My headcanon of how the reylo cliff scene will play out.
Ahch-to, sixth months after the destruction of Starkiller base…
“You’ve been busy,” Rey shouts over the violent sea wind that swirls in the space between them. “Did you find what you’ve been looking for?”
“You know I have, Scavenger.” Kylo Ren ignites his lightsaber at his side and its unstable crackle seems to drown everything out. Rey doesn’t reach for her own lightsaber, which is still secured to her belt. She stands her ground, waiting for him to come at her. She appraises the jagged scar that bisects his face, feeling a quick burst of pride at finally seeing her handiwork.
“I’m here for your master,” even though he speaks quietly, his words swirl through her head across the distance between them.
“I have no master.” Rey juts her chin out defiantly, knowing he won’t expect this.
He arches a single eyebrow, his head almost imperceptibly twitches towards the temple at the top of the island as his hair whips around his face from a massive gust of wind. He knows they can both feel Luke’s force signature up there, tucked away. Hiding like the coward he is.
“How did you find us?” She shouts at him, fists clenched at her side, itching for a fight and waiting for him to make the first move.
‘You know how.’ His lips don’t move but his words fill her head nonetheless. Her jaw clenches tightly, teeth grinding together at the invasion of her mind. At this close proximity, it is impossible to keep him out. Just as it is impossible for him to keep her out of his own mind.
‘You call out for me every night. It is all I can hear, all I can feel. You consume my entire being, your longing drives me to the brink of insanity.’ His thoughts are again forcibly pushed into her mind. The invasion of his words is excruciatingly warm and soft as his presence ripples along the edge of her mind.
“Enough!” She yells, hand finally going to her lightsaber. She draws it and lights it in one swift arcing motion, the cool blue glow pooling around her. ‘You know it isn’t me that’s calling for you.’ She adds as an afterthought, almost not meaning to send the thought to him. Only when his expression darkens does she realize he heard it too.
“So you think it is our bond alone that calls to me?” He is talking out loud now, approaching her at a steady pace. His upsilon class shuttle left empty behind him, awaiting the return of its pilot. “You think it’s the bond that whispers my name feverishly in its sleep?” His lightsaber is still dangling in a lazy grip at his side.
They are closer now, only a few aching meters between them. Rey stands her ground, gripping her lightsaber in a fighting stance despite the fact that he has yet to raise his.
“The bond that is practically singing now that we are finally together again?” He almost sounds hopeful. The hard affection in his voice makes her stomach turn over. She thinks of Han tumbling from the walkway on Starkiller. She thinks of the last time she saw Finn, unconscious and kept alive by machines. She thinks of Poe slumped in a chair at Finn’s bedside, whimpering in his sleep, nightmares of having his mind torn to shreds keeping him from getting any rest.
“The bond that is just another in a long list of atrocities committed by you,” she hisses at him, palms sweating against the warm metal of her lightsaber. She adjusts her grip.
“Oh, my dear Scavenger,” his lips peel back from his teeth in a grim smile, he shakes his head as if he regrets it, “you are so, so mistaken. This bond is your doing.” He sounds so confident and sure that it causes her to hesitate. He feels the doubt sinking into her and latches on to it. “You’ve known all along, you just don’t want to admit it to yourself. You pushed back into my mind.” He reaches up with his free hand and taps his left temple. “You created this connection with your clumsy and amateur fumbling into my head.”
“Liar!” She regrets the word as soon as she shouts it at him, he can see her weakness now. Her anger.
Her accusation seems to encourage him even more, his grim smile transforming into a more genuine one, which is the scariest she has ever seen him look. He looks as if he is a predator sensing an opening, ready to pounce on its prey.
“This is why you need me to teach you, you are too powerful for your own good.”
“I have a teacher,” she responds sharply, trying to school the tone of her voice into something calmer and more even.
He raises an eyebrow at this.
“A teacher,” she clarifies, “not a master.” Luke’s words to her when she had first arrived on Ahch-to float through her mind and she knows that Kylo can hear it as well. ‘It’s time for the Jedi to end.’
“Whatever you call him,” Kylo shakes his head as if to forcibly remove the voice from his mind, “I am here to destroy him.”
“You will have to go through me,” she straightens her back, preparing for him to come at her with that red abomination of a blade. He narrows his eyes. He can’t understand why Luke isn’t here, why would he send his student out to face Kylo alone? Surely he knows that there is no way she could best him in a fight when he is at his full strength as he is now.
“No, I need you alive,” he responds in a tightly controlled voice, still not making a move with his ignited lightsaber. The saber spits and hisses like it is dying for its chance to maim and destroy.
“You need me alive or your master does?” Rey knows it probably isn’t wise to taunt him.
“I do. I need you alive,” Kylo brings his fist up to slam against his own chest, she isn’t sure if she is indicating himself or his heart when he hits his left side. “Snoke wants you dead.” The treason falls from his lips and he is quaking with the release of it. The traitorous thoughts that have been broiling inside of him all this time are finally voiced.
“Then why not kill me?” She is whispering, she knows he can hear her perfectly fine even though the wind eats up her words as they spill out of her mouth.
‘You know why.’ His expression softens.
White-hot anger burns through her, at first she thinks it is coming from his end of the bond, but then she realizes it is from within her. An untapped well of anger is overflowing and tearing through her entire body, threatening to engulf her. Anger at him. Anger at herself.
She makes the first move, charging towards him with her saber in a two handed grip. He barely has time to wipe the startled look from his face and bring his own saber up into a defensive position. Their blades crackle viciously as they come together and she pulls back again to hack at him. She has practiced lightsaber forms tirelessly since Starkiller, she can be graceful and precise. Right now, she is a violent and angry creature trying with single-minded determination to cut him down. In the back of his mind he acknowledges this is the most beautiful she has ever looked to him.
It is all he can do to block her attacks without going on the offensive. She is backing him towards a cliff that drops off into the tumultuous sea below. He thinks about reaching into her mind and stealing her consciousness as he has done before, but he can’t muster the concentration necessary as she rains strike after strike down on him at a relentless pace.
His heels scrabble against the edge of the cliff and he dodges her last blow, sidestepping her and hoping she catches herself before she tumbles over the edge. She doesn’t. He reaches out with the force to try and stop her fall but it is too late, she has already disappeared over the edge.
He leans over the cliff, stomach twisted into a knot. He knows she didn’t die on impact because he can feel her life force still connected to his. A dark figure is sinking beneath the waves below.
Without another thought, he drops his disengaged lightsaber in the grass and dives after her.
The water is ice cold and the current is unforgiving as he tries to locate her. He unclasps his cloak and kicks it away, the heavy fabric is dragging him down and only helping the water as it tugs him in every direction other than towards Rey. He sucks in one last breath and dives.
The silence beneath the waves is terrifying. He has grown so used to catching glimpses of Rey’s random thoughts and emotions since they forged their bond that the lack of her incessant inner monologue is deafening. He finally catches sight of her, she is slowly drifting downwards. His grandfather’s lightsaber is sinking like a rock beneath her almost as if it sacrificed the heavy weight it bore to allow her to hang suspended in the murky water.
Her hair has been jostled loose from the tight buns and is fanned around her. He calls out to her mind, not with words but instead with a sense of urgency and panic. There is no answering feeling from her end of their connection.
He kicks towards her and wraps an arm around her waist. Her body is limp and arches backwards as he drags her to the surface. His pulse is pounding in his ears so loudly that it feels like it is the heartbeat of the ocean itself.
When they finally breach the surface he smooths her tangled hair back and pats her face with his sopping leather gloved hand. He pulls her head up, cupping her cheek.
“Scavenger,” he murmurs, “Rey, wake up.” He lets his forehead fall onto hers, trying to delve into her mind. It is silent, so terrifyingly silent. He can’t take it. Even when she sleeps he can hear her, or at least get an impression of her feelings. The nothingness is all consuming and far too cold.
The waves are still swirling around them and tossing them like a wayward piece of flotsam but Kylo clings to her as if she is the one keeping them afloat.
After too many painful moments, she splutters and the violent coughing fit is the best sound he has ever heard. He grips her waist tighter and slides her up his chest, making sure she is above the water and can gulp down the precious air she has been lacking. Her legs instinctively wrap around his waist and her grip is like iron on his shoulders.
“I’ve got you,” he soothes a hand down her lower back and she is still gasping desperately, a dead weight in his arms. Of course she wouldn’t know how to swim. It’s only by the grace of the force lending him strength that he is able to tread water for so long and hard enough to keep them both alive.
She looks down at him, startled, realizing finally where she is. She yanks back from him and he tightens his grip on her, not willing to let her fall back beneath the water. Not willing to admit how complete he feels holding her after so much time spent skimming along her mind, capturing the pathetic scraps of thought and emotion she would drop for him.
“I’ve got you,” he repeats in the same soothing voice, but this time it isn’t a reassurance for her and is instead a declaration of victory. She finally sags into his arms, the tension leaving her body, trusting him to keep them afloat. She buries her face into his drenched hair.
“I know,” she whispers.