Captain Phasma should have guessed that Kylo Ren would be in trouble the minute he started fixating on “the girl.” She should have ordered her men back to Takodana when Ren returned with the girl instead of the droid. Instead, she was instructed by Hux to bring Ren in the conference room. She marched down the cold hallways of the Starkiller base to the holding cell where the girl was being held, pulled rank on the stubborn door lock, and found Ren hovering over the unconscious girl. He traced her cheek with bare, quivering fingers. It was the most pathetic display of affection she had ever seen.
“Sir,” Phasma said.
Ren rounded on her, a stance that would have been more intimidating if he wasn’t wriggling his hand back into his glove. She bit her laugh back and gave him Hux’s message before leaving him to creep on his victim. The girl was nothing.
The destruction of Starkiller base proved her horribly wrong.
Now it was her and Hux running the show while Ren recovered from his severe wounds on the Finalizer. Wounds that that girl inflicted on him. She had seen Ren’s ruthlessness in battle and against pieces of equipment. He should have easily struck her down, a fact that Hux liked to flaunt whenever he had the chance.
“Have you seen Kylo Ren lately?” Hux asked her as they walked to the mess hall, “His wounds have all healed now, but he still refuses to leave the sick bay. Snoke may have to make an executive decision about this soon. Honestly, to have been defeated by such a weakling—”
“—that destroyed one of our most powerful weapons. Thank you for the reminder.”
Hux tried to spit out something in response, but nothing meaningful came out. For weeks, he had followed her around like a puppy with a nasally bark about Ren, and Ren wasn’t there to bark back. She needed the second half of this pair of useful idiots to come back and bicker at each other so she could work in peace.
Later that evening, she found enough spare time to visit Ren in the sick bay. He had his own dimly lit room of dark metal walls and a bed in the center. Ren didn’t bother sitting up when Phasma entered, preferring to pool himself in the gray linen. The scar across his face had dulled since last time she had seen it.
“The doctors tell me that you’re physically fit to return to duty, sir,” Phasma said.
He stared at her for a moment with heavily bagged eyes, then stared back up at the ceiling.
She approached his bed, laid a gloved hand on the bed, and said, “You need to come back on duty.”
Again, no answer. The doctors had warned her about this, but she didn’t count on how irritated she felt right now. Hux’s sniveling for attention and Ren’s old temper tantrums she was accustomed to, not this. She put her hand over his throat, squeezed just enough to let him know she could crush his windpipe. He didn’t respond.
“This is because of the girl, isn’t it?” she said as the connection of past and present dawned on her. “You let her escape.”
“No,” he said in a raspy whisper. “She is strong with the force, stronger than I thought.”
She let go of his throat, now pinched pink from her fingers. “You might be able to fool Hux with that, but not I. There was no way for her to survive, unless you wanted her to live. Why?”
For a moment she thought Ren would fall back into depressive silence, but instead he sat up and swallowed before speaking again.
“She is strong with the Force,” he said more to the reflection in her armor than to her face. “I wanted to train her. She refused.”
“Then why didn’t you kill her?”
He looked up at her, his face flushing to an embarrassing pink. She knew the answer, but he needed to say it out loud.
“She’s special,” he said.
Her sigh rattled in her helmet.
“You know what you need to do, right?”
He blanched. “Snoke might—”
“This isn’t about Snoke, this is about you. The greatest challenge you face will be to kill what you love. Only then will you gain true power over yourself and your…volatile emotions. Once you’ve done that, no obstacle too great will stop you from achieving your goals.”
Color returned to his face as he mused on her advice.
“I already killed my father,” he said.
“Did you love him?”
“No, of course not,” he spat out a little too quickly.
“Then you took the easy path. Take the hard path if you want to grow stronger,” she turned away from him and walked towards the door, “I must return to my duties now.”
As the door slid open, Ren called out, “Who did you kill in order to become stronger, captain?”
She paused at the threshold, grateful that the helmet hid her grin. “We’re not that close, Ren.”
“And if we were?”
“You would know.”
The door slid behind her, sealing Ren inside. It was on him to decide how to save his tarnished reputation. She had more important matters to attend to.