“Dr. Holdo wants me to try talking to other vampires.”
It’s the first thing Rey says when she lets herself into Ben’s apartment - using her key, gifted to her barely a week after their first actual real date - all while trying to juggle the giant house plant cradled in both arms and kick off her shoes at the same time.
Ben, who almost certainly did not deserve the dervish of chaos that just came whirling through his front door, looks up from the book he’d been reading and automatically extends an arm for her habitual, non-optional hug.
She carefully sets the plant down (some sort of palm tree?) and immediately moves to snuggle into his side.
“Yeah? She thinks you’re ready?”
For all the time she spends with Ben and Leia and the bi-weekly appointments with her therapist, Rey still - struggles . It’s getting easier, especially when she has Ben with her, but sometimes she’ll see a flash of fang in public and her brain nosedives.
Rey had a hell of a time explaining to Dr. Holdo about why Ben’s teeth don’t bother her. Orgasm therapy , she’d blurted out, her face the color of distilled embarrassment. Positive association and exposure, Dr. Holdo had placidly corrected.
Whatever she wants to call it, Rey responds to the sight of Ben’s fangs and black eyes with on-demand arousal. It’s certainly convenient - except for the time she’d caught him trying to drink his damned bagged blood and she’d wanted to hump his leg like a horny dog.
“Mm,” she replies into his armpit. “I think I want to try apologizing to Kaydel.”
Along with teaching her healthier coping mechanisms for ‘ when you can’t reasonably avoid a stressor ’, Dr. Holdo had been doing some sort of weird eye movement trick during their sessions; at first, Rey had nearly bolted from the office at the suggestion that she willingly dredge up her worst memories. She still wasn’t sure how watching her therapist’s hand move back and forth while thinking of her shitty childhood helped but she also wasn’t going to question the magic.
It no longer felt crippling. She could manage her flashbacks - most of the time.
“I’m really proud of you,” Ben says, in a voice so thick with emotion that Rey can’t help but believe him. “Everyone else is, too. You know that, right?”
She does know. Finn, Poe, and Rose make sure to tell her regularly. Still, she gives a watery sort of snort in response. “I think Poe’s mostly just keen on telling me I told you so for the rest of my life, now.”
“Well, there is that.”
To say her friends had been truly, truly insufferable when they found out about her dating Ben is an understatement. Rose had actually groaned and slipped Poe a twenty dollar bill. Right in front of her. Rude.
Finn, though… He practically glowed with pride every time he saw her with Ben. Granted, Rey still couldn’t bring herself to tell him about her dumbass ‘please bite me and fuck me even though I’ve only known you a few weeks’ decision at Han and Leia’s anniversary.
There were some details even her best friend didn’t need to know.
“Do you think she’ll forgive me?”
Ben draws her closer, setting aside his book so he can wrap her up in both arms. Something very similar to a purr emanates from his chest and he sucks a hickey into her neck before just barely pricking his fangs into her.
Common vampire behavior, that. Rey has learned a lot from google university in the last six months.
“Even if she doesn’t, I think you’ll feel better for apologizing anyway,” Ben says against her skin. “Whether she accepts it or not isn’t the point.”
Fair. Rey lets her head fall back and relaxes so he can arrange her to his liking. He shuffles her limbs around like a ragdoll until she’s straddling him on the couch with her hands clasped loosely behind her back.
“Thirsty?” she teases as he snuffles into her neck, breathing in her scent and gently worrying her skin between his teeth.
He growls something that is undeniably an affirmative. He doesn’t bite her right away, though, despite the way she arches and presses into him. “How are you feeling?”
It’s a question he asks every time she finishes up a therapy session. Probably because the first few times she’d gone, she’d been a shaky, terrified mess afterwards. Things have gotten a lot better.
“Good,” she answers, wiggling to settle herself tighter into his lap. He’s not hard, not yet , but she can feel him swelling in his sweatpants. “Well, maybe not good . Tired. But proud, I guess.”
“Good girl,” Ben murmurs and she’s never quite sure if he’s praising her for answering his question honestly or just for her decisions in general. Both, maybe. “Can I bite you, sweetheart?”
He still asks. Rey still says yes. And it still feels amazing when he drinks from her.
His fully descended fangs are sharp enough to slide cleanly through her skin and Rey can only shiver and cling to him as he drinks. Her hips move against his of their own volition and she moans, unembarrassed and unashamed.
Today, the orgasm that shakes through her body is warm and soft. He cradles the back of her head, peppering kisses over her neck as he licks and sucks at the punctures he’s left behind, and she comes with a muffled cry.
Today, Rey mumbles incoherently and whispers, “Ben. Ben. I love you.”
She feels him tremble beneath her and his hands tighten where he’s holding her. “I love you,” he breathes into her skin, kissing across the bridge of her nose, beneath her eyes, her cheeks, and just skirting the corners of her lips because he knows she doesn’t like the taste of blood after he’s fed from her.
She loves him.
She loves him.
Rey giggles breathlessly, and strokes her fingers through his hair. It’s soft, as always. Now that she’s seen his shower, she knows he uses far, far too many hair products.
“I bought you a plant,” she says out of nowhere.
Ben’s head moves, glancing over to the large palm abandoned in the entryway. “Are you sure you didn’t buy yourself a plant?” he asks, obviously amused and thinking of the dozen other potted succulents and clearance-rescues she’d brought to his apartment over the months.
In her very humble opinion, his place is much more homey, now. Especially with the tattered, soft quilt she’d saved from a thrift store and draped over his couch and an errant sweater of hers tossed in a heap on the coffee table and a stack of her textbooks scattered haphazardly on his kitchen table.
“It’s in your apartment. That makes it yours .” Even if Rey is the one who waters them all.
Ben leans back against the couch and lets her snuggle up in his lap despite the very obvious erection he has going currently. Blissed out and pliant, she melts against him with her head on his chest.
“I was thinking,” he starts with uncharacteristic hesitation, his voice rumbling in her ear, “that maybe it could be ours .”
She blames her post-orgasmic daze for the ungraceful way she grunts, “Huh?”
“You - you want to live together?”
“That is generally what ours means, yes.”
Are her ears ringing? It sounds like her ears are ringing. Rey braces herself and pushes upright so she can look at Ben’s face and decide if he’s fucking with her.
Not that he would do that. But still .
“You already practically live here,” Ben points out, which is fair, actually. She has a drawer in his dresser for her spare clothes and a toothbrush in his bathroom and she spends at least four nights a week sleeping in his bed instead of hers.
When she’s had a rough class and she’s exhausted and just wants to curl up and nap for a month, it’s his apartment she heads for now, not her own. Even when he’s not home. She just likes that his bed sheets smell like him and he’s got a comfy king size mattress and his place is larger and him .
“It would save you money,” Ben points out helpfully and it takes Rey an embarrassing amount of time to realize he’s nervous. “And I could cook for you every night instead of you eating hot pockets whenever I leave you on your own --”
“Hey! Hot pockets are good!”
Ben gives her a look .
“Rey,” he says, serious despite her feigned indignation. “I want to be with you every day. I want you to leave crumbs in the bed and throw your dirty laundry everywhere except the hamper and leave dishes in the sink.”
“Well, when you say it like that …”
“I want every part of you,” he says, nuzzling his nose against her temple. “Even the messy parts. Even the parts that flinch from me.”
Her heart feels like it’s trying to dance right out of her rib cage. Her lungs seize up and she’s suddenly sniffling back stupid, pointless tears. God, he’s so good to her and she’s working really hard to be good back.
“Yeah,” she says, her voice thick and watery. “Yeah, I want to live with you. I think Finn has wanted to move in with Rose for awhile anyway but he didn’t want to leave me without a roommate…”
Ben breaks out into that wide, kinda goofy grin that Rey loves so much. It shows off his dimples and his slightly crooked teeth before he’s leaning forward to kiss her and his hands are cupping her face to thumb away her tears.
She’s going to live with a real, actual vampire.
And it’s going to be awesome .