much thought, I saved the line that had caused so much headache and made to shut down my computer. While I waited for it to slowly shut down, I tidied up my desk and shuffled a few papers into my purse.

I sat for a couple seconds debating if leaving work early was a good idea. But I knew the only way to solve that code was to come back to it after a night’s sleep.

The office was quiet except for the soft clacking of keyboards and the occasional throat clearing. Though it was 4:27 p.m. no one looked to be anywhere close to packing up and heading home for the day. Doubt about my decision to leave early flashed through my mind.

Would leaving early signify weakness? That I wasn’t cut out for this male-dominated profession?

I clutched my car keys in hand more tightly before strengthening my resolve. The only way I’d get past this bump was to look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow. I nodded to myself and pushed up quickly to my feet and turned to head to the break room to punch my time card.

“Oh my gosh!” I gasped and jumped backward into the edge of my desk. It made a screeching sound as it slid back across the hardwood. The jarring sound was punctuated by a cup full of tipped over and spilled across the top.

I looked around red-faced noticing quite a few heads had turned in my direction.

So much for trying to make a discreet getaway.
The small intern who had been standing behind me gave a sheepish look.

“Mr. Mitaka needs you in his office,” he said quietly.

“What for?” I asked nervously. I had never been called to his office before and in the 6 months I had been working at Mitaka Softwares, I had never seen him in person.

“He didn’t say. But he needs you ASAP.” He turned and began to walk away, waving me after him.

I quickly put my keys away and shoved my shoulder bag back under the grey desk. Worrying my lip, I hurried after him. After reaching his office the inter gave a short burst of knocks before opening the door and all but shoving me into the room. The door shut with a soft click behind me.

“Ms. Stone, please sit.” Mr. Mitaka said without looking up from the report he had been reading.

I wiped my sweaty palms on my slacks and moved shakily into a stiff chair before the imposing desk. We sat in silence for a couple of moments before he cleared his throat.

“I’m assuming that you don’t know what this is about, Ms. Stone.” He stated.

“No sir, I don’t.” My voice shook slightly at the end. I kicked myself for sounding weak.

He set the papers down, “Ms. Stone, are you aware that your productivity levels are down 15% in the last 2 weeks?”

“No sir, I just wa-”

“I know you are new to this company and I have been giving you some leeway so you can settle into this job. But this is a high performing company, your productivity should be staying consistent or improving. You have only been on a downtrend for a time period that is less than acceptable.” His voice was stern. Almost as if he was scolding a small child.

My face paled as I realized where this conversation was heading. His tone was the same as when I burned 5 batches of cupcakes at Maz’s Bake Shop in junior year of high school.
“Mr. Mitaka, please let me explain! I know that I have been struggling the past couple weeks but my work has always come out perfect!” I pleaded, my hands stretched out in front of me.

His expression didn’t lighten.

“This is a high performing company. I cannot have an employee who drags down the output of the entire company. I won’t take any chances on ruining my name for pity cases. I’m letting you go, effective immediately. Your next paycheck will be mailed to you after the next cycle. Please back up your things.” He fixed me with a cold stare and I knew there was nothing I could do that would change his mind.

My already burning eyes seemed to burn hotter and I quickly shot up from the stiff chair. I refused to cry in front of this bastard. Without wasting any time, I stormed out of his office and down the hallway as fast as I could. I knew that it was only a matter of time before the dam broke.

I tried to console myself. Tell myself that I didn’t like anyone here anyway or that the pay wasn’t competitive enough. But the truth was, I liked this job. It was everything that 12-year-old Rey wished for. It was the job that everyone thought that little orphan Rey could never achieve.

A tiny, broken sob escaped my lips as I reached my desk. There wasn’t much to clean up. Only my cup of pens and a picture frame of me with my best friends, Finn and Rose. I shoved my belongings haphazardly into the bag and all but sprinted to the break room to punch out for the final time.

After a short, but uncomfortable ride down to the lobby, I found my control over my emotions starting to slip.

“Not yet Rey, not yet.” I chanted to myself. There were still too many eyes to be seen losing my shit. The crisp air hit me in the face and tore the short tendrils of hair out of my already messed up bun. I clutched my purse tighter, cursing myself for not bringing a coat with me this morning.

Normally, the walk from the office to the parking garage was only a 5 minute pace away, but with the cool temperature, it felt like hours before I reached my small, banged up Corolla. I unlocked it and all but threw my purse into the passenger side before slumping in and slamming the door.
“Fuck!” I banged on the steering wheel, “fuck.” I repeated again. My voice catching on the end syllable. I willed myself not to cry but tears leaked out of the corners of my eyes anyway.

What was I supposed to do now? I needed this job to pay off my student loans and rent. I was struggling financially before this and getting fired seemed just like a kick in the gut.

I shuddered out couple shallow breaths and wiped my face. I needed to get home before it got dark. One of my headlights was out and hadn’t found the money to fix it. I turned the key and prayed to whatever was out there that this wasn’t the time that my car decided to die.

Since it was still so early in the day there wasn’t much traffic so I got home fairly quickly. I was digging through the freezer for the stereotypical pint of ice cream when the front door opened, light conversation and laughter drifted in from the hallway. The voices got louder until they reached the kitchen.

“Oh, hey Rey! Finish early at work?” Rose’s voice was bright. Rey could tell that she was smiling.

“You could say that,” I said flatly, wincing as my reply came out ruder than anything.

“What do you mean by that?” Finn’s voice was tinged with concern.

“Because I was fucking fired!” I spit. I slammed the freezer door shut, realizing that I had eaten the pint 2 days prior. The words rang with finality and saying it out loud made it feel real and not a terrible fever dream. The two of them stared back at me shocked. Rose was the first to speak,

“Oh, honey… I’m so sorry,” she grabbed my hand “let’s go sit down.”

I sniffled pathetically behind her and allowed her to pull me down onto the couch.

“H-he said that I was a liability to the w-whole c-c-company.” I stuttered out, “that I was bringing everyone down because I haven’t been as proficient the last couple weeks.”

Rose looked at me with furrowed brows, sympathy written all over her face. I hated it. She gave Finn a look behind me and he wordlessly grabbed his keys back off the hook and headed out the door.

“Rey, he’s an asshole. Fuck him for firing you! You’re an amazing coder and he’s going to regret losing you.” Her voice was filled with venom and fire.

“I know I’ve been slow these past weeks but I just wanted to make things perfect. Maybe if I-”

“No, Rey.” Rose interrupted, “You are an amazing coder and you can’t let him make you doubt your abilities.”

“What am I supposed to do Rose? I have things to pay off and I’m at the end of my last paycheck. I only worked two days on the new pay period! I’ll be lucky if I even made $500!” I sobbed, burying my face in my palms.

“Something will come along… Just you wait.” Rose tried to comfort but I could hear the worry in her voice.

Before I could respond, the door creaked open and Finn popped through the frame with a heavy looking paper bag in one hand.

He came in and sat on the chair across from us.

“I come bearing gifts.” He smiled weakly at me. Finn had never been good at dealing with crying women.

I smiled softly back at him, remembering the time an ex had cheated on me and Finn’s idea of comfort was patting me awkwardly on the back.

“Your favorite ice cream, cookie dough, and mint chip. And... Your favorite boxed wine!” He pulled it out with a flourish, obviously trying to make me laugh. It worked sort of.

I started to give a low chuckle but was interrupted by a loud hiccup, which ended up lightening the mood I was in. I started giggling hysterically and joined in by both of best friends. After laughing way too long for something so silly, I grinned.

“Now who’s up to eat ice cream and get wasted?’ Finn and Rose exchanged a look before agreeing enthusiastically.

Finn got up to get the spoons and cups while Rose flipped on the t.v so we could watch trashy shows while binging on ice cream and alcohol. I settled into the couch in a slightly better mood but my current situation still weighed heavily in my mind.

There was nothing I could do today. Trying to fix this mess would have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Chapter Text

To say I was beyond drunk last night would be a huge understatement. The only thing I know for sure happened was the fact that I had been fired from my job. The rest is just a blur.

I woke this morning with a pounding headache and queasy stomach. Rolled onto my side and noticed that I had never made it to my bed last night, opting to sleep on the floor instead.

Groaning, I made my way into the bathroom aiming to brush my teeth. As the bright light of the bathroom turned on my stomach sloshed and I barely made it to the toilet before I puked out the contents.

“How much did I drink?” I moaned to myself from my spot on the floor.

“Apparently enough to fall asleep on the floor.” Finn chuckled. “Can you flush that? It smells.”

I pushed the lever down and closed the lid and sat on it.

“You seem awful cheery,” I grumbled.

“Yeah, well I’m not the one that hogged the entire box of wine.” He teased. “Rose and I barely had a glass before you guzzled it all down.”

“An entire box?!” I exclaimed incredulously. No wonder my head had its own heartbeat.

Finn just rolled his eyes as he brushed his teeth. I smacked him on the arm before I headed back out into the living room to clean up the mess left on the coffee table. Brushing my teeth would have to wait until Finn was done.

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It was starting to get bad. I’d been out of work for the past 3 weeks and had finally received my last paycheck in the mail. On one hand, I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to go pick it up at the office and deal with the questions about my absence to my coworkers. But on the other, I wished that I could’ve had an excuse to plead my case with Mr. Mitaka in hopes that he would give me my job back.
I knew that there were only two days of work on this paycheck but I never expected how low it would be. My last shred of hope of getting compensation pay shriveled like a dead leaf in the sun.

Finn and Rose had been watching me on the couch open the letter with hopeful expressions. They must have picked up on my crestfallen face.

“How much?” Finn prodded quietly.

“There’s barely $5oo on here. That’s only enough to pay for half rent and my student loan due this month.” I dropped the hand holding the check to my side, lip quivering.

“Rey, you know that we’d be willing to help out until you got back on your feet.” Rose reminded me.

Both of them had been offering their support but I just can’t take their money with a clear conscience. I couldn’t bear having to owe any more money to any more people.

“Thank you guys so much for offering, but I’ll figure something out. I need to start looking harder for job openings in the area. I’m sure I’ll be able to find something.” I smiled weakly before throwing away the envelope the check had been mailed in. First thing I needed to do is deposit this check and then I’ll set out to look for work once again.

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“Argh!” I ran my fingers through my hair and tugged at the roots for the millionth time that hour.

Frustration with this whole process was going to make me lose my mind. I just know it. Looking for a software engineering opening in Chicago is surprisingly hard to come by. No one within a 50-mile radius seemed to be hiring or they just didn’t seem to want to talk to me at all. I had contacted so many businesses and companies that I’ve begun to lose count.

Rose had been reminding me that persistence was key, but after spending 3 days on the phone calling people and constantly being denied was beginning to wear on me. I needed to keep calling, it was only a matter of time before the cellphone company turned off my service. I was beginning to think that me getting hired at Mitaka Softwares had been a mistake after all. That they had accidentally called me instead of another better, more qualified candidate.

I sighed deeply and began to regroup my thoughts. My stomach grumbled and I decided that now was as good a time as ever to take a break and start over. I made my way into the kitchen and shuffled through my shelf in the pantry. A couple days prior I had run out of food and spent the last of my money on buying only canned sustainable goods. I had taken to trying to stretch out each can buy rationing how much I ate of it each meal. This particular can of ravioli would be lunch and dinner today and lunch again tomorrow.

Perhaps I should’ve taken Finn and Rose’s help, but always at the most inconvenient of times, my stubbornness has gotten in the way. I’d rather start to dig into my meager savings than ask for anyone’s help any time soon.

If I needed to go anywhere, I walked. I couldn’t pay for gas and I certainly couldn’t pay for the ticket that my broken headlight would get me.

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Two more weeks past and I still had no luck getting so much as an interview. I ran out of canned food and had started using some of my savings to get me things I vitally needed, like a new box of tampons and deodorant. I estimated that I had three more days before my cell phone shut off.

“This is getting ridiculous Rey! Why won’t you let us help you?” Rose shouted. Irritation was evident on her face. I was glad that Finn wasn’t home or he would have ganged up on me too.

“You don’t understand Rose! I don’t want to have to depend on anyone! I spent the majority of my life in foster care. I bounced from house to house because no one wanted to take responsibility for anything more than a couple months. I was at the complete mercy of them because I had nothing to my name! I relied on everything from them. Maybe if I had more to offer, they would have wanted me!” I finished out of breath and flushed. Rose just stared at me. Suddenly I regret sharing the deepest of my insecurities with her.

I didn’t wait to hear her reply. Turning on my heels, I grabbed my keys off the hook and took off out the door and down the stairs to my car. I passed Finn on the stairs,
“Hey Rey, what’s wrong?”

I ignored his call down to me as I continued down the stairs. I fumbled with my keys once I reached the bottom, struggling to press the right button to get it to unlock. Once in my car, I jammed the keys into the ignition and peeled out of the parking lot and down the street.

I aimlessly drove, wasting precious gas before I felt my phone start to buzz in my pocket. I figured it was probably Rose or Finn, calling to see where I was going but I checked it anyway. It wasn’t Rose or Finn, instead, it was a number that I didn’t recognize. I found an empty parking spot alongside the road and hastily parked in it before the call ended. I pressed the accept button at last second before it ended.

“Hello?” I breathed. Hoping on a million stars that I was finally getting a call from a potential employer.

“Is this Rey Stone.” A deep voice asked on the other end.

“Yes, this is she,” I replied.

“Hello Ms. Stone, this is Luke Skywalker calling from Skywalker Enterprises. My hiring manager saw your profile on LINKEDIN and was so impressed by your resumé that he recommended me to give you a call.” Mr. Skywalker’s voice was expectant. Rey couldn’t help but fist pump before he continued, “I’ve looked over your credentials and I would like to offer you a spot at our company.”

At his words, I felt tears of joy and relief prickle at the corners of my eyes. Though I had never heard of Skywalker Enterprises, I was desperate enough that I didn’t hesitate before answering,

“Yes, Mr. Skywalker. I would love to join your company!” I cringed at how enthusiastic I sounded.

“Well, Ms. Stone. I’m glad to hear it.” He chuckled, “Do you have time to discuss the details of your employment?”

“Yes, I would like to hear all about it,” Rey assured. She quickly exited out of the call app before shooting a quick text to Rose and telling her that she’d be home later.

“Ms. Stone, I’m not going to pretend that you would have heard of Skywalker Enterprises. My company is just starting up and I need a software engineer to help me run the programs that I’ve created. We’re based out of Seattle, Washington, I hope this won’t be a problem with you but we need you on site.” He explained.

I was stunned at the distance of the company, but I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere in Chicago. Sure I would miss my friends but there was always facetime and I’m sure they’d understand my need to move where the jobs are. At least I hoped.

“No, that won’t be a problem.” I answered while chewing on my lip, “When do you need me by?”

“We’ll need you by the beginning of next week.” Mr. Skywalker stated.

My eyes bulged out of my head. That was exactly a week from today!

“Oh, Mr. Skywalker… I don’t know. I need to be able to give my roommates more notice and time to find an apartment in Seattle. Surely you don’t need me that soon?” I asked nervously.

“I understand Ms. Stone, that this might seem very sudden. But we do need an engineer as soon as possible, there’s no time to waste. I understand that this is very last minute, I’m willing to offering to buyout your lease at your current apartment and put you up in company housing until you can find your own apartment once you get settled into your job here.” Mr. Skywalker’s voice was hopeful.

This offer was just too good to be true. But I seriously needed the job and money. Now was not the time to be cautious and think every possibility through. Let’s face it. I am broke and desperate.

“I’ll take it.” My was voice was strong and didn’t sound as nervous as I did on the inside.

“Oh good. I’m truly am so happy that you are going to join our team! Please, send over the details of your lease to my personal email and I’ll figure out the rest for you Ms. Stone! Please keep a receipt of your travel expenses, the company will be happy to reimburse you once you arrive. I expect you in Seattle on Saturday!” The line clicked dead before I had a chance to reply.

“Yes!” I shouted to myself.

I had found a job, now the only thing left to do was break the news to Rose and Finn was that I am moving across the country for work.

Chapter Text

It was early Thursday morning and I still hadn’t finished up packing up the last bits of my room. The last two days had been spent packing and giving away things that I had no room for. The plan was to finish packing everything and loading it into my car by 11:30 a.m so I could get on the road.

After coming home Monday night, I had excitedly explained what had been offered to me and that I had decided to take the job. Finn and Rose were apprehensive about the credibility of the company that had offered me the job, I simply stated that I didn’t have much to lose if it turned out to be a total fraud.

By the time that Rose appeared in my door frame with tangled hair and a cup of coffee I had just finished packing the last of my belongings into another small cardboard box. Finn and I had said our goodbyes the night before since he had an early shift at the hospital today.

“I can’t believe you’re moving across the country. What am I supposed to do without you?” Rose said softly. Her eyes were cloudy and I knew it was only a matter of time before she started crying.

“I’m sure that it won’t be too hard to replace me.” I chuckled, trying to lighten the mood, “ ‘Sides, I’ll make sure to call you all the time.”

“It won’t be the same…” She stared down into her coffee. I saw her lip start to quiver.

I stood up quickly and wrapped my arms around her. She set her cup down on the dresser and squeezed me back. We stood there for a couple seconds before I pulled back,

“C’mon, I need someone to help load the car or I’ll never get out of here.” Rose just elbowed me in the ribs before heading back down the hallway to put some shoes on.

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By the time Rose and I managed to load the car and say some tearful goodbyes, it definitely was past 11:30 a.m before I finally made it onto the highway. I wanted to be able to get as far as could tonight without stopping.

The general plan was to cut up into Wisconsin before cutting through Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho, until I reached Washington. According to Google Maps it would take a little over a day to reach it without stopping for the night, so I knew that I would probably end up cutting it close in order to get there on Saturday.

I had driven for what seemed like a lifetime when I reached Draper, S.D. It was just past 1 a.m and I could hardly keep my eyes open any longer. So when I spotted a rundown Motel 6 off the highway, I decided that it was as good a time as any to stop for the night. It only took a couple of minutes before I checked in and collapsed on my bed without bothering to plug in my already dying phone.

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I woke with a start. Sunlight was glaring in through the open blinds and the clock on the bedside table read, 10:14 a.m.

“Shit,” I muttered under my breath. I had overslept and wasted precious minutes on the road.

Without much thought, I pulled on a clean pair of clothes and brushed my teeth before grabbing my suitcase and all but running out the door. It wasn’t until I pulled into the gas station and was waiting for the gas to pump while I texted Rose and Finn did I realize that I had never charged my phone the night before. The outlet in my car had been broken for months and I never had seen reason to fix it before. The percentage was at 56 and I knew that it was going to die before I reached my next hotel for the night.

I mentally slapped myself for being so stupid and began to think of what to do. I finished off my text to my former roommates before I began to dig threw the center console for a pen. Pulling up Maps I began to scribble down the general directions for the next couple states. I would have to stop at a café further down the road to make further than 300 miles.

The gas finished pumping and I took one last look at my hand before pulling out onto the main road to find the interstate entrance.

This was the longest way I had driven ever before and it had started to become monotonous. The radio coverage had started to get shoddy and began to cut in and out the further I got into the drive. It wasn’t until I passed the Wyoming border before I finally turned it off.
I knew after this drive was over, I never wanted to see another cornfield or cow pasture again. The scenery was never changing all throughout S.D so I was surprised when in slowly began to change the further into Wyoming I got. I had checked my phone briefly throughout the hours to make sure that I was still on the right track. Thankfully I was.

The pretty trees and mountains of this particular part of Wyoming had caught my eye and I decided that I wanted to pull over and take a picture of it to send to Finn and Rose. I pulled off to the side of the narrow road and grabbed my phone off the console where it had been resting.

I glanced at the battery, disappointed to see that it was only at 32%. Soon enough I wouldn’t be able to use it all. Getting out of the car, I was greeted by fresh, mountain air, which was way different than the usual smog of Chicago. I walked leisurely up the shoulder before I decided on the perfect angle to snap my picture. I noted that I seemed to be on a deserted piece of the highway as I had only seen a couple cars heading the opposite direction in the hours as I’d been driving.

After taking it, I opened up messages in hopes of being able to send it right away but I ended up spending a good 5 minutes and 5% of my battery trying to spend it before giving up entirely. I trudged back to my waiting car before beginning my journey once again.

I had just past the 75 mile marker to the next town when my tire hit a huge pothole. At the impact, my heart jumped into my throat before relaxing once again as it didn’t seem to have damaged my tire.

Oh how was I wrong.

I had continued to drive for 5 miles before I started to realize that something was wrong. My small car had started to list to one side and keeping control of the wheel had become increasingly more difficult. The shoulder of the road was relatively narrowing, both sides of the highway were surrounded by tall trees, obscuring what lay beyond.
I started to get nervous as I noticed that the sun had started to begin its descent.

I really hope I don’t get stuck out here waiting for a tow truck or something.

Sighed before I began to slow to find a good spot to pull over on. Without any warning, the injured tire finally popped, and the car jerked to the left. I shrieked as I tried to gain back control of the wheel. In my panic, I over corrected and the car jerked too much to the right and off the road. Seconds later, the hood of my car slammed into the wide trunk of a towering tree. The force of the impact slammed my forehead against the wheel and everything went black.

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Pain and blurry vision was all I knew for the first few minutes after I came to. I blinked slowly, trying to clear the film that covered my eyes. Slowly but surely it cleared and I was finally able to grasp what had happened. I wiggled my toes and carefully moved each leg to assure that I wasn’t paralyzed. I whimpered in relief when each limb moved as I willed it.

I reached up to touch the spot on my forehead where my face made impact. It was so tender to the touch that the pain was enough to blur my vision again. My fingers came back with blood that trickled from my hairline.

I turned my neck slowly and tried to look for my phone. Praying to god that it had survived the crash. It hadn’t. The screen was shattered and in some places the glass crumbed away to reveal the wiring inside. The realization took a couple seconds before finally sinking in. I was stranded in the middle of nowhere, hurt and with no way to call for help.

I gave a loud wail before stopping short as the sound resonated to loudly in my ears. I threw the phone back down on the console as hard as my weak limbs could muster.

“Why why why why.” I cried to myself.

Mustering up the strength to get out of my car took a couple minutes before I could push the door open wide enough to exit. I started to push it with both hands when a sharp pain echoed up from my elbow all the way to my ears. It wouldn’t take an x-ray to tell me that it was broken.

I cradled my left arm close to my body as I stumbled out of my car.

“Fucking shit.” I muttered to myself as I looked at the wreckage of my car.

Looking back up towards the road, I thought I saw headlights heading towards this section of the road.

“Help! Help!” I screamed. The sound of tires on the road got louder and louder as the car moved closer. I started to scramble up the hill. Slipping and falling on the slick grass. My feet couldn’t seem to gain any purchase as I fought to get up the hill in time.

The tires never slowed or seemed to show any signs of hearing my calls. The small truck zoomed past and carried on down the horizon as I made it finally to the top. I weakly called after it as I watched it get smaller and smaller before disappearing completely. I began to sob whole heartedly as the last sliver of hope shriveled away.

My forehead and elbow throbbing in tandem came to the forefront of my mind as the adrenaline began to ebb. It was beginning to get even darker and with the darkness came the cold. I shivered once before sitting down on my butt and half scooted, half slid down the hill back to my car.

I popped open my trunk and pulled out the suitcase with my clothes in it. I carefully dug through it and pulled out a thick sweater, wooly socks and a pair of sneakers to put on. The flip-flops and t-shirt I had on now were hardly going to cut it against the cool mountain temperatures.

It took me a couple minutes to gingerly slide the sweater on and lace up my sneakers. Luckily, the outfit change took the edge of the cold off. Next, I moved around and opened the back door on the driver’s side and pulled my purse out, in search of the bottle of Advil I know I stashed in there. I couldn’t find my water bottle, so I ended up swallowing three pills dry, almost choking in the process.

The sun was making its last hurrah over the mountain peaks when I heard voices drifting through the trees. I perked up immediately and listened closer, hoping that my ears weren’t playing tricks on me.

The voices continued to drift closer and got louder through each second that passed. I started walking slowly towards the directions of their voices and my eyes pricked with tears of relief.

I was about to shout to the voices when I got a glimpse of the owners through the trees. The group consisted of four burly looking men, two in their older years’ and the other two relatively young, all on horseback. But that wasn’t what was weird about them. They weren’t clothed in normal clothes. They were dressed in a variation of animal skins and pelts. I figured that they were just a group of hunters but none of them were carrying any guns. From what I could make out from between the trees were bows and arrows slung across their backs with an assortment of knives hanging from their waists.

I was snapped out of my scrutiny when the voices rose to a crescendo. The four men had dismounted their horses and tied them in various spots around them. The oldest man spoke first,

“Kylo Ren knows your insurgence, Hux” His voice was gravelly and foreboding.

The smallest man out of the group narrowed his eyes, ginger eyebrows pulling closer together. He tipped his head back and feigned innocence.

“My insurgence? Han Ren, I know nothing of what you’re insisting about.”

Han Ren’s scowl deepened and his eyes briefly flickered to the curly headed man behind Hux. Without any other warning, the man leaped forward and grabbed Hux around the throat, a long and wicked looking blade rested against the pale man’s jugular. The other man, stood stoically next to Han Ren, watching.

Hux grunted and struggled against the larger man but stilled when the blade dug harder into his throat. I could see the bright red of blood against his pale skin. My breathing sped up and I held my hand over my mouth to keep from being heard. I knew I should get as far away from here, but I was glued to the spot.

“Did you really think that Kylo Ren wouldn’t be able to spot your traitorous ass? How foolish are you.” The curly haired male spit into Hux’s ear.

“Enough, Poe.” Han Ren raised his palm in the air before he continued, “Kylo Ren knows your insurgence and betrayal to the Alderaan Clan. Selling clan secrets is your demise. You are to be executed without the dignity to say goodbye to your wife and kids. They know what you have done and are ashamed of it. The clan will not witness your death. You will die here, with no one to witness. You are without honor, Armitage Hux.”

Hux’s mouth opened to protest but before any sound could escape, Poe’s blade punctured the side of his neck and stabbed clean through the other side with a sickening crunch. Poe let go of the dead man and watched him fall face first into the pine and leaves.

I barely caught myself in time to stop from making a noise. The men started to untie their horses and I decided this was as good a time as any to get away.

I turned quietly the other way and came face to face with the nameless man. I had failed to notice that he had slipped away from the group when Han Ren had been speaking. Stumbling backward, I whirled around in the opposite direction to run. I made it only a couple of feet before my toe caught a tree root and I was sent sprawling to the ground.

I caught myself heavily with both hands and let out a blood-curdling scream as white-hot, stabbing pain ricocheted through my broken elbow. The horses spooked and Han Ren and Poe’s head whipped to where I lay sprawled on the ground. I sobbed as the nameless man’s foot came to rest on my back, keeping me down.

My breath came in retching sobs as I cried out in pain and fear. The two other men had finished retying their horses and were making their way towards us. I attempted to squirm away but the foot pushed down harder, causing the side of my face to scrape against the rocks and needles.

“What do we have here, Chewie?” Poe smirked.

“She’s been watching the whole thing. A liability to our survival.” The now-named man stated.

Poe turned to the older man, “We should kill her Han Ren.”

My heart rate spiked at his words.

“No, no please don’t. Please.” I pleaded loudly, “I won’t say anything I promise! Don’t kill me! Please!”

“Well?” Chewie questioned.

Han Ren stared at her for a couple seconds. I whimpered again and tried to plead with my eyes.

“Kylo Ren will decide what to do with her.”

I sighed quietly in relief but it was short-lived when Chewie grabbed me by my broken arm and hauled me to my feet. I cried out at the pain, but he continued to pull me along, towards the dead body and horses.

Poe came over and made quick work of tying my hands in front of me. I held in a cry when he straightened my arms.

“Ouch! Please… My elbow.” I pleaded with him.

“Be thankful you’re even alive bitch. If it was my call you’d be dead already.” He said lowly. He finished tying a tight knot before moving on to wrap a piece of cloth around my eyes.

By this time it was completely dark and the temperature had continued to drop. I stood helpless and shivering as I heard movement around me. I heard a hollow thump and a shifting of hooves, judging from the sound, Hux’s body had been draped over his horse’s back.

I jumped when two sets of strong hands gripped my arms painfully and lifted me up to straddle a horse. Seconds later, a warm, hard body swung up behind me and an arm curled around my waist to keep me from sliding off.

The cloth around my eyes was damp with my tears and my nose was running uncontrollably. I sniffled and tried to wipe my nose discreetly on the shoulder of my jacket. Unexpectedly, the hand around my waist lifted the collar of my sweater and roughly wiped my nose.

“Disgusting.” I heard Poe’s rumble behind me. My cheeks heated and I jerked my head roughly backward.

“C’mon boys, let's get home.” Han Ren spoke out loudly.

I heard a series of clucking noises before the horse jerked into motion. The rocking motion of the gait was unfamiliar as I had never ridden a horse before. It was slightly uncomfortable and seemed to triple the pain in head and arm.

As the minutes went on, we walked further and further away from my car and all I could think about is that Finn and Rose would never know what happened to me. I needed to stay alive, I needed to make it out of these goddamn mountains alive. I wanted that job more than anything else and I’m not going to let this stop me.

The night grew colder and between the rocking motion of the horse and the dissipation of adrenaline, I faded in unconsciousness for the second time that day.

Chapter Text

I came to slowly, and then all at once. I passed out to pain and woke up to pain. A deep ache had settled in my elbow and forehead, along with new stiffness in my neck and shoulders. I lifted my chin from where it had been resting on my chest and attempted to roll it as best I could. If Poe had noticed my regaining of consciousness, he didn’t show it.

From what I could tell from behind the blindfold, was that it was still dark but not the pitch that had been when we set out. The men didn’t talk at all, preferring to ride in stony silence. All that I could hear was the cracking of branches as the horses stepped and the occasional snort. They gave no indication that we were anywhere near the destination. I worried that it would take days to reach it, which would make escaping that much more difficult.

Poe startled me out of my reverie when he grunted out a low, “Whoa.”

A few steps later the horse slowed to a stop. My breathing sped up at the thought of reaching the Alderaanian Clan. It was quiet for a few seconds before Han Ren spoke.

“I’ll go down first. Poe you follow and Chewie take up the rear. Careful boys, the rain made it muddy.”

Han Ren’s horse moved on ahead before we started moving after it. Poe’s grip tightened on my slim waist almost uncomfortably and I shifted at the pressure.

“Lean back when I tell you. I’m not about to break my neck because your weight made us slip.”

The pressure on my stomach tightened more as I felt Poe’s chest lean away from me.

“Now, girl.”

I bit back a remark at the name and tilted slightly backward until I felt the warmth of his chest upon my back again. We seemed to be going down a ravine of some sort. Every once in a while my knees would scrape along rock on both sides. The trek downhill seemed to take forever, but eventually, the ground leveled out and we continued to ride for about 5 minutes before the horses stopped abruptly again.

The sun was just starting to rise as I felt the temperature begin to slowly rise and the light beyond the fabric began to lighten. I could hear faint voices and clanking of metal ahead. I knew this time, we had finally arrived.

“Stay,” Poe commanded into my ear. I jumped at the proximity before nodding briefly.

“Good girl,” the smugness in his voice couldn’t be hidden and felt my lip start to curl in a retort.

His warm hands folded over my own and forced them to wrap around a section of the horse's mane before sliding off. His feet hit the ground with a dull thud and I felt like I could finally breathe again. Other thuds sounded as Han Ren and Chewie also dismounted their horses.

Poe grabbed the reins and the horse jerked forward again, following behind the leader of the group. I gripped the mane tighter and willed myself not to slide off too.

I was led further into the camp and the voices grew louder before they hushed.

“Those are weird clothes mama,” A small child’s voice said above the hush of voices.

“Quiet, Kiah,” Her mother muttered, I could sense some fear in the edges.

A couple of footsteps approached the men.

“Kylo Ren has been alerted of your arrival,” the voice paused, “and your guest. He wants to see her immediately.”

 

The tone was bitter. I could tell that I was not welcome here. My heart began to pound again as fear began to course like lead through my veins.

‘Come on Rey, you need to be strong,’ I pleaded with myself.

I jumped as hands wrapped around my right forearm and pulled me off the horse unceremoniously. My feet scrambled as I tried to right myself but before I had the chance, I was being dragged further into the camp. He didn’t stop when I tripped over a rock and ripped my jeans on the rough dirt. It wouldn’t take a genius to guess that my knee was bleeding from the wetness on the fabric surrounding the area. The grip on my arm just tightened and continued to pull me along.

One thing that I could be grateful for at least, was the fact that I wasn’t being dragged by my injured elbow. It throbbed worse as if it knew that it was thinking about it. The wind picked up and I shivered as it bit into my face and neck.

After what seemed to be a 10-minute walk into the belly of the camp.

“Wait here,” Another male voice clipped. Fabric flapped open and closed as the guard went inside whatever was in front of us.

“Kylo Ren will see you now,” At the command, I was pulled forward again. My side brushed against what felt like a heavy canvas fabric.

The inside of the structure was warm and I heard a fire crackling somewhere in the room. It was silent for a few moments before a deep and commanding voice spoke,

“What have you brought me, father?”

I shivered again, but this time not from the cold. Kylo Ren’s voice was powerful and exuded pure alpha male quality. His presence in the room was not to be forgotten or overlooked.

“Chewie found her hiding among the trees. Watched us kill Hux,” Han Ren explained, “I thought to kill her, but I decided she may be of some use to you.”

My eyebrows pulled together as I wondered what he meant by that.

“It’s time you’ve taken a woman, Kylo. The Alderaan Clan needs an heir.” He urged.

“NO!” I screeched. I thrashed in his arms, not giving any thought to the pain that echoed through my body.

“Be still, girl!” Han Ren growled, he gripped my upper arms impossibly tighter. I knew for sure that they’d bruise.

I didn't stop thrashing and I threw my head back with a piercing screech. My head made contact with Han Ren’s chin and he grunted. I took the opportunity to wretch myself free when his grip loosened a fraction. I shoved the fabric covering my eyes up enough to free my vision and took off at a sprint towards the flaps of the tent.

I made it two steps before an impossibly large body tackled me to the floor. I hit the animal pelt floor with a heavy thud, the body on top of mine made the impact all the harder. I wailed in agony as my elbow gave a sick crack under me. Kylo Ren was straddling my back making it hard to breathe. I barely heard the two men's' conversation over my sobs.

“On second thought, maybe you should just kill the bitch,” Han Ren had collected himself but his voice was tinged with malice.

Kylo Ren chuckled low before answering, “No, I quite like the challenge. She’ll be the perfect clanwoman before long.” A hand reached up from where it was resting against my back to brush a few strands of hair from my eyes. I flinched at the contact.

My heart dropped and I sobbed harder as his words sank in.

“You can go now, father.” Kylo Ren dismissed before standing up from his position on me. His feet still caged my upper body. I didn’t move.

I heard Han Ren’s footsteps move out the door from my position on the floor. He bent down and his large hands gripped my waist.

“Come on, now. Let me see you,” His voice left no room for arguments. He righted me onto my feet and I stood with shaky legs. The pain in my elbow made me wish that I would just pass out.

I cradled my arm as best I could with my hands still being tied in front of me.

“Look at me, woman.” He commanded again. I just shook my head and continued to stare at his large feet. He was wearing some simple leather moccasins from what I could tell.

‘Who are these people? Some off-grid hippies?’ I wondered to myself.

Without warning, his left hand came up and wrapped itself in the roots of my hair. He gave no mercy as he yanked my head back. I gasped as my neck bent backward, causing my entire body to bow into him. I took a moment to look at his face. It was long and sloping, dotted with beauty marks. Deep, warm eyes stared back at me with intensity and I almost shuddered. A long and jagged scar cut between his eyebrows, down his cheek and neck before disappearing into the pelt he wore. It was a beautiful, but cruel face. I decided that if we had met in a bar, I might have called him handsome.

“When I tell you something, you do it,” he spit, “You do as I say.”

My blood ran hot in my veins and my face flushed with anger. My lip curled over my teeth.

“I’m. Not. Your. Puppet.” I ground out. My fury only grew as his lips edged into the ghost of a smile.

“But you are my woman. You’ll learn to abide by what I say.” His voice was nonchalant.

“I’m not your woman!” I protested again. I started to squirm, his fingers were still gripping my hair.

His smirk dropped and he tightened his grip with a renewed furiosity.

“You became my woman the moment you stepped on my land and watched my men through the trees. Be grateful that I spared your life, whore. Grateful that I find you pretty enough to keep for myself.” Kylo sneered into my ear, “Would you rather I give you to my men? Let them have you any way they desire?”

I began to shake in fear, his words painted a vivid picture in my head. Tears began to leak down my cheeks. I felt his hand release my hair slowly before it moved down to grip my chin firmly.

Kylo softly tutted, a complete opposite to the aggressive voice he had growled seconds before.

“Shhh, wouldn’t that be scary.” He prodded gently. I nodded meekly at his words before sniffling a bit.

“You’ll want for nothing,” he continued, his voice almost hypnotizing, “You’ll never be hungry or exhausted. I can give you everything.”

His hand was warm and calloused as it moved to cup my freckled cheek. I opened my eyes that I never realized were closed in the first place.

“I can only give this to you if you’re an obedient woman.” He warned.

My brows furrowed and my lips began to form around a protest.

“You need to be taught how to be a woman. I will teach you how to be a Ren’s wife.” Kylo Ren’s voice rang with finality and his eyes were stern as they bore into mine.

I nodded once, and he straightened to his full height. He was impossibly tall and towered over my much smaller frame. I realized, that if it came down to it, I would not win the fight. But if I could play my cards right, I could trick him with feigned meekness. Make him believe that he was molding me into his idea of a perfect woman. Make him trust me enough so maybe I could steal a horse and ride back into the mountains and woods until I found civilization once again.

“Good,” he said, “Now what is your name?”

I looked up at him through my lashes, demurely.

“Rey.”

Chapter Text

A slight quirk of his eyebrow was the only indication Kylo Ren gave to indicate he had heard me. His hand lifted off where it had been resting against my cheek until the pointer finger was all that was left of him still touching me. He took a step back before his finger started to move. It trailed along my jawline and stopped underneath my chin, tilting my head backward until my eyes met the ceiling. When the pressure lifted I looked back down and tried to meet his gaze.

His gaze was focused on my mine, his eyes moving back and forth. As his finger moved from my chin to trail onward to the other side of my face, putting pressure on it so my head turned away, I realized what he was doing.

“I’m not a car to be appraised!” I snapped, jerking my head away and taking a step back from him.

Kylo Ren’s eyebrows furrowed, almost like he was confused with what I said. He set his jaw before his hand shot forward again, swift like an asp. His fingers held firm on my jaw. I stumbled backward trying to escape his grasp but ended up backing into a thick pole that held a part of the ceiling up. Trapped again by the brutish man.

His face was devoid of emotion as he watched me try and jerk my face away before speaking,

“I will not tolerate your disrespect, you better learn that quick, Rey.” His fingers left my face, and continued their path across my jaw, “Others will not be as forgiving as I have been.”

My brows shot into my hairline. So far I’ve been tackled, had my hair pulled and basically just been manhandled. He called that being forgiving. I bit down a snarky reply, sucking on my cheek as I reminded myself I needed to play into his fantasy for my escape to work.

“Respect is earned.” I couldn’t help but reply.

Kylo Ren was silent for a few moments. His finger continued its path down the side of my throat before absentmindedly flicking my hair back over my shoulder. It lingered in the hollow of my neck before leaving completely.

“Not here.” His dark eyes flicked up to meet mine before he turned on his foot towards the flaps of his tent.

I sucked in a huge breath, finally able to breathe. I took a quick survey of the room. It was fairly large. No part of it was blocked off by dividing screens but there were clear sections to the tent. A spacious bed lay against the far wall. It was low to the ground and not very thick. Woven blankets and some pelts lay crumpled near the foot, it wouldn’t take a genius to tell that Kylo Ren had just gotten out of it. Off to the side was a privacy screen with clothing strung across the top and others folded neatly on the ground in piles. The wall nearest the pole I was leaning against had cushions and surrounding a low built table. The rest was empty space and the only part not floored with fabric. The ground exposed had a dusting of sparse patches of grass, brown and dying of no sunlight.

I just finished my survey of the room when the flaps opened and I caught my first glimpse of the encampment. It seemed to be settled in a clearing surrounded by trees. From what I could see, there was a smattering of smaller, similar style tents like the one I was in. We were in the heart of the camp and I could see the smoke coming from a large fire just far enough to the right side that it was out of sight.

Guards stood on either side of the opening of the tent, wearing leather armor and holding long, sharp-edged spears. I nearly rolled my eyes at the antiquity of it all. But what surprised me the most, was the fact that there were people milling about. I watched as two tween girls carrying baskets of fur walked by tittering to each other.

I tracked them for a few moments before the flaps closed from their open position and the morning light that had been filtering through was shut out. I turned my gaze to the two women who’d walked in. I eyed them suspiciously.

The youngest one appeared to be around my age. She had owlish, brown eyes and was looking at me with barely concealed distaste. I squared my shoulders and pushed off from the pole to stand a little straighter. Her dislike of me was off-putting. In her hands was a stack of pelts. A crude hairbrush and twine on top of the pelts.

I moved my gaze to the other woman. She was older with graying hair that was piled atop her head. Her wrinkled face was kind and friendly as she studied me. Between the two, she was wearing finer clothes, it was safe to say she held a higher rank than the other. She spoke first.

“I’m Leia, wife of Han Ren.” She smiled, “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

My eyes widened a little bit as I realized who she was, Kylo Ren’s mother.

“Kaydel, go set those down. Now Rey, come closer so I can see you.” Leia’s hands reached out to me and I slowly stepped forward.

Her eyebrows furrowed as she fully took in my appearance. Wild hair slightly below my shoulders with blood matting the temple. Bruised forehead and skinned cheek. I’m sure dirt had been thoroughly smudged into my skin. Her eyes trailed to where my right hand was cradling my left elbow.

“Oh dear, what happened to you?”Leia’s voice was concerned. Her hand came to rest on my arm and I hissed at the jostle. I was still acutely aware of the pain that coursed there. Her eyebrows raised in question.

“I crashed my car before they kidnapped me.” I blurted, “I think it’s broken.”

Before Leia could answer, the flaps opened again and two men carried in a large wooden tub, followed by more women carrying steaming buckets of water. I watched them silently place and fill the tub in the uncarpeted section. They left as quickly as they came and the flaps closed again.

“Come, Rey.” Leia placed her hand on my shoulder and led me to the steaming tub. I was suddenly, acutely aware of the fact that my skin felt grimy and I probably didn’t smell the greatest either.

Once I was standing beside the tub, Leia began to gently pull the sweater over my head.

“Wait, wait. I can do this myself.” I scrambled at the realization that the two women were fully intending to help me bathe.

“Hush, child. Do you expect to get the job done with a useless arm?” Leia’s voice was motherly and I felt oddly safe in her presence.

“I-’’ The protest died on my lips as she silenced me with a look.

She continued to help pull my t-shirt over my head. My skin prickled at the cool air. I kicked off my boots and socks before I unbuttoned my pants and make quick work of shimmying out of them. I made to get in the bath but was stopped by a small hand gripping my shoulder. I turned to face the older woman.

“That is a strange thing to wear on your breasts.” I jumped as Kaydel appeared behind me. I scrunched my eyebrows,

“It’s a bra.”

She tilted her head and studied my chest. I shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.

“You outsiders are strange.” Her voice was amused.

Once I had shed my bra and panties, I scrambled awkwardly into the bath eager to cover my self. The water was borderline too hot and I sighed as it started to relax my stiff muscles. I used my right hand to start and scrub off the dirt and grime that covered my skin.

“Lean back,” Kaydel said, her hands gripped my shoulders, pulling me back to rest against the lip of the top. She pushed downwards and dunked my head under the water.

Leia walked over the cushion area and grabbed the hairbrush before heading further into the tent to a trunk that was in the area of Kylo Ren’s clothes. She dug around before finding a mortar and pestle along with an assortment of leaves. Kaydel had started to work her fingers through the knots in my hair and I winced as she pulled hard through a particularly large one.

Leia came over and handed the hairbrush to Kaydel to use before moving over to the cushions and sitting down. She began to crush the leaves she had found. It was silent except for the sound of Kaydel brushing my hair and the grinding of stone on stone.

“Someone will find me,” I stated quietly, “My friends will know something is wrong when they don’t hear from me.”

The brush paused in my hair before restarting again. Footsteps sounded as Leia moved closer.

“Kaydel,” Her name was a command on Leia’s lips. Silently, Kaydel handed the brush to Leia before exiting the tent.

Leia kneeled on the pillow behind the tub, placing the bowl of crushed leaves and resumed brushing my hair.

“I know this is difficult to adjust to.” She soothed.

“Difficult to adjust to? Seriously? I was kidnapped. Brought her against my will. Not to mention manhandled all the way here!” I scoffed angrily.

“I know your anger-“ She began.

I whirled on her, splashing dirty water over the sides of the tub. My upper half twisted so I could look at her properly.

“You don’t know my anger! Don’t even begin to try and understand where I’m coming from!” I seethed at her. By pretending that this situation was normal, she was complicit in my kidnapping.

Her expression was somewhat stunned by my explosion but quickly molded into one of calm and understanding.

“I know your anger because I was taken too. I wasn’t much younger than you when Han found me backpacking through back wood trails in Yellowstone with a couple friends.” Leia smiled affectionately at the memory, “I can’t imagine not being his wife.”

“But he kidnapped you! How can you love him when he stole your life?” I asked incredulously.

The dreamy look in her eye faded and she fixed me with a sharp stare. I found myself shrinking back against the intensity.

“He has not stolen anything from me. Han has given me everything I could’ve dreamed. You need to accept that this is your life. The sooner you do, the easier it will be. Kylo nor Han will put up with your behavior forever. Accept your duty or be cast out.” Leia’s tone was serious and there was no doubt in my mind that meant every word.

It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist for someone to figure out what being cast out meant. I turned slowly back around, my lip quivering as I fought to stay the impending waterworks. It was beginning to feel like crying was all I did. Leia spoke again,

“You’ll find that the others won’t understand when you talk about outsider things. Regular clan members only know that you live in large buildings and wear different clothing. Only people of the High Council are aware of more advanced things like cars. Since they are the only ones allowed that far out” Her tone was conversational and I could tell she was trying to make up for snapping at me.

How do you go your whole life without knowing what a car is? How old was this society that none of its peoples knew about the modern world?

Leia continued to brush the knots out of my hair and after all the knots had been tamed she dipped her fingers into the water and shook the droplets out off and into the bowl of crushed leaves, making a paste. She then scooped out the mixture and set about massaging it into my scalp.

I hiccuped as it reminded me of when my mother washed my hair as a kid.

“Shh child.” Leia chided before taking the bowl and filling it with water and pouring it over my head to wash the mixture out. After a few dunks of the bowl later, my hair was cleaned and the water had begun to get tepid.

Leia got up from her kneeling position and grabbed a small, circular pelt and laid it on the ground next to the tub. Then a larger one before gesturing to me to get out. I hesitated a moment before getting out, trying to shield myself as best as possible. Leia wrapped the pelt around my form and guided me further back into the tent, towards Kylo’s bed.

“Sit,” Leia said and turned, walking to the flaps and sticking her head out. She came back inside and grabbed the pile of clothing on her way back towards me.

“Kaydel has gone to get the healer, I’ll help you get dressed.” Leia’s hard tone had begun to soften again.

She set the pile down next to me and pulled out a pair of underwear. I looked at them skeptically, they were made out of a thin type of fabric and were pretty simple, nothing fancy.

“I’m trusting you don’t need any help with these?” She joked. My face flushed with blood and I nodded in embarrassment. I took the pairs from her and she turned around while I awkwardly shimmied them up my legs without dropping my covering or moving my elbow. Once I was done she turned back around.

“Now, we don’t have bras as you outsiders do,” She pulled out a long stretch of the same fabric as the underwear was made of, “You’ll have to learn how to put the breast band on.”

I looked at it in uncertainty, wrapping fabric around my boobs didn’t seem very supportive. Leia eyed my swollen and misshapen elbow.

“You’ll need help with it until your elbow is healed.” She stated. I rolled my eyes internally, I wasn’t planning on staying until my elbow was completely healed.

“Stand and turn around,” Leia stepped back.

I stood and turned away from her, dropping the pelt onto the bed in front of me. I shivered as the air hit me, making the water that dripped from my hair chilly. She got to wrapping the fabric around my chest tight enough to be comfortable. By the time she was done, I was surprised to find out that it held its own in terms of support. Silently she reached around and pants made from tanned hide. I turned and let her help me into them.

“My healing knowledge is lacking but your elbow probably needs setting. Fabric will only get in the way.” Leia informed.

She picked up the pelt that I discarded and wrapped it around my shivering form. Then, she pulled thin fabric from the bottom of the stack and used it to squeeze out the excess water in my hair, drying it as best as possible. A pair of moccasins were revealed and I stare at them. I reached over without a word and slipped them on my feet. Leia said nothing as she continued to fiddle with my hair.

The flaps of the tent opened and three figures walked through the opening. Kylo, followed by Kaydel and who I’m assuming the healer is.

Kylo was carrying a wooden board with multi-colored berries on top. My stomach growled at the reminder of food and I realized how hungry I’d been. He caught my gaze of longing towards his fruit and he walked with a hulking gait towards where I was seated. He came to a stop in front of me and I looked away from him. Torn between wanting to punch him or shrinking away from his intimidating form.

He didn’t say anything and I continued to ignore him until he waved a berry in front of my eyes. I snapped my gaze to his face, he just lifted his eyebrows,

“Eat.”
My lips twitched into a frown at his command and I reached up with my good hand to take it from him. He snatched the berry out my reach, leaving me grasping at thin air. I lowered my hand and he lowered his in tandem. I reached up again and Kylo dangled the berry just out of reach.

“No,” I said realizing his intentions. He had another thing coming if he thought that he could feed me like a dog.

My hunger intensified at the smell of the fresh fruit and I suddenly felt so nauseated with hunger. My resolve crumbled quickly and so when Kylo lowered the berry again, I parted my lips and allowed him to place it on my tongue.

“Good girl,” He rumbled before continuing to hold out the berries to me.

I bristled in annoyance, pulling the pelt tighter across my shoulders and torso. I felt exposed under his gaze and looked around the room. Leia, Kaydel and the healer were watching the whole transaction, my face heated and I turned away when he held the last one out. He just chuckled before popping it between his full lips and chewing.

“Now, Kylo Ren, if you’d just step aside, I could get to work.” The healer’s voice was brusque as he bustled closer, clutching a bag in front of him. Kylo Ren moved away and handed the board to Kaydel, who took it and left the tent.

The healer came to stand in front of me, I looked up and studied him. He was a stern looking man and appeared to be on the older side, his hair was grey and thinning at the temples.

“I am Tarkin, who are you?” I could tell already he was not friendly.

I stuck my chin out, “Rey.”

“Okay Rey, let me see your elbow.” Tarkin was straight and to the point.

I was reluctant to show him. First of all, I was only in the breast band and second, if Leia’s prediction was true, I didn’t want him anywhere near me. I shifted slowly, trying to get my arm out while still keeping myself covered.

“I haven’t got all day girl,” Tarkin said curtly before reaching forward to try and snatch the pelt away.

I jerked backward, trying to keep my grip. He grabbed my arm through the fur and I yelped.

“Enough!” Kylo boomed, “You better watch yourself, Tarkin.”

Tarkin stilled and slowly released my arm. He straightened under Kylo’s stare. I looked between the two. Tarkin’s face was rigid, barely concealing distaste toward the clan leader. I narrowed my eyes at him when he looked back towards me.

My eyes flickered to where Leia had been standing only to discover that she also left the tent with Kaydel. There was no way I’d be able to shift the pelt by myself so I sucked up my pride and looked to Kylo,

“I need… help.”

His face shown surprise before he moved forward and reached forward. This time I stayed still as he helped adjust the pelt so that it still covered me enough to keep my modesty but expose my left arm. He moved quickly back.

“Let’s see,” Tarkin’s voice was terse, his fingers cold as they prodded along my elbow.

I hissed when he began to squeeze along my joint. I shifted in my seat.

“Broken, it’s out of the socket too.” He let go of my arm and started to shuffle through his bag. “I’ll have to set it.”

He pulled out a long piece of thin fabric, similar to that of the breast band and then two long, L-shaped pieces of hammered metal. My face paled as the realization set in.

“Lay back.” He said, watching me expectantly.

I slowly lay back on the bed, my arm is still cradled to my torso.
“Kylo Ren, come to the other side and hold her right shoulder down.” Tarkin shuffled to my left as Kylo came to sit on the edge of the bed.

Kylo’s hand laid his large hand down firmly on my shoulder, his other absentmindedly fixed the pelt over my collarbone from where it had slipped.

“I’m going to straighten your arm and put it back into place. Stay still, or you’ll make it harder.” Tarkin warned.

His hands grabbed ahold of my arm and slowly began to straighten it till it lay flat against the blankets and pelts. I squirmed and screwed my eyes tightly shut trying to brace against the pain. Without warning, Tarkin held my upper arm down and snapped my forearm upwards to click it into place.

I have never felt that sort of pain in all my years. A scream hurdled through my lungs, so loud it hurt my ears. My back bowed from the bed and then slumped back down. The scream died and was replaced by gasping sobs. I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I was faintly aware of the large thumb swiping gently under my eyes and petting along my jawline.

My sobs didn’t start to dwindle until Tarkin had wrapped my arm in the L-shaped rods and tied it into a sling and wrapped another piece of fabric around my upper arm and chest, to further immobilize it.

“She’ll probably get cold after the adrenaline from it dies. Cover her in the blankets and leave her to rest.” Tarkin stated before picking up his bag and leaving the tent.

I didn’t move, still laying on the bed with my legs hanging off the edge. I didn’t bother with trying to rewrap the pelt around my shoulders. Tarkin had opened it to finish setting my elbow. Too tired to do anything but lay on the bed and stare at the ceiling. I had controlled my sobs but tears still leaked down my cheeks. I felt Kylo move closer.

“Shh… I am here, pet.”

Against my will, a sob wracked my chest and I took a sucking breath. Kylo reached down and gently picked up my legs and twisted me until I lay fully on the bed. I curled up on my right side, away from where he was standing. With more care that I thought his brutish body was capable of, he took off the moccasins and continued to pile blankets and pelts on top of me until I was buried under a mountain of them.
My eyes drooped and released a shuddering breath before they closed completely. The last thing I felt was the back of a warm hand when I drifted off into oblivion.

Chapter Text

After I had woke from the nap I had taken, I was fed more fruit with a mixture of meat. Beyond that, I had altered between watching Kylo go about his business and dozing.

The soft Kylo that had comforted and looked after me, was gone by the end of the day. He grew grumpier when I pitched a fit when he moved to get into bed.

“If you think that I’m going to sleep in the same bed as you, you have another thing coming!” I warned.

“It is my bed, is it not?” Kylo continued to strip off layers of clothing. “Where else would I sleep?”

I sputtered for an answer, “Well, I’m not sleeping with you!”

By this time, he had fully undressed, left only in a boxer type underwear. I tried to not ogle his body but my eyes strayed to his built chest and abdomen, lingering on the outline of his large dick before flicking down to his powerful thighs.

“Be patient, pet. I’ll have you in time,” Kylo smirked before starting to climb into the bed.

My faced heated and my mouth opened wordlessly.

“No! Get out you dirty fuck!” I screeched, pulling one leg free from the tangle of blankets and kicking out at his chest with it.

My foot connected with his chest a few times before he managed to catch my foot, his nostrils flaring.

“You ungrateful little cunt!” He spit.

He began yanking me down the bed and I screamed trying to fight him. It was futile work as my other leg was still trapped in blankets and I only had one functional arm. It didn’t take much work from Kylo before he had pulled me to my feet and shoved me towards the opening of his tent. He stopped and spoke into my ear,

“If you’re going to be an ungrateful bitch, you can sleep outside with the dogs.”

 

He shoved me unceremoniously out through the flaps of the tent. I stumbled and fell to my knees in the dirt. It was dark and no one was outside to witness my humiliation except the two guards on either side of Kylo’s tent.

I shivered at the cold in the night. I was barefoot and only dressed in pants and the breast band, as I had spent the day curled in a pile of blankets. I stayed kneeling for a couple moments, trying to collect myself so I didn’t burst into tears. I shuddered more forcefully when the wind began to pick up.

Slowly, getting to my feet I turned toward Kylo’s tent and steeled myself before taking a shaky step forward and entering his tent. When I stepped inside it was pitch black, all the candles that had been lit were blown out. I slowly picked my way through the tent, towards the bed. By the time I had reached it, my eyes had adjusted and I could just make out Kylo’s form. His eyes were closed and I assumed he was sleeping. I slowly climbed into the bed, not wanting to jostle him and laid down on my right side as far as I could from him. I jumped when I felt a warm, bare arm wrapped around my torso and pull me toward the middle of the bed. I stiffened when the skin of my back met his firm chest.

“See how easy that was? You don’t have to make it so difficult, little girl.” His voice was low and thick with grogginess.

I didn’t say anything only listening to his breathing slow, but I didn’t sleep for a long time, just laying there staring into the black.

-----------------------------------

I flinched awake from a hand touching my exposed shoulder.

“Huh?” I groaned momentarily forgetting my surroundings.

“Rey, you need to get up, I’m going to show you the camp,” Leia spoke gently.

I slowly peeled my eyes open, blinking away the bleariness. Rolled onto my back under the covers and felt the bed beside me cold, Kylo had been gone a while. I sighed in relief to be free of his presence for now. Leia offered a hand to help pull me out from the tangle of blankets and furs as it was surprisingly difficult to maneuver with only one hand.

I muttered a thanks before stopping to sit on the edge of the bed a moment.

“This is probably too big for you,” Leia eyed my frame, “but the sleeves need to be big enough to fit around your wrap.”

The top was long sleeved and made of tanned hide like my pants were, but was a shade darker with small patterns stitched into the color and sleeves. I watched silently as she set the top down next to me and began to carefully began to unwrap the cloth securing my arm close to my body.

Kaydel walked through the flaps in the tent carrying a board of food and my stomach growled at the sight. I tracked her across the room where she set the tray down on the low table in the cushioned area and left the tent without a word. From the bright light that streamed into the tent between the gaps in the fabric, I could tell that it was around mid-morning.

“Raise your arm a bit dear,” Leia said, breaking me out of my reverie.

I raised my arm as slowly as possible to minimize the pain that had already settled there. Leia carefully guided the sleeve over and up my arm before I stuck my other arm in and she slipped it over my head. Once the fabric was pulled all the way down, I cradled my arm back to my stomach and waited as Leia began to rewrap the support cloth around my body.

“How did you accept this?” I looked up from the spot I was staring at to meet her eyes. I wanted to dig her brain.

She continued to wrap the cloth before she spoke,

“Han saved me from my life. I was lost and wandering in life. I had no purpose. He appeared and gave me everything that I could have wanted. Since I came here, I have never wanted for anything. I always have shelter and food, love too.”

I stared at her a moment, at a loss for words. How she had managed to find love in Han Ren was an absolute mystery to me.

“However, it did take me a long time to adjust to the ways of his people. To the ways of him. At first, I wanted to run into the woods and never look back. I wanted nothing more than to go back to the life that I had known. But then, I learned to look at things from a different perspective and learned the ways of the people. And once I understood the Alderaanian Clan, it became my home and Han Ren became my love. Soon you will see this clan and my son in the same way.”

It took strength to not scoff at her words. I needed to gain as many people’s trust as I could so it would make escaping much easier. Leia’s trust was vital. Instead of scoffing, I looked at her with wide eyes and nodded.

Leia smiled and patted my cheek.

“Come and eat, then I will show you the camp.”

I stood and hurriedly slipped on the moccasins that were laying near the side of the bed I had slept on. I plopped down on a cushion and winced when it caused my arm to throb. I felt Leia’s hands in my hair. She brushed out the knots and fiddled with it while I picked at the foods laid out on the board. Which was an assortment of fruits and dried meat.

Soon after I had finished eating, Leia tied back the last piece of hair she was fiddling with. I reached up to feel what had been done to my hair. The top layer of hair was pulled into a bun at the crown of my head with two tightly braided pieces on each side. Below the first bun, were two more buns right underneath each other.

“All done?” She asked, and I nodded.

I got up from my seated position and followed her through the flaps of the tent. I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the light. Though it was bright, there was a crisp quality to the air. The first sign of the season starting to change. Leia stopped and let me take in an overview of the area. There was a faint clanging in the distance.

Without counting, I estimated that there were upwards of thirty different sized tents. Directly in front of Kylo’s tent was another equally large tent.

“That is Han and I’s tent,” Leia stated. I didn’t say anything as I continued to look around.

Off to my left, a large bonfire ring was set up. A middle-aged woman drizzled water over the dwindling flames. About 20ft from the bonfire sat a long wooden table with cushions surrounding it. There, the two tween girls I had seen the day before were busy chattering and clearing off scraps of food and dirty wooden boards.

“That is where the clan eats. You’ll join the table soon, but for now, you’ll continue to take your meals in your tent.” Leia looped her hand through my good arm and tugged me in the direction of the table.

Luckily, Leia didn’t hurry me along, allowing me to take it all in. My head was on a swivel as I made sure to familiarize myself with every aspect of the camp. More tents extended beyond the initial ring of tents I saw when I first stepped out.

“We’re in the innermost part of the camp, high ranking clan members live in the center, rank descends from the center out.” Leia explained, “Only a couple tents are important for you to know the location of.”

Leia stopped walking and turned me to face the opposite direction, so we were looking into the innermost portion of camp.

“Poe’s tent is off to the left of Han and I’s. Then next to Poe’s is Chewie’s. Poe oversees the security of Alderaan. If anything is amiss and you can’t find Kylo, go there first. Chewie is the history keeper and advisor to Kylo, talk to him if you’d like to know more about us.” She pointed to each as she explained them.

“Where is everybody?” I asked. For the number of tents that I had seen, there certainly aren’t as many people about.

“The younger children are usually by this time being taught basic survival and defense. Everyone has a different role in the camp. Some take care of the horses and other livestock, others guard the camp, farm.” Leia said, before pulling me forward again.

We walked in silence for a couple of moments before she pointed to another tent,

“This Tarkin’s tent, he’ll come to your tent if you ever need anything but usually the clan members are required to go to him.”

The clanging noise I had heard earlier was even louder now as we moved further from the center of camp. The further we moved outward, the more people I saw. \It wasn’t long before I saw the source of the clanging, a weathered man hammering something over a small fire. He appeared to be quite older than Leia. He stopped hammering when he spotted us approaching.

“Leia,” the man dipped his head at her, “What can I do for you?”

“This is Rey, she will soon be Kylo Ren’s woman.” The man’s eyes studied my face and I shifted under his scrutiny.

Leia turned to me,

“Rafe will be making your knife.”

“My knife?” My eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“Each future Wife of Ren is gifted their own knife, made especially for them. It signifies their status among the clan.” Rafe explained, “I made Leia’s before she was bound to Han Ren.”

Leia nodded, with a faint smile on her face before saying goodbye to him and turning to lead me past the tent.

“When will I receive this knife?” I asked casually, having a weapon would come in handy when I made my escape.

“It will be gifted to you the night before you’re bound to Kylo,” Leia’s tone was unsuspecting, “But in order to be bound to him you must be a member of the clan.”

I winced, so having easier access to a weapon was off the table and I wasn’t planning on sticking around long enough to be ‘bound’ to that asshole.

“Oh, when will I become a member then?” I asked, making myself sound eager for this to happen.

“It is up to Kylo to decide when you become a member, if you learn quickly what is expected of you, you will see these events happen sooner.” She explained and patted my arm.

By this point in our conversation, we had reached the end of where the tents were situated. The camp was surrounded with trees and I my eyes traveled over the faces of grey mountains. Despite my current situation, it struck me with its beauty.

The edge of the trees was far enough back that there was space for a medium sized garden to be built. Mostly women were bent over the stocks, while men guarded against the treeline. The garden was surrounded by a patchwork fence, groups of horses grazing sporadically around the open space.

Leia looked up at the sky, searching for the sun that was somewhat obscured by grey clouds.

“Kylo and Han should be back any minute,” She commented. Almost on cue, I saw shapes begin to emerge from the gaps in the trees to the west of the garden.

As they got closer, I was able to make out their shapes. Kylo fronted the group, sat atop a large, bay horse. He was closely followed by Han Ren, Poe and two other men I didn’t recognize. I guessed that they were guards. The group stopped about twenty feet from Leia’s and I’s position and dismounted. Kylo and Han Ren handed their horses off between the two guards. The two men approached.

I watched passively as they approached, schooling my face into boredom. Han Ren continued to walk past us but Kylo stopped in front of us, making brief eye contact with me before looking to his mother.

“I gave strict instructions for you to keep Rey inside.” Kylo rumbled.

I bristled at the fact that he was talking about me like I wasn’t even there. I scoffed under my breath.

“Rey needed to be familiar with her home, she can’t -”

Kylo cut her off,

“I gave you an order, I expect you to follow it. You are no longer a commanding Ren’s wife.” By the end of his sentence, his voice had raised almost into a shout.

Leia cowered back and his anger and my heart filled with sorrow at the fearful way Leia regarded her own son. My sorrow was quickly replaced by anger. How could he talk to his mother in this way? Not care for the feelings of the person who gave him life? I would give anything at the chance to have had a mother and here he was yelling at and degrading his.

“Don’t you dare talk to her like that!” I shouted. The sound pierced the air and Kylo’s eyes snapped to mine.

I would not look away, even as I tried to still the quivering of my bottom lip.

My attention was pulled away from Kylo when Leia patted the hand that was still tucked into the crook of her arm.

“It’s quite alright, honey. I should have listened to Kylo, he is the Ren after all.” She smiled faintly but her eyes were sad as I looked at them. She patted my hand a final time before pulling away.

He turned her head to look at Kylo,

“I will listen next time,” Leia said in a small voice, “I need to check and see if they women need any help for lunch.”

My eyes flicked at Kylo, surprised he hadn’t thrown a temper tantrum at my defense of Leia. His eyes were hard and jaw clenched but he seemed to be in control of himself. He nodded once and Leia quickly turned and headed back into the heart of the camp. I shifted uncomfortably. Kylo took a step, encroaching into my space. As much as I wanted to step back, I didn’t. I looked up bravely at him and met his gaze.

He reached forward and firmly gripped my chin, unlike the previous time he had done so, his grip wasn’t bruising.

“When I give an order, I expect them to be obeyed. No exceptions. Next time you undermine me when I am speaking to a clan member, I won’t hesitate to take you over my knee.” Kylo promised.

My chest tightened and my stomach warmed at his promise. I widened my eyes and fixed him with a doe-like gaze before slowly nodding my head. To him, it would look like I was slowly learning my lesson.

“Good,” he stated before his fingers dropped to fiddle with the cloth wrapped around my arm, “Have you felt any pain?”

I debated telling him that I felt fine but the truth was that the constant ache was never-ending.

“I cannot provide for you if you don’t tell me what you need.” He prodded.

I battled with my stubbornness but in the end, my somewhat low pain tolerance won out.

“Yes.”

“I will get something to help.” He answered.

The wind picked up and I shivered, scrunching my face as a raindrop splattered on my nose.

Kylo looked up to the sky and frowned,

“Back to the tent Rey, it’s time to pack.”

I furrowed my eyebrows,

“What?”

“It’s time to head to the winter grounds.”

My face paled,

“When?”

Kylo had already begun to usher me back into the camp. The rain had begun in earnest, the rain soaking me to the bone.

“Tomorrow.”

Shit.

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for the camp to flurry with activity despite the rain. The news that it was time to move to the winter grounds had spread through the clan like wildfire. Everywhere I looked as Kylo ushered me back to the tent, there were people starting to deconstruct small tents and essential items into rucksacks. Which meant that it now was going to be even harder to get away unnoticed with the amount of activity that was present in the camp.

I was a quivering mess when we finally made it back to the tent, inside Kaydel and another woman I didn’t recognize were methodically packing things away. When Kylo came through the flaps moments later, they stopped what they were doing and nodded towards him.

“Bazine, we are ready for lunch. Stop at Tarkin’s and bring back something for the pain in Rey’s arm.” Kylo’s tone was dismissive as he moved further into the tent. Heading towards the clothes that hung over the fabric divider.

‘Yes, Kylo Ren” Bazine purred sweetly, smiling with a simper at him.

I studied her angular face and was surprised at the beginnings of jealousy that started to pool in my gut. I shook my head trying to rid the feeling from my body and tried to explain to myself that my jealousy stemmed from her lithe body and perfectly symmetrical face, that it was no way related to the way she drooled after the clan leader.

Her eyes slid to mine and I flinched. Her dark eyes were hateful and mean as they regarded me and I suddenly felt self-conscious of my appearance. A scraped and bruised cheeks, topped off with wet and limp hair exposing the cut originating from my scalp. I all but jumped out of her way as she swept out of the tent on the order that Kylo had given her.

I looked back at Kaydel who’d was starting to make her way to me. She rolled her eyes and made a choking gesture. I tried to conceal a giggle behind my hand at her antics.

“C’mon, I’ll help you get changed.” She offered.

“Yes, please do.”

------------------------

It didn’t take long for Kaydel to help me change out of the soaking clothes into a dryer pair. Bazine appeared back into the tent a few minutes after she’d been sent off with a wooden board decorated with an assortment of fruits and dried meats. She set down the foods on the low table in front of where Kylo was lounging and began to mix together some sort of tea.

Kylo had thankfully kept his back turned to Kaydel and I as I redressed. He motioned me over to him and patted the cushion closest to his. I decided to sit down opposite of him and reached forward to pop a berry into my mouth. I reached forward again to sample the meats but a large hand wrapped around my outstretched wrist and tugged. I glanced up and met Kylo’s gaze.

“Did you miss the part where I told you to sit here?” His eyebrow raised and lips set in a firm line.

I opened my mouth to protest but decided against it, too tired and cold to put up a fight. I mentally kicked myself when I realized I was supposed to be playing into what he wanted. I needed to put my reactions aside and hide how much blindly following his orders bothered me.

Instead of replying with a snarky comment, I just nodded and rounded the table and sat on the cushion he had originally patted on. He released my wrist and started to eat in silence. It was an awkward silence. None of us really knowing what to say to each other. Just sitting and listening to the sounds of Bazine mixing the tea and the shuffling of clothes as Kaydel continued to pack up Kylo’s belongings.

I had managed to munch through my portion before Bazine had finished grinding and then steeping the concoction of leaves and spices together. She poured the steaming liquid out into a dark clay cup and all but shoved it into my unsuspecting hand. Without another word she picked up my empty board and left the tent.

My face scrunched in irritation at her hostility before I peered into the cup with uncertainty. The smell wasn’t horrible but it didn’t seem like a tea that was going to tickle my tastebuds in a pleasant way. I glanced at Kylo seeing that he had remained oblivious to Bazine and I’s interaction but when he felt my gaze he looked back at me and answered the question in my eyes.

“For your elbow.”

I nodded before taking a hesitant sip. My eyes twisted shut as I fought the urge to spit the tea back into the cup. I swallowed it with a shudder before Kylo gave a loud bark of a laugh.

I started to set the cup back on the table, elbow be damned, but Kylo grabbed my hand and kept my fingers wrapped around the warm clay.

“No, absolutely not.” I protested, “This is vile.”

Kylo said nothing, just shook his head with his lips pursed in amusement. He grabbed the remaining berries on his board and dropped them into the tea,

“Chokeberries, for sweetness.” He looked at me expectantly.

I raised the cup to my lips and took an even smaller sip than last time. It was decidedly better than it had been before, but I still grimaced at the flavor. He nodded before getting up and leaving me alone on the floor.

“I will be back in time to eat dinner with you. Finish your tea and rest. You will need it for the journey.” Kylo’s voice was a mixture of firm but gentle, “Be a good girl and stay inside.”

I looked up at him with soft eyes and nodded wordlessly as his palm came to rest on the side of my neck. His thumb swiped once slowly against my skin before he lifted his palm off and exited the tent at a relaxed gait.

I turned back to face the table and looked down into my tea, smiling softly, thanking the eccentric drama teacher I had freshman year of high school. Kylo had bought the docile act, at least he had appeared to.

The tea had made me feel slightly drowsy, but I couldn’t afford to fall asleep. I needed all the time I could get to plan my great escape.

----------------------

There never seemed to have been a good time to sneak out of the tent. Kaydel and Bazine continued to bustle around the tent packing things away. Each time the flaps would open I would look through them to judge the outside. It was dark and grey outside, the clouds covering the sun. The rain had stopped the downpour and only came down in short spurts on and off. Despite the weather, the camp remained a flurry of activity making it impossible for me to sneak away unnoticed.

For a while, I had tried to busy myself with helping Kaydel around the tent hoping that an idea would come to me, but none had. And after a while, Kaydel had run out of small tasks to give me. I had ended up curled back on top of the cushion where I’d eaten lunch with Kylo. Kaydel had then suggested that I lay down in Kylo’s bed but I knew if I did all I’d do was fall asleep. So I sat and waited for the perfect opportunity to slip out but none ever came.

And with each passing hour that I sat curled on the cushion, my chances of escaping narrowed and resignation began to unfurl in my throat. My eyes had begun to drift close when I felt a warm hand on my shoulder. I jerked and looked up, Kaydel was staring apologetically at me, another platter of food in the other hand. I frowned, craning my head over my shoulder, expecting Kylo to have come in without me noticing but Kaydel and I were the only ones inside.

“Where’s Kylo?” I asked her, remembering the promise he had given me before he left.

“He had to meet with the clan elders since Hux’s position needs to be filled. It’s taking longer than he expected.” She replied, “Do you need any more tea for the pain?”

I shook my head, trying to decipher why I was feeling disappointed at Kylo’s absence. Before I could stop myself,

“When will he be back?” I blurted. If I was getting dinner then that would mean that the majority of the camp would be winding down for the night. And if Kylo was caught up in that meeting, then it would take a while to for him to notice I had left.

“I can’t say, The meeting won’t end until they have chosen a new third in command.” Kaydel looked at me with soft eyes, misjudging my inquiry into his absence as one of loneliness.

I let her see the disappointment in my eyes before I replied with a soft ‘Oh’.

“I’ve finished all the putting away that needs to happen tonight but I can stay? If you need some company?” She offered.

I hesitated a moment, making it look like I was thinking about her offer.

“No, Kaydel, I think I’ll be alright. I’m feeling kinda tired so I’m gonna head to bed after this.” I gave her a small smile that she reciprocated.

“Well, okay. If you need anything and Kylo Ren isn’t back, tell the guards outside to call for me.” Her voice was kind and felt a trickle of guilt at deceiving her.

I reached forward and squeezed her hand and nodded. She looked as if she was about to say something but decided against it and squeezed my hand back before turning and leaving.

I blew out a large breath and pulled the blanket tighter around my shoulders, shivering. I wasn’t that hungry but I decided to eat a few bites, not wanting to run on a full stomach. I chewed quickly as the urgency of the situation began to build. I had no way in knowing when Kylo was coming back and I needed to be as far from here as possible before he realized what I had done.

My legs ached as I stood up and shuffled stiffly toward the screen where Kylo had gotten undressed. Kaydel and Bazine had left some garments out for tomorrow and I quickly spotted a sort of cloak. It was a dark color which would help me blend into the night scene. There were no arm holes for which I was grateful for but my shaking fingers fought to tie the string around the button at the neck.

I then slipped my feet into the moccasins I had been wearing earlier and bustled quickly back towards the cushions with a piece of cloth I had ripped from the corner of bedding. I set the remaining pieces of dried meat onto the cloth and then tied the four corners together. The cloak had no pockets so I tucked it between my breasts and under the breast band.

After I had made sure that I had everything I possibly needed, I stood in front of the flaps and willed my trembling form to steady. I needed to look confident when I talked to the guards, shiftiness would not help my case. I took a couple of deep breaths before I had collected enough of my wits. I grabbed a hold of the tent flap and stepped through it before I lost my nerve.

The guard to my right turned to me quickly, the other remained looking out around the clearing of the camp.

“You are to remain inside,” His voice was blunt as he spoke to me.

“I need to relieve myself,” I said simply. I shifted my balance in an impatient movement, hoping to convey the urgency in which I metaphorically had to pee.

“You’ll have to wait for Kaydel.” He remained aloof, “Go back inside.”

I moved my right arm down subtly and pulled the bit of cloth that I pushed up my sleeve, to hang slightly out of my palm.

“You don’t understand. I cannot wait,” I pleaded before lowering my voice in an embarrassed whisper, “My cycle… is early. I do not wish to soil my garments.”

I watched his face flush before his eyes darted down to see the cloth clutched in my hand. His face heated more and he didn’t meet my eye as he nodded shortly. I muttered a quick thanks and walked quickly in the direction of the camp latrines. Thanking my lucky stars my story had worked.

When I was sure that I was out of sight of the tent, I tucked the cloth into my breast band too and turned sharply to the right, praying that my muscle memory from the walk into the camp wouldn’t fail me. Each screech of an owl or the whinny of my horse had my heart heaving in my chest.

As the seconds passed, my eyes became better adjusted to the dark and I was able to move quickly through the camp, weaving faster and faster between the cluster of tents. I was almost to the edge of the camp and the opening to the ravine was in sight when I heard voices coming up behind me. They were close enough for me to hear the crunch of their footsteps. I quickly ducked behind a small tent, I crouched as I waited for them to pass.

“I can’t believe Kylo Ren finds that skinny bitch attractive,” The voice sounded familiar and I strained to hear more.

“I mean, does he honestly think that she’ll be able to serve him like a Ren’s wife should? She can’t even obey a simple order. Not to mention if they were bound, she probably won’t even feed his heirs with that tiny chest of hers.” The woman snorted, “Ha! She wouldn’t even get that far, her hips are too narrow to even birth. She’ll die in the process and he’ll have wasted his time.”

I felt tears start to prick the edge of my vision. Though her opinion on what type of wife I’d be wouldn't matter after tonight, her remarks on my body struck me straight through the heart. She had pointed out my biggest insecurities flippantly and I felt as I did in the high school locker room. I quickly wiped the tear that escaped and slowly peered around the curve of the tent, catching a glimpse of the pair.

Bazine and another woman were walking together, each with baskets in hand. I narrowed my eyes, I should’ve known. The other woman nodded gravely in agreement,

“You’re right Bazine. Not to mention the fact that she’s an outsider too. Who knows what type of breeding she has.”

I scowled and watched them disappear out of sight. A few seconds passed before I stood up and continued to make my way towards the ravine. I stopped again to survey the area, trying to make out any figures in the dark. There were none that I could spot. Between the opening of the ravine and the final edge of the camp was empty space, nothing to hide me from sight. I would have to sprint quickly, and quietly to not draw any attention. My muscles tensed as I prepared my body to take off. I knew that only having one arm to move while I ran would be awkward. I would need to be careful so that I didn’t trip.

Shouts rose from the middle of the camp and I froze. I couldn't quite make out the words but they were shouted in fury. It seemed that Kylo had finally returned and came home to an empty tent. My feet were in motion before I time to fully think about it.

My breath labored through my lungs as I hauled ass to the ravine. The feet passed slowly and I worried that I wouldn't be fast enough. But despite my fear, I made it into the protection of the steep walls on both sides but I did not stop. I didn’t stop when I stumbled over a rock or when I scraped against the wall when I veered to close, disoriented in the pitch. I wouldn't stop no matter how loudly my body screamed in protest. I couldn't. My throat burned and legs ached when I finally skidded to a stop when I reached the end of the ravine.

I took gasping breaths as I stood doubled over, hand on my knees. I only allowed myself a few moments before I stood upright again and surveyed my surroundings. If I remembered correctly, we had ridden in from a left diagonal angle. I debated for a second but decided to go with my gut before I picked up a steady jog and headed back into the woods.

I listened for any sign that I was being followed but heard nothing but the creaking of the wind through the trees. I hoped that once the guards realized I wasn’t in the camp that they would give up looking. I hoped that Han Ren would tell Kylo to pick another woman, that I wasn't worth it and to pick Bazine who seemed to want him so badly.

But deep down I knew that Kylo would not give up so easily. For he was not one to let anything slip through his fingers. And if he found me, I’d wish that I’d never left.

Chapter Text

I jogged for most the night. My body was about ready to give up on me but I needed to keep going. I tried to pace myself, jogging for 3 minutes and then walking for 1. I vaguely remembered this exercise from an app I had downloaded on a whim and used only for about a month before I moved on. I stumbled as my legs gave out from under me, it took a few strides for me to regain even a grain of balance, so I decided that it was as good a time as any to stop and walk.

The sun had started to rise, which I was thankful for. However, the temperature was still low, biting against the exposed skin of my head and neck. It was relatively quiet, all I could hear was the general creaking of the trees and birds up in their branches. I tried to quiet my rasping breaths to listen even closer. But there was still nothing. Like there had been for the entirety of my plight.

I stopped abruptly. I could have sworn that I had already passed the twisting branches of a felled tree. Spinning around, I checked behind me to see if it was just the second one I had passed, but there wasn’t another one in sight.

I groaned and tossed my head back, the sinking feeling of being lost started to grow until I couldn’t deny it anymore.

I was lost. Completely and utterly lost.

“Stupid, Rey. Stupid,” I grumbled.

I should have stayed wi-

No.

I cut myself off, not wanting to entertain the thought. I mustered up as much strength as I could and set off at a walk, away from the felled tree. I kept walking until I started to hear the trickling of water. I breathed a sigh of relief and quickened my pace slightly.

I could have nearly cried at the sight of the creak. It wasn’t deep, but the water was moving. I dropped to my knees and scooped the cold water to my mouth with my palm. Not stopping until the Saharan desert my throat had been was quenched.

Once I was done, I leaned back to sit on a medium sized rock and pulled the dried meats out of where I was storing them in my breast band. I only ate a few bites of the jerky before wrapping it back up again and putting them back into my cleavage.

I decided that I could afford a few seconds to rest while I figured out my next course of action. The Alderaanian camp had been set down in a shallow basin and water allows flowed downhill. If I remember correctly, the road had wound around just above the base of a mountain range. So if I followed the creek upstream, then I would be closer to finding the road.

I felt my hopes begin to rise as I sat there contemplating. I might be closer to getting out of here than I originally thought. That probably meant that I had put enough distance between the camp and I for me to rest more than a few moments. I scooted down until my back was leaning against the rock, attempting to get comfortable. I could spare a few minutes before following the river upstream.

Only a few minutes, Rey. I thought to myself as my eyes drifted closed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I flinched as a loud snap of a branch sounded behind me. I jerked to my feet as the loud sound continued. Whipping my head around to locate the source, I was only met with empty forest. I swore. Judging from the position of the sun in the sky, it hadn’t been only a few minutes and more like a few hours.

And with each passing moment I spent standing in place, the louder the noise became until it became a distinct pounding of hooves through the shrubbery.

When I registered the source of the sound, I took off at a sprint upstream, running as fast as my legs could go. It wasn’t fast enough. The few hours I had slept had done nothing to rest my overworked legs. I stumbled and tripped constantly, knowing that I sounded like a bull in a china shop.

The sound of hooves was persistent but I couldn’t find where it was coming from and I wasn’t going to stop long enough to look. So I just kept running. And running. I had long since abandoned the route of the stream, too caught up in terror to rationalize any direction other than away from the sound of hooves.

I tried my best to ignore the fire burning in my legs and the scorching dryness of my throat. But the final stumble was the last straw. My legs were too weak to regain my balance and I fell, barely able to put my hand out in front to soften the blow. The air whooshed out of lungs and my sides heaved violently, trying to replace the lost oxygen.

And that’s how he found me. Laying in a mess of limbs, gasping for breath and just staring at him with wide, bleary eyes.

He hopped off his horse and left it to graze a couple feet away. He stalked his way towards me and I dared not to move a muscle. Kylo’s boots came to a stop a foot from my side before he dropped down to a crouch. He didn’t say anything. I tried to slow my loud breathing but my lungs still felt like bursting.

Angling my face from where it rested against the ground, I peaked at his face. His aquiline nose was flared in anger and lips set in a firm line. I steeled myself and flickered my eyes to meet his. Only looking long enough to decipher the murderous rage swirling in the depths of his gaze. I quickly looked away.

And still, he didn’t say anything. With each passing moment, my terror of him grew. I’d rather him fly into a rage, screaming and shouting at me, instead of this silence.
“I’m sorry,” I breathed, “I’m sorry.”

Like that’s going to make anything better, Rey.

My words spurred him into action,

“Do you know the embarrassment you have caused me!” Kylo spit through clenched teeth, “A Ren who cannot keep a hold on his woman?”

He reached forward and wrapped his fingers in a punishing grip around my throat. The tips dug bruisingly into the delicate skin. My breathing that had slowed a fraction picked back up again.

“You have made me look like a fool,” Kylo’s hand tightened on his last word, “This will not be excused.”

My eyes prickled with tears and I feebly wrapped my hand around his wrist.

“I just wanted to go home,” I cried, “I just wanted to go home…”

He met my tearful gaze and I could have sworn I saw his eyes soften a tiny bit.

“You are home, Rey. I could have made you a home.” His voice was hard.

His words weren’t literal and I quickly caught on to the meaning. I sobbed harder at the realization. I have always had to make it on my own. Now here, someone had offered themselves to me and I had gone and ruined it. I wondered if I had just ruined my chance of being cared for. Being taken care of. Maybe I had judged him too hard, too fast. Maybe there was more to Kylo Ren than I had seen. Just deeper than I had bothered to look.

I dropped my hand from his wrist,

“Please,” I whispered.

But at this point, I wasn’t sure what I was actually asking for.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kylo said nothing to my plead, keeping his hand firm on my neck for a few more seconds before pulling back and standing up. I remained on the ground and breathed a sigh of relief as I finally caught my breath. I leaned my forehead against the ground, breathing deeply and trying to will away the throbbing in my temples.

“Get up,” Kylo ordered. He had moved away from me and was currently checking the cinch of his saddle.

I got up slowly to my feet, feeling weak in the knees. He turned to face me and beckoned me with his fingers. I walked as quickly as I could to stand in front of him. He watched me with a bored expression before moving to stand behind me. I squealed in surprise as he grabbed my shin and propelled me up and into his fur-lined saddle. I barely had enough sense to grab mane before I fell off the other side.

Kylo didn’t waste time in swinging up into the saddle behind me and I squirmed at our sudden close proximity. He reached around me to gather the reins in his hand but one hand crept up to press into the center of my chest, right between my breasts. I leaned back at the pressure,

“What is this?” Kylo murmured behind me and before I had a chance to wonder what he meant. His bear paw of a hand was reaching down the front of my shirt and directly into my breast band. He fished around for a second and I gasped when a finger brushed my nipple. After a few moments, he found what he had been looking for, the jerky that I had been storing. He pulled it out and stared at it a few seconds,

“Uh... Jerky.” I explained. My voice was tinged with awkwardness at what just transpired and I’m sure my cheeks had blushed a cherry red.

“At least you were smart enough to bring sustenance,” Kylo growled scathingly.

My heart panged with his words and I cursed myself for caring what he thought of my intelligence.

He regathered the reins in his hands and clucked at his horse. We set off at a forward walk, moving agilely through the trees. We walked for a couple minutes before Kylo gave a piercing whistle. A few seconds later, three different hoofbeats began to head in our direction and it wasn’t long before three guards came from different directions.

I could feel their disapproving gazes on my face before they dropped back to ride behind the clan leader. I didn’t do anything but stare down at the horse’s neck as we continued to walk.

My heart wrenched in my chest as I realized how little distance I had put between the camp and myself. Nothing more than a 20-minute walk at a brisk pace. I had been doing nothing but running in confused circles all night before I reached the creak.

Kylo urged his horse into a trot down the ravine and finally, the full view of the camp came into view. Every tent had been taken down and belongings had been packed and placed on top of mules.

The majority of people were sitting around the bonfire circle, chatting with each other. While others milled about putting together last minute things.

As we cleared the entrance and the entirety of the camp could see my returned search party, almost everyone turned to look. I shrunk back into Kylo’s chest wishing that the ground would open up and swallow me whole.

I felt Kylo’s hot breath in my ear before I heard his words,

“Sit tall, Rey. Let them see the coward who runs.”

I shook my head fervently. But in the end, Kylo got his way. He sharply pinched the skin of my side and I squeaked and leaned away from. We had come closer to the clans people and I could fully see their faces as we reached the middle of camp. I had never felt more exposed.

My eyes searched through the crowd trying to find a friendly face but were met with cold glares. I finally spotted Kaydel in the crowd and her doe eyes were soft with pity. Worry was etched into the lines of her face. I continued to look through the crowd, trying to find Leia.

I finally found her, Han Ren’s arm slung around her shoulders.

Surprising, I thought. Who knew he could show any sort of affection.

Leia met my gaze and my lip quivered at her expression. It was filled with disappointment and betrayal. And I knew that somehow gaining back Leia’s trust would end up being harder than it would be to earn back Kylo’s.

“I want everyone packed up now!” Kylo bellowed behind me, “We leave for the winter grounds!”

The crowd of people quickly moved, slinging bags onto their backs or tying a bundle to a crude sled to be pulled by a horse. Not everyone had a horse and I realized that they would be making this journey on foot rather than horseback. I frowned but ultimately kept my thoughts to myself.

It didn’t take long before Kylo had deemed everyone ready and kicked his horse into motion. Off to my right was Poe, looking sour as always. Then to left was Han and then behind him, Leia. The corners of my lips quirked up when I spotted the braids in her palomino horse’s mane and tail. Very Leia-esk.

Much to my surprise, we didn’t head back up the ravine, but into the trees beyond the where the garden was. From what I can tell, the plants had all been picked clean. The trees were denser, thick trunks crowded together.

I could hear the chatter of people behind me and became all too aware of the silence of the looming man behind me. He had not bothered to speak a word since he had called me a coward, and despite everything, I felt the urge to say something, anything, if only to break the thickness of his silence.

“Where are we going?” I asked quietly, biting my lip.

Kylo waited for a beat before speaking,

“The winter grounds,” he said gruffly.

I rolled my eyes at his answer. I debated on if I should push for more.

“But where?” I insisted before I could lose my nerve.

The wind began to pick up and swept through the trees with a vengeance causing the boughs of the redwood creak as they swayed.

“Lower in the Tatooine Valley, it does not snow as much as in the basin during winter as it does in the summer grounds.” Kylo had lent down to mumble in my ear. His lips brushed the shell of my ear as he spoke and I shivered when the ends of his black hair tickled the side of my neck.

“Mhhmm,” I hummed distractedly. My head had fallen backward and was now resting against Kylo’s shoulder.

“There will be new rules this time Rey,” Kylo said, “I will not be made a fool of again, so it’s in your best interest you begin to learn your place.”

I tensed at his words and slowly nodded.

“Good girl.”

Chapter Text

It was nearing nightfall when Kylo halted his horse and hopped off. I shivered as the cold air hit my upper body, immediately missing the edges of Kylo’s cloak that he had draped around me when I started shivering mid-ride.

“Set up camp! We’ll continue to the winter grounds in the morning!” Kylo shouted.

At his words, the people on horses slid off and the walkers eagerly discarded their packs at their feet. Kylo turned back to where I was still sitting astride his horse and reached up, gesturing for me to swing my leg over. I brought my leg over the horse’s neck until I was sitting sideways. I hesitated a moment, the ground looking awful far away, and just as I steeled myself to slide off, Kylo grabbed a hold of my hips and I placed my hand on his shoulder to steady myself as he guided me down to the ground.

My feet hit the ground with a dull thud and I winced slightly as it jolted my knees. Kylo’s hands lingered on my hips a moment before he pulled away and grabbed the reins of his horse. He said nothing again as he jerked his head at me to follow him.

I scurried after him, feeling bowlegged from sitting in the saddle so long. He led his horse to where a tether had been set up between two trees and switched out the horse's bridle for a halter before tying the rope to the tether. I moved out of his way as he moved down the horse’s body to take off the fur-lined saddle. I stood awkwardly by the neck unsure of what to do. I patted the horse absentmindedly.

“You are to stay with me now, Rey.” Kylo spoke, “I want you to stay in my sight. If I lose sight of you even for a second, I will not hesitate to publicly punish you.”

His tone was sharp and I had no doubt in my mind that he didn’t mean every word.
I gulped and nodded quickly, forgetting that he wasn’t looking at me as he spoke.

“Yes, Rey?” He barked and I snapped my eyes to meet his after I heard him drop the saddle to the ground a couple of feet away.

“Yes,” I stated. His face was hard as he looked at me. I knew it would be a while before he started to show more gentleness with me like he did before I had run.

Kylo didn’t give much acknowledgment to my answer except a faint twitch of his lips. He turned back to the horse and finished removing the rest of the tack. When he had finished he stepped back and gestured for me to walk in front of him. My steps were hesitant as I was unsure of where he wanted me to go. I stopped a foot in front of him and looked back warily.

Was this some sort of test?

Again he didn’t say anything just stepped closer until his palm settled on the back of the neck. I tensed at the contact and felt annoyance rise when he put pressure forward onto my neck. The pressure increased and I tripped forward.

“Back to camp.” He urged.

“Some words would be nice.” I snapped, irritated at his first resort to pushing me.

His fingers tightened around the back of my neck painfully and he jerked me backward. I stumbled unable to get my footing and fell back with an ‘oof’ into his torso. He bent down to growl in my ear,

“I’m about ready to leave you for the dogs. It would have been easier to have let you starve in the woods, but instead, I rescue you and delay our migration to the winter grounds. Now we camp out in open territory because we were too late in leaving to reach it in time.”

I struggle lightly to get out of his grip but it is unrelenting. Kylo fingers release their hold on the back of my neck but move quickly to grip the front before I could move out of his reach. His other hand comes from where it was resting at his side to wrap tightly around my waist. He pulls me flush against him until every curve of my body is pressed into the contours of his. I gasp softly at the proximity.

“So, Rey. I suggest you walk willing to my tent and you take what I give you, or I drag you kicking and screaming and I punish you worse for the added embarrassment.” Kylo’s voice is taunting and I shudder at his promise. I suck in a breath and try to hold back the tears that threaten to spill.

“Okay,” I whisper in defeat.

Kylo hums lowly and slowly unwraps himself and places his hand again on the back of my neck. And this time I move forward without further protest.

I turn my focus back to the minicamp that has started to be set up. It's arranged in the same layout as the camp was back at the summer grounds but without the tents used for things other than living in. Smoke leaves a trail into the sky from where a small fire has been lit in the middle. Women are gathered around it, cooking various foods.

People mill about, but none of them are without purpose. They are helping each other set up the rest of the tents or setting up the dining area. And it strikes me at how much they remind me of some sort of unorthodox community. When they notice Kylo walking through the camp, they nod in respect and murmur their greetings as they pass by. Thankfully they don’t spare me more than a few seconds glance.

We reach Kylo’s tent and my palms begin to sweat in nervousness. Two guards stand on either side, staring straight ahead. Both converge on the middle and pull the flaps aside out of our way.

The inside is fairly barren, with nothing more than just the bed and a couple of cushions set up. The decoration of Kylo’s tent showed that we wouldn’t be staying here long. A small fire was lit in the corner and candles were scattered around the room to give it light. The flaps fluttered closed and my eyes took a few moments to adjust to the dimness of the tent. There was no sun to seep through the canvas to give light.

Kylo retracted his hand from my neck and sidestepped around me, reaching up to undo the dark cloak. I shifted awkwardly from side to side, unsure of what to do now that my impending punishment loomed in front of me. He didn't do anything to ease my nervousness when he placed his cloak on the end of the bed along the opposite wall. He stood there a couple of moments before he turned and looked at me before heading to sit down on one of the cushions. He crooked his finger at me and my cheeks heated as he looked at me intensely.

I moved forward at a snail’s pace, scared for what was about to happen.

“Faster,” Kylo commanded.

I quickened my steps until I stopped directly in front of his seated form. I played with my fingers for a couple of seconds before Kylo reached forward and grabbed my uninjured wrist and pulled me closer until I stood between his parted thighs.

“It’s time for your punishment now.” He said quietly.

I swallowed thickly and nodded, unable to meet his eyes.

He pulled me to the side and pulled downwards. I was unsure of what he wanted to so I bent stiffly at the waist over his thighs. I startled forwards when Kylo’s other hand unexpectedly pinched behind my knee. It spasmed and it gave out underneath me and landed with a squeak, trying to protect my elbow as best I could. I laid across Kylo’s muscular thighs for a second, embarrassed. But instead of pushing me off or helping me up, my arm was released from his hold and it moved up to press firmly down on my shoulders.

My eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. I finally realized what Kylo’s intentions were.

“No!” I screeched wildly. I tried to pull myself upwards but his hand was too strong against my back, so I tried to get my feet underneath me to see if I could wrench myself free, but Kylo was much quicker than my scrambling feet. He swung his thigh over the back of my knees, trapping them against the cushion.

“No!” I screamed wildly, “Don’t you dare!”

I thrashed and kicked out my legs in protest. But when that didn’t loosen his hold, I began to pound on his calf with my fist too.

I heard the sound before anything else and it wasn’t long before the rest followed. It burned like a forest fire and shot straight to the base of my spine, all the to my toes. I screamed.

Kylo had swatted my left butt cheek with the force of a high-speed train.

“I will not tolerate disobedience, Rey. Especially when it challenges my ability as Ren.” Kylo’s voice was deadly quiet. His large palm soothed over the hurt he had caused.

He swung down again, and I squealed as it connected, this time, with my right cheek. It was slightly less hard than the first but still enough that my knuckles fisted the fabric of Kylo’s pant leg.

“I know this isn’t the type of punishment you outsiders are given, but this is how you will be punished when we are bound. How every bound woman in Alderaan is punished.” He continued.

I was still too stunned to say anything. I could hear the activity of the camp between Kylo’s words and my cheeks reddened as I realized they had probably heard my loud yelps of pain. I hiccuped and swallowed a sob.

“Shh… pet. Consider how lucky you are. The punishment for deserting the clan is breaking both your ankles yourself.” He crooned, “One more okay?”

I whimpered and shook my head, tears wiping wet puddles into the fabric my cheek rested on. His hand left my body from where it had been rubbing circles into my aching flesh. I tensed, this time managing to contain any loud exclamations as his hand landed its final blow.

“We don’t ever have to do this again. But only if you’re a good girl,” Kylo released his hold from me and adjusted me until I was cradled across his lap.

I was stiff, fighting the urge to just melt against his built chest out of sheer emotional exhaustion. Never in my entire life had I wanted to be held by someone more, but the only one who could was the one that had caused me pain. I was torn between something that I wanted and what I knew was right. Tears ran silently down my cheeks as I stared straight ahead, unwilling to even glance at him.

Never in my entire life had I been spanked, my parents dying before I was old enough to cause any trouble that would warrant one. Never had I ever felt humiliated like I just had. Me, a grown woman, had just been spanked like a child caught stealing from the toy store.

I flinched when a calloused finger brushed away the hair that was stuck against my cheeks. He cupped my cheek and angled it towards him.

“I know how much you want to let go, Rey. I can see your heart,” Kylo soothed, his palm coming to rest above my heart, “I can see how much it wants to relinquish this control you have over yourself. Just let go. Let the past die.”

I looked into his eyes and made my decision. I went limp in his arms, melting straight into his chest, my tear-streaked face buried in the crook of his neck. The skin was soft there so unlike the hard exterior of Kylo’s surface.

He wrapped his arms tighter around my body, his hand stroking the back of my head. We stayed like that for a few minutes, not saying anything but just listening to the broken sounds of my breathing.

Our peace only lasted for a few short minutes before a guard came bursting through the flaps of the tent, breathing heavily.

“Kylo Ren, We’re being attacked from the north.”

Chapter Text

I stiffened in Kylo’s arms.

“By who?” His voice was quiet, measured.

There was a pause before the guard spoke again,

“Unsure, they’re mostly on horseback.”

His hand stilled from where it was petting the back of my head.

“Up,” Kylo tapped my thigh and I scrambled to get up quickly.

Kylo and I had been faced away from the flaps during our predicament, so when I stood, I finally became visible to the guard. My cheeks heated as he eyed my swollen eyes and puffy cheeks. I shifted uncomfortably, still acutely aware of the throbbing of my ass.

Kylo stood suddenly, his face once again stony. He turned and the guard’s eyes snapped from me to him.

“Take Rey to my mother and Chewie, they know the protocol for this,” Kylo’s voice was calm and calculated. He moved into the back of the room and picked up a weapon belt from on top the belt he must’ve discarded when he took off his cloak.

“Yes, Kylo Ren,” the guard answers and he gestures me forward.

I push down the tears that threaten to rise and walk quickly to the guard. His hand comes to rest against my lower back and starts to gently, but firmly usher me out the door. I push back against the pressure, for once, not wanting to leave the tent. Despite what happened not ten minutes before, I oddly felt safe within the canvas walls.

“W-wait, wh-where -” I stuttered, struggling against the persistence of the guard.

I turn to look back at Kylo. Our eyes meet from where he is still fastening the ends of the belt around his waist. He sees my hesitation and fixes me with a hard stare,

“Do as you’re told, Rey.”

I feel crestfallen at his once again hard exterior and with one final push, the guard has led me out of the tent. I stutter a bit as the chaos of the camp hits me. Men armed with crude weapons run to the north, where I can make out a mixture of men on foot and horseback heading toward our small encampment, while women, children and the elderly flee in the opposite direction. The dinner that had been cooking over the fire had been abandoned and left to burn.

My breathing picks up at as the gravity of the situation hits me and I follow the guard more willingly. I feel exposed during the short walk across the center of the camp from Kylo’s to Han and Leia’s tent. One, lonely guard stands outside the former Ren’s tent and makes no formal announcement before pulling the flap aside for me to enter. They guard that had guided me didn’t wait for me to fully enter the tent before dashing off to the fight.

Inside the tent is Chewie, Leia, and Kaydel. The tall man stands while the two other women are seated on cushions much like the ones in Kylo’s. They both lurch to their feet when I enter. My eyes connect with Kaydel’s, hers are wide and doe-like, nothing conceals the fear that clouds the surface. I look to Leia next, her expression is much more guarded than Kaydel’s but I can still make out the worry as she wrings her hands in front of her.

“We need to leave now that Rey is here before we are too far behind the others.” Chewie’s deep voice is calm and calculating. I briefly wonder why he has not rushed to join the fight as all the other men had.

Leia lets out a shaky sigh and smoothes the hair that had been sticking out of her braid,

“Okay, c’mon girls we don’t want to get left behind,” She joked lightly, obviously trying to soothe both Kaydel and I.

She ushers Kaydel quickly forward, her cloak exposing an ornately carved hilt sticking tucked against her side.

It must’ve been the knife Rafe had carved for her binding to Han, I thought to myself.

I couldn’t make out the exact details, but from what I could make out, it was beautiful.

Kaydel grabbed my hand as she passed and I held on as we made our way out of the tent, Chewie bringing up the rear. Once we had all exited the tent, we ran and ran like hell.

-------------------

My breathing was ragged as we ran through the wood. It came in broken gasps as I half-stumbled, half-ran. The four of us had been running for a while and had been keeping pace with the tail-end of the pack of clan members. The group mostly consisted of women and children, but there were a few older men who I assumed were too old to fight.

I swore as I stumbled over a rock hidden in a thicket of bushes.

“We’re almost there. Keep going, Rey.” Kaydel assured in my ear. Her hand had still clutching mine.

I squeezed her hand and nodded. I wanted nothing more than to just lie down and never get up. My bones were still weary from my failed escape.

True to Kaydel’s word, the group of people in front of us slowed to a jog, and then finally to a walk before stopping completely.

It wasn’t much. Just a small clearing we could huddle in for who knows how long. Everyone began to spread out and Leia began to lead us into the very middle of the clearing, Chewie following close at our heels.

The tension of the clans' people was palpable, and the air was heavy with fear. They clung to each other and spoke in hushed voices.

I flinched and squeezed Kaydel’s hand tighter when Chewie shouted unexpectedly,

“Quiet, everyone! I know that this comes to a shock for you, but we must all remain calm!”

It became so silent you could hear a pin drop.

“I don’t know who is responsible for this attack but for now we will stay here until a guard comes and gets us!”

Though Chewie’s voice was strong and assured, it did nothing to soothe the frazzled nerves of the clan.

I shifted on aching feet, wanting nothing more than to sit down.

“I’m going to go sit with my mother. Stay here.” Kaydel squeezed my hand, catching my attention.

I turned and nodded, watching her weave her way through the crowd and then throw herself into the arms of an older woman with the same dirty blonde hair.

I yelped loudly when my elbow was hit roughly as someone passed. Bazine walked slowly, throwing me a dirty look over her shoulder. I glared straight back, growling under my breath.

That bitch. I thought to myself, my fingers came to clutch at the fabric encasing my elbow. I willed the throb to go away.

“Don’t mind her, she’s had a bad attitude since the day Kylo told her she wasn’t Wife of Ren material.” Leia had appeared at my side, “Come and sit with me.”

I followed and sat down beside her, glad that she had rescued me from standing awkwardly by myself. I stretched my legs out in front of me and shivered, the sweat drying on my skin adding to the chill.

“She seems to be the perfect material to me,” I muttered.

“You may think she is but you are wrong, she is soft in all the wrong places. Too quick to roll over in submission.” Leia responded, her gaze fixed on my face.

I turned my head to meet her gaze. It was kind and soft, her cheeks still rosy from the run.

“Well, Kylo’s made it pretty clear that he wants a submissive woman,” I replied. His name from my lips sent a sharp pang of worry through my chest. I plucked the blades of grass beside me, wondering what was happening back at camp.

“It may be what he wants, but not what he needs. Be submissive but powerful.”
“Those things are wildly different, Leia.” I responded, “You can’t be powerful but submit yourself to someone else.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. Submission isn’t all about giving yourself away or being controlled. It’s being gentle when he is turbulent and quiet when his anger is violent.” Leia’s eyes were bright as she spoke passionately.

She grabbed my hand and pulled it into her lap before continuing,

“But Rey, I see in you, what I don’t see in Bazine, is the ability to wield power by pushing back. You may not be submissive, but you are powerful, and that is the first quality a Wife of Ren must have.”

I averted my eyes to my lap and fought back the tears that threatened to spill over. I know that she and I had not started out on the same page, but I could feel myself edging closer and closer to her. Leia’s words resonated deep in my core and I felt touched by her words. The affirmation of my power I held as a woman, made my affection for Leia grow.

Her weathered fingers gripped my chin and pulled it up to face her,

“You are powerful, Rey. You hold more power than Kylo does, for you hold power over him, as I do Han. The wives are the driving force behind the Rens, without us, the clan would fall. Our Ren’s would fail,” Leia wiped the tears that slid down my cheeks, “Bazine doesn’t have a clue what it takes to help Kylo thrive as Ren. I have no doubt that you’ll be the one that will make sure he will.”

I leaned in abruptly and wrapped my good arm around her and squeezed tightly. She made a surprised sound before relaxing and embracing me wholeheartedly.

“Thank you,” I whispered into her ear. She just pulled back and cupped my cheek, smiling softly.

“Please tell me who did your hair!” Leia exclaimed, eyeing the rats’ nest that it had become from everything that happened.

I snorted out a laugh and giggled, happy to break the seriousness that had surrounded us.

“Some woman, I don’t know, but I’m never letting her do it again!” I joked back.

She smiled and laughed too, before urging me to lie my head down in her lap.

“Let me get the knots out at least,” She offered, fingers already working through the snarls.

I nodded gently and shifted down on my side to get more comfortable. Leia carded her fingers through my hair and I began to doze off as she hummed lightly. I drifted somewhere between sleep and consciousness, never being able to shut my mind off completely. Leia’s and I’s talk swirled around in my head, along with the worry for Kylo and the rest of the clan. I worried that if he died, I’d lose my place in the clan and with Han’s clear distaste for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if he left me to starve.

I came fully to consciousness when I felt the ground shift close to me, glancing out of the corner of my eye I noticed that Kaydel had plopped down next to Leia. I closed my eyes again and went back to mulling over everything.

--------------

I come to slowly, a hand on my shoulder gently shaking me awake.

“It’s time to go back, Rey.” Leia's voice was low and close to my ear.

I blinked my eyes open, surprised that I had managed to fall asleep. I pushed my way out of Leia’s lap and stood up. I offered to help her up with my hand and she gratefully took it, a tight smile on her face.

“What’s going on?” I asked to no one in particular. The clearing was alive with activity in the darkness it was shrouded in. The shone high in the sky and I guessed that it was around midnight.

“A guard has come to get us, the fight’s over so we can go back to camp.” Kaydel beat Leia to the answer.

My eyes survived the area, hoping that maybe Kylo was with the guard, but I couldn’t find his tall form in the crowd. I huffed quietly as we began to walk in the direction we had run from. This was going to take a while, I could already tell.

For the most part, the people were quiet as they walked together, no voices rising above a whisper.

“C’mon, we have to be in the front.” Leia came up beside me and gripped my elbow, urging me to skirt around the others until the three of us walked behind Chewie and the guard.

I tried to hold my curiosity in but couldn’t quell the thought,

“Why didn’t Chewie stay and fight?” I leaned into Kaydel’s ear and spoke as softly as I could.

“Chewie keeps the history of the Alderaan Clan, so he can’t fight. If he dies, our history will be lost.”

“Oh.”

We fell back in silence and turned our attention to the ground underfoot.

The longer we walked and made it closer to camp, the more silent the clanspeople got. The hushed whispers stopped until the only thing you could hear was the crunching of the ground underfoot. I shifted uncomfortably, suddenly overwhelmed with the amount of fear and sadness that hung heavy in the air. I reached out and grabbed Kaydel’s hand, clasping it tightly, she squeezed even tighter back.

When the first traces of light began to filter back into the sky, we reached the edge of our temporary camp and the clan took a collective breath in.

I wanted to look away but my eyes were glued to the scene before me. Bodies lay sporadically strewn across the open space, most gruesomely slain. I wasn’t familiar enough with the people in the clan to tell who was Alderaanian and who was not. I turned and squeezed my eyes together after an older woman with greying streaks in her hair, run wailing into the chaos before throwing herself down next to the body a man.

The group kept moving, the silence only now being interrupted by the occasional cry over a fallen soldier.

The tents of the camp had managed to come away, with only minor damage to the very outer ring. The fight it seems, to have been kept to the open spaces of our camp.

Those who had survived the fight were gathered in the center, tending to their wounds or beginning to break down tents. They only stopped to swing women around in their arms or plant a kiss to their child’s head.

I watched as Kaydel and her mother went running into the arms of a large, sturdy looking man. I watched a moment, glad that he had escaped unscathed. My eyes wandered over the heads that crowded the area but didn’t find who I was looking for. I looked around some more but was interrupted when Leia came to my side.

“He isn’t here. Kylo’s probably in his tent with Han,” She waited for me to catch up with her before continuing, “Hurry, they’ll want to see us.”

I nodded and walked quickly by her side, following her into the tent.

My eyes widened at the sight, taking in Kylo’s appearance. His hair was a wild mess, few strands stuck together with blood. In general, he looked like he took a bath in it. The torso of his shirt was cut in long slices, the edges stained with blood. I could see the still bleeding cuts that scattered the exposed portions of his arms.

I fought back a gasp, trying to quell the sudden urge to puke. I was never good with blood.

“Oh Han,” Leia breathed. My gaze snapped away from Kylo’s form to Han. He was less bloody but haggard looking.

She rushed forward covering the space in quick strides before lightly inspecting Han. faint affection crossed his face as he cupped her cheek and swooped quickly down to press a kiss to her forehead. Han’s face turned hard again as we made contact across the room.

“Go back to the tent and start getting things packed up.” He ordered.

Leia stepped back, slightly hurt by his words but quickly shaking it off before patting Kylo’s arm as she passed and left the tent.

I crossed my arm across my body as both of the men’s attention now focused on me.

Han opened his mouth to say something but Kylo cut him off,

“Tell the clan that I want everything broken down immediately. I want to reach the winter grounds before the afternoon so we can give the fallen a proper ceremony.” His gaze was on me as he spoke.

Han whipped his head toward his son,

“Are you forgetting that she is responsible for this whole thing?” His voice was cutting. I flinched back.

He turned his head back to me and stalked closer. He stopped inches from my face,

“You are the reason that good men are dead. You-” He emphasized, “have made a widow out of countless women and left even more children fatherless.

He watched my crumpled face, proud of himself. I hiccuped a sob as he stepped back and left the tent, leaving only Kylo and I.

He had stood blank-faced across the room the entire time his father had berated me. Watched with dark eyes as his father tore into me. He offered no words of comfort.

He knew that I very well had killed those men myself.

And I knew it too.

“Kylo I-” I began, searching for something to say. But what could I say about this?

“I’m-” I began again.

“Kaydel will be in to help you pack, be quick.” He cut me off, finally tearing his gaze away from my face.

I opened my mouth to stop him from leaving me again but he was out the door before I could get a syllable out.

Chapter Text

Kaydel and I packed the sparse tent in silence. She had tried to make conversation with me but I had quickly shut her down with terse responses, not at all in the mood for chatter. What I needed was time alone to think about the attack and Kylo’s response to me after. Time to work through the guilt I felt growing in my belly. But time alone was impossible now, so silence just had to do.

“Help me fold the pelts, then the men should be able to break down the tent,” Kaydel asked softly, shooting me an inquiring look.

I ignored her gaze and moved to the other side of the bed and grabbed a corner of the blanket and helping fold it down. The folded pelts were shoved into a pack and placed into the center of the room, next to the other packs we had made up.

I stepped back with a hand on my hip, staring into the pile.

“What is with you!” Kaydel blurted loudly.

I startled at jerked my head up at her sudden outburst. I pursed my lips, caught between a rock and a hard place.

Do I tell her what I’m feeling right now? Or do I lie?

I went with the former,

“Do you think it’s my fault?”

Kaydel’s eyes furrowed and she opened her mouth questioningly.

I interrupted her before she could start,

“That they’re dead. That they’re dead because we got a late start because of me.” My lip quivered and I bit my cheek hard, fighting the urge to breakdown

“No one can decide who lives and dies, and no one can predict when an enemy clan will attack, Rey.” Kaydel had come closer and had placed her hands on my shoulders, “The Korriban clan is sneaky, they’ve probably have been following us since we started for the winter grounds. This is no way your fault Rey.”

I sucked in a breath and solidified her words in my head. This was not my fault.
“What made you think that?” She questioned.

“Han Ren,” I said bitterly, and then softer, “Kylo.”

“You don’t need to concern yourself with what Han Ren claims,” her voice was low as she bent forward to whisper in my ear, “He’s just an old, cranky man who’s still bitter about stepping down.”

She pulled back and grinned at me conspiratorially and then in a more serious tone,

“Kylo Ren looks too much to his father for guidance and opinions. He may think he has it all figured out, but he doesn’t. This doesn’t excuse what he did but give him time to figure out that his beliefs shouldn’t always coincide with his father’s” She squeezed my shoulders for emphasis and I nodded.

I grabbed her hand as she pulled away,

“You’re so kind to me.”

Her face lit up in a grin,

“I don’t believe in being a bitch,” she paused, “well.. most of the time.”

I giggled with her and soon our giggles turned into full-blown laughter. And just like that, Kaydel had managed to put me back together, making me feel like all was going to be alright.

-----------------

Kaydel and I had settled into the grass, snacking on dried fruit while waiting for everything to be packed up yet again. This time, the camp was much more somber as they went through the motions. Despite the mood, everything was packed up quickly and efficiently, and soon enough Kaydel was pulling me to my feet as the last packs were secured to the backs of horses and mules.

I jumped when a large hand pressed against the small of my back. I looked up, seeing Kylo standing beside me. It was the first time I had seen him since he had left me to pack. He urged me forward and I shot a look at Kaydel over my shoulder before following his directions.

We picked our way through the throng of people before we stopped beside his horse, who was being held by a stable hand. Kylo waved him away with the flick of his hand before placing his hands on my hips and helping me clamber onto the horse’s back. After I was settled, he swung himself up smoothly behind me and wasted no time clucking the horse into motion. I sighed and began mentally preparing for the long and awkward ride ahead.

The scenery didn’t change for the longest time, the lush trees of the forest seemed to go on forever and the craggy mountain tops peeking through the cracks still seemed lightyears away. I drifted in and out of awareness as everything seemed to blur together but I came sharply too, as we broke through the treeline. I gasped quietly at what lay before me.

The land dipped down into a valley, a snaking river cut through a smattering of trees before opening up onto flat plains, stopped only by the jagged peaks I had seen early.

The caravan paused to let the stragglers catch up, giving me more time to take the scene in. Sadness settled into my chest as I wished that Finn and Rose could have been here with me. I rubbed my hand over my aching heart and kept my eyes glued to the horizon as we began to move forward again.

-----------------

It was another hour before the group had all managed to pick their way down into the valley and forded the calf-high river before reaching the spot where the tents would be set up. I was so much in awe of the valley that I hardly noticed when Kylo slid off behind me and then tugged me down after him.

Apparently, the silent ride had given him enough space to think for himself as he spoke with a hint of humor in his deep voice,

“You’ll have all winter to stare at the view, but right now, camp has to be set up.”

I tore my gaze from the mountains and placed it on Kylo’s face. I quirked the corners of my lips,

“I want to find Kaydel, will she be helping me?” I asked, my eyes already scanning the jumble of people fo for the familiar head.

“Yes, she’ll be helping you with the setting up,” Kylo answered, he was loosening the cinch of his saddle as he spoke, “Go find her, I’m sure she’s not far.”

“Ok” I gave the horse’s neck a pat then turned on my heel and beginning to walk away.

“Rey!” I heard Kylo call after me. “Don’t get lost.”

His eyes are serious and lips pulled into a frown as he waits for me to reply. I knew this was basically him saying, Don’t run away,

I turned halfway and look at him, still covered in blood and gore, nothing comes to mind to say so I give him a thumbs up and turn back around. It took only a moment before I spotted Kaydel in the crowd. I felt Kylo’s eyes following me even after Kaydel and I had begun to walk in the direction where the Ren’s tent is usually set up.

---------------------

“We have to be quick about this, Rey.” Kaydel rushed, “The Honoring Ceremony for the fallen men is scheduled a couple of hours from now, I’m sure Kylo will want everything in place when he finally comes to the tent after.”

I nod with hands on my hips as I watch her begin to untie the packs most filled with pelts and clothes laying in the middle of the room. The rugs had already been rolled out and the furniture had just finished being set up.

“Here, I’ll show you how to make up the bed.” Kaydel pulled out the pelts for bedding and I followed her to the bed that had been set up in the corner.

“The brown pelt isn’t for blanketing, the fur side goes down on top of the mattress with the other side facing up, tuck down the edges.” She explained as she tucked the side she was on it. I caught on and finished tucking it in. “Then the black pelt the same way but this one’s your blanket. That’s it for now, there’s a double sided fur with down in between, but that one won’t be necessary until it gets colder out.”

She gestured toward a thick, black felt that lay beside her feet,

“This one will just sit at the end of the bed-”

“Why are you around so much?” I blurted, my cheeks heated as I realized what I said, “No, that’s not what I meant. Why are you with Leia and then me all the time?”

Kaydel looked at me stunned before I finished explaining my original question,

 

“Oh, I’ll be Maiden of Ren, when you are bound and become Lady of Ren.” She explained, “So basically, a companion who helps you out. I’ll be with you most of the time when Kylo Ren isn’t.”

I sat heavily on the corner of the bed, my head in my hands,

“This is so much to take in Kaydel, you have no idea.” I moaned to her.

“Don’t worry, Rey. I’m sure you’ll get used to it eventually.” Kaydel pulled my hands from my face and squeezed them, “And I’ll be there with you every step of the way, I was born to help you.”

I looked up at her quizzically,

“Born to?”

“Yes, born to. My mother was Leia’s Maiden and my grandmother was Maiden to Han Ren’s mother. It’s in my blood to serve the Lady of Ren.” She smiled at me, “But usually my mother would be the one training me to be Maiden of Ren but Leia is very hands on.”

I chuckled and allowed her to pull me to my feet and toward the packs waiting to be emptied and put away.

For the next couple hours, Kaydel and I unpacked, chattering quietly to each other as we did. I had just pulled the cover over the last cushion when a guard stepped into the tent and announced that it was time for the ceremony.

The light atmosphere inside the tent immediately turned somber as our conversation faded, Kaydel and I exchanged looks and followed the guard out of the tent.

The inner circle of tents had just begun to fill with people, but the first thing I noticed was the large platform with the bodies of the fallen on top, kindled with firewood in the very center of the clearing.
Kaydel whispered in my ear that she had to go stand with her family before slipping off, leaving me to follow the guard. I quickly spotted Kylo standing next to his father, Leia standing next to her husband. The guard deposited me next to Kylo with a quick nod before walking away.

Kylo didn’t break conversation with Han as he tugged me closer to him, I cringed at the grimy hand that gripping my forearm. Kylo had not bothered to wash or change out of his battle-worn clothes.

The minutes ticked by slowly before the clearing was completely filled to the brim with clans people. The soft hum of voices quickly died away when Kylo raised his voice to speak,

“I know all of you are shocked at the events of today, that none of you had expected to flee from attack. I also know there has been talk about who was behind this attack on our clan,” He paused a moment, his eyes searching the crowd, “But I have come to you with answers! It is with no doubt in my mind that it was the Korriban Clan that committed this crime.”

I murmurs rose through the crowd as people began to shift uncomfortably.

“If we know who it is, then what are we doing here? We should be retaliating!” Someone screamed.

“Quiet! It is within good reason to be angry but a plan made in minutes will not make victories. Believe me when I say, that Snoke will not get away with this! He will pay for the lives of our men! Snoke will fall!” Kylo shouted vehemently.

The crowd erupted into a fever pitch of yelling and cheering, goosebumps rose on my arms and I couldn’t help but think of all the cheesy battle hype scenes in movies I had watched over the years. But unlike those, this was very much real.

Kylo’s voice rose again and the shouts died down again,

“But before we can seek revenge on Korriban we must honor the men that fought bravely to protect Alderaan.”

A guard handed Kylo a flaming torch, he gripped it in one hand and slowly made his way towards the platform. I felt the heat of the fire as he passed. And without any fanfare or pomp, Kylo threw the torch into kindling around the base and watched to make sure it caught fire before backing away and taking his place beside me once again.

I felt myself fill with emotion as the flames slowly made their way to the fallen men. I sniffed and tried to covertly wipe away the tear that managed to escape the corner of my eye.

Without drawing much attention, Kylo pulled in front of him and place his hands on my shoulders in a comforting gesture, his thumbs every so often swiping against the skin of my neck in no real pattern.

And we stood there, no one moving until the flames were nothing but embers over a pile of ash.

------------

It was much later in the day as Kylo and I walked back to the tent after everyone had dispersed. I moved in ahead of Kylo as he stopped to mumble something at the guard before coming in. I was already lying on the bed, thanking Kaydel in my head for making sure that everything was finished before the ceremony. I closed my eyes, steadying myself against the emotional drainage that had occurred over the course of this day.

Kylo was equally as silent as he moved about the tent. Light rustling came from the right of me and I opened my eyes and turned my head towards the sound, I gasped audibly. Kylo stood in the area of where the clothing was kept, shirtless. But wasn’t the surprisingly creamy skin or the ridges of his abdomen that had caused my shocked outburst. But the mixture of long and short cuts that marred the skin.

I sat up, with my hand covering my mouth and eyes glued to the congealed blood clinging to his injuries. My mouth turned sour the longer I stared. I glanced up to Kylo’s face but it remained impassive exempt for the grimace he held as he worked to raise the fabric over his head. He grunted as he tried to lift it without pulling the cuts on his stomach open.

“Wait,” I said quietly, “let me help.”

He opened his mouth to protest but I cut him off,

“You’ll make it worse,” I argued, “Sit, I can’t reach you.”

He sat gingerly on the edge of the bed, a sullen look on his face. I took a deep breath in through my nose and reached forward to grab the soiled garment with shaky hands. I locked eyes with Kylo as I slowly pulled it over his head and then tossed it to the floor behind me.

I stiffened slightly as he placed his hands on my hips. I came willingly as he pulled me until I stood impossibly close in between his legs, our eyes level with each other. My breath came shallower as I became more and more entranced by Kylo’s deep brown eyes. So hypnotized my his expressive gaze that I didn’t pull away when his face began to lean towards mine.

The kiss was soft, barely there. His lips were surprisingly soft for being such a hard man.

I stood rigid when he pulled away, then came alive when he leaned forward again but this time with a much firmer approach. My lips had just begun to move against his own when,

“Sir, Tarkin is here to see you.” The guard said.

Kylo pulled away abruptly and my cheeks heated as I followed forward with my own before stepping back embarrassed.

Kylo chuckled at my reaction, then in a much more serious tone,

“Very well, let him in.”

The senile healer marched in a moment later, arms loaded with supplies for the injured Ren. I spared no glance at him when I moved away to give him room. He plopped his bag on the spot I had previously been sitting on and I took it as a sign that he didn’t want me near. I curled my lip at no one in particular and went to sit on one of the cushions.

I zoned out as Kylo was being attended to, too absorbed in my thoughts to notice much else. So when Tarkin bustled out the tent, I was surprised at how much time had passed. I turned to look at Kylo, he was still sitting on the bed, a bandage wrapped around his torso. He glances up and crooked his finger at me.

I untangled my legs from beneath me and stood up from the cushion, stretching out my stiff limbs. I made my way towards him but this time keeping a wide berth.

“A little help?” He teased and pointed to his clothing trunk.

I rolled my eyes and grabbed a top from inside the trunk. I made my way back toward him and unceremoniously pulled it over his head before backing up. He slowly put his arms through the holes and then tugged it down with an amused look on his face.

I backed up even further as he stood to his full height,

“You’ll be joining the clan for dinner tonight.”

“B-but we’re not bound yet, Leia said that-” I stuttered.

He cut me off,

“Well I say, Rey,” he came to cup my cheek, “Do not fret though, we will be bound by the end of the week. I have already told Rafe to begin making your ceremonial knife.”

I stood in stunned silence at a loss of words, I opened and closed my mouth a couple of times before,

“Why so soon?” I whispered.

“This battle has made me realize that I need an heir before we seek revenge on Korriban. I can leave no chance that I leave this clan without a rightful leader. I want a child before we move back to the summer grounds” His tone was serious but I could detect wistfulness in the edges of his voice.

The blood leached from my face at his words. I might have been able to get used to the idea of being bound to Kylo but a having a child with him is so much more than I could take. Maybe and I mean maybe, did I see myself pregnant with his child but that was so far ahead of where we are right now. But a child before summer? It was already the beginning of September, if he really meant what he said, that would mean I’d have to be pregnant right away.

He watched me as I put everything together in my head,

“Absolutely not! I hardly even know-” I screeched, but Kylo cut me off before I could continue,

“We can talk about this later, it’s time to eat.” he pulled his hand from my cheek and before I could protest any further, he ushered me out of the tent towards the long table and cushions that had been set up.

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for Kylo and Leia alike to throw me into the duties and routines expected of me. I found myself being told how to tan hides and how wash and make pelts and clothing, my mind stuffed full of skills that I never thought I would know. Each day was jam packed with activity that had me falling exhausted into bed each night and funnily enough, I found that I quite enjoyed the work and camaraderie that began to form with the other women.

“Is the meat not to your liking, Rey?” Kylo hummed lowly into my ear.

I jumped slightly, knocked out of my thoughts before settling back into where Kylo had me tucked into his side and shaking my head,

“No, it’s really good, just in my head I guess,” I offered, smiling softly at him before popping another piece of cooked venison into my mouth.

I turned my attention back to my plate, pushing the remaining food around before grabbing a berry this time. I could feel his eyes on face and he was quiet a few moments before leaning in close to speak,

“Don’t be afraid, I feel it too.”

I instantly knew what he was referring to. Tonight was the night before our binding ceremony, tomorrow I would become a part of the clan and simultaneously, the Lady of Ren.

I finished chewing slowly, taking my time in thinking on how to respond.

“I’m not afraid, just a bit nervous.” I replied lamely.

“Ah, I see,” he said, seeing straight through me. Kylo brushed his fingers down my cheek before turning to continue his conversation with his father from earlier.

I pushed my plate away, no longer hungry. My eyes searched for Kaydel down the long table, hoping that she was finished with her meal. She was but she was busy speaking animatedly to Poe and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get her attention. I sighed debating whether to sit and wait until dinner was officially over or get up to do it.

Fuck it. I needed to pee.

I scooched slightly, angling my back away from Kylo, he was still deep in conversation with Han,his back towards me. I hesitated a moment before reaching up and placing my palm lightly on the curve of his shoulder and squeezed. He kept speaking but reached behind him and patted me on the knee in acknowledgement. I waited a couple more seconds before he finished speaking and leaned back, angling his ear towards me.

“I need to relieve myself and visit Leia.” I explained.

Kylo nodded,

“Remember the rules,” he warned.

“I will,” I replied simply, already unfolding myself from the cushion.

True to Kylo’s promise I never went anywhere without company, whether it be Kylo himself, Kaydel or a guard, I was escorted wherever I went.

I finally locked eyes with Kaydel and jerked my head towards the woods, she nodded and finished up her conversation with Poe before meeting me at the head of the table.

We walked just far enough into the wood, so I could duck behind a tree and relieve myself.

“So you and Poe, huh?” I questioned.

It was silent a few beats as I shimmied my pants down my thighs. Kaydel waited to answer until I finished my business. I rounded the tree and lent against it with my eyebrows raised.

“I know you don’t like him,” She said indifferently, “But my father’s decided that it’s time for me to find a match.”

I bit my tongue, not wanting to offend her with my opinions of the curly-haired asshole.

“If he is not what you want, then I’m sure that I could-”

“No, that won’t be necessary at all. Despite what you think, he can be quite charming.” She interrupted.

I just rolled my eyes and linked arms with Kaydel,

“Well, I hope you were done with dinner because Leia has summoned, and I must go.” I giggled and then quieting down, “I’m assuming she wants to speak to me about the ceremony tomorrow.”

Kaydel didn’t say anything, just leant her head against my shoulder as we made our way to Leia and Han’s tent.

--------------------------

I was currently standing on a cushion wearing only my undergarments watching Leia and Kaydel’s mother, Amilyn, argue about the way my ceremonial dress would be tied. The ‘dress’ was nothing but different strips of gauzy fabric. I eyed it, distrustful of the possible construction of the dress.

“-it’s decided.” I heard Leia finalise.

Leia dug through the trunk full of fabric and pulled out a maroon, opaque piece. An oval was cut in the center.

“Duck,” she instructed.

I bent my head and she slipped the hole over my head, the width of it going no wider than my shoulders. The length of it reaching midcalf the hem tickling my skin. I looked down frowning at the soft hair that had been left to grow.

“The breast band will have to go,” Amilyn thought out loud.

“You’re right, the cowl neck goes too far.” Leia responded.

I looked down, seeing that the neckline exposed the greater portion of my chest. I squeaked as Leia untied my breast band with nimble fingers and let it drop on the cushion beside where I stood.

“Much better,” She quipped, “here, grab the back piece so I can tie the front on.”

Amilyn grabbed another two pieces of gauzy fabric of the same color, handing the front piece to Leia. They moved on either side of me and began tying the fabric together in intricate knots over my shoulders and down my sides. They finished tying the dress just my hips and stepped back, admiring their handiwork. I looked down and twisted my body as best I could so I could see what they did. The skirt portion of it was left loose, exposing the majority of my leg, it closed briefly around my hip to hid the skin of my but only to open again up my side, only interrupted by the criss-crossing of tiny strips of fabric.

I didn’t know what to say, the words too thick in my throat for me to articulate.

I looked up to find the other three women at a loss for words too. Leia’s hand trembled as she covered her mouth, eyes glassy and emotional.

“It’s beautiful,” I whispered finally. A teared slipped down my cheek as I finally came to terms with my situation. This was going to be my life know.

“Oh, Rey! You’re look like an absolute dream.” Leia cried, thrusting her arms around me, “Alright enough of that, out of the dress, we can’t risk it getting dirty for tomorrow.”

Amilyn and Leia began to untie that knots, soon after folding the fabric into neat squares and slipping a long sleeved pelt over my head. I pulled on the pants by myself.

I put on my moccasins and was about to leave with Kaydel to go back to my own tent when Leia stopped me.

“There are still things I need to talk to you about for tomorrow.”

I nodded and bid Kaydela and Amilyn a goodnight before settling myself down onto a cushion beside Leia.

“I know that this life is still very new for you and I wish that my son had gave a few more weeks to grow used to all this, but I’m sure you know by now, once he decides something, he’ll stick to it no matter what.”

“Believe me, I know,” I chuckled.

Amusement twinkled in her eyes as she looked at me. She waited a few seconds, gathering her thoughts,

“I’m going to tell you what you can expect tomorrow like I wish someone had done for me all those years ago, but it’s not as scary as it sounds, I assure you.” She took my hands in hers and squeezed, making me focus my attention, “You will stay with Kylo tonight as usual, most likely he will be gone to hunt for an elk for the feast before you wake and you won’t see him until the ceremony. But before then, Amilyn, Kaydel and myself will come in to help get you ready.”

I inhaled and nodded along.

“When you’re ready and it’s time, I’ll lead you out and drop you off where Kylo will be waiting. You will take the clan member vows first and then once those are done, you will take another set of vows that will bind you to Kylo.” Leia paused a moment to clear her throat, “To complete the official ceremony, you will cut your palm over a ceremonial box and Kylo will do the same, this signifies how your lives will forever be tied together. And that’s pretty much it for the ceremony, we have a big feast after and then you and Kylo will consummate your bond.”

I swallowed uncomfortably at her words, wringing my hands.

“I don’t know if I can do this.” I whispered.

My eyes flicked up to look at Leia. The corners of her lips turned down. She paused to weigh her words. Somewhere off in the distance, a wolf howled.

“I know this is hard, believe me, I’ve been in this position. But as hard as it is for me to say it, you have to. There’s no other choice.” Her voice was grim.

I looked away, trying to hide the crushed expression from Leia. A small part of me had hoped that Leia would tell me that someone else could take my place. That I wasn’t expected to take a position I never wanted.

I sniffled and wiped the my nose along the back of my sleeve. Leia wrapped her arms around me and squeezed tightly.

“C’mon, no tears. I can’t send you back to Kylo with puffy eyes.” She chided, “At best, you come to love Kylo and Alderaan, and at worst, you’ll learn to bear it. I hope for your sake it’s the latter.”

I gave a short laugh and pulled away,

“I should probably get back then,” I said quietly.

I quickly stood up, offering a hand to the former Lady of Ren. She accepted with a gracious smile before walking me to the door. I stepped out by myself after saying goodnight. I pointed to Kylo’s tent across the way and didn’t wait to see if one of the guards would bother to follow me. Rolling my eyes as I heard the second pair of footsteps, I gave my face a final scrub and walked without announcements into my new home.

The tent was empty, Kylo nowhere in sight. I shrugged, not too upset about the opportunity for some time alone. I walked further in and kicked off my shoes at the foot of the bed before plopping down with a yawn. I debated getting up and continuing to work on the pelt that one of the women, Paige, was teaching me how to make a blanket out of but decided I was too tired to think too hard about the project.

I tapped my fingers against my thigh, suddenly made aware how little there was to do when Kylo was absent in the evenings. Kylo wasn’t much for talk often but his presence was company enough. I huffed and leaned all the way backward until I was lying on the bed. It didn’t take long for me to fall asleep with an arm covering my eyes.

 

--------------------

Sometime in the evening, Kylo had returned and slipped into bed without waking me, and further along, I had cuddled myself up against the broad expanse of his back, my face pressed into the smooth skin.

I inhaled sharply as my body fell forward when Kylo sat up, swinging his legs of the side. It was pitch black in the tent, save for the tiny patch of early morning moonlight peaking through the vent directly above the fire pit. I groaned irritated at the disturbance of my sleep. The bed creaked as Kylo twisted his torso to face me. Fingers brushed away the hair that covered my brow before coming to rest upon my cheek and neck. I kept my eyes closed, searching for the lost sleep.

“Sorry to wake you pet, I’m leaving to hunt,” he murmured close to my ear before pressing his plush lips just above my brow. My skin zinged at the contact.

“Go back to sleep, I’ll be waiting for you at the ceremony.” Kylo finished quietly, his lips just faintly brushing my skin as he spoke.

His hand gave one more sweep across my face before pulling away. The kiss from a couple days ago had broken the seal to Kylo’s small attentions. He had started to find little ways to touch me or bring his face nearer to mine.

I didn’t try too hard to stay awake until he left, hearing only the rustling of clothing before falling asleep moments later.

The next time I woke, it was hours later and not by Kylo, but my Kaydel practically jumping onto the bed.

I squeaked and slapped a hand over my chest, willing my heart to slow.

“C’mon and get up, there’s so much to be done. I mean you need to bathe and wash hair, paint, get dre-”

I cut Kaydel off, wiping the sleep from my eyes,

“It’s too early for you to be this energetic,” I whined, “But first, food.”

At the word of food, Amilyn entered the tent carrying a steaming bowl. She handed it to me from where I was still seated in bed with a small smile. I murmured a thanks and immediately tucked in, hardly tasting the porridge and fruit that had been given to me.

I watched as a tub was carried in and filled to the brim by an assortment of women. I set the bowl beside me when I finished and finally decided to tune in to what Kaydel was chattering to me about.

“-it’s been so long since someone has been bound in general, but everyone’s extra excited to see the Ren be bound, since it’s never been done before. I mean, the clan has taken a liking to you.” She lowered her voice considerably, “Plus, I know a few people who are really glad that he didn’t choose Bazine.”

I whipped my head towards her,

“So it isn’t just me that can’t stand her?” I whispered.

Kaydel shook her head with wide eyes before speaking,

“Bazine is a harlot, she’d sleep with anyone to improve her status. That’s how she became one of Kylo Ren’s attendants. Everyone knew her end goal was to be Lady of Ren.”

I hummed in acknowledgement while I spooned the fruit and oats into my mouth. Kaydel left me alone to finish my breakfast, moving back and forth throughout the tent setting items in their right place. Once I was finished I set it down next to the bed and leaned back.

“I wouldn’t get too comfortable, I’m about to bring in the general,” Kaydel chortled, picking up the bowl and disappearing through the flaps.

I rolled my eyes even though she couldn’t see it and swing my legs over the side. Padding over to the filled metal tub, I stuck my fingers in to check the temperature.

“Oh good, you’re up.” Leia’s tone was brusque and business-like, “In the tub, my dear.”

Amilyn and Kaydel filed in shortly after Leia’s words. Thoughts on my modesty filtered through my head but the protest died on my lips as I realized that this would most likely not be the last time I strip down in front of these ladies.

I huffed. Might as well get used to it.

“I’ll probably need help with this,” I said, inclining my injured arm.

Kaydel moved forward and slowly unwrapped my arm from its bindings. I held my breath as she revealed more and more skin of my arm. This would be the first time that I would see the state of my elbow, the other times I had bathed we had opted to keep it on.

I grimaced, the skin of my elbow was swollen grotesquely with black bruising around the joint and extending down my forearm and up my bicep. I knew better than to try and move it. The room fell quiet as Amilyn and Leia’s chatter died down. I glanced up, both of them looking at it with unreadable expressions.

“I’ll go get new bandages for after,” Amilyn was already out the tent before anyone could respond.

I shifted uncomfortably and murmured to Kaydel to help me pull my shirt over my head. She dropped the fabric by her feet and quickly undid my breast band, while I shimmied out of my pants and undergarments. I made quick business in sinking into the water to cover myself.

“Kylo will have to be gentle with you tonight.” Kaydel joked, trying to lighten the sudden somber mood.

I snorted unattractively at her statement and just shook my head. I scrubbed absentmindedly at my skin with my hand, relieved to rid the grimy feeling. Kaydel hummed as she brushed out the tangles in my hair. I shivered in surprise when she dunked water over my head to wet my hair before started to lather the substance into my hair.

Amilyn returned a couple minutes later, cloth in hand along with a couple other items.
She set the bandages down on the cushions where Leia was sitting and made her way over to me. She handed me a small blade and what I assumed soap.

“For your legs,” she mouthed.

“Thank you,” I mouthed back.

I quickly got to work, almost ecstatic at the prospect of finally being able to shave. When I had finished shaving what was necessary, I stepped out and wrapped a pelt quickly around myself. Kaydel had long since finished with my chair.

Just as I sat down a cushion, Leia who I hadn’t notice leave, came through the curtains,

“Kylo has killed a fine boar for the feast,”

“I’ve never had boar before,” I stated absentmindedly.

“It’s amazing, Rey,” Kaydel gushed, “absolutely to die for.”

“Don’t be dramatic, Kay,”Amilyn chided, “but it is very delicious.”

------------------

The process of getting ready was an ordeal, Leia meticulously tied and braided my hair while Kaydel flitted around my face, applying what I could assume was a crude form of makeup. Despite me just sitting there, I felt zapped of energy, wanting nothing more than to just crawl back into the pelts and fur.

Kaydel set down a tray of nuts and berries as Leia put the finishing touches on hair. I gratefully devoured the tray, not realizing how hungry I was.

“And… You’re finished,” Leia clapped her hands together, “Just in time too.”

Amilyn walked into the tent with the fabric of my dress in hand.

“The ceremony will start as soon as Rey is dressed,” Amilyn stated.

I took a shuddering breath, the nerves suddenly catching up with me. Leia ushered me into a standing position and with the help of Amilyn, started to slip the dress over my head then tying the sides. They worked quickly to put together and just like that, I was ready.

“All set,” Leia breathed, “You and Kaydel go and take your spots with the clan, I’ll lead Rey out.” She said to Amilyn.

Amilyn nodded and smiled at me,

“You look stunning, my dear,”

“Thank you,” I mumbled back, wringing my hands back and forth.

Kaydel followed her mother out the door, leaving me with a thumbs up and bright smile. All that was left in the tent was me and Leia. She stepped in front of me, fussing with bits of hair here and there before clasping her hands together.

“Do you remember what I told you last night?” She asked.

I nodded stiffly.

She sighed,

“Don’t be nervous, the hard part will be over before you know it,” she took my hands in hers and I held on for dear life, “You will be the best wife to Kylo that he could have, and the perfect Lady of Ren, do not doubt your abilities for a second.”

“Thank you so much for everything Leia, I’m glad to have met you,” I answered teary eyed, I pulled her in for a one armed hug to which she gladly accepted.

She pulled away, with tears of her own in her eyes,

“Now, let’s not wait any longer… You ready?”

I wanted to shake my head no, no that I wasn’t ready, that wouldn’t ever be ready but instead, I straightened my shoulders and gave a short, determined nod.

And with that, I let the past die.

Chapter Text

1, 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3, 4. In and out, Rey. In and out. I thought to myself as I fought to steady my breathing.

The crisp air bit at my exposed skin and I shivered. Everyone that had gathered around the small platform was sensibly dressed in long sleeves and furs, yet here I was, in a practically sheer dress that showed more skin that it covered.

Each passing second, Leia and I drew closer to the platform, closer to Kylo, closer to the sealing of my fate. I inhaled through my nose and stilled my darting eyes, when I exhaled, I focused them on Kylo’s still form.

His ensemble was different than his everyday clothes. Instead of the pale tan hide that most people used in their clothing, dark greys and blacks made up his pants and shirt. Draped around his shoulders was a black cloak adorned with red stitching, the collar fur-lined. My eyes drifted up to rest on his face as Leia and I came to a stop in front of the platform. With a final squeeze of her hand, Leia unthreaded her arm from mine and left to stand by Han.

Kylo’s face was impassive as he observed me. His eyes dark and lingering, they trailed the lines of my body. Started from the skin of my thigh left exposed from the slit, up my pale side, then across by bony collar bones until they rested on my face. I held his gaze unflinchingly until he lowered his palm in front of me. I raised my own and slide it along the calloused skin before gripping it. I tried to haul myself up onto the platform as gracefully as I could. Once I stood facing Kylo with my shoulder and side to the crowd, Kylo dropped my hand and stepped forward. It only took mere seconds for the quiet whispers of the people to quiet down to silence.

“Today, we will not only welcome a new member into the Alderaanian Clan, we will also welcome the new Lady of Ren!” Kylo’s voice boomed over the crowd.

His eyes roved over the faces in the crowd as if waiting for an objection, when none came, he turned to face me,

“Kneel, Rey.” He commanded, tone firm.

Here goes, I thought to myself.

I slowly sunk down to my knees and arranged the skirts of dress around my knees as not to rip it. When I finished I looked up at Kylo’s looming figure, my face only reaching his lower stomach. He gave an almost imperceptible nod down at me before grabbing a stone bowl from the table behind him. I furrowed my eyebrows wondering how I missed that piece of furniture.

Kylo dipped his thumb into the bowl and pulled it out the burgundy colored tip,

“Do you Rey, pledge your loyalty to the Alderaan Clan and all those who dwell in it?”

“Yes, I do.” I answered back, willing my voice to come out steady and confident.

“Then Alderaan’s loyalty is yours,” Kylo reached forward with his thumb and swiped the liquid down the center of my face, from forehead to chin.

I blinked stunned at the action, unaware that this was a part of the ceremony. Before I could even think about what the substance was Kylo went on, dipping his finger in the bowl again,

“Do you promise to aid in the successful running of Alderaan.”

“I do.”

“Then Alderaan’s aid is yours,” Kylo responded, this time his thumb swiped one line across my left cheek. “Do you vow to keep the peace and lead no rebellion against the Ren of Alderaan?”

I met Kylo’s eyes and nearly flinched away at their intensity but I held my ground,

“I do.”

“Then Ren of Alderaan will serve for you.” His thumb hovered near my face as if thinking of where to put it next before swiping four short dashes above the curve of my right brow.

“Are you willing to lay down your life in order to protect the people of Alderaan if needed?” Kylo’s voice rang with finality and I knew that after I gave my answer I would be officially a part of this clan.

I took a shaky breath in and blew it out, closing my eyes before steeling myself for the words that would seal my fate,

“I am.” I finished, my voice strong and determined. I opened my eyes and waited for Kylo’s final words,

“Then Alderaan will give life for yours.” His thumb then drew two lines across my right cheek, “Now rise, Rey of Alderaan.”

I filled with emotion that I couldn’t fully put my finger on, my throat thick and heavy. Looking down, I blinked away the mist in my eyes while gathering the fabric pooled around my knees when I looked back up Kylo’s hand was offered for help up. I slide my hand in his, using it as balance as I unfurled my stiff knees.

Kylo didn’t let go of my hand, leaning forward to mumble into my ear,

“We’re moving right into the binding, my mother didn’t tell you this for tradition sake but you will be creating my battle marks as you take we take our vows.”

“What do you mean?” I whispered back as he pulled away, he just quirked an eyebrow at me before looking toward where Chewie, the history keeper, was making his way onto the platform.

In his hands was an ornately carved box, covered in whorls of different leaves. I tracked it with my eyes, unable to peel them away from its beauty. Chewie set the boxy gently down on the table and turned to face out toward the crowd. Without any further words, Chewie thrust the liquid filled bowl into my hands and declared loudly,

“For every vow Kylo Ren gives you, give him the battle marks befitting of him.” He paused, and then, “Do you, Kylo Ren, swear to protect Rey of Alderaan against any and all danger?”

Kylo turned his head to stare intensely into my eyes and bent down slightly.

“I swear.”

I took that as my cue and dipped my thumb into the bowl, and without much thought I dragged three diagonal lines through his right brow and eye. When I pulled my hand back Chewie continued.

“Do you vow to heed Rey of Alderaan’s advice when it is given?”
“I do,” Kylo rumbled.

I dipped into bowl again and this time with a more sure hand, made three swooping lines across his left cheek. After I finished, I pulled my hand back and stuck my thumb into the bowl, waiting for the next vow.

“Do you, Kylo Ren promise to remain faithful to Rey of Alderaan from this moment on until your death?” Chewie’s voice rang with finality over the crowd.

“I swear it,” Kylo vowed.

And with that I place my final mark upon his face, a stripe from the cupid’s bow of his full lips to the rounded edge of his chin. My thumb lingered on his chin a few moments too long before I pulled away, exchanging the bowl for a rag to wipe the excess liquid of my hands, handing it back after I was done.

Chewie delicately lifted the carved box into his hands and opened the lid, the inside of the box was the same dark washed wood of the exterior and otherwise empty.

“Then, Kylo Ren, seal your blood to this and be bound.”

At Chewie’s words, Kylo reached into his cloak and pulled a long, jagged knife from his belt. The blade glinted in the lowering sunlight, the onyx surprisingly bright. His hand gripped the smooth, bone handle tightly as he leveled the blade over his left palm. I could feel his burning gaze on my face as he sliced a line in the pale skin, deep enough to draw blood.

I met his gaze as he raised the injured fist over the box and didn’t break it has he clenched it. I heard the pittering as the droplets hit the wood a few times before the blood flow had stopped, Kylo drew his hand back and wiped the edge of his blade on his pants before tucking it back into his pants.

Chewie didn’t close the box, instead he turned to me, I realised that it was now time for me to take the final set of vows.

“Do you Rey of Alderaan, promise your loyalty and submission to Kylo Ren?”

I bit my tongue and answered begrudgingly,

“I do.”

“Do you swear to stand behind Kylo Ren in times of trouble?”

“I swear,” I shifted my eyes from where they were looking at Chewie to rest on Kylo’s face.

“Do you, Rey of Alderaan, promise to remain faithful to Kylo Ren from this moment on until your death?”

“I promise,” my voice steady and filled with conviction I didn’t know I possessed.

Before Chewie could say another word, Kylo was slipping my knife into my hands. I marveled at it as my fingers wrapped around the peculiar hilt, not wanting to openly gaulk at it, I kept my eyes forward and waiting.

“Then, Rey of Alderaan, seal your blood to this and be bound.”

I flicked my eyes up and met Kylo, who gave me a reassuring gaze. I slowly lifted my hands up and unfurled my right palm from its clenched position. I then lined the blade of the knife with my waiting skin and without anymore thought dug the sharp edge in, wincing slightly.

With the blade finally in my view, I took a few seconds to observe it. The blade was the same onyx shade but the handle was different. Instead of the smooth bone on Kylo’s, it appeared to be the jawbone of an animal, a row of teeth still embedded in the structure.

When enough blood had bubbled to the surface of my skin, I fisted it again and tipped it over the waiting box. And with the first drop of blood, my fate was sealed. I held my hand over the box until the last of it had dropped and then pulled it back. Kylo was already handing me a rag to clean my hand off with, I gratefully accepted but soon frowned in disappointment as he slid the knife out of my palm and tucked it into his pants. I bit back a protest, not wanting to cause a scene in front of the whole clan.

Our silent exchange was interrupted with the snap of the lid as Chewie closed it. At the sound, it felt as though the whole clan waited with bated breath for his next words.

“People of Alderaan, the Lady of Ren” Chewie boomed.

The crowd of people erupted into mild cheers, mostly from the women of the clan that I had managed to befriend. Their male counterparts were more subdued in their celebration.

Kylo and I turned to fully face the crowd, his hand resting on my shoulder as we stood in front of the clan, united. Bound.

“Now we feast, Rey.” Kylo mumbled down into my ear before stepping off the stage.

He turned and helped me down too, my hands on his shoulders as he all but lifted me off. I winced as my cut palm rubbed against the fabric of his cloak. Once my feet hit the ground a pair of arms wrapped tightly around my torso, squeezing hard enough to disrupt my breathing.

“I’m so happy, I never thought this day would come,” breathed a teary-eyed Leia, she pulled back and held me at arms’ length“Okay, let’s go get some food.”

I nodded at her with my lips quirked up into a soft smile. Kylo placed his hand on my lower back and I looked up at him. He jerked his head silently in the direction where the rest of the clan had already began to filter out of. I looked around me, just now realising that bonfire and long table was missing from the clearing.

We began to follow the rest of the crowd in unhurried steps, the party would obviously not start without us. As we walked I was bombarded with thoughts of the future, long term and short term, like,

What responsibilities would I be expected to take on now that I was Lady of Ren? Would Kylo get tired of me now that I was his? What’s going to happen tonight after the feast and celebration?

I started to feel my chest to get tight and breath getting more shallow so, with a conscious effort to get myself out of my head, I decided to ask Kylo some questions as we walked.

“Why doesn’t the clan stay here year round?” I blurted, “I mean, if it doesn’t snow as bad here then it could have good weather during the summer months too.”

Kylo turned his head towards me, his facial expression slightly surprised before drifting back down into a cool exterior.

“Food supply, mainly. If we stay in either place too long, the elk and bison learn where they’re safe and where they’re hunted. The first year that I was Ren, I made the mistake of trying to stay in the Winter Grounds all year only to watch the herds scatter and dwindle.” He replied.

“Oh,” I hummed, somewhat surprised at the depth of his answer.

Before I could ask another question, we broke out of the ring of tents and out into where the table and fire were set up. Guards stood far out into the distance, watching the perimeter of the gathering. The majority of clan was milling around out in the clearing with the rest coming in from behind us. No one had sat down at the table yet. But from what I could see, there were plates of food lining the table top. My stomach grumbled at the aroma that I could smell wafting from every plate. I inhaled deeply, almost feeling drunk off of it.

Kylo made a beeline to the head of the table, nudging me along beside him.

“Your seat from now on,” He murmured quietly while gesturing to the cushion to the right of the head of the table.

I nodded to myself and moved away from the hand resting against my back. As soon as Kylo started to seat himself, I followed. Once we were both seated the clan followed, filling in the spaces, thankfully Kaydel seated herself next to me. I smiled softly at her, a gesture in which she returned.

“Hungry?” I asked lightheartedly.

“Positively starving,” Kaydel gushed, her lips stretched over her teeth in a wide grin.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Kylo begin to reach across and grab my plate. I leaned back, briefly catching the eye of Poe, whose face only seemed to get more sour with each passing second.

“Poe,” I quipped in greeting. If he was Kylo’s second in command and soon-to-be bound to Kaydel, we’d have to learn to be civil towards each other. So despite my apprehensions about him, I wanted to be the bigger person.

“Lady of Ren,” Poe responded gruffly.
I nodded in acknowledgment, slightly smug at the fact he had to use my title when addressing me. I twisted back in my seat just in time for Kylo to set my plate back in front of me. It was filled from edge to edge with an assortment of fruit and a large pile of steaming boar meat. My stomach growled audibly and I placed a hand on my abdomen, willing it to stop. Kaydel was too engrossed in conversation with Poe to notice but the faint grin on Kylo’s lips as he fixed his own plate was telling enough.

And with a newfound boldness,

“Oh, shut up. I’ve been waiting all day for this,” I scolded.

Kylo guffawed, setting his plate down shakily. I was vaguely aware of the rest of the clan beginning to fix their plates once he was finished with his.

“Then eat, Rey, Lady of Ren.” He replied.

You don’t have to tell me twice.

And with that, I dug into my plate.

---------------------------

I slouched in my seat, feeling as though my stomach might burst from the amount of food I had consumed. Kaydel really wasn’t kidding when she said that boar was to die for. By now, the food had been cleared off the table and people had begun to wonder from the table to the area around the bonfire. I rubbed my hand down my arm, becoming chilled even more now that the sun had begun its descent.

I was knocked back into reality as Kylo draped his cloak around my shoulders. I turned to face him.

“We’ll move closer to the fire in a moment, but first I have something to give you,” He said, the low timbre of his voice still audible above the chatter.

I furrowed my brow as he handed me a pelt wrapped bundle. My fingers fiddled with the leather string a few moments before beginning to cautiously untie it, suddenly self-conscious under Kylo’s intense stare. I glanced up at him before unfolding the edges of the pelt, revealing a brown leather pouch. I stared at it confused for a second before picking it up and taking a closer look.
“A holster for you to carry your knife,” Kylo explained.

My chest warmed at the realization and before I could help myself, my lips pulled back into a face-splitting grin. Though it was a gift I never thought I would receive in a million years, I was genuinely in love with it.

“Oh, Kylo I-” I gushed, peeling my eyes from where they were marveling at the gift to his face, “I love it, thank you. Thank you.”

Kylo’s face was the brightest and most light-hearted than I’ve ever seen it before. The usually dark features were visibly happy that I liked the gift so much. I set the holster onto the now cleared table and pulled myself to my knees, giving me leverage to lean closer to Kylo’s sitting form. With more boldness than I thought I was capable of, I placed my right hand on his cheek, angling it towards me and placed a chaste kiss atop of the scarred skin.

Kylo placed his hand over mine, still cradling his cheek, as I pulled back to mouth another soft thank you.

Then in an equally soft yet intense voice,

“You shall never want for anything as long as I breathe. I will always provide for you. Merely ask and it is yours.”

My breath caught in my throat at his intensity. I had never been materialistic, being practical with my wants and needs had been the only way for me to make it. So hearing the devotion and promise in my now husband’s voice, cast a warmness and giddiness in my belly that could only be explained as one thing, attraction.

I broke out of my thoughts when Kylo released the hand holding mine to his cheek and moved away from my touch, reaching into his waistband and pulling my knife out.

“Stand,” He commanded gruffly, our moment of affection and gentleness gone.

I stood quickly, almost scrambling to my feet. I watched as he set the knife down on the table and picked up the holster from where I had set it. He moved from a sitting to a kneeling position in front of me before brushing the fabric of the skirt of my left thigh. I awkwardly fidgeted with the cloak still draped around my shoulders, trying to ignore the goosebumps his deft fingers raised whenever they brushed against my skin as he tied the holster around my upper thigh.

Once finished, he slid the blade into the holster and sat back on his heels as he watched me twist and turn my thigh to look at it. Brushed my fingers down it, admiring the craftsmanship, making a mental note to thank the creator of it.

“Beautiful,” I murmured, still enraptured by it.

“Yes, now go dance with Kaydel before she explodes,” Kylo quipped.

I jerked my head up at his words, twisting to find Kaydel not sitting down but looking at me with intensely hopeful eyes as music began to softly play before building in volume.

“Oh, but I don’t-” I began, only to be interrupted.

“Don’t worry, Kaydel will be happy to teach you the steps.” Kylo replied.

My eyes narrowed at him as I picked up the amusement in his voice. I wanted to protest again but he just inclined his head towards Kaydel’s pleading form. I sighed, irritated at being dismissed before spinning and all but stomping off to where Kaydel was standing.

“Well, don’t you look badass with your knife and all.” Kaydel sang.

“Ugh, don’t push me if you’re going to make me dance.” I retorted.

-----------------------------

I tried. Keyword tried. Kaydel had done her best to teach me the steps and general moves of the Alderaan clan, but I had never been good at dancing before. I wobbled through the motions, my clumsy limbs only hindered by the fact that I could only use one arm to balance.

“Jesus Christ, Kaydel!” I wheezed, out of breath and sweaty, “You’re gonna kill me if we don’t slow down.”

“Oh, come on Rey!” She whined, “Aren’t you having fun?”

“No,” I protested, bending over to put my hand on my knee as we finally slowed to a stop.

Alderaanian wedding dancing was way too much cardio for me. I straightened up after catching my breath slightly and looked at her pouting face. I rolled my eyes and shook my head as she began to protest again.

“Why don’t you go dance with Poe,” I suggested, “He looks like he’s just dying for a dance.”

Despite my words, Poe definitely did not look like he wanted to dance judging by the scowl twisting his features as he sat slumped on a cushion near the edge of the throng of dancing clan members. Kaydel followed my gaze, a mischievous grin beginning to take root.

“Only, if you dance with your husband.” She teased.

“Most definitely not,” I snorted, “Besides, I’m way too hot right now. I think I’ll just go sit.”

Kaydel was surprisingly silent as I finished my thought. Offering no sort of protest as he looked up and over my shoulder, chewing on her lip trying to hide a smile. I brushed off her weird behavior and slung a goodbye over my shoulder as I turned, only to walk straight into a wall of muscle.

“Oof,” I grunted, stepping back and finally looking up into the face of none other than my husband.

He regarded me as my cheeks burned bright red before speaking with a raised brow,

“Now, what is so awful about dancing with your Ren?”

My mouth opened and closed like a fish as I searched for words.

“O-oh, nothing. I just figured that you wouldn’t want to.” I squeaked, my fingers playing with the strings of his cloak.

“Awful bold of you to assume that,” he mused quietly.

I stood still as his fingers came up to untie his cloak from my shoulders. I helped him slide it off my body, immediately grateful for the cool air that now brushed my chest and arms. Kylo made quick work of folding it in half and handing it to Kaydel, who was still standing off to the side.

“Take this to my tent before returning to the festival, Kaydel.”

Kaydel gathered the cloak into her hands and dipped her head before heading out into the ring of tents.

Kylo offered his hand, which I took reluctantly and followed him closer to the raging fire. The warmth of the flames licked my skin, feeling nice against the cooling sweat that clung to my skin. I huffed a sigh and looked around to take note of the style of dance people were doing now, mustering up my own limited knowledge of the dance.

Now that I had stopped moving for a period of time, I could feel the weariness start to sink into my bones.

“Kylo, I’m too tired for this,” I pleaded, looking up into his face.

His face was soft and eyes dark as he looked down at me with a crooked smile,

“Good thing I can do all the work,” He grinned before leaning down closer to my ear, “Rest up Rey, our night is far from over.”

His full lips planted an open-mouthed kiss below my ear and I tilted my head to the side unconsciously as his lips continued to work their way down the length of my jaw before leaving a lingering kiss to the corner of my lips.

He pulled back, smirking down at my boneless state. Kylo chuckled again and gently lifted me up to stand on his feet as I tried to regroup my frazzled thoughts. I had enough brain to lift my good arm up and wrap it around the back of his neck as he began to move effortlessly through the crowd. Occasionally picking me up and spinning and twirling me around. It wasn’t long before I was dizzy with laughter and enjoying myself more than I ever thought I could.

I could hear the cheers and whistles from my now people as Kylo and I moved around and around the fire to the beat of the drums and wood flute. But I didn’t give them too much thought, too caught up in Kylo’s strong embrace.

We danced for what seemed like only minutes but must have been hours judging from how pitch black the sky was when we finally stopped. I breathless from dancing and my hair was windblown, falling out of the intricate braid it had been in. Despite the burn in my limbs from dancing so long, I felt awake and alive.

And when the time came for Kylo and I to join as one, I felt no nervousness or apprehension as I was led me into the night and away from the clan and bonfire. There was nothing to explain what had changed my mind, whether I was drunk off the adrenaline or off Kylo. All I knew was that I followed him willingly away and into the rest of my life.

Chapter Text

The further we walked from the celebration the more the adrenaline and giddiness began to wear off. Leaving me to sober up slightly as nerves began to slowly creep up my bones. My palms began to sweat and I resisted the urge to pull my hand out of Kylo’s to wipe it off on my skirt.

Was I making the right choice? Did I give up too easily? Should I still be fighting to make it home?

The thoughts swirled around my head making me dizzy. I let out a silent breath through my nose and lifted my eyes to the sky, searching for answers in the stars. Despite having been within the clan somewhere in Wyoming for some nights I had never looked at the stars, never gave them much thought. The city lights and smog covering them too much to truly appreciate.

I hadn’t realized that I had stopped walking in my admiration until I felt a sharp tug as Kylo moved on without me. I stumbled a bit before refocusing my eyes upward. Fabric brushed against my bare arm as Kylo came to stand beside me, his face turned upward as well.

“I’ve never really seen the stars,” I confessed, “It never got dark enough to see them with all the lights.”

Kylo was silent a few beats before speaking,

“How lost one can be without the stars. Without them, we’re left in darkness, forced to stumble through the night with nothing to guide us. Never knowing where we’re going.”

My eyes began to water as Kylo finished speaking. Without even knowing it, he had summed up what I had felt the entire time I was in Chicago. I had never lived my life meaningfully, never truly did something with purpose. I did what I had to do to survive and nothing more. Never knowing what direction to take myself.

A quiet sob escaped my throat as the doubts and questions flew out of my head. I had finally found the stars, the light that would keep me from stumbling and flailing through the dark. And they were right above the Alderaanian Clan.

Kylo looked down at me questioningly, I just shook my head and launched myself into his arms. He grunted as my torso thumped against his before our lips connected in a wet kiss, tears still leaking down my cheeks.

----------------------------------------

We all but fell through the flaps of our tent, a tangle of limbs as we tried to get as close together as possible. There was nothing gentle or slow about the way we moved, the kiss was fast and bruising as we stumbled around in the dim light.

Our movement through the tent stopped when the back of my calves hit the edge of the mattress. I broke away panting, trying to catch my breath. Kylo rested his forehead against mine, shoulders rising and falling under where my palm rested against his chest.

“You don’t know what you do to me,” Kylo rumbled lowly, “Or the things that I want to do to you.”

My breath hitched at his words and I shifted as the warmth between my thighs began to burn with even more intensity than before. His hands began their ascent up my body, warm palms sliding up the contour of my hips and sides, past my neck before resting on either side of my cheeks.

Kylo lent down, leveling his lips with mine before hesitating slightly. Warm puffs of air hit my face and I waited with bated breath for what he would do next.

The faint laughter and music that still reached us from the party faded into silence until Kylo and I’s broken breaths were heard.

And then finally, finally, Kylo’s lips met mine. It was gentle and soft, wholly unlike the others before it. Yet somehow, so much more intense and I almost felt as I could feel his emotions flowing through me.

My fist clutched at the fabric of his tunic, pulling him closer as I took the initiative to deepen the kiss. He parted his lips with a groan and I took the opportunity to slip my tongue against his.

I reveled in the kiss and soon, my right hand was clutching at the hem of his top. I tugged it upwards, cursing at my inability to get it up and off with only one hand. Kylo broke from the kiss and stepped back, quickly yanking the tunic over his head. He let it drop to his feet wordlessly.

Though, I had seen Kylo practically naked as he crawled into the sheets every night, the sheer size and muscle of him never ceased to draw my eye. I looked away from his intense gaze and instead turned my eyes to the muscle of his abdomen. I move closer to him and placed my hand on the ridges of his muscled stomach and let my fingers tickle over the indents as I drew my hand upwards, finally placing it over his heart and pec. It satisfied me to feel that his heart was beating almost as fast as mine.

I glanced up as he placed his hand over mine, giving me a soft smile. My lips curved shyly upwards and I took a deep breath inwards and then out,

“Take me to bed,” I breathed.

I moved back and instead of untying the delicate knots at my sides, I pushed the neckline and straps off my shoulders, my hips barely squeezing through the narrow opening.

My heart hammered in my chest and I couldn’t help the shaking in my hands as I pushed the fabric down. The dress fell around my feet, leaving me in only my plain panties. I straightened up and fought the urge to cross my hands over my chest, my fingers fidgeted at my side as I willed myself to own my body.

Kylo said nothing for what felt like forever as I felt the heat of his gaze fall upon my skin. I stared at a spot over his shoulder too nervous to see his face.

“Rey,” He breathed, taking a step forward until our torsos touched.

I gasped audibly as my nipples dragged against the planes of his upper abdomen. Kylo’s lips quirked into a cocky smirk before descending onto my neck. I lolled my head to the side and my eyes drifted shut as his plush lips worked down my throat, alternating between open mouth kisses and sharp nips.

My hand threaded itself through the thick strands as he continued his quest down and over my collarbones. He slowed his ministrations as he came to the swell of my breast.

A whimper escaped my throat as his lips left my skin completely, my chest heaving as I panted.

Then, Kylo’s lips were wrapped around my nipple, tongue laving lazily over the swollen bud.

The contact was an unleashing, my back bowed, pushing my chest further into Kylo. A loud, low-pitched moan erupted from my chest. I could feel the smug expression on his face as he pulled back with an obscene pop, quickly moving his attentions to my other breast.

All too soon, Kylo pulled back completely from my chest. He planted a lingering kiss against my lips before standing to his full height. I looked up at him with hooded eyes, mind hazy as I slowly lowered myself to sit on the edge of the bed. Our eyes stayed locked as I scooted backward away from the edge.

My eyes stayed planted on his even when he began to untie the lacings of his pants then yanking the fabric down his thighs and stepping out of them. I leaned back on my elbows as Kylo came to kneel on the end of the bed.

“Should you do the honors or shall I?” He quipped.

I mulled his words over in my head before,

“You,” I said, my voice barely above a whisper.

“I was hoping you’d say that.” Kylo joked, biting the corner of his lip as he smiled.

I jumped slightly as his calloused hands came to rest against the curve of my hips. Our eyes finally broke as he lowered his head to press his lips above my belly button. I held my breath as his fingers hooked into the band of my underwear and began to pull down.

His lips followed the path of revealed skin as he continued to slowly pull them off, leaving a trail of fire and goosebumps in his wake.

I blew out a breath and lifted my hips, thighs tensing at how I was finally laid bare before him. I turned my eyes from the ceiling to look at Kylo, hoping to catch his eyes.

But he wasn’t looking at my face, instead, his dark chocolate eyes were scanning my body as if he was getting ready to eat me alive.

His gaze made me nervous and left me feeling even more exposed than I already was. Suddenly feeling self-conscious, I made a move to draw my legs up and cover my breast with my arms. But before I could totally clam up, Kylo gripped my bent knees and angled them to where he could fit his torso in between, his hands caging either side of my head.

He kept my gaze as his hand trailed down my body. Brushing over the curve of my breath and over my stomach.

The moan that escaped my lips startled me as Kylo wasted no time in finding the bundle of nerves at the top of my core and beginning to rub lazy patterns over it, teasing me. I reveled in the pleasure that tingled up my spine but it wasn’t nearly enough.

I shifted my hips under his touch and widened my thighs even more, hoping that he’d get the message. Kylo lifted his head from where it was nestled in my neck, lips pursed and one eyebrow raised.

“Greedy, Rey.” He chuckled, “Ask nicely.”

Kylo’s thumbed slowed to an unbearable pace and I whined as the end I was chasing started to recede further and further back. I bucked my hips trying to egg him on but he only clicked his tongue at me and began to pull away.

“Wait,” I almost shouted, nails digging into the pale skin of his shoulder to keep him in place, “please, more. I-I need more.”

“Good girl,” He cooed in my ear, “ good girls get what they want.”

Without any hesitation, Kylo set a punishing pace on my clit as his finger made tight circles. My back bowed at the sensation and he took the opportunity to wrap his plump lips around a nipple, sucking on it harshly.

I hitched my thigh over his waste as a tip of a finger nudged experimentally at my entrance before sliding in without much resistance.

“So wet,” Kylo mumbled, as he began to pump it in and out.

I moaned loudly and twisted my head to kiss at the side of Kylo’s neck, nipping at it with my teeth. But before I could go any further he pulled back abruptly, sitting upon his knees.

The temperature had risen inside the tent and I could see the beads of sweat beginning to form on Kylo’s chest. I watched one slowly roll down his skin in a trance, not able to focus on anything but his finger inside of me.

I could feel the orgasm beginning to reach its peak when my muscles began to twitch and tighten around the contours of Kylo’s digit.

“Almost there?” He questioned lowly.

His answer was nothing more than small whimpers and pants. His finger left my body for only a moment before being joined by another. I cried out at the intrusion, twisting my eyes shut at the increased sensation.

My mouth fell open as I began to feel the beginning of the end.

“Come on, Rey.” Kylo grunted, “Let go.”

And with that, he gave a particularly hard thrust of the hand. His palm bumping my clit as his fingers curled to brush against the front of my walls, and that was it.

I fell over the edge, my fingers fisted the sheets and toes curling. Black crept into the edges of my vision and I was vaguely aware of a high keening sound escaping my throat.

The heat and throbbing of my orgasm washed over me in waves, seeming to go on forever with no end of sight as Kylo’s fingers gently worked me through it. He crooned soft praises into my ear as I came down from the high.

I slumped back against the pelts breathing heavily as it finally ended. He pulled away from my neck and slowly withdraw his digits, my eyes widened as he slipped them into his mouth, watching me with hooded eyes as he rose up to his knees. I sat upright, not liking the way he loomed over me.

My eyes drifted from his face and down his torso until they landed on the tented front of his boxers. His cocked strained against the fabric, leaving a wet spot from its weeping head.

Feeling emboldened by my orgasm he had given me, I palmed it over the fabric and listened to the deep groan Kylo gave in response. I bit back the smirk that threatened to spread across my lips as I quickly gripped the band of his underwear and pulled it down until he sprung free from its confines.

It was thick and long, resting just below his navel and unbelievably more impressive than when I had seen it flaccid the first night I slept in his bed at the summer grounds. A flush crept up my neck as I realized that I had just stared at it for a few moments too long.

I traced a finger along a protruding vein from base to head, wanting to tease Kylo as he had teased me. I lightly brushed over the slit and watched his cock twitch before wrapping my palm around his length and pumping it lightly before increasing my tempo.

Kylo was mostly quiet through my ministrations, only letting out short growls and grunts as my wrist flicked up and down. I glanced up, worried that I was doing something wrong but his head was thrown back and jaw clenched as he fought to restrain himself.

It was all the reassurance I needed before I swiped my thumb across the underside of his head at the end of a long stroke and leaned forward to press an open mouth kiss to his muscled hip. I nibbled and sucked my way down until I reached his thick base and then proceeded to lick a hot stripe up the underside before engulfing him in my mouth.

My lips stretched over the soft skin and I widened my jaw in hopes to take him all. It was then that kylo lost control over himself, his fingers threaded through the hair at my nape and used it to direct me lightly.

“Touch yourself,” Kylo nearly growled.

I whimpered around his length at the command, my hand snaking down from where it clutched his hip to my apex.

I rubbed erratic circles over my clit, struggling to focus on both things at once. My thighs began to tremble as my pleasure began to build once again. I moaned around his length feeling the beginnings of my climax.

Kylo’s hips bucked at the sensation and I gagged as his cock hit the back of my throat, muscles clenching around the head. He let out a strangled groan,

“Enough.”

His fingers tightened in my hair, pulling my head backward. He fell from lips, a string of saliva falling with it before landing down my chin and throat. I squeaked as I lost my balance and fell back onto the bed.

Kylo’s face was flushed and strands of raven hair stuck to the sides. His chest heaved as he caught his breath, staring down at me with a predatory look. My cunt throbbed painfully as I waited for him to do something. I whined in frustration before deciding to take matters into my own hands.

I fixed him with an impatient look before I brushed my right hand down my front. My index and middle had just parted my folds in search of my entrance when Kylo snatched it with a growl,

“Did I say you could do that?”

I tugged backward trying to loosen his grip but was unsuccessful.

“Then stop staring and just fuck me before I find someone else to do it!” I spit back.

My words had the reaction I was looking for. Kylo’s face twisted savagely with jealousy as he fell forward, hooking the back of my left thigh over his forearm and then yanking my one useful arm over my head before pinning it to the mattress. He leaned his chest down as far as he could without crushing my still injured arm.

“I’ll ruin you for anyone else, Rey.” He snarled possessively, “You’re mine.”

And with that, he slammed his hips forward, burying himself to the hilt inside me.

I screamed, unprepared for the wave of pleasure that coursed through my veins from a single stroke.

Kylo gave me no time to adjust as he took off at a relentless pace. His hips continued to hit against mine, pubic bone at the perfect angle to bump against my clit after every motion.

I forced my eyes open, searching for his deep pools of brown. I met his gaze as he looked down at me, watching me with a look of pure male pride as I lost myself under him.
“Kylo,” I breathed, finding myself climbing higher and higher towards my peak.

I strained my head upward, wanting to feel his lips against mine.

He bent farther down meeting them gently, so unlike his bruising thrusts. Even though they were slow and leisurely I was unable to keep up, my brain to addled to focus on anything more than taking his thrust.

Kylo released my hand before smoothing it down my shoulder and palming breast and tweaking my nipple. I cried out at the sensation, hand moving from where it fisted the sheets beside my head to thread through Kylo’s hair.

He grunted as I pulled too tightly as his hips began to stutter in rhythm.

“Fuck,” He moaned lewdly.

He sat up slightly and maneuvered my other thigh over his forearm and leaning back down. My hips canted upwards, changing the angle of his thrusts and I cried out as the head of his cock bumped against my g-spot. I clenched around his member, causing a groan to slip from his lips as his face screwed tightly, trying to stave off his impending orgasm.

Black began to creep up into the edges of vision as he continued to hit that spot inside me. I teetered on the edge, mumbling incoherent nonsense as I chased my climax. As if sensing my struggle, Kylo’s hand brushed down my body to the place we were connected. He pinched the bundle of nerves lightly before making only one circle before I fell off the edge completely.

My head fell back as I wailed loudly, not caring that the canvas tent would do little to hide my pleasure. My fingers which dug into his toned shoulder raked down his back, drawing blood in their wake.

Kylo came with a shout not long after as my walls clenched and pulsed around him. A moment of panic shot through my brain as his spend coated my insides, but it was fleeting and quickly overridden by the pleasure still running its course. He collapsed against my chest, struggling to keep his weight off me as he came down.

Kylo recovered quicker than I did, rolling off me and leaving my boneless legs to flop haphazardly on the mattress. He scooted towards the edge and was about to stand when my fear of abandonment shot through me for the first time in years. The post-orgasm lethargy evaporated from my twitching muscles as I quickly grasped his wrist pulling him back down. He landed with a harumph and looked back at me with annoyed features. They quickly turned to confusion as he took in the irrational tears forming in my eyes,

“Please don’t leave,” I whimpered pathetically, barely able to contain the sob building in my chest. “Everyone always leaves.”

Kylo turned completely, crawling back onto the bed and leaning over where I still lay in a heap.

“I’ll never leave. Never,” He whispered gently as he cared his fingers through my tangled, sweaty hair. “We are bound. Nothing will ever separate us.”

I nodded meekly unable to meet his eyes, suddenly embarrassed of my emotional outburst. He wiped gently at my cheeks before leaning down to press a kiss to my forehead. I sniffled and offered him a small smile as he pulled away, getting fully off the bed.

I blushed despite everything as I caught sight of his flaccid member, still slick from our combined fluids. He paid my stare no mind as he walked naked throughout the tent, blowing out the candles as he went. He moved carefully despite the growing darkness.

Finally, only one source of light remained by Kylo’s side of the bed. He left it on as he sat down on the edge, bending down to pick up his shirt. I furrowed my brows watching him as he bunched a bit of it up before nudging my thighs open with his hand. Suddenly acutely aware of the mess still oozing from my core, I dropped my mouth open in understanding before wincing as the material made contact with my tender flesh.

Once Kylo was finished, he discarded the item on the floor and dropping into bed beside me. I scooted out from the middle where I was sprawled but he was having none of that, grasping my waist he pulled me flush into his side. An arm curled possessively around my shoulders while the other rested behind his head.

I sighed, eyes drooping as I nestled further into his warm chest. I managed to press an open mouth kiss to his pec before my eyes closed completely before I dropped off to the space between sleep and consciousness.

Right before I completely fell, I heard Kylo mumble something so low I questioned if he even said it.

“Sleep, my love.”

Chapter Text

I smiled widely, my lips stretched so far across my face I worried they’d split. The strands of a dirty white mane laced through my fingers as I clung tightly to Wisaka. A gift Kylo had given me after my elbow was deemed healed enough to be free from the brace. She trotted after Kylo’s black stallion, Khan, her lead rope tied to the horn of his saddle.

Occasionally, I’d catch Kylo stealing glances back at me, his face shaped into a subtle smile as he led us around in large, looping circles.

“Faster?” He shouted back at me, struggling to be heard over the wind that whipped past our ears.

I nodded enthusiastically and readjusted my grip on Wisaka’s mane. I blew out a breath as I centered myself on her back once again, thinking that maybe I should wait for a saddle to be made before going faster but before I could voice my concerns, Khan lurched into a canter and Wisaka whinnied after him, her hooves pounding the hard earth as she raced behind him.

I squealed in surprise but relaxed as I realized that this gait was way more comfortable than the trot. My hips soon found the rhythm of Wisaka’s strides, rolling with each movement forward. I giggled as she tossed her head and nipped khan on the flank before moving out from behind him until she was even by his side.

The biting wind blew faster across my face, tinged pink from the cold. Kylo turned his head to the side, shaking his head at me in a teasing way. I just stuck my tongue out at him before focusing my gaze between brown ears.

We cantered around the tents and I waved at Kaydel, who was busy carrying a basket of pelts back to camp. She stopped and waved back with a small smile on her face as we rode past.

I could feel Wisaka begin to pick up speed and I shivered as a particularly icy wind seeped under the fur of my coat. I had just opened my mouth t0 shout at Kylo to stop when we a new animal pelt set out to tan, snapped off the line and blew across the ground.

Wisaka muscles tensed underneath me and I only had a second to wrap my arms around her neck as the rope snapped and she reared up, striking at the sky with her hooves. She fell back towards earth and I grunted as her withers dug into my stomach. I saw Kylo’s hand reach for the dangling rope but narrowly missed as she spun and took off at a dead gallop toward the snow-capped mountains. I tried reaching for the halter to pull her to a stop but her face was just out of reach. Stretching further and further forward to try and reach it, I cried out as I lost my balance, hips slipping down as hung off the side.

I could hear the pounding of hooves growing closer behind me as Kylo and Khan raced to catch up.

“Rey!” I heard him yell, a tinge of panic in his tone.

“Kylo!” I tried to shout back but the word was garbled as my throat closed in panic.

Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, Khan skidded to a halt in front of my spooked horse, stopping her flight.

I lurched as she stopped fully and frantically righted myself as Kylo fumbled to grab the snapped rope. My heart beat painfully in my chest as it heaved in gasping breaths.

“Kylo I- I’m not-- I wasn’t.” I tried to say between gasps, scared that he thought I was trying to run.

His trust had finally began to build in the weeks since our binding. I was allowed to walk around camp by myself and no longer needed an escort if I needed to relieve myself at night.

My eyes blurred with tears as my panic escalated.

“Shh. I know Rey,” He assured gently, “Do you want to come over here?”

I nodded sheepishly and took his outstretched hand, allowing him to slide me from Wisaka’s back until I was astride Khan, my front facing Kylo’s. My thighs draped over his and I burrowed into his coats, resting my cheek against his chest finding comfort in the warmth of his torso.

“That’s enough for today, no more riding until a saddle is made,” Kylo said more to himself.

An arm curled around my back, keeping me balanced as Kylo turned Khan back towards camp and urged him on. We rode in silence as we made our way back, the joyous mood I felt minutes before gone as I was shaken by Wisaka’s flight. My fingers still trembled as I clutched them around Kylo’s sturdy torso. I willed them to stop shaking and put the fear behind me.

I squeezed Kylo tighter, trying to ground myself only to realize how rigid Kylo held himself. I pulled back enough to peer at his face unnoticed. His mouth was pulled into a troubled grimace, brows set pinched and low over his eyes.

I had long since lost my shyness when it came to intimacy with Kylo, no part of me nor him had been left unexplored since the night of our binding. So it wasn’t hard for me to know just what would pull him out of this black mood.

Kylo was oblivious to my inner thoughts as I shifted slightly away. I lifted my chin and reached as high as I could before pressing my lips to the corner of his jaw, mouthing it slightly before pulling away to gauge his reaction. His lips were still left in a firm line.

Guess I’ll just have to try harder. I thought mischievously, biting my lip.

I leaned up again, but this time, I nipped hard at the stubbly part of his skin before laving at it with my tongue. I didn’t stop to check his reaction before continuing a path down his throat, alternating between harsh sucks and soothing kisses. The only indication of distraction was the tightened of a palm over my lower back.

I smirked against his skin as I felt his breath hitch, earlier scare forgotten. Feeling emboldened, I rolled my hips, brushing my core over the bulge of Kylo’s cock. He groaned deeply and my smirk grew smug as I felt him grow harder under my ministrations.

“I’d be careful little minx,” he growled into my ear, “you might get more than you bargained for.”

“Who said I was bargaining,” I quipped cheekily.

Kylo’s eyes grew darker as he jerked Khan to a stop. Seeing that we were at the edge of the camp, I quickly slid off before Kylo could stop me, backing away slowly with a coy look twisting my features. My heels dragged against the dying grass as I waited for Kylo to dismount. He swung his leg over, landing heavily, he fixed me with a predatory gaze and I raised my eyebrow tauntingly before spinning quickly around taking off through the tents.

I glanced quickly over my shoulder to see Kylo abandon the horses, leaving them to graze as he tore after me. I skirted between tents around and between tents a couple times, trying to toy with the clan leader. My steps faltered as I looked behind to see that no one followed.

I grinned, proud that I had managed to throw him off. With Kylo nowhere in sight, I decided to head back to the tent and wait and see how long it would take him to find me. I rounded a corner, turning my head just in time to collide with a massive body.

“Oh!” I exclaimed as stumbled back, hands reaching out blindly in front of me.

Rough, calloused hands encased my wrists and pulled me forward until I fell over a broad shoulder. A band of steel wrapped around my thighs as I clutched my arms around a thick abdomen.

I instantly knew who it was,

“Ooh, that’s not fair Kylo,” I protested weakly as he strode quickly to our tent.

Plan foiled, I hung over his back in anticipation. Despite the reprieve from running, my heart still hammered in my chest as Kylo kept the fire ignited, thumb brushing tantalizingly close to my core.

By the time we made it through the flaps of the tent, I felt ready to explode, from pleasure or embarrassment, I didn’t know. I failed to acknowledge the fact that the closer we wound to the tent, the more populated corridors between would be. More than once I had just about died of mortification as Kylo strode past clan members, uncaring how it looked to have me slung over his shoulder.

He smirked at my flaming cheeks as he righted me on my own two feet. Straightening to his full height, he regarded me with dark eyes.

I decided that I would bemoan my situation at a later time.

“Strip,” Kylo grunted darkly.

My breath hitched at his tone, I fingered the hem of my shirt, before pulling it slowly up and over my head. It dropped to the ground with a soft sound. I watched in satisfaction as his chest expanded heavily, watching me as I tugged the knot of my breast band, letting it fall to my feet. My breasts tightened, full and heavy as the rosy peaks turned taut under his gaze.

I reached up to brush my hair out my eyes, watching him as much as he was watching me. My gaze shifted downward as I followed the movement of his arm to the source, his large hand palming himself over his shorts.

The corner of my lips pulled up, prideful in the power I hold over this man. Never before had I felt more womanly than I did this very moment. The leanness that had plagued me from adolescence had slowly been replaced by a softness that I had always been jealous of.

My breasts heavier than what they once had been, hips flaring out into shapely thighs. I mostly put this down to the abundance of food and the lack of any real exercise. The only flicker of insecurity that had begun to bother me was the curve to my once taut stomach as I pushed my pants and panties over my hips and thighs.

I straightened, holding my breath as I stood bare before Kylo, waiting for his next move. He began to undress and I stepped forward, wanting to help, to touch. My frustration grew as he tsked at me as I took a step forward. I stopped and huffed, sounding much like a petulant child.

“Remember what I told you about running, Rey?” He rumbled, dropping his shirt by his side.

My thighs squeezed together at his tone, arousal beginning to drip down my aching flesh.

I nodded coquettishly as he continued,

“What would happen if you did,”

I folded my arms behind my back, jutting my chest out as I nodded with wide innocent eyes, more than happy to play his game.

“Say it,” Kylo ordered, his thumbs toying with the waistband of his pants

“You’ll punish me,” I nearly wheezed as he finally stood naked before me.

My eyes zeroed in on his member, red and swollen, the mushroom head leaking precum as I was barely able to focus on Kylo’s continued dialogue.

I jumped as his voice suddenly was suddenly in my ear,

“What should I do?” He asked rhetorically, “Should I have you suck my cock and leave you wanting, begging to be filled?”

Kylo’s fisted the base, tugging on it harshly as he circled my shaking form.

“No!” I nearly shouted.

“No? You don’t want to suck me off?” he taunted.

“No, t-that’s not, I nee-,” I whimpered, just about ready to get on my knees and beg, “please.”

I clenched around nothing as I watched him continue his motions. Kylo began to move away, clearly enjoying the torture he was causing me. My hand darted out, reaching for his engorged member but before I could wrap my fingers around it Kylo snatched my wrist pulling it up,

“Ah, ah, ah, Rey. Tell me then, what should I do with you.”

I pushed back a whimper,

“Anything, please. Just fuck me, until I can’t walk or remember my name, I don’t give a shit.” I ground out harshly, “I need you. Now. Please. I’ll do any-”

But before I could continue to blabber on about how badly I needed Kylo to fuck me, he twisted my shoulder, pushing me roughly around until my chest hit the thick pelt at the end of the bed. He wasted no time bending over me, draping his chest over my back and pinning me. I moaned lowly as the head of his cock brushed against my lower back, spreading semen across my skin.

I tried shifting under his weight, my hips pushing back, seeking friction. I keened as Kylo’s hand came down harshly against my skin with a resounding slap across my backside.

“You’ll take what I give you,” He growled into my ear.

I frantically nodded, opening my mouth to begin begging once again but the words stuck in my throat as Kylo hitched my right knee onto the bed and sheathed himself inside my aching cunt without much preamble.

I moaned as the pleasure blinded me, clutching at the sheets as Kylo opted for rough, short thrusts, his balls hit my clit after each jerk of his hips. The strands of his hair tickled my neck as he buried his face in the crevice, nipping and sucking at the skin.

My fingers clutched the sheets as each thrust jolted me up the bed. Each drag of his cock over my ridged walls drove me closer and closer to the precipice just out of reach.

Kylo pulled away from me, his breath in my ear as he grunted out each word,

“You’re. Mine.”

His thrusts increased relentlessly and I struggled to keep up, my hands flailing wildly behind me, desperately trying to find purchase in his skin as it began in my toes.

“Say. It.” Kylo whined in a needy tone, “Say it.”

I gasped as a broad hand scooped under my chest pulling me up until I half stood, half kneeled on the edge of the bed. My thighs quivered struggling to hold me upright as the feeling in my toes crept slowly up.

“Yours, only yours,” I cried out.

His hips began to stutter. Incoherent sounds spilled out my mouth as my I finally began to crest my climax.

It crashed over me like a tsunami and it was all I could do not to pass out from the pleasure. Noise faded away until all I could hear was a ringing in my ear as my head fell back against Kylo’s shoulder.

Kylo’s thrust became even more erratic and I became vaguely aware of him growling something.

“Tell me you’ll never leave.”

 

It was only when a hand roughly palmed my chest that I was able to gather enough coherence to whisper out a reply,

“Never.”

 

---------------------

We laid in bed for a long time after Kylo came with a roar. Laying there boneless, chest to chest, uncaring of the mess we had made of the bed. The sun had long since begun to fade and with its retreat, the semi warmth of the tent.

I shivered and moving closer to his chest, reaching down blindly to pull the blanket from the edge of the bed over our shoulders.

“How long do you think it will be until it snows?” I questioned absentmindedly.

Kylo chuckled quietly to himself, chest brushing against mine.

I sat up on an elbow as he rolled to his back,

“What?” I frowned.

“You ask that now, only to regret it later,” he smiled, reaching over to tuck hair behind my ear, “A few weeks at most.”

I laid my head down on his pec as we fell into a comfortable silence, my fingers lightly tracing patterns over his chest. Our peace, however, was disturbed not a second later as a guard stepped through the flaps. Kylo’s arm curled tighter around my shoulders, rolling over almost on top of to shield me from view.

“Get out!” He spit over his shoulder.

“S-sorry t-t-to d-disturb you, Kylo Ren, but Han Ren requests a meeting in the Keeper of History’s tent,” The guard sputtered.

“Why,” Kylo questioned lowly.

I pushed on his shoulders, his weight starting to suffocate me. He eased up. Slightly.

“A war council, for retaliation against Snoke.”

My heart stuttered in my chest as I pieced together the guard’s words. Kylo gave a barely perceivable nod and the guard quickly backed out of the tent.

Once the flaps fluttered to a close, Kylo pushed himself out of the protective stance over me and slipped out of bed. I pulled the covers back over my naked form and watched him as he got dressed.

“I can feel your unhappiness, Rey.” He stated as he pulled his cloak over his shoulders.

“I don’t want you to go to war.” I pouted.

He leaned over to press his lips to my forehead. I leaned into the affection, closing my eyes.

“It must be done,” Kylo said simply.

He stalked out the tent not long after that, and I slumped back down with a huff. My lips twisted as I fought back tears. I could already feel the headache forming behind my eyes as I slung an arm over my face.

No real plan for this retaliation had even been made and already, my fear was greater than when Wisaka had taken off this afternoon, greater than when my car veered off the highway. I turned to my side, curling into a ball as my gut twisted in nausea. I stayed like that long after it was acceptable to mope and feel sorry for myself. Even when I began to hear the usual ruckus of dinner starting to be prepared.

My stomach gave a particularly strong lurch as the smell of veal and tomatoes began to drift into the tent. The scent stuck in my nose and I moaned, scrambling to pull myself to the edge in time for my stomach to heave, emptying my lunch over the hide flooring.

I heaved again, just in time for Leia to bounce through the flaps of the tent. The cheerful small that graced her face quickly dropped into worry.

I groaned, this is so embarrassing, caught puking over the bed butt naked. I dropped my head, resting my cheek against the cool covers.

“Oh Rey dear,” She fretted, coming to kneel beside the bed. A weathered hand felt my forehead,

“Well, you’re warm but that could be…” She trailed.

My cheeks burned hotter than ever before and I covered my face with my hands,

“I just got really nauseous for a second,” I squeaked, “I think I just… need a little help cleaning it up before Kylo gets back.”

I moved my hands from my face, catching Leia eye me with a knowing look.

“Oh, that’s what I came to tell you, he won’t be back from the meeting for a while,” She stated, hands already dabbing over the spot with a scrap of pelt, “You’ll be solo tonight for dinner but before that, get dressed and I’ll be right back with the solution to get the stain out.”

I nodded sullenly, almost feeling sick again. Leia stood quickly and bustled out of the tent. I waited a couple of seconds before huffing and standing to get dressed, stepping around the mess to grab the clothes I had strewn across the floor.

---------------------

As I pushed around the meat on my plate, a thought niggled at the back of my mind as nausea crept up my spine again,

This might not have anything to do with Kylo’s war council.

Chapter Text

True to Leia’s word, Kylo didn’t return until well after the meal had ended and I had lain in bed for the night. I rolled over and pretended to sleep as soon as I heard his hulking steps approach the tent. Laying there stiffly as I stewed in anger against his need for retaliation and denial against my circumstances. 

My facade nearly breaking as he placed a gentle kiss to the crown of my head as he eased slowly down, afraid to jostle the mattress too much. I clenched my fist under the blanket, hanging on to any ounce of willpower that would keep me from begging him to forget whatever he was planning. Fortunately, I had managed to hold onto my dignity, falling asleep still rigidly turned away. 

However, unconscious Rey, held no grudges against the scheming clan leader as I woke up spooning Kylo with my face smushed between his shoulder blades, the same position I had woken up in for weeks. Squishing my eyes together, I rolled away and threw my legs over the bed and sitting up. Kylo didn’t stir behind me as I stood and changed, leaving the tent before he was any the wiser. 

“Jesus,” I mumbled as I stepped through the flaps, breath blowing out into a white cloud. 

Pulling my pants down to piss, was going to suck. If I didn’t have to go so bad I would have waited but duty calls, I guess.

The sparse grass was frosted and crunchy as I made the brisk walk to the cluster of trees to the edge of camp. It was still fairly early in the morning, the sun just barely finishing its ascent. Not many people were awake yet, only the women on breakfast duty milled around. 

I took a slight detour towards the women, wanting to say hello to the cheery group. Leia’s advice playing in the back of my mind, 

Be nice, immerse yourself into the people. Find favor in the wives and the men will soon follow. 

Also, it doesn’t hurt to get to know the women responsible for meals, they’ll be more inclined to cook what you like. 

“Lady Ren! What a surprise to see you this early,” Jyn called a jovial older woman whom I’ve come to adore.

I smiled back, allowing the rotund woman to pull me into a hug when I neared. 

“A good night’s sleep I suppose,” I pulled back eyeing the food laid out on the table, “What’s on the menu?”

“Leftover veal from the night before eggs from the chickens we recently acquired,” Jyn responded proudly. 

I hummed as my nose twitched smelling the meat as it was placed over glowing embers. Aiyana, who I’ve come to learn as the wife of Hux, must’ve caught my expression,

“Is it not to your liking?” She asked in a small voice, ever since Hux’s betrayal she’d tiptoed around authority, scared that she too would be guilty by association. 

My heart swelled in empathy for the skittish woman and I did my best to soften my features before turning to look at her. 

“Would you like something different?” 

I shook my head, beginning to breathe through my mouth as the smell got stronger,

“No, no need to make something special,”

By this time, Jyn had overheard our conversation, putting down the egg she was about to crack, 

What’s this about you not liking veal? Just the other day, you were raving about how much you loved it,” She questioned, very much sounding like a grandmother chiding a child. 

Okay, Rey. How do I say the smell makes me want to puke without raising suspicion? I thought to myself.

“I guess we’ve just had it so much these past weeks that I must have gotten tired of it,” my words tilted up a pitch by the end, “Just- Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

Jyn eyed me unimpressed, 

“If you say so. Now go away and stop distracting my cooking staff.” 

I mumbled a “yes, ma’am,” and twirled on my foot, prior mission remembered. 

-----------------------

When I slipped back into the tent a few minutes later Kylo is still asleep, splayed out in the middle of the bed snoring softly. I roll my eyes, grabbing the pelt to work on that I previously abandoned. Settling down on a cushion, I set to work scraping off the dried muscle still attached to the underside. 

I was only able to work on it for a few minutes in peace before Kylo woke up with a groan. The mattress squeaked as he sat up, eyeing me with pursed lips. 

“What are you doing over there, Rey?” His voice was gravelly with sleep, “First you deny me your company in bed last night, now this morning. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were still mad at me.” 

I peered up at him briefly before turning back to the hide, 

“I’m not mad,” I defended, “I had to pee and you left me no room when I came back.” 

Wrong, you could’ve shoved him over as you’ve done before. 

The bed shifted as he stood and pulled on a pair of pants before moving across the room to where I sat. I ignored him as he stood over me, my scraping becoming more aggressive as he neared.

Kylo bent beside me, grasping my chin between his fingers and pulling it up to face him. 

“I think you know by now, Rey, that I know when people are full of horse shit,” His tone low, “And you reek of it.”

Kylo’s fingers fell back from my chin as I jerked my head back forcefully, looking the other way.

“Is it so wrong to not want my husband to run off to war so soon?” I retorted. 

He sighed and shifted into a more comfortable crouch, 

“It has to be done, Rey. We cannot let the Korriban Clan go unchecked, retaliation is the only option.”

I rolled my eyes, shoving the pelt off my lap as he continued his speech, 

“Letting them go after would send a message to the other clans, that we are small and meek.” 

“Why don’t you go ahead and compare dick sizes while you’re at it then. Show them how big and strong you are.” I scoffed, unfolding my legs from beneath me and pushing up to stand. 

“You leave when I say we are done!” He growled. 

Kylo’s hand clamped around my wrist and tugged me harshly down, I squeaked as I fell back onto the floor with a thump. He moved to his knees and straddled my legs as he pushed my back against the ground, pinning my hands beside my head. 

“What the hell do you th-” I sputtered, struggling under his grip.

“You want to talk about dick sizes then Rey?” He sneered, lips pulled back over his teeth.

“It’s an expression! You know that’s not what- Just get off of me!” I protested. 

“No, I think you need to hear this.” He continued, “do you know what happens when we allow clans to walk all over us? Huh?” 

I screwed my mouth together, fixing him with the meanest glare I could muster. He just chuckled as I squirmed beneath him. 

“You're being dramatic, give up the theatrics Kylo, you’re not an actor.” My words coming out quieter than anticipated as his hands tightened over my wrists.

I visibly winced under the pressure and despite our heated argument, the grip on my wrists loosened slightly. 

“Let me tell you a story then,” His tone grew dark as he continued, “Once upon a time, an unsuspecting Alderaan Clan waited to begin their trek as their Ren tracked down his runaway bride. Their migration delayed, leaving them out in the open as an enemy clan tracked them.” 

I opened my mouth to speak but Kylo quickly shifted, gathering my arms in one hand and covering my mouth with the other,

“As the sun set, the enemy rode from the east, attacking and killing as they went. Fortunately, this time, the Alderaan Clan prevailed. They drove the enemy from the land and finished their journey to lower grounds. But they made a harrowing mistake, they let the enemy go unchecked in their attack.” 

His hand moved from my mouth and rested against my cheek as he leaned down to speak lowly in my ear, 

“Emboldened by their getaway, the enemy decided to attack again, but unlike the first time, the Alderaan Clan was overrun. Overpowered in its surprise, the Alderaan Clan fell and left its vulnerable at the mercy of the enemy. Women and children left defenseless, without protection.” 

His voice turned hauntingly soft and my stomach churned as he continued, 

“Tell me, Rey, have you ever been forced to watch a child be gutted with a knife? Heard their screams as their entrails were pulled out?” 

Stop. Stop. Stop. 

“Stop.” I pleaded, eyes wet and glistening. 

Kylo pulled back and observed me with a crazed glint in his eye,

“No? How about watching your mother being raped over and over again, and being helpless to stop it?” 

“Please! Stop it, please.” I warbled, tears running down my cheeks in earnest now. 

Leia, poor, strong Leia.

My pleading didn’t stop Kylo’s tirade only fulling it as he continued to push his point. He released my hands for a split second, flipping me onto my stomach and regripping my wrists, 

“Please? Do you think they’d stop because you said it so nicely? They wouldn’t, they’d take turns fucking you from behind until you were half-dead, thighs a bloody mess.” He pressed his chest down over my back, “Do not question my authority or decisions I make for the good of the clan ever again, do you hear?” 

--------------------------

Breakfast was an awkward affair, to say the least. No one questioned our state as we sat down at the table ten minutes late. I kept my head down as I picked at the food on my plate, eyes still puffy and red. Only the sound of chewing and the scraping of utensils, the table was mostly quiet. 

When breakfast was over and people began to leave, I shot to my feet and followed Kaydel away from the table. Kylo called after me to stay but my pace just quickened as I practically dragged Kaydel away. 

“You have to tell me what that whole thing was about, Kylo Ren looked like he….” Her voice trailed as she finally caught my eyes. “That was more than a lover’s quarrel then.”

I nodded and looped my arm through hers, resting my head on her shoulder as we walked, 

“It was about the retaliation that’s supposed to happen,” I sighed, “I said some things and… he didn’t react very well.” 

Kaydel stopped walking and turned to face me fully, 

“Did he hurt you?” 

“No, he just scared me shitless with his words.” I shook my head, “I don’t understand, he can be so gentle and loving, but then his mood shifts faster than I can comprehend and by then the situation is so out of hand that there’s no chance of me getting him to calm down.”

Kaydel’s arm looped through mine again and she tugged me forward into a walk. She chewed on her lip, mulling over her thoughts. 

“Growing up, people were scared of what would happen when it was time for him to take over. He flew into rages and fits so often they called him a rabid cur, no one thought he was stable enough to lead.” 

She paused as a group of women called out behind us, 

“Lady Ren, Kaydel! We’re all headed to finish the pelts-

“And gossip!” Another giggled. 

“We’ll be right there!” I called back as they passed us, and then to Kaydel, “I need an excuse to avoid Kylo for a while.” 

She nodded sympathetically and continued, 

“Uh, where was I? Oh, some of the elders tried blocking him from taking power when Han Ren stepped down but it didn’t work very well. It was a tumultuous time here, a lot of good people were exiled that summer. He’s settled a lot since then but I guess my point is to talk to Leia, she was the only one who could make him stop and see even after he’s escalated.” 

I blew out a breath and pinched the bridge of my nose, filing this bit of information away in my head. 

“This is a lot to take in, but nice since he never seems inclined to tell me anything really about the clan.” I sighed, “Okay, come on, let’s go before the women spill all the good gossip before we get there.” 

------------------------------

My spirits continued to lift the longer I sat in the huddle of chortling women, newly dried pelts strewn across our laps. Kaydel’s head lay against my shoulder as she scraped off scabs. 

“So Kaydel,” Lara singsonged, “When’s the binding or are you going to make us wait forever for another good party?”

“Hard to say, we haven’t decided on a date yet but in the upcoming weeks.” She picked up her head from my shoulder, “I already have my dress.” 

I twisted my neck to look at her with an eyebrow raised, 

“And you haven’t shown me yet?” I teased, nudging her arm with mine. 

She rolled her eyes, “It’s tradition, only family is allowed to see the dress before the binding. I saw yours because I’m your maiden.”

I pouted as the women laughed at my expression before shaking my head and joining in too. The conversation lulled as we focused more on our work, occasionally speaking to ask tips and advice. 

I was halfway through with my pelt when a stomach growled loudly in the silence. The group erupted into laughter and I felt myself joining in more hardly as the last of my bad mood evaporated. 

“I’m guessing it’s time for lunch then,” a woman said as she glanced up at the sun, “It should be done by now anyway, I’ll grab us a platter so we can keep working.” 

A couple of women got up and followed to help, leaving the group smaller than before. Conversation then picked up and broke off into little groups.

I set down the small knife beside me and turned to Kaydel, 

“So, are you getting used to the idea of turning into Kaydel Dameron,” I said with a flourish.

“I don’t think anyone can be ready to become a Dameron,” She scoffed, “It’s all so quick that it’s hardly processing in my head.” 

“Believe me, I know the feeling,” I squeezed her hand as the group of women came back with plates of food. 

They set the plates down in the middle and settled back down into their spots. No one moved for a couple beats before Kaydel elbowed me lightly and whispered in my ear, 

“You have to grab something first.” 

I nodded and grabbed a piece of cured meat, watching as the others finally reached for the food two. One of the women who went to get it, Jeanie I think, relayed a message from Kylo, 

“He wants you back before dinner is served.” 

I mumbled in acknowledgment before continuing to eat in silence as they chattered around me. 

We sat and talked for hours after that and it was close to sunset before the group started to dwindle. Not soon after that, Kaydel and I were the only two left. A finished pelt wrapped around our shoulders as the temperature began to drop. I hummed a favorite song as I lazily worked on another pelt and Kaydel sprawled out on the ground. 

All day I had debated on whether to tell her what had been eating at me, desperate to share and not be alone in this. But how? It didn’t seem like something that I could just blurt out and then continue with a different subject. I set the pelt and tools to the side and took a deep breath in to settle my once again, churning stomach. 

“I think I’m pregnant.” I breathed quietly. 

Kaydel shot up, the blanket falling from her shoulders as she stared at me with an open mouth. 

“You’re pregnant!” She nearly shouted. 

“Jesus Kaydel!” I shushed her, “I can’t have the whole camp knowing.” 

“Does he know?” Kaydel said sheepishly. 

I shook my head picking at my nails, 

“I haven’t said anything to him yet, but I think Leia knows.” 

Kaydel scooted closer to me and I sniffled as tears pricked my eyes. I pulled the pelt tighter just wanting to hide from the world. 

“How long do you think?” She urged. 

“Uh, how long since the binding?” I asked, still learning how the clan kept track of the days. 

“Almost 2 months, Rey,” Kaydel said gently. 

“My period was supposed to come maybe a week after the binding. When it didn’t I just put it down to my body being under too much stress and then I started to gain weight, so I just thought that I was eating too much,” I wiped the tears that trailed down my cheeks, “But now the smell of veal is making me sick and I’m starting to get nauseous for no reason.”

Kaydel wrapped her arms around me squeezing tightly, 

“I think it’s been in the back of my head for a while but I’ve been in too much denial to think and accept it.”  

“Do you not want one?” She asked tentatively.

“No, it’s not that. It’s just- I didn’t think it would happen so soon, I’m not mentally prepared to be pregnant or a mother.” I picked my head up to look her in the eye.

“You have to tell Kylo, I don’t know what would happen if he found out through someone else,” Kaydel warned. 

“I can’t!” I cried, “I tell him that I’m pregnant and then nothing will hold him back from going to war with Snoke.”

“I know that you don’t want him to go but this isn’t something you can just keep from him, he’s going to find out eventually,” Her eyes flickered down to my hidden stomach, “Or he’s going to figure it out when you start to show.” 

“I already am,” I whispered, resigned. 

I slid further away from Kaydel and shrugged the pelt from my shoulders. My fingers shook as I raised the hem of my shirt and tucked it up into the bottom of my breast band before pulling the waistband of my pants down below my hips. 

Despite this pregnancy only being a month and a half along at most, the curve of my abdomen was hard to miss if you knew what you were looking for. It was small but prominent, and more pronounced if looking at it from the side. 

“I’ve tried to explain it away to myself as just fat but it isn’t squishy.” I slapped a hand over my mouth as a bark of a laugh burst from my throat. I deteriorated into hysterical giggles, unable to help myself. 

I quieted down quickly when I realized that Kaydel still hadn’t said a word. 

“Please say something,” I pleaded. 

Her eyes flickered up to my mine, they were glassy as she spoke,

“Can I?” 

I nodded, shuffling closer on my knees. I sucked in harshly as her shaking hand rested over the curve of my belly. 

“Oh, Rey. It’s been so long since there’s been a baby here.” Kaydel’s cheeks were streaked with tears. 

“You know, I haven’t even been able to get myself to touch it,” I admitted shamefully. 

Kaydel removed her hand and grabbed mine, she pressed it firmly against the taut skin and covered mine with her own. 

“Oh,” I whimpered, lip wobbling. 

My other hand came to rest against my side, both my hands now cupping the baby growing in my core. 

Why haven’t I done this before? How could I have not touched and felt for so long? 

I shook my head, taking my hands away from the skin before tugging my clothing back into place and covering my exposed belly. 

“I won’t tell anyone, Rey,” Kaydel urged, grasping my hands in hers, “But you need to tell Kylo.” 

I nodded in defeat and pulled her into a tight hug. 

“I will. I don’t know how but I will.” I assured her, “I should get going before Kylo sends out a search party for me again.” 

Kaydel laughed and pushed me away and waving me off. I turned with one final smile to her and quickly wiped my eyes before striding off back into camp. I maneuvered between tents quickly hurrying to get back to mine. The sun was halfway through its descent as I realized that I’d bee cutting it close to dinner before meeting Kylo. 

I quickened my steps and I fought the urge to put a hand over my stomach, feeling protectiveness surge through me but also not wanting anyone to put two and two together. Jyn waved at me before pointing to my tent as I hurried through. 

I nearly burst through the flaps of the tent, breathless in my hurry. Kylo sat on the side of the bed, bent over with his elbows resting on his knees. He didn’t say anything as I moved further into the room. When the smell of meat and potatoes wafted to my nose, my eyes darted to the table and cushions where it was set up. 

“We aren’t eating with-” 

“When were you planning on telling me that you’re pregnant.” 

Shit.

Chapter Text

“I- um Kylo, it’s hard to say.” I stuttered out.

I wrought my fingers as I spoke, eyeing his reaction. He was still turned away from me on the bed, refusing to look at me.

Finally, he turned, expression angry but mostly guarded,

“Really, Rey? It’s hard to say? It’s only three words.” He spit.

“Well, it might be easy for you to say considering that I’m not planning on running off to fight and die in a war that I don’t need to.” I ranted, “Don’t think I forgot what you told me way back when ‘we’ll retaliate as soon as you’re pregnant.’ Forgive me, for wanting to keep you around for as long as I could.”

Kylo shook his head and sat up off his elbows and beckoned me forward. I bit my lip and shook my head silently.

Rey,” He warned, “Don’t make me ask again.”

I huffed and went to stand in front of him. He grabbed my hands in his and brushed his lips against the back of one,

“We’ve been over this already, Rey. It’s decided and nothing’s going to stop me from teaching Snoke and the Korriban Clan a lesson.” Kylo turned over another hand, kissing my palm, “You still have me. It takes a while to plan an attack and when it comes time, I’ll only be gone for a little while. I promise.”

He raised his eyes meeting my tearful gaze.

“But I don’t want you to go,” I choked out, “You can’t leave me, I can’t lose you.”

“The Alderaan Clan are good fighters. I am a good fighter. You won’t lose me, I swear on my life that you won’t.” Kylo vowed fiercely while squeezing my hands to prove his point, “Nothing, nobody will ever take me from you or you from me, Rey.”

“If you won’t stay for me, stay for your child Kylo,” I pulled his hands, placing them on my protruding bump, “Don’t let there be a chance that they will grow up without a father.”

“The reason I fight is for you, for my child. If I die, then it will be for a chance that you both don’t live in fear of attack ever again.” He retaliated.

A sob broke free from my chest at his confession. His justification making sense and no sense all at the same time. Nothing was going to change his mind from this and as much as I hated his decision, we couldn’t fight forever.

Deciding to put away our qualms, for now, I took a deep breath and released my hold on his wrists,

“Do you want to see it?”

He gave an almost imperceptible nod and pulled his hands away, waiting. I grasped the hem of my top and pulled it completely over my head, then rolled the band of my pants until it rested completely under the swell of my stomach. I brushed my hand down it, unable to help myself from feeling it once again.

Kylo glanced up at me quickly before returning his gaze downward. His hand reached out tentatively before resting gently on my bare skin. My breath hitched as it made contact, his massive palm completely covering the small curve.

Fuck, Rey. I knew you looked different. I can’t believe I didn’t notice before.” He breathed lowly.

I giggled a bit,

“I think you were too busy marveling at how big my breasts have gotten.”

He guffawed, throwing his head back as he laughed.

“Here I was thinking that it was just Jyn’s good cooking.” Kylo joked.

“Well, that too,” I responded warmly.

Our laughter died down as we stared at each other, Kylo’s warm hand still encasing the bundle of nerves and cells that we created together. He leaned forward and pressed a lingering kiss above my naval before speaking words too low for me to hear against it, lips brushing as he spoke. My palm covered his as he cradled our baby, basking in the attention he was giving it.

“Who told you,” I barely whispered.

He pulled away,

“My mother,” and with a more serious look in his eye, “I never want to hear news about you again from my mother, Rey. If you have anything, you bring it to me first. I need you to feel comfortable telling me things, big and small.”

I looked down and nodded, avoiding his gaze. A finger pressed under my chin and lifted it until I looked Kylo in the eye,

“Okay?” he urged.

“Okay.”

-----------------------

Kylo and I decided to keep the news of our child hush-hush, allowing only a select few in on the news. The rest of the clan would find out at a huge party that Leia was planning in the weeks after Kaydel and Poe’s wedding when my growing belly would be too big to hide.

Since our fight and the revelation of my pregnancy, Kylo and I have become much more vocal and commutative. We were almost never out of the loop with each other, always communication as to avoid a blow out as before. And in the short time since then, it has also become a lot colder, frost starting to stick to the ground for longer and longer each day.

I trekked through camp absolutely frozen to the bone, kicking myself for not putting on an extra layer before leaving the warmth of my tent. The grass crunched under my feet as I walked and I could feel the toes of my moccasins begin to get damp.

I growled under my breath, tempted to turn back and go back to bed despite it being early afternoon.

The side effects of pregnancy had finally caught up with me and I no longer just enjoyed a more womanly figure. Energy came in spurts and most of the time left me almost too tired to function. These days, I had begun to wake long after Kylo had already gone for the day, missing breakfast entirely and going straight to lunch. I was excessively nauseous, especially in the evenings and because of that, would often go to bed without eating anything.

I know Kylo worried even when I assured him that pregnancy did weird shit to the female body. So in order to ease his mind, here I was, walking across camp to Tarkin’s tent, dreading the visit with the insufferable old man with each step I took.

I walked through the flaps without much flourish and almost sighed in relief as the warmth of fire hit my face and frozen hands. Tarkin sat on a cushion in front of a table covered in different herbs and bowls.

“The Ren has already been here, I’ve been informed of your symptoms.” He said as he ground leaves together, “You’ll take this in water once a day and it should relieve nausea. Come back when you’ve run out.” Tarkin plopped the bag in my hand and waved me off dismissively.

Rolling my eyes at his attitude, I spun on my heel and exited the tent. I tucked the bag into my pocket and began to walk back the way I came. I thought about actually going back to bed but decided against it, if I did, I would never fall asleep tonight. So instead, I redirected my steps towards Leia’s steps and hoped she was in. I had been meaning to talk to her about what Kaydel suggested I did.

Like all high ranking members, guards were stationed on either side of the tent. As I neared, I called out to whichever was listening and asked about Leia. The one on the right grunted and jerked his head toward the inside, which I took as ‘yes, she is.’

“Hello?” I said before I walked in.

“Come in!” I heard her reply.

I stepped through the flaps and spotted her lounging on her bed.

“Oh hello, Rey. I’ve been meaning to speak with you.” Her voice thoughtful, “How’s my grandchild?”

“Causing trouble as always. I swear, I always feel sick.” I replied before biting my lip, “I actually have something to talk to you about too.”

She sat up and made her way towards me before taking my hands and leading me to sit,

“And what’s that dear?”

“Um well, Kaydel mentioned that you were pretty good at getting Kylo to calm down when he was young. And I think I need some of that advice for future reference if there ever comes a time.” I asked, shifting to get comfortable.

“Certainly! But before I tell you, I just need to apologize for going behind your back to Kylo about the pregnancy. It wasn’t right for me to do so.” She squeezed my hands as she spoke. “Anyways, it’s definitely about distraction, the more you try to make him see reason the more agitated he escalates.”

I nodded along and tucked my legs underneath me, my back already sore and aching from standing so long.

“You can distract him in more ways than I could but just talk about something entirely different and ignore the rant he goes on. Eventually, he’ll stop to listen to what you’re going on about.” Leia winked.

“Okay, that sounds simple enough,” I said, confirming that I understood what she meant.

“Is that all?” She questioned.

I slowly stretched out my legs in front of me before leaning forward to push myself up off the ground with my hands,

“Yeah, I think that’s pretty much it. Woah.” I moaned as I stood fully upright.

Black tinged around the edges of my vision and I swayed on my feet as I waited for it to clear.

“Rey?” Leia called from the ground, hands reaching to steady me.

“It’s fine. It’s fine,” I acquiesced as the haze cleared and the room stopped spinning.

I left the tent shakily before she could ask any more questions. The temperature outside seemed even colder than before and I shivered as I made a beeline back to my tent, giving up on the idea of joining the clan for lunch today.

More than once, I had been approached by various women of the cooking staff on when I’d be returning to the table and each time I lied straight through my teeth, telling them that it was beginning to get too cold for me outside. And after each answer, the suspicion among them continually grew.

Despite the slow pace, I was huffing and puffing by the time I entered the safety and comfort of our tent. I stopped short after stepping through the flaps, startled by Kylo, who was sitting on the edge of the bed. His chin resting on his fast as he sat with brows furrowed.

“Who’s murder are you plotting?” I teased, a sudden burst of energy shooting through my veins at his presence.

These days, I only managed to see him for a few short minutes before falling back asleep for the night when he came in from whatever duties he sees to throughout the day. I strode faster towards him, watching as his face eyebrows creased deeper.

Without much pretense, I slung my legs over his hips and straddled him, pressing a lazy kiss to his lips.

“I don’t like how sick you’ve been,” He stated as a way of greeting, hands squeezing my hips for emphasis.

“You worry too much. Besides, I’ve been to Tarkin and I’m sure whatever he’s prescribed will help with symptoms,” I soothed the worried dad to be, “We missed you.”

Kylo’s eyes flitted from where they were focused over my shoulder to mine at my words. I watched his face softened as he visibly relaxed at my last words.

“Well, I’ve missed the both of you too,” he rumbled, pressing his forehead to mine

Suddenly, Kylo picked me up and twisted us until my back rested against the bed as he hovered over me.

I giggled and got comfortable, winding my legs around his hips and curling my arms around his neck, fingers splaying through the hair at his nape. He lowered his head further and nudged his nose against the side of my neck. I hummed as my head lolled to the side, basking in the lingering kisses left there.

My small sighs of contentment turned to a breathy moan as Kylo rocked gently against my parted thighs. It’d been weeks since I had felt enough energy to get any more intimate with Kylo, my drive petering out after only a few minutes. So, despite the fact I could feel the heaviness behind my eyes start to grow, I wriggled out of my pants and shoved Kylo’s shoulders back and rolling us til I was on top. I made up my mind before I even finished my thought, too frustrated with my inability to follow through with anything these days.

I ignored his surprised look and made quick work of the lacings of his pants, occasionally batting away the hands that tried to slow my frantic hands.

“Rey-”

“Just let me,” I grunted as I pulled the waistband down only far enough to free him.

I sheathed myself to the hilt, despite not nearly ready enough for his girth. I hid my wince as Kylo let out a long groan below me, previous protests forgotten. I waited a few seconds before leaning forward and pressing my hands to his chest, giving me leverage to rise up and roughly grind back down. My hair hid my face from view as I tilted my chin down.

Kylo’s hips bucked up into mine, helping with my inconsistent rhythm. I bit my lip harshly, desperately trying to chase the pleasure I was seeking. And with each passing second, my frustration grew as it seemed to get further and further into the distance, tears beginning to prick the edges of my vision before they started to drip slowly down my cheeks.

I stopped suddenly as my frustration reached its peak. I sat up straight, covering my face as I hiccuped into my hands.

“Rey?” Kylo questioned, concern evident in his voice, “What’s wrong?”

“I-” I started before my voice broke off into a choked sob.

“Hey, hey. Sh sh sh, tell me what’s wrong baby.” He pleaded, sitting up and pulling my hands away.

I waited a few moments before trying to speak,

“I’m so sorry! I want to so bad, but I’m just so tired,” I wailed pathetically.

“Don’t apologize, Rey. It’s okay,” he soothed, hands smoothing down my hair before pulling into his chest, “Just rest, it’s hard growing a baby.”

I nodded my head, cheek smearing wet tears into his top. He lifted me gently, twisting us until we lay on our sides. I laid there limply, still silently crying as Kylo tucked himself back into his pants before wrapping his arms around me again. We lay there silently, aware that we were both awake yet too scared to voice our worries.

----------------------------------------

It only got worse from there. My tiredness had pretty much stayed the same, but the nausea had only seemed to increase. It was a constant throughout the day, never leaving me alone despite the herbal remedies that I tried countless times. And on an even worse note, there were only a few different foods that I could tolerate. All else coming back up within a few minutes.

I never left the tent other than to use the restroom, preferring to hide away in the safety of the warm tent under a pile of furs and blankets. But today was different. Today, Kaydel was getting bound and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. Couldn’t miss it because as Lady of Ren, I was required to be there.

It was early morning, and Leia was braiding my hair as I sat picking at the fruit and meat laid out on a tray. I gave up after only a few bites, shifting in my seat as my back protested.

“If you keep squirming, it’s going to take longer and it’s going to be crooked,” Leia warned, only a tinge of annoyance breaching her otherwise cheerful tone.

“Sorry,” I grunted, bracing myself with my arms as I stretched my swollen legs out in front of me. “The only comfortable position these days in lying down.”

“Just you wait, Rey.” She chuckled, “Not even lying down is comfortable near the very end of pregnancy.”

“Great.”

I felt a final tug at the ends of my hair before Leia’s hands left my head. She came around to stand in front of me, holding her hands out. I took them gratefully, tugging on them heavily as I pulled myself up.

Leia eyed my bulging stomach as I pulled down the hem of my top that had risen up. At only four and a half months pregnant, I was decidedly bigger than what I thought was normal.

“That’s going to be difficult to hide today,” Leia pursed her lips in thought.

“How about I just wear one of Kylo’s capes? It’s really big on me so it should cover what’s important for the most part.” I suggested, a hand absently rubbing the top of my belly as I limped to sit back down on the bed.

“Right, that should be fine,'' Leia said, lingering by the doorway, “I need to get ready myself, are you okay here until Kylo gets back?”

I waved her off with a hand and she shot me one last worried glances before disappearing through the flaps.

Except I wasn’t okay by myself. With no one else to distract me, the nausea returned full force, leaving me to concentrate on not puking and little else.

A short while later, Kylo bustled in, barking orders to the servants about where to place the bathing tub as he strode straight for me. He bent at the waist, planting a deep, long kiss against my lips. His body shielded me from view as he snaked a warm hand under the hem of my shirt, resting against the side of my belly.

Kylo waited until the last servant left the tent before kneeling at my feet and lifting my shirt up completely. I shivered as the cold air hit my skin.

Kylo lowered his head to my stomach, stringing chaste kisses across the expanse. I carded my fingers through the raven locks. He placed a final one above my naval before pulling back slightly,

“How are my loves?” Lips still brushing against me.

“Good,” I breathed, smiling dazed down at him.

“Good,” He smirked back.

Kylo pulled my top back down and my fingers fell from his hair as he rose to his full height.

“Would you like to join me?”

My eyes shot to the steaming tub behind him. I pursed my lips, resolve wavering as his knuckles brushed my cheek. I turned my head quickly and pressed my lips to one as it dropped.

“I’d love to, but Leia would have my head after all the work she put into my hair.” My voice sounding hardly sure.

“As you wish,” He teased, pulling back to undress right in front of me.

I just rolled my eyes, holding his stare as he pulled off his layers and unlaced his pants. Kylo crooked a brow as he shoved the fabric down his legs, leaving him bare to me. Despite our game, my eyes flitted down to his cock, semi-hard against his leg. He cleared his throat and my cheeks heated as my eyes shot back up to his.

Kylo said nothing, only turning to walk to the tub and comically fold himself into it. I watched the show he put on as he bathed, feigning disinterest whenever our eyes met. I waited for him to dunk his head to wash the mixture out of his before I made a move. As quietly as I could, I eased myself off the bed and shucked off my top, minding my hair as I pulled it over my head.

I had just settled on my knees when Kylo reemerged and opened his eyes. He balked and I stifled a giggle as water sloshed over the rim. He opened his mouth questioningly but I cut him off before he could speak. I reached in, wrapping my hand around his member.

Kylo groaned deeply and his head fell back against the rim as I slowly drug my palm up and down his length. I watched his face in fascination at it contorted in pleasure, reveling in his expressions.

My nipples hardened into peaks under my breast band as I continued to drag moan after obscene moan from Kylo’s plush lips. He picked up his lolling head as I whimpered, his pleasure turning into my own. I looked into his half-lidded eyes as he stared.

“Off,” Kylo grunted towards my breast band. His hands too busy gripping the rim with white knuckles to unravel it himself.

I practically ripped it off my chest, unable to do it gracefully with one hand. My breasts had swelled even more than at the start of my pregnancy. Now, they were the full and voluptuous size that I had craved since I was a teenager. But to my dismay, they hardly looked like playboy material. They were littered with angry red stretch marks, topped with deep red peaks, waiting to be suckled on.

Despite my insecurities, Kylo’s eyes zeroed in on them, looking at them like they were an oasis in the Saharan Desert. He never failed to make me feel beautiful or sexy, whether through words or actions. So I jut my chest out, insecurity turning into pride, all but screaming out, “My body can form a baby, what can yours do?”.

Kylo let out an appreciative groan as he watched them sway at the force of my hand on his cock. I shifted up on my knees, reaching my other hand into the water to fondle his sac. He shifted, fighting off his orgasm and I gave him no reprieve as I felt his balls draw tight to his body, only picking up the intensity of my ministrations.

Finally, he came with a moan loud and guttural, the water rippling as he thrust up into my hand. I rested my forehead against his, working him through as his spend clouded the water. Only when I felt his member soften in my hand did I withdraw my arms from the water, wiping them on a nearby pelt.

I squeaked as Kylo jerkily stood up, sloshing the water to the point it almost spilled out on top of my discarded top. I snatched it off the ground before it could get wet and shot Kylo a pointed glare. A smirk played at the corner of his lips as he stepped out of the tub, dripping water everywhere.

“Kyl-Oh!” I half-chided as he pulled me up by the armpits.

His lips attacked my neck with a further as he backed me toward the bed,

“Your turn,” he said against my skin.

I stopped moving and planted my feet instead of letting him back me up. My palms pushed weakly against his chest, but he moved nonetheless,

“No.” I said quietly, “I don’t f- It’s getting late. The binding starts soon, we have to be there on time.”

“It starts when I say it starts,” Kylo growled playfully, already leaning back down, aiming to catch a nipple in his mouth.

I stopped him before he could with a firmer hand against his damp chest,

“No.”

He stood to his full height, hands squeezing my hips, looking only a little put out. I huffed and shook my head, amused by his pout. Running my hands up his chest to cradle his jaw in my hands, I stood on my tiptoes to press an affectionate kiss to the underside of his jaw, the highest I could reach before pulling his face down to capture his lips in a tender kiss.

I pulled away, still cradling his face in my hands and regarded the bright, shining look in his eyes. Knowing exactly what it meant, my thumb ran down the jagged scar, saying it right back in our own silent way.

----------------------------------

I had redressed in a hurry, fearful of being late and delaying the ceremony. And Kylo was Kylo, redressing sullenly to protest my refusal, taking an achingly slow amount of time to put on his ceremonial wear.

But true to his word, the ceremony didn’t start until Kylo said it did. Poe was already standing atop the platform and as soon as Kylo gave a nod to the officiant, a guard backpedaled and ran to inform Kaydel and her processional that it was okay to begin.

Kylo and I stood in the very front of the pack, I leaned heavily against Kylo’s chest, my legs already aching. His hands rested against my hips, half holding me up and half massaging aching joints.

And after what felt like forever in the blistering cold, Kaydel made it up the steps of the platform, an absolute picture in her lilac gown and white fur wrapped tightly around her shoulders. I silently thanked m lucky stars that I was bound in the summer months. Kaydel met my eyes and I shot her a reassuring smile as tears began to prick the corner of my vision.

Despite my dislike of Poe, they made a handsome couple, somehow fitting each other perfectly. His curly locks ruffled in the wind as he looked down at Kaydel with a gentle look in his eye.

The ceremony was very similar to the one Kylo and I had. Only a slight wording change and the absence of the ceremonial knives and markings differed.

It was a beautiful ceremony, but I couldn’t help but countdown the minutes and seconds until it was over. The cold seeming to affect me the most on top of the increasing throb in my legs.

The end was in sight when I began to feel myself start to lose the battle against my body. I began to shiver uncontrollably, despite the thick winter cape encompassing me from head to foot. I reached behind me and squeezed Kylo’s wrist hard as my stomach heaved in a wave of intense nausea.

Kylo bent to angle his ear toward my turned head to speak hurriedly in his ear.

“I’m gonna puke,”

“Wha- shit,” Kylo mumbled.

He was barely able to lift the sides of his cloak to obscure me from view before I doubled over and emptied what little I had in my stomach onto the snow-covered ground. Kylo rubbed my back as I dry heaved a couple more times before righting myself. I grimaced as I realized some had hit the inside of Kylo’s cloak and splattered on my moccasins. I wiped the back of my hand across my mouth, looking discretely to the side to see if anyone had noticed. Thankfully, no one appeared to have noticed, all still intently watching the ceremony.

I glanced up at Kylo with teary, frustrated eyes. He returned my gaze with a concerned look, lips pursed and brows pulled low. I just shook my head and all but slumped into his chest, Kylo’s arms the only thing holding me upright. He crushed me tighter to his chest and I burrowed as close as I could.

I stayed hidden within his cloak and arms when the clan erupted in cheers and claps, signaling the end of the ceremony. Kylo waited until the others began to file away to get ready for the rest of the reception before kicking snow over the puke and swinging me into his arms, carrying me away from the celebration and back to the tent.

The swaying in his gait upset my stomach further and I sobbed harder and more openly as I puked all over myself. Kylo hushed me and picked up his pace, determined to get back to the tent faster.

When we reached the tent, Kylo gently set me on the edge of the bed and began to peel off my soiled layers. He balled up my shirt and pants and threw them into the corner before tugging at the top of my breast band with an inquisitive gaze. I just nodded and reached behind me to untie the knot holding it together.

Once it was off, he threw it with the rest of the clothes before slipping one of his long sleeves over my head and helping me pull my legs through a pair of soft wool pants. My sobbing had ceased but tears still streaked down my cheeks. Kylo knelt before my feet and took my clammy hands in his,

“Stay?” I begged him in a tiny voice.

“I can’t baby. I have to attend the celebration for a little while but I’ll get my Mother to come sit with you until I get back” Kylo said regretfully.

I just nodded, sniffling as he kissed my forehead before helping scooch back and under the covers. Once he was satisfied with the amount of pelts and blankets he had piled on top of me, he placed one last kiss against my cheek, lingering as he pulled away.

Kylo shot one more unreadable look over his shoulder before disappearing out of the tent to the party, where I so wished I was.

Chapter Text

I lay awake for a long while after Kylo left the tent, staring at the ceiling wondering what the hell I was going to do. Leia shuffled in a few minutes later, sitting on the edge of the bed and pressed a wrinkled hand against my forehead.

“You aren’t too warm.” Her brows furrowed, “Just some baby sickness I propose.”

“Yeah I think so… I feel better than I did awhile ago but I don’t trust myself not to steal Kaydel’s spotlight by puking in front of everyone.” I said tearfully, “I just wish I could be there for her.”

“Oh sweet girl, she understands.” Leia comforted as she brushed the sweaty hair off my forehead.

I nodded biting my lip,

“You can go back to the party, I’ll be fine here.”

“I don’t want to leave you by yourself.”

“No, I want you to go and celebrate for me. There’s no use in you being here if I’m just going to sleep.” I pushed.

“Well… If that’s what you want. I’ll come by to check on you tomorrow then, I guess.” Leia said doubtfully.

I just nodded and bid her goodnight as she stood and walked out of the flaps of the tent. I watched the flaps until they stopped swaying before turning on my side and closing my eyes.

------------------------------

The next morning, I woke up as nauseous as ever and alone in bed. The pelt was cold, a tell that Kylo had long since left or had never returned last night. I shifted as my hips ached from the position, trying to remember if I had woken up even briefly as I usually did when Kylo came to bed after me.

I sat up and groaned as my stomach lurched but the feeling soon faded as I sat. The clan was oddly silent, but that was probably due to the partying of the members last night. I dressed quickly in the frigid air, wanting to investigate where Kylo had gone.

Once I was dressed, I stepped through the flaps of the tent and nodded at the guards as I started to move through camp. Judging from the sun in the sky, it was already midday, just before the time the women started to prepare lunch. I wove my way through the tents aimlessly until I neared the edge of camp, spotting Kylo tacking up Wisaka and his black stallion. He shot me a glance as I walked closer, my moccasins crunching the dying grass.

Wisaka nickered softly at me and I smiled, reaching out to run a hand down her soft face.

“Do you think we could get a foal out of them? I’m sure the it would have such a pretty coat.” I said gently as I gazed into Wisaka’s kind eye.

Kylo grunted as he swung a heavy looking saddlebag across the stallion’s withers.

“If that is what you want.” He replied impassively, “We will have to wait until she goes into heat.”

I nodded as I continued to stroke her face.

“Rey.”

“Hm.” I hummed before turning to look at Kylo’s long face.

“Up you go.”

I had little choice to protest as Kylo ushered me to Wisaka’s side before helping me swing into the saddle. My hand smoothed down my belly unconsciously as I settled into the seat, Kylo’s eyes following the movement wistfully.

“What’s going on Kylo?” I asked harshly.

“We’re going for a ride, Rey.” He said cryptically, climbing into his own saddle before kicking his horse into motion.

Wisaka jerked into motion under me and I mumbled a low easy as she sped to keep up.

“Kylo,” I whined, “Tell me what’s going on.”

He was silent long enough for me to open my mouth to ask him again,

“We’re going for help.” Kylo answered gruffly.

My stomach rolled from the swaying motion and I took a deep breath trying to steady it as much as I could.

“What do you mean help? Is there another clan nearby?” I questioned.

Kylo nodded stiffly, not even turning around to look at me as he did.

I huffed, starting get teary eyed as Kylo’s behavior began to upset me.

He led the way, Wisaka following obediently behind the black stallion. I let my eyes take in my surroundings, allowing myself tofully gawk at the beauty of the valley and distant mountain range surrounding our winter grounds. It didn’t take long for me to notice that we were heading back the same way we entered. I sighed wanting to ask Kylo where the other clan was but thought better of it, knowing I’d get the same gruff response as before. So, I rode in silence hoping that Kylo’s foul mood will soon lift.

---------------------------------

We came upon a small clearing with a miniature tent set up to the side of it just as the last tendrils of light started to disappear from between the tree branches. I breathed a sigh of relief as Kylo swung down and stalked over to where Wisaka and I had stopped. His warm hands were gentle on my hips as I slowly swung my leg over her back, guiding me to the ground. I slumped back against Kylo’s chest, my hips aching and exhausted from the long ride.

Without a second thought, Kylo swung me into his arms and carried me through the flaps of the tent, setting me down on the mattress pushed in the corner of the room.

“I need to take care of the horses and grab our stuff, then I’ll be right back.” Kylo said quietly before ducking out of the tent.

Too tired to put up any sort of questioned, I just laid back on the hard mattress and rested a hand against my sloped belly, throwing the other over my eyes.

I was half-asleep as Kylo finally entered the tent. Kylo shuffled through the what I assumed was the saddle bags, pulling things out in silence. I jumped as he laid a pelt over my sprawled form, I pulled my hand from my face and opened my eyes looking at him softly.

“Hungry?”

I nodded and moved until I was sitting more comfortably on the bed. He pulled bundles of cloth out of one of the saddle bags and came to sit beside me. His fingers unwrapped them, revealing pieces of dried venison and an assortment of fruit in the other. Kylo set them between us, letting me grab what I wanted before digging in himself.

We ate in silence, until all the food was gone. With a full belly, I scooted further back on the bed to lie back down again. Kylo stuffed the cloth back into the saddle bag and disappeared through the flaps again, coming in a few seconds later with a bundle of wood and kindling cradled in his arms. He got to work lighting the fire and I watched as the glow of the fire cast shadows against the walls.

Once the fire was going steady, Kylo continued to crouch beside it, staring into the flames like he was looking for an answer.

“Kylo, come to bed.”

He stood, and shucked off his moccasins before clambering onto the low bed beside me. I rolled onto my side to face him. Kylo just stared at my face, like a blind man starved of sight. I just smiled and brushed the lock of hair from his eyes. He offered a small smile back before rolling closer until his face was nestled into the crook of my neck, a hand coming to place a possessive hold on my growing belly. I placed my hand over his and brought my other arm around his shoulders, fingers threading into the hair at the nape of Kylo’s neck.

We laid like that for awhile before I felt Kylo’s breath go deep and even against my neck. I followed soon after, both our hands still clutching my bump.

--------------------------------

I woke in the same position as the night before, to Kylo’s hand rubbing warm circles against my abdomen. I groaned, slightly irritated at the wake up call.

“Must you do that so early.” I whined, pushing his hand off me before rolling over to face away.

“Yes,” Kylo quipped, nipping my earlobe gently.

I giggled as his breath tickled my ear, rolling back over to face him on my other side.

Kylo reached forward and brushed away the hair plastered to my forehead,

“Good morning, my love.”

I mirrored his words, silently before leaning forward and pressing my lips against his. They melded together, never leaving each other as they worked against each other. My breath caught in my throat as his thick fingers curled into the hair at the nape of my neck, pulling until my lips broke away from his. Kylo immediately attacked my neck, his lips and tongue laving down the slender column.

I moaned breathily as his teeth nipped at my skin. Kylo pulled away suddenly, his fingers releasing my hair from his grip and before I could react, his thigh wedged between my legs and rolled me onto my back, Kylo coming to hover above me. I blinked up at him before pulling back down to my lips.

Kylo groaned as I bucked my hips upwards, using his thigh to stimulate my throbbing clit. He fumbled with the hem of my shirt before yanking it over my head and immediately grabbing for the ties of my breastband. I slapped his hands away as they tugged uselessly on the ends, reaching around to do it myself. Once the fabric fell away from my chest, my nipples peaked in the cold winter air and it almost burned when Kylo’s warm hand palmed my chest roughly. I whined in frustration despite Kylo’s hands on me.

“I know.” He grunted, leaning back to sit on his heels.

Kylo reached up behind him and pulled his long sleeve over his head, long hair flopping back down over his forehead as he pulled it off. Then, he reached down, and practically ripped my lower garments off.

“Oh!” I squeaked.

I reached down and rubbed tight, fast circles around my forgotten bud as Kylo finally lost the last layers of clothing. He fell back down to his palms and roughly shoved my hand away. He hooked my right knee over his elbow and pressed it to my heaving chest before leaning back down to press a lingering kiss below my belly button. And with enough speed to give me whiplash, he drove his hips forward, sliding home.

I screamed as the head of his cock bumped against my cervix, my visione whiting out as red hot pleasure shot through my body.

“Fuck,” Kylo spit as I clamped down around him.

 

My nails dug crescents into his pale back as he continued to thrust against me. I mouthed at his neck, barely able to focus on anything else other than staying conscious. Kylo moaned in my ear as I hiked my other leg up over his hip, changing the angle.

“Tell me how much you like it,” Kylo growled in my ear after a particularly hard thrust.

My eyes slid open and I stared up at him as I tried to gather my scrambled thoughts.

“Mm, don’t.” I panted, “Don’t ever stop.”

Seemingly satisfied with my answer, he pushed no further and dropped his hand back down to the crook of my neck.

I felt it as Kylo’s thrusts began to stutter out of rhythm. My toes began to tingle and the pleasurable tingles traveled up my legs and straight to my core, heating my lower stomach.

Kylo gave one, then two powerful thrusts before he cried out and jerked to a stop, emptying himself inside of me. I moaned as his cum coated my inner walls and I followed quickly after, clenching and spasming around him.

I felt Kylo rest some of his weight more firmly on top of me as he came down, still being careful of my protruding belly. He managed to roll off of me and settled down on his side, his chest heaving raggedly. I played with the sweaty, raven strands as he lay beside me.

Kylo laid there for a few moments, catching his breath before getting to his feet and gathering his clothes before shucking them quickly on in the brisk air. I stayed sprawled out under the pelts he had pulled back up over my body just watching Kylo move about the small tent.

He gathered what little we brought with us and packed it in the saddlebags before slipping out of the tent presumably to saddle up the horses. I sighed, figuring that Kylo would want to leave when he was finished, so I pushed the pelts back and dressed as quickly as I could, feeling the cold air all the way down to my bones.

Once I was finished, I turned back towards the bed and folded the pelts into piles at the foot before stretching and smoothing my hand down my bump. I paused when I felt the gap between the hem of my shirt and the waistband of my pants. I must have finally ‘popped’. In the past week, I had already gone up a size in tops, my old size no longer fitting, so seeing that this one no longer fit also, sent a lurch through my heart.

My fingers pulled up my shirt over the swell of my stomach, and I looked down. And sure enough, my stomach now looked more like a pregnancy belly than just ‘fat’. I laughed disbelieving, pressing a hand to where I felt a foot against my side. My eyes watered as I felt the foot kick against my hand.

“Kylo!” I shouted, “Kylo!”

I heard something drop heavily to the ground, thumping footsteps coming quickly closer until Kylo burst through the flaps, a panicked look on his face.

“What’s wrong?” He asked worriedly, eying my teary eyes.

I said nothing but reached for his hand and placed it firmly against my side, hoping that the baby would kick again. I watched Kylo’s face closely, wanting to see his reaction to it. This wasn’t the first time that I had felt a kick or a punch but it had always worked out that Kylo had been gone attending to clan matters everytime it was active.

I felt a hard jolt against my side right under Kylo’s hand. His lips parted and I heard the sharp intake of air as he felt our baby for the first time. I could see kylo fighting for something to say but eventually he settled with bending down and planting a fat kiss against my lips.

He rested his forehead against mine and shook his head a little bit,

“I wish we could stay for a little longer here, but we need to get going.”

I pulled back and kissed his cheek a smile playing on my face.

“That sounds fine to me, but I think I need a new shirt,” I said sheepishly, gesturing to my shirt turned practically crop top, “This is a little small.”

He frowned, and tugged uselessly on the bottom to see if it would go down anymore, when he didn’t he just turned on his heel and exited the tent. Kylo returned a few seconds later with another, bigger long sleeve top in his hands. I quickly pulled my top over my head and exchanged it with him. My new top, obviously belonging to Kylo was about five sizes too big but it fit way more comfortable than my other did.

I murmured a quiet thank you and took his hand when he offered it, leading me out of the shelter and towards Wisaka. She nickered back and me and I patted her lovingly on the shoulder.

“Alright, up you go.” Kylo grunted, his hands taking my shin and helping to propel me upwards so I could get on top of Wisaka’s back.

I shifted my hips on her back into a more comfortable position and then reached behind me to pull the thick cloak resting on her hind quarters around my shoulders. Kylo quickly swung himself up, pulling his own cloak over his shoulders and then kicking his stallion into motion. My fingers gripped the reigns along with a few strands of mane to help keep myself balanced.

We traveled mostly in silence for awhile, occasionally talking about little things. The sun continued to rise in the sky and from what I could tell, it was about midday before a familiar rolling in my stomach began to show up again. I pressed a hand to my stomach and sighed in irritation.

If only the nausea had stayed away long enough for us to complete the ride. I thought to myself.

Kylo must have heard me sigh as he turned in his saddle to look back at me. My face must have been particularly green, his eyebrows furrowing with what looked like resolve before he turned back around.

A few more minutes passed by before I began to make out grey between the trees in front of us. As we got closer, I quickly realized that it was a road! Despite my desire to go home months ago, that sentiment no longer held true. I had settled nicely into my new life and I considered the Alderaan Clan to be my home.

I tugged on the reins, pulling Wisaka into a slower walk before stopping all together,

“Kylo…” I called out, “Where are we going?”

He turned back around to face me and stopped when he saw that Wisaka was no longer moving.

“We have to cross to reach the help you need.” Kylo sated monotonously.

I furrowed my eyebrows,

“But, someone could see. I d-don’t understand.”

“Please, Rey. Trust me.” Kylo plead.

I nodded still unsure in the situation, but squeezed Wisaka into motion nonetheless. Once I had reached Kylo again, he began moving forward angling Khan so that he was closest to the road as we walked parallel to it, not crossing yet.

“It’s all about timing, we’ll have to get off to walk the horses across.” Kylo said almost to my head.

I just pressed my lips together, not quite willing to go along with the plan. It wasn’t long before I started to hear the sound of wheels rolling across pavement. My heart jumped into my throat, terrified that we’d be seen. Kylo must’ve heard it too as he perked up, cocking an ear to the direction it was coming from. He jerked Khan to a stop and quickly jumped off, rushing to my side and pulling down by my hips.

“Kylo!” I exclaimed, “What are you doing?!”

“Trust me, Rey. You have to trust me on this.” Kylo had a frantic look in his eye as he spoke.

“You’re scaring me!” I screamed as he pulled me closer to the roadside, “What are you doing?”

Kylo pulled me to the edge of the treeline, the sound of the car becoming ominous as it got closer and closer.

“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t have to. But I have no choice, Rey.” Kylo’s words were rushed as he continuously looked back towards the oncoming car, “I love you. But this is the only way.”

“I don’t unde-”

Kylo roughly pushed me and I stumbled out into the road, my knees hitting pavement as I tripped.

I heard the wheels skid to a stop and I quickly pushed to my feet, catching the fading back of Kylo as he galloped back off into the woods, Wisaka’s reins tied to his saddle horn.

A sob pushed up my throat and I screamed hoarsely as I watched him leave, abandoning me to a stranger.

“Come back!” I screamed falling to my knees and then to my butt, “Come back!”

I barely heard the car door slam shut over the sound of my ragged breathing. I sobbed inconsolable, knowing that he wasn’t going to come back

“Oh my god, miss!” A middle-aged woman exclaimed as she jogged toward my prone form.

Her hand came down to rest on my shoulder,

“Don’t touch me,” I choked out.

And when she didn’t,

“I said don’t touch me!” I shrieked.

“Oh,” I groaned pressing my hand against my side.

My stomach heaved and I emptied what little was in my stomach onto the ground in front of me.

“Oh dear, come on.” The stranger chided gently.

This time when she wrapped an arm under my armpit and pulled me up, I let her. My hand still pressed firmly against my belly.

“Are you hurt?” She asked.

Without waiting she gripped the hem and pulled it up to expose my stomach. When she caught sight of my swelling stomach, she let out a soft ‘oh’. She pulled it back down without saying much else.

“What’s your name?” She prodded gently as we walked toward her waiting car.

We reached the passenger side and she pulled open the door,

“Rey,” I said thickly.

“Rey Stone?” She questioned disbelieving.

I slid down into the seat and glanced up at her tiredly, nodding to confirm her question.

“The missing girl,” She murmured to herself as she shut the door.

No, not missing. Just merely having finally found home.

Chapter Text

It was a silent car ride to wherever the woman was taking me. She had tried asking me questions but when I remained silent she merely gave up, humming along to the radio.

“Can you turn that off, please.” I said weakly, unable to stand the noise.

The pop that played through the radio was just chatter, meaningless unlike the songs that I had heard hummed by the women of the Alderaan Clan. I saw the woman’s hand reach toward one of the knobs and twisted it, bathing the car in silence. I sighed in relief and leaned my head against the window, my vision starting to blur.

Judging by the clock on the dash, we rode in silence for over an hour before the trees started to thin out and buildings began to appear sporadically. It wasn’t long before we reached the city center and I figured the woman was headed to the hospital as the signs began to become more and more frequent. I began to brace myself, knowing that I was going to be poked and prodded relentlessly on top of being pestered by the police force.

I bit back tears as my lip started to quiver as we pulled into the parking lot of the Greybull County Hospital. It was only when I sniffled that the woman turned to look at me,

“Oh, honey. You’re finally safe. I’m sure that your loved ones are going to be so happy to see you after you’ve been missing for so long.”

I choked on a sob, my heart being pulled in two different directions. On one hand, I was excited at the thought of being able to see Finn and Rose again. But on the other, all I wanted to do was go back into the arms of Kylo again, sit and gossip with Kaydel and the other woman, and find comfort in the presence of Leia.

The woman looked at me sadly as my shoulders racked with tears, placing a hand on my shoulder, the other still on the wheel. She lifted her hand when she reached the loop around the entrance of the emergency room. A nurse who was waiting inside came out to meet us.

“- can I do for ya today?” I heard the nurse ask as the woman pulled open my door.

“I found her on a road in the middle of Shoshone National Forest. It’s Rey Stone.”

The nurse looked at me with wide eyes at the mentioning of my name and her eyes only seemed to get wider as I stood up out of the car. I shifted uncomfortably as she stared openly at my belly, I tugged on the hem and she quickly looked away.

“Alrighty, I’m just going to bring you to a room so we can get you checked out.” She said in the friendly nurse voice.

I nodded and let her loop her arm around my torso and walking me slowly inside. As we stepped through the sliding doors I turned to look behind me and watched as the woman who found me slide back into her car and drove off. The nurse stopped briefly at the front desk, letting the nurse sitting behind it know to contact the authorities and tell them that I had been found.

My cheeks heated as I felt countless pairs of eyes on me as I was led into the back. The people no doubt taking in my out of place attire. The nurse led me around a series of twists and turns before we entered an exam room. She helped me sit on the bed and then turned to shut the door softly. I watched her bustle around, grabbing various things out of the cabinets in the room.

“Okay, so I’m going to have you put this on,” she said handing me a gown, “ You can keep your undergarments on but everything else has to come off. I’ll be back with the doctor in a few minutes so get changed.”

I nodded and waited until she disappeared out the door before moving to my feet. I slowly pulled Kylo’s top over my head, pausing for a moment to press the garment to my face, taking in the smell. Next I quickly slipped the gown over my head and tied it before pulling my pants off. I kept my moccasins on, the ground too cold for me to discard of those too. I folded the pants and placed them neatly on one of the plastic chairs.

Gingerly, I pulled myself to sit on the bed and pulled the top into my lap, clutching it lightly. I stared blankly at the wall, waiting. It felt longer than what the nurse told me as I waited by myself in the sterile room.

I didn’t bother to stem the flow of tears trailing down my cheeks and didn’t even bother to wipe them as the nurse and doctor entered the room after a brief knock.

“Hello, Rey. I’m Dr. Hoth. We’re going to get you checked out and everything so it’s going to get a little hectic here in a few minutes. Just let me know if it starts to get a little much.” Dr. Hoth said kindly.

I nodded up at him.

“Okay, good. First, I’m going to ask you a few health questions before we start drawing blood.” Dr. Hoth stated, “We know that when you disappeared you wrecked your car, did you experience any injuries from that?”

“Yes, I think I broke my elbow and I hit my head.” I said quietly, shielding my eyes from the overhead lights.

“Jenny, go ahead and schedule an x-ray, blood work, and page the obgyn,” Dr. Hoth stated, then quieter, “We’ll also need a psych eval.”

I bristled at his words,

“You can cancel that, I’m not crazy.”

“Ms. Johnson, I’m not suggesting that you’re crazy. We just need a full workup since you’ve been missing in the woods for a very long time.” Dr. Hoth said calmly.

I didn’t bother answering that, just sat sullenly while he took my vitals. Occasionally, I answer whatever medical question he had, but other than that I decidedly kept my mouth shut.

When Dr. Hoth finally finished charting whatever info he needed, three rapid knocks hit against the door. Dr. Hoth stuck his pen in his lab coat and opened the door. A detective and a police officer slipped into the room without a word.

“Ms. Johnson, we need to ask you a few questions.” The detective said in a no nonsense tone.

I stiffened and eyed them suspiciously. No matter what, I couldn’t endanger the Alderaan clan. I couldn’t afford to do anything but keep my mouth shut. The police officer must have seen my apprehension so he turned to Dr. Hoth and whispered in his ear. Dr. Hoth disappeared out the door, leaving me with the two men.

The nurse, Jenny, came in a few seconds later and leaned silently against the counter. The detective took that as his que to start.

“I’m Detective Hanson and this is Officer Morelli, we’re going to need your story from the very beginning.” He pulled out a pen and notepad, flipping it open as he spoke.

“There really isn’t much to tell.” I said shortly.

The detective sighed and exchanged glances with Morelli.

“Rey, you telling us what happened will help us catch the person or people who are responsible for your situation.” Morelli’s eyes darted to my stomach under my gown.

I shifted uncomfortably, placing a protective hand over my belly.

“Nothing happened okay?” I spit, “Nothing, end of story.”

“Frankly, judging by your situation,” Hanson gestured to my belly, “A lot has happened.”

“Fine,” I fixed him with a harsh look, “I crashed my car, got confused and wandered into the woods. I got lost but I know survival skills.”

“Don’t defend him!” Morelli said sharply, “There’s no use in defending the man that raped you!”

I shook my head, face crumpling. Morelli took that as bait,

“Why are you protecting a man who brutalised you! You’ve been missing for eight months, how many times did he have rape you before he stuck you with a child!”

“No!” I screamed sobbing, “He didn’t!”

I clutched my side as I wheezed,

“No, no, no, no,”

“That’s enough! She doesn’t need this right now, get out the both of you.” Jenny ushered them quickly out of the room.

Jenny quickly bustled over to where I was hunched over on the bed. She sat down beside me on the bed and pressed an oxygen mask into my hands as I fought for breath. I pressed it to my mouth, taking deep shuddering breaths.

“That’s it, sweetie,” Jenny shushed, rubbing her hand up and down my back, “Deep breaths, we’ll get up moved up to your room in a bit and run the rest of the tests.”

“I just want to go home,” I whispered brokenly.

“Soon enough, your friends from Chicago have been notified and they’re on their way.” Jenny soothed.

I just nodded, knowing she wouldn’t understand what I meant by home.

Once Jenny made sure I caught my breath, she helped me lay fully down on the gurney before moving to sit in a chair against the wall, flipping though my chart. We sat in silence, except for the consistent beeping of my heart monitor and it wasn’t long before my eyes began to drift close.

---------------------

I jumped as a hand rested against my shoulder,

“Hey, it’s just me. We have a room ready for you, so we need to move you into a wheelchair to get you up there.”

I mumbled an acknowledgement, still struggling to fully come back to wakefulness. My eyes slid up to the clock, 5:30pm. Jenny wrapped her hand under my arm, helping me stand and then plop back down into the chair. She wheeled me out of the room and past an armed officer standing outside the door. He followed us down the hall and into the elevator. Jenny chatted quietly, not minding that I absolutely wasn’t paying a bit of attention to what she was saying.

The only thing going through my mind was how I was going to get back to Alderaan, back to Kylo.

The elevator doors opened and she wheeled me down the hall, passing a few doors before hanging a right into one. A covered dish was set on top of the bedside table along with a cup of orange juice next to it. Jenny stopped the wheelchair and locked the wheels before helping me into the bed and fluffing the pillows to make sure I was comfortable. Once she was finished, she pushed the table over the top of the bed until the plate and was right in front of me.

“Now, it’s a little late to start running tests,” Jenny said as she pulled the cover off the plate, “so we’ll pick up with your ultrasound and what not tomorrow morning.”

I eyed the slop she uncovered, scrunching my nose in distaste.

“So, eat up and get some rest.”

I gave her a tight smile and started to pick at the food when she left, only managing to eat a few bites before my stomach started to roll.

“Ugh.”

I quickly covered it again and pushed the table as far as I possibly could. The hum of the lights was the only thing in the silent room, and I instantly missed the constant sound of people milling around the camp. Tears welled in my eyes and I fought back the urge to cry again. Instead, I pressed the lights off button on my remote and slumped back down into the bed and closed my eyes, imagining that I was back in Alderaan resting my eyes as Kaydel milled around the tent.

-------------------------------

My sleep was fitful, fractured with intense brown eyes and a scarred face. So when a cheerful nurse came bustling in to open the curtains, it almost felt like I hadn’t slept at all. I groaned in complaint, covering my eyes with my hands.

“None of that! It’s almost 10 o’clock!” She turned to face me, “I’m Tina, I’ll be one of your nurses for the duration of your stay.”

I barely regarded her before asking,

“Where’s Jenny.”

Tina’s furrowed her eyebrows for a second,

“Jenny’s an ER nurse, she doesn’t work with admitted patients.”

I nodded briefly, swinging my legs over the side of the bed and making my way into the bathroom before Tina had the chance to fuss over me. She made a sound of protest that was cut off by the sound of the door swinging shut. I quickly used the facilities and washed my hands, staring into the mirror. I had definitely seen better days, my hair was knotted and matted to the sides of my head, eyes bruised with lack of sleep. Taking a deep breath, I opened the door, revealing Tina on the other side.

“You really shouldn’t do that, you could injure yourself.” She chastised while taking a hold of my arm.

I just rolled my eyes and let her shuffle me back to the hospital bed, a plate of breakfast already waiting on the bedside table.

“The OBGYN will be here soon to do an ultrasound, then we’ll move on to bloodwork and the x-ray, so eat up.” Tina fussed as she straightened out the blankets over my feet.

I reached forward and took the cover off the plate, scrambled eggs, bacon and a piece of buttered sat on the plate. It could be worse I guess.

“What about the psych eval,” I said scathingly.

Tina paused a bit as she rifled through a drawer in the medical cart across the room. She pulled a hairbrush out and turned back around before she answered,

“Today will be pretty busy with tests and all, I think the doctor has it scheduled for tomorrow in the morning. If you’re cleared, you’ll be discharged in the afternoon. But I’m pretty sure your friends will be here later today.”

I nodded, picking at the food.

“Let me sort your hair out for you.”

Tina didn’t say anymore as she brushed out the snarls in my hair. I sighed, remembering the feeling of Leia’s weathered fingers braiding and weaving my hair into elaborate styles. I continued to eat, making my way through the bland eggs.

Tina had almost finished brushing through my hair when my stomach began to lurch. I pressed a hand to my mouth and swallowed trying to keep it at bay.

“Trash can,” I choked out.

“What’s that?”

Too late.

I leaned off to the opposite side pulling my hair from her grasp as I wretched over the side of the bed. I vaguely heard the brush clatter to the floor before I felt Tina’s hands in my hair again, pulling it away from my face.

“Oh dear,” I heard a man say.

I didn’t bother looking up until I was sure that I was done heaving. A middle aged man stood in the entryway of the room, an ultrasound machine behind him. Tina darted around the room as she picked up supplies to clean the mess I had made. It didn’t take long for her to finish and hand me a small toothbrush and paste to brush my teeth with. I took it gratefully before doing what I had to do.

Once everything was squared away, the doctor entered the room fully, pulling the machine to the side of my bed.

“I’m Dr. Wexley, I’ll be your OBGYN while you’re here. Do you know approximately how far along you are?”

“About four and a half months, I think.” I ballparked, not really knowing for sure.

“All right, I’m going to just roll up your gown so we can take a look. Is that all right?”

I nodded and helped push all the necessary things out of the way.

“Now, this might be a little cold,” he said jovially as he squirted the lubricant on my belly.

I flinched a little and turned my head to the screen as he placed the doppler over the swell of my stomach. He didn’t say much as he began to move it around, eyes furrowing slightly.

“What?” My voice sounding high and tinny.

“Ms. Stone, I don’t want you to be alarmed but you are showing signs of preeclampsia.” Dr. Wexley’s tone was business-like, “I don’t want you to worry, but we’ll need a blood test and a urine test to confirm this.”

“What does that mean!” I cried, lip wobbling.

“Pre-eclampsia is an illness some pregnant women develop that can cause severe sickness, outside the usual side effects of pregnancy, but do not worry. It is treatable and manageable. You and your babies will be just fine.” He assured.

My mind settled as he soothed my worries.

“Wait - babies?” I whispered.

Dr. Wexley smiled softly and pointed to the screen,

“Yes, babies. Twins to be exact.”

I let out a nervous laugh, wiping at my watery eyes. My heart ached at the fact that Kylo couldn’t be here to see his developing children. My resolve hardened, I was going to make it back to Kylo no matter what.

“Would you like to know the genders?” He prodded gently.

I shook my head, wanting to share the surprise with Kylo when the time came.

“Well, we’re done then.” He clicked around his computer before handing me a photo of the ultrasound, “We’ll get those tests to confirm my suspicions so we can get to making you feel better, Ms. Stone.”

I didn’t say anything in response, too enamored with the photo in my hand. I heard him wheel out of the room, leaving me alone. I don’t know how much time had passed before a couple nurses came to get me to complete the tests, still too bust clutching the image in my hand.

----------------------------------

It was more than a few hours later and I lay dozing, picture still firmly in my hand. I vaguely heard a few footsteps shuffle into the room. I furrowed my brows, too tired to handle anymore tests. It was only when I heard the familiar sound of hushed whispers did my eyes fly open.

“Hi, guys.” I croaked.

“Rey!” Rose flew toward me with arms wide open, Finn not far behind her.

They both collapsed on top of me, hugging me tightly. I patted them on the arms, trying to return the favor.

“You’re crushing me,” I whined playfully.

Thankfully, they let up, coming to sit on the sides of my bed. I smiled weakly, looking over their features.

“We missed you so much,” Finned choked out.

My eyes misted,

“Don’t you start,” I joked.

They both laughed quietly and we all just stared at each other, not really knowing what to say. I bit my lip, nervous to tell them the news of my pregnancy. They both seemed like they hadn’t noticed yet.

“What happened?” Rose said softly, grabbing my hand.

I pursed my lips and looked away,

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You have to, Rey!” Finn pushed, “You can’t just disappear for 6 months and expect not to answer any questions.”

“Finn,” Rose said firmly, “Rey’s obviously been through a traumatic event. It’s okay if she doesn’t want to talk about it right now.”

Finn huffed and looked away, disagreeing.

I sighed, mustering up the courage to break the news to them.

“Look, I have something that I need to tell you guys. And when I tell you, you can’t ask questions. It’s just too hard to think about right now. Okay?” I urged while looking into both of their faces.

“You can tell us anything,” Rose assured.

“I’m, I’m pregnant,” I stuttered, peaking at their faces, “With twins.”

They were silent for several moments,

“Oh, Rey.” Rose cooed softly squeezing my hand.

I looked away, knowing what she was assuming. And as much as I wanted to correct her assumption, I can’t afford to give anything away. For the sake of the Alderaan Clan.

I continued,

“I also might have preeclampsia. The OB had a suspicion so he ran a few tests. The results aren’t back yet, but it’s treatable. I’ll be okay.”

Finn didn’t say anything, just leaned in and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pressing a kiss to my hair.

“Now, enough with the heavy,” I said, trying to break the sadness, “Tell me what you guys have been up to these past few months while I’ve been gone.”

-------------------------------------

I spent the evening catching up on all the things I had missed. Finn and Rose left late that night, eventually being shoed out by a nurse. Now, it was time to make my way back to Chicago for the time being. I had passed my psych eval with flying colors, with only one condition that I’d attend therapy regularly.

“Ready?” Rose asked, swinging her purse down next to me on the seat. The bottle of my preeclampsia pills rattled loudly.

Not in the slightest.

I nodded, smiling tightly before she turned to face forward to tap Finn on the shoulder.

“Homeward bound!” Finn exclaimed brightly,

Indeed but in the entirely wrong direction.

Chapter Text

A foot dug into my ribs and I jolted, shifting uncomfortably on the stiff couch. I pressed a hand over another foot pushing against my side, rubbing a gentle circle over it.

“Are you okay, Rey?” Dr. Zorri asked, concerned. She fiddled with her pen, tapping it against the top of her clipboard.

“I’m fine,” my eyes darted to the clock above her head, “Can we be done?”

Zorri sighed, setting her clipboard down and leaning forward to press her elbows to her knees,

“Rey, the only way to heal from your disappearance is to start talking about it. It was a traumatic experience, in order to move forward with your life, you need to work through your emotions about it.”

“Like I said, I’m Fine. The only way to move past this, is to stop talking about it” I threw my hands up, “All we’re doing here is beating a dead horse.”

I fell silent, my mind drifting to Wisaka and I wondered if Kylo had gone ahead and bred her to his Stallion anyways in the month and a half I had been gone. My expression softening at the thought of the kind mare.

Dr. Zorri caught my change in expression,

“What are you hiding?” and then softer, “Who are you protecting, Rey?”

My eyes snapped to hers and I lurched to my feet, gathering my things and shoving them into my tote bag and slinging it over my shoulder.

“Rey.”

“No one,” I spit through my teeth before wretching the door open and stomping down the hall and out the building.

I stood on the sidewalk outside, seething. Digging through my purse for my phone, I growled under my breath realizing my ride wouldn’t be here to pick me up for another half an hour as I only managed to make it through 15 minutes of my government mandated therapy sessions.

My fingers tapped clumsily on the screen texting Finn and Rose if they could come pick me up. I waited impatiently as the three dots popped up,

Sure? I can be there in 15. - Finn

I didn’t bother texting back, instead sending a quick message to my government babysitter. I wasn’t allowed to take public transit and right now I needed to play along while I bided my time.

Before I could think better of it, I darted across the street to the convenience store. The shop bell chimed as I walked in, the clerk saying a brief hello. I gave a polite smile before heading towards the snack aisle.

Since being diagnosed with preeclampsia and receiving medication for it, my appetite had returned and I felt like I could be a functioning adult. Though I still had days where I felt extremely sick but I'll take what I can get.

But with the return of my appetite, came the arrival of cravings for food I couldn’t get. Food I could only receive coming from the hands of the clan women, particularly dried veal. I eyed the bag of beef jerky, mulling over my decision.

I was still staring at the selection when my phone buzzed. I answered it without looking who it was,

“Rey? Where are you?” Finn sounded slightly panicked.

I rolled my eyes and grabbed a bag of beef jerky off the shelf,

“In the convenience store across the street.”

I made my way to the front of the store and stood in front of the glass, waving to Finn from where I stood.

“See? I’ll be out in a second.” With that I hung up the phone and went to the counter to make my purchase.

I used the crosswalk this time to cross the street before sliding into the front seat of Finn’s coupe.

“You can’t do that, Rey. You have to tell us if you go anywhere.” Finn scolded.

I rolled my eyes, shaking my head in irritation,

“I was hungry.”

He eyed the bag before switching the subject,

“Isn’t your session supposed to go to 3:45?”

“Technically, but I was done with that bullshit.” I said through a mouthful of jerky.

“Rey-”

“Don’t start, Finn. It’s been over a month. I’m done talking about it” I paused for added effect, “I can’t keep reliving it. And every time I go in, I’m asked about it. I just want to stop reliving it.”

I saw the concern in Finn’s eyes as he glanced at me from the road,

“Okay, I can call the hospital and see if they’ll agree to stop the required sessions?”

I smiled softly and reached over to squeeze his arm to show my gratitude. Finn returned my smile and went back to focusing on the road. I leaned my head back against the headrest and placed a hand over my babies, daydreaming about Kylo and I dancing in front of the bonfire all those months ago.

-------------------------

“What makes you think you’ll be a good part of our team, Rey?” Jessica asked.

I sat up a little straighter and crossed my legs before answering,

“Well, I used to work at a coding company so I’m used to having to meet a deadline. I think the rush to get someone their coffee is about the same as it would be to finish a project.”

“Yes, that is very true,” Jessica laughed, “We only have part-time openings available right now, will that be an issue?”

“Not at all! I can’t work very long hours because of the complications in my pregnancy.” I explained.

I bounced my leg, hoping that it wouldn’t be a game changer. I knew enough about job searches that some companies had issues hiring pregnant women.

“Well, Rey. I think you’ll make a great addition to our team!” Jessica smiled at me and turned to wake up her computer and typing in her log in, “Now if I could just get some more background information and a bank number for checks, you’ll be set to start thursday at 10!”

I nodded and gave her all the details she needed to know. This job at the local coffee shop was a way to help me get back on my feet, at least that was what my government supervisor told me. Originally, they were going to set me up somewhere of their choosing but I decided this was something I wanted to do on my own. Besides, I didn’t want to get too involved in something with no plans of staying.

I left the back room where I was interviewed with $200 in advance in my pocket. Stuffing it in the bottom of my purse and pushed through the doors and headed to where Rose was waiting for me in the car.

“How’d it go?” Rose asked, turning the key in the ignition.

“I start thursday at 10!” I said, faking excitement.

Rose expressed her excitement before we fell into a comfortable silence, listening to the radio as we headed back to the apartment. I fiddled with the hair tie on my wrist, anxiously thinking about my plan to get back to the Alderaan Clan.

Once we reached the apartment, I made an excuse to Rose about being tired and needing to lie down. I shut my bedroom door behind me and immediately dug the cash out of my purse. Gripping the end of the bed, I kneeled down and grabbed the ratty shoebox from under the bed.

I flipped the lid open and carefully folded the money in a stack on top of the cash I had started to squirrel away. Currently, thanks to the small government stipend I had started to receive in the weeks after I was released from the hospital, I now had $500 to my name.

I spent as little as I could, only buying what I absolutely needed. Which only consists of prenatal vitamins and the occasional maternity clothes. Finn and Rose refused to let me pay for rent or the groceries. Now that I had a job, I’d be able to make enough money to leave sooner than what I could.

In order to manage my preeclampsia, I needed to be taking the medication all the way up to after I give birth. I was only 23 weeks, with not enough pills to last if I left any sooner than 32 weeks.

A knock sounded at my door and I hastily shoved the box back under my bed and quickly stood.

“Yes?”

The door cracked and a head popped in,

“Any chance you want to watch the new episode of the bachelorette with me?”

I shook my head and sat down on my bed, taking off my sneakers,

“No, you go ahead, Rose.”

----------------------------

It was late in the afternoon when I practically waddled through the coffee shop doors. Jessica waved at me from behind the register and I waved back before making my way towards the back room to clock in.

I punched my id numbers into the keyboard and pressed enter, wincing as I felt one of the twins flip over, stretching my skin painfully.

“Come on now, bub. Mommy’s got to focus on work.” I said softly pushing firmly over the spot where he lay.

Despite not formally knowing the genders, I just had a gut feeling that they were both going to be boys, as much as I hoped that I’d have at least one girl. A foot pressed against my hand I just shook my head before heading out to the counter.

“You’re on restocking duty today with Martie, Rey.” Jessica called over her shoulder as she poured coffee into a cup.

I turned on my heel and headed back to the stockroom. Martie already stood rearranging products on the wire shelves.

“Thank god, I’m on restocking duty. I honestly didn’t feel like dealing with customers right now.” I joked.

Martie turned around and shook her head, grey curls bouncing.

“I’m surprised they even let you come to work anymore. You’re absolutely huge!”

“Hey!” I feigned offense, smiling at her poke.

“How far along are you? You look about ready to pop.”

I rubbed both hands down the front of my belly,

“I’m not as far along as you’d think. Only about 6 and a half months, twins will do this to you.”

“Twins,” she said incredulously, “Thank god, I’m way past my baby-making days. Carry one kid at a time was hard enough.”

I just laughed and came to stand beside her, reaching to count the supplies.

“No, go sit and keep off your feet. You can write down the quantities and figure out what we need to order soon.” Martie chastised.

I threw my hands in the air, surrendering and moved to sit in a chair. I pulled a yellow notepad towards me and uncapped a pen,

“Okay, tell me what we have.”

---------------------------------

I flipped through a magazine, sitting by myself in the waiting area of the Planned Parenthood lobby. Both Finn and Rose were busy with work and couldn’t take off the time to visit come with me. So instead, my babysitter had driven me and was sitting in the car waiting for me to be done.

A door squealed open and I glanced up as a medical assistant stepped through the frame,

“Rey Stone?”

Uncrossing my legs, I put the magazine back down on the table and stood before making my way over to where he stood.

“How are you and the babies doing today?” He asked jovially.

I smiled at his upbeat tone and automatically touched my belly, a habit I developed whenever someone mentioned it.

“Just fine,” I replied, skirting past him through the door of the exam room.

“You know the drill,” he moved in past me and bent to grab a gown from a cabinet, “put this on and the doctor should be in shortly.”

I took the gown from his hands and nodded, waiting for him to exit before quickly stripping off and tying the gown on. I shivered despite the warm air blowing through the vents and grabbed my jacket from the pile on the chair and put it on over.

I had just sat down on the exam table when three quick knocks sounded on the door. A second later, it opened and in stepped Dr. Vader holding my chart against his chest.

“How are you today, Rey?” He asked.

“I’m well, no new symptoms since the last time I was here. The medication seems to be fine.”

“Good, good.”

I scooted back and pulled the blanket over my lap and pulled my gown up over my belly as Dr. Vader set up the ultrasound machine.

“Are you sure you don’t want to know the genders?” He inquired.

“No, I’m sure. I want it to be a surprise.

“Okay..” Dr. Vader sounded sceptical and I just smiled and shook my head as he squeezed out a blob of ultrasound belly.

I flinched, still not used to the coldness of it and turned my attention to the screen. I listened in awe as Dr. Vader pointed out the features of each baby. And I smiled as Baby A flexed his foot, small toes scrunching.

“Now let’s listen to the heartbeats.”

I nodded enthusiastically as he moved the doppler around before finding the first beat. My eyes pricked tearfully and I quickly wiped the escaping tear, careful not to smear my mascara. Dr. Vader moved onto the next before printing the pictures he had taken and switching the monitor off.

He handed me a wad of paper towels and I wiped off the gelly.

“Those are a pair of healthy babies, no need to worry about them. They’re where they should be for 32 weeks. I don’t think you’ll go to full term with them but you’re in the green to go into labor.” Dr. Vader assured.

“What about my medication? I’m almost out of my bottle.” I picked my fingernails nervously.

“I’ll write you up another prescription for them and you can take it to the pharmacy for them to fill.” He handed me the packet of pictures he had taken, “We’re all done here, I’ll have the slip for you ready when you check out.”

“Thank you, Dr. Vader.” I smiled

“No problem, Rey. I’ll see you in a few weeks for your final ultrasound.”

Unlikely.

------------------------

I quickly slipped my clothes back on and headed out to the front desk to check out. The woman at the desk had me fill out some forms and schedule my last ultrasound. When I finished she handed me the prescription and I bid her a good day before heading out to the car.

Gwen started the car as soon as I closed the door,

“How’d it go?”

“Babies are healthy and I’m in the clear for labor.” I answered and pulled the slip from my purse and angled it toward her, “I need to stop by Walgreens to fill my meds.”

She nodded and pulled out of the parking lot, heading to where I needed to go.

Traffic was heavy so it took a hot minute for us to finally reach it. Gwen pulled into a spot and cut the engine.

“Do you need me to go in with you?”

I already had a foot out the door before I answered,

“No, I’ll be fine.”

I shut the door and walked as fast I could inside, the wind biting at the tops of my ears. The sliding doors opened and I darted through, heading straight toward the pharmacy, ignoring the woman at the register.

Thankfully, no one was waiting in line to pick up or fill, so I stepped right up to the counter and gave the pharmacist the slip.

“It’ll be about 15-20 minutes. We’ll call you over the speaker when it’s ready, Ms. Stone.”

I nodded and stepped back, turning to go wander the aisles for a few minutes. As I perused, I went over my plan in my head.

It was only a matter of weeks before I went into labor and I could safely have them any moment since I was 32 weeks. I needed to leave within the next couple of days, my heart stung with the thought of having to leave Finn and Rose, but I don’t belong here. I picked up two small teddy bears and tucked them under my arm, deciding I needed to get them.

I would call Planned Parenthood a couple hours after I got home and tell them that I had dropped my new bottle of meds on the bus and that I needed a new one. I can’t risk running out of my pills earlier if I carried for longer than I was expecting. Once I had my extra bottle, I’d tie up any more loose ends before leaving.

-----------------------

I bustled through the apartment door, hoping I wasn’t too late.

“Did the garbage truck come yet?” I called as I walked straight to my room.

“No, but it’ll be here in a few minutes!” Rose called back from the kitchen.

I huffed as I knelt carefully and pulled the shoebox from under by bed and placed the new bottle of pills on top of the stack of cash. Grunting as I stood, I quickly pulled the semi-full garbage bag out of the small can in my room and darted out to through it in the trash chute out in the hall.

When I was finished, I walked back into the apartment and sat down at the island in the kitchen where Rose was chopping a plate of veggies,

“How’d your appointment go?”

“Well, doc says I’m in the green for a healthy labor. Got a new bottle of pills.” I answered reaching forward to snatch a piece of celery from the cutting board.

“Hey,” Rose chided, “Now show me those pictures.”

I pulled out the packet from my jacket pocket and handed it to her, smiling as she cooed at it. She handed it back to me and ripped off a couple pictures for her and Finn before sticking the packet back in my pocket.

“I’m going to go lay down for a bit.” I said, sliding off the stool.

“Alrighty,” Rose answered, “If you’re not about by then, I’ll come get you for dinner.”

“Yes, mom.” I joked, smiling back at her as I exited the room.

Once in my room, I shut the door behind me a soft click and grabbed the shoebox again, sitting on the end of my bed. I carefully pulled out the pill bottle and set it next to me before pulling out the stack of cash. Yesterday, after work I went to the bank and cashed out the majority of the money in there, leaving only a few hundred dollars as not to raise suspicion.

I counted the money carefully, separating each bill type into different different piles before banding them all together and setting in back in the box, replacing the pills next to it.

I had a little over $2000 from my coffee shop gig and the government stipend I recieved. If everything worked out the way I wanted it to, I could leave tomorrow morning around the time I would normally leave for work. I figured I had just enough money to for a plane ticket and maybe a bus ticket with extra cash to hitchhike the rest of the way.

I put the box back under my bed and walked to my dresser, opening the cap of my old pill bottle and dumping all but two pills into my hand and closing the lid. Setting the medication down on the wood, I opened my bottle of prenatals and put the dumped out pills into there, resealing the lid and placing it next to my other vitamins.

Now to ham it up. I stared in the mirror and thought about all the things I missed from Alderaan. But I especially thought about Kylo. When my eyes were puffy with tears and my cheeks tinged pink, I burst through the door of my room, all but running to the kitchen where Rose still was, making sure to give small shuddering breaths.

I stopped in the doorway, sniffling pathetically.

“Rey! What’s wrong?” Rose cried, “What do you need?”

“I- I was going to empty my remaining pills into my new bottle so I could throw the old one away,” I wheezed, wiping at my face, “but I must’ve gotten confused and threw out my new bottle. And now I only have two pills left!”

Rose rounded the island and pulled me into a tight hug, gently patting my hair. I sniffled dramatically, playing into the frail and emotional pregnant woman.

“It’s going to be okay. When did you absolutely need the new bottle?” Rose soothed.

“Tomorrow morning. I only have enough to take tonight but I’ll have none left.” I said quietly.

“Damn,” She pulled back, “We’ll I can call Planned Parenthood and have them send a prescription order over to the hospital and Finn can pick it up before he leaves after his shift tonight. Okay?”

I nodded, giving her a soft smile and pulling her back in for a hug,

“Thank you for always taking care of me.”

“Always, Rey. Always.”

---------------------------------

True to her word, Rose had called Planned Parenthood and Dr. Vader sent a prescription order to the hospital where Finn worked. Later that night, Finn waltzed through the door and handed me the bag as I sat on the couch munching on a bowl of popcorn. I gave him a sheepish smile and held the bowl up in thanks.

We all watched TLC for hours before Rose and then Finn went to bed, leaving me out in the living room. I waited a few minutes for them to fall asleep before shutting off the t.v. and putting the bowl in the sink and heading to my respective room.

I sighed, rubbing my belly as I looked around, not really knowing where to begin. I didn’t plan on lingering anywhere too long so I grabbed my old college backpack from the college and carefully packed a couple changes of clothes into the bottom. Next, I grabbed the shoebox and took out the cash and the other bottle of pills. I set the three orange bottles next to each other before fishing out the pills I had dumped into the vitamin bottle and consolidated the leftovers into the one of the two full bottles. I grabbed my vitamins and prenatals and put them on top of the pill bottles in my backpack.

Grabbing a makeup pouch from my drawer in the bathroom, I shoved the wad of cash into it and zipped it into the smaller pocket of my backpack. I rummaged through a drawer in my nightstand for the old wristwatch I used to wear all time. Thankfully, it was still ticking so I strapped it around my wrist so I wouldn’t forget it when I left. With nothing else I needed to pack, I changed into sweats and an oversized t-shirt before slipping into bed for the night.

I slept fitfully, too anxious to get going that I woke feeling groggy. I stretched and reached for my phone as it buzzed against the wood of the nightstand.

Finn: Got called in early, you’re on your own this morning :)

I didn’t bother replying to him, instead shooting Gwen a text saying that Finn was taking me to work this morning so she didn’t need to come pick me up. I set the phone back down on the table and swung my legs over the bed. With no one home this morning, it made getting away much easier.

I quickly dressed and pulled my backpack onto my shoulders and took a last look around my room.

Crap, the pictures.

I crossed the room again and ruffled through the top drawer in the nightstand and pulled out the different packets of my ultrasound pictures and tucked them safely into a pocket of my backpack. Once finished, I headed out to the kitchen, pulling a notepad and pen from a drawer writing a quick note for Finn and Rose. Satisfied with the note, I called an uber to Chicago O’Hare and left the apartment without looking back.