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Signed By Ren

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Honestly, Rey did not know what to expect. 

Saturday is long and quite uneventful, the storm has been raging outside her window since she slept through the morning and her roommate has been gone all day. 

So, imagine her surprise when Kuruk and Cardo busted through the door, carrying a less than graceful Ben Solo in their arms, a nasty bruise rapidly materializing on his right eye, his nostrils clogged with rolled up makeshift torpedos to stop it from bleeding and a sharp cut just above his brow bone. 

She gasps, immediately dropping what she was doing. The dirty dishes can wait. 

“What happened?” She followed the struggling trio as she wiped her hands clean with a dish towel, quickly moving to cast the throw pillows on the side so Ben could lay down properly. 

“He, uh, he ran into some guy trying to steal his motorcycle.” Kuruk answered after they had successfully deposited the large man on the couch. 

“Again?!” She can’t help but exclaim. That’s the third time in two weeks! She’s certain she’s never met anyone with such a severe bad luck. 

She rubs her hands all over her temples, trying to reduce the increasing headache before turning to Ben with a tiresome look. 

“You should see how the other guy looks, sweetheart. He had it worse.” 

Her roommate had the audacity to chuckle darkly and slip up to call her sweetheart in one sentence. He’s all sorts of unnerving. She felt conflicted between showering his stupid face with kisses or smacking him upside the head. 

She did neither, however. Crossing her arms over her chest instead, she looks at him pointedly. 

“I told you to sell your motorcycle if it gets you into this much trouble.” 

Her tone betrays to press her point any further however, because as swift as the lightning that flashed into a tendril of white outside their building was, he had her on his lap faster within seconds. 

“And I told you to stop worrying. I can handle myself. I’m fine. See?” He reassured with a gradually softening expression. 

“You’re leaking blood through your mouth and your nose,” She deadpans. 

“You should check for his back too, the guy might have gotten a pretty good hit.” 

“Cardo!” Ben throws the long-haired man a betrayed look. “Not helping.” He added before yelping at being pinched on his side. 

“Ow! That fucking hurts, you know?!” 

“Good.” 

Rey scrambles back on her feet, steering clear from his lap and his grabby limbs, drastically shifting the tides of her mood as she’s clearly more annoyed now. She wasn’t looking forward to cleaning up after Ben’s wounds like it’s a weekly process. It actually pains her to tears, how much he unintentionally subjects himself to bleeding and bruising. 

“Rey–“

“I cooked too much for dinner, so there’s leftovers in the pan, help yourselves. I’m just going to get the med kit.” 

She hears Kuruk and Cardo’s timid thankfulness from Ben’s rising call to her name, deliberately ignoring him as she disappeared into the hall where their rooms are. 

Ben dramatically drops back on the couch for getting the cold treatment, shrieking for forgetting that Cardo was right, he definitely got hit by a baseball bat on the back. 

“You should really stop making Rey worry.” 

He snorts. 

“I’m glad you’re here to tell me this. Kuruk, remind me again why Cardo’s not a fucking professor with wasted teaching potential.” He sarcastically spat, not that it ever affected the two, they’ve gotten used to his crude wits by now. 

“You can be such an asshole after losing a fight sometimes,” grinned Cardo between spoonfuls. 

Ben sits back with a heavy grunt, casually throwing a dark look from the couch to the busy dining table. 

“Losing a fight?” He sputters, reels back before shaking his head profusely. 

“Not to Snoke.”

He can’t afford losing to someone who hides behind his own henchmen. “Fucking plays dirty. I’ll show him what happens when someone misses their chance to kill me,” 

In fact, he already has an idea, something that can’t be done by three people with one of them severely injured. He’ll need the rest of his crew.  

“When I’m fully recovered, get the rest of the Knights.” He tasked Cardo, already itching to land a good fistfuls on the ginger’s arrogant face. “And for the love of Christ, don’t be late next time. I had to deal with ten people by myself before you two came along.” 

“I mean, from where we were standing, you had it all under control,” 

“Fuck you,” 

“Already fighting?” Rey reappeared from the hall, holding an aluminum kit. “I can’t even leave you for two seconds.” 

“Cardo started it!” He sputters in defense. 

“Listen, I’m just eating here.” Cardo made it a point to chew on his food louder. “What’s in this? Cumin?” 

She gets distracted enough from having anyone take interest in her cooking. She’s aware that she’s no Gordon Ramsay, but she was decent when it came to easy meals. A bright smile splits her face in half as she looks onto the guys enjoying her stir fry. 

“A little bit with chives, yeah.” 

“Well, it’s delicious.” Cardo remarked before turning to Kuruk, who’s directly pouring his last bites from the bowl straight to his mouth. “And I’m speaking for the both of us.” 

“Thank you.” 

Ben’s friends have always been nice to her.

For how mean-looking and tall they were, with sleeve tattoos and this all black ensemble they seem to be sporting, they’re the biggest softies Rey has ever met. It’s quite amusing to tell people that she lives with a man the size of a double-doored fridge, and said appliance-sized friends hang out in their apartment from time to time. 

Would you believe that they play D&D every end of the month like an unspoken rule? The looks on people’s faces gets her every time. 

And don’t get her started on Ben Solo, bless this man’s heart for exceeding every woman’s standards. But only if you don’t let the permanent scowl and the scar that bisects his face in half fool you from knowing who he truly is. 

It was quite a huge plot twist on her part since they first met and her initial thought was alarming her that he might be an escaped convict pretending to look for an apartment. And she can’t chide her past self hard enough for being so incredibly wrong, so when she went with her gut and agreed to take him as her roommate, she came to know that Ben Solo is the sweetest man of them all. 

Two years later, she all but can’t help herself from falling in love with him. 

Well, right now, she’s supposed to be mad, at the very least. 

Rey musters her best cold stare as she turns to him, looking like a wounded animal, it doesn’t help that he actually had such melted chocolate puppy dog eyes as well. It isn’t fair.

“And you, just sit tight before I make your condition any worse.” 

Kuruk and Cardo snickered in the background while she approached her roommate. 

There’s a strange expression on his face that she can’t quite read while he keeps watch of her. Never breaking gazes as if it’s interesting to watch her take out antiseptics in the kit. 

“Oh, someone’s in big trouble.” joked Kuruk in a sing-song voice. 

“Someone’s sleeping on the couch tonight.” added Cardo, their laughter growing louder as Rey occupied the space beside Ben on the couch, already so tired from their childish teasing. 

“Grow up, you two!” She glared before assessing her roommate’s injuries.  

Ben keeps himself as still as instructed. 

Thankfully, it’s not anything too bad. Well, nothing as serious when you’re used to patching up a hazard prone man. He needs a few stitches and his wounds cleaned, which should only take a moment. 

She was free to smack his arm for being so reckless though. 

“Ow!” 

“You’re lucky Kaydel has taken the night shift.” She continues to glare at him. 

Not that she’s anywhere near threatening, it’s odd how his brain functions. One moment he’s fuming with rage, more than enthusiastic at getting back at Snoke, and the next, he’s finding Rey all sorts of pretty even when she’s mad–especially when she’s mad. 

“Indeed I am,” He grins, that crooked, dimpled smile he does. “I have my beautiful roommate to take care of me.” 

While he was being particularly cute on her, Rey deliberately uses more force than what’s necessary in applying the antiseptic. She just needs a way to shut him up without using her mouth on his like her traitorous brain suggests. 

“Ow, fuck! You’re pressing too hard!” He jerks back, scowling at her heavy hand. 

“Stay still!” is all she had to say as she pins him down by the shoulder, cross-legged on the couch. 

In the corner of her eyes, she sees the duo clean up after themselves from the small dining area, clearly finding the whole thing entertaining. 

“What the fuck, Rey? Are you trying to kill me?” Ben snapped as he plucked the harmless cotton ball from her fingers. 

“Don’t be such a big baby. We’ve been over this. It’s supposed to sting like that!” 

“Okay, we’re going to head out now,” Cardo concluded after putting the dishes by the sink, the pair too busy to notice them inching towards the exit. 

“Rey, Ben better be alive when we get back here!” hollered Kuruk before the door closed after them. 

“Heard that? You should—hey! Drop it! I’m actually in pain here!” 

They find themselves committed to... Whatever this is. With Rey's supposed treatment doing the opposite effect and Ben dodging most of her advances until they eventually tire themselves out.

In the end, it's Ben clasping her wrists on her lap, not trusting to let go of her just yet, not when he can see the storm in her own eyes as clear as a copycat of the rigorous weather.  

She's definitely mad at him. 

"Look, Rey. I'm sorry." He breathed heavy. "I'm so sorry for making you worry like that. I have no excuse, I know I should have been more... Careful." 

She peruses him for a long moment before she must have seen what she was looking for, because she altogether softened, dropping her shoulders like the strings that held her rigid and stiff were cut loose. 

"It's just that... I just know that you're going to run out of luck soon. Who knows what would happen next? I don't want to be the one to see you being rushed in the hospital myself, one of these days," 

It's a terrible time to feel like his heart is about to burst with too much emotion, but her words make him extremely happy. If he still had his dotting parents, Rey wouldn't be the only person important enough to fill that gaping hole in his chest. And so, he can't help his next move of pulling her close, slipping his arms around her torso and nuzzling her hair, overwhelmed by her warmth all at once. 

Ben thought he'd never get used to it. 

"I won't let that happen. I promise." 

He feels her fingers rub against his scalp. 

"That's a pretty big promise to make, Ben." She retorted apprehensively. 

"And I'm telling you, I'm keeping it." He whispers with so much conviction before pulling away to look at her directly.

"You're pretty violent when you're mad." 

She was just about to slap him by his chest again when he caught her hand swiftly. 

"No more of that." He can feel the cut on his head irately being itchy and aching. "I seriously need to be treated though." 

Rey does feel a little bad because he felt more roughed up than he looks, she knows when he's trying to downplay what he actually feels, just so she would stop worrying. He has done that a handful of times, and this is one of those moments. 

She relents with a sigh, patting a hand on her lap. 

"Lay down." 

Just like an established routine, he immediately perks up at the offer. He doesn’t need to be told twice to move further back and sink on the soft cushions with his head on her lap. It doesn’t matter that his legs are too long for the couch to accommodate, it’s a small sacrifice to make. 

“Can you massage my head as well? You’re really good at that.” 

She dramatically rolls her eyes, even though she’s already carding her fingers through his hair. 

“Again, you’re a big baby.” 

He just groans in response, accepting the soft caress of her delicate hands as she simultaneously takes care of his injuries and massage his temples. 

Rey would never get over it, but Ben has the softest hair ever, all silky and smooth, it’s such a shame that he takes this blessing for granted, not bothering to maintain or even use a comb instead of wringing it with his fingers after a shower. 

She was going to chide him for it when she hears him make the softest noise of approval. He’s purring like a cat now, leaning more into her touch further as if to wordlessly tell her not to stop. 

“All better?” 

He hums in thought, not bothering to open his eyes. 

“Definitely. You always work like magic.” 

His words were simple enough, cheesy even. Rey would most likely cringe if someone else said it, but with Ben, he makes her feel and sound special, and she swoons and flutters and blushes all the same every time. 

She can just hope her unrequited feelings doesn’t show on her face from this angle, because he is looking up at her in wonder.

“Oh, I never got to ask. How’s your day?” 

Ben remembering to ask immediately lit a bright smile on her face. He never forgets to, as if it’s important for him to know the answer. 

“Best rest day I could have asked for. You know, for the first time in a long time, I don’t smell like iodoform and restlessness,” She grins while shaking her head. “And I expected that you’d be here, we could have binged watched the Office. Still boggles my mind how you haven’t seen one episode.” 

He chuckles at her, blinking blearily as if he was trying really hard not to fall asleep. 

“We’ll watch it next time. I just had a few errands to take care of.” 

“Oh! Which reminds me,” Her brows scrunches together softly. He always found the expression adorable every time something confused her.

“Something really weird happened outside the grocery store this afternoon.” She started. 

He makes a sound in the back of his throat to indicate that he’s listening. 

“Well, I was on my way back here and I was passing by all these parked cars by the sidewalk, right? When one of them opened and it was still raining, so the guy had accidentally opened his umbrella near me,” 

She can’t fully explain it, not when Ben wasn’t there to see it for himself, but, 

“It’s really weird. I just got a little wet but he looked so... Terrified when he saw me, like actually terrified. If it wasn’t raining, I could have sworn he was about to cry. And that’s not even the weird part,”

Her brows folds further as if trying to examine a puzzle, while a pressure pinches low in his belly. 

He thinks he knows where this is going. He readjusts himself so he’s turned on his side to avoid seeing her face. 

“The weird part is, he kept on apologizing and begging me not to tell Mr. Ren... Isn’t that odd?” 

Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.’ 

“... Very.” He almost choked. 

Anxiety tinged with worry grips him by the chest, erratically shaking his heartbeat as he tried so very hard not to tense up. 

Thankfully, Rey remains oblivious to notice anything. 

“Who even is Mr. Ren?! I never got the chance to ask, he just took off!” But the question and name was enough to make him uncharacteristically react. 

He swallows thickly, still remaining turned on his side in case he was doing a terrible job at keeping himself indifferent. 

“Your guess is as good as mine.” 

She hummed in deep contemplation, he could just about note how the cogwheels in her head started turning. It’s nerve wrecking. Ben bites the inside of his cheeks, praying to God she wouldn’t notice how much he’s sweating in the span of a minute. 

Well, not until she shrugged her shoulders. 

“Must have mistaken me for someone else.” 

In the end, it was just one very random and totally unrelated event that trumped over her curiosity for the mysterious figure, which should remain that way for the rest of time. 

On the other hand, Ben releases a long exhale of relief, feeling his whole body sigh all at once. 

 

Chapter Text

“So, we’re not going to talk about it?” 

Ben grumbles at Rose’s meddling question as he watches her take out a bunch of tupperwares in a plastic bag.

Gripped by curiosity, he saunters beside her to inspect the items himself. 

“What’s all this?” He sniffs the aromatic scent of herbs and spices that can only be associated with the woman’s Vietnamese cuisine. 

“Cao lau and some leftovers from last night. Apparently, she doesn’t trust you with a knife. Not with a black eye like that,” She gently lays a hand on his cheek, careful on not touching the horrible bruise, only to check. 

“Jesus, Ben. What did you tell her?” 

Ben pulls her hand away from his face with a disapproving click of his tongue, returning to his task of pulling out the tupperwares. 

“Same as last time.” He shrugs off as if it wasn’t a big deal, deliberately ignoring Rose’s hard stare. 

“Seriously? You need to come up with a better excuse. She’ll stop believing that every ass kicking has something to do with your shitty motorcycle.” She retorted while moving around the kitchen. 

“Hey, it’s custom-made! And it’s not like I was the one who said it. It was Kuruk,” He mumbles sourly.

“Regardless of who said it, your girlfriend has to know the truth eventually.” She insisted gently before returning in front of him with a clean plate and a pair of spoon and fork. 

Despite the sizeable bruise on his face as he scowled at her, Ben still faintly gets flustered at her words. 

“First of all, she’s not my girlfriend. Second, she doesn’t need to know. And even if she does, what is there to talk about, Rose?” He runs an anxious hand across his hair in exasperation. 

“Oh, I don’t know,” She’s about to get on a passive aggressive spiel on him. He just knows it.

“Maybe start with the jacket, tell her how she’s been wearing the gang equivalent of a wedding ring by tying her to the most feared, notorious leader of Chandrila, who also happens to be her roommate, and who's also absolutely in love with her for two years. Maybe that, but I’m sure you can improvise the same way you’ve been lying to her.”  

Rose's words had teeth, biting whatever clever retort he had prepared as her receptiveness boils him down into a man child frowning deeply with his arms crossed. 

"I hate you. I regret saving you from those creeps all those years ago." 

She snorts at his harmless words, lacking the conviction to be somewhat believable. She rolls her eyes before taking the seat across from him. 

“No you don't. You know I'm just right." 

He bit on his own tongue from further responding and making it worse for himself.

Ben came to know that Rose is fierce when it comes to being prudent. They go way back before she miraculously introduced Rey by recommending her apartment to him (which she still prides herself over). It's a long story with too many vulnerable feelings involved, but to sum it up, Rose was unsuspectingly being followed by two nameless creeps with one of them holding a swiss army knife and Ben came to her rescue. Somehow, by a cruel twist of fate, it turns out she's been together with Hux, his second-in-command. The incident also became the main reason why she moved out and he moved in. "Just think about it, I get to live with my boyfriend and you don't have to subject yourself to the hassle of looking for a new place! And Rey needs someone like you for protection! It's perfect!"

He still facepalms whenever he reminds himself that this was how she talked him into living with Rey, and goddamn it, he didn't sign up to develop feelings for his roommate too early into their living arrangements.

It's just a whole other story meeting Rey for the first time, he still thinks that Rose should have given him a forewarning that his roommate is going to be this strikingly beautiful woman with mesmerizing brown eyes. He had inwardly cursed at Rose while Rey stuck out her hand and introduced herself. He had a thing for brunettes with pretty accents, damn near killed him when she supplied that she's British.

Fucking hell. 

"So, you’re really never going to tell her that your job involves pretending to be a big meanie?” 

He’s the one rolling his eyes so far back now, it’s surprising that he hasn’t broken any optic nerves. 

“We’ve had this conversation a million times, Rose. The answer is never.” Ben responds with a finality that she can’t press him with. “And what do you mean pretending?” 

"Please, you once spent an entire month healing a butterfly's broken wing, you big softie. What did you call it again? Padmé?" 

He ducks behind the food to avoid her knowing smile. 

It was simply a moment of pure instinct. Ben somewhat felt responsible for the broken wing because he accidentally batted the gentle creature trying to cling on his arm one sweaty afternoon. The true royal blue color of the butterfly had also reminded him of a very distant fond memory from his childhood, one that greatly involved his grandmother. He didn't think that Rose would see the temporary habitat he made with a jar. 

He groans. "Oh my god, can you stop? Can we not talk about that, please?” 

“But we should talk about how she’s been wearing it over everything, Ben. She refuses to wear anything else!” She finally blurts out, cognizant of having to bear her best friend wearing the same black leather over and over, even when they simply go out for lunch.

“I can't have her still wear that thing on my wedding day." She quickly added.  

Ben leans back with a brow raised. There it is, an actual reason why Rose is being particularly more persistent than normal. 

“That’s what all that spiel about me lying and keeping secrets is about? Because she likes wearing the jacket I gave her?” He sounded the words slowly, winding up more and more confused and intrigued at the same time. It was ridiculous hearing it out loud. So much for Rose's prudence. Hux hasn't even proposed to her yet. 

“It’s becoming a serious problem, Ben. She could actually pass as the eight member of the Knights.”

She tried to reason, but his mind only ended up imagining how fucking good his roommate would look in all black, his own British badass dark princess. Oh, they’d be unstoppable together. 

“That’s... Not actually a bad idea.” He trails off while rubbing his fingers thoughtfully under his chin. In fact, he likes what he's picturing. He likes it a lot. 

“Ben! I’m serious.” 

"Then stop giving me ideas. You know we’re running short on members,” He teased convincingly, biting back a laugh as he continued stuffing his face with food. 

However, before she could get any more ridiculous looking and keep bothering him, the front door is keyed open as the subject of their conversation enters. 

True to Rose‘s words, Rey is even wearing the jacket over her teal green scrubs, totally oblivious towards the different stares she’s receiving as she removed her white slip-ons by the shoe rack. 

To Ben, seeing her wear the jacket every time gave his heart a functionless pause. He revered on the fact that she cherishes the item very much. Well-worn being synonymous to well-loved. 

And it’s not just something he gave to her just because. The Knights don’t just hand out the signature jacket very easily. But they could make an exception for Rey.

It’s somewhat of a calling card, a rite of passage, a wearable badge of respect. The Knights of Ren delinquent reputation stretches as far as the entire East Coast. He just thought that giving one to her could serve its purpose of protection, considering how she’s been taking the night shift at the hospital these past two months lately. 

Today is one of those days. The clock read that it was past 9PM, which is surprisingly early for Rey, much to his relief. 

“Oh, good. You’re finally awake,” She remarked before heading straight to the kitchen for her routinely glass of water. 

“How long was I out?” He asked, frowning deeply. 

“Enough to skip lunch. I was called to the hospital for an early emergency.” 

Well, that answered why Rose came with dinner. 

“Okay, like I said, good thing you’re awake, so I don’t have to tell the story twice but it happened again! Like the weird thing at the grocery store,” 

Ben and Rose shared a knowing look at each other before Rey continued, which could only result to one thing with the persistent woman present in the room. 

He rolled his lips inside his mouth, slowly but surely losing his cool. What happened this time? 

“So I was walking to the bus stop where three other guys were also waiting, but when I got near, since it’s a pretty small waiting area, they’ve all gone quiet! At first, I thought it was nothing or whatever, right? But you know me, I can’t stand awkward silences for too long, so I tried to make small talk,” 

Rey paused for breath, meanwhile Ben began wringing his hands beneath the table, his appetite long gone. 

“Really? Okay, that is pretty weird,” And Rose feigned surprise, the small but terrible woman is definitely getting a kick out of his distress when she side-eyed him. 

“Yeah! And when I asked about the time, they just stared at me like I’m some ghost before making a bunch of excuses to get away from me as much as possible,” He could sense the dreadful insecurity in her voice as she dropped to the other seat adjacent the two with a defeated sigh. 

“I know I smell like disinfectant alcohol or whatever chemicals I’ve been working with but I’m beginning to think there’s actually something wrong with me,” 

“Oh, sunshine...” Rose started. 

Then Ben jerked back at being kicked under the table. He quickly sends her a dirty look, but then she’s gesturing with her head at Rey, who’s sullenly staring at her lap in silence. She’s on the verge of tears. 

Okay, maybe it’s his fault. Maybe he underestimated the scope of people’s reaction over his gang’s signature jacket. 

He clears his throat to grab his roommate’s attention. 

“There’s nothing wrong with you, Rey.” He attempted very carefully, watching as she slowly lifted her watery eyes. 

“But there is though! You should have seen how much they avoided me like the plague,” 

More like they avoided you because it’s a wise move not to touch what’s mine.’ He bites his tongue from saying the possessive thought, still delighted by the exquisite fit of the jacket. 

Still, Rey wouldn’t believe him. She profusely shakes her head, insists that she’s the problem. 

“Do I smell that bad? Like do I have B.O. or something?” She first leans over to Rose to have herself checked. 

“Girl, you smell fine,” Her former roommate pressed, but not before flicking her eyes back to him, for a second, he saw mischief in them. “Ben? You’ve got a stronger nose than I do.” 

He freezes. 

Oh, no... 

He looks between the two ladies as if to assess if they were being serious. Rose’s indifference was almost perfect and... Well, Rey was staring back at him as if she was expecting him just go with it. 

He sighs in defeat but also nodding as if to signal her to come closer. 

He doesn’t need to sniff her to know that she doesn’t smell bad, he was going to tell her that. But then she leaned over towards him very suddenly and a whiplash of Rey’s sweetness assaults his nostrils. Hard candies or sugar-glazed popcorn were two things that immediately hits him at full force. 

His mouth watered. Does she know he had a tooth for anything sweet? 

“You don’t smell bad, you’ve walked around the apartment after sweating from a jog before. You never smelled bad. I promise.” And if he sounded rougher than usual, that’s not actually a coincidence. He was in fact clenching his hands on the edge of his seat to have something to hold onto. “Those guys were just fucking idiots.” 

“Then why?!” She demanded him for an answer. 

For a moment, he could have given it to her. 

“That’s what you get for wearing a KOR’s signature jacket,” But then Rose stole her attention and made it terribly worse. 

“A what? What’s a KOR?” 

Absolutely the fucking worse. 

As Rey snapped her head towards her friend, Ben immediately went ape shit mode as he made wild gestures to stop Rose from saying anything else. First, with a shushing motion that devolved fast into arms flailing around. 

He stood up, hurrying towards the kitchen to pretend that he was just getting a glass of water, but really, he needs Rose to just stop talking or opening her mouth. For the rest of time. Maybe ever. 

He sweated heavily, worse than yesterday. He had no control of Rose here. 

This is the most stressful he’s been. Far more stressful than that one time, threatening the shit out of a rival gang for information. He actually can’t tell if he’s mouthing the words or not, his heart was loudly beating in his ears. 

“Don’t tell her. Don’t tell her anything, please. Stop this.” It wasn’t until he miraculously added, “I’ll do anything.” did Rose took mercy on him. 

“Nothing. Just from an old mobster movie.” Rose said with a close-lipped smile as if it was nothing. 

This evil, evil woman, he swears. She’s more dangerous than Phasma’s club henchmen. 

Thankfully, she’s convincing enough to Rey since they both know she’s a geeky movie junk. There’s probably already a movie out there that’s relatable to his less than ordinary double-life. 

He releases a long shuddering breath. 

“Well, I should probably go. Armie’s expecting me home before eleven.” Rose is finally preparing to leave, much to his growing relief. 

While the two ladies were giving their quick goodbyes, Ben willfully tries to regain his composure back. Jesus Christ, one of this days, he wouldn’t be surprised if Rose murders him in cold blood and actually gets away with it. 

He thought it was over until she saunters towards him, giving him a friendly hug goodbye but not without whispering something in his ear. 

“You said you’d do anything. Tell Rey yourself.” is all she says before leaving the apartment. 

He simply stood there, gawking at what the fuck just happened. 

Upon Rose’s exit, she can’t help but utter the following words to herself. 

“These two idiots definitely deserve each other.” 

As a good friend of the two, she silently vows to herself that she’ll get them together, one way or another, even if it takes knocking their thick heads together. 

Chapter Text

Whoever thought it was a great idea to go out and get wasted is a straight up dumbass. 

Ben loves Rey. He really does. He would cut off his left limb for her with no hesitation, he had secretly dedicated a part of him to mark her name in permanent ink, filled the perfect role of being her roommate and protector. He loves her to pieces, don’t get him wrong, but she had such a backwards definition of unwinding when he told her she needed to relax. 

After assisting on a thirty three hour surgery for a group of dedicated surgeons, she deserved nothing but a full day’s rest. He promised he’d take care of her this time. 

Except Rey insisted in going out instead. 

“I miss the feeling of getting drunk, Ben. Let’s go out!” 

“Come on! Even my friends are down. You can invite your buddies too! It’ll be fun!” 

“Ugh, I won’t throw up on you like last time, I promise! Let’s just go out for one drink.” 

For a week she persisted and for another more, he finally relented. 

How and why? 

The answer is simple; because he’d do anything for this woman and it should be unnerving, how much power she had over him, no one could get under his skin or handle him below the surface level like she does, but fuck it. If it’s getting drunk she wants, it’s getting drunk she’s going to get. 

But, “There are conditions, Rey.” 

She pouted like an ill-behaved child he just reprimanded, simply crossing her arms over her chest in defiance, but also willing to listen to him as she kept from talking. 

“I choose where we go and you stick by me at all times,” He can’t have her prance about anywhere in the neighborhood in the dead of night, especially if she ends up hanging out in rival territory. “But most of all, you don’t take drinks from strangers. You got that?” 

On the off side, those weren’t hard conditions to disagree on. Knowing Ben, she knows how he despised being too controlling, that’s not who he is. If anything, he just wants to give her the best night out experience a girl could ask for. 

However, she had to keep up her straight face. 

“That’s all fair. But I have conditions too.” 

Negotiations were never his thing. That’s what Hux is good for when being diplomatic or allying reigns over violence and territorial pursuit. But he also can’t deny that he’s mildly intrigued, his interest piquing. 

He raises her a brow. 

“Oh?” 

“Invite your buddies and I get to call what time we leave.” 

“Deal.” 

They shook hands on it. 

And now, Ben is anxiously getting dressed in his room, already wearing his usual dark jeans, but still shirtless. He is shoulders deep in his closet, looking for a flattering shirt. Because yes, while he disagrees on Rey’s plans for tonight, that doesn’t mean he can’t use it as an excuse to get better dressed. 

After all, he can pretty much hear Rey’s excitement from the opposite wall of his room. She’s getting ready with Rose, doing what girls do, which Ben knew nothing about. He’s still struggling to find something that isn’t just a solid black or a muted gray. 

“You have the most depressing wardrobe I’ve ever seen.” remarked Hux, who has been anything but helpful, sitting cross-legged on the edge of his bed while casually scrolling through his phone. 

Ben groaned in complaint. He was never one to go out to bars anyway, never felt it was necessary to have an array of clothing outside of what he usually wears, which is simple enough for every day, add his leather jacket and he's already complete. But part of him thinks he should follow through Rey's request of 'wanting to see him in colors'. 

"Have you got anything helpful to say or are you going to continue being useless?" 

"Paper bag in the living room. Get it." Hux supplied without looking up from his screen. 

Exasperated from his fruitless endeavor, he didn't question his friend's words as he retrieved a not so conspicuously-looking, large paper bag sitting on the edge of the coffee table. 

It's probably just more detachable magazines for his pistol-

Ben froze. 

"You had this all along and you didn't bother to tell me right away?" He gaped at Hux, feeling betrayed. 

This time, the bastard actually looked up with the actual nerve to smirk at him. 

"It's fun seeing you stress about what to wear for Rey."

Honestly, Hux found it entertaining that the guy currently glaring at him is the complete juxtaposition of the guy who unflinchingly broken an informant's arm with his bare hands for betraying them quite recently. There had been bits and pieces showing Kylo's humanity even before he moved in with Rey, but after the fact, their leader paled in comparison. He has gotten more... Laid back. Cool-headed. Dare he say it, at peace? Rey’s positive effect had a huge impact on them too, but he would never admit it out loud though. 

Ben grumbled something unintelligible before pulling out his different choices into one messy lump in his hands. 

He picks them apart one by one, grimacing on a few questionable pieces indignantly, because there’s no way he’s fucking wearing a pretentious mustard yellow turtleneck or a solid neon pink shirt that’s a sight for sore eyes. 

In the end, he chose the most decent from the pile. A light washed denim dress shirt that surprisingly fitted him perfectly. 

“How do you even know that this would fit?” He cannot hide his impressive tone as he relieved the two top buttons opened, rolling the sleeves lazily over his elbows. 

“Oh, Rose just chose the largest size. It’s all purely coincidental.” 

He rolls his eyes, unsurprised over the woman’s involvement. 

After examining his appearance on the mirror of his closet, a natural frown gives way on his face. 

“I look ridiculous.” It was a silly thought. He was never bothered by his looks, had long accepted the fact that he is intimidating by nature, which was a distinct advantage on what he does. But right now, he looks like he was desperately trying to pass as a terrible undercover substitute, a delinquent trying to be normal. 

Hux sighed loudly, already tired of Ben’s weird tendency to brood and sulk in better days such as this one. 

“For once, you actually look normal.” He scoffed, but actually felt the need to reassure the man.

“Rey might actually like it.” Hux glanced over his wrist watch. The time read 9:27. “Now let’s go call the girls. We’ll be late if we don’t tell them to hurry.” 

With a final glance over, Ben sauntered out of his room, lagging behind Hux, who’s rapping a knuckle at Rey’s adjacent door. 

“Hey, we’re leaving in five minutes! You two better be dressed already.” 

“Just a second!” hollered Rose from the other side. 

She was halfway giggling at Rey’s slightly puckered expression. Her best friend was never a fan of makeup nor dressing up in general, which is such a shame because she’s practically a doll to Rose she enjoyed playing with. She was glad to have forced the brunette to wear this cute emerald green dress with thin straps that's just hanging dormant in her closet, it perfectly highlights her long legs and slim frame. She looks gorgeous!

“I’m so scared. You’re going to poke my eye with that—that thing!” Rey stared at the mascara wand as if offended by its mere existence, leaning back to put more distance between them. 

“Relax, sunshine. The sooner we can get this done, the sooner we can leave. They’re already waiting for us. Come on,” Rose just thought it would be so pretty for Rey to have an extra thickness to her lashes to make her irises pop, she is blessed by mesmerizing hazel eyes after all. 

Ben would definitely trip over himself. 

That’s the goal. 

Sighing in resignation, Rey reluctantly pushes herself forward, concentrating on not flinching as Rose did her thing. 

“Why do you enjoy torturing me?” Rey whined, earning an eye roll from her friend as she coated her right lashes. 

“It’s just makeup. Nothing to be dramatic over.” 

“You say while you’re close to poking my eyeball.” 

Rose shrugs it off with a dismissive hand. “It’s just a small sacrifice.” 

Thankfully, her former roommate is done with her eyes, but not with the rest of her face as she grabbed a cylindrical crystal bottle with a smaller wand this time, which is ten times less intimidating. 

The pink gloss glides through her lips wetly, smacking them a couple of times at the unusual texture. Rey was still trying to figure out whether she liked it or not when Rose peered at her with intrigue. 

“Hux told me Ben’s taking us to Starkiller,” 

At the mention of the infamous bar, Rey can’t help herself from grinning widely. 

“I know,” She screamed Ben’s ear off when he told her yesterday. “I’ve never been but I heard it’s the hottest bar in town like famous people go there!” 

“Very exclusive too! And don’t forget expensive,” Rose giggles lightly. “How did Ben even get us all on the guest list? 

“Who knows? Maybe he forged our names in the list or bribed someone.” 

Rey’s attempt at humor made Rose pause, somehow. She had dropped what she was doing of making final touches with a fluffy brush. 

“Do you have any idea what Ben does for a living?” 

She doesn’t question where the conversation is heading. Come to think of it, in two years that she lived with Ben, he was never clear about his job. She can only recall a form of an answer one fine dinner the first time he cooked for her in its impressive fancy glory.

She never followed up since. 

“He just told me he runs the family business.” 

“Which is?” Rose was looking at her as if she should know the answer. 

And she narrows her eyes back.

“I don’t know. Accounting?” She guessed off-handedly, even though she has never seen him wear a crisp suit or any office wear before. 

Her friend snorts, pulling back to throw her a more serious look. 

“Has it ever occurred to you that Ben might be dangerous?” 

Okay, Rey was being ridiculous about the whole accounting thing, but Rose was talking nonsense right then. Suggesting that her roommate is dangerous is just... Unimaginable. 

She can’t help the sound of protest in the back of her throat as she naturally takes in a defensive stance. 

“That’s ridiculous. Ben wouldn’t hurt a fly,” He’s just a harmless man who lags around their apartment like a hibernating bear. Sure, his steps are heavy and he makes any living space miniature, which are both unintentional anyway. But he's the most harmless guy she knows. 

“His favorite movie is the Iron Giant and he cries during the Superman scene every time.” She added to further prove her point. 

“That’s fair and all, but I also think your feelings for him cloud your judgment.” 

She gasps loudly as she throws Rose a slightly offended look. 

“Okay. Rude,” But also accurate. 

“Just promise you’ll ask? It shouldn’t take too long, right?” 

Frowning, Rey nodded her head.

"If it helps you sleep at night." 

She would have to agree anyway if she wants to get Rose off her back. If she doesn't, the persistent woman would just badger her on another day. She loves her best friend, she really does, but tonight of all nights, all she wants to do is be stupid and get recklessly drunk. One night is all she could hope for, then they could all get back to the adult reality of her as a head nurse and Ben as the phantom roommate with an irregular schedule, all while hiding her true feelings for him. 

Great. Sounds like a solid plan. 

"Now you're smoking." Rose finally concluded as she handed her a round mirror large enough to see her whole appearance. 

Rey audibly gasps at the sight. She can't help it. She can barely recognize herself even with the barest amount of makeup dusted on her face, it was still a hundred times better than the half-hearted attempt of a winged eyeliner during a John Mayer concert. But now, she can appreciate her cheekbones and the color of her eyes, Rose is an irreplaceable fairy godmother. 

"Oh my god, Rose! I look... Gorgeous!" 

"Yeah, you do." Rose smirked, very much pleased with herself. "Now let's go and make the guys drool." 

"Wait! Before I forget," Rey grabbed her trusty leather jacket carefully laid out on her desk chair. She folds it over the crook of her arm before unlocking her door, stepping away first just in time to gauge Rose rolling her eyes at her. 

"I look forward to the day you stop wearing that thing." 

She grins, holding the precious jacket tighter. "Never." 

However, her tinkering laughter quickly catches in her throat as soon as she saw the flash of washed up baby blue in the living room. She can't help but do a double take at what she's seeing as she approaches closer. Ben isn't in fact wearing a black shirt, but rather, the softest looking denim dress shirt she has ever seen. And he looks unfairly attractive in it, like that should be questioned. Of course Ben would look good in denim, he can pull off anything. 

"What do you think?" He had the audacity to ask, his hands jammed in his jeans with that haughty smirk on his stupidly handsome face. "Not bad for your no black shirt rule?" 

"No," Her voice came out as a breathless whisper. "Not bad at all." 

Maybe Hux is right. Maybe he's onto something. Maybe Rey does like what she sees. He puffs out more of his chest as he lets his eyes wander, never staying in one place. Rey has always been beautiful to him, but tonight, something about the dress and the hair and makeup pulled a tightness in his rib cage... Amongst other places. 

"What about me? What do you think?" She does a cute little twirl for him, the skirt of the short dress slightly billowing flirtatiously and flash him a glorious second of her bare thighs. 

Ben's throat visibly bobbed as he swallowed. 

"Well I think you're a complete head turner, sweetheart." He winks at her and she follows up with a soft giggle, a faint blush that clearly isn't from the makeup rising from her cheeks. 

"Ugh, even we're not that sickening," Hux tells Rose with a groan. 

Just like that, his off-handed comment causes the pair's tiny heated bubble to collapse, thrusting them back into the loaded awkwardness between two people who claimed each other as just friends and roommates, trying to mask their obvious flirting with a laughter that sounded much too nervous. 

Yeah, right. 

No one buys it.

"Let's just go. I don't want to stay longer and hear how bad you two are at flirting." 

"Shut the fuck up–" glared Ben.

"We're not flirting!" exclaimed Rey. 

 


It's been a while since he stepped foot in Starkiller, Hux and the Knights included. 

Seems like nothing has changed. Aside from the fact that Ben made sure the staff or anyone who might recognize him won’t call him Kylo Ren, then everything felt the same. 

The crowd is still willingly dancing to lyricless club music, booths tucked in corners filled with socialites, the loft open below occupied with VIP rooms for the rich, the famous, and the dangerous. Sometimes, all three. If you can afford the esteemed Red Suite. 

Ben had only taken two steps inside and the entire place drastically shifted, like he parted the sea in front of their eyes, it’s a combination between being mortified or admired. 

Nothing definitely changed. 

The Knights of Ren remains the most well-known even off territory and their notorious leader still has that ice cold effect on anyone. 

“Didn’t think the Golden Man had it in him,” Hux stood beside him, unfazed by the unwarranted attention they were getting. He points his head in the direction of the dance floor, from there, Threepio is a sight for sore eyes, embellished in shining gold while doing the robot.

“Where’s Artoo?” Ben asks, looking for the more... Receptive between the two. They usually go together hand-in-hand. 

Hux snorts derisively this time before retorting,“Definitely smart enough to save himself from the embarrassment,” 

“A shame. Would be good to talk to him,” Maybe he’ll run into him for a smoke break, thank him personally for their recent alliance. 

But then, before Ben could voice out his thoughts, his gaze accidentally lands on a distinctive stout man with pre-historic wrinkles on his jowled face. His expression immediately sours as if he can smell the stench of the Hutt’s filth from where he's standing. 

“What the fuck is Jabba doing here?” Ben snarled sketchily.

As far as he is concerned, his gang remain neutral around turf wars, but everyone knew better than to trust the Hutts, let alone, strike a deal with them. 

“I don’t know but it’s best not to indulge him. It’s always a good tactic to pretend that he doesn’t exist.” 

“Ben!” Suddenly, Rey is clutching his arm, bouncing on her feet as she marveled at how amazing Starkiller is, totally oblivious to how she just pulled him from another world completely. 

“This is amazing! I’ve never been to a bar this fancy before! I mean—it’s like being in a dark ice palace. I love it! You’re the best!” Without prompt, she flexed herself on her tiptoes, planting a kiss on his cheek. 

He immediately turns to face her, and she is just as wide-eyed as he is, like she didn’t know what she was doing. His heart flipped wildly in his chest, thankful that the bass line of the echoing music muted his nerves. 

Ben pulls off an easy grin, leaning down to whisper in her ear. 

“Why don’t you find us a place to sit? We’ll handle the drinks,” 

She almost immediately returns to herself with a radiant smile before nodding and sauntering to her friends. He can’t deny himself the pride that swelled in seeing that she’s already enjoying herself, with Finn, Poe and Rose not far behind. 

On the other hand, he, together with his gang head over on the opposite direction, where Phasma, the bar owner is already waiting for them in her own private bar. 

“Back so soon?” Ben doesn’t miss the woman’s passive aggressive tone. “Thought you’re done doing official business here?” 

“I am. I’m just here with friends.” 

Phasma cocks a brow at him before scooting further into the booth to accommodate her two additional guests. 

“And that woman is just your friend?” 

He wills himself to remain impassive, although he could feel his own face betraying him by heating up deliberately. She definitely saw Rey’s display of affection earlier... 

“Believe me, Ben’s been handling the whole friend thing very poorly.” 

While he shoots Hux with a threatening look, Phasma’s laughter echoes in all its boisterous glory, embarrassing him further and all he could do in the end, is to try and fold himself smaller, sighing in resignation. 

“I have to say, domestic life suits you, Ren.” She says while raising her glass of Cosmopolitan in greeting. 

Somewhere a couple of tables down, Rey is watching the whole interaction with a pensive gaze, morbidly curious by what they could be talking about, especially when the blonde woman laughed unapologetically. 

“She’s very beautiful.” Rey can’t help but remark. “Like an elegant ancient Roman goddess,” She leaves out the part of how Ben is practically from the same species. 

“Jealous already?” Rose teased, although Rey already can’t handle the uneasy tumble in her stomach. 

Still, “I’m not. I’m just saying,” She takes another glance to see the guys still wrapped up in their small chat. “They seem to have a history together. The three of them.” 

“Um, excuse me?” 

A timid voice interrupts their conversation. 

A woman, dark-skinned and accommodating, starts lowering different colored drinks from her tray. 

“What’s all this for?” She’s only partly suspicious, already enticed by the Margarita while Finn and Poe argued over the only Pina Colada on the table. 

“Compliments to Mr. Ren’s guests,” is all the woman says like that answers every problem of the universe. Your toilet clogged? Mr. Ren will take care of it. Lost the TV remote? Mr. Ren got you covered. Mr. Ren. Mr. Ren. Mr Ren.  

“It seems like this mysterious entity follows me everywhere,” She huffs in annoyance, but also taking a sip of her drink. 

“He does, doesn’t he?” 

“It’s not funny.” 

“Hey, if it keeps the drinks flowing then just let it happen.” Poe chided, sipping from his hard fought Pina Colada as they fall back into an easy conversation. 

It took about three generous sips—no, an entire drink, before Ben and Hux found their table, holding two trays of drinks on their own. Rey automatically brightens upon their approach, standing up to assist the two, but also help herself with another cocktail.

“I told you not to accept drinks from strangers,” Ben clicks his tongue in disapproval, glaring at the empty glass on the table. 

“Listen, that Mr. Ren guy’s been giving me a lot of trouble lately. The least he could do is get me a drink,” 

“What do you mean?” He asks as he settled down beside her. 

“A bartender came here earlier, said they were compliments for his guests,” She brushes off with a dismissive hand. “Listen man, I still don’t know who this guy is, but I’ll take the drinks.” She concludes by clinking her glass with his. 

“Cheers.” 

Ben felt an uneasy twist in his stomach. 

The night has just begun.

Chapter Text

"Ben, let's dance!" 

He lost count of the hours. Time stopped existing after only his third Old Fashioned. They got to the point where Rey is tugging him to stand up, badgering him to join Finn and Poe on the dance floor. 

"I don't dance," He doesn't budge from his lazy sprawl on the L-shaped lounge seat, groaning in chagrin because she's already on the height of her happy drunk phase, who says yes to everything and a little too giddy with the most trivial of things. She's a handful to take care of when she goes all out and he's certainly not in his best element in bars as busy as this. It's a conflicting combination of interest that threatens him to end the night at this very second. But seeing Rey having a really good time is all that's keeping him from ditching the whole gang. 

She pouts like a small child. "Just for one song. We don't have to stay long, pleeease?" 

This little minx. 

He can't help the bastard smirk that tilted on his lips. 

"Ha-ha, you're not getting me this time, bambi eyes." Ben has taken a liking into calling her bambi eyes from time to time, referencing her sparkly wide-eyed look whenever something gripped her attention. He always thought she looked cute, but Rey took it as a jab on her wide forehead instead. Really, it's all his fault. He spent way too many situations making the wrong move of looking into her eyes for too long and getting her way. They were like his kryptonite and he isn't falling weak to it this time. 

"Please?"

"No."

"Beeeeen."

"Take Cardo with you." He lamented half-heartedly, which he received another glare for from the opposite lounge chair, where a clearly comfortable Cardo is currently half laying down on. 

She clicks her tongue in strong refusal, crossing her arms over her chest as her mood quickly shifts the other way. 

"Ugh, why are you such a grouch? Just take my bloody hand and dance with me!" Red in the face and now infuriated, Ben just raised his chin up with the same iron defiance, denotes the new development of how thickly her accent develops when she's frustrated. 

Again, not the right time for his ape brain to supply him with unnecessary thoughts but she's being really cute unintentionally. 

"Sweetheart, you're drunk. You might throw up on me again and I'm not taking any chances." He reasoned, because it's his only excuse to avoid an overwhelming situation where they're flushed against each other, which only calls for trouble, if anything. 

Whatever insistent tactics Rey had, which is just to harass him to submission, quickly derails as she flustered at the reminder of her embarrassment. She grumbled something incoherent that Ben couldn't quite catch before taking his advice and grabbing the Knight's hand, rushing to the dance floor with a slight stomp on her feet.

If it were possible, he'd see the steam coming off her ears as she staggered with a slightly drunk Cardo in tow. He takes a sip of his drink, slightly drawn to the swivel of her hips in that dress before someone sits heavily beside him. 

"Don’t get too far!” He called out. After all, they still had a deal, and so far, neither of them has broken anything. 

Despite Rey storming away from him, she respected his wishes. She stayed somewhere where he had a clear view of her, watching her beautiful face light up together as they reached her friends. Admittedly, it makes him feel a certain type of way as he lets her enjoy the night, not realizing that someone caught his obvious mooning. 

"You could have just danced with her." 

Ben faced his intruder and he sighed heavily. It’s only Rose giving him that knowing look he despises so much. He turns to Hux for help, but his second-in-command is a useless buffer when he's occupied in a deep conversation with Vicrul. 'Traitor.' He spat inwardly as he tried to remain composed like Rey hadn't tilted his world off axis. 

"And why would I do that?" 

"Because it's the perfect opportunity to tell her about it!” 

Astounded as he looked, he didn't know why she answered like it's the most obvious thing in the world. She keeps pestering for him to tell Rey a lot of things. 

"Tell her what?" He asked, clearly irked. 

"That you're not as what you appear to be. You've been keeping her in the dark for too long, Ben. It's about time you come clean to her." 

Guilt turns the alcohol in his system into acid, no longer interested in quenching his thirst to numb the feeling. Of course he felt terrible that he's been keeping such a huge secret from Rey since they became roommates, but a larger part of him is more afraid that she'd see him differently, look at him with undisturbed fear in her eyes like the faceless crowd who knew his reputation, the foundation of their established friendship no longer mattering. That’s two years down the drain. 

"Rose,"

"Either that or you tell her you love her." 

He frowned in strong dejection. "You're not giving me much options." 

"You need to grow a pair, Ben." She unapologetically rolls her eyes at him. 

It baffles him sometimes, really. How a pocket-sized woman can hold so much authority. Anyone who says that women can't be scary hasn't met Rose yet. How Hux deals with her on a daily basis, he didn't want to find out. 

Still, he will keep putting his foot on the ground no matter how many times it takes. 

"And you need to stop this unhealthy obsession between me and Rey," He sounds like a broken record then too, having said the same exact words in a deja vu moment. "How many times do I have to tell you? Things don’t have to change. We’re friends. I’d rather die than lose that.” 

“Are you sure?” 

He clicks his tongue in disapproval. 

“Seriously, Rose.”

“I’m just—Ben,” She gets into the mode of drilling some sense into him as she talks with her hands, but he is confident with the strength of his resolve. 

He lets her fruitless pursuit to keep going, knowing she’ll tire eventually. 

“You’re telling me that you’d rather do the martyr move of being just her friend forever? You’re just going to grow old alone while she gets married and have kids one day with somebody else? Can you really handle that?” 

Ben pressed his lips together to avoid making a sound of protest in the back of his throat as he hears something break inside him at the mere thought of his Rey with someone else. Unwanted images of a sham wedding with the support of friends and family thrusts its way in the forefront of his mind. He didn't want to see it but there's nothing he could do as his treacherous brain conjures him as the best man, somehow fashioning a watery smile as he goes through the whole procession of seeing Rey on the other end of the aisle, holding onto another man's arm instead of his own. 

He groans in frustration and curses Rose for putting those stupid thoughts in his head.

"Better than nothing." He mutters stubbornly, tucking his chin on his chest as he grabs his unfinished drink. 

"Christ, there's no getting through you," 

His ears perked up at the sound of defeat in her voice. Thank goodness the alcohol is doing its job in extinguishing Rose' energy down a few notches. He could really use some moment without anyone bothering him to recollect his composure back.

However, his triumph is short-lived when her features rearranges into a calculated smile. Alarm bells immediately went off in his head as he followed her line of sight. 

"Unless it's happening right before your eyes." Rose finishes. 

Ben unwillingly gapes in knee deep silence while the loud bass of the music reverberated around him, yet his eyes were unblinking.

On the dance floor, Rey moves her body in ways that he hasn't seen before. She rolls, snaps and twists, that puts every man's fantasy to shame. Because she's a seductress in the sweetest form; legs that run for days and hips that she effortlessly times with the rhythm. He could watch her all night, let him burn past the boiling point until he is pounded into ash, except some nameless jackass has his hands all over her. 

Where the fuck is Cardo?

He growls viciously, comes from his nature of being territorial. The guy is clutching onto her hips now, moving with the current of her body. 

"Who's to say that she won't give him her number? He IS pretty cute," Rose egged on and he is falling headfirst into it as his hands squeezed into tight fists on his sides. "She might even come home with him tonight if he asked." 

"Over my dead body." He rasped out, finding it nearly impossible to burn a hole at the asshole's hips grinding against Rey. 

"Why not? You're not her boyfriend."

She's been poking him to do something and hr has been brushing her off. But enough is enough. 

"Rose," He spoke through gritted teeth, as if he's barely holding onto some sense of control. He can actually feel it slipping past his fingertips. "Tell me to stop. Tell me not to go over there." 

"No. You already know I’m not going to do that.” She said with a smirk. 

“Goddamn it, Rey,” He grumbles as the invisible chains that restrained him snapped together with his sense of logic. 

Somewhere between standing up and motioning for Kuruk and Ushar to follow him, he can hear Rose cheer and holler behind his shoulder, but all he could hear is the blood in his veins pumping wildly with adrenaline, seeing red as the bastard shamelessly groped Rey, who was weakly trying to keep his hands on safer territories. But even breathing in her direction is not safe for Ben as he weaves through the crowd, parting like the red sea for him. 

He was man on a mission. 

With a wordless tilt of his head, the two Knights effortlessly hauled the sleazy man away from her. He’ll deal with the asshole later, but right now, Rey just lost a dance partner. 

Just like that, everyone returned to their business as if nothing happened. One thing to know about Rey with alcohol; she becomes remarkably clueless. To a fault, especially, when she’s swarming with disgusting men ready to take advantage of her less receptive state. 

He lets his anger subside with a quiet count to three. 

As if he perfectly fits into her space, Ben swiftly took over.

Hands resting on her hips as he curved his torso protectively behind her, he was pleased to witness that she immediately recognized him. 

“Ben,” She says his name with excitement, more than thrilled to finally have him on the dance floor.

The hands easily gave him away. They were much larger and warmer than the random guy who started dancing with her out of the blue. Decidedly, his whereabouts didn’t matter to her if it meant the replacement would be her dashing roommate. 

However, before she can turn around and admire him from the front, Ben secured her in her position, keeping his grip firm but not hurtful, all while he sets the pace of their casual swaying. 

“I thought you didn’t want to dance?” She squeaked so softly that she thought he wouldn’t be able to hear from the music. 

Turns out they were close enough to talk in a whisper. 

“I changed my mind.” He answered, the words breathed into her ear that almost made her shudder, weren’t it for the semblance of awareness she still had left. 

“Well, that’s rude.” She huffed indignantly. Although, she did not make a move to drift away from him. 

He took it as a good sign, sighing into her hair. 

“I’m sorry.” 

She hums as a sort of response, which is enough to settle an understanding only spoken in their language.

Communicating always came easy between Ben and Rey. One look and it’s like they were talking telepathically. Words weren’t enough sometimes. Even some of the Knights found it eerie. So it’s pretty ironic how he’s completely struggling to tell her what he’s been meaning to say.

“Are you having a good time?” He finds himself asking, because despite his internal battles, this night is still mainly for her. 

“The best time.” 

He smiled softly. That’s another victory for him. 

“I’m glad.” 

A new song started. 

Some popular pop remix with a bass line that trembled the floor and a catchy rhythm quite easy to get behind with. Nevermind the very sexual lyrics that echoed in air. 

Something denser stirred around them. 

They don’t speak for a while. 

For some inexplainable reason, their special connection took shape through the sensual movement of their bodies instead. 

She took a distracting spin, held out her hand to run down his chest before he pulled her closer. Only a few seconds passed by, but they were already breathless, aching for air with gazes that burned hotter in its intensity. 

He vaguely thought that they were being watched. But it’s just the two of them now. He didn’t care. Let them all stare. 

She’s an utter vision in his hands. Rey dipped her body low in perfect synchronicity with the base drop, ran the same hand down the length of him then back up, flipping her hair that caused a stifled groan deep in his throat, slightly brushing against his crotch. 

Ben pulls and turns her back around, flushed against his chest. He breathed in deeply, which was a terrible mistake considering he just got a good whiff of her intoxicating scent and that apparently is enough to awaken his pent up lust for her.

He groans again.

It’s too much. The way his blood is on fire because of her and she’s still grinding her hips, wordlessly asking him to follow her lead like she couldn’t feel him pressed up against her firm backside. 

Surely, she knows she can kill a man just like this. She must know that she’s making it harder and harder for him to pull away. 

“Ben,” He’s certain he has never heard her say his name in that breathy way she does either, his own mouth radiating heatedly over her neck in short pants.

“Rey,” He whispers against her enticing skin. 

Neither one of them continue nor finish whatever they were going to say. In fact, they really didn’t have anything to say at all besides the fact that they both feel the tides in their relationship changing. It’s almost tangible; through quivering dilated pupils and flustered skin. 

As the song trails off, he lets his hands caress her sides to grab her attention as if every ounce of her wasn’t focused on him before. Her own rests on top of his, craning her neck to look at him over her shoulder. 

“I have something to tell you.” There’s a hint of urgency in between his gasps of air. 

Goosebumps trail off on her skin, anticipation twisting in the smoky haze that they were in, she patiently waits for him to continue, heart in her throat. 

Because if this is the moment he tells her—that he feels the same way then—

A loud crash, obviously coming from another opening at the rear disrupted the entire bar as the clubgoers' collective curiosity caused the music to stop, hearing the interruption that much clearer.

It seemed like someone whimpering, screaming for mercy as if in physical pain. 

"Oh my god. Do you think we should check it out?" Her natural instinct to worry overrides the magical spell between them, looking around and getting annoyed that no one is bothering to help. "I think someone needs help." 

However, before she could take another step, Ben clasped his hand around her wrist. "No. You stay here." 

"Excuse me?" Pulling back, she takes on an offended stance. 

"It could be dangerous. You stay. I'll go." He uses his voice that leaves no room for arguments, which only irately gets under Rey's skin because Ben has been treating her like a kid all night, save for this one time they danced.

Still, she shakes herself more awake towards the escalating situation now. 

"What? You think I can't handle myself? For fuck's sake, I'm a grown woman, Ben!" 

"It's nothing like that, Rey." He implores her with his eyes, pleading not to go out there because what his gut tells him strongly felt like danger lurking around the corner.

"It'll make me feel better knowing that you stay here. Trust me. Please." 

Rey is not going to admit that his soft trembling voice did something to her heart, jolting the organ with an aching urge to pull her roommate for a hug. But she digresses,  only sighing defeatedly before nodding her head as if giving him permission.

At the end of the day, she trusts Ben with her whole life anyway. Nothing can change that. 

"Fine. I'll go freshen up in the toilet. But you better get back here quick." 

During their whole exchange, the people unsurprisingly reverted back a second time, passing the weird noises as some person drunk out of their ass outside the club.

Except Ben knew better. 

Finally, he lets go of her, surging to his feet but not before hollering one last thing. 

“Bring Rose with you!” 

Her answering groan is all that he needed as he gave a look towards the available Knights sitting on their table, followed by Hux. They also sense trouble by the twin looks on their faces. 

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Ben mutters uneasily, taking the lead with full strides. 

“I feel it too. Something’s not right.” Hux shares the same sentiments instead of insulting Ben’s paranoia, which says a lot. He could use a good joke, that he was overreacting as always. But it’s different this time, it’s that bad when his right hand can’t even take a jab at him. 

It’s only when the cold air greets them did the worry seized, slowly bleeding into shock at the sight of his two Knights in a bloody heap on the ground. 

He could barely recognize Kuruk from Ushar. 

He crouches to check for their vitals, uncertain if it’s his own blood pounding on his fingertips or if it’s their weak pulses. Either way, they were alive, but barely. 

Suddenly, the sight ignites a darkness in him. Something that his gang thought had long since vanished, but it had always been there, dormant until someone made the wrong move to mess with him. 

In this case, anyone who messes with his gang, messes with him too. They’re an extension of himself.

They were irreplaceable. 

“Who did this?” He asked them calmly. 

But knowing their leader, they knew his silent wrath all too well.  

“Dancer.... Bug... Get Rey.” Some words were unintelligible but the few that he understood was enough to grip him stiffly, as if an ice cold bucket of water has been poured over him. 

“Take them to the hospital.” He ordered Hux before abruptly standing up, forcing his legs to carry him back inside as a million thoughts per second flitted through the forefront of his mind. 

Rey’s in danger. 

Danger. 

DANGER. 

He prays to God that’s not the case. She could be in the toilet like she said. She could be anywhere in the bar. He didn’t take too long outside. He was being paranoid. 

But such reassuring thoughts seized when he saw Rose sitting boredly on their table. Alone. 

“Ben, did you—“ Her knowing smile dropped at the look on his face. “What’s wrong?” 

“Where’s Rey?” 

“I thought she was with you. What do you mean? What’s happening?” 

Fuck. 

It’s all too good to be true. But just to be sure, he turns to the two Knights that followed him. “Search the area. Call me as soon as you find anything.” 

With a nod, the two proceeded with their task. 

She could not have gone far. 

“Rose, I need you to go home. Find Finn and Poe, then go home.” He instructed as best and calmly as one losing his girl tried to be. But then, he changes his mind right away, he pulls out his phone, sending her a brief message that only contained an address. 

“Actually, all of you stay there instead. Just in case. It’s our safe house.” 

Still, a lot of Ben’s calm and calculated responses didn’t help with her rising nerves. 

“Tell me, is Rey... Is she in big trouble?” 

The issue is at large when you know the context. For a fleeting second, he drops the control and confidence only Kylo Ren exalted. His hard gaze softened with guilt, quivering under Rose’ own eyes as he looks away in shame. 

“I was stupid enough to believe that I could separate my life from hers. Now, I failed at one thing I was good for,”

He can’t even protect her.

His eyes watered as his jaw clenched tight. He would never forgive himself if something terrible happened to Rey. He’d die fighting first before anything else. 

“Ben,” Rose’s quivering voice snapped him back to attention. “Bring her back. Just bring her back, please.” 

The woman he has come to know as not only Rey’s friend but his own cried shamelessly. But beneath her brief worry, he sensed her trust and encouragement. How she still had those for him, he isn’t quite sure. 

But he vigorously nods his head without a doubt. He’ll comb the entire city if he has to. 

“I will.” He promised. 

But under the current of all his reassurance, Ben felt something he has never felt in a long time.

He felt fear. 

It rushed in him cold and fast. 

Chapter Text

There’s only one person who can help in this time of crisis. He’s dirty and definitely not cheap, but he would get the job done. 

“Ah, Ren. So thrilled for you to join us.”

Ben is usually startled by how guttural the impervious man’s voice is, unprepared by how he often made himself appear like he recently swallowed some shards of glass, but right now, every second is crucial. Nothing would distract him from his mission.

So he cuts to the chase. 

“Jabba, I need help locating a girl. The one I came here with. Lend me your people.” 

There’s an insane amount of them lurking around the bar like crawling maggots, for reasons he cared less about. All he knew is that Jabba had eyes and ears everywhere. Aside from illegal drag racing, he tallies up everyone’s whereabouts, a commodity of information to sell from where he’s just casually spilling his bulbous form everywhere on the entire two-seater lounge seat. 

Jabba blew a haze of smoke in Ben’s direction, his bleak and frog-like eyes blinking lazily and yet, shining with intrigue. 

“And what’s in it for me?” 

“Name your price.” 

Jabba hummed, the sound reverberating from the back of his throat as he regarded Ben with a fixed look of interest—the one he donned when trying to settle negotiations or finding a way to stir the situation more to his advantage. 

“That important to you, huh? Makes my men even more priceless,” Another blow of smoke to the face. 

If Jabba won’t stop dragging this moment much longer, Ben swears, he’d choke the slug himself with his bare hands. However, the Hutts gang leader really had the resources he needed. With two of his Knights injured, he was running a little short on people. He can veer his focus off course. 

“I said name your price. You can’t be already forgetting what I can offer you.” He hissed through gritted teeth. He knows there’s one thing Jabba wants and he knows he can give it to him in time. 

“I haven’t forgotten, Ren. I just like seeing you desperate.” The bulbous man laughed with his entire belly, vibrating with sadistic mirth as he thoughtfully regarded his crustacean appetizer before bringing a crab’s meat over his jowled face. 

Ben doesn’t let the comment get under his skin, brushing it aside to go in for the kill. 

“You want full control over Gardulla’s race course.” He denotes how Jabba’s expression immediately dropped and then simpered at the mention of his rival’s name. She’s been at the top of illegal drag racing since she took over the better part of Chandrila. Jabba hates to admit it but he no longer dominated the business every since the seasoned newcomer.  

“I could give it to you,” It’s an ambitious offer to make, he knows how much he’s gambling. But he was confident to uphold his end of the bargain. For Rey, he’d gamble his whole life if he has to. “But I need your resources first.” 

Jabba disgustingly deposits the shell of some creature on his messy plate, wiping his mouth with tissues. 

“Say I’m interested, how exactly are you going to do that?” 

“Just leave that up to me. I don’t have time for fucking games, Jabba.” He anxiously couldn’t hide his frustrations. “Either we have a deal or not. What’s it going to be?” 

His patience is wearing thinner and thinner. If Jabba keeps staring at him blankly like that, it’s fair to assume that he’s purposely wasting his time. 

He turns on his heel to make his exit as dramatic as possible. 

“I’m leaving—“ 

“—Dancer was a paid distraction to bring the girl to Republica five hundred. Room 2187.” 

Ben stops on his tracks. His head swims. 

“This has Snoke written all over it. He’s friends with the hotel owner.” Hux suggested in a whisper, his own anger of being outsmarted boiling over. 

“But according to my sources she could also be in the old Damask Holdings industrial plant... It's your gamble to bear now, Ren. But I want Gardulla gone." 

Ben’s ears perked up then. He has a strong feeling that Jabba wasn’t supposed to tell anything in the first place, possibly bribed to keep his flabby mouth shut and uphold a certain reputation of not heeding to the most feared gang in Chandrila, but he did anyway. All because no one else has dared to make the kind of offer that had a fifty-fifty success rate. 

He’s the only man crazy enough to like those odds. 

In a swift move, he twists his head over one shoulder, regarding Jabba with a fixed look. 

“We’ll see if your information holds up. If it doesn’t, you know what will happen.” 

He leaves Jabba doubting his own men as he sets off with an entire plan in mind. 

 


Rey’s wrists sensitively chafed raw at the rough twine attaching her to an old rusted pole welded on the ground. 

She sunk back on her heel, her lower back digging against the pole as she breathed contaminated air through the mouth. Her shoulders were sore, muscles pulled taut for having her arms secured from behind. If she wasn’t careful, she’s end up twisting her own wrists, hanging like a lifeless marionette. 

It had been two or three hours since she’s been taken to this dark and secluded place. Some pipes from over her head dripping waste water in a small puddle across her. 

Her stomach felt empty and sour at what she understood.

She’s been kidnapped. The details were particularly blurry but she remembered men in red shirts forcing her to breathe into a chlorine soaked blanket and then she woke up to a startled noise. Rats scrambling in hiding when she began to yank and cry for help. 

What the hell was going on? 

She wished she could have thought this through when Ben told her to bring Rose with her. She initially thought he was being his overprotective self, his paranoia to keep her safe taking effect because he was drunk. She wasn't expecting to be taken away by faceless men just a few feet away from the restroom. She should have listened, maybe, just maybe, she wouldn't be in this cold dark place, shackled to a pole and helpless to her fate.

"Are you still alive in there?"

Rey rose her head from where she's sorely sitting, squinting against the bright light coming from the metal door across her, a few meters short and the only light source to painfully adjust from. 

"Snoke's growing bored with the waiting game." Her captor relayed, stalking in the shadows so that he's only a vague phantom in the background. "But now that you're awake, you could give us what you're here for or else, we will kill you."

A leather gloved hand grabbed her chin and forced her to look into the void, meeting an eerie figure that sent chills down her spine.

"Don't think we're messing around either. Snoke would enjoy to have someone important to Ren out of the way..."

Rey did not comment, partially because he followed up with a hard punch to the side of her face that somehow made her taste her own blood, but also because all these unfamiliar names just keeps making her head spin. There he is again. Ren. Ren. Ren. Up until this point, she still doesn't know who the hell they were talking about. 

"Still not talking," The voice in the shadows sounded disappointed. But at least he dropped her chin and she heard his lagging footsteps approaching the only door of her cell. "You have three hours to tell us where Ren took the money."

She desperately wanted to ask who that is. Why she's been associated with that mysterious entity at all. Did she look exactly like someone closely related to this Ren? A sibling? A friend? His girlfriend, maybe? All these questions and all she could manage is a breathless grunt, struggling to put weight on her feet to stand up. 

"You better choose wisely." 

Then the door shuts with a resounding click. 

Fearful tears gathered in her eyes, collapsing on her knees.

"... But I don't know who Ren is." She confessed to no one but the darkness. 

She really didn't. 

She could rake her brain upside down all she wants, but nothing ever came to mind. 

They wouldn't believe her. 

 


She coughed out blood on the asphalt pavement. 

Her interrogator waited for her wretched fit to pass before delivering another blow. Her shackled wrists twisted and bowed, creating a sharp friction that pierced her ears together with her own screams. 

"Where's the money?" 

"I don't know! Please..."

Another kick, another nauseating tumble.

It was an endless cycle.

If Rey could think straight, she's almost certain that her interrogator just liked kicking her when she's gone too quiet, just enjoyed seeing her cough more blood on the ground because he didn't seem to care whether he was asking the same question or not, either way, she'd receive his blows.

"Has she said anything yet?" Someone else from above asked as she desperately swallowed gulps of air back into her deprived lungs. 

"Not yet." answered her interrogator. 

"She's a tough one to crack."

"I'll get her to talk. Don't worry. Snoke won't have to wait that long." 

Rey felt blood trickle down her nostrils as the same pair of combat shoes appeared before her. She looks up and vaguely sees brown eyes before darkness overcame her.

 


They split everyone into two. Hux and three Knights will infiltrate the hotel while Ben and Cardo will infiltrate the industrial plant. Their leader took a risky detour in the dangerous narrow alleyways of the low tier streets where crime rate is high and mortality rate is higher. At this point, he doesn't give a fuck what happens to him, so long as he gets to Rey quicker. Taking out his burner phone with a dexterity of someone used to riding a gaudy motorcycle, he dials an unregistered cell number provided by Jabba at the last minute, "Could be useful. One of my men traced the number near the plant." He says. 

Calling with one hand while going through a sloping one-way road is a lot more challenging than he thought. 

"Ren." 

An unfamiliar voice from the other side almost threw him off balance as he maneuvered at a slightly more manageable speed. 

"Been expecting me?" He asked darkly, just teetering over a sharp chord of intensifying emotions. 

"You're running a little late. You might want to check on your girl." 

There's a delay of some sort before he officially heard her speak. "... Hello?" 

In a timid and weak voice he has never heard before, he pulls over to the sidewalk to swallow through his shock. 

"Rey? Rey, sweetheart, where are you? I'll come get you. Just tell me where you are and I'll-" 

"I-Is that really you? I..."

"Rey, please. Tell me..."

"I... Don't know where they took me. I... I'm so scared." 

Damn it! Damn it all to hell! This is all his fault. This is all his doing. He should never have agreed to being her roommate. He should have stayed away from the very beginning. He should have—should have—

"Please—! N-No more." Her voice is frozen with terror.

"Rey? Rey?! Tell me, what's wrong?" He straightened up, alarmed.

"So, are you ready to talk now?" 

She didn't reply.

Ben shook his head with homicidal rage at the familiar sound of fists meeting against tender flesh and bones, followed by her muffled whine of protests to make it all stop. 

"That's enough!" Ben yelled that could pierce through the receiver, rage filling his lungs at what he was forced to hear. 

"You stole Snoke’s money. You have one hour to bring it back." 

The phone call ends and Ben vows that would be the man's final words.

A newfound anger so volatile and smooth simmered through his veins with a clear intention to harm. That primitive part of his brain activated to seek aggression that had long since been locked away. 

 


The rope dug into her skin uncomfortably, but it doesn't compare to the soreness and pain everywhere in her body. Every minimal movement causes a silent tear to stream down her face. He beat her up good, going as far as threatening her with a knife to the meat of her leg but was only interrupted by whoever he was talking to last time. 

That didn't mean she wasn't bleeding though. She was positively dripping, she could feel the light tap, tap, tap of liquid iron trickling from the somewhere on her body, She lolled her head to the side, blood and sweat mixing in the air to form desperation, she breathed through her mouth profusely because her nostrils were clogged up with the same dried up liquid. 

That can't be good.

Everything felt all too hazy, the longer she bled out. Her heart struggled to support the rest of herself, edging on the state of a slow burn unconsciousness.

'This is it. This is how I'm going to die.' Even her last thoughts handled the acceptance of her unfortunate fate surprisingly well. Maybe because she had exhausted her good fortune by thinking about the people she loved, hoping that whatever happens to her, they find solace in having her in their lives at some point. 

But Ben... 

Ben is a different story. 

For the most part, she regretted never telling him that she fell in love with him somewhere between the first week he moved in as her new roommate and the first time she made him laugh over a rant that involved her work. She never told him that she appreciated every effort and thoughtful thing he did for her, like doing her laundry even without having to ask or leaving midnight snacks in case she arrived late from a double shift. That she never really minded that he keeps asking her to massage his head or hiding the fluttering in her chest whenever he calls her sweetheart. She finds him adorable even, when she pretends she doesn't see him feeding that one lone stray kitten that always hanged outside their building before entering. 

So many things to say but there was no time. 

Rey hadn't had the time to contemplate about her life, either. How tiring but fulfilling working in a hospital is. Talking to different patients and having to hear their own stories of survival. If she could, she would have laughed at the irony of no one ever hearing her own story. She'd probably be dead first by the time someone finds her. 

She wished she had more time. 

So much time to compensate for people, to not take it for granted anymore...

A loud explosion jolted her from the last vestiges of her half-hearted awareness. 

She didn’t even know she had lost consciousness until another explosion jostled her desolate cell. Noise following from outside the door, shouting reinforcements and heavy foot traffic vibrated the ground. 

In no apparent order, a massive headache took place behind her sore eyes. She must have been squinting through the only light source too harshly, all coming from the door busting open, but she barely reacted. 

Then someone rushed to her as a voice went out of focus. When she finally managed to raise her head to look into her new tormentor, she was shocked to find Cardo kneeling before her. 

“Cardo...?” She rasped as he used a sharp blade to cut through the binds around her burning wrists. 

“Don’t speak, Rey.” Cardo ordered. “You’re still too weak. You need to save your energy.” 

When she felt her full release against the rope, she collapsed altogether, knees buckling under the sudden weight of her own body. Cardo immediately scrambled to catch her, only pausing to rearrange her on the floor.  

"You’re bleeding a lot. I'll have to staunch the wound right here if we want to make it back to the nearest hospital...” 

“Ah!” Rey cried with her full chest, nails desperately digging for purchase but she only grappled around the thick air as Cardo evaluated her wounds. 

She’s certain that when he applied pressure again, she’d faint from the sheer sensitive overload. 

"I got her! Move out!" Cardo shouted over the discord, his voice carrying perfectly despite the static ringing all over her ears.

Rey weakly turned her head at the reinforcements that passed by like a blur around her. Guns firing. Shouts commanding. More explosions.

And then there’s Ben leading the entire show of violence. 

“Ben...” Rey softly whispered.

He was fighting too—bringing down a group with skill, skill she didn’t know he possessed until she caught the way he grappled another man’s pursuing limb and using his own feet for a takedown, throwing the body on the ground like a rag doll. 

Cardo jogged further and further away, tearing them from her sight while Rey mourned the loss. 

She just wanted to keep seeing him, because she had come so close to death and realized the only thing keeping her from being dragged back from unconsciousness is Ben. Because he really came for her like he said. He was really coming to save her. 

However, the cold assaulted her seconds after.  It was freezing outside, colder than the inside of where she was locked away because at least the size of her holding cell had been able to contain some warmth.

Outside was deathly.

Her eyes sought the sky that was a starless black, the full moon hanging far up above. Clouds circled about it, salty gray against the pitch darkness of the sky. 

Back in London, starry views were a rare occasion unless she went to the outskirts where light pollution didn’t obscure the night. Her last thoughts drifted to the magnificent sight she viewed every night from her bedroom window. 

Rey had closed her eyes as Cardo carried her to safety.

Chapter Text

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. 

It doesn’t. 

“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. 

Nothing would. 

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. 

“Ben...?” 

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!” 

“So what?” 

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. 

"I'm sorry."

"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,

"Rey?"

"Yeah?"

"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. 

He had.

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. 

Here goes... 

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. 

“Why?" 

"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." 

 


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. 

“You mean...?” 

“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. 

“Surprisingly well.” 

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. 

“That’s it!” 

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.” 

"But—!"

"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.

 


Two weeks. 

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. 

It hurts. 

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. 

“Ben,”

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. 

“Rey.” 

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. 

“Shut up!” 

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.