13. The Operation

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Chapter 13

Ben POV:

He stood underneath the belly of the ship as it lifted, fists clenched by his side and throat raw from yelling. He stood and he watched, unable to do anything, as they took her from him. And it had been Finn--the man he had fault in the snowy woods. Finn betrayed Rey.

His heart sunk. He could not imagine how betrayed Rey must have been feeling.

People shouted from behind him. They were screaming, still fighting back against the troopers that had attacked.

But Ben stood still, glaring at the stormy heavens above him, where only moments before, Rey had been snatched. Around him, First Order ships were taking off into the sky, leaving behind a broken army, the broken Resistance.

Someone shouted behind him. This time, he turned. "Ben!" It was his mother.

He swallowed hard. "They took her. Finn took her. He betrayed us. He betrayed Rey." Licking his lips, he met his mother's eyes, heart thumping. "I need a ship."

"Ben, the attack. I need you here. Safe."

"Rey isn't safe! Look, General, I know where Finn is taking her. I can get there. All I need is a ship."

Leia's brows furrowed as he spoke. "Finn? Finn didn't take her, Ben. He's over there, helping to get the wounded into medical."

Ben pursed his lips, shaking his head. "No," he said roughly, "I don't believe it."

Leia smiled, a small sad smile that made Ben's heart ache. "My son, it was not Finn."

"I won't believe it until I see it." Ben marched away then, back to the wounded, back to the building. He had to see for himself. He had to see for himself what he already knew, deep in his mind.

He thrust opened the door to the mess hall, and the stench entered his nostrils. Something broke in him as he stepped around the blood. Around the bodies. And there, in the far corner.

Finn. Just as Leia had described him.

Ben turned. He had seen enough. He knew what to do, where to go. And deep in his heart, he knew exactly why. They shared a connection--him and Rey. It was how he had come to . . . care for her.

Ben knew what had happened to Rey He knew why it had happened, too. "Deist, you fool," he spat. "I was always one step ahead of you."

And then something happened. Something that hadn't happened in too many years to count. Ben stopped in his angry tracks as the voice flooded his mind.

He could feel the chuckle, as he had always been able to, though it did not belong to him. It was a deep and rough chuckle, a familiar laugh, that made him clench his jaw, trying to prevent the sound from flooding his ears.

That was years ago . . . Kylo Ren. You'll find I have grown more powerful.

Ben snarled. Please, Nico. Bragging doesn't become a stormtrooper.

There it was again--the deep, dark growl of a laugh, a rumble that Ben could feel in his bones. And then Nico sent the words to him.

You and I both know I'm not a stormtrooper.

•~•

"So you are the girl I have heard so much about," the man in front of her stated, grinning a terrible grin.

Rey thrust her palm against the glass window in front of her, the glass that was keeping her inside the tiny cell and keeping him outside. She would have spit in his face.

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