it's full of charts and facts

The Gift

Kylo Ren X Reader one-shot:

Summary: The reader brings Kylo Ren a present from their last trip into First Order space

Word Count: 1757

Content Warning: SFW – only some mild smooching and fluff

A/N: This was inspired by a real thing that I bought at the store over the weekend, and it’s my first attempt at reader one shots so? idk bear with me I guess.

“I have something for you.” You breathed, shifting from foot to foot as you clutched the box behind your back. 

Across the room, sitting on the bed as he yanked his boots off of his feet, Kylo Ren glanced up. His brow pinched in confusion, plump lips pursed into a line as he considered your words. It wasn’t that gift giving was uncommon between the two of you; you wore the pendant he’d given you religiously, the Iketa stone resting under your uniform and pressed into your sternum. Trinkets from when he was sent on missions with the Knights of Ren, or luxuries from your many visits to the core worlds in your duties to the Order, there was almost always something being passed between the two of you.

Kylo had never seen you this excited about a present though and, if he were honest, your glee was absolutely endearing.

“Would you like to give it to me now, or change out of your uniform first?” He asked, brown eyes taking in your appearance.

You looked tired from a hard day of work, dusty and sweaty from time spent climbing all over Starkiller base making repairs to technology ravaged by extreme cold, and there was a smudge of black grease across your forehead. Kylo didn’t mind it all that much though; Force knew that he returned to his quarters with his own share of unwanted germs, and there was something to be said about seeing you directly after your shift. A warmth that he didn’t want to inspect too closely at the knowledge that you must have come straight to the room after your shift, not bothering to stop and clean up as you normally did.

“No! I got you something!” You repeated, taking a few steps forward and bringing the box out from behind your back. “I meant to give it to you as soon as I returned from Rakata Prime, but you’d left on a mission.”

Kylo reached out to take the gift, neatly wrapped in brown paper and twine. It was surprisingly light for what he’d expected from the size, but that only served to increase his curiosity. Especially when he saw the unrestrained excitement in your eyes. It occurred to him, as his fingers plucked at the loose ends of the twine, that he could read your mind to figure out what was in the package but Kylo almost immediately disregarded that thought. He didn’t want to invade your privacy, always waited for explicit consent to brush his consciousness against yours, and besides the anticipation was always worth the surprise.

He carefully unwrapped the present, revealing a nondescript box that caused your excitement to mount. Kylo had no idea what the gift could be, but he knew that no matter what he would love it, if only because of the fact that you’d seen it and thought of him.

You held your breath as he pulled the box open, studying his face intently as he stared at the contents. His confusion passed into a blank expression when he took out the device, and every moment of continued silence made the excitement wilt inside you. Dark eyes narrowed on the melon sized Death Star, pulling it apart along the obvious hemisphere line to reveal the star map inside. Anxiety quickly started to replace your earlier happiness, and you were desperate for any sort of feedback.

It wasn’t your usual type of gift—you normally brought back sweets, or some of his ridiculous hair care products—but you had seen it in the window of a toy store and had immediately bought it for the Knight of Ren. You’d been thinking of how excited he’d been the one time you’d both managed to sneak away from Starkiller to a nearby trading port, finding a trove of old Imperial paraphernalia. His face had lit up and he’d spent the entire time telling you random facts about the Death Star, and Darth Vader and it remained one of your fondest memories.

Yet now he was distressingly blank.

“I, um, I know it’s a little childish.” You explained nervously, wringing your hands together. “But it’s a star chart and I just, well, I thought you’d like it. I had to do some tweaking of the display though; since it was for children it wasn’t the strongest quality. Do you? Do you like it?”

Kylo finally tore his eyes away from the two halves of the Death Star when he noticed you were rocking back and forth on your heels. The beautiful smile on your face had faded into a look of concern, and he wanted to kick himself when he realized that he hadn’t actually made a response to your gift.

“It’s probably stupid,” You hurried, lifting a hand to rub at the back of your neck. “I mean, you already have star charts and really what are you going to do with—”

“I love it.” He declared, cutting you off. “Really, (y/n) I do love it.”

“You do?” You parroted, taking a step back as he set the pieces aside and surged to his feet.

Kylo reached out to cup your face, placing a careful kiss to your lips. “Thank you.”

You couldn’t help but smile up at him, your eyes finding his own expressive dark one to see the truth in his words. “Do you want to power it up? See my handiwork in the flesh?”

“Shower first, lover.” His thumb brushed across your cheek, and you could feel the gritty touch as it agitated the caked on dust that you wore like a second skin.

You chuckled at that ultimatum, stealing another quick kiss before stepping away and turning towards the refresher. “I’ll be right back then.”

Kylo watched you disappear behind the door of his refresher, his attention returning to the star chart  still on his bed. He heard the shower turn on as he lifted the device, putting the two halves together to display the full replica of the Death Star. He had no idea where you could have found this, though one of the many trading colonies in the Territories would have a better chance than any of the Republic spaces. Kylo felt something fond swell in his chest as he settled the star chart into its tripod base, making minute adjustments almost compulsively.

It was a little childish, the fact that you had gotten him a toy, and yet it was somehow exactly the perfect gift. Not because it was profound or functional, but rather sweet and random; you had bought it for the sole reason that you’d thought he would like it. And then you’d went and improved it with your own electrical skills.

“Okay,” Kylo turned around when the door slid back open a surprisingly short amount of time later as you walked out toweling off your hair. “You ready?”

“That was quick.” The Knight noted, a curl of pleasure going through him when he saw you wearing his sleeping pants. They didn’t quite fit your hips, riding a little low and you had to roll the legs up to keep from tripping over them. He loved to see you in his clothing; they always smelled like you after you changed, and it was like staking a claim.

“What can I say? I can shower pretty quickly when I don’t have someone distracting me.” You laughed, hanging the towel up as you combed your fingers through the wet strands.

Kylo rolled his eyes at your teasing, affecting an unimpressed expression before surging across the room to lift you up into his arms. You let out a shriek of delight when your feet left the ground, legs hooking around his waist and arms curling over his shoulders as he carried you to the bed. You went down first, bouncing on the plush mattress as he balanced his weight on his arms to keep from crushing you.

“I seem to recall you enjoying the distraction, (y/n).” He purred, dark eyes locking with yours, face only a few inches away.

You could feel the fan of his warm breath across your lips, the heat of his gaze as he watched you with an intense, tender focus. Your hands slid forward to cup Kylo’s face, thumb tracing the curve of his lower lip as you pulled him in for a kiss. Kylo hummed against your mouth, hips slotting between your thighs as he let his weight settle more firmly against your body.

“(y/n),” He sighed, lips teasing against yours as his tongue swept over your lips seeking entrance.

You gasped into the kiss, enjoying the taste of him, the feel of him, and for a few minutes you lost yourself in his presence.

“Kylo.” He pulled back when you applied the slightest bit of pressure on his chest, pushing. You could see the confusion on his face, but more than that you could see the arousal, especially when his attention drifted down to your lips and you really wanted to pull him back against you.

“Lover?” He asked, voice somewhat hoarse.

“Would you like to, hm, power up the Death Star?” Kylo let out a huff of laughter at that, nuzzling his face into your neck as he reached out with the Force. You heard the sound of the device shifting, the button being depressed and then the room was filled with a soft blue glow as the star chart was displayed across the ceiling.

The tall man rolled onto his back, legs hanging over the edge of the bed has he stared at the stars displayed above you. He reached out to pull you into his side, your head resting on his shoulder as you both looked up and you couldn’t help the wash of contentment that went through you. You loved nights like these, just lying together comfortably and enjoying each other’s presence; it was a good way to destress from the struggles of working in the First Order.

“That’s Hoth.” He pointed to one small planet, drifting near the door to the refresher. “That’s where the Empire launched their attack after the destruction of the first Death Star.”

“It was cold, wasn’t it?” You questioned. “A frozen planet?”

You already knew the answer of course, but you loved listening to him talk about it anyway. You snuggled in closer as Kylo began telling you about the battle of Hoth, eyelids drooping as the heat from his body and the warm honey of his voice lulled you into a deep sleep. It had been a long day, after all, and you never felt more content than when you were in his arms.

Taylor Swift's Debut Album Turns 10: A Track-by-Track Retrospective of 'Taylor Swift'

Taylor Swift has always been Taylor Swift. She came upon the music world 10 years ago today (Oct. 24) with her debut album – Taylor Swift – with a fully formed idea of herself as an artist, despite being a mere 16 years old.

With her debut, she proved the power of country music – specifically, its confessional storytelling – to reach teen girl audiences on a massive scale. As a result of its success, she helped make country cool again and gave young women a voice in music. She subsequently brought country storytelling to her pop crossover, used her market leverage to stand up to streaming services, and parlayed gossip-magazine interest in her love life into hit songs that may have been about certain other famous people.

She is, in fact, so ubiquitous in pop culture now that it’s hard to remember a Swift-free landscape just a decade ago. When Big Machine Records released Taylor Swift, full of suburban-teen longing and angst, the boys Swift was singing about were unknown fellow high schoolers (or figments of her adolescent fantasies). Those feelings, packaged up with twangy melodies and classically structured songwriting, spawned five consecutive chart hits, including “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and scored Swift a Best New Artist Grammy nomination.

Aside from its strong commercial performance, Taylor Swift served as an honest introduction to what we’d get from Swift for the next 10 years. If you don’t like her now, well, it’s not like she hasn’t been telling us precisely who she is since the beginning. From the very first single, “Tim McGraw,” which is also the album’s opening track, Taylor Swift shows Swift’s obsession with the impermanence of relationships – an astounding number of her songs foresee the end of a relationship, a future without it, often when it’s just beginning. But tracks like “Picture to Burn” also betray a bitter streak when she’s scorned. She’s a Romeo-and-Juliet romantic who’ll push you off the balcony if you betray her.

It’s a character she’d hone on the follow-up, Fearless, through Speak Now, the poppier Red, and the very pop 1989. As her love interests became more famous, she switched the name-dropping from fan-girling over Tim McGraw to subtly hinting that lyrics might refer to Jonas Brother here or a One Directioner there. She became, essentially, the perfect pop star of our time, a mastermind of tabloid publicity with the country-honed storytelling chops to feed the narrative through song.

And it all began with Taylor Swift being Taylor Swift on Taylor Swift.

1. “Tim McGraw”

Swift wrote the song in math class during her freshman year of high school, humming the melody to herself while thinking about her boyfriend at the time. She knew they were going to break up when he went off to college in the fall; they shared a love of McGraw. And thus she came up with the marketing gimmick that likely helped the song break through – the unknown newcomer name-dropping a successful artist in her genre. It was presumably unwitting, though given Swift’s savvy since then, you never know; from a 2016 perspective, this technique looks like a precursor to her now-legendary ability to spin tabloid romances into coy hit songs. As a single, it hit the Billboard 100, peaking at No. 40, and established Swift as a singer-songwriter to be reckoned with. The video demonstrated that she was young and pretty and relatable, showing her in lush, romantic scenes straight out of a swoony teen romance. These were tropes that would serve her dear-diary approach in the future.

2. “Picture to Burn”

Welcome to another of Swift’s defining song types: the woman-scorned track. She’d later perfect this art form with the chanting and drumbeats of “Bad Blood,” but the country-radio translation here includes some electric guitar, banjo, and a “stupid old pick-up truck you never let me drive” (not to mention a bit of excessive twang in Swift’s vocal delivery). Oh, and here’s a lyrical nugget she’d also return to many times to come: “Go ahead and tell your friends I’m obsessive and crazy.” The blessing of Swift as a lyricist is that she admits she’s a bit intense in relationships – it’s this emotional vulnerability and self-awareness that make her a great lyricist, even if she sometimes denies these qualities in interviews.

3. “Teardrops on My Guitar”

This track’s chorus serves as nothing less than a thesis statement for Swift’s songwriting: “He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar.” So specific that the object of her affection has a name – Drew – and yet so universal: the boy you love loves someone else. So perfectly tuned to teen longing. No wonder it was the best-performing single from the album, peaking at No. 13 on the Hot 100. The guitar of the title also has the nice, subtle effect of underscoring Swift’s identity as a songwriter – she's not just a teen star singing adults’ lyrics.

4. "A Place in This World"

“I’m just a girl … tryin’ to find a place in this world.” This is the last time Swift could believably sing such a regular-kid statement, and surely her fans ate up every word. I’m here from the future to tell you, Taylor, that you will do okay.

5. “Cold As You”

Not a total dud, but hardly a standout. On the emotion spectrum, it hits a mushy spot between the wistfulness of “Teardrops on My Guitar” and the anger of “Picture to Burn,” without an interesting unifying concept like “Tim McGraw.” With lines like, “you do what you want ‘cause I’m not what you wanted,” she’s working out wordplay skills that will later serve her better on songs such as “Mine” and “Red.” But at this ballad tempo, we need something more to grab onto than, “I’ve never been anywhere cold as you.”

6. “The Outside”

This creeps awfully close to pop, aside from the occasional sound of a steel guitar, and it introduces another of Swift’s favorite themes: being an outsider. In this song, she’s literally on the outside looking in at a group of kids, feeling excluded. It’s an idea she’d return to later with lyrics like, “She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers” in “You Belong With Me.” And though she certainly looks more like the cheerleader type, she has said she wrote “The Outside” when she was just 12, feeling shunned for being different – taller than other girls, and more apt to spend a weekend singing at a festival than attending a sleepover.

7. “Tied Together With a Smile”

She opens with a line that feels like it addresses the listener directly: “Seems the only one who doesn’t see your beauty is the face in the mirror looking back at you.” It’s a trick – a good-natured one – that makes a certain kind of pop song extra-appealing, whether it’s Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” or One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” You find yourself singing it to yourself later because the lyrics make you feel great. No one needs this message more than the teen girls who made up Swift’s original fan base: You’re more beautiful and wonderful than you realize.

8. “Stay Beautiful”

Forget Drew from five tracks ago. “Cory’s eyes are like a jungle/He smiles, it’s like the radio.” The similes might be a little messy, but we get it. This paean to a cute boy has the added punch of Swift’s trademark way of always looking at her present life from the sage vantage point of the future: “And when you find everything you’ve looked for/I hope your love leads you back to my door/Oh, but if it don’t, stay beautiful.” This ditty’s light-hearted approach tells us that Future Taylor knows she’ll be just fine without her Cory, and we’ll be just fine without our Corys, too.

9. “Should’ve Said No”

The opening steel guitar riff is basically a sped-up version of the “Tim McGraw” opening, and the lyrics make this song your basic why-did-you-cheat-on-me jam – a less-interesting kiss-off song than “Picture to Burn.” That said, listeners love a good kiss-off song, and this relatively ho-hum track still charted, peaking at No. 33 on the Hot 100 as the album’s final single.

10. “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)”

Swift’s evocative storytelling gift is back in full force on this one, about a couple who originally meet as family friends at ages 7 and 9 and grow up to fall in love, much to their parents’ delight. The details make the song – turning up creek beds and riding in trucks at 2 a.m. – but you’re right there with her if you’ve ever been in a similar situation. (Mine was named David.) Spoiler alert: This isn’t the last time a guy is going to get down on one knee in the last verse of a Taylor Swift song.

11. “Our Song”

The concluding track pulls out all the tricks. Mellifluous lyrics begging to be sung with a twang: “I was riding shotgun with my hair undone in the front seat of his car.” And then, immediately, the sweetest imagery ever: “He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart.” The central conceit has Swift lamenting to a beau that they don’t have a song. His answer is beyond romantic: Their song is the sound of him tapping on her window when they’re sneaking out, of her voice on the phone, of him wishing he’d kissed her on their first date, “And when I got home, before I said Amen, asking God if he could play it again.” Then, just when you think it couldn’t get cuter, she adds the meta coda you’ve been waiting for: “I grabbed a pen and an old napkin and I wrote down our song.” It’s the perfect ending to this debut effort – and a hint that there would be plenty of similar songwriting in her future. 

Knights in Tarnished Armor: Shalei (Closed RP)

“… so it took me six months to sift through the data from her universe, before I was able to work out the quantum shift I needed to make the jump,” Fred said. “And then I had to chart my course almost sixteen trillion years into the past in order to get there when she was still alive. I hate the fact that I was twenty years off.”

The being Fred was talking to, an avian humanoid with golden feathers on its body, white feathers on its head, and a harness full of various electronics and enough personal weapons to make Fred happy, let loose with a raucous squawk, which every MacManus in the area translated as amused laughter, then went on with a string of chirps, warbles, and squawks, which the MacManuses translated without an instant’s hesitation.

“Fred, old friend, you’re complaining about a difference of twenty years after a sixteen trillion year flight? That’s like me complaining I hit a bandersnatch in the eyelid instead of the center of its eye. How many other people do you know who have such impossible expectations of you?”

Fred snorted and shook his head. “How long have you been here, Mousecatcher? You know the answer better than I do, I’m sure.”

“Precisely!” Mousecatcher shot back, while Ari, Ri, and Hokuto snickered. “I’m sure if your newest lady understood the situation, she’d tell you the exact same thing.”

“Doesn’t change how I expect she feels,” Fred said. “For a mortal, twenty years is a damned long time. I’d expect she felt abandoned, despite my promise.”

“Why don’t you ask her, love?” Ari asked, nudging Fred and pointing toward where Shalei’s door was mounted on the nearest elevator shaft, about a hundred yards from where they were standing by the outer wall. She waved toward Shalei and Ash, while asking, “David, would you tell them where we are?”