*Warning: major spoilers for Star Wars 9: The Rise of Skywalker*
So, I was really upset by Kylo Ren dying. Really upset. And I decided the best thing to do was write fanfiction about it. Hope you enjoy!
It was dusty. That’s the detail that stuck in his mind. Years later, when he would remember that moment, he would remember the dust, floating in the air and settling all around him. It settled on his shoulders, his arms, his eyes…everywhere. He couldn’t brush it off or wipe it away; he didn’t have enough strength to do that. He couldn't do anything but hang on. Hang on, hearing the faint sound of screams, lightning and evil laughter.
He was able to smile, faintly, when he heard Rey said, “And I… am all the Jedi”. He didn’t have much strength left, but what little he had was cheering her on. Hoping she would make it out alive. But he began to lose hope when he heard the silence, silence which seemed never ending. Every moment he hoped to hear her voice, but every moment was just like the last, full of insufferable silence.
He closed his eyes, not even praying, just repeating four simple words. Please let her live. Please let her live. Please, oh please.
But it was useless. He knew, then, what he had to do. Slowly, he began to pull himself up, lifting one finger at a time. With an involuntary gasp, he raised his right hand, grasping onto a crook in the cliff face. The struggle reminded him of playing tug of war with his father. He remembered the sunny meadows of his childhood, rolling around in the dirt, laughing and screaming as his father planted his feet and stood firm. It helped to think of the cliff face as nothing more than a game of tug of war. It helped to think of his father, of all the strength he gave him.
Just one more, he thought, one more, and then one more, and then one more after that.
It was an enormous relief when he stretched his hand out and reached empty air. It gave him new strength, to know he was so close. One more, he told himself, and this time he knew it was true. He had reached the top, through some miracle of strength and courage. He certainly didn’t know how he had done it.
But it wasn’t over yet. Standing at the edge of the cliff, through the cloud of dust and darkness, he could see a faint shape. Rey. Rey, the outline of her slim body lying on the grey rock.
It was funny. He was quite used to storming down the bridge of a Star Destroyer, barking orders, choking subordinates, and watching the destruction of rebel fleets unprepared to face the might of the First Order. He felt his own power, his own importance.
The distance between him and Rey- that was a fraction of the length of a Star Destroyer, but the ground was rough and his legs were weak. And instead of the sound of voices and cannons, there was nothing but the echo of his footsteps. He felt his own powerlessness, his helplessness in the face of the great forces. But somehow, somehow, despite his weakness, he felt this would be the most important moment of his life.
Her body was cold. He had stood on the surface of Hoth, wearing nothing but a thin black cloak, but he had never felt anything this cold. Her face was pale, pale as the desert sands she had come from, and her eyes were closed. All the fire, the life she had in abundance, had faded.
Faded- or just vanished? Gone somewhere far away, where it could be called back? Ben hoped so. He placed a hand on her waist, and a hand on her chest, her skin smooth compared to the cliff edges. So often, they had been worlds apart, and yet their minds had been so close, words crossing the distance between them. Now their minds were the ones far apart, while their bodies had found their way to each other.
Feeling his hand on her chest, he breathed his spirit into her, giving her the life she had lost. It wasn’t much; there wasn’t much left in him, but he hoped it would be enough. He felt himself draining, like a waterfall, but it wasn’t an unpleasant feeling. For every bit of himself that he gave away, he was filled tenfold with the sight of her. While his light was fading, he was illuminated by the glow in her eyes.
She lifted her head a little, and put her hand on his cheek, resting it there. Resting in each other’s company, in the silence. There were no words to be said, no questions to answer, no anger to poison the air. For a moment, in this barren cave, this hole in the universe, this place of darkness and evil, there was warmth.
But it quickly grew cold. Her arms were falling away, he was falling back, back through space and time. He saw images through his mind, saw his mother’s face, heard his father’s voice, felt Rey’s lightsaber-
Until she put a hand to his chest, and the warmth returned. He gasped, looking up, and he saw her eyes were fixated on his chest, an intense stare he had seen before. There was a feeling darting through the edges of his heart, right where her hand was. It felt like something was being built, or like two things were being knit together.
She leaned in to kiss him, and he felt it, stronger this time.
“You too?” she said.
“It’s the same feeling,” she said, “as the visions. When you would appear as if you were right next to me, even if you were worlds away.”
“Like that,” he said, “but… stronger. That was a sharp burst, angry, unexpected. But this is steady. Calm.”
“It’s almost like I can feel you. I feel you lying on the ground, and I feel you looking at me. I feel the pain in your leg.”
Ben could feel it too, could feel Rey’s exhaustion and her confusion. He could even feel the bit of her hair threatening to fall into her face.
“Maybe that’s why I’m not dead.”
“If it is,” Rey said, “I’m glad for it.”