From behind the closed doors of Kylo’s new throne room on board the new star-destroyer, the Legacy, General Hux’s chokes echo for his subordinates to hear.
It’s been almost a week since the battle of Crait; a week with Kylo Ren at the helm of what remains of the First Order, fighting with all of their spare strength to find the pitiful handful of Resistance members that slipped through his fingers. Cowards! Kylo remembers bellowing the word in the abandoned mine, revelling in how the walls seem to quake at his prowess, only to be interrupted by Hux’s intruding hand on his shoulder and his shrill voice telling him that they should be going.
The same General Hux who’s currently suspended in the air, held in place by Kylo’s powers contorting his throat inwards, choking him.
After all the lessons that Kylo has tried to teach him, Kylo can’t believe that Hux has the audacity to keep questioning him. Kylo admits to himself that the waves of blistering and unrelenting hatred that he’s used to feeling radiating from Hux’s mind towards him seem to have, somehow, been silenced. Perhaps Hux’s obvious feelings of pure disgust towards him, the same feelings that obviously made Hux terminate his relationship with Kylo, have simply transcended far beyond the Force’s comprehension and has hit radio silence.
But time after time, Hux’s resilience to Kylo’s way of leadership is insulting. It was irritating before he was Supreme Leader, when they were supposed equals, but it’s completely insulting now, as though Kylo has made it this far along the path of the dark side without having the capability to command armies.
Yet, one Armie remains elusive.
Blinking and silencing his most personal and sentimental feelings for Hux, Kylo grits his teeth. This is not the man he would have given his life for only a year ago. Their relationship has been over for quite some time, with Hux having dumped Kylo months ago without valid explanation. They’re foes again, competing against each other for power like they were when they were simply Lieutenant Hux and Kylo Ren fresh from the Jedi Massacre. Not lovers, not anymore.
“Ch….ch…” Hux gags around the words he’s so desperately trying to say, tip-toes barely touching the floor as he tries to pull the invisible fingers from around his throat. His cheeks are bright red, eyes tearing up, and every movement filled with an embarrassing desperation. Kylo wants to roll his eyes.
“Speak up, General,” Kylo sneers, lifting Hux higher. “I’m afraid I can’t quite hear you around your chokes.”
Hux takes as much air in as he can manage in an open-mouthed gasp.
“Ch–child,” he manages to cough.
Kylo turns his nose up, “And you think calling me names is going to stop me? You’re more foolish than I believed.”
“Child,” Hux says again, only this time, he lets one of his hands slide down to his stomach, palm flattening against the bump that’s been hiding underneath his greatcoat.
Kylo frowns, looking from Hux’s closing eyes to where his hand sits on his belly—and the realisation hits Kylo like a raging stampede of angry banthas. He gasps and releases his hold immediately, though Hux drops with a heavy thud to the ground that sends waves of pain throughout his already-aching body. He’s gasping and panting, head hanging between his shoulders as he tries to get the fight back into his lungs, crawling to his knees where he curls in on his stomach, coughing, trying to get air back into himself…and his baby.
“I didn’t know,” Kylo kneels in front of Hux, grasping hold of Hux’s arm with one hand and feeling bold enough to stroke through his hair with the other. “If I’d known–”
Kylo stops, silencing himself. The tip of Hux’s blaster is suddenly against his chest, pushing into him with an angered vigour, his finger already on the trigger ready.
“Get away from me,” Hux looks up slowly, tears streaming down his red cheeks. “Get the fuck away from me, Kylo Ren. As if knowing about our child could’ve stopped you from killing me.”
“Yes, you brute. Of course it’s yours. Do you take me for a cheat as well as a liar? Don’t touch me, don’t you dare–!”
Hux slaps Kylo’s hand away from him using the blaster, and Kylo even finds himself holding his hands up defensively despite being able to throw the weapon from Hux’s hand with a single thought if he so wished.
“I’m sorry, Hux,” Kylo says, without hesitation. “We’re finished. I-I thought you hated me–”
Hux stands slowly on shaking knees, still careful to ensure his blaster stays aimed at Kylo’s chest. He backs off slowly, weapon still up, hand still over his stomach.
“Hate you?” Hux blinks, letting fresh tears fall, disappointment flooding his eyes. “I sincerely wish I did.”
With his greatcoat now parted, Kylo can see the true extent of Hux’s pregnancy.
Hux looks as though he's been drinking too much, having acquired a little pot belly that's pudgy and round, but knowing what he knows now, Kylo shakes his head. It isn't a beer belly, it isn't weight gain from too much food. It's a baby, it's Kylo's baby, it's—
"Stop staring," Hux barks as he pulls his coat back around himself and hides the bump extraordinarily well. At a glance, no one would know the General's secret but despite Hux's harsh tone and his blaster pointed at him, Kylo can't look away, reliving the past week where he's choked Hux and thrown him into walls and spoken to him like he's the dirt on his boot.
"I'm sorry," Kylo says.
He means it, this time. It's sincere, he can feel it, but Hux's expression doesn't change.
"No," Hux lowers his blaster and puts it back onto the clip on his belt. "You're not. If it weren't for me choking around the news that I'm carrying your child then I'd be dead on the floor right now. The child too. By your hand. Supreme Leader."
Hux doesn't so much as brush shoulders with Kylo as he walks past him and out of the throne room, his arms still wrapped around his belly as though hugging himself. He's barely out of the door when Kylo grabs his lightsaber and raises it to begin striking anything he can touch. The walls, the droids, everything is singed and broken within minutes of Kylo’s outburst, leaving him standing in the middle of another wrecked room, breathing heavily with his hair obscuring his eyes.
Hux’s words echo in his mind, ‘Hate you? I sincerely wish I did’, as he sinks to his knees and casts his lightsaber aside, letting his cloak pool around him on the floor.
Kylo has always thought Hux to be more complicated than most; a man with so much inner turmoil, with an overwhelming concoction of self-doubt, ruthlessness and an unfulfilled need to be praised. And all that, Kylo feels within himself. But there has never been any doubt in Kylo’s mind of their incompatibility, of Hux’s strong hatred for his co-commander, so what would be the point in pursuing anything other than a rough night here and there?
Destined to be alone like Vader, Kylo accepted his fate long before he fell in love with Hux.
Heading back to his chambers with a noticeable stomp to his steps, Kylo disregards the passing officers and solely focuses on clearing his head before he bursts with rage, absently wondering where Hux has gone to, but having the General in his mind only makes Kylo want to tear his own heart out so he bites his lip and locks the door to his chambers with a low growl. Finally, alone. Pulling off his robes one layer at a time until he’s down to just his soft, black leggings, Kylo makes his way to the little meditation chamber adjoining his main room, settling himself down on the little black mat in the centre, the door swishing closed behind him, desperate to shut everything else out and get inside his own thoughts.
The room’s only source of light is a little bulb above him, embedded into the ceiling. Kylo doesn’t need light. He sits with his legs crossed, shifting slightly so he’s comfortable, unknowing of how long he’s going to be sat here, on account of his emotions running so wildly. At first, it’s no different than any other meditation session; his anger and rage being concentrated into one sphere of power, fuelling his feelings, heightening his senses until all he can feel is the Dark Side binding him together like an ancient riddle that’s refusing to be solved. But suddenly, Kylo gives a sharp groan in pain as he feels things shift from a shadowy calm to an ominous discomfort, thrusting him into the depths of a vision.
He’s standing inside his own chambers, a mere onlooker to the world he’s been thrown into, forbidden to interact. The shrine holding Vader’s ruined helmet tell him that these are his chambers, but the playpen, high-chair and various toys scattered around the floor make Kylo question it.
Like everything is suddenly moving in slow motion, Kylo sees Hux, and his heart flutters wildly.
The General looks radiant; with his hair grown slightly longer and not combed back with that gross gel he always used, he looks ten years younger. His soft belly is flat once again, hidden by his black Grand Marshall’s uniform, and the baby—toddler—he was carrying is now held tightly in his arms, bouncing happily. She looks around two years old, a head full of messy black hair and a blue, hooded towel wrapped around her shoulders. Kylo doesn’t want to look but finds he can’t draw his gaze back. Is this truly a vision of the future? Or a teasing show of the life he can’t have? This reality’s Kylo Ren emerges then, holding a set of little pink pyjamas and he’s giggling when he wraps his arms around Hux, leaving their daughter a little squashed in the middle of them. It’s the happiest that Kylo has ever seen Hux and himself, and the little girl is beautiful.
‘Did you even try to dry her hair?’ Kylo asks, ruffling the girl’s dark hair. ‘It’s still soaked!’
‘It’s hard to towel-dry something so messy,’ Hux replies, shrugging out of the embrace to rub the hood of the towel against the girl’s head. ‘It’s Papa’s fault for giving you such untameable hair, isn’t it, darling?’
“I can’t,” Kylo says, turning his back on the scene. “I can’t watch any more. Take this ridicule away.”
But he remains there, listening to the way Hux softly says ‘I love you’ to his Kylo, to the way their daughter calls out ‘Papa! Daddy!’ over and over again. It pains Kylo to hear. The true nature of Hux’s pregnancy and the birth of their daughter may mean that he’ll lose Hux forever, more so than he already has. Will he raise the baby on the Finalizer? Or will he flee to an unknown planet for safety?
Kylo looks back over his shoulder, seeing the family settled on the sofa. The little girl, now dressed in her soft, pink & white pyjamas, is falling asleep on Kylo’s chest, all ready for bed, whilst Hux reads a book to her, Hux’s and Kylo’s fingers interlocked amongst the domestic bliss. It’s all so real, so close that Kylo can almost touch it—
Is this a joke? Kylo tries to pull himself away from the projection but nothing happens; only when a vision is so raw and certain does he struggle to free himself. Maybe the child is a sign, a gift, and a way of the Force telling him that part of him still dwells with Hux, incomplete without him.
“This is the future I want,” Kylo says, squatting down in front of the couch, eyes locked on his counterpart’s smiling face. “I can have it. Can’t I? It can be mine. If only I…have Hux.”
As though the Force is whispering a quiet ‘yes’ in his ear, Kylo blinks and allows the vision fade like smoke, watching it disappear and finding himself returned to his quiet meditation chamber. Calmer than he anticipated, Kylo stands up and stretches, rolling his shoulders, shaking off the anxieties that come with such an overwhelmingly emotional vision. After all the physical and verbal assaults he’s thrown Hux’s way over the past few months, it’s going to take a lot to convince Hux of their happy future.
It’s going to be difficult, but Kylo has never felt more determined.
But the next month yields nothing for Kylo’s mission.
He sends a hamper of fruits and exotic chocolates to Hux’s chambers that are sent back to him with a big boot-print in the middle of it. He offers to accompany Hux to his check-up appointments but Hux’s files then disappear from the system, hacked and deleted by an unknown party—but not before Kylo reads that Hux is 7 ½ months pregnant and he is, indeed, expecting a girl. He even presents Hux with the title of Grand Marshall, which he gladly accepts, but continues to reject every advance Kylo makes towards the two of them reconciling.
Kylo doesn’t even want to think about his attempt to prove his willingness to submit under Hux by going to him with a Force suppressant collar to be fastened around his neck. At least it revealed to both of them that the baby is Force sensitive too: she did not take kindly to having the collar in her presence, causing Hux a tremendous amount of pain by her wriggling and kicking.
‘You’re hurting her!’ Hux had exclaimed, holding his belly whilst backing away. ‘Get out!’
‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry—‘
Kylo wonders how many times he can apologise before Hux calls him pathetic.
Even now, as Kylo kneels on the cold floor of Hux’s chambers, wearing only a pair of his soft, dark trousers, he can’t help but think of himself as pathetic. This is all his fault. He isn’t certain why he was so rough with Hux; throwing him into walls and choking him. Maybe it’s because Kylo is destined to kill everything he loves, or maybe he’s poor at managing his grief at losing Hux when they parted, making all of his emotions manifest into hatred for the only person he’s ever felt loved by.
Either way, Kylo bows his head and prays that he’ll be forgiven. He senses Hux’s approach like an imminent tsunami, ready to destroy anything in its path. Kylo does not move, though his stomach twists and turns into knots. He does his best to keep the Force-vision alive in his head, holding onto it with everything he has, picturing that dark-haired toddler on Hux’s hip, both smiling like they’ll never be this happy again. It’s the future Kylo wants, needs.
The door opens and Hux enters, his hand absently stroking over the bump of his belly. Kylo doesn’t look up, keeping his head down and only letting his gaze grace Hux’s boots, unworthy to look anywhere else.
“Before you kick me out,” Kylo says, lifting his palm from the floor for a moment to hold it up. “Let me talk to you. Please. Please.”
He takes Hux’s utter silence as a ‘speak quickly, Ren’ and decides to go for it.
“This is my last attempt to win you back,” Kylo begins, damning the shakiness to his voice. “If, after this, you tell me to leave you be then I swear to you that I will. I won’t concern you with my sentimentality again. We’ll return to our formal positions and that will be it. But I…cannot begin to understand how much I’ve hurt you, Hux. I won’t tell you that I’m sorry because I’ve said it so much that I fear you’ll think I won’t mean it if I say it now. But I plan to spend the rest of my miserable life showing you how sorry I am.” Kylo stands up slowly and holds his arms out, opening himself up to whatever Hux wishes to do, yet he still keeps his gaze downwards. “I’ll do anything to have you back, Armitage. For you to trust me again. Anything. Name it, and I’ll do it. I am yours to do with what you please. Just…let me start making it up to you. And her.”
He fully expects for Hux to hit him, beat him, or possibly even tie him down and fuck him until he’ll be limping tomorrow, and as Hux takes slow steps forward towards Kylo, Kylo swallows hard, fearful. But he must do this. His fear is nothing compared to what Hux felt when he was being choked or thrown, the fear he felt when he found out he was pregnant with Kylo’s child.
“Look at me,” Hux orders, and Kylo does, wanting to see the radiant Hux that was in his vision but, instead, he sees a heartbroken man.
There are tears brimming in Hux’s eyes, but his cheeks show evidence of tear-tracks and Kylo can’t help but wonder whether Hux was crying upon entry to his chambers only minutes ago. But just as Kylo remembers, and that he’s glad haven’t disappeared, the stars still sparkle in Hux’s eyes.
When Hux moves almost too suddenly, Kylo flinches. But the pain doesn’t come. There’s no slap to his face or knife through his heart. Instead, two warm arms wrap around his chest, hugging him tighter than he’s ever been held before. Hux’s copper hair rubs against Kylo’s cheek as he nuzzles him as though trying to get as close as possible to him, make up for the lost time they’ve been apart.
“Don’t leave me,” Hux says, pulling apart for a moment to grab Kylo’s wrist, guiding it to the soft, curved top of his belly. “Us. We don’t want you to go.”
Kylo’s breath hitches. It’s all he’s wanted to hear for months.
With the passion that he’s kept locked away for his lover since their separation, Kylo moans as he leans and kisses Hux, like he’s finally getting air back into his lungs after suffocating, like breaking through the surface of a dark and raging sea to finally glimpse at the bright sky again, taking it all in and never wanting to let go. And underneath Kylo’s palm, their daughter kicks.
“She’s happy,” Hux says. “I can feel it.”
“So can I,” Kylo smiles, knowing how lucky he is to have a second chance like this, like a warmth radiating through his chest.
Unable to find any more words to say, Kylo looks to Hux, eyes pleading with him to speak for him but Hux looks just as lost, eyes searching Kylo’s. It’s not the first time that unspoken words pass between them, and Kylo knows it won’t be the last, but Hux’s consciousness is coherent enough for the both of them, letting out a steady stream of warm words that surround the three of them like the strongest of embraces.
Family, home, together.