i am ashes on a funeral pyre (i am war in a losing fight) @flyingfalconflower12
Chapter 1

This isn't the first kill Kylo Ren has regretted. 

And it most likely won't be his last.

But this kill happens to be the first for something else.

And for the first time in his life, Kylo Ren is completely and totally alone.

Even before he was born, Kylo could hear Snoke's voice in his head.  Of course, that early in his life he didn't understand a word of Snoke's whispers, but as he grew older the darkness in his mind started communicating more and more, up to the point where it started influencing his decisions.

Kylo had been completely dependent on Snoke.  No matter how terrifying he was, no matter how much Snoke ripped away all of his privacy and rifled through his thoughts, he'd always been there.

He'd never experienced real silence, not even when he sat with Rey in that little hut, their hands grasped for a fleeting moment--there was still her breathing, and the crackling of the fire, and the birds outside.

And now?  Sitting alone in on the bed in his quarters for the first time since before the battle on Crait, Kylo isn't entirely sure what to do.  He's been so bogged down with everything since that very first attack on Jakku just a few days ago that he's forgotten what it feels like to be alone.

And he's never been alone with this thoughts.

Snoke's always been listening.  Well, up until Kylo killed him.

Now, Kylo's scared.  What is there to do when the only person who really knows you is suddenly gone?  And by your own hand?  Kylo shivers.

Who knew silence could be so deafening?

The Force shudders, and Kylo's head snaps up.  Kriff, it's Rey, he thinks.

She's sitting on the floor in front of the bed, her eyes trained on the book in her lap.  She's mouthing the words to herself, her eyebrows furrowed.

Kylo steps onto the floor.  Leaning over Rey's shoulder, he takes a look at the words scrawled onto the yellowing pages of the clearly well-used book.

"What's that?" he asks.

"Why do you need to know?" snaps Rey, not looking up.

Kylo hesitates before speaking.  "I... I could help you read it if you want."

Rey looks up at Kylo now, her stare ice-cold.  "What gives you the right to assume I need help?"

Kylo can feel his face reddening.  He knows she's right.  "I... uh..."

"Do I need a teacher?"

Kylo flinches.  Rey lowers her gaze.

"Sorry.  That was..."

"It's okay."

A moment of silence passes.  Kylo hates silence.  Rey looks back at her book, clearly electing to ignore him until the Force gives up and pulls them apart again.  Kylo wants to rip out his hair; he wants to explain, that's not what he meant!

He opens his mouth to speak--Don't stop talking, Rey, please, I can't be alone with my thoughts--but only one word comes out.

"Please?" he whispers, and this time it's Rey that flinches.

"Fine," she finally mutters, shoving the book at him.  "It's one of the old Jedi texts.  I got it from Master Skywalker before I left Ahch-To."

Kylo looks away at the mention of his late uncle.  "He... gave it to you?"

Rey scratches the back of her neck.  "Well, not really..."

The ends of Kylo's lips turn up into the beginnings of a smile.  "You stole it?"

Rey grins sheepishly.  "A bit.  But I can barely read it anyway, it's in some ancient dialect that I only know a few words of.  I can barely read and write in Basic, how am I supposed to know this?"

Kylo shrugs.  "I could help you," he suggests softly.

Rey rolls her eyes.  "Fine," she says again.  "You understand this stuff?"

"Skywalker taught it to me."

"Oh."  Rey takes the book back from Kylo, examining the page she was attempting to read.

"Read it to me."

Rey glances up.  "What?"

"Read it to me.  I'll tell you what the words mean."

Rey looks confused.  "Okay."

And so she starts to read, slowly and haltingly, pausing after every couple of words and glancing at Kylo to see if she's read them right.  He hums in quiet satisfaction when she does, and when she doesn't he gently corrects her pronunciation.  After each paragraph, Kylo translates the text, and even though it's so ridiculously boring to him he'd listen to Rey read all day if he could.

After they've read a few pages, Rey sighs and puts the book down.  "Okay," she says.  Kylo looks up, startled.  "What was the real reason you wanted to hear me reading?"

Kylo looks down.  Am I that obvious?  "I just--"  He pauses.  "I can't bear the quiet."

"Snoke?"

Kylo nods.  She can read his thoughts, of course, so there's no point in saying the rest.

There's a pause.

"And--and... your voice is nice," he adds softly.

Rey blushes, and Kylo finally smiles.

"Thank you," Rey whispers, and the Force settles around them as she flickers out of sight.

1. Chapter 1 833 0 0