The blood ran hot and cloying down his face, like a red curtain drawn across his vision. Ren had barely noticed the wound until he was left alone; now that the object of his fixation had sprinted back out of sight into a shifting forest of black trees, the Sith overturned himself to stand, one gloved hand coming up to clutch his ruined face. He could feel how far the gash extended—it was a blinding, white-hot pain, as if the plasma was still in contact with his flesh. He knew from experience that it would not heal.
His only consolation, then, was that he had delivered a similar blow upside the back of the traitor whose side the girl now ran to. He knew her name was Rey, having delved deep inside her identity (as she knew it), but he had found no occasion to use it. He still thought of her as the girl, as if no other existed in the galaxy. To Kylo Ren in that moment, it may as well have been the case.
His palm pressed hard against the oozing wound, as much as to prime himself for retribution as it was an effort to hold it closed. Ren grit his teeth and roared, his scream drowned out by the ominous cracking of tectonic plates as the land heaved up around him. His father was dead, his demon vanquished, but the First Order had lost the day. All that remained was the Supreme Leader's order:
Bring her to me.
He would not let her get away. He would not be crippled in the Force by a scavenger who had barely known how to wield her weapon against him at the start. He was confident he could overcome her if given another chance, even if he was brutalized in his current state.
If only they had more time.
Kylo heaved his tall body upward, his cape hanging in tattered ruins about his shoulder. He stumbled, igniting his saber by accident, but he kept it blazing as he threw himself after her. He had lost his visual, but the trail of boot prints was evidence enough of where the girl had gone. Even without breadcrumbs, he knew.
He did not discover her kneeling over a corpse, but standing stock-still in the middle of the clearing where he had confronted them in their flight. Kylo scarcely had time to register the figure before his attention cut to a towering black tree, falling in an uprooted downswing on a collision course toward earth. The girl was standing right in its path.
Kylo struck out with his hand, shoving her off her feet with the Force and delivering her to safety several yards away. Her attention misdirected towards the stormtrooper's whereabouts, she was as much a ragdoll as she had been when he had Force pushed her mere moments before, but the nature of his assault was decidedly very different this time. The tree landed between them with a thunderous crash, throwing up a tidal wave of snow; once the air had cleared of mist, Ren started forward, hauling himself over the hulking carcass with his good arm… before collapsing unceremoniously into the snow on the other side.
Emotion at his fall did not appear to register on his face; he was operating on sheer force of will, his consciousness burning like a weakened candle about to gutter out in a dark room. When he stirred to rise, he left a conspicuously red stain behind him in the snow.
"Where are your friends?" he called to her. Were it not for the palpable desperation in his own voice, his words would have sounded almost taunting. "Don't tell me that they left you!" The bowcaster wound promptly brought him to one knee, but Ren refused to let it carry him down further.
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