The ceiling was plain white.
It’s the complete contradiction of her view whenever her captor left her laying on the heap of her own blood, sweat and tears.
She tries to remove the memory from the forefront of her mind, hoping to replace it with something else.
“You’re finally awake, Rey?” A voice somewhere nearby asked, friendly and familiar.
Rey ignores the sore ticks of her neck as she turned to face a black leather jacket over a gray shirt, an unlit cigarette dangling in between his lips, observing her with a worried gaze. “I hope you don’t mind me smoking.”
“Cardo?” She cleared the hoarseness in her dry throat. “Where... Where am I?”
"Hanna City General Hospital.” Cardo answered before lighting his cigarette. “We had you transferred here from a state hospital out west since you were in a critical condition. This was the closest medical facility that could admit you right away.”
"Oh..." She groaned, attempting to move any limb of her body but then hissing at the pain. Everything hurts! All too well, especially the socket of her shoulders. Her head is in a different type of pain too, it was like getting jackhammered now that she paid attention to her state. She carefully moved her hands to rub at her temples, trying to get rid of the awfulness that pounded deep within her nerves.
"How are you feeling?" He had the gall to ask.
But Rey had no energy to be snarky as she tried to sit up.
"Exhausted." She croaked, carefully examining the bruises on her skin. She's wearing a patterned hospital gown. For once she’s not the scrub wearing caretaker, someone else is performing her job on her, sterilized her wounds, stitched her cuts.
She winces again. “Why does my shoulders hurt so bad?”
“Probably from having your arms chained to a pole for too long.” Cardo answered dryly. “You also have two broken ribs and a minor concussion. Be careful not to move too fast. The doctor said you need sufficient rest to recover for at least three weeks.”
Concussion...?" She echoed, dazedly.
“Your head was already bleeding when I got to you. I think you hit your head against the pole at some point.” He assessed, looking a little too intensely at her bandaged cranium.
No wonder it felt like her head was ready to split open. She brushed her fingertips against the white wraps softly before feeling the heaviness of exhaustion ripple through her body very suddenly. Although she really wanted to stay awake much longer. She was desperate for human interaction.
Rey craved one strong presence in particular.
“Cardo, where’s Ben?”
“At the registrar's, I think. Taking care of your hospital bills." He answered plaintively. "He hasn't left since you were admitted to the emergency room."
Her eyes bugged wide in shock. "He... Hasn't gone home yet? Just how long was I out?"
"About three days." He replied before shaking his head, chuckling breezily. "Ben takes a piss on us whenever we suggest he should go home and rest. He wouldn’t have it.”
“Oh.” She didn’t know how to properly react. On the other hand, Ben is the closest person to a family, so she really shouldn’t be befuddled that he’s doing everything in his care. It puts an unnecessary blush on her cheeks.
“You’re surprisingly clear-headed and coherent. Would you like to see Ben?”
“Yes!” Rey answered impatiently. It shouldn’t even be a question, of course she’d want to see Ben, of all people, she’s the first thought that occurred to her when she regained consciousness.
Cardo cracked a smile at her enthusiasm before heading out the door to look for her roommate.
It didn’t take much time. Honestly, when the door swung open and in a hesitant Ben, he looked like he madly dashed to get here. There’s a wildness to his look, she can actually imagine him running his hands all over his hair restlessly.
When his eyes landed on her, he pierces her with worry.
“Rey?” He quickly occupies Cardo’s seat, scooting closer so he could dart his eyes all over every bandaged, bruised part of her body.
“How are you holding up?” He asked her softly, unsure of what to do with his hands, jamming them in his pockets instead.
“I’m holding on.” She reassured with a smile, which somehow helped Ben release a breath he has been holding. He’s a whole mess with glassy eyes and dark circles, still, he looks unfairly good. “Cardo told me you haven’t gone home yet.”
“Well, I wasn’t going to leave you after what just happened.” He shrugged as if it doesn’t matter that he isn’t taking care of himself.
“Why?” She sighed, trying to regain a bit more strength to continue. “You should take everyone’s advice and go home! I have a feeling you haven’t eaten anything yet either. Did you at least take a bath? You look like you need this bed more than I do!”
Somehow, her tiny fit relieved Ben to significant degrees. It’s a good telltale sign of how well Rey is doing, despite the heartbreaking sight of her in a hospital bed.
“Rose brought me a change of clothes if that’s what you’re worried about.” He informed before looking away because Rey had just crossed her arms on him unconvincingly. He sniffed himself as his nose wrinkled, retracting at the unwelcoming scent. “Alright, fine. I haven’t taken a shower. I smell like shit. There you go.”
Rey laughed for a good second before descending into squirming and coughing.
“I should get a nurse to help you—“ He abruptly stood up, alarmed at her display of discomfort.
But she shook her head at him, trying to get the rest of her coughing out before speaking. “No, I’m fine. My throat just hurts a little. But I can manage.” She gets a better hold of her coughing, Ben is already too shaken up by her pathetic sight alone, she doesn’t want him to worry any further than he already has.
Words coming directly from her weren’t enough to reassure him though. His eyes lost its playful glint and became two shadowed pools of hollow brown. He clenched his jaw so hard that Rey worried he might chip his teeth, though it wouldn’t compare to what she has been through.
Ben hung his head and slipped his hands out of his pockets, gripping the white painted metal railings of her bed until his knuckles turned as pale.
He snapped his head attentively, watching as Rey lowered her gaze to the hand on the railing, reaching out to run her fingertips over the knuckles that jutted sharply over his iron grip.
“Whatever’s going through your head, it isn’t your fault.” She had to let him know, he always had this fucked up tendency to blame himself whenever something happened to her. It’s soul crushing, every time. She held his hand tighter, unlike her, he was very warm and comforting.
“Yes it is!” He retorted through gritted teeth, not bothering to hide it anymore. “I brought you there. I should have known something would happen, it was dangerous and I—“ He shakes his head, refusing to believe anything else. “I failed to protect you. I’m sorry.”
“No one asked you to protect me.” She bore a hole at their joint hands. “You just decided that it was going to be your job since what? Since we became roommates?”
“Because I care about you, Rey!” He snapped, slipping his hand away from her weak grip, returning to the task of breaking the railing.
”I care about you a lot! As much as I’m capable of caring about anyone, you’re the closest thing I have to that! That’s why it’s my job—that’s why I’ll keep doing it!” He scoffed at himself, his own hurtful words getting the best of him. “If I were you, I’d find another roommate. Someone less dangerous. So something like this won’t ever happen again.”
“What? Don’t you dare say that!” Rey shouted, rising at her own panic, jolting him from descending down his dark thoughts. “You’re not moving out. I’m not letting you! So, you thought you failed once, that’s not enough reason to make that decision!”
“It only takes once for me, Rey! You came close to dying three days ago!”
He blinked at her in surprise, seconds away from blowing up himself as he stood up, pacing the length of the room briskly because he had no better way to express his internal turmoil.
“Are you fucking kidding me? That’s all you have to say?” He stares at her in disbelief, breathing raggedly, beyond furious. Just how could she dismiss what happened so easily? How is she not bothered that the only reason this happened is because he took her to that place? He was reckless! For once in his life, very careless on his decision.
“You have absolutely no fucking idea how worried I was! Fuck, Rey. When I saw you with Cardo I—everything hurts just seeing you unconscious like that! If I could, I would switch places with you in a heartbeat...”
Rey’s heart immediately goes out for him. Her resolve softening at the broken sight in front of her. She can only imagine that he’s been nursing this look for three days.
“Come here.” She said softly, the need to hold him against her becoming stronger the longer they kept this mile long distance between them. “Ben, please.”
Hesitantly, Ben slowly sat back on his chair and leaned over her, carefully, she wraps her arms around his neck, all while trying to suppress exclamations of pain from lifting her arms.
"What are you apologizing for?" His words brushed against her hair as he shifted closer, allowing himself to relax, even for just a little bit. It's admittedly nice, being held by Rey like this.
“I insisted on going out. I keep pestering until you gave in.” She pressed stubbornly on his neck.
He scoffed. Of course Rey would split the guilt. She’s the type of person who would do that. Sometimes, he can’t even really stay mad at her for too long as a smile slowly crept its way on his lips. He inhaled sharply, filling his lungs with her sterilized scent of iodoform and iodine. She feels warm, a tangible proof that she’s alive and he isn’t hallucinating from sleep deprivation.
“... You know, you might also want to consider a shower. You smell terrible too,”
“You should be thankful that I can’t lift my hand right now.”
Ben laughs before burying his face into her greasy hair. She’s back and he won’t have her any other way, which reminds him,
"I have something to tell you."
Astonishingly, he doesn't feel nervous at all. There's just the sense of moral obligation settling before him. Maybe because he could no longer be found guilty after bearing the consequences of hiding his identity. He knew terribly well how eventually, no stones would be left unturned. He initially thought that it was some superstitious bullshit excuse meant to frighten people. So, yes. Rose, Hux, his entire gang, and possibly every single entity he ignored in his life were right.
No more secrets.
He opens his mouth to finally let the words go, but Rey places her finger on his lips, speaking over him.
"Let me guess. You're going to tell me that you're not who you say you are. You're going to tell me that you do some shady business and you're actually Mr. Ren... Am I correct?” She seemed at peace with the information. Better yet, she spoke them to life in a matter like she's always known that he's keeping secrets from her.
Ben is not sure if he should be scared, confused or mortified. In the context of the situation, he is a complicated mixture of all. He gapes at Rey like a fish out of water, losing his voice along the way because she stole his the words right out of his mouth. For what seemed like an eternity but was only two minutes of his internal instigating, he got back to the present with a huge lump lodged in his dry throat.
"... How did you...?"
She smiled at him sheepishly.
“It wasn't difficult to figure out now that I paid more attention.” Rose’s words weren’t necessarily subtle to begin with either. She laid it out in the open and all Rey had to do was take it for what it is.
“I guess I also didn't want to because I didn't want to break the illusion that you're just Ben, you know? You’re just... My dorky roommate and one of my closest friends who cooks me meals and does my laundry.”
"Oh..." He is at a loss for words. There’s no better reaction to reduce the shock and recover at the same time. So, what does he say now? What does he do with himself?
His unease must have showed, well, he was not hiding it in the first place, but Rey had taken the initiative to set the pace of their much needed conversation.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"Of course." He fully faces her to give his undivided attention.
"Have you killed anyone?"
Except he was unprepared for where she wanted to begin. All he needed was a drink to comically spit on the ground in honest to god disbelief. He visibly faltered while she remained composed, even directly staring at his overall squirming.
Although, he could also see why she would ask that question. She just learned that he’s a dangerous individual, whose extent is completely abstract to her as far as seeing him taking down people goes, that time she was being hauled away by Cardo.
Ben looks away then, not wanting to see the change of how she views him traverse right before his eyes.
"Rey... Do I really have to answer that question?" He sounded devastated. It does take a lot in him just to have a response.
She understood what he meant.
Ben—Ren, or what other pseudonym he goes with. Him. Her roommate for two years, not mentioning the fact that she is also in love with him around the same time period. She doesn’t know how to go on over the knowledge that she’s living with a killer, but it does put a bitter taste in her mouth. Her conscience tells her that it’s still intact at the very least.
She had to ask. "... And were they bad people?"
Without hesitating, he answers with full disclosure in his eyes.
"The worst of the worst." He could tell her all about it. All the types of people involved in his world. Snoke. The Hutts. Black Sun. People who call themselves separatists. Many others fighting for their territories. It’d probably be much better to give some insight, but he also wants Rey out of it. She doesn’t need to be a part of it, he refuses to make her a part of it, now more than ever.
She seems to accept his answer with a firm nod, staring at her own hands grasping at the starchy sheets over her lap.
"Ben, why didn't you tell me anything?"
He winces at the tone of her voice, like she’s grown tired from keeping things from her, the least he could do now is to be honest with her. That’s it.
"I don't know. It's just... Where do I even begin? Is it good PR to tell my cute roommate that I'm a gang leader?"
Rey glazed over the fact that Ben had just called her cute, still feeling a bit betrayed to blush over a slip up.
"Probably not, but you had many chances to tell me. You know I hate secrets."
He most definitely does.
During their first Thanksgiving together, after dinner they had a couple glasses of wine and hearts have spoken, pasts were revealed. Rey tells him that she’s an orphan who jumped from foster home to foster home and Ben tells her his parents died much too early for someone who needed parental guidance in his life. He explicitly remembered that she hated secrets because she associated it from feeling unwanted.
Ben also remembered staying awake all morning brooding about it. Another year later and he’s still stuck with salvaging the memory to stop feeding his guilt.
"I know... I guess, I just didn't want you to be afraid of me... Because I know you’d see me differently once you find out.”
“Of course I’d see you differently. You just told me you’re a gang leader who has killed people and I’m a nurse. It goes against my principles and what I do in my job.”
He flinches even though it was expected, refusing to look at her and find the fear in the twin pools of her eyes. Somehow, he thought screaming at him would be better than this... Eerie calmness. He’s not sure why.
However, Rey had other ideas as she forces him to have a look, taking his face in between her hands.
“But Ben, don’t underestimate the fact that I also got to know you for two years,” She caresses his cheekbones, marveling at how his smooth pale skin drastically reddens.
“And from what I’ve gathered, the Ben I know is sweet, caring, gentle and kind... Unless you’ve done something to ultimately disprove all of that, now is the time to tell me.”
Blood pounded heavily in his ears as Rey shoots him an expectant look. This is his only chance he’s going to get of coming clean with everything.
It makes it all the more terrifying for him, but it has to be done.
Rey watched attentively as his Adam’s apple bobbed before speaking.
“I’ve stolen someone else’s money. Snoke’s drug money. That’s what started all of this in the first place and I... Just to piss him off I donated all of it to different foster homes.” He mumbled, almost unintelligibly if Rey hadn’t been paying close attention while he kept running his hands all over his hair.
But the last part struck a part of her the most, including the unbidden blush on his cheeks, totally ashamed of himself. It was like watching someone in a confession booth without the partition panel.
"Like I said, I just wanted to make him mad because he—“ He takes a huge gulp of air in order to continue the rest.
"Why foster homes?" She clarified, attentive to know the answer if looking at Ben intensely meant anything.
"Oh," He gets disarmed by the probing in her eyes. It makes sense. They were hitting too close to home and he had to tell her. "You once told me how under budgeted foster homes were. You said when the system failed the kids, they get moved around a lot, and I..." He shakes his head. They both know he's not just talking in a general sense. "It made sense to me to donate all of it. Okay, I know it's dirty money and—“
"Ben, you don't have to explain." Carefully, Rey reaches for his hand to trace her thumb over the bruises of his knuckles, making him wince a little. "From where I’m standing, you helped those kids. Kids who are probably losing hope like I have when I was their age. You have no idea what it would mean to them... To me. So I'm... Thank you."
His breath hitched at the fresh tears coating her glassy eyes, sensing the incredible urge to wrap his arms around her in comfort.
But he held himself back.
"Rey, I also killed Snoke."
If there's one thing to positively come out of this situation, Rey had nowhere else to go and do but listen to him pour every single truth and secret he kept sealed shut from her. For the sake of saving what is left of his dignity, he had to be honest with her.
Ben told her about Snoke, his main rival who has done terrible things to other people, both innocent and not. He told her about his parents, how they were part of a much larger gang back in the past. He told her about the jacket, since she's been wondering why strange things has been happening since she started wearing it. He told her as much as he can until there were too much to process and her eyes began to close.
He doesn't know this, but Rey felt much calmer now, without the need to bolt out of the room and find a hiding place. Her rational side would guess that it has something to do with the IV fluids and the drugs running through her veins to ease the pain and her recovery, but she also likes to think it's all because of Ben. She likes to think that, because he was here and he was being honest, she could see the sincerity reflected back in his eyes. He made recovery easy for her.
"You should rest." He whispered after a while of impeding silence.
She didn't even notice that he stopped speaking a few minutes ago. She would have protested but rest felt heavy on her lids and he is tucking the blanket over body very gently.
She eventually succumbed, her body relaxing all at once while he watches her gradually fall into peaceful sleep.
There's one more thing Ben kept hidden from her that needs to be breathed into life before he left.
"I love you, Rey."
Finn cried out in relief as he raced everyone else to run to her side. Rose and Poe appeared beside her shortly after with the same demeanor. “Rey!” Throwing themselves at her with snotty grins and teary eyes.
”Ow, ow! Ow!” Rey whined as the trio engulfed her closer into their group embrace, babbling things she could barely understand over everybody’s commotion to outdo the other.
“Hey!” Ben snapped. “Knock it off! She’s still recovering! Be careful with her injuries!”
“I’m sorry,” Rose hiccuped while Poe wiped his face clean with tissues beside him. “I’m just so glad that Rey is alright.”
“We’re so happy you’re awake now, peanut!” Finn held onto her hands, his bottom lip quivering as he spoke. “When you where rushed to the hospital, we thought you wouldn’t make it,”
“Yeah, Rey. We really did.” Poe smiled weakly at her while grasping a hand over his partner’s shoulder. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I don’t think I could handle more of Finn being a crybaby.”
The door creaked open once more, then enter the Knights of Ren, as her roommate had revealed. Each of his friends were a part of the gang, including Hux who took his place beside Ben, really fulfilling the role of being his right hand man.
“How you feelin’?”
Rey cracks a dimpled smile. “As if I could conquer the world, Hux.”
His expression of melancholy immediately brightens together with the rest of the Knights, chipping in their words of relief and gratitude.
They even brought a couple of board games they could play. Monopoly in particular, has been collectively decided as something they could spend their time with together. And so, it was Rey, Finn and Poe as a team, Cardo and Vicrul while Ben, Hux, and Rose occupied the couch against the wall, watching the hospital room brighten the more Rey laughed with her friends.
Ben wondered how long has it been since she laughed like that.
Had it really been just a week ago? Before she got captured and before her world turned upside down? It sounded more like a fever dream. To Ben, it’s all so new to see her laugh candidly covered in healing bruises and bandages.
“How long until she gets discharged?” Rose asked.
“Three weeks. But knowing Rey, she’d probably beg to leave the hospital much earlier.”
The pair laughed with him because they know it to be true. Rey isn’t the type of person who likes staying in one place for a long time, one more day spent sprawled out in a hospital bed would be enough to demand she be taken back home and just recover from there.
“I told her everything.”
Ben doesn’t need to glance in order to see the stunned looks he’s receiving from the two.
“Knights of Ren. The jacket. Snoke... All of it.”
“... Even your feelings for—“
“One thing at a time, Rose!” Ben interrupted in case someone overheard what she was about to say.
Rose pouted at his response while Hux clapped a hand over his shoulder, squeezing in encouragement as if he’s proud of this development.
“How did she take it?”
Ben took a sharp breath as he watched Rey clap her hands over Poe’s breakdown.
Except he doesn’t look any relieved from his own words, Hux and Rose shared a similar look of worry for their friend who’s deep in thought.
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
Ben shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I just want to focus on her full recovery.” He doesn’t mention his worry over after the fact, of what would happen to them. Would she still think the same now that she knows where he runs off to whenever he leaves their apartment? Those were questions for a better time, preferably when Rey is no longer hooked to various machines and fluids.
For now, he wants her to enjoy today, this fleeting moment of happiness with her friends all around her.
“Ouch!” Rey winced, leaning against Ben’s side for support.
Walking never seemed an impossible task before until now, with a sore body, it was pure torture paired with Ben’s slim patience. She refused to be taken by a wheelchair, which wasn’t making things any better for them. “Ben, watch it! Ow!”
“No, you watch it—you’ve been stepping on my foot!”
“It’s because you take up the entire sidewalk! Move a little!”
The hospital staff watched the bantering pair with growing uncertainty, they were not sure if they should help the six foot three intimidating man aid a woman who is exactly a head and a couple of inches shorter than him. They were equal parts terrifying on their own, so when they struggled to reach his motorcycle and both insisted that they’re good to go, the men in pale blue scrubs sighed in relief.
Like Ben predicted, Rey opted to be taken back home and resume her rest for the rest of her recovery period. She wasn’t allowed to work for an indefinite amount of time, the doctor strongly recommended an additional week on top of the three week duration, just in case.
Without another word, Ben carefully picked her up while she sucked in a sharp breath, flinching when her tender ribs ached in protest while he maneuvered her in his strong arms. “You good?”
“Y-Yeah... I’m good.” She grunted, softly pressing her fingers over the sharp ache to dull the pain. “I’m perfectly capable of walking though!”
From this angle, any sort of argument dies quickly in her throat as Ben’s beautiful profile fills her entire space. She has always admitted to herself that her roommate is very handsome in his own terms, but up close like this, is another world completely. His distinct features felt sharper somehow, lips much redder and fuller. It was really, really difficult not to admire him.
Meanwhile, Ben is simply too distracted to notice her obvious ogling. He practically has a clear tunnel vision of his motorcycle, easily swinging a leg over it as soon as they reached the vehicle and settling her on his lap.
This new position in front did the trick to snap her out of it.
“Uh, shouldn’t I be going behind?”
From the handful of times she’s taken a ride with him, it perfectly made sense to sit behind and just have her arms wrap around his torso.
And yet, instead of correcting their current position, Ben only spared her a mere glance before reaching around her to pop the keys and start the ignition.
“Too dangerous.” He mumbled.
Rey rolled her eyes. “Ben, it’s a twenty minute drive. I think I can manage.”
Still, he shakes his head stubbornly, already backing out of the parking lot. “Too risky and you’d be more uncomfortable, so it’s better to do it like this.”
"Just deal with it, Rey! You’re not going behind and that’s final.” He firmly stated before flooding any attempts of her protests with the loud roar of the engine, effectively reducing her claims into an indignant pout and mentally wondering why on earth couldn’t Ben just have a car instead of this monstrous thing?
Even with the helmet over her head, she still closed her eyes at the wind while her clothes rustled. Behind her, Ben’s warmth bled through his own clothes.
The weather was thankfully in their favor. The sky is a cerulean blue, it was beautiful. She’s at least glad she’s not seeing this view behind the window of her hospital room anymore. Somehow, with Ben maneuvering the vehicle through twists and turns, the wind is made sweeter due to the close proximity of her roommate, of the man she has been yearning to be with when she was getting beaten up repeatedly.
She was really here. She was really alive, and he was with her. Warm and solid. Gentle in his hold.
Rey was close to tears.
“Sweetheart, you okay?” Ben asked worriedly because she hadn’t reacted to the bike parking in front of their building, unaware of how thrilled and gratified she felt at hearing him call her with that stupid endearment.
He thought she’d be relieved to finally come home. “Rey—“
She suddenly buried her face in his chest, clutching a fistful of his shirt and searching for the rightful place where his heart is.
“Let’s just stay like this for a while,” She restrained a strangled cry, breathing shallowly upon hearing his heartbeats. “J-Just for a little while... Please.”
Like two halves of the same whole, Ben understood her immediately. He wrapped his arms around her waist, mindful of her injuries as he lets her cry into his chest while soothing her with soft words and kisses on her forehead.
It has been two weeks since the incident and Rey is just about done with Ben’s mother hen coddling. She couldn’t even be left alone for ten minutes without him asking her what she needed.
And for the next few hours until the night approached, what she needed most is some much needed peace and quiet.
Of course, the luxury of being left alone in her own room is compensated by her roommate repeating himself tenfold that she could just yell out for him and he’ll come running. There’s no doubt that he would, considering that he was reluctant to leave her room when she told him she can take good care of herself.
At 10:31 Rey had fallen asleep.
“Not talking again, huh?”
“Snoke’s growing bored with the waiting game.”
“You better choose wisely.”
“Where’s the money?!”
Rey jolted awake covered in sweat and pale as a ghost nearly a blink later.
She tried to sit up, forgetting her ribs for a moment as she gasped and clutched on her tender side.
Everything hurts that she doesn’t know which to focus on. She threw her head back against her pillow with a soft flop, wincing once more at her shoulders. What’s happening? Had the painkillers wore off? Was someone going to hurt her again?
Rey grimaced, shutting her eyes in grave pain. Everything was horrible. It felt like getting kicked repeatedly again like the heavy combat boots swinging at her abdomen for a bloody second. Where’s her doctor? Where’s—
“Doctor... Doc! Doc!” She’s gasping desperately, hands grappling helplessly in the air. It’s too dark and everything hurts. It’s exactly the same as before, every attack.
“Doc! Please, help!”
Ben hadn’t slept a wink when Rey told him she’s going to rest in her bedroom. He couldn’t—wouldn’t leave her alone, even though only a wall simply separated them, it felt more like an entire ocean, and pacing his own room isn’t helping his restlessness.
So when she screamed in pain, he bolted out of his room and practically shoved her door open, flipping the light switch to reveal Rey in a fetal position, curled up in a ball.
She’s shaking, furiously flailing her limbs around in defense.
“Rey, sweetheart! I need you to calm down.” His voice is surprisingly controlled amidst his own panic, it was stern. “I need you to breathe. You’re having a panic attack—“
How could she stop them from hurting her? She honestly didn’t know where the money is but they refused to believe her. How else would they know if she was really telling the truth or not? They were doing this on purpose, were they? They’re deriving some sheer pleasure from hurting her!
“S-Stop! Stop touching me! Get away—!” She cried, kicking as hard as she can because someone is pressing on her heavily, someone’s going to try things on her this time? A large hand wrapped around her wrist to keep her in place and she had never felt so terrified.
Panic spiked up to dangerous levels and she grew hysterical—desperately trying to twist and loosen the firm hold on her, trying to push the sound of his voice, the splitting grin on his face, the savage look in his eyes and—
“Rey! Rey, it’s me! It’s me.”
Her wild eyes locked with melted brown and she froze all at once. She recognized that color, she knew those kind eyes.
Relief flooded his entire body at her slow recognition. She was slowly comprehending her surroundings, looking around as if trying to make sense of how she got here, sprawled on her bed being straddled by him.
He immediately got off of her, smoothing her bedsheets.
“You’re okay, Rey. It was just a bad dream. You just got discharged from the hospital, remember?”
“J-Just a dream...” She nodded distractedly, allowing him to push her back down on the bed while he tucked the blanket over her shoulders.
Her body is still in great pain but having Ben around somehow helps. But he had stood up, taking the necessary steps closer to her wide open door, fiddling with the light switch.
She flashed fearful eyes in his direction—he... He wasn't leaving, was he?
Rey was still mildly convinced that the instant she’s left alone, someone will come get her with the same bastardized smirk and sadistic eyes.
“Don’t go.” She felt absolutely foolish, that this sort of separation frightened her more than anything else.
Ben stopped under her command.
She appeared so small, so vulnerable in her own room, a place meant to be safe and warm, and yet, she’s never looked so out of place, hugging herself and not making another small movement to even touch her blanket.
“Stay with me. Please.” She begged tearfully.
In the back of his head, he thought she wasn’t just talking about this night.
Even if she wasn’t, he has already decided.
He’s going to stay.
Forever. If she’ll have him.
Rey thought having Ben around would help her fall asleep faster. But it turns out she’s more awake than ever, her senses sharpened to notice his shoulder lightly grazing her own, his steady breathing, the pounding in his chest. Was he just as nervous as she was?
It’s a humbling thought if he was. At least she’s not the only one feeling anxious about their current bed arrangement.
It’s nothing too intimate. They were just laying side by side, trying to fit themselves in her small bed. But then again, she’s never had Ben in her room before. This is just as new of a territory for him as it was for her.
“Your dream... What was it about?” He asked after a while.
She swallowed her nerves, opening her tired eyes to find that he is already staring at her.
"My interrogator... He opens the door, asks for the money, calls me names and then beats me up. I wasn’t tied up but I couldn’t do anything about it... I couldn’t move for some reason.” She trailed off, not wanting to recall the rest with vivid terror.
In the darkness, the blanket rustled over Ben’s movements. He was sitting up, she realizes when he leaned against the headboard, patting the hollow space on his lap.
“Come here.” He demanded while she obeyed him without a word.
He guided her on top of him, securing a tight hold on her until she’s draped over his firm chest, he rewarded her with his fingertips massaging her scalp.
“No one’s ever going to hurt you anymore. As long as I’m around. Do you understand?”
"Hmm...” She hummed in response, eyes softy closing.
It felt nice. The way he disentangled the knots in her hair with gentle ministrations. It felt more intimidate than the precarious position they were in. For once, she’s not thinking about their very close proximity, she just marvels at his combing.
She was only startled when he pressed his palm over her cheek, bringing her head closer so he could get a better look at her face. He breathed the following words in the small space between their lips.
"When I was a kid, I used to have nightmares all the time and I’d wake up to no one.” His thumb grazed the bottom of her lip and her breath catches. “I don’t want you to wake up alone. If you need me, I’ll always be here. Okay?”
She watched his face, darting from one place to another, but nodded profusely. His hand didn’t move away, however, and neither did she, and for a second she thought they were getting closer. He’s searching for something in her eyes and she wondered what it was, of why Ben would be looking at her with such ferocious intensity.
Her body twitched when the tip of his nose bumped against her own, her hand rising without prompt to cradle his cheek. She had wanted to do that during the worst moment of her life, the curiosity was coming to a conclusion when his breath feathered her lips, hot and heavy.
Everything is answered when they kissed. She tasted mint and something strong. Alcohol? Was he drinking before this? She’d have to scold him for that, but then all thoughts vanished when he angled her face to his taste to kiss her better, and Ben did kiss better.
He pushed her on her back until he’s the one on top, their lips pushing into and against each other. She made a noise in the back of her throat and that’s when Ben pushed himself to a more comfortable position, where they could both marvel at this new intimacy between them. Their hands wandering in the dark and lips smacking loudly in the silence.
She pressed her palms over his beating heart, taking huge gulps of air to recover. He was just as shaken up as she was, Rey realized.
“You know, this would be easier if we just stay in my room. I have a much bigger bed.” He grinned at her devilishly while she chucks one of the pillows to his face.
Her face reddened at his presumptuous suggestion. Now that he brought it to her attention, she can’t help but notice how the moon is their only light source streaming through the window, his skin glowed with an iridescent blue hue, making him seem more ethereal than human. She’s also alone with him. Alone with him in her room, on her bed.
“See? You’re already thinking about it,” He teased in a singsong voice.
“Oh my god, just wait until I can raise my hand. You’d be sorry—oh!”
She squeaked when she’s suddenly engulfed in his strong arms. He nuzzles her neck, kissing her there.
“Don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of time for that once you recover.” He kisses away the pout off her lips, guiding the sleep to claim her once more.
“Good night, Rey. Sweet dreams.”
And her dreams were indeed sweet. Filled with laughter, warmth and love. It’s the closest to reality she had. Then she’d wake up and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Roommate became boyfriend, and somewhere along those lines, they moved to a better place with more space, but also for the sake of assuring Rey’s safety.
Because word traveled fast in Ben’s world.
Everyone knew who killed Snoke. Jabba claimed that Kylo Ren slashed him in half. The Black Sun claimed that he bombed his safehouse while the First Order leader was there. Stories piled and differed, but none of them mattered, because it all boils down to a single conclusion.
Ren’s girl is off limits.
Unless they want a repeat of what happened, everyone visibly shuddered at even thinking about being on Kylo Ren’s bad side.
Rey didn’t have to wear the leather jacket anymore for protection, and still, after how many months, she’s still coming strong with wearing it. Although it’s not as often as before, it finally reached a certain point where even her boyfriend is getting tired of it.
“Rey, please. Can’t you wear something else? We’re going to Hux and Rose’s rehearsal dinner, not just hanging out. We’re already running a little late.” He made his point by tapping on his wrist watch, impatiently thumping a foot on the floor of their living room.
Hux is going to kill him, if Rose doesn’t do it first.
“But I don’t want to wear anything else. Don’t you think I look cute?” She dares to say as soon as she appeared before him. She even does a little twirl for him. This short little ivory dress and black leather wasn’t bad. Not bad at all, in fact...
“Ben, are you staring at my ass again?”
He froze at being caught, but not really ashamed from admiring her backside. He stood up and walked over towards her, slipping his hands around her waist and smirking when she instantaneously became pliant in his hold.
“What if I was?” He challenged, knowing fully well his girlfriend isn’t the type to back down that easily.
“Then you’re expected to do something about it.”
Just like that, their mouths clashed in fire and ice. Somewhere between fumbling hands on zippers and buttons, their phones demanded to be answered. But none of them can be taken away from their bubble of passion once it consumed them.
Ben was busily kissing his way through her collarbones, about to discard the leather jacket away, mildly annoyed from obscuring the perfect view of her sweetheart neckline.
“Leave it.” She says, biting on his bottom lip in firm protest. “I’m wearing this jacket whether you like it or not.”
He doesn’t argue with her at this point. He doesn’t argue with her about the jacket for a long time. He’ll just have to find a better item to replace it.
Maybe something much smaller and can fit around her finger.