A PAIR OF CERULEAN EYES SNAPPED OPEN IN THE DIM-LIGHTED ROOM.
Its owner tried to sit on the soft surface in which his body rested to no avail. No matter how much he tried, his body would not move; his limbs would not allow him to.
Focused on your reading, you did not notice the movement until a desperate grunt and a pained gasp reached your hearing. Lifting your eyes from the datapad in which you were reading about some new treatments — for kriff’s sake, the man has been lying on that bed for almost a month now; you even thought there was no chance he would ever wake up —, you stared at the ginger man with widened eyes.
He was awake.
Part of you did not think that possible to happen. Part of you even expected him to just… simply die. It would lessen your guilty, after all you were not the one to kill him — in truth, you tried to save him.
Flying from your seat, you approached the bed — your bed, which you relinquished for his use — and with trembling hands — you could simply not control yourself — you touched his forehead, forcing him to lie back down.
The fever was gone. The traces of it, however, remained still in his sweaty and slightly flushed and otherworldly pale skin.
“Shhh…” You placed a finger on your lips, indicating he should not force himself to speak. After a month without using his vocal chords — except for screaming a name, Brendol Hux, and asking desperately for the man, whoever he was, to leave him alone and forgive him for his mistakes, in the middle of what you identified as nightmares — it was only natural that his voice would come out coarse around the edges.
Reaching for the bedside table, you retrieved a bottle with vincha tea and brought it to his lips. He eyed you with curiosity, blue eyes conveying what his sore throat and broken voice would not allow him to, but accepted the drink, nonetheless.
“It’s vincha tea,” you said, holding the back of his head with one of your hands, the other holding the bottle closer to his dried-out lips. “It’ll take away the pain and help you sleep.”
“H-How lo-long?” he managed in his coarse voice; his hand wrapped around your wrist in a desperate grip. It was not enough to hurt you, but it only made you certain that once he was fully healed, he would be much stronger than you could handle. It made you bit your bottom lip nervously and doubt your actions for the umpteenth time.
“More than three weeks, less than a month,” you replied, forcing him to drink some more. His eyes became heavy, you could tell by the way he started forcing himself to keep them open. “Sleep. We’ll talk when you wake up again.”
Before you were finished, his lids were completely closed, and his grip softened around your wrist.
You let out a tired sigh.
If anything, you were completely tired.
Like dead tired.
Since you rescued him — and you still did not know what came over you to help him; you should have left him for dead, the galaxy would certainly appreciate the gesture — you have not slept a full night. Always worried he would die in your care, always worried he would wake up and kill you.
Not that you were all that against having your life ended. You thought about it more than once. But you would not do it yourself. You did not want to get yourself killed either — the idea of having your life reaped by other terrified you; you have seen it too many times to think of it as a non-traumatic event — but sometimes you wondered how it would feel to go to sleep one night and not wake up anymore.
After having had almost everything you cared about taken from you, sometimes you wondered about why you were the only one to survive countless times. Even if most people took you for fragile and breakable due to your strong convictions of not ending lives — you were a healer; healers saved lives, they did not end them and the idea of taking someone else’s life repulsed you — you were quite strong. The home planet of your family was destroyed when you were but an infant. Your parents thankfully were already on Dantooine when it happened, or else you would have died right there. From there on, you have faced countless Wars — Civil Wars included, it seemed Dantooine would never see and feel peace ever again — and countless new cases of diseases.
That was most likely the reason why you decided to pursue the same profession of your late father and… you bit down your bottom lip, your late husband as well. The very thought of him, taken from you in the very beginning of your marriage, made tears spring to life in your eyes.
Rubbing your nose, you closed your eyes and willed yourself not to cry. Your guest — if that’s how you could call him; he was in no way a hostage either — would wake up at any minute and as a good host — for the lack of better term — you should have something for him to eat and then you would sit down and have a long — or as long as his sore throat would allow — talk.
You did not have a problem with low self-esteem, but there were days in which you hated yourself. Today was one of these days.
No matter how much you told yourself not to cry, you ended up crying. The thought of your husband — dead and without a proper burial; the body, or rests of what was once a body, never found —, of the millions of lives taken in the horrors of Wars and smaller conflicts with factions inside the planet and even with the Syndicate and the last attempt of invasion probably commanded by the very man that now slept in your bed…
You should have left him for dead…
The voice inside of your head hissed and you could not agree more. However… However… There was no however. By killing him you could avenge the friends you lost and save… only the Maker knows how many lives.
You should kill him…
The voice continued. Nevertheless, you were no good with a weapon, except for defending yourself — life in Dantooine made sure that every woman and children knew fairly well how to take care of themselves — and you would not kill him now. If you had to kill him, you should have done it before.
A month before.
With a sigh, you finished the soup you were preparing and was ready to head back to your room when the lights went out. Ever since the First Order tried to invade the planet, the region in which you lived suffered with blackouts. The only place that could not stay without light was the main hospital — or what was left of it.
Shrugging, you waited for the lights to come back before putting the soup in a bowl. In the darkness, your usually acute senses seemed to sharpen even more. You could hear the beating of your heart and the low grunts your guest — you did not dare voice his name, last you wanted one of your neighbors to know you were housing the very man responsible for the last, and thankfully unsuccessful attack — let out.
It seemed he was awake yet again.
As if on cue, the lights flickered in a few times until it held. With the bowl in your hands, you entered the bedroom only to find him sitting against the headboard; his shaky and pale arms barely holding him up.
The blanket covering his chest fell to his waist and you could see how heavily he was breathing. He did not attempt to speak this time, instead, he continued to stare at you intensely, his blue eyes thoroughly focused on you. His nostrils flared, probably because of the smell of the soup. Although kibla greens were highly nutritious and flavorful, you found its smell a bit nauseating.
In small steps you approached the bed and placed the bowl on the bedside table. With indecisive gestures, you adjusted the pillows, so he could rest against them more comfortably.
“I brought you soup,” you announced, not really sure what should be your first words to him. He seemed to have taken your advice to heart and did not attempt to speak as you sat on the mattress and raised the spoon to his mouth.
The thought of caring for an enemy and for an invader as you would for any of your patients made part of you to revolt and your stomach to churn, but you swallowed the sentiment and tried to smile encouragingly at him.
He did not seem to like to be mouth-feed one bit, but did not fight you. He merely scrunched his nose, like a child, even tilted his head aside in an almost imperceptibly gesture, but tasted the soup, nonetheless. His blue eyes widened a fraction in surprise and his mouth was more compliant the next time you raised the spoon.
This time, a genuine smile curved your lips. It was the same reaction your patients always showed whenever you offered them kibla green soup. The smell was abominably, but it tasted heavenly.
He ate in silence.
When you were done, you offered him a bottle with water and this time he seemed capable of holding it on his own. You did not let go of it, nonetheless. In three gulps he retreated, resting his head against the headboard. His ginger hair was completely messed up and his face had more facial hair than you had seen in the datapad you retrieved later in the hospital.
You controlled your urge to remove and smoothing a bang from his forehead and stepped back. However, before you could go far — before you could even move away from the bed — he held onto your wrist, making you shift your attention back to him.
It took him a while to speak, as if he was trying to get rid of the coarseness in his voice. When he did, however, you were surprised at how clear — and shocking; they were definitely shocking — his words were.
“Who am I?”
Yet again, you found yourself unable to speak.
He wetted his lips and you found yourself offering him more of the water, which he refused with the hand that was not holding onto you, a bit more forcefully than you would have liked.
“And who…” He breathed through his nose. You could bet his throat burnt with the effort to speak. He tried again, “Who are you?”
That he did not know who he was a surprise, that he did not know you was somewhat a relief. You furrowed your brows, nonetheless. However, nothing could have prepared you for the next words to leave his lips,
“I-I… I don’t re-remember…” He coughed. This time, when you offered him the bottle of water, he accepted it without protest. He drank to the point of having a bit trickling down his chin and his neck. “I don’t remember anything.”
There was silence. Sepulchral silence. None of you dared to speak. In the quiet space, you could hear your heartbeat skipping.
“You don’t…” You furrowed your brows and wetted your lips nervously. “You don’t remember anything?”
You were at loss… What could you possibly say? You knew almost nothing about him. His surname — he said, more like screamed terrified, his father’s name more than once, so you knew for a fact that he was known as Hux — and given the datapad currently in your possession, his datapad, or of someone that worked with him, you knew he was from the First Order. A General.
His complete name was Armitage Hux.
That was what you said.
You felt rather stupid as the words left your lips.
“You are Armitage Hux.”
He narrowed his icy, blue eyes at you. You felt a shiver run down your spine. Damn, he knew how to scare people off.
“I know it,” he replied, almost breathless. He glared at you as if what you said was the stupidest thing he had ever heard.
With your brows furrowed — you did not understand what he meant, but you did understand that he was tired and keeping that conversation in the position he was would not do — you forced him to lie down again; your hands on his shoulders.
He obeyed without question, but as soon as his head hit the pillow, he gripped your wrist again. You knew you could easily break off, but you decided to amuse him a little bit more.
You sat on the edge of the bed, unable to look at him in the eye. You had an idea, but you did not know if you should try it out. If it was even ethical to begin with. While you debated with yourself silently, you busied your free hand by checking his bandages. His side was almost healed, but the gush on his chest would take more time to heal properly. You almost touched him there, but his grip over your wrist tightened and you retreated. His gesture brought you back to the present situation.
It did not mean you would speak. After all, what did he want you to say? You knew almost nothing about him. You knew that he was a General for a dark faction attempting to rule the galaxy very much like the old Empire once did. A dictatorship. Not that dictators recognized themselves as such. Every villain saw themselves as heroes, you reminded yourself. A faction that now faced the Rebel Alliance.
And… you also knew that as a General he was most likely responsible for only kriff knows how many deaths. But apart from that, you knew nothing about him.
“The First Order…?” he whispered. His tone was so low, and his eyes were closed, as if he feared your answer. For a moment, you thought that maybe he had just fallen asleep again. His bluish eyes snapped open and he stared at you expectantly.
“What is the last thing you remember?” you asked, genuinely concerned. He did not have any terrible bruises on his head when you found him, and you doubted he could have hit it anywhere to cause amnesia.
He furrowed his brows.
He did not know.
He could not remember.
When you last saw, the words spilled from your mouth torrentially. You simply could not stop talking.
“The First Order attacked you…” You bit your bottom lip. You hoped he would buy it. “They…” Your lips quivered, you felt the need to cry when you thought about the lives lost in that bloody invasion. “They attacked us.”
It was no lie.
The First Order indeed attacked you. They may not have attacked him, but… But they attacked you and attacked people you held dear.
His eyes were widened, and his breath came fast. You knew it was getting difficult to breathe. He gasped in pain. Placing your fingers upon his nude chest, you forced him to pay attention to his lungs, till he was able to once again control himself. Bit by bit, his heart rate lowered, to the point it was beating normally again. You were ready to remove your fingers when his hand rested over yours.
“Impossible…” he repeated, holding your fingers.
“You shouldn’t strain yourself.” You tried to get up, but he did not allow. With a tug to your wrist, you fell back on the mattress; both of your hands splayed on his pectorals. He inhaled sharply, and you adjusted yourself in order not to hurt him.
If not for being used to the same situation — it is, seeing men in state of undress —, you would have blushed. However, this was different. And you could not help but notice how his muscles shifted beneath your fingers. He was by no means a muscular man, but it was obvious he trained; there was strength in his hold.
You traced the edges of the wound in his skin and thought that maybe you should prepare more herbs to accelerate the healing and prevent yet another scar from gracing his skin. It is, if he cared at all. Judging from how many others he sported, it did not seem it was his top priority. Or even a concern at all.
“Why?” he asked, his voice once again coarse.
His blue eyes were focused on you when you lifted yours to look at him. The icy expression on them did seem to have been replaced by curiosity and something… something you could classify was desperation?
Swallowing, you broke free from his hold.
“We should talk tomorrow.” You placed the blanket back on its place. “You should sleep and regain your strength.”
He shook his head.
“Now.” His voice was imposing, as if he was used to command people around him. And you thought he probably did. As a General, he was most certainly used to give orders and to be obeyed. “Why?”
You almost questioned back, Why, what? but you held your tongue.
“Why would the First Order attack me?”
Once again, you did not think, the words merely left your mouth. Lying never came so easy to you, yet, you felt compelled to keep telling those fables, in hopes he did believe them and… You did not know what you did expect to achieve by telling him those made up stories.
“Because you…” You thought about the word betrayed, but it felt wrong on your lips. You decided to try another, “…left them.”
He seemed keen on saying Impossible again, but he held himself back.
There was silence for a moment, as if he was contemplating his words. You knew almost nothing about him, but you knew that — thanks to his datapad; was it even his?, you did not think someone as a general would store information about himself that could be used against him. It would be outrageously stupid to fabricate evidence against oneself, so you decided that it belonged to someone who wanted to get rid of him. For good — he had an abusive father — if the scars in his body and the bloody screams with which he woke up you for several nights in a row were of any indication, he would have plenty of reasons to want to leave the First Order —; a prick who left his mother away for dead and raised him not as his only heir — his son —, but as some kind of animal that did not deserve any respect or even love.
You still remembered how much you cried when you read the files. There was so much more in there that you did not even want to think about it right now.
The very thought of crying for him — over his pathetic life — made you want to snort.
“Please…” you begged, your voice breaking. You felt stupid for feeling so much empathy for the enemy. He was a monster. And you should not feel sorry for a monster. “You need to rest.” You sniffed. “We will talk tomorrow.”
This time he did not shake his head, instead, he brought one hand to your face, wiping away the unshed tears forming in your eyes.
“And who are you?” His voice was barely audible given how loud your heart was beating.
…And I should’ve killed you… the voice inside your head completed.
You shook your head and drew in a sharp breath.
…Please, forgive me…
“Hux…” You wetted your lips. “(Y/N) Hux. I am your wife.” Your voice came out as coarse as his, as if your tongue burned at the damned words. The need to cry was almost overwhelming now. “You… You are my husband.”