Rey felt her eyes flickering shut despite her best efforts to keep them open. Every sense she had was heightened, her connection with the Force both fading and becoming stronger. The rubble underneath her vibrated with energy and she could actually feel the relief and joy from those in the sky who were flying off. Between each sluggish blink, she saw Ben limping towards her, struggling to stand and collapsing to the ground in a crumple. She felt his pain, his sorrow, his need to get to her before it was too late as her life force was slipping out of her. She would fade soon, she knew it, she could feel it. She wanted to tell him to stay back, that it was her time to go and that he should take his chance to live—make a better life for himself.
But in Ben’s head, he was thinking the exact opposite. He could make no better life for himself. His mother wouldn’t take him back, not after what he had done to his father even though she reached out. She’d wanted to stop him; that had to be her goal. He would be hunted everywhere by people who had actually seen his face, old commanders and generals—the Rebellion. He didn’t have anything besides Rey to live for and he couldn’t go on being alone when he’s felt her for so long—her life force, her aura, her energy, just her. He was weak, but he could restore her. He could stop her from dying, allow her to actually do something useful with her life.
So, he reached her, pulled her into his lap and began transferring his energy to her. He felt himself growing weaker and Rey returned to him stronger. He was almost done when she placed her trembling hand on his cheek, forcing him to open his eyes and gaze down at her with curiosity and affection. She shook her head gently.
“Don’t,” she told him. “You’ll kill yourself.”
“If it means you live,” he tried but she leaned up with all of her might and pressed her lips to his, silencing him.
“I don’t want to go on without you,” Rey admitted, glossy eyes reflecting Ben’s own. “So stop, and we can live with the little strength we have now.”
He nodded, sensing the tone in her voice left no room for argument. He was exhausted, his body trembling as much as Rey’s. He had almost no energy left, just enough life force to keep himself sustained, but not awake.
He promptly passed out.
Rey, ever so concerned, rushed over to his face, placing her hand by his mouth. She sighed in relief, concerned that he was dead fading. She had to think quickly, he needed to get back to the main ship so that he could receive proper medical attention.
The young woman stood on shaky legs, pushing herself off of the ground with the aid of her hands. She was in a better state than Ben was, but that didn’t make her any less exhausted. Rey bent down and looped her arms underneath Ben’s armpits, dragging him outside and to the ship, finally making it there after many breaks. She managed to prop him up in the pilot’s seat and sat on his lap. It was slightly uncomfortable but this was a small craft made for only one person and no cargo, so she had to make due. Rey strapped on her helmet, taking off with a speed she didn't know this thing had.
The moment she arrived on the base, she was immediately greeted by Leia, who was using a cane to walk in her weak state after being in a coma-like state for a while as a result of trying to contact her son under all that was Kylo Ren. She had a somber expression. Rey realized she believed Ben to be dead.
“Is he gone?” Was the first thing she asked as she approached. “I no longer feel his life force.”
Rey shook her head. “He’s in the ship, but he’s weak and fading fast.”
Leia nodded and motioned for a medic to come over and help him. They took him into the make-shift medbay to nurse him back to health. And when they got more of a stable base, Rey sat by his bedside a lot, talking about the day, her past, and a lot of other things that she would never tell anyone because no one had related to her the way that he had.
Poe didn’t trust him when Ben woke up and Rey wanted to go on a trip across the galaxy with him. He had crossed his arms and glared at him while asking Rey why the hell she would want to go anywhere with the guy who wanted to kill them not so long ago. Finn seemed to sympathize more with Ben, though. They’d both been mind washed—in a sense. Finn was forced to kill innocents with the threat that he instead would be killed. (He confessed to Poe one night about how much of a coward he really is, that he would rather have other people die than he himself die. Poe had cast his eyes downward, unsure of what to say to that besides yeah he was a coward but he’s getting better.) And Ben had been manipulated by Snoke into the darkside. Also, they both felt the guilt from their days with the First Order.
Ben stood on the rubble of the Death Star, gazing down at the lightsaber in his hands. It was time to see what it would change to—to see if he was really good now, if he had truly left the dark side or if he just thought he did, if it would return unexpectedly one day. He could feel Rey’s eyes on him, curious and loving, wondering why he was waiting so long, but she remained patient. He allowed one of his hands to drop to his side, a silent invitation for her to grab it, to comfort him. Rey took the sign, intertwining her fingers with his.
“I’m scared,” he confessed, still looking down at his lightsaber. “What if I’m not really done with the dark side?”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” Rey assured him in a soft voice. “But we can never really know unless you use it.”
Ben nodded, knowing she was right and he was only stalling. He sucked in a deep breath and willed the saber to come to life, relief instantly flooding through him, as it was not a red glow that illuminated his face, but one of white. He was okay—they were okay.
“What does that mean?” Rey murmured from beside him, gazing at it in wonder.
“Neutrality,” he breathed. “I don’t side with the Dark but I also don’t side with the light, neither Sith nor Jedi; just… connected to the Force. If anything other than red or blue, I figured it would be purple, a sign of recovery and confusion.”
“But I guess you already made up your mind about what side you were on, didn’t you?” Rey inquired, watching as the light from his saber retracted back into its holder.
“It appears so.”
Rey rubbed his shoulder in an act of comfort. “It suits you.”
It was almost night on Ben and Rey’s residence D'Qar. They were in the underground of the base, due to the top being destroyed by the First Order, but working to be restored. They had the lamp on in their shared room, the small amount of light being enough for the two of them to work.
Rey looked up curiously from one of the books on Jedi she’d managed to swipe from Leia that day, seeing Ben with a few tools laid out on the table along with parts. She cocked a brow.
“What are you doing?”
Ben gestured to the parts as though it had been obvious. “I’m disassembling my saber.”
“Why? It works, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, of course it works, but this style is traditionally used by people on the dark side, so I’m going to build a new one.”
Ben hummed. “You getting closer to allowing yourself to get a saber of your own?”
Rey nodded enthusiastically. “I am on my last book, which is all about lightsabers, so I should be ready soon.”
“I don’t see why you chose to hold off for so long,” Ben said, cursing as he struggled to break off a part of the saber base. “You don’t need to know everything before you get one.”
“Forgive me if I want to do things the old fashion way,” Rey rolled her eyes.
Ben returned the eye roll with a sly smile. He had noticed that was something common with Rey in their time together: she always went all in. Finished books in time Ben couldn’t fathom, when she made a commitment, she always went over the top, and this was another example of that. She could of half-assed it like some kids he knew when he trained with Luke, but she didn’t. Rey chose to hone her knowledge and her skills. It was something he loved about her.
“I love you too,” Rey told him, breaking Ben out of his trance.
“What?” He asked.
Rey looked up from her book, bringing her gaze to meet his eyes. “I said that I love you too.”
“Why? I didn’t say anything.”
Rey shrugged. “You didn’t have to. I could feel it.”
She was smirking at him.
“Sometimes I hate the fact that you have the Force,” he muttered.
Rey laughed. “But it makes communicating so much easier! I don’t have to guess what you’re feeling, I feel it practically radiating off of you.”
“I hate you,” Ben said with no malice in his tone.
“Aww,” Rey chuckled. “You know you love me.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I do.”
“Are you sure you have everything you need?” Ben asked Rey as he held her close before she would depart on her mission to find a kyber crystal.
Rey smiled softly at him. “I am sure I have everything.”
Ben tutted. “I don’t think you do.”
Rey frowned her brow, turning to look over her things by the Millennial Falcon once more. “And what do you suggest I’m missing?”
She turned around, not seeing Ben before averting her gaze downwards, seeing Ben on one knee with his hand in his pocket.
“Your ring,” he said.
Rey gasped and lowered herself to his level.
Ben chuckled. “I don’t think this is how it works.”
“I don’t care,” Rey breathed as she cupped his cheeks.
“Will you marry me, Rey?”
“Yes. With all my heart,” she told him earnestly.
Ben leaned forward to kiss her but was interrupted by D-O beeping at Rey. Rey looked back at him and chuckled, turning back to face Ben.
“Come back to me, alright?”
Rey smiled and pecked him on the lips. “Always.”
She stood and looked around. Poe and Finn were called away for yet another liberation of a Stormtrooper training ground, so they had to say their goodbyes only hours ago. Leia was off negotiating with societies. There was no one else for her to bid farewell.
“I’ll see you later,” Ben said.
“See you later,” Rey agreed before picking up her bags and boarding the Falcon.
Much to Finn and Poe’s disappointment, as soon as Rey landed back on D'Qar, Ben was the first person to receive a hug (and kiss, but they didn’t want that). Rey pulled the two of them into an embrace soon after.
“I’m glad you made it,” Poe whispered to her.
They pulled back.
“Did you get the crystal?” Ben asked from beside them.
Rey grinned and nodded, patting the satchel at her side. “It took a while, but I finally got it.”
“And you couldn’t holo us because…?” Finn asked.
Rey rolled her eyes. “It was like a retreat of sorts, and then I meditated on it to, you know, connect it to me.”
“The only thing you have to do now is assemble it,” Ben pointed out. “And then you’re a full fledged Jedi.”
Rey shrugged, casting a glance down at her boots. Poe and Finn took this as their que to leave because soon after, she looked up at Ben. The two of them patted her on the shoulder, congratulated her once more, and took their leave.
“What’s wrong?” Ben inquired, brow frowning in concern.
Rey shook her head, taking his hand in her own. “Not here.”
Ben, still worried for his fiancee, nodded and allowed her to lead him to their room, looking so determined that people kept out of their way the entire time. Ben was surprised that no poor soul risked their dignity to ask her how her mission went. (He’d learned in their time together that Rey was quite the force to be reckoned with when she was determined.)
They entered and Rey made a beeline for the bed, sitting down and staring at Ben with a glazed over look. Ben sat next to her, taking her hands in his.
“What happened, Rey?”
“Nothing physical,” she answered immediately, as if to reassure Ben. “But I’ve come to a couple of realizations,” she closed her eyes, “What if I don’t want to become a Jedi? I feel like it’s right but I just don’t like what the Jedi are. I thought I did, but it seems to be all just a circle of light and darkness in power, falling to each other over and over again, putting the galaxy through so many unnecessary tribulations because of peace and power.”
Ben stayed silent as she expressed how she felt.
“Like Luke, he was supposed to keep peace and order, only harm or kill when there was no other choice in defense of either himself or others. But based on a feeling or—or a vision that wasn’t even cemented in time, he tried to kill you. And the expectation of being everything good is a lot, and people can’t achieve that because we are complex.”
She pursed her lips and looked down. A beat of silence passed.
“I said a lot of things when I was in conflict with myself,” Ben spoke and Rey glanced up at him. “The most dramatic probably how we had to destroy everything from the old days, everything that kept the galaxy in that circle of light and dark, but I think I was right in a way. I think that you don’t need to do things in the traditional Jedi way, teaching light and how dark is horrible, and I’m not saying it’s not, but I think you could join me in that middle ground; where we have multiple dimensions to our identity. Or you could give the Jedi a new meaning.”
Rey’s lips tilted upwards. She liked the idea so far.
“Reinvent what they stand for, use the mistakes of others and build on the blocks that have already been set by those ancient texts.”
“Make a new Jedi Order,” Rey murmured. “I like the sound of that.”
“Then think about it,” Ben told her. “Now, hurry up and build your saber, I want to see what color you have.”
Rey laughed. “Okay, but what it’ll look like is going to remain a surprise until I’m done building it fully.”
Ben was awakened by Rey three days later, in the middle of the night by her shaking him with an excited grin on her face.
“What?” He grumbled sleepily.
“I finished it,” she whispered. “It’s done.”
He shot up in bed, Rey having to jump a step back to avoid knocking their heads together.
She took his hand, forcing him out from under the covers and over to the table where a bunch of scrap parts have been scattered for the past couple of days.
She picked up the largest piece, backing away from Ben with a grin. “You ready?”
“I’ve been ready for the past three days, Rey,” Ben tried to deadpan, but the excitement in his voice overwhelmed the attempted monotone.
Rey took a deep breath before willing the saber to form, a yellow beam shooting out at both ends. Rey beamed at it while Ben was staring in awe. He then noticed that it had been made out of her quarterstaff, which is why it probably had two ends; she was used to fighting that way.
“I guess we really don’t conform much to the typical Jedi spectrum, now do we?” Rey joked. “Yellow for balance in both fighting and knowledge,” she averted her gaze from the bright light and over to meet Ben’s eyes. “Then you have white.”
“They’re rare colors,” hummed Ben.
Rey leaned up on her toes to peck him on the lips. Ben smiled into the kiss and heard the faint sound of the lightsaber retracting. Rey’s hands then came to cup his cheeks.
The next month, they were married. Life was good. They temporarily moved to Tatooine after the wedding, where Rey laid to rest Luke and Leia’s sabers (Leia instructed her to give hers up as well, claiming she was done with the Force.)
Ben walked outside of their temporary residence, seeing Rey swinging her saber at invisible enemies with two mugs of water. Her yellow saber illuminated her face with a faint glow as the moonlight lit up the rest. She grunted as she slashed. Despite there being no enemy they would have to face (hopefully forever), she’d still insisted on staying in shape.
“Hey,” her breathless voice broke him out of his trance as she walked over to him, weapon now bouncing against her thigh.
He held out a cup to her, which she took gratefully and chugged. She finished and noticed him staring at her.
“What?” She asked.
“Nothing,” he tilted his head with a dopey smile. “You’re just so beautiful.”
Rey laughed. “I’m all sweaty.”
“Still,” he shrugged. “All the stars in the galaxy can’t compare to you.”
“What did I do to deserve this?” Ben asked in the silence of the night as he and Rey laid in their bed, grin from the news that Rey was pregnant fading.
“What do you mean?” She asked, turning over on her side to face him.
“This good life,” Ben sighed, turning to his side to face her. “I was such a bad person. All the things I said to you, and I killed my father, I’ve slaughtered innocents. I—I am such a horrible person. I’m guilty of horrendous things,” he cupped Rey’s cheek with his hand. “How did you manage to forgive me?”
“I fell in love with you when we were connected while I was training with Luke,” Rey admitted. “I knew how terrible you were, and I hated myself for it. But I managed to realize that it wasn’t entirely your fault. You were manipulated into turning to someone who had been your abuser, someone who had whispered in your ear the bad things about you, the things you hated about yourself, because you were desperate and had no one else to turn to.”
Ben stayed silent.
“You felt alone and betrayed, Ben,” she told him and he could hear the sincerity in her voice. “So you turned to someone who had abused you mentally, and later physically, because of that. You were afraid to say no, you were desperate to impress someone because you were raised to feel like it was part of your identity. You just need to learn to forgive yourself.”
And Ben did eventually forgive himself, but nothing could soothe the guilt he felt—nothing could rid him of the nightmares that frequented his sleep, not even Rey’s hushed tones of reassurement or encouragement.
Ben sat next to Rey’s bedside, holding her hand as she screeched in pain, chest heaving and teeth clenched. He had learned well over an hour ago not to talk because anything he said would be turned against him in the harshest way possible. Rey felt guilty, he could sense that, but she was being too stubborn now to admit it. Leia sat on her other side, and Rey actually allowed her to whisper encouragement into her ear. The doctor was at the end of the hospital bed, coaxing the baby out.
It had been hours, Ben was hungry… and kind of needed to pee, but his wife was giving birth to their child, and he refused to leave her side.
“It’s a boy!” The doctor announced as the screaming of Rey subsided.
Rey flopped back onto the pillows that were propped up behind her, panting. The doctor took a couple of moments to clean and swaddle the baby before handing him to Rey. Rey took him with a tired smile, holding him close to her chest, motioning for Ben to sit next to her. He did so, leaning back against the pillows on the large bed with her. He leaned over and kissed Rey’s head, beaming down at their son with tears clouding his vision.
“What do you want to name him?” The doctor asked. “So I can fill out the paperwork.”
Ben and Rey glanced at each other then back at the woman. “Can we have a moment?”
She nodded at them. “Of course. I will go get the papers.”
When she left, Leia turned to face them. “You two don’t have a name yet?”
“We do,” Rey told her. “We just wanted your permission.”
Leia quirked a brow. “Why would you need my permission for anything?”
“We wanted to name him Han,” Ben told her.
Leia’s own tears came forward before she said, “Of course you can name him Han! I’d honestly be pretty mad if you didn’t.”
Rey grinned at her. She averted her gaze back to her baby. “Han Luke Organa-Solo.”
“Han!” Ben shouted at his son as he ran out the front door, chasing after him into the jungle. “Han Luke Organa-Solo, come back here!”
He didn’t stop at his father’s orders, continuing on the path they’d taken many times. Ben caught up to him, snatching the boy up in his arms. Han squirmed but gave up, allowing himself to hang limp in his father’s arms.
“Mama’s back, dad!” He whined, looking up at his father.
“That doesn’t mean you get to run off into the forest,” Ben scolded him. “We talked about this before—”
“—there are dangerous things in the jungle that can kill, maim, or kidnap me, I know, I know,” Han rolled his eyes.
“It’s not like you can talk, Ben,” a familiar voice rang out from ahead of them. “You were just as bad as him.”
“Grandma!” Han exclaimed, kicking his legs back, barely missing Ben’s groin and causing the man to drop him.
Leia chuckled and bent down, despite the protests from her joints, to meet him in the hug, “Are you being bad for your father?”
Han rubbed his neck sheepishly. “No…”
Leia smirked down at him, raising her brow. Han looked guilty, but it was washed away as he went running behind her, attacking his mother’s legs. Rey laughed, hugging her boy back.
“Mama!” He exclaimed, tightening his arms around her, pulling back and beaming up at her.
“No hug for me?” A gruff voice rang.
“Welcome back,” Ben greeted his wife.
Rey kissed him and moved to stand by him, arm around his waist as his arm moved to her shoulders. Han was chatting away with Poe, probably about why Jaxon, JS, and Shara weren’t here and when they would be but also likely about flying. Ben was now taking Han with him in the Falcon on small trips, and Han couldn’t be more excited about it.
“Hello,” D-O said from before her.
“Hi, D-O,” Rey returned.
He nodded at her before wheeling off to find BB-8.
A small mewl came from below Rey. She glanced down at their Loth Cat, Cat, rubbing himself against her leg. Rey smiled and bent down, petting the top of his head. After a week conducting business in the outer ring, she was finally home.
Ben could hear loud giggles from outside their open window as Han ran around outside with Shara, Jax, JS, and Chewie while Leia supervised them. Poe was setting the plates out on the extended large table that was a small four-seater that morning. Rey and Finn were finishing up dinner, Rey bending down to get the bread out of the oven and Finn making sure the main dish was cooked all the way through. BB-8 was having a discussion with D-O in the corner. Finally, Rey put down Ben’s mits (they really only had one pair and Ben did most of the cooking, but sometimes they would alternate during their weekly dinner.)
“Dinner’s ready!” Rey called out the window as she set the dishes on the table.
A stampede of people came through the back door, plopping in their seats quickly with hungry stomachs. Leia took her seat at the head of the table (where they’d insisted she sit) while Ben sat next to her on her left, Rey next to him, Han next to her, and Shara next to him. A seat was left open beside her. Chewie was at the end of the table, across from Leia, with an empty seat on his left where C3-PO usually sat whenever he would come over, JS next to that, Jax beside her, Finn by them, and Poe by Leia. Chewie didn’t let anyone else take that seat, he’d claimed it for himself at the first party.
They’d all dished up and Poe, Rey, and Leia skimmed quickly over what had happened during their week away before discussing what the kids had been up to. When they were all full and Finn had put desert in the oven, Rey and Ben stood up with grins on their faces.
“We are happy to announce that the empty seat will soon be filled because…” Rey trailed off, grinning at Ben.
“We’re having a baby!” They exclaimed, throwing their hands up.
Leia gasped, covering her mouth with her hands, beaming behind them. Chewie banged his fists against the table, giving a large roar, leading JS to cover her ears and glare at him. Poe and Finn laughed, clapping.
“Congrats, guys,” Finn told them, standing up and hugging Rey from across the table.
Poe clasped onto Ben’s hand, clapping him on the back in a hug before switching to Rey. Leia hugged both of them tightly. Their faces hurt from large smiles and more laughter filled the air.
“What do you mean?” Han asked as they all calmed down.
“You’re going to be having a little sister or brother,” Rey told him, hugging his head close.
Han frowned, glancing down before smiling up at his mother. “I hope it’s a brother,” he scrunched up his nose. “Girls are gross.”
“Hey!” JS shouted, throwing her wadded up napkin at him while Shara smacked him on the back of his head.
“Do you two actually have a name picked out now?” Leia asked as she helped Ben pack the overnight bag while Rey was sitting on the couch in the living room with Han.
Ben frowned. “We don’t really have one for a boy, but for a girl we were thinking—”
“If you say Leia, I’m going to smack you,” Leia interrupted.
“Would it really be so bad if I named our daughter after you?”
“No, it wouldn’t. But you usually name your kids after your parents when they’re dead, and I’m still kickin’,” Leia told him. “Besides, having the name of my husband be the name of your daughter’s brother will be weird if she’s named Leia.”
“How do you know it’s a girl?” Ben asked, zipping up the bag.
“I can guarantee you that if I had another kid, they’d be a girl,” Leia told him. “We’ve had pairs in our family for a while now.”
“You mean once?”
Leia shrugged. “Once is enough.”
“So, if you don’t want us to name her Leia, then what do you suggest?” Ben asked, walking out of the bedroom and down the hall.
Leia took a moment to think about it. “How about Padmé?”
“Like grandmother?” Ben asked.
Leia nodded. “She was a strong woman and diplomat. I think it would be fitting.”
“What would be fitting?” Rey asked as they came through the hall, struggling to stand with her large belly.
“The name Padmé,” Ben answered, taking her hand.
“For our baby?”
“Leia’s convinced they’re going to be a girl.”
Rey turned to Leia and she shrugged. “It’s a feeling.”
“And you don’t want us to name her after you?”
Leia rolled her eyes. “It’s not that bad. One of them can name their kids after me. I’m not dead yet, so don’t do it.”
“Alright,” Rey agreed. “I quite like the name Padmé, what about you, Ben?”
He nodded. “I like it too.”
Padmé Leia Organa-Solo. It stormed for three days and three nights when she was born.
“No!” Padmé giggled as Han chased her into the forest with a grin on his face.
Padmé glanced around and saw no where else to hide from him besides in a nearby tree, so she swung herself up onto the nearest branch, climbing easily until one branch snapped and she fell backwards. A small squeal forced itself out of her mouth and her eyes widened, but she was soon stopped mid-air. She looked down at the ground to see the faded figure of Anakin smiling up at her. She giggled as she was raised higher before she was released onto a strong branch in the middle.
“Thank you,” she whispered at him.
He nodded and disappeared right as her brother ran around the corner, glancing around, alert. He ran off into the tree line. Anakin appeared by Padmé. She giggled at him.
“Do you think he’s going to find you?” He whispered.
Padmé shook her head. “He never does.”
“You hide here a lot though,” he pointed out.
Padmé shrugged. “He never learns.”
“Boys are stupid.”
“You’re a boy.”
Anakin raised a brow playfully. “My statement stands.”
Padmé laughed once more before looking down. “Oh no, he’s coming!”
Han was indeed walking down the forest, looking up in trees. Anakin’s gaze followed hers to Han. He smirked at her, bringing his index finger up to his lips and disappearing. Padmé then heard a rock hit a tree and saw Han running in that direction. She laughed, falling back against the trunk of the tree.
“Padmé! Han!” She heard her father call.
Scurrying down the tree, Padmé met up with her father at the same time as Han.
“Where were you?” He asked her, tilting his head.
“I was in the tree,” she pointed upwards.
“So who threw that rock?”
Ben frowned and worriedly glanced around at their surroundings. “Let’s go back inside, okay?” He suggested, already taking his kids by the shoulders and leading them towards their house.
“Don’t point it at your foot!” Ben exclaimed as he handed Han his first blaster.
Han looked down and realized that if his finger just even twitched, he would certainly be missing some toes. “Oops.”
Ben sighed, massaging his forehead. “Okay, I had hoped that you would remember basic blaster safety, but if you don’t, I’ll just have to take another day to review it—”
“No!” Han protested. “I remember.”
Ben glanced his son over. “If you’re sure…”
Han nodded enthusiastically. “I’m sure!”
Ben shrugged. “Okay,” he adjusted his stance, holding his own blaster out at the target he had set up. “So you’re going to want to position yourself like this to get the hang of it first,” Han did so, “And then point at the target, adjust to target the bulls-eye. And pull the trigger.”
Ben fired, hitting the target perfectly. Han fired right after, missing the target only by a ring. Ben nodded, impressed.
“That’s better than I expected you to do for your first time firing a real blaster,” Ben told him.
Han shrugged, beaming at the praise. “It’s in my blood.”
“Remember our exercises,” Rey said as she circled the rock in the jungle that she had picked for her daughter to begin her lessons, still in her Presidential clothes. “Reaching out.”
Padmé nodded from where she was perched on the rock with her legs crossed and her hands resting on her knees in a meditative state.
“Close your eyes,” Padmé did as her mother instructed. “And reach out.”
Padmé remembered that when she first did this, she was a little confused as to what Rey meant. Reach out with her hand or like her mind? Perhaps she was supposed to lift something? Her trusty ancestor seemed to have the answer though because as her fingers twitched off of her knee, she had to fight to keep her eyes closed when Anakin’s voice rang out, “With the Force, not with your hand.”
Padmé smiled at the memory and did so. It took a moment to fully resonate with her, but once it did, it was overwhelming. The feeling of, well, everything came to her. The birds’ that resided in the trees life force, the rocks beneath her with an energy she had only ever faintly felt before, and the feeling of her mother standing beside her—a powerful force. Padmé could sense traces of something dark in her, a residual energy of sorts, and then the overpowering darkness growing stronger, but so did the light. She felt them swirl around each other, not in a competition but a mutual understanding, a balance. It was truly amazing.
“What do you feel?” Rey asked her (as she did every time) after what felt like hours while in reality, it was only several minutes.
“Everything…” Padmé breathed, the feeling just as prominent as it was a year ago. “The birds, the rocks, balance. Darkness and light.”
“How does the darkness feel?”
“It’s swirling,” Padmé frowned her brows. “Like it’s trying to take the light, yet everytime it tries, the light grows in spite of it.”
“That’s what we try to maintain,” Rey uttered as she kneeled on the ground next to her. “The balance, the order of the universe, the equality of light and dark. What else do you feel?”
Padmé took a moment to think about it, but soon scowled and opened her eyes. “Han.”
She turned around to see her brother grinning from ear-to-ear and Rey shooting her son a disapproving look.
“Come on,” he whined. “Can’t even scare my own sister.”
Padmé rolled her eyes and stood up, smacking him on the back of the head. “I’m training, laser brain,” she hurled him one of her late grandmother’s insults.
Han laughed, “You’re leaving tonight anyways for a retreat with the rest of dad’s students. You’ll be trained plenty there.”
Rey tutted. “It’s also a bonding exercise. They are going to be the people she’ll work beside in the future.”
Han rolled his eyes. “Whatever. I’m gonna go hit the range with JS and Shara.”
“Is Jax going?”
He was the youngest of the Dameron kids, so Padmé had grown close with him.
“Nah,” Han clicked his tongue, “He said he had some studying to do for an upcoming test.”
Padmé frowned; she hadn’t been able to see much of her old friend since he began pilot training with the New Republic. “Alright.”
“Listen, I’ll see you both later, alright?” Han hugged Rey and reached over for Padmé.
“We might be gone by the time you get back,” Rey informed him.
Han shrugged, backing up. “That’s fine. It okay if I take the Falcon?”
Rey nodded. “Just be back in a couple of hours.”
He gave a mock salute. “Will do.”
Han boarded the Falcon, where he had already stuffed a duffle bag of his things soon after that, flipping the switches on the control panel and accelerating into the atmosphere, not allowing himself to glance back at the home he was leaving behind.
Over the course of the next three days, Ben, Rey, and Padmé were unworried about Han. He was only on the other side of this nearly deserted planet and he could handle himself. However, when they returned home, they saw no Falcon and no Han. Rey, worried, began to call people to see if they’d seen him when Ben came out of Han’s room, holding a note with a heart-broken face and sad eyes.
“He’ll be fine,” Ben assured Rey a month after Han had left and they’d still gotten no word back. “He knows how to take care of himself; we made sure of it.”
Rey sat next to him on their bed. “But what if he isn’t, Ben? I mean, why would he just leave?”
Ben sighed. “I noticed him acting weirdly before he left,” Rey’s head snapped towards him, “I asked him about it, tried to talk to him, but he didn’t say much besides he just wasn’t feeling well and that he needed to get out more with JS and Shara.”
A beat of silence passed. “Do you think it’s because Padmé started her training?” Rey spoke, turning her head and seeing Ben’s confused glance. “I mean, he did act weird when I mentioned it a year ago, and now that it’s really here… Ben, do you think we made him feel unimportant?”
Ben mulled the thought over. “Maybe we did.”
Rey groaned. “What kind of parents are we?”
Ben pulled her close to his side, staring out the window at the night sky. “It’s not our fault, Rey. He… he just wasn’t born with it and we would talk about it all the time. He just needs to find his own path.”
Ben glanced down at Rey’s sorrowful expression. They’d made it through so much, and now their son had run off on them. But, they’d get through it. They always did; him and his galaxy.