C H A P T E R 1If the First Order found out about my, admittedly complicated relationship to the Force, I know they wouldn't keep me alive like they are now. No, instead of death they stripped me of everything I was, of my entire identity, then stuffed me in a uniform to work in maintenance for the rest of my life. Amazing.
The first couple of months felt like hell, or what I'd assume it to be like. But then, I saw him. The man I'd heard so much about. The man who I'd known when he was just a boy and went by a different name. I knew the Supreme Leader Kylo Ren as Ben, but it's apparent now that Ben is very much dead.
An unfortunate shortcoming of mine is my deep need to save him as if I could even do anything. Another unfortunate shortcoming of mine is my undying stubbornness.
"Gwen, need I tell you again," General Hux's harsh grip pulls me from my thoughts. Personally, I try and avoid giving Hux direct eye contact, I don't like the way his gaze sits on my body. I nod slowly, staring at the small creases just above his eyebrows. All of the sudden, voices start erupting from his comm attached to his right ear. "Supreme Leader? Yes- well, no. Yes. Right away." Supreme Leader? Hux's eyebrows twitch as his body angles away from me. "At least pretend to be working, at least for the next two minutes," he hisses.
The blast doors scream open, and suddenly I feel as if I can't quite stand. A feeling rushes through my veins from my fingers to my toes, a sort of feeling that I've tried to ignore for so long but now suddenly it feels as if it's drawing me to the black shadowy figure strolling through the blast doors and towards Hux. My breath feels cold and trapped in my chest, but my blood feels hot and alive.
When his dark eyes finally reach my impenetrable gaze, the tingling feeling that was raging through me turns into a wild, burning intensity. I know its juvenile of me to think so, but as I stare into him, I can almost see the same feeling coursing through his broken soul.
"Ben..." it's a miracle words were even able to fit out from the lump in my throat. Hux abruptly slams his foot down onto mine.
"Address the Supreme Leader accordingly!" If I'm honest the words just kind of bounce off of me. All this time I've only ever seen the Supreme Leader with his cracked mask on. I've only ever seen Kylo Ren. But now I'm face to face with the boy who I grew up with all those years ago in Hanna City. And in his eyes, I can see that he knows exactly what I'm thinking.
Kylo turns to Hux, dismissing him.
Now it's just him and I, alone.
With the force.
"Who are you?" He asks, taking a small step towards me, which I match with a small step back, forcing me up against the steel walls of the lower maintenance bay.
"You know who I am," the confidence in my voice is unmatched by how I feel inside. His dark eyebrows furrow as he bites his cheek. He takes another step towards me so that he's almost pressing against me. It's only now that I'm seeing how tall he is, how strong he is. My fragile frame leans further into the steel wall. His full lips quiver slightly as he opens his mouth to speak again.
"You shouldn't even be alive," Ben states, staring at me from the other corner of his quarters. The slick white walls were definitely not what I was expecting from him - and neither was being dragged all the way across the cruiser and ushered into his quarters like some sort of secret pet that's he's trying to hide.
"I escaped." Every fibre in my shaking body wants to stare him deep in the eye, to feel that force connection that seems to spark every time our energies collide.
"How?" Ben's voice is deep and firm but his words flow like honey out of his lips. He begins a stride towards me and I'm not sure what's louder - his footsteps on the metal floor or my heart thumping in my chest. His presence is only about a meter away and the energy shared between us is sparking. I meet his eyes. My tongue feels like it's swelling up in my throat and I don't think that I could ever tear my eyes away from his now that they've met. "Don't be afraid," the change in dialogue is shocking, but his expression is still firm.
"I'm not afraid of you, Ben," my fingertips are beginning to turn white with how hard they're digging into the hem of my shirt. That wasn't entirely a lie. I'm not afraid of Ben. His energy shifts.
"Ben Solo is dead, Gwen, just as you should be!" all of the sudden an exponential force coats my entire body, down to my bones, pushing me into the wall behind me. Something cracks and I'm not sure if it's me or the wall. Now when I look in his eyes all I see is the darkness that's slowly consuming him. He drops me to the floor, a yelp escaping my throat. A small light flashes at the entrance to his quarters, catching his attention. For a split second his eyes turn and his attention shifts. Without even really thinking I extend my fingertips towards the large man before me and feel everything that I've been holding back. Everything that I've been hiding to keep myself alive.
The Force in its entirety.
The space around him moves to allow space for his body as I send it towards the ground. I scramble to my feet, finding my footing and taking on a defensive stance in preparation. Except, I'm not prepared at all as I hear a small sigh coming from him. Clutching his stomach, he pulls himself into a sitting position, his lightsaber clattering down next to him.
"You're just as strong as I remember," a small light flickers across his eyes, almost indistinguishable to those not attuned to their surroundings. "I remember everything about you, Gwen," my chest tightens. "I could never forget."
A screen within his quarters suddenly flashes to life, the General's face appearing, saying something that I couldn't possibly catch over the ringing in my ears. He didn't forget me...
Within moments Ben is back on his feet, lightsaber by his side. He turns towards a chest and pulls out a black bundle of fabric, tossing it towards me.
"I'm not done with you. Shower and change, I can't stand the sight of those uniforms," he walks up to the door, opening it before turning back to me and catching my eye. "Wait for me." and with that, he's gone.