Hanging by a Thread Ben Solo introspective ficlet Spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker! Ben Solo hung by the tips of the fingers if his right hand and drew on every precious shred of the Force he could gather. He was exhausted, but alive. More alive that he had felt in years. The thought of his new life, brought a pang of the evils of the past, but he pushed it aside, unwilling to let it dissuade or distract him now. Searching for another hand hold, he found another small outcropping and grabbed on. There was a momentary relief that he was secure. Now, he had to attempt a Force jump to make his way back to Rey. He dared not try to access their connection and take her attention from Palpatine, but reaching out, he sensed that battle could go either way. He jumped. While in the air, not yet having to desperately search for purchase, Ben, again felt the presence of his mother. Just as she had given him pause before finishing Rey on the Death Star, she now infused him with her Force energy. He was invigorated and his Force vision showed him where to grab on to the rock face. He did not have the same connection with his mother as he had with Rey, but the connection was still strong. His mother was near death and she was using what she had left to get him back to Rey, to destroy Palpatine. He could not hear her words, but her presence and her message could not be more clear. I love you, Ben. Hold on to the light. He jumped again. His father's appearance on the Imperial fragment was gift from the Force as well. His mother had given him a moment of clarity and the apparition was the confirmation of is redemption. To have spoken the same words to his father as he had on that catwalk. To be given another chance to say those words and this time to mean them. Again, the condemnation of his patricide rose, but it was quashed, by the look in his father's eyes. That same look of love. That same look of the pain of his past mistakes. That same look, telling him that it was okay for them both to go...home. I don't know if I have the strength. You do. He jumped. Hanging by both hands, a vision of Luke standing over his bed with a pained expression and his brilliant green lightsaber poised to strike filled Ben's mind. Tears welled in his eyes as he remembered Luke's pleas for forgiveness and understanding. His uncle never had a chance. Snoke and Palpatine had already poisoned him. The vision shifts from the academy to Crait. Ben closes his eyes as he watched the height of his hubris spit from his mouth as his Uncle toyed with him. He can now see that Luke had shed his fear and grief and had stepped out in a mind boggling display of Force power to enable to resistance to escape. Kylo had fallen for it. For that, Ben was thankful. He jumped. He was getting closer to the cliff's edge. He could see the the a dazzling, shimmering light above him. He could feel that the life force Palptine had taken left little for Rey to fight with. But fight she did. Was his mother giving Rey her Force power as well? Ben had to get to her before it was too late. He closed his eyes and jumped. He was on the fragment of the Death Star. Rey had healed him. But he still sat there weak and reeling. She was leaving. What did she say? I did want to take your hand. Ben's hand. Ben's hand reached up over the cliff's edge and he pulled himself up onto solid ground. Lurching toward Rey, wounded as he was, he watched as Palpatine disintegrated under his own Force Lightning. Rey stepped back and fell to the ground. Just he reached her, pulling her into a cradled position, he could feel that she was gone. Instinctively, he placed his hand on her belly, and let his and his mother's Force flow from him into her. He knew that his mother had been keeping him going. He knew what it meant to give this Power to Rey. It was okay. He was ready to go home. So ready to see his mother and father again. His Uncle Luke, too. The color was returning to her face. Her eyes were coming back to life. He could feel her take a deep breath. She looked at him. Awe and wonder and hope and forgiveness were evident in her exhausted features. "Ben? she said, sitting up in his arms. She was so close. So lovely. So full of light. He was having trouble focusing. Like he was no longer holding her, but she was holding him. "Ben!" she declared, a bubbling excitement, muted by weakness. She was touching his face, her lips so agonizingly close. Why would she kiss him? Why now? Why as he was about to die? The touch of her lips on his was euphoric. He felt it in the very spot she had killed him and saved him all at once. He could not see her any more. Light filled his vision as he felt himself fall away from her. He lifted a hand, Ben's hand, and took hold of hers just as he faded into to Force.