Take Good Care of Her

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"Frequently we do not leave the past behind. We clasp on to it. We dissect it, and let fears for the future, tempered by the past, unconsciously prevent us from taking up the task eternal."

~ Ray Simpson, Exploring Celtic Spirituality

Kylo

My eyes snap open and I'm lying on my bed, drenched in sweat. The entire room feels like it's spinning, even though it's pitch black, and I have to take several deep breaths to calm myself.

I'd had yet another nightmare about Snoke, and in this one I'd found myself falling off the bridge of his throne room to the empty blackness beneath. I never hit the ground, I just kept falling and falling and the whole time I could hear Snoke's diabolical laughter ringing in my ears. "No one's going to catch you." I heard him whisper, and then I woke up.

I sat up in my bed trying to get idea of what time it was. The jungle outside was silent and I could sense Rey fast asleep in the room at the end of the hall. I got dressed silently, slipping into a fresh pair of black pants. I was about to put on a shirt but then I changed my mind. I needed to cool off and the sun wasn't even up yet.

Outside the air was cool and moist. There were dew drops resting on the leaves which were stirred by a gentle breeze. The sky was dark, but the horizon was tainted with a pale glow. I headed North, towards higher ground, hoping to find a spot to meditate. Soon enough I came across a little stream and sat down cross legged in front of it. With the soothing sound of rushing water in my ears I closed my eyes.

As I meditated my mind wandered and began to reflect over the events of the past few days. Faces flashed through my memory, Snoke's twisted one, my mother's, with a pitiful look painted on it, Hux's, with a mocking expression, Rey's... my mind froze when I got to hers. I found myself focusing  on every little detail, like the length of her eyelashes, the faint redness on her cheeks, how perfect her smile was. I shook my head. What was wrong with me? I took another deep breath and tried to focus on finding the Resistance base. Instead, I saw a man and a woman, dressed in shabby clothes. They were standing in a door way, talking to some life form which I did not recognize. Then I noticed that the woman was holding a small child in her arms, a little girl who could've been three or four. She was fast asleep, or sedated, I couldn't tell.

"Take good care of her." the woman said, handing the child over.

"I'll do what I want with her. Did you give her the disorientation pills?" the creature in the doorway responded.

"Yes, we did." the man spoke up. "Where are the credits?"

The creature disappeared with the child and came back with a large sack. The man took it and peered into it. Then he closed it and nodded, he and the woman turned to leave.

"Great doing business with you. Come again soon!" the creature yelled after them and then erupted into laughter.

For  moment my mind was blank, as I tried to understand what that was and why I had seen it. It didn't make any sense to me so I opened my eyes and started to head back to the outpost. When I reached it I paused at the entrance. I couldn't sense Rey in there. The sun was rising, casting rays of light down through the canopy above. I headed towards the clearing and found her there, slicing trees. She stopped when she saw me and for a moment she didn't say anything, just stared.

Then I realised that I was still shirtless and mentally kicked myself.

"Where were you?" she said suddenly, finding her words.

"Uh...meditating." I managed to say. Then I took a look around at all the fallen trees, some still smoking from her burning lightsaber.

"Ready for your next lesson?" I asked her. She nodded.

We sat down cross legged in the clearing, facing each other. She seemed to be having a hard time maintaining eye contact with me.

"So today you'll be using less of your lightsaber and more of your mind. I want you to stack those trees." She finally looked at me, with a mildly alarmed expression on her face.

"Stack them?"

"Yes. Like put them on top of each other."

"I know what stack means." she closed her eyes and tried using the force to lift one of the tree trunks. It got a few feet above the ground and then suddenly dropped with a thud that made her jump.

"I'm sorry." she said, looking frustrated with herself and with the tree.

"Don't be. Just try again."

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes again. She stretched out her hand I could see her using all of her strength to concentrate. The tree rose into the air and she managed to get it  to hover over another one, but then she lost control and it came crashing down...again.

She buried her face in her hands.

"Rey. You need to stop using up all of your physical energy. You need to channel the force through your body."

"I'm trying, I'm trying." she replied, looking like she was about to scream.

"Let me show you."

I closed my eyes and I could sense her watching me. Then I stretched out my hand and focused on the largest tree trunk, which was lying not too far from my side. Making sure I didn't lose my concentration I lifted it up and placed it over another, forming a kind of cross. Then I picked up another one  and did almost the same thing until I had what looked like an enormous campfire, just waiting to be set ablaze.

I opened my eyes and found Rey staring at me. I looked straight back at her, with some difficulty.

"Like that." I said.

She rolled her eyes. "Show off." But she was smiling.

***

We kept training until midday, by which time the sun was blazing overhead.

"I think we can call it a day." I said to Rey, who'd made a considerable amount of progress.

"But I haven't even finished my stack." She answered, gently placing down another tree trunk.

"Rey. We've been training since dawn, you need to eat."

She sighed and I could tell that she agreed with me.

"I have some quigrain loaves back at the outpost." she said.

"No, let's go hunting."

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