Kylo Ren stood alone in his quarters onboard the Finalizer and took off his helmet. He moved to set it down in its bed of ashes but paused for a moment, slowly turning it around in his hands, examining the myriad of dents and cuts, recalling each battle that had made its mark in the dark metal. Three such scars were reminders of blows that would have claimed his life – a matching pair in the left and right parietal plates, landed by a Dark Side adept, and another massive gouge in the right frontal plate over the eye from one of Snoke’s lessons.
As he turned the helmet back to the front, the light flared off the chrome grill-work that reinforced the lens slit. He blinked. He blinked again, but his sight did not clear. Instead of the gun-metal grey room with the alcove where Darth Vader’s melted helmet waited, Ren saw the brilliant flash of lightning and the image of a girl – the scavenger – soaking wet in the pouring rain.
She lay on the rocky ground – bodies strewn around her – frightened and helpless before the dark warrior who advanced on her, weapon drawn. A searing thrust through the back from a red-bladed lightsaber brought the scum down before Ren’s feet. She quickly scrambled to hers. As his men closed in behind him, he took a step towards her. He had known her then. He was certain of it, but she had recoiled, fear overwhelming her features.
His grip on the helmet intensified as he struggled to push the memory further. He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly as his headgear came back into focus in his gloved hands. Such a small thing, really, in the galactic scheme of things – this metal that encased and protected his identity, encased and shielded his soul. It would take so little to crush it like an empty husk. But he remembered all too well the day he donned a helmet and took to wearing it in public whenever he could without drawing more attention to himself. It wasn’t long before he wore it alone in the darkness of his room. His mother had been the first to question him. He could still remember her words when she’d returned late one night from a meeting with the Senate.
“Oh, you are in here.” She’d opened the door to his dark room in their current apartment on Corellia and started to close it again. Then the light from the hallway glinted off his bike helmet from where he sat, framed in the window. “I just came to say goodnight.” When he didn’t move, she came to stand by his side. “What are you doing?”
He said nothing and didn’t move when she laid a hand on his shoulder. He was sixteen then and rode his speeder bike everywhere. She was glad for the freedom it gave him, but she was worried too. He had that reckless streak Han had, but unlike his father, Ben spent far too much time alone. She sighed. They’d moved around too much when he was young. He hadn’t made any real friendships that lasted beyond a move and she felt badly for it. She wished he’d gotten along better with Han so that he could enjoy some quality father-son time while Han was flying about the galaxy on racing and shipping business. As it was, she barely saw her son and only relished a month or so out of the year when her path might cross with his and he could join her for a while. At least he had Luke and Amanda Snoke for company. She was certain his uncle and guardian continued to be good role models for him.
She laid a hand on his young helmeted head. “Can I give you a goodnight kiss?”
Still, he didn’t move, said nothing.
A slight shiver went through her. She’d seen him in the helmet a lot lately. She knew he wore it about in public instead of hanging it up on the bike because it hid his identity. There’d been no bounty hunters after Ben for many years – ever since Han had given up the smuggling business.
She hesitated then said in a soothing tone, “Will you take off the helmet, sweetie?”
Leia thought he might refuse with a flat “no,” but she wasn’t prepared for the words he actually said.
“The Light,” he said in a monotone, his voice muffled beneath the visor plate. “It hurts.”
@MyKyloRen 22 May 2016