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A Power Like Life Itself

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Exegol 35ABY

Every muscle in Rey’s body screamed in agony as she struggled with lifting her head to sit up. Together she and Ben looked up at the chaos happening above them. As the roof of Exegol’s temple opened to it’s fullest, it was clear how helpless the Resistance was against everything they were facing.

They felt lost as they turned to look at each other, coming to terms with what had just happened. Palpatine had drained a significant amount of life force from them, and yet for some reason it hadn’t lasted as long as they’d thought it would.

He’d hit them once, draining them of energy as they fell to their knees in front of him. After staring at his fingers renewing themselves for a moment, he’d hit them again just as quickly, as if to confirm what he’d seen.

The second time he’d stopped just as soon as he’d began, before he’d taken enough energy to fully renew himself. They couldn’t imagine why, other than to torment them and make them feel helpless.

The Emperor found himself awestruck as he stared at the hands of his strengthened form again. These were the hands of a truly powerful being. With what he’d just seen from the dyad in front of him, the rest of him would be restored to his true self for all eternity soon enough.

Tucking their two light sabers which he’d just summoned into his pocket, he spotted the two of them struggling to their feet.

“Two there must be.” He whispered to himself in awe.

He'd finally found what he’d been searching for over multiple lifetimes, the same thing the Sith had searched for over countless millennia:

 

A bond as powerful as life itself.

 

Sensing their thoughts made him even more pleased. He indeed had them right where he needed them to be.

Helpless? Is that what you think I wanted to make you two feel? Oh no, no, no, my children, quite the opposite. In fact- it appears it is I that is in need of your help.”

If Ben and Rey had been confused before, they were now totally lost as to what was happening. The strength they gathered from each other’s presence gave them just enough energy to be able to finish pulling themselves up to their feet.

As they faced him again, the sight of them standing together was just what Palpatine had been hoping for.

“It is clear the form I inhabit is a failing one. But the power of your bond- power which I just now drained from you to renew part of myself- it appears to be the one thing I’ve been searching for all this time.”

Ben and Rey looked at each other nervously, afraid of where this might be going.

“None of this needs to happen!” He promised, nodding up toward the chaos taking place above them. “No more of your friends need to die! That is, as long as the two of you give me what it is I need.”

“What would that be?” Ben shot back.

“I would think that had made itself obvious. What I require is the power of your bond.”

“Why would we willingly give you our power?” Rey asked, edging a little closer towards Ben as she said it.

The Emperor chuckled lowly. Seeing the way they stood up for each other, the way they needed each other- everything was working out even more perfectly than he’d imagined.

“Because it is what you both want.” He said triumphantly, knowing it to be true. “Don’t lie to yourselves. There’s no need for deception. The two of you are one being in the Force. Your souls are drawn to each other because of it. You need to be together, in every way. The closer you are to each other, the more your power in the Force grows.”

Ben and Rey's unease grew as a tension hung between them. Together in every way... It wasn’t hard to begin to imagine where this might be going.

“I’ll call off this entire attack right now.” Palpatine went on. “I’ll allow your Resistance ships to flee to safety, but only if you give in fully- by allowing yourselves to have what it is you truly want. You must surrender your bodies to the passions that drive you. You must complete the union between you, both spiritually and carnally.”

The two of them couldn’t help but stare at each other as he said the words.

The heaviness that hung between them made it harder to breathe for a moment.

“How exactly do you mean… surrendering ourselves? ” Ben said, turning to face him and stepping in front of Rey. He knew there had to be more to it than whatever the Emperor was rambling on about.

“My boy… you know exactly what I mean. You left the ways of the Jedi because you knew they could never give you everything you needed. The Sith, on the other hand, have ways of giving the two of you what it is you desire- while also making the most of power like yours.”

Extending his hands out in front of him, Palpatine called upon energy within the temple that made the ground below them begin to shake.

Like the ceiling above them that had opened moments before, the stone panels on the floor began to twist away and open. Ben and Rey stumbled backwards so as to not to fall into the expanse below.

Out of the darkness, something large and solid began to rise. Fixed on top of a stone foundation, a diamond shaped object several feet across rose up like an altar. It’s dark mirror like surface gleamed in the otherwise shadowy space.

As it filed the expanse in the floor that had opened, standing just a couple feet tall, the cult of the Sith eternal began to chant. Their combined power summoned out of nowhere a dark velvet mattress, blanket, and pillows which landed atop the stone.

The bed that had come together from the combined displays of power made things quite clear.

“This is the Dyadic Crystal.” Palpatine explained. “It is the altar of an ancient ritual which was once performed between bonded souls like yourselves in this very temple. By giving yourselves to each other, sealing your bond atop the stone, the energy created between you will charge it with your power. That energy will reside within it, to be drawn upon by myself when needed to restore my physical form to it’s fullest potential. Do this for me, and I will order the fleet to remain on Exegol. Do this, and your Resistance fleet will be free to leave.”

Rey couldn’t help but stare blankly at what lay before them. As ancient and sacred as it all supposedly was, they were basically being told they needed to fuck on top of a giant Force battery.

At the same time, as ridiculous as it sounded, the promise Palpatine had just offered wasn’t something she could ignore.

“All of them?” Rey spoke up, her voice barely above a whisper. “You’ll let all of our ships go- and none of those destroyers will leave Exegol’s atmosphere?”

Ben spun to look at her, finding it impossible to believe she was actually considering it.

What are you doing? He asked through their bond. You can’t really be-

More ships are coming. Her thoughts cut him off as soon as she had walls up in place to hide her true intentions from the Emperor. It was an ability she’d gained from Ben when he’d done the same before murdering Snoke. They’ll be here... but they just need time. Something has held them up… I can feel it. If the ships that are here now can get away, they can hold out until the rest arrive. Then, they can return together and hit the fleet with full force. Together- we can buy them the time they need.

She reached forward and gently took his hand. The way her eyes pleaded with him as she said the words through their minds... Ben couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

As unimaginable as it seemed to him, deep within her heart Rey wanted to be with him every bit as much as he wanted to be with her.

It was confirmation of why he’d come to her in the first place. She was the only real truth he’d ever known.

Their shared destiny was the only thing in the galaxy that mattered, and it turned out she really had felt the same way all this time.

The rush of that realization made it take a moment for him to center his thoughts. He knew better than to let himself get swept away in as critical of a position as they found themselves in.

Ben gripped her hand steadfastly as he nodded, doing his best not to get overwhelmed by the thought of it as he agreed to her plan. Together the two turned to face the Emperor again.

“You were saying…” Palpatine said flatly, clearly not amused by whatever pause had just taken place.

Rey spoke up again, but this time her voice was far louder and confident than it had been before.

“You’ll let all of our ships go, every one of them, and none of those destroyers will leave Exegol’s atmosphere?”

“Of course!” Palpatine grinned. “Not one of my of star destroyers will leave Exegol while the two of you remain here as I ask. In addition, your Resistance fleet will be free to retreat to the safety of whatever remote outpost they've been occupying all this time.”

“Do it NOW.” Ben ordered, spotting yet another x wing falling from the sky out of the corner of his eye. He swallowed hard as he prayed and hoped it wasn’t someone he knew and cared about. It was the first time in so long he’d been able to think freely in this way... it took all he had not to let it get the better of him. “Order your ships to stand down and allow the Resistance to leave. Immediately.

“Certainly…” Palptine grinned. With a wave, his voice began to thunder up to the ships above, projecting itself to the fighters on each side, just as clearly as if delivered over a comm link.

“Your Emperor orders an IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE.” His voice boomed. “I command that all Imperial destroyers remain on Exegol. At the same time, all Resistance ships are to leave this planet at once. All of those who have come here to oppose us- leave now or face total annihilation.”

He could sense the confusion those orders caused on both sides, not that it caused any hesitation on the Empire’s part. The absolute loyalty of his Imperial troops was demonstrated as all ties immediately retreated to their destroyers and all destroyers’ guns stopped firing.

The scattered Resistance ships hung in the air for a moment, not firing but also not retreating.

It was clear none of them had any idea what to do.

*****

“What the hell could this be about…” Poe muttered to himself, confused as to what sort of plot Palpatine might be throwing at them.

A ceasefire in the middle of a battle from the side that was winning was an entirely unexpected strategic move- he had to give him that. Whatever he was planning, he had the other side totally unsure of what to make of it, which was exactly where any opponent in a war wanted to be.

It made Poe extremely anxious as he tried to think of what to do next.

“General Dameron? What’s our next move?” He heard over the Resistance troops link.

“Do it.” He heard Finn say in his other ear over the command link.

“Finn-What?”

“Do it. It’s the right move. This is a plan Rey’s come up with… she needs us to follow it. It will give us the time we need to regroup with Lando, then come back and hit these guys full force. ”

Everything he’d just heard from Finn was somehow even more insane than the fact that the winning side had just called a ceasefire.

“How exactly do you know this?!” Poe asked, dumbfounded by the position he found himself in.

“I can feel it.” Finn replied.

Those four words confirmed something Poe had suspected about his friend for some time.

Like the best friend he’d grown up with, and like the friend Rey had become over the past year, Finn also had the Force.

Against all logic, Poe suddenly realized what he needed to do.

The biggest mistakes he’d ever made had involved not listening to Force sensitives about their insights into the mysterious power that flowed through them- especially when they had a hunch something was coming.

It was time for him to listen when those with the Force had a feeling about something…

…no matter how ludicrous it might sound.

“Alright….” Poe searched his scanners for a nearby planet to retreat to. “XLTF-593. It’s an unnamed planet in the next system. Everyone get to it as quickly as you can and rendezvous there. We’ll orbit the planet until we pick up Lando and the others.”

He paused before what he said next.

He didn’t need the Force to feel the truth of it.

“Once they join us- we’ll come back and hit these sons of bitches with everything we’ve got.”

*****

Rey looked down at the bed, her heart pounding as she came to terms with what was about to take place. As they stood together, she and Ben could sense a power resonating from inside the crystal.

Echos of past dyads rippled from inside it, like faint beeps from a droid that had suddenly come to life only to realize it didn’t have the power it needed to function. Those reverberations were all that remained of the pairs who’s power had once been stored within the stone’s energy field.

“I… uh… don’t suppose we could have a little privacy?” Ben asked looking back towards the throngs of Sith that Palpatine had summoned earlier.

“Those who came before you never needed it.” Palpatine scoffed. The massive life support arm that kept him alive lowered him to sit back atop his throne as he settled in to witness the ritual. “Take your time... We’re in no hurry.”

The faint chuckle with which he said those last words had Ben’s blood boiling. His anger at the Emperor’s callousness might have overwhelmed him more, had his concern for everything Rey was feeling not been even stronger.

The nervousness burning inside of her had reached a fever pitch.

They stared at each other for a moment, realizing they were thinking the same thing.

The most intimate moment they’d shared up to the point hadn’t gone any further than touching hands.

Now they found themselves expected to do so much more- and in front of every Sith lord that had ever existed.

Rey found it even harder to breathe as she looked up at the cathedral like space filled with dark hooded figures. Had the present moment not felt so overwhelming, she might have laughed at the ironic realization of how nothing between them had ever gone normally.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Ben put a hand under her chin, pulling her gaze back to him.

If you don’t want to do this, we don’t have to do it. I’m sure we can figure out another way.

Rey already knew the truth of that.

Look around us… there is no other way. We have to do this to give the Resistance the time they need.

Ben thought about it for a moment. As her words sank in, he realized just what needed to be said.

He leaned close to her to whisper in her ear. He knew she needed to hear the next words he said out loud.

“In that case I’m not looking around at anything else. All that maters right now is you and me.”

Rey pulled back for a second to look up at him, her eyes filling with the love for him she kept hidden for so long. His words had been everything she’d needed to hear from him since the moment they’d first found each other.

Suddenly, the greatest wonder Ben had ever known up to that point in his life occurred. Taking his face in her hands she paused, then slowly brought his lips to hers in a kiss that was unlike anything he’d ever felt.

His arms immediately wrapped around her as he pulled her in closer, totally swept away by the feeling between them. He’d only ever held her once before- when he’d taken her as his prisoner on Takodana. This time, she was in his arms because she wanted to be there. It was the most extraordinary blessing he’d ever been given.

As they lingered in the joy of their lips connecting, a smile began to spread across the Emperor’s face.

“Good….” He hummed, sensing their arousal climbing. “Just as we’d hoped…”

Rey pulled away as her gaze shot back toward him. Ben stopped her, putting a hand up to her cheek to turn her to look back at him.

“Remember what I said? Just you and me right now.”

Rey threw her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his hair as she kissed him even more desperately than before. It was all the encouragement Ben needed to make the next move.

He reached down, gripping his hands under her butt and lifting her up. Rey wrapped her legs around his waist, continuing to kiss him as he carried her up and onto the bed.

The power of their bond simmered around them as the fire inside them continued to build. By some mercy, as the field of energy that bonded them became stronger, it began to drown out their awareness of everything else around them.

They kicked off their boots and crawled under the blanket together as they settled in, thankful to have a visual barrier between their bodies and the silent crowd of Sith watching their every move. Underneath the blanket Ben climbed on top of her, straddling his legs on either side of Rey as he positioned himself above her. He hoped his body shielding her view of the congregation behind him might make things easier for her.

Remembering the way she’d looked at him through their bond once, he thought of another distraction that might help. In an instant he had his shirt pulled over his head and cast aside.

The sight of his muscled chest above her was spell bounding. Rey hadn’t seen him like this since their bond on Ahch To. Her hands went up to him, running over his shoulders and down his chest as she marveled at the sight of him. Like his face, every sign of the scar she’d once given him had disappeared.

You’re perfect. She said through their bond as their eyes met.

Far from it. She heard him say, biting his lip as if that affirmation had overwhelmed him.

He’d never dreamed he’d hear those words from anyone.

Hearing them from the woman he’d always dreamed about - it was just one of many realizations about just how perfect she really was.

His hands shook with anticipation as he began helping Rey remove her clothing. Her assortment of armbands and gear were a lot more to remove then Ben had to deal with. Once he had them cast aside, he pulled her shirt up over her head. The wraps which held and supported her breasts proved to be a bit more difficult to remove however.

“Here...” Rey said sitting up and reaching back. She began unwrapping them, a task which he gladly finished for her as he saw how it was done.

Her breasts freed from their constraints, the sight of each other’s bodies was more than either of them could handle. Rey leaned up and in immediately for another kiss. Ben reached back and began loosening her hair, allowing it to fall freely to her shoulders as he did it.

q

Artist Credit Jade Belle

He’d thought about the way her hair had looked down since they’d last been together in Snoke’s throne room. He’d suspected how much he liked it had something to do with the fact that she’d kept it up ever since he’d failed to join her when he’d first had the chance to.

Now that they were together again, he couldn’t wait to see her beautiful brown locks set free again.

Rey’s hair fell across the pillow as he laid her out below him. Ben settled in, laying on top of her and wrapping his arms around her as he began kissing her. As he did, her own arms and legs wrapped around him, pulling him to her as she craved more of the closeness they were creating.

The feeling of it had him kissing her even more passionately than before. Drinking in the feeling her body pressed up against him, his cock burned to dive inside of her. Right away he remembered there’d be more he’d need to do before they got to that point.

He began letting his kisses trail off, down her cheeks and down her neck…

Ben dove under the blanket as he prepared to get to work. He was no expert on women’s bodies just yet, but figured he’d need to warm her up substantially before she was ready to take all he had waiting for her. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her and make this any more uncomfortable than it already was. He was determined to do all he could to make sure she enjoyed it somehow.

It was too dark to see much of anything under the blanket, but thankfully he could sense all she was feeling. He closed his eyes and allowed the Force guide him to where she needed to be touched. His mouth found it’s way to her tender nipples, lingering there for a bit as he felt her senses heightening. Already he could sense the bundle of nerves below, tingling with arousal… Every erotic spot on her body stood out to him in the Force as though they were stars shining brightly in the beautiful depths of space that was Rey’s body.

Finding herself alone above the blanket, Rey gripped the fabric to her chin as she stared up at the stars above her. The sight of the night’s sky gave her something to focus on to avoid being drawn back to looking at those watching what was taking place. As she looked at the stars she began to relax into the feeling of Ben’s warm lips planting kisses along her chest, pausing on her nipples for a while as he gently sucked and teased them. Eventually he moved on, trailing more kisses down along her belly.

She couldn’t begin to guess what all he was doing, but she wasn’t about to question it.

 

Each and every kiss and touch felt more and more extraordinary...

 

Above her the stars appeared to shine brighter as her skin bristled with anticipation.

 

As his kisses found their way below her navel, they began to head across her hips...

 

She gasped to herself as she realized where his mouth would be going next.

 

His large hands pulled her leggings and panties down and removed them, then took hold of her thighs as he spread her legs apart...

 

Her eyes widened as her head pushed back into the pillow below her, bracing herself for what she knew was about to happen.

 

She did her best to remain focused on the stars above, counting them and trying to memorize just how they were spread out in the sky...

 

It hit her just how quiet everything had gone out there since the ceasefire had been ordered.

 

Rey’s thoughts of the outside world were suddenly pulled away...

 

Her eyes rolled shut the moment she felt Ben’s tongue slip between the folds that enveloped the most tender part of her body.

Chapter Text

With the warmth of Rey’s legs cradling his face, Ben did his best to remember everything he’d studied on the adult channels of the holonet. Being head of the First Order had finally given him the freedom to learn about such things- and he’d taken plenty of mental notes.

Rey’s eyes remained shut the entire time. She wasn’t about to allow any distractions to take her attention away from the glorious feelings unfolding between her thighs.

 

Slowly he dove in, starting at her opening and dragging upward as he licked over the warmest, most tender part of her body…

 

Her breath caught in her throat for a moment from the mind-blowing sensation.

 

The tingling precision of his tongue spreading through her folds made Rey gasp for air as she felt her chest might explode…

 

She’d never felt anything so incredible.

 

She’d fantasized often about how it might be once they were together, pleasuring herself at night with the thought of all he could do to her.

Even with the unnerving circumstances, everything she was feeling was so much more extraordinary than anything she could have ever have imagined.

The best of her efforts were nothing compared to the heat of his plush lips… the gentle friction of his tounge lapping through the delicate petals of her cunt…

Ben’s hands snaked over her hips and thighs, taking in every beautiful jump and shiver, feeling her skin bristle against him as the waves of pleasure he was creating coursed through her.

 

He too had imagined what this would be like.

 

To kiss her and taste her and savor her in this way...

 

Seeing her body react to the things his mouth could do to her…

 

Unable to see her under the blanket, he made sure to experience her responses in other ways. Their connection in the Force allowed him to sense everything she was feeling, much deeper than he’d have been able to seeing her reactions with his eyes.

The galaxy of nerves he sensed within her mound began to come alive a little more each time his tongue swept between her folds.

A bundle of pressure began building within it, one that grew slowly as it begged to be set free. The release she craved would require more of all that he was doing, and Ben couldn’t wait to give her everything she needed.

Rey’s brow tensed as her body twisted below the blanket. She balled up the edges of it’s fabric, needing something to hold on to as staggering amounts of pleasure welled up inside of her. Ben licked and sucked more and more as he felt her body moving around him, feeling every part of the energy he was creating within her.

Sensing she needed more, his fingers crept around her hips and dove in to aid his mouth, spreading apart her lips as he bared her tender clit in the darkness.

How he wished he could have seen all his mouth had been worshiping in that moment. He allowed the Force to guide him as he dove back in, tonguing and circling the delicate pearl of nerves that was the key to what she needed.

“gaaaaAAAHHH….” Rey moaned, unable to hold back.

Ben smiled to himself as he heard it echoing throughout the temple. It was the first vocal confirmation he’d received of just how well he’d been doing.

As the echos of her enjoyment faded, keeping her eyes firmly shut allowed Rey to remain lost in the euphoria Ben had her caught up in.

Ben upped the pressure of what he was doing, determined to release the precious bundle he’d been building. A powerful wave of shivers began to roll through her, causing Rey’s body to writhe and shudder for him below the blanket.

Every part of her body tensed around him as she tumbled towards climax. The tension he’d been building was right where he wanted it- blazing with the need to unravel.

He covered her with all the warmth his mouth could give her- licking and sucking and swirling his tongue around her tiny, delicate, bud as she edged further towards to coming undone.

Ben … I…“ She whined, clutching the ball of fabric she’d gathered to her chest. Her thighs shook around his face and her body shuddered for a moment as her core struggled to contain the fierce energy of it.

Suddenly her back arched as her head pushed back into her pillow, her mouth opening to let out the most heavenly moan Ben’s ears had ever heard.

Not about to let up just yet, he pressed the back of her thighs to his shoulders, licking up into her with everything he had.

Unable to see any of it, he needed to feel her fully explode on his mouth, to give her every bit of that powerful release he could sense her body craved.

A cascade of moans and screams were released into the cathedral around them as Rey came apart. As her body exploded, they could both feel the power of it being drawn out and drained away from them.

The stone beneath them began to vibrate and glow blue at is absorbed their energy.

At the hight of her ecstasy, a bolt of blue lightning shot out from the stone, hitting the head of one of the towering Sith statues nearby. The dark lord was decapitated it as it’s head burst apart, a shower of rock hitting the floor and scattering about the space.

“That was… unexpected.” Palpatine murmured to himself, marveling at the destruction. “A true Palpatine…”

Blinded by his own vanity, he failed to consider what that display might mean for the rest of the ritual going forward.

Ben and Rey froze for a moment, neither willing to look and see the extent of the destruction they’d caused. Rey’s hands covered her face, shielding her vision as the dust settled.

After a few seconds the air around them was just as eerily quiet as it had been before.

Whatever they’d done, it hadn’t been enough to cause any sort of panic. The walls of Exegol still stood around them, just as solid as they had been the whole time.

 

Don’t stop. Ben heard her beg through their bond.

 

He didn’t need to be told twice, though there was one thing he’d need to do to keep going.

The sensations and sounds coming from Rey by now had his cock rock hard, and he desperately needed to find relief.

As Rey caught her breath, he backed out from under the blanket, pulling his pants and boxers off as quickly as he could. He didn’t give a damn if he was seen stark naked by the entire cult of Sith present. He had a far more urgent need to relieve the pressure that was beginning to drive him mad....

As he settled back in, that liberated part of him burned to dive into the warmth he’d imagined for so long.

Not just yet, he told himself, not just yet…

Being her first time, Rey would need a good bit more of what he was doing if she was to fully take all that awaited her.

Back under the blanket he set to work immediately, wetting a finger and gently nudging it up inside of her to see if he could find another spot he sensed needing attention.

The moans the added stimulation he drew out of her were heavenly.

Right away he was able to find the spot that begged to be prodded. The combined intensity of his mouth and the pressure he began working inside of her was everything Rey needed as her arousal continued to climb.

Her hips rocked in affirmation as he found it, rolling back and forth with him inside of her, letting him know how much she enjoyed all he was doing.

Reveling in the added stimulation, Rey smiled from ear to ear as she remembered doing the same to herself many times before while fantasizing about him. She’d been so tight the first time she’d tried it… she’d barely been able to get a finger inside.

In the year she’d spent dreaming about what all Ben could do to her, she’d proudly worked herself up to enjoying multiple fingers at a time.

Recognizing the size difference between her own fingers and his… she realized those past efforts would come in handy the more he did to her. Everything about him was so huge, so solid. She felt a little anxious realizing all that likely awaited would be just as impressive.

As the pleasure he was creating began to further consume her, she found it a little hard to believe what was happening.

She’d always heard how terrible first times were.

How men never knew what to do for women at first... how pleasing a woman’s body was like translating an ancient language no one spoke anymore... and if neither knew what to do, how badly that always ended up.

 

But this wasn’t that... This was... incredible.

 

Ben could sense exactly what her body craved and couldn’t wait to give it to her. The power of their bond was proving to have benefits that went far beyond combining their skills during a fight.

While his mouth brought her to the edge of existence again, her energy hummed around them at its peak. Another orgasm began to rumble through her, this time erupting from both inside and out.

As the heat of ecstasy bloomed inside of her, a larger bolt than before shot up from the stone, hitting the ceiling of the temple and causing several chunks of rock to break free and fall toward them.

Sensing what had happened, Ben ripped the blanket back just in time to reach out with his free hand and cast the falling rocks aside. The boulders crashed to the floor several yards away, tumbling over the cliffs into the depths of the crevasse that split the space in two.

He prayed Rey hadn’t heard the cackle that had come from the Emperor at his impressive reaction time. The last thing he wanted her being reminded of was all those witnessing the events taking place.

Luckily for him, he didn’t sense any added nervousness as she caught her breath while coming down. Instead, she reached below the blanket and tried pulling him up to her.

Ben… I want you…. She begged, not quite brave enough to say the words just yet, but knowing he’d understand.

Not yet sweetheart… I’m not done yet. He promised, letting her know the best was yet to come.

The word sweetheart made Rey’s heart pound even faster than it already was. It was the first time she’d ever heard him call her that.

He felt her hand relax and retreat back above the covers, clutching the blanket to her as she had been the whole time.

Ben continued as he'd done before, encouraged by the feeling of her body opening up further for him just like he needed it to.

More and more she craved to feel his cock inside of her as he continued licking and sucking, pushing and prodding from inside, bringing her closer and closer to yet another blissful climax like the first two he'd initiated.

Carefully he added a second finger to add to the pulsing stimulation he was delivering. Her walls stretched around his fingers as he did it, causing her hips to lift from the pressure. Her mouth hung open as her chest heaved up from the satisfaction. By now she was totally lost to everything he was doing to her.

It didn’t take long for Ben to have her coming undone again for him, her body trembling and writhing around his face like he’d proudly become accustomed to.

As the stone absorbed their energy again, a bolt of lightning flew out of it and shot through the widened hole in the ceiling. This time, Rey’s spike in power found a worthy target. It hit the lead star destroyer, which hovered above nearby, ripping it in half from the inside out. It lurched towards the planet's surface below, bursting into balls of flame as it came apart.

Neither Ben nor Rey saw what happed, but the sounds of the destruction told them all they needed to know.

Palpatine sat stunned by the act. He’d never seen such an impressive display of dark side power. Forcing the two of them together was proving to be more remarkable than anything he could have predicted.

Every Sith in attendance began chanting an old verse as part of the ritual to honor the display of power. In that moment Ben was glad he was the only one of the two of them that spoke Sith, making sure to put walls up in his mind so Rey didn’t sense what he knew they were saying.

He didn’t need her knowing any part of what they were chanting about them.

Do you think you’re ready? She heard him ask as she found herself able to think again.

Please… Ben I NEED you… Was all she could get out from her mind. Her hand was back on his shoulder again, attempting to bring him up to her.

As incredible as all he’d been doing was, she couldn’t wait to have him back up above the covers with her. Having his dark eyes to focus on would be exactly what she’d need to get through the rest of what lay ahead.

Ben crawled up to join her, propping himself up on his elbows and framing his arms around her face as she opened her legs to wrap them around him, opening her eyes immediately. The sight of him on top of her was just she’d been waiting for.

Without thinking she leaned up and kissed him, having missed the chance to do that while his mouth has been otherwise occupied.

She instantly realized why he hadn’t gone in for a kiss right away.

The flavors of her in his mouth were a bit of a shock, not that it bothered her. It was a reminder of all the intimate parts of themselves they were sharing with each other.

Ben found himself smiling from ear to ear in the middle of their kiss, realizing how much she’d liked the taste of herself inside his mouth. The woman of his dreams was proving to have more of a wild side than he’d ever imagined.

Though her cunt was dripping with all he’d just done to her, he knew the tightness he’d just felt would require plenty of lubrication to allow him to slide in. Wetting his fingers he reached down and drenched his cock, getting it as slick as possible before nudging it to her entrance.

“I’ll go very slow.” He whispered. Though his voice was gentle, his eyes were insistent. “Tell me right away if you need me to stop.”

“I will.” She promised, eager as ever to feel what awaited her.

You’re sure you’re ready? He asked one more time, suddenly more nervous than he’d felt the entire time.

Please She pleaded. I need to feel you inside me.

With those words Ben couldn’t have held himself back if he tried.

He brought himself up into her, doing his best not to push too hard while nearly coming undone from the divine warmth he felt himself plunging into.

Rey’s eyes went wide as her head fell back, her mouth hanging open as if to moan, yet no sounds came out. Ben held his breath as he waited for a reaction, praying it would be a positive one.

She closed her eyes for a moment, breathing deeply as she got used to the swell and the strain of it. The sensation of their bodies connecting on this level had a whirlwind of emotions flowing through her.

 

Is it ok? She heard Ben asked, hopelessly in need off feedback.

 

It’s extraordinary. He heard her say.

 

So… you want me to keep going?

 

Please…please don’t ever stop.

 

Carefully he began pulling himself in and out… edging in a little deeper each time… seeing just how much of him her body could take.

As he felt her slowly opening up around him, it was one of the most exhilarating sensations his body had ever experienced.

He held his eyes shut tightly as he braced himself, making sure not to succumb to the initial urge to loose himself right away. As extraordinary as it felt to be inside Rey, he knew it would take everything he had to hold back and enjoy all that her body could do to him.

Fuck… you’re so tight …” he moaned desperately.

Rey giggled at the outburst. She was glad to sense her body was beginning to please him every bit much as he’d done for her before.

Ben beamed hearing her giggle. By now there was no hiding anything from each other. They’d surrendered themselves in every way, connecting on the deepest levels two people could possibly do so.

As Rey looked up into his eyes, Ben urging himself deeper into her still, a love shone through them like few things he’d ever seen.

She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him to her, kissing him more passionately than ever before. Over and over she delivered kisses of immense gratitude for all he’d done to her so far, for all he was continuing to do- making her body come alive in ways she’d never known possible.

She continued kissing him through each gentle thrust, adjusting to the feeling him driving further inside of her a little more each time. The burn of her walls stretching to allow him was nothing compared to the pleasure of connecting with him physically in this way.

At least… it wasn’t at first.

As he found himself nearly halfway in, Rey began to realize she’d spoken too soon about never stopping. The tension of her body being pulled open to allow everything he had to give her suddenly became too much.

“Just… stop one moment…” She stammered, pulling away from the kisses they’d been enjoying.

Ben froze immediately, sensing he was hurting her.

“I’m sorry- I didn’t mean to… what do I need to do?”

“Just… lay still for a moment… let me get used to it...” She took several deep breaths as she willed her body to open more for him, to allow herself to take everything she needed to receive from him.

Unfortunately willing it to happen didn’t make it happen right away.

Ben lowered himself to lay on top of her, burying his face in her hair as he whispered in her ear.

“Whatever you need... just tell me. I want to take care of you”

He was content to lay with her like this for however long she needed it. He couldn’t get enough of the ecstasy of being so close.

Rey ran her fingers through his hair for a few minutes, holding him to her. She’d dreamed of holding him in this way so many times. As difficult as it was getting used to Ben’s size, a part of her was nearly in tears from the beauty of the emotions they were sharing.

The intimacy growing between them made her want to take more of him, so so much more.

What her body wasn’t allowing her to do just yet, her heart and soul ached for more than anything.

She needed to take everything he had to give her. Her entire being literally required having him fully inside of her.

Slowly she started rocking her hips below him, situating herself and figuring out how to make her body open up further. After a little while she thought she might be able to continue.

“Alright… I think… I think I’m ready for a little more.” She whispered.

Ben pushed himself back up and happily obliged, continuing the same slow, careful in and out motions he’d been delivering before.

For a little while she thought she could take it.

Then all at once it became too much again.

Ben sensed right away what was happening, stopping before she needed to say anything.

“I’m sorry….” She started to say as said her eyes glistened with what had suddenly become tears of frustration.

“Don’t be sorry.” He said leaning in to kiss her forehead. “You’re doing amazing. You have no idea how incredible you are.”

Rey couldn’t help but chuckle. “I don’t think I’ve earned the title of an incredible lover just yet.”

“You are to me.” He said, kissing her cheek as he suddenly felt a little embarrassed. It was impossible to ignore what the issue was. “I know it’s… it’s a lot to take.”

Rey’s smile became a devious smirk. “It’s not a bad thing. I’m sure I’ll enjoy getting used to it.”

Ben bit his lip as he blushed. The last thing he wanted to do was appear too proud of what she was struggling with.

Suddenly he thought of something that might help.

“Do you want to be on top… so you can control it?” He asked.

The thought of being on top felt daunting at first. Rey knew she’d feel far more exposed to all in attendance without Ben to shield her.

Still, if they were going to make this work- and they absolutely had to make it work- she needed to do something differently than what they’d been doing so far.

“Ok… let’s try that.” She said bravely.

Ben held her to him as he rolled over. As he did, his hands went to her hips to lift her and hold her up over him. He had her right where she needed to be in one move.

Rey couldn’t help but be surprised how smoothly he did it, as though it was something he’d done many times.

Well done She said through her bond

Thanks Ben smiled as he pulled the blanket back around her shoulders, wrapping it around her like a shawl.

In addition to knowing it would comfort her, a part of him needed to keep Rey covered to all in attendance save himself. Though they were being forced to do this in front of the last souls they’d have ever chosen to share this with, only he would get to enjoy the sight of her naked body like this.

As she got used to the feeling of being in control, right away she could tell having her hips spread over him had opened things up a little more.

The gentle warmth of Ben’s hands on her hips again was all the encouragement she needed to get started. Staring down into his eyes, she began rocking herself forward, immediately feeling the full benefit of a change in position.

She planted her hands on his chest in front of her as she eased herself back and forth on him, initiating a hesitant rhythm. By doing so, she was able to ease herself onto him… a little more… and a little more… breathing deeply each time she felt her body pushing down onto him further..

Ben was mesmerized by the sight of her painfully beautiful body riding him.

Her hips needfully rocking back and forth…

Her thighs lifting her up and down, bound and determined to take his cock deeper and deeper into her core.

Her breasts and face and skin radiant with the pleasure of what was beginning to happen…

“You’re so beautiful …” He said, in awe of the woman above him.

The way his deep voice purred out of him nearly had her coming undone on it’s own.

“…am I?” She asked, needing to hear more.

“Absolutely…”

He tried to think of what else to say, sensing it was having an effect. Somehow he knew saying it through their bond would mean more. With all he had to say to her, they were the only ones that needed to hear it.

I can’t tell you how long it feels like I’ve waited for this…

Everything I’ve ever wanted...

Everything I’ve ever dreamed about or done..

All of it’s been for you.

To be with you just like this…

You have to know that.

The way Rey’s face lit up let up as she heard him let Ben know his words had their intended affect.

I know. She replied.

She smiled triumphantly as she felt her body continuing to allow him in more and more, just as she’d needed it to this whole time.

Finally, she found the courage to go for it, to push herself down on him with everything she had…

She closed her eyes for a moment as she breathed deeply, leaning her head back and allowing her mouth to fall open as she willed her body to consume every inch of Ben’s cock.

If the moans she’d let out before had been music to Ben’s ears, the sound that came out of her as her body took him in to the hilt had him utterly swept away.

Rey’s eyes went wide as she stared up at the stars, moaning in complete submission to the ecstasy of Ben filling her to her limit.

The sight of her taking him fully was just too overwhelmingly beautiful to remain laying down.

Ben sat up with a quickness that made Rey jump, wrapping his arms around her, clinging her body to him as he desperately held on to everything he’d ever dreamed of.

She instantly returned the affection, wrapping her arms around his shoulders, holding him close as she adjusted her self, wrapping her legs around his waist as she continued getting used to the feeling.

q
Artist Credit Jade Bell

Holding onto each other, their bodies now fully connected, both realized right way they’d finally found the belonging they’d searched for their entire lives. A tear of happiness began to glide down Rey’s cheek as she held her face against his, drinking in the wholeness of their now fully complete connection.

The most surprising part of all of it… was how she found herself needing more.

Whereas her body had trouble opening up before, with Ben completely inside her, she now had the opposite issue.

She needed more of what was giving to her… to push him as deeply and as profoundly inside of her as he could possibly go.

She wrapped her legs around him as tightly as she could, needing to bring him closer, urging him to push deeper, to give her even more of all the things he was already giving her.

Ben was awestruck as she began rocking on him, somehow suddenly ready to take even more of what she’d struggled with earlier.

The plunge of it, the burn of it, the satisfaction of it… of urging Ben’s fullness deeper and deeper inside of her…

Nothing in the Force had ever felt so extraordinary.

Rey held onto him fiercely as their bodies began to rock together in unison, giving themselves more of what their souls desperately longed for.

The closer their bodies were, the stronger their bond became.

The stronger the bond between them, the more they became their truest selves.

At some point in their lovemaking Rey realized the blanket that had covered them earlier had entirely slipped away.

Neither of them cared.

Though their bodies were now fully bare to all those present, they wouldn’t have changed anything about how they found themselves.

They were finally where they’d been meant to be. They’d waited so long to have each other like this, it was hard to believe it was finally happening.

Not the Emporer, nor the Sith, nor the Resistance, nor the Jedi, nor the galaxy itself and all those in it…

Nothing in the universe could take away from the glorious moment they found themselves in.

 

At the same time, the Emporer and the Sith eternal were totally dumbfounded by what was taking place before them.

A power equal parts light and dark had begun to radiate from them throughout the space. The phenomenon was unlike anything they’d ever witnessed. In their various lifetimes every one of them had known the Force to be a thing of chaos, constantly out of balance as it’s opposing sides fought for supremacy.

Now, the two sides of the Force existed in front of them in a symbiotic way which none of them had known to be possible.

Ben and Rey of course felt it too- though nothing about it was as profound to them as it was to everyone else in the room.

To them, this was the manifestation of the balance their souls had always strived for, the balance they’d somehow always known they were capable of.

It had just taken being brought together like this to finally find it.

As the strength of the balance around them grew, so to did their passion for each other.

Deeper and harder Rey pushed herself onto him, rocking her hips to find just what she needed.

Slowly but surely she figured out how to make the most of all Ben had been gifted with.

Leaning back a bit while urging her hips forward, she finally found the place Ben’s fingers had been expertly stroking earlier.

Her eyes went wide and her head fell back as she took in the sensation. Having the full force of Ben’s cock diving into her like this, Rey knew she wouldn’t last long.

Feeling Rey’s body readying itself to explode on him, Ben knew there’d be no holding back once it came time for her release.

It was in that moment something else truly unexpected began to happen.

Illuminated forms started appearing around them- visions of the past lovers who’d been forced to perform just as they were, their bonds taken advantage of by the Sith for the incredible amounts of power that resided within them.

Be with us. they heard they heard them say through the Force, letting them know they were there to help them.

We’re with you. They replied.

What the Emperor and his throng of followers didn’t know was the Dyadic Crystal had a limit to what it could take. Ben and Rey were one of ten thousand couples to have made love upon it’s surface. With the amount of power it had consumed and stored up and released over the centuries, the crystal had finally reached its breaking point.

The power spikes during their earlier lovemaking had been signs of instability within it’s core, signs that it was no longer able to contain the immense loads of power it had once held.

Had the Emperor understood the power he hungered for, he’d have known that. However, his greed had blinded him to that very simple reality.

As Ben and Rey hurled together toward coming undone, the stone beneath them began to vibrate and glow as before- however this time there was more to it.

Around them the number of dyads appearing had increased exponentially. The thousands of couples revealing themselves in the Force to Ben and Rey alone began channeling their energy into the stone, ensuring once and for all the Dyadic Crystal’s final destruction.

Alone as individual couples, the dyads who’d been forced to make love here hadn’t been enough to overpower the might of the Sith eternal.

Combined however, they knew they’d be more than enough.

Never again would another pair of bonded souls be forced to share their love with dark ones greedy for their power. With this final act, Ben and Rey would liberate the future for all Force sensitives in the galaxy.

Their eyes burned into each other as the passion and energy of every past dyad that had ever made love upon the stone began welling up below them…

All the pleasure and all the combined strength that had ever been created in that space was about to be released again all at once.

A hurricane of sensations began to rage within them, one that was far too strong for two mortal bodies to contain.

“Gods- BEN!“ Rey screamed as she threw her head back, her fingers gripping into his skin as she braced against the explosion within her.

“REY!” He shouted back, his body erupting up into her with a force unlike anything he’d ever felt.

They came together in a detonation of power that felt as though the Force itself had opened up for them.

The energy released overwhelmed the stone below them, causing it to shatter from the inside out.

The resulting explosion threw them across the temple while ebony shards of crystal flew in every direction.

As the power of ten thousand dyads resonated out, the wall of energy overwhelmed and devastated everything dark and twisted in its path.

The Emperor and every member of the Sith Eternal disappeared in a flash. The walls of temple itself ruptured, splitting open the moment the blast made contact.

As it continued out from the temple, it’s power began destroying the entirety of the Imperial fleet.

In the shock of what had happened, Ben didn’t have time to redirect falling rocks as parts of the broken temple began to fall around them.

Reacting from instinct he threw himself over Rey, clutching her tiny frame below him to shield her as rocks crashed down around them.

The pain of a thousand knives pierced his side as one smashed into his back left side, then again in his lower left leg as another crushed it with it’s weight.

Rey screamed sensing everything that was happening, It was as dramatic a turn imaginable from the euphoria they’d shared just moments before.

In spite of the pain shooting through him, Ben kept his jaw clenched tightly, holding on to and protecting everything in life that mattered to him. He wasn’t about to let go of Rey, not for anything in the galaxy.

By some mercy, after a few moments the initial chaos the blast had caused subsided. The rubble falling around them stopped. A few moments later the dust began to clear and settle.

The din of unimaginable devastation outside grew louder as the blast radius spread.

The sounds of thousands of star destroyers breaking apart across the expanse of the planet could be heard in all directions.

The roar of it was as relieving to hear as it was horrifying.

Suddenly an entirely different sound pierced through Exegol’s atmosphere, one that made their hearts jump.

They turned to look up at the sky as they heard thousands of ships beginning to arrive at once.

The Resistance had returned with help from all across the galaxy.

Chapter Text

Arriving within the planet’s atmosphere, every member of the Resistance was rendered speechless from the desolation that sprawled out as far as they could see.

Somehow… the war had already happened without them.

When they’d left, every destroyer in the Imperial fleet had hovered in place, menacingly prepared to journey across unknown regions to the many populated systems of the galaxy.

Now, towers of flames burned out of what remained of the monstrous hulks of metal as the fuel meant for that journey was consumed.

Each time fire made it to a munitions hold, a series of explosions would rock the inside of the ships. The lingering explosions continued setting off within them, the sound of them making the surface of the planet even more of a hellish place to be.

The oddest part of all of it was there appeared to be a pattern within the destruction. Rather than precisely lined up like they’d been before, the remains of the fleet appeared to be scattered out away from the temple. It looked as if a singular blast from within had caused all the destruction below.

The temple itself was split apart from the inside as well, further evidence that a blast from inside of it was the cause of it all.

“What the hell happened….” Poe said heavily. As much of a relief as it was to see the Emperor’s fleet defeated, the sight below was a sobering one. Though those on board the ships were enemies, the loss of life would be catastrophic.

The thought of who they’d left behind in the middle of the devastation weighed especially hard on his heart.

As they flew over the planet’s surface, surveying the wreckage to try and figure out what to do next, tiny white dots could be seen struggling frantically to get out and away from the burning hulls of the ships they’d occupied. Those already on the ground were milling around in total shock at what had just happened.

As traumatized as they appeared to be, it was clear they were the lucky ones.

The sight of stormtroopers escaping from the ships was a relief to Finn. His knowledge of destroyers layouts told him the troopers stationed in the lower parts of the ships had a much better chance of getting out- that is, those that hadn’t died in the initial blast or the crashes that followed. The command on the bridges up top would have had a nearly impossible chance of surviving.

A lack of officers present would make their job of getting troops to surrender much easier.

Sensing a pause from Poe, Finn jumped in and began giving orders.

“Everyone- get down to the surface as quickly as you can. It’s clear an aerial battle isn’t happening today. Stay on your guard though. The wreckage is anything but stable and we don’t know what we’ll be facing once we get down there. Storm troopers who surrender immediately and those searching for survivors- let them do it. They’re pawns in all of this, remember that. Don’t stop them from searching for their brothers and sisters. Any officers and command found alive however- take them into custody to be arrested and tried.”

There was a pause as he switched channels to talk to Poe through the command link.

“We’ll need to send a search and rescue team into what’s left of the temple... I can tell Rey’s in there. She’s weak and…”

The link went silent for a moment

“What, Finn, what is it?!” Poe’s heart froze in his chest as he waited to hear what else Finn had to say.

Finn paused as he’d thought he recognized a presence with her. It was the last presence he’d expected to sense by her side, even being the last person he’d seen her with.

There was something different… very different. This person wasn’t a dark tortured soul he remembered, but happy… joyful even, in spite of the terrible pain he was experiencing…

Even more confusing… Rey was happy to be with him.

“Finn, do you copy?!” Poe tried again. “What is it? What’s wrong with Rey?”

Finn shook the thoughts of who it might have been from his head, figuring his untrained abilities had caused the confusion.

He couldn’t begin to guess who it actually might be.

“There’s… someone with her… he’s hurt...”

Poe’s heart leapt in his chest, remembering the last person she’d been seen with on Kef Bir.

It was all the hope he needed.

*****

Crouching together in shock from all that just happened, hearing the sounds of ships flying over, Ben and Rey hoped the chaos had finally come to an end.

It turned out the Force had one final miracle for them before it left them in peace to figure out what to do next.

From the shards of the Dyadic Crystal, small whisps of light began to escape and float out, disappearing as they became one with the Force.

They recognized right away what it signified.

They were fragments of the souls of those who’d helped them, they'd had been trapped inside the stone the whole time. Those remnants had been the echos they’d heard when the stone had first risen.

While making love to each other, they'd had no way of knowing the stone would trap a part of their soul within it forever once the ritual was completed. If that had happened, they’d have been tied to the stone forever, their physical bodies unable to leave Exegol.

Even in the afterlife, their souls would have remained trapped here. Remembering all those who had appeared to them, it had clearly been the fate of those who’d come before.

Breaking the stone had released the last remnants of souls it had trapped, freeing them to finally become one with the Force as they were meant to be. Watching the sparks of light disappearing gave them a sense of peace they desperately needed with all that was going on around them.

After the last spark of light faded, the wonder of the moment was shattered as the pain of Ben’s injuries suddenly hit him. He moaned out in agony as he let go of Rey, grabbing his side and rolling over on the ground to lay next to her.

Rey looked over him in horror for a moment, sensing where the worst of his injures were. He wasn’t losing any blood, all of the damage had been internal. Still, the pain of such injuries was nothing minimal.

She knelt, placing her hands on him as she tried to summon whatever energy he could spare within herself to heal them.

Ben’s hands flew up, stopping her as soon as he realized what she was doing.

“Don’t even try it...” He winced, his eyes insistent. “It’s just… broken ribs, a broken leg… not life threatening… I can heal the old fashioned way…”

“But you’re hurting so much!” Rey protested

He wouldn’t hear any of it.

“That took nearly took all we had…. There’s barely enough energy in either of us… to remain conscious.”

As depleted as Rey felt she knew the truth of it. Still, it went against everything in her heart to sit and watch him in pain like this.

“Just let me heal some of it- to make it a little easier?”

“Not a chance… We’re just figuring this stuff out… As weak as you are… I’m not risking you disappearing on me.”

“I won’t let that happen. I’ll know to stop before-“

“Do you?” He cut her off again. His eyebrows were raised to let her know he could sense just how little she’d practiced the healing arts, as naturally as she took to them.

As Rey thought about it, she realized he had a point. She’d brought back two souls from life threatening injuries in the past few days, and had nearly everything taken out of her from the ritual. Anymore draining of her life energy might risk the last bit of what was left.

“I suppose I see your point.” She sighed; frustrated she didn’t know more of what to do.

“Smart woman.” He said laying his head back on the ground and staring at the sky as he tried to focus on something else to distract from the pain.

“What can I do to make you more comfortable?” Rey asked, hating to see him in the state he was in.

“A pillow would be great… or a blanket… the floor is… it’s a little cold.”

Rey looked around the space, searching for what remained.

What was left of the mattress was crumpled in a heap nearby. Countless crystal shards stuck out of the back of it like pins on a pincushion. She realized they were lucky to have had it below them. It had taken the worst of the blast.

She spotted the blanket and pillows nearby that had been thrown with them. Their clothes were still crumpled near the base of where the altar had been. She summoned all of them immediately.

She put her clothes on right away, realizing her tease of standing naked in front of him wasn’t helping Ben’s mind relax.

Getting Ben’s boxers on proved to be the limit of what pain he could handle. Moving around to get them on had forced him to twist and bend in the last ways he wanted to move.

“No more…” He said as she got them pulled up. “Just… the blanket. There’s no chance I’m getting my shirt or pants on.”

Looking around the space again she realized she had a better idea.

She wrapped him in the blanket as she got to work.

She summoned what remained of the mattress. With the help of the razor sharp shards, after a few minutes she had it’s fabric cut into long strips.

Gently and carefully she wrapped the black strips around him, like bandages where he needed support, draping them as covering elsewhere. The skills she’d gained growing up making all of her own clothes from scraps of worn out sunshades came in handy as she tied the last of it together.

“You look just like a scavenger…” Rey smiled. “…if scavengers wore velvet.”

“It wouldn’t be a bad life as long as you were with me.” Ben said. He let his eyes rest as he envisioned the two of them on the sands of Jakuu together, far away from anything or anyone in the galaxy that cared who they were...

“I can think of much better ways we could spend our time.” Rey sighed.

“Like what?” Ben loved listening to the sound of her voice. It was the only thing that took his mind off of the pain, and their future together was the perfect topic to keep his mind distracted.

“Well… training some padawans of our own… trying to figure this balance thing out once and for all…”

“Just so long as attachment isn’t forbidden. I think we’ve failed that part miserably.”

“I’m not sure failed is the right term.” She noticed Ben fidgeting as if something was making him uncomfortable. “What is it?”

“This part right here… it could be a little loser.”

Rey set to adjusting the wraps around his waist. As she finished, she realized just how good he looked wrapped up in black velvet, even if it was just scraps.

"What?" Ben asked noticing her staring at him.

“Bit of a confession- it used to drive me insane how good you looked in black. Now I don't mind it so much...”

Rey's teasing brought a smile to his face, making her realize humor might be the best way to handle where they found themselves.

“I guess we can tell people you lost your clothes in the fight...” She went on.

“I mean… in a way that’s true.” Ben smirked as he started to laugh. The laughter was cut short as he gripped his side again. It hurt too much to laugh.

“You won’t let me take a tiny bit of the pain? I promise I’ll be careful not to give too much.”

Ben stared up at her blankly; a look that let her know this wasn’t up for debate.

“Even if you just took a little, you might still pass out. I’m not about to make you pass out on top of just having your first time in front of a bunch of Sith. Trust me- I can handle a little pain.”

Something about the way he’d said that stuck out to Rey. “My first time? That wasn’t your first time?”

Ben looked embarrassed for a moment, as if he wasn’t sure what to say.

“There’s never been any other woman but you.” He finally said.

Her heart melted hearing he was just as inexperienced as she was. Thought she’d sensed part of him had been as nervous as she was, part of him had also been so sure of himself…

She’d thought there had to have been someone else that had come before.

Hearing there hadn’t been made her realize what an incredible lover he really was.

“Just sit here with me…” Ben went on. “Having you close makes the pain a little easier to manage.”

“I’m right here.” She promised.

She scooted up behind him, putting the pillow under his head in her lap as she spread his hair out to run her fingers through it. She’d often daydreamed about having him look up at her like this. She hoped the affection would be just what needed to take his mind off things.

“Is that alright?” She asked.

“That’s… wonderful.” He replied, his head leaning into her fingers on his scalp as she found a particularly great spot to itch.

After a bit she could tell he was still hurting, and looked around trying to think of something else to talk about. She’d sensed hearing her talk had been a helpful distraction earlier.

Looking down at her clothes, she realized just how dingy her white garments were after all she’d been through.

“I suppose white isn’t the most practical color for a fighter….” She sighed, remembering their earlier conversation about clothes.

Just then a thought hit Ben, one perfectly in line with all they’d experienced during the ritual.

“What about Grey?”

“Grey?”

“For that new order of padawans you were talking about. If we’re going to teach balance, we can start by getting the look right.”

A slow smile came over Rey, realizing what he was saying.

“Grey sounds perfect.”

*****

“Mistress Rey and Master Ben, General Dameron is here to see you.” 3PO announced as he entered Ben’s hospital room.

The nap both had been attempting to drift off to was cut short as Ben’s eyes shot open.

Rey awoke to a sense of both excitement and conflict exploding with in him- right before walls went up in his mind to hide the rest of whatever it was he was feeling.

“Are you alright?” Rey asked, sitting up.

“Yeah, yeah… I’m fine.. I um, it’s nothing.”

“Are you sure Master Ben?” 3PO said coming over, suddenly concerned. “ This monitor is indicating your pulse has skyrocketed and-“

“I said I’m fine, 3PO!” Ben shot Back.

Rey raised her eyebrows to let 3PO know to leave it.

As much pain as he was in on top of all he’d been through, Ben had been anything but predictable since settling in at the hospital. A tension had come over him... one Rey had trouble understanding.

Though he’d broken free of the dark side, he still had no shortage of demons to contend with.

Faced with integrating back into a world he’d once run from, he was suddenly so unsure of himself. It broke her heart to see how he was struggling with his new reality. She did her best to be as patient as she could as they adjusted to their new normal together.

“Right, as I was saying… General Dameron has arrived to see you both.”

“Really?!” Rey asked surprised. She hadn’t expected any visitors that evening. Most of her friends had avoided seeing her in Ben’s hospital room, hearing who she’d brought back with her.

Fortunately, his attachment to Rey and having wiped out the entire Imperial fleet together seemed to have pardoned Ben in their minds of any wrong doing.

Still, their welcome back as a pair had been anything but warm.

“Why, yes!” 3P0 replied. “He’s here to see both of you! He’s one of Master Ben’s oldest friends, all the way back from the days of their childho-“

Ben suddenly moaned loudly, dramatically grabbing his side as if the pain was getting to him again.

“What is it?! Should I call the nurse droid back?!” Rey asked, jumping to her feet and looking for the call remote. A part of her panicked from the pain he appeared to be experiencing… yet part of her was mystified by the fact that she didn’t sense any actual increase in pain coming from him.

“I’m fine… it’s nothing.” Ben mumbled. Suddenly he was as calm as he’d been before.

“It doesn’t sound like nothing.” She said skeptically.

Ben looked back at her blankly, unsure what else to say.

3PO’s head swiveled looking back and forth between the two of them, puzzled by the human interaction taking place.

“Should I tell him to come back later or-“

“NO! Don’t do that. Send him in.” Ben cut him off.

Ben’s sudden excitement over a visitor was the biggest surprise of all- one Rey wasn’t about to question.

“You heard him 3PO, send him in.” She said.

Where Rey had expected to see someone as drained from battle and guarded as the rest of her friends had been with her after hearing about her new companion, Poe appeared to be in the best mood she’d seen him in a while.

A sense of excitement and hope shone in his eyes- one she hadn’t seen in some time if ever.

And yet, there was something else…

The moment his eyes met hers, a conflict in him flared that she didn’t recognize.

She swallowed hard as she assumed it was the same conflict everyone else had upon seeing her again.

She did her best to put it out of her mind...

That is, until she realized she was sensing absolutely nothing from Ben.

He still had walls up mind to keep her from sensing what he was feeling.

“How goes it you two?” Poe said, doing his best to smile as he stood at the end of the bed.

Rey tried to think of where to begin. “We’re more than a little exhausted and poor Ben here has seen better days but… nothing the nurse droids and a heavy schedule of painkillers can’t fix.”.

She suddenly felt a bit like a third wheel as she noticed Poe barely looking at her.

She began to wonder if it had to do with the fact that she’d heard Zorii had been distant with him since getting back from Exegol.

Seeing friends in the throws of new love while his own love life was struggling can’t have been easy…

“How are you?” Ben blurted out, feeling like an idiot as soon as he said it.

There was so much more he wanted to say, but in their present company he couldn’t possibly share any of it. It was... maddening.

“I’m great.” Poe lied. “I thought we’d have our work cut out for us on Exegol but you two seemed to have cleaned things up pretty well.”

Rey smiled at Ben as he stared out the window. Neither of them said a word.

Poe didn’t need the Force to tell Exegol was something they didn’t want to talk about. The trauma of it appeared to have affected them a lot more than he’d imagined.

With all he’d seen, he fully understood.

He’d read the official report more than once, having a hard time understanding any of it.

Some catastrophic fight between them and the Emperor…

Something about their Force bond channeling a power under the temple that had wiped out everything on the planet other than the two of them...

It was more Force stuff than Poe could begin to understand. In that sense, he wasn’t worried about being spared the details.

“So what’s the plan from here on out?” He asked, trying to change the subject. “You two thinking of coming back to Coruscant with us?”

“We haven’t really made it that far yet.” Rey sighed, unable to take her eyes off Ben. Specific plans for the future were a lot to think about so soon after all that had happened.

Wherever they ended up, all that mattered was they’d be together.

Sensing her eyes on him, Ben’s gaze went back to her.

The way they looked at each other for a moment made Poe’s heart feel like it was being ripped apart.

He knew that look so well.

It was the same way he and Ben had looked at each other, during a time in their lives that felt like a very, very long time go.

He swallowed hard as the feeling got to be overwhelming. He quickly realized he wasn’t going to be able to stay and catch up as long as he’d hoped.

“You two look exhausted.” He finally said, doing his best to hold his emotions back. “I’d better let you guys get some rest. If there’s anything you need from me- figuring out where you want to go from here- don’t hesitate to let me know.”

As he turned to leave Ben finally found the ability speak again.

“It’s really good to see you!” He blurted out, again feeling like the dumbest person alive for not being able to think of anything else to say.

Poe had a hint of a smile as he turned to look back before heading out the door. “Always good to see you too, Ben.”

The way he said “Ben” sounded like he’d waited a very long time to say it... which Rey supposed made sense considering they’d been childhood friends as 3PO had mentioned.

After a few moments of watching Ben staring hopelessly lost in thought at the now empty doorway, Rey went over and made sure to shut it, giving them the privacy they needed.

“What was that about?” She asked returning to sit on the bed.

Ben stared down at his lap, unsure what to say. The walls he’d had in place the whole time were still firmly up. If Rey didn’t know any better, she’d have guessed he was holding back tears.

“Nothing… just, like 3PO said, we used to know each other- a long time ago.”

Used to know each other? It looks to me like you still do... Hopefully it feels good for things to be getting back to the way they used to be?”

As soon as she’d said it Rey could tell that was the wrong thing to say.

Ben laid back and turned his head to look out the window again. He shut his eyes as he exhaled deeply, appearing to try to get back to the nap that had been interrupted before.

The grief she felt in his heart had been the last thing she’d expected to feel as the walls in his mind came down while surrendering to sleep.

Rey couldn’t make sense of any of it.

If they’d been friends before, and Poe was clearly willing to reach out and try to reconnect with him, why was Ben’s heart aching as if he’d lost him?

She sat silently at the edge of the bed for a bit as she tried to think of what it could have been that she’d said wrong….

Though they felt like they’d known each other their entire lives, the more time she spent with Ben, the more she realized how complicated his past was. She was beginning to realize how hard it would be to help him feel like himself again.

She couldn’t avoid yawning as she felt the weight of all that lay ahead come over her. At the present moment, there wasn’t much she could do to solve the great mystery of Ben’s past right way, nor could she make the things he had to face any easier for him- other than to support him as he worked through it.

Finding himself again was his journey, and she’d make sure to be there for him however he needed her every step of the way.

She tried to put all of that out of her mind as she curled up next to him again. She was grateful the planet they’d regrouped on was Ord Mantell- a planet with a larger sentient species than humans. Larger hospital beds made it easy to curl up together, while allowing Ben to stretch out on his injured side like he needed to heal.

As she drifted off to sleep watching his chest rise and fall, she felt certain whatever it was that was troubling him about seeing his childhood friend again, he’d tell her in his own time.

However long that took, she’d be here whenever he was ready.

She knew all about waiting.